Let Us Send a Message of Hope and Life to the Thousands Affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines on Friday 8 November, creating a tragic situation, similar to that of December 2004 after the lethal Tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand. Whole villages and towns near the sea have been completely flattened.
The divine Nektarios of Aegina, is one of the most widely known of Greek Orthodox Saints. He was born on October 1st, 1846 in Silyvria, in Asia Minor. At Holy Baptism he was given the name Anastasios. His parents were simple pious Christians. They brought him up in a manner pleasing to God, and did what their very limited means allowed for his formal education. Having completed elementary school in his hometown, he left for the great city of Constantinople at the age of 14.
The venerable Ioannikios was born in Bithynia in 740 AD by pious parents, Myritriki and Anastaso, who raised him “in the education and admonition of the Lord”. He was enlisted into the army during the struggle of the Iconoclasts against the sacred icons and drifted into the delusion of iconoclasm. When, however, he was dismissed from the ranks of the army he realized his error, repented sincerely, and even became a fervent preacher and confessor of the Orthodox Faith.
The blessed Elder George came from Pontus and was orphaned and left on his own very early in life. After being persecuted and imprisoned by the atheist regime in Georgia, he came to Greece where the humble man lived with such asceticism and zealous faith that he was granted the gifts of discernment, vision, foresight and prophecy. Father George was born in Argyroupolis (Gümüşhane) in the Black Sea region in 1901.
“Between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us”. (Luke 16:26) Why is there such a gap between us? Is it perhaps because we have forgotten the ways to cultivate positive and essential relationships and have forgotten the meaning of the words we use when supposedly communicating with one another?
The “low level” saint is a theological term (not accepted by all scholars) aiming to describe a category of saints who lived with ordinary people and who were not usually members of the Church hierarchy (with some exceptions, like St. Nectarios of Pentapolis). There are many well-known “low level” ascetic saints of the ancient Church (for example the various Sts. Anargyroi) and many “low level” ascetics who lived in modern times (e.g. Paisios the Hagiorite, the Elder Porfyrios and Fr. Iakovos Tsalikis) who are considered holy people by the faith community.
She was born and lived in Rome in the third century under Emperor Decius. After settling in a monastery as a nun she was arrested, courageously confessed her faith, and after terrible tortures she completed her life in a martyric way. While she was alive she was a benefactor to people with her holy life and her prayer was pleasing to God. After her death she became even more of a benefactor and consoler.
Being banished from Paradise, Adam and Eve immediately began to thirst and hunger, to freeze and shiver, to have labors and sweat, and to endure all those difficulties and griefs that we even now endure. Therefore, they soon felt into what a bitter condition they had descended, and to what a great misfortune they had become subject. Then they realized both their own hardness of heart and their lack of repentance, as well as God’s unutterable condescension and compassion towards them.
Cosmas and Damian were unmercenaries physicians and miracle-workers. They were brothers both in the flesh and in the spirit, born somewhere in Asia Minor of a pagan father and a Christian mother. After their father’s death, their mother Theodote devoted all her time and effort to educating her sons and raising them as true Christians. God helped her, and her sons matured as sweet fruit and luminaries of the world.
One of America’s most beloved and fastest growing holidays is Halloween, and it is also the most demonized. Many of all ages, both young and old, celebrate it with innocence and a smile, yet some also condemn it with fury as an evil and violent day. The majority see Halloween as a fun children’s holiday on which they dress up in costumes and go door to door to get candy, while others view it as a remnant of paganism and a subtle celebration of satanism. Amid this confusion and dichotomy, I will attempt to set the record straight in a short yet concise manner based on the most up-to-date studies, and examine whether or not the Church is called to demonize or sanctify Halloween based on the truth.