Anna surpasses every word of praise, for she gave birth to [the Theotokos] who surpasses every praise. Because of this, she takes pasture together with the choir of the Saints -from the Matins Canon to St. Anna
The Holy Prophet Elias in the taken up into the Fiery Chariot (source)
Elijah the Zealot, and emperor over the passions, is taken up into the air today, bringing the message aforetime of universal salvation. O unalterable glory, which the exalted Prophet was made worthy of, he who is the awesome adornment of the Prophets! He was truly an angel in the flesh, and was shown to be a fleshless man by his accomplishments. As we praise him let us say: Deliver us, O wise one, on the Day of Judgment.
Excerpts from a Homily on St. Marina by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes, Bishop of Florina: "Christ honored the woman"
Today is a feast, the feast of St. Marina. The churches built in her name celebrate, as do the women who bear her name.
We are honoring a woman. But also the New Testament continuously speaks of women. The Gospel reading today speaks of the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:24-34), who was healed by Christ. The Apostle Paul says that between woman and man there is no difference in worth, men and women are equal, for whatever rights the man has, the same does a woman. "There is neither man nor woman", he says, "for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians e3:28). These words we should say more simply to make it clear.
I don't know how much men love Christ, but women must love Him even more. If men love Him once, women should love Him thousands of times. Why? There is a specific reason.
Do you know what woman was before Christ? Man did with her whatever he wished. He locked her inside and didn't let her go out. The children that she gave birth she had no say over, but the man did. If he wanted, he would just kill them. She herself was so poorly treated that he kept her like an animal. He kept her like an adornment until he threw her out. He took another one, and another, and another... as many as he wanted. Thus woman was truly unhappy. In some places this still occurs. In India, for example, where they don't believe in Christ, the woman has no worth. Did her husband die? They were required to bury her with him. She couldn't be allowed to live, and they would bury her near her husband in the same grave.
This was the state of the woman. When did it change? Who honored her? Only Christ.
How did Christ honor the woman?
First, with her "side". The Holy Scriptures say that there is no difference in honor. Man was created by God from the dust (Genesis 2:7), but woman was not created from dust, but from the man. He took a piece of his body, to show that she is yoked with the man. But the piece that he took was neither the head, nor the feet. It wasn't from the head so that she would not think that she should rule over the man. Neither was it from the feet, so that she might not think that she is a slave to be trampled upon by the man. He took a piece from his side, which covers his heart, to show that the woman must be beside him, next to him, supporting the man throughout the whole of life, in both joy and sorrow.
Secondly, Christ honored woman with His incarnation. As God He could have chosen not to have been born of a woman. He could have been like the first man, Adam, for not even the Angels are born of a woman. He could have come into the world by some other way. However, He was born of a woman, the Most-Holy Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary. Why? In order to honor the woman. He was born of a virgin, in order to honor virginity. He was born of one betrothed in order to honor marriage.
Therefore Christ honored the woman. And because of this reason exactly, the women were with Him until the end, such as the Myrrhbearing women, St. Mary Magdalene and the others. And the greatest honor that He gave is that, after the Resurrection, the first "Christ is risen" was not heard by men. No, the woman was the first to receive this joyful news.
Thus did Christ honor the woman. Because of this, women loved Him greatly. One of those was St. Marina, whom we are celebrating today. Who was St. Marina? She was a beautiful and wealthy 15-16 year old girl. She could have found the finest husband. And a potential husband approached her, who had houses, fields and power. But she told him that she preferred Christ above men. And she remained faithful to Him until death.
This, therefore, is what the Apostle is speaking of: there is no difference between woman and man, they are one. And this is what was ordained by Christ, this is what our holy Church teaches.
Let's leave the past for the time being, my beloved, and let's come to today. Do we see woman today as Christ speaks of her, being equal to man? I doubt it.
Where do you want to go? To Athens, to Paris, to New York, to other great cities? There the opposite occurs. There, woman, not one of beauty but of corruption, exercises authority over man. You see a wise university professor or a general who strikes fear in the hearts of the world, and is overcome by a harlot. I'm not speaking of a specific person, I'm speaking generally. If you read history, you will see that many times corrupted women seized strong men by the nose and led them astray like the pied piper. Such women are the tools of the devil...
