June 30, 2023

Change of Plans

Dear Readers:

A few days ago I informed all of you about being forced to stop posting for a while due to unforeseen personal circumstances that required me to take some time off in order to focus on fixing the issue. I expected to be away for at least a month in order to do this. However, circumstances have changed due to the generosity of some of you who responded with your financial assistance.

Though I have not fully attained my goal, most of it has been taken care of, and I cannot overlook the fact that generous supporters of this ministry want me to continue with my regular posting. I am very grateful for you and for your appreciation of what I have to offer. It means a lot to me and motivates me to continue with my regular posting schedule tomorrow.

Many many thanks!

John Sanidopoulos

June 27, 2023

Homilies on the Litany of Completion of the Divine Liturgy - Offering Our Gifts to God (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Litany of Completion of the Divine Liturgy 
Offering Our Gifts to God
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Analyzing this year in the Sunday Sermons the "Completions", the prayers, that is, which we address to God during the Divine Liturgy after the Great Entrance and the transfer of the Holy Gifts from the Holy Prothesis to the Holy Altar, we have the opportunity to see other issues that are related to our lives. We see this in the requests of the entreaties to God.

The second entreaty is: "For the precious Gifts here presented, let us entreat the Lord", that is, let us beseech the Lord our God for the gifts we are offering. What are these gifts? It is the bread and wine that are offered to be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. They are called "precious Gifts", because already from the Holy Prothesis they have been set apart to become the Body and Blood of Christ.

June 26, 2023

Holy Martyr and Unmercenary Medicus of Otricoli (+ 172)

St. Medicus of Otricoli (Feast Day - June 26)

By Archimandrite Epiphanios Dimitrios,
Preacher of the Sacred Metropolis of Dimitrias

This glorious Martyr was a physician in both name and profession. He was born in the city of Otricoli in Italy and was attracted to the Christian faith by the many miracles that took place in the temple where there were the sacred relics of another ancient martyr, Saint Victor, which had been transferred there from the city of Damascus in 171.

Medicus was accused of being a Christian in the Province of Otricoli Terenziano, during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Prefect Terenziano, after seeing the immutability of Medicus' faith and because the Saint said that idols are demons, put him in prison, ordering that no one should bring him food or water, so that he would either be forced to deny his faith or die from hunger.

The Lamp of Your Life (St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva)

Elder Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva once foretold to one of his spiritual children that he would live so many years. When this man put his health at risk, the holy elder said to him that he could have died. Bewildered, he questioned the elder about how this agrees with the prediction given earlier. The elder replied: “What I told you is true. Nothing changed. The lamp of your life has oil for as many years as I told you, but if you drop it, the oil will spill and the lamp will go out! That is life! God gives us the precious gift of life; we accept it and are obliged to protect it, and not to expose it to dangers, especially senseless ones.

June 25, 2023

Homily for the Third Sunday of Matthew - Divine Providence (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Divine Providence

Third Sunday of Matthew

(July 6, 2008)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The basic message of today's Gospel reading, my beloved brethren, is faith in God's Providence, that is, that God provides for all creation and certainly above all for mankind.

The word "providence" (πρόνοια) comes from the verb pronoo (προνοώ), which means to foresee, to be interested in something or someone. By divine Providence we characterize God's great interest in the world He created and in man who is His most perfect creation.

In today's Gospel reading some specific examples are mentioned, such as that God takes care of the birds of the sky that do not sow or reap or gather goods in storehouses and yet God preserves them, and for the lilies of the field that do not toil, do not spin and yet they are distinguished by such beauty that all the adornment of Solomon of the Old Testament, who was famous for ornamentation, cannot be compared.

Homily One for the Third Sunday of Matthew (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Let Us Reach Out With All Our Souls to the Light of Christ

Matthew 6:22-23

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on July 15, 1945)

"The lamp of the body is the eye" (Matt. 6:22). Through the eyes we perceive the light, everyone knows and understands this. Science has accurately studied everything that happens in the eyes and in the brain when light acts on the eye. But science cannot explain at all what is meant by what follows: “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23). We do not see that our bodies emit light. But Jesus Christ says that our whole body can be light - science does not understand this. God reveals to us the mystery of being, which is known to Him alone, the Creator of the world. And we need to understand the meaning of these amazing words of the Lord.

