Category Archives: Feast Days

History of the Gorgoepikoos Icon

 

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Commemorated 1st October

The best-known miraculous icon of the Holy Mountain Mount Athos, after Panagia Portaitissa, is an ancient wall-painting of the Blessed Virgin on the outside of the eastern wall of the refectory, to the right of the entrance, in the Docheiariou Monastery. Continue reading

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The Falling Asleep of St John the Theologian

Commemorated 26th September

The Holy and Divine Theologian, John the Evangelist was the son of Zebedee and Salome (one of the daughters of Saint Joseph the Betrothed), and the brother of James the Great. John and his brother were called at the same time to be followers of Christ and became two of the three (the other, Apostle Peter) closest disciples of Christ. They witnessed the healing of many people, the Light of the Transfiguration at Tabor, as well as many other miracles. Saint John, being the youngest of all the disciples, was also the most beloved disciple of Christ, following Him from the beginning of his ministry all the way to his Crucifixion and Burial. In the icon depicted, the Evangelist is shown leaning on the Lord’s chest at the Last Supper, a sign of love between the two. Continue reading

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The Idolatry of Not Taking Up Our Crosses: Homily for the Sunday After the Elevation of the Holy Cross and The Great Martyr Eustathios

SUNDAY AFTER HOLY CROSS, Mark 8: 34-38, 9:1

Galatians 2:16-20; Mark 8:34-9:1

Screen Shot 2021-09-19 at 10.24.42 amAs we continue to celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we do something that would have made no sense to anyone at the time of our Lord’s ministry in first-century Palestine. The cross was then simply the most feared instrument of execution that the Roman Empire used to discourage anyone who thought of rebelling against the military occupation of their homeland. Our Lord’s disciples, along with the rest of the Jews, certainly did not expect a Messiah Who would suffer such a dishonourable fate. They wanted a new King David to liberate their land from the pagans and to bring power and glory to their nation. They wanted a deliverer to gain the whole world on their behalf, but who would have been unable to heal their souls. Continue reading

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The Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotokos (September 8)

Screen Shot 2021-09-05 at 9.26.06 amThe first Great Feast to fall in the Church Year is the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotokos. It is entirely fitting that at the beginning of the new religious year all Orthodox Christians should come before the highest example of human holiness that the Orthodox Church holds precious and venerates that of Mary, the Theotokos and Mother of God. This day is seen as one of universal joy; for on this day the boundary of the Old and New Covenants was born the Most-Blessed Virgin, pre-arranged from the ages by Divine Providence to serve the mystical Incarnation of God the Word. Continue reading

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Holy 40 Virgin-Martyrs and their Teacher the Hieromartyr Ammon the Deacon at Heraclea September 1

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The Holy Forty Virgin Martyrs with their teacher, Deacon Ammoun were captured by Baudos the governor, and were tortured because they would not offer sacrifice to idols. The holy martyrs endured many cruel torments, which were intended to force them to renounce Christ and worship idols. Later, they were sent to Heraclea in Thrace to appear before the tyrant Licinius. The valiant martyrs remained unshakeable, however. Saint Ammoun and eight of the virgins were beheaded, ten virgins were burned, six of them died after heated metal balls were put into their mouths, six were stabbed with knives, and the rest were struck in the mouth and stabbed in the heart with swords.

Holy 40 virgin-martyrs and their teacher the Hieromartyr Ammon the Deacon at Heraclea in Thrace: Adamantine, Athena, Akrive, Antigone, Arivea, Aspasia, Aphrodite, Dione, Dodone, Elpinike, Erasmia, Erato, Ermeneia, Evterpe, Thaleia, Theanoe, Theano, Theonymphe, Theophane, Kalliroe, Kalliste, Kleio, Kleonike, Kleopatra, Koralia, Lambro, Margarita, Marianthe, Melpomene, Moscho, Ourania, Pandora, Penelope, Polymnia, Polynike, Sapfo, Terpsichore, Troada, Haido, and Harikleia.

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Apodosis of The Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos commemorating Panagia tou Harou whose icon is enthroned at our Parish

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Panagia tou Harou is the name of the unique icon which depicts the Virgin Mary cradling the crucified Christ, rather than the Christ child, hence its name (haros in Greek means “death”). This icon is found in the church of St. John the Theologian, Leipsoi (Greece). The annual commemoration of the icon takes place on August 23 when the island of Leipsoi fills with pilgrims from all over the Dodecanese, to witness the procession of the icon around the entire island and see the annual blossoming of the dead bouquet of lilies on the icon.

In the 1940s, a lady was praying to the “Panagia tou Harou” icon. Her prayers were answered, and in gratitude placed a simple bouquet of lilies on the icon. These lilies withered but remained on the icon. In the following year, at the leave-taking of the feast of the Dormition (August 23), these lilies blossomed again and gave off a fragrance. Since then, this miracle occurs annually on the day of the feast.

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“A Great Sign” Rev 12:1: A Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos

Today we celebrate a great and joyous solemnity: the falling asleep of the Mother of God in Jerusalem, and her bodily translation into glory.

“The Whole Mystery of the Economy”

The readings from Genesis, Ezekiel, and Proverbs present us with a series of images, all with reference to the Theotokos. She is the ladder ascending from earth to heaven, beheld by the patriarch Jacob in a vision (Gen. 28:12). She is Bethel, God’s house, and the gate of heaven (Gen. 28:17). She is the east gate of the Temple sanctuary, which remains shut – virginal: no man enters, “for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it,” as Ezekial prophesies (Ez. 44:2). She is wisdom, or the house of wisdom, of which king Solomon speaks (Prov. 9:1) Continue reading

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A Woman clothed with the Sun

At the end of his life, in exile on the island of Patmos, the Apostle John had a vision. “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Rev. 12:1). Most commentators take this image from the book of Apocalypse to be referring to the Church, or the remnant Israel. Some, however, see here an image of Mary, especially as she is the daughter of Zion, and she typifies the Church. Some even see an image of her bodily assumption. Continue reading

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THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD MATTHEW 17:1-9

And after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, brought them up on a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased, Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” And when they had lifted up their eves, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

“You were transfigured on Mt. Tabor showing the exchange mortal humans will make with your glory at your second and fearful coming O Saviour! (Matins)

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The Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus did not live with his disciples after his resurrection as he had before his death. Filled with the glory of his divinity, he appeared at different times and places to his people, assuring them that it was he, truly alive in his risen and glorified body.

To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Continue reading

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