June 1, 2023

The Exodus of the Jews and the Pentecostarion of the Church

 By John Sanidopoulos
Originally, in biblical times, Pentecost was primarily a harvest festival, but after the time of Jesus and the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans it became more focused on the fact that according to Exodus 19:1, fifty days after Israel came out of Egypt, God brought them to Sinai to establish His covenant with them and to give them His Law through His Prophet Moses. So from the institution of the feast of Passover, which led to the liberation of the Jews from bondage in Egypt, until God brought them to Mount Sinai to deliver His law to His people, fifty days passed. By being given a law and having God as their Ruler, they would be able to enter the Promised Land as one nation.

In the Orthodox Church, on the feast of Easter, which is known as Pascha (the Greek word for Passover), we celebrate the liberation of the human race from the bondage of sin, death and the devil through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and over a period of fifty days until the feast of Pentecost we are led on a journey to receive from God His Holy Spirit, through whom the law of God is written in our hearts instead of on tablets of stone. When the law of God is written in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we become united citizens of God's eternal kingdom. The fifty day period between Easter and Pentecost is known in the Orthodox Church as the Pentecostarion.

May 31, 2023

Holy Hieromartyr Neophyte the Cretan (+ 1753)

St. Neophyte the Cretan (Feast Day - June 16)

Metropolitan Neophyte the Cretan, of Greek origin, was born around 1690, on the island of Crete, and reposed on June 16, 1753, in Bucharest.

He came to Wallachia when he was a hieromonk, in the entourage of Constantine Mavrocordatos (in the third reign: 1735-1741), as a teacher of his children. Born in Constantinople as a Phanariote member of the Mavrocordatos family, Constantine succeeded his father, Nicholas Mavrocordatos, as Prince of Wallachia in 1730, after obtaining boyar support.

Also with the help and support of Prince Constantine Mavrocordatos, he became "titular" (honorary) Metropolitan of Myra in Lycia (ordained in Bucharest January 27, 1737), and, a year later, he was elected Metropolitan of Wallachia on November 7, 1738, where he served as a shepherd of Christ's flock until his death.

May 30, 2023

The 23 Turkish Martyrs of Thyatira (+ 1649): Account by a 17th Century Jesuit Missionary to Smyrna

The following narrative is translated from an old volume in French (Auguste Carayon, Unpublished Relations of the Missions of the Company of Jesus Christ in Constantinople and the Middle East in the XII Century, Poitiers – Paris 1864), containing some account of the Jesuit missions in Constantinople and the Levant during the seventeenth century. The translation, which had come into the hands of Rev. Marcellus Bowen, formerly missionary at Smyrna, has been kindly furnished by him.

By Francis Lucas
Jesuit Missionary of Smyrna (17th century)

A notorious martyrdom of twenty-three Turks occurred in the town of Thyatira,* famous in old times, of which St. John made mention in the Revelation, since there were more than 200,000 inhabitants, despite the fact that the plague killed more than 50,000 during the year 1656. It is still among the most populous cities of Asia Minor. In our times, God chose this city to become the arena of twenty-three athletes of Jesus Christ, that He willfully crowned with immortal glory, after much more struggling than naturally expected from such people.

May 29, 2023

May 29th - A Day of Repentance and a Day of Orthodoxy

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Until the fall of Constantinople, the positive dimension of Romiosini functioned, while after its fall, the negative dimension of Romiosini functioned and flourished, since despite the difficulties it highlighted the new martyrs, who according to Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite revived our martyrology, that is, the martyric spirit of the Orthodox Church.

It can be emphasized that until 1453 the Orthodox Church showed its confessional spirit, after it established the Orthodox teaching, as it also established its martyric and hesychastic spirit. In fact, as has been observed, hesychasm, which is the quintessence of the Orthodox teaching, developed even more towards the end of the Roman Empire and it was what kept the Orthodox Church alive and dynamic during the Turkish rule and it animated the entire subjugated race and showed, as previously mentioned, the martyrs and confessors of the faith.

May 28, 2023

Homily on the Gospel Reading for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on July 30, 1950)

In today's reading, you have heard the extremely important words of our Lord Jesus Christ, which I need to explain so that you understand them properly and imprint them in your hearts.

The Lord Jesus Christ, before His terrible sufferings, prayed to His Father like this: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:1-3).

What is eternal life? This is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven.


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