Homily Four on the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)
Today we celebrate the Nativity of the great John, the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of our Lord Jesus Christ. This great event 700 years before was foretold by the glorious Prophet Isaiah: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Is. 40:3).

With these words, the Prophet Isaiah predetermined the main goal of the life of the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John.

300 years after Isaiah, another prophet, Malachi, called John the Forerunner of the Lord an Angel, whom the Lord sends before Himself to prepare the way for Him.

June 24, 2023

Homily Two on the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on June 24/July 7, 1953)

Many wondrous, glorious, and great things are written in the Gospel of Christ about His Prophet and Baptist John the Forerunner, whose Nativity we are now celebrating.

But there is one passage that can arouse bewilderment in us. I want to clarify this passage and dispel any confusion.

We read that when the great Forerunner was in Herod's dungeon and heard about the wondrous miracles performed by the Lord Jesus, he sent two of his disciples to Him to ask: "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect another?"

This is where some confusion might arise. Did the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ hesitate in his opinion about Christ?!

June 20, 2023

Homilies on the Litany of Completion of the Divine Liturgy - Continuous Prayer (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Litany of Completion of the Divine Liturgy 
Continuous Prayer
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

During the summer months of the previous year, beloved brethren, in the Sunday Sermons, we analyzed the "Great Litany" of the Divine Liturgy, which are also heard in other services. That is, we referred to the prayers of the Church to God that we address at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy. And this is important, because we must also rationally participate in what is said and done during the Divine Liturgy. Of course, the words of the prayer are not extremely difficult and incomprehensible, since many of them are still used today in communication between us, but they still need some additional explanations.

The Divine Liturgy is the center of our ecclesiastical and spiritual life which is connected to the faith of the Church and the Orthodox preaching. This is the spiritual space in which we must live, move and be inspired by. After all, the Divine Liturgy is a foretaste of the heavenly Divine Liturgy, in which the saints live and will take place eternally after the Second Coming of Christ, when our bodies will also be resurrected. Thus, everything that happens in the Divine Liturgy must be loved by all of us.

June 19, 2023

Homily for the Sunday of All Saints Who Shone in the Russian Land (St. John Maximovitch)

By St. John (Maximovich), Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco

Today is the feast of All the Saints who shone in the Russian land - all the saints who were raised by the Russian Church, the Russian land. Today is the feast of the spiritual sky over Russia. That sky stretches wide, starting from the holy prince Vladimir and the blessed princess Olga. They were, as it were, the roots of all the saints who shone in the Russian land. A great host has grown, a great tree of holiness. True, even before Grand Prince Vladimir there were saints, righteous ones, who shone forth where the Russian land is now. Those parts that now make up the borders of Russia, even before they became part of the Russian land, shone with the holy saints of God.

Chersonesus boasts of seven bishops who visited that region in the early days, and later Cyril and Methodius preached there. Grand Prince Vladimir was baptized in Chersonesus, and together with the relics of the ancient Hieromartyr Clement of Rome, he brought the Orthodox Faith to Kiev, and laid the foundation for the growth of the Russian Church there. Now we are celebrating all those saints of God - the Venerable Anthony and Theodosius and many other wonderworkers of the Caves, all the saints who shone in the Russian land, those saints who affirmed Orthodoxy, acquired Christianity, who affirmed faith and piety among the people, those saints who pretended to be fools, but in reality were wise and with their seemingly ridiculous deeds themselves humbled their pride, taught children to bow before holiness and follow the Gospel. We glorify the many saints of God, who shone in different directions in the Russian land; those martyrs who patiently endured the sufferings sent down to them, and, finally, those martyrs who, in a small rank, shone in antiquity, but now abundantly watered all the patches of Russian land with their blood. The earth was sanctified by their blood, the air was sanctified by the ascent of their souls. The sky above Russia was sanctified by the holy saints of God who shine over it. There are countless of them.

June 18, 2023

Homily for the Sunday of All Saints Who Shone in the Russian Land (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1956)

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:4-5), - this is what the apostle John the Theologian says about the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a lot of darkness in the life of mankind, there was a lot of it in ancient Rus'. But Saint John, preaching further about God the Word, spoke also about millions of Russian hearts: "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him, but to those who received Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the power to become children of God: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:11–13).

