August 31, 2023

The Miraculous Discovery of the Icon of Saint Vryaini in 1963

Saint Vryaini celebrates on August 30th at her unique Cypriot church, located in the village of Mandria, in the district of Paphos. Until now we knew how the Chapel of Saint Vryaini was built after a woman from Assia, Stavroula, saw the Saint in her sleep, where she guided her to build it. But an aspect unknown until today, is regarding the discovery of the first icon of the Saint in 1963, by Euphemia Theoti from Geroskipou, a mother of six children.

We visited her at her home in Geroskipou where she was waiting for us with her children.

As she told us, until 1963, the village of Mandria in Paphos was a mixed village inhabited by Turks and a few Greeks. When the bi-communal conflicts between the Greeks and the Turks of Cyprus took place in 1963-64, the residents left their village and the village became a Turkish enclave and no Greeks could go there.

The Baby Who Was Tossed In the Trash: Testimony of a Miracle Associated With Panagia Prousiotissa

Eleni lived in Karpenisi and was married to a very cruel man, who hit her for the slightest thing.

The hardships of life made her serve in the Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa every August 15th.

She has recorded the following miracle:

"For a time, I worked as a paralegal for a doctor, who paid well but was also very cruel like my husband. One day I took the trash can to go throw the trash away and suddenly I heard a wail.

Reaching the bin, I opened the lid and saw a baby covered in blood.

The Motherhood of the Theotokos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

One of the attributes of our Panagia is her motherhood. She was the Mother of Christ, because from her Christ took on human nature and that is how we know her as the Mother of God. In fact, in the Kontakion of the Dormition it is said: "As the mother of life you translocated to life". The Mother of life, that is, of Christ who is the life of people, went with her dormition and her heavenly transition towards life.

In our Christian life, with Holy Baptism and Divine Communion, we have God the Father, that is the first Person of the Holy Trinity, but also the entire Triune God, just as we also have as our mother the Panagia and we have siblings, who are the Saints. That is, we belong to a spiritual family and we are blessed to have the protection and blessing of that spiritual family.

This is how we understand that our Panagia is the Mother of Christ, but also our mother.

Homilies on the Commonwealth of the Church - The Deacon (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 The Commonwealth of the Church

The Deacon

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Deacon is the first rank of the Priesthood, that is, it is the introductory rank, which means first one becomes a Deacon, then one becomes a Presbyter and then a few of the Presbyters are elected Bishops.

In the ancient Church, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, the rank of Deacon was introduced. It is written in the sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles that, because the number of the first disciples increased, complaints began to appear from the Greek-speakers that their widows were overlooked by the Hebrew-speakers during the distribution of daily food. Then the Apostles considered that it was not good to leave the preaching of the word of God and to engage in the ministry of tables. Thus, they urged the Christians to find seven men who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom they will appoint to do this work.

August 30, 2023

The Vision of the Newly-Revealed Saint Vryaini to a Woman in Cyprus in 1975

Saint Vryaini or Vryoni is a Cypriot Saint, who is honored in the village of Mandria in Paphos. In Mandria there is the chapel dedicated to Saint Vryoni, which is the only chapel in the world dedicated to this Saint.

Until 1963-64 the village of Mandria in Paphos was a mixed village where both Greeks and Turks lived. In 1960 the village had 404 inhabitants. The Turkish Cypriots were 329 and the Greek Cypriots 79. When the bicommunal conflicts between the Greeks and the Turks of Cyprus took place in 1963-64, the Greek residents left their village and the village became a Turkish enclave and no Greek could go there.

In 1974, after the Turkish invasion, the Turkish Cypriots left and went to the occupied territories. Greek Cypriot refugees from the north settled in the village. The village is located next to the sea and is very close to the city of Paphos. It is also one of the most prosperous villages in Cyprus.

Homilies on the Commonwealth of the Church - The Presbyter (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 The Commonwealth of the Church

The Presbyter

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In each Metropolis there is a Metropolitan and many Presbyters, who are the Clergy/Priests, who have been ordained and placed in each Parish of the Metropolis by the Metropolitan, to shepherd the Christians, with his command and guidance.

