Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Saint Sergius of Radonezh The WonderWorker (Sergij Radonezhki) a quick helper saint in life problems, pupils, students in educational hardships, exams and Orphans. A short living of father of Russian monasticism

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Saint-Sergius-of-Radonezh-icon-Russian-saint-hermit

Saint Sergius of Radonezh the Wonderworker (born in 1314, passed to Christ in 1392) is an ancient saint with enormous importance for the whole Christiandome and the Eastern Orthodox World.
He is perhaps the greatest ascet of the Russian land and a spiritual star who shone over the whole world sharing the and increasing the faith of Christ to shine upon many by his holy prayers. Saint Sergij Radonezhki is sometimes called in Russia the Abbot of the Russian land, for the reason he become the initiator (creator) and first abbot of the most notable and biggest monastery of Russia the Monastery of Saint Sergij of Radonezh in the XIV century.

In the Church service sung books, he is for that reason glorified calling him "a bright beacon of the Russian land, shining through its miracles like a second sun".  Saint Sergius Radonezhki's monastery was established in Glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the great ascet following the earlier example and spiritual tradition bequeted of the Great ascet Saint John of Rila (Ioan Rilski)  who lived in IX century in (876 – c. 946)  who established in the Rila mountain, the most famous Rila Monastey in Bulgaria, saint Sergius started his spiritual endurance in Russia as an ascet and did not initially planned to create a monastery, but God who sees everything seing his great ascetism sent him monks, willing to learn true spiritual life and that is how the Radonezh Monastery was born. Monastery quickly become aprototype of a new, amazingly pure and strict monastic life in Holy Russia, centered near in Moscow and the monastery which become a Laurel (the slavonic word translated as Lavra), (meaning the inhibitants of the monastery were exceeding 1000 monks) since y. 1744, become known in worldwide as Holy Trinity-Sergius Lavra.

Saint-Sergius-of-Radonezh-Lavra-Sveti-Sergieva-Lara-Holy-Trinity-monastery

Just as the spiritual heart of Bulgaria is located in the Rila Holy Monastery (Rilski Manastir), where are the the holy incorruptable relics of most glorified saint Reverend John of Rila the Wonderworker, the Sergius Trinity lavra has emerged as most important spiritual center of Russia Kingdom and later Russian Empire. What was the spiritual significance for preventing the Orthodox Christian faith and shedding hope via the dark ages of Ottoman Turks slavery of Bulgaria,  Reverend  Sergiy Radonezhki was for Russia especially in the hard times when Russia was a small country and fought for their freedom and independence from the Tatars and other surrounding nations, who were constantly destroying parts of the then small kingdom of Rus. Thousands of pilgrims with reverence and gratitude have come and continue to come to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra for worship, near the monastery now is established the city of Sergiyev Posad (inhabited today with about 103 000 people).

Saint_Sergius-of-Radonezh-the-Wonderworker-Sveti-Sergij_Radonezhki-Chudotvoretz-aliased-abbot-of-Russia-land

The shroud of the holy relics of Saint Sergius of Radonezh XV century

Prayers to St. Sergius of Radonezh are famous to protect you from any life problems.  People pray to the saint to protect children from bad influences and from failures at school. The prayer to the saint who was a model of humility helps in achieving humility and subduing the pride of ourselves and others.

Icons-and-frescoes-of-the-Holy-Trinity-Church-Radonezh-monastery-author-famous-iconograph-st-Andrey-Rublev

The very famous Holy Trinity unique icon held in main Church of Radonezh monastery painted by most famous Russian iconographer Saint Andrey Rublev

The icons and frescoes in the Trinity Cathedral in St Radonezh Lavra are unique piece of medieval art and were the work of Reverend Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernyov in 1425. The main church icon that was painted in "praise of Rev. Sergius" is the old testamental visit the Holy Trinity to Abraham and Sarra icon – which is among the most famous and unique work of Russian icon painting. 

The Church feast of the Saint Sergij

The memory of St. Sergius of Radonezh is honored 4 times a year:

1. October 8 – on the day of his presentation to God
2. June 5 – together with the feast of the Rostov-Yaroslavl saints
3. October 18 – on the day of the discovery of the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh
(interestingly just 1 day after in the Church calendar is 19 of October is the main feast of Saint John of Rila)
4. and on July 19 – together with the Radonezh Saints Church.

Saint_Sergius-of-Radonezh-holy-relics-raque

Reliquary with the incorruptable Holy Relics of Saint Sergij of Radonezh, kept in the Saint-Sergieva-Lavra monastery

Saint-Sergij-Radonezhki-holy-relics-opened-relics-raque

Opened reliquarium coffin with the incorruptable relics of saint Serigius of Radonezh (the feasts are opened for veneration by pilgrims 4 times a year during the saint feast veneration)

saint-Sergij-Sergius-Radonezhki-ikona-the-appearance-of-the-mother-of-God-to-saint-Sergius

The Apparition of the Mother of God to St. Sergius 16th century icon

 

Short Living (Biography) of Saint Sergius Radonezhki

Sergius of Radonezh was one of the most famous political and historical figures of the 14th century.
He is the founder of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, teacher and mentor of many Russian saints canonized by the Church.
According to ancient tradition, mainly from his student Epiphanes, Rev. Sergius was born in 1314 in the village of Varnitsa, Rostov in the family of the famous Rostov boyars Kiril and Maria (who are also canonized as saints) and in whose memory there are Churches consecrated in Russia and Belarus.

His parents named him Bartholomew at birth.
Although the family was noble, they lived very modestly and were very religious.
At the age of 7, Sergius and his brothers started going to school, and while his two brothers' education came relatiely easily, it did not for Bartholomew as for bartholomew learning was hard.
Suffering for his hardships to study even though he put great efforts to do so, as he did not have any other means to become proficient pupil like his brothers, wishing to change this, the boy fervently prayed to God to give him reason and strength to advance in learning.

According to the chronicles, the boy once he was looking for the lost horses of his father met an old schimonk elder who was praying to God. The boy asked the old man to pray for his success in school. The the unusual bright monk prayed and blessed him. Since then, the boy began to progress in his studies quickly.

In 1330, Bartholomew's parents moved to the village of Radonezh, near Moscow. Soon his parents died, and he, together with his older brother Stefan, left the inheritance to the youngest brother and took up a hermit life in the nearby forest, where they built a cell, and then built a small church, which was consecrated with the name of the Holy Trinity.

Soon Stefan decided to abandon the hermit life and went to the Moscow Epiphany Monastery, where he became abbot.
Bartholomew stayed and in 1337, at the age of 23, he was ordained a monk with the name Sergius.

The young ascetic spent more than a year in complete solitude. His life consisted of prayers, fasting and hard work.
Sergius became famous in the surrounding area and soon other monks began to come to him for advice and soon the brotherhood numbered 12 people. Each monk lived in a separate cell, and together they gathered for worship.
This is how the famous Sergius-Troitskaya Lavra was founded. In 1354, Sergius was ordained abbot.

As the biography testifies, Reverend Sergius of Radonezh performed miracles even in his earthly life:

"…
Pilgrims came, they saw the poverty of the desert, but they also saw the peace and grace among the brothers, and they brought this leaven into their native families like light, like salt. And the name of the God-pleaser became glorious throughout Russia and many came to him with faith. Once, by praying, the old man healed a seriously ill person, and another time he healed a mad nobleman who was not in his right mind, ranting and fighting, so that ten they couldn't hold the man back."

St. Sergius of Radonezh was honored with a vision of the Most Holy Mother of God, who appeared to him during a night service and said:
"Do not be afraid, My chosen one. I have come to visit you. Do not grieve, because your prayer for the students and the monastery has been heard; and your abode shall abound in all things; not only in your life, but also in your presentation before God. I will not leave this place, and will irrevocably supply all that is necessary, preserve and protect it with my covering."


Saint Sergius of Radonezh knew how to act with "quiet and meek words" even on the most hardened and cruel hearts and in this way reconciled even ruling country region principles and kings at war.
Thanks to him, all the princes united before the Kulikovo battle, thanks to whom Russia managed to establish itself as a leading world country in the mid-centuries recognizing the main role of the Moscow prince Dimitriy.
The Russian army received a blessing from the venerable Sergius of Radonezh before the upcoming battle with the Tatars.

