If not YOU,WHO? If not NOW, WHEN? Αν όχι ΕΣΥ, ΠΟΙΟΣ? Αν όχι ΤΩΡΑ, ΠΟΤΕ?

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1 Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Churc h of Washington, DC 8th Sunday of Matthew July 26, 2015 If not YOU,WHO? If not NOW, WHEN? Αν όχι ΕΣΥ, ΠΟΙΟΣ? Αν όχι ΤΩΡΑ, ΠΟΤΕ?

2 THE MISSION OF THE STS. CONSTANTINE & HELEN GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF WASHINGTON DC in Silver Spring, Maryland is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, to teach and spread the Orthodox Christian faith, to energize, cultivate and guide the life of the Church according to the Orthodox Christian faith and Sacred Tradition. The Church sanctifies the faithful through the Divine Worship, especially the Holy Eucharist and other Sacraments, building the spiritual and ethical life of the faithful in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, the doctrines and canons of the Ecumenical and local Synods, the canons of the Holy Apostles and Fathers of the Church and of all other Synods recognized by the Orthodox Church, as interpreted by the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople. The Church serves as a beacon, carrier and witness of the message of Christ to all persons, through Divine Worship, preaching, teaching and living the Orthodox Christian faith. 2

3 YMNOI THΣ ΗΜΕΡΑΣ Ἀπολυτίκιον Ἀναστάσιμον /Ἦχος βαρύς Κατέλυσας τῷ Σταυρῷ σου τὸν θάνατον, ἠνέῳξας τῷ Λῃστῇ τὸν Παράδεισον, τῶν Μυροφόρων τὸν θρῆνον μετέβαλες, καὶ τοῖς σοῖς Ἀποστόλοις κηρύττειν ἐπέταξας ὅτι ἀνέστης Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, παρέχων τῷ κόσμῳ τὸ μέγα ἔλεος. Τῆς Ἁγίας/Ἦχος ά Τὴν σπουδήν σου τῇ κλήσει κατάλληλον, ἐργασαμένη φερώνυμε, τὴν ὁμώνυμόν σου πίστιν, εἰς κατοικίαν κεκλήρωσαι, Παρασκευὴ ἀθληφόρε ὅθεν προχέεις ἰάματα, καὶ πρεσβεύεις ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν. HYMNS OF THE DAY Resurrectional Apolytikion/Grave Mode By means of Your Cross, O Lord, You abolished death. To the robber You opened Paradise. The lamentation of the myrrh-bearing women You transformed, and You gave Your Apostles the order to proclaim to all that You had risen, O Christ our God, and granted the world Your great mercy. For the Saint/Mode 1 Your diligence corresponded to your name, Paraskevi, which denotes preparedness. Through faith you inherited the promised dwelling that was prepared for you, O prize-winning Martyr. Therefore you pour out cures and healings, and you intercede on behalf of our souls. Aπολυτίκιον Αγ. Κωνσταντίνου & Ελένης Τοῦ Σταυροῦ σου τὸν τύπον ἐν οὐρανῷ θεασάμενος, καὶ ὡς ὁ Παῦλος τὴν κλήσιν οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων δεξάμενος, ὁ ἐν βασιλεύσιν, Ἀπόστολός σου Κύριε, Βασιλεύουσαν πόλιν τὴ χειρί σου παρέθετο ἣν περίσωζε διὰ παντὸς ἐν εἰρήνῃ, πρεσβείαις τῆς Θεοτόκου, μόνε Φιλάνθρωπε. Aπολυτίκιον Αγ. Ανδρέα Ὡς τῶν Ἀποστόλων Πρωτόκλητος, καὶ τοῦ Κορυφαίου αὐτάδελφος, τὸν Δεσπότην τῶν ὅλων Ἀνδρέα ἱκέτευε, εἰρήνην τὴ οἰκουμένη δωρήσασθαι, καὶ ταὶς ψυχαὶς ἡ μῶν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος. Apolytikion of Sts. Constantine & Helen Having seen the image of Thy Cross in Heaven, and like Paul, having received the call not from men, Thine apostle among kings entrusted the commonwealth to Thy hand, O Lord. Keep us always in peace, by the intercessions of the Theotokos, O only Friend of man. Apolytikion of St. Andrew As first of the Apostles to be called, O Andrew, brother of him (Peter) who was foremost, beseech the Master of all to grant the world peace and our souls great mercy. Κοντάκιον/Ἦχος βʹ Προστασία τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀκαταίσχυντε, μεσιτεία, πρὸς τὸν Ποιητὴν ἀμετάθετε, μὴ παρίδῃς, ἁμαρτωλῶν δεήσεων φωνάς, ἀλλὰ πρόφθασον, ὡς ἀγαθή, εἰς τὴν βοήθειαν ἡμῶν, τῶν πιστῶς κραυγαζόντων σοι Τάχυνον εἰς πρεσβείαν, καὶ σπεῦσον εἰς ἱκεσίαν, ἡ προστατεύουσα ἀεί, Θεοτόκε, τῶν τιμώντων σε. Kontakion/ Mode 2 O Protection of Christians unshamable, mediation with the Creator immovable, we sinners beg you, do not despise the voices of our prayers, but anticipate, since you are good, and swiftly come unto our aid as we cry out to you with faith: Hurry to intercession, and hasten to supplication, O Theotokos who defend now and ever those who honor you. 3

4 Ο ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟΣ Στα Νεα Ελληνικα ΤΗΕ EPISTLE Πρὸς Γαλάτας 3:23-29, 4:1-5 Πριν δε να έλθη η δια της πίστεως λύτρωσις και σωτηρία, όλοι εφρουρούμεθα από τον Νομον, κλεισμένοι και περιμανδρωμένοι, προοριζόμενοι δια την πίστιν, που έμελλε εν καιρώ να αποκαλυφθή. Ωστε ο Νομος έγινε παιδαγωγός μας, ο οποίος μας εξεπαίδευε και μας προπαρασκευάζε να ποθήσωμεν και γνωρίσωμεν τον Χριστόν, ώστε να πάρωμεν την δικαίωσιν από την πίστιν. Από τότε δε που ήλθεν αυτή η πίστις, που ήλθε δηλαδή ο Χριστός, ο οποίος δια της πίστεως εις αυτόν μας δίδει την δικαίωσιν, δεν είμεθα πλέον κάτω από τον παιδαγωγόν, δηλαδή κάτω από τον Νομον. Διότι όλοι είσθε υιοί του Θεού δια της πίστεως στον Ιησούν Χριστόν, επειδή όσοι έχετε βαπτισθή στο όνομα του Χριστού και ομολογείτε έτσι αυτόν Σωτήρα, εφορέσατε τον Χριστόν και ενωθήκατε με αυτόν. Δι' αυτό και εις την νέαν κατάστασιν, εις την βασιλείαν του Χριστού, δεν υπάρχουν διαφραί εθνικότητος, τάξεως και φύλου. Δεν υπάρχει Ιουδαίος ούτε Ελλην, δεν υπάρχει δούλος ούτε ελεύθερος, δεν υπάρχει άρσεν και θύλυ, διότι όλοι σεις είσθε ένας νέος άνθρωπος και νέος οργανισμός, δια μέσου του Ιησού Χριστού. Εάν δε σεις οι εθνικοί, που επιστεύσατε, ανήκετε στον Χριστόν, άρα είσθε πνευματικοί απόγονοι του Αβραάμ και σύμφωνα με την υπόσχεσιν, που ο Θεός έδωσεν εις αυτόν, κληρονόμοι των ευλογιών. Σας λέγω δε και τούτο ότι όσον χρόνον ο κληρονόμος είναι νήπιος και ανήλικος, δεν διαφέρει τίποτε από τον δούλον, καίτοι είναι κύριος όλης της κληρονομίας. Αλλ' ευρίσκεται πάντοτε κάτω από την κηδεμονίαν και την εξουσίαν των επιτρόπων, που τον εκπροσωπούν, και κάτω από τους οικονόμους, που διαχειρίζονται την κληρονομίαν, μέχρι της προσθεμίας, που έχει ορίσει με την διαθήκην του ο πατήρ. Ετσι και ημείς οι Χριστιανοί, εφ' όσον διαρκούσε η νηπιακή μας ηλικία, από πνευματικής απόψεως, ήμεθα υποδουλωμένοι κάτω από τας στοιχειώδεις διατάξστου μωσαϊκού Νομου και των άλλων θρησκειών, που έχουν οι άνθρωποι της αγνοίας. Οταν δε συνεπληρώθη ο χρόνος και ήλθεν ο κατάλληλος καιρός, που είχεν ορισθή μέσα στο θείον σχέδιον, έστειλεν ο Θεός, από τον ουρανόν εις την γην, τον Υιόν του, ο οποίος έλαβε σάρκα ανθρωπίνην δια μέσου παρθένου γυναικός και υπετάχθη θεληματικά στον μωσαϊκόν Νομον. Και τούτο, δια να εξαγοράση εκείνους που ευρίσκοντο κάτω από την κατάραν του Νομου, δια να πάρωμεν όλοι την υιοθεσίαν, που μας είχεν υποσχεθή ο Θεός. St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-5 BRETHREN, before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 4

5 ΤΟ ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ Στα Νεα Ελληνικα ΤΗΕ GOSPEL Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 14:14-22 Και όταν εβγήκεν ο Ιησούς από εκεί που έμενεν, είδε πολύν λαόν, επλαγχνίσθη αυτούς και εθεράπευσεν όλους όσοι ήσαν άρωστοι. Αργά δε το απόγευμα προσήλθαν οι μαθηταί και του είπαν ο τόπος είναι έρημος και η ώρα έχει περάσει διέλυσε τα πλήθη, ώστε να πάνε εις τα γύρω χωριά και να αγοράσουν δια τον εαυτόν τους τροφάς. Ο δε Ιησούς τους είπεν δεν έχουν ανάγκην να πάνε δώστε τους σεις να φάγουν. (Και είπε τούτο, δια να δώση ευκαιρίαν στους μαθητάς να δείξουν την αγάπην των, αλλά και δια να τους προπαρασκευάση ψυχολογικώς δια το θαύμα). Εκείνοι δε του είπαν εδώ δεν έχομεν παρά μόνον πέντε άρτους και δύο ψάρια. Ο δε Ιησούς είπε φέρετέ τα εδώ εις εμέ. Και αφού συνέστησε εις τα πλήθη να καθήσουν επάνω εις τα χόρτα, επήρε τους πέντε άρτους και τα δύο ψάρια, εσήκωσε τα μάτια στον ουρανόν, δια να ευχαριστήση τον ουράνιον Πατέρα, ευλόγησε, έκοψε τους άρτους εις κομμάτια και τα έδωσε στους μαθητάς και οι μαθηταί στους όχλους. Εφαγαν δε όλοι και εχόρτασαν και εμάζευσαν ο,τι επερίσσευσεν από τα κομμάτια, δώδεκα κοφίνια γεμάτα. Εκείνοι δε που έφαγαν ήσαν πέντε περίπου χιλιάδες, εκτός από τας γυναίκας και τα παιδιά. Και αμέσως ο Ιησούς ηνάγκασε τους μαθητάς να εισέλθουν στο πλοίον και να πάνε προ αυτού στο απέναντι μέρος, μέχρις ότου αυτός απολύση τα πλήθη του λαού. (Τούτο δε το έκαμε δια να μη παρασυρθούν και οι μαθηταί από τον άκριτον ενθουσιασμόν των ανθρώπων αυτών, που ήθελαν να τον ανακηρύξουν βασιλέα). The Gospel of Matthew 14:14-22 At that time, Jesus saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 5

6 Συμβολον Της Πίστεως Πιστεύω εἰς ἕνα Θεόν, Πατέρα, Παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων. Καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί, δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο. Τὸν δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα. Σταυρωθέντα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, καὶ παθόντα καὶ ταφέντα. Καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρα κατὰ τὰς Γραφάς. Καὶ ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ καθεζόμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ Πατρός. Καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος. Καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, τὸ Κύριον, τὸ ζωοποιόν, τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, τὸ σὺν Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον, τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν. Εἰς μίαν, Ἁγίαν, Καθολικὴν καὶ Ἀποστολικὴν Ἐκκλησίαν. Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν. Προσδοκῶ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν. Καὶ ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος. Ἀμήν. The Nicene Creed I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not created, of one essence with the Father through Whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And He rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets. In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen. Κυριακή Προσευχή Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου. Ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου. Γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον. Καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν. Καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ρῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ. The Lord s Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ΕΥΧΕΣ ΠΡΟ ΤΗΣ ΘΕΙΑΣ ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑΣ Πιστεύω, Κύριε, και ομολογώ ότι συ ει αληθώς ο Χριστός, ο Υιός του Θεού του ζώντος, ο ελθών εις τον κόσμον αμαρτωλούς σώσαι, ων πρώτος ειμί εγώ. Έτι πιστεύω, ότι τούτο αυτό εστί το αχράντον Σώμα σου και τούτο αυτό εστί το τίμιον Αίμα σου. Δέομαι ουν σου, ελέησόν με και συγχώρησον μοι τα παραπτώματά μου, τα εκούσια και τα ακούσια, τα εν λόγω, τα εν έργω, τα εν γνώσει και αγνοία, και αξίωσόν με ακατακρίτως μετασχείν των αχράντων σου μυστηρίων, εις άφεσιν αμαρτιών, και εις ζωήν αιώνιον. Αμήν. Ιδού βαδίζω προς Θείαν Κοινωνίαν, Πλαστουργέ, μη φλέξης με τη μετουσία, Πυρ γαρ υπάρχεις τους αναξίους φλέγον. Αλλ ουν κάθαρον εκ πάσης με κηλίδος. Του Δείπνου σου του μυστικού, σήμερον, Υιέ Θεού, κοινωνόν με παράλαβε, ου μη γαρ τοις εχθροίς σου το 6

7 μυστήριον είπω, ου φίλημα σοι δώσω, καθάπερ ο Ιούδας, αλλ ως ο Ληστής ομολογώ σοι. Μνήσθητι μου Κύριε, εν τη βασιλεία σου. Θεουργόν Αίμα φρίξον, άνθρωπε βλέπων, Άνθραξ γαρ εστί τους αναξίους φλέγων, Θεού το Σώμα, και θεοί με, και τρέφει, Θεοί το πνεύμα, τον δε νουν τρέφει ξένως. Έθελξας πόθω με Χριστέ, και ηλλοίωσας τω θείω έρωτι, αλλά κατάφλεξον πυρί αϋλω τας αμαρτίας μου, και εμπλησθήναι της εν σοι τρυφής καταξίωσον, ίνα τας δύο σκιρτών μεγαλύνω, Αγαθέ, παρουσίας σου. Εν ταις λαμπρότησι των αγίων σου, πως εισελεύσομαι ο ανάξιος; Εάν γαρ τολμήσω συνεισελθείν εις τον νυμφώνα, ο χιτών με ελέγχει. Ότι ουκ έστι του γάμου, και δέσμιος εκβαλούμαι υπό των Αγγέλων, καθάρισον, Κύριε, τον ρύπον της ψυχής μου, και σώσον με, ως φιλάνθρωπος. Δέσποτα φιλάνθρωπε, Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, ο Θεός μου, μη εις κρίμα μοι γένοιτο τα Άγια ταύτα, δια το ανάξιον είναι με, αλλ εις κάθαρσιν και αγιασμόν ψυχής τε και σώματος, και εις αρραβώνα μελλούσης ζωής και βασιλείας. Εμοί δε το προσκολλάσθαι τω Θεώ αγαθόν εστί, τίθεσθαι εν τω Κυρίω την ελπίδα της σωτηρίας μου. Του Δείπνου σου του μυστικού, σήμερον, Υιέ Θεού, κοινωνόν με παράλαβε, ου μη γαρ τοις εχθροίς σου το μυστήριον είπω, ου φίλημα σοι δώσω, καθάπερ ο Ιούδας, αλλ ως ο Ληστής ομολογώ σοι. Μνήσθητι μου Κύριε, εν τη βασιλεία σου. PRAYERS BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION I believe, Lord, and I confess, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Moreover, I believe that this is Your immaculate Body, and that this is Your precious Blood. Wherefore, I pray to You: have mercy on me, and forgive me my transgressions, those voluntary and involuntary, those in word, those in deed, those in knowledge and those in ignorance; and make me worthy to partake of Your immaculate Mysteries without condemnation, for the remission of sins and life everlasting. Amen. Behold, I approach for divine Communion; Creator, burn me not as I partake; For You are Fire, which burns the unworthy. But, rather, cleanse me from every impurity. Of Your Mystical Supper, Son of God, receive me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Your enemies; nor will I give You a kiss, as did Judas, but like the thief I confess You: Remember me, Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom! Be awe-stricken, O man, beholding the deifying Blood; For it is a lighted Coal that burns the unworthy. The divine Body both deifies and nourishes me; It deifies the spirit, and wondrously nourishes the mind. You have smitten me with yearning, O Christ, and by Your divine zeal You have changed me; but burn away my sins with immaterial Fire, and make me worthy to be filled with delight in You; that, leaping for joy, O good One, I may magnify Your two comings. Into the brilliant company of Your saints, how shall I the unworthy enter? For if I dare to enter into the bridal chamber, my garment betrays me, for it is not a wedding garment, and I shall be bound and cast out by the Angels; Lord, cleanse my soul of pollution, and save me, for You love mankind. Master, Who loves mankind, Lord Jesus Christ my God, do not let these Holy Things be to me for judgment because of my unworthiness, but rather may they be for the purification and sanctification of soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and Kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cleave to God, to put my hope of salvation in the Lord. Of Your Mystical Supper, Son of God, receive me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Your enemies; nor will I give You a kiss, as did Judas, but like the thief I confess You: Remember me, Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom! Remember me, Master, when You come into Your Kingdom! Remember me, Holy One, when You come into Your Kingdom! 7

8 PRAYER LIST If you would like us to remember you or your loved one in our prayers, please contact the church office. Constantine, Andreas, Pavlos, Elena, Elaine, Presbytera Flora, Louis, Fr. Peter, Kathy, Kalliope, Chris, John, Georgia, Dean, Bill, Sylvia, Zenon, Danielle, Delores, Demetrios, Maria and Harry. PRAYER FOR A SICK PERSON Heavenly Father, physician of our souls and bodies, who have sent Your only-begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ to heal every sickness and infirmity, visit and heal me Your servant from all physical and spiritual ailments through the grace of Your Christ. Grant me patience in this sickness, strength of body and spirit, and recovery of health. Lord, You have taught us through Your word to pray for each other that we may be healed. I pray that You heal me as Your servant and grant me the gift of complete health. For You are the source of healing and to You I give glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. MEMORIALS Mr. Georgios E. Kartsakalis, beloved husband of Eleni Kartsakalis. Loving father of Angelo (Khristina) and Gus Kartsakalis. Adored grandfather of Alexandra, Nikos and Philippas Kartsakalis. Devoted brother of Dimitrios and Athanasios Kartsakalis. Mr. Nicholas Stamos, beloved husband of Yvonne Stamos. Loving father of Ted (Lily), John (Nora), Maria Papagika, Bill (Stephanie) and the late Peter N. Stamos. Adored grandfather of Dena, Niko, Maria, Jennifer, Nicholas, Anthony and Daniel. Mr. Peter Stamos, beloved son of Mrs. Yvonne Stamos and the late Mr. Nicholas Stamos. Loving brother of Ted (Lily), John (Nora), Maria Papagika and Bill (Stephanie). Adored uncle of many nieces and nephews. Mr. Demetrios Zibragos, beloved husband of Anastasia Zibragos. Loving father of John (Tina) Zibragos, George (Dawn) Zibragos and Bobby Zibragos. Adored grandfather of Jamie, Justin, Jonathon, Kyle and Joseph, Zachary and Brandon. Cherished great grandfather of Christian. May his memory be eternal. Today s coffee hour is offered in memory of Mr. George Kartsakalis, Mr. Nicholas Stamos, Mr. Peter Stamos and Mr. Zibragos with love from their families. May their memory be eternal! 8

9 COMING SOON: The Raising of the Dome to our New Spiritual Home. Stay Tuned More Information to Come!! FESTIVAL VOLUNTEERS: Calling on all ladies and gentlemen of our beloved community of Saints Constantine and Helen! This year's fall festival is fast approaching and your baking skills are needed! Yes guys, you too! The fall festival committee is calling on all bakers and non bakers to get ready to bake! Don't know what to bake?? No problem. Please reach out to Mrs. Harriet Maroules at and or Mrs. Nina Alexiou at They are experts at baking and will be able to help you to help the church!" Save The Date: Taverna Night -"Nikos Nite" on Sunday, October 18, More information to follow. Please mark your calendars! Communion Wine: If you are interested in purchasing Commandaria Wine only for the church, please contact the church office at (240) for more information. To keep things consistent we use Commandaria wine for Holy Communion. We appreciate your expression of love for Him in providing us with this particular wine. May God continue to bless you always! Confession: Father Michael is available for confession at your convenience. Please call on his cell phone at (301) or for an appointment. Philoptochos News: There is a collection box in the back of the hall for The Montgomery County Family Center. We are collecting non-perishable items. Please place your donations in the box in the back of the church hall. Thank you for your support for those in need!!! 9

10 GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA 8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY Tel: (212) Fax: (212) Protocol Number 01/15 January 1, 2015 Feast of Saint Basil and New Year Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14) To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this blessed Feast of Saint Basil and the beginning of the New Year, our honored tradition is to offer prayers and support for the sacred ministry of our beloved Saint Basil Academy. For seventy years this institution of our Holy Archdiocese has offered the love of Christ, the comfort of His presence, and the healing power of faith to children, youth, and families in need. Serving Orthodox children from throughout the United States, Saint Basil Academy continues to provide a caring and spiritual environment where they are able to grow, learn, and achieve. This vital mission of Saint Basil Academy, carried out by the directors, staff, trustees and benefactors, is in keeping with our Lord s command to let the children come to me. This is accomplished through this ministry by bringing the love of Christ to those in need. Everything that is offered for the children and youth at Saint Basil s is offered in the name and presence of Christ. In daily care, in counseling and teaching, in recreation, and in worship, the students encounter Christ and His abundant and comforting love. Saint Basil Academy is also a place where the lives of the children and youth are guided in Christ. On the beautiful campus, in a nurturing environment of prayer and grace, they are led in the path of truth and love. They are shown the blessings of the life in Christ, how to follow His will and to find strength and assurance in His promises. They see the hope, joy, and power in a life of faith and a lifelong relationship with Him. This sacred work was also the focus of the patron saint of the Academy, Saint Basil. For the sick, orphans, travelers, and many others in need, he offered an encounter with Christ by taking His love to them. For others he guided them in truth and love through teaching and preaching, as a faithful and caring pastor, to their Savior and Redeemer. This is also our calling today. In our support for Saint Basil Academy, we are led by our Ladies Philoptochos Society and our local Philoptochos chapters in collecting an offering and in the celebration of the cutting of the Vasilopeta. We are also led by Christ and by the example of Saint Basil to fulfill the command of our Lord and let the children come to me. In your ministry in the parish and in your daily life in Christ, you are called to offer Him and guide others to an encounter with the Lord that will lead to abundant and eternal life. On this day may we offer our prayers and generous support for Saint Basil Academy. May we strengthen this vital work to children and youth in fulfilling the request of our Lord and in honoring the legacy of all who have established and supported this ministry in the past seventy years. May you also receive the abundant and rich blessings of our Lord at the beginning of this new year as we offer Him glory and honor unto the ages of ages! With paternal love in Christ, DEMETRIOS Archbishop of America GREEK LANGUAGE SCHOOL MINISTRY 10

11 The More You Know Visitation Fr. Michael invites himself to visit with you in the comfort and convenience of your own home, To have you share your journey of the past here in our community, To have Father Michael share with your entire family the Nea Zoe/New Life Building Ministry to date and to understand the path that has brought us to where we are, To share opportunities of decorating God s Holy Temple with Iconography and artifacts, To offer opportunities for your family to help further the completion of this holy calling from God. My dearest brothers and sisters, I was told that many of you are asking about pricing. First of all these are not products that we buy. These are opportunities to externally and physically manifest your love for God and to honor/memorialize a loved one. I do not want to reduce such a holy, personal and precious moment in your life by advertising prices for these HOLY things as they do in the marketplace for common goods. The iconography, artifacts and Building Components are all adorning God's Holy Temple. If you are interested in donating an icon, church furniture or part of our building, please call Fr. Michael for a private appointment to discuss and explore the many possibilities of expressing your love. Fr. Michael on his cell phone or Fr. Michael: to set-up a home visit. May God continue to bless you and His church community of Saints Constantine and Helen of Washington, DC 11

12 Sickness and Pain are a Gift of God: St. Panteleimon Comes to the Aid of Monk Daniel In the Kalyva of Saint Chrysostomos of the Skete of Koutloumousiou of the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon on Mount Athos, there lived years ago Monk Daniel who for 20 years was sick and had headaches and backaches, kidney and heart problems, leg problems and pain sometimes throughout his entire body. Many times he travelled to doctors and received numerous X-ray examinations and radiographies, but the outcome was always the same. The doctors could not find any physical explanation for his sickness. Yet Monk Daniel continued to suffer his sicknesses and there was not a physician or scientist to be found that could help him. One 27th of July, during the vigil of Saint Panteleimon, brother Daniel prayed with tears in his eyes and pleaded with Saint Panteleimon saying: "Saint of God and protector of our Skete, you who are a physician and for the love of Christ was martyred and spilled your blood, show your love and plead to the Master Christ to grant me health, so that with health I could glorify His name and psalmodize during the vigils." Having said this, Monk Daniel grew a bit tired and took some sleep. He then in a vision saw Saint Panteleimon kneeling before the throne of God pleading for the health of Daniel. Monk Daniel heard the Master Christ say to Saint Panteleimon: "My brother Great-Martyr Panteleimon, do you think you are more compassionate than me? Do you think you love humanity more than me? I understand that out of love for me you spilled your blood, but did I not also spill mine and daily spill my blood for the salvation of people's souls? Learn that it is my will in which it happens many times for the body to suffer in order for the soul to be saved. This is how I want many people to be saved." When brother Daniel heard this he awoke and glorified the name of God, thanked Saint Panteleimon for his effort and mediation, and immediately, as the same monk related, a great burden was lifted off of him and related that we must endure with patience, joy and thanksgiving the cross and situation of our sicknesses. Through the prayers of the Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen! 12

13 Άγιος Παντελεήμων ο Μεγαλομάρτυς και Ιαματικός Ημερομηνία εορτής: 27/07/2015 Τύπος εορτής: Σταθερή. Εορτάζει στις 27 Ιουλίου εκάστου έτους. Άγιοι που εορτάζουν: Αγιος Παντελεημων Ο Μεγαλομαρτυς Και Ιαματικος (; - 305) Γαλακτόμικτον, Μάρτυς, αἷμα σῆς κάρας, Δι' ἣν ὑδατόμικτον ὁ Χριστὸς χέει. Φάσγανον ἑβδομάτῃ λάχεν εἰκάδι Παντελεήμων. Βιογραφία: Ο Άγιος Παντελεήμων (Παντελέων το πρότερον όνομα) καταγόταν από τη Νικομήδεια της Μικράς Ασίας και έζησε στα χρόνια του Μαξιμιανού ( μ.χ.). Πατέρας του ήταν ο Ευστόργιος, ο οποίος ήταν εθνικός και μετά τις νουθεσίες του γιου του έγινε χριστιανός. Μητέρα του ήταν η Ευβούλη, η οποία προερχόταν από χριστιανική οικογένεια (βλέπε 30 Μαρτίου). Εκπαιδεύτηκε στην ιατρική από τον Ευφρόσυνο και κατηχήθηκε στη χριστιανική πίστη και βαπτίσθηκε από τον πρεσβύτερο Ερμόλαο (βλέπε 26 Ιουλίου) που ήταν ιερέας της Εκκλησίας της Νικομήδειας. Κάποια στιγμή όταν οχιά δάγκωσε έναν νεαρό και ουσιαστικά τον θανάτωσε ο Άγιος Παντελεήμονας επικαλούμενος τον Χριστό τον ανάστησε. Αφορμή του μαρτυρίου του στάθηκε ένα ακόμα θαύμα του Αγίου. Κάποτε είχε θεραπεύσει έναν τυφλό, ο οποίος και ανέφερε το γεγονός της θεραπείας του στον βασιλιά, λέγοντάς του ότι τον θεράπευσε ο Παντελέων στο όνομα του Χριστού, στον οποίο και ο ίδιος πλέον πίστευε. Ο βασιλιάς αφού τον άκουσε, αμέσως διέταξε και τον αποκεφάλισαν. Ο ίδιος ο Παντελέων προσήχθη στον βασιλιά, ο οποίος διέταξε τον βασανισμό του με σκοπό την άρνηση της πίστεώς του. Ο Άγιος βασανίσθηκε σκληρά με διάφορους τρόπους, όμως δεν υπέκυψε στις πιέσεις αφού ο Κύριος εμφανίσθηκε μπροστά του με τη μορφή του πνευματικού του Ερμόλαου και του έδωσε θάρρος. Τέλος διατάχθηκε ο αποκεφαλισμός του και τότε ακούστηκε φωνή από τον ουρανό που τον καλούσε όχι ως Παντελέοντα αλλά ως Παντελεήμονα. Μόλις όμως ο δήμιος άπλωσε το χέρι του για να κόψει με το σπαθί του το κεφάλι του Αγίου, το σπαθί λύγισε και το σίδερο έλιωσε σαν κερί. Μπροστά σε τέτοιο θαύμα και οι παραβρισκόμενοι στρατιώτες έγιναν χριστιανοί. Τότε ο Άγιος εκουσίως παραδόθηκε στο μαρτύριο. Λέγεται ότι από τη πληγή του δεν έτρεξε αίμα αλλά γάλα και το δέντρο της ελιάς, στο οποίο τον είχαν δέσει καρποφόρησε ξαφνικά. Ἀπολυτίκιον (Κατέβασμα) Ἦχος γ.: Ἀθλοφόρε Ἅγιε, καὶ ἰαματικὲ Παντελεῆμον, πρέσβευε τῷ ἐλεήμονι Θεῷ, ἵνα πταισμάτων ἄφεσιν, παράσχῃ ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἡμῶν. Κοντάκιον Ἦχος πλ. α.: Μιμητὴς ὑπάρχων τοῦ ἐλεήμονος, καὶ ἰαμάτων τὴν χάριν παρ αὐτοῦ κομισάμενος, ἀθλοφόρε καὶ Μάρτυς Χριστοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ταῖς εὐχαῖς σου τὰς ψυχικὰς ἡμῶν νόσους θεράπευσον, ἀπελαύνων τοῦ ἀεί, πολεμίου τὰ σκάνδαλα, ἐκ τῶν βοώντων ἀπαύστως Σῶσον ἡμᾶς Κύριε. Κάθισμα Ἦχος πλ. δ'. Τὴν Σοφίαν καὶ Λόγον.: Μαρτυρήσας γενναίως ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, καὶ τὴν πίστιν κηρύξας τῷ σῷ πατρί, ἀνείλκυσας πανεύφημε, τοῦ βυθοῦ τῆς ἀγνοίας, καὶ τυράννων μὴ πτήξας, τὸ ἄθεον φρόνημα, τῶν δαιμόνων κατῄσχυνας, τὸ ἀνίσχυρον θράσος ὅθεν καὶ τὴν χάριν, ἐκ Θεοῦ ἐκομίσω, ἰᾶσθαι νοσήματα, τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ τοῦ σώματος, Παντελεῆμον πανεύφημε. Πρέσβευε Χριστῷ τῷ Θεῷ, τῶν πταισμάτων ἄφεσιν δωρήσασθαι, τοῖς ἑορτάζουσι πόθῳ, τὴν ἁγίαν μνήμην σου. Ὁ Οἶκος: Τοῦ Ἀναργύρου τὴν μνήμην, τοῦ γενναίου τὴν ἄθλησιν, τοῦ πιστοῦ τὰς ἰατρείας, εὐσεβῶς ὑμνήσωμεν φιλόχριστοι, ἵνα λάβωμεν ἔλεος, μάλιστα οἱ βορβορώσαντες, ὡς κἀγώ, τοὺς ἑαυτῶν ναούς ψυχῶν γὰρ καὶ σωμάτων ὁμοῦ τὴν θεραπείαν περέχει. Σπουδάσωμεν οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν ἔχειν τοῦτον ἀσφαλῶς, τόν ῥυόμενον ἐκ πλάνης τοὺς βοῶντας ἀπαύστως Σῶσον ἡμᾶς Κύριε. Μεγαλυνάριον: Ῥεῖθρα ἰαμάτων ὡς ἐκ πηγῆς, χάριτι θαυμάτων, βρύει χρῄζουσι δωρεάν, ὁ Παντελεήμων, ὁ πάνσοφος ἀκέστωρ οἱ ῥώσεως διψῶντες δεῦτε ἀρύσασθε σε. 13

14 Healer of the Broken By Robin Dugall You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17 A lot of people don t know or have never been introduced to the God that the Bible talks about. In other words, there are many misconceptions about who God is. On the other hand, it has always been my belief that once a person gets an accurate and full picture of who God is, they will yield their lives to Him. You see, God is a God who inspires us to worship and serve. One of the snapshots of God that means the most to me and many others is that the God we worship and serve is a Healer of the broken. Brokenness is something that we all have experienced in life. That s why we need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is the Healer of broken hearts, lives, emotions and people. In fact, sometimes it is God Himself who leads us to brokenness. Sooner or later, every person who wants to seriously follow Jesus must face the fact that God is going to have to allow something to break you so that you will let go of the stubborn vice grip you have on your own heart and life. In order for God to guide you the way He wants, you re going to have to be broken. You are going to have to be broken from self-reliance in order for God to heal and restore you to the place where your trust and reliance is on Him. Brokenness is God s way of moving you into a new identity and a new life. Because God is the Healer of the broken, you can trust Him to put you back together when you ll never be able to put yourself together on your own. GOING DEEPER: 1. How much of your life do you withhold or even withdraw from God s hand? How much of your life or your plans do you dare not relinquish to God? 2. How deeply are you broken? In what aspect of you life does God need to break you more? FURTHER READING: Psalm 51; Luke 14:25-35; Galatians 5:

15 Αγία Ειρήνη Χρυσοβαλάντου: ο βίος της- τα μήλα του Παραδείσου-βίντεο για παιδιά Στις 28 Ιουλίου η αγία Εκκλησία μας τιμά τη «μνήμη της οσίας Μητρός ημών Ειρήνης της εκ Καππαδοκίας, ασκησάσης εν τη Μονή Χρυσοβαλάντου». Βίος Αγίας Ειρήνης Χρυσοβαλάντου: Η οσία Ειρήνη έζησε κατά τον 9ο και 10ο αιώνα και η νεότητά της συνδέεται με τη βασιλική αυλή του αυτοκράτορα του Βυζαντίου, την περίοδο πού είχε λήξει η εικονομαχία και αναστηλωθεί οι ιερές εικόνες μετά το θρίαμβο της Ορθοδοξίας (843). Ο Φιλάρετος, που ήταν ευνοούμενος και αφοσιωμένος στρατηγός στο Θεόφιλο και τη Θεοδώρα (η οποία ανέλαβε το βασιλικό θρόνο μέχρι την ενηλικίωση του γιού της), είχε στην Καππαδοκία δύο κόρες, την Καλλίνικη και την Ειρήνη. Μετά τον πρόωρο θάνατο της γυναίκας του Ζωής, την επιμέλεια της ανατροφής τους είχε αναλάβει η αδελφή του και θεία τους Σοφία, πού αφοσιώθηκε στο έργο αυτό με όλη την ψυχή της. Στο μοναστήρι Χρυσοβαλάντου: Καθώς πήγαινε στην Κωνσταντινούπολη για να είναι μία από τις υποψήφιες νύφες του αυτοκράτορα, επισκέφτηκε έναν άγιο άνθρωπο τον Ιωαννίκιο. Οποίος την αποκάλεσε με το όνομα της και την προέτρεψε να μην πάει στην Κωνσταντινούπολη αλλά να πάει στη Μονή Χρυσοβαλάντου που την χρειάζεται. Ακολουθώντας την πρόρρηση του Γέροντος Ιωαννικίου δεν άργησε να πορευθεί προς τη Μονή. Η ηγουμένη τη δέχθηκε με καλοσύνη και αγάπη και την έθεσε κάτω από τη δική τηςπνευματική επίβλεψη. Η Ειρήνη, παρά την ευγενική καταγωγή της, έχοντας τη χάρη του Θεού, με προθυμία επιδόθηκε και στα πιο ταπεινά και δύσκολα διακονήματα και σύντομα ο αγώνας της καρποφόρησε. Αναδεικνύεται ηγουμένη με τρόπο θαυμαστό: Ύστερα από μερικά χρόνια αρρώστησε η ηγουμένη. Επιθυμία της Γερόντισσας ήταν να γίνει ηγουμένη η Ειρήνη. Όταν είπε στις μοναχές την επιθυμία της, η Ειρήνη δεν ήταν παρούσα. Εκείνες μάλιστα δεν της ανέφεραν τίποτε σχετικό, επειδή φοβήθηκαν μήπως από τη μεγάλη ταπεινοφροσύνη της φύγει από το μοναστήρι, για να μη γίνει ηγουμένη. Οι ηλικιωμένες μοναχές πρότειναν να πάνε όλες μαζί στον Πατριάρχη, στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, για να επιλέξει αυτός οποία τον φωτίσει ο Θεός. Φτάνοντας στον Πατριάρχη τους είπε: «Εγώ γνωρίζω ότι όλες σας θέλετε την τιμία και σεμνοτάτη Ειρήνη και η απόφασή σας είναι καλή και θεάρεστη. Ας είναι δοξασμένος ο Κύριος πού μου φανέρωσε την αρετή αυτής της δούλης του». Έτσι όρισε την Ειρήνη ηγουμένη της Μονής. Καθοδηγεί τις μοναχές με σύνεση και σοφία: Ως ηγουμένη η Ειρήνη συνέχισε και επέτεινε τους πνευματικούς της αγώνες, συναισθανόμενη την ευθύνη του διακονήματος πού έθεσε στους ώμους της ο Ιησούς Χριστός. Προσευχόταν και νήστευε ακόμα περισσότερο. Ήταν τόση η επιθυμία της να σωθούν όλες οι μοναχές, πού τόλμησε από αγάπη υπέρμετρη και όχι εγωισμό να ζητήσει από τονκύριο να της χορηγήσει το προορατικό χάρισμα, για να γνωρίζει «τα απόκρυφα πταίσματα πασών των αδελφών διά να τάς διορθώνη, να μη κολάζωνται». Και ο δωρεοδότης Ιησούς Χριστός, βλέποντας ότι ο σκοπός της ήταν καλός, της έστειλε άγγελο πού της αποκάλυψε ότι προστάχθηκε από τον Κύριο να στέκεται πάντοτε πλησίον της και να της φανερώνει κάθε μέρα τα απόκρυφα παραπτώματα όχι μόνο των μοναχών αλλά και των προσκυνητών της Μονής. Ο διάβολος τη φθονεί: Η φήμη του προορατικού της χαρίσματος δεν άργησε να διαδοθεί και να φτάσει μέχρι την Κωνσταντινούπολη, με αποτέλεσμα πολλοί χριστιανοί να σπεύδουν στο μοναστήρι για να δούν το σεβάσμιο πρόσωπο της και να ακούσουν «λόγον ἀγαθόν». Παρά ταύτα εκείνη δεν μείωσε καθόλου τον πνευματικό της αγώνα για την προσωπική τελείωσή της, γεγονός πού ενοχλούσε τον μισόκαλο δαίμονα, πού δοκίμασε άλλη μια 15

16 φορά να την εμποδίσει από την ολονύχτια προσευχή της. Έτσι λοιπόν ένα βράδυ, καθώς εκείνη προσευχόταν με κατάνυξη, ένας δαίμονας άναψε κερί από το καντήλι και έβαλε φωτιά στο κουκούλι της Ειρήνης. Η φλόγα άρχισε να καίει κατόπιν τα μαλλιά, το φόρεμα και τις σάρκες της αγίας Ειρήνης, η οποία ακίνητη, ενώ καιγόταν, συνέχιζε την προσευχή της. Και θα είχε καεί ζωντανή, αν μία αδελφή από διπλανό κελί δεν οσμιζόταν καμένη σάρκα και δεν έτρεχε να σβήσει με νερό τη φωτιά! Η ηγουμένη την επέπληξε λέγοντάς της, όπως αναφέρει ο Συναξαριστής: «Γιατί μού προξένησες, παιδί μου, τόσο κακό και μού στέρησες τέτοια αγαθά; Δεν πρέπει να φρονούμε τα των ανθρώπων αλλά τα του Θεού. Λίγο πριν μπροστά μου έβλεπα έναν άγγελο πού έπλεκε για μένα στεφάνι κι όταν άπλωνε το χέρι του για να με στεφανώσει, ήρθες εσύ και από ευγνωμοσύνη προκάλεσες χειρότερα της αγνωμοσύνης. Βλέποντάς σε ο άγγελος έφυγε και μού έδωσες λύπη και απερίγραπτη ζημία». Από το μισοκαμμένο σώμα της έβγαινε ευωδία πού νικούσε όλα τα μύρα και τα πολύτιμα αρώματα, ενώ ο Ιησούς, ο ιατρός των ψυχών και των σωμάτων, γιάτρεψε τα μέλη της πού είχαν εγκαύματα, αυξάνοντας της και το προορατικό χάρισμα. Τα κυπαρίσσια λυγίζουν τις κορυφές τους: Πολλές φορές προσευχόταν ολόκληρο ημερονύκτιο. Άλλοτε επί δύο ή τρεις ημέρες και καμιά φορά ολόκληρη εβδομάδα, πάντοτε με υψωμένα τα χέρια της. Τη Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή έως το Πάσχα δεν έτρωγε ψωμί, παρά μόνο λίγα φρούτα και λαχανικά και έπινε ελάχιστο νερό. Από την αυστηρή αυτή νηστεία είχε γίνει λιπόσαρκη. Όταν ο καιρός το επέτρεπε έβγαινε τα μεσάνυχτα στον αύλειο χώρο της Μονής και προσευχόταν με κατάνυξη, υψώνοντας το βλέμμα της στο κάλλος του ουρανού. Γράφει ο Συναξαριστής της: «Κατά θεία οικονομία, για να μη μείνει άγνωστη μια μεγάλη θαυματουργία, πού έγινε αρκετές φορές στο προαύλιο, έτυχε και βγήκε ήσυχα ένα βράδυ κάποια αδελφή από το κελί της. Και βλέπει την αγία πού προσευχόταν, χωρίς να εγγίζουν τη γη τα πόδια της. Αλλά στεκόταν στον αέρα, δύο πήχεις επάνω. Και κοντά της ήταν δύο κυπαρίσσια πολύ υψηλά. Τα οποία έγερναν τις κορυφές τους μέχρι το χώμα και παρέμεναν έτσι (ώ του εξαισίου θαύματος!) όση ώρα η αγία προσευχόταν. Και όταν τελείωσε, πήγε και στα δύο και αγγίζοντας τις κορυφές τους τα ευλόγησε στο σχήμα του σταυρού και τότε υψώθηκαν κι αυτά και επανήλθαν στην κανονική τους θέση». Η αδελφή νομίζοντας ότι όσα έβλεπε ήταν καρπός της φαντασίας της δεν είπε σε καμία μοναχή τίποτε. Μετά όμως από κάποιες ημέρες είδαν όλες τους στις κορυφές εκείνων των κυπαρισσιών δύο μαντήλια, πού είχε κρεμάσει η αγία Ειρήνη «εις δόξαν Θεού». Στην απορία των αδελφών πώς βρέθηκαν εκεί, η μοναχή πού είχε προσωπική γνώση του πράγματος διηγήθηκε σε όλες τι συνέβαινε κι εκείνες τηςπαραπονέθηκαν γιατί δεν τις ξύπνησε να ιδούν «τοιούτον εξαίσιον θέαμα». Όταν η αγία Ειρήνη πληροφορήθηκε την πράξη της μοναχής αυτής την επέπληξε με αγάπη λέγοντάς της: Αν με έβλεπες να αμαρτάνω ως άνθρωπος, θα φανέρωνες και την αμαρτία μου; Ζήτησε δε από όλες τις αδελφές να μη φανερώνουν σε κανέναν, ενόσω εκείνη ζει, τα τυχόν θαυμάσια πού βλέπουν. Γιατί στη μνήμη της Οσίας Ειρήνης της Χρυσοβαλάντου ευλογούνται τα μήλα: Κάποια χρονιά, ξημερώνοντας ἡ γιορτὴ τοῦ μεγάλου Βασιλείου καὶ μετὰ τὴν τέλεση τοῦ ἑσπερινοῦ, ἡ ἁγία ξαγρυπνοῦσε προσευχόμενη. Πλησίαζε ἡ ὥρα τοῦ ὄρθρου καὶ τότε ἡ Εἰρήνη ἀκούει κάποια φωνὴ νὰ τῆς λέει: «Ὑποδέξου τὸ ναυτικὸ ποὺ σοῦ φέρνει τὰ ἑσπεριδοειδῆ καὶ φάε νὰ εὐφρανθεῖ ἡ ψυχή σου». Πράγματι, ἡ ὁσία Ἡγουμένη τοῦ Χρυσοβαλάντου συνάντησε τὸν ἄνθρωπο καὶ τὸν ἀκούει νὰ τῆς ἐξιστορεῖ τὴν ἑξῆς θαυμάσια ἱστορία: Ἦταν ναυτικός, πλοιοκτήτης ἑνὸς καραβιοῦ, ἀπὸ τὴν ἱερὴ Πάτμο. Ἀπέπλευσε μὲ τὸ πλοῖο του ἀπὸ τὸ βόρειο τμῆμα τοῦ νησιοῦ γιὰ τὴν Πόλη καὶ βρισκόταν λίγα μέτρα ἀπὸ τὴ στεριά, ὅταν βλέπει ἐκεῖνος καὶ οἱ ναῦτες κάποιον σεβάσμιο γέροντα νὰ τοὺς φωνάζει νὰ σταματήσουν. Αὐτὸ ὅμως ἦταν ἀδύνατο, καθὼς ὁ ἰσχυρὸς ἄνεμος ἔσπρωχνε τὸ πλοῖο στὸ ἀνοιχτὸ πέλαγος. Τότε ὁ γέροντας φωνάζει μὲ ὅλη τὴ δύναμή του καὶ προστάζει τὸ πλοῖο νὰ σταματήσει. Τὸ καράβι ἀκινητοποιεῖται καὶ ὁ ἴδιος ἀρχίζει νὰ βαδίζει πάνω στὰ ὕδατα. Μπροστὰ στοὺς κατάπληκτους ναῦτες, ἐπιβιβάζεται στὸ πλοῖο καὶ δίνει στὸν καπετάνιο τρία μῆλα καὶ τοῦ λέει: «Ὅταν πᾶς στὴ Βασιλεύουσα, δῶσε τα στὸν Πατριάρχη καὶ πές του πὼς τοῦ τὰ στέλνει ὁ Πανάγαθος Θεὸς μὲ τὸν δοῦλο Του 16

17 Ἰωάννη, ἀπὸ τὸν Παράδεισο». Ἔπειτα δίνει στὸ ναύκληρο ἄλλα τρία μῆλα προσθέτοντας: «Αὐτὰ νὰ τὰ πᾶς της Εἰρήνης, τῆς Ἡγουμένης τοῦ Χρυσοβαλάντου καὶ νὰ τῆς πεῖς: φάγε ἀπὸ τοὺς καρποὺς τοῦ Παραδείσου ποὺ ἡ ἁγνὴ ψυχή σου ἐπεθύμησε». Λέγοντας αὐτά, ὁ γέροντας εὐλόγησε τὸ πλήρωμα καὶ τὸ πλοῖο ξεκίνησε καὶ πάλι τὸ ταξίδι του, ἐνῶ ὁ ἴδιος ἐξαφανίστηκε. Ὀλοκληρώνοντας τὴ διήγησή του, ὁ ναυτικὸς προσκύνησε τὴν Εἰρήνη καὶ τῆς πρόσφερε τὰ μῆλα. Ἡ ἁγία τὰ δέχτηκε μὲ δάκρυα εὐλάβειας καὶ εὐγνωμοσύνης εὐχαριστώντας τὸν ἅγιο εὐαγγελιστὴ καὶ ἀπόστολο Ἰωάννη. Στὸ κελί της γονάτισε καὶ εὐχαρίστησε τὸν Χριστὸ γιὰ αὐτὸ τὸ δεῖγμα τῆς εὔνοιάς Του πρὸς τὴ δούλη Του. Τὰ μῆλα ἦταν πραγματικὰ παραδεισένια, τόσο ὄμορφα σὲ σχῆμα καὶ χρῶμα ποὺ ὅμοιά τους δὲν ὑπῆρχαν. Ἡ εὐωδιὰ τοὺς πλημμύριζε τὴ μονὴ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφὲς ἀποροῦσαν γιὰ τὸ καινούργιο θαῦμα ποὺ συντελοῦνταν στὸν εὐλογημένο χῶρο. Ἡ ἁγία Εἰρήνη, μὲ τὴν ἔμφυτη εὐφυΐα της καὶ τὴ χάρη τοῦ ἁγίου Πνεύματος, ἐννόησε ὅτι τὸ θεῖο αὐτὸ δῶρο ἦταν οὐράνια πρόσκληση. Ὅταν ἔφτασε ἡ ἁγία καὶ μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή, ἔκοψε τὸ ἕνα μῆλο σὲ λεπτὰ κομματάκια καὶ ἔτρωγε ἕνα κομμάτι κάθε μέρα, ἀπέχοντας ἀπὸ ὁποιαδήποτε ἄλλη τροφή, ἀκόμη καὶ ἀπὸ τὸ νερό. Τὴ Μεγάλη Πέμπτη, ὕστερα ἀπὸ τὴ θεία λειτουργία καὶ ἀφοῦ ὅλες οἱ μοναχὲς κοινώνησαν τῶν Ἀχράντων Μυστηρίων, ἡ Εἰρήνη ἔκοψε καὶ τὸ δεύτερο μῆλο καὶ ἔδωσε σὲ κάθε ἀδελφὴ ἀπὸ ἕνα κομμάτι. Τότε τοὺς ἀποκάλυψε καὶ τὴν ἱστορία τοῦ θείου δώρου καὶ ὅλες μαζὶ δοξολογοῦσαν τὸν Ὕψιστο γιὰ τὰ ἀναρίθμητα χαρίσματα πρὸς τὴν Ἡγουμένη τους. Τὸ τρίτο μῆλο ἡ Εἰρήνη τὸ φύλαξε γιὰ τὶς τελευταῖες μέρες τῆς ἐπίγειας ζωῆς της. Τὴ Μεγάλη Παρασκευή, οἱ ἀδελφὲς ἔψαλαν τὰ ἅγια καὶ σωτήρια Πάθη καὶ ἡ Εἰρήνη, μόνη της μέσα στὸ ἱερὸ βῆμα, γονατισμένη, εἶχε παραδοθεῖ σὲ προσευχή. Τότε εἶδε θαυμάσιο ὅραμα: ἄνοιξε ὁ θόλος τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ πλῆθος ἀγγέλων ἐμφανίστηκαν, οἱ ὁποῖοι ἔψαλλαν δοξαστικοὺς ὕμνους καὶ θυμιάτιζαν τὴν ἁγία Τράπεζα. Ἐμφανίστηκε καὶ ὁ ἴδιος ὁ Χριστός, θριαμβευτὴς μὲ τὸ σταυρὸ στὸν ὦμο. Οἱ ἄγγελοι γονάτισαν νὰ Τὸν χαιρετήσουν, ἐνῶ ἡ λάμψη Τοῦ θάμπωσε τὴν Εἰρήνη, ἡ ὁποία ἀντικρίζοντας Τὸν ἔνιωσε τὸ σκίρτημα τοῦ θείου ἔρωτα καὶ χαμήλωσε τὸ βλέμμα της. Ὅταν δειλὰ ὕψωσε τὰ μάτια της καὶ πάλι, τὸ ὅραμα εἶχε χαθεῖ. Δίπλα της βρισκόταν μόνο ὁ ἄγγελος-ὁδηγός της, ποὺ τόσες φορὲς τὴν εἶχε διακονήσει: «Γίνου ἕτοιμή»της εἶπε ἁπλὰ καὶ ἐκείνη κατάλαβε ὅτι πλησίαζε ἡ ὥρα νὰ διακονεῖ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἀπὸ τὰ οὐράνια. Τὸ σύντομο διάστημα ἀπὸ τὸ οὐράνιο αὐτὸ μήνυμα μέχρι καὶ τὴν ὁσιακή της κοίμηση, ἡ ἁγία προετοίμαζε τὴν ἀκολουθία της γιὰ τὸ μεγάλο γεγονός. Στὸν ἱερὸ ναὸ τὸν Ἀρχαγγέλων τὶς δίδασκε γιὰ τὸ μυστήριο τοῦ θανάτου, τὴ μελλοντικὴ κρίση καὶ τὴν αἰωνιότητα. Μὲ τὸ φωτισμὸ τοῦ ἁγίου Πνεύματος τακτοποίησε τὶς ὑποθέσεις τοῦ μοναστηριοῦ καὶ ὑπέδειξε τὴν ἄξια διάδοχό της. Μιὰ ἑβδομάδα πρὶν τὴ μεγάλη ἡμέρα, νήστεψε τρώγοντας μόνο ἀπὸ τὸ παραδεισένιο μῆλο καὶ καθημερινὰ κοινωνοῦσε τῶν Ἀχράντων Μυστηρίων. Ξημέρωσε τέλος ἡ Κυριακή, ὅπου γιὰ τελευταῖα φορὰ ἡ Εἰρήνη παρακολούθησε τὴ θεία λειτουργία, ἀπάγγειλε τὸ σύμβολο τῆς πίστης μας, κοινώνησε, ἀγκάλιασε τὶς ἀδελφὲς καὶ τοὺς ζήτησε συγγνώμη καὶ τέλος γονάτισε μπροστὰ στὴν Ὡραία Πύλη, ὕψωσε τὰ χέρια της καὶ προσευχήθηκε γιὰ τελευταῖα φορὰ. Ερμηνεία της εικόνας: Στὴν ὀρθόδοξη ἁγιογραφία, ἡ ἁγία ἀπεικονίζεται μὲ τὸ ἔνδυμα τῆς ἡγουμένης, νὰ κρατάει στὸ δεξὶ χέρι της τὰ τρία θεόσταλτα μῆλα. Ὁ ἄγγελος, ὁ ὁποῖος τὴν βοηθοῦσε στὸ δύσκολο ἔργο τῆς σωτηρίας τῶν ψυχῶν, στέκεται μπροστά της κρατώντας εἰλητάριο μὲ τμῆμα τοῦ χαιρετισμοῦ ποὺ τῆς ἀπηύθυνε («Χαῖρε δούλη τοῦ Ὑψίστου, Εἰρήνη»). Εἰλητάριο κρατεῖ καὶ ἡ ἁγία στὸ ἀριστερό της χέρι, τὸ ὁποῖο ἀναγράφει παραινέσεις τῆς ὁσίας (συνήθως, διαβάζεται ἡ φράση: «Φῶς μοναχῶν, ἄγγελοι φῶς κοσμικῶν, μοναχοί»). Δίπλα στὴν ἁγία, ἁγιογραφεῖται τὸ κυπαρίσσι ποὺ λύγιζε, ὅταν ἐκείνη προσευχόταν μὲ δεμένο τὸ λευκὸ πανὶ στὴν κορυφή του, ἐνῶ στὸ βάθος φαίνεται ἡ μονὴ τοῦ Χρυσοβαλάντου. Συχνά, σὲ μιὰ ἀπὸ τὶς θύρες τῆς μονῆς, ἀπεικονίζεται ἡ καλόγρια ποὺ εἶδε τὴν ἁγία νὰ αἰωρεῖται προσευχόμενη. Ταῖς πρεσβείαις τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρὸς ἡμῶν Εἰρήνης τῆς Ἡγουμένης τῆς Μονῆς τοῦ Χρυσοβαλάντου, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν. Απολυτίκιον Αγίας Ειρήνης Χρυσοβαλάντου:Ἀπολυτίκιον Ἦχος πλ. α. Τὸν συνάναρχον Λόγον. Βασιλείας γήινους πάλαι οὐκ ἔτυχες, ἀλλ ἄφθαρτων στεφάνων νῦν σὲ ἠξίωσεν, ὁ Νυμφίος σου Χριστὸς ὁ ὡραιότατος ὢ καθιέρωσας σαύτην, ὅλη καρδία καὶ ψυχή, Εἰρήνη Ὁσία Μῆτερ, Χρυσοβαλάντου ἡ δόξα, ἠμῶν δὲ προσφυγὴ καὶ βοήθεια. 17

18 OUR HOLY MOTHER IRENE Most Gracious Abbess of the Sacred Monastery of Chrysovalantou Saint Irene Chrysovalantou flourished after the death of the greedy Emperor Theophilos the first. After Theophilos's death his spouse, the most reverend and God-loving Theodora, took the throne. The Empress Theodora supported the Orthodox faith and re-established the veneration of the holy icons, as was the tradition of the Orthodox Church. The Empress Theodora was reigning in place of her son, Michael, who was not yet of age to assume rule of the empire. When Michael was twelve years old Theodora sought to find him a suitable wife. She sent her scouts on a mission to find a beautiful girl who was noble as well as virtuous and worthy of becoming an empress. In the land of Cappodocia there lived such a beautiful girl and of great virtue. She was the daughter of noble parents and her name was Irene. The scouts new of Irene's virtue and beauty and quickly took her to the empress in hope that she would one day become empress herself. Irene had one sister who was taken as wife by the Empress's brother Vardis. As the scouts escorted the fair Irene to Byzantium, they neared Olympus. Irene had heard of a man that lived an extremely ascetical life on Mt. Olympus named Ioannikios the Great and knowing that he was a holy man she very much desired to see him. She begged the scouts to lead her to the saint so that she may receive his blessing. The spies finally agreed but St. Ioannikios, only appeared to those worthy in heart. Upon their approach St. Ioannikos recognized the spiritual progress of the young girl and exclaimed, "Welcome servant of God, Irene. Go to the capitol and rejoice for the Convent of Chrysovalantou needs you to shepherd her virgins." Upon hearing this Irene was quite amazed that the holy man even knew her destiny, let alone her name. She therefore fell to his feet and praised him. Before she set on her way, St. Ioannikios gave her spiritual advice to strengthen her. When Irene finally arrived at the capitol her relatives, who lived in the city, came to greet her. They all had their own ranks among others in the kingdom. They came forward with some of their noble friends and greeted her with much honor, as was truly due her. The King of kings, who called all things from nothingness into being, provided that the earthly king had chosen another girl to be his bride several days before Irene even arrived. Irene was not in the least upset by this, but rather, she gave thanks to God that He enlightened the king to choose another wife. Many other noblemen and leaders, the richest men of Constantinople, sought to make Irene their wife because of her beauty and nobility. However, she desired no other bridegroom than the heavenly Bridegroom. She all-wisely rejected all the temporal and earthly things and sought a place to pass her life peacefully and pleasing to God. So remembering the words of St. Ioannikios the Great, she sent people to visit the Convent of Chrysovalantou so that she might know what it was like. They found that the Convent of Chrysovalantou was in a quite beautiful and quiet place with a surprisingly good community of nuns. Upon hearing of the Convent's good fame St Irene rejoiced and gave to the poor not only all the expensive clothes that her parents had given her, but also all the priceless things the queen had bestowed upon her. She then freed all of her servants and slaves, cut her long golden hair and entered the Convent of Chrysovalantou with all eagerness. Irene effectively abandoned every worldly vanity and every worldly way of thinking. She the tender, noble, and most beautiful, dressed herself in a habit of animal hair and rejoiced as she took up the light yoke of Christ, the Anointed One and Most Sweet. She subjected herself to all the sisters with amazing humility and served all the needs of the convent with great care and tirelessness without ever contradicting. She never considered that she was from a noble family and far too good for such work and performed the most humiliating services without complaint. Her very image shown brightly and in her soul she had compunction and happiness. The abbess of the convent was a woman of great virtue for this abbess was a struggler at the spiritual trials and always advised towards good works. Irene had the grace of God which had mystically descended upon her. This same grace taught her what was of benefit for her soul for without this grace, as the Lord himself says, man can do no good. "Without me you can do nothing but the one who lives in Me and I in him, this one brings forth much fruit." Thus this ever-memorable one, as good and fertile earth brought forth fruit to Christ and was pleasing in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the entire sisterhood of the convent and all 18

19 were amazed by her. Such was the trust that Irene had gained that she was made the treasurer and purchaser of the monastery and was given the care of the silver Pieces of the convent. She was obedient to all, displayed great humility and never scandalized or hurt any of the sisters. She was well loved and respected by all of the nuns. Irene was not only very capable of all her physical duties, but more so of all of her spiritual duties. She was never missing from the church services and in her cell she would read the lives of venerable monastics in order to imitate their lives and to teach the sisters and incite them to similar endeavors. One day as she was reading the life of St. Arsenios the Great and learned that he remained awake until the morning hours praying. She too desired to perform this act and so she sought permission from the abbess to also practice this spiritual struggle. The abbess at first hesitated to give Irene her blessing to perform this ascetic act, fearing that she might become ill from over-exhaustion, but seeing her eagerness and knowing her humility and her stability she blessed Irene to carry out this ascetical practice. Irene began this super-human struggle even though she had not lived in the monastery for one year. The grace of God, however, gave her strength and she would stand from evening until morning with her hands lifted up as Moses and praying to God. Many other times she would do the same from morning until sunrise and other times she would stand in prayer all day and night. The abbess was all the more impressed by Irene's progress. When three years had passed from the day St. Irene began this great ascetical struggle, the hater of all good, the devil himself, saw her great struggles and sought to trap her in transgression. He was, however, unsuccessful. St. Irene had not succumbed to the passions and had so much given up care for her flesh for the sake of her soul that she rejected and totally despised all physical things (food, glory, money, clothes, etc.). She possessed only one habit. She would wear her habit for the first time on Pascha and continue with it for one full year without taking it off or ever washing it. When Pascha would come she would put on the new one and give the old one to the poor. Her diet consisted of bread and water, once a day, and perhaps some herbs. She was not prone to vainglory and had totally forgotten her noble upbringing. The demon who was unsuccessful at inciting St. Irene to commit a sin at all, showed forth discord in Irene's mind by reminding her of the pleasure of her former life and stirring her with carnal desires. The man-hating one in vain tortured her, for she recognized his attack all too well and she confessed his attempts to her abbess so that she would be delivered from the temptation of this demon and she continued her struggles as before. One night, as she was praying as usual, a demon took the form of a very ugly black man and stood from a distance while insulting her, trying, the weak one that he is, to instill a terror in the servant of God. The demon said to her, "You fortune-teller and illfated woman, against me do you battle without realizing what I am and how great my strength is?" These and other insults did the all-conniving one say to her, but our saint of God made the sign of the cross and the demon disappeared immediately. One day after another, St. Irene was plagued with dark imaginations. Even though they deeply disturbed her she, the courageous one, waged battle against the passions of the flesh and was triumphant. She would often fall to the ground and pray with tears to the Lord. She often called upon the all-powerful Theotokos for help and to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel to whom the monastery's church was dedicated. She also called out to for assistance to all the heavenly saints so that they might rescue her from the snares and unclean suggestions of the demons. St. Irene prayed using these words, "All-holy Trinity, All-powerful, through the intercession of the Theotokos, and the supplications of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and all the heavenly powers, and all the saints, help your servant and deliver me from the assault of this demon." In this way our holy mother prayed many days and nights until divine illumination descended on her from above and overshadowed her soul and drove out all the evil imaginings, leaving the saint unbothered, so that she began even greater ascetical struggles and more eagerly labored for God. Whoever beheld this saint of God, Irene, saw in her great and holy desire and her many God-given graces. She had become a chosen vessel, as the Great St. Paul says and a container of the Holy Spirit, having abiding in her soul the living Christ. She was no longer living according to the flesh, but for Christ in spirit while Christ lived in her, as the Holy Apostle writes. In this way St. Irene became totally enlightened and led many souls towards the Light of Truth. It came to pass that people of all classes would run to her in numbers. Diligently, she taught and advised with prudence and sweetness. Suddenly, however, the abbess of the monastery became very ill. All the nuns mourned in their cells for they knew that she had reached the end of her earthly life. Since the abbess was so virtuous they were grieved by her impending 19

20 departure. The nuns mourned but the humble Irene mourned ever so much. The dying abbess said to them with all meekness, "Don't be sad about me, for you have a good abbess more capable and more wise than I and to her be ye all obedient with your whole soul. I am speaking about Irene, the daughter of light, the lamb of God, the vessel of the All-holy Spirit and do not choose for yourselves any leader other than Irene." The blessed abbess, having reached her last hour said to her Master, "Glory to your mercy, O Lord!" as she gave up her soul to the angelic hands that were awaiting her. The venerable Irene was not present when the abbess departed from the earthly world. Likewise, none of the nuns told Irene what the abbess had said, for knowing Irene's great humility and how she turned away from vainglory, they feared that she might leave the convent if she heard such words. Therefore, they buried the deceased abbess as it was fitting and they proceeded to the church that God might enlighten them. At that time the Confessor of the faith Methodios was Patriarch of Constantinople. During the iconoclastic controversy this holy patriarch had endured many tortures and bore on his body the marks of the price he paid for Holy Orthodoxy. Truly he possessed the Holy Spirit and he was able to know the future. When the other sisters were ready to depart for a visit to the patriarch Irene did not want to go with them and she found an assortment of reasons and obstacles not to go. The nuns, however, managed to force Irene along. When they had arrived and had received the patriarch's blessing, he asked them which of all the nuns they had considered for the new abbess. They replied that they had chosen no one but rather had their trust first in God and in his holiness the patriarch, as he possessed the Holy Spirit. Therefore, he was asked to make the decision for the Holy Spirit would guide him. The God-bearer then responded that he knew that all the nuns wanted the honorable and pure Irene and that their opinion was good and pleasing to God. The patriarch gave thanks to God that He had revealed to him the virtuous acts of his handmaid Irene. The sisters were amazed and venerated him by saying, "Truly God dwells in your righteous soul and He enlightens you and makes the hidden things known unto you." Immediately the saintly patriarch arose from his throne and singing the required hymns, incensing, and blessing the Lord, he ordained Irene a diaconess of the Great Church, knowing by the Holy Spirit that she was clean. He later read over her the prayers of the installation of an abbess. He then instructed her on how to proceed in guiding the sisters in the way of salvation and in peace. He blessed Irene as well as the sisterhood and sent them on their way back to their convent. Irene cried long and hard. She felt unworthy of such a position. The sisters tried to comfort her by saying to her, "Don't feel sad that you have been assigned our protection for we will always remain obedient to you and we will help you in all godly endeavors as much as we are able. When they arrived at the convent they gave thanks to God and escorted Irene to the cell of the abbess. Irene cried on. She closed the door of her new cell and fell on her face, "Master, Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, our Guide and Teacher, help Your handmaid and this Your small sheepfold and deliver us from the grasp of the noetic wolf, for you know our weakness and that we are not able to do anything good without your help and grace." She had prayed to the Lord in this manner for a long time and addressed herself by saying, "And you, lowly Irene, perhaps you realize what a burden Christ has placed on your shoulders? You take the responsibility for souls for which God took flesh and became man and shed His all-holy and all-precious blood. If you allow one soul to be lost you will answer to God for this on the judgment day. You will receive hell as your reward for having taken on yourself the care of so many souls, if you are careless and one of these souls is condemned. The Lord Himself says that the soul is worth more than the whole world. Therefore, hold vigil, fast, pray and be careful that from today on that your own fault does not become cause for one of the sisters to lose her soul, so that the words of Christ that say, 'a blind man leading a blind man causes the two to fall into a pit,' may not be fulfilled in you." Irene struggled ever harder and spent many days praying and fasting. She would also spend the night kneeling and making many prostrations. She never gave rest to her body, so that the Lord, seeing her many struggles, might be merciful to her and give her wisdom to guide her flock God-pleasingly. According to her desire, the Lord gave her much wisdom and she was praiseworthy in guiding the sisters. She taught and taught with wisdom surpassing the great teachers and rhetoricians. Below is a small selection of some of her precepts and admonitions: 20

21 "I know well, sisters in Christ and honorable offerings to God, that it is neither proper nor blessed, that I the unworthy and uneducated should teach you, but because the mercies of God are unfathomable and incomprehensible, His grace established that I should be your superior. I, your worthless servant, beg you to obey me and to listen to the words of my lowliness. When we don't keep the rules and orders of this schema which we wear, and we don't do that which we promised before God and angels, we are of no benefit, just as faith without works is dead, as we have heard. Christ has promised us for the small amount of fatigue that we endure here in this transient life, to give us the kingdom of the heavens and unending life, delight, and eternal pleasure. It was for Christ that, having believed in Him as we should, we left the charms of this world as being false and passing, in order to inherit those true and eternal things. If therefore, we don't keep the commandments of the Lord, wretched and miserable that we are, then we will lose these transient things along with the eternal things like the unwise virgins, we will be truly unworthy and foolish. Since the soul cannot be divided into two parts, one that seeks delights and one that seeks temperance, one that is haughty and one that is humble, we must totally hate all of our failings and toil to dispel from our soul every worldly desire, so that our internal state resembles our external state and we may work on attaining all the other virtues. Remember that the virtues of the soul are preferable to the virtues of the body. Fasting and vigils and the other hardships of the body do not benefit us so much when the virtues of the spirit are lacking. The virtues of the spirit are humility, love, understanding, almsgiving to the poor, and all the other good and God-pleasing acts. After all of these things let us also work on the virtues of the flesh and let us fast as much as possible." These and others such as these was St. Irene advising her flock, with motherly affection. Her spiritual children would eagerly accept everything she would tell them and they brought forth much spiritual fruit. Our venerable Mother Irene, seeing that her counsel brought forth much reward to the souls of the sisters rejoiced and thanked the Lord, whom she loved with all of her soul and strength. Having in God unshakable faith and immeasurable love for the sisters, St. Irene dared to ask of God a great and super-natural gift, the gift of spiritual clairvoyance. She desired to be able to know the secret transgressions of all the sisters, not out of human curiosity, but in order to correct them so that not even one be condemned to hell. The Lord, seeing that her goal was a good one, immediately heard her request and sent to her from the heavens a light-bearing angel who appeared to her dressed in a stunning white garment. Irene was not frightened nor disturbed at the sight of the angel, but rather rejoiced. The angel greeted her by saying, "Hail most faithful and productive handmaid of God! The Lord has sent me to serve you according to your request for those who are destined to be saved by you. The Lord commanded me to always stand by your side and to wisely reveal to you daily the secrets of each one." Having said this, the angel, for the time being, disappeared. Our venerable mother fell to the ground in joy thanking the Lord and from then on this angel was always beside her. This angel would appear to her, conversing with her as a Friend each rime it was needed for her to know something secret. This gift was given to her not only for all the nuns who were under her spiritual care, but also for the many that came to her seeking to hear her golden words. Whenever Irene would see someone who had committed a wrong-doing she would teach him about the eternal bell trough which all those who die unrepentant are condemned. St. Irene would speak in this way whether she was addressing a nun or a laywoman. She never corrected a person in front of others so as not to humiliate him but rather she employed the appropriate manner to bring each person to repentance. Irene would pray from the evening until the time of the service of Orthros. After the service she would sleep until the sun rose. She would then go into the church and call the sisters one by one to confession and if one of them did not tell of all sins committed, St Irene would advise as the angel would instruct. All the nuns came to respect her as a saint. Word spread quickly about the holiness of the abbess of Chrysovalantou. Inhabitants of the city came to see this honorable and venerable person by the hundreds. The nobility, political leaders, women, virgins, young, and old. Irene taught with such wisdom and compunction and the name of the holy abbess of Chrysovalantou became ever so popular. Irene continued to pray hard and long. One night as she was praying with her hands lifted up towards heaven, the demons came into her cell and began to scream in a terrifying voice. They spoke in an unfit manner and tried to distract our holy mother 21

22 from prayer. They, however, were unable to phase the Saint. Nevertheless, the demons continued to taunt Irene and mimicked her by saying, "Wooden Irene, wooden feet hold you up. For how long will you torture our race, how long will you burn us with your prayers and how long will you hurt and make us sad?" Our venerable mother remained unphased. This audacious demon then lit a candle from the votive lamp and continued to light the mantle and veil of the saint herself on fire. The flames reached down to the ground and burned not only the saint's clothing, but deep into the skin on her shoulders, chest, and back. Her entire body would have surely burned had it not been for one of the sisters who rushed it to put the fire out after smelling it from her own cell down the hall. Unbelievably, The saint continued to stand unphased buy the whole event. Irene stood tall, hands still in the air and praying to our Lord above. "My child", Irene said to the frightened nun, "why did you do such a bad thing and interrupt the good that was taking place? We shouldn't think about the human things, but rather about the divine. An angel was standing in front of me weaving a wreath of various marvelous and fragrant towers and as he stretched out his hand to place this wreath on my head, you came in. You thought that you were committing a praiseworthy act but instead committed a most unpraiseworthy act. The angel saw you and left. You brought to me sorrow and I lost a great opportunity." The sister began to cry as she began to gather up the fragments of our venerable mother's habit They were partly burned and stuck to her flesh. A glorious fragrance came forth from her. This Fragrance was sweeter smelling and more powerful than all the costly perfumes that could be purchased. This aroma filled the monastery for many days and the nuns glorified thy God for this was a true miracle. St. Irene did not own a second garment and her cell-attendant brought her a new one. In just days wounds that would have killed most people were miraculously healed by the Physician of our souls and bodies and she was granted the grace of prophecy. At the time a certain eunuch of her sister (the wife of Caesar Vardis) came to visit the saint. Irene called him aside secretly and said to him, "Kyrillos, (this was the eunuch's name) tell my sister to prepare her things because in a few days her husband will die as an outcome of a plot of King Michael. After a little while this King will also lose both his kingdom and his life by another machination against him due to his foolish misdeeds. Be cautious not to say anything to anyone. None of our relatives should dare to rise up against the new king who will rise to the throne, neither should they deter him in any way, even if he will assume the throne after a murder, for God has loved him because he fears Him and God has been gracious to him." Learning of all this, the sister of Irene told her husband of the prophecies, being overcome by her love for him. Her husband from his pride and foolhardiness, rather than running to the Lord with tears and begging mercy, remained indifferent. He was interested only in learning who would be the next king and many times he sent messages to our holy mother Irene trying to learn the future king's name. A few days later he was killed in the military camp. King Michael was then killed in the same way and Basil the Macedonian became king. A noble and beautiful woman from Cappadocia, the home-city of St. Irene, was engaged to a certain man. Later on, however, she thought better of it and decided against marraige. She decided instead to become a nun at the famed monastery of Chrysovalantou. The demon grew jealous, however, and filled her ex-fiance with tremendous sexual passion. However, the man knew well that he would not be able to enter the monastery. Instead, he hired a powerful magician, a most able servant of the devil to whom he gave him a large amount of money for the deliverance of the woman he wanted as his wife. The magician wrought his evil art in Cappadocia and the woman in the monastery went completely out of her mind. She began to run around the convent screaming and crying out the name of her ex-fiance and swearing that if they did not open the doors of the convent she would suffocate. Our venerable mother heard the uprise and cried, "Woe to me the wretched one, if by the carelessness of the shepherds the wolves snatch the sheep away. However, in vain do you labor, O sly devil, because Christ will not allow you to swallow my lamb." She then called the sisterhood together and instructed them to guard themselves against the snares of the demons and she ordered them all to fast for the entire week while praying to God and each one of them to make a thousand prostrations a day with tears for this sister of theirs who was undergoing temptation. Our venerable mother prayed in her cell daily for this sister and on the third day, she saw St Basil the Great in front of her and he said to her, "Why do you deride us, Irene? We have left our homeland and all the vile and impious acts take place there now. When the sun rises take your sick disciple and bring her to Vlachernae and there the mother of our Master Christ who is powerful will make her well." Having said this, St. Basil disappeared. St. Irene took the sick 22

23 sister along with two other nuns and arriving at the Church of Vlachernae, they prayed the entire day with tears in their eyes. At about midnight, St. Irene fell asleep and in her sleep she saw many people dressed in brilliant golden clothes and preparing the roads with the most fragrant flowers and incense. Our venerable mother then asked why so much preparation was taking place. They answered that the Mother of God was coming and warned her to prepare herself that she might be accounted worthy to venerate God's mother. Then the Mother of the Life arrived followed by a vast crowd. So much did the face of the Virgin radiate that it was not possible for a mere mortal to gaze upon her. Our Lady having looked at all the ill, assembled in the church, looked at the disciple of St. Irene. Our venerable mother Irene fell at the spotless feet of the Mother of God, full of fear and trembling. The Mother of God then called on St. Basil the Great and asked him what Irene needed. St. Basil explained to the Theotokos exactly what St. Irene's need was. Hearing this the Theotokos said, "Call here, Anastasia!" When St. Anastasia had arrived, the Mother of God said to her, "Go with Basil to Caesarea, and study carefully the situation in order to cure this girl, for to you my Son and God has granted this grace." Venerating the Theotokos, St. Anastasia and St. Basil left in all haste in order to perform the ordained task. Our venerable mother Irene then heard a voice saying. "Go to your convent and she will be made well." On awakening, Irene explained to the sisters what she had seen and they went on their way rejoicing greatly. When they arrived at the convent it was Friday at the time of vespers and all the nuns were gathered at the church. St. Irene explained her vision and then ordered them all to raise their hands and eyes towards heaven and with all their hearts and burning tears to cry out, "Lord have mercy!" After a long time, when the entire floor of the church had become wet from the tears of the sisters, St. Basil and the Great-martyr Anastasia appeared floating in the air and the sisters heard them say, "Irene open your arms and receive this, and don't grieve us needlessly again." (St. Irene had been praying before the icon of St. Basil and begged him to free Caesarea from magicians). Stretching out her hands, St. Irene received from the midst of the air a package weighing about three liters and containing a host of charms including strings, hair, and lead, bound together with the names of demons written upon them. It also contained two small idols made of lead, one in the shape of the ex-fiance and the other in the shape of the sick nun, stuck together as if they were committing a sin. The nuns were amazed and remained praying the entire night. They thanked the Theotokos. In the morning, St. Irene sent the sick nun, along with two other nuns to Vlachernae. Taking with them the charms, oil and prosphora, they attended the Divine Liturgy. After the liturgy, the priest anointed the sick nun with oil from the vigil lamp and later put the magical charms on live coals. As the charms burned, the nun became well and regained her senses. When the spell of the charms was totally broken, a crying sound came forth from the coals that resembled the squealing of pigs at their slaughter. The nuns returned to the monastery glorifying God that He does such strange and magnificent things and on entering the monastery they told all what had happened. The humble Irene, seeing that she was revered for her holy acts, all the more condemned herself and tears were always to be found in her eyes. She would especially cry during the Holy Liturgy when the priest would sacrifice God on the holy altar. She would ponder how the invisible and immortal God accepted to become man and to be crucified for our love and to prepare for us those divine mysteries that we might receive them as food and drink. Being overcome with compunction, she was not able to hold back her grief and she would bow down her head so that no one would see her crying, feeling that she was a thief and evil-doer and committed great misdeeds. Let us relate to you another of her miracles during her lifetime: A young man by the name of Nicholas used to take care of the vineyard of the convent of our venerable mother. Nicholas fell in love with one of the nuns of the convent and could find no peace day or night for desire of this nun. The devil led Nicholas to this passion in order to punish St. Irene. So much did the evil one darken the mind of this young man that one night as he made his way towards the convent he fantasized that he found the gate of the cloister open, went into the cell of this nun, fell down with her on her mattress and did that which he desired. He then actually fell down on the ground and began to grind his body up against the earth. Not only did he cut and bruise his body but he also gave the demon a chance to disturb him. In the morning, the doorkeeper opened the gate of the monastery and noticed him outside possessed, foaming at the mouth and writhing. She went and told our venerable mother what she had seen and asked her if she knew the reason that Nicholas was now possessed. Falling down in Prayer, St. Irene said, "Blessed are you O Lord, that you did not allow us to become neither the prey nor the victims of the 23

24 demons." She then sent the young man to the Church of St. Anastasia to be healed. A few days later Irene saw a vision of St. Anastasia and heard the Great-martyr say to her, "To free yourself from this possessed man you sent him to me? Only you, my sister, can make him well." So, St. Irene ordered that the young man be brought to her. So that no one might learn of her miraculous power St. Irene did not cure the man immediately but rather they tied him to a column of the church. The saint, along with the other sisters, prayed daily for him. When the priest was serving the Divine Liturgy and had put down the holy gifts on the holy table after the great entrance the possessed man broke the chain that was binding him and ran into the altar. He grabbed the priest and began to bite his shoulder as if he was actually trying to eat his flesh. Immediately our saint of God rushed to the possessed man and ordered him to remain still. Seeing the saint, Nicholas wanted to run away, but he was not able to move at all being held tighter by the command of the saint than by any chain. When the liturgy had finished, our venerable mother remained alone in the church with the possessed young man. She prayed to the Lord and then addressed the demon. She ordered the demon to tell her the reason and the manner with which he had entered this man. The demon, forced by divine power, answered all of our saint's questions honestly. She then commanded the demon to come out of the man. Shaking the man and throwing him down to the ground the demon came forth. St. Irene raised the man up and advised him as to how to always be careful in avoiding overeating and intoxication. Never to be absent from church on any feast day and to pray without ceasing so that the demon might never again get a chance to bother him. When people would ask him, "Who cured you?" he would respond, "The Lord through the prayers of His angels." Nicholas went forth praising and giving thanks to God. Our saint remained as before, occupied with her ascetical struggles and often spent the entire day and night in prayer for one, two, and even three weeks at a time. So long and in such ecstatic prayer would she have her hands upraised that she later would be incapable of lowering them. At such times she would call one of the sisters to help her lower her hands and from far away one could hear her shoulders cracking. She would not eat bread from the beginning of Great Lent until Pascha. She would eat only fruit and vegetables only once a week with a little water. On major feasts she would hold vigil and not sleep an all. She would spend those nights praying and chanting and many times she would stand out in the convent's yard praying with much compunction. When she would look at the stars and the vastness and the beauty of the universe, she would glorify the Creator who wisely made all things. One night a sister of the nunnery noticed St. Irene praying in the outer yard of the convent. Our venerable mother's feet were not touching the ground but rather she was standing in the air about two yards above the ground! Near her there were two extremely tall cypress trees. So long as our glorious saint was praying the two cypress trees bowed down to the ground and waiting for our venerable mother to finish her prayer. When finished with her prayer St Irene touched the treetops and blessed them in the sign of the cross as they returned to their original position! The nun, saw this amazing site and became frightened. She watched this strange event for three hours. She went so far as to check the cell of her abbess in order to make sure that she was not dreaming. It was not a dream. So was the nun terrified that she did not mention the event to the others. Several days later the nuns noticed two handkerchiefs tied to the tops of the two cypress trees. Our venerable mother had tied those two handkerchiefs there for the glory of God because many times the trees venerate her. Awed by this strange sight, one sister began to ask another, by whom, and how, and when might these handkerchiefs been hung on the tops of such tall and slender trees. Then the sister who had seen the above stated miracle explained to the other nuns how the cypress trees bowed when their abbess prayed. On hearing this, the other nuns were filled with joy and began to cry and even scolded the sister because she did not wake them so that they also might see the miracle. When St. Irene learned that this nun had made known this great sign she became scandalized. She called the nun before her and asked her, "If you saw me, as a human being that I am, fall into sin would you tell everyone what sin I had committed?" Then our venerable mother warned this nun along with all the others, that if they ever reported another miracle as long as she lived that they would receive a very strict penance. The sisters saw countless other miraculous signs during our holy mother's life, but for fear of being chastised, they did not make them known to anyone. It was the custom then of their convent to celebrate the feast of St. Basil the Great on the first day of January, because St. Irene had a great devotion to him as they were both from the same city. One particular year, after the priest finished serving the Divine Liturgy on this feast day, he came out of the altar and announced that 24

25 there was a mouse in the altar that was defiling the sacred vessels and that the nuns should try to kill it. Our venerable mother went to her cell and prayed even for this seemingly very small request. When the priest was ready to leave the convent the abbess sent the ecclesiarch to the church and said to her, "Go to the door of the altar and there you will find a dead mouse. Throw it outside." The priest found the mouse dead just as St. Irene had said and proclaimed, "Magnified is God in His Saints!" On that same day, Wednesday, during the watchguard of the night, our holy mother heard a mystical voice say to her, "Receive the sailor who will bring you fruit today and eat this fruit rejoicing in your soul." During the Orthros, St. Irene called two nuns to her and said to them, "Go to the convent's gate and you will find a sailor waiting outside. Bring him into the convent." On meeting, the sailor our venerable mother exchanged greetings and asked him from where he was and how it was that he happened to come to the convent. He replied in this manner: "My lady, I am a sailor from the island of Patmos. I had embarked on a voyage with my crew to come here to Constantinople for a certain service I had to perform. When we were passing by the far end of my island we saw on the land a most pious and handsome looking old man. This old man yelled out to us to wait for him. However we were close to the land and there were many rocks there. We had a good wind behind us and we continued to speed along farther and farther away. The old man yelled again louder and at that moment the ship came to a complete stop and this old man began to come towards us while walking on the waves. At that point, he took out of his shirt three apples and gave them to me saying, "When you arrive in the capitol, give these apples to the patriarch and tell him that God sent them to him from paradise by way of His servant John." Taking out three other apples he said to me, "Give these three to the abbess of Chrysovalantou whose name is Irene. Tell her to eat these in fulfillment of the desire of her soul because now I have brought these from paradise." The old man then gave thanks to God and blessed us and immediately the ship began to move and the old man disappeared. I gave the three apples to the patriarch and now 1 am bringing you the other three." Our venerable mother hearing this began to cry from joy and gave thanks to the beloved Disciple and Apostle of Christ. Then the sailor took the apples out of a silk and gold embroidered handkerchief in which he had kept them as divine possessions and he gave them to St. Irene with much reverence. These three worldly and corruptible apples were so large and so beautiful in their shape and so fragrant that in their physical nature alone they were an amazing sight. The only explanation for the beauty of these apples is that they were from paradise. The sailor, received a blessing and forgiveness from the abbess before he went on his way. Our venerable mother fasted for one week to give thanks to the Lord for this gift He had sent her. After giving thanks in this way she began to eat a small piece of one of the apples every day without eating food nor even water for forty days. Whenever St. Irene would eat a piece of this apple a fragrance would exude from her mouth so strong that all the nuns of the convent could smell it. The entire convent smelled as if it had been washed with a most costly perfume and it truly smelled like paradise. When the day of Great and Holy Thursday arrived, St. Irene blessed all the nuns to receive the Holy Mysteries and having received communion our venerable mother cut the second apple and gave a piece to each nun to eat. They all ate of it without knowing what it was being only aware of its great fragrance and sweetness. Not only did they taste the sweetness of the apple with their mouths, but on eating it they also felt a sense of joy and jubilance in their souls. The third apple she kept as a very valuable possession and every time she smelled it, she felt joy and comfort in her soul. On Great and Holy Friday, when our Master suffered His passion, our holy mother was in ecstasy and as the sisters were singing the service of the Holy Passions with much, compunction, she beheld a vision. She saw an innumerable amount of beautiful and brilliant youth come into the church holding in their hands guitars and singing hymns to the glory of God in great harmony, sweetly and gloriously. They were also carrying vessels filled with myrth and they emptied these on the holy table. Then the angel who was waiting at the holy table cried out, "For how long my Lord?" A voice was heard answering the angel and saying, "Until the second Solomon shall come to join the heavenly things with the earthly and that they might become one, so long will the Lord magnify the remembrance of His handmaid." At this point the youth in white cried out the "Glory to God in the Highest" and ascended to the heavens. Our venerable mother, however, also had to pay her own debt as mortal man. An angel appeared to her and told her, "Be aware that in the coming year, on the twenty-eighth of the present month, when you will celebrate the martyr Panteleimon, you will come to stand at the throne of the Godhead." It was then July twenty-sixth and at the 25

26 Convent of Chrysovalantou that they were celebrating the consecration of the Church of the Archangel for on this day was its building and restoration completed. The next year, when they were again celebrating this feast and the feast of St. Panteleimon, our holy mother received the holy mysteries having first fasted for one week according to the order of our Church. During that time she was praying and had not even drunk water at all during the week. She had only eaten of the holy apple that the beloved apostle of our Master Christ sent to her from Paradise. Before this time she had nor wanted to eat of this third and last apple because she wanted to have some comfort in this exile here on earth. Every time she or one of the sisters would fall into despondency or sadness or have a certain complaint, as humans are prone to, she would take the apple into her hands and from its unimaginable fragrance she would be immediately be filled with joy and would ponder what happiness awaits those who are to inherit the eternal heavenly kingdom. Again this time, upon eating the apple, the entire convent was filled with the heavenly aroma. After partaking of the apple, our venerable mother fell into agony, weeping, fearing death, and looking to heaven. The nuns, not being aware of what was happening, asked what had upset her that she was now crying. She replied to them, "Today, my children, I am leaving this world and you will no longer see me. When the hour will have come and I will leave this life for the eternal one, I want you to elect Maria abbess, because the Lord has chosen her as she will govern you God-pleasingly. Be alert to walk the narrow and difficult road in order to find the spacious place of paradise. Hate the world and the worldly things because all of these temporal things are vain. According to the divine order, hate your own souls in order to save them. In a few words, don't do anything that your flesh wants, but rather the desire of God, because only He can help you at the hour of judgment." These and other spiritually beneficial words did St. Irene say to her sisters during her last hour. Then she lifted up her hands and eyes towards heaven and prayed in this way to the Lord, "Master, Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Good Shepherd, who saved us with Your all-holy and precious blood, into Your hands do I give over Your small flock. Protect it in the shelter of Your wings and guard it against the snares of the devil, for You are our Sanctification and our Salvation and to You do we send up thanks and glory to all ages." Having prayed this prayer, she sat down and began to smile, seeing before her the holy angels, who were greeting her. Then her face began to shine as the sun and she closed her eyes as one falling asleep and she Rave up her sacred soul to the Lord, having lived one-hundred and three years. Even though she had reached such a great age, her physical beauty had not faded as she looked like a young, beautiful girl, by grace of her virginity and by the fact that she had never known anything worldly. God had granted that the allpure one remain in this state to give witness to the beauty of her soul and that grace had been bestowed on her by her heavenly Bridegroom. The nuns of the convent began to weep and wail and they mourned their mother worthily. The entire city, men and women of every age wept. Such a crowd of men and women came to venerate her holy relics that the convent was not able to hold them all. Neither was it possible for them to bury her, because of the pilgrims who were arriving. When the night arrived they managed with difficulty to bury our venerable mother according to the order of our holy Church. According to the custom, the bishops brought incense and myrrh and most-precious perfumes, but the fragrance that came forth from our holy morher's relics far surpassed all of the earthly aroma. Having sung the burial service, they placed the body of our venerable mother in a temporary burial place until they had prepared a tomb for her in the Church of St. Theodore, which was next to the Church of the Archangel and there was the body of our holy mother given final rest and from her tomb, more miraculous than the tomb of a martyr, came forth a most heavenly fragrance. The noble relative of St. Irene, who had been delivered from dearth by the intercession of the saint with the emperor, began to celebrate every year the memory of our holy mother in the most brilliant manner. All those who called on the name of our most venerable mother Irene, received that which was to their benefit. 26

27 QUOTE OF THE WEEK That we should always blame ourselves (Part 5 of 5)- by Geronta Ephraim of Arizona When someone takes the first step towards reconciliation, he immediately feels joy, peace and relief. Why? Prior to this, hatred, enmity, separation and alienation laid like a heavy burden on his shoulders. There was also pressure from the devil who wanted his way. God, on the other hand, is love and humility. All of us, nonetheless - and I first - are fooled by our egotism, and seek to erect our own will. We believe that we are correct, that we are good, and that others are at fault My Mind Wanders: Can I Stop It? I remember a few years back when Instant Messaging was the rage seeing an auto-response posted when someone was away from their computer and an I M came in which read: My mind has wandered and hasn t come back yet. Wandering minds are a common plague for church goers if measured by the numbers of people who mention it in confession. However, it is not a new problem or one created by modern society and the rise of boredom. We find in the desert fathers some discussion and advice on the wandering mind. In the following story from the desert fathers, a monk asks Abba Poeman about his wandering thoughts, using the Greek word logismoi which was the common way the desert fathers referred to their thought process. A brother came to Abba Poeman and said to him: Abba, I have many logismoi and am in danger from them. The elder took him out into the open air and said to him: Inflate your chest and hold the winds (Prov. 30.4), but he said: I cannot do that. The elder said to him: If you cannot do that, neither can you prevent the logismoi from coming: your (task) is to withstand them. (Give me a Word: The Alphabetical Saying of the Desert Fathers, p 232) We can t exactly stop all the thoughts that enter into our minds. Even in church little things can remind us of other people, things we need to get done, problems which need to be dealt with. The mind can wander away from the words of the liturgy and from the liturgical ritual. The spiritual warfare consists not in preventing such thoughts, but in how we deal with them whether we let them lead us, or we learn to corral them and return to the important spiritual work at hand. So if you find your mind wandering during the liturgy, know this is the experience of even saints and seasoned monks. You are in good company now fight the good fight and return to the community s spiritual warfare at hand. 27

