December 31, 2023

Homily for the Sunday Before Theophany (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homily for the Sunday Before Theophany

Ascetic Orthodoxy

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey." (Mark 1:6)

By presenting the person, the preaching and the work of John the Forerunner, the Baptist of Christ, as well as the effect that his teaching had on the people, today's Gospel reading prepares us for the great feast of Theophany. Also, because it is the first Sunday of the new year, we are given the opportunity to see the true character of Orthodoxy.

For today's secularized man, the projection of an ascetic, even at the beginning of the year, who lived in the desert and was dressed in camel skin and ate locusts and wild honey, is a problem. Perhaps it is also a formidable challenge. They say that Saint John the Forerunner can be presented as a model for an ascetic and even a hermit, but not for a family man, who lives in the world and faces so many problems.

Homily for the Sunday Before Theophany (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily for the Sunday Before Theophany

"The Voice in the Wilderness"

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on January 4/17, 1954)

Listen to the amazing prophecy of the great Isaiah about John the Forerunner of the Lord. This prophecy was spoken by Isaiah 800 years before the coming into the world of the Lord Jesus Christ and His great Forerunner.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God in the desert. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low, the crooked places made straight, and the rough paths made smooth” (Isa. 40:3-4).

The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of the great Forerunner. But did he preach in that desert, did his mighty voice resound in that desert, in which only jackals and hyenas could listen to him?

December 30, 2023

1999 Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas


My beloved brethren,

Bright and glad is the feast and celebration today. With psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, but also feelings of gratitude and praise, we celebrate the Birth of the Son and Word of God, but also the deification of man. The heavens are merry and the earth rejoices "for the heavenly, has become the earthly," as Saint Gregory the Theologian says, that is, for Christ who was heavenly, for our salvation became earthly, without abandoning the heavenly. We feel spiritual joy for God's coming into our lives, and our own coming and return to the divine, the heavenly, as Saint Gregory the Theologian says again: "The coming of God to man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God." Because the celebration of the Nativity of Christ has these two poles, that is, Christ's coming among us and our ascension to the divine. "For I must suffer the good reversal."

December 29, 2023

1998 Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas


My beloved brethren,

The events we celebrate these days are divine and human, since God the Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, takes on human flesh and comes to earth, but man is also elevated to the divine. Therefore, these days we celebrate the Birth of Christ, but also the rebirth of man; the incarnation of the Word, but also the deification of man; the coming of God the Word to earth, but also the ascension of man to heaven.

All the holy Fathers of the Church are amazed at the memory and above all at the experience of this great event, the Birth of Christ, that is why they stand ecstatic before the mystery of the incarnation of God and the salvation of man. Today, on this holy day, I would like to recall some words of the great theologian of our Church, Saint Gregory the Theologian. His discourse on Christ's birthday is timeless and fills the soul with joy and happiness. When one reads it, as billions of Christians did over sixteen centuries, one is deeply moved, spiritually moved and profoundly surprised. It is about a hymn of life and even true life.

Homily on the Protomartyr Stephen and the Slaughter of the Infants (Metr. Nikodemos of Patras)

By Metropolitan Nikodemos (Vallindras) of Patras

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt." (Matt. 2:13)

For a second time, an angel of the Lord warns Joseph to take the necessary measures. The previous time, the angel warned him in his sleep not to worry about the pregnancy of the All Holy Virgin, because it was a conception by the Holy Spirit. Now, after the Birth of Christ the Savior, Joseph is again informed by an angel that Herod is moving to destroy the newborn Divine Infant, and he receives an order to depart, together with the Child and His All Holy Mother, to Egypt for safety. In both the first and second cases we see the protective intervention of God for the sake of the innocent. The innocence of the All Holy Virgin, which was in danger of being exposed due to evil suspicion, when she conceived the Son of God from the Holy Spirit, was protected by God by sending the angel to Joseph. And the Divine Infant, who was needlessly endangered by Herod's sword, is again protected by God's angel sent to Joseph. Admittedly, this issue of God's protection of the innocent deserves a lot of attention, so a few thoughts on this topic would be useful, and none unrelated to the today's celebrated Protomartyr Stephen.

