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Iconography and Hand painted icons


Love is the Kingdom… Such is the ‘wine to gladden the heart of man’ (Psalm 104.15). Blessed is he who drinks of this wine… St. Abba Isaac the Syrian

Ισαάκ Σύρος_ St. Isaac of Syria_ Св. Исаак Сирин_DSC_7570ΦΥΣSaint Isaac the Syrian, the Great Hesychast (6th century)
Ephraim the Syrian (373)
James the Ascetic, of Porphyreon (Porphyrianos) in Palestine.
Palladius the Hermit of Antioch, Wonderworker (4th century)
​ The holy Two Martyrs, a mother and her daughter.
Martyr
 Charita
Flavian, a deputy-prefect of Rome, martyred in Civita Vecchia in Italy under Diocletian (ca. 304)
George Ugryn the Martyr (1015), brother of Ephraim of Novotorzhok
Ephraim of Novotorzhok, Abbot and Wonderworker, founder of the Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery (Novotorzhok) (1053)
Ephraim of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Pereyaslavl (ca.1098)
​ Our righteous Father Theodosius of Totma.
Sumorin
Totma” Icon of the Mother of God (16th century)

Commemorated on January 28

Verses
As from a snare James left the flesh behind,
For by the flesh’s snares he was not caught.

Above all, love silence…”
Thirst after Jesus and He will satisfy you with His love
St. Abba Isaac the Syrian

Blessed Elder Ieronymos of Aegina wrote the following about the insight we can gain from Saint Isaac: “Isaac is the mirror. There you will behold yourself.”

“If anyone went to a psychiatric hospital and read to the patients Abba Isaac, all those who believed in God would get well, because they would recognize the deeper meaning of life.” St. Paisios of Mount Athos

St. Paisios of Mount Athos and Abba Isaac the Syrian, the Great Hesychast

Ισαάκ ο Σύρος_ St. Isaac of Syria_ Св. Исаак Сирин__4948487363One day, sitting at the bench outside of Stavronikita, the Elder was visiting with pilgrims, among whom was a high school teacher of theology. The theology teacher, repeating a popular Western error, claimed that Abba Isaac the Syrian was a Nestorian. Father Paisios tried to persuade him that Abba Isaac was not only Orthodox but also a saint, and that his Ascetical Homilies possess great grace and strength. But the Elder’s words were in vain: the theology teacher stubbornly insisted on his views. The Elder left for his hermitage, praying and so sad that he was in tears.
When he had come to a spot on the path near a large plane tree, something happened to him. These words, “something happened”, were the only description he gave us of the incident, not wanting to reveal the exact details. According to one testimony, he saw in a vision the choir of the holy fathers passing before him, and one of them, stopping, said to him, “I am Isaac the Syrian. I am completely Orthodox. The Nestorian heresy was indeed present in my region, but I fought against it.” We are not in a position to endorse or to reject the reliability of this witness. We know for certain only that the Elder experienced a supranatural occurence that confirmed with perfect clarity the holiness and total Orthodoxy of Abba Isaac.
Originally appeared in Elder Paisios of Mount Athos by Hieromonk Isaac p. 226, The Holy Monastery of Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian (2012).

Through divine revelation it was revealed to him that in fact St. Isaac was Orthodox and he wrote in his Menaion for January 28th the following words after the description of the feast of St. Ephraim the Syrian: “…and Isaac the Great Hesychast and much unjustly accused.”

In his book Ἐπιστολές (Letters) Saint Païsios writes: ‘Abba Isaac will help you greatly because he makes people understand the deeper meaning of life and if people believe in God, he helps them to dispel any complex, great or small, that they may have. Studying Abba Isaac even just a little alters the soul through the vitamins it provides’.
Writing about Papa-Tikhon in his book Αγιορείται Πατέρες και αγιορείτικα (Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters), Saint Païsios says: ‘One day he asked me what books I read and I answered “Abba Isaac”. “Goodness gracious me, there’s a great saint. Abba Isaac wouldn’t hurt a fly”. He said this in order to point out the great spiritual sensitivity of the Saint’.

***

Saint Isaac the Syrian

Άγιος Ισαάκ ο Σύρος_ St. Isaac of Syria_ Св. Исаак Сирин_Λεπουρα23334767“Be persecuted, but persecute not; Be crucified,but crucify not; Be wronged, but wrong not; Be slandered, but slander not. Have clemency, not zeal, with respect to evil. Lay hold of goodness, not legality. “

If a soul is feeble and lacks sufficient strength for enduring great temptations and therefore asks God not to be exposed to them, and God hears it — then know surely, that by whatever measure the soul lacks sufficient strength for great temptations, is the same measure it lacks sufficient strength to cope with big endowments. Because God does not grant big endowments without great temptations. God determines temptations commensurate to endowments.

The man who endures accusations against himself with humility has arrived at perfection, and he is marvelled at by the holy angels, for there is no other virtue so great and so hard to achieve.”

The path of God is a daily cross.

A man who is truly humble is not troubled when he is wronged and he says nothing to justify himself against the injustice, but he accepts slander as truth; he does not attempt to persuade men that he is calumniated, but he begs forgiveness.

Therefore one who lives in love receives from God the fruit of life. He breathes, even in this world, the air of resurrection… Love is the Kingdom… Such is the ‘wine to gladden the heart of man’ (Psalm 104.15). Blessed is he who drinks of this wine… the sick have drunk of it and become wise.

And what is a merciful heart?’ ‘It is the heart’s burning for the sake of the entire creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons, and for every created thing; and by the recollection and sight of them the eyes of a merciful man pour forth abundant tears. From the strong and vehement mercy which grips his heart and from his great compassion, his heart is humbled and he cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in creation. . . .’

Ισαάκ ο Σύρος_ St. Isaac of Syria_ Св. Исаак Сирин_15631497389_74dbe56d08_k“As a handful of sand thrown into the great sea, so are the sins of all flesh in comparison with the mercy of God. And just as a strongly flowing spring is not obstructed by a handful of dust, so the mercy of the Creator is not stemmed by the vices of His creatures.”

Blessed is the man who knows his own weakness,
The commandments of God are greater than all the treasures of the world,

The person who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God, and while yet in this world, even now breathes the air of the resurrection.

If you cannot be merciful, at least speak as though you are a sinner. If you are not a peacemaker, at least do not be a troublemaker. If you cannot be assiduous, at least in your thought be like a sluggard. If you are not victorious, do not exalt yourself over the vanquished. If you cannot close the mouth of a man who disparages his companion,m at least refrain from joining him in this.

In all respects belittle yourself before all men, and you will be raised above the princes of this age.

Εφραίμ ο Σύρος_St. Ephraim the Syrian_ΚΟΙΜΗΣΗ-bef0aa47a0648746Abba Isaac’s book is worth as much as an entire library of the fathers… Abba Isaac will help you greatly because he makes people understand the deeper meaning of life. Studying Abba Isaac even just a little alters the soul through the vitamins it provides’. St. Paisios of Mount Athos
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/abba-isaacs-book-is-worth-as-much-as-an-entire-library-of-the-fathers-abba-isaac-will-help-you-greatly-because-he-makes-people-understand-the-deeper-meaning-of-life-studying-abba-isaac-eve/

The mouth, which is continuously giving thanks, receives blessing from God. St. Abba Isaac the Syrian
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/01/27/the-mouth-which-is-continuously-giving-thanks-receives-blessing-from-god-st-abba-isaac-the-syrian/

The man who hungers and thirsts for God’s sake, God will make drunk with His good things. St. Isaac of Syria
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/the-man-who-hungers-and-thirsts-for-gods-sake-god-will-make-drunk-with-his-good-things-st-isaac-of-syria/

The ladder of the Kingdom is within you, hidden in your soul. St. Isaac the Syrian the Great Hesychast
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/the-ladder-of-the-kingdom-is-within-you-hidden-in-your-soul-st-isaac-the-syrian-the-great-hesychast/

The pains of Love… Saint Isaac the Syrian
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/5686/

Ισαάκ ο Σύρος_ St. Isaac of Syria_ Св. Исаак Сирин_A-67-St-Isaac-Above-allTroparion, in Tone V:

Illumined by rays of the virtues, O God-bearer Isaac, in spirit thou wast shown to be an all-radiant beacon of the life which is in Christ; and by thy divinely inspired teachings, O father, thou dost guide safely to the way of salvation those who bless thee as a godly servant of Christ. (Twice)

Apolytikion of Isaac the Syrian in the Plagal of the First Tone

He that thundered on Sinai with saving laws for man hath also given thy writings as guides in prayer unto monks, O revealer of unfathomable mysteries; for having gone up in the mount of the vision of the Lord, thou wast shown the many mansions. Wherefore, O God-bearing Isaac, entreat the Saviour for all praising thee.

Aposticha stichera, in Tone V:
Spec. Mel.: “Rejoice …”:

Rejoice, O sacred Isaac, emulator of the angels in thy manner of life! For, undertaking their way of life, with understanding thou didst please God in righteousness. Wherefore, thou didst suppress the uprisings of the passions and didst acquire the radiance of dispassion, wherewith thou didst shine forth as a heavenly luminary. For this cause we bless thee as a divine teacher of the way of Christ and a most excellent judge of the contest, who asketh for all cleansing, salvation and mercy divine.

Stichos: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Rejoice, O sacred Isaac, divinely wise preacher of hesychia! For, exercising thyself in asceticism, thou didst cleanse thyself of all dross; wherefore, thou didst avoid all earthly stumbling-blocks, and wast shown to be most exalted in heart, ineffably receiving the immaterial light, for in body thou didst pass through the darkness which surpasseth light, and in purity didst with a perfect mind hold converse with the Creator. Intercede with Him, O father, that we also may be given the light of grace divine.

Stichos: Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord; in His commandments
shall he greatly delight.

Rejoice, O sacred Isaac, instructor and paragon of monastics, model of abstinence and noetic prayer, and of every form of life sublime! For having done as our Savior hath said, O venerable one, thou didst instruct men well in purity, in modesty and perfection of life. Wherefore, do thou ever send down upon us strength from on high, O father, that we may be well-pleasing unto our God, that we may at last inherit the kingdom of Christ.

Kontakion, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “To thee, the champion leader …”

By thine angelic way of life thou wast shown to be a divine instrument of
the Comforter, and a model for monastics in all things, O blessed Isaac. As the habitation of grace divine, ask grace and heavenly light for us who cry out to thee: Rejoice, O divinely wise father!

Ikos: An angel in ascetic labor wast thou shown to be in the flesh, O Godbearing Isaac, and by thine angelic voice hast thou set before us the words of salvation, whereby guided to a higher life, we cry out to thee: Rejoice, star out of Syria; rejoice, lamp of stillness! Rejoice, thou who art more sublime than earthly thoughts; rejoice, partaker of heavenly enlightenment! Rejoice, divinely inscribed pillar of hesychasts; rejoice, mouth flowing with the honey of spiritual teachings! Rejoice, for thou wast filled with God-given wisdom; rejoice, for thou deliverest from the evil of the passions! Rejoice, most fervent of the servants of Christ; rejoice, our godly teacher! Rejoice, wise God-bearer Isaac; rejoice, our instructor, guided by God! Rejoice, O divinely wise father!

Tone VIII:
Spec. Mel.: “O all-glorious wonder …”:

O divinely eloquent father Isaac, denying thyself, by great inner stillness
thou didst furnish thy mind with wings to soar aloft toward heavenly love, and by divine visions and deeds thou dost lead us toward perfection; wherefore, we honor thee as a wise teacher and guide, celebrating thy holy memory.

A Prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ

Lord Christ our God, Who hast healed my passions through Thy Passion, and hast cured my wounds through Thy wounds, grant me who have sinned greatly against Thee tears of compunction. Transform my body with the fragrance of Thy life-giving Body, and sweeten my soul with Thy Holy Blood from the bitterness with which the foe has fed me.

Lift up my downward looking mind to Thee, and take it out of the pit of perdition, for I have no repentance, I have no compunction, I have no consoling tears, which uplift children to their heritage. My mind has been darkened through earthly passions, I cannot look up to Thee in pain. I cannot warm myself with tears of love for Thee.

But, O Lord Jesus Christ, Treasury of good gifts, give me thorough repentance and a diligent heart to seek Thee; grant me Thy grace, and renew in me the lineaments of Thy image. I have forsaken Thee – do not forsake me! Come out to seek me; lead me up to Thy pasturage and number me among the lambs of Thy chosen flock. Nourish me with them on the grass of Thy Holy Mysteries, by the prayers of Thy Most Pure Mother and all Thy saints. Amen.

Through the prayers of St Isaac the Syrian, of all the ascetic Fathers and all the saints, O Lord of compassion and hope, have mercy on us and save us!

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I dreamed of Saint Nina standing before the Throne of God on her knees and prays to the Lord to pity and help the suffering people of the besieged city to defeat the enemy and foe. And at the same time, large, grape-sized tears rolled from Her eyes. Saint Zenobius of Tetritskaro of Georgia

Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος_ св вмч Георгий победоносец_St. George the Trophy-bearer_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon_1280 (1)Saint Zenobius, Metropolitan of Tetritskaro. Newly glorified saint Metropolitan Zinovy ​​(Mazhuga), in schema Seraphim

In 1922 the Glinsk Hermitage was closed. Fr. Zinovy ​​took with him an antimension, at which he later served the Liturgy under open air… by the Providence of God came to Georgia, and settled in the monastery of the Assumption of the Mother of God, where he was soon ordained first to a hierodeacon, then to a hieromonk.
Fr. Zinovy ​​served in the church of St. Nicholas in the city of Sukhumi. When the Bolsheviks began to pester him here with their mockery, then Fr. Zinovy ​​with other monks took refuge in the mountains of Abkhazia, where many ascetics were fleeing at that time. This is how an illegal monastery was formed.

