My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST.


"Then God formed man out of dust from the ground,
and breathed in his face the BREATH OF LIFE, AND

It is very clear in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament that God formed Adam’s body "out of dust from the ground." The "breath of life" is the grace of the Holy Spirit, "THE GIVER OF LIFE" (the Creed). The Almighty and Merciful God breathed THE BREATH OF LIFE into man’s body, and he became "A LIVING SOUL." Therefore, Adam was "a living soul" because he possessed a body, A SOUL, and the grace of the Holy Spirit.

The Patristic consensus is that man is composed of BODY and SOUL, and the SPIRIT (NOUS) is the highest and purest part OF THE SOUL. The spirit (nous) of man is created, and must never be confused with the Holy Spirit, Who is Uncreated. At Baptism, however, the Uncreated Grace of God, which man lost at the fall, is once again united with the nous. Thus, Saint Diadochos of Photike writes: "The Grace of God dwells in the very depths of the soul–that is to say, the nous. (Philokalia, vol. I, p. 280).

"The spiritual man possesses a soul, but being REBORN, he cultivates in himself the seeds of Grace; he grows and brings forth fruits of the spirit. However, by carelessness towards his SPIRITUAL LIFE HE MAY DESCEND TO THE LEVEL OF THE FLESHLY OR NATURAL MAN ("Are you so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3) Therefore, there are no grounds for supposing that the thinking of the Apostle Paul is not in agreement with the teaching that the NATURE OF MAN CONSISTS OF TWO PARTS."

"First of all, the image of God may be seen only in the soul, not in the body. According to His Nature, God is most pure Spirit, not clothed in any kind of body and not a partaker of any kind of materiality. Therefore the image of God can refer ONLY TO THE IMMATERIAL SOUL–many Holy Fathers of the Church have considered it necessary to give this warning."


a) The Eternal God gave IMMORTALITY OF SOUL TO MAN, even though the soul is immortal NOT by nature but ONLY BY THE GOODNESS OF GOD.

b) God is completely free in His actions, and He gave man FREE WILL and the ability to act freely within certain boundaries.

c) God IS MOST WISE, and He has given man A REASON WHICH IS CAPABLE OF BEING NOT LIMITED only to earthly needs and to the visible side of things, but IS CAPABLE OF PENETRATING TO THEIR DEPTHS OF RECOGNIZING AND EXPLAINING THEIR INWARD MEANING. Man’s reason is able to rise to the level of that which is invisible and to strive in thought toward the very Source of all that exists–GOD. Man’s reason makes his will conscious and authentically free because it can choose that which corresponds to man’s highest dignity rather than that to which his lower nature inclines him.

d) God created man in His goodness, and He has NEVER LEFT HIM NOR EVER WILL LEAVE HIM WITHOUT HIS AGAPE (LOVE). Man, having received HIS SOUL FROM THE BREATHING OF GOD, STRIVES TOWARD HIS FIRST Principle, God, as toward something akin to himself, seeking and thirsting FOR UNION WITH Him. This is specifically shown in the straight and upright posture of his body, and his gaze, which turns up toward heaven. Thus, striving toward and love for God expresses the IMAGE OF GOD IN MAN.

In summary, one may say that all of the good and noble qualities and capabilities of the soul are an expression of the image of God in man."
[Orthodox Dogmatic Theology]

It is up to every Orthodox Christian believer to nourish, protect, and cleanse his/her soul and seek the grace of the Holy Spirit. No one should ever neglect that which gives life to the body, the soul. Without a soul, there is no life. One simply needs to view a dead body to know that this lifeless mass of flesh is missing the soul which gave it life. Man unfortunately is a sarkolatres, a worshipper of the flesh. The human being is totally committed to everything pertaining to the body, e.i., feeding it, cleaning it, exercising it, clothing it, beautifying it, and satisfying all its desires and passions. But what does the human offer to his/her soul? The average person and specifically a Christian even, gives no attention to the soul at all. And yet, the soul also needs to be nourished, cleansed, to be spiritually exercised (ascesis), to be clothed with the Light of goodness, faith, and love, to beautify it through works of mercy and kindness, energized and deify it by the grace of God the Holy Spirit. The soul needs to be in constant union with its Creator.

Every Orthodox Christian understands that the best way to serve the spiritual needs of the soul is to have a strong and consistent prayer life and a sacramental life. Through participation in the Holy Eucharist, we become one with Christ and with one another. We are spiritually cleansed through the Mysterion of Repentance/Confession, we are healed through the Mystery of the Holy Oil (Holy Unction), and we are reborn through the Mystery of Holy Baptism. One should see how very important and necessary it is for all Orthodox Christians to adhere to the guidance of our Holy Church. This is how the Orthodox Christian who practices his/her faith maintains his/her soul.

The enemy and the threat to the soul is apostasy from its Creator. It is living a life of disobedience to the will of God. It is rebelling and refusing to follow His Commandments. It is giving to the passions and evil thoughts that we are constantly assaulted with by the evil one.
It is our lukewarm faith, our weak faith, our lack of commitment, and our lack of good works, that puts our souls at risk. Our soul is our greatest God-given gift and treasure. Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ exhorts us: "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, AND LOSES HIS OWN SOUL? OR WHAT WILL A MAN GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL?" (Matthew 16:26).

My beloved be vigilant and protect your soul tenderly and consciously and with all your might for your life depends on it.

Prayer for the Beginning of the Day

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things
to rely upon Your Holy Will. In every hour of the day reveal Your will to me.
Bless my dealings with all who surrounded me. Teach me to treat all that comes
to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with a firm conviction that
from Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and
feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. Teach
me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give
me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
Direct my will, teach me to pray. And, Yourself, pray in me. Amen.

"Glory Be To GOD

All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in the Divine and Glorious Resurrection of our Lord,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

On the 9th of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates Saint CHRISTOPHOROS (CHRISTOPHER) THE GREAT MARTYR

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


On the 9th of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates Saint CHROSTOPHOROS (CHRISTOPHER)

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Martyr. Fourth Tone

Made comely with garments woven from thy venerable blood,
thou standest before the Lord, the King of Heaven and earth, O
famed Martyr Christopher. With the choirs of Angels and the Martyrs
thou chantest, singing the thrice-holy hymn and most awesome praises,
Thus, by thine intercessions with God, save us, thy worthless slaves.

Kontakion Hymn of the Martyr. Fourth Tone

Thou who wast terrifying both in strength and in countenance, for thy Creator’s
sake thou didst surrender thyself willingly to them that sought thee; for thou
didst persuade both them and the women that sought to arouse in thee the fire
of lust, and they followed thee in the path of martyrdom. And in torments, thou
didst prove to be courageous. Wherefore, we have gained thee as our great
protector, O Great Christopher.

Saint Christophoros (Christopher), the holy and Great Martyr of Christ, was vouchsafed the Crown of Martyrdom during the reign of the pagan and unjust Roman Emperor Docius (249-251 A.D.). From his youth, the Saint had been called Reprobus. During that epoch, the rulers were possessed by a frenzied madness against the pious Christians. The lawless emperors had issued an outrageous decree. His foul command urged the ill use of the righteous and godly slaves of the Christians, with the application of violence, if they could not be coerced into eating meats offered and sacrificed to pagan idols. These foods had been defiled by the sprinkling of the blood of sacrificial victims. Those who consented not to deny Christ were to be subjected to torture which led to death in a most horrifying manner. All the rulers and governors of the cities of the realm made it a point to appear compliant and obedient to the crown. The impious, as a result, were afforded no small protection by law while the pious were being persecuted.

One of the emperor’s military commanders, at that time, who was engaged in a campaign against other nations, encountered the blessed Reprobus. The latter hailed from the Tribe of the dog-faced, whom the general apprehended. The dog-faced one, according to the Greek compilers, must signify that the Saint was not comely but rather had an ill-favored facial appearance. His features were not deformed so that he had the aspect of a canine, even as some unlearned painters have depicted him. He possessed a human countenance, as other men. Although he had a look that was displeasing to the senses, and even frightening and wild looking, yet his inner man was Christ-like. The blessed Reprobus did not bear the least character resemblance to his countrymen. Indeed, he may be described as prudent and noble-minded, and as one who kept the divine words in his heart. The man of God observed how the idol-worshippers were torturing each of the Christians, which was ushering in no small grief such a one as Reprobus who was predisposed toward sympathy. With such a compassionate turn of mind, his love for the sufferers stirred him. Since, however, he was ignorant of the language of the idol madmen who had captured him, he was unable either to reason with or to rebuke the benighted ones. There was no one with whom he could speak and come to an understanding. He, consequently, managed to betake himself to a place contiguous but outside of the city. He prostrated himself to the ground, supplicating the Lord with tears that he might be endowed with the power to converse with his pagan captors. He noetically offered up this prayer: "O Lord God, the Almighty, hearken to my low estate and humiliation. Show Thy compassion to me, the unworthy one. Open my lips and grant me to speak as the men of this place that I might be able to reprove the tyrant." While Reprobus was praying in this manner, he found before him a certain light-bearing youth who addressed him and said, "Thine entreaty has been heard, O Reprobus. So then, rise up and receive grace from the Lord."

The holy man rose up, at which point the light-bearing being touched Reprobus’s lips. Straightway, as the Angel breathed upon his mouth, Reprobus was enabled to speak freely. He then, at once marched into the city. He viewed the Christians undergoing punishment, which brought pain to his heart. It was as if he were receiving those tortures himself. He, thereupon, directed his words to the idolaters, speaking on behalf of his fellow Christians, saying, "O guides of the darkness and those full of every transgression, does it not suffice to surrender your souls to Satan, but must you compel even us, who fear the one God, to perish along with you? I am a Christian and I do not condescend to venerate your vain gods and useless abominations." As the holy Reprobus was speaking, Vachthios, one of the pagan officers, happened to be near him. He struck Reprobus on the mouth. The blessed man, not giving reign to anger, turned to him and said modestly, "My Savior Christ is preventing me from retaliating, thus, I shall not render a fitting recompense. But should I become angry, all of thy perverse kingdom would not be able to vanquish me." Vachthios, frightened by this statement, turned on his heel and departed for the city where the emperor was abiding.

Vachthios reported to the emperor that there appeared a young man in the midst of the people who can only be described as a dreadful giant. That he had the form and look of a wild man, and his teeth jut out of his mouth, even as a swine. That he had a head like a dog and was blaspheming both the gods and the realm. The anger of the emperor, while hearing this report, was great indeed. Decius deemed it prudent to investigate the matter and immediately summoned two hundred soldiers and dispatched them with these orders: "Bind this giant, named Reprobus, and conduct him here before me. In the event he should resist, cut him into a thousand pieces. Only being forward his head that I may see for myself if he is the frightening ogre that his coward claims."

Now the soldiers, whom Decius dispatched to arrest the righteous man, arrived at the place where Reprobus was and who stood outside the doors of a Christian church praying. From a distance, they described his features and became frightened. As a result, they did not dare to get near him. But one of the soldiers found the courage and rallied his comrades, saying, "Why should we fear one lone man who is unarmed?" Thus, they approached him. Reprobus said to them, ‘If you will let me, I will come of my own volition; for thou shall not be able to drag me bound before the emperor." I implore you, however, that you delay the order until I should receive holly Baptism and thereafter we shall go together. The soldiers, attempting to oblige him, answered, "Our expedition is finished, because for many days we have searching for you and, furthermore, we hardly have any rations." The Saint remarked, "Bring what little remains that you may see the power of my God." The soldiers brought the Saint their small supply. Reprobus went to his knees and besought the Lord, saying, "O Lord God, Who blessed the five loaves and filled countless crowds, hear Thy slave! Multiply these few slices of bread that they may behold Thy Wonders and may believe that Thou art True God Who art able to do all things."

An Angel of the Lord came to him and said, "Take courage, O athlete of Christ, Christopher! For He has sent me forth to come unto thine aid, commanding me to fulfill all thou hast set thy heart upon." After the Angel blessed the soldiers’ bread, they were marvelously multiplied. The soldiers, witnessing this miracle-working, were astonished and cried aloud with one mouth, "Great is the Christians’ God, the One Who saves His slaves!" They began revering the Saint saying, "We too, believe in the only True God!" Then the Saint, becoming filled with joy, began teaching them the saving preaching of the Lord. After this took place, Reprobus led them all forth to Antioch and to the sainted Babylas, bishop of that city. Once there, Reprobus recounted the entire matter. When the hierarch was apprised of the history, he offered up heartfelt thanksgiving to God. He catechized and baptized all the soldiers, including the former Reprobus whom he named CHRISTOPHOROS.

When this was completed, Christophoros (Christopher) counseled the soldiers to return to headquarters at the palace, As they marched on their way, Saint Christopher was strengthening them with words of advice, "…Let us endure, therefore, for His sake, both wounds and scourges in this vain world. And let us not deny Him, no matter what they should perpetuate against us. Upon hearing these admonitions, the soldiers began to weep. When they arrived at the palace and Decius set his eyes on the righteous man, the emperor cringed. After the tyrant composed himself from his fear, he forced himself to address Christ’s witness, "State thy religion, race, and name." The holy martyr answered, "I am a Christian, and my former name was Reprobus, but now, through holy Baptism, I was named Christophoros. My race appears on my face. Soon after the Saint was imprisoned and two harlots were sent to seduce him, but he converted them also and encouraged them in their martyrdom.

Decius ordered the hanging of the Saint and said to the executioners, "Suspend him by the hairs of his head. Bind a heavy stone to his feet. Submit his whole body to a thrashing with the flat side of the sword." The emperor then commanded that lit torches be applied to the martyr’s armpits. After the Saint was savagely burned, some of the noblemen began urging Decius to alter his strategy. "Flatter the Christian." After many horrific tortures, Decius handed down his final decision and said, "Since this most incorrigible and useless fellow foolishly slights my own commands, I command the severing of is revolting and ugly head."

The beheaders, thereupon, drew him to the place of execution. When they arrive at the site, Saint Christophoros requested leave from the headsman so that he might first pray. Having received permission, the Saint prayed to God in the hearing of the whole company. He uttered these words: "O Lord God, the Almighty, I give thanks to Thee…Receive my spirit in peace and number me with the least of Thy slaves…O most compassionate Lord, grace to my body, so that, wheresoever the least portion of my relics should be found, demons would be dispelled, and, moreover, that neither famine nor hail would harm that place. Indeed, do not permit any other affliction ever to occur in that place. All those who celebrate the feast of my martyric contest and read of it, preserve them safe and sound, that they may glorify Thee, the Most Good Lord, for blessed art Thou to the ages of the ages. Amen."

The decapitator, drawing near to Saint Christopher with much fear and reverence, then swung his sword and severed that honorable head. It should be noted that, after the execution, the same executioner took his own life and died upon the sacred body of the Martyr. The day of the Martyrdom was the 9th day of May. After the repose of the Saint, Bishop Peter of Attaleia on the Mediterranean ventured forth. He bribed the soldiers for the purchase of the holy Martyr’s body. Bishop Peter wrapped the holy relics in spice and transferred them to his own city.

May we the faithful be delivered from all evil and wicked temptations by the intercessions of Our Ever-Virgin Lady Theotokos, the holy and Great Martyr Christophoros, and all the Saints. Amen. [Source:  The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

On the 8th of May, the Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates of the Synaxis of the Holy and Glorious Apostle and Evangelist, JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


On the 8th of Mary, the Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates
the Synaxis of the Holy and Glorious Apostle and Evangelist,

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Apostle. Second Tone

O APOSTLE, beloved of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a
defenseless people. He that allowed thee to recline on His breast,
receiveth thee bowing in intercession, Implore Him, O Theologian,
to dispel the persistent cloud of the heathen, and ask for us His
peace and great mercy.

Kontakion Hymn of the Apostle. Second Tone

Who can tell thy mighty works, O virgin Saint? For thou pourest
forth miracles, and art a source of healings, and thou dost
intercede for our souls, as the Theologian and the friend of Christ.


The Holy and Glorious Apostle John the Theologian, the divine Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved Disciple of the Lord, was born in Bethsaida of Galilee. He was translated to the Lord, while preaching the word of God at Ephesos, in deep old age during the days of Emperor Trajan (8-117 A.D.). When the Blessed John was about to depart from this present life to that which is perpetual and eternal, he foreknew it by the indwelling of Divine grace. He took his disciples and went outside of the city of Ephesus. Saint John, according to Prochoros his disciple, had assembled seven of his disciples. Prochoros and six others, Saint John said to them, "Take spades in your hands and follow me." They followed him outside the city to a certain place, where he said, "Sit down." He then went a little apart from them to where it was quiet and began to pray. It was very early in the morning; the sun had not quite risen. After his prayer, he said to them, "Dig with your spades a cross-shaped trench as long as I am tall." This was done while the Evangelist prayed. After he had finished his prayer, he set himself down in the trench that had been dug. Saint John then said to Prochoros, "My son, thou shalt go to Jerusalem. That is where thou must end thy days." The Evangelist then gave them instructions and embraced them, saying, "Take some earth, my mother earth, and cover me." The Disciple embraced them again and, taking some earth, covered him only up to his knees. Once more, he embraced them, saying, "Take some more earth and cover me up to the neck." So they embraced him again and then took some more earth and covered him up to his neck. Then he said to them, "Bring a thin veil and place it on my face, and embrace me again for the last time, for you shall not see me nay longer in this life." So they, stricken with grief, embraced the Apostle again. As he was sending us off in peace, the disciples, lamenting bitterly, covered his whole body. The sun rose just then, and he surrendered his spirit.

The disciples returned to the city and were asked, "Where is your teacher?" So they explained what had just occurred in great detail. The Ephesians begged them that they show them the site. They, therefore, went back to the grave with the brethren, but Saint John was not there. Only his shoes were left behind. Then they remembered the words of the Lord to the Apostle Peter, "If I wish him to tarry while I am coming, what is that to thee?" (John 21:22). And they all glorified God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to Whom is the glory, honor, and worship, unto the ages of ages. Amen. Each year, on the 8th day of May, THE GRAVE OF THE SAINT WAS DECORATED WITH ROSES.

Saint Hippolytus, Pope of Rome, in his narration on how the Apostles departed this life, notes that Saint John "went to Ephesos and there reposed. When his holy relics were sought by the inhabitants of Ephesos, it could not be found." Saint Gregory the Theologian, in answering a question put to him by his brother Caesarius, comments: "The Great John, at the end of his Gospel, writes that the Lord said to Peter, ‘Follow thou Me.’ And Peter, having turned about, seeth the disciple, whom the Jesus loved, following–who also leaned back on His breast at the Supper–and said, "Lord, who is the one who is delivering Thee up?" After Peter saw him, he saith to Jesus, "But Lord, this man–what?" Jesus saith to him, "If I wish to tarry while I am coming, what is that to thee? Do thou be following Me." Then this saying went out among the brethren "that disciple dieth not"; and yet Jesus did not say that "he dieth not," but, "If I wish him to tarry while I am coming, what is that to thee?" (John 21:19-23). Now some use this passage as a pretext that Saint John still has not tasted death, but rather was transported live as it were Enoch and Elias. However, this is not the truth. Christ spoke enigmatically when He said, "If I wish him to tarry.." …meaning that the Lord did not intend for Peter and John to be in one another’s company to the end. Their future work would take each one to different places. The Lord also reveals here that Saint John would not die in the same manner as the other Apostles." Saint Gregory then describes to Caesarius THE FINE DUST WHICH HAS WROUGHT CURES FOR A MULTITUDE OF SUFFERERS.

Saint Bede remarks that "Jesus did not love John alone in a singular way to the exclusion of others, but He loved John beyond those whom He loved, in a more intimate way as one whom the special prerogative of chastity had made worthy of fuller love. Indeed, Jesus proved that He loved them all when before His Passion He said to them, "Even as the Father loved Me, I ALSO LOVED YOU; ABIDE IN THE LOVE, THAT WHICH IS MINE" (John 15:9). But beyond the other He loved the one who, being a virgin when chosen by Him, remained forever a virgin. Accordingly, when Christ was about to die on the Cross, He commended His Mother to John (John 19:26-27), so that the virgin might watch over the Virgin; and when He Himself Ascended to Heaven after His death and Resurrection, a son would not be lacking to His Mother whose chaste life would be protected by his chaste services." Furthermore, Saint Bede writes: "Mystically speaking, we can take these things which are predicted by the Lord to Peter and John, as designating the two ways of life in the Church which are carried out in the present, namely the active and the contemplative…Christ said this about John suggests the state OF CONTEMPLATIVE VIRTUE, which is not to be ended through death, AS THE ACTIVE LIFE IS, but after death is to be more perfectly completed with the Coming of the Lord."

We, therefore, at the empty tomb of Saint John the Theologian celebrate the Great Evangelist. He was granted Christ’s grace by which he is adorned with many wonder-workings (miracles). His tomb, yearly and to the day of this writing, in a sudden and mysterious manner, SPOUTS UP DUST. THE NATIVES HAVE NAMED THE DUST "MANNA." The dust has been called so because IT IS USED FOR DELIVERANCE AND RECOVERY FROM EVERY DISEASE. IT IS EMPLOYED FOR THE HEALTH OF BOTH SOULS AND BODIES, TO THE GLORIFICATION OF GOD AND HIS SERVANT JOHN.

The Synaxis of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John is celebrated in his august Apostolic Church, which is located at Evdomon (Hebdomon). Evdomon (lit. "seventh"; is a suburb of Constantinople, and is situated on the Sea of Marmara. The Church to the Evangelist was built before the year 400. In the years 673 and 717, Arab fleets were put in there at Hebdomon. Emperor Basil Ist (867-886 A.D.) rebuilt the churches of Saint John the Evangelist and Saint John the Baptist, which had fallen into ruin. The Evangelist’s church, thereafter, was transformed into a Monastery. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,



Resurrectional Apolytikion. Mode 3

Let the heavens be glad. Let the earth rejoice
exceedingly. For the Lord has shown strength
with his arm. He trampled death by death. He
became the first-born of the dead. Out of the
belly of Hades, He has rescued us, and to the
world, He has granted the Great Mercy.

Kontakion hymn of Pascha. Mode pl. 4.

Though Thou went down into the tomb, O
Immortal One, yet Thou brought down the
Dominion of Hades; and Thou rose as the
Victor, O Christ our God; and Thou called
out "Rejoice" to the Myrrh-bearing women,
and gave peace to Thine Apostles, O Lord
Who to the fallen grant resurrection.



"After this, there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now
there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew
tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent
folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an Angel went
down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then
first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever
disease he had."

According to Saint Theophylact "went up" to Jerusalem on the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The Lord went up on this feast for two reasons. First, to celebrate with the others, lst His absence be interpreted as opposition to the law. Second, to use the occasion of the feast to draw more people to Himself by His signs and teaching, especially from among the guileless multitude, such as the farmers and the city craftsmen, who on other days were occupied with their work. The pool was called Sheep’s Pool because the sheep intended for the temple sacrifices were brought there and their entrails were washed in its water. It was the common belief that the washing of the sacrificial entrails imparted divine power to the water and that after washing an Angel would descend to the water to work a miracle. Here divine providence is plainly evident, guiding the Jews of ancient times towards faith in Christ by preordaining this miracle of the pool. God intended in due time to bestow Baptism, the greatest of gifts, MAKING IT FULL OF POWER TO WASH AWAY SINS AND BRING SOULS TO LIFE. Therefore, He PREFIGURED BAPTISM in the Judaic practices of the Old Covenant by directing the Jews to use water for cleansing from defilement. This water did not cleanse the fundamental stain of sin. It merely granted them purification from the pollution they believed occurred on various occasions in the course of everyday life, such as contact with a leper or a corpse. Similarly, God worked this miracle at the pool to prepare the Jews to receive the grace of Baptism. An Angel would come down at certain times to trouble the water and infuse it with HEALING POWER. Water itself has no power to heal — if it did, it would heal everywhere and on every occasion. This miracle was accomplished entirely BY THE ACTIVITY AND DIVINE ENERGY OF THE ANGEL. Likewise with us. IN BAPTISM, ORDINARY WATER BY THE DIVINE INVOCATIONS RECEIVES THE GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CLEANSES US FROM SPIRITUAL DISEASE. THE WATER OF BAPTISM HEALS ALL: the "BLIND," whose spiritual eyes are darkened and cannot distinguish good from evil; the "LAME," who are paralyzed and neither practice virtue nor make any spiritual progress; and the "WITHERED," who are in complete despair because of their inability to accomplish anything good. In former times infirmity prevented many from being healed in the waters of the pool, and only one was made whole. But now, what hinders any man from being baptized? If the whole world approached at once for Baptism, ITS GRACE WOULD NOT BE DIMINISHED.

"And a certain man was there, who had an infirmity thirty and eight years…"

For thirty-eight years he lay there waiting, each year hoping to be healed. But every time, those who were stronger and quicker got to the water before him. Yet HE NEVER DESPAIRED. The only purpose of the Lord’s question–"Wilt thou be made whole?" –was TO REVEAL THE PARALYTIC’S PATIENT AND STEADFAST ENDURANCE. What sick man would not want to be healed? And indeed, the paralytic answers GENTLY AND HUMBLY: "Yes, Lord, I wish to be healed, but I have no man who can put me into the water." He DOES NOT BLASPHEME; HE DOES NOT REBUKE CHRIST FOR ASKING A STUPID QUESTION; HE DOES NOT CURSE THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH AS WE OFTEN DO, FAINTHEARTED AS WE ARE, WHEN SUBJECT TO A MUCH SLIGHTER AFFLICTION THAN THIS. He answers MEEKLY, having no idea to Whom he was speaking, but hoping that Jesus would help hm into the waters. Note well that the Lord asked, "Wilt thou be made whole?" and not, "Will thou that I make thee whole?" He posed the question as He did to AVOID ANY APPEARANCE OF BOASTFULNESS.

"Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.."

Jesus commands the paralytic to pick up his bed IN ORDER TO CONFIRM THAT THE MIRACLE WAS NO ILLUSION. Unless the limbs were truly firm and strong, the man would not have been able to carry his bed. The Lord DID NOT REQUIRE, as He did with many others, that the paralytic show faith before he was healed, for the man, had never seen Christ work a sign. Whenever the Lord did require faith of those He was about to heal, He had already performed other miracles in their presence. See how the paralytic believed as soon as he heard Jesus’ word. He did not hesitate and think, "He is mad! I have been here thirty-eight years without being made whole, and now all at once He commands me to stand." Instead, HE BELIEVED — AND ROSE TO HIS FEET. The Lord heals on the Sabbath TO TEACH MEN TO SEE THE OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW IS A NEW LIGHT: THAT THEY HONOR THE SABBATH BY REFRAINING FROM EVIL, NOT BY RESTING. How could the law forbid one from doing good on the Sabbath, when the law comes from God, Who is CEASELESS IN DOING GOOD?

"Who is it that said unto thee, Take up thy bed and walk?" The Jews blinded themselves TO THE MIRACLE and were obsessed by what they considered a transgression of the Sabbath. Jesus "conveyed Himself away" for two reasons. First, with the healer absent, the Jews would be more likely to believe the man’s testimony, because it would seem that he was simply telling what happened, and not attributing the miracle to Jesus. Second, the Lord withdrew so as not to provoke the Jews any further. He knew the mere sight of the object of envy is enough to ignite the flame of spite. He wanted the deed to be assessed calmly, on its own merit alone. And truly, the more the Jews accuse, interrogate, and examine, the more swiftly travels word of the miracle.

"Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee…"

The Lord’s words to the paralytic, "Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more." confirm the truth of these two doctrines — ILLNESS IN MAN STEMS FROM SIN, and the punishment in hell is eternal. No one can now say, "I fornicated only for an hour; my punishment cannot last forever." Behold this man: his years of sin were far fewer than the many years of his punishment, which lasted almost a lifetime. Sin IS NOT JUDGED BY HOW LONG IT TOOK TO COMMIT BUT BY THE GRAVITY OF THE TRANSGRESSION. We also learn from the Lord’s words that even though we have already paid a harsh penalty for sins IF WE DEFILE OURSELVES AGAIN WITH THE SAME TRANSGRESSIONS, WE WILL BE PUNISHED MORE SEVERELY THAN BEFORE–and rightly so. If a man does not correct his ways after his first punishment, IT SHOWS HE IS INSENSIBLE AND CONTEMPTUOUS AND MUST BE DEALT WITH MORE HARSHLY. But why are not all punished in this manner? Man of the wicked are healthy and energetic and seem to pass their days merrily. But this absence of suffering in the present life becomes the grounds for even greater punishment in the next. Saint Paul confirms this: "But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:32), that is in the next life. The chastisements we receive in this life are mere admonitions, in the next life, THEY ARE TRUE PUNISHMENTS.

When He became man, He healed OUR NATURE and commanded us to "take up our bed." This means we must lift up from the earth our body — weighed down by the flesh and earthly cares — and make it light and free. We must rouse it from slothfulness so that it can "walk," that is to say, be active in doing good. The troubling of the water in the pool denotes the evil spirits stirred up in the waters of Baptism and then crushed and drowned by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Like the paralytic, we too are in need of healing, for we are paralyzed and inert in doing good. We also "have no man," that is, no rational thought proper to man, that would distinguish us from the irrational beasts and bring us to the pool OF TEARS AND REPENTANCE. In this pool, the first to enter is healed: if he procrastinates and does not swiftly REPENT, he obtains NO HEALING. Be quick to enter, lest death overtakes you. Again, there is an Angel which troubles this pool of repentance–the Angel of Great Counsel of the Father [see Isaiah 9:6], Christ the Savior. Unless the Divine Logos/Word touches our heart and troubles it with the thought of torments in the age to come, this pool will not be made active by divine power [ούκ ενεργηθήσεται], and there will be no healing for the paralyzed soul. The POOL OF REPENTANCE may rightly be called the Sheep’s Pool: THE POOL IN WHICH THE INWARD PARTS AND THOUGHTS OF THE SAINTS, LIKE THE SHEEP’S ENTRAILS, ARE WASHED. CLEANSED IN IT, THAT IS, RENDERED INNOCENT AND GUILELESS, THE SAINTS ARE MDE READY TO BECOME A LIVING SACRIFICE PLEASING TO GOD. May we also obtain healing, and afterward may the Lord ever find us in the temple, unstained by evil thoughts, "lest a worse thing" eternal punishment, "come unto us." [Source: The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to John by Saint Theophylact).


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape In His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servants of God

+ Father George

On the 5th of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates the holy and Great-Martyr IRENE.

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


On the 5th of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates
the holy and Great-Martyr IRENE.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn, 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 Hymn. Third Tone

Being fair adorned before with pure and virginal beauty, thou
becamest fairer still in thy brave contest, O virgin; for when
thou, in thine own spilt blood, wast stained and reddened, O
Irene, thou overthrewest ungodly error. Hence, thou hast
received the prizes of thy good victory from thy Creator’s
right hand.

Saint Irene, the holy Great-Martyr, was born in the city of Magedon or Magedo. She lived during the reign of Saint and Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337 A.D.). She was the sole offspring of her pagan parents, Licinius, who was a certain kinglet, and Licinia. Irene has been given the name of Penelope at birth. Since she was the most fair of maidens and surpassed in beauty all the others of her day, her father, who feared for his daughter, built a lofty tower to isolate Penelope. He also lodged thirteen other young maidens with her, amid whom she lived in luxury and wealth. She received such items as a throne, a table, and a lamp made of solid gold. She was six years of age when her father confirmed her to the tower. He also assigned a certain elderly Apellianos to supervise his sheltered little daughter’s education.

One day, the Saint observed a dove had entered the tower. The dove, bearing an olive branch in its beak, placed it on the golden table. Subsequent to this, she beheld an eagle fly into the tower. The creature was holding a wreath of plaited flowers in its beak, which it deposited on the table. Following close upon this delivery, she then noticed that a raven came in through the window, carrying a snake, which it also dropped on the golden table. Witnessing all this, the blessed virgin was perplexed and wondered at the meaning of these signs.

Apellianos interpreted all these signs for her, saying, "The dove makes known thy superior education, the olive branch signifies many wondrous events, and is a symbol of Baptism. The eagle, being the king of birds, foretells, by the royal crown of flowers, future success in future endeavors. But the raven and serpent disclose thy future sufferings and anguish." By these hidden meanings, the elderly teacher revealed the great struggle of martyrdom, which the Saint was to undergo one day for the sake of her love for God. All the events that followed concerning the holy Irene, which have been committed to writing, are indeed supernatural and paradoxical.

It is said that an Angel of the Lord gave her the name of Irene, changing it from Penelope. That incorporeal being instructed her in the Faith of the Christ, and foretold that myriads of souls would be saved by means of her. Furthermore, Apostle Timothy, a Disciple of Saint Paul, would visit her in a paradoxical manner and baptize her. When this latter prophecy was fulfilled, the Blessed Irene cast her father’s idols to the ground, shattering them. At first, Irene was questioned by her father who, upon seeing that she persisted in the beliefs of the Christian Faith, was intensely dissatisfied. He ordered that she be bound. Irene was then cast between many horses so that they might trample upon her. However, one of the horses, instead of harming the Saint, turned on Licinius. It struck him down, crushing his right hand and slaying him. The horse then magnified the Saint with a human voice!

The Martyr was thereafter released from her bonds. At the request of the bystanders, she prayed and resurrected her father. Licinius came to believe in God and did his wife Licinia. In fact, another three thousand people received holy Baptism. Thenceforth, Irene’s father abandoned his dominion and lived in the tower which he had built for his daughter, passing the rest of his life in repentance.

After her father renounced this world, another kinglet, named Sedekias, rose to power. He attempted to force the Saint to sacrifice to idols. Since she opposed his demand, he ordered that the Blessed maiden be cast headlong into a deep pit filled with a nest of venomous snakes and reptiles. The Blessed maiden, nevertheless, persevered in that cavity of the earth. After fourteen days, she emerged unscathed. Following this trial, the pagans cruelly amputated her fee with a saw; yet, by the aid of a holy Angel, she was restored to health and stood on her feet. Next, the idolaters bound her to a wheel that turned by the force of water. When the waters miraculously ceased flowing, the sacred maiden remained unharmed. As a result of this miracle, eight thousand people came to believe n Christ Jesus.

Saint Irene endured other horrific tortures from the son of Sedekias, Savor, who ordered that her heels be pierced with spikes and burdened her back with a cumbrous sack of sand. In this manner, she was led on a march for three miles. Then, suddenly, the earth was rent asunder, swallowing ten thousand infidels. Due to this, thirty thousand other souls accepted the Faith of Christ. The holy maiden was able to walk unhindered through the city, accompanied by a priest, named Timothy. Through her God-inspired teachings, she succeeded in converting, in the Faith of Christ, five thousand idolaters who then received holy Baptism. Among them were thirty-three men who were designated to guard the tower.

Following this episode, the Saint came to a city called Kallinikos (Callinicus). It was the seat of Numerianos the kinglet, the son of Sebastianos. Once there, Irene appeared before him and proclaimed Christ. He, as a result, confined her to the interior of three bronze oxen, which figures were heated until they glowed red. He then had her transferred from the first to the second, and from the second to the third. The third ox, albeit it was inanimate, walked miraculously and then split asunder. The Saint, thereupon, exited uninjured, without the least trace of burn or singed hair and attire. Throngs of pagans who beheld this wonder (miracle) accepted Christ, numbering as many as one hundred thousand souls.

Hence, by 330 A.D., the fame of the Saint’s marvels reached the impious ears of Shapur the great king of the Persians, who ordered the beheading of the Saint. The victorious champion of Christ, Irene, was apprehended and her head was struck off. Though the Martyr was interred, yet was she was resurrected by an Angel of God. He magnified her because she had been martyred for Christ. Moreover, those who honor her name and commemorate the day of her martyrdom also bring blessings upon themselves. After her resurrection, it is said that she entered the city of Masembria, bearing an olive branch in her hand. Saint Irene appeared before the kinglet who, upon seeing her, straightway, accepted Christ and was baptized with myriads of other people by the Priest Timothy.

Since Saint Irene had taught and exhorted the populace of Ephesus, she departed there in the company of six followers, including Apellianos. Not too far from its outskirts, she came upon a newly constructed tomb wherein none had lain. She entered the tomb, and Apellianos sealed it with a stone. While Saint Irene was still among the living, the Saint ordered that, for four days, no one was to move the stone which Apellianos had placed over the grave. Two days later, he returned to the tomb, and–lo, the miracle!–he discovered the stone overturned and the body of the Saint missing. All these accounts may seem improbable to the limited intelligence of man, but to God, they are possible. [Source:  The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST.


On the 3rd of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates
the Holy and Glorious Martyrs TIMOTHEOS and MAVRA. (Part II)

The diabolical Arrianos decided to use Mavra, Timothy’s wife to break him. He said to her, "O Mavra, consider well thy youth and the sweetness of life…if thou shalt not offer a sacrifice unto the gods I will subject you to torments and punishments as those of thy husband. When Mavra heard these vile words from the tyrant, she exhibited the same heroism as Timothy. She answered, O impious man, I do not want thy favors, I refuse to pay homage to thine idols, I, am not afraid of thy punishments, I worship my Christ, the Creator of heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything visible and invisible…I prefer to die with him for my God…". Arrianos then commanded his soldiers to cut off all of Mavra’s hair and then ordered them to cut off the fingers of both her hands. Praying during the severing of her fingers, God, as a ready helper, did not abandon those that put their trust in Him. God strengthened the holy woman so that she should put to shame the devil, the ruler of darkness. The tyrant observing the courage of the sacred Mavra ordered another heinous torture. He ordered that a large cauldron be filled with water and brought to a boil. He then charged that Mavra he cast naked within the boiling water, so should suffer terrifying burns. Then God, Who once, in a paradoxical manner, caused dew to come upon the holy Three Children in the Babylonian fiery furnace [Dan. 3:25-26). Hence, the holy woman was preserved unscathed in a miraculous manner. The tyrant thought that his servants did not bring the water to a boil as he directed. He, consequently, in order to test the temperature, went up to the cauldron and said, "Mavra, sprinkle me with water that I may I might determine if it burns." The holy woman then filled her palms with water and poured it into the hands of the tyrant. He nearly fainted from the bitter pain of his scalded hands and dissolved flesh. As his body began to convulse. Although beside himself with pain, still managed to order that two crosses be made and that the two Christian Martyrs be crucified. When the holy ones heard their sentence of death, they joyfully thanked God Who counted them worthy, for His love, to receive death by crucifixion–just as the God-Man shed His undefiled blood upon the Cross for our love and salvation.

Straightway, Arrianus’s minions set about constructing the crosses for Saint Timothy and Saint Mavra. The executioners then seized the holy couple and led them to the execution site. The holy Martyrs were moved at the sight of the crosses upon which they would be transfixed; they, thereupon, bowed and piously kissed them, calling the Cross of Jesus "the Wood of Salvation." Then they both, bravely and calmly, surrender themselves to the executioners. Each contestant went and fell upon their cross as a bed of fragrant and dewy roses. Then, within moments, the soldiers hung the couple’s young bodies upon their crosses. The spectacle of the young couple upon their crosses seemed a tragedy to many, but, in reality, it was their loftiest moment. The two crosses were placed next to each other and were reminiscent to the Christians of the Passion of the God-Man. Each encouraged the other with heartfelt words of consolation which made manifest their mutual love, their oneness of soul, their faith in God, and their hope of immortality.

Our Lord Jesus Christ sent an Angel from heaven who stood by the holy woman and emboldened her. He then took her by the hand and they ascended, as in a trance, into the heavens. Once there, the Angel showed Mavra a lofty throne, beautifully adorned in white. The Angel exhibited another throne, also beautifully adorned in white, and s crown, saying, "These are allotted to thy husband Timothy whose place is higher than thine, because, as thou wilt testify, he was the agent of thy salvation." After nine days and nights upon their crosses, they surrendered their thrice-blessed souls into the hands of our Lord on the 3rd of May 286 A.D. The Holy Church chants: "Being joined together in an excellent marriage bond, you took up together the light yoke of Christ."

Then devout Christians bribed the soldiers with money and took down the Martyrs’ precious and holy relics from their crosses. They were honorably and reverently buried, to the glory of God Who enables His servants and handmaidens, without injury, to trample upon the serpent and scatter every device of the enemy. A church came to be dedicated to Saints Timothy and Mavra near the palace of Justinian (527-563 A.D.).

(Source: The Great Synaxarists of the Orthodox Church)


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

On the 3rd of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates the holy and glorious Martyrs TIMOTHY and MAVRA.

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST.


On the 3rd of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates
the holy and glorious Martyrs TIMOTHY and MAVRA.

Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon
death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Mode 2.

When Thou descended unto Death, O Lord, Thou
Who are immortal Life put Hades to death, by the
lightning of Thine Divinity. And when Thou raised
the dead from the netherworld, all the Hosts of
Heaven sang aloud to Thee, "O Christ God, Giver
of Life, glory to Thee!

For the Saints. Mode 4.

Today, O believers, let us honor Timothy and Mavra, the bride
of Christ, his fellow martyr and spouse, extolling their martyrdom,
bravely, and endurance. They were crucified together. With
longing they followed the example of the Savior, Who was slaughtered
and Who nailed to the Cross the sins of all.

The holy and glorious Martyrs Timothy and Mavra, the holy couple from the Thevaid of Egypt. They lived during the reign of the pagan Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 A.D.) and when Arrianos was governor of the Thevaid. Today, for your love and edification, we shall set before you the lives of these glorious and sacred Martyrs for our True God and Lord Jesus Christ.

The holy Timothy was from the village of Panageon, near Antinoe of the Thevaid. He was the son of pious and upright parents. After Timothy was weaned from the mother’s milk, he was given to a certain virtuous and God-fearing teacher so that the lad might learn Sacred Scripture. Since Timothy was vouchsafed a well-ordered mind, in a short time, he learned whatever was needed to know his Creator, the Only True God. He also quickly perceived the God-given nobility and immortality of the soul. The youth also came to understand the corruption and vanity of this present life. When Timothy came of age, according to the sacred laws of our Holy Church, he took a wife from a Christian family. She was the ever-memorable and worthy of love, Mavra. The couple lived a holy and blessed life, to the continual admiration of the faithful.

Though a newly married couple, the Bishop of the Thevaid observed Timothy’s remarkable manner of life and zeal for piety which also was acknowledged by everyone. Thus, the Bishop decided to honor Timothy by enrolling him n the Clergy. Timothy, with the consent of Mavra, accepted this Diakonia (Ministry). Thus, the Bishop ordained Timothy to the Priesthood. Moreover, Timothy was appointed to teach and strengthen the Christians in the Truth, so they might not be timid or fainthearted in the face of persecution and torment. For it was a time when the enemies of Truth oppressed and abused the devout Christians. Timothy was determined to emulate the Teacher, Christ. Together with instructing the God-fearing, he exhorted all through works and deeds. Thus, Timothy enthusiastically carried out his duties. Not one to tarry with the work of God, he counseled those among the faithful who were in turmoil or confusion that they should stand firm in the Orthodox Faith.

When the Christians heard Timothy’s God-inspired words, they received delight in their souls and were further confirmed in godliness. God also quickly blessed his endeavors when many idolaters were brought into the Church. When the pagans heard his sermons and observed his manner of life, they scorned the idols and became Christians. Timothy would admonish the idolaters to forsake their deceptive superstition. He urged them to believe in the One and Only True God, known in three Hypostases, Who, out of compassion, sent His Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world. Christ CAME THAT HE MIGHT SHOW US THE PATH OF SALVATION., AND BLOT OUT THE DECEPTION OF THE DEVIL WHO HAD BEGUILED MANKIND. Thus, more and more, idolaters abandoned their impiety and came to the Faith of Christ. They were baptized in the Name of the Holy, Co-Eternal, and Undivided Trinity.

Now a mere twenty days passed since he was united to the blessed Mavra in their God-consecrated marriage when Governor Arrianos was set at variance with Timothy. Arrianos heard reports from pagan leaders of this Cleric and teacher of the Christians. Arrianos himself was an irreconcilable and harsh persecutor of the Faith of Christ. The atrocities of pagan Diocletian against the Christians were also cruelly enforced in Upper Egypt by Arrianos, a vessel of the devil and an enemy of godliness. He dispatched his minions of impious deceit to arrest Timothy and those Christians with him. Thus, the pious were made to stand before the tyrant who, without any previous questioning, singled out Timothy with a stern gaze. Arrianos commanded him to fetch the holy books by which he instructed the Christians. The real motive of Arrianos, a son of the devil, was to destroy the precious and priceless handwritten books of the Christians. He supposed that the holy Timothy, without the books, would be unable to establish the Christians in the Orthodox Christian Faith.

However, the great general of the Heavenly Kingdom, Timothy, cowered neither before the tyrant’s angry countenance nor at his death threats. Instead, he courageously responded, "O governor, what prudent father delivers, voluntarily, his children to death? If that father, who loves his children, yields to the law of nature, he will in no wise surrender the children of his flesh to death. So, how shall I give up my spiritual children, the Sacred Books, into thy profane hands? Nay, this will never be! I am ready to die rather than hearken to thy godless commands."

After the lawless tyrant heard Timothy’s declaration, he was mighty incensed and directed that iron skewers be laid to the fire. When they were brought to a red-hot glow, they were used to puncture the ears of the Martyr. Upon inserting the skewers into the glorious hero’s ears, the pupils of his eyes dropped. Yet–O the boundless steadfast patience of the Saint!–this excruciating punishment was valiantly borne by that blessed man for the Name of Christ. The enraged Arrianos ordered that they bind the prisoner to a wheel designed to rend to pieces Timothy’s bodily members. Timothy was told that if he persisted in not doing Arrianos’ bidding, he could expect a death befitting his civil disobedience. Since the Saint remained steadfast in his conviction, the minister of deception bound him to that grisly weel. They violently turned that contraption causing the notched-in nails to tear the athlete’s flesh mercilessly. Nevertheless, Christ’s soldier, once more, bravely withstood this torture, while he chanted, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Psalm 117:6).

In the interim, the Christians, including Mavra, were informed that Timothy had been captured. Straightway, a multitude of Christians converged upon the place where the holy Martyr was being tortured. Meanwhile, his companion in life, Mavra, prayed to God, seeking endurance and steadfastness for her husband. Moreover, she entreated God that He furnish relief for Timothy’s pain. All the while, Arrianos could not help but admire the prisoner’s capacity for pain. Finally, that dreadful wheel was brought to a halt by the executioners. Those present beheld the Martyr as a mass of bloodied flesh. His eyes were put out and his body sundered and shattered. He was gasping for. breath. Then, suddenly, a miracle! Forthwith, Timothy recovered his strength. He opened his eyes. His wounds vanished without a trace. Before such a spectacle, all the bystanders were dumbfounded and astonished. There was, at first, a hush in the crowd, then all were filled with enthusiasm for the victory of the Martyr and THE POWER OF GOD. This divine display of power brought many to confess the Faith of Christ. Mavra was stirred and joyous. She approached her husband and embraced him, glorifying God. Though many were enlightened by this miracle, Arrianos became more cruel and more determined than ever to do away with Christ’s witness. He continued with hideous new tortures. When, however, Arrianos was informed that the prisoner’s wife was in the crowd he thought to use her as a means to break Timothy’s resolve. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)

(To be continued)


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

On the 2nd of May, the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the Translation of the precious Relics of Saint ATHANASIOS THE GREAT

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,


On the 2nd of May, the Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates the
Translation of the precious Relics of Saint ATHANASTIOS THE

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Third Tone

Thou was Orthodoxy’s steadfast pillar, holding up the Church
with godly dogmas, O Great Pierarch, for thou didst preach unto
all that God the Son is one essence in very truth with God the
Father; thus thou didst shame Arius. Righteous Father Athanasios,
do thou entreat Christ God that His great mercy may be granted
unto us.

Kontakion Hymn. Second Tone

Having planted the dogmas of Orthodoxy, thou didst cut out the
thorns of false doctrine; and with the rain of the Spirit, thou didst
increase the see of the Faith. Wherefore, we praise thee, O
righteous Athanasios.


Our holy Father among the Saints, Athanasios the Great (295-373 A.D.) lived throughout the years of the illustrious Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337 A.D.), and during the time of the latter’s son, the Arian Emperor Constantius II (337-361 A.D.), whom Saint Athanasios said was "worse than Saul, Ahab, and Pilate," and through to the short reign of Emperor Julian the Apostate (361 A.D.), Saint Athanasios attended the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea (325 A.D.), which put down the profane and heretic Arius. He was elected Archbishop of Alexandria on the 8th of June, in the year 328 A.D., following the illustrious Patriarch Alexander, Athanasios, 1903)the initiate of heavenly mysteries, who also suffered five exiles (335, 339, 356, 362, and 365 A.D.). He is commemorated today in remembrance of the translation of his relics, first to Constantinople and then to Venice; but we also honor the memory of his tireless labors and everlasting exhortations. The Holy Church, on the 18th of January, commemorates Saint Athanasios with his fellow Alexandrian, Saint Kyril. A service concerning the translation of Saint Athanasios’ sacred relics was composed by Nikodemos the Hagiorite.

Saint Athanasios addressed those questions pertaining to the Holy Trinity, as well as to the incarnation of the Logos (Word) of God. His chief work, as the champion of the Logos (Word), was the disproving of Arian dogma in his four orations or discourses. The divinization of man was paramount to him, which was now made possible since the incarnate Logos put on human flesh. This was inconsistent with Arian ideas, but Saint Athanasios refuted them and said THAT JESUS "WAS NOT A MAN WHO LATER BECAME GOD, BUT GOD WHO LATER BECAME MAN IN ORDER TO DIVINIZE US."

Saint Gregory the Theologian delivered an oration on this Venerable Father and Pillar of Right-believing Orthodoxy. It was a panegyric given at the Church of Constantinople at the annual feast in honor of Saint Athanasios. It is unknown whether Saint Gregory gave the oration on the 18th of January or the 2nd of May. He opens his address to the faithful by saying, "In praising Athanasios, I shall be praising virtue. To speak of him and to praise virtue are identical because he had embraced virtue in entirety…To speak of and to admire him fully would perhaps be too long a task for the present purpose of my discourse, and would take the form of a history rather than of a panegyric…This I will say, in the discharge of his Office, he was sublime in action, lowly in mind; inaccessible in virtue, most accessible in intercourse. He was gentile, free from anger, sympathetic, sweet in words, and sweeter in disposition. He was Angelic in appearance, but more Angelic in mind. He was calm in rebuke, persuasive in praise, without spoiling the good effect of either by excess; rather, he reproved with the tenderness of a father. He praised the dignity of a ruler. His severity was not sour. In all his ways he was reasonable, prudent, and truly wise. His disposition sufficed for the training of his spiritual children, with very little need of words.

"Let one praise him in his fasts and prayers; for Athanasios was as one disembodied and immaterial. Let another laud his unweariedness and zeal for vigils and psalmody. Let some extol his patronage of the needy, while others proclaim his dauntlessness toward the powerful or his condescension to the lowly. Let the virgins celebrate the friend of the Bridegroom…".


Saint Athanasios believed the Divinity of Father and Son IS ONE. ALL things that can be said of the Father CAN ALSO BE SAID OF THE Son, excepting only that the Father is said to be Father. "And why are the things of the Son proper to the Father, except because the Son is the proper Offspring of His essence? And the Son, being the proper Offspring of the Father’s essence, reasonably says that the things of the Father are His own also."

His words were like thunder that smote the ears of the heretics when he said, "The Son is begotten NOT from without but FROM THE FATHER; WHILE THE FATHER REMAINS WHOLE, THE EXPRESSION OF HIS HYPOSTASIS (SUBSISTENCE) ABIDES FOREVER, AND PRESERVES THE FATHER’S LIKENESS AND UNVARYING IMAGE, SO THAT HE WHO SEES HIM, SEES IN HIM THE HYPOSTASIS TOO, OF WHICH HE IS THE IMPRESS (χαρακτήρα). And from the energy of the impress, we understand the True Divinity of the hypostasis, as the Savior Himself teaches when He says, ‘the Father Who abideth in Me, He doeth the works [John 14:10]’ which I do; and ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30), and I am in the Father and the Father in Me’ (John 14:11). Therefore let this Christ-opposing heresy attempt first to divide the examples found in things originate, and say, ‘Once the sun was without his radiance,’ or, ‘Radiance is not proper to the essence of light’ or ‘it is indeed proper, but it is part of light by division.’




Some might ask, "Why could not God restore man by just a word?" "RESTORATION," Saint Athanasios informs us, "BY A MERE FIAT WOULD HAVE SHOWN GOD’S POWER; THE INCARNATION SHOWS HIS AGAPE (LOVE). For it was not things without being that needed salvation, so that a bare command would suffice, but man, ALREADY IN EXISTENCE, WAS GOING TO CORRUPTION AND RUIN. Therefore, He put on a body that He might find death in the body and BLOT IT OUT. FOR HOW, COULD THE LORD HAVE BEEN PROVED AT ALL TO BE THE LIFE, HAD HE NOT QUICKENED WHAT WAS MORTAL?… And if death had been kept from the body by a mere command on His part, if would nonetheless have been mortal and corruptible, according to the nature of bodies, but that this should not be, IT PUT ON THE INCORPOREAL LOGS OF GOD, AND THUS NO LONGER FEARS EITHER DEATH OR CORRUPTION; FOR IT HAS LIFE AS A GARMENT, AND CORRUPTION IS DONE AWAY IN IT."

That we have the ability to call God "Father" IS DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF THE LOGOS/WORD and the Spirit WITHIN US. It is the Son’s good pleasure that we should call His Father our Father. The Saint prefers the word "Father" to the word "unoriginate" as a name for God. He says, "We have not been instructed to baptize in the name of ‘Unoriginate and Originate’ or in the ‘Uncreate and Creature,’ but in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For in this manner, when we are thus INITIATED, WE ARE TRULY MADE SONS. When saying the name of the Father, we, too, acknowledge also from that name the Logos/Word in the Father." [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

On the 29th of April, the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the holy Apostles JASON and SOSIPATER

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,



Let us who have beheld the Resurrection of Christ, worship Our Holy Lord Jesus,
Who is alone without sin. We worship, Thy Cross, O Christ, and praise and glorify
Thy Holy Resurrection. For Thou art Our God, and we know none other beside
Thee, and we call upon Thy Name. Come, all you faithful, let us worship Christ’s
Holy Resurrection, for behold, through the Cross, joy has come to the whole
world. We praise His Resurrection, and forever glorify the Lord. He endured the
Cross for us, and by death destroyed Death.

Jesus, having risen from the grave, as He foretold, has given to us Eternal Life
and the Great Mercy.

Christ has risen from the dead, by death trampling upon Death,
and has bestowed life to those in the tombs.



Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Third Tone

O Holy Apostles, intercede with the Merciful God that He grant
unto our souls forgiveness of offenses

Kontakion Hymn. Plagal of Second Tone

Being illuminated with the teachings of Paul, ye became luminaries
unto the whole world, O thrice-blessed ones; for ye ever shine upon
the world with miracles, O Jason, thou fountain of healings, and
Sosipater, thou glory of the Martyrs of Christ. O God-bearing Apostles,
ye protectors of them that be in need, entreat God that our souls be

The holy Apostles, Jason, and Sosipater were of the secret Seventy (70) holy Apostles and celebrate with them on the 4th of January. From the beginning were genuine Disciples and followers of the blessed Apostle Paul.


We read in the Acts of the Holy Apostles that Saint Paul and Silas, having traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, came to Thessaloniki, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. "And according to what was customary to Saint Paul, he went in to them, and for three sabbaths was discoursing with them from the Scriptures, laying open and setting forth that it was needful for the Christ to have suffered, and to have risen from the dead, and that ‘this Jesus Whom I proclaim to you IS THE CHRIST." And some of them were persuaded and were allotted to Paul and Silas–both of the Greeks who were reverent, a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But those Jews who were not persuaded became jealous, and took to themselves certain evil men of the market-loungers, and formed a crowd, and made an uproar in the city; and having taken a stand against the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. But not having found them, they were dragging Jason and certain brethren before the rulers of the city, crying out: "These who have upset the inhabited world are present here also, whom Jason hath received…"

The Life and Martyrdom of Saints Jason and Sosipater

Jason and Sosipater lived at the time when Kerkyllinos reigned over the Ionian island of Kerkyra (Corfu), a tributary of Rome. There were many then who were believing in the Lord, though punishment followed such a profession of faith. Many entered the struggle for deathlessness and were counted worthy of THE CROWN OF MARTYRDOM. Such were the Glorious Apostles JASON and SOSIPATER who entered these lists.

During the time of the missionary activity of the blessed Paul–that precious vessel of election, the mouth of Christ, the Light of the World–Who, to the very end, traversed the inhabited world and sowed the word of Truth in every place, he banished the devil through the planting of the knowledge of the Faith of Jesus Christ. His tours also brought him to the city of Thessaloniki, where he spread his mystical nets of the Lord’s Teaching. Among those who were caught was JASON, and with him SOSIPATER who hailed from Achaia Greece. They proved to shine forth as ever lit beacons illuminating all of the inhabited world. A passage from the Epistle to the Romans serves as the original encomium of these two Apostles, woven by Saint himself who comments: "Timothy my fellow worker, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, greet you" (Romans 16:21). (please note: Achaia, a Roman Province during New Testament times, included the whole Peloponnesos, and most of Greece (Hellas) proper, with the islands. This Province, with Macedonia, comprehended all of Greece.) Though there were no consanguineal ties, yet they were identified with Saint Paul by reason of coinciding virtues and love and obedience to his directions.

These divine and most excellent men, JASON and SOSIPATER, from the start, as we said, were fruit-bearing fields of the divine Paul. In the West, they enlightened those in darkness, by the Light of the Truth of Christ, undergoing for themselves no small perils. Their lives were irreproachable as they taught the divine word in every quarter into which they passed. The thrice-blessed Jason, initially, had taken up the governance of the Metropolis of Tarsus, whereas the blessed Sosipater fulfilled his duty toward the protection o the Iconium Church. For a considerable time, after they served and shepherded the flocks of these cities by the grace of Christ, blessing many by their teachings, divine zeal and moved both Apostles to travel further West.

JASON and SOSIPATER came to the city of Kerkyra, the chief city, port, and capital that lies on a Peninsula on the East Coast of the island. The Apostles constructed a very beautiful church outside of the walls of the city, which they dedicated to the Protomartyr Stefanos (Stephen). In that sanctified place, they offered glorification to God both night and day. God blessed their endeavors, as they guided multitudes to the True Faith. One night, as the Saints were praying and extending their supplication, some of the idolaters entered within and questioned them, saying, "Tell us, O foreigners, what is this new teaching? What kind of belief is this? What should we expect of you? Forasmuch as it appears that great and wondrous are these tidings of which you speak so that these things transcend the mind of man." The Apostles replied, "Certainly, those things which we preach are mysteries of the True God, even as the Faith which we proclaim is True and blameless." The Holy Apostles then showed them the Cross of the Christ and the Gospel, saying, "the faith of Christians is not apprehended through demonstrative speeches, as you think, but RATHER THROUGH WORKS, MANIFEST AND WITHOUT DECEIT. FROM TIMES OF OLD, FULLNESS OF ASSURANCE WAS GIVEN BY WAY OF DEEDS RATHER THAN A SHOW OF WORDS. AND WHERESOEVER THE FAITH APPEARS, IT ENERGIZES, THEREBY GIVING PROOF OF THE WORDS."

These and many other EDIFYING COUNSELS were uttered by the Holy Apostles. Those who had been attracted by God were persuaded and came to believe in the Savior Christ. Each one of them was baptized, thus adding to the faithful of the Lord both men and women. Now the king of the island, who was named Kerkyllinos, when he heard of these events and was informed about the Saints, became indignant. He dispatched his men, who were commissioned to bring Jason and Sosipater before him. He addressed them and said: "Tell me, from what parts do you come? And who is the one who delivered such teachings to you, which not only oppose the customs of the fathers but also prevent sacrifices to the great gods? Why do you seek to expand and magnify worship for the Crucified One?" The Holy Apostles answered, "…We have been ordained Disciples of the Apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Behold, we pre and bach the gladsome news to all men! They, thereby, have the opportunity to shun the vain and falsely named gods, so that they also may turn to the True God, THE LIVING One, Who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and all that is therein."

The king, hearing these things, said to the men of God, ‘Be obedient to me. Once you renounce that Christ Whom you took up, then you can offer sacrifice to the gods before whom all the inhabited world sacrifices, and thus will your souls live in honor. Come now! You know what I mean unless you prefer to be put to the test by diverse tortures, the like of which have been neither heard nor seen so that your bodies would be left as prey for carnivorous beasts and birds. The Saints answered, "…Hear, O king, on the one hand, thou have authority over our bodies and have the power to punish them as thou hast said, whether it be by scourging, burning to fire, casting us into the sea…but on the other hand, thou have no authority over our souls, only God has such power as the One Who exercises authority over every creature that has breath…"

The Holy Apostles JASON and SOSIPATER suffered many tortures for Christ’s Name, drew many souls to salvation, and finished the course of their life there. As a result of their martyric account, there are holy icons depicting both of the Holy Apostles within a fiery cauldron, as shown in the Thessalian icons from the monasteries of Doussikon (16th Century) and Transfiguration of the Great Meteoron. In the ancient city of Kerkyra (Corfu), a church from the first centuries built in their honor and bearing inscriptions that mention the Saints by name, verify the historical account concerning them. [ Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chryspstomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

On the 25th of April, the Holy Church commemorates the holy and glorious Apostle MARK the Evangelst

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ,


On the 25th of April, Our Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the holy,
and Glorious Apostle MARK the Evangelist.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hyn, Third Tone

O holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, intercede with the Merciful
God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offenses.

Kontakion Hymn. Second Tone

When thou hadst received the Spirit’s grace from Heaven’s
heights, thou rentest apart the webs of the philosophers; and
on catching all of the nations in thy net, O all-lauded Mark, thou
didst offer to thy Lord, by preaching the Gospel of divine renown.

The compilers of The Great Synaxaristes (in Greek) believe that Papias (A.D. 60-130), Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia is the first one to connect the Gospel of Mark with Peter. The tradition recorded by him was universally accepted by those who came after him. Now there are few who believe that the divine Mark was not of Hebrew stock, but that he previously was an idolater from Cyrene of Pentapolis, which is near Libya. Thus, there are divergent views, some say that the Evangelist Mark is not John Mark, the son of the widow Mary, while others say he was the kinsman of Barnabas. Having come to the Faith of Christ through the Apostle Peter, he followed him to Rome. While there, at the prompting of Peter himself and at the request of the Christians living there, he wrote his Gospel in Greek, and it is second in order after Matthew’s. Afterward, traveling to Egypt, he preached the Gospel there and was the first to establish the Church of Alexandria. The idolaters, unable to bear his preaching, seized him, bound him with ropes, and dragged him through the streets until he was cut to pieces on rocks, and gave up his soul. It is said that he completed his life in martyrdom about the year A.D. 68. He is depicted in holy icons with a lion next to him, one of the living creatures mentioned by Ezekiel (1:10), and a symbol of Christ’s Royal Office, as Saint Irenaeus of Lyons writes.


His ministry (diakonia) took place during the reign of Tiberius Caesar Augustus (A.D. 14-37) until the era of Nero (54-68).


There is some confusion surrounding the life and suffering of the Evangelist Mark on account of there being at least three with the name of the Apostle Mark mentioned in the Synaxariste.

Another subject that engages writers was how and where Saint Mark write his Gospel. Meletios writes that while Peter was preaching in Rome, the Romans were dissatisfied with only oral discourses. Upon requesting a written version for posterity, Saint Peter commissioned Mark who was greatly familiar not only with Saint Peter’s teachings but also with the language. Evsevios, the Church Historian writes of Saint Peter’s hearers that neither were they satisfied with hearing the word once only nor were they content with just the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel. Therefore, with all sorts of entreaties, they besought Mark, a follower of the holy Apostle Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which has been orally communicated to them. Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and thus, it brought about the occasion of the written Gospel which bears the name Mark.

"And they say that Peter, when he had learned through a revelation of the Spirit of that which had been done, was pleased with the zeal of the men, and thus, the work obtained the sanction of his authority for the purpose of being used in the churches."

In the divine office of the Saint, we chant: "Thou didst become a companion of Paul, and with him, thou didst pass through Macedonia; when thou didst come to Rome, thou didst become the pleasant disciple of Peter and was shown to be his interpreter." And, "Manifestly following Peter, O wise one, as his disciple thou didst give lasting form to the Gospel, receiving from him the light of theology and clearly proclaiming the coming of God in the flesh." "The preeminent Apostle Peter clearly led thee to spiritual truths and initiated tee into divine mysteries so as to write down the august Gospel."

The Great Synaxaristes (in Greek) places the Evangelist’s repose in the year A.D. 64. His holy relics are found in Alexandria. According to the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel there appeared to him "as it were, the likeness of FOUR LIVING CREATURES (Ez. 1:5)." Saint Jerome writes: "The four-faced creature that we met in the Apocalypse of Saint John (Rev. 4:6-8) and in the beginning of Ezekiel’s prophecy…has also special significance for the Gospels: MATTHEW is signified by the face of A MAN. LUKE with the face of AN OX, JOHN AN EAGLE, and MARK THE LION CRYING IN THE DESERT."

Mark, the holy Apostle, was the scion of Hebrew parentage. His lineage could be traced to the Tribe of Levi, the priestly caste. He lived at first in Jerusalem. Among the Jews, Mark was called John (that is, JOHANAN), his more commonly used name, Mark, was of Latin derivation. He joined this name to his Hebrew name later before departing to a foreign land, when he went with the Apostle Peter to preach the Gospel in Rome, then the Capital of the world.

According to a tradition accepted by the Orthodox Church, which is in agreement with the testimony of several ancient writers, he was one of the Seventy (70) Disciples of the Lord and, consequently, was himself an eyewitness to certain events in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The book of the Acts of the Holy Apostles bears witness that the mother of the Evangelist Mark, Mary by name, owned a house in Jerusalem. It was there that the Apostle Peter found refuge after his miraculous deliverance from prison by the Angel [Acts 12:1-12]. After the Lord was taken up into the heavens, this house, during the persecution of the Christians, were able to gather together and worship. Thus, in the home of his mother, Saint Mark was able constantly to join in converse with Christians, taking part in their prayer meetings. He, at length, grew close to the holy Apostles themselves. He developed a particularly close relationship with the Apostle Peter, who showed him love and disposition which were truly paternal. This is apparent from Saint Peter’s own words. For, in his Epistle, he calls Mark his son and says: "She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, greeteth ou, and Mark my son [1 Peter 5:13].

Saint Mark was a cousin of the holy Apostle Barnabas, who was also, a Levite by descent [Acts 4:36], though the latter was born on the island of Cyprus. The holy Mark, through Barnabas, was introduced to the other preeminent Apostle. Saint Paul. This took place after Saint Paul’s wondrous conversion to the Christian Faith when the latter returned to Jerusalem. Having entered into a close relationship with these two preeminent Apostles Peter and Paul. Saint Mark became their closest co-worker and carried out their orders.

The holy Relics of Saint Mark

The unquenched wickedness of the heathen was not satisfied with the death of the holy Apostle. They, therefore, decided to consume his body with fire at a place called Angels. The blaze was already kindled and they were ready to burn to ashes his holy relics. Then, suddenly, by the Providence of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there descended a furious storm, and driving rain, and heavy winds. The rays of the sun were cloaked. There was a dreadful clap of thunder. The rain fell until the evening, which resulted in submerged houses and many deaths. The heathen were so terrified that they scattered, leaving the holy relics. Some of the pagans began saying, by way of deceit and derision, "Our thrice-blessed Serapion wrought this, visiting this man fo his nativity.

Then pious men took up the holy relics of the Righteous man from the ashes and reverently buried them. The funeral was performed with prayers and psalmody. The internment took place in a hewed-out tomb of stone, in the place where they held their prayer services. Thus, the holy relics became the first heirloom acquired by the Alexandrian Church. In the year A.D. 310, a church was erected over the tomb of Saint Mark, and his holy relics remained in Alexandria until the 9th century. In 828 A.D. the holy relics of the holy Evangelist were transferred to Venice, near which he had for a time preached the Gospel. The head of Saint Mark remained in Egypt. At Venice, the holy relics are in the Basilica of Saint Marco which was erected in his honor. Saint Mark became the Patron Saint of Venice.

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere love in the Glorious and Divine Resurrection of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George