Homily for the Epistle Reading of the Second Sunday After Pentecost - On the Conscience (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily for the Epistle Reading of the Second Sunday After Pentecost

Romans 2:9-11

On the Conscience

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1954)

I want you to delve deeper into the apostolic reading from the 2nd chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans: “Tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:9-11).

Oh, how it is necessary for us to remember these words of blessed Paul: after all, he reminds us that punishment awaits us for every evil deed, and for a life full of evil deeds, eternal anguish and sorrow awaits in the kingdom of darkness; and for all the good that we do - eternal glory and honor in the kingdom of eternal light, for God will reward everyone according to his deeds.

June 15, 2023

Saint Augustine, His Life and Teachings (From the Patrology of Stylianos Papadopoulos) - Part One

Augustine of Hippo (+ 430): 
The Great Church Father of the West

By Stylianos Papadopoulos,
Professor of Patristics

General View: Introduction

1. Saint Augustine was the greatest and most prolific of the Church Fathers and theologians of the West and a writer of enormous influence on Western Christianity. Multi-talented and a genius, he dominated medieval thought (theology, philosophy, methodology), mainly until the era (12th-13th centuries) when Aristotelianism was adopted - in the place of Plato and Neoplatonism - as the ultimate instrument of construction and proof of the Church's teaching. Of course, mainly through the Franciscans (Bonaventure et al.) he continued to deeply influence Roman Catholic - but also later Protestant - theological thought, while sociologists, political scientists and historians of philosophy always refer to his texts. Western theology, in general, is unthinkable without the constant presence of Augustine, both positively and negatively. In the Christian East for centuries Augustine remained almost unknown and that is why his influence was negligible to zero.

An Introduction to the Lives of the Saints (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite) - Part 1 of 4

Introduction to the Synaxaristes

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

It is now time to invite all Christians to read this Synaxaristes. Come all you who are patriarchs, hierarchs, priests and whatever order of clergy you belong to. Come you who are kings, governors and rulers. Come all you who by Christ are called Orthodox Christians, the chosen people of the Lord, men and women, small and great, young and old.

This Synaxaristes, is a multi-illuminated Heaven, which, like the great Luminary and the most brilliant Sun, has the Master Christ. For the Moon, silvery and full of light, it has the Most Holy Theotokos. For a star that does not fall and does not fade, it contains all the choirs of all the saints. Whence it illuminates, warms, animates and stimulates towards the fruitfulness of the virtues, the whole Church of Christ, and all the earthly Creation.

June 14, 2023

The Chapel of the Prophet Elisha in Athens: A Monument of True and Unadulterated Orthodoxy

A Monument of Orthodox Spirituality

By Kostis Bastias

The Church of the Prophet Elisha (Elissaios) was built on the way towards Aerides near the old Stratona, on a private plot of land. It is a small chapel. A few years ago there were many small private churches both in Athens and in the rest of Greece. Simple and pious people lived at that time, who turned their excess and more often their deficiency into praise and glorification to their Creator, honoring one of His saints. Today, however, even if a pious person wants to build a chapel and honor a saint, he cannot. A thousand laws prevent him. They need special permits that no one gives them, they need approval of plans and a bunch of other difficulties that frustrate even the most zealous. Quite a few of the restrictions, to be fair, had as an occasion the private exploitation they made with these private chapels. Some of them had turned it into businesses that didn't pay much, and that once made for a dangerous retaliation to the parish churches. However, this is one thing, for which there are a thousand ways to deal with it, and the abolition of memory is another.

June 12, 2023

Concerning the Greek Priest Who Was Suspended for Having Two Girls as "Altar Servers"

He became a priest that receives no salary at the age of 66, he reads the Gospel in the demotic translation, captivating his flock, while he taught the word of God for 37 years in the classrooms: from the Night School of Exarcheia to the Theological School of Sydney in Australia.

Since last week, thousands of believers see him as a victim of a religious fundamentalism that is being attempted by dark forces within the Church. Priest Alexandros Kariotoglou, vicar at the historic Church of Saint Nicholas Ragavas in Plaka, is the man who has received an unprecedented wave of support after the decision to put him on a temporary suspension because he made two 13-year-old girls "papadakia"* on Pentecost Sunday.

