Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Holy fifteen Hierarchs Martyrs of Tiberipolis a saints of high veneration in Eastern Chrstiandom and Bulgaria in Medieval times

Monday, November 28th, 2022

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The martyrs of Tiberiopolis are the bishops Timothy of Tiberiopolis and Theodore of Nicaea, who participated in the First Ecumenical Council in 325 – both escaped from Nicaea, the priests Peter, John, Sergius, Theodore and Nicephorus, the deacons Basil and Thomas, the monks Hierotheus, Daniel, Chariton, Socrates , Comasius and Eusebius, were little known saints today in Christiandom but back in time these saints has been considered of a great importance and their intercession prayers were often seeken throughout the Eastern Church in Byzantium, Bulgaria and all the Chriatinized lands and perhaps even in the west. 

They were executed on November 28, 362 during the persecutions against Christians carried out by Emperor Julian the Apostate.Since Timothy died quickly due to his age, he was replaced by the layman Etimasius.

After their execution, the fifteen martyrs were buried by the local Christians in stone sarcophagi on which their names were inscribed.

Remains-of-original-Basilica-in-honour-of_15_Martyrs_of_Tiveriopolis

Remains of original Basilica with Tombs of the fifteen Holy martyrs

Later, the ancient Tiveriopolis (today Strumica situated in Macedonia), where the tombs were located, was destroyed by the Avars invasions, but the memory of the martyrs' graves remains in local legends for quite some time as there were many miracles happening on their tomb.

After the conversion of Bulgaria to Christianity in year 864, by Holy Prince (King) Boris, the Baptizer King immediately ordered the Comite (his servent governor) in Taradin, who ruled these lands, to search for the relics of the fifteen Holy Tiveriopol martyrs.

According to the original plan, the holy relics were supposed to be placed in the cathedral church on the Bregalnitsa river, which was being built at that time, but since the local population complained that their spiritual heritage and protection of the area was being taken away and there was a danger of revolts, a compromise was reached to take only the relics of three saints, Timothy, Komasius and Eusebius, and the others to remain in Strumica.

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Contemporary Church dedicated to 15 Holy Hierarchs in country of Macedonia

The relics of the other saints were transferred to the new church at the time of King Simeon I (The Great).

According to the famous Medieval Theologian and Historian Theophylact of Ohrid from the beginning of the 12th century, a glorification was composed for the martyrs (which is a christian practice to glorify saints that continues to these day in the Church after new saints gets canonized), and the service was written and held in Bulgarian, which at that time was already having authentic cyrillic letters invented and translated by saint Kliment Ohridski and his pupils which just in western Bulgaria country to 3500. Some of those saint Kliment Ohridski (saint Clement of Ohrid) desciples priests as we know from the sources , composed the glorification church service in honor of the 15 Holy Hierarchs of Tiberipolis (The old Roman name for the area).

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During the Ottoman invasion, the church of Bregalnica where relics held was destroyed and the holies were again lost.
Only saint Peter's hand remained in Strumica, but during the Balkan Wars in 1913 it was taken by the Greeks to Kukush ( Kilkis ) (Aegian Macedonia).

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Contemporary Church in Aegian Greece dedicated to 15 Holy Hierarchs of Tiberiopolis

In Strumica, however the memory of the martyrs remains, whose memory is remember by the local Bulgarians at the place where, according to tradition, they were once killed.
A modern church temple was built on the same site, which is the successor of several older temples.

Below is the list with names and the position each of this holy man had, before their martyrdom:

Theodore Θεόδωρος bishop of Nicaea
Timothy Τιμόθεος of Tiberiopolis, bishop of Nicaea
Theodore Θεόδωρος priest Tiberiopolis
Nicephorus Νικηφόρος priest of Tiberiopolis
John Ioannis priest Tiberiopolis
Peter Πέτρος priest Tiberiopolis
Sergius Σέργιος priest of Tiberiopolis
Thomas Θωμάς deacon of Tiberiopolis
Vasilii Vasileios deacon of Tiberiopolis
Komasius Κομάσιος monk Nicaea
Eusebius Ευσέβιος monk Nicaea
Daniel Δανιήλ monk Tiberiopolis
Socrates Σωκράτης monk of Tiberiopolis
Chariton Χαρίτων monk Tiberiopolis
Hierotheus Ιερόθεος monk of Tiberiopolis
Etimasius Ετιμάσιος a layman of Tiberiopolis

The 15 Holy Martyrs, today are highly venerated in region of Macedonia (today country of Macedonia), as Macedonia has been historically part of Bulgarian Kingdom as well as in Greece who are considered patron saints of city of Kikis (central Macedonia today in Greece), where the local Church of Transfiguration was deciced to be reconsecacrated in favor of the 15 holy hierarchs of Tiberipolis as the hand of saint Peter from the 15 martyrs and an old icon was brough their by war emigrants escaping the Balkan wars, this hand is kept their even today.

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Hand of Saint Peter from the 15 Tiberoupolis Martyrs holy relic

 

Holy righteous King Upravda Justinian (emperor Justinian I the Great) feast day 14th of November

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

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Saint Justinian, emperor of Byzantium, was a Slav by geneology.

He was born in the village of Vedryani near the town of Sredets (today city of Sofia) in Bulgaria. His uncle Justin, born in the same village, went on foot to Constantinople, carrying nothing with him but a leather garment.

Here, thanks to his natural gifts, he quickly rose to the top, and then even became emperor. He brought to Constantinople his wife Lupkina and her sister Beglenitsa, Upravda's mother.
After the death of Justin Upravda occupied the Byzantine imperial throne under the name of Justinian. A note to make her is Upravda is an ancient Bulgarian name.

Emperor Justinian is known in history for his successful wars against the enemies of the Byzantine Empire and also for issuing the complete collection of Roman laws.

But in addition, he became famous for his services to the Christian Church and Orthodoxy.

He took great care of the spread of Christianity and the eradication of paganism.

He closed the pagan schools in Athens and ordered the sciences to be taught by monks.

He persecuted paganism most in the capital of his kingdom, Byzantium, and also in Asia Minor.
In order to convert the pagans to Christ, Justinian sent Bishop John of Ephesus to Asia Minor, who baptized about 70 thousand pagans !, and the emperor built more than 90 churches for the newly converted.

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Along with the spread of Christianity, the pious Justinian advocated for the purity of the Orthodox faith.

During his reign, the Orthodox Church continued to be disturbed by the Nestorians, who taught the heresy that Christ was not a God-man and that the Divinity only dwelt in Him as in an ordinary man.

But more than the Nestorians, the Monophysites shaked the Church, who taught other terrible heresy, telling that in Jesus Christ the Divine nature absorbed the human.

Against these arbitrary inventions of human reason, the pious king composed the song:

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"Only-begotten Son and Words of God", which he ordered to be sung at the Divine Liturgy Service
A liturgy song, that is being sung in every Holy Liturgy in the Church even today !

Through his efforts, in year 553 A.D., the Fifth Ecumenical Council was convened to condemn the Nestorian thoughts in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Iva of Edessus to end the dissensions in the Church.

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As a zealot of Orthodoxy and piety, Justinian was very concerned about the worship in the Orthodox Church and the beauty of the temples as places of worship.

In his code of laws, he included, among other things, a law on the mandatory universal celebration of the feasts of the Nativity of Christ, the Baptism of the Lord and the Resurrection, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and others.

In addition, he built many beautiful temples to the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Theotokos), the apostles and other saints. His most famous work is considered to be the church temple of Saint Sophia, God's Wisdom, in Constantinople.

Erected by the Equal-to-the-Apostles King Constantine, during a rebellion during the time of King Justinian, this temple was burned down.
The pious king gathered the best builders, spared no expense in gold and money, and built a temple, wondrous throughout the ages for its grandeur and beauty.

