March 31, 2024

Gregory Palamas: Two Parallel Eras (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The feast of Saint Gregory Palamas, on the Second Sunday of Great Lent, celebrates a man who lived at a crucial time in history (1296-1359), which allows us to realize that his teaching is actually rather topical, since there are a good number of similarities with our own age. Naturally, his teaching isn’t his own invention, since he was expressing the teaching of the Orthodox Church in those turbulent times.

Historical Context

Precisely at that time, three terrible enemies appeared, who were eyeing the lands of the Roman Empire, and sought to alter its cultural life.

A Miracle of the Holy Elder Porphyrios on the Second Sunday of Great Lent

In the first week of Great Lent in 1992, two or three months after the Dormition of the Elder [Porphyrios], I fell ill with a severe cold. As I didn't pay attention and take special care, I got worse.

I had purulent sinusitis. Eyes and nose were running non-stop, the headache was unbearable and I could no longer touch my nose. It was the Second Sunday of Great Lent, of Saint Gregory Palamas, and I was at Saint Demetrios of Ampelokipoi.

At one moment I thought I was going to pass out. I then let out a loud inner cry:

Homily for the Second Sunday of Great Lent (St. Mardarije of Libertyville)

By St. Mardarije of Libertyville

(Delivered on March 14, 1910 at Saint Olga Orphanage in Kishinev.)

My dear children. I visited your wealthy and valuable library, I saw very many interesting and beneficial books on various topics and saw you often reading these fine tomes. But to my great sorrow and disappointment, I did not see the most important of all books. I looked throughout the library and could not find a single Bible. You are not to blame for this, nor are your teachers, it is the spirit of the time that is to blame, contemporary society. This wonderful book is very hard to find even in the most eminent homes. It is considered to be an old, boring book whose days have passed. Oh how cruelly are people mistaken! There is no book more valuable than the Bible. There was not and will not ever be another book which can replace the Bible.

March 30, 2024

Homily on Ancestors Saturday in the 2nd Week of Great Lent: About Prayer for the Dead

Homily on Ancestors Saturday* in the 2nd Week of Great Lent

About Prayer for the Dead

By Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov)

(Delivered in 1961)

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Beloved brothers and sisters, you did well to come to church today, to gather together to offer up your fervent prayers to the Throne of God for departed fathers, brothers, sisters and all our relatives, for all deceased Orthodox Christians. The duty of love for our neighbors obliges us to pray for the departed who have passed into eternity. Their fate is unknown to us, but we must certainly pray for them, because this is very good for them and this is of great benefit to us. By praying for the deceased, we thereby testify to our love for them, express compassion and mercy. And the Lord said that blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy (Matthew 5:7). Moreover, if our neighbor, for whom we pray, has pleased the Lord, then he himself already has boldness before the Lord and can offer his prayers before Him for us.

March 29, 2024

Three Homilies on the Visitation of the Mother of God to Elizabeth (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin
"And Zechariah entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby in her womb leaped; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:40–41).

The Most Holy Virgin Mary, soon after the angels told Her about the birth of the Son of God, went to the city of Judah to visit her relative Elizabeth, the wife of the righteous Zechariah. And this is what happened in Zechariah's house with Her arrival. When She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth, immediately the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped joyfully, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. You see, listeners, how from the presence and greeting of She who is full of grace the one welcoming was filled with God’s grace. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby in her womb leaped; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

March 28, 2024

Saint Gabriela the New Resource Page

The First Official Feast Day of Saint Gabriela (Papagiannis) the New Ascetic of Love

With feelings of spiritual joy, the local Church of Leros celebrated the memory of the Dormition of our Venerable Mother Gabriela of Constantinople, patron and benefactor of the island, for the first time since her recent canonization by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was in Leros that she reposed at the age of 95, on March 28, 1992

The Divine Services took place at the Monastery of the Panagia of the Castle of Leros, where on the evening of Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 5 p.m. the Great Festive High Priestly Vespers with Artoklasia, officiated by Metropolitan Paisios, was performed and was followed by Matins, which was officiated by Bishop Stephanos of Stratonikeia.

