Iconography and Hand painted icons

Can I say to the Lord, ‘I believe, Lord — help my lack of belief… Anthony Bloom of Sourozh

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_20_4Synaxarion.
On July 31, we commemorate Saint Joseph of Aremathea, who buried Christ the Master, reposed in peace.
On this day Saint Evdokimos the righteous of Cappadocia, Military Commander of Cappadocia (9th century)
On this day twelve holy Martyrs of Rome died by the sword.
On this day we commemorate the consecration of the venerable house of our most holy Lady Theotokos, which is in Blachernae, and where her holy Shrine is located.
Also, it is the forefeast of the precious and life-giving Cross, namely when it is brought out of the imperial Palace into the city.
Saint Germanus of Auxerre, Bishop of Auxerre in Gaul (448)
Saint Calimerius, a Greek who became Bishop of Milan in Italy, Apostle of the Po Valley (c. 190)
Saint John the Exarch of Bulgaria (c. 917-927)
Saint Arsenius Bishop of Ninotsminda in Georgia (1082)
Translation of the relics of Apostle Philip to Cyprus.

Seventh Sunday of Matthew 
Healing of the Two Blind Men (Matthew 9:27-35)

On healing (Ματθ. 9, 27-35)
Anthony Bloom Metropolitan of Sourozh
Sunday 22 July 1990

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Τυφλού-Vindecarea-orbului-15In today’s Gospel we hear about two occasions on which Christ healed the sick. And we may ask ourselves, ‘Why didn’t He heal everyone who was in need of healing?’
Because — this is how I read it — because it is not only the healing of the body that was involved in the miraculous act of God; those were healed in their bodies who were ready, mature to be made whole and not only free from physical illness, who were prepared and capable for being given a wholeness that at the same time made them responsible for the gift of health. The natural life which they have had before was wane; illness was undermining all that nature has given them; the end was death, and here, they met the Living God. The Living God Who had by His word of power, but also by His act of love called them into the existence. And they were prepared, they were inwardly ready to receive a new life. The natural life had come to an end, or was coming to an end, and now, a new life was offered, a life which was a gift of God, and a gift of God that entailed a completely new relationship between them and God, between them and all the surrounding world; a new relationship with themselves, a new attitude to themselves. Those who were healed were prepared to receive new life, for the second time, as it were, to be born by the power of God.

I believe, it is everyone who longed not only for physical healing, not only for a new strength to continue to live according to nature that could be healed. The Lord asks from them two questions; the one which we hear in today’s Gospel, and the other one which we hear more than once in other passages. Today we have heard this question, ‘Can you believe, do you believe? Do you believe that My compassion extends to you? Do you believe that I can heal you because you have seen in Me Who I am: the Living God become a living Man? Do you believe that you can be made whole, not only temporarily repaired, but given the wholeness of eternal life now? If you do, however little — you can. ‘I believe, Lord, help my unbelief, my lack of belief!’ And the Lord said, ‘If you can believe however little — it is possible’.

And the other question was, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ It seems to us such a strange question: who doesn’t?.. Yes, if it was only a matter of being restored to physical health it would be simple; everyone would say ‘yes’. But it is wholeness that is at stake; and wholeness means to become a human being in perfect harmony with God, in harmony with one’s neighbour, with the created world, restructured inwardly as to be whole.

And this, it is not everyone of us who wishes, because the cost, if we think of it, is great; to accept this wholeness, we must accept a life that would be in the image of the life of Christ: to be among men as He was, with no thought of Himself, ready to accept all humiliation, ready to accept all suffering, all rejection, and humiliate no one, protect oneself against no suffering and reject no one; to receive all brothers without exception as Christ receives us. And who of us can claim that he is worthy of being received, of being recognised by Christ, by God in Him, as His brother or sister?

Let us therefore ask ourselves: Can we answer these two questions? Can I say to the Lord, ‘I believe, Lord — help my lack of belief, my inner hesitation born of the experience I have of a broken personality and of a distorted world. Help me believe that wholeness and harmony a r e possible!’

But also, let us ask ourselves whether we are prepared to accept new life, wholeness on God’s own terms: to remain in this world as Christ lived in it, possessed of sacrificial love, renouncing ourselves, caring only for the other person’s salvation, and every other person’s life. If we are, then we turn to God and say, I believe, Lord; I open myself to wholeness: I may not achieve it at once, but I will struggle for it, give all m y life for it, and serve everyone possessed of Thine Own sacrificial love. Amen.


Γερμανός της Auxerre, Γαλλία St Germanus the Bishop of Auxerre08+St+Germanos+Blesses+St.+Genevieve.-700pxSt Germanus the Bishop of Auxerre

While the two bishops were on the island, the Britons were being harassed by Picts and Saxons. The Britons invited the two bishops to their camp, hoping that their prayers and presence would help them. While agreeing, Germanus and Lupus spent their time bringing the pagans to Christ and the Christians to reforming their lives. At Pascha, many catechumens were received into the Church. After the Pascha, Germanus, not forgetting his old profession as a general, made recourse to a strategy to save his faithful from the advancing Saxons. He led his small army to a valley between two mountains, and there, directed his men to shout forth with the same call they had made during the Paschal feast. As the Saxons approached them, Bp. Germanus cried out three times “Alleluiah” which was repeated by the whole Briton force. The sound reverberated from hills with a dreaded sound of falling rocks, causing the barbarians, in fright, to flee leaving all their arms and baggage behind.

My spirit required eternal life, and eternity. Lord, strengthen the faith in us and have mercy on us. St. Sophrony the Anthonite

St Germanus the Bishop of Auxerre discerned a special divine purpose for St. Geneviève of Paris

Resurrectional Apolytikion.
Mode pl. 2.

When the angelic powers appeared at Your grave, the soldiers guarding it feared and became as dead. And standing by the sepulcher was Mary who was seeking Your immaculate body. You devastated Hades, not afflicted by it. You went to meet the virgin, and granted eternal life. You resurrected from the dead. O Lord, glory to You.

Troparion of the Forefeast, Tone 1.

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant Thou unto Orthodox Christians victories over adversaries, and by Thy Cross preserve Thy people.

Troparion of St Joseph of Arimathea ― Tone 2

Noble Joseph took Thine immaculate Body down from the tree,/ wrapped It in a clean shroud and spices,/ and having embalmed It, laid It in a new sepulcher./ But on the third day Thou didst rise, O Lord,/ granting the world great mercy.

Apolytikion of St Germanus of Auxerre ― Plagal Tone 4

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 Germanus of Auxerre, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Troparion of St Eudocimus, Tone 4.

He who did call thee from earth unto heaven keepeth thy body unharmed after death, holy Eudocimus; for thou didst live a sober and holy life and didst not defile thy flesh; so with boldness intercede with Christ that we may be saved.

Kontakion. Grave Mode.

Upon the mountain were You transfigured, and Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they were able, O Christ our God; so that when they would see You crucified they might understand that Your Passion was deliberate, and declare to the world that in truth You are the Father’s radiance.

The Gospel according to Matthew 9:27-35

At that time, as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.
As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marvelled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” 
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.


Lord, deliver us from hypocrisy and pour Your fear into our hearts so that our hearts could stand continually upright in prayer before You… as the St. Genevieve of Paris

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox IconДмитрием Кунцевичем19277Forefeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Holy Prophet Malachi (c. 400 BC)
Venerable Genevieve of Paris (502)
Martyr Gordius, at Caesarea in Cappadocia, centurion, by the sword (c. 314)
Venerable Acacius the Wonderworker, of Mount Latros (Latmos), at the Megisti Lavra of the Theotokos of Myrsinon (c. 10th century)
Saint Bertilia of Mareuil, anchoress (c. 687)
Venerable Peter of Atroa (Peter the Standard-Bearer) (837)
Saint Thomais of Lesbos (10th century)
Venerable Meliton of Beirut (537)
Abbess Thaisia of Leushino
Righteous Euthymius (Takaishvili) the Man of God, of Tbilisi (1953)
Finding of the relics of New Monk-martyr Ephraim of Nea Makri, in 1950

Commemorated on January 3

Abbess Thaisia of Leushino

‘‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’’ Luke 17:21

If you think to find paradise on earth, even in a monastery, then you are very mistaken. Paradise-full blessedness-does not exist on earth, and cannot, because man was not created for earth, but for heaven.”

St. John of Kronstadt

There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God’s Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration… Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God;our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, nor our infirmity God’s omnipotence.” — My Life in Christ..Γερμανός της Auxerre-Γαλλία_ St-Germanos of Auxerre -Blesses-St Genevieve_Женевьева- Геновефы Парижская_Orthodox Byzantine icon-70023537Vezelay, France -

Saint Genevieve of Paris († 502)

Genevieve is the Patroness of the city of Paris. Through fasting, prayer and almsgiving she was made worthy of the Kingdom of God and died on January 3, 512 A.D., in the eighty-ninth year of her life.

When she was about ten years old St Germanus of Auxerre (July 31) and Saint Lupus of Troyes, passing through Nanterre on their way to Britain to fight the heresy of Pelagius, Saint Germanus’s gaze lit upon Genevieve; discerned a special divine purpose for her, and told her parents that she had been chosen for the salvation of many and that she would be great before God. “He asked her that day, and early the next, if she would consecrate herself to holy virginity for Christ and, on both occasions, she answered that it was her dearest wish. Then he blessed her and gave her a copper coin inscribed with the Cross to wear around her neck, telling her never to wear gold, silver or pearls, but to elevate her mind above the small beauties of this world in order to inherit eternal and heavenly adornments.”

She kept Lent from Theophany to Pascha, during which time she never left her house. God gave her the gift to know the secrets of hearts and to speak to the hidden conscience of her hearers, and her holiness soon became known to all Paris. These relics were mostly burned and thrown into the River Seine by the godless Revolutionaries in 1793, (Synaxarion)


Hymn of Praise
The Holy Prophet Malachia
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Μαλαχίας προφήτης_Malachias Prophet_Малахия пророк_ih3925Malachi proclaims what the angel tells him:
The day, the day, O the day is coming! The day which like an oven is blazing.
Who will endure it? Who will survive it?
Who, with their justice, before the Judge will stand?
All non-believers as a dry stubble will be
Food for the hungry fire. Weeping, sighing and shrieking!
The fire overflows and as a river flows,
Here what can the tongue of a sinner say?
O, my priests, you, who do not render Me praise,
Why do not your tongues the glory of the Lord sing?
Everywhere, among the people, you have become despised,
For My judgment, law and miracles you scorn.
I, the Lord am speaking, the Lord of hosts,
O, of those odious sorcerers, the judgment severe!
The fire when it charges, the smoke and the dreadful rumble it chases
Then, the hand of the Lord does not caress anymore.
Repent, O people, while days you have left,
Return to Me and I will return to you.
I the Lord am speaking, the Lord of hosts,
Return to Me and I will return to you.
Malachi proclaims what the angel tells him:
The day, the day, O the day is coming! The day which like an oven is blazing.


God hears the prayers of the just.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Γενοβέφα Γενεβιέβη Παρισίων_St Geneviève-Genovefa of Paris_Св. Геновефы Парижской_ Женевьева Парижская_Orthodox Byzantine icon_0115_1122524320God hears the prayers of the just. This is clearly seen from the lives of Moses, Elijah, and the other Old Testament righteous ones and prophets as well as from the lives of the apostles and saints. While St. Genevieve, as a nun, lived a life of asceticism in Paris, it so happened that Attila with his savage Huns surrounded Paris. Fear and terror overcame the entire population of Paris who, at any moment, awaited the capture of the city by the enemy. Then, St. Genevieve called upon the people to fast and to pray to God and then the calamity will be averted. Many men and women responded to the call of this saint and began to fast and pray to God. Genevieve herself fasted the most and prayed most ardently to God. After a short while the enemy turned away from Paris without any visible reason and departed for another place. That which the sword of many sinners cannot do, the prayer of the righteous person can.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič, 


About how the Kingdom of God is gained with the heart and not with the tongue
 by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

“Not everyone who says, `Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (St. Matthew 7:21).

Brethren, one does not gain the Kingdom of God with the tongue, but with the heart. The heart is the treasury of those riches by which the kingdom is purchased; the heart and not the tongue! If the treasury is full with the riches of God, i.e., a strong faith, good hope, vivid love and good deeds, then the messenger of those riches, the tongue, is faithful and pleasant. If the treasury is void of all those riches, then its messenger [the tongue] is false and impudent. The kind of heart, the kind of words. The kind of heart, the kind of deeds. All, all depends on the heart.

Hypocrisy is helpless before men, and is even more helpless before God. If then I am a father, says the Lord through the Prophet Malachi, If then I am a father, where is the honor due to me? And If I am a master, where is the reverence due to me? (Malachi 1:6). That is, I hear you call me father, but I do not see you honoring me with your heart. I hear you call me master, but I do not see fear of me in your hearts.

Our prayer: “Lord! Lord!” is beautiful and beneficial only when it emerges from a prayerful heart. The Lord Himself commanded that we pray unceasingly, but not only with the tongue to be heard by men, but rather enclosed in the cell of the heart so that the Lord could hear and see us.

Lord, majestic and wonderful, deliver us from hypocrisy and pour Your fear into our hearts so that our hearts could stand continually upright in prayer before You.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Troparion of the Theophany Forefeast — Tone 4

Make ready, O Zebulon, and prepare thyself, Nephthali./ River Jordan, stop flowing and leap for joy at the Lord’s coming for Baptism./ Rejoice, O Adam, with our first mother;/ hide not yourself as in Paradise of old./ For seeing us naked He has appeared,/ to clothe us with our first garment./ Christ has appeared, to renew the whole of creation.

Troparion of the Prophet Malachi  — Tone 2

We celebrate the memory / of Your prophet Malachi, O Lord; / through him we beseech You: / “Save our souls.”

Troparion of the saint, in Tone I

Shepherds who tended their flocks once beheld Christ our Savior; and thou, O godly maiden, as a shepherdess pure of heart, didst worship the Great Shepherd of the reason-endowed sheep. Fend off the wolves that come in sheep’s clothing to devour us, and in thy love lead us to the pastures of heaven, O venerable mother Geneviève..

Apolytikion of Saint Genevieve of Paris — Plagal Fourth 4

Through thee the divine likeness was securely preserved, O Mother Genevieve; for thou didst carry the cross and followed Christ. By example and precept thou didst teach us to ignore the body because it is perishable, and to attend to the concerns of the undying soul. Therefore, doth thy soul rejoice with the angels.

Tone IV Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast given a sign…”—

Unto us, the faithful, hath the Lord given a wondrous sign: the venerable Geneviθve, bride of the noetic Bridegroom, guide of virgins, counselor of kings and princes, mighty protectress of her city, who by her supplications doth repel the foe and dispel grievous pestilence.

Come, all ye faithful, and let us hymn the venerable one; for, beholding divine visions and possessing the gift of prophecy, with boldness she encouraged the people, urging them to be of good courage while the heathen armies besieged the city, until, by her supplications, the danger passed.

Glory…: Idiomelon, in Tone VI—

Come, ye who love the saints of God, and let us praise Geneviθve, the instrument of the Spirit, blessing her as a model of piety, a wondrous healer of our souls and bodies. And with wreaths of eloquence let us crown her, our intercessor, the radiant lamp of France, the clear-voiced clarion of divine discourse, the divinely wise seer of visions, the devoted daughter of the all-pure Mother of God; and let us cry out to her thus: Rejoice, O unblemished ewe-lamb! Rejoice, O thou who leadest us to the knowledge of God! Rejoice, boast of the great city of Paris! Rejoice, adornment of all Gaul and glory of Christendom!

At Matins, Aposticha 
Glory…: Idiomelon of the venerable one, in Tone V—

O Paris, thou city of light, rejoice and be glad; for today is celebrated the splendid memory of Geneviève thy protectress, the peer of the holy women of old, the preacher of the Gospel, the beholder of visions divine, the ward of holy hierarchs, thy bold champion and mediatress, the seer who foretold the future, the mother of the poor and guardian of maidens! And honoring her, with us cry aloud: O Christ God, by the supplications of thy holy one establish Thy Church in peace!

Troparion — Tone 8

Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship, / the enlightener of the universe and the adornment of hierarchs: / all-wise father Euthymius, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things. / Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.