My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and SaviorJESUS CHRIST.
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
PHOTINE, the holy and Great Martyr of Christ, was a Samaritan woman of the city of Sychar. Our Lord Jesus Christ conversed at the well of the Patriarch Jacob. The well is situated on the eastern edge of the valley which separates Mount Gerizim from Mount Ebal. The Lord had just come down from the brown hills of Ephraim into a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave his son Joseph, and where Jacob’s well was located. Why was it called Jacob’s well? Saint Gregory Palamas affirms, "Because he dug it. The place which gave Joseph was called Shechem (Sicima). Even as he was drawing his last breath in Egypt, and disposing of his property, he said to Joseph: ‘Behold, I die, and God shall be with you, and restore you to the land of your fathers. And I give to thee Sicima, a select portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorites with my sword and bow’ [Genesis 48:21-22]. So Shechem was later inhabited by the Tribe of Ephraim… Since the Israelites of that place frequently offended God… their whole nation was enslaved. The ruler of Assyria then transported others to live there instead of them. These people (Babylon and Persia) that settled there were called Samaritans, that is, after the Hill Sommer…
"In the time of Christ, the Samaritans were ruled by Procurators under the Roman governor of Syria. By the time of late Biblical and Rabbinic Judaism, the Samaritans had rejected the Prophets and writings of the Hebrew Bible. The Samaritans also did not accept the centrality of Jerusalem. The Jews considered them excommunicated. Christ was contemptuously called a Samaritan and one demonized [John 8:48]. Indeed, many Jews, in order to avoid possible insults and even injuries at the hands of the Samaritans, shunned traveling through their territory which was sandwiched between Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south…
It is also of interest that it is from the very mouth of that well that Emperor Justinian conveyed its rounded rock enclosure to his Capital. Together with the well cover, that same Emperor also transferred the very rock upon which Christ sat while discoursing with the Samaritan woman. These items were set down at the well of Hagia Sophia. At the writing of this Synaxarion, these rocks have been transferred in front of the Narthex on the North side, where every disease is curred, acting as both an ANTIDOTE and A REMEDY, especially in cases of shivering fits and fevers.
Today’s feast, the Fifth Sunday of Pascha, the Feast of the Samaritan Woman, has been placed during the week of Mid-Pentecost for this reason. Jesus bore witness to Himself as the Messiah, that is, The Christ or Anointed One. Later, during the reign of Nero, Saint Photine suffered manifold tortures. When the Emperor’s minions went to flay the holy Photine, she would permit none of the men to take hold of her. Therefore, she alone flayed her own flesh with such courage and bravery that the tyrant was amazed at her resolute soul. Then, after all her companions were slain, she was drawn out from a well and cast her into prison. As the sole survivor who triumphed over every form of torture, nonetheless, she sorrowed that she was not vouchsafed the crown of martyrdom together with the others. Desiring to emulate Christ in obedience and suffering, she supplicated God regarding her plight. He appeared to her and sealed her thrice with the Sign of the Honorable and Life-Giving Cross, and healed all her wounds. Then, after many days, while hymning and blessing God, Saint Photine surrendered her precious soul into His hands. Therefore, she and all her fellow contestants were translated to their much-desired God and received His heavenly Kingdom which may we, too, be accounted worthy to obtain by their intercessions.
Saint Romanos notes: "As the woman of many husbands denied her husband, so the Church denied and left similar husbands, the many gods, and from the waters betrothed herself to one Master. The former had FIVE and did not have the sixth, while the latter has now left the five of impiety and from the waters takes the sixth. Thou, Who art joy and redemption." So, "let us hate the forms of idolatry. She who became a bride from the nations rejects and denies as bitter that sweet root of pleasure. But doubtless, someone will ask, ‘These five forms, what are they? The error of idols has many forms but has FIVER HORNS: IMPIETY, IMMORALITY, AND COPULATION, AND BEYOND THESE, CRUELTY AND THE MURDER OF CHILDREN, as David teaches, ‘And they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons’ [Psalm 105:34], and they did not find joy and redemption." Hence, we hear Saint Photine now say, "Though I had husbands before, yet now I do not want those that I had; for now I possess Thee Who hast caught me in a net drawn up by faith from the filth of my evils."
By the intercessions of Thy Martyr Photine, O Christ God, have mercy on us. Amen. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George