His move caused the reaction of conservative circles, while under these pressures the Archdiocese of Athens informed him that he cannot officiate until the case is discussed in the Permanent Holy Synod. Believers, professors of Theology, people who are well aware of his work inside and outside the Church blasted the decision, pointing out that Father Alexandros is an enlightened priest, a progressive voice who strengthens the Christian faith with his work. Among those who took a position on the matter was Father Libyos and Professor Nektaria Karantzi, whose posts on social media are translated below.

Homily for the Sunday of All Saints (Elder Philotheos Zervakos)

 By Archimandrite Philotheos Zervakos

(Delivered in the Church of All Saints in Paros in 1965)

Today our Holy Church celebrates the memory of all the Saints, those who were born and sanctified from the creation of the world, and until the end of the age those who will be sanctified. This feast is the greatest of all feasts (besides the Despotic feasts), because not just one Saint celebrates, nor ten, nor a hundred, nor a thousand, nor two thousand, or a hundred thousand, but millions.

All the millions of Saints are celebrating today, and in this feast is also the feast of the Queen of Heaven, the All-Holy Mother of God, all the angelic orders, all the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Hieromartyrs, the Confessors and all the Venerables. Therefore every believer today celebrates their feast, because all faithful Christians have names of Saints.

Discourse on All the Saints (St. Gregory Thaumaturgus)

By St. Gregory Thaumaturgus of Neocaesarea

Grant your blessing, Lord.

It was my desire to be silent, and not to make a public display of the rustic rudeness of my tongue. For silence is a matter of great consequence when one's speech is inferior. And to refrain from utterance is indeed an admirable thing, where there is lack of training; and verily he is the highest philosopher who knows how to cover his ignorance by abstinence from public address. Knowing, therefore, the feebleness of tongue proper to me, I should have preferred such a course. Nevertheless the spectacle of the onlookers impels me to speak.

Since, then, this solemnity is a glorious one among our festivals, and the spectators form a crowded gathering, and our assembly is one of elevated fervour in the faith, I shall face the task of commencing an address with confidence. And this I may attempt all the more boldly, since the Father requests me, and the Church is with me, and the sainted martyrs with this object strengthen what is weak in me. For these have inspired aged men to accomplish with much love a long course, and constrained them to support their failing steps by the staff of the word; and they have stimulated women to finish their course like the young men, and have brought to this, too, those of tender years, yea, even creeping children. In this wise have the martyrs shown their power, leaping with joy in the presence of death, laughing at the sword, making sport of the wrath of princes, grasping at death as the producer of deathlessness, making victory their own by their fall, through the body taking their leap to heaven, suffering their members to be scattered abroad in order that they might hold their souls, and, bursting the bars of life, that they might open the gates of heaven.

June 11, 2023

Homily Two for the Sunday of All Saints (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea
(Delivered on All Saints Sunday - 1956)
Every day of the year the Holy Church dedicates to the memory of the saints - those whose holiness is obvious, most often witnessed by miracles from God performed during their lifetime or emanating from their relics. Their number is small, and there is no doubt that there are still immeasurably more people who have served the Lord before His eyes, “Who alone knows the heart.” Here is how the holy Apostle John the Theologian describes it: "I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands … These are those who came from the great tribulation; they washed their clothes and made their clothes white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:9, 14).

In commemoration of all the righteous, known only to God, the Church dedicates the first Sunday after Pentecost. He, the One Knower of the Heart, knows the unknown to the world, the poor in spirit, crying silent tears about their sins, about the grave sorrows and falsehoods of the world, who do not exalt themselves over anyone, sincerely consider themselves sinners and worse than others. They hunger and thirst for the truth in relations between people and nations, but their meekness and love do not allow them to achieve this truth through participation in revolutions and wars. And they desire not only earthly truth, but to a much greater extent the highest, Divine truth. They pity the suffering and the needy with all their hearts, but they themselves are poor, and can give only a little to those who need even more of them. But their small good deeds are as great before God as the last mite of a widow placed in the treasury of the temple (see Mark 12:42; Luke 21:2).