The term "presbyter" perhaps comes from the presbyters of the Jews, as the leaders of the Jewish people were called and we see it in the sacred Gospels. Christ Himself foretold His death and Resurrection to His Disciples, that He would "go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the presbyters and chief priests and scribes" (Matt. 16:21), and elsewhere it is written that "the chief priests and the presbyters of the people came to Him" (Matt. 21:23).

August 29, 2023

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

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1957)

The most shameful stain in the history of mankind was that terrible day on which the most holy head of John the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, the greatest of those born of women, according to the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, fell under the sword of the executioner. His head fell, and was brought to the devil's feast, and was given to the dancing girl, and she took it to her mother, the disciple of the all-sly devil - Herodias. And the devil himself enjoyed the spectacle of how this accursed disciple of his, with an evil smile, pricked the tongue of the severed head of the Forerunner with a needle.

But the joy of the devil was greatly overshadowed by the fact that the dish on which the severed head of the Forerunner lay was filled with blood, and the devil involuntarily inhaled from this blood that filled the dish, the Divine aroma of the soul of the Forerunner, for the soul is in the blood, according to the word of Holy Scripture (Deut. 12:23).

Homily One on the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on August 30/September 12, 1950)

It was completely dark in the stone cellar in which the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ was imprisoned. There was no sunlight there, but the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:5). And the light of Christ illuminated this terrible darkness and the heart of the Forerunner. He knew that he was going to be executed; waiting for death from minute to minute. But don't we hear in the troparion of this feast that he gave his life for the Lord Jesus Christ with joy. The holy Apostle Paul looked forward to his death and longed to be united with Christ as soon as possible. Of course, the soul of Saint John the Baptist was filled with the same feeling.

Saint John knew that his holy work would not end there, he knew that he had to go down to where the souls of those who had died from the ages were imprisoned, and preach to them about Christ. He calmly waited, and the darkness of his prison was illuminated by the light of Christ.

Saint John the Forerunner as a Monk and Social Worker (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

 By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

(Homily Delivered on August 29, 1988)

Today's feast (Beheading of the Honorable Head of the Honorable Forerunner), like every feast of the Honorable Forerunner, is a feast of the whole Church, though it is also a feast for Monks in particular. Because the Honorable Forerunner was the first Monk of the Church and the model and example of every true Monk, for his asceticism, for the love he had for Christ, but also for the spirit of sacrifice that distinguished him.

So when the time came for him to sacrifice himself for the love of God and people, having rebuked the illegitimate king, he did not hesitate to do so. The rebuke he addressed to the king was for the good of the king and the good of his illegitimate wife and the good of the people. For, when the people see their rulers transgressing, what will they also do?

Reflection on the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (St. Theophan the Recluse)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

A rumor about the works of the Lord reached Herod; he immediately concluded: it was John who had risen. You never know what you could think of! And yet he thought of no one but John. Who gave this direction to his thoughts? Conscience. You cannot hide unscrupulous deeds from her, nothing can correct her judgment. By beheading John, Herod arrogated to himself the right to do so, and others did not deny such a right, but conscience spoke its own, and he could not drown out its speeches with anything. So he sees John.

August 28, 2023

Homilies on the Commonwealth of the Church - The Bishop (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Commonwealth of the Church

The Bishop

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

With today's Sunday we begin the Sunday sermons of July and August in all the Sacred Temples of our Metropolis, as has been done in the twenty-six years of my Episcopal ministry.

This year these short eucharistic sermons will refer to the ecclesiastical commonwealth and will identify who are members of this ecclesiastical commonwealth, so that we may know "how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

I will start with the Bishop, who is the basis of the ecclesiastical commonwealth, as the successor of the holy Apostles.

Parable of the Travelers Who Wanted to Know the Ocean

An elderly monk once told the following parable:
Once upon a time, three brave and courageous people who lived far from the ocean wanted to know what the ocean is. They asked knowledgeable old men how to get there, and immediately set off. They walked for a long time and finally reached the ocean.  
“It turns out that the ocean looks like a big field!” exclaimed the first of the brave pioneers.  
“But it seems to me that the ocean resembles an endless forest!” said the second traveler enthusiastically.  
“But in my opinion, the ocean is a huge desert!” - the third traveler expressed his opinion. 