In his private life, Saint Justinian showed great piety.

Always devout, he spent Lent in strict abstinence and prayer, did not taste bread, but contented himself only with vegetables and water, and that he made every other day or two.

Thus, living in purity and piety, he reigned for 39 years and died peacefully in the Lord.

Because of his services to the Church and because of his piety, after his death he was canonized as a saint.
Together with him, his wife, Queen Theodora, who was a sinner at first, but later repented and spent the rest of her life in purity and piety, was included in the list of saints.

© Lives of the saints, translated into Bulgarian from the Church Slavonic text of Cheti-minei ("Chety-Minei") of Saint Demetrius of Rostov (with minor modifications from the publisher e.g.me hip0

P.S. The modern historians are disputing the saintship of Saint Justinian, however for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for a long time he has been considering a saint for his great endeavor for Christianity and his zealous work for enlightnment of the empire and the nations in the then known world.

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).

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.

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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.

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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

Saint Luke of Odrin, a Glorious Bulgarian XVI century Christ martyr who publicly refuted Islam, feast day 23 of March

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Saint_Lukas-of-Odrin-Adreanopolis-icon-Bulgarian-martyr-saint-of-ottoman-time

Holy Reverend Martyr Luka (the bulgarian name for Luke) was born in city of today's Edirne ( Odrin ) formerly known as Adreanopolis to pious Bulgarian parents – Atanas and Dominica. After the early death of his father, his mother gave him to a rich merchant from (Zagor) today's city Stara Zagora in Bulgaria, who treated him like a son.
The merchant once went to Russia, taking 13-year-old Luka with him.
On his return he stopped in Constantinople.

There Luca quarreled with a turk and started beating him. Then the enraged Turks captured him and wanted to kill him.
The frightened Luke shouted: "Let me go! I will convert to Islam!"

The turk immediately took him in and forced him to renounce Christ and convert to Islam, which the young boy did out of fear.
But after the fear passed, Luke became frightened by his action, lost his joy, and began to repent bitterly.

He reported himself to his batismal father (have to say at that time the importance of the God-father was very enormous much more than today). 
His father tried to release him with the help of the Russian ambassador.
But the evil turk, instead of freeing the boy, tied his hands and forcibly circumcised him.

After some time, Luca managed to escape from this Turkish home where he was forced to work as being counted a member of Islamic community and introduced himself to the Russian ambassador, who in attempt to save him from his slavery, sent him to the cities of Smyrna and Tire.
There Luke became seriously ill and, fearing death, called a Christian priest.
After hearing his confession, the priest advised him to retire to Mount Athos and repent there under the guidance of virtuous men.
After his recovery, he actually followed the advice of the clergyman and entered the Iviron  Athos Monastery, where he was restored to his Christian faith through the sacrament of Holy Anointing.

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Saint Luka of Odrin ( Adreanopolis ), the saint is well known in Greece as Saint Luke of Mytiliny (Mytilene a main city
in Lesbos Island Greece)

From there he moved to the Stavronikita Monastery, where he received a monastic vow.
But the enemy of human salvation did not give him peace.
Continuously Driven by temptations, he fled from one monastery to another. He went to the  Bulgarian "Zografski" ( Zographou ) monastery (from where he returned to the world, but failed to calm down, came to Mount Athos again) and then consequentlially to  Xyropotamou, Koutloumousiou  ( Kutlumush ), Saint John's Scyte, Grigoriou (Grigoriat), Saint. Anna Scyte.

Saint_Loukas of-Odrin-Adrianople-icon

Thinking about why he has no peace during all this time, but always moving from place to place, he came to the conclusion that this is a punishment from God for his denial of the Christian faith.

So he came up with the idea of ​​martyrdom (as a mean to redeem his sin) and shared it with some clergy: no one dared to recommend a martyrdom to him because of his youth.
But in the end, seeing his unwavering determination, the priest Ananias gave him a cell rule in preparation for martyrdom for Christ. Then the clergyman Visarion cut his hair in a Great Schema " μεγαλόσχημος" monastic vows and went with him to the island of Mytilene (today in Greece).

After partaking in the Holy Mysteries of Christ, St. Luke dressed as a Turk and went to the Qadi (Judge – qadis have been an institution in cities in Turkish empire pretty much like today's Courts).

He told allegorically how he was forcibly converted to Islam, openly renounced ungodly Islam and professed the Christian faith in the following way:

He went beforte the kadi and asked him in loud voice,

"Is it just for me to be deceived, a child like myself?"

The kadi asked,
"And who deceived you?"

Luka responded,

"Someone deceive me, giving me a badge of islam [meaning circumcision."

The kadi then asked to see the badge. But when Luke went to open his clothing, those
present in the courthouse finally understood what he meant and shouted for him to stop.

Luka then said,

"Being a young child of thirteen, I was deceived by you
and I came over to your religion, not being able to discern
the truth from falsehood. I therefore remained
with what is false and a lie for some time because I
understood your religion was not true, but false.
And he whom you call a prophet is not a prophet but a
deceiver and a mythmaker, and he has deceived all of
you and you believed him . Having therefore been
informed that your religion is darknes, I reject
it before you and I confess my former Christian faith
which is true light. I believe and worship a true God,
my Lord Jesus Christ who will come to judge all
the world, the living and the ded, and who will render to
each according to his works. If you do not believe in
HIm. as I do, you will all be damned."


The kadi further asked Luka where he is from and he said he has came to this place by ship from Russia as Russia has been considered the only country protectorof Orthodox Christians in the empire and
wanting to protect his relatives and the Church hierarchy in the Empire from from further beating or destructions of Churches and arrests of Orthodox Priests and clergy within the empire by the turks.

He further asked:
"Where are you staying?"

"Nowhere. I did not stop anywhere, but came straight here."

The kadi turned to the others in court and said,

"He is crazy. See if he recognized his own shoes."

Luka turned and immediately rushed to find his shoes and showed them
to the kadi and said,

"I am not crazy, as you say. Here are my shoes. I brought them in Constantinople."

The kadi said,
"I am sorry for you son.
If you do not listen to me,
you will suffer many torments, many of which
you have not even heard. So think well."

Luka replied:

"I have already though on all the torments which you
can inflict on me, and I have come. So, whatever you
plan to do to me, do it quickly, without delay, and be
assured that I am clean and blameless and I will not deny
my faith. I am an Orthodox Christian and I will die an
Orthodox Christian. I worship Christ and it is Christ
whom I desire. I confess him here where I once
denied Him in ignorance and I proclaim Him with true knowledge."

All-Bulgariasn-saints-Church-service-icon-Vsi_Bylgarski_svetii_sluzhba
All Bulgarian Saints icon, Christ in Glory surrounded by
Bulgarian saints – below Christ throne – Saint King Boris the Baptizer
and Saint Patriarch Euthimius, the monastery on the Bottom Rila Monastery
The first by importance and Largest Monastery in Bulgaria, Saint Loukas of Adreanopolis
is also commemorated on this date too

Neither the caresses and promises of the Muslims nor the threats of torture could shake the hard young man in his determination to die for Christ. The Turks beat him severely and threw him in prison, shackling his legs. At that time all the churches were praying for the martyr.
The Metropolitan of the island and the Elder Visarion managed beseech to send him to prison the Holy Mysteries of Christ for the last communion.
Finally, the judge saw Luke's unwavering firmness and sentenced him to death by hanging.
When the executioner hoped for the noose around his neck, he said,
"Confess Muhammad, our great prophet, and we will let you go!"

The Holy Martyr replied,

"I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ and I worship Him alone!"

St. Luke was hanged on March 23, 1802 at the age of 16.