Constantly cleansed by humility and tears, meekness and mercy, their hearts shine before God with their purity. With gentle words of loving exhortation, they reconcile the warring. However, their love for God and good deeds prick the hearts of people who live without God, and they are persecuted by them, revile them, vilify them, and lie against them. All this is seen and heard by Christ. He loves His servants for the immutable fulfillment of His commandments, and often during times of persecution He Himself appears to them, and in eternal life He prepares for them great and endless joy. He evaluates the life and deeds of these saints, who are known only to Him alone, not by the unjust judgment by which the world judges, for that which is highly esteemed among people is an abomination before God (Luke 16:15).

Let us live in such a way that at death we will be found worthy to join the host of those dressed in white robes, washed in the Blood of the Lamb. And with palm branches in their hands, eternally glorify the one God in the Trinity and offer unceasing praise and thanksgiving to Him. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Homily One for the Sunday of All Saints (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 Is It True That Christianity Has Failed?

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on All Saints Sunday - May 31, 1953)

One of the frivolous eighteenth-century French philosophers, called Encyclopedists, said a scathing word that was immediately taken up and became a catchphrase: "Christianity failed."

So, did it really fail? Of course not! It failed for those who are like these philosophers, for those whose hearts are full of pride, conceit and self-exaltation.

It failed for those whose hearts are dragged into the dirt of the earth - for them, of course, it failed. They did not become Christians.

In order to become Christian and follow Christ, to take up one's cross and follow Christ, one must deny oneself. Have they denied themselves? Of course not.

June 10, 2023

The Massacre of the Greeks in Distomo on 10 June 1944

The Massacre of Distomo was a Nazi war crime which was perpetrated by members of the Waffen-SS in the village of Distomo, Greece, in 1944, during the German occupation of Greece during World War II. The Waffen-SS troops belonged to the 2nd company, I/7 battalion, 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division under the command of the 26-year-old SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Lautenbach. This company serving in Greece in 1944 was made up mostly of volksdeutsche (ethnic German) teenagers from Hungary and Romania commanded by zealous SS officers. The heavy losses taken on the Eastern Front had caused the SS to lower its standards as the war went on and many of the teenagers in the company were underaged with some as young as 14 or 15. The British historian Mark Mazower described the 2nd Company as being made up of a "lethal combination" of ill-trained volksdeutsche teenagers determined to prove their sense of deutschtum (Germanness) with fanatical SS officers. This was especially the case as almost all of the Hungarian and Romanian volksdeutsche teenagers serving in the division did not have the requisite family histories proving that they were of pure German descent, and instead had only vague written statements from their local volksdeutsche community associations attesting to their pure German descent.

June 9, 2023

Orthodox and Romios: Two Identical Words

By Metropolitan Andreas (Nanakis) of Arkalochori, Kastelli and Viannos -
Lecturer of the Theological School at Thessaloniki

"Immerse yourself in the open spirit of Romiosini... throw off the shackles and rigidity of the nationalistic view... Romiosini means tolerance, understanding, mutual respect, patience, a willingness to reconcile and endless love" (Patriarch Bartholomew, 2022).

In the modern Greek state, we have the two main books about the Romios [Roman] and Romiosini [Romanism], Ponemeni Romiosini, from 1963, by Photis Kontoglou, who was from Aivali in Asia Minor, and Romiosini, from 1975, by Fr. John Romanides, who was from Cappadocia.
Romios, is also the name of the satirical weekly newspaper of George Souris from Syros. Its publication began in 1883, two years after the marriage of Souris with Mari Konstantinides from Chios, and was interrupted in 1918, a year before the death of the author-publisher.

"Romiosini" spoke deep within the heart of Hellenism, when Mikis Theodorakis set Yiannis Ritsos to music, who in his wider poetic collection Agrypnia, in 1954, included his work "Romiosini". In 1966, "Romiosini" was published independently and in the same year it was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis. The people deeply experienced its messages, embraced the work, and "Romiosini" becomes "a possession forever".

We are in the second decade after the end of the civil war (1949), in a deeply divided Greece. "Romiosini", with its message of national unity, is sung in the stadiums and squares of Greece, as well as the Hellenism of the diaspora, in America, Australia and Europe.

The appropriation of our national names, Hellas and Hellenes, mainly by the victors of the time, brings the name of our imperial civilization to the Greek foreground. "Faithful king and emperor of the Romans", is the name of all the emperors of Constantinople.

