In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Why does the Church give such veneration to St. John the Baptist, even fixing a strict fast day in his honour? Here are ten reasons:
1. Our Lord Himself said that St. John was the greatest prophet “among those born of women” (Luke 7, 28). Some hearing these words are surprised. They ask: Surely, Christ Himself is the greatest man born of women? However, Christ was not born of a woman (i.e. a married female), he was born of a Virgin. Therefore, in obedience to our Lords words, that St. John is the greatest born of women, the Church duly honours him. In fact, there are no fewer than six feasts of St. John in the Church Year. The first is his Conception on September 23/October 6. Then comes his commemoration on January 7/20, the day after the Feast of the Baptism of Christ. The third is the Second Finding of his head on February 24/March 9. His next feast is the Third Finding of his head on May 25/June 7. The fifth is his Birth, or Nativity, on June 24/July 7, and finally today’s feast, the last in the Church Year, his Beheading on August 29/September 11. Continue reading
St. Luke the Surgeon, Bishop of Simferopol & Crimea (1877-1961) – The Surgeon and Saint, Scientist, Ophthalmologist, Surgeon, Professor of Anatomy and Surgery, Priest, Bishop, Prisoner, Confessor of the Faith
The province of Crimea dominated the news back in March as the nations of Ukraine and Russia were locked in a struggle to determine the future of this region. Whatever one’s political leanings – toward Ukraine or Russia, Orthodox Christians know that the land of Crimea is blessed by the presence of a modern day saint and miracle worker: St. Luke the Surgeon, bishop of Simferopol and Crimea. The future St. Luke was born on April 27, 1877 with the name Valentin Felixovich Voino-Yasenetsky in the eastern area of Crimea. Continue reading
SUNDAY OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN – John 4: 5-42
Christ is Risen!
It is strangely appealing to define ourselves by our failures, especially when others know that we have stumbled and treat us poorly as a result. As well, our own pride often causes us to lose perspective such that we obsess about how we do not measure up to whatever illusion of perfection we have accepted. People are often their own harshest critics in ways that are not healthy at all. Continue reading
Today’s gospel is very complex and requires considerable reflection so that various significant theological implications can be grasped. There are three matters which I wish to touch on to give insights into this gospel reading. Continue reading
5th Sunday of Lent, St Mary of Egypt, Luke 1 24-38
“Let us say something about the thorns. Blessed Mary of Egypt was twelve years old when she fell into the hands of the devil. She lived in sin day and night. But the merciful God enlightened her and she abandoned the world and went into the desert.
There she led a hermit’s life for forty years. She was cleansed and became like an angel.
God wished to give her rest, so lie sent the holy ascetic Zosimas to hear her confession and to give her holy communion. Then He received her holy soul into paradise, where she rejoices with the angels.
If there is anyone here like Blessed Mary, let him immediately weep and repent, now that he has time, and let him be assured that he will be saved as was Blessed Mary.”
St. Kosmos Aitolos, The Life of St. Kosmas Aitolos
It has been announced that today, 27 November 2017, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has canonized the late Elder Iakovos Tsalikis.The petition for his canonization was submitted by the Holy Metropolis of Khalkida and 22 November has been appointed as his feast day.
An Excerpt from “With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man” by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos (Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologion”, 2006)
Geronda (spiritual elder in Greek), does worrying about too many things take us away from God?
Look, let me try to explain. When a little child is playing and is all absorbed with his toys, he’s not aware that his father may be next to him caressing him. If he interrupts his play a bit, then he will become aware of his father’s caresses. Similarly, when we are preoccupied with too many activities and are anxiously concerned about them, when we worry too much about worldly matters, we cannot become aware of God’s love. God gives but we do not sense it. Be careful not to waste your precious energy on redundant worries and vanities, which will turn to dust one day. When you do this, you not only tire your body, but you also scatter your mind aimlessly, offering God only your fatigue and yawns at the time of prayer – much like the sacrifice offered by Cain. It follows that your inner state will be like that of Cain’s, you will be full of anxiety and sighs provoked by the devil standing by your side. Continue reading