***

 He received ordination as a hieromonk in the Dranda monastery, which was not closed at that time, then he lived in the desert outside Sukhumi, near the Greek village of Georgievka, and acquired great love and respect local residents… I will step aside a little to tell you about one episode.

In the 70s, this Glinsky monk, at that time already a metropolitan, Zinovy, came from Tbilisi to Sukhumi for several days. The residents of Georgievka became aware of his arrival. Some of the old people knew him personally, while others heard about him from stories. They came to Vladyka Zinovy ​​and asked him to visit Georgievka. Vladyka Zinovy ​​agreed. On the occasion of his arrival, a holiday was organized in the village. Tables and benches for meals were taken out into the street. The Greeks brought their children to him to bless them. Vladyka Zinovy ​​visited the place where his wilderness used to be. He recalled that for some time he lived in a forest in a hut, and once he even had to spend the night in a hollow huge tree… There was such a case. Once the chairman of the village council Georgievka summoned the monk Zinovy ​​and said: “An order has been sent to me from the center to arrest you.” He replied: “I am not registered in the village, so you are not responsible for my location.” The chairman said, “I know about this. And called you to warn you. They’ll probably come for you tonight. Now do as you like. But remember that I didn’t tell you anything. ” I had to hide. Zinovy ​​said that they were looking for him, alone Greek family especially close to him. The father of this family decided to take him to a secluded place in a deep forest, where he would have to hide for several weeks, until the danger passed. Usually arrests were carried out by campaigns: recruited according to plan a certain number people, and then there was a pause until the next campaign, or rather, the hunt for people like animals. The monk Zinovy ​​quickly got ready. This man helped him carry warm clothes, felt and other necessary things for several miles. He left Zenovius alone and returned to the village, promising to visit him the next day. Spend the night in the forest in the mountains, even in summer time cold. For a long time Zinovy ​​was looking for a place where he could arrange an overnight stay. Dusk fell: he got tired, sat down by big oak and decided to rest, but from the excitement and hardships of the long journey he plunged into a deep sleep, similar to unconsciousness. Suddenly he hears that his name is being called. He wakes up and sees: it is already day, next to him is the son of a Greek who accompanied him into the forest, pale with fear. “God saved you,” the young man said, “you fell asleep near the bear’s den, look, here are fresh tracks. The beast went around the tree where you slept several times; how he didn’t pounce on you, what frightened him – I don’t know. Saint George must have helped you. “ (In this village there was a church of St. George, and the village itself was called Georgievka in honor of the holy great martyr.)

“A few hours later,” Vladyka Zinovy ​​said, “my Greek master came with his relatives. They made me a hut of twigs and a few planks, where I could sleep and hide from the weather. Secretly, they took turns bringing me food. I had nothing but a rosary, and I walked through the forest all day and read the Jesus Prayer. Finally I was told that I could return. These people risked not only their position, but also their lives: they were threatened with imprisonment and exile if the authorities knew that they were hiding a monk who was hiding from arrest. “

In general, Vladyka Zinovy ​​was a wonderful person in all respects. As a seventeen-year-old youth, he entered the Glinsk Hermitage, where he performed various obediences, including in a tailor’s workshop. This craft came in handy for him later. He sewed clothes for the poor residents of Georgievka for free, and they remembered this. One Greek kept a cloak that the monk Zinovy ​​sewed for his father. But people loved him primarily for his impeccable monastic life. He was the doer of the unceasing Jesus Prayer, and a special inner light illuminated his face.

Vladyka was repeatedly arrested and exiled, but even there, as if on the threshold of hell, with his humility and patience, he won the respect of both criminals and prison guards, investigators and judges, who for the most part were at that time simply sadists, enjoying the pain of their victims and their bestial power. Vladyka Zinovy ​​said that in exile he received permission to retire to the forest for prayer, which was unheard of trust in a prisoner, since going to the forest was considered an escape and a person who would have decided on such a thing without permission could be killed by the guards on the spot. Sundays and holidays he used this permission: he went to the shore of a small deserted lake and prayed. Vladyka said that once, on the feast of the Mother of God, he received there a certain sign of his liberation, but did not tell what that sign was.

Vladyka had a special prayer zeal for the Mother of God. To the question of one hieromonk about what should be done in order to remain faithful to Christ and endure all the trials if bloody persecutions against the Church begin again, the Metropolitan replied: “Pray to the Mother of God and read“ Mother of God, Rejoice ”as often as possible. Whoever reads this prayer keeps him Holy Mother of God…

Vladyka Zinovy ​​was an ascetic in the world. Prayer Rule for the most part he performed at night, and his day from morning to evening belonged to the temple and people. Vladyka’s main prayer activity was, as mentioned above, the inner Jesus Prayer, which was not interrupted by him even during conversations.

Among the saints, the late Metropolitan especially loved Saint Nicholas and advised in all sorrows and needs to turn to him, and if possible, read the akathist to this great miracle worker as often as possible. He also loved to pray to the Martyr John the Warrior and the Monk Seraphim of Sarov. V last years In his life he received a secret monastic tonsure with the name Seraphim. About him, like about Venerable Seraphim, one can say in the words of the troparion: “From the youth of Christ you have loved.”

When, during Vladyka Zinovy’s lifetime, I asked him about the Jesus Prayer, he said that one should not strive for any high degrees and for a special concentration of thought, but in simplicity of heart one should say a prayer to the living God, Who is close to us as our soul … He advised to use the moments of loneliness and drive away thoughts with the Jesus Prayer. Vladyka considered such an activity above reading books. He repeated that the Jesus Prayer is grafted into a humble heart. Vladyka Zinovy ​​told his loved ones that he acquired the Jesus Prayer in his youth, when he lived in the desert, and tried to preserve it in the world. Before the episcopal consecration, Vladyka sometimes recalled his monastic obedience: he would sew a cassock, then he would make a rosary out of stones. Through the prayers of the Mother of God, the gates of prisons and camps were opened in front of him more than once, from which corpses were usually taken out. And now we believe that also through the prayers of the Mother of God and the Monk Seraphim, he will receive true freedom and eternal joy in Heaven.

In Tbilisi, in the church of St. Alexander Nevsky, Metropolitan Zinovy ​​sleeps in eternal sleep.
He loved his second homeland very much and was a worthy member of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Zinovy ​​tonsured Irakli Shiolashvili into monasticism and predicted to him that he would go down in the history of Georgia as Patriarch Ilya II. Fr. Zinovy ​​loved Patriarch Ilya II very much. Before his death, he said about. Vitaly (Sidorenko) and Metropolitan Seraphime: “Your confessor is Patriarch Ilya. He is my spirit son and good man… Be with him. “
Fr. Zinovy ​​had the gift of spiritual discernment, clairvoyance and continuous Jesus prayer. 

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_ Saint Nina_ წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_hucAexQ08V67sWVL2cIvXzQ==Fr. Zinovy, meekly accepting sorrows and illnesses, taught the flock by personal example to see the will of God in everything.

Vladyka Zinovy ​​devoted his entire life to serving the Lord and consoling the suffering. During the siege of Leningrad, he, like many, fervently prayed for the salvation of the besieged city and was rewarded with a vision, which he later recalled: “At the same time in the morning I also dreamed in a subtle dream of Saint Nina standing before the Throne of God on her knees and prays to the Lord to pity and help the suffering people of the besieged city to defeat the enemy and foe. And at the same time, large, grape-sized tears rolled from Her eyes. I interpreted it in such a way that Mother of God gave obedience to Saint Nina to be the warrant of this besieged city. “
The Most Holy Theotokos herself also appeared to Vladyka Zinovy. One day She healed him while he was dying. After that, he survived all those doctors who then predicted his apparent death.

Saint Father Seraphim, pray to God for us!

Troparion of St. Nina, Tone 4

O handmaid of the Word of God, who in preaching equaled the first-called Apostle Andrew, and emulated the other Apostles, enlightener of Iberia and reed-pipe of the Holy Spirit, holy Nina, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Kontakion, Tone II

Come ye all, and let us hymn today the all-praised Nina, the preacher of the Word of God, the equal of the apostles, who was chosen by Christ, the wise evangelist who has led the people of Kartalinia to the path of life and truth, the disciple of the Mother of God, our fervent helper and tireless guardian.

Troparion of the saint, in Tone IV:

O holy Nina, equal of the apostles, minister of the word of God, who emulated the first-called Andrew and the other apostles in apostolic preaching, enlightener of Iberia and harp of the Holy Spirit: entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

in Tone IV:
Spec. Mel.: “As one valiant among the martyrs …”:

O blessed Nina, * handmaid of Christ God, the Redeemer of all, * O instructress of Iberia, mighty in faith, * who sprang forth blamelessly, * with gladness thou didst hasten after Him, * didst preach the true God to the people, * and didst instruct them * to renounce their inanimate idols, * showing them the path of life. (Twice)

Holding in her hand * a sign of miracles, * a precious cross fashioned of vine-branches, * the blessed and holy Nina * wrought many wonders by its power * in the city of Maskheta. * Wherefore, as many as accepted her preaching * were healed of their sickness * and rendered glory to God.

Glory …, in Tone II:

Come, all ye faithful, let us praise the harp of the Holy Spirit, and let us bless the instructress of piety, the healer of our souls and bodies. With wreaths of discourse let us crown the preacher and evangelist, the equal of the apostles, the radiant beacon of Iberia, the clarion of divine sound, the godly-minded Nina, the all-praised herald of the all-pure Mother of God; and let us cry out to her thus: Rejoice, unblemished turtle-dove and pure dove! Rejoice, instructress of the knowledge of God! Rejoice, fellow laborer with the Apostles Paul and Andrew! Rejoice, enlightenment of Iberia and glory of all the world!


Saint Xenia the Fool for Christ’s sake, of St Petersburg, To tell a person ‘I love you’ is tantamount to saying ‘You shall never die’

Ξένη ἡ διὰ Χριστὸν Σαλή_St. Xenia of Petersburg_ Святая Ксения Петербургская_R3mBgErjvzISynaxarion.
On January 24 we commemorate our holy mother Xenia and her two maid servants.
On this day we also commemorate Our righteous Mother, Blessed Xenia, the Fool for Christ’s sake and Wonderworker of Saint Petersburg.
On this day we also commemorate the holy martyrs Paul, Pausirius, and Theodotion of Egypt who were siblings.
On this day we also commemorate the holy hieromartyr Babylas of Sicily, and Timothy and Agapius his disciples.
On this day we also commemorate righteous Father Macedonius of Syria.
On this day was the holy Righteous Martyr Anastasius of Persia, the recovery of whose sacred relics we commemorate.
On this day we also commemorate the holy martyrs Hermogenes and Menas; our devout father Filo, bishop of Carpasia in Cyprus; and our devout father Philip the priest; also the holy martyr Barsimus of Syria and his two brethren.
On this day St. Helladios the public clerk died the sword.
On this day the righteous St. Zosimas reposed in peace.
On this day we also commemorate the holy Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John, near the Taurus.
We also commemorate our righteous father Dionysius of Olympus.
We also commemorate our righteous father Neophytus the Recluse who lived as an ascetic on Cyprus.
The holy Hieromartyr Felician, Bishop of Foligno in Umbria.
Our righteous Father Cadoc of Llancarfan in Wales.
Our Father among the Saints Gerasimus, Bishop of Perm.
The holy Martyr John of Kazan.
The holy New Hieromartyr Anatolius, Archbishop of Irkutsk.

Saint Xenia the Fool for Christ’s sake, of St Petersburg

ΞΕΝΗ ΠΕΤΡΟΥΠΟΛΗς-Ξένη-Ксении Блаженной-St._Xenia_of_Saint_Petersburg-c66ea1fb0ab5320db8329c0f37d6aca8The only record of “vital statistics” which has been left us concerning Blessed Xenia is the epitaph on her gravestone: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT. HERE RESTS THE BODY OF THE SERVANT OF GOD, XENIA GRIGORIEVNA, WIFE OF THE IMPERIAL CHORISTER, COLONEL ANDREI THEODOROVICH PETROV. WIDOWED AT THE AGE OF 26, A PILGRIM FOR 45 YEARS, SHE LIVED A TOTAL OF 71 YEARS. SHE WAS KNOWN BY THE NAME ANDREI THEODOROVICH. MAY WHOEVER KNEW ME PRAY FOR MY SOUL THAT HIS OWN MAY BE SAVED. AMEN.

Who wrote it, no one knows, but this is all we know about the early life of Blessed Xenia: only that she lived during the reigns of the Empresses Elizabeth Petrovna and Catherine II and that she was married to the imperial chorister, Col. Andrei Theodorovich Petrov. From this latter fact we may assume that she was of the lesser nobility.

Presumably, in her early years, she led an ordinary, though comfortable life, performing no services that merited recording or recognition. It would seem that she was happily married and completely devoted to her husband who was, perhaps, a bit worldly. He was still young and in good health when he died suddenly one night at a drinking party.

The unexpected death of her beloved husband completely shattered Xenia Grigorievna and her personal world. She was twenty-six years old, childless and her husband to whom she was passionately devoted had suddenly died without the benefit of the Holy Mysteries. The distraught widow looked around herself, at all her possessions, at her inane little world and suddenly began to realize the vanity and transitory nature of all earthly joys and treasures. She came to realize that there is true value only in heavenly treasures and real joy in Christ.

To the utter amazement of her friends and relatives, Xenia Grigorievna began to give away literally all that she possessed. Her money and personal belongings she gave to the poor and she even gave away her house to her dear friend Paraskeva Antonova.

Finally, her relatives decided that she had taken complete leave of her senses and they petitioned the trustees of her late husband’s estate to prevent Xenia from disposing of her wealth, on the grounds that she was mentally unbalanced due to her husband’s death. The trustees called Xenia in and, after a long and careful examination, ruled that she was perfectly sound of mind and had every right to dispose of her property as she pleased.

People preoccupied with worldly matters would naturally assume that anyone who gave away his wealth must be insane. They were incapable of seeing that Xenia had undergone a complete rebirth; she was changed from a worldly woman into a spiritual being.

Having realized that there can be no true happiness on earth and that worldly possessions are only a hindrance to the attaining of true joy in God, and having, therefore, relieved herself of all such hindrances, Xenia suddenly vanished from St. Petersburg for eight years. It is said that during these years she lived at some hermitage with a sisterhood of holy ascetics, learning about prayer and the spiritual life from an elder. It was during this time that she was called to the highest feat of spiritual perfection, that of being a fool for Christ’s sake.

Ξένη ἡ διὰ Χριστὸν Σαλή_St. Xenia of Petersburg_ Святая Ксения Петербургская_a.prostev._sv._ksenii_peterburgskoj2To this end, she returned to St. Petersburg, clothed herself in one of her late husband’s old uniforms and linens and thereafter refused to respond the name of Xenia Grigorievna, answering instead only to the name of her late husband, Andrei Feodorovich. It was as if she, in her deep devotion to her husband, had hoped in some way to take upon herself the burden of his unrepented sins and of his unfortunate demise without the Holy Mysteries. Sorrowing for her own sins and for his, she left her home and began her long pilgrimage of wandering through the streets of the poorer district of St. Petersburg known as the Petersburg Borough (Peterburgskaya Storona). She was most often to be found in the vicinity of the parish of Saint Matthias where the poorest people lived in shabby huts.

At first, the people of the Borough thought that this strangely dressed, scarcely shod woman was merely a simple minded beggar, and evil people, especially the street urchins, would often persecute and laugh at her. With complete meekness, however, she kept before her the image of the guiltless Great Sufferer, Christ Jesus, who, without a murmur, heard all accusations, bore all persecutions, suffered terrible torture and crucifixion. Because of His example, the Blessed One strove to bear her hardships meekly and in silence, forgiving offenses in accordance with the last earthly prayer of Jesus, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Only once did the people of the Petersburg Borough see her in anger. The street boys, seeing the ragged old woman, began as usual to laugh at and torment her. The Blessed One ordinarily bore all this without murmur. On this occasion, however, the boys did not content themselves with verbal abuse, but seeing that she did not take notice of their mocking, they began to throw mud and rocks at her. At last they exhausted even the patience of Blessed Xenia and she flew at them, waving her cane in the air. The residents of the Borough were so startled at seeing the Blessed One in such anger that they took immediate steps to prevent any further offenses toward her.
As our Lord Jesus Christ had said, “A candle is not bought to be hidden under a basket… but to be placed on a candle stand.”
So it was with God pleasing Xenia. Gradually, people began to realize that Xenia was no mere beggar but someone much more. They began to invite her into their homes and offer her warm clothing for the severe Petersburg winters as well as alms. She would never accept the clothing and took only the small copper pennies, which were called the king on horseback because there was a horseman (actually, St.George) struck on them.

She would distribute these copper pennies to the poor, at times, apparently, with some prophecy. On one such occasion Xenia met a devout woman on the street. Handing her a five kopeck coin, she said, “Take this five piece, here is the king on horseback; it will be extinguished.” The woman accepted the copper five piece and went on her way pondering the meaning of the Blessed One’s words. No sooner had she entered the street where she lived than she saw that her house was on fire. Running toward her home, she arrived just as the flames were being quenched. Then she realized that the Blessed One had been foretelling this with her strange words.

Exactly when Xenia began to manifest the gift of clairvoyance is not known to us, but it was quite certain that God did grant her this gift and that, with it, she was able to witness for Him and aid truly pious people near her. The gift of fore-vision which God grants to certain of His servants has many effects. It often serves to convince weak believers and strengthen them on the path of salvation; it can even lead sceptics to ponder God and smetimes, as a result, lead to salvation. With it sinners are chastised and set on the correct path once again and, for the truly pious, seeing this gift manifested in God’s servants gives joy and comfort to their souls and is often to make smooth certain events in their lives. It is not an idle gift….

Ξένη ἡ διὰ Χριστὸν Σαλή_St. Xenia of Petersburg_ Святая Ксения Петербургскаяtumblr_n7vl94XwzG1qmvtcro1_1280Seeing in Xenia this gift of clairvoyance and her meek and humble way of life, people began to realize that she was a true fool for Christ’s sake. Many residents of the Borough were sincerely happy to receive her in their homes and it was noticed that some sort of blessed peace and happiness always settled over any home that received her with sincerity. Mothers found that if the Blessed One fondled or rocked an ill child in its cradle, the child would always become well. So parents would hurry to Blessed Xenia with their children whenever she approached, convinced that if she blessed them, or even patted them on the head, they would remain healthy.

It is said that when shopkeepers and merchants saw the Blessed 0ne approaching, they would rush out of their shops to meet her, offering her a gift of some piece of merchandise. If she accepted the gift, or even just blessed it with her touch, that merchant would have excellent business the whole day. Cabmen would always try to drive Xenia somewhere, if only for a few yards, or they would beg her just to sit down in their carriage for a moment. Whichever cab she entered would do an excellent business that day.

….”It was necessary, — says one writer, — for her to possess either some super human power or to carry within herself such a strong spiritual fire, such a deep, undoubting faith with which the impossible becomes possible. When one considers God’s great saints, however, who performed such wondrous miracles by their faith, wonders incomprehensible to the human mind, we cannot consider the Blessed One’s ascetic feats as unprecedented or impossible for a person in the flesh. Xenia truly bore that faith with which all things are possible. While still living in her body, her soul always soared above this world, dwelling in a living, direct communion with God.”
http://orthochristian.com/90400.html

%ce%be%ce%ad%ce%bd%ce%b7-%e1%bc%a1-%ce%b4%ce%b9%e1%bd%b0-%cf%87%cf%81%ce%b9%cf%83%cf%84%e1%bd%b8%ce%bd-%cf%83%ce%b1%ce%bb%ce%ae_st-xenia-of-petersburg_-%d1%81%d0%b2%d1%8f%d1%82%d0%b0%d1%8f-%d0%baSt Xenia lived about forty-five years after the death of her husband, and departed to the Lord at the age of seventy-one. The exact date and circumstances of her death are not known, but it probably took place at the end of the eighteenth century. She was buried in the Smolensk cemetery.
By the 1820s, people flocked to her grave to pray for her soul, and to ask her to intercede with God for them. So many visitors took earth from her grave that it had to be replaced every year. Later, a chapel was built over her grave.
Those who turn to St Xenia in prayer receive healing from illness, and deliverance from their afflictions. She is also known for helping people who seek jobs.
https://oca.org/saints/lives/2013/01/24/100297-blessed-xenia-of-st-petersburg

***

“Whoever will not love his enemies cannot know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies in such way that we pity their souls as if they were out own children” (St. Silouan the Athonite).

***

St. Nikolai Velimirovic

%ce%be%ce%ad%ce%bd%ce%b7-%e1%bc%a1-%ce%b4%ce%b9%e1%bd%b0-%cf%87%cf%81%ce%b9%cf%83%cf%84%e1%bd%b8%ce%bd-%cf%83%ce%b1%ce%bb%ce%ae_st-xenia-of-petersburg_-%d1%81%d0%b2%d1%8f%d1%82%d0%b0%d1%8f-%d0%baTo take another’s sin upon one’s self, that is one form of martyrdom and the sign of one’s overwhelming love for one’s fellow man. As death is the consequence of sin, to take another’s sin on one’s self means to add to your own death still another death, “And sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” (St. James 1:15). However, God rewards with resurrection those who, out of love, take another’ s death upon themselves. There are many examples how the saints took upon themselves the sins of their fellow men. Thus, it is said of St. Ammon: a brother fell into sin and came to Ammon and said to him that because of the sin he committed, he must leave the monastery and return to the world. Ammon said to the brother that he will take his sin upon himself and counseled the brother to remain in the monastery. The brother remained in the monastery and the elder Ammon proceeded to offer repentance and prayers to God. After a short time, the elder Ammon received a revelation from God that that sin is forgiven because of his love for the brother. When St. Macarius, St. Simeon the “fool for Christ”, St. Theodora and others were accused of promiscuity, they did not defend themselves but, taking upon themselves the sin of others, received the weighty punishment for sin and patiently endured all until God revealed their innocence to men.
The Prologue of Ohrid by St. Nikolai Velimirovic
https://prologue.orthodox.cn/August9.htm

***

for love is strong as death; (Song of Songs 8: 6 )
Anthony Bloom of Sourozh

%ce%be%ce%ad%ce%bd%ce%b7-%e1%bc%a1-%ce%b4%ce%b9%e1%bd%b0-%cf%87%cf%81%ce%b9%cf%83%cf%84%e1%bd%b8%ce%bd-%cf%83%ce%b1%ce%bb%ce%ae_st-xenia-of-petersburg_-%d1%81%d0%b2%d1%8f%d1%82%d0%b0%d1%8f-%d0%baThe meaning of love is the meaning of life…
Someone who is possessed by love is a man who has a plenitude of life in himself, in whom the sense of life, the power of life is so full, so great, that life is sure of itself. And this generates joy, courage, enthusiasm, and it goes so deep that it is beyond death itself. The Holy Scripture says that love is stronger than death. Indeed it is stronger than death because it has placed itself by its fullness, its power, its intensity in the realm of the resurrection, in the realm of eternal life. And this is why love is capable of final sacrifice, not only of giving and of receiving but of laying down one’s life, because this life, if it is given, is also possessed in its fullness. It is plenitude of life which finds expression in final sacrifice. You may remember the words of Christ: ‘No one is taking My life from Me, I give it freely Myself.’ In that respect love, the fullness of life which it expresses, is invulnerable. People may take our lives, people may put us to any test, and yet one remains invulnerable because no one in reality is taking; the person who loves is giving.
…No one has greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends. Who does it himself, freely, and who in doing so, attains to the fulfillment of life because life is worth only what one lives for, and life attains this fulfillment when all is done that can humanely be done beyond fear, in joy, in certainty.
This is the meaning of love to me. Such fullness of life, that will allow me to accept, to become totally vulnerable, never recoil, never resist, give myself to the last, without discrimination to anyone and for anyone with a certainty that love shall never be defeated, that love is stronger than death;

I remember a dark day when I was with a family, and the door opened, and a man who had been five years in the war and was thought to be dead, walked in; his wife looked at him and said \”You are alive? We thought you were dead!\” … And these words meant, \”we counted on your death, because once you were dead, life had begun anew, in a new manner; I had met other people, I had married another man; you have come — and you should not have come, you should have remained dead\” …
Can you imagine what this man felt? And can you imagine what would happen to anyone of us, however sinful, if, standing before God we saw that He did not remember our name, our face, our existence … And how wonderfully inspiring it is to think that even if the whole world should forget us — there is One Who will never, never forget: it is the Lord Jesus Christ, it is God One in the Trinity, God Who is Love …
…Let us think for a moment of what that means: to be remembered, and what it means to all of us, each of us that there should be people who remember us, for whom we exist, for whom we matter. A French writer has said: To say to a person \”I love you\” is tantamount to saying \”you shall never die\”. Because it is a supreme affirmation of this person, a person who is thus affirmed, cannot fall out of eternity, of God\’s eternity, because all love is of God. How wonderful that salvation is offered and given, how wonderful that we may be partakers of this gift, granting it to others by our love and by our eternal remembrance. Amen.
\”Remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom\”Anthony Bloom

***

“To Love means to look at a person and see in this person a treasure, something infinitely precious, something that’s worth giving one’s own life. Not giving it grudgingly but rejoicing in the fact that we can give, all our heart, all our intention, all our strength in the service of this person. And also conquer in us everything that is contrary to love which can hurt, which can diminish life of the person we want to love.
…Let us therefore think of the people who are around us..and ask ourselves..what can we offer them that will enhance their life, make it deep, make it great, bring joy into it…and then we will have fulfilled the law of love. The Lord says to us ‘forget yourself, love the other, may your life be his joy, his strength, his inspiration.’ Amen.  Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

***

To tell a person ‘I love you’ is tantamount to saying ‘You shall never die’
Anthony Bloom of Sourozh

Ξένη ἡ διὰ Χριστὸν Σαλή_St. Xenia of Petersburg_ Святая Ксения Петербургская_αγγελος κοιμηση127831314_CcFwXPcsqFwDeath is the touchstone of our attitude to life.
Only awareness of death will give life this immediacy and depth, will bring life to life, will make it so intense that its totality is summed up in the present moment.
If we look to the saints we discover an altogether different attitude to death. Their love of death was not founded on a fear of life. When St. Paul says, ‘For me to live in Christ and to die is gain […]. I should like to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better’ (Phil 1:21, 23), he is expressing a completely positive attitude to death. Death appears to him as a gate that will open on to eternity, enabling him to meet face to face the Lord who is all his love and all his life. 
In order to be able to long for death in this particular way and to see death as the crowning of our life, as its unfolding to the measureless measure of eternity (to use a paradoxical phrase of St Maximus the Confessor), we must have an experience of eternal life here and now. ..

Gabriel Marcel insists in one of his books that to tell a person ‘I love you’ is tantamount to saying ‘You shall never die’, meaning as it does ‘You matter to me so ultimately that I will assert you before the face of God, even if no one asserts you but God and myself’.

It is true that, as St. Paul says, to live is Christ and to die is gain. It is true that to die is not to be divested of temporal life, but to be clothed with eternity. But there is a further point emphasised by St Paul, as also by the rest of Scripture. Man was not created for death; his calling is for eternal life;
…All too frequently people who have lost someone whom they loved feel that they have not loved them as perfectly as they should; that they are indebted to them in terms of love, but that now it is too late to do anything about it. This is a mistake which we should never allow ourselves to make. It is never too late if we truly believe that God is the God of the living. Never should we say that we loved one another in the past tense. The death of the body does not involve a breach in a relationship that was, is and always remains between people who met and loved each other on earth.

If God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matt 22:33), then all those who have departed this life are alive in him; we, for our part, can turn to them for their intercession and forgiveness. All too frequently people who have lost someone whom they loved feel that they have not loved them as perfectly as they should; that they are indebted to them in terms of love, but that now it is too late to do anything about it. This is a mistake which we should never allow ourselves to make. It is never too late if we truly believe that God is the God of the living. Never should we say that we loved one another in the past tense. The death of the body does not involve a breach in a relationship that was, is and always remains between people who met and loved each other on earth.

And here I must remember, and I want to share with you, words which hit me very deep in the heart spoken by a friend of mine. He had been married, he had children, he was very close to his wife; they loved one another faithfully and deeply. And then she died. Her funeral sounded like a victory, because it was surrounded by love, by veneration, and by the certainty which we all brought that one day victory will shine out of the grave, as it had shone out of the grave of Christ. And the husband, after years, speaking to me of his wife, of their happiness, of his bereavement, and what he had discovered, said to me: ‘While we both were alive on earth we were at one in all things. But now that she has died it’s not a question of being at one; we have become one. All that is her eternal life in God she shares with me, mysteriously. We meet in prayer, we meet in sacraments. We simply meet with undying faithful love. And what was two together has become now one, inseparably one for eternity.’
And this is one of the most wonderful miracles that occurs in the Church — in the Church as understood as the place where God and man are at one, where God gives Himself unreservedly to us if we only open our hearts to Him. And if we do this, bereavement becomes transfiguration: the transfiguration of a beautiful, deep, holy relationship into something that is already now shining with the glory of eternity.

‘’Η περιπλανώμενη Άγια’’ – “Holy Wanderer – μια μικρή ταινία για την Οσία Ξένη τη διά Χριστόν σαλή της Πετρουπόλεως με την Ξένια Σιμόνοβα«Святая странница»
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5NXb3UCAiw

St. Xenia of fool-for-Christ, Homeless Wanderer of the St Petersburg
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/st-xenia-of-petersburg-fool-for-christ/

St. Xenia of fool-for-Christ, Homeless Wanderer of the St Petersburg, the fragrant flower of Paradise
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2021/01/23/st-xenia-of-fool-for-christ-homeless-wanderer-of-the-st-petersburg-the-fragrant-flower-of-paradise/

St. Xenia of Petersburg, fool-for-Christ, Orthodoxy is the joy of communion with God.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2022/01/23/st-xenia-of-petersburg-fool-for-christ-orthodoxy-is-the-joy-of-communion-with-god/

%ce%be%ce%ad%ce%bd%ce%b7-%e1%bc%a1-%ce%b4%ce%b9%e1%bd%b0-%cf%87%cf%81%ce%b9%cf%83%cf%84%e1%bd%b8%ce%bd-%cf%83%ce%b1%ce%bb%ce%ae_st-xenia-of-petersburg_-%d1%81%d0%b2%d1%8f%d1%82%d0%b0%d1%8f-%d0%baApolytikia
Troparion of Saint Xenia the Fool for Christ’s sake, of St Petersburg
— Tone 4

Having renounced the vanity of the earthly world, / Thou didst take up the cross of a homeless life of wandering; / Thou didst not fear grief, privation, nor the mockery of men, / And didst know the love of Christ. / Now taking sweet delight of this love in heaven, / O Xenia, the blessed and divinely wise, // Pray for the salvation of our souls.

Troparion of Saint Xenia the Fool for Christ’s sake, of St Petersburg
— Tone 5

Having lived as a stranger in the world, / you outwitted the deviser of evil / by your pretended foolishness, O Xenia. / You received the grace from God / to foresee and foretell things to come. / Now, as you have been translated from earth to heaven, / you are numbered with the choirs of the angels.

Apolytikio of Saint Xenia the Fool for Christ’s sake, of St Petersburg
Plagal of the Fourth Tone

In thee, O wandering stranger, Christ the Lord hath given us an ardent intercessor for our kind. For having received in thy life sufferings and grief and served God and men with love, thou didst acquire great boldness. Wherefore, we fervently hasten to thee in temptations and grief, crying out from the depths of our hearts: Put not our hope to shame, O Blessed Xenia.

Troparion of Saint Xenia the Fool for Christ’s sake, of St Petersburg — Tone 8

Christ the Lord has shown forth in thee a new mediatress and intercessor for our race;/ thou didst will to endure evil in thy life and didst lovingly serve both God and man./ We zealously run to thee in misfortune and sorrow,/ we hope in thee and cry from our hearts:/ Put not our hope to shame, O blessed Xenia.

Troparion of Saint Xenia of Mylasa — Tone 8

In thee, O mother, that which was created according to the image of God was manifestly saved./ For accepting thy cross thou didst follow after Christ,/ and praying thou didst learn to disdain the flesh,/ for thou didst transcend it to take care of thine immortal soul.// Wherefore, with the angels doth thy soul rejoice, O venerable Xenia.

Ξένη ἡ διὰ Χριστὸν Σαλή_St. Xenia of Petersburg_ Святая Ксения Петербургская-Гробница св. блж. Ксении -file

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom – On Love

Γιατί δεν φοβάμαι τον θάνατο;Αντώνιος Σουρόζ (Anthony Bloom Metropolitan of Sourozh).

 


God, Who, in our own times, also feeds His people through a raven, as He did the Prophet Elijah. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Παναγία Πλατυτερα-χωρα του Αχωρητου_Panagia Platytera_ Богоматерь Знамение11 (2)1 1Saint Clement, Bishop of Ancyra (ca. 312), and St Martyr Agathangelus disciple of St Clement (296)
St Paulinus the Merciful the Bishop of Nola (431) (Commemorated and 22 June)
Saint Salamanes the Silent (Salamanes the Hesychast), of the Euphrates (ca. 400)
St. Mausimas the Syrian, monk priest, near Cyrrhus (4th c.).
Commemoration of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. (680-681).
St. Dionysius of Olympus (1541)

Commemorated on January 23

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Παΐσιος o Αγιορείτης_Παναγια _Saint Paisios of Mount Athos_Паи́сий Святого́рец_vpcuviosul-paisie-aghioritul3a2ce6e0aed5649c1bc224 - ΑντιγραφήThe fathers of those days had great Faith and simplicity. Although most of them were basically illiterate, they, nevertheless, received constant divine enlightenment because of their humility and zeal for spiritual combat. While, in our own days, knowledge has increased, unfortunately, logic has shaken people’s Faith from the foundations and filled their souls with questions and doubts. So, it is only natural that we should be deprived of miracles, because miracles are experienced and cannot be explained by logic.
This terribly secular spirit which prevails in modern man, who has turned his entire attention towards living better, with greater ease and less effort, has, unfortunately, affected most spiritual people;

…In the old days, even only twenty years ago, simplicity still abounded in the “Garden of the Mother of God”2. The fragrance of simplicity of the fathers drew God-fearing people like bees and nourished them, while, they, in turn, transmitted this spiritual blessing to others for their benefit. Wherever you went, very simple stories of miracles and heavenly events were heard, because the fathers considered them perfectly natural.
Living in this spiritual atmosphere of grace, it never occurred to you to doubt what you heard, because you were living part of it yourself. Neither would it ever occur to you to make notes of these heavenly events, nor retain them in your memory for coming generations, because you thought that this patristic way of living would continue. How could anyone have known that in a few years most people would become deformed by too much education — since they are being taught in the spirit of atheism and not in that of God, which can sanctify external education, too — and faithlessness will reach such a point that miracles will be considered fairy-stories from bygone days? Naturally, when the doctor is an atheist, however many tests he performs on a saint with his scientific equipment (X-rays and so on), he will not be able to discern the grace of God. Whereas if he, too, has holiness in him, he will see divine grace radiating.

To give a more vivid picture of grace so that readers can better understand the patristic spirit that reigned a few years ago, I felt it would be a good thing to refer to cases of simple elders of that time as living examples.
When I was a beginner at the Monastery of Esphigmenou, I was told by the God-fearing Elder Dorotheos that an elder of great simplicity used to come to help at the monastery infirmary. He thought that the Ascension, the feast which the monastery celebrates, was a great saint, like Saint Barbara, and when he prayed with his komboskini3 he used to say “Saint of God, intercede for us!” One day, a sickly brother had arrived at the infirmary and since there wasn’t any nutritious food there, the elder hurried down the steps leading to the cellar, stretched his hand out of a window overlooking the sea and said, “Saint Ascension, please give me a little fish for the brother.” What a miracle! A large fish leapt out into his hand. He took it quite naturally, as if nothing had happened, and happily went off to prepare it so as to strengthened the brother.

The same elder told me of another father (Pachomios, I think), who had gone to Kapsala* to live in stricter ascesis and had reached great spiritual heights. One day, one of the fathers of the monastery put aside two fish which he cleaned, in order to go and see him and offer them to him as a blessing4. As he was cleaning them, however, a raven suddenly snatched up one of the fish and took it to Father Pachomios in Kapsala (a distance of five and a half hours on foot). Father Pachomios had received information from God about the brother’s visit and just as he was wondering what to treat him to, the raven dropped the fish. Later, when the brother came and heard about this, he also glorified God, Who, in our own times, also feeds His people through a raven, as He did the Prophet Elijah.
St. Paisios of Mount Athos. Excerpt from Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters

Footnotes:
2According to tradition, the Mother of God and St. John the Evangelist while travelling, were both forced to take refuge on the Holy Mountain due to a storm. The inhabitants there were still idolaters and so the Mother of God asked Christ to endow the Holy Mountain to Her as a gift. A heavenly voice replied: “This place is Your inheritance and Your garden and paradise; it is also a harbour of salvation for those who wish to be saved.” Since then, the Holy Mountain is considered a spiritual garden under the protection of the Mother of God.
3Komboskini (pi. Komboskinia): prayer rope; the black, woollen chaplet used by Orthodox people to count the number of repetitions of the Jesus Prayer.
4As used in monastic life it has different meanings. Here it means a gift, some monetary amount, or anything given for consolation.

St Paulinus the Merciful of Nola and St Clement, Bishop of Ancyra
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/st-paulinus-the-merciful-of-nola-and-st-clement-bishop-of-ancyra/

Christians should follow and imitate Paulinus of Nola, Saint Ambrose of Milan
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/21511/

Apolytikion of ST CLEMENT — Tone 4

Thou didst blossom forth for the faithful, O most sacred Clement, as a branch of holiness, a staff of contest, a most sacred flower, and a sweet God-given fruit. But as a fellow-sufferer of martyrs and a fellow-prelate of hierarchs, intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Troparion of ST CLEMENT — Tone 4

Thou hast been given to the faithful, O most sacred one, as a branch of holiness and a stem of struggle, a most sacred flower and divinely bestowed and everblossoming fruit. As a fellow sufferer of the martyrs and a fellow-prelate of hierarchs, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Troparion of ST CLEMENT — Tone 4

You sprang up, most holy one, / as a branch and stem of holiness, / a most sacred flower of the contest of martyrdom / and as a most sweet fruit given by God to the faithful. / But as one who shared the struggle of the martyrs / and the throne of hierarchs, / intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Troparion of ST AGATHANGELOS — Tone 4

O steadfast Agathangelos,/ we praise thee as a bearer of good tidings of the Lord’s compassion towards us./ Through thy contest thou wast found worthy to be numbered among the ranks of Angels./ Together with them thou dost ever intercede with Christ/ that we may be delivered from every necessity.

Troparion St Paulinus the Merciful the Bishop of Nola— Tone 8

By endurance you gained your reward, venerable Father; you persevered in prayer unceasingly; you loved the poor and provided for them in all things. Blessed Paulinus of Nola, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Apolytikion of ST DIONYSIUS of Olympus — Tone 1

Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Dionysios, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Apolytikion of ST DIONYSIUS of Olympus — Tone 1

The builder at Olympus and the boast of Pieria, and the sacred surrounding wall of the Monastery that bears your name, you were shown to be, O wise Dionysios, for you lived as an angel on earth, and you grant grace to those who reverently flee to your protection. Glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who grants to us through you, healings for all.