August 27, 2023

Homily Two on Venerable Abba Poemen, the Shepherd of Souls (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today our Church celebrates the memory of Bishop Hosios of Corduba, who was Bishop of western Spain, in Corduba, that is why he is called Bishop of Corduba. His name was Hosios, he was persecuted during the persecutions, and when Constantine the Great became Emperor, he became his advisor. Constantine the Great sent him to Alexandria to deal with the Heresy of Arius that broke out there, and he suggested to Emperor Constantine the convening of the First Ecumenical Synod, in order to give an orthodox answer to this issue. He had great prestige in the Synod and the Church, and played a leading role in its decisions.

However, today we also celebrate Abba Poemen, who emerged as a "bright star of the desert." He came from Egypt, all the brothers of his family became monks, Poemen acquired a great name as an ascetic, and an Elder said to him: "Poemen of the Angels, your name will be heard in all Egypt."

Homily Two for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew - On Wealth and the Wealthy (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily on Wealth and the Wealthy 
(Mark 10:23–27)
By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on February 11, 1945)

The Lord said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!" (Matt. 19:16–21; Mark 10:23–24). But don't think that the Lord said this only about rich people who have a lot of money. No, this applies to all those who strive for wealth with their soul and thirst for it with all their heart, and there are such among the poor and the destitute.

August 26, 2023

Twelfth Sunday of Matthew Resource Page

Twelfth Sunday of Matthew 
Sermon to the Rich (St. Basil the Great)

Gospel Commentary for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew (St. John Chrysostom)

Gospel Commentary for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)

The Greatest Joy in the Life of a 100 Year Old Man From Epirus Who Died in 1872

More than 20 years before the canonization of Saint Kosmas Aitolos by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the 1960's, a book was written about him by Phanes Michalopoulos that was published in 1940 and greatly contributed to the spread of his popularity that led to his canonization. In the epilogue to this book, he records the following testimony of someone who met Saint Kosmas as a child and what impression he had of him. Michalopoulos writes:

They asked a pious old man from Epirus who was 100 years old, who died in a retirement home in Ioannina in 1872, what was the deepest joy of his soul in his entire life. The old man answered: 
"When I was little, I heard Father Kosmas teach and I kissed his hand."

August 25, 2023

Saint Titus the Apostle as a Model for our Lives

Holy Apostle Titus (Feast Day - August 25)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas
The Apostle Titus was a Greek, apparently from Antioch, who, it seems, had studied Greek philosophy and poetry in the early years of his life. He had been drawn to the true faith by the Apostle Paul, whom he accompanied to Jerusalem in 49 AD, to participate in the Apostolic Synod.

Afterwards, the Apostle Titus was charged with the responsible mission of going to Corinth to examine the situation of the Church there. Indeed, he went and gave solutions to the problems that arose, and he arranged them in the best way. After the success of this mission, he went to Macedonia, where he met the Apostle Paul, who, pleased with the successful outcome of the events, wrote his second letter to the Corinthians.

Later, the Apostle Titus returned again to Corinth with a larger escort, he also had two Corinthians with him. Then, the Apostle Paul sent him to organize the alms collections for the Christians of Jerusalem.

August 24, 2023

Light in the Darkness - The Personality of Saint Kosmas the Aitolos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the horrible and dark slavery of the Turkish occupation, there were some lights that gave hope to the subjugated race. Undoubtedly, the Church with her life, her teaching, her mysteries and her worship, with her schools, both the well-known and the so-called secret ones, with which she offered additional knowledge, was a bright and great light that scattered the darkness.

Surely such a great light, which emanated from the bowels of the Church, was also Saint Kosmas the Aitolos, who toured almost the entire Greek territory, consoling and strengthening the subservient Romans in various ways, with teachings, with miracles, with worship, with the establishment of schools, but mainly with his sanctified existence. And he did this amidst various difficulties and many obstacles. It was not only the Turks who hindered his work, but also the Jews and those with various interests, because their interests were affected. That's why they spread a lot of falsehoods about him.

"I Was Angry With Saint Kosmas Aitolos" (Metr. Athanasios of Limassol)

By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol
When I was on Mount Athos, there we honored Saint Kosmas Aitolos. I did not give honor to this Saint, to confess to you, because I was angry with him for leaving Mount Athos. And I said, "Look, my child, at the desire he had to leave Mount Athos." If only I knew that I would do the same!

He left Mount Athos and went to Greece to visit the villages, to give sermons! Was this necessary?

Didn't he have others to do these things?

He left Mount Athos, which was an ideal place for monks in that blessed monastic state, and he went round all the villages and built schools.

August 23, 2023

Panagia Malevi: The Icon That Has Been Continually Gushing Myrrh Since 1964

 The Holy Myrrh of Panagia Malevi 
According to the Testimony of the Nuns of the Monastery
At an altitude of 1,100 meters, in a verdant mountaintop where the Monastery of Panagia Malevi has been since 1116 AD, the icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos - one of the seventy painted by Luke the Evangelist - has not stopped gushing Myrrh from 1964 until today, while the whole area is fragrant without anyone being able to give an alternate explanation.

Her appearances, as well as miracles, number in the hundreds, though most never become known. However, word of mouth of her divine signs are transferred throughout the world and every year believers from every corner of Greece but also from abroad, such as America, Australia, Canada, Cyprus, travel as far as Arcadia to venerate her grace and ask for her help. And she doesn't disappoint them. She reaches out to them and heals their wounds.
That which has deeply moved my soul and has literally disturbed me is the heavenly, the divine Myrrh, this supernatural Myrrh which emanates from this miraculous icon.

Two Miracles of the Panagia Prousiotissa - "The German Officer Who Was Punished" and "The Unknown 'Nun'"

The German Officer Who Was Punished

In the history of the Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa it is mentioned that during the Turkish rule it was destroyed several times. But the last destruction, which turned the buildings into heaps of ruins, was done in 1944 by the Germans.

After the destruction of the buildings, an officer wanted to burn the church as well.

He tried many times, but to no avail. So while he was standing outside and giving orders, he was exemplary punished by the hand of the Panagia. An invisible force flung him onto the pavement.

The blow was strong, and the German unable to get up. The soldiers picked him up and put him on an animal to take him to Agrinio.

Thus the temple remained unharmed, as it was preserved intact through the centuries.

The Panagia, the Holy One of the Holies (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today is a feast of our Panagia, my beloved brethren, and this is an event of special joy and spiritual gladness. Today, together with the resurrection of Christ, since it is Sunday, we also celebrate our Panagia who gave her body to Christ.

In all the Sundays of the Summer during the liturgical short sermons we analyzed those things related to holiness and the various categories of Saints. But all the Saints, Prophets, Apostles, Fathers, Martyrs, Venerables and all the Saints in general, were surpassed by the most-praised person our Panagia. All the Saints prophesied her, praised her, glorified her, honored her.

In the Akathist Hymn, we turn to the Panagia and say to her: "Rejoice, holy one, greater than the holies." She is the greatest of all saints. After all, the term "Panagia" (All-Holy) indicates this. And in fact, Saint Gregory Palamas says that the Panagia is "the pinnacle and completion of all the saints." The Panagia is the summit of every saint, holier than every saint, but also the completion of the saints, from the point of view that the Panagia was the joy of all the saints, because through her Christ became human.

The Apodosis of the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos

 By Hieromonk Gennadios Manolis

Every ecclesiastical feast in the festive cycle of a person or an event has three stages, the forefeast, the primary feast and the afterfeast (i.e. its aftermath). On August 23rd of each year we celebrate the Apodosis (Leavetaking) of the Dormition of the Theotokos and the Church closes with the same solemn mood the celebrations of the Dormition and Metastasis of the Theotokos, which is celebrated on August 15th.

The people, through their popular piety, give another tone to the feast and call it the "Nine Days of the Panagia" (Εννιάμερα της Παναγίας). It is viewed as a memorial to the Mother of God, as they similarly do, after all, for their own people. Certainly, from a theological and liturgical point of view, it is not a nine-day memorial service for the Panagia, since the Theotokos as the Mother of Christ "was translocated to life, being the mother of life" and intercedes for our own salvation and, therefore, no memorial service is meant for the repose of her soul.

August 22, 2023

"I Went and Bought the Biggest Lamp": A Man Recounts a Miracle of the Panagia Varnakova

A man named Sotiris came to the Monastery of Panagia Varnakova holding a lamp the size of the trunk of a small tree! He was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. His pious wife had also come with him.

A few weeks ago, believers from Agrinio with Father Theokletos had come to Varnakova, to venerate and celebrate the Divine Liturgy. The wife of Sotiris had also come with them, at his request.