The holy body of the martyr remained hanging on the gallows for three days, but during all this time it remained white and beautiful, emitting an unusual fragrance.
After three days, the Turks tied a large stone around his neck and his body was thrown into the depths of the sea, but instead of sinking, it remained with the stone on the water surface. When night came, the Christians found him on the shore and handed him over to the earth with due honors. The other clothes of the Venerable Martyr received healing power and by touching them the sick received healing.


Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Luka of Odrin, God quickly grant all People worldwide more peace, love, hope, faith and wisdom that are so desperately needed today !

Text on the living of the saint  extracted from:
1.  Lives of the Saints. Ed. † Bishop Parthenius (Levkijski) of Lefkada, archim. Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev). Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991
2. Witness for Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyrs of the Ottoman Period 1437 – 1860 by Nomikos Michael Vaporis p. 252-257

 

Few words on Saint Prophet Daniel feast day in Orthodox Church December 17

Friday, December 17th, 2021

Saint-Prophet-Daniel-orthodox-icon 

 

Few words on Saint Daniel the Prophet Feast

 

Many of us today in the world who are baptized and members of the Church or do at least accept the Christian principles deeply routed in most of the Civillized developed workd tend to excuse themselves for not being good and doing the righteous things, thinking it is hard to stand for the christian principles and norms in a general antichristian atmosphere pointing it as a reason to not follow the guidance recommendations of the Church.

However we should not excuse ourselvse with the circumstances or the Church clergy who seems to us to not follow properly the spiritual vows. We should not excuse with time we're living in as it is reflected in perfect examples in the spiritual life of the saints and the practice of monks, who always have the golden rule to not excuse themselves for anything in the world for not following Gods perfect will and predestination in the good.

Lets look at the first Christians who lived, did their life was easier or more favourable than today for confessing the faith ? Even materially if we think at the times back then most people were poor, they have attained everything they had with a hard labour and was busy 24/4 / 7 days a week, there was no medicine for almost nothing except few herbal treatments, there was no dentist, no electricity and no transport. The doctors who can help at times of sickness were few, in the beginning of Christianity, it was prohibited to be Christian and being a Christian was a sure sentence for death sooner or later, not to mention that emperors and the powerful of the day were requesting from people obedience in anything they say and slavery was popular and even many much more than today lived all their live in slavery both physical and spiritual (as most people did not have the chance to hear the Graceful words of the Holy Gospel). Priests were scarce, there was practiculally no education and there was no easy way to produce and keep information, paper was not there. Having a book was only possible for few of the richest people who were the top layer of society. The few knowledgable who can read or knew solution to the innumerable problems of man were considered nobles (Elders / wise men)  had been often wanted and scarce as well as kept near the "top management" people who governed society society – kings, emperors, governors or amy man. This is rawly how the world looked back then. Even though that people both Christians and non Christians had been more stronger in spirit and had been unshakable in their decisions for confession their life credo. 

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  • Those old nobles have been divided  generally speaking into two categories the fraudants:
    Wizards (whose wisdom was received by the demons)
  • Second truthful ones
    Servants of God the prophets the righteous, the Jewish priests who confessed truely the One True God, the saints and other gifted people by God.

Tomb-with-relics-of-Saint-Daniel_at_Assa
The most likely location of holy relics of Prophet Daniel Tomb of Daniel at Susa, Iran

Among the truthful ones perhaps most significant for elevating the humanity from the worst to perfect are the prophets, who has the revelation from God directly from God, to be leaders and examples for perfection of the religion, moral and political life for the Old Testamental choosen people the Jews and respectively after Christ's crucifix the Christians who has held their place as the true choosen children of God and through them for the gentile.

Today we celebrate the memory of one of the supreme prophets who has lived in world for all ages – Saint Prophet Daniel his name is delivered from Jewish and means "God (El) is my judge"

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Daniel and the Stone Slavonic Icon (Bulgarian ?)

Prophet Daniel is the biblical hero of the Book of Daniel who interprets dreams and receives apocalyptic visions. His book is one of the most notable prophetic book in which in a hidden way it is said what is expecting the world until the end of the times.
 

The Prophet Daniel appears in the Old Testament in the Book of Daniel as a captive carried away to Babylon by order of Nebuchadnezzar after the fall of the kingdom of Judah during the sixth century before Christ. His ministry as a prophet came late in his life. He is commemorated by the Church on the December 17.

While remaining loyal to his faith in the one God, Daniel attained a high position of the court of Nebuchadnezzar and was known for his skill in the interpretation of dreams (Daniel 1:17 and 2:14) and of mysterious handwritings on the wall. He is included in the Septuagint among the prophets and was referred to by Christ as a prophet in Mark 13:14 and in Matthew 24:15. The precise time and circumstances of Daniel's death are not recorded. By tradition his age at death was near 100 years. A number of places have claimed to be his place of burial, including Susa in present day Iran, Daniel's Tomb in Kirkuk in Iraq, as well as Babylon, Egypt, and Tarsus.

He is a descendant of Jude's knee, he was descending of noble rich family, presumably he might have descendent even from king's line an evidence for that is the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II, after the conquest of Jerusalem in (year 607 B.C.) give an order to select the best and most educated and intelligent from the captured jews with the goal to learn the Chaldean language and receive education, and prepare for a government service.

These young man has been put into many temptations as the custom of the chaldean civillizations was pagan and contradicted the jewish.
Four of the chosen ones were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (who as an attempt to change the mindset and are identity of the ones and distant them from their original jewish mindset, were renamed with the Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah even though the babylonization attempts of their identity, have shown severe firmness and continued to follow the Jewish Law of Moses.

As they were part of the kings palace courtiers, they lived surrounded by luxurity, they did not forget God's law diligently they prayed and eat as food only bread and fruits, refusing any food given by the Kings table as this food has been consecrated to the pagan idols the babylonians were worshipping.

The good God seeing the perseverance in goodness of the youngsters and their fortitude in confession of truth and strict follow the Mishrah (the law of the jews) gifted them with amazing abilities to understand visions and dreams.

Catacomb-of-Priscilla-Fiery_furnace_01

Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, late 3rd century/early 4th century.

At the beginning the four were not among the famous ones in the babylonian kingsdom, however they became famous as the king has called them to interpret a troubling dream he had – a dream the king immediately forgot. Noone among the wise mand and wizards couldn't neither tell the kings dream nor tell what it meant thus, by God's providence the 4 ones whose fame continuously grow in kingdom were summoned and Daniel could interpret the kings dream and the meaning of it. The king out of amazement decided for future to always council the the 4 God people, as he saw their wisdom exceeded the wisdom of the other liege in the kingdom. Daniel and his 3 friends were tested by the fire, as they have been thrown in fiery furnace fire, as a punishment for their rejection to obey a Golden pagan idol statue as god, breaking the king's decree.

Sveti-Otroci-v-Peshti-ikona

Icon Source: Pinterest

In the burning enormous fire the king was amazed to see not 3 but 4 people (the fourth one was an Angel of God who was protecting them). The fire not only did not damaged them even though it was all throughout their body but did not even burn the clothes or the hairs on them. 

Prayer of the Three Holy Youths known in Church as "The Song of Daniel" 

The Prayer of the Three Holy Youths is a component of the biblical Book of Daniel. It is a segment of a larger component called The Prayer of Azariah and the Prayer of the Three Holy Youths which. although part of the Septuagint text, is considered by Protestants as part of the Apocrypha rather than a fully canonical part of Scripture, and so appears in most English-language bibles as a seperate section. If included within the larger text of Daniel, it would appear in the third chapter of between verses 23 and 24.