After the fall of the City, in 1453, the sultans formed, in the midst of the sufferings of the time, the Millet system. All Orthodox Christians - Greek-speaking, Albanian-speaking, Slavic-speaking, Vlach-speaking, Arabic-speaking, Turkish-speaking - are called Romans and make up the "Rum millet". The Muslims, the Jews, the Armenians have similar millets. A condition for being a citizen of the Ottoman empire was to be a member of one of the religious millets.

Those who use the terms Romios or Romiosini should be well aware that Romios and Romiosini are concepts identical to Orthodox and Orthodoxy and that in the ecclesiastical and administrative structures of Romiosini is Greek culture which has the first say, with the official language of Romiosini being Greek. The Ecumenical Patriarch and the patriarchal structures of the empire were the custodians of Romiosini. Romiosini is not an ideology. It is praxis, applied praxis, after apprenticeship to an Elder who possesses experience of Divine Grace.

In this Ecumenical culture of the empire we have the deep and strong roots of Romios and Romiosini, where the terms are identified with every Orthodox of the empire. Romiosini empirically consists of the differentiation between thinking and praying. The highest form of hesychasm is the praying, and in fact through noetic prayer, Saint Gregory the Palamas, to respond to the rationalism of Barlaam of Calabria, who died in Avignon as a Roman Catholic Hierarch (1348), wrote the discourse: "On the Sacred Hesychasts". As Archbishop of Thessaloniki, in 1350, he wrote: "On Peace With One Another", having reached a settlement in his Metropolis, which had been deeply injured by the movement of the zealots (1342-1349). The causes of the conflict were spiritual, and the Saint documents it: "...because hatred entered the hearts of men, in cooperation with the devil."

In the Turkish occupation, the Aleiptes Saints were the New Martyrs, who were Romans but had converted to Islam and now wanted to return to Romiosini, preparing themselves with daily spiritual struggle, prayer, fasting, and the Divine Liturgy. For such a conversion, the Islamic Koran imposed the death penalty on the convert. But, after the spiritual preparation by the Aleiptes, who had converted to Islam, they endured the torture and went to their martyrdom strengthened by the Grace of the Paraclete, which abolishes the natural law, in this case, the martyrdom of pain from torture. Those who converted to Islam, when they obeyed their will and went to become martyrs, they could not bear the martyrdom, they became cowards, they denied Christ again, but the Aleiptes had prepared physically and spiritually to endure to the end.

From the book of Saint Paisios, Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, published in 1975, we got to know the charismatic Saint Arsenios. He is Hatzi-Efentis in the television series Saint Paisios. Saint Arsenios and Saint Paisios are the successors of Romiosini in the Greek state, as are Saints Porphyrios, Iakovos, Eumenios the New and Saint Sophia of Kleisoura.

We read in the book of Saint Paisios that the Turks wanted to make it difficult for Hatzi-Efentis, Saint Arsenios, in his spiritual work, and after his prayer Hatzi-Efentis raised his hands to the sky, and "clouds gathered and rain began - a deluge of strong wind – and the whole village of Sinasos shook. The Turks asked for forgiveness. The Saint made the sign of the cross over the village and nature calmed down." Saint Arsenios, Hatzi-Efentis, does not give orders to the Orthodox community. He troubles them with divine signs and that is why they followed him.

The Elders of Romiosini pray fervently, and if the heavens agree, they receive information from the Grace of the Divine Word, they acquire experiential and revelatory experience. They abolish the natural laws that we everyday people know. Human reason, with its thoughts about our worldly accomplishments, often praises us and confirms us to ourselves and to those around us. It promotes our egos. The ideal and model for the Romios, his life's activity, is his holiness and salvation, which presuppose the virtue of self-restraint.

Because of the pandemic, the Elder had every right to forbid his subordinates to get vaccinated, on the condition that, as another Aleiptis, he would give them a spiritual, daily rule, which they would apply in order not to contract the coronavirus. Many confessors, among them it is said to be a Bishop, obeyed the elder and died from the coronavirus. This is not Romiosini. In Romiosini, the Elder's heart is informed by the noetic energy of Divine Grace.

Greece and Europe are suffering. The problem is spiritual and certainly not solved by reason and mind alone. This is Barlaamism. The solution to the spiritual problem is not provided by an ideological manifesto, even a Christian one, which will clash with the other parliamentary, ideological creations of this changing world. Romiosini answers the indeed pan-European, spiritual problem. Its essence, the mystery of God, which is forever hidden, is eternally unchanging. It is the inner contents of the container. The shape of the container is shaped in relation to the changing terrestrial world. City states, empires, nation states. Romiosini's response to the changing world is empirical, revelatory, the fruit of an informed heart. Doesn't the strangulation of the Church in Russia with the current tsarist power teach us?