28 GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA 8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY Tel: (212) Fax: (212) Protocol Number 01/15 January 1, 2015 Feast of Saint Basil and New Year Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14) To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this blessed Feast of Saint Basil and the beginning of the New Year, our honored tradition is to offer prayers and support for the sacred ministry of our beloved Saint Basil Academy. For seventy years this institution of our Holy Archdiocese has offered the love of Christ, the comfort of His presence, and the healing power of faith to children, youth, and families in need. Serving Orthodox children from throughout the United States, Saint Basil Academy continues to provide a caring and spiritual environment where they are able to grow, learn, and achieve. This vital mission of Saint Basil Academy, carried out by the directors, staff, trustees and benefactors, is in keeping with our Lord s command to let the children come to me. This is accomplished through this ministry by bringing the love of Christ to those in need. Everything that is offered for the children and youth at Saint Basil s is offered in the name and presence of Christ. In daily care, in counseling and teaching, in recreation, and in worship, the students encounter Christ and His abundant and comforting love. Saint Basil Academy is also a place where the lives of the children and youth are guided in Christ. On the beautiful campus, in a nurturing environment of prayer and grace, they are led in the path of truth and love. They are shown the blessings of the life in Christ, how to follow His will and to find strength and assurance in His promises. They see the hope, joy, and power in a life of faith and a lifelong relationship with Him. This sacred work was also the focus of the patron saint of the Academy, Saint Basil. For the sick, orphans, travelers, and many others in need, he offered an encounter with Christ by taking His love to them. For others he guided them in truth and love through teaching and preaching, as a faithful and caring pastor, to their Savior and Redeemer. This is also our calling today. In our support for Saint Basil Academy, we are led by our Ladies Philoptochos Society and our local Philoptochos chapters in collecting an offering and in the celebration of the cutting of the Vasilopeta. We are also led by Christ and by the example of Saint Basil to fulfill the command of our Lord and let the children come to me. In your ministry in the parish and in your daily life in Christ, you are called to offer Him and guide others to an encounter with the Lord that will lead to abundant and eternal life. On this day may we offer our prayers and generous support for Saint Basil Academy. May we strengthen this vital work to children and youth in fulfilling the request of our Lord and in honoring the legacy of all who have established and supported this ministry in the past seventy years. May you also receive the abundant and rich blessings of our Lord at the beginning of this new year as we offer Him glory and honor unto the ages of ages! With paternal love in Christ, DEMETRIOS Archbishop of America GREEK LANGUAGE SCHOOL MINISTRY 28

29 GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA 8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY Tel: (212) Fax: (212) Protocol Number 01/15 January 1, 2015 Feast of Saint Basil and New Year Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14) To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this blessed Feast of Saint Basil and the beginning of the New Year, our honored tradition is to offer prayers and support for the sacred ministry of our beloved Saint Basil Academy. For seventy years this institution of our Holy Archdiocese has offered the love of Christ, the comfort of His presence, and the healing power of faith to children, youth, and families in need. Serving Orthodox children from throughout the United States, Saint Basil Academy continues to provide a caring and spiritual environment where they are able to grow, learn, and achieve. This vital mission of Saint Basil Academy, carried out by the directors, staff, trustees and benefactors, is in keeping with our Lord s command to let the children come to me. This is accomplished through this ministry by bringing the love of Christ to those in need. Everything that is offered for the children and youth at Saint Basil s is offered in the name and presence of Christ. In daily care, in counseling and teaching, in recreation, and in worship, the students encounter Christ and His abundant and comforting love. Saint Basil Academy is also a place where the lives of the children and youth are guided in Christ. On the beautiful campus, in a nurturing environment of prayer and grace, they are led in the path of truth and love. They are shown the blessings of the life in Christ, how to follow His will and to find strength and assurance in His promises. They see the hope, joy, and power in a life of faith and a lifelong relationship with Him. This sacred work was also the focus of the patron saint of the Academy, Saint Basil. For the sick, orphans, travelers, and many others in need, he offered an encounter with Christ by taking His love to them. For others he guided them in truth and love through teaching and preaching, as a faithful and caring pastor, to their Savior and Redeemer. This is also our calling today. In our support for Saint Basil Academy, we are led by our Ladies Philoptochos Society and our local Philoptochos chapters in collecting an offering and in the celebration of the cutting of the Vasilopeta. We are also led by Christ and by the example of Saint Basil to fulfill the command of our Lord and let the children come to me. In your ministry in the parish and in your daily life in Christ, you are called to offer Him and guide others to an encounter with the Lord that will lead to abundant and eternal life. On this day may we offer our prayers and generous support for Saint Basil Academy. May we strengthen this vital work to children and youth in fulfilling the request of our Lord and in honoring the legacy of all who have established and supported this ministry in the past seventy years. May you also receive the abundant and rich blessings of our Lord at the beginning of this new year as we offer Him glory and honor unto the ages of ages! With paternal love in Christ, DEMETRIOS Archbishop of America GREEK LANGUAGE SCHOOL MINISTRY 29

30 St. Kosmas Aitolos Bookstore BOOKSTORE HOURS: Monday thru Friday 10am-4pm Catechetical Talks $ (By: Father Daniel Sysoev) Fr Daniel's book is composed of a series of transcribed catechetical talks designed to set forth the most essential elements of the Orthodox Christian faith, aimed specifically at catechumens being prepared for Holy Baptism. He begins his series speaking about the divine attributes, exploring, for example, what we mean when we call God 'good' or 'just' in accordance with his revelation, as well as how these appellations are reconciled with the seeming evils which permeate the world around us, and with the belief that there will be a final judgement over which the just and good God will preside. Fittingly, he crowns this discussion with the apex of the Church's dogmas concerning God: an exposition of the dogma of the Trinity. Fr Daniel dedicates his second talk to the Christian doctrine of Creation, particularly emphasizing the creation of the angels, the subsequent fall of Lucifer, and, of course, the creation of man and his fall. Naturally, this sets the table for the third talk to discuss the Incarnation of the Word of God, the key moments in Christ's earthly ministry, the significance of his death on the Cross and subsequent resurrection, and his ascension into the heavens to be seated at the right hand of the Father. The fourth talk is dedicated to a discussion of the birth of the Church at Pentecost and its mission in the world, that is, to unite men to Christ, specifically emphasizing the role of each of the sacraments in the fulfillment of this mission. The fifth and final talk offers a detailed discussion of the commandments of God which situates Christian morality with the broader context of morality in general, demonstrating that Christian morals differ from the 'morals' of the world both with regard to their foundation and their end CELEBRATIONS Congratulations to Demetrios Mantzouranis-Apostolopoulos! Demetri published his first poem in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans Και Εις Ανότερα Δημητριος!! MY FRIEND IS GOD By: Demetrios Mantzouranis-Apostolopoulos God is my friend, His love for me will never end. I cannot see Him, But I can sing about God in a hymn. I know He is always there, To Him I can say a prayer. I hope to see God one day, I will worship Him always. 30

31 SPOTLIGHT ON OUR FAMILY Ευγε! Ευγε! Νικολαε Innovator As CuttingEdge completes the celebration of its 10th anniversary with this issue, it s fitting that we would publish a profile about Goddard scientist Nikolaos Paschalidis. A little more than a year after Goddard s Office of the Chief Technologist published its first edition of CuttingEdge (then named Goddard Tech Trends), NASA launched its New Horizons mission the first to visit Pluto. Onboard the spacecraft were five instrumentenabling computer circuits that Paschalidis had created. He has waited nearly a decade to see how they perform while flying past this icy world. When NASA s New Horizons mission to Pluto flies past the distant, icy world on July 14, Goddard space scientist Nikolaos Paschalidis will be one happy man: he created a mission-enabling technology that will help uncover details about the atmosphere of the never-before-visited dwarf planet. We have been waiting for this for a long time, said the Greek native. That s what happens when it takes more than nine years to get to your destination. When employed by the Johns Hopkins University s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which is operating the New Horizons mission for NASA, Paschalidis designed five applicationspecific integrated circuits some now patented for the mission s Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) developed by APL Principal Investigator Ralph McNutt. The challenge with this mission, and the PEPSSI instrument in particular, was making it as small as possible, capable of taking highly reliable measurements using low power, under extreme environmental conditions, Paschalidis recalled. Paschalidis s five microchips helped McNutt overcome the size and power constraints, while advancing science performance. This set of chips was an innovation. It combined science with engineering, resulting in significant spacecraft mass and power savings, Paschalidis said. A mission to Pluto was the ultimate use for the technology, he added. Without these chips, I don t think we could have put this instrument on the spacecraft. Technology Infusion Although he has waited nearly 10 years to witness his technology in action as New Horizons investigates the last known unexplored planetary body in the solar system, he already knows his microchips will work. The first indication came one year after launch during the mission s Jupiter encounter. PEPSSI collected excellent data, Paschalidis said. While New Horizons was racing across the solar system for its rendezvous with Pluto, Paschalidis was infusing the technology into many other instruments and missions. His microelectronic technology was used on NASA s MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft, which studied the planet closest to the sun Mercury and the Interstellar Boundary Explorer that probed the heliospheric boundary with the interstellar medium. He also used a second-generation version of the technology on NASA s Juno mission, which is expected to reach Jupiter next summer, the Van Allen Probes, and the recently launched Magnetospheric Multiscale mission. Paschalidis said, I can t wait to see this probe finally reach its destination after all these years. Gathering data at Pluto was something that really motivated me. When NASA s New Horizons mission to Pluto flies past the distant, icy world on July 14, NASA heliophysicist Nikolaos Paschalidis will be one happy man: he created a mission-enabling technology that will help uncover details about the atmosphere of the never-before-visited dwarf planet. We have been waiting for this for a long time, said the Greek native, who now works as a scientist at NASA s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. That s what happens when it takes more than nine years to get to your destination. When employed by the Maryland-based Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which is operating the New Horizons mission for NASA, Paschalidis designed five application. Technology Infusion: Although he has waited nearly 10 years to witness his technology in action as New Horizons investigates the last known unexplored planetary body in the solar system, he already knows his microchips will work. I can t wait to see this probe finally reach its destination after all these years. Gathering data at Pluto was something that really motivated me. 31

32 32

33 SEE YOUR AD HERE!!! OUR Parishioners Business is OUR Business!! We want to help your business, the business of our Stewards, to thrive. At NO CHARGE we will advertise your business in our bulletin and on our website. Submit a digital copy of your ad to 33

34 OLI MAZI! Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Churc h of Washington, DC Temporary Church Address: St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD Office Address: 701 Norwood Road, Silver Spring, MD Phone: (240) Website: Reverend Father Michael J. Eaccarino, Presiding Priest Cell Phone: (301) & We welcome all visitors among us always! We hope you find our worship true and reverent and our people here friendly and cordial. If you are seeking a spiritual home, we would be honored by your presence in our family. We are glad you chose to worship with us today. ALTAR BOYS Paul R. Zayas CHOIR Dr. Theodore Papaloizos CATECHETICAL MINISTRY Tara Kavadias Director & Voula Vithoulkas Director STEWARDSHIP Sotirios Nasios YOUTH MINISTRY Elias Mavromatis HOPE & JOY Athanasia Raptis (301) & Maria Poulakis (301) GREEK LANGUAGE MINISTRY Ifigenia Kambanis & Erini Iatrou GREEK DANCE MINISTRY Elaine Romas & Kristina Maria Paspalis PHILOPTOCHOS Paraskevoula Hays YOUNG AT HEART Helen Thornberg & Christina Clifton

35 GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA 8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY Tel: (212) Fax: (212) YOUR PRIEST IS AVAILABLE TO YOU Protocol Number 24/7! 01/15 January 1, 2015 Feast of Saint Basil and New Year Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14) Please call or text FM s cell phone ( ) or for anything you might need, including To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, appointments, the Day, Afternoon, questions and Church Schools, or any the Philoptochos special Sisterhoods, events. the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Fr. Michael: (301) Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this blessed Feast of Saint Basil and the beginning of the New Year, our honored tradition is to offer prayers and support for the sacred ministry of our beloved Saint Basil Academy. For seventy years this institution of our Holy Archdiocese has offered the love of Christ, the comfort of His presence, and the healing power of faith to children, Ο ΙΕΡΕΥΣ youth, and families ΣΑΣ in need. ΕΙΝΑΙ Serving Orthodox ΣΤΗ children ΔΙΑΘΕΣΗ from throughout ΣΑΣ the United 24/7. States, Saint Basil Academy continues to provide a caring and spiritual environment where they are able to grow, learn, and achieve. Παρακαλώ να τον καλείτε στο κινητό τηλέφωνο για οτι This vital mission of Saint Basil Academy, carried out by the directors, staff, trustees and benefactors, is in keeping with our Lord s command θελετε. to let the Σας children ευχαριστούμε! come to me. This is accomplished through this ministry by bringing the love of Christ to those in need. Everything that is offered for the children and youth at Saint Basil s is offered in the name and presence of Christ. In daily care, in counseling and teaching, in recreation, and in worship, the students encounter Christ and His abundant and comforting love. Saint Basil Academy is also a place where the lives of the children and youth are guided in Christ. On the beautiful campus, in a nurturing environment of prayer and grace, they are led in the path of truth and love. They are shown the blessings of the life in Christ, how to follow His will and to find strength and assurance in His promises. They see the hope, joy, and power in a life of faith and a lifelong relationship with Him. This sacred work was also the focus of the patron saint of the Academy, Saint Basil. For the sick, orphans, travelers, and many others in need, he offered an encounter with Christ by taking His love to them. For others he guided them in truth and love through teaching and preaching, as a faithful and caring pastor, to their Savior and Redeemer. This is also our calling today. In our support for Saint Basil Academy, we are led by our Ladies Philoptochos Society and our local Philoptochos chapters in collecting an offering and in the celebration of the cutting of the Vasilopeta. We are also led by Christ and by the example of Saint Basil to fulfill the command of our Lord and let the children come to me. In your ministry in the parish and in your daily life in Christ, you are called to offer Him and guide others to an encounter with the Lord that will lead to abundant and eternal life. On this day may we offer our prayers and generous support for Saint Basil Academy. May we strengthen this vital work to children and youth in fulfilling the request of our Lord and in honoring the legacy of all who have established and supported this ministry in the past seventy years. May you also receive the abundant and rich blessings of our Lord at the beginning of this new year as we offer Him glory and honor unto the ages of ages! With paternal love in Christ, DEMETRIOS Archbishop of America GREEK LANGUAGE SCHOOL MINISTRY 35

LESSON 16 (ΜΑΘΗΜΑ ΔΕΚΑΕΞΙ) REF : 102/018/16-BEG. 4 March 2014

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