He predicted (prophecised) the victory over the Tatars, and on September 8, 1380, on the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, the Russian troops defeated the Tatars at Kulikovo field, marking the beginning of liberation from the Tatar yoke. In other words at the time when Bulgarian Empire had crashed and has been enslaved, the Trnov kingdom fall down in 1393 and Vidin's kingdom of Bulgaria in 1396, just few years before the opposite hapened in Russia. Already baptized by many Bulgarian clergymen and given the Old Bulgarian Church language so called in newer times the Church Slavonic Books, Russia together with its spiritual flourishment managed to liberate from the Tatars and increasing gruadally in influence, countryland and power.
Prince Dimitrii deeply respected his spiritual father – the Reverend Sergius of Radonezh, who was also the godfather of his children.

Sergius of Radonezh died on September 25, 1392, reaching a very old age.
He predicted his death 2 years before and appointed his successor – his student Reverend Nikon.
St. Sergius of Radonezh was buried in a monastery founded by him, and 30 years later his body and clothes were found incorruptible and odoring with heavenly odor.

This happened in 1422 during the construction of the new and enlargened "Life-giving Trinity" church.

Shortly before the construction began, Sergius of Radonezh appeared in a dream to a pious man, telling him to convey the following words to the brothers:
"Why do you leave me so long in the grave, buried in the ground with all this water, it is narrow here for my body. "

When they dug for the foundations, the imperishable relics and clothes of St. Sergius of Radonezh were found unharmed, and the grave was full of water.

During the consecration of the Trinity Church, the relics of the saint were transferred to it, where they lay even to this day.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Sergius of Radonezh the world, find more peace, love, faith and brotherhood, which we desperately need in these day of the absurd brother shedful war in Ukraine. 

Holy Reverend Father Sergij of Radonezh, pray the Lord Jesus Christ to save our souls and grant repentance to us sinners and peace to rule again in our hearts !

 

Living of New Martyr Saint Onuphrius of Gabrovo, a Bulgarian saint martyred in year 1818

Friday, June 17th, 2022

sveti-Onufrij-Gabrovski-saint-Onufrius-Gabrovski

The New Martyr saint Onufrij ( Onuphrius ) (1786 – 1818) was born in Gabrovo, Veliko Tarnovo Diocese, to pious and noble parents.
(His father Decho later became a monk under the name of Daniel in the same Hilendar monastery on Mount Athos, where his son was then active).
The child Onuphrius was given the name Matthew in Holy Baptism.
When he grew up, he was sent to a one of scarce Bulgarian schools, where he studied well.
When he was 17 years old, his parents once punished him for some childish thing unrest, and out of frivolous childishness, he declared in the presence of Turks that he would accept the Muslim faith.

In such cases, the Turks immediately seized the person who gave the promise to convert to islam and performed the rite of Mohammedan circumcision on him.

To prevent this, his parents hid him and perhaps sent him to the "fotress" of Christian Orthodox FaIth and keeper of Bulgarian spirit, the Troyan Monastery "Holy Mother of God".
In Troyan Monastery, to this day there is a the mouth to mouth legend that the Venerable Martyr Onuphrius began his monastic feat and received his first monastic haircut here with the name Manasseah (Manasij).

sveti-Onufrij-Gabrovski-Bylgarski-svetec

He ascended diligently in spiritual life, but the voice of his conscience began to rebuke him more and more for his public denial of Christianity, even if only in words.
Probably because of this he went to Holy Mount Athos, hoping that there, under the guidance of more experienced elders, he would repent enough and calm his conscience.
Manasseah spent some time in the Hilendar Monastery (a monastery that at this time has been inhibited with many Bulgarian monks), where he was ordained a deacon.

But, as the holy fathers of the Church say, the more a Christian grows in virtue, the deeper he humbles himself and his small sins seem great., same happened with Hierodeacon Manasseah.

He was always impressed by the words of the Savior Christ:

"Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; but whosoever denieth me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 10: 32-33).

And from the lives of the saints he was especially deeply moved by the example of the holy martyr Barlaam, who held his hand without trembling over the burning pagan altar until his hand burned completely, but did not drop incense on the altar, to protect the occusation that he has offered incense to the idols.
His heart was inflamed with jealousy when the Venerable Euthymius, Ignatius and Acacius (Agathius), performed their martyrdom.
Then Manasseah secretly left Hilendar and went to the Forerunner's Hermitage to the local clergyman (elder) Nicephorus with a request to prepare him for such a martyrdom.

For four months he worked hard on enormous spiritual and bodly feats under the guidance of this elder.
Every day Manasseh made four thousand bows; his prayer was unceasing; his remorseful mood brought tears to his eyes.

During these four months of preparation he ate two and a half kilograms of dried grapes, and in the strictest forty-day fast he ate 30 grams of bread every two or three days and drank water in moderation.
After Elder Nicephorus thus prepared him for the impending martyrdom, he cut his hair in a great scheme receiving the great-schema name of Onufrij ( Onuphrius ) and sent him to the island of Chios with the same companion, Elder Gregory, whom he sent with the other martyrs анд вхере тхеир feat would take place there.

On Island Chios Saint Onuphrius lived one Sunday in fasting and prayer, while on Friday, the day of Christ's suffering, he appeared in Turkish robes before the local turkish judge, openly blasphemed Muhammad and threw the green turban on his head.

holy-new-martyr-Onufrius-Onufrij-of-Gabrovo

He was exhorted, thrown into prison, tortured, and sentenced to death the same day.
On January 4, 1818, his head was cut off on the seashore and along with his blood his body was thrown into the sea, so that Christians could not take for granted his holiness any particle veneration of the Venerable Martyr.

Before his death, some asked him about his name and homeland.
The Venerable Martyr replied that his name was Matthew and that he was from Veliko Tarnovo.
In this way he wanted to save the Holy Mount Athos and his monastery from troubles by the Turks.
Soon after his martyrdom, the Greeks from Mount Athos, soon canonized him and compiled a (living) biography and a service in his honor.

Text Translated from:

© Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House of Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).

Saint Hieromartyr Therapont of Serdika ( Sofia ) martyred year † 1555 for Christ

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Saint Therapontius of Serdika is celebrated every year on on May 27 in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, together with St. Holy Martyrs Therapont of Sardis († 259). He is born and lived in the ancient city of Serdika (today Sofia).

He is part of the nine saints of Sofia, that are celebrated in the Church throughout the Liturgical year.

A little is known of him and just like the martyrologies of much of the ancient saints, we have only few sentences left mentioning his great martyrdom for Christ, along with other local Bulgarian saints. He has a written  celebration service in the Minelogion Church book for  27-th of May.
Minelogion for those unaware is one of the service books used in the Night and Morning services songs and containing services details about the glorified saints for each day of the year.

Saint-Therapontius-Theraponti-of-Serdika-Sofia-Sveti-Terapont-Sofiiski

Troparion of the Holy Martyr, voice 4
He became a partaker of morals and viceroy of the apostles
in the way of your contemplation, inspired by God, you have done deeds,
therefore you have faithfully taught the word of truth,
for his faith he suffered even to the point of blood,
Holy Martyr Therapont, beg the Christ God to save our souls.

 

Saint Hieromartyr Therapont of Roman Fortress Serdika ( Sofia )
The famous Bulgarian medieval historian Matei Gramatik, who was a contemporary of Saint Nicholas of Sofia (a 15h century famous Bulgarian martyr saint) and a witness to his martyrdom in 1555, who wrote his biography with great skill, writes about this holy martyr. There he describes the situation in which St. Nicholas of Sofia lived – both geographically and spiritually.
In his description of the spiritual situation, he gives brief information about the saints of Sofia, including St. Terapont of Serdica (Sofia). He writes:

Saint-hieromartyr-Theraponti-Therapontius-of-Serdika-Sofia-icon

"When you listen for the inhabitants of Sofia, don't think about the current contemporary ones,
but for the heavenly ones, who were once co-inhabitants of us and now live with the angels.
So forth it is beneficial, to tell about 2 , 3 of them. The holy hieromartyr Therapontius, who
being a citizen of this place and a presbyter of the holy God's Church in Serdika (Sofia), lived filled
with lot of virtues and at the end, during the persecutions of Christians, has been detained by guards
by the lawless for his Christ confession. After a lot of martyrs and being enchained with a heavy
iron chains, he has been put out of the city and on a distance of one day walking, on
this place he was beheaded and henceforth he received a martyrs death for Christ.
They say on the place where his blood was shed, in that time a large oak tree has grown  and it is seen until today and there a lot of miraculous healings occur,
whenever one comes with faith."

Today a part of this trunk of the oak is kept as a sacred relic in the ancient Sofia's capital ancient church "St. Petka", where the memory of the holy martyr is celebrated every year on May 27.

Translated from: © Lives of the Saints Book. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).