Romiosini, which is identified with the Orthodox faith, does not prioritize the national identity of the Orthodox faith. We experienced it with the nomenclature of North Macedonia. And finally, established within Romiosini is the respect for the earthly hierarchy, which according to Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, is a reflection of the heavenly hierarchy.

Our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew summarized all of the above and much more by saying: "Immerse yourself in the open spirit of Romiosini... throw off the shackles and rigidity of the nationalistic view... Romiosini means tolerance, understanding, mutual respect, patience, a willingness to reconcile and endless love."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Two Weeping Icons In Mytilene That Drew Thousands of Believers Currently Under Investigation

Crowds of people were flocking every day for about 20 days to the Church of Saint Ephraim of Nea Makri in the neighborhood of Kallithea in Mytilene to venerate the icons of Saint Paraskevi and Saint Ephraim, which are reported to be "weeping" according to the testimonies of those in charge of the church as well as various believers who are eyewitnesses.

According to media reports, during the Divine Liturgy on Pentecost Sunday, the priest was interrupted when he was called by the faithful to explain the phenomenon.

The icon of Saint Ephraim appears to have had a liquid that seems to have run down from the face of the Saint, but it became dry and to see it one must look at the icon from the side where it is clearly visible.

June 7, 2023

Saint Panagis Basias: A Contemporary Fool for Christ

By Lambros Skontzos, Theologian

The Ionian Islands are the birthplace of many Saints of our Church. One of them was the newly-appeared Saint Panagis Basias from Lixouri in Kefallonia.

He was born in Lixouri in 1801. His pious and wealthy parents were Michael Typaldos Basias and Regina Dellaporta. He received a strict education, and besides Greek he knew Italian, French and Latin.

Initially, he was appointed a grammar teacher, but soon he was inspired by the radical sermons of Kosmas Flamiatos and Eusebios Panas, great ecclesiastical figures of the time, who defended Greece and Orthodoxy, and joined them. The English (rulers of the Ionian Islands), who were supposed to be protectors, instead tyrannized the people and manipulated their Orthodox phronema. For this reason he left the public school, which propagated English supremacy, and started teaching at home.

Post-Pentecost Reflection of St. Theophan the Recluse

 By St. Theophan the Recluse

After the Baptism of the Lord, when the Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, He descended into the wilderness to be tempted. This is the common path for all. St. Isaac the Syrian remarks in one place that as soon as you taste grace-filled consolation or receive some gift from the Lord, wait for temptation. Temptations conceal the brightness of grace from one’s own eyes which usually consume every good with self-conceit and self-exaltation.

These temptations are also external - sorrow, humiliation; and internal - passionate thoughts that purposely are released, like beasts unchained. Therefore, we must heed ourselves and strictly analyze what occurs with us and in us, to see why it is happening, and what obligations it brings. 

June 6, 2023

Oration on Holy Pentecost (St. Proclus of Constantinople)

Oration 16

On Holy Pentecost

 (PG 65:804D)
By St. Proclus of Constantinople

Today, beloved, the Holy Spirit’s grace visited, beginning from today’s day; and growing until today’s day, it is magnified. The Holy Spirit’s grace shone, and suddenly the speechless ones’ mouths [became] eloquent; and the untaught ones’ tongues were trained; and the fishermen’s hearts were moved to courage. Therefore, the grace visiting from heaven today snatches away the timidity of even my impoverished reason. For as, before the advent of the Spirit, Peter, fearing, denied the Master before the maiden; and [so], after the descent of the Spirit, before the peoples and kings, with courage, he confesses, saying: “We cannot not speak of what we have heard and seen” (Acts 4:20). Whence the Jews even considered the eloquence of the Holy Spirit drunkenness, saying, “Since they are drunk on new wine.” But Peter disputed with them [regarding] what [were] the proofs confirming the Trinity even at [that] hour. For since, at the third hour, the cross was planted, also, at the third [hour], the Holy Spirit, in the form of fire, descended upon the apostles, intimating that God [is] Spirit. “For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:29). And "the advent of the Spirit was as dew upon wool” (Ps 72:6), since it was the symbol of the dispensation. And about the Spirit, so that it would be shown that God is Spirit, “there was a voice out of heaven like a blowing, violent wind” (Acts 2:20). And that God [is] Spirit, learn. For Isaiah says:

June 5, 2023

Father John Kalaides, the Icon of the Holy Trinity, and How He Blessed and Did Miracles for People

Fr. John Kalaides leading the procession holding the miraculous icon of the Holy Trinity in Serres, 1977.

