Feast of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross

31 July 10

Commemorated on August 1

The Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord: In the Greek Horologion of 1897 the derivation of this Feast is explained: “Because of the illnesses that occur in August, it was customary, in former times, to carry the Venerable Wood of the Cross through the streets and squares of Constantinople for the sanctification of the city, and for relief from sickness. On the eve (July 31), it was taken out of the imperial treasury, and laid upon the altar of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia (the Wisdom of God). From this Feast until the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, they carried the Cross throughout the city in procession, offering it to the people to venerate. This also is the Procession of the Venerable Cross.”

In the Russian Church this Feast is combined also with the remembrance of the Baptism of Rus, on August 1, 988. In the “Account of the Order of Services in the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Great Church of the Dormition,” compiled in 1627 by order of Patriarch Philaret of Moscow and All Rus, there is the following explanation of the Feast: “On the day of the Procession of the Venerable Cross there is a church procession for the sanctification of water and for the enlightenment of the people, throughout all the towns and places.”

Knowledge of the day of the actual Baptism of Rus was preserved in the Chronicles of the sixteenth century: “The Baptism of the Great Prince Vladimir of Kiev and all Rus was on August 1.”

In the present practice of the Russian Church, the Lesser Sanctification of Water on August 1 is done either before or after Liturgy. Because of the Blessing of Water, this first Feast of the Savior in August is sometimes called ‘Savior of the Water.” There may also be a Blessing of New Honey today, which is why the Feast is also called “Savior of the Honey.” From this day the newly gathered honey is blessed and tasted.


The Holy Female Martyr Julita

30 July 10

Saint Julita was from Caesarea in Cappadocia. She had a dispute with her neighbor over some property. The neighbor went to the judge and reported that Julita was a Christian which, at that time, meant the same thing as being outside the protection of the state.

St. Julita gladly denied her property rather than her faith. But even after that, the evil pagans did not leave her in peace but tortured her and finally burned her alive in the year 303 A.D.

Thus, this follower of Christ sacrificed her estate and her body for the sake of the eternal salvation of her soul.

So much can be said about the strength of this saint for so many reasons. I might write more on this topic at a later time.


My Wife’s Birthday #2

28 July 10

In my wife’s family, there is a tradition of having a birthday month. Instead of celebrating the day and then getting on with life, they celebrate for the whole month and it is actually a lot of fun. Well, tonight we had a celebration for her birthday because her parents were not here for the first celebration and they are here now, luckily for the second.

We went to Village Inn and invited a family we are very close to and Rach invited a friend of hers, Jeff. We had a lot of fun and the conversation went in so many directions, I kind of got lost inside the swirling and twirling of topic changes.

I love my wife,she is awesome. More tomorrow. Now, bedtime.


The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon

27 July 10
He was born in the city of Nicomedia into the family of the illustrious pagan Eustorgios, and he was named Pantoleon. His mother St. Eubula (March 30) was a Christian. She wanted to raise her son in the Christian Faith, but she died when the future martyr was just a young child. His father sent Pantoleon to a pagan school, after which the young man studied medicine at Nicomedia under the reknowned physician Euphrosynos. Pantoleon came to the attention of the emperor Maximian (284-305), who wished to appoint him as royal physician when he finished his schooling.
The hieromartyrs Hermolaos, Hermippos and Hermokrates, survivors of the massacre of 20,000 Christians in 303 (December 28), were living secretly in Nicomedia at that time. St. Hermolaos saw Pantoleon time and again when he came to the house where they were hiding. Once, the priest invited the youth to the house and spoke about the Christian Faith. After this Pantoleon visited St. Hermolaos every day.
One day the saint found a dead child on the street. He had been bitten by a great snake, which was still beside the child’s body. Pantoleon began to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ to revive the dead child and to destroy the venomous reptile. He firmly resolved that if his prayer were fulfilled, he would become a follower of Christ and receive Baptism. The child rose up alive, and the snake died before Pantoleon’s eyes. After this miracle, Pantoleon was baptized by St. Hermolaos with the name Panteleimon (meaning “all-merciful”). Speaking with Eustorgios, St. Panteleimon prepared him to accept Christianity. When the father saw how his son healed a blind man by invoking Jesus Christ, he then believed in Christ and was baptized by St. Hermolaos together with the man whose sight was restored.
After the death of his father, St. Panteleimon dedicated his life to the suffering, the sick, the unfortunate and the needy. He treated all those who turned to him without charge, healing them in the name of Jesus Christ. He visited those held captive in prison. These were usually Christians, and he healed them of their wounds. In a short time, reports of the charitable physician spread throughout the city. Forsaking the other doctors, the inhabitants began to turn only to St. Panteleimon.
The envious doctors told the emperor that St. Panteleimon was healing Christian prisoners. Maximian urged the saint to refute the charge by offering sacrifice to idols. St. Panteleimon confessed himself a Christian, and suggested that a sick person, for whom the doctors held out no hope, should be brought before the emperor. Then the doctors could invoke their gods, and Panteleimon would pray to his God to heal the man. A man paralyzed for many years was brought in, and pagan priests who knew the art of medicine invoked their gods without success. Then, before the very eyes of the emperor, the saint healed the paralytic by calling on the name of Jesus Christ. The ferocious Maximian executed the healed man, and gave St. Panteleimon over to fierce torture.
The Lord appeared to the saint and strengthened him before his sufferings. They suspended the Great Martyr Panteleimon from a tree and scraped him with iron hooks, burned him with fire and then stretched him on the rack, threw him into a cauldron of boiling tar, and cast him into the sea with a stone around his neck. Throughout these tortures the martyr remained unhurt, and denounced the emperor. At this time the priests Hermolaos, Hermippos and Hermokrates were brought before the court of the pagans. All three confessed their faith in the Savior and were beheaded (July 26).
By order of the emperor they brought the Great Martyr Panteleimon to the circus to be devoured by wild beasts. The animals, however, came up to him and licked his feet. The spectators began to shout, “Great is the God of the Christians!” The enraged Maximian ordered the soldiers to stab with the sword anyone who glorified Christ, and to cut off the head of the Great Martyr Panteleimon. They led the saint to the place of execution and tied him to an olive tree. While the martyr prayed, one of the soldiers struck him with a sword, but the sword became soft like wax and inflicted no wound. The saint completed his prayer, and a Voice was heard from Heaven, calling the passion-bearer by his new name and summoning him to the heavenly Kingdom.
Hearing the Voice, the soldiers fell down