Another Bulgarian saint Paisios of Hilendar / Paisij Hilendarski (1722 – 1773) also mentions in his history book History of the Slavo-Bulgarians states: "There are three holy martyrs in the city of Sofia:
1) St. George;
2) St. Nicholas;
3) St. Terapontius.

This saint was a priest in town of Tran, where many people now go for healing. Where in the Turks has slayered the saint a an oak greaw and with his prayers a lot of healing is given on the place of this oak. Same manner Saints George and Nicholas suffered from the godless Turks during Selim's reign; and their holy relics give healing in this city of Sofia. "

Icon Images of St. Therapontius are known to exist today from the XIX century. There are icons icons in the Sofia church "St. Paraskeva ”, in Pernik, in the church of " St. Petka ” in Sofia, fresco in the church“ St. Dimitar ” in the village of Yarlovtsi, Transko, wherein used to an icon also whose location now is unknown.

In Tran and Godech respectively there were folk customs associated with the saint and therein and in the region he is revered as a healer and protector of the harvests.
There is also a cave in Trun, which is indicated as a refuge for the saint.
A chapel in his name was in the city, burned by the Turks in the 30s of the XIX century.

In Glory of St. Terapontius of Sofia during the Second World War and until 1957 was dedicated the Revival church "Holy Trinity ", today – Saint Great-martyr (Mina)  Menas, in the Slatina district of Sofia. The church was built on the remains of the monastery “Holy  Trinity", according to mouth to mouth tradition kept for ages. 

According to the legend, the saint was slaughtered here and this gives some reason to presume that St. Terapontius might have been one of the spiritual fathers who were serving in the monastery at that time.

Let by the holy prayers of Saint Terapont God gives forgives to our multitude of transgressions and grants more Peace, Love, Hope, Faith and goodness to everyone !

Christ is Risen ! Truly He is Risen ! The origin of the tradition Paschal Greeting and Coloring of Eggs on Easter Holidays in the Church

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

 

Christ-is-Risen-Truly-he-is-risen-and-the-christian-origin-of-red-eggs-worldwide-Christ-triumphant-icon

Christ is Risen ! Truly He is Risen !

Христос воскресе ! Воистину воскресе ! (Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!) – Church Slavonic Paschal Greeting

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!  Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη ! (Khristós anésti! – Alithós anésti!) – Greek Paschal Greeting

Christus Resurrexit ! Resurrexit Vere ! – Latin Paschal Greeting

The Easter Eggs are so famous today for the kids worldwide, even though the world does not put much accent on the feast of Pascha (Easter). All kind of colored eggs are to be find in stores, many christian countries both Western and Eastern all throughout the world have the tradition of coloring eggs for Easter. 
The tradition is also the same here in Orthodox Bulgaria, as we have the tradition to boil and color eggs in various colors. 
Usually the first egg is colored in Dark Red and once sanctified in the Church is put on the iconostasis (the prayer corner in the house) in front of Christ, Virgin Mary and saints icons and kept their until next year.

Miraculously this Egg usually does not start decaying or smelling as an ordinary egg will do if left out of the fridge for a month or so. This first egg in dedication and memory of Christ's resurrection is kept on the iconostasis until the next year's Pascha and then buried somewhere in a green clean place for sanctification of the land.

This is a good and well followed tradition for those strict about religion, but even those who did not strictly follow Christianity or orthodoxy do color eggs for the fun of kids and as an expression for joy of the Paschal feast. Both grown and kids then try out their forces whose egg is more powerful by knocking each other's eggs to test whose egg shell is more solid and can stand up the break. The egg that is "victorious" once people test their power that is stronger and withstand the "egg fight" is kept for another egg duel with another person.

According to old superstitious belief if you win over in an eggs fight this is interpteted as you will have a good health and well being for the upcoming period till next year's Pascha.
 

How and from wherein this Boiled Eggs coloring originated ?


The short answer is it is connected to one of Church's traditions about the poor apostle Equal Saint Mary ( Maria ) Magdalene, who have given as a gift to Roman emperor Tiberius an Egg with the All Famous Greeting dialog in the Orthodox Churches among people with person A saying:   Christ is Risen ! person B responding: Truly he is Risen! (Христос Воскресе Войстину Воскресе !)

From the time of the many appearances of the Savior Christ in flesh after his Glorious Resurrection described by the Holy Evangelists in the Gospels and the fervent sermon of St. Mary Magdalene (one of the of the so called Myrrh- Bearing Woman who were the first who have visited the tomb where Dead body of Christ was led and become witnesses of  the Resurrection). The surviving Bible's New Testament 4 Gospel books do not provide further details about the activities of St. Mary Magdalene and her life. The Church mouth-by -mouth tradition of her later life in several local Christian churches differ slightlyhowever everywhere they essentially report on the zealous co-apostolic activity of St. Mary Magdalene. And the differences between these traditions depend on which of the evangelical women these churches understand by the name of St. Mary Magdalene.

Some Western Christian churches, as well as the Church Fathers and learned theologians, unite in one or two personalities three evangelical women: the sinner who repented in the house of Simon the Pharisee, shed tears at the Savior Christ's feet, wiped them with her hair. and she anointed them with precious ointment, and Mary of Bithynia, sister of Lazarus of Bythynia ( resurrected in the fourth day after death by Chrsit and commemorated one day before Palm Sunday )' and Mary Magdalene, who was delivered from the Savior Christ by seven demons. But the Orthodox Church now, as before, recognizes those mentioned in the Gospels with different signs, three persons as different separate ones, and does not want to base historical information on arbitrary, plausible interpretations. Therefore, the tradition of the Orthodox Church states that after the Gospel appearances of the Risen Christ before His Ascension and after, St. Mary Magdalene resided with the Blessed Virgin and the Apostles and was an active helper of the first successes of spreading the Christian faith first in Jerusalem. But full of zeal, fervent faith, and zealous love for God's gospel, she then preached in other lands, proclaiming everywhere the heavenly grace, joy, and salvation of all who believed in the Savior of the world, the Risen Christ.

Saint-Mary-Magdalene-gifting-red-egg-to-emperor-Tiberius-Orthodox-icon-one-of-Myrrh-Bearing-Woman

While visiting Italy to preach, St. Mary Magdalene found an opportunity to appear before the then-reigning Emperor Tiberius I, and presented him, according to generally accepted Eastern custom, with an egg painted red and greated him with "Christ is risen!"

The modesty of the gift of Mary Magdalene did not surprise the emperor, because he knew the ancient custom of the East, also among the Jews, going for the first time to superiors, or on solemn occasions to acquaintances or patrons, to offer a gift of honor, with some known or special, symbolic meaning. Examples of this can be found in Jewish Old Testament history, as are the gifts presented by the rich Wise men (magis – today their relics are kept for veneration in Cathedral of Cologne Germany) to the born Jesus Christ in Bethlehem of Judea. Even the poor in such cases offered as a gift various fruits from their locality or eggs from birds. Thus, partly following this ancient custom and with the red color of the egg laid and with the hitherto unheard words "Christ is risen!" to arouse the curiosity of the suspicious Emperor Tiberius. The holy co-apostle Mary Magdalene, by explaining the significance of this gift, began her fervent sermon on the Resurrection truth and the teachings of the Savior Christ for salvation. With great inspiration and conviction she told the emperor about the life, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to his own prophecy. She gave a direct, simple-minded account of the extremely unjust, biased judgment of Jesus Christ by the embittered members of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin. governor of Judea Pilate of Pontus, in condemning Jesus Christ to crucifixion. She explained how all this incurred the wrath of the Roman emperor then and how Tiberius handed them over to a court in which Pilate was deprived of power and exiled to Gaul, in the city of Vienna, where, according to legend, tormented by remorse and despair, he killed himself. According to another legend, Pilate repented, turned to Christ in prayer, as a sign of which his head was accepted by an angel after being cut off.

According to Church tradition, the sisters of Lazarus Martha and Mary went to Italy with St. Mary Magdalene; and Pilate, learning of this and fearing the denunciation of his unlawful actions by the Christians, himself sent a message to the Emperor Tiberius about Jesus Christ, in which he testified to the virtuous life of Christ, the healing of all diseases and infirmities from Him, even for the resurrection of the dead and for His other great miracles. Pilate asserted that in examining the accusations of the Jews, he found no fault in Jesus Christ; he made great efforts to deliver Him from the hands of the troubled Jews, but failed to deliver Him and betrayed Jesus to their will because of the cries of the people and the rebellious accusation of the Jews against Pilate himself …

 

... as a witness, overwhelmed with fear, he told the emperor about everything that had happened to Jesus Christ, who became an object of faith as God …

After such testimonies from the Roman governor of Judea and the worshipers of the Savior Christ, Emperor Tiberius, according to legend, himself believed in the Savior Christ, proposed to include Jesus Christ in the image of the Roman gods, and even when the Roman Senate rejected this proposal, Tiberius by royal decree threatened to punish anyone who dared to grieve believers in Jesus Christ.

In this way, with the zealous, fearless sermon on the Savior Christ, St. Mary Magdalene, along with other devout Christians, persuaded the pagan governor of Judea to testify in writing about the universal event of Christ's Resurrection before the pagan world and persuaded the then Roman emperor of the Savior Christ, thus facilitating the spread of Christianity.

Anastasis-Hristos-Voskrese-beautiful-orthodox-Mosaic
Anastasis (Resurrection) Church Fresco


And the Christians of that time, learning about the significance and strength of the impression caused by the offering of a red egg by Mary Magdalene to Emperor Tiberius with the words: "Christ is risen!" then began to imitate her in this and as a remembrance of Christ's Resurrection they began to give each other red eggs and say: "Christ is risen! … He is risen indeed! …"

Thus, this custom gradually spread everywhere and became universal for Christians around the world. In it, the egg serves as a symbol of Christ's resurrection and the resurrection of the dead, and of our expected new-birth for eternal bliss in the future life, the pledge for which is Christ's Resurrection.

Just as a bird is born from an egg and begins to live an independent life after its release from the shell, and the vast circle of life is revealed to it, so we, at the second coming of Christ to earth , rejected from ourselves together with the earthly body all that is mortal on earth.

By the power of Christ's Resurrection we will be resurrected and resurrected to another, higher, eternal, immortal life.

And the red color of the Easter egg reminds us that the redemption of mankind and our future new life have been acquired through the shedding of the cross on the pure blood of the Savior Christ.

Thus, the red egg serves to remind us of one of the most important dogmas of the Divine revealed Christian faith.

 

After the crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews in terrible miracles took place in nature, many dead righteous people rose, with His resurrection on the third day.Pilate, as a witness overwhelmed with great fear, informed the Caesar of all things that had happened to Jesus Christ.

In Eastern Orthodox Tradition Christ is Risen ! Truly he is Risen Greeting is used to joyfully great each other all around the Orthodox countries in the first 3 days of easter, and can be used instead of normal Hello greeting ! for the upcoming week The Holy Easter Weak which is a week of great joy and even by a hello greating in the Church could be used for 40 days as a normal greeting.

It is worthy to close this article with the praisal words, read on the first day of Pascha  authored by one of the most important Church fathers and
compiler of most served Liturgy service throughout the yearly service calendar:

"Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept."

Saint John Chrysostom

The names of the Twelve apostles of Christ – Feast of the Twelve Glorious and Primal Apostles in Eastern Orthodox Church (30th of June)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Roman_Domitilla-Katakomben_Fresko__Christus_und_die_12_Apostel__und_Christussymbol__Chi_Rho__1
Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, fresco with the Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome

One day after the June 29 the Feast of The Glorious and First among Apostles Peter and Paul  on 30th of June according to so called new calendar in the Eastern Orthodox Church comes, the remembrace of Feast of the gathering of 12 Glorious apostles (Σύναξη των Αγίων Δώδεκα Αποστόλων).

Simon_ushakov_last_supper_1685

The Secret Supper (Christ and the 12 Apostles iconographer Simon Ushakov y. 1685 (Jude the Iscariot the traitor without a halo)

"The names of the 12 Holy Apostles are: Simon (called Peter), Andrew his brother, Jacob the Zabedee and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Mathew (tax collectors), James, son of Alphaeus and Levi called (Thadeus), Simon The Canonite and Jude the Iscariot who has betrayed Christ"

(Gospel of Mathew 10:2-4)

 

13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

(Luke 6:13-16)

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, (Acts 1:15-26)

Synaxis_of_the_Twelve_Apostles_by_Constantinople_master_early_14th_circa_Pushkin_museum

The Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles. Russian, 14th century, Moscow Museum.

"Jesus had other desciples as well that were seventeen and other circles of desciples around each of the pupils, however they have alwasys been considered less venerable as they did not been so close to Christ and did not understand so well the mysterios of Christ's teaching and did not persevere as mcuh as the twelve and the seventeen of desciples. Those had been been distinguished among the King, those who have been the closest people to the Teacher" (Saint John Chrysostomos)

In Constantinople Saint King Constantine ( y. 274 – 337 ), has built a famous Church dedicated to the 12 Apostles. In historian documents there is data for a first time the feast is celebrated in the V-th century.

While the memory of each apostle has a separate day in the Church calendar yearly circle, they 12 apostles are sharing the same honor, because the Holy Scriptures and the Tradition glorifious their high efforts for building the Church on top of the corner stone that is Jesus Christ himsef and for their perseverance to accept martyrdom for Christ, thus to accent this they're is this special feast the Gathering of the 12 Glorious Apostles on 30th of June. As the Holy Scriptures says they're a friends of God (John 15:14), and when the Son of Man (Jesus) sits on the glory of his power, they all are to sit on 12 thrones, to judge the 12 Hebrew tribes (Mathew 19:28). 

In first centuries the Church has been feasting all the apostles together, Later she has included saint Apostle Paul, again the full list of names of the apostles are as follows:

1. Saint Apostle Peter the First Called (commemorated 29 June and 16 of January)

2. Saint apostle Andrew the First Called – as has been called by Christ together with Peter (30 November)

3.  Saint Jacob the Zebedee (30 April)

4. Saint Apostle John the Zebedee – the evangelist (26 September and 8 May)

5. Saint Apostle Philip (14 November)

6. Saint apostle Bartholomew or Nathanael (11 June and 25 August)

7. Saint apostle Thomas (6 October)

8. Saint apostle Mathew – evangelist (16 November)

9. Saint Apostle Jacob – son of Alpheus 9 October)

10. Saint Apostle Jude – fleshly brother of Christ (son of Joseph), called also Thadeus and Levi (19 June)

11. Saint Apostle Mathew (Mathias) (9 August)

12. Saint Apostle Paul  (Paul of Tarsus) (29 June)

The Church books define the feast day as the "Gathering of the Twelve", because this number of 12 apostles is initial and depics Christ essence of Completeness (as he is All in everything) Mathew (10:1-5)

 

Christ is Risen – Truly He is Risen – Happy Easter !

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

admin

One more year the Holy Fire has descended and we have been blessed to great Each other with the All Joyful Paschal Greeting !

Христос възкресе! Воистина възкресе! (Hristos vozkrese! Voistina vozkrese!)


Христос Воскресе – Воистину Воскресе! Христос възкресе! Воистина възкресе! (Hristos vozkrese! Voistina vozkrese!)
Христос васкрсе! Ваистину васкрсе! (Hristos vaskrse! Vaistinu vaskrse!)
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! 

Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!Christ is Risen ! Truly He is Risen !

For complete list of Paschal Greeting as a referrence to get idea how other weird languages sound like and how it is used in the major Eastern Orthodox Churches all around the world check out my previous article Christ is Risen Eastern Orthodox Resurrection Paschal Greeting in Different Languages

Kh

Saint Markianos and Martyrios a church reader and sub-deacon holy martyrs for Christ – The feast of Sub-deacons

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

saint-Markian-and-Saint-Martirios-cleargymen-church-martyrs-3rd-century
Saint Markianos (Saint Markian) and Martyrios are little known saints in the Western realm and there is too little of information in English about this two early martyrs who lived circa year 340. What is special about them is that besides being a strong confessors of the True Eastern Orthodox faith, they served in the Church as simple 'reader' and 'sub-deacon'. This two designations were very much respected in the early Church as sub-deacons were usually the ones who have served in the Church inseparable as a Church service helpers to the patriarchs or some high clergy as Metropolitans and Bishops. We have many saints in the Church that are from a simple warriors as Saint Georg and Saint Dimitrios the Wonderworker (The MyrhBringer) to monks, bishops, patriarchs and pretty much all kind of people from the society from the begger to the richest and most famous kings and queens. However it is rare to meet in the ( Act of the Martyrs – latin: Acta Martyrum), to find  canonized saints that were in the lowest step in Church hierarchy as a simple 'psalm' and holy writtings reader or a sub-deacon. A Sub-deacon for those who don't know is a pearon that is a like a servant helper to the priest or bishop) that has been responsible for helping with the Church service and resolution of material and administrative needs of the christian community.
Usually in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the church reader or sub-deacons were and asre still called hipodeacon or "ipodiakon" in Greek / Slavonic church language), they didn't have the right at that early ages of christianity to publicly teach on faith matters or do apologetics (defendings of faith), however this 2 saintly man Markianos and Martyrios seem to have been a burning with the power of the spirit of God in their heart and the situation they were put in when the Church was under persecution and the patriarch Paul of Constantinople I (was patriarch from 340 ~ 350 AD). Saint Paul removed from his Church headship sent to Exile in Armenia and some time after drawned. He is commemorated in the Church on 6th of November. Hence considering situation St. Markian and Martyrius had to either defend and die for the faith or be scared and run away far in the caves or distant places of the empire such as villages on the outskits far away from the center city Rome …

The Heresy of Arius has been the most modern and the new modified faith claiming Christianity gathering followers in a viral way, and due to that the Arians have been in position where most of the public authorities in the Roman empire has been on their side against the Orthodox Christians.

Marcian_and_Martyrius_the_notaries_of_Constantinople-circa-355AD. 

Due to that in the church communities in near and distant lands of empire, the Arians were fiercely persecuting the Orthodox, and for a time even Emperor Saint Constantine The Great were deceived by their hypocrisy. It was terrible times for true confessors of faith. But not only Arians were persecuting Christians, as paganism were still deeply rooted in many of the lands and the Edict of Mediolan who gave equal rights to the religion in AD 313 was not strictly followed and senators of Roman regions with Paganist beliefs, were also harshly raising persucutions against their enemies the Christians who according to them are destroying the ancient culture and beautfy of paganism, not venerating the old pagan gods and against the wicked debauchery customs who were followed by pagans in 3rd / 4th century.

beheading-of-saint-Martyrios

Practically everyone who have admitted publicly Jesus Christ as a Creator of the World and a Son of God one hipostasys of the Holy Trinity God The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, were captured put to prison and quickly executed, if they don't turn out from their christian beliefs.

Arians has taken a lead even more with the set on the throne of Emperor Constantius II the son of Constantine I-st, as he has also fallen in the Arianism* heresy and who has taken in the court as a close advisory Eusebius and Philip who due to their half-pagan half-arian half superstitious understanding of the world have led a fierce war against Christianity and did a lot of evils to Christ Church.

* Arianism – believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was begotten by God the Father, and is distinct from the Father (therefore subordinate to him), but the Son is also God the Son but not co-eternal with God the Father. Arian theology was first attributed to Arius (c. AD 256–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt.
saint-Markian-and-Saint-Martirios-cleargymen-church-martyrs-3rd-century.jpg
Until dethronment of Patriarch Paul I, St. Markianos and St. Martyrios have been a notaries of St. Paul (a typist to the patriarch and a kind of personal secretaries of the Patriarch) besides serving as Church reader and sub-deacon. They were famous for their time with their warm preaching of the Words of God – the Gospel of the Christ following the example of the apostles. Due to the raising heresies they also take an active part in writting many documents against the heretical "arians" and so called "macedonians" who teached anti-christian teachings who were newly invented and unknown to the ancient church teachings. They've had a special gift from God to be able to speak in a way to defend the faith so noone with his knowledge or high-education couldn't stand overcome them in disputes on church matters and many times they have disputed with Arian heretics exposing their fallacy (delusions) putting them to shame.

After the exile of Patriarch Paul heresy-archs arians turned their poisonous hatred against the patriarch two pupils Markianos and Martyrios. Craftly acting they acted slyly with a craftul lie and promised them a lot of gold a good place in the emperor's court, to raise them in the church hierarcy (in the part of the church which was already confessing arian heresy) and give them a lot of privileges from the king with the condition to accept, support and confess arianism.

But God's servents despised everything from this world, rejected the offered golden gifts, preferred eternal Heavenly honors than short and vain worldly and even laughed at them.

As Arians saw nothing can't convince them to their malice teaching, heretics condemned them to death, which was desired by the confessors (which remembered well the exile and the manly martyrdom of their teacher St. Patriarch Paul) and with all their being desired to be with Christ in the Eternal prepared palaces, where life will be without end in never ending bliss as promised by Christ in the Holy Scriptures. They preferred Christ more than the temporary life enjoyments.

saint_Markian-and_Martirios-orthodox-icon

When brought to the place of the execution of their false made accusement and sentence for being blasphemers of Christ, two saints asked for a small time
to pray. Brough up their eyes to the heaven and prayed with the words:

" – Oh Lord, who have unseenly created our hearts, who arrange all our deeds – "He formed the hearts of them all; he understands everything they do." (Psalm 33:15), receive with peace the souls of your servents, because we're mortified for your name – "Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." (Psalm 44:22). We're joyful that you give us such a death, we depart from this life because of your name. Let us to participate in the eternal life in You, the source and giver of life."

Praying with this words, they bowed their holy heads and under sword and was killed by beheading by the unfortunate arians because of their confession of the divinity of Christ as true uncreated Son of God who existed before all ages before the creation of the world as we Christians believe to this date.

Some of the Christians took their holy relics and buried them outside the Melandissia Gate of the Constantinople. Later Saint John of Chrysostom built a church in their name over the place of their miracle-working relics. There the sick for many ages received divine healings  of different incurable diseases by the prayers of the holy martyrs of God, Praised in Trinity in all ages.

By the prayers of your Holy Martyrs St. Markianos and Martyrios Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us !

Saint Petka Paraskeva of Bulgaria of Epivates Thracia (famous as St. Petka of Tarnovo) feast day 14 October

Friday, October 16th, 2020


Sveta-Petka-Paraskeva-Bylgarska-Balkanska-Epivatska

The inhabitants of Thracia are of a great and royal origin and due to recent historical studies, Thracians have been one of the most developed nations for its time they're developments and achievements especially in crafts such as vessel creation even up to day are perhaps the most unique.
It is still unknown of the exact technology used to create such a elegant and precise vessels. A little is known of the Thracians society as they have reached their bloom in a high speed and the place of the later Roman Empire province Thracia has been in a place where it was destroyed to the ground and robbed at multiple times eradicating unique piece of one of the best created ever forms of art.
Territories of Thrakia has been geographically today located in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea to the east.

Thrace_and_Thracians-present-day_state_borderlines-picture

Territy of Thracia shown on a contemporary European (Balkans Maps)

World-famous-Thracian-Treasury-picture-1

One of the most famous piece of such art is the World Famous Thracian's Treasuary.

World-famous-Thracian-Treasury-picture

The thrakians Empire and civillization has its bloom from 5th – 4th century before Christ era (B.C.). 
Saint Petka of Epivates region Thrakia was of a Bulgarian origin and lived much later in Xth – XI-th century A.D in Thracia. It is known she was of Bulgarian origin (her mother and father was of Bulgarian origin.) of the first generations who has received in 9-th century Baptism, in the times of the Baptism of Bulgaria conducted by the Apostle equal Saint King Boris I the Baptizer of Bulgaria in year 864 AD.  Thracians as an ancient and a blessed nation in craftship and arts was among the nations who received baptism on a good 'soil', as the seed of beauty and goodness has already been in their civillization.
 

The short Living of Saint Petka of Bulgaria (of Epivates)


Out of this Christian atmosphere has rised Saint Petka also known as (Parashkeva). Saint Petka name means literally translated Friday and due to being born in Thracia on today territory of Balkans she is been venerated highly not only in Bulgaria but across all Orthodox Christians nations on the Balkans – Bulgarians, Romanians, Serbs, Greeks, Macedonians. Due to that Saint Petka is also famous as "Saint Petka of The Bulkans".
Saint Petka could be therefore heard to be called often Petka of Serbs (of Belgrade), Saint Petka of Moldova (of Iași), Mother Paraskeva / ParashkevaParascheva the New, Parascheva the Young, Ancient Greek: Ὁσία Παρασκευὴ ἡ Ἐπιβατινή, Greek: Οσία Παρασκευή η Επιβατινή ή Νέα, Romanian: Cuvioasa Parascheva, Bulgarian / Serbian : Света Петка / Sveta Petka or Петка Параскева / Petka Paraskeva, Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, Parascheva of Tirnovo).

The first information about her living is found in a local educated person (writter) which as of the time were too little and writter  in Greek in short. It did not follow the Church cannons and due to that by an order of Patriarch of Constantinople Nikolas IV Musalon of Constantinople deacon Vaslik has described in a more well systemized way her living, the Greek original unfortunately is now lost. At the time of writting her biography, she has been mostly popular in the realms of Byzantine Empire Thracia.

Bulgarian-Empire-under-King-Ivan-Asen-II-map-1917

The Bulgarian Empire during the reign of Ivan Asen II. Atlas of Dimitar Rizov year 1917

Since the time of King Ivan Asen II a new biogprahy of saint has been written in Bulgarian which included narration of the transfer of her holy relics to Medieval Capital of Bulgaria Tarnovo. However peak and the key towards the immerse veneration to St. Petka that is evident to this very date has played the biography written by last Bulgarian Patriarch also a saint – st. Euthymius of Tarnovo. in year 1385 AD short before the fall under Turkish Slavery of Bulgaria in y. 1393.

Saint Patriarch Eutymious was the last person who in 1393 has actively parcipated in the protection of the fortified Tarnovo and see with his eyes the fall down of the city (by treachery).

When asked by the terrified people 'To whom do you leave us holy father, when the Turkish were taking him away?' He replied heart tearingly 'To the Holy Trinity The Father, The Son and The Holy Trinity our God I leave you and to the most Blessed Mother of God Theotokos now and For Eternity !!!'

Saint-Patriarch-Eutymious-the-last-Blessing-picture-sveti_Evtimij_seten_blagoslov

Saint Patriarch Eutymius (Evtimij) blessing the people in Medieval Bulgarian city Tarnovo for a last time before the Turkish took him away for imprisonment
Picture source Pravoslavieto.com

St Euthymius of Tarnovo work is one of the most unique bibliographies and a precious piece of medieval literature it is innovative for its time and spectacular, emotion rich creation, who become famous far before the borders of Bulgaria in the whole Slavonic world of that time, especially in todays territory of ex soviet countries Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and even far Russia.

Saint_Patriarch-Eutymius-last-bulgarian-patriarch-before-Turkish-Slavery

Saint Patriarch Eutymious of Bulgaria
Picture source Pravoslavieto.com

The veneration of Saint Petka of Bulgaria as a protector of family and a warm prayerer for all those who venerate her in this country has slowly spread in the coming centuries by pupils of St. Euthymius of Tarnovo who according to some historians whose works came to us in the form of the a bit more standardized Church Slavonic used in the Eastern Orthodox Churches as a fruit of the works of St. Euthymus.

The Living of Saint Petka Parashkeva

Sveta_Petka-Bylgarska-Balkanska-holy-icon

Saint Petka Parashkeva Picture source Pravoslavieto.com

Tropion 4-th voice

 Desertous and silent living you loved after Christ your groom, diligently you ran to and his good yoke you took in your younghood,
with the Sign of the Cross against the thought enemies you have manly armed, with fasting feats and prayer and with tear drops the coals of passions extinguished oh highly famed Paraskevo. And now in the Heavenly halls with the wise virgins you stay in front of Christ, pray for us who venerate your holy remembrance.

Kontakion, voice 6

Let us piusly sung our reverend  mother Saint Petka, because by living the corruptable in live, received the imperishable in eternity, becoming holy intercessor for all in trouble and exhausting from the evils of life. For the reason she received from God imperishable fame, glory and grace to be a wonder worker.

Sveta-Petka-Zakrilnica-Bylgarska-Saint_Petka-Protectress-of-Bulgarian-lands

NB ! St. Petka of Epivates has not to be confused with Saint Petka (from Inokia who lived in 303 AD venerated on 28 of October) or  St Petka the Roman (feast day 26 July).

St. Petka's  has been born in city of Epivates in Byzantium (today city called Selim Pasha nearby Odrin's Aegian City) in 10-th Century from a famous and respectful family, her father Nikita has been very rich landowner.

She lived in the second part of X-th century. According to hear living by Patriarch Eutymious, her smaller brother Eutymious who become a monk has been a Metropolitan of Maditos for 40 years and in year (989 – 996) died aged 81 and is shortly after canonized as saint, his younger sister St. Paraskeva passed away after him in the new 11-th century and is aged at least 85 in the time of passing in the city of Kallikrateia. 

The living continues that near the age of 10 year old she heard in a Christian temple a voice by Jesus Christ himself in resemblance to Saint Apostle Paul and said the Evangelical New Testamental words:
"Whoever wants to walk after me, let him deny himself, to take his cross and follow me !".

The unexpected vision convinced the young Paraskeva to immediately exchange her new clothes to a beggers to leave all her belongings to the poor and live a silent living similarto begger for a time in work and prayer, though she did not leave her parents home. On a few occasions all she had worked for has been distributed to the poor.

Sveta-Petka-Bylgarska-Balkanska

Greek typical depiction of Saint Petka of Epivates

When her parents died, her brother as already a monk and Bishop. St. Petka leave her house and travelled to Constanople and received a nun tonsure and as a nun she lived for 5 years near the deserted Church of the "Protection of the Virgin Mary" in the capital suburb of Heraklia. She travelled to the Holy lands visiting Jerusalem and Church of Holy Sepulchre.
Following the example of the blessed famed Saint Mary of Egypt, she lived in Jordan's desert many years till eldership.

Feeling and foreseeing her death, she travelled back through Constantinople to city of Epivates. Settle near the Church "Holy Apostles", where after 2 years of living in deep prayer and fasting labours living in solitary in holiness passed away silently to Christ in heavenly life. Compassionate Christians immediately buried her body of the nun outside of the city walls as a foreigner. A shortly after numerous miracles started happening on her grave.

St_Petka-Parashkeva-Epivatska-Klisura_Monastery_Holy_Icon

Saint Petka Parashkeva Bulgarian Icon from Klisura Monastery located nearby Sofia Bulgaria

In 1230 King Ivan Asen II the most powerful South-eastern European ruler demanded from the the Knights of the Crusaders to submit him her holy relics who are found still in Tracian city Kaliakratea ruled at that time by the Holy Latin Empire. King Ivan Asen II together with the patriach Joachim the first receives her holy relics with honor and settles her incorruptabilities into the newly creates Church in honour of herself St. Petka behind Tsarevets Fortress. Saint Petka became from that point considered as a protectress of the city, the throne and the country.
Her holy relics arrived from Kallikrateia in Tarnovo, the Capital of Second Bulgarian Empire in year 1230 AD, she has been thus called Paraskeva of Tarnovo and has been venerated as a protectress of the Tarnovo city the Bulgarian nation and the country. The attitude towards Saint Petka Tarnovska as a protectress of Bulgarian nation and contry is been clearly seen by the mention in the Bulgarian and International acts (documents) and manuscripts of that XII – XII century.

Saint_Petka-Epivatska-Bylgarska-Romanian-in-Iashi-Romania-veneration-of-romanian-monks

Romanian Monks and Priests venerate the holy relics of Saint Petka of Epivates in Iashi Romania

In subsequent years, St. Petka Paraskevi’s holy relics were transferred to various churches in the region.

In 1393 due to the fall of Bulgarian capital to save them her holy relics were transferred to fortress of Bdin today city of Vidin Bulgaria, but 3 years later 1396 Vidin's fortress also fall under the ungodly yatagan of  the muslim enslaver and to protect the relics they were again transferred to Belgrade, specifically the Ružica Church. When Belgrade fell to Ottoman forces in 1521, the relics were transferred to Constantinople. In 1641, the relics were transferred to Trei Ierarhi Monastery, in Iaşi, Moldavia (nowadays, eastern part of Romania). In 1888, they were transferred to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iaşi.

Since 1888 they are kept in Romanian city of Iaşi and are a target of pilgrims from all around Romania, Bulgaria and other Orthodox Christian countries of the Balkans. For the day her memory is remembered in the Romanian Church usually about 200 000 people mostly from Romania and others travel to Iaşi's Cathedral in the Trei Ierarhi Monastery (Three Hierarchs – saint John Crysostom, St. Basilius the Great and St. Gregory the Great) of the  for a blessing and to beg the saint for her families, personal issues, curings especially of eye diseases

A severe drought in 1946-47 affected Moldavia, adding to the misery left by the war. Metropolitan Justinian Marina permitted the first procession featuring the coffin containing the relics of Saint Paraskevi, kept at Iaşi since then. The relics wended their way through the drought-deserted villages of Iaşi, Vaslui, Roman, Bacău, Putna, Neamţ, Baia and Botoşani Counties. The offerings collected on this occasion were distributed, based on Metropolitan Justinian's decisions, to orphans, widows, invalids, school cafeterias, churches under construction, and to monasteries in order to feed the sick, and old or feeble monks.

In the historical document with Venezia as of (year 1347), King Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria swears in the name of most holy considered matters, the document says – quote "in the name of God, The Most Holy Theotokos, The Holy Cross and The Most Holy Paraskeva of Tarnovo".

 
Since Second Bulgarian Kingdom, St. Petka has been venerated as a main patroness and protector of Bulgarian nation and country, protectress of countries of Moldova, Romania and Bulgarian cities of Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo and Troyan.

In Bulgaria it is an old tradition to name our childs in favour of Saint Petka, my grand-grand mother God Forgive us has also been called Parashkeva in favor of Saint Petka.

Holy Mother Petka Paraskeva (Parashkevo) Pray the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on All us the sinners !

The beheading of Saint John the Baptist feats in Eastern Orthodox Church – A short history of saint John Forerunners Holy Relics

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

Beheading_of_St_John_the_Baptist_Icon_IX-century

Saint John the Baptist (The Forerunner of Christ) is all known for being the baptizer of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jordan's river in Israel.

However as nowadays most people are away from the Church and from traditions, that many generations of our ancestors used to follow, little know the details of his beheading and the meaning of why he is venerated so much by so many generations in the last 2000 years.

Thus In this small article, I'll try to shed some light on the Saint John Beheading feast known in Church Slavonic world as Oseknovenie (Осекновение) = beheading and is considered a day of sorrow for the Church for the reason the biggest Old Testamental prophet, a hermit and a man of Gigantic spiritual significance Saint John the Baptist has been beheaded unfairly for having no fault at all but this happened so his righteousness raise up even more and be clear for the generations to come.

The feast of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on 29 of August in Eastern Orthodox Church, where old Calendar Churches celebrate the feast (13 days) later on 11 of September – I'll not get into details about calendars as this is a long discussion for a separate article.

It should be said in the Church saint John the Baptist is considered the highest saint among all“the first among martyrs in grace”, venerated next in glory to Virgin Mary.

The Martyrdom of Saint John happened in the 32 years after the Nativity (The Birth) of Christ as this is said in the Gospel of Mathew 14:1-12 and Gospel of Mark (6:14-29) in New Testament.

Saint-John-The-Baptist-Orthodox-Bulgarian-icon

Many of the small details, we know about saint John and his earthly living are not given in the Gospel however, but are instead given in the Chuch Tradition (that is kept in the main books and the Living of the Saints, as well as all the books written by the officially canonized saints over the years that used for Eastern Orthodox Church services Singing for many centuries).

From there we know the beheading of Saint John happened short time before the Crucifixion of Christ. After the death of Herode the Great, Romans divided the territory of Province of Palestine in 4 parts and on top of each placed his governor.

Herodos Antipa received by Emperor Augustus Galilea as a territory of Governance. He had a law binded marriage, who was a daughter of king Arepha. Herod left her and cohabited (unlawfully) with Herodias who was his mistress and brother's wife.

As Herodos was a governer and recpetively example for all his subordinate in his Kingdom and was living unlawfully with that woman saint John who knew him personally rebuked him multiple times publicly advising him to leave that woman and live with his lawfully marriaged one as it was written in God's law – that such people are worthy for death just like moreover this was the unwritten law followed by all kind of peoples of his time from noble to smallest and poorest.

Herodoes did not listened and wanted to get rid of saint Johns somehow but he was scared to accuse him for some kind of kingdom lawlessness as the knew saint John was a true prophet of God and feared the people who recognized him as a true prophet  as well as feared he might be put off throne for his evil deed if he finds an excuse to kill the prophet of God.

As the critics on Herodoes living with a concubine while being in marriage, eventually not finding any other way to shut Saint John's mouth, king Herodoes put saint John in Prison with the excuse Saint John was a rebel and preaching things against established authority (About this event is said in Bible Gospel of Luke 3, 19-20).

For his birthday Herodoes prepared enormous banquet in which in front of the many invited guests danced (Salome / Salomia) – the daughter of Herod II and Herodias and her dancing was so much pleasing for the already drunk Herod and in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired up to half of his kingdom.
Salome was still young woman and as it was the tradition then not knowing what would be the best to ask for, she asked her Mother and the Mother being in unlawful relations with Herod in her hatred for the rebuking prophet saint John asked, the head of Saint John the Baptist on a platter.

The-Beheading-of-Saint-John-The-Baptist-Salomnia-dance-in-front-of-Herodos-Sv.-Ioan-Krastitel

The dance of Salome with Saint John's head on a Platter Orthodox icon

Even though Herod was appaled by this strange request, he had to reluctanly agree to keep his word as he was a ruler of a great power and for that time, not keeping a word publicly given would make him though weak, a fraudulant and eventually this will be reason for a rumors for his unseriousness to circulate the kingdom, thus unwillingly he agreed sent soldier to the prison to behead Saint John and the Head of the saint was brought to the perverted Solome and the harlot mother of hers Herodias.

Due to Church tradition when the Head of the 'Biggest in Spiritual Power' of Man born after Christ, as the Gospel speaks was brought to the lecherous feast, the Head even in the platter continued to rebuke, the unwalfullness of Herod.
 

The Jewish famous Historian Flavius Josiphus in his historical book Antiques of the Jews wrote, the reason for beheading of Saint John was:

"lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his [John’s] power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise), [so Herod] thought it best [to put] him to death."

Flavius also states that many of the Jews believed that the military disaster that fell upon Herod as his throne fall a by the hands of Aretas his (father-in-law) was God's immediate punishment for unrighteous behaviour.
There is no exact date when behading of Saint John occured but the historians place it somewhere in year 28 or 29 A. D. (Anno Dommini).

Execution_of_John_the_Baptist_orthodox-icon


The body of saint John was buried immediately (separately from the body) as Herodias for her hatred for the prophet ordered the body to be buried separately from the head, it was buried in the small Palestinian Village (Sebaste), while Herodias took his holy head and buried it in a dung heep. 
Later Joanna (canonized later by saint known as Saint Joanna) – a wife of Herods steward, secretly went to place took the head and buried in the Mount of Olives, where it remained hidden for many centuries.

But the wrath of God is never late soon after Salome was passing a frozen river and while walking on it the ice collapsed and her body up to the head fall hanging in the water, while her head was sitting still over the water.
Just as she used to kick her feet on the ground, she was now, like dancing, making helpless movements in icy water.
 

So Salome hung until the sharp ice cut through her neck. Her head, cut off with a sharp ice, then her head was brought to Herod and Herodias, as John the Baptist's head had once been brought to them, and her body had never been found. The king of Arif of Arabia, in revenge for the dishonor of his daughter – the wife of Herod the four-owner – moved his troops against the wicked king and defeated him. The Roman emperor Guy Julius Caesar Caligula (37-41) in anger sent Herod, together with Herodias, into captivity to Gaul, and then to  . There they were consumed by the sprawling earth.


By a divine revelation the head of Saint John has been found in the 4th century (Celebrated in the Church with a special feast known as The First Finding of Saint John's the Baptist head by a governing official of Eastern Roman empire district who eventually choose to become a monk (monk Inokentij / Innocent). The head of saint John has been found by both divine revelation and the testimony of an Old Jew who confirmed the Jewish oral tradition for the burial of John the Baptist head on that exact place .
Innocent decided to build a Church and a monastic Cell in glory of Saint John the Baptist as the place was holy and sanctified by the graceous head of St. John.
Fearful that holy relics of such a high importance, might be soon stolen and sold, mocked over by unbelievers or destroyed, he immediately hide (burid) the St. John on the very same place, where he found it in the same vessel it was orginally.
Unfortunately on monk Innocent dead the Church fell into ruin was abandoned due to its desert location and eventually as it always happened in that times with old buildings, people used its construction stones for fortifying their own near village houses.

The Second Finding of the Head of Saint John the Baptist, happened some years later in 452 A.D. , during the days of Constantine the Great by two Christian monks who went for a Jerusalem for pilgrimage.who had God given revelation (Saint John himself appeared in a kind of a Vision to the two) and hsa indicated for the same hidden location where Innocent found it (laying under the Church ruins altar).
After digging on the place, the holy relic was found placed in a sack and brought with them to heir home land. On the way back they've met a potter not telling him what was inside the bag and asked him the bag to carry being lazy to do. Saint John the Baptist appeared the potter and told him to take his head and bring it away from this careless lazy monks immediately. The potter took Saint John's head home, and kept it there praying fervently to saint John the Baptist daily, soon before his death he put the head in a container and gave it to his sister.
The 1st and 2nd finding of saint Johns head is established as a feast celebrated yearly in Eastern Orthodox Church on 24 of February.

beheading-of-saint-John-icon

The feast of Beheading of Saint John in the Church is always observed in the Eastern Orthodox Churches Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Greek, Romanian, Georgian etc. with a strict fasting as a sign for the great sorrow we Christians have for the beheading of the Greatest of Prophets and Highest in sight of God born of man.

In some cultures, the pious will not eat food from a flat plate, use a knife, or eat round or red food (such as tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers etc.) on this day.

A short time after a Hieromonk Eustathius (considered by Church historians) to be part of the Arian heretical division happen to have th chance to possess the holy head and he used it frequently to attract followers to the Heretical teachings of Arius (a Lybian heretic presbyter who was condemned in 325 A.D. on the First Council of Nicea convened by Saint Emperor Constantine The Great. Being in a hardships Eustathius buried the head in a cave near Emesa (circa 810 – 820) and soon after a monastery was built on that place by God's providence.

In the year 452, St. John the Baptist appeared to Archimandrite Marcellus of this monastery and indicated where his head was hidden in a water jar buried in the earth. The relic was brought into the city of Emesa and was later transferred to Constantinople.

Saint_John_Head_Holy-relics-Caput-Sti-Joannis-Baptistae-Praecurssoris-Domini-1

The current pressumable relics of head of Saint John the Baptist kept in San Silvestro in Capite Rome

The head of John Baptist disappeared once again after it was transferred from Comana of Cappadocia during a period of Muslim raids (about 820) and was again hidden in the ground during a period of iconoclastic persecusion.
After the veneration of icons was restored in year 850, A vision was revelead by God to patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople (ruling on patriarchial throne in 847 – 857) saw a vision revealing the place where the head of saint John was hidden around y. 850. The patriarch as the order was then communicated about his vision to emperor Michael III, who sent a delegation to Comana, where the head was found. Soon after the head was transferred to city of Nyc and here on 25 of May it was placed in a church in emperor court in Constantinople. The Church feast of the Third Finding of Saint John Baptist head is established for celebration in the Eastern Orthodox Church on 25 of May.

Third-finding-of-Saint-John-the-Baptist-head-holy-relics-orthodox-icon

Currently many small particles of Saint John Head are available for generation among many Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

The-Face-of-saint-John-the-Baptist-in-Cathedral-of-Our_Lady-in-Amiens-Cathedral

The head  is claimed to be in San Silvestro (Saint Silvester) in Capite in Rome or in Amiens Cathedral, said to have been brought from Constantinople by Wallon de Sarton as he was returning from the Fourth Crusade.
There are also some sources claiming that the real head of John the Baptist is buried in Turkish Antioch or Southern France.

Amiens_-_Cathedrale_Notre-Dame_France

Amiens Cathedrale Notre Dame France – one of most magnificent Gothic edifice in Europe.

During the French Revolution the kept Head in Amiens has been secretly hidden by the Amiens city Mayor in his own home to protect this sacred relic from the destruction (as many holy relics saints disappeared or have been destroyed) by the rebellious enraged crowds fighting for the rights of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" being the goals of the Masonic bortherhoods and many secret societies in France in that time.

Also a reliquary at the Residenz in Munich, Germany, is labeled as containing the skull of John the Baptist by Catholics. In history some sources claim the St. John used to be owned by Knight Templars
А piece of Saint John Baptist skull is held at the Eastern Orthodox Romanian skete Prodromos on Mount Athos.

Further on according to Church tradition saint Luke the Evangelist went to the city of Sebaste bringing with him the right hand of Saint John the Forerunner which was conducting numerous of miracles.

Some of the Relics of John the Baptist are said to be in the possession of the Coptic Orthodox Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great in Scetes, Egypt.
It is said John the Baptist's arm and a piece of his skull can be found at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.

the_Holy-head-of-saint-John-the-Baptist-relics

It is said John the Baptist's arm and a piece of his skull can be found at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.
At the time of Mehmed the Conqueror, the skull was held in Topkapı, while after his death, his stepmother Mara Branković, a Serbian princess, brought it to Serbia. It was then kept a while at the Dionisios monastery at Mount Athos, then the skull fragment was sent to a nearby island in order to prevent the outbreak of a plague; however, the Ottoman fleet seized it and delivered it to Hasan Pasha of Algeria, who held it in his home until his death. It was then returned to Topkapı. The skull is kept on a golden plate decorated with gold bands with gems and Old Serbian inscriptions. The plate itself is stored in a 16th-century rock crystal box.

The-Face-of-saint-John-the-Baptist-in-Cathedral-of-Our_Lady-in-Amiens-Holy-Relics

The face of St. John the Baptist, in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Amiens.

St. John's arm was brought from Antioch to Constantinople at the time of Constantine VII. It was kept in the Emperor's chapel in the 12th century, then in the Church of the Virgin of the Pharos, then in the Church of Peribleptos in the first half of the 15th century. Spanish envoy Clavijo reported that he saw two different arms in two different monasteries while on a visit to Constantinople in 1404. With the Fall of Constantinople, the Ottomans seized possession of it. In 1484, Bayezid II sent it the knights of Rhodes, while they held his brother Cem captive in return. In 1585, Murad III had the arms brought from Lefkosia castle to Constantinople (henceforth known as Istanbul). The arm is kept in a gold-embellished silver reliquary. There are several inscriptions on the arm: "The beloved of God" on the forefinger, "This is the hand of the Baptist" on the wrist, and "belongs to (monk) Dolin Monahu" on the band above the elbow.

In July 2010, a small reliquary was discovered under the ruins of a 5th-century monastery on St. Ivan Island, Bulgaria. Local archaeologists opened the reliquary in August and found bone fragments of a skull, a hand and a tooth, which they believe belong to st. John the Baptist, based on their interpretation of a Greek inscription on the reliquary.The remains have been carbon-dated to the 1st century. Currently The found relics are being placed for veneration in the sea resort town  of Sozopol, Bulgaria in the Church of saint saint Cyril and Methodius.

The_Holy_Relics-of-Saint-John-The-Baptist-kept-in-Saint-Cyril-Church-Sozopol

Saint John the Baptist Holy Relics in Sozopol Bulgaria

 

Sozopol-Lithia-Lity-with-the-holy-relics-of-saint-John-the-Baptist
 A Lity (Orthodox Vespers) in front of Saint Cyril and Methodius Church in Sozopol resort Bulgaria

There is much to be said in Saint Johns beheading and many great Theology books have been written on the topic however I hope the goal of this article to give a very brief overview for the ordinary people to know our human history over the last 2000 which is highly entangled with Christian faith  succeeded to give a very brief overview on the history of the beheading of saint John the Baptist and the deep history across his holy relics veneration over the centuries.

As a closure for the Article I find worthly to share the sung troparion in the Church services glorifying of saint John the Forerunner in Old Bulgarian / Church Slavonic, Greek and English

TROPARION IN CHURCH SLAVONIC

Па́мять пра́веднаго с похвала́ми, тебе́ же довле́ет свиде́тельство Госпо́дне, Предте́че: показа́л бо ся еси́ вои́стинну и проро́ков честне́йший, я́ко и в струя́х крести́ти сподо́бился еси́ Пропове́даннаго. Те́мже за и́стину пострада́в, ра́дуяся, благовести́л еси́ и су́щим во а́де Бо́га, я́вльшагося пло́тию, взе́млющаго грех ми́ра и подаю́щаго нам ве́лию ми́лость.

TROPARION IN GREEK

Μνήμη Δικαίου μέτ' ἐγκωμίων, σοὶ δὲ ἀρκέσει ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Κυρίου Πρόδρομε· ἀνεδείχθης γὰρ ὄντως καὶ Προφητῶν σεβασμιώτερος, ὅτι καὶ ἐν ῥείθροις βαπτίσαι κατηξιώθης τὸν κηρυττόμενον. Ὅθεν τῆς ἀληθείας ὑπεραθλήσας, χαίρων εὐηγγελίσω καὶ τοῖς ἐν ᾍδῃ, Θεὸν φανερωθέντα ἐν σαρκί, τὸν αἴροντα τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου, καὶ παρέχοντα ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.

TROPARION (TONE 4)
O Prophet and Forerunner of the coming of Christ, in spite of our eagerness to render you due honor, we fall short when singing your praise. Your glorious birth saved your mother from the shame of barrenness, returned to your father the power of speech, and proclaimed to the world the Incarnation of the Son of God.

KONTAKION (TONE 3)
The woman who had been barren becomes fertile and gives birth today to the Forerunner of Christ. He is the greatest and last of the prophets, for standing in the waters of the Jordon River, he placed his hands on Christ whom all the prophets had announced, and in so doing he became a prophet himself, a preacher and a forerunner of the Word of God.