A Homily Delivered Nine Days After the Death of Saint John of Kronstadt

By Metropolitan Tryphon (Turkestanov)

(Delivered after the Liturgy, on Sunday December 28, 1908)

I greet you, dear brothers and sisters, on the Lord's Day and rejoice that the Lord led us all on this ninth day of the death of Father John to commemorate him and for all of us to pray for the repose of his soul. The ninth day, as I already told you, according to the rules of the Church, is especially important for the soul of the deceased: on this day the soul of the deceased stands before the Throne of the Lord to receive either justification or condemnation.

That is why the Church commands to pray on this day for the deceased. That is why today we all united in common prayer and prayed with all our hearts for the repose of the soul of dear Father John. We are all aware of this great loss, both the Church of Antioch in the person of its representatives Archimandrites Ignatius and Anthony, and many organizations dear to us in spirit in the person of their representative Archimandrite Macarius, and representatives of spiritual enlightenment in the person of Archimandrite Gabriel, and all the truly Orthodox people united here in prayer .

And not only to Russians, but also to foreigners - Father John was close and dear to everyone.

December 28, 2023

1997 Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas


My beloved,

We celebrated today, from the early hours of the morning, and we will celebrate these days, the great event of the Birth of Christ. The feeling that remains in us, after our participation in the great festival of the month, where wonderful hymns are chanted that are written by great hymnographers, who personally experienced the mystery of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, but mainly with our intoxication in celebration of the Divine Liturgy, it is a feeling of love, peace, redemption, inner rest and fulfillment.

The celebration of the Birth of Christ, like every Christological celebration, is a constant source of life and inspiration, which enlivened and enlivens people of all generations. How many people did not find the meaning of life, were not inspired by the lofty meaning of the Birth of Christ, were not enchanted by the wealth of God's love? This divine love that is expressed and manifested through humility, the kenosis, gives comfort to our spirit, which is troubled by human hatred and inhuman selfishness.

Library of the Holy Monastery of Simonos Petra

Historical Background of Simonopetra

The Holy Monastery of Simonos Petra is located on the southwest side of Mount Athos and its complex, an area of 7,000 square metres total, is built on a granite rock, about 300 metres from the surface of the sea. Simonopetra unfolds in seven floors with several balconies – a unique monument of Byzantine and post-Byzantine architecture.

Its history dates from the 13th century, the period during which Saint Simon the Myrrhgusher lived (his date of birth is unknown; he died on December 28, 1257). After a vision that he experienced while practising in a cave in the wider area, Simon decided to establish a monastery in honour of the birth of Christ, giving it the name New Bethlehem. However, after his death the nickname Simonos Petra (Simon’s Rock) or Simonopetra prevailed.

Between 1365 and 1371, the Monastery entered a new phase of operation and development, when its second owner, the Serbian Jovan Uglješa (the despot of Serres at the time), proceeded to renovate and expand it, providing rich donations and strengthening it with metochia and relics.

Saint Nephon of Chios as a Model for our Lives

 By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Nephon was born in Chios in 1736. When he was still in his infancy, a plague epidemic loomed over the island and because of it many people departed this vain world, including his parents. Thus, Nicholas, this was his baptismal name, was orphaned of both of his parents, but God, Who "relieves orphans and widows", never left him, but was always with him and helped him in all circumstances of his life. The difficulties he faced helped him mature quickly. When he grew up, he went to Constantinople, where he worked for a short time as a merchant, however, after the death of his beloved friend at the hands of the Turks, he left for the Holy Mountain, where he became a monk under Elder Dionysios Stavroudas, with the name Nephon. Later he also received the grace of the priesthood.

December 27, 2023

A Homily on Saint Stephen the First Martyr (St. Asterius of Amasea)

By St. Asterius of Amasea (c. 350 – c. 410 AD)

1. How truly holy and beautiful is the cycle of events delightful to us. Feast follows upon feast, the one celebration comes closely after the other. We are invited from prayer to prayer: the birth of the Lord is followed immediately by the honour given to His servant. And even if someone looks back to the begetting of the One who yesterday was born according to the flesh, existing eternally according to the godhead, or [considers] the testimony about Him given by His noble servant today, they will find many various events but one purpose: that we are instructed about true religion. Yesterday indeed we learned by the periodically returning celebration that the Saviour of the world was born, that the One without flesh put on the flesh, the one without body put on the body, and so then also accepted the suffering for our sake, and was elevated on the wood for nothing else than for his concern about us. Today we look upon the brave fighter stoned for Him, so that he gave thanks with his blood for His blood.

How an Intervention of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen Was Captured in a Photograph

Elder Philaretos was the abbot of the Athonite Monastery of Konstamonitou from 1949 to 1963. This Monastery is dedicated to the Holy Protomartyr Stephen, and contains a very old icon of the Saint as well as a portion of his relics.

In the biography of this Holy Elder, we read how he had a brother named Thomas who would frequently visit him. On one occasion, however, Thomas came with a bad intention: he wanted to trick the Elder into coming back home with him to Fyteia of Imathia so he could help take care of their elderly mother, but with the ultimate goal of forcing him to serve as the parish priest of their native village.

December 26, 2023

1996 Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas


My beloved,

And again we were found worthy by God to celebrate the Birth of Christ as a man and to feel the Grace of the incarnation of the Word, but also the hope of the Theophany, our regenneration in Christ. Because, as the Fathers of the Church teach, God became man to make man a god.

Among the events connected with the Christmas feast, is the archangelic hymn "Glory to God in the Highest, and on the earth peace among those whom He is pleased" (Luk. 2:13). The angels hymned the most high God for His love for mankind and praised the peace that had come to earth. The hymn of peace can be heard in many troparia of today's feast, we chant it and sing it.

The Theotokos as a Model for our Life (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

(Delivered on Sunday 23 November 2003 in the 
Church of Saint Nicholas of Pefkakion.)

I will begin by thanking the Spiritual Center of Roumeliotes and its President, Mr. Vasilios Kokkinos, a distinguished jurist, as well as the entire Board of Directors for inviting me to come today to this annual celebration that refers to our Panagia. And it is an honor that the Center of Roumeliotes, on the occasion of the feast of the Entry of the Panagia into the Temple, feasts and celebrates our Panagia every year with devotional events. After the Divine Liturgy we are now in this center to continue the spiritual festival.

Also, I am happy because I meet today, like other times I have come on this day, such a select audience and well-known Roumeliotes, who, among other things, have a distinguishing characteristic of loving the Church, its Bishops and, of course, the Panagia who is the cause of the joy of all creation and the cause of the re-creation of man and the renewal of creation.

In my homily today, as briefly and simply as I can, I will try to develop the theme: "The Theotokos as a Model for our Life", because the Panagia, as all the holy Fathers emphasize, is not only the cause of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, but also the model for mankind who wants to find the purpose of his existence and the meaning of life, as well as she is also the model of eschatological man, how mankind will be in the life to come. Each one is closely connected to the other, because whoever acquires a meaning of life, i.e. knows why he lives, he can also experience the eschatological states of the regenerated man.

December 25, 2023

2023 Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Pastoral Encyclical for Christmas


Beloved children in the Lord,

Once again we celebrate the feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh and we are given the opportunity to see its importance and to realize the great value of being Christians, disciples of Christ. It is not a typical name, but a name that shows the rebirth of our life. We are Christians and even Orthodox and we should respond to this mission.

The occasion for the formulation of these solemn thoughts is given to me by some words of Saint Ignatius the God-bearer in his letter to the Magnesians. Saint Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch in Syria during the first century AD, a disciple of John the Apostle and Evangelist. So he is one of the Apostolic Fathers of the Church, a successor of the Holy Apostles. He was martyred in Rome.

Homily One on the Nativity of Christ (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1947)

Almost two thousand years ago, near the small Palestinian town of Bethlehem, in a cave that served as a pen for cattle in inclement weather, an unknown young Jewish woman gave birth to a Son. Could there have been a more inconspicuous, more unimportant event in the eyes of the world of that time?

Who was He, for whom did He come into the world? The world did not know this, but the angels in heaven sang of this birth as the greatest of all events in the world. The sky opened over the field of Bethlehem, where the shepherds were guarding their flock at night, the heavenly light shone upon them, and the Angels, singing, announced great joy, for at that hour the Savior of the world, the Messiah, Christ our God was born in Bethlehem.

Compared to all those events in history that were considered the most important and greatest, this event was so huge, so immeasurable, like a boundless ocean compared to an insignificant rain puddle. But people did not know that this birth in the cave of Bethlehem radically changed everything, gave new life to humanity.

December 24, 2023

The Ecumene is the Church That Christ Established (St. Luke of Simferopol)

The Ecumene is the Church That Christ Established

A Homily on Luke 2:1

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on February 19, 1948)

Why does it say in the ninety-second Psalm: “For He has established the ecumene, which shall not be moved” (Ps. 92:1), and in the ninety-fifth: “For He has established the ecumene, which shall not be moved” (Ps. 95:10)? In Church Slavonic, “утверди” and “исправи" ["ἐστερέωσε" and "κατώρθωσε" in the Septuagint]. But there is nothing to be perplexed about. You need to know that the word “утверди” means almost the same as “исправи” - to make her right, to establish her on her path. Therefore, there is no disagreement.

Awaiting Christmas (Archim. George Kapsanis)

Awaiting Christmas

By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

In these days the Orthodox Christian world is called to celebrate or rather to truly live the great event of the salvation and redemption of people and the world from the woes of the wicked and the devil. They are called to receive the mystery of the incarnate economy and to be filled with Divine Grace and Blessing.

The holy Fathers invite us to open the eyes of the heart and contemplate this great mystery, which literally changed the shape of the world.

What is the purpose of the Lord's incarnation? All the teachings of the Fathers about the incarnation of the Lord is contained in the phrase of Athanasios the Great: "The Word became flesh, to make man receptible to divinity." Christ did not come to earth to simply bring us a new teaching, but to transmit to us the Divine Life, the life of God. To make us sharers of Divine Life by grace. God becomes man, so that man may become God by grace. This is the central and essential meaning of this great and important celebration.

Homily for the Epistle Reading on the Sunday Before Christmas (St. Luke of Simferopol)

We Don’t Have a Permanent City Here, But We Are Looking Toward the Future

(Hebrews 11:8-16)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 26, 1947)

In his Epistle to the Hebrews, the holy Apostle Paul says that the entire life of the Old Testament righteous was organized according to their ardent faith, like that of Abraham: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8).

Abraham lived in Ur of the Chaldees, his father was a pagan, and he himself believed in one God. Having received an order from God to go to a land hitherto unknown to him, which God promised to give to his descendants, he, without thinking at all, without doubting or delaying at all, left his father and went where the Lord called him.

December 20, 2023

Divine Fire: Saint Ignatius the God-bearer (Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi)

By Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi

With the entrance of the forefeast of Christmas, we also have the commemoration of the Holy Glorious Hieromartyr Ignatius the Theophoros, one of the Apostolic Fathers. And I remembered a passage from the words of our Lord, which is appropriate for tomorrow's feast: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth", our Jesus once said, "I did not come to bring peace but a sword" (Matt. 10:34). And after telling the ways of the division He came to cause, as they are of course interpreted according to our sacred tradition, He added: "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" (Luk. 12:49). This fire is exactly what we are talking about, because at least it very much concerns us monks.

The Doxastikon of Saint Ignatius states the following: "There is no flame in me that pushes me to love material things, but rather living water that speaks in me and says to me: Go to the Father." And in general the service, as you will see, is an outburst of deifying eros, which pulsates in the heart of this great luminary. Because tradition says that this Saint was one of those children whom our Jesus accepted in His arms...

The Epistle of Ignatius of Antioch to the Romans


0:0 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that hath found mercy in the bountifulness of the Father Most High and of Jesus Christ His only Son; to the church that is beloved and enlightened through the will of Him who willed all things that are, by faith and love towards Jesus Christ our God; even unto her that hath the presidency in the country of the region of the Romans, being worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of felicitation, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy in purity, and having the presidency of love, walking in the law of Christ and bearing the Father's name; which church also I salute in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the Father; unto them that in flesh and spirit are united unto His every commandment, being filled with the grace of God without wavering, and filtered clear from every foreign stain; abundant greeting in Jesus Christ our God in blamelessness.

"I Saw Father John in Kronstadt" (St. Silouan the Athonite)

By St. Silouan the Athonite

I saw Father John in Kronstadt. He served the Liturgy. I was amazed at the power of his prayer, and until now, almost forty years have passed, yet I have not seen anyone serve like him. The people loved him, and everyone stood with the fear of God. And it’s no wonder: the Holy Spirit draws people’s hearts to Himself. We see from the Gospel how many people followed the Lord. The word of the Lord attracted the people, for it is spoken by the Holy Spirit, and therefore it is sweet and pleasing to the soul.

When Luke and Cleopas walked to Emmaus, and on the way the Lord approached them and spoke to them, their hearts burned with love for God. Father John had within himself abundantly the Holy Spirit, which warmed his soul to love God, and the same Spirit acted on people through him. I saw how the people ran after him, as if into a fire, to take a blessing from him, and when they received it, they rejoiced, for the Holy Spirit is pleasant and gives peace and sweetness to the soul.

An Outline of the Orthodox Worldview of Saint John of Kronstadt

By Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky

Written in 1958

(In Honor of the 50th anniversary of the repose of the ever-memorable Father John of Kronstadt)

There is an unusually attractive power, particularly for the pastor, in the personality of Father John of Kronstadt, even in his portrait, the attraction of his writings, in his diary My Life in Christ. There is a peaceful and consoling quality in the notes of his diary, not to mention the very subjects of his talks, which spiritually exalt, uplift, and strengthen. Once you have opened the book, the eye is drawn aside only with great difficulty, and the hand seems by itself to turn one page after another. Whence comes this attraction of hearts to Father John? Undoubtedly of great significance is the fact that Father John is our contemporary. He made his notes for himself and at the same time for us. He brought into his diaries his personal thoughts, answered the questions of his own soul, but to a certain degree these were also our questions, answers to our perplexing problems, here often is the confirmation of our own conclusions. What he himself writes down in his diary is justified: "We often hear from others, or frequently read in their writings, that which God has placed in our own mind and heart, what we ourselves have wished, that is, often we find our most beloved thoughts in others." He then offers an explanation: "Is not there one Lord God of minds; is not there one Spirit of His in all those who seek Truth? Is not there one Enlightener, enlightening every person who comes into the world?" (My Life in Christ). Here you have the basic reason for the attraction toward Father John, as he himself indicates. He answers the questions of our own personal spirit. As a person of strong faith, of deep Orthodox religious thought, and of complete unity in word and deed, he answers in a most perfect manner, becoming our friend, our counsellor, comforter, reviver, and spiritual teacher.

December 19, 2023

Saint Paisios the Athonite on the Spirit of Sacrifice of Saints Boniface and Aglaia

- Elder, you said that man should have humility and a good disposition. Can he have pride and a good disposition?

- When we say humility, we mean at least in this matter of martyrdom to have humility. He may be proud, but then humble himself and say: "God, I am proud; but now give me a little strength to be martyred for Your love and pay for my sins."

So, if you have a humble disposition and go to martyrdom with repentance, then God gives a lot of Grace. In other words, one should not go with a proud disposition, with the thought that they will become a martyr and others will write for them a synaxarion and service, they will make an icon of them with a halo.

December 18, 2023

Synaxarion of Venerable Sophia, Mother of Venerable Savvas the Sanctified

By Hieromonk Euphrosynos the Hagiosabbaite
 On the 18th of this month [December], we commemorate Venerable Sophia, the mother according to the flesh of Venerable Savvas the Sanctified.


Land of Bethlehem bury the body of Sophia,
Land of the meek receive the soul of the venerable one.
On the eighteenth Sophia gladly flew away from life.

This Venerable gave birth to Venerable Savvas the Sanctified, around the year 439, during the reign of Theodosius the Younger, in the village of Moutalaske in Cappadocia. Because her husband John was a soldier in the higher offices of the Roman military, he was transferred to Egypt, where Sophia followed him, and they lived there until his death. Around the year 491, when the Venerable was at an old age, she heard about the accomplishments of her son, so she went to the desert of Judea, where she offered all her possessions to the Venerable. Savvas, because his Lavra was to be untrodden by women, sent her to the Coenobium of Venerable Paula in Bethlehem, where Sophia struggled well, and attained to a perfect measure of virtue. A few years later, during the reign of Empreror Anastasios, she reposed peacefully in the Lord, and buried in a venerable coffin by Savvas, and with the money of his mother, Savvas founded a metochion in Jericho, for the respite of the Fathers. After the translation of the relics of the Venerable, the Fathers built a small hesychasterion in her honor next to the Lavra, and there they placed her relics. However, due to security reasons, they were transferred to the Monastery during the abbacy of Joasaph the Cretan (1835-1874), where they were hidden in an unknown crypt within the Monastery. A small portion of her relic is preserved in an old reliquary within the Skeuophylakion.

December 17, 2023

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

A Call to the Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1–14

(Delivered on September 8, 1947 - 
Monday of the 14th week of Pentecost)

And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."' But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both wicked and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 22:1–14)

Homily on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on January 5, 1946)

The Sunday before Christmas is dedicated by the Holy Church to the commemoration of the Holy Ancestors, and on the previous Sunday it honors the commemoration of the Holy Forefathers.

Who are the ancestors and forefathers and why is their memory celebrated so solemnly before the greatest feast day, the Nativity of Christ? The forefathers are the great righteous people of the Old Testament, and first of all, these are the holy prophets.

Why is the memory of these forefathers, the memory of the holy prophets, so important for us? Every great human undertaking, even personal one, if it sets itself great tasks, requires long, many years, of deep preparation, and all the great events in the life of the human race, the greatest historical events, were prepared by history for many years, sometimes even hundreds of years.

Eleventh Sunday of Luke Resource Page

December 15, 2023

"Holy Martyr Eleutherios...Either Correct Him or Cut Him Off"

By St. John Moschos

The Spiritual Meadow
(Chapter 145)
Life of Blessed Gennadios the Patriarch of Constantinople, 
and of the Reader Charisios
We arrived at the temple of Alexandria, in the cenobium of Salama, and met two old presbyters there who told us that they were presbyters of the Church of Constantinople. Also, they told us about the blessed Gennadios, Patriarch of Constantinople.

They told us how he had been greatly troubled by a cleric called Charisios, who lived a wicked life and whom he summoned in an attempt to admonish him. Having not benefited by admonishment, he ordered that he be chastised in a paternal and ecclesiastical manner.

December 13, 2023

2023 Christmas and New Year Appeal and Important Updates

Dear Readers:

2023 marked a major transition in the Mystagogy Resource Center by making the old primary website an archive and starting over with a new website. It is an ongoing process that will take some time to complete, but it was long overdue to begin. What I hope for it to eventually become I am sure will be welcomed with much excitement by all of you who already appreciate what is being offered.

This is all leading towards further expansions and projects which will begin in 2024. I finally figured out what to do about getting some books I have prepared published, now it is just a matter of me getting the opportunity to devote some time to accomplishing this next big step. I'm just figuring out how to get some original material on my YouTube channel as well, and I have some great ideas I hope to build up to with that. There even may be a podcast coming sooner than later (aiming for January or February).

Of course, without your financial support, nothing can be accomplished. To devote the time and labor into making these things happen, I need your help. Everything depends on you. This is not my full-time job, just a labor of love I do in the little free time I have. I have no big donors or grants or connections of any kind. My hope is to always allow free access to everything I do, and the only support I desire are from those who place enough value in what I do to help out. I often say I'm a one-man show over here, where I basically do everything without anyone's help, but in reality, this is a team effort where I am willing to put the time and effort, as long as the rest of you are willing to help out financially. Because the way things are going, it may be within a matter of a few months where free access to all I do will be a thing of the past, and I may have to transition to everything being available by paid subscription only to the few who do value what is offered.

We could not have arrived at the present without your help. This holiday season, therefore, will determine the future of this ministry.

I'm confident you will all come through. Even if you have never donated in the past, you can start now. Now you can subscribe for as little as $1 or $5 a week or even $1 or $5 a month, among other options. You can even give $1 a year if you choose. To ignore such options only tells me you place no value on what is being offered, which is fine, but by me encouraging even such options should leave all those who desire to support the work with no alternative but to support it by whatever means they have. I have even added, by request, a few other payment options besides Paypal, including Patreon, Venmo and Cash App, or you can mail in your financial gift.

Probably the biggest excuse I hear from people is that they promise me one day to give me a big gift, but everyone knows that promises like that never are fulfilled. If you can't start big, and most people can't, then it is better to start small than to do nothing at all.

This past year I have seen a record number of cancellations to monthly subscriptions. I'm rarely told why people stop subscribing, but on those rare occasions I'm told it is for financial reasons. They no longer can give $10 a month, for example, so they cancel. I've never understood why they just don't opt for a lower monthly subscription of $5 or $1 a month. This is another reason why I want to highlight that this option is available. I currently have about 90 active subscribers and over 400 who have canceled. With the options I now have made public and available, I will have to look upon every cancellation as a non-financial matter.

Please keep the Mystagogy Resource Center open and free for all, to make bigger strides of progress into the future.

Thank you in advance. You're help is always appreciated.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all,

John Sanidopoulos
P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to your preferred social media account through the LinkTree in side bar, and sign up for daily email updates.

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December 12, 2023

Testimony of a Miraculous Appearance of Saint Spyridon to a Couple in Athens in 1994

Church of Saint Spyridon in Aigaleo

The incident I will describe, and my husband also agrees, was the beginning for us to open our hearts and really believe in God, because until then, we only criticized God's ministers negatively. And my husband even defended the opinion that God does not exist. It was an event that confirmed to us how unjustified we were, how wrong we were and opened our eyes so that we could see the true way, God's way.

Our son Sotiris was born on September 19, 1994. I had decided when my child was forty days old to take him to a church to receive the blessing, as is customary, after the advice of our immediate relatives.

I didn't take him on the day he turned forty days old, but the day after, which was Sunday, October 30, 1994. But, like the careless and naive people that we are, that day I got up at 7:00 in the morning to feed him, but then I lay down again and we fell asleep. So my husband and I got up later and got ready to go to church at our leisure. When we went to the first church, the Divine Liturgy was over and there was no Priest to give the blessing to the child. We left and went to another church. We visited the churches we knew in the municipalities of Peristeri, Haidari and Aigaleo. Some churches were closed and others that were open, the Priests had left. But I insisted and told my husband that "Today, Sunday, he should receive the blessing." We ended up around 2:00 in the afternoon outside the Sacred Church of Saint Spyridon in Aigaleo. My husband told me to give up the effort and go the next day to get a blessing, but I insisted. I saw the church door ajar and told him that "this would be our last attempt." So we entered the Sacred Temple, me with my child in my arms and my husband.

December 11, 2023

Homily Two for the Epistle Reading on the Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily for the 27th Sunday After Pentecost

Put on the Whole Armor of God

(Ephesians 6:10-12)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on January 21, 1951)
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:10-12).

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, that is, not against people, but against rulers, against authorities.

Against what rulers, what authorities?

Of course, the holy Apostle Paul is not talking about those authorities that govern the state, but about completely different authorities, as he himself immediately explains: “against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” against demons, against the angels of Satan, for they can truly be called the rulers of the darkness of this age.

Homily Two for the Epistle Reading on the Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Pentecost (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily for the 26th Sunday After pentecost

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 16, 1951)
I will not preach to you today, but the greatest preacher of the doctrine of Christ will preach, the Holy Apostle Paul.

And I will only try to ensure that his words are imprinted in your hearts.

“Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:1-2).

Saint Paul commands us to imitate God, the great and awesome God, but you might think: how can we, pitiful, insignificant and sinful, imitate the great God Himself?

Is this possible for us?

The First Festal Celebration of Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis in his Chapels in Beroea and Naousa

The Feast of Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis in Beroea

On the evening of Wednesday, December 6, the first feast of Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis the Hymnographer was celebrated in the Monastery of Panagia Dobra in Beroea with splendor and enthusiasm, after the recent inscription of the Saint in the Hagiologion of the Orthodox Church.

Events began with a prayer in the Chapel of Saint Gerasimos the Hymnographer, which is located on the grounds of the Monastery and will be consecrated soon.

Afterwards, the sacred relic of the right hand of the new Saint was transported in a procession to the katholikon of the Monastery, where the Festal Great Vespers, Festal Matins and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy were celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimonos of Beroea, Naousa and Campania, with the participation of the monastic brotherhoods of the Metropolis and a multitude of pious believers.

December 10, 2023

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

Homily for the 10th Sunday of Luke

We Are Obligated To Rebuke Those Who Sin Before God

(Luke 13:10-17)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 10, 1944)

This Gospel narrative shows us the great mercy, love and divine power of Jesus Christ, directed towards the benefit of an unfortunate woman. At the same time, we also see the evil, foolish hypocrisy of the synagogue leader.

What is hypocrisy, which the Lord so threateningly rebuked? A hypocrite pretends to be something other than what he really is. A hypocrite is one who wears a mask of piety, being in his soul devoid of all piety, who expresses love and loyalty to his neighbor, speaks kind, nice, flattering words to him, but in his soul harbors hatred for him, plotting against him with malice. The hypocrite hides from those around him all the evil, black movements of his soul, all the bad thoughts and speaks to his neighbors, pretending to have a loving, pure heart. Hypocrisy is common to so many of us.

Homily One for the Epistle Reading on the Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily for the 27th Sunday After Pentecost

Put on the Whole Armor of God

(Ephesians 6:10-12)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on January 21, 1951)

“Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10– 12). Here we are talking about warfare not against those authorities who govern the state, but against demons. Every darkness in human life is the work of their hands, the work of “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), and this is Satan himself, who rules over many hearts. And it is against him that the holy Apostle Paul commands us to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and in the power of His might. We ourselves are not able to fight the prince of this age and will be able to resist his machinations only when, without relying on our own strength, we put on “the whole armor of God”. He plots his intrigues, seeks to distract us from faith in God, sending demons so that they direct people to the path of serving passions, to the path of wickedness and even blasphemy - to destruction. The invisible spiritual enemy is the most powerful and merciless; the less we think about it, the more terrible it is, because the unnoticed enemy is the most dangerous. And on the contrary, he loses strength if we strictly and tirelessly follow his machinations.

Tenth Sunday of Luke Resource Page

December 8, 2023

The First Parish Church of Saint Gerasimos the Hymnographer Established in Congo

The first parish church in honor of the newly-canonized Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis the Hymnographer had its foundations blessed on his first feast day since his canonization, December 7th 2023. This took place in Kenge, which is the capital of Kwango Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On the day of the feast of Saint Gerasimos the Hymnographer, Metropolitan Theodosios of Kinshasa accompanied by his Chancellor the Archimandrite Gerasimos Belesi, who years ago received his name in honor of the Holy Elder Gerasimos the Hymnographer, arrived in the city of Kenge.

In this city recently, Voluntary Homeless Ministry based in Thessaloniki, with the support of its president Ms. Kyriaki Fragou, bought the plot of land in order to build a church in honor of Saint Gerasimos the Hymnographer.

Saint Parthenios of Chios Resource Page

December 7, 2023

Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis Resource Page

St. Gerasimos the Hymnographer (Feast Day - December 7)


Rejoicing with the Saints, hymnographer of the Saints,
Gerasimos, adorner of the Holy Mountain.

Life and Veneration
Writings and Compositions



Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis

By Haralambos Bousias

On the 7th of this month [December], we commemorate our Venerable and God-bearing Father Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis, Hymnographer of the Great Church of Christ.


Rejoicing with the Saints, hymnographer of the Saints,
Gerasimos, adorner of the Holy Mountain.


The most-venerable and shining new luminary of hymnography, the divinely-inspired hymn writer of the sacred accomplishments of the Saints, a city-founder in the desert of Athos, an inhabitant of the Skete of Little Saint Anna who dwelled together with virtue and divine wisdom, our bright father Gerasimos, who put into practice the shining ray of his theology, and in the end his soul was completely pure. In the world he was known as Anastasios-Athanasios Graikas and born in Droviani in the province of Delvino of Northern Epirus on the 5th of September in the year of salvation 1905. His most pious mother instilled deeply in his heart the teachings of the faith and an ecclesiastical consciousness. He received a comprehensive education in Droviani and Athens with the finest diligence. A monk-lover by nature, he was nourished at a young age by divine eros, and knowing the futility of the temporal he fled to Athos, where he was distinguished for his obedience, prayer and humility. He began his repentance in the Skete of Little Saint Anna and submitted himself to Meletios, the Elder of the Cell of the Honorable Forerunner, like metal to a coppersmith, becoming a useful vessel of the All-Holy Spirit. Later he submitted himself to the most venerable Abimelech. He richly received the divine gift of hymnography after he beheld a theophany brighter than the sun which showed him to be an equal to the hymnographers who shined of old. With his Elder Abimelech he settled in the Hut of the Dormition of the Theotokos, beyond the Cave of Saints Dionysios the Rhetor and Metrophanes. He took care to renovate this Hut and he built a most-solemn cave temple in the place of asceticism of the above-mentioned Venerables. An excellent theologian and defender of the Greek language, he called the ecclesiastical Greek language the "language of the angels", and composed numerous Sacred Services, Supplicatory Canons, Salutation Prayers, Encomia, Encomium Discourses and Synaxaria to cover liturgical needs. He slept the sleep of the righteous on the 7th of December in the year of our salvation 1991 and was buried next to the Hut of his ascetical battles awaiting the common resurrection of the dead. The compassionate Lord received his blessed soul and put it in a place of respite, where he celebrates with the Angels and is found worthy to be a most genuine friend of His, unceasingly interceding to Him on behalf of those who honor his most revered memory.

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