"I was sick for a long time and the doctors couldn't find what was wrong with me. I got to the point where I didn't have the courage to drive the car, to go shopping for my children," he recounted with great emotion the day he came.

"The Panagia Came to Life in Her Icon!": Testimony of a Miracle Associated With Panagia Varnakova

Wonderworking Icon of Panagia Varnakova
Testimony of a Miracle Associated With Panagia Varnakova 
(This miracle was recorded in September 2013 when the elderly woman who gave this testimony visited the Monastery of Panagia Varnakova with her children and grandchildren.)
We have family connections with the Monastery here of the Panagia [Monastery of Panagia Varnakova]. My parents often found work here, because in those years there was great poverty. So I too, just a 16-year-old girl, went to Athens to work in a house.

I was working hard for my age, away from the affection of my home. But once, for no reason, a man with his cruel behavior hurt me deeply. My soul was in so much pain, that night I went to my room, I hugged a wooden icon I had of the Panagia, I knelt on my bed, as I was dressed, and I let my pain pour out on Her with tears and sobs. I was asking for the consolation and help of the Panagia. The pain of my soul was indescribable.

The Most Holy Theotokos and Orthodox Tradition (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The honor and glory of the Most Holy Theotokos can be seen diffused within Orthodox Tradition, that is, in the dogmatic teaching of the Church, but also in its hymnography. The Panagia is always hymned as the Mother of the Son and Word of God.

In the Symbol of Faith her contribution to the incarnation of the Son and Word of God is recognized. We confess: "Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnated by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man." That is, Christ took on flesh for our salvation by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.

This speaks of the virginity of the Panagia. But even before the First Ecumenical Synod, where the first articles of the Symbol of Faith were drawn up, the Church paid special respect to the Mother of Christ. From the 2nd century she was called "Virgin", "Virgin Mary", "Mother of the living", "Mother of the faithful", "Blessed Virgin", "Spotless Church", "Holy Theotokos", "Theotokos Virgin Mary", etc.

August 21, 2023

The Glory and Honor of our Mother the Panagia (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

After Christ, the Panagia has great honor and glory, because, as our holy Fathers say, the Panagia is the border between the uncreated and the created nature, that is, she is the border between God who is uncreated and all creation which is created. The Panagia is the most beautiful gift that God gave to man, but also the best fruit of creation, given by creation to God.

We see this glory of our Panagia in all the troparia we chant these days in the Church, but especially today, the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. But of course, we see the glory and honor of our Panagia every time the Divine Liturgy is celebrated. Because immediately after the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, we remember all the Saints, for whom we offer the sacrifice and finally the liturgist says aloud: "Especially for our Panagia, the immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary." That is to say, if we offer the Divine Liturgy to honor the Saints, we do so "especially" for our Panagia, who is immaculate, most blessed, glorious, the Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. And immediately after, the chanter chants "Axion estin", which refers to the Panagia, or some other Theometoric hymn, as today we chant "All generations bless the only Theotokos."

August 20, 2023

Homily Two on the Prophet Samuel, the Seer of the Israelites (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Prophet Samuel, whom our Church celebrates today (Aug. 20), lived in Old Testament times, specifically in the 12th century BC, and found himself in an intermediate period between Judges, i.e. political lords, and Kings. He was the last of the period of the Judges, as a wonderful Prophet, and the one who anointed the first King, Saul, and when he fell into serious errors, he anointed David the Prophet-King as King.

The presence of the Prophet Samuel and his activity among the Jews was truly wonderful. I will limit myself to two main points of his life.

The first point is that his birth was miraculous. His parents, Elkanah and Anna, had no children, because Anna was barren and she herself went to the Temple and prayed from the heart, prayed noetically, and asked God for His intervention to give birth. Thus, God blessed her and she gave birth to Samuel.

Homily One for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew - Seeing Our Own Sins in the Lives of Others (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on September 9, 1945)

The Lord Jesus Christ often shakes our hearts with His words and parables, showing us the limits of human wickedness and sinfulness. The behavior of an immensely hard-hearted debtor, to whom the good king forgave a huge debt of ten thousand talents, is deeply outrageous. And what does he do when he receives this grace? Having met a poor man who owes him an insignificant amount of one hundred denarii, he grabs him by the throat and strangles him, despite the fact that from the mouth of the unfortunate man he hears the same words that he himself spoke before the king: “Be patient with me, and I will give everything to you.” But he does not want to endure and puts his debtor in prison (see Matt. 18:23–35). What could be more outrageous?

August 19, 2023

Eleventh Sunday of Matthew Resource Page

Eleventh Sunday of Matthew 
Gospel Commentary for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew (St. John Chrysostom)

Gospel Commentary for the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)

A Commentary on the Theology of the Apolytikion of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and agiou Vlasiou

From the beginning of August, beloved brethren, we began to chant in the Sacred Temples the two Supplicatory Canons, the Small and the Great, to the Most Holy Theotokos, every evening after the sacred service of Vespers.

These sacred services have high spiritual meanings regarding the person and work of the Most Holy Theotokos, our Panagia, as we usually call her. This is the Mother of Christ, because from her the Son and Word of God assumed human nature in order to become human, but she is also our Mother, because she prays for us and responds to our prayers.

But also the troparia of the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos have high theological meanings, and at the same time they radiate a spiritual warmth, they rest our souls that are wounded by various events and difficult situations. Because, when we are disappointed by people and by everyday situations, God, the Panagia and the Saints give us spiritual rest.

August 17, 2023

Father George Aspropoulos (+ 1929), the Priest Who Baptized Saint Joseph the Hesychast

On March 5, 1929, Father George Aspropoulos (1863 -1929), the virtuous priest of Lefkes on the island of Paros, who baptized the well-known Saint Joseph the Hesychast (who was baptized with the name Francis) and had a very positive effect on his subsequent course, reposed.

Father George was poor and suffered much in life, but he was full of mercy and good works and served his parishioners sacrificially as a humble shepherd. He was a model of faith and virtue, a bright lamp for all who knew him in the difficult times he ministered. This inspired young Francis to respect the cassock and its incalculable value.

In his 31st Epistle, Saint Joseph would later make a reference to Father George, who appeared to him once in a vision:

"I once saw the Priest who baptized us all in the homeland. What a holy man he was. He kept his virginity. He did much almsgiving. And in my sleep he said to me: 'When I was alive I thought that only Liturgies take souls out of Hades, but now that I have died, I have seen in practice that even the prayers you say take souls out of damnation. So don't stop praying for souls. Because the merciful God looks for cause and occasion to save a soul.'"

A Glorious Dormition: 2021 Pastoral Encyclical for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

A Glorious Dormition
 Pastoral Encyclical for the Dormition of the Theotokos (2021)
My beloved brethren,

The feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos is a great theological feast, which our people have described as the Summer Pascha. In the middle of summer, with the heat and many times with a heatwave, this feast is a spiritual refreshment that comforts us all. It is called a Summer Pascha because the Panagia is closely connected with her Son and her God, since she gave her flesh to the Word of God to save the human race, which is why what happened to Christ, by analogy, also happened with the Panagia, His Mother. Within these contexts we must also see the glory of the Panagia which is the glory of her Son, because she became His Mother. She herself received the Grace of God, renewed herself, gave her flesh to Christ and for this she did the greatest Mission in the world. We understand well that the contribution to the world, people, society is not a matter of ideology, but is connected with the renewal of the person.

August 16, 2023

The Dormition of the Mother of Life (Prof. George Mantzaridis)

By Professor George Mantzaridis

In the hymnography of the Orthodox Church, the Mother of God is called "god after God, holding the second position to the Trinity." Some people may feel that these terms are excessive and dogmatically unfounded. This is certainly not the case, since they convey the quintessence of Orthodox theology and anthropology.

The Mother of God isn’t merely the first but also the only person who effectively collaborated in the execution of the redemptive plan of the divine economy. She’s the only "agent of blessings beyond nature."[1] Her response to the Archangel Gabriel’s salutation was the beginning of the ontological process for the salvation and renewal of the human race and the whole of creation.

Human "collaboration" which is, in essence, the starting-point for Orthodox dogmatic teaching, isn’t just a moral but also an ontological requirement for our salvation. God doesn’t save us without our "collaboration", that is, our cooperation. Our free consent to and participation in this task are a requirement, and this is fulfilled with the collaboration of the Mother of God in the plan of the divine economy. Without the presence of the Mother of God and her overall participation in the plan of the divine economy, the salvation and renewal of the world would have remained up in the air.

August 15, 2023

Homily One on the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1948)

“Neither the grave nor death could contain the Theotokos, the unshakable hope, ever vigilant in intercession and protection. As Mother of life, He who dwelt in the ever-virginal womb transposed her to life."

It is necessary to explain this kontakion of the feast, because you understand little the Slavic language. The Most Holy Mother of God prays vigilantly for the human race, and our hope in Her intercession before Her Divine Son is unshakable. Death and the grave could not keep Her in their power.

We know from legend that when all the apostles were miraculously gathered to Her deathbed, the Apostle Thomas was missing: he arrived a few days later and in great sorrow asked to see at least the grave of the Theotokos. They rolled away the stone from the grave in the Garden of Gethsemane, where, according to the will of the Mother of God, She was buried, but Her body was not found.

The Miraculous Spring of the Theotokos in Bačko Petrovo Selo

Bačko Petrovo Selo is a village located on the right bank of the river Tisa in the Bečej Municipality, in the South Bačka District of Serbia. It is situated in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The village has a Hungarian ethnic majority.

The Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Bačko Petrovo Selo is better known as Vodica Monastery. For three centuries this monastery has been the spiritual and cultural destination of this region. The holy spring ("vodica") is the special feature of this monastery, due to its miraculous properties, especially on behalf of those with ailments of the eyes.

Immortality in Christ: 2023 Pastoral Encyclical for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Immortality in Christ
 Pastoral Encyclical for the Dormition of the Theotokos (2023)

And again in the middle of Summer, with the heat and the heatwave, we celebrate the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, that is, the biological death of our Panagia, but also her translocation (metastasis) to the heavens, as well as her constant presence among us. We chant in the Kontakion with a celebratory and brilliant voice: "Neither the grave nor death could keep her, as the mother of life who was translocated to life." She is the Mother of true life which is Christ and she translocated to life, for the grave and death could not keep her.

In another troparion, in the Eirmos of the Ninth Hour, we confess that the Most Holy Theotokos exists alive, that the terms of nature have been defeated in her and she is "alive after death", and for this reason, as we chant in another Kontakion, she is the unashamed "protection of the Christians".

August 14, 2023

The Mother of God in the Orthodox Church (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Panagia has a prominent position both in the theology of the Church and in her adoration. It should not be ignored that an Ecumenical Synod, specifically the Third Ecumenical Synod, which was convened in Ephesus in 431 AD dealt with her position in the Church in relation to the theology of Christ and not independently of Him. Thus, there is an amazing theology about her person.

The basic belief of the Church is that God is Triune, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are Three Persons uncreated. The Son and Word of God, "one of the Trinity" became human, i.e. took on human nature and became God-man. This means that He united in His being the divine and the human nature, i.e. the uncreated and the created. Precisely this assumption of the human nature in His Person happened by the Panagia, which is why she is considered "the boundary between the uncreated and the created nature."

The Age of the Theotokos at the Time of her Dormition

 By St. Justin Popovich

The apologist of the second century Melito, bishop of Sardis (second century), believes that the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos happened in the 69th year of her life, in the 55th year after the Nativity of Christ and in the 22nd year after the ascension of the Lord.

Hippolytus, the bishop of Rome (third century), considers the 43rd year from the Nativity of Christ, and the 57th year from her birth, as the year of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

The "Father of Church History" Eusebius Pamphilus, bishop of Caesarea Palestine, writes that the Most Holy Theotokos passed away in the 63rd year of her life, in the 48th year after the Nativity of Christ and in the 15th year after the ascension of the Savior.

Two Little Known Miracles of Panagia Soumela

In 1911, Prussian Generalleutnant Eduard von Hoffmeister (1852-1920) published a book titled Durch Armenien und der Zug Xeniphons in Leipzig. Hoffmeister traveled through Pontus to Armenia in 1909 to follow Xenophon’s paths. He spent several months around and gives exact information for the contemporary populations and roads. He had visited several monasteries of Pontus, including Soumela. While at Soumela, he either read or was told interesting stories about the miraculous icon of the Panagia Soumela and wrote about it in his book. On the basis of what he wrote, Polychronis Enepekides (1917-2014), a Pontian by birth and the head of the Institute of Byzantine Studies in Vienna from 1974 until his retirement in 1992, published this in the periodical Pontiaki Estia. Enepekides is regarded as one of the first scholars to bring to light - through his research of the Austro-Hungarian archives - the persecution of Ottoman Greeks and in particular Pontic Greeks.

The Snakes of the Panagia Have Made Their Appearance in Kefallonia (2023)

Just as every year, from the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ till the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, or from August 6th to the 15th, snakes appear in a wondrous manner in two villages of Kefallonia with chapels dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, in Markopoulo and Arginia, that appear to worship among the pilgrims who flock to these chapels, and venerate of their own accord the icon of the Panagia. Many noted miracles are associated with these snakes.

August 13, 2023

Homily on Abba Dorotheos of Gaza and Saint Maximus the Confessor (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today our Church celebrates the memory of two great ascetic Fathers, namely our holy and God-bearing Father Dorotheos and Saint Maximus the Confessor, the latter on the occasion of the transfer of his relics. Between these two Fathers there is a common characteristic and that is the ascetic life, which is the basis of Orthodox theology.

First of all, let me refer to Venerable Dorotheos, who lived in the 6th century though we don't know the particular circumstances in which he grew up. In general, he came from a rich family in Gaza, he acquired great philological and philosophical knowledge, but at a very young age he left everything and joined the Sacred Monastery of Seridos, a few kilometers south of Gaza. Two great ascetics lived in asceticism there who were shut up in their cells and had great spiritual experience, that is, Barsanuphios, who did not come into contact with people, but when they asked him written questions, he answered by dictating to his disciple Seridos; also shut up in his cell was John the Prophet.

Tenth Sunday of Matthew Resource Page

Tenth Sunday of Matthew 

August 12, 2023

My Elder Saint Kallinikos, Metropolitan of Edessa (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos) - 5 of 5

...continued from part three.
5. Facing His Illness in a Venerable and Martyric Way

The last point I would like to emphasize is how he dealt with his illness.

Fifteen years with him, I knew him like no one else. Therefore, even if there are some who say different things, possibly some of his shortcomings (after all, no saint is perfect), for all this you must ask me, since I knew him better than anyone else in all his fullness.

There is a proverb, a quote that says: "No one is great before their chamberlain," that is, for the one who often takes care of him, no one is great, because they knows all his faults. The opposite happened with Kallinikos. The farther you were, the more you didn't understand him, while the closer you got to him, the more you saw the greatness of his personality.

During his illness, all this inner depth that he himself tried to hide came out. He was not hiding himself and his inner life appeared, it manifested also when he spoke and when he liturgized and when he preached and when he was going to a house to see the people and when he went to the hospital to visit the sick, but those who did not have spiritual eyes to see were not able to see it. But this depth of his inner life shone much more during his illness.

Homilies on the Symbol of Faith (The Nicene Creed) - The Future Age (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

On the Symbol of Faith (The Nicene Creed)
The Future Age
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
In the twelfth article of the Symbol of Faith, which is also the last article, we confess our faith in the future age. We confess: "And the life of the age to come, Amen," that is, we expect the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. In other words, we confess that we await the day when our bodies will be resurrected, we will see Christ, the judgment of people will take place and the future life will begin.

It is magnificent to recite in the Symbol of Faith our faith in the future life while we are still alive. When we believe this consciously, then in reality we transcend the present life, we transcend death, we have absolute certainty in Christ, we desire to meet Him and we want to participate in eternal life in the glory of God.

August 11, 2023

My Elder Saint Kallinikos, Metropolitan of Edessa (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos) - 4 of 5

4. His Pastoral Activity as Bishop

I will now tell you about his pastoral activity as Bishop and Metropolitan of the Sacred Metropolis of Edessa, Pelle and Almopia, which I got to know very well, since I was the closest person to him.

He was a tireless shepherd and was always interested in his flock.

The basis of his entire pastoral ministry was the mystery of the Divine Eucharist, that is, he wanted to constantly perform, if possible, the Divine Liturgy every day. He used to say that "the divine liturgy is our party." He planned to go to the villages two or three times a week, even when there was no saint being celebrated, because he wanted to minister and see his flock. He left early in the morning to be at 7 o'clock in the most remote village, even when it was snowing. I remember a case where a lot of snow fell and he said: "We will go to liturgize in the village." There was half a meter of snow and he left Edessa in a military car to go liturgize and not leave people unliturgized.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *