Iconography and Hand painted icons

Golden Chryse surrendered her whole heart to the Lord of Heaven. Lord God, our immortal Creator, help us to ready our hearts, that they may be vessels of Thy life-giving grace.

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox IconfileSynaxarion.
On October 13, we commemorate the holy Martyrs Carpus, Papylus, Agathodorus, and Agathonica, sister of Saint Papylus (250)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyr Florentius of Thessalonica (1st-2nd centuries)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyr Dioscorus of Skenopolis in Egypt, by decapitation (288)
On this day we also commemorate our devout father Nicetas of Paphlagonia, the Patrician and Confessor (c. 838)
On this day we also commemorate the Saint Luke of Demena, Sicily (984)
Saints Faustus, Januarius and Martial, martyrs in Cordoba in Spain under Diocletian, called “The Three Crowns of Cordoba” (304)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Hieromartyr Benjamin of Persia, the Deacon (421-424)
On this day we commemorate the holy Martyr Antigonus who died by fire.
On this day we commemorate the holy New Hieromartyr Jacob of Hamatoura and those with him in the Lebanon, who was tortured and beheaded by the Mamelukes in Tripoli in the 13th century.
On this day we commemorate the holy New Martyr Chryse, who contested in a villige called Slatena in the eparchy of Moglena (Edessa) in the year 1795, died by dismemberment.
On this day we commemorate the our righteous Father Anthony, Metropolitan of Chqondidi in Georgia (1815), and his disciple James, the Priest-monk.
On this day we commemorate the holy New Martyr Bosiljka Rajičić (19th century)
On this day we commemorate the holy New Hieromartyrs Benjamin, Archimandrite of the Solovki Monastery, and Benjamin, Bishop of Ufa.
Repose of Monk Enoch of Kapsala the Romanian (1979)

In torments, O Chryse, thou wast as brilliant
As gold that hath been purified by fire.
On the thirteenth, Chryse was torn to pieces.

“As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering.”
(Wisdom of Solomon 3:6)

The Holy Great-martyr Zlata (Chryse) of Meglin
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Χρυσή νεομάρτυς Mογλενών Πέλλης_Св. Хриса (Хрисия, Злата) Могленская (Меглинская)_Saint Chryse (Zlata) of Meglena, New MaThe Turks tortured St. Zlata of golden heart,
Tormented her to death for Christ the Living God.
Golden Zlata wept not, nor did she waver,
But surrendered her whole heart to the Lord of Heaven.
The tears of parents and sisters were in vain:
Zlata sought delight through sufferings, true delight-
The delight that Christ prepares for wise virgins,
The joy that the Bridegroom bestows upon faithful brides.
The cage of the body of Zlata the Golden was destroyed,
And her soul was freed from its fragile prison.
Zlata rose up to Paradise, joyful in soul,
Taking her place among the royal, holy angels.
St. Zlata, once a poor peasant girl,
Is now glorified in Paradise as a queen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 


on the heart ready for God
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready (Psalm 56:8).

Χρυσή νεομάρτυς Mογλενών Πέλλης_Св. Хриса (Хрисия, Злата) Могленская (Меглинская)_Saint Chryse (Zlata) of Meglena, New MaBrethren, blessed is he who is able to speak like this to his Lord! Blessed is he whose heart is completely ready to follow the will of God. The readiness of the heart of man lies in this: to joyfully follow the will of God and not be confused by one’s own thoughts and desires. At first, the repentant King David had followed his own sinful thoughts and desires, and was like a boat on a stormy sea. However, when he realized that the storm was going to drown him, he turned to God with great repentance and tears, and turned the boat of his life entirely over to God. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready! he cried out with great peace of soul, for he knew that he had given his boat into the hands of the Most-skilled Helmsman. The storm still raged and the winds and waves still assaulted him, but he was not afraid, convinced that nothing could smash his boat, and that his boat would sail safely to a calm harbor.

A “ready heart” means a heart cleansed of pride and humbled before the majestic power and wisdom of God.
A “ready heart” means a heart emptied of all worldly desires and illusions, and filled with nothing but aspirations toward God and love for God.
A “ready heart” means a heart that is healed of all restlessness, cares and fears, and is quieted and encouraged by the presence of God’s grace.

I will sing and give praise in my glory (Psalm 56:8), continues the Psalmist. This shows that his heart is truly ready-he is not proud of his royal glory but ascribes it to God. He humbled himself before God as nothing, and now his sole pleasure is to magnify and glorify God. His personal glory only gives him a reason for glorifying His All-glorious God.

O my brethren, let us endeavor that our hearts be ready soon before God: ready to hear the word of God, ready to follow the will of God, ready to glorify the Living God.

O Lord God, our immortal Creator, help us to ready our hearts, that they may be vessels of Thy life-giving grace.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

In the mercy of God, the little thing done with humility will enable us to be found in the same place as the saints who have labored much and been true servants of God. St. Dorotheos of Gaza

God never abandons us; ‘Let us commend our whole life to Christ our God.’ This is what trust in God is… and God will do what is best. Saint Paisios the Athonite and Fr Enoch of Kapsala the Romanian and the earthquake

Troparion of Holy Martyrs Carpus, Papylus
— Tone 4

In their sufferings, O Lord,/ Thy martyrs received imperishable crowns from Thee our God;/ for, possessed of Thy might,/ they set at nought the tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.// By their supplications save Thou our souls.

Apolytikion of St. Jacob of Hamatoura
3rd Mode “Thy Confession of the true divine faith…”

As a cedar of Lebanon groweth without fear of martyrdom and death, thou didst become a victor, O Father Jacob. Thou didst conquer death in thy body when by humility thou didst control the passions, and when thou wast burnt like incense as a sacrifice. Intercede with Christ to grant us great mercy.

Apolytikion of ST Chryse
― Tone 1

Having come to love the celestial Bridegroom, you have shown no fear of the tortures of the wicked infidel and have shed your blood even to death, O Chryse, worthy of all praise, O pride of Meglen. That is why you are now being recompensed according to your merits: eternal joy in the palaces of Christ our God. To Him do pray that He may save our souls.

Apolytikion of St. Chryse
― in the Fourth Tone

O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Made golden by the All-holy Spirit, you kept spotless purity for Christ, and struggled beyond nature, O Virgin Martyr Chryse, worthy to be praised.


Simple and chaste in virtue and way of life, immobile in soul, and steadfast in all things, you shone piously. You were seen as a beautiful youth, and a chosen daughter in truth of the King of all, O golden-named virgin. Who could not therefore hymn you, seeing the greatness of your struggles, and the unspeakable love that you had towards the Creator? For after many blows and various trials you were hanged on a tree, and barbarically, your virginal body was violently torn apart, and you were perfectly joined to Christ, O Virgin Martyr Chryse, worthy to be praised.


Lord God, great and powerful, merciful and just; enlighten our minds by Thy holy law, so that we may conform our wills to Thy man-loving and saving will. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Παναγία η ΓοργοϋπήκοοςPanagia-Gorgoepikoos-Скоропослушницу-Icon of the Mother of God “Quick to Hear”
Icon of the Mother of God ‘’The Healer’’
Icon of Panagia Eleftherotria (“Our Lady of Deliverance”)
Commemoration of the apparition of the Pillar with the Robe of the Lord under it at Mtskheta in Georgia (Светицховели- სვეტიცხოველი ) (4th century)
St. Sidonia of Georgia (1th century)
St. Sidonia , disciple of St. Nina and Abiatar of Georgia (4th century)
Holy Emperor Mirian III of Iberia and Empress Nana of Mtskheta, Georgia, Equals-to-the-Apostles
Holy Apostle Ananias, St. Romanus the Melodist (510) and St. John Koukouzelis (13th century)
ST GREGORY the Choirmaster ― Domesticus

Commemorated on October 1

The Feast in Honour of the Chiton (Tunic) of the Lord

Παναγία Γοργοϋπήκοος_Mother of God Quick to Hear_Gorgoepikoos_Божией Матери Скоропослушница_08%d0%b50%b8%d0%b5The Feast in Honour of the Chiton (Tunic) of the Lord and the Life-Giving Pillar is the temple feast of the Mtskheta patriarchal cathedral in honour of the Twelve Holy Apostles, named the Svetitskhoveli (სვეტიცხოვლის, which in translation means “Life-Giving Pillar”). According to the tradition of the Georgian Church, the Chiton (Greek word, in Latin “Tunic”) of the Lord – the seamless garment of the Saviour (Jn. 19: 23) – came to the ancient capital city of Georgia, Mtskheta, in the following manner.

Elioz of Mtskheta acquiring the Robe of the Lord

Eleazar (or Elioz), rabbi of the Mtskheta community of Jews, had resettled to Georgia from Jerusalem already by the year 70 A.D. Having received news from the Jerusalem high-priest Annas about the impending execution of Christ, he hastened to Jerusalem in the company of Longinus Carsnitus [or “carsnifex”, the Latin meaning “executioner”]. They became eye-witnesses to the Passion of the Lord and the casting of lots for His garment (Jn. 19: 23-24; Ps. 21 [22]: 18).

At the moment when the All-Pure Body of the Lord was nailed to the Cross, the mother of Elioz, situated in Mtskheta, sensed the blows of the hammer in her heart and shuddered out of great fright. Having related to her daughter Sidonia about the crucifixion sufferings of the Saviour, guiltlessly given over unto death, the mother of Elioz then died. Elioz then acquired the Chiton from the soldier who by lots had won it, and he took it with him to Mtskheta.

Sidonia, meeting her brother Elioz in tears, told him about the death of their mother and her words just before her death. Elioz confirmed the words of their mother and he showed his sister the Chiton (Tunic) of the Lord. Taking hold the Chiton, Righteous Sidonia kissed it all over, pressed it to her bosom and herewith fell down lifeless. No one, not even the emperor Aderk (2 B.C.-55 A.D.) was able to open the grasp of Sidonia nor take from her the Chiton. Righteous Sidonia (Comm. 1 October) was secretly consigned to earth by her brother Elioz in the imperial garden at Mtskheta.

The miracle of the Life-giving Pillar

ΓΕΩΡΓΙΑΣ_Γεωργίας-άγιοι_Saints of Georgia_glory_of_iveria_slava_gruzinsk_tserkvi-_fotos.mosaics.didebis-xatiThe holy Saint Nino, Equal-to-the-Apostle, stold about this to the Kartalin Hebrew highpriest Aviathar – a descendent of rabbi Elioz. He came to believe in Christ, having listened to the explanation by Saint Nino of the ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah, and how these prophecies were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Georgian king Mirian (265-342) was also converted by holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Saint Nino, and he decided to build a Christian church on the spot whereupon the Chiton of the Lord was situated. A massive cedar tree had grown on the grave of Sidonia, which they sawed, and wanted to use its truck as a foundation pillar for supporting the main cupola of the church, but they were not able to raise it upright. Saint Nino prayed all night for Divine help. and visions were manifest to her, in which were revealed the historical courses of destiny of Georgia.

At dawn an Angel of the Lord approached the pillar and raised it in the air. The pillar, shining with a wondrous light, was elevated and then lowered in the air, until it was set over its base. From the stump of the cedar issued a fragrant myrh. Thus the Angel of the Lord indicated the place, where the Chiton (Tunic) of the Lord was concealed in the ground. This event, witnessed to by many of the inhabitants of Mtskheta, is depicted on the icon, “Glorification of the Georgian Church”. Afterwards at the place of the wooden church was erected the majestic stone cathedral of Svetitskhoveli. The Life-Giving Pillar, from which occurred many healings, has at present a stone four-cornered covering and is crowned by a light-loft, not touching the arch of the cathedral. The Pillar is positioned in the Sveti-Tskhoveli cathedral with a model alongside of the Church of the Sepulchre of the Lord at Jerusalem.

From “Lives of the Saints”, Saint John of Kronstadt Press


Saint Nicholas of Zicha in Serbia: “The saints are a burnished mirror in which are reflected the beauty and strength and majesty of Christ. They are the fruit on that Tree of Life which is Christ . . . . As the sun among the stars and a king among his nobles, so is Christ among His saints. This works in both directions-from Christ to the saints and from them to Christ: the saints are given meaning by Christ, and Christ is revealed through the saints”.


on the will of the righteous in the will of God
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

But his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on His Law doth he mediate day and night (Psalm 1:2).

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_Saint Nina of Georgia_წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_святой Нины Иберии_s102Brethren, blessed is that man-thrice blessed is he-whose will is submitted to the will of God; whose mind thinks of nothing contrary to the counsel of God; and whose heart desires nothing contrary to the will of God. The mind is the rudder of both the will and the heart. If the mind is permanently directed toward God, then it will eagerly meditate day and night on the Law of God, and will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1) but will seek the truth and the revelation of all that is in God’s Law. If the mind is so directed to God, then, swiftly, the heart and will of man will also be directed toward God. Then the will, as the implementing organ of the inner man, will carry out only what is in accordance with the will of God and what is written in the Law of God. Then man will not stand in the way of the sinners (Psalm 1:1), and will not sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1); he will not commit sin, nor will he draw other men to sin. At the beginning of this Psalm, the Prophet David praises the man who does not commit three specific evils, and now he continues to praise him when he does two good things. The three evils are: to seek wisdom of a sinner, to live the life of a sinner and to corrupt others by one’s evil example. The two good things are: to conform one’s will completely to the Law of God; and to direct one’s mind to meditate day and night on God’s Law.

O my brethren, how lamentably shallow are the minds of all those who do not know the Law of God! The depth of man’s mind is measured by the depth of his knowledge of God’s law. The mind of him who meditates on the mysteries of God’s law is deep, wide and exalted; and the mind is the rudder of the heart and will. O my brethren, how shallow, unstable and dissolute is the will of him who does not subordinate his will to the will of God! Indeed, it is lamentably shallow, unstable and dissolute. What is the Law of God, brethren? It is the expression of God’s will. Where is that expression to be found? In Holy Scripture and in the Tradition of the saints of the Church of God. Blessed is he who knows the will of God and fulfills it.

O Lord God, great and powerful, merciful and just; enlighten our minds by Thy holy law, so that we may conform our wills to Thy man-loving and saving will.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich,

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_Saint Nina of Georgia_წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_святой Нины Иберии_1655994_779170328779421_2106830555_n (1)A Photographic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Georgia, the burial place of Christ’s Robe at Mtskheta in Georgia

Lord Jesus, Sufferer above the sufferers and Victor above the victors increase our faith and strengthen us with the power of Your Grace as you did strengthen Your holy apostles. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Troparion Icon of the Mother of God “Quick to Hear”, in Tone IV:

Let us make haste to the Theotokos amid our misfortunes,
and fall down now before her holy icon,
crying out with faith from the depths of our soul:
Hearken quickly to our entreaty, O Virgin,
in that thou art called ‘she who is quick to hear’
For thee do we, thy servants,
have as a ready helper in our needs.

Troparion, in Tone IV:

Overshadowed by thy coming, O Mother of God, we, the right faithful people, celebrate today with splendor, and gazing at thine all-precious image, we say with compunction: Cover us with thy precious omophorion, and deliver us from all evil, entreating thy Son, Christ our God, that He save our souls.

Apolytikion of Robe of Christ
Fourth Tone

On this day let us the faithful run to the divine and healing robe of our Saviour and God, Who was pleased to wear our flesh and pour out His holy Blood on the Cross, whereby He hath redeemed us from slavery to the enemy. Wherefore, we thankfully cry to Him: By Thy precious robe save and defend Orthodox Christians, and bishops, and cities, and all men everywhere, and save our souls, for Thou art the Friend of man.

Troparion of ST ROMANUS the Melodist ― Tone 4

Thou didst gladden Christ’s Church by thy melodies/ like an inspired heavenly trumpet./ For thou wast enlightened by the Mother of God/ and didst shine on the world as God’s poet./ We lovingly honour thee, O righteous Romanus.

Troparion of the apostle, in Tone III:

O holy Apostle Ananias, entreat the merciful God, that He grant to our souls remission of transgressions.

Troparion of St. Nina of Georgia

When the light is risen from the West, desist, O North, and blow thou, O South; for the sun ariseth to dispel the darkness, and a warm breeze draweth nigh, to melt the ice.
Behold, the holy Nina, the preacher of Christ, cometh!

Kontakion of Robe of Christ 
Fourth Tone

Thou hast bestowed upon all men, O Master, Thy precious robe as a divine treasure, as a garment of incorruption, healing, and salvation, for thereby wast Thou pleased to clothe the holy and life-giving flesh of Thine Incarnation. Receiving this relic with faith, we joyfully celebrate this glorious occasion, and praising Thee with fear and love as our Benefactor, we cry to Thee, O Christ: In Thy great mercy, keep Orthodox Christians and their pastors and all Thy people in peace.Σβετιτσχόβελι-άγιος Στύλος-Светицховели- სვეტიცხოველი – Setiskhoveli, στη Μτσχέτα-002Σβετιτσχοβελι-_Svetitskhoveli Georgia_Светицховели-სვეტიცხოველი- ___maxresdefaultΜτσχετα _Mtskheta Georgia_ Мцхета _მცხეთაში_1Μτσχέτα_Mtskheta_Мцхе́та _მცხეთა__Mtskheta_panorama

Give yourself up entirely to God’s providence, to the Lord’s Will, and do not grieve at losing anything material, When an unexpected misfortune happens to us who are innocent, we should not immediately grieve but rather we should try to see in this the Providence of God, Who, through that misfortune, is preparing something new and beneficial for us. St. John of Kronstadt – Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Κοίμησιν τῆς Θεοτόκου _Dormition of the Mother of God_ Успение Богородицы_14828497“Donskoy” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (Theotokos “Of the Don”) Remembrance of envoke the Moscow from advancing of tatars in 1591 by church procession with Icon of the Mother of God of the Don (1380) written by Theophan the Greek
Martyr Andrew Stratelates and 2,593 soldier-martyrs with him, in Cilicia (284-305)
Martyrs Timothy, Agapius, and Thecla, of Palestine (304)
Martyrs Eutychianus the Soldier , Strategius and Myron, by fire (304)
Saint Julius, an early martyr in Rome (c. 190)
Saint Pitirim, Bishop of Perm (1455)
Venerable Theophanes of Docheiariou monastery, the New Wonderworker of Mount Naousa in Macedonia (16th century)
Uncovering of the relics (1646) of St. Gennadius, Abbot of Kostroma (1565)
Repose of Abbess Maria (Ushakova) of Diveyevo (on the Old Calendar August 6, Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, 1904)
Repose of Archimandrite Spyridon (Efimov) (1984), disciple of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

Commemorated on August 19

“Remain with us, our comfort, our sole joy in this world.
O Mother leave us not orphans…”

Remembrance of envoke the Moscow from advancing of tatars in 1591 by church procession with Icon of the Mother of God of the DON (1380) written by Theophan the Greek

Παναγία του Ντον_Don Icon of the Mother of God_ Богоматерь Донская. Феофан Грек_0_1a5910_77b018b1_orig - ΑντιγραφήThe Don Icon of the Mother of God was written by Theophanes the Greek. On September 8, 1380, the day of the Kulikovo Battle (and the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos), the Icon was with the Russian army, giving it help, but after the victory it was passed on by the Don Cossacks as a gift to their commander, Great Prince Demetrius of the Don, who then transferred it to Moscow. At first, the icon was at the Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral, and later at the Annunciation Cathedral. In commemoration of the victory on the banks of the River Don it was called the Don Icon. In 1591, Crimean Khan Nuradin and his brother, Murat-Girei, invaded Russia with a large army. Advancing on Moscow, they positioned themselves on the Vorobiev hills (Sparrow Hills). A procession was made around Moscow with the Don Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos in order to guard the city from the enemy. On the day of battle it was in the military chapel in the ranks of the soldiers, and set the Tatars to flight. In 1592, the Don monastery was founded at the very place where the icon had stood amid the soldiers. The wonderworking icon was placed in this monastery, and its feast day was established as August 19.


Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

When an unexpected misfortune happens to us who are innocent, we should not immediately grieve but rather we should try to see in this the Providence of God, Who, through that misfortune, is preparing something new and beneficial for us. One day, unexpected news came to Blessed Theophanes, the abbot of Dochiariu, that the Turks had seized his sister’s son, forced him to embrace Islam and took him to Constantinople. Theophanes immediately traveled to Constantinople and, with the help of God, succeeded to find his nephew and to secretly bring him out of Constantinople and brought him to his monastery on Mt. Athos. There, he again, received his nephew into the Christian Faith and, after that, also tonsured him a monk. However, the brethren began to complain against their abbot and his nephew for fear of the Turks, for they were afraid that the Turks would find out and come and destroy the monastery. Not knowing what to do, St. Theophanes took his nephew and, with him, secretly withdrew not only from Dochiariu but also from the Holy Mountain and came to Berea. The later activities of Theophanes in Berea and in Naousa proved how much that misfortune was beneficial to the Church. That which Theophanes could never succeed to achieve on the Holy Mountain, he achieved in these other places to which he had fled from that misfortune. Namely: he founded two new monasteries, where, in time, many monks were saved and where countless men found comfort for themselves. In addition to this, his holy relics among the Christian people became a source of healing for the strengthening of faith among many unbelievers and those of little faith. Thus, God wisely directs the destiny of men through unexpected misfortunes, which momentarily seem to men that they are going to their final destruction.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


St. John of Kronstadt
on Providence and the Will of God

Παναγια ΚΑΡΔΙΩΤΙΣΣΑ_Icon of the Virgin Mary of Kardiotissa_Божией Матери Икона–Byzantine Orthodox Icon__07Give yourself up entirely to God’s providence, to the Lord’s Will, and do not grieve at losing anything material, nor in general at the loss of visible things; do not rejoice at gain, but let your only and constant joy be to win the Lord Himself. Trust entirely in Him: He knows how to lead you safely through this present life, and to bring you to Himself — into His eternal Kingdom.

If God does not leave a blade of grass, a flower, or a small leaf of a tree without His good providence, will He leave us? O, let every man be convinced with his whole heart that God is true to Himself in His providence for even the least of His creatures. Let him understand that the Creator invisibly dwells in all His creatures. In the words of our Saviour, God clothes the grass of the field, feeds the fowls of the air.

“Thy will be done.” For instance, when you wish and by every means endeavour to be well and healthy, and yet remain ill, then say: “Thy will be done.” When you undertake something and your undertaking does not succeed, Say: “Thy will be done.” When you do good to others, and they repay you by evil, say: “Thy will be done.” Or when you would like to sleep and are overtaken by sleeplessness, Say: “Thy will be done.” In general, do not become irritated when anything is not done in accordance with your will, but learn to submit in everything to the Will of the Heavenly Father. You would like not to experience any temptations, and yet the enemy daily harasses you by them; provokes and annoys you by every means. Do not become irritated and angered, but say: “Thy will be done.”

It is never so difficult to say from the heart, “Thy Will be done, Father,” as when we are in sore affliction or grievous sickness, and especially when we are subjected to the injustice of men, or the assaults and wiles of the enemy. It is also difficult to say from the heart “Thy Will be done” when we ourselves were the cause of some misfortune, for then we think that it is not God’s Will, but our own will, that has placed us in such a position, although nothing can happen without the Will of God. In general, it is difficult to sincerely believe that it is the Will of God that we should suffer, when the heart knows both by faith and experience that God is our blessedness; and therefore it is difficult to say in misfortune, “Thy Will be done.” We think, “Is it possible that this is the Will of God? Why does God torment us? Why are others quiet and happy? What have we done? Will there be an end to our torments?” And so on. But when it is difficult for our corrupt nature to acknowledge the Will of God over us, that Will of God without which nothing happens, and to humbly submit to it, then is the very time for us to humbly submit to this Will, and to offer to the Lord our most precious sacrifice — that is, heartfelt devotion to Him, not only in the time of ease and happiness, but also in suffering and misfortune; it is then that we must submit our vain erring wisdom to the perfect Wisdom of God, for our thoughts are as far from the thoughts of God “as the heavens are higher than the earth.”

“Let it be as I will, and not as thou wilt.” Such is the mighty voice of God, which our soul ever hears when it has fallen into sin and desires to emerge from a state of spiritual, sinful affliction. “Let it be as I will: either repent from the depths of your heart in proportion to the sin, and return to the road that leads to life, shown by Me; either bear the punishment, corresponding to the sin and determined by My justice, or your sin will torment you as a deviation from My laws.” And only then will our soul enjoy peace when we truly repent from the depths of our heart in proportion to the sin, or bear the punishment due from God. O! Almighty and most just power of our God, invisibly governing our invisible souls, all glory to Thee, glory to Thee, God our Saviour! Thy will be done in us!

Παναγία_icon of Panagia _ иконы Божией Матери_ Bogomater'Donskaya567568745Breathe by faith (by certitude in God’s truth), by trust in God, and by love for God and your neighbour. And how can you help yourself in this? By unbelief in the durability of everything earthly; by not putting your trust in earthly blessings, such as food, drink, money, riches, and earthly ties; by not caring for, by being indifferent to everything earthly and perishable. Do not let your heart cling to anything, do not attach yourself to anything. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”[1295]

To trust in God means to confide to Him our life, our fate, all our future, and to wait with confidence for the fulfilment of His promises. Hope proceeds from faith, as the plant from the seed, or the stream from the source. We believe that the Lord is good and merciful, that He loves us as a Father, and therefore that He desires every good and true happiness for us. He is most wise and omniscient, and consequently He knows better than we ourselves what is really needful and useful for us. He is almighty; and thus He is always able to bestow upon us that which He pleases, to fulfil that which He has promised. He is holy and righteous, and therefore all His words are truth. His promises are unchangeable.

Thy name, Lord, is Almighty, because Thou holdest not only heaven and earth, but also all mankind, the life of every man, the hearts of all in Thy Hand; and not only the life of every man, but also of every beast, bird, fish, insect, worm, reptile, and of every infusoria invisible to the eye. Glory to Thine infinite Omnipotence, Lord! Glory to Thine All-merciful, Most-wise, and All-powerful Providence! Lord of heaven and earth! Almighty Sovereign! Thou likewise holdest in Thy Hand all hell, with Satan and his innumerable hordes; and it is only by Thy permission, for our instruction and punishment, that Satan and his angels can lay their snares for us. As soon as we pray to Thee our Saviour, as soon as we unfeignedly repent before Thee of our sins, Thou, having taught us, sendest away our enemies from us, saying: “You have done enough evil to My servants; they belong to Me again.” Thus, Lord, if Thine unceasing benefits and mercies to us do not teach us, what remains to be done? It only remains for Thee to teach us by chastisement, by bitterness, by oppression, by fire, and by our own wickedness — we sensual men, who love space, freedom, vain carnal freshness; who are slothful, negligent, and evil by nature.

Excerpts from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt on Providence and the Will of God

Mother Maria (Ushakova) was installed as the twelfth Superior of the Seraphim-Diveevo Monastery —fulfilling another prophecy of St. Seraphim of Sarov and the monastery reached its spiritual golden age.

St. Seraphim of Sarov’s Icon of the Theotokos “Umileniye” ” of Tender Feeling-Diveyevo”, before which Saint Seraphim of Sarov reposed, the Joy of All Joys

Παναγία του Ντον_Don Icon of the Mother of God_ Богоматерь Донская. Феофан Грек_0_1a5913_ce4659c8_origApolytikion (First Tone)

In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions.

Apolytikion of the Transfiguration of our Lord (Grave Tone)

You were transfigured on the Mount, Christ God revealing Your glory to Your disciples, insofar as they could comprehend. Illuminate us sinners also with Your everlasting light, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. Giver of light, glory to You.

Apolytikion of St Andrew the Commander — Plagal Tone 5

You renounced the glory of earthly rank and inherited the kingdom of heaven; you adorned your incorruptible crown as with beautiful stones. You led an army of martyrs to Christ, and with the angels in the never-fading light you found Christ the never-setting sun. Together with those who suffered with you, holy general Andrew, ever pray to Him that He may save our souls.

Apolytikion of St Theophanes the New — Tone 1

You became a glorious offshoot of Ioannina, and divine patron of Naousa, Theophanes, as an angel you lived upon the earth, were provided with the gift of working wonders, and grant healings to the pious, who run towards your protection. Glory to Christ Who glorified you, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who works through you all manner of healings.

Apolytikion of St. Maria Ushakova of Diveyevo (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ,and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlookthe flesh,for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal.Wherefore, O righteous Maria, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Troparion of St. Seraphim of Sarov, Tone 4

Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor. With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God. Wherefore we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.

Kontakion of St Theophanes the New — Plagal Tone 4

The divine instrument of secret theophany, anointed with the state of being equal to the angels, and you were glorified with an abundance of miracles. But as a great healer of God, O Saint, entreat that we may be redeemed from all tribulations, those who cry out to you: Rejoice, Father Theophanes.

Megalynarion of St Theophanes the New

The divine offshoot of Ioannina, and great patron and aid of Naousa, and a source of miracles have you become Theophanes, wherefore we revere your holy skull.

On The Little Things In Life. by St. John Maximovitch

Ιωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς_Saint John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco the Wonderworker_св. Иоанн Максимо́вич - Сан ФранциссSan Francisco6The placing of the Honorable Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos at Blachernae (5th century)
Feast of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos, Georgia.
Saint John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco (1966)
Martyrs Anthimus the Elder, Paul, Bilonus, Theonas, Heron, and another 36 Egyptians, at Thessalonica (c. 305-310)
Martyr Quintus of Phrygia (c. 285) (see also: March 2 )
Saint Juvenal of Jerusalem, Patriarch of Jerusalem (458)
Three Martyrs of Rome, three soldiers who were converted at the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul in Rome, and then were themselves martyred (c. 68)
Saint Acestes, one of the three soldiers who led St Paul to execution in Rome, he was converted by him, and they were beheaded (1st century)
Saint Photius of Kiev, Metropolitan of Kiev (1431)
Right-believing King Stephen the Great, of Moldavia (1504)
Saint Juvenaly of Alaska, Proto-martyr of America and Alaska (1796)
New Martyr Lampros of Makri, Alexandroupoli, in Thrace (1835)
Repose of Archimandrite Lawrence of the Iveron-Valdai Monastery (1876)

Commemorated on July 2

Have you not been taught that in times of trouble, every Christian is himself responsible for Christianity as a whole? St. John Maximovitch

This man, who appears weak is, in fact, a miracle of ascetic steadfastness and determination in our time of universal spiritual weakening.” – Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)
“If you desire to see a living Saint, go to Bitol to Father John.” – Bishop Nicholas (Velimirovich)

Vladika John would point out that you cannot teach something if you do not have it yourself. He fulfilled the commandments that he taught. Always he read and reread the Lives of Saints. They are living examples, he would say, of people who were like us. Perhaps some were even greater sinners than us and had even more weaknesses than we do, but they still made it. Therefore he had the right to demand of us what he did.
He was attacked and persecuted because he was a saint, but he returned good for evil. We saw him do it. Nun Euphemia

On The Little Things In Life
by St. John Maximovitch

Ιωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς_St John Maximovitch of San Francisco_св. Иоанн Максимо́вич - Сан Францисский 186170208_w640Many people believe that to live according to the faith and to fulfill the will of God is very difficult. Actually — it’s very easy. One needs only attend to details, to trifles, and try to avoid evil in the slightest and most trivial things. This is the simplest and surest way to enter the world of the spirit and draw near to God.

A man often thinks that the Creator demands great things of him, that the Gospel insists on complete self-sacrifice, the abolition of one’s person hood, etc., as a condition of faith. A man is so frightened by this that he begins to be afraid of becoming acquainted with God, of drawing near to God, and hides himself from God, not even wishing to look into God’s Word.

“If I can’t do anything important for God, then I’d just better stay away from things spiritual, stop thinking about eternity, and live ‘in a normal way’.”

There exists at the entrance to the spiritual realm a “hypnosis of great deeds”: one must either do some big thing or do nothing. And so people do nothing at all for God or for their souls! It is very strange — the more a man is devoted to the little things of life, the less he wishes to be honest or pure or faithful to God in those same little things. And, moreover, each one must adopt a correct attitude toward little things if one wishes to come near to the kingdom of heaven.

“Wishes to come near”… In this is summed up all the difficulties of the religious life. Often one wishes to enter into the kingdom of heaven quite unexpectedly, in some miraculous and magical way, or, by right — through some kind of great feat. But neither the one nor the other is the right way to find the higher world. One does not enter God’s presence in some wondrous manner while remaining indifferent on earth to the needs of the kingdom of God and its bright eternity, nor can one purchase the treasures of the kingdom of God by some kind of eternal act, however great that act might be. Yet good deeds, holy deeds are necessary for one to grow into a higher life, a bright will, a good desire, a heavenly psychology, a heart that is both pure and fair…

“…Verily, verily I say unto you that whosoever offers one of the least of these but a cup of cold water, in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward.”

In this saying of the Lord is the highest expression of the smallness of the good. “A glass of water” — this is not much…

In every communication between people there must without fail be a good spirit. This spirit is Christ, openly manifest or hidden.
“In the name of a disciple”
— this is the first step in communicating with another person in the name of Jesus Christ Himself. Many people, not as yet knowing the Lord and the wondrous fellowship in His Name still have among themselves an unselfish, pure and human fellowship which brings them ever closer to the Spirit of Christ…

As a matter of fact, the lesser good is more necessary for mankind than the greater. People can get along with their lives without the greater good; without the lesser they can not exist. Mankind perishes not from a lack of the greater good, but from an insufficiency of just this lesser good. The greater good is no more than a roof, erected on the brick walls of the lesser good.

The lesser, easier good was left on this earth for man by the Creator Himself, who took all the greater good upon Himself. Whosoever does the lesser, the same creates — and through him the Creator Himself creates — the greater good. Of our little good the Creator makes His Own great good. For as our Lord is the Creator who formed all things from nothingness, so is He more able to create the greater good from the lesser…

Through such lesser, easy work, done with the greatest simplicity, a man is accustomed to the good and begins to serve it with his whole heart, sincerely, and in this way enters into an atmosphere of good, lets down the roots of his life into new soil, the soil of the good. The roots of human life quickly accommodate themselves to this good earth, and soon cannot live without it… Thus is a man saved: from the small comes the great. “Faithful in little things” turns out to be “faithful in the greater.”

Ιωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς_St John Maximovitch of San Francisco_св. Иоанн Максимо́вич -Сан Францисский_john_mx0Lay aside all theoretical considerations that it is forbidden to slaughter millions, women, children, and elderly; be content to manifest your moral sense by in no way killing the human dignity of your neighbor, neither by word, nor by innuendo, nor by gesture.

Do not be angry over trifles
“against your brother vainly” (Matthew 5:22)
or in the daily contacts of life speak untruth to your neighbor. These are trifles, small change, of no account; but just try to do this and you will see what comes of it.

It is hard to pray at night. But try in the morning. If you can’t manage to pray at home than at least as you ride to your place of employment attempt with a clear head the “Our Father” and let the words of this short prayer resound in your heart. And at night commend yourself with complete sincerity into the hands of the Heavenly Father. This indeed is very easy.

And give, give a glass of cold water to everyone who has need of it; give a glass filled to the brim with simple human companionship to everyone that lack it, the very simplest companionship…
O wondrous path of little things, I sing thee a hymn! Surround yourselves, O people, gird up yourselves with little works of good — with a chain of little, simple, easy and good feelings which cost us naught, a chain of bright thoughts, words and deeds. Let us abandon the big and the difficult. That is for them that love it and not for us for whom the Lord in His Mercy, for us who have not yet learned to love the greater, has poured forth the lesser love everywhere, free as water and air.

St. John Maximovitch, Rescuer and patron of Orphans

Don’t worry, the Lord is not without mercy. Saint John Maximovitch

Be careful. Watch out for your soul! St John Maximovitch

Ιωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς_Saint John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco the Wonderworker_св. Иоанн Максимо́вич - Сан Францисский_186170208_w640_h640_9Apolytikion of John Maximovitch in the Plagal of the First Tone

Like a spiritual daystar in heaven’s firmament, thou didst encompass the whole world and didst enlighten men’s souls. Hence, thy name is glorified throughout the East and West, for thou didst shine forth with the grace of the Sun of Righteousness, O John, our beloved shepherd. Wherefore, cease not to entreat Christ, that He show mercy and redeem our souls.

Troparion to St. John in Tone 5

Lo, Thy care for thy flock in its sojourn / prefigured the supplication which thou dost ever offer up for the whole world. / Thus do we believe, having come to know thy love, O holy hierarch and wonderworker John. / Wholly sanctified by God through the ministry of the all-pure Mysteries / and thyself ever strengthened thereby,/ thou didst hasten to the suffering, O most gladsome Healer, // Hasten now also to the aid of us who honor thee with all our heart.

Troparion to St John in Tone 6

Glorious apostle to an age of coldness and unbelief, invested with the grace-filled power of the saints of old, divinely-illumined seer of heavenly mysteries, feeder of orphans, hope of the hopeless, Thou didst enkindle on earth the fire of love for Christ upon the dark eve of the day of judgment; pray now that this sacred flame may also rise from our hearts.

Great Vespers
Stichera, Tone 3

O worker of countless miracles, feeder of the hungry, healer of the infirm, protector of orphans, teacher of theology, Thou who didst occupy thyself in constant prayer, Thou who didst take on the garments of a fool to be clothed in the wisdom of God, Thou who didst penetrate the hearts and minds of men, Thou who didst see the future as if present: how abundant were the fruits Thou didst bring forth for Thy Creator! Pray that we also may not be found with our hands empty at the day of judgment.

Aposticha, Tone 5. To the special melody: Rejoice, Life-giving Cross.

Verse: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
Armed with vigilance and vigor of prayer, Thou didst pass through the traps of earthly desire and the snares of pleasure, and didst escape the assaults of demons; wherefore, Thou didst gain the house not made with hands: the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Thee.

Lauds, 4 Stichera. Tone 1.

Holiness is not simply righteousness, for which the righteous merit the blessed Kingdom, but rather such a height of virtue that men and women are filled with the grace of God, a grace that floweth from them upon all peoples, a grace that issued from Thee, O John and doth still fall on those who in faith ask Thy prayers.

Lord, Most-wise, direct the lives of us sinners in the wilderness of this life according to Your will as You directed the life of St. John the Baptist. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox IconДмитрием Кунцевичем19277The Synaxis of St. John the Forerunner the Baptist.
(January 7 also commemorates the transfer of the relic of the right hand of John the Baptist from Antioch to Constantinople in 956)

Commemorated on January 7

Hymn of praise
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
to Saint John, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord

Ιωάννης Πρόδρομος_St. John the Forerunner_св.Иоанна Предтечи_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Iconc_Αμβροσίας_2016-01-02-2Thirty years of fasting and silence!
This, not even the mountain beasts can endure.
The lion alleviates his hunger with the music of roaring,
And the tree rustles when the wind approaches
And, you do not rustle neither roar nor moan,
Neither your lament nor your song through the wilderness echoed!

Tell me, are you a man? What is your name?
Will you ever want to speak with someone?
Voice, voice, voice, I am the voice; but the Word of God, He is,
To the children of Israel, I was sent to cry out:
Repent, O people, behold, He comes,
Bring forth good fruit, each according to your strength.
Behold, behold He comes; O Wonder of Wonders,
In the midst of the water, from heaven, a hidden fire!
Behold, the Lamb of God, among the wolves, walks;
Wolves, your lupine temper, in the water, cleanse!

Thirty years of silence and fasting,
Of your body, what remains; except your voice?
Your withered body is but a shadow of your voice,
Which proclaims the news: Behold, God comes to us!
Your withered body, a reed; that Herod broke
But the voice continues, continues; no one to silence it.
Whose voice is that? From whom even the centuries tremble?
A hungry lion! No, No – a man of faith.


by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
About submission to the Will of God

“Your will be done, on earth as in heaven” (St. Matthew 6:10).

Ιωάννης Πρόδρομος-ΙΔΕ Ο ΑΜΝΟΣ_Behold the Lamb of God-St. John the Baptist_см. Иоа́нн Предте́ча-ΠΡΟΔΡΟΜΟΣ 589Blessed be John the Baptist, for he fulfilled the Good News before the arrival of the Good News! Going into the wilderness, he gave himself up completely to the will of God, both body and soul. The will of God was carried out in his body on earth as well as in the heaven of his soul. Neither hunger nor wild beasts did harm his body throughout the many years that he spent in the wilderness. Neither was his soul harmed by despair because of loneliness, nor pride because of heavenly visions. He did not seek from man either bread or knowledge. God granted him everything that was necessary for him because he gave himself up completely to the will of God.

Neither did he direct his footsteps in the wilderness nor away from the wilderness. An invisible rudder from on high steered his life. For when it was necessary for him to depart the wilderness and go out to meet the Lord, it is said: “The Word of God came to John” (St. Luke 3:2). As an innocent youth, in this manner John spoke simply about his communication with the powers of heaven: “And I did not know Him [Christ] but the One Who sent me to baptize with water told me, `On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, He is the One Who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God” (St. John 1: 33-34). How tenderly and simply he speaks about heavenly things! How he is as awesome as a lion when he speaks out against the injustice of men, against Herod and Herodias! The lamb and the lion dwell in him together. Heaven is as close to him as a mother is to her child. The will of God is as accessible and clear to him as the angels in heaven.

O Lord, Most-wise, direct the lives of us sinners in the wilderness of this life according to Your will as You directed the life of St. John the Baptist.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


Saint John the Baptist
By Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

Because John’s main role in his life was played out on the day of the Epiphany (Theophany), the Church from earliest times dedicated the day following Epiphany to his memory. To this feast is also linked the incident with the hand of the Forerunner. The Evangelist Luke desired to remove the body of John from Sebaste, where the great prophet was beheaded by Herod, to Antioch his place of birth. He succeeded though, in acquiring and translating only one hand which was preserved in Antioch until the tenth century after which it was transferred to Constantinople from where it disappeared during the time of the Turks. Feasts of St. John are celebrated several times throughout the year, but this day, January 7, has the most Svecara. [That is, those Orthodox Serbs who honor St. John the Baptist as their Krsna Slava – Patron Saint. The Krsna Slava is the day that the Orthodox Serbs commemorate the baptism of their ancestors into Christianity]. Among the Gospel personalities who surround the Savior, John the Baptist occupies a totally unique place by the manner of his entry into the world as well as by the manner of his life in this world, by his role in baptizing people for repentance and for his baptizing the Messiah and, finally, by his tragic departure from this life. He was of such moral purity that, in truth, he could be called an angel [messenger] as Holy Scripture calls him rather than a mortal man. St. John differs from all other prophets especially in that he had that privilege of being able, with his hand, to show the world Him about Whom he prophesied. It is said that every year on the feast of the saint, the bishop brought the hand of St. John before the people. Sometimes the hand appeared open and other times the hand appeared clenched. In the first case it signified a fruitful and bountiful year and, in the second case, it meant a year of unfruitfulness and famine.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič, 
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January7.htmδεξί χέρι του Αγίου Ιωάννη του Προδρόμου_The incorrupt right hand of St. John the Forerunner_Десница Св. Иоанна Предте́ча_Μονή Διονυσίου, Άγιον Όρος_Dionysiou monastery_Дионисиа́т А80According to tradition, the body of Saint John the Baptist was buried in the Samaritan city of Sebaste. The holy Evangelist Luke, who went preaching Christ in various cities and towns, came to Sebaste, where they gave him the right hand of the holy Prophet John, the very hand with which he had baptized the Savior. The Evangelist Luke took it with him to his native city of Antioch, where by she s they have committed many miracles, including what was the dragon. It is said that a dragon had its nest around the city of Antioch. On this dragon, pagan people there considered him to be God and revere the sacrifices all these years; and he brought his sacrifice was a man. Dragon crawling out of the nest, and showing the terrifying sight, helmet loud, take sacrifice and tear with their teeth. And, passing the time, came the turn of one of the Christians to give his daughter to the dragon. Therefore, the girl’s father was chosen as sacrifice asked of God and St. John the Baptist, to deliver her daughter from the bitter death. And i was enlightened mind to do this: asked to venerate the holy hand of Saint John; and while kissing the hand he broke teeth, in secret, the thumb of the hand of the saint; and acquiring what he wanted, he walked out of the church. And when he arrived it was the day of sacrifice and gathered all the people, went and the girl’s father leading his daughter. And approaching the dragon helmet and waited sacrifice mouth, throat and threw holy finger in the Forerunner. And with it, the dragon died. Father was back home with his daughter alive, telling her wonderful deliverance. People and the crowd, marveling at this miracle, thanked God and Saint John, building a big church dedicated to Saint.

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon5botezul_domnuluiWhen the Muslims seized Antioch centuries later, a deacon named Job brought the holy hand of the Forerunner from Antioch to Chalcedon by order of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (r. 945-959). From there, on the eve of the Theophany of the Lord, it was transferred to Constantinople (956) and kept thereafter in the royal palace. St. Nikolai Velimirovich writes in his Prologue: “It is said that every year on the feast of the saint, the bishop brought the hand of St. John before the people. Sometimes the hand appeared open and other times the hand appeared clenched. In the first case it signified a fruitful and bountiful year and, in the second case, it meant a year of unfruitfulness and famine.” Initially this miracle occurred annually on the 14th of September, which is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The hand would rise at times, flexing or clenching its fingers. Becaue it was believed to predict future happiness or misfortune, many sovereigns tried to possess it as a priceless treasure, especially Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (r. 945-959) and his son the Emperor Romanos II (r. 959-963). This was one reason why the relic was kept in the imperial palace. The Synaxis of St. John took place in the Phorakion.*

*Saint John was exceedingly venerated at Constantinople, where he had thirty-six churches and monasteries dedicated to his memory, of which the most famous was the Studios; others were Lips, the Prodromos in Petra, and in Sphorakion, etc. The Monastery of Phoverou on the Asiatic Shore of the Bosporos was also dedicated to the Forerunner. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, s.v. “John the Baptist”.

Pain helps us to find the deep man of the heart. Only that work which we have wrought within our heart will accompany us into eternity. Fr. Zacharias (Zacharou)

St. John the Baptist is the friend of the bridegroom. Anthony (Bloom) Metropolitan of Sourozh
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/01/07/st-john-the-baptist-is-the-friend-of-the-bridegroom-anthony-bloom-metropolitan-of-sourozh/Ιωάννης Πρόδρομος_St. John the Forerunner_св.Иоанна Предтечи_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Iconc_b8%d0b5%d1%87Apolytikion Saint John the Forerunner. Second Tone

The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord’s testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.

Apolytikion: (First Tone)

Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved; and the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

the Stichera, In Tone VIII:
Spec. Mel.: O most glorious wonder.

O blessed John the Forerunner, * sincere friend of the Lord, * who in the waters of the Jordan * touched with thy hand His all-purest crown, * by thy holy intercessions * do thou always with love elevate my humble soul to the Lord, * extinguishing the fire of things that feed my passions, * and leading me to the faithful execution of the divine commandments * truly cleansing the senses of my heart, * that I may glorify thee.

Glory …, In Tone IV:

Today appeared the great Forerunner, * who came forth from the barren womb of Elizabeth, * a Prophet, indeed the greatest of all the Prophets, * for there was no greater before, nor hath one arisen since. * The lamp that preceded the most resplendent Light, * that followed after the voice the Word, * the Bridegroom’s harbinger. * He prepared the multitudes of the peoples for the Lord, * cleansing them with water in preparation for the cleansing of the Spirit; * Zacharia’s offspring and a good pupil of wilderness living, * the preacher of repentance and cleansing of transgressions, * announcing unto those in Hades * the resurrection from the dead and ever interceding for our souls.

Glory …, In Tone IV:

   O Godly illustrious voice, * lamp of the Light, * Forerunner of the Lord, * testified to by Christ, * the first among the Prophets! * While interceding with thine supplications for the world, * do thou also remember thy flock and preserve it in safety.

O divine Forerunner, thou hast appeared as a beautiful turtle-dove, as a sweetly-spoken swallow, announcing Christ the Divine Spring; I implore thee do thou entreat Him to deliver me from the soul-corrupting wintry storm of sins.

Abraham surrendered his whole life to the will of God, he hangs everything in the mercy of Him, and trusts him. Saint Paisios – Elder Zacharias Zacharou

Αβραάμ πατριάρχης_Abraham_ Жертвоприношение Авраам73132504_YAvlenie_Svyatoy_Troicuy_sv_AvraamuRighteous Patriarch Abraham and his nephew Lot
Saint Apostle James, the son of Alphaeus
Saints Andronicus of Antioch and his wife Athanasia
Saint Mother Publia the Confessor of Antioch
Saint Peter the former soldier
Saint Stephen Brancovich, King of Serbia

Commemorated October 9

Saint Paisios the Athonite on Abraham

” –In other words, Geronda, we should use our mind against the passions?
-Not only that, but more generally, we should take notice of God’s beneficence and of the universe all around us and give Him thanks and praise. You see, it was Abraham that first sought God, not the other way around.

-What do you mean?

-Abraham’s father was a pagan; he worshipped idols. But Abraham saw the universe and was puzzled that his people were worshipping inanimate idols. So he put his mind to work: ‘It’s not possible,’ he thought ‘that these soulless things, these pieces of wood are divine, and creators of the universe. Who made the sky, the stars and the sun? I might find the true God and once I do, I will believe and worship only Him.’ Then God came and revealed Himself to Abraham and said, Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And He led him to Hebron and made him a favourite son.

“…We must get to know the beneficence of God; we must understand what has been given to us. Why did God give us a mind? So that we may examine, study and observe ourselves and everything around us. God did not give us a mind so that we may constantely spend our time figuring out how to find the fastest means of transportation from one country to another. He gave us a mind because He wants us to preoccupy ourselves with the most important thing: how to reach our true destination, how to get close to God, to what is our one true country, Paradise.”
from With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, by Saint Paisios, and published by the Monastery of St. John the Theologian is Souroti, Greece.

Αβραάμ πατριάρχης_Abraham_ Авраам_ΑΒΡΑΑΜ ΙΣΑΑΚAbraham’s wholehearted faith led to surrender his whole being and to deliver his whole life to the will of God.,
Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou

It is then that he enters into knowledge of the second kind of faith, which can be summarized as ‘hope against hope’. When, humanly speaking, there is no hope of salvation in himself, man hangs everything on the mercy of God, and puts his trust in Him Who alone is able to raise even the dead….This is the faith which brings people from the shore of created reality to that of the uncreated, bridging the gap between God and people. We find many examples of this kind of faith in the Scriptures. One striking example is Abraham. It is written that Abraham believed in ‘God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.’ (Romans 4: 17) Abraham’s faith, then, was such that he was able ‘against hope, to believe in hope.” (Romans 4: 18) It is important for us to comprehend in what way Abraham believed, for he is the father of all those who have believed after him. Most importantly, Abraham believed in God as the God of Life Who by a single word brings everything from non-being into being and quickens the dead. He also believed at a time when human reason would have seen only utter hopelessness. In other words, Abraham’s hope was authenticbeing based on faith which was not just an intellectual acceptance of the mystery of God’s power. His wholehearted faith led to such inner conviction as enabled him to surrender his whole being to the word of God and to deliver his whole life to the will of God. This exceptional faith justified Abraham before God and made him the father of all the faithful.” (— Remember Thy First Love  ,Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou), page 27-28, Mount Thabor Publishing, 2010)


Αβραάμ πατριάρχης_Abraham_ Жертвоприношение Авраам-731ΜΕΛΧΙΣΕΔΕΚ-8f63542cb3717b9c06bd23148c4.jpgElder Ignatius Kapnisis of Evia say :

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” James 4:6

Only the meek and humble enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Be compared ourselves with God and not with other people.

The more the saints approach God, the more they see themselves as sinners.

“Run my soul! Run from sin, as Lot ran from the fire! Run from Sodom and Gomorrah! Run from the flame of every deceiving desire!” ~ from The Great Canon of St Andrew, Bishop of Crete

Genesis (Chapters 12-25)

Abraham a man with a firm faith in God, a lover of justice, hospitable, compassionate, courageous, obedient, pure and humble. Better is one righteous man than a thousand sinners. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone

In the night universal of ignorance towards God, and in that starless, profound gloom bereft of heavenly light, you, O Abraham, were kindled in the firmament, burning with bright far-shining faith in the Everlasting Light, Who shone forth to us from your seed. Do you entreat Him with fervour, that He enlighten us and save our souls.

On the will of God that all Christians should be holy by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

on the will of God that all Christians should be holy
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).

Only the Church teaches and demonstrates that first there was a plan for the world and then the world was created. That plan was in the wisdom and will and power of God. And we Christians, as the Church of God, are in this plan. According to this plan, God chose us before the foundation of the world for holiness and righteousness and love. God chose us beforehand and adopted us through Him-through Whom? Through the Lord Jesus Christ. For all that we are to God, we are to Him through Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ man has no other bond, no other relationship, no other kinship with God, and therefore our choosing and adoption was through our Lord Jesus Christ. He chose us, His Holy Church, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:5), as He had once chosen Israel from among all the nations on earth. Let no one say that this choosing of God destroys man’s free will, so that neither does a Christian have merit because he is a Christian, nor is a pagan condemned because he is a pagan. No, this is a totally erroneous interpretation. For at one time God also chose Israel and some in Israel perished while some were saved. He also chose His Holy Church, calling all nations and peoples to it. But the salvation of those among the chosen does not depend on God’s choice alone, but also on man’s will and effort.

O eternal God, our Creator, Who chose us for salvation before Thou hadst even created us, have mercy on us and save us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Anthony of Sourozh

 The Mother of God was the response of all creation to God’s love, but God’s love is sacrificial love. At the heart of the love of God there is the gift of self, the Cross. May God grant us to learn from this frail maiden her heroic simplicity and her wonderful wholeness. And let us learn from all the steps of her life, all the self-denial and the gift of self, all the beauty of her surpassing humility and its perfect obedience to the law of eternal life.