However, let's leave the big cities and return to the villages, there chaste women, are [unfortunately, sometimes] slaves of men. I had visited many villages as a preacher and I will offer some examples of what I saw.
Once, when I entered a village, I saw a man riding on a horse like a ruler, while behind him was walking his wife, overburdened on her back with wood and with a child in her arms...
Slavery of women, my beloved, and objects of terrible exploitation, either in marriage or outside of marriage. In marriage, regardless of how precious and hard working a woman might be, if she didn't have a good dowry, she couldn't be married off. But the corrupted and inglorious world doesn't even think about marriage. In a thousand satanic ways, such as the terribly "beauty pageants", the woman is prepared and her flesh is sold off like a butcher hangs his meat in the window.*** We have spoken against this, we have struggled against this, and because of this they called us crazy. But one prophecy says: When you see a woman walking naked outside, then the end of the world is coming.
Christ honored the woman, and the Church has shown forth holy women like St. Marina. And today's feast teaches women and men that we should all live with purity and honor.
+Bishop Avgoustinos From a recorded homily in the Church of St. Marina, Florina, 7/17/1973 (amateur translation of excerpts of text from: source) ***Note: One wonders what the Bishop would have said about the terrible and tragic spread of abuse and exploitation of women, from internet pornography to human trafficking to women being abused by men in positions of power, many orders of magnitude worse than he is describing. May our Lord and His Mother deliver all women from such evil, and may His Saints, like St. Marina, both protect and heal those who suffer, and serve as an example of purity and sacrifice of body and soul for Christ!
This is a wonderful recorded sermon of St. Paisios the Athonite given to pilgrims during his life on various topics, but especially on humility and life in Christ. May we have his blessing and intercessions!
The second is a short recording of Elder Sophrony speaking about Theology as a state of being. May we have his blessing and may his prayers and writings (along with those of St. Silouan) help those thirsty for salvation throughout the world! (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
In anticipation of the upcoming feast of St. Paisios the Athonite, here is a wonderful talk by Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou (Cyprus) about St. Paisios the Athonite, where he talks about his life, example, and miracles witnessed by those near him. The talk is in Greek but has subtitles in English. May St. Paisios help all those who are sick and suffer throughout the world!
That you might please Christ, your immortal Bridegroom, you have given yourself up to death, and fire and tortures, counting them as nothing, through which you were made worthy of immortal glory. -from the Matins Canon of St. Kyriaki the Great Martyr
Like Christ’s love, His sufferings were so great that we can’t understand them, since we love the Lord so little. But those who love more can understand the Lord’s sufferings more deeply. There’s little love, average love and perfect love. The more perfect the love, the more perfect the knowledge. -Elder Ephraim of Katounakia
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth...And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1: 14, 16-17
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages! Amen!
"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration.
This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world." Excerpt from the Synodikon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy (http://www.anastasis.org.uk/synodikon.htm)
By the Grace of God, here are presented a few true stories of the Saints, sayings of the Holy Fathers, sacred icons, and many other things so that, maybe in a small way, we may remind ourselves that (though we might not be ready to accept it) Jesus Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, and that the Holy Orthodox Church is full of Christ's GRACE and TRUTH, and is no less than the Kingdom of God on earth.
I must say that I am not a part of the clergy, so I hope to primarily put forth quotations from the Gospel, Saints and Holy Fathers, and not my own opinions. But if you see my own words or opinions, keep in mind that they are my opinions or comments and they have little weight, as opposed to the quotations from Christ, the Saints and the Fathers which do.
I ask forgiveness if in this site any of my passions are acting, hindering the Grace of the Holy Spirit because of my sins. I apologize for any errors of mine, mistakes, problems with translations, etc. due to my ignorance and conceit. If anyone notices any mistakes or can suggest a better translation, please let me know. I try to post all of my sources. Please also let me know if I am violating any copyrights or other laws, and I will do my best to comply.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
-I try to update this site fairly regularly. If you are looking for a specific subject, feel free to search for an earlier post that might cover it. I habitually go back and update previous posts too, so though there may not be new info at the top of the site(e.g. for some saint or feast), it's possible that I've updated a previous post with more information, images, etc.
-Please consider the sources for all materials presented. I try to only post reliable information, but I can't be held responsible for every inconsistency or incorrect fact. If you notice an error, please post a comment and let me know. Please keep in perspective material presented without a source, or amateur translations from me.
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