Tag Archives: Orthodoxy

A Warrior Saint… On Veteran’s Day

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How fitting that the Church honors St. Menas today, a military officer from the late 3rd/early 4th century who gave up everything for Christ. From the OCA website:

When the emperors began the fiercest persecution against Christians in history, the saint refused to serve these persecutors. He removed his soldier’s belt (a sign of military rank) and withdrew to a mountain, where he lived an ascetic life of fasting and prayer.

Once he happened to arrive in the city during a pagan festival. At the climax of the games the saint’s accusing voice rang out, preaching faith in Christ, the Savior of the world. At his trial before the prefect Pyrrhus, the saint bravely confessed his faith, saying that he had come to denounce the impious. The prefect was angered, and had Menas arrested.

Pyrrhus offered to restore the saint’s former rank if he would offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. When he refused, he was put to cruel tortures, then he was beheaded. This occurred in the year 304. Christians gathered up the martyr’s relics by night and hid them until the end of the persecution. Later, they were brought to Egypt and placed in a church dedicated to St Menas southwest of Alexandria.

The saint received grace from God to work miracles, and to help those in need. St Menas is noted for healing various illnesses, delivering people from possession by demons, and as a protector, especially during times of war. …

The Mystagogy blog also recounts how St. Menas saved numerous pious Christians from an ambush by the Turks in the 19th century, and how the intercession of St. Menas helped to turn the tide in World War II.

Pray for us, St. Menas!

Beauty in Worship

Father James is the priest at my “Seattle” church – and St. Paul Orthodox Church in Brier truly is beautiful.

The Sign of the Cross

Cross outside Prophet Elias Chapel
When, then, you make the sign of the cross on the forehead, arm yourself with a saintly boldness, and reinstall your soul in its old liberty; for you are not ignorant that the cross, is a prize beyond all price. Consider what is the price given for your ransom, and you will never more be slave to any man on earth. This reward and ransom is the cross. You should not then, carelessly make the sign on the forehead, but you should impress it on your heart with the love of a fervent faith. Nothing impure will dare to molest you on seeing the weapon, which overcometh all things.

St. John Chrysostom (+407)

PASCHA!

This is the day of resurrection,
Let us be illumined by the feast,
Let us embrace each other,
Let its call “brothers” even those that hate us,
And forgive all by the resurrection,
And so let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

Proclaiming the Truth of Orthodoxy

The Associate Priest at my parish, Fr. Joseph McCartney, publishes a short exposition on the Gospel reading in each Sunday bulletin.  Fr. Joseph’s short exposition in today’s bulletin, concerning Mark 2:1-12, is so good I am sharing it here:

A paralyzed man was carried to the Lord by four of his friends. Initially, they were not able to see Christ because of the large crowd. Instead of giving up and leaving the man to his wretched condition, they broke open the roof of the house and lowered the bed on which their paralyzed friend was lying. Do we understand the efforts these men went through to bring their friend to Jesus, so that he may be healed?

If we believe that Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of the Christian faith, why do we not exert similar effort as these men to bring others to the Faith? In church we proudly carry the banner of Orthodoxy, but in the workplace, in school, or in our social life we hide it or brush it aside as something unimportant.

Brothers and Sisters, the world needs Orthodoxy and the world needs us to be witnesses of its Truth. We are taught today not only to invite others to church, but to be persistent in our efforts. Continue inviting them, encourage them, show them the great things God has done for you. This is our duty and this is how we can live the Triumph of Orthodoxy.

The Icon of the Inexhaustible Cup

[From this article]

A peasant from the Efremovskii district of Tula province, a retired soldier, was an alcoholic, and a drunkard.  He would drink away all his pension, everything that he possessed, anything that could be found in his house, and eventually he was ruined and literally became a beggar.  From excessive drinking, his legs became paralysed, but still he continued drinking.
One day, the man, who seemed to have hit rock-bottom, had an unusual dream.  In it, a venerable old man came to him and said: “Go to the city of Serpoukhov, to the monastery of the Theotokos.  There you will find an icon of the Holy Mother called The Inexhaustible Cup.  Have a moleben before it, and you will be healed, both spiritually and physically.”
Without a penny to his name, and having no use of his legs, the man did not dare to go on a journey.  But the holy man came to him a second and then a third time, and was so adamant in his admonition to obey his instructions, that the poor drunk did not dare disobey any more, and he set off as quickly as he could, dragging himself on all fours.
In one of the neighbouring villages where he stopped to rest, an old woman took him in for the night.  To ease his pain, she massaged his legs, and put him to rest on top of the clay oven, a customary place for the old or sickly, because of the warmth.  During the night the travelling man felt a pleasant sensation in his legs, and discovered that he was able to stand.  On the following nights his legs became even stronger.  And so, first with two walking-sticks, and then with just one, he arrived in Serpoukhov.
Once in the monastery, he told about his visions, and asked to have the moleben served.  But nobody there had ever heard of such an icon.  They started to search for it, and noticed one that was hanging in the passage to the sacristy that bore an image of a chalice.  On the back of it, to their surprise, was written, “The Inexhaustible Cup.”
In the icon of St. Varlaam, the disciple of the holy bishop Metropolitan Aleksii, the man imemdiately recognised the face of the holy elder who had appeared to him in his dreams.
From Serpoukohv the man departed, completely healed.  The news about the miraculous icon spread quickly through the city, the region, and all of Rus’. Alcoholics and their families and friends were coming to pray before the Mother of God for healing, and in time many came back to thank the all-merciful Theotokos for her speedy help.

The Wonder of the Nativity of Christ

[from the Nativity Sermon of St. John Chrysostom (+407)]

Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.
Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things are nourished, may receive an infant’s food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.
To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, we offer all praise, now and forever. Amen.