He who gives to the poor, gives to Christ. Saint Peter the Merciful of Constantinople

Venerable Euthymius the Great (473)
Martyrs Inna, Pinna, and Rimma, disciples of Apostle Andrew in Scythia (1st-2nd c.);
Martyrs Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius, and Basilides, at Nicomedia (303);
Martyrs Thyrsus and Agnes (5th c.);
Saint Leo the Great (Leo Marcellus), Confessor, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (474);
Blessed Peter the Customs Inspector of Constantinople (Peter of Constantinople) (c. 527-565);
Martyr Anna at Rome; Saint Fabian, Pope of Rome (250);
Venerable Euthymius the Silent, Schemamonk, of the Kiev Caves (14th c.);
Saint Euthymius, Patriarch of Turnovo and Bulgaria (1402);
Saint Euthymius of Syanzhema (Vologda) (1470); Venerable Euthymius of Arkhangelsk (1523); 
Venerable Theodore Kuzmich of Tomsk (Alexander I of Russia) (1864);

Commemorated on January 20

Hymn of Praise
Saint Euthymius
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ευθύμιος ο Μέγας_-Санкт Евфимий Великий _ Saint Euthymius the Great-cebcceb5ceb3-evfimii-velikiiThe eye which sees all, the ear which hears all,
With all, travels and everywhere they travel;
Without changing place, they are in every place.
Where virtue is being kneaded, God is the yeast in the dough,
Where light is sought, He gives of Himself;
Where help is cried for, He does not absent Himself;
Quietly and silently, but always on time,
He has the time to reap and to sow the seeds,
He has the time to reproach, He has the time to reward,
To make the young old and to make the old young,
To weed, to trim and to caress fruits –
He reaches wherever He wants and He reaches when He wants.
Whenever a person alone thinks, behold, He listens,
Where two people speak, as a third party, He hears,
Where the weaver weaves the cloth, her threads He counts,
The universal fabric, in His mind He weaves,
O, who will His footsteps and paces know?
Who could enumerate His paths and places?
Eternal and Immortal, Triune and One,
In the roadless net of the universal fabric
Unseen and seen, regardless from where He is viewed
He cuts out the paths and reveals the direction.
In the roadless net, He looks at all the paths,
And does not allow not even an ant to stay.
Thoughts about Him, Saint Euthymius
For eighty years on earth, dedicated to Him.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January20.htm

***

Saint Peter the Merciful of Constantinople
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ο ζητιάνος-The Beggar Нищий уйгур-Исаак_Аскназий_Нищий_в_церквиWhen a man clearly senses God’s mercy toward him, he is startled, as from a dull and senseless dream, and becomes ashamed of his long blindness to God’s unceasing compassion. In the time of Emperor Justinian, the chief imperial tax collector in Africa was a certain Peter, a very wealthy but very hard and merciless man. The beggars grumbled among themselves, that not one of them had ever received alms from Peter. Then, one of them bet that he would succeed in getting alms from Peter. He persistently begged alms of the miser until Peter, in a rage, hit him with a loaf of bread, since he had nothing else close at hand. Joyfully the beggar took the bread and fled. Immediately after this Peter became seriously ill and had this vision: He was being interrogated by demons in the other world. There was a scale, and on one side of it, the demons heaped Peter’s sins, making that side extremely heavy. On the other side-which was empty-angels stood, sorrowing that they had not even one good deed in Peter’s life to help balance the scale. One of them said: “We have nothing to place on the scale except one loaf of bread, with which he struck a beggar the day before yesterday.” The angels placed this one loaf of bread on the empty side of the scale, and that loaf of bread outweighed the other side of the scale, laden with all of Peter’s sins. When the vision was over Peter said to himself: “Indeed, this was not an apparition but the living truth, for I saw all my sins from my youth. And when I can be helped so much by one loaf of bread that I threw at a beggar, how much help would I receive from many deeds of almsgiving, performed from the heart and with humility?” And from that time, Peter became the most compassionate man in his town. He distributed all of his possessions to the poor, and when he had finished distributing his possessions, he sold himself into slavery for thirty gold pieces and distributed even his own price as a slave to the poor as alms in the name of Christ. He was, thereafter, called Peter the Merciful.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-september-22-october-5.html

***

Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος_St George the Trophy-bearer_Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_св георгий раздает свое имение нищим_resize-23332He who gives to the poor, gives to Christ. This is the meaning of the Gospel teaching, and it has been confirmed in the experience of the saints. Upon his repentance, Peter the Merciful gave alms to the poor wherever the opportunity presented itself. On one occasion Peter encountered a shipwrecked man who had barely managed to save his naked body from the wreck. The man begged him for some clothing. Peter removed his costly cloak and clothed the naked man with it. Shortly afterward, Peter saw his cloak in the shop of a merchant, who had it displayed for sale. Peter was very saddened that the shipwrecked man had sold his cloak instead of using it for himself. Peter thought: “I am not worthy; the Lord does not accept my alms.” But later, the Lord appeared to him in a dream. He appeared as a handsome man, brighter than the sun, with a cross on His head, wearing Peter’s cloak. “Peter, why art thou sad?” asked the Lord. “My Lord, why would I not be sad, when I see that which I gave to the poor being sold at the market?” Then the Lord asked him: “Dost thou recognize this garment on Me?” Peter replied: “I recognize it, Lord; that is my garment with which I clothed the naked man.” Then the Lord spoke to him again: “Therefore do not be sad; thou gavest it to the poor man, and I received it, and I praise thy deed.”
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-september-23-october-6.html

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Those who wrong or wound sensitive people inwardly are not human.

There is no man more intelligent than the merciful one who gives away earthly, perishable things and buys imperishable, heavenly things. Likewise, there is no greater fool in the world than the greedy one who gathers things continually and yet is deprived continually, finally buying hell with his collected savings. Those, naturally, who are lost in material things are totally lost, for they have also lost Christ.

Those who come close to people in pain, naturally draw near to God, because God is always by the side of His children who are in pain.

Those who do not co-suffer with those in pain, suffer from a fatal spiritual illness: mercilessness. Those who are annoyed by the moaning of sick people and react angrily because they cannot concentrate, suffer from many spiritual illnesses.

Those who truly love and struggle correctly, can also endure with love, sacrifice themselves, and give rest to their neighbor, who is Christ.

Those who do not put themselves in the place of their suffering fellow man are deserted by God, experience a terrible fall, and learn to feel pain. Those, on the other hand, who feel compassion, care for other people, and ignore their own selves, are protected by God and are looked after both by God and by men.

Kindness is one of God’s many qualities; therefore, it always spreads joy, drives away the clouds, and opens up hearts like the spring sunshine which makes the earth blossom. It even warms up snakes and takes them out of their cold holes so they, too, can enjoy God’s kindness.

An orphan, especially if it has lost its mother, and even if it is a little porcupine, must be embraced with pain and fervent love, so as to first feel warmth, take courage, and open up its heart.

Sacrifice for our fellow man conceals our great love for Christ. Those who have good intentions to give alms, but have nothing and on this account are afflicted, give charity with the blood of their hearts.

Merciful people, since they are always filling others with love, are always filled with the love of God and His abundant blessings.

Μακάριοι οι ελεήμονες..QZ7KbuFX4fUSt Euthymius the Great. The Desert Sun.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/st-euthymius-the-great-the-desert-sun/

St. Theodore Kuzmich of Tomsk (1864), the Tsar who became Hermit.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/st-theodore-kuzmich-of-tomsk-1864/

One last tear… Poem XCVI (96), St. Nikolai Velimirovich of Ochrid
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2021/01/19/one-last-tear-poem-xcvi-96-st-nikolai-velimirovich-of-ochrid/

αγαπη_ωσπερ πελεκαν_Agapi-2011Troparion St Euthymius the Great. Tone 4

Rejoice, O barren wilderness! And be glad, sterile desert, that has never known the travail of birth! The man of desires has multiplied your sons; He has planted them in faith and piety. He has watered them with the Holy Spirit: They grow in self-denial and perfect virtue. Through His intercessions, O Christ God, preserve Your people in peace!

troparion of the saint Euthymius the Great, in Tone IV:

Rejoice, O desert who hast not given birth! Be of good cheer, thou who hast not felt the pangs of travail! For the man of spiritual desires hath multiplied children for thee, planting them with piety and nurturing them with abstinence unto the perfection of the virtues. By his prayers, O Christ God, bring peace to our life.

Troparion of Sts. Martyrs Inna, Rimma and Pinna
— Tone 4

Your lamb Inna, / calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: / “I love You, my Bridegroom, / and in seeking You, I endure suffering. / In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, / and I died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / for I have offered myself in love.” / Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Troparion of Sts. Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius, and Basilides of Nicomedia — Tone 4

Your holy martyr Bassus, O Lord, / Through his sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls!


The Lord though at the appropriate time will present the Marks the Eugenikos and the Gregorys Palamas who will assemble all our deeply scandalized brothers, to confess the Orthodox faith and strengthen the traditions of the Church and give great joy to our Mother, the Church…. Saint Paisios the Hagiorite

Venerable Macarius the Great of Egypt (390)
Saint Macarius of Alexandria (c. 394)
Venerable Macarius the Faster, of the Kiev Caves (12th century)
Venerable Macarius, Deacon of the Kiev Caves, Wonderworker (13th-14th century)
Venerable Macarius the Roman of Novgorod (1550)
Saint Mark Eugenikos, Archbishop of Ephesus, the single-handed contender and champion of Orthodoxy, who resisted the Roman Catholic heresies (1444)
Saint Anthony the Stylite of Martqopi, the Founder of Monasticism in Georgia (6th century)
Blessed Theodore of Novgorod the Fool-For-Christ (1392)
Commemoration of the miracle wrought by St. Basil the Great at Nicaea, when by his prayer he opened the gates of the Universal (Catholic) church and entrusted it to the Orthodox (370);
Translation of the relics (950) of Saint Gregory the Theologian (389) to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople during the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus;

Commemorated on January 19

Μακάριος ο Αιγύπτιος_Macarius of Egypt the Great_Макарий Великий Египетский_0_0_74836_1accc857_LAbba Macarius was asked, ‘How should one pray?’ The old man said, ‘There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one’s hands and say, “Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy.” And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord, help ! “ He knows very well what we need and he shews us his mercy.’

 Abba Paphnutius, the disciple of Abba Macarius, said, ‘I asked my Father to say a word to me and he replied, “Do no evil to anyone, and do not judge anyone. Observe this and you will be saved.’“

They said of Abba Macarius the Great that he became, as it is written, a god upon earth, because, just as God protects the world, so Abba Macarius would cover the faults which he saw, as though he did not see them; and those which he heard, as though he did not hear them.

***

Verses.
Mythically Atlas bore the heavens on his shoulders,
Truly Mark bore Orthodoxy.

4. SAINT MARK, ARCHBISHOP OF EPHESUS
by St Nikolai Velimirovich

Mark was famous for his courageous defense of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence (1439 A.D.) in spite of the emperor and the pope. He died peacefully in the year 1452 A.D. On his death bed, Mark implored Gregory, his disciple, and later the glorious Patriarch Genadius, to be careful of the snares of the West and to defend Orthodoxy.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January19.htm

Saint Paisios the Hagiorite

“Unfortunately Western rationalism has influenced Eastern Orthodox rulers, so that they remain only bodily in the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ, while their entire being is in the West, which is viewed as reigning in the secular world.”

***

Μακάριος ὁ Αἰγύπτιος _Macarius of Egypt the Great_ Макарий Великий Египетский_0_1b9501_1dcc7766_origWith sadness I must write that among all the “unionists” I’ve met, never have I seen them to have either a drop or shred of spirituality. Nevertheless, they know how to speak about love and union while they themselves are not united with God, for they have not loved Him.
I would like tenderly to beseech all our unionist brothers: Since the issue of the union of the Churches is something spiritual, and we have need of spiritual love, let’s leave it to those who greatly love God and are [genuine] theologians, like the Fathers of the Church not the legalists who have offered up and continue to give themselves in service to the Church (instead of just buying big candles), and who were and are lit by the fire of love for God rather than by the lighter of the church sacristan
We should recognize that there exist not only natural but also spiritual laws. Therefore, the future wrath of God is not averted by a convocation of sinners (for then we shall receive double the wrath), but by repentance and adherence to the commandments of the Lord.
Also, we should know well that our Orthodox Church does not have even one shortcoming. The only apparent insufficiency is the shortage of sober Hierarchs and Shepherds with a Patristic foundation. “Few are chosen.” This should not, however be upsetting. The Church is Christ’s Church, and He governs Her. It is not a Temple built by the pious from rocks, sand and mortar, which is then destroyed by the fire of barbarians; the Church is Christ Himself. “And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44-45)
When He must needs, the Lord will bring forth the Mark of Ephesuses and Gregory Palamases, so as to bring together all our scandalized brethren, to confess the Orthodox Faith, to strengthen the Tradition, and to give great joy to our Mother, the Church….
(from a letter of the Saint Paisios the Athonite, January 23, 1969)

***

Φώτιος ο Μέγας, Γρηγόριος Παλαμάς και Μάρκος ο Ευγενικός,Saint Paisios the Hagiorite

Today unfortunately, the European courtesy has come in and they try to show themselves as being nice. They wish to show superiority and finally they end up worshipping the two horned devil. “One religion, they tell you, should exist” and they level out everything. Some also come to me and tell me “All of us who believe in Christ should create one religion”. “Now it is as if you are telling me, I told them, about gold and copper, so many carats gold and that much copper, that was separated, to gather them and make them one again. Is it correct to mix them again? Ask a jeweler. Is it proper to mix trash with gold? So much struggle was waged to distil the dogma”. The Holy Fathers must have known something for prohibiting the relationships with the heretics. Today they say: “we should pray together not only with a heretics but also with the Buddhist and with the fire worshipper and the demon worshipper. The Orthodox must also be present in common prayers and in their conferences. It is a presence”. What presence? They resolve everything with logic and justify the unjustifiable. The European mind believes that also the spiritual matters can also come into the Common Market. Some of the Orthodox who are shallow and wish to make a promotion, “a mission”, they arrange conferences with the heterodox to cause a sensation, believing this way that they promote Orthodoxy, by becoming so to speak “Hungarian goulash” with the false believers. Then the super-zealots take hold of the other end; they also blaspheme against the Mysteries of the New-calendarists etc and deeply scandalize the souls who have piety and Orthodox sensitivity. On the other hand, the heterodox come to conferences, act like teachers, take whatever good spiritual thing they find from the Orthodox, they process it, they give it their own colour and mark and they present it as a prototype. And the strange contemporary world becomes touched by such strange things and is spiritually destroyed. The Lord though at the appropriate time will present the Marks, the Eugenikos and the Gregorys Palamas who will assemble all our deeply scandalized brothers, to confess the Orthodox faith and strengthen the traditions of the Church and give great joy to our Mother, the Church“.
From the Book:Saint Paisios the Hagiorite “With anguish and love for the contemporary man”. Publication: Holy Hysichastirion of “Evangelist John the Theologian by Souroti, Thessaloniki.

***

vasiliy_blazhennyy-774x320Righteous Theodore of Novgorod the Fool-For-Christ

Blessed Theodore of Novgorod was the son of pious parents, wealthy citizens of Novgorod. Having been raised in strict Christian piety, and having reached the age of maturity, he took on himself the ascetic deed of foolishness for Christ’s sake. He gave all his possessions to the poor, and he lived in great poverty until the end of his life, not even having a roof over his head, nor warm clothes on cold days.

When he discovered a mutual enmity between the Novgorod citizens of the Torgov quarter and the inhabitants of the Sophia quarter, Blessed Theodore pretended to be feuding with Blessed Nicholas Kochanov (July 27) who lived in asceticism on the opposite Sophia side. When Blessed Theodore happened to cross over the Volkhov Bridge to the Sophia side, then Blessed Nicholas pushed him over to the Torgov side. Theodore did the same thing when Nicholas chanced upon on the Torgov side. The blessed ones, spiritually in agreement with each other, by their unusual behavior reminded the people of Novgorod of their own internecine strife, which often ended in bloody skirmishes.

The blessed one possessed the gift of clairvoyance. By warning people to see to their bread, he was actually predicting an impending famine. Another time he said, “This will be bare, it will be fine for sowing turnips.” This was his prediction of a fire that devastated the streets of the Torgov quarter. Blessed Theodore foresaw his own end and said to the Novgorod people, “Farewell, I’m going far away.”

During his life, the citizens of Novgorod saw him as a saint pleasing to God, and had a high regard for him. After his death in the year 1392, the holy fool was buried, at his request, in the Torgov quarter, at Lubyanitsa in the church of the holy Great Martyr George, at the porch where the saint usually loved to spend his time in unceasing prayer. A chapel was built over his holy relics.
https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2001/01/19/100231-righteous-theodore-of-novgorod-the-fool-for-christ

The gift of love of St. Macarius the Great of Egypt
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2022/01/18/the-gift-of-love-of-st-macarius-the-great-of-egypt/

Saint Macarius the Great of Egypt, If we keep remembering the wrongs which men have done us, we destroy the power of the remembrance of God.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/saint-macarius-the-great-of-egypt-if-we-keep-remembering-the-wrongs-which-men-have-done-us-we-destroy-the-power-of-the-remembrance-of-god/

Saint Macarius the Great of Egypt, ‘Come and see the place of martyrdom of the young strangers, who were sanctified with unceasing prayer and silence.’
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/38541/

“I am not yet a monk, but I have seen monks,” said Abba Macarius to the Nitrian brethren.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/i-am-not-yet-a-monk-but-i-have-seen-monks-said-abba-macarius-to-the-nitrian-brethren/

One good word makes even the evil good. St. Macarius the Great of Egypt
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/one-good-word-makes-even-the-evil-good-st-macarius-the-great-of-egypt/

Lord, as Thou wilt and as Thou knowest, have mercy on me. St. Macarius the Great of Egypt , a lover of wisdom
iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/lord-as-thou-wilt-and-as-thou-knowest-have-mercy-on-me-st-macarius-the-great-of-egypt-a-lover-of-wisdom/

Troparion of ST MACARIOS OF EGYPT and ST MACARIOS OF ALEXANDRIA — Tone 1

O Godbearing Macarios and Macarios,/ you were found worthy of attaining to blessedness./ You had lived righteously, and having followed the path of divine law piously,/ you are partakers of divine glory and save those who cry;/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you;/ glory to Him Who through you works healings for all.

Troparion of ST MACARIOS the Great— Tone 1

Dweller of the desert and angel in the body / you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father Macarius. / You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer: / healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith. / Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!

Troparion of ST MACARIOS the Great — Tone 1

A desert dweller, an angel in the flesh,/ and a wonderworker wast thou shown to be,/ O our God-bearing father Macarius,/ for having acquired heavenly gifts through fasting, vigilance, and prayer,/ thou dost heal the infirm,/ and the souls of those who have recourse to thee with faith./ Glory to Him Who hath given thee strength!/ Glory to Him Who hath crowned thee!// Glory to Him Who worketh healings for all through thee!

Apolytikion of ST MACARIOS the Great — Tone 1

Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Makarios, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Apolytikion of ST MACARIOS the Great — Tone 1

O God-bearing Makarios and Makarios, you were found worthy of attaining to blessedness. You had lived venerably, and having followed the path of divine law piously, you are partakers of divine glory and save those who cry: Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you; glory to Him Who through you works healings for all.

Troparion of ST MARK of Ephesus — Tone 3

Holy Mark, in thee the Church has found a zealot/ by thy confession of the sacred Faith;/ for thou didst champion the Fathers’ doctrine/ and cast down the pride of boastful darkness./ Pray to Christ our God for those who honour thee,/ that we may be granted the forgiveness of sins.

Apolytikion of Saint Mark Eugenikos, Bp. Of Ephesus
Third Tone

All-laudable and most divine Mark, * in thee the Church found a great zealot * by thy confession of the holy and sacred Faith; * for thou didst champion the doctrines which the Fathers taught * and didst cast down darkness’ boastful pride. * Wherefore pray thou to Christ God for them that honour thee, * that we be granted the forgiveness of sins.

Troparion of ST MARK Eugenikos — Tone 4

By your profession of faith, O all-praised Mark / The Church has found you to be a zealot for truth. / You fought for the teaching of the Fathers; / You cast down the darkness of boastful pride. / Intercede with Christ God to grant forgiveness to those who honor you!

Troparion of St Anthony the Stylite of Martqopi— Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, / and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! / O our holy father Anthony, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

Apolytikion of ST ARSENIUS of Kerkyra — Tone 4

You faithfully bore the fruit, of the grace of wisdom, and a most-sacred shepherd, of the Church of Christ, you showed yourself to be Arsenios, wherefore in Kerkyra, you famously appeared prominent, steering your people, towards laws of truth. And now your entreaties, save your servants.

Troparion to Blessed Theodore, Christ for the Holy Fool of Novgorod, tone 8:

Even on the earth of Christ, for the sake of will, having turned into riot, you hated this world by no means, and, carnal play withering with fasting and thirst, and lying on the earth, from heat and cold, from rain and snow and from other air burdens, you never deviated, but the soul cleansed you with virtues, like gold in the furnace, Father Theodora, and now in Heaven you stand before the Throne of the Most Holy Trinity, but as if having a lot of boldness, pray to Christ God to save our souls.

Apolytikion of ST MAKARIOS of Kalogeras — Tone 1

The pride of teachers, the boast of deacons, the glory of the island of Patmos and the adornment of monastics, let us honor Makarios, O faithful, in hymns and spiritual odes towards him in reverence harmonically saying and crying out: Glory to Christ Who glorified you, Glory to Him Who magnified you, Glory to Him Who showed you forth as our protector in these last days.


Saint Nina the Equal to the Apostles, the Rose of Georgia. Blessed Lord, open for us our spiritual sight that we may see the entire immeasurable depth of Your love and that we may be inflamed with love toward You!.

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon1hpE1O9R6bwΟΠΤΙΝΑSynaxarion.
On January 14 we commemorate the Apodosis (Leavetaking) of the Theophany of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
On this day we also commemorate the holy mother Nina, the Enlightener of Georgia and Equal to the Apostles.
On this day we also commemorate the holy Fathers slain at Sinai and Raithu.
Saint Sabbas, First Archbishop of Serbia, Founder of Hilandar Monastery.
Our righteous Father Theodulus, son of Nilus the Wise.
Our righteous Father Stephen, Founder of the Monastery of Chenolakkos.
The holy Martyr Agnes.
Saint Felix, Priest of Nola in Campania.
Saint Kentigern, First Bishop of Glasgow.
The holy New Hieromartyrs Plato, Bishop of Revel, and Michael and Nicholas the Presbyters.
The holy New Righteous Martyrs of the Monastery of Sinai and Raithu near Kazan.
The holy New Martyr Ambrose (Gudko), Bishop of Sarapul and Yelabug (1918)
Repose of Nicholas Motovilov (1879), disciple of St. Seraphim of Sarov.

HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Nina the Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_Saint Nina of Georgia_წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_святой Нины Иберии_s102Virgin most beautiful, Nina of noble birth,
By Divine Providence became the Apostle to the Georgians,
In defiance of the persecution by Diocletian, the Emperor,
With the Cross, she baptized Emperor Mirian
His wife Nana and his son Bakar,
Through them, all the people and the elite of the leaders,
With the Cross of the Son of God, baptized them all,
Saint Nina, Apostle to the Georgians.
From her youth, Nina prayed to God
That Djul (the Rose) – Georgia, she baptize.
For that which she prayed to God, the good God granted:
From Nina’s hand, the Cross shown
To docile Georgia where it shines even now,
Where Nina’s hand blesses even now.
There is Nina’s grave, overwhich a church glistens,
Glorifying Saint Nina and the Lord Christ.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
https://prologue.orthodox.cn/January14.htm

***

A faithful and God-fearing ruler is a true blessing for all people.

Holy Emperor Mirian III of Iberia

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_St Nina of Georgia_წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_св Нины Иберии_nino01-ΑγίαΝίναOne summer day, being Saturday, the 20th of July,, the king went on a hunting trip towards Mukhran. Then that invisible enemy the devil tempted him by reviving in his heart the love of fire-worship and of idols so the king said to four of his advisers, “We have behaved unworthily towards our gods by being idle in their service and letting these Christian magicians preach their doctrine in this Country, for their miracles are operated by sorcery I have now decided to destroy all these believers in the cross unless they agree to serve the victorious gods of Georgia I shall urge my wife Nana to repent and abandon her faith in the cross If not, I shall forget my love for her, and she shall perish with the others ” His companions, who were strongly prejudiced on this question, applauded his decision.
The king had now passed the outskirts of Mukhran and arrived at tile lofty hill of Tkhoti, from which he could see Caspi and Uplistsikhe. When he had reached the top and it was mid-day, the sun was obscured and it became as black as perpetual night The region was enveloped in darkness and the members of the party lost touch with one another The monarch was left by himself, anxious and afraid tie wandered about on the densely wooded hills until in his fear and anxiety he stood still in one place, losing all hope of being rescued. Then he began to muse, and said to himself, “After all, I have called on my own gods and found no comfort Now I wonder whether the Crucified One whom Nino preaches could save me from my plight ) Light up this darkness for me, O God of Nino, and I will confess Thy name ! I will set up a Wooden Cross and worship it, and build a place to pray in, allot obey Nino and accept the faith of the Romans’.
After he had uttered these words it became light, and the sun shone down ill all its splendour. Then the king got down from his horse and stretched out his arms to the east towards heaven, saying, “Thou art God above all gods, Lord above all lords, O Deity whom Nino proclaims. Now I know that Thou desirest my salvation, and I rejoice, blessed Lord, to come near unto Thee. I will set up a cross upon this spot, so that Thy name may be praised and this marvel commemorated for ever.” So he marked the place and departed, and Queen Nana and all the people came out to welcome the king home.
At this time, Nino was in her bramble bush occupied with her regular evening prayers, together with a congregation of fifty people. When the king arrived there was a great stir in the city, and the king cried with a loud voice “Where is this woman from a far land, who is our mother, and whose God has saved us ?” When he heard that she was praying in the thicket, he went with all his followers to see her, and said to Nino, “I have now become worthy to invoke your God, who has saved me.” So St. Nino gave him instruction and told him to kneel down facing the east and confess Christ, the Son of God. The people trembled and wept for joy at the marvel which had taken place.
The next day, King Mirian sent envoys to Greece to the Emperor Constantine, together with a letter from Nino to Queen Helena, relating the miracles which had been done in Mtskheta and begging them to send priests to baptize them. Meanwhile Nino and her disciples preached day and night to the people, guiding them in the true path towards the kingdom of heaven. Before the priests arrived, the king said to St. Nino, “I would like to build a house of God without delay. Where shall we erect it ?” Nino replied, “Wherever the king desires.” The king answered, “I feel a fondness for this bush of yours, and would prefer to have it there. And I shall not spare the treasures of my royal garden, neither the lofty cedars, the fruitful branches nor the fragrant flowers, lout I will myself build a church to pray there, which may last for ever.”
So they brought timber and started building. They cut down the cedar tree and carved out a pillar from it, and they laid the church’s foundations upon the roots of the tree. And the pillar was fearsome and marvelous to look at. Then the builders tried to erect it into its place, but they could not shift it. The king arrived with a great number of men, but powerful machines, great force and the efforts of all the people made no impression on it. The king and everybody else were astounded and exclaimed, “What can this mean ?” When night fell, the king went home very crestfallen.
http://www.omhksea.org/archives/3776

On October 1, we commemorate the Holy Emperor Mirian III of Iberia and Empress Nana of Mtskheta, Georgia, Equals-to-the-Apostles (4th century)

***

Homily
About the King of kings
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“By Me kings reign and princes decree Justice. By Me princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love Me” (Proverbs 8:15-17).

Νίνα Γεώργιος_St. George_St Nina of Georgia_ნინო_Нина_ s23102Let not a king think that he rules by his wisdom and power for he WM be mocked by the weak and the foolish. Let a ruler not think that he establishes justice among the people by his intelligence and will, that he not think foolishness, which is even absurd for children. Let princes, rulers and judges not think that they rule according to someone else’s will and mercy contrary to God’s will and mercy for all those who forget God will be fatally damaged upon the ice on which they are sliding. ‘I love them that love Me,’ says the Lord. This, the Lord speaks in the first place to the kings, princes and judges of mankind. For, if they love the Lord, they are very dear to the Lord. If they love the Lord, the people over whom they rule and judge win love Him also. And, if the people love the Lord, they will love their kings, princes and judges.

Inasmuch as a man is elevated by power and authority over people, so much closer should he be to God than the people over whom he is elevated.

O my brethren, the Lord was crucified on a Cross for us and, by this, He showed His love for us. He Who was crucified for us truly loves us more than he who merely rejoices with us at the table. And yet when we love so many of our friends with us at the table, how then should we not love Him Who, out of love for us, was crucified on the Cross?

O Blessed Lord, open for us our spiritual sight that we may see the entire immeasurable depth of Your love and that we may be inflamed with love toward You!.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/June8.htm

Προσευχή-αγια-ΝΙΝΑ_PRAYER- Моление-8456ce96d63bc489b24e155e84b2dc5b (1)Saint Nina, Equal of the Apostles and Enlightener of Iberia, Troparion, Tone IV —

O Holy Nina, equal of the apostles, minister of the word of God, who emulated the first called Andrew and the other apostles in apostolic preaching, enlightener of Iberia and harp of the Holy Spirit: entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Troparion Saint Nina of Georgia (Tone 3)

As minister of the word of God in apostolic preaching, you equaled Andrew the first-called and the rest of the Apostles. Enlightener of Georgia and instruments of the Holy Spirit, holy Nina, equal to the Apostles, entreat Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Troparion of St. Nina of Georgia, Tone 4

O handmaid of the Word of God, who in preaching equaled the first-called Apostle Andrew, and emulated the other Apostles, enlightener of Iberia and reed-pipe of the Holy Spirit, holy Nina, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Apodosis of Theophany, Troparion of the feast —

When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan,/ the worship of the Trinity was made manifest;/ for, the voice of the Father bare witness unto Thee,/ calling Thee His beloved Son;/ and the Spirit in the form of a dove/ confirmed the certainty of His word./ O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and enlightened the worlds,// glory be to Thee!

Stichera of the saint,
in Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: “As one valiant among the martyrs …”:

O blessed Nina, * handmaid of Christ God, the Redeemer of all, * O instructress of Iberia, mighty in faith, * who sprang forth blamelessly, * with gladness thou didst hasten after Him, * didst preach the true God to the people, * and didst instruct them * to renounce their inanimate idols, ** showing them the path of life. (Twice)

Holding in her hand * a sign of miracles, * a precious cross fashioned of vinebranches, * the blessed and holy Nina * wrought many wonders by its power * in the city of Maskheta. * Wherefore, as many as accepted her preaching * were healed of their sickness ** and rendered glory to God.

Glory …, in Tone II:

Come, all ye faithful, let us praise the harp of the Holy Spirit, and let us bless the instructress of piety, the healer of our souls and bodies. With wreaths of discourse let us crown the preacher and evangelist, the equal of the apostles, the radiant beacon of Iberia, the trumpet of divine sound, the godly-minded Nina, the all-praised herald of the most pure Mother of God; and let us cry out to her thus: Rejoice, unblemished turtle-dove and pure dove! Rejoice, instructress of the knowledge of God! Rejoice, fellow laborer with the Apostles Paul and Andrew! Rejoice, enlightenment of Iberia and glory of all the world!

On the Aposticha, these Stichera,
in Tone I:

The virgin Nina loved Christ God, Who was born of the Virgin, that with a loud voice she might proclaim His holy name to the tribes of Iberia. Wherefore, Christ the Lord, the heavenly Bridegroom, hath given her the gifts of the Holy Spirit and made her an equal of the apostles, in that she is a vessel of the grace of the Spirit; and through her He hath given us salvation, in that He is the Lover of mankind.

Νίνα Γεωργίας Μποντμπε_Nina Georgia_Св Нина Грузије_ბოდბის ნინოს_Монастырь святой Нино Бодбе 33254627 (1)ΜΠΟΝΤΜΠΕ μονή Αγίας Νίνας_Monastery of St. Nino at Bodbe_Бодбийский монастырь св Нины_ბოდბის წმინდა ნინოს მონასტერი_IMG_6412_новый размерτάφος Αγίας Νίνας-Μπόντμπε_St. Nino's grave of Bodbe_Могила св. Нины Монастыря Бодбе_IMG_7681 (1)Μτσχετα _Mtskheta Georgia_ Мцхета _მცხეთაში_1Σβετιτσχοβελι-_Svetitskhoveli Georgia_Светицховели-სვეტიცხოველი- ___maxresdefaultΣΑΜΤΑΒΡΟ_Samtavro Monastery Mtskheta, Georgia_ Самтавро Монастырь Мцхета_ სამთავროს მონასტერი_Georgia_2011_1442


O Lord, such beauty You have created for us! St. Eleazar of the Skete of Anzersk

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon0106theophany250_a0d50_81ec794c_Synaxarion.
On January 13 we commemorate the holy martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus (315)
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father James, Bishop of Nisibis of Mesopotamia” (c. 350)
On this day the holy martyr Athanasius was clubbed to death.
On this day Sts. Pachomius and Papyrinusdied in a river.
Our Fathers among the Saints Leontius, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers; and Remigius, Bishop of Rheims.
On this day was the consecration of the Monastery of Prophet Elias, which was also called the Monastery of the Deep Stream” – in Triglia, Bithynia (10th century)
On this day our devout Father Maximus the Hut-burner Kafsokalyvitis, who lived as an ascetic on Mt. Athos, reposed in peace in the year 1320.
On this day our righteous Father Irenarchus the Recluse of Rostov (1616)
On this day our righteous Father Eleazar of Anzersk Island at Solovki (1656)

St. Eleazar of the Skete of Anzersk
Thanksgiving and Glorification to our Lord for All of His Mercies*

Ελεάζαρ του Ανζέρσκ¬_Saint Eleazar of Anzersk_ Преп. Елеазар Анзерский_Елеазарова пустынь-26012014_3Staretz Nectarius of Optina would time and again remind his spiritual children to give thanks to our Lord for all of His mercies. As an example of sincere gratitude, he would refer to St. Eleazar of the Skete of Anzersk. One night, St. Eleazar went out onto the balcony of his cell and, contemplating the beauty and tranquillity of the Skete’s natural surroundings, was moved to tears. And from the depths of his heart, which was filled with Divine love, came forth a deep sigh: “O Lord, such beauty You have created for us! By what means and in what way can I, wretched worm that I am, give thanks to You for all of the great and abundant mercies You have bestowed upon me?” The power of the Saint’s sigh and prayer opened the heavens, and before his eyes there appeared myriads of radiant Angels chanting the Great Angelic Doxology: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men.” A voice said to the Saint: “You also, Eleazar, give thanks to your Fashioner and Creator with these words of glorification.” And Staretz Nektary added with a sigh: “Today’s generation has ceased addressing prayers of thanksgiving to our Lord, and limits itself to addressing Him only with contant requests, like an ungrateful beggar.”
 (*) Source: “Consolation and Edification,” vol. IX (January 2017), p. 8. Translated from the Greek, Holy Elders of Optina: St. Nektary (Kalamos: Hieras Mones Osiou Symeon tou Neou Theologou, 2003), p. 304. – https://www.imoph.org/pdfs/2018/10/21/E20181021aEyxaristiaStaretsNektarios.pdf

Apolytikion of ST MAXIMUS Kapsokalivitis ― Plagal Tone 1

From your mother’s womb, O Venerable Maximos, you were chosen as a treasury by God, were made worthy of the divine darkness as Moses, and to see things far off as Samuel; you are the divine wonder of Athos, the initiate of the Theotokos, O Father, who intercedes for us.

Troparion of SS HERMYLOS and STRATONICOS — Tone 4

Your holy martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus, O Lord, / Through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. / For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, / And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through their intercessions, save our souls!

Troparion Venerable Eleazar of Anzersk Island, Solovki— Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, / and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! / O our holy father Eleazar, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

Apolytikion of the Feast. From Menaion – – –
Mode 1.

As You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, then the worship of the Trinity became manifest, for the voice of the Father bore witness to You, naming You the Beloved Son; and the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ God, who appeared and illumined the world, glory to You.


Saint Theodosius the Great, a fearless soldier of Christ. As much as the saints were so compassionate and lenient toward human weakness, so were they terribly unyielding and unbending in regard to the confession of the true dogmas of the Faith.

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon227_dionisiat 2345)On January 11 we commemorate our righteous Father Theodosius the Cenobiarch, the instructor of the Wilderness.
On this day is the Synaxis in honor of the myriads of holy Angels. It was held in the Martyrium of St. Anastasia at the Colonnade of Domninus.
Martyrs Peter, Severius and Leucius, at Alexandria
Hieromartyr Hyginus, Pope of Rome (142)
On this day we also commemorate St. Stephen in Placidiane, and St. Theodore and St. Agapius the Archimandrite.
On this day St. Major died by torture.
On this day righteous Father Vitalius of the Monastery of Saint Seridus in Gaz, reposed in peace.
Devout St. Theodosios, Abbot of Philotheou Monastery on Athos, who also became Bishop of Trebizond, reposed in peace.
Saint Michael of Klops in Novgorod, the Fool for Christ’s sake and Wonderworker (1456)
New Martyr Nikephoros of Crete, by hanging, for renouncing Islam and confessing his faith in Christ (1832)
Repose of Blessed Nun Eupraxia of Teliakov village, Kostroma (1823)
New Hieromartyrs, Priests:(1919) Nicholas Matsievsky of Perm, Theodore Antipin of Perm, Vladimir Fokin of Krasnoyarsk

Hymn of Praise
Saint Theodosius the Great
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Θεοδόσιος ο Κοινοβιάρχης _Saint Theodosios the Cenobiarch_св. Феодосия Киновиарха_sf-teodosie-cel-mare-11Those who with fear stand before God,
Those who fear the Living God only,
Only they can witness
That the righteous one receives that for which he prays to God.
By true prayer, God does for people –
The dawn glows to the one who turns to the dawn.
Saint Theodosius, by his prayers
Helped many and also helped us.
For he lives even now as he once did
And works miracles, as he once did and does now –
The Lord bestowed upon him power, because of his faith,
And love for God; love immeasurable.
Wonderful Theodosius, zealot of truth,
Wondrous organizer of the monastic life,
Let him be praised by us, who is glorified by God,
Now a glorious citizen of the Kingdom of Christ
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://www.orthodox.cn/prologue/January11.htm

***

Saint Vitalius of the monastery of Saint Seridus

βιταλιοσ σεριδου vitalisDuring the time of the Alexandrian Patriarch John the Merciful, a young monk appeared who, as soon as he arrived, complied a list of all the prostitutes in Alexandria. The mortification (asceticism) of this young monk was exceptional and unique. During the day he would offer himself for hire to do the most difficult jobs and at night, he would enter the houses of ill repute, gave the earned amount of money to some prostitute and close himself in the room with her the entire night. As soon as they were locked up, Vitalis would beg the woman to lie down and sleep and he would spend the entire night in a corner of the room in prayer to God for that sinner. Thus, he would save the woman from sinning at least one night. The second night, he would go to a second, the third night to a third and so on until he had visited them all, and then, he again returned to the one with whom he started. By his counseling, many of the sinners abandoned their sullied trade. Some of them married, others entered convents and still others turned to a respectable work and income. Vitalis forbid all of these women to reveal the reason why he was visiting them. Because of this, Vitalis became a scandal for all of Alexandria. The men began to scold him, spit upon him and to openly beat him on the streets. He bore all patiently, making known his good works to God and concealing them from men. When he died, everything about him became known. Many miracles of healing occurred over his grave. People from different places began to bring their sick to his grave. Spat upon by men, he was and remained glorified by the Omniscient God.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-april-22-may-5.html

***

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Θεοδόσιος ο Κοινοβιάρχης _St Theodosios the Cenobiarch Icon_св. Феодосия Киновиарха_11-1-7The Orthodox Church possesses an inexhaustible treasure in proofs of life after death. One of the numerous proofs is cited here: one example, which, at the same time, witnesses that the souls of men live after physical death and that voluntary obedience leads to blessed eternity. When St. Theodosius the Great founded a monastery, he had only seven monks in the beginning. In order to confirm these monks in remembrance of death, he ordered them to dig out a grave. When the grave was finished, Theodosius stood above the grave surrounded by the seven monks, and said, “Behold my children the grave is ready! Are there any among you who is ready for death, in order to be buried in this grave?” One of them, Basil by name and a priest by rank, fell to his knees and sought a blessing from Theodosius to die. Theodosius ordered that a memorial service for the soul be held for Basil: the third, the ninth and the fortieth day as is the custom for the deceased. When the fortieth day memorial service was completed, Basil completely healthy, laid down and died. He was buried in the new grave. On the fortieth day after his burial, Basil appeared among the brethren in church one morning and chanted with them. In the beginning, only Theodosius saw him and he prayed to God that He open the eyes of the others. The entire brotherhood looked and saw Basil among them. One brother, Letius, out of joy spread his arms and wanted to embrace Basil, but he vanished and Letius heard Basil’s voice saying; “Save yourselves, fathers and brothers, save yourselves.”
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://www.orthodox.cn/prologue/January22.htm

***

As much as the saints were so compassionate and lenient toward human weakness, so were they terribly unyielding and unbending in regard to the confession of the true dogmas of the Faith.
Thus, St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia struck Arius with his fist at the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325 A.D.].
St. Anthony left his desert to come to Alexandria to publicly unmask Arius.
St. Euthymius, being greatly pressured by the Empress Eudocia and the pseudo-Patriarch Theodosius and being unable to debate rationally with them, left the monastery and hid in the desert. All other distinguished monks followed his example. Euthymius remained in the desert until the pseudo-patriarch was ousted and Orthodoxy strengthened.

When, in Jerusalem, the greatest agitation surfaced in the name of the emperor against the Fourth Ecumenical Council [Chalcedon, 451 A.D.] and when the entire population was frightened by the heretics, then St. Theodosius the Great already burdened with old age, as a fearless soldier of Christ, came to Jerusalem, entered the Great Church, ascended the stairs, waved his hands and said to the people, “If anyone does not respect the Fourth Ecumenical Council as he does the four evangelists, let him be anathema.” (Until this time, only four Ecumenical Councils had been convened). All of those listeners were frightened by those words and none of the heretics dared to say anything contrary to those words.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January20.htm

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Theodosius, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.


Lord, most patient and most merciful, open our spiritual vision that we may see that which awaits us after this short-lived life and that we endeavor to fulfill Your law. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič – Saint Philip Metropolitan of Moscow

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon0UAx4dERctkSynaxarion From the Menaion.
On January 9 we commemorate the holy Martyr Polyeuctus of Melitene in Armenia (259)
Martyr Antonina of Nicomedia, martyred at sea
Martyr Lawrence, martyred in the arena, by the pagans
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Eustratius the Wonderworker of the Monastery of Agaurus near Prusa. (821)
Venerable Basil and Gregory the Wonderworkers, uncles of Saint Eustratius (9th century)
We also commemorate the holy Neomartyr Parthena of Edessa who witnessed in Edessa, Macedonia in the year 1375.
Saint Peter, Bishop of Sebastia, brother of Saint Basil the Great.(c.395)
Martyred Holy Fathers who were slain by the Persians at the Lavra of Hozeva (614).
Holy Fathers Niketas (April 3, 824) and Nicephorus ((May 4, 813) abbot and founder, the Confessors and Athanasius, abbots of the Monastery of Medikion
Our righteous Father Finian, Bishop of Lindisfarne.
Our righteous Father Adrian, Abbot of Canterbury.
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of all Russia (1569)
Saint Jonah (Miroshnichenko), (Peter in Schema), founder of Holy Trinity Monastery in Kiev, Wonderworker (1902)
Commemoration of the great earthquake at Constantinople (869)

Saint Philip Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker

The great hierarchs, the pillars of the Orthodox Church, knew how to blend meekness and resoluteness into their character. Meekness toward the righteous and penitents and resoluteness toward the unrepentant criminals. One Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, the Tsar Ivan the Terrible approached Metropolitan Philip to receive the metropolitan’s blessing. The metropolitan pretended not to see the Tsar and gazed at the icon of the Savior. The Tsar’s adjutant approached the metropolitan and said to him: “Your Eminence, the Ruler is before you, bless him.” The metropolitan looked at the Tsar and said: “O Tsar, fear the judgment of God. Here, we offer up the Unbloody Sacrifice to God and outside the sanctuary, the blood of Christians is being spilled. How many innocent suffer? You are lofty on the throne but, nevertheless, you are a man.” The enraged Tsar reminded the metropolitan to keep silent, but the metropolitan said to him: “Where is my faith, if I remain silent?” When the Tsar began to threaten the metropolitan he quietly replied: “I am a visitor and guest on earth and am ready to suffer for the truth!” After a period of time, the evil Tsar strangled the metropolitan but did not strangle the saint.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date May 19, and New Calendar date June 1.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/May19.htm

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Homily
About the visions of the invisible world
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic

“We look not to what is seen but to what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Ιωάννης Πρόδρομος_St. John the Forerunner_св.Иоанна Предтечи_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Iconc_234214123We see this material and transient world, but we look to that spiritual and immortal world.

We see earthly joy, often interrupted by tears and sighs and, in the end, always concluded in death; but we look to spiritual joy among the angels and saints of God in the heavens, to joy uninterrupted and eternal.

We see sufferings and failures of the righteous in this life; but we look at their glory and celebration in that world.

We see many successes, glory and honor of the unrighteous in this life, but we see their defeat, condemnation and indescribable torment in eternity.

We see the Church of God often humiliated and persecuted in this world, but we look to the final victory of the Church over all of her enemies and adversaries both visible and invisible.

Brethren, we often see tyrants and abductors as rulers and wealthy men in this age, and we see saints as poor, dejected and forgotten, but we look at the other kingdom, the Kingdom of God, eternal, sinless and immortal in which the saints will reign without one, no, not one tyrant or abductor.

O Lord, most patient and most merciful, open our spiritual vision that we may see that which awaits us after this short-lived life and that we endeavor to fulfill Your law.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Prologue from Ohrid by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January14.htm

Φίλιππος Μόσχας_Филипп Московский_Philip I of Moscow_756306792037104Hieromartyr Philip, metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia

St Philip (born Theodore) was a descendant of the noble Kolichev boyars. Theodore was the first-born son of the boyar Stepan Ivanovitch and his God-fearing wife Barbara. His hagiographer wrote that from an early age, Theodore with heartfelt love was attached to divinely-inspired books. He was noted for being staid and meek, and he avoided amusements. Because of his noble extraction, Theodore was often in the royal palace. His meekness and piety left a strong impression on the mind of Tsar Ivan, who was the same age as he.

Following his father’s example Theodore entered military service, and would have enjoyed a bright future; however his heart was not inclined toward the riches of the world. In contrast to the common practice, he did not marry until the age of 30. While in church one Sunday, he was greatly affected by following words of the Savior: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6: 24). Hearing in those words his monastic calling, he put on peasant attire, secretly left Moscow, and went to the Solovetsky Monastery. There, over the course of 9 years, he humbly lived the difficult life of a novice, working as a simple peasant, at various times in the garden, in the blacksmith’s shop, and in the bakery. Finally, by consensus of the brethren, he was ordained a priest and appointed abbot.

In this rank, he zealously cared for the monastery’s welfare in both the material, and (more importantly) the moral sense. He had canals dug to connect the ponds, and drained the swampy areas so that they might be planted with hay, put roads through previously impassable places, began to raise cattle, renovated the pickling plant, built two great cathedrals (the Dormition and the Transfiguration Cathedrals), as well as other churches. He also built a hospital, and founded scetes and hermitages for those wanting [to live in] silence; at times he himself would escape to a deserted place known in pre-revolutionary times as “Philip’s Hermitage.” For the brotherhood, he composed a new ustav, which described a hard-working life, forbidding idleness.

Abbot Philip was summoned for spiritual counsel to Moscow, where during his first meeting with the Tsar, he learned that he was appointed Metropolitan [of Moscow]. He tearfully begged Ivan: “Do not separate me from my Hermitage; do not entrust to a little boat the burdens of a large one.” Unmoved, Ivan instructed the bishops and boyars to convince Philip to accept the rank of Metropolitan. Philip agreed, but demanded the disbanding of the Oprichnina. The bishops and boyars convinced Philip that, out of respect for the Tsar’s autocratic authority, he should not urgently press that demand, but instead should humbly accept the rank. Philip deferred to the will of the Tsar, seeing in it God’s Will.

During the initial years of Philip’s hierarchical service (1567-68) the terrors of the Oprichnina subsided, but not for long. Soon, looting and murder of peaceful citizens resumed. In several private conversations, Philip tried to enlighten the Tsar, but seeing that his arguments were not helping, decided to take action openly.

Before the beginning of the Liturgy for the Sunday of the Cross, March 21st, 1568, the Metropolitan was standing on the cathedra in the middle of the church. Suddenly Tsar Ivan, accompanied by a group of oprichniki, entered the church. They all wore tall black hats and black riassas, from within which shone knives and daggers. Ivan approached the Metropolitan from the side and three times bowed his head to receive his blessing. The Metropolitan stood still, his gaze directed at the icon of the Savior… Finally the boyars said: “Holy Master, the Tsar demands your blessing!” The Hierarch turned to Ivan, as if not recognizing him, and said: “In this strange apparel I do not recognize an Orthodox tsar; nor do I recognize him in matters of the realm. O pious one! Whose example do you follow, to so deform your magnificence in this way? At no time since the sun has shone upon the earth has it been heard that pious Tsars should incite their own kingdom to rebel… The Tartars and pagans have law and truth – but we have it not! We, my lord, offer the bloodless sacrifice up to God, while beyond the altar the innocent blood of Christians is being spilled. I do not sorrow for those, who by the spilling of their innocent blood are made worthy to join the Holy Martyrs; I grieve for your poor soul. Although graced with the Image of God, you are nonetheless an ordinary mortal, and the Lord will exact all from your hands.”

Ivan was seething with rage. He whispered threats, and banged his staff upon the stone of the cathedra. Finally he exclaimed: “Philip! Do you dare to oppose our authority? We will see if your strength be great!” “O Good Tsar,” the hierarch answered, “in vain do you try to frighten me. I am but a stranger on this earth, struggling for the truth, and no manner of suffering will silence me.” Terribly irritated, Ivan left the church, but hid his anger only for a time.

On July 28th, the Feastday of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, known as Odigitria [indicator of the path], St. Philip was serving in the Novodevichy Convent, and conducting the procession around the Convent. The Tsar, surrounded by oprichniki was also present. During the reading of the Gospel, the hierarch noticed that an oprichnik standing behind the Tsar was wearing a Tatar headdress, and pointed him out to Ivan. But the oprichnik managed to take off the hat and hide it. The oprichniki accused the Metropolitan of lying in order to humiliate the Tsar before the people. Ivan then ordered that Philip be judged. Several slanderers were found to make false accusations against the Metropolitan. The Metropolitan was not given the right to expose them as liars, and was condemned to lose his cathedra.

Φίλιππος Μόσχας_Филипп Московский_Philip I of Moscow_images (1)On November 8, the Feast of the Archangel Michael, the Holy Hierarch was serving for the last time in the Cathedral of the Dormition. He was standing on the cathedra, just as he had been when he denounced Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Suddenly the doors of the church opened and the boyar Basmanov entered with a host of oprichniki and ordered the reading of a document in which it was announced to the surprised faithful that the Metropolitan was being defrocked. The oprichniki immediately ripped the hierarch’s vestments from him. Clothing him in a torn monastic riassa, they led him out of the church. They sat him in a cart and, shouting expletives at him drove him to one of the Moscow monasteries. It was rumored that the Tsar wanted to burn the Confessor for Christ, and that only after intercession by the clergy was Philip condemned to incarceration for life. At the same time, the tsar executed many of Philip’s relatives. The Terrible one sent the Holy Hierarch the head of Ivan Borisovitch Kolichev, Philip’s most beloved nephew. Holy hierarch Philip received it reverently; after making a prostration before it, he kissed it and said: “Blessed is he whom Thou hast chosen and accepted, O Lord,” and returned it to the sender. From morning to night the faithful gathered around the monastery, wanting to at least catch a glimpse of the glorious hierarch’s shadow, and told many stories of his miracles. Then Ivan ordered that he be transferred to the Monastery of the Child in Tver.

A year later, the Tsar and his warriors went into battle against Novgorod and Pskov. The Tsar sent the oprichnik Maliuta Skuratov ahead of him to the Monastery of the Child. Three days earlier, St Philip had prophesied his own coming repose and had prepared for it by Communing of the Holy Gifts. With a false air of humility, Maliuta approached the Hierarch and asked a blessing for the Tsar. St Philip said: “Do not blaspheme, and do the deed for which you came.” Maliuta threw himself at the hierarch and strangled him to death. A grave was immediately dug and Maliuta witnessed the Hieromartyr being lowered into it on December 23, 1569. The relics of St Philip lay in the Moscow Cathedral of the Dormition, which had witnessed his enormous spiritual struggle.

Troparion of the holy hierarch, in Tone VIII—

O successor of the primates of Russia, pillar of Orthodoxy, champion of the Truth, new confessor, holy hierarch Philip, thou didst lay down thy life for thy flock: wherefore, as thou hast boldness before the Christ, pray thou for this city and the people who honor thy holy memory as is meet.

Apolytikion of ST PHILIP ― Plagal Tone 4

O successor of first prelates, pillar of Orthodoxy, champion of truth, new confessor, Saint Philip, thou didst lay down thy life for thy flock. Wherefore, since thou hast boldness with Christ, pray for the suffering Russian land and them that worthily honour thy holy memory.

Apolytikion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 1

The light of godliness shines on thee from heaven, and thou didst become a noble soldier of Christ. When thou wast beheaded thou wast numbered with the choirs of martyrs, with whom, O noble Polyeuktos, ever pray for those who cry: Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Apolytikion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 4

Thy Martyr Polyeuktos, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Troparion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 4

Your holy martyr Polyeuctus, O Lord, / through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Troparion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 4

In his suffering, O Lord,/ Thy martyr Polyeuctus received an imperishable crown from Thee our God;/ for, possessed of Thy might,/ he set at nought the tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.// By his supplications save Thou our souls.

Apolytikion of ST EUSTRATIUS ― Tone 1

In Olympus of Bithynia you shined in asceticism, and you departed to God looking peaceful; the fiery arrows of the Iconoclasts you quenched, and showed yourself to be a protector of the island named after you, Wonderworker Eustratios. Rejoice, immeasurable in chastity; rejoice, spring of healings; rejoice, who sanctified Lada by your appearance.

Glory…, Now & ever…, the troparion of the feast, in Tone I—

When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest: for the voice of the Father bore witness unto Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ God, Who hast appeared and enlightened the world, glory be to Thee!

stichera of the holy hierarch, in Tone V: Spec. Mel.: “Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross…”—

Rejoice, O mouth of lustrous gold, venerable and divinely melodious swallow, unshakable pillar of Orthodoxy, unassailable rampart of our city, refuge of the sorrowful, calm haven for the tempest-tossed, defender against misfortunes and tribulations for those who have recourse unto thee, thou who dost encourage us to chant hymns of divine beauty with zeal, emulator of the martyrs and confessors, who standest together with the holy angels, peer of the apostles!

Sessional hymn of the saint, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom…”—

As the namesake and emulator of a chosen apostle, O father, thou didst endure tribulation and persecution. And emulating the zeal of the Prophet Elijah and the Baptist, thou didst manfully rebuke the iniquitous, and didst govern well the see entrusted to thee, running the good race until the end. And thou hast left thy body behind like a mantle, emitting myrrh redolent of perfumes, and pourest forth the grace of the Spirit like rain, mystically watering the furrows of our hearts. O holy hierarch Philip, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love honor thy holy memory. Twice