In Orthodox Christian worship, the prayer is the basis of the seventh and eighth biblical canticles sung at Orthros. Although the text of the canticles are generally not read in contemporary practice, the hymns sung as part of the canon reference the theme of the Three HolyYouths. At Vespers of Holy Saturday, the text of the prayer is heard as part of one of the fifteen Old Testament readings prescribed for that day. In Byzantine practice, the closing refrains to each verse "bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever" are chanted elaborately.

The song constitutes a hymn of thanksgiving to God for deliverence from the fiery furnace into which the three young men, Ananias, Azarias and Misael (also known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) had been cast by the Persian king Nebuchadnezzar. They were cast into the furnace for refusing to worship a golden idol that Nebuchadnezzar had created. However, an Angel of the Lord entered the furnace and protected the three young men. In liturgical practice, the event is seen to presage the Resurrection of Christ, thus its inclusion in the canon.

The Abingdon Bible Handbook (ISBN 0687001692) suggests that the Prayer was based on an earlier composition and was added to the existing text of Daniel sometime in the second or first century B.C.

The Song of the Three Holy Youths​

Text

Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: thy name is worthy to be praised and glorified for evermore:
For thou art righteous in all the things that thou hast done to us: yea, true are all thy works, thy ways are right, and all thy judgments truth.
In all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon the holy city of our fathers, even Jerusalem, thou hast executed true judgment: for according to truth and judgment didst thou bring all these things upon us because of our sins.
For we have sinned and committed iniquity, departing from thee. In all things have we trespassed, and not obeyed thy commandments, nor kept them, neither done as thou hast commanded us, that it might go well with us.
Wherefore all that thou hast brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast done to us, thou hast done in true judgment.
And thou didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful forsakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most wicked in all the world.
And now we cannot open our mouths, we are become a shame and reproach to thy servants; and to them that worship thee.
Yet deliver us not up wholly, for thy name's sake, neither disannul thou thy covenant:
And cause not thy mercy to depart from us, for thy beloved Abraham's sake, for thy servant Issac's sake, and for thy holy Israel's sake;
To whom thou hast spoken and promised, that thou wouldest multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that lieth upon the seashore.
For we, O Lord, are become less than any nation, and be kept under this day in all the world because of our sins.
Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before thee, and to find mercy.
Nevertheless in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted.
Like as in the burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after thee: for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in thee.
And now we follow thee with all our heart, we fear thee, and seek thy face.
Put us not to shame: but deal with us after thy lovingkindness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.
Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord: and let all them that do thy servants hurt be ashamed;
And let them be confounded in all their power and might, and let their strength be broken;
And let them know that thou art God, the only God, and glorious over the whole world.
And the king's servants, that put them in, ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood;
So that the flame streamed forth above the furnace forty and nine cubits.
And it passed through, and burned those Chaldeans it found about the furnace.
But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven;
And made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them.
Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed, God in the furnace, saying,
Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
And blessed is thy glorious and holy name: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the temple of thine holy glory: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the cherubims: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and above ail to be praised and glorified for ever.
O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever,
O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever,
O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: bless and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O let the earth bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye things that grow in the earth, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains, bless ye the Lord: Praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye fowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Israel, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever: far he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace and burning flame: even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us.
O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, praise him, and give him thanks: for his mercy endureth for ever.

 

Daniel and the Lions Den

Daniel was also thrown at another time in a Den hole with Hungry Lions (a typical fun for Romans usually the victim was a very dangerous criminal), however in adverse to the well known natural laws instead of cutting him into pieces eating him the Lions started licking the legs of Saint Prophet Daniel.

Daniel-and-lions

The Grace of God in Holy Prophet Daniel restoring the original Lions nature of grass-feeding animals as they were.
The abundance of Grace of the Holy spirit of the Lions turned them to treat the prophet as Cats would their beloved master.

Prophet-Daniel-and-in-the-Lions-Den-Daniil_DanielsDen_MarcellinusAndPeter

Daniel and the Lions (Book of Daniel 6:16-24)fresco of catacomb of Saint Marcellinus and Peter in Rome

Daniel and his friends, even though the paganism has followe their faith and establishment of the fathers, even though the hardship. How sad it is that today many of us are excusing with the time and the situation or encirclement as a reason to not follow the prescription spiritual cures of the Church (The holy mysteries, Confession, Repentance, Fasting and Holy Communion).

No ! We should not excuse ourselves with the situation and time of living. Are the first Christians lived in more benevolent world and did this stopped them from following Christ's teachings strictly and go for a martyrdom to them following the bright examples of the prophets ?
 

Church Troparion sung on Church service (Tone 2)

Great are the accomplishments of faith,
for the Three Holy Youths rejoiced in the fountain of flames as though in the waters of rest;
and the prophet Daniel appeared,
a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep.
So by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!

 

Kontakion sung on Church service (Tone 6)

You did not worship the graven image,
O thrice-blessed ones,
but armed with the immaterial Essence of God, you were glorified in a trial by fire.
From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying:
Hasten, O compassionate One!
Speedily come to our aid,
for You are merciful and able to do as You will.

Troparion-of-saint-Daniel-17-December-Church-Slavonic

Troparion of Saint Daniel and the three Jewish Youths Feast sung in Church (Church Slavonic)

Today 17 of December, we celebrate prophet Daniel and the the three Jewish youths Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were chosen to serve the worldly emperor, but they preferred ofthe One God and be God's choosen people than to choose the temporary world glory.

Let us also follow the example of saint Daniel and the three Youths, and follow the Gods revelations, the divine revelation moral law nevertheless of the environment and the circumstances, because God shows mercy to those who love him and his laws. 

Let by the Holy Prophets Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah God have mercy on us all the sinners ! Amen!

Text Translated from Bulgarian from Father's Karamihailev Preach (A Priest in Bankia's Church Saint Cyric and Julita) with inclusions

Historical and other references used:

 

1. The Holy Bible also briefly mentions three other individuals of this name: The Book of Ezekiel (14:14, 14:20 and 28:3) refers to a legendary Daniel famed for wisdom and righteousness. In verse 14:14, Ezekiel says of the sinful land of Israel that "even if these three, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness."

2. In chapter 28, Ezekiel taunts the king of Tyre, asking rhetorically, "art thou wiser than Daniel?" The author of the Book of Daniel appears to have taken this legendary figure, renowned for his wisdom, to serve as his central human character.
3. The Book of Ezra (8:2) mentions a priest named Daniel who went from Babylon to Jerusalem with Ezra.
4. The First Book of Chronicles (3:1) mentions a son of David called Daniel.

5. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Prophet_Daniel
6. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Prayer_of_the_Three_Holy_Children
7. Orthodox Church Service Liturgical Books (Chasoslov)
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_(biblical_figure)

26 October the Feast of Holy Great-Martyr Demetrius the Myroblyte known also as Demetrius of Thessaloniki

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Sveti Dimitar Solunski_kopie-ikona

Bulgarian icon of Saint Demetrius

Every 26 of October in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and whole Bulgarian nation we honor deeply the memory of martyrdom of Saint Demetrius the Myroblyte (meaning 'the Myrrh-Gusher' or 'Myrrh-Streamer'; a term that stemmed from 3rd century – 306 y. the year of Maryrdom of this great saint. Saint Demetrius over the century has been one of the most venerated saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church and since the Christianization of Bulgaria his glory also spread quickly throughout the Bulgarian Empire lands.

Saint-Demetrius-and-Saint-George-icon-St-George-killing-Dragon-saint-Dimitar-killing-a-man

During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George of Lydda and for that in many of the Orthodox Churches worldwide there are icons of the two saints painted together holding their warrior equipment spear, shield and sward .

saint_Demetrios_of_Thessaloniki_icon_on-graved-stone

St. Demetrius (Dimitar in Bulgarian) feast day is 26 October for Eastern Orthodox Christians, which falls on 8 November for those following the old calendar. In the Roman Catholic church he is most commonly called "Demetrius of Sermium" and his memorial falls on 8 October, which seem to coincide with my Birthday 🙂

Demetrius was born to pious Christian parents in Thessaloniki, the Eastern Roman Empire region Macedonia in 270 (Macedonia has been part of the Bulgarian kingdom and Empire for many centuries).

According to the hagiographies, Demetrius was a young man of senatorial family who became proconsul of the Thessalonica district. He was run through with spears in around 306 AD in Thessaloniki, during the Christian persecutions of Galerian, which matches his depiction in the 7th century mosaics.

Most historical scholars follow the hypothesis put forward by Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye (1859–1941), that his veneration was transferred from Sirmium when Thessaloniki replaced it as the main military base in the area in 441/442 AD. His very large church in Thessaloniki, the Hagios Demetrios, dates from the mid-5th century. Thessaloniki remained a centre of his veneration, and he is the patron saint of the city.

After the growth of his veneration as saint, the city of Thessaloniki suffered repeated attacks and sieges from the Slavic peoples who moved into the Balkans, and Demetrius was credited with many miraculous interventions to defend the city. Hence later traditions about Demetrius regard him as a soldier in the Roman army, and he came to be regarded as an important military martyr. Unsurprisingly, he was extremely popular in the Middle Ages. Disputes between Bohemond I of Antioch and Alexios I Komnenos appear to have resulted in Demetrius being appropriated as patron saint of crusading.

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Saint Demetrius Russian Icon

Demetrius was also venerated as patron of agriculture, peasants and shepherds in the Greek countryside during the Middle Ages. 

Most scholars still believe that for four centuries after his death, Demetrius had no physical relics, and in their place an unusual empty shrine called the "ciborium" was built inside Hagios Demetrios. What were purported to be his remains subsequently appeared in Thessaloniki, but the local archbishop John, who compiled the first book of the Miracles ca. 610, was publicly dismissive of their authenticity. The relics were assumed to be genuine after they started emitting a liquid and strong-scented myrrh. This gave Demeterius the epithet Myroblyte.

Saint Demetrius used to be a mayor of Thessaloniki and had been very educated for his time, the Roman empire ordered him to find and imprison, torture and eventually kill all Christians in the city who refuse to follow the paganic Roman religion. Being a brave in heart and a being a Christian himself, he refused to follow the unrighteous emperor decree and even on the contrary started to put special efforts for the raising of the Christian faith in the city. 

Despite this position in the still-pagan empire, he remained fervent in faith and works for Christ, encouraging many Christians to endure persecution and even bringing many pagans to the faith.

When Maximian returned from one of his campaigns to Thessaloniki, which he had made his capital, he had pagan games and sacrifices celebrated for his triumph. Demetrios was denounced by pagans who were envious of his success, and he was thrown into prison. While in prison he was visited by a young Christian named Nestor, who asked him for a blessing to engage in single combat with the giant Lyaios (or Lyaeus), who was posing as the champion of paganism. Demetrios gave his blessing and Nestor, against all odds. Nestor succeded to slew his opponent in the arena contrary to any expectations as Lyaios used to kill many, many christians on the circus arena, as David had once defeated Goliath. Saint Demetrius blesses Nestor but warned him he will have to endure a martyrdom after his defeat of Nestor which occured shortly after the defeath of Lyaios, Nestor was captured and martyred for Christ. Being raged out by the killing of Lyaios, the Romans send trooops and killed with spears saint Demetrius while he was praying in the prison.

According to some (Greek) hagiographic legend, as retold by Dimitry of Rostov in particular, Demetrius appeared in 1207 in the camp of tsar Kaloyan of with a lance and so killing him. This scene, known as Чудо о погибели царя Калояна ("the miracle of the destruction of tsar Kaloyan") became a popular element in the iconography of Demetrius. He is shown on horseback piercing the king with his spear, paralleling the iconography (and often shown alongside) of Saint George and the Dragon.


The reason of High veneration of Saint Demetrius in Bulgaria today ?
 

The godly life he led, together with his military virtues and martyrdom, led the people of Thessaloniki to declare him their saint-warrior and patron. According to the beliefs of the local centuries, the saint defended Thessaloniki, performing miracle after miracle, but in August 1185 something unheard of happened. The second richest and most important city in the empire after Constantinople was captured by the Normans and subjected to unprecedented looting. The Church of St. Dimitar was burned and the relics of the saint were scattered. The medieval Greek, who was inclined to seek God's intervention everywhere, was spiritually broken. The Romans saw the fall of Dimitrov as a punishment for their sinfulness. It is clear to them that St. Dimitar left them.

Meanwhile, in the north, the memories of the old Bulgarian kingdom were more than alive, and it became increasingly difficult for the Bulgarians to tolerate the Roman rule. The moment for a mass uprising was ripe. According to Nikita Honiat, there were three key events at the beginning of the uprising. The first concerned the desire of the brothers Peter and Assen (prominent Bulgarian boyars) to be included in the proniat lists of the empire and to receive a small landed estate at the foot of the Balkan Mountains. To this end, most likely in the autumn of 1185, they appeared in person before Emperor Isaac II Angel in Kipsela, just as he was preparing to march against the Normans who had conquered Thessaloniki. The refusal to comply with their demands provoked sharp resentment in the younger brother Assen, who personally threatened the emperor with rebellion. This unheard of behavior of the young boyar was punished with a slap.

Medieval_Bulgarian_King_Asen_portrait

King Ivan Assen I (Tsar of Bulgaria 1187/1188–1196)

The second important event was the imposition of additional taxes on the livestock of the population on the occasion of the emperor's wedding to the Hungarian Princess Margaret. This led to the outbreak of strong and mass discontent among the population of Moesia. The two brothers knew very well what they were doing and used the mass discontent to make their threat a reality. However, the insults, material hardship and the presence of two brilliant leaders in the face of Assenevtsi were not enough for a revolt.

Bulgarian-icon-of-saint-Dimitar-the-Myrrh-Bringer-Ikona-na-sv.Dimitar-Mirotochivi

Bulgarian Medieval Icon of Saint Demetrius the Myrrh-Bringer

The Bulgarians also had to receive a "divine" guarantee for their work. They believed that the Lord should show them that they were chosen and worthy of their freedom, that they not only could, but should take up arms against the Byzantine Vasilevs. And the sign was not late. On October 26, 1185, Assenevtsi, together with a large crowd, gathered in Tarnovo to consecrate the newly built church "St. Dimitar. Meanwhile, a miraculous icon of the saint appeared in the city. It was alleged that she had left Thessaloniki, conquered by the Normans, and found her home in the new temple of the Bulgarians.

The religious consciousness of the medieval Bulgarian interpreted this as a refusal of St. Dimitar to defend the Romans and a sacred guarantee that the saint will protect the Bulgarians in their cause for freedom. And indeed the old church in Thessaloniki had collapsed and plundered, the Romans were punished, the Empire was humiliated.

 

Those gathered in the church began to shout and call for the rejection of the yoke and for the restoration of the glory of the old kings. In this atmosphere of patriotic enthusiasm, the older brother, Todor (named Peter), placed a golden tiara on his head, put on a red cloak, and put on the purple shoes that only the Byzantine Vasilevs could wear. Thus, after 167 years of interruption of the throne of the Bulgarian kings, a Bulgarian ascended again. The coronation of Peter as king and the beginning of the great uprising of the Bulgarians was one of those moments in history when all accounts end and only faith gives the people the courage to take the hand outstretched by the uncertainty of the future and follow the path indicated by her, not knowing where he was taking her.

Niketa Choniates writes: “With such (divine) prophecies the whole nation was won for the cause and all raised their swords. And because their rebellion was successful from the very beginning, the Bulgarians believed even more that God had approved their freedom. "

At first, Isaac II Angel was unable to respond to the uprising, as he had to deal with the Normans and the usurper of Cyprus, Isaac I Komnenos. It was not until December 1185 that Vasilevs sent his uncle Sevastocrator John against the rebels. However, no battle took place because the Sevastocrator was recalled on suspicion of rebellion. At the head of the second army was Caesar John VI Kantakouzenos, who went to Hemus, but was defeated in a night attack by Assen-evtsi. The Bulgarians took the lives of most of the Roman army, and its commander managed to escape by abandoning the entire convoy. A third army of the great Byzantine general Alexy Branas was also sent, but it turned against the emperor and marched to Constantinople instead of Tarnovo.

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The Byzantine themes (or districts) of Bulgaria and Paristrion 

Paristrion – (Greek: Παρίστριον, lit. 'beside the Ister'), or Paradounabon/Paradounabis (αραδούναβον / Παραδούναβις), which is preferred in official documents, was a Byzantine province covering the southern bank of the Lower Danube (Moesia Inferior) in the 11th and 12th centuries.

It was not until 1186 that the emperor personally led a large army and decided to deal with the Bulgarians once and for all. His campaign forced the brothers to retreat across the Danube to their Kuman allies, and Isaac II Angel plundered Moesia and returned to Constantinople. According to the story of Nikita Honiat, the emperor was so arrogant of his success that he met with ridicule the reminder of Vasily II the Bulgarian assassin that the Bulgarians would revolt and that one day they would be liberated.

At that time, Assen's personality became more and more prominent, and he became the real leader of the rebellion. In the summer of 1186, the Assenevs crossed the Danube again, conquered the plain and set their goal to bring the endeavor to a successful conclusion. Niketa Choniates says:

"And then they returned to their homeland Moesia; finding the land abandoned by the Roman armies, they took on even greater confidence, leading their Cuman auxiliary detachments as if they were legions of demons. They did not simply want to secure their possessions and establish control over Moesia; They wanted to devastate the Roman territories and unite the political power of Moesia and Bulgaria in one empire as before. "

Isaac Angel's second campaign was not long in coming. In the autumn of 1186 he set out again against the two brothers, passing through the fortress of Beroe and heading for Serdica (today's Sofia), from where he intended to cross Hemus and attack Tarnovo. The winter of 1186, however, blocked the passages and forced the emperor to abandon his endeavor for another year. With the arrival of the spring of 1187, the Romans crossed the mountain and besieged the Lovech fortress. However, the Bulgarian troops offered unprecedented resistance and after a three-month siege Isaac II Angel had to ask for peace.

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The Church Saint Demetrius built by King Asen I in memoriam of great Miracles of Bulgarians victories over Byzantines
Church is located near the Tarnovo Fortress of Trapezica

The Church slavonic written sources tells how the brothers spread the word a patron saint of Thessaloniki – St. Demetrius, came to Tarnovo to help the Bulgarian people to be liberated…
 

Thus, most probably, the Lovech armistice was signed in front of the city walls, which de jure recognized the Bulgarian power north of the Balkans. The long road to freedom began on that distant St. Dimitrov's Day in 1185. he was finally walked away. St. Dimitar became the patron of the Asenevtsi dynasty and one of the most beloved Bulgarian saints, and the Bulgarians proved to the world that their pursuit of freedom is nothing but a great national feat, in which with a true understanding of the necessary and possible, with steady faith and unwavering energy in the design and implementation, the political and spiritual resurrection of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was reached.


Saint_Demetrius_Bulgarian_icon-1824_Sveti_Dimitar

Saint Demetrius Bulgarian icon year 1824

St. Demetrius is depicted on horseback spearing a man, not because he ever a killed a man but because he blessed Nestor to win over the Gladiator Lyaeus. The Church decided to commemory the memory and bravery of Saint Nestor who also confessed Christ in his martyrdom every on the next day after the memory of st. Demetrius is celebrated. Saint Nestor even today is celebrated in the Church calendar on 27-th of October.

In Bulgaria the veneration of saint Demetrius was of high esteem especially in the Second Bulgarian Empire and many churches and monasteries has been built around the country (counting at few hundred temples and monasteries) with him being their patron.

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Saint Demetrius Holy Relics in the St. Demetrius Church in Thessaloniki Greece (the white papers are names of people who ask for help from the saint)

Saint Demetrius is famous in Thessaloniki and highly venerated every year during his feast as he has been summoned by the Church to protect the city on multiple occasions which he did so far during pandemics such as the Black Death and during invasion of alien (non-Christian) nations.

It is mostly remarkable that every year during his feast day, a great miracle happens from the exact place where he was martyred (situated in the Church named after him), a myrrh with heavenly odor is streaming which is taken by believers for oilment and as a blessing carefully kept until the next year feast of the saint.
Because of the high amount of myrrh outflow a special pool was kept to keep the oilment sparring out of his holy relics.

As Saint Demetrius has helped multiple times to many of their saints as we know from history, especially in times of epidemies and pandemies like it is now let by his holy prayers those who venerate him and the people worldwide finds Healing and relief and an Enlightment and blessing from the light of Christ, just like Nestor found in his blessing !

Holy Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki pray the Lord for us the sinners !!!

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

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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 Mary of Egypt – a hermit who spend 47 years in the Desert a prayer helper in Christians repentance during in Great Lent in The Holy Eastern Orthodox Church

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

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Saint Mary of Egypt  ( Ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ Ⲛⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ Света Мария Египетска ) lived either in the distant year 530 Anno Dommini (After Christ).
She was born in Egypt, notable for its great help and example model for penitence and everyone that is the painful but soul cleaning process of repentance. 

Saint Mary was an ordinary person, who ran away from her parents in the age of 12 fleeing from Egypt to Alexandria. Like every young person whose blood wants a lot of enjoyment and new things, spend her teenage years until the age of 29 becoming a harlot leading a life filled with all kind of worldly enjoyment with a noisy companies, with the usual Drinking nights, the sexual immorality sweetness deeds.
 
She was spinning flax to make her daily living and often begging on the streets but together with that she had an insatiable and an irrepressible passion for lust offering sexual favors to many strangers during her countless night adventures of voluptuousness.

In her Vita (Biography), it is described she often refused the offered money for her sexual favours, even though her night partners offered her money being very satistfies with this wild lady …

After 17 years spend in this "notorious" harlot lifestyle well reassembling the modern pop and holiday stars, at the age of 29, she decided to make a far travel (perhaps out of boredom) from Alexandria to Jerusalem for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Her motive to travel in a ship filled with pilgrimage Christians was unclean, like her lifestyle, The Vita says she thought, "Perhaps there in Jerusalem she can have even more partners she can fornicate with to satisfy her uncontrolled lust.".
As she was a homeless and poor woman to pay her pilgrimage, to pay the very expensive for the time ship passage ticket by offering sexual favors to other pilgrims.
And  continued her habitual lifestyle for a short time after arrival in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem Mary tried to Enter the Church of Holy Sepulchre where Christ Resurrected from the Death, together with the crowds of people entering the temple for pilgrimage out worldly interest but an unseen power has kept her at the front gates of the Temple. At first she thougth this is due to the Many people who were also trying to enter the Church and she tried another time, but the same happened, she couldn't move the empty space of the entrance like there was an invisible barrier preventing her to move in. A sudden remorse, pain and understanding about her impurity and sinfullness filled her with unbearable remorse …

Mary looked up the front door and saw the common icon of the Mother of God Theotokos hanging on the top and she decided to pray this unearthly beautiful never seen lady to forgive her impurity and help her enter the Church. After her short fervent warm prayer in which she promised to leave the world and become an ascetic if she is permitted to enter the Church. After which she tried another time and could enter the Church and following the long queue venerated the relic of the True Cross where the Crucifix of Christ.

saint-Mother-Mary-of-Egypt-a-great-help-for-the-repentance-of-Christian-pomoshtnica-v-pokaianie
On her way out she looked at the same icon on the top of the Entrance Door and Give thanks to the Theotokos and heard voice, telling her, "If you cross Jordan River, you will find a grorious rest". Amazed by the miracle, she immediately went to the Sant John the Baptist monastery on the Bank of Jordan River for which she has heard earlier confessed her sins in front of monastic priest  and received the Holy Communion.
On next morning following the prescription of the Virgn Mary's voice heard earlier crossed Jordan and started her angel like life in desert solitude as a hermit to spend 47 years in deep penitence, from which she had spend 17 years of unceasing fight.


She took with her only 3 loaves of bread and once over she lived on what she can find in the desert.

Approximately one year before her death, a wandering monk priest father who was crossing the desert, hoping to find a holier person than himself …

To humble his high self esteem God has given him to meet by his great providence the hermit spirutual mother.
At first he thought he is meeting a beast or an Angel as the body of Great spiritual mother was completely naked and almost unrecognizable as human from the inter severe fasting and Mary was hiding from his clothes has dissolved by the sun and the high amplitude temperatures over the many years spend in desert.

Zosimas who was at the age of 53 himself being in monks schima and had a long years of spiritual endurance amazed by the seen "ghost"-like bowed in front of the Angel equal hermit and asked her prayers and desired to ask her about spiritual things.

She asked Zosimas to toss her his mantle to cover herself with, and then she narrated her life's story to him.
After the short conversation, he was amazed by the many details regarding spiritual knowledge and the knowledge of the holy scriptures the hermit mother had (she was freely quoting parts of the Holy Bible Scriptures by heart, even though she spend 47 years in desert and never had books, neither could read !

She asked him to meet her at the banks of the Jordan, on Holy Thursday of the following year, and bring her Holy Communion. When he fulfilled her wish, she crossed the river to get to him by Walking on the surface of the water – just like Jesus Christ is described to Walk on the Water in the Scriptures.  The great Hermit Mother received Holy Communion, telling him to meet her again in the desert the following Lent to bury her body.

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The next year, Zosimas travelled to the same spot where he first met her, some twenty days' journey from his monastery, and found her lying body there dead incorruptable and intact just like prophecised by the saint.
According to the long Vitae of the saint a miracle happened in front of the eyes of the stoned to death Zosima as a lion come out of the desert and dig a grave for the saint.

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According to an inscription written in the sand next to her head, she had died on the very night he had given her The Blood and Flesh of Christ (Holy Communition) and had been somehow miraculously transported to the place he found her, and her body was preserved incorrupt for that long time till her death. He buried her body with the assistance of a passing lion. On returning to the monastery he related her life story to the brethren, and it was preserved among them as oral tradition until it was written down by St. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (634–638).

Saint Mary of Egypt feast day is kept by the Orthodox according to the Fixed Cycle on April 1. On the Moveable Cycle, the Orthodox Church also commemorates her on the fifth Sunday of Great Lent on which day it is customary for the priest to bless dried fruit after the Divine Liturgy.
The Life of St Mary, by Saint Sophronius, is appointed to be read during the Matins of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete on the preceding Thursday.

Here is the Church troparion and kontaktion verses:

Troparion — Tone 8
The image of God was truly preserved in you, mother, / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away, / but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, holy mother Mary, Rejoices with the angels!

Kontakion — Tone 3
Having been a sinful woman, / you became through repentance a Bride of Christ. / Having attained angelic life, / you defeated demons with the weapon of the Cross. / Therefore, most glorious Mary, you are a Bride of the Kingdom!

Holy Mother Mary of Egypt pray the Lord to have mercy on us the sinners!

How Orthodox Easter is calculated or Why Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Pascha (later) on a different date from Roman Catholics ?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

 

 

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Why Does Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate their Eastern often on a later or a different date from (Western Christians) – Roman Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Church, Anglican, Presbyterian or Protestant (Evangelist), Old Catholic Methodist, Calvinist or some other kind of Lutheran or Charismatic Christian sects?

If you happen to be born innd raised in America or Western European contry it is most likely, you're little if at all or not at all aware of the fact that in the Eastern Orthodox Churches the date of Eastern (Passcha) is celebrated often on a different date from the Roman Catholic and the other schismatic churches.

For example, this year 2016 Roman Catholics already celebrated Passcha on March 27th and we Eastern Orthodox Christians are still in the Great Lent (Fasting) period and we'll have the Easter celebrated on 1st of May.
That certainly raises some questions across people who are not Eastern Orthodox, because the Western Roman Catholic Church and the rest of Protestant Christians are the biggest group of Christians out there and even atheists and people belonging to other religions such as Buddhism or Islam might be puzzled why the Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate easter on a different they if after all they're Christian and what and why is this division among Christians?

With the increased globalization of the World and the fact that currently there are a lot of multi-national international companies and the fact that the companies and businesses today are mostly multi-cultural with people from all the world and all religions across the globe, for some countries situated within countries with predominant Eastern Orthodox population such as Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia etc. it might be quite a disturbance because there Orthodox Christian country situated branches might be not able to operate on the days of Orthodox Easter. 

Here is a short example on the martch and dismatch by years between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church by years from 2010 to 2020

 

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Easters from year 2010 to 2020

Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
                       
Catholic 4/4 24/4 8/4 31/3 20/4 5/4 27/3 16/4 1/4 21/4 12/4
Orthodox 4/4 24/4 15/4 5/5 20/4 12/4 1/5 16/4 8/4 28/4 19/4

Easter 2000 to 2009

Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
                     
Catholic 23/4 15/4 31/3 20/4 11/4 27/3 16/4 8/4 23/3 12/4
Orthodox 30/4 15/4 5/5 27/4 11/4 1/5 23/4 8/4 27/4 19/4


A complete list of Eastern Orthodox Pascha feast days is here

Funnly or strangely e ven many people who are situated within an Eastern Orthodox country doesn't have a good understanding why and what is the reason our Eastern Orthodox Easter feast is celebrated on a different date.
There is a lot written on the reasons why Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates on a different date Passcha from Catholics however in this article, I'll try to make it as short and clear as the reasons behind are often presented quiet messy.

 

In short there are 2 reasons (rules) why Eastern Orthodox Christian Church celebrates Eastern often on a different date:

1) The Julian calendar which is still used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for counting time
2) Adherence of the Orthodox to the early practices of the Original and Ancient Christian Church for Christian Passcha to not coincide with the Jewish Passover

The consequence of these 2 rules is that the Eastern Orthodox Christians on about 50% of the time throughout  years celebrate Christistmas later from Catholics because the Orthodox Church is following the First Church Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) that has set the rule that Passcha must take place always after the Jewish Passover  because in the Church the Biblical described consequence of events of the Passover and the Crucifix are followed, it appears rest of the Christian churches ignore (break) this requirement and this makes them fall under the Anatemas of the Church fathers from the I Ecumenical Council (see the Full decisions of the 7 Ecumenical Canonical Councils of the Original Church here).


Here the difference for Catholics celebrating on a different date Eastern stems from the fact since the XVI century they're using in Catholic Church the Gregorian calendar (adopted by Pope Gregory the XIII-th) because of scientifical superiority claimed by the Gregorian calendar.

Gregorian Julian calendar-fall-behind-dates by years from 1582 to year 2200

Well as you can see the scientific accuracy of Gregorian calendar is better and with years the Julian calendar is starting to miss astronomical re-calculated dates, causing mathematical incorrectness but the problem with the acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar and the reason why the Eastern Orthodox Church decided not to use the Gregorian calendar for Pascha is the fact that when the Gregorian Calendar was accepted in secular western world and the  Roman Catholic Church in order to matematically align the missing date 13 days were simply dropped off (or from Thursday 4th of October 1582 under Julian Calendar the next day Friday people started being in 15th of October, see the picture below:

inconsistency_change_from_Julian_to_Gregorian_calendar-Date_Change-and-the-missing-13-days

Well as you can see Friday October the 15,  1582 was quite a crazy year for the people as they lay down as 4th of Thursday and they woke up on 15th the next day 🙂

The Eastern Orthodox still to follow the Julian Calendar for Easter feast and some Churches adopted to using partly the Gregorian (Secular) calendar for some of the feasts under the pressure of the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate , whether some Churches such as the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) which as of time of writting is the biggest Orthodox Crhuch as well as the Serbian Church are completely using the Julian calendar for calculating all feast days. Now what should be known is difference between Julian and Gregorian calendar is 13 days falling back (Gregorian Calendar is 13 days in future), while Julian calendar is 13 days in time behind the Gregorian.
However as prior said sometimes throughout years the Easterns of (Western) Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church coincide, such a date on which we celebrated Eastern on one date is on 24 April 2011.
The two dates coincide when the full moon following the equinox comes so late that it counts as the first full moon after 21 March in the Julian calendar as well as the Gregorian.
In recent years the conciding years was frequent in 2010, 2011, 2014 and will be again  2017 but after that there will be no coincidence of Orthodox and  Catholic Easter feasts until 2034.

For those who might be wondering why the Eastern Orthodox Church choose to not celebrate Easter on a different date here is some information on how Pascha (Easter) was determined historically in the One and Holy Apostolic Church
which for historical and dogmatical reasons is today Our Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.

During the first three centuries of Christianity, some Christians celebrates Pascha on the First date after Jewish Passover and others celebrates the feast on the same time as Passover.
This was causing confusions in across Churches and this together with other heretical teachings caused the Holy Church Fathers (successors of Holy Apostols) of the First Ecumenical Council to gather and decide
how to solve the issue.

The Holy Fathers therefore devices a uniform formula for calculating the date of the Pascha that was inline and taking in consideration the most early traditions of the Church as well as the Biblical
sequence of events.

Here is the Easter calculation forumla devices on I Ecumenical Council:

Pascha is to be always celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox but  always after the Jewish Passover.
 

To even better ensure that there was no confusion as to when the vernal equinox occured the date of the vernal equinox was set to be March 21 (which is April 3rd or 13 days later on the Julain Calendar).
The formula was universally accepted by all of Christianity, ensuring the Pascha was celebrated on the same day throughout the entire Universe (world).
The Eastern Orthodox Church which is keeping to strictly keep the decisions of the fathers 7 Councils and thus strictly keeps the formula in the Church.
The Western Church (Roman Catholic Church) used to be holding also the Eastern calculation formula however in modern times it rejected the Nicene formulate that requires that Pascha to always follow the Jewish  Passover.

Now as the apostacy from True Christian faith is increasing Western theologians and many of the misguided or so called heretical (ecumenism movement oriented) orthodox theologians are starting to claim that the provision about the formula
was not important and thus provision of the formula is rejected and thus ignoring the fact that during years 325 – 1582 as well as the historical date from early Christian historians and Early Canons such as Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons clearly reads:

“If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Pascha before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.”
 

 The Calendar Issue came to be in 1582  by Pope Gregory XIII with  instituted reform of the traditional Julian calendar. Actually the Protestant Reformation in its beginning harshly defended the Julian Calendar and kept the new Julian Calendar as an unnecessery information at times
when large chunks of the protestantized countries such as Germany and Netherlands were thinking actively of joining the Orthodox Church, however for some historical reason and by the settle backs of the Roman Catholic Church the rejoining of large sea of protestants with Orthodox sadly never happened.

Until 1923 all Eastern Orthodox Chuches was following the Julian calendar for all yearly feasts however as in 1923 an inter-Orthodox congress was helpd in Constantinople attended by some but not all of the Orthodox Churches, the Church fathers gathering took the very
controversial decision to follow a revised Julian calendar (the so called new Orthodox Church Calendar / New Style) which is essentially the same as Gregorian calendar for all things except the celebration of Pascha and few other feasts which continued to be celebrated across all Orthodox Churches on the same dates across all  Eastern Orthodox Churches who are in full eucharistic communion.

The official claimed reason for accepting the Gregorian calendar and moving most of the feasts +13 days in future  was that within some eastern countries many of the orthodox christian workers couldn't attend many of the 12 important feasts because of work duties (for example 7th of January is a working day in most of the world except Russia and thus it is a problem for many to attend the Church service and prepare and much more confortable if the feast is celebrated on 24th of December like it is in Roman Catholic and Protestant christians) – i.e. the change was initiated most for economical reasons right after the end of the 1st world war.

The result is now many of the great 12 Church Feasts in Orthodox Church like Christmas (Nativity of Christ), Epiphany, the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos, Entrance Presentation of the Theotokos in many of the Orthodox Churches together with Catholics but not with Russian Church and the other Orthodox Churches who still stick to the Julian Calendar.
The only other feasts which are being celebrated together with Russian Orthodox Church is Pentecost and Ascension as they're movable feasts depending on Pascha according to Julian calendar.

For us Orthodox tradition and Church teachings are of paramount importance and thus sadly the change to re-visited Julian calendar just created further confusion internally in the Eastern Orthodox Church, today many people who completely stick to the Julian calendar and refuse the re-visited Julian calendar has joined Schismatic Self-Proclaimed Orthodox Old Calendar Churches or for those who prefered to stay in full communion with the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and stick to old calendar joined the Russian Orthodox Church and Serbian Church as they're considered to better keep the true faith tradition and spiritual descendance from the holy apostles. The question of the calendar difference has been largely discussed within the Orthodox Church and hopefully on the upcoming Holy All Orthodox Council upcoming this year in June 16 – 27 2016 the question of returning back the Old Julian calendar for all Church feasts might be also raised and resolved, once and for all.

As a closure I'll say that the most important thing why Pascha tends to falls different from Catholics is to show that actually the Eastern Orthodox Church is the original Church and different from Roman Catholic and the true Church of Christ falling the prescription of the Church fathers.

P.S. As the so called "Holy Orthodox Council", often called by many 8th ecumenical counil already has taken place in Crete and there was no real signs for it to be neither ecuminical nor holy as the Bulgarian, The Russian, Antiochian and Georgian Orthodox Churches refused to take participation and the overall observation online from their website holycouncil.org  evidently shows that this council is not needed neither solved any of the real important non-doctrinal problems of the Orthodox Church it also prooved to be a PR kind of council trying to make in the eyes of the world the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomeo to look like an Orthodox Church (head) pope and perhaps the ones who organized this council had this intention together with the intention to put even more confusion concerning the unity of the Orthodox Church and separate the chirch into two parties (a conservatives) and (liberals) sides.
Also after the council finalized it prooved not to be really what it meant to be Thanks be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The refusal of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to take participation in the council from my point of view as a member of the Orthodox Church was a right one and has delayed the plans of global enemies of the church to destroy it.
An interesting rumor is the holy council in Crete was sponsored with 70 000 000 from anonymous donators within United States some priests claim the money come from secret societies such as free masonry also it is mostly ridiculous the costs that this ecumenical council impeded.