Commemoration of the deliverance of the island of Zakynthos from the plague by Saint George the Great-Martyr (1689)
Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom
Finding of the Wonderworking Icon of Mother of God Evangelistria of Tinos (1823)
Saint Pelagia Ivanovna of Diveyevo, fool for Christ’s and the disciple of St. Seraphim of Sarov (1884)
Commemorated on January 30
In 1669 Cretan refugees came to the island of Zakynthos after Heraklion fell to the Turks, among whom was Ioannis Papadopoulos who brought with him an old icon of Saint George, which was placed inside the Church of Saint Demetrios of Kola. Sacrilegious thieves, however, stripped it of its silver trim and threw the icon in a trough on November 13, 1688.
According to the scholar and priest Nicholas Gavriilopoulos, two young men at dawn were going hunting, and on their way they came upon the icon in the trough. They ran back to the Church of Saint Demetrios and told the parish priest where they found it and how. The Protopriest and other priests from the island went to the spot of the discovery with candles and incense and brought it to Foros (Saint Mark Square), where an excommunication was read towards those who committed this sacrilege. Finally it was then transferred back to the church again.
Some days later, on November 24th, throughout the entire district a plague spread, which they considered a divine punishment for the sacrilege. For atonement the people resorted to fasting and prayer. By January 30, 1689 they were completely free of the plague. This was considered a miracle of Saint George, and thus the feast was established. A Service was written by Nicholas Gavriilopoulos himself, and it was printed in Venice in 1710. The state also ordered on February 7, 1689 that every year a procession was to take place on January 30th.
It was decided to build a church in honor of Saint George to house the miraculous icon. This Church of Saint George the Kamariotis of Koumouton, built by the nobleman Yakumo Komoutos on his land in memory of his parents, and which was near Saint Mark Square at the beginning of Mantzarou Road, bore the following inscription: “George, by this church in your city, we foreigners entrust to you our salvation.”
There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and
unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of
an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles
are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for
God’s Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were
incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. “Shall
their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Rom. 3:3).
Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and
mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, nor
our infirmity God’s omnipotence.
St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ
“Today, increased knowledge and trust in logic has, unfortunately, shaken our faith to its foundfations and filled our souls with question marks and doubts. This is why we don’t have miracles anymore, because a miracle cannot be explained logically, it can only be experienced. But faith in God will bring down divine power and overturn all human expectations. It will perform miracles, resurrect the dead and astonish science. From the outside, all things pertaining to the spiritual life seem upside down. Indeed, the mysteries of God will be impossible to know and will appear strange and contrary to nature as long as we don’t overturn our secular mindset and see everything with spiritual eyes. Those who believe that they can come to know God’s mysteries through mere scientific theory, without a spiritual life, resemble a fool who thinks he can look through a telescope and see Paradise.”
–Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain
(from pg. 244-255 of With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, Published by the Holy Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti, Greece)
About the confusion of those of little faith
by St Nikolai Velimirovich
“What sort of man is this Whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (St. Matthew 8:27).
In these words the apostles, not yet knowing the Lord Jesus and seeing how He calmed the turbulent sea and winds questioned: “What sort of man is this Whom even the winds and the sea obey?” This is He Who created the winds and the sea. Therefore, what kind of miracle is it that His own created things obey Him? Is not the axe an obedient tool in the hands of him who made it? The Lord created everything by His word, that is why all things submit to His word.
Brethren, “What sort of man is this?” Who is He? This is the same One Who, before that, raised the winds and quieted them and Who agitated the sea and subdued it. This is the same One Who also does that today . As a man, He stood before men and rebuked the animated wind and unbridled sea in order to dispel the confusion of men as though the winds and the sea are moved and calmed either by blind chance or by some evil power; to reveal the truth for ever that the wise and beneficial power of the Creator directs and commands all the elements according to His Providence.
The apostles questioned: “Who is He?” O, Holy Apostles, He is the sinless Son of God Whose Name you will spread throughout the whole world and for Whose Name you will be tortured and slain as lambs by wolves. Who are the wolves? The wolves are those who think that the wind moves on its own and that the sea agitates and calms itself on its own, either only of itself or of the devil. O, Holy Apostles, you who asked and who received a true reply and the whole truth you proclaimed to the whole world, pray for us so that we too may be enlightened by that truth.
O Lord, All-Wise and All-Powerful, calm the winds of sin and subdue the storm of our filthy and unworthy passions.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Zica, Serbia (+1956)- http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January27.htm
Troparion of St George the Great Martyr Tone 4
As the deliverer of captives and defender of the poor, healer of the infirm and champion of kings, victorious great martyr George intercede with Christ our God for our souls salvation.
Kontakion. of St George the Trophy-bearer Fourth Tone
Thou Who wast raised up
HAVING been cultivated well by the Lord God, * as the most honored cultivator of piety * thou hast now gathered sheaves of virtues for thyself; *for, as thou didst sow with tears, * thou dost reap with rejoicing; * with thy blood thou didst contest * and thou now hast received Christ. * And by thine intercessions, O Saint George, * thou grantest all the forgiveness of trespasses.
St. George the Great-martyr, the Trophy-bearer, the Victorious, the Wonderworker intercede for all of us and help us!