The daughter of our Holy Father John Kalaides, Theodora, wrote the following regarding her father in honor of the feast of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity:
"My father's favorite icon was the icon of the Holy Trinity! He always had such an icon of the Holy Trinity in the pocket of his anteri [inner cassock].
There is a monastery in Toumpa of Serres, where for thirty years Father went by train and kept vigil in front of the icon and in the morning every time they gave him this miraculous icon to carry for the procession. He told me with tears in his eyes: 'My child, there are so many priests and they always give me, the least one, to hold the icon!" He was very happy with this honor that the Good God gave him. His whole life was a Pentecost!

Before Papa-Tychon Gave Advice He Would Invoke the Holy Spirit

By St. Paisios the Athonite
Before the Elder [Papa-Tychon the Russian] began his advice, it was customary for him to pray first, to invoke the Holy Spirit, that He may enlighten him, and this was what he also recommended to others.

He would say:

"God left us the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. This is what our landlord does. That is why our Church begins with the 'Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of truth.'"

While he said these things about the Holy Spirit, his face would change, and many pious people saw this change.
- From the book Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.

First Homily for the Monday of the Holy Spirit (St. Luke of Simferopol)

An Interpretation of the Prayer: "Heavenly King, Comforter"
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on June 25, 1945)

On the Day of the Holy Spirit, we must turn the depth of our thoughts to the knowledge of Him. In the prayer to the Holy Spirit, extremely much is said: "Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of truth." This is our Comforter, the One whom the Lord Jesus Christ sent to His disciples when He ascended from them into heaven (see John 14:18, 15:26, 14:26). This is the Comforter Who fills the emptiness of our heart, drives away longing from it, the Only One Who can truly console us.

Many people are in severe anguish, conscious of the emptiness and insignificance of their own lives. They do not know the full, deep comfort that the hearts of Christians experience. They do not seek the Holy Spirit, because they did not know Him and live on their own, without God. The Holy Spirit comforts ordinary, far from holiness Christians when, in sorrows, they find that they deserve misfortunes, when they turn their minds and spiritual eyes into their hearts, and see many sins and impurities there, and repent, and wash this dirt with tears and cry: "Lord, the Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of truth!" It is only necessary to desire this consolation with all your heart and purify your heart.

June 4, 2023

Homily Two for the Feast of Pentecost (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

We recognize the forces of material nature by their manifestations with greater or lesser power.

A light breeze caressing our cheeks, and a terrible hurricane destroying entire cities - this is only the movement of air with the weakest and with the strongest force. The barely noticeable twinkling of the smallest star and the dazzling light of the midday sun are only manifestations of the same light energy in the weakest and strongest degree.

On this Great Feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, we see that the spiritual energy, which reveals to us the power of God, can manifest itself not only quietly and hardly noticeably, but also with tremendous power and glory.

June 3, 2023

Encyclical for Pentecost and the Arrival of the Relic of Saint Polycarp in Nafpaktos

Beloved children in the Lord,

Today we celebrate the great day of Pentecost, on which the Holy Spirit came to the holy Apostles and made them glorious members of His Body, which is why the Church is the Body of Christ, while the Apostles became members of the Body of Christ.

This is indeed a great day, during which we celebrate the mystery of the Triune God, as Christ revealed to us. The Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - have one essence, one energy, one nature, but they are Three Persons. In the Divine Liturgy we sing that we worship "Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity, one in essence and inseparable."

The holy Apostles blessed the Christians, baptized them, imparted to them the Body and Blood of Christ for their sanctification. However, because the first Christians were multiplying, therefore the holy Apostles ordained other Bishops, who are their successors, so that the Christians would be blessed and sanctified.

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 (cf. 2 Cor. 3:3). 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.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *