October 30, 2023

Homily on the Daughter of a Leader of the Synagogue and the Healing of the Woman With the Issue of Blood (Theophanes Kerameus)

By Theophanes Kerameus (+ 1152)

Today our sacred Gospel (Luke 8:41-56) described a two-fold story of miracles. And perhaps this is by far the most amazing of the great miracles than what preceded them. It is more wonderful than the healing of the deaf, or the paralyzed, or the blind, or the maniac, that one who has died should live again. And now the Lord works miracles, beginning with the resurrection of Jairus' daughter and taking this virgin from death at the onset (the first plunder), and thus he begins to overtake hades, and He does this more afterwards, because the entrance of death into the world was made by the virgin Eve. But, opening the sacred book of the Gospel, let us listen to its own words: "At that time, a certain man called Jairus, who was a leader of the Synagogue, approached Jesus. He fell at the feet of Jesus and begged Him to go to his house, because he had an only daughter of twelve years old, who was dying" (Luke 8:41-42). As I begin the explanation, let me be allowed to admire, how much earlier the Gentiles believed in Christ and surpassed the Jews. Because that centurion, believing this, considered that even from afar the Savior could heal his servant with just one word, that is why he said: "Just say the word, and my servant will be healed" (Luke 7:7). Here, however, Jairus the leader of the Synagogue begs the Lord to enter the house, thinking that there is no other way to bring healing to his daughter. She was the little daughter of Jairus, very good, having the flower of virginity undefiled, and kept intact as in a calyx of a flower. The Evangelist included a lot in a few words, weaving in the narrative the lament: "For he had an only daughter" (Luke 8:42). Do you see how heavy the calamity is? For what does it show? After she died, there was no other child for the parents to look to, to stop the tears. She was an only daughter. But even saying that she was twelve years old, this shows the cuteness of her age. This is when girls think of their wedding, and a handsome bridegroom and the bridal chamber, and many again quarrel about beauty, and to their natural youth they add some hair ornaments, to appear beautiful to those who see them. Perhaps somewhere there were many suitors, and there was competition among them, not shameful, as to who would be preferred to become the husband of the virgin. And suitors, entering the house one after the other and each praising another bridegroom, made the matter quicker. But the hopes for the daughter are succeeded by the illness, threatening with the death that comes shortly after. So the father hastens, as his insides are burning with grief, and with a fervent heart he brings the prayer to the Savior. Christ, who came for the salvation of the world, accepts the request. And making amends for the Synagogue leader's disbelief by action, He slows down His journey with the healing of the bleeding woman, as if allowing death to hold the daughter and the miracle to become more paradoxical.

October 29, 2023

Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

On the Vanity of Human Glory

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on September 5, 1947 - 
Friday of the 13th week after Pentecost)

You have heard the Gospel reading about the resurrection by the Lord Jesus Christ of the daughter of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. This is one of the most important miracles of Christ. The Lord performed this miracle in an amazingly simple way: He walked up to the dead girl, took her hand and said: “Child, arise!” (Luke 8:54) And she got up and sat down... Only the chosen apostles of Christ were witnesses to this miracle: Peter, James and John - and the parents of this girl. The Lord strictly told them, their parents: “See that you don’t tell anyone about what happened.”

Seventh Sunday of Luke Resource Page


October 28, 2023

Homily Three on the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on October 1/14, 1955)

The Mother of God served the great mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God. Already during her life on earth she was the living "Most Pure Temple of the Savior, the Most Honorable Chamber and Virgin." The Holy Spirit dwelt in Her during the incarnation of the Son of God and remained with Her, giving Her such power that the greatest saints had never been given. And this most abundant grace of the Holy Spirit, overflowing the heart of the Most Pure Virgin, pours out from it onto all those who have loved the eternal love of Her Divine Son. This is easy to imagine, for from our human experience we know how pure and holy love pours out of our hearts towards our neighbors.

In our morning prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos we say: “I sing of Thy grace, O Lady, I pray to Thee, give grace to my mind.” Of course, the source of grace is only in the Triune God, and the Most Holy Theotokos can not pour out Her own grace on us, but only the excesses of grace that She receives from the Holy Spirit. And this excess is so great that it is enough for all Christians who pray to Her with faith.

Saint Arsenios Autoreianos, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1273)

St. Arsenios Autoreianos of Constantinople (Feast Day - October 11 or 28)

Born in Constantinople c. 1200, Arsenios received his education in Nicaea at a monastery of which he later became the abbot, though was not ordained to the priesthood. His secular name was George, but he was renamed Gennadios when he embraced the monastic life. Subsequently, he gave himself up to a life of solitary asceticism in a Bithynian monastery, and is said to have remained some time in a monastery on Mount Athos later in life.

From this seclusion he was called by the Emperor Theodore II Laskaris to the position of Patriarch at Nicaea in 1255. After the death of Theodore (1258), Patriarch Arsenios assumed the guardianship of his minor son, John II, whom he tried to protect from the unrestrained ambition of Michael Palaiologos.

October 27, 2023

Goliath and Lyaios

Goliath and Lyaios

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

The Holy Great Martyr Demetrios gave his "blessing" to Nestor, and Nestor killed Lyaios. Is it possible for a Saint to give such a "blessing"?

Lyaios was not killed by Nestor, but by God through Nestor, and God is not subject to laws, for whatever He does is always good and holy.

This particular case is similar with David, who killed Goliath. Goliath was a giant, about three meters (!) tall (1 Kings/1 Samuel 17:4), and he was an idolater, a Philistine.

Morning and evening, for forty days (1 Kings/1 Samuel 17:16)), he challenged the Israelites to face him, to prove to them that his gods were the true gods, but no one dared.

October 26, 2023

Saint Demetrios the Myrrhgusher (Photios Kontoglou)

St. Demetrios icon painted by Photios Kontoglou

Saint Demetrios the Myrrhgusher

By Photios Kontoglou

The feast of Saint Demetrios is a great feast for all of Greece, especially for Thessaloniki, which is also his homeland. Saint Demetrios together with Saint George are the two lads of Christendom. Saint Demetrios covers over the whole ecumene, as his troparion says, but he especially protects Thessaloniki, which has been spared many times and stands and flourishes to this day. He is a new Alexander the Great, whose strength and valor were not lost with his death, but he lives and manifests himself unto the ages to those who ask him with a fervent heart.

Saint Demetrios the Great Martyr and Myrrhgusher was born in Thessaloniki around 250 AD. His parents were official people and Demetrios, close to the imperishable glory he had from his family, was also adorned with imperishable gifts, with wisdom, with sweetness, with humility and with justice. All these were like precious gems, shining on the crown he wore, and this crown was faith in Christ.

Saint Demetrios and Onesiphoros the Lamplighter

It was the duty of the young Onesiphoros to light the candles and serve the lamps in the Church of Saint Demetrios. Encouraged by the devil, this young man began to steal candles and secretly sell them, thus gaining a foul profit. And Saint Demetrios, not tolerating such a crime committed in his church, appeared in a dream to Onesiphoros and reprimanded him mildly and lovingly, saying:

"Brother Onesiphoros, it displeases me that you are stealing candles; by doing so, you harm the contributors, and even more so yourself. It should be noted that people who do this will be condemned. Therefore, cease from doing it and repent."

When Emperor Justinian Failed To Bring a Portion of the Relics of Saint Demetrios to Hagia Sophia in Constantinople

When the pious emperor Justinian built in Constantinople a more magnificent and majestic Church of Hagia Sophia, he sent envoys to Thessaloniki to bring some of the relics of Saint Demetrios from there to adorn and sanctify the newly built church. After arriving in Thessaloniki, the envoys approached the honorable coffin in which the relics of the Holy Great Martyr rested, to carry out the emperor's order; but fire suddenly burst out of the coffin, showering everything with sparks, and a terrible voice was heard from the fire: "Stop, and do not touch!" Everyone present fell to the ground out of fear. The envoys therefore took only a little dirt from that place, then returned to the emperor and told everything that happened to them. Everyone who listened to their story was amazed. Half of the dirt brought by the envoys was handed over to the emperor, and the other half was deposited in the church treasury.
- From the Miracles of Saint Demetrios.

October 25, 2023

Synaxarion of Saint George of Amastris

Venerable George the Bishop of Amastris, a Composer of Canons, reposed in peace.

Verses for October 25*

To the divine you sang hymns on earth and in death Father,
With words we sing hymns of this.

On this day we commemorate our Venerable Father George the Bishop of Amastris.

Verses for February 21

George in leaving behind the flesh,
Cultivates for many the salvation of the soul.

This Venerable one was the son of pious parents, whose names were Theodosios and Megethos, and was from Kromna, which was a city near Amastris, on the coast of the Black Sea. Because the parents of this Saint spent their lives childless, for this reason they supplicated God in prayer and fasting to give them the fruit of the womb, and this indeed happened. By a divine voice they learned of his conception and his name and of the office of high priesthood which their future son, George, who was to be born in their old age, was destined to receive.

October 24, 2023

Saint George Karslides and the Bitter Old Woman

A woman from Fotolivos narrated with great emotion a story of the great love of Saint George Karslides for everyone.

Her grandmother had two boys who were killed by the Bulgarians.

Due to her grief, she had almost lost her mind and she hated the Bulgarians, who killed her children.

One was married and had a child and the other was 19 years old.

October 23, 2023

The Holy Week of Saint Demetrios

Professor Antonios Papadopoulos, as early as 1963, with his work: "The Feasts of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki", spoke about the special way of celebrating the Saint in his city of Thessaloniki. In 1970, Professor John Fountoulis pointed out that the majestic celebration of Saint Demetrios, which is celebrated based on the Church's Menaion, and which includes "the ecumenical celebration of the great martyr", "is a shadow of what was celebrated in the city of the Myrrhgusher in the Byzantine era" (Rational Worship, p. 271).

Professor John Fountoulis is primarily responsible for the modern revival of the special liturgical honor of Saint Demetrios, with the publication of the services of the in Holy Week of Saint Demetrios. On the basis of two 15th century codices, originating from Thessaloniki, but also from other manuscripts, he reconstructed the order of the services of the seven days that precede the feast of Saint Demetrios, taking into account "the traditional form, under which the pre-festal services appear in the manuscripts, in combination with the modern liturgical and pastoral information." Of course, the days of the "Holy Week of Saint Demetrios" are not the same as the days of the same name in the calendar. For example, Holy Monday of the Holy Week of Saint Demetrios is always October 20th, regardless of which day the current year's calendar shows, and October 26th is Easter Sunday, even if the calendar shows Thursday, as this year's feast.

Homily for the Epistle Reading on the Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost (St. Luke of Simferopol)

20th Sunday After Pentecost

Galatians 1:11-19

The Ancient World Thirsted for Revelation From Above

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on November 11, 1945)

About the Divine origin of the gospel, the holy Apostle Paul said: “I would have you know that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11–12). And the Holy Church teaches that in all the books of Holy Scripture, and most of all in the Holy Gospel and in all the Epistles of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit Himself speaks to us. This is not a simple book, this is a Divine Revelation.

October 21, 2023

The Saturday of Souls of Saint Demetrios: A Macedonian-Thracian Ecclesiastical Tradition

On the Saturday before the feast of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki (Oct. 26), an ecclesiastical tradition exists only in the northern Greek area of Macedonia and Thrace to honor it as a Saturday of Souls. 
This falls in the period of what is known as the Holy Week of Saint Demetrios, where a week before the feast of Saint Demetrios ecclesiastical services and preparations are done to celebrate the great feast.

On this Saturday, Memorial Services are held for the repose of all those Orthodox Christians who have fallen asleep, just like the other four Saturdays designated by our Church as the Saturday of Souls.

The Orthodox Church has established four Saturdays as the Saturday of Souls, which it dedicates to its reposed. They are: first, on the Saturdays before Meatfare and Cheesefare Sunday; second, on the first Saturday of Great Lent in honor of the miracle with Saint Theodore; and third, the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday.

The Five-Domed Church of Peristerona

By Father Michael Nikolaos

The Byzantine five-domed Church of Saints Barnabas and Hilarion, located in Peristerona of Cyprus, is certain to have been built on top of an earlier church. This was proven after archaeological excavations carried out in 1959, where a semi-circular synthronon within the apse of the sanctuary and further west a base of a straight stone iconostasis came to the surface.

These justify us in saying that the first temple had the form of a three-aisled vaulted Basilica that was probably built during the period of the Arab invasions. A part of the northern wall is still preserved from the original church, integrated into the western part of the northern wall of the current church under the newer bell tower.

The Right Hand of Saint Matrona of Chios and Her Personal Psalter

Saint Matrona of Chios (read here) was an abbess in the 14th century who became widely known for her miracles.

During her lifetime she had a personal prayer rule to read through the entire Psalter on a daily basis, beginning at sunrise and ending by sunset.
According to Archimandrite Joachim Strongylos, today a portion of the relics of Saint Matrona, which include her right hand and her personal Psalter, are at Dionysiou Monastery of Mount Athos. These together with other sacred treasures, vessels and manuscripts of the Monastery of Saint Matrona were brought to Dionysiou Monastery for safekeeping when it was destroyed by the Turks during the massacre of Chios in 1822.

October 20, 2023

Three New Saints Canonized by the Patriarchate of Antioch

The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch, which gathered on October 19th 2023 in Balamond, Lebanon for their Fall Session, under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, has canonized the Hieromartyrs Father Nicholas Khashi (+ 1917), and his son Father Habib Khashi (+ 1948), two Damascene priests who martyred for the faith in the last century, together with Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny) of Brooklyn (+ 1915).

Miracles of Saint Artemios the Great Martyr (11 - 12)

In the seventh century an Anonymous author compiled a number of miracles of Saint Artemios, whose healing activities were predominantly centered in the Church of Saint John the Forerunner in Constantinople and who "specialized" in healing hernias and diseases affecting the genitals of mostly male patients. Below are two examples of the forty-five listed:

Miracle 11: The Lady of the Double Bath of Paschentios

There was a certain woman who was in charge of the double bath of the hospital in the quarter of Paschentios, which is near the palace of the Deuteron. Now it happened that the babe which she had at her breast had developed a hernia and it was not possible for him to stop crying and bawling because of the pain. The mother was at a loss as to what she should do, since she could not leave the baths and, as she wished, wait upon the saint because she lived all alone with her husband. Then, in consequence of some divine admonition, she conceived the following course of action. In one of the baths where they lived, she prepared a votive lamp in the name of Saint Artemios and as the next day was dawning, she seemed to see in her sleep one of the noblemen of the palace wearing a cloak and a belt entering the bath, in which the lamp was burning, in order to bathe. And he spoke to her thus: "Have my towels not come?" And he pretended to be angry with his servants and to make threats because they did not arrive before him bringing the towels, and he sat down on one of the benches. Since she was in sorrow and distressed, he asked her: "What is wrong, woman, and what are you distressed over?" To this she replied thus: "My child, lord, has suddenly suffered pain in his testicles and I wish to be off to Saint Artemios but I cannot forsake this place. Still, I have made the lamp in the name of Saint Artemios and behold even God Himself (so I hope) will visit him." He replied to her in turn: "You have done well for, since you trusted in God, He Himself will cure your child through Saint Artemios. But if my men get here, may the bathing attendant make a nice bath for me with best wishes for your son's health." After he spoke these words, the woman woke up. Her child started crying and was seeking to nurse. As she gave him her breast, he became cheerful and took pleasure in her. Confirming the truth of the vision by the infant's delight or rather having it confirmed by him, she touched the child and found that he was healthy and rising at dawn she hastened to give thanks to God and to the holy martyr. Taking a lamp and oil and whatever she had in hand for an offering, she went and gave glory to God Who exalted the martyr, and related the incredible miracle to all.

Saint Artemios the Great Martyr Resource Page

St. Artemios the Great Martyr (Feast Day - October 20)

O Artemios whose life was all brilliant,
You endured beheading as your supreme boast.
On the twentieth astute Artemios was beheaded.

October 18, 2023

Homily Two on the Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

On the Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke
Seek the Help of the Saints

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on October 18/31, 1951)
The human race honors its many benefactors, whom the Lord raises up to help people out of His mercy. How can one not honor such great personalities as Pasteur, who laid the foundation for an accurate and clear understanding of the causes of all contagious diseases: before him, they understood nothing about them, they had a wrong idea about them! How can one not honor the great Behring, who discovered the anti-diphtheria serum and made it possible to save many children’s lives, because diphtheria until that time was incurable! How can one not honor Lister, who discovered antiseptics and made surgical operations safe, because before him, many of those operated on died from purulent infection!

Homily One on the Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

On the Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke
“The Gospel of Christ is Bright, Let Us Praise the Writer”

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on October 18/31, 1950)

On this day the entire Christian world celebrates the holy memory of the Apostle and Evangelist Luke. For me this is a double festival, for I have the great honor to bear the name of this Saint of God, and therefore I must glorify him. How can I glorify him before you? I will glorify him not with my own words, but with those with which the Holy Church glorifies him: “What shall we call you, Apostle? Heaven, for you have made an account of the glory of God for us. Lightning, for you illumine the world with radiance. Cloud, for you rain down in a torrent the knowledge of God." It’s as if a cloud descends from heaven on us and sheds not simple rain, not drops of water, but those waters of grace with which the Gospel sanctifies us. “The most divine chalice of wisdom, pouring out rich wine for us, gladdening our hearts.”

October 16, 2023

Jozef Van den Berg Has Reposed at 74: From Famous Dutch Actor and Puppeteer to Orthodox Christian Monk and Hermit

On Friday, October 13th 2023, the famous Dutch actor and puppeteer turned Orthodox Christian monk and hermit reposed in the Lord at the age of 74 at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Sochos, near Thessaloniki, Greece, where he went to live recently due to his failing health. His funeral will be held on Tuesday, October 17th at the same Monastery and he will be buried there.

Jozef, who was born in Beers of the Netherlands on the 22nd of August 1949, was a very well known actor in the 1970's and 1980's in the Netherlands. He was initially an atheist and married with four children. Later he began a successful career as a wandering puppeteer for children. Then he made his own performances in the theater, for children and adults. Van den Berg traveled the world, from Australia to Canada. In the 1980's, Jozef Van den Berg played in his last play “Enough Wait” for his brother who was seriously ill and was in a wheelchair. On September 14, 1989, he would bring that performance to the De Singel in Antwerp, but then something very special happened.

Saint Gall Celebrated by the Orthodox Church of Switzerland

St. Gallen is a city in eastern Switzerland and the capital of the canton of St. Gallen. It evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, founded in the 7th century.

In St. Gallen today is the Greek Orthodox Parish of Saint Constantine and Helen, where on October 16th 2021 the local Saint Gall was officially first celebrated by the Orthodox of Switzerland according to the decision of Metropolitan Maximos of Switzerland. He also set the feast of the local Saint Gall to be celebrated annually on October 16th.

The Chapel of Saint Longinus the Centurion in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Chapel of Saint Longinus the Centurion is located inside the Church of the Resurrection (or Church of the Holy Sepulchre).

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem erected the chapel in honor of Saint Longinus, just behind the sanctuary of the church.

The chapel belongs to the Orthodox and inside it is kept portions of the pieces of Golgotha, which were cut for the reconstruction of the Church of the Resurrection in the year 1810.

October 15, 2023

Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 Water the Seeds of God with Tears of Repentance

Mark 4:3–9

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on October 29, 1944)

"Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred" (Mark 4:3–9).

October 13, 2023

Encomium to our Venerable and God-bearing Father Symeon the New Theologian (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite) - 1 of 9

Encomium to our Venerable and God-bearing Father 
Symeon the New Theologian

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

1. Today common joy in all the world has arisen; today secret gladness in the ecumene has shone forth; today spiritual rejoicing has taken possession of all in Christ's Church. For what? And why? For the bright feast and for the luminous festival of Saint Symeon the New Theologian. For heaven above rejoices and the whole triumphant Church of the firstborn celebrates with all the orders of the Angels, with the guilds of the Patriarchs and Forefathers; with the companies of the Prophets, with the choruses of the Apostles, with the assemblies of the Martyrs, with the multitudes of Hierarchs and Theologians; with the choirs of the Venerables and with the army of all the Righteous and Saints of past ages inscribed in the heavens, because in the midst of these the blessed soul and the most-divine spirit of the sacred Symeon has been received all-bright and full of light.

October 11, 2023

A Few Words on the Question of Stigmata (Archbishop Basil Krivoshein)

A Few Words on the Question of Stigmata

By Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein)

In the report on stigmata published in this issue of our “Vestnik”,1 Bishop Anthony2 deliberately limited himself to presenting the psychophysical side of the phenomenon of stigmatization against the background of an emotional-spiritual type of spirituality, focused on the suffering of Christ. One could develop these thoughts by saying that stigmatization is understandable and, consciously or unconsciously, is possible only in a specific theological and spiritual environment, characteristic of well-known and very strong theological and spiritual movements in the Catholic Church, but alien in its entirety to the Orthodox Church. Another thing is that one of the Orthodox or even Monophysites could one way or another join such movements and, therefore, gain the opportunity to become a “stigmatist.” Vladyka Anthony emphasizes precisely this.

October 10, 2023

Synaxarion of the Finding of the Honorable Zoni of the Theotokos in Santorini and Its Return to Vatopaidi Monastery in 1830

On the 10th of this month (October), we celebrate the remembrance of the finding of the Honorable Zoni of our Most Holy Theotokos in the year 1830 on the island of Saint Irene, namely Santorini, and its glorious return to the divine and revered Monastery of Vatopaidi.


To reap abundant grace, O believers,
The Zoni hidden in the soil was found.

With hymns we honor you Virgin at the finding of your Zoni,
The Orthodox flock of the island of Santorini.

As mentioned by many written testimonies of the sacred, revered and imperial Monastery of Vatopaidi on Mount Athos, and even a Theraean document of the year 1830, during the month of June in 1820, sacred relics were sent to Crete to save it from the plague epidemic, among which was the Honorable Zoni of the Theotokos, a portion of the Honorable Wood of the Cross, and the Head of Saint Andrew the Jerusalemite, Bishop of Crete, with the escort of the hieromonks Neophytos and Ambrosios, the hierodeacon Parthenios and the monks Dionysios and Dorotheos.

Saints Eulampios and Eulampia as Models for our Lives

Sts. Eulampios and Eulampia (Feast Day - October 10)

 By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

The Holy Martyrs Eulampios and Eulampia were siblings according to the flesh and came from Nicomedia in Asia Minor. They lived in the 3rd century AD in the years of the Emperor Maximian, who ordered a severe persecution against the Christians, because of which many Christians left Nicomedia and fled to the mountains. Among them was the family of the sibling Martyrs Eulampios and Eulampia. On the mountain they lived in asceticism, prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures.

One day Eulampios was sent by his parents to Nicomedia to buy food. There the idolaters recognized him and handed him over to the ruler, in front of whom he boldly confessed his faith in Christ. After his courageous confession, he was led to a pagan temple and ordered to sacrifice to the idol of the "god" Ares. As was natural, he refused, and in fact, with his prayer he crushed the idol. After this event he was subjected to horrible torture. While they began to flog him, his sister Eulampia rushed and embraced him, at the same time she begged Christ to find her worthy of martyrdom as well. Then they put both of them in a large cauldron of hot water, but instead of burning, they cooled, like the three children of the Old Testament in the burning furnace, because the Son and Word of God descended into the furnace and turned it into dew. Thus, these fellow Martyrs also remained unharmed by the power of Christ, the incarnate Son and Word of God. And because of this miracle, 200 idolaters believed in Christ, who confessed their faith in the true God, and were "came to an end by the sword" and are honored as Martyrs of the Church.

October 9, 2023

Some Recent Orthodox-Related News Stories You Probably Won't Read Anywhere Else

Here are just some interesting news stories you will see in Greek media that I came across from the past few months that you probably won't read about elsewhere in English. Some of these stories are positive, some negative, and some questionable. Unfortunately we don't have a comprehensive news source for Orthodox related matters, though some do it more than others. I personally try to never report on news unless I find it relevant to what I do, but as I was cleaning up some files on my computer I thought I would post some stories you may not be aware of before I delete them. Below are 14 of them.

1. In July 2023, a priest in Thessaloniki was accused of embezzling money from donations and involvement in sexual scandals.

The Metropolis of Thessaloniki received three written complaints from believers referring to his specific actions. The first concerns an amount of 5,000 euros, which was a loan that was never returned. The second from a family for an amount of 20,000 euros, for which the priest had promised that he would return it by the end of 2022, but he did not. And the third, from a company which was subsequently dissolved, without mentioning in the complaint a specific amount. However, the Metropolis also received a series of verbal complaints from believers about amounts borrowed by the priest, the total of which amounts to several hundred thousand euros. The Metropolis asked the verbal complainants to do so in writing as well, but this never happened.

October 7, 2023

On the Fortification of Sergiopolis (Procopius)

Writing in c.560 AD, the historian Procopius describes the fortification by the emperor Justinian I (527-65) of the Syrian city of Sergiopolis, formerly Resapha, the central site for the veneration of Saint Sergius, since it is where the martyrdom of Saints Sergius and Bacchus took place. He writes in The Buildings (2.9.3-9):

There is a certain church in Euphratesia, dedicated to Sergius, a famous saint, whom men of former times used to venerate and revere, so that they named the place Sergiopolis, and they had surrounded it with a very humble wall, just sufficient to prevent the Saracens of the region from capturing it by storm. For the Saracens are naturally incapable of storming a wall, and the weakest kind of barricade, put together with perhaps nothing but mud, is sufficient to check their assault. At a later time, however, this church, through its acquisition of treasures, came to be powerful and celebrated. And the Emperor Justinian, upon considering this situation, at once gave it careful attention, and he surrounded the church with a most remarkable wall, and he stored up a great quantity of water and thus provided the inhabitants with a bountiful supply. Furthermore, he added to the place houses and stoas and the other buildings which are wont to be the adornments of a city. Besides this he established there a garrison of soldiers who, in case of need, defended the circuit-wall. Chosroes, indeed, the King of the Persians, made a great effort to capture the city, sending a great army to besiege it; but because of the strength of the defences he accomplished nothing and abandoned the investment.

See also: Sergiopolis, the Site of the Martyrdom of Saints Sergius and Bacchus

October 6, 2023


 He who falls 
 into the sin is a man.
He who is saddened
by the sin is a saint.
He who takes satisfaction
and remains in the sin is a demon.
And he who forgives
the sin is God.

A Handwritten Note of Venerable Gabriela

Τι ωραίο τραγούδι η Ζωή!
Καί τι Ευλογία όταν μετά από μια μακροχρόνια πορεία, μπορώ να πω, πώς από το 1937 μέχρι σήμερα, δεν έφυγε το Αόρατο Πρόσωπο Του Θεού από κοντά μου καί από μέσα μου.
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What a beautiful song is Life!

And what a blessing when after a long journey, I can say that from 1937 until today, the Invisible Face of God did not leave from my side or from my inside.

October 4, 2023

SAINT DIONYSIOS THE AREOPAGITE: The all-wise hierarch and patron saint of Athens who died in Athens by fire

By Aristeides G. Theodoropoulos

Among the first Athenians who embraced our Lord Jesus Christ after the fiery sermon on the crucifixion and resurrection by the Apostle to the Nations Paul in 51 AD on the Areopagus of pagan Athens, with its magnificent marble temples and elaborate statues, was Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, this leading judge and president of the Supreme Court, who after his conversion to Christianity became a "fit vessel of the All-Holy Spirit," was granted to behold the immaculate and life-begetting body of the Most Holy Theotokos, and with his martyrdom by fire he became the heir of the Heavenly Kingdom in order to intercede to God for the salvation of all Christians.

Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, honored on October 3rd, the glorious hieromartyr of Christ, was born in the eponymous city of Athens around the end of the first decade of the 1st century. His parents were pagans of aristocratic origin and financial prosperity, which contributed to his obtaining an excellent education. His rich education, famous eloquence and virtuous state made him a wise Athenian aristocrat and one of the nine wise and impartial Areopagites of great fame and prominence in Athenian society. That's why he was characterized as having "managed justice in a balanced manner, and ruled over Athens most uprightly" (Michael Synkellos, Oration on Dionysios the Areopagite). In fact, according to ancient tradition, he emerged as a leading judge and president of the Supreme Court.

October 3, 2023

Synaxarion of our Venerable and God-bearing Mother Gabriela the New Ascetic of Love

 March 28

By Haralambos M. Bousias

On this day we commemorate our Venerable and God-bearing Mother Gabriela, the New Ascetic of Love.


You sheltered everyone with the shelter of your love, revered one,
Being seen as one who was covered by God, Gabriela.


Our Holy and God-bearing Mother Gabriela, known as Aurelia Papagiannis, was born in Constantinople on October 2, 1897. Adorned as a child with divine grace, she adorned the Church of Christ with the pearls of love, faith and the emptying of her soul in words and deeds and acts of service towards her neighbor. A nun of the Orthodox Church, she distinguished herself as a spiritual guide of souls towards salvation. A witty and brilliant mind, she willingly helped her neighbors without sparing time and cost. The radiant look of her form testifies to her inner purity and life in Christ. She sanctified Thessaloniki through this utterly pure conduct, where she fled with her family after the exchange of populations, and she attended the philosophical school in Athens, where she worked, and showed the bowels of her compassion in England, where she received the degree of a chiropractor, presenting her service free of charge to everyone like an unmercenary, especially to the Cypriot brethren living there, and confessed her love for her fatherland and genuine Orthodox phronema. When she departed for India, she excelled as a missionary to the nations, tending the blind and lepers and seeking for the lost sheep. She arrived at Bethany of the Holy Land, and she obeyed the venerable one presiding there, and she followed in the footsteps of the old ascetics. In Patmos she received the Small Angelic Schema by our Venerable Father Amphilochios, whose surname is Makris, and then she moved around on missionary journeys, going back to India then to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, in order to finally settle in a house in renowned Athens. There she was given hospitality by our Venerable Father Agathangelos, whose surname is Michaelidos, and she was granted the "House of the Angels", i.e. a student's house for the accommodation of her inexhaustible love. When she came to Aegina, she occupied the Hesychasterion of the Holy Protection near the Monastery of Saint Nektarios, where she was seen as a wellspring of offerings and a compass to the faithful towards salvation. Finally, after she was attacked by cancer and divine intervention cured her, she ended up on the island of Leros, where after having lived in God-loving and venerable asceticism, she surrendered her soul to the hands of the living God on March 28th, in the year of salvation 1992.

Through her holy intercessions, Christ God, have mercy and save us. Amen.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fifth Tone
Now the worker of love the revered ascetic Gabriela, who is our aid in misfortune and succor in mortal hardship, the missionary of Christ, let us be wakeful in offering her impressionable hymns, that she may entreat the Creator on our behalf who bless her.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Fervent love joined with humility, you lived in the world but lived outside the world, praying and offering herself as a sacrifice to Christ, to her we ardently sing hymns, the divinely luminous Gabriela, the ascetic, crying out with longing: Rejoice, mother inspired by God.

A bright lamp and ray of missionaries, a new boast of ascetics, for your fiery love towards your neighbor, we cry out to you with longing, Gabriela.
Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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