March 27, 2024

Questions and Answers on the Presanctified Liturgy - Part 1 (St. Symeon of Thessaloniki)

By St. Symeon, Archbishop of Thessaloniki
Question 55

From where comes the tradition of the Presanctified Liturgy? And why is it imperfect? And how is it that it is not performed during the other fasts? As some say, it was not handed down to us from the other fasts.


The Presanctified Liturgy has come to us from the successors of the apostles, as both ancient prayers and tradition testify. And we take it for certain that it owes its origin to the Apostles, having first been compiled for the sake of this fasting period, so that in the days of mourning we could mourn and not celebrate, as was said before by others. On the other hand, it was accepted by the Fathers so that we could receive grace and not be left completely without communion of the Mysteries of Christ, and through it the sacred propitiatory prayers. We perform this rite around the ninth hour, observing the rule of fasting, which prescribes eating once, in the evening. We are sanctified by it by looking with our eyes, together with our minds, on the Lord, who is held by the priests, and offered as propitiation for us and given to those worthy of His communion. At the same time, we must eagerly fall to the ground before Him, ask for forgiveness of our errors and remember all believers - that is, during the entrance, when the priest holds the Lord at his head, since these are already completed Mysteries and the true body and blood of Christ. If before they are perfected the gifts are worthy of honor, since they are a type and dedicated to God, then much more so after they are perfected at the Liturgy by divine grace through the ritual, and have truly become the body and blood of Christ.

Source: "Answers to Gabriel of Pentapolis". Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

The Icon of the Virgin Mary of Romania in Calabria

Though mostly Roman Catholic today, Calabria was historically Byzantine/Eastern Roman until the mid-11th century, when the Normans crushed the Saracens in southern Italy and the Papacy began to claim the territory and wiped out Eastern Roman culture and religious practice.

In the Norman cathedral of Tropea there is an icon of Virgin Mary of Romania, of Eastern Roman origin, dating from around 1330. The legend says that a boat coming from the Eastern Roman Empire (hence the name Virgin Mary of Romania, being the real name of the so-called Byzantine territories) was driven into the port of Tropea by a storm. After repairing the damage, the captain tried to leave, but the ship still stayed in the harbor. That same night, the Bishop of the city, Ambrogio Cordova, dreamed of the Virgin Mary asking him to stay in Tropea and becoming its Protectress. The dream repeated itself for several nights. Eventually the bishop summoned the senior officials and the citizens, and together they went to the port to take the icon of the Virgin Mary. As soon as the icon was brought to shore the ship departed. The Virgin Mary promised to defend the city from pestilence, earthquakes, and war, and many events that took place since then seem to attest to this.

March 26, 2024

On the Beauty of the Feast of the Annunciation (St. Chrysostomos of Smyrna)


By St. Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Smyrna

"Rejoice, you who are full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!... for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus" (Lk. 1:28, 31).

Though few, these words of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary are radiant and immortal, proclaiming the whole lofty and wonderful mystery, which is hidden beneath the present feast, which with great joy and gladness the Orthodox Christian world celebrates today.

These words contain the radiant and joyful announcement of the highest and most wonderous event, which has ever happened in the world since the world came into existence.

This event of the Annunciation is in the religious and moral world the center of a certain spiritual gravity for all creation; all the great world-historical events before it were nothing but a preparation for it, and all the subsequent global changes in the universe were nothing but the result of this. And for this reason, celebrating today this greatest and most wonderful historical event of the Annunciation, which is the radiant prelude of salvation and joy and happiness for the whole human race, let us study it at the same time with respect and admiration, mixed with affection and deep gratitude. And for this let us turn our thoughts backwards; let us return mentally and come to the first March 25th, which is nine months before the beginning of the new chronology from when Christ dawned upon earth. Let us go to Nazareth, and see what this saying is, because the Angel is evangelizing.

March 24, 2024

Homily One for the First Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of Orthodoxy (St. John of Kronstadt)

Homily for the Sunday of Orthodoxy

By St. John of Kronstadt

“Hereafter you will see the heavens open” (John 1:51).

I congratulate myself and many of you, beloved brothers and sisters, on the ineffable mercy of God, on the spiritual renewal received through the feat of abstinence, prayer, fasting and repentance, and especially through communion of the most pure and life-giving Mysteries of the body and blood of the Lord. In this short time we could experience for ourselves the benefits of fasting and prayer, not to mention the benefits of abstinence, confession and communion; if, of course, we sincerely took advantage of this time to our salvation and sincerely fulfilled the condition of fasting and abstinence; if you abstained from excess in food and drink, sincerely prayed, humbled yourself before God and your neighbors, showed mercy, recognized many of your sins and iniquities and deeply regretted them, having accepted the firm intention not to do them again, and, finally, sincerely confessed them and received their remission and absolution, and were honored to taste the life-giving bread.

March 23, 2024

Discourse on Communion of the Holy Mysteries (St. John of Kronstadt)

Discourse on Communion of the Holy Mysteries

By St. John of Kronstadt

"Receive the Body of Christ.
Taste of the fountain of immortality."

Before you, Christ's flock, in this cup is the divine body and divine blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and you have prepared by fasting and confession to receive these holy, immortal and life-giving Mysteries. In order to receive them worthily, the following is required of each of you: 
Firstly, childlike, simple-hearted faith that you are receiving, under the guise of bread and wine, the most pure body and the most pure blood of the Savior, that you receive the Savior Himself with your lips into your heart, become one flesh and blood with Him, one Spirit, as it is said: “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30); “Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56); and “cleave to the Lord; you are one spirit with the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:17); for in this portion of the body and blood of Christ God, which you receive, the whole Jesus Christ is found, as a soul in a body. 

March 22, 2024

Introduction to the Akathist Hymn

By Michael Koutsos, Philologist

The Akathist Hymn was established when the Avars besieged Constantinople in AD 626. However, the poem had been composed and set to music before this event.

The Akathist Hymn consists of the Kontakion (The Salutations) and a Canon. The Salutations are the only Kontakion that has such a wide response. This Kontakion has some peculiarities. It consists of troparia, which are called "oikoi" and form an acrostic, that is, each troparion/oikos begins with a letter of the alphabet, so there are 24 troparia/oikoi. Another peculiarity is that some troparia end with "Salutations" and others with the word "Allelouia". In the oikoi, or stanzas, with odd numbers (Gabriel, the Shepherds, Magi, etc.), they are addressed with Salutations, while in the oikoi, or stanzas, with even numbers, the coming of the Lord is recounted in the various stages of His life on earth. All troparia are not chanted but recited melodically.

Discourse on Repentance (St. John of Kronstadt)

Discourse on Repentance

By St. John of Kronstadt

“If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).

Today, beloved brethren, you will go to repent. As a pastor, I would like to instill in you what is required of someone who begins confession so that his confession is true, pleasing to God and soul-saving. Namely, what is required from the repentant is contrition for his sins, the intention to correct his life, faith in Christ and hope in His mercy.

And so, first of all, contrition for one’s sins is required. But this is something that we spiritual fathers very often do not see in our spiritual children.

March 21, 2024

Clean Thursday Resource Page

Homily for Thursday of the First Week of Great Lent at Great Compline: About the Fast and its Meaning

Homily for Thursday of the First Week of Great Lent at Great Compline

About Fasting and its Meaning

By Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov)

(Delivered in 1961)
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Lk. 12:32).

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ! Entering into the feat of the Holy Forty Day Fast, we must thank the Lord with all our hearts for the fact that He, the merciful One, who desires the salvation of all, has vouchsafed us this year to live until the holy days of Great Lent, and here, under the arches of this ancient temple, to pray and be edified with touching Lenten chants, and, testing ourselves, bring repentance to God for our sins. The Holy Church has now put on mourning attire and with slow, drawn-out bell ringing, and touching chants and prayers of the fast she call us to repentance, trying to awaken our sleeping conscience and arouse in us zeal for correction. Just as in the spring the whole nature of animals, birds and trees takes off its old cover and puts on a new beautiful robe, so on these holy days we must cleanse ourselves, put off the dirty rags of sin - by fasting, prayer and repentance - and clothe our souls with clean garments acceptable to the Lord.

March 20, 2024

Homily for Wednesday of the First Week of Great Lent (St. John of Kronstadt)

 Homily for Wednesday of the First Week of Great Lent

By St. John of Kronstadt

Now, beloved, we have been fasting for the fourth day and going to divine services for the fourth day. Is there any benefit for our soul from fasting? Each of us needs to ask ourselves such a question, and thereby pay attention to our heart: is there a holy change in it, does it cease to love and commit sin. Next, you need to give yourself an account: does the divine service have any effect on me, do I leave the church with a pious disposition, or does it pass by for me as something alien to me, so that I stand in the church with cold indifference, I pray only out of habit, I prostrate to the ground without heartfelt contrition for my sins. Certainly, beloved brethren, we must give ourselves an account of the holy work of fasting: is it going successfully, is the labor not wasted in vain. We give ourselves an account of mundane, often unimportant matters; why not look at this holy work with the eye of testing?

Homily for Wednesday of the First Week of Great Lent at Great Compline: About Fasting and Repentance

Homily for Wednesday of the First Week of Great Lent at Great Compline

About Fasting and Repentance

(cf.: 2 Cor. 6:2)

By Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov)

(Delivered in 1964)
"Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!"

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ! Entering into the feat of the Holy Forty Day Fast, we must thank the Lord with all our hearts for the fact that He, the merciful One, who desires the salvation of all, has vouchsafed us this year to live until the holy days of Great Lent, and here, under the arches of this ancient temple, to pray and be edified with touching Lenten chants, and, testing ourselves, bring repentance to God for our sins. The Holy Church has now put on mourning attire and with slow, drawn-out bell ringing, and touching chants and prayers of the fast she call us to repentance, trying to awaken our sleeping conscience and arouse in us zeal for correction. Just as in the spring the whole nature of animals, birds and trees takes off its old cover and puts on a new beautiful robe, so on these holy days we must cleanse ourselves, put off the dirty rags of sin - by fasting, prayer and repentance - and clothe our souls with clean garments acceptable to the Lord.

March 19, 2024

Clean Tuesday Resource Page


Homily for Tuesday of the First Week of Great Lent at Great Compline: About Fasting and Its Benefits

Homily for Tuesday of the First Week of Great Lent at Great Compline

About Fasting and Its Benefits

(cf.: 2 Cor. 6:2)

By Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov)

(Delivered in 1961)

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Beloved brothers and sisters, you and I have entered into the feat (podvig) of the Great Lent of salvation, which was established by the Church in imitation of the example of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who for the sake of our salvation fasted for forty days, without eating any food or taking any drink during this time. So for us, His followers, the Holy Orthodox Church strictly commands us to maintain holy abstinence, spiritual and physical, for forty days, starting from yesterday, called Clean Monday, until Friday of the sixth, or Palm, week. That is why this upcoming fast is called the Holy and Great Lent.

"As We Begin the Second Day of Saving Abstinence"

 Matins for the Tuesday of the First Week of Great Lent

Tone Pl. 1

Lord, as we begin the second day of saving abstinence, we cry to you: 
Pierce the hearts of your servants with compunction, 
and accept the prayers we offer you in fear. 
Allow us to complete the course of the fast without stumbling, 
granting us atonement and great mercy.

March 17, 2024

Cheesefare Sunday: The Weapons of a Christian (Fr. George Metallinos)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

"The race for the virtues has opened..."

1. We are at the end of the first part of the Triodion and from tomorrow we enter its second part, Great Lent. Our Church already taught us the virtue of humility, as a basic precondition of repentance, during the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. She assured us of the reality of salvation, when there is sincere repentance, on the Sunday of the Prodigal. And finally, she highlighted to us the reason for which we need to repent and return, that is, the event of the Universal Judgment, on Meatfare Sunday. Because Great Lent is a period of spiritual and physical preparation and introduction to the Passion of our Christ, the Church reminds us today of a serious and sad event, which became the reason for Christ to come into the world and suffer. It reminds us of man's expulsion from Paradise.

March 16, 2024

A Liturgical Custom of Skiathos for the Saturday of Cheesefare

By Konstantinos Koutoubas,
Theologian, Iconographer, Professor of Byzantine Music

A week after the common Saturday of Souls, the Triodion presents a complete Service for the Saturday of Cheesefare, during which "we commemorate all our Venerable God-bearing Fathers who shined as ascetics." All those who lived as monastics and ascetics and managed to attain the heavenly kingdom, after striving to receive not the crown of martyrdom, but the crown of patience and asceticism, are therefore remembered. All the Venerables, that is, those who became sanctified as ascetics and monastics.

The Service of the Triodion has a semi-celebratory character, with an Apolytikion and Kathismata in the Matins, a complete Canon (which, corresponding to the Saturday of Souls and in exhortation to mourning for the coming fast, also contains the mournful Second Ode), Praises, Doxastikon and a Great Doxology.

In the troparia of the Canon, all the great Ascetics of Christianity are mentioned alphabetically, from the first years of Asceticism to the last of the struggling Iconophiles and Hesychasts, all the authors of the Gerontikon, the Philokalia and the Neptic Texts, the Great Cenobiarchs and also Hermits. Venerable women of monasticism are also mentioned alphabetically, as well as the greatest and most representative Fathers of the Church.

March 15, 2024

The Miracle of Saint Shio Mgvime Commemorated on Cheesefare Thursday

Saint Shio Mgvime is commemorated by the Georgian Orthodox Church on May 9th, but on Cheesefare Thursday a miracle of his is also commemorated that would take place every year at his grave.

Venerable Shio was one of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers who came to Georgia as Christian missionaries. Saint Shio is said to have spent his last years as a hermit in a deep cave near Mtskheta, subsequently named Shiomghvime ("the Cave of Shio") after him. It was here that he was laid to rest.

March 14, 2024

Bishop Timothy of Assos on His Conversion to Orthodoxy and Mission in Latin America

"I am a local, I was born in Colombia, in a village on the border with Venezuela, and I come from an Indian tribe," says Bishop Timothy of Assos as he recounts his relationship with Orthodoxy, Greece and Cyprus.

"I encountered Orthodoxy when I was about 11 years old. I happened to see on television Archbishop Makarios from Cyprus, who as President had visited Colombia," he says. "I saw him," he continues, "and I asked a Western priest, 'Who is the one they are showing on TV now, who visited Colombia?' And he told me that he is an archbishop who is a heretic, but an Anglican priest said to him, “No, he is not a heretic. He is Orthodox. And Orthodoxy is the Mother Church, and if you want to be a Christian, become Orthodox and search Orthodoxy and don't easily believe what they tell you."

Bishop Timothy states that his first visit to Cyprus took place in 2010, when a strong earthquake hit Haiti, causing the death of thousands of people and massive material damage, and he had come to receive humanitarian aid from Cyprus.

Evagoras Pallikarides: The Last Hours of the Cypriot Revolutionary Hero

The story of Evagoras Pallikarides is related to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth of England in June 1953. In Cyprus, at that time, as in many other colonies under British rule, they had taken care to decorate all the cities for the great event.

15-year-old Evagoras Pallikarides was a student at the Paphos High School and disagreed when he saw that British flags were brought into his school. It was the time when the demand for the Union of Cyprus with Greece ("Enosis") stirred up the majority of Greek Cypriots.

The students refused to enter the High School, demanded that the flags be lowered, while Pallikarides headed towards the 28th of October Square. He climbed the mast and lowered the British flag to the applause of the crowd.

March 13, 2024

Jephthah and the Sacrifice of his Daughter

Jephthah meets his daughter. Codex 602, folio 434b. Monastery of Vatopaidi. 13th century. A rare Byzantine depiction of Jephthah's reception of his daughter. It is the moment after the battle, when Jephthah, accompanied by warriors, arrives home and meets his daughter outside his house while she is holding cymbals in her hands. Jephthah is depicted with a halo.

By Maria Skabardonis

The book of Judges is the seventh book of the Old Testament, it belongs to the so-called historical books and deals with the life and history of the Judges. The Judges were people to whom God entrusted the protection of the Israelite people when they turned away from Him.

Jephthah was one of the most notable and greatest Judges of Israel, and he is the 13th Judge in number. His story is described in the book of Judges chapter 11 verses 1–39.

This story has much in common with that of Iphigenia, whom Agamemnon's father was asked to sacrifice because it would appease the wrath of the goddess Artemis.

Jephthah came from Gilead, and while he had been cast out by his brothers for being the illegitimate son of a harlot, he later led the Israelites in battle against the Ammonites. He was particularly bold and brave, but his life was linked to a specific event: the sacrifice of his daughter, an event that many take advantage of to accuse the Old Testament of practicing human sacrifice. Let's look at it in detail.

Saint Ypomoni and the Taxi Driver

Saint Ypomoni, the mother of the last Roman Emperor who reposed on March 13th 1450 after living the last 25 years of her life as a nun, once appeared as a nun to a resident of Athens, who worked as a taxi driver. She signaled for the taxi to stop and pick her up, and asked to bring her to Loutraki, near Corinth.*

The taxi driver at his time had skin cancer on his hands and was in great despair. On the way the nun wearing a cowl with a red cross asked him: "Why are you melancholy?" He did not hesitate to confess the truth. Then she asked him if he wanted her to bless him with the sign of the cross so that he would be healed, and he accepted. Soon after this he got the sudden urge to sleep, and asked the nun for them to stop for a while, so that they would not be killed. They were near the toll booth and could easily find another taxi if she was in a hurry.

March 12, 2024

The First Chapel Dedicated to Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis is Consecrated

On the morning of Tuesday the 12th of March 2024, the first chapel dedicated to Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis the Hymnographer was consecrated on the grounds of the Monastery of Panagia Dobra in Beroea.

According to the ritual of consecration, Matins took place in the katholikon of the Monastery, and from there a procession took place with the relics of martyrs (and the right arm of Saint Gerasimos) to the chapel. The consecration was presided over by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Beroea, Naoussa and Campania, who was a spiritual child of Saint Gerasimos. Metropolitan Panteleimon, as the head of the monastic brotherhood and being the place where he resides, chose this monastery for the chapel, it being the 49th consecration of his pastorate. Then the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated with five other Hierarchs, and in the presence of a large crowd and local monastics, including some from Mount Athos, specifically from the Skete of Little Saint Anna where Saint Gerasimos lived as a monastic.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a memorial service was held for the 202nd anniversary of the Battle of Dobra (March 12, 1822) and the hanging of the abbot Gerasimos.

"I Kiss His Name Many Times": Saint Paisios the Athonite's Reverence for Righteous Phinehas

Speaking on the topic of righteous anger, Saint Paisios the Athonite said the following:

There is a righteous, divine indignation, and only this indignation is justifiable in man.

When Moses saw the people sacrificing to the golden calf, he got very angry and threw down the tablet of stone with the commandments given to him by God, and they broke (cf. Ex. 32:1-20).

Phinehas, the grandson of the high priest Aaron, had committed two murders and yet God established a covenant whereby the perpetual priesthood of Israel would derive from him and his descendants. When he saw the Israelite man Zimri sinning with the Midianite Cozbi before Moses and all the Israelites, Phinehas could not control himself; he rose and slew both of them, putting an end to God's anger. Had he not slain both of them, the wrath of God would have befallen all the people of Israel (cf. Num. 25:1-15). What a fearful thing!

March 10, 2024

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

On the Last Judgment

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on February 24, 1946)

For the third month now, a terrible trial has been going on in Nuremberg over villains whom the world has never seen before, a terrible trial for them, for they are awaiting the death penalty.

This death penalty is demanded by the conscience of all peoples, of all humanity, for the world is shocked, as it has never been shocked before, by atrocities that cannot be described in words.

Tens of millions of civilians were exterminated, not to mention the killed soldiers. In the Auschwitz camp alone, 5,121,000 people were exterminated.

March 9, 2024

Encomium to the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

By St. Ephraim the Syrian

It is time, beloved brethren, to turn our attention to athletic contests; it is time to tread the spiritual course; it is time to double the gains of the talents. For I said that there were a certain legion of Forty Martyrs, who lived in piety, who immediately from the beginning showed that their company would be famous and revered.

So I have gathered you here, to tell you about the Martyrs, a description of a prophetic image. That is, Moses, after fasting forty days, accepted God's law on Mount Sinai; but they, after sacrificing their bodies, equal in number to the forty days of fasting, enjoyed eternal life. And Moses, when he saw the people seized with rage, was enraged and broke the tablets on the mountain; but they, when they saw the demons seized with rage, kept their faith steadfast. Again for the second time the meek Moses took the tablets in his hands, and thus gave the law of God to all the Jews; but these Forty Martyrs, with a single cruciform seal, proclaimed Christ with themselves to all men.

March 6, 2024

The Love of the Heavenly Father (Elder Ephraim of Arizona)

By Elder Ephraim of Arizona
Our God is love and "he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." Any Christian who does not have the love of God in his heart does not have the life of Christ in his soul. This great work of God's philanthropy, for God to come down, for the Word of God to become man, to take flesh, to dwell among us, to draw near to us, was nothing but the infinite philanthropy of divine love. God's love is what protects us and takes care of us for everything. We humans sin and grieve God. We often disrespect, but His philanthropy is infinite and He forgives all. All of us, including me first, have grieved this great heart of God, which is called love for man. That is why we should be careful in our life, and then not to give Him the bitterness of sin again.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son described in the  Holy Gospel is the most perfect example possible of God the Father’s love for sinful man. We see the prodigal son, who represents every sinful person on the earth, asking his father for his entitled portion of the inheritance.

The Location Where the True Cross of Christ Was Found by Saint Helen

Descending 29 steps below the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, one comes to the Armenian Chapel of Saint Helen, which has a dome and an elaborate mosaic floor. Descending 13 more steps below this chapel, which is the deepest part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, we enter the Franciscan Chapel of the Finding of the Cross. In this 12th century chapel, there is a purple-white slab of marble with an engraved Cross  (that says "Jesus Christ Conquers") which belongs to the Greek Orthodox, and this spot marks the exact location where according to tradition the True Cross of Christ, together with the Crosses of the Robbers, the Crown of Thorns and the Sacred Nails were found in a miraculous manner by Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, on March 6, 326.

March 5, 2024

Reflection for the Monday of Meatfare Week (St. Theophan the Recluse)

Monday of Meatfare Week

(1 John 2:18–3:10; Mark 11:1–11)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

Yesterday the parable about the prodigal son invited us to return from dissipation to the good path. Now the holy Apostle John inspires us for this, giving assurance that if we do this, when the Lord appears, we will be like Him. What can compare with such a dignity?! I should think that upon hearing this, you would be filled with a desire to attain this for yourself. It is a good and most importantly needful thing! Do not delay undertaking that through which it is attained.

March 4, 2024

Seek Patience, Not Deliverance (St. Ephraim of Katounakia)

Saint Ephraim of Katounakia once said:

There is an Eldress, whose name I will not mention. She suffers from cancer, surgeries, this and that, and still while in prayer she saw the Panagia on her throne.

"Move forward you who are venerables," she said. So all the venerables moved to the front of the parade, where the Panagia was.

"Move forward you who are the great martyrs," she said.

Meanwhile the Eldress, who was an Abbess, just stood by.

Homily on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (St. Justin Popovich)

By St. Justin Popovich

Behold the Gospel which concerns the mind and body of each of us. It is the Gospel of loving-kindness. It is the Savior’s wonderful parable, in which he depicts the whole of our life. Mine, yours, that of every human being on the face of the earth. Today’s Gospel concerns all of us. All of us.

How marvelous we are! These divine treasures here on earth. Look at our body, the eye, the ear, the tongue. What amazing wealth. The eye. Is there anything more wondrous that we could possibly conceive in this world? And yet, this eye was created by the Lord, as was the soul and body. The soul, in fact, is entirely from heaven. What riches! The body. An amazing gem which has been given to you for eternity, not just for this fleeting life on earth. And the soul, also committed to eternity. Listen to what Saint Paul preaches today: "The body is for the Lord" (1 Cor. 6:13). The Lord made the human body for eternal life, for eternal righteousness and eternal love; both body and soul. All of these are gifts from God, sublime, great, abundant and - most importantly - immortal and eternal.

Saint Gerasimos of Jordan and the Resurrection of a Dead Monk

When he was still alive, Saint Gerasimos of Jordan resurrected a dead man. But how did this great and paradoxical miracle happen? Once a certain monk of his Lavra reposed and the Saint, who was then abbot, did not know about it. When the semantron for his funeral was struck, the Elder also went to the temple. When he saw the body he was sad, because he did not say farewell to him before he passed away. So he went near the coffin and said to the deceased:

"Get up, brother, let us say our farewells."

March 3, 2024

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

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on March 4, 1945)

To you, young shoots, to you, spring sprouts, to you, buds sprinkled with God's dew, my word now is directed to you. For the deeply touching Parable of the Prodigal Son, illuminated by the divine light of Christ’s love, applies first of all and most of all to you. In this parable, the Lord Jesus Christ showed us how often young people go astray, how often they follow the path of destruction. For this youngest son followed the hard path of destruction, who became bored in his father’s house, who wanted freedom, who wanted to arrange his life according to his own desire.

And he asked his father to give him his due share of the inheritance, and left him for a distant country. And there, in pursuit of pleasure, in pursuit of fun, he soon took the path of destruction, soon squandered his property, living with dissolute women, began to starve and began to herd pigs. Severely starving, he would have been glad to eat what the pigs were fed, but they didn’t give him that either. He sank as low as possible, reaching a bestial state, living in the company of pigs.

March 2, 2024

Saint Nicholas Planas - a short biography

By Archimandrite Alexandros Mostratos,
Preacher and Chancellor of the Metropolis of Paronaxia

The life and work of the holy Priest Nicholas Planas, a saint of our days, is the supreme expression of the true Christ-like life of every conscious believer and more so of the genuine and perfect Priest.

The beautiful, courageous and saint-bearing Naxos had the divine favor and blessing to be his birthplace. He was born in the year 1851. His parents, Captain John and Augustina, were pious and benevolent people, like all the islanders, and wealthy. They also had a commercial boat, which went from Naxos to Smyrna, Constantinople, and even to Alexandria in Egypt. Inside some of their estates they also had a small chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas Planas was sanctified from infancy. Most of the time as a child he was in this Sacred Temple and spent many hours there chanting what he knew and many times wearing, instead of a priestly phelonion, some kind of sheet, imitating the Priests. One day he chanted so rapturously that he caused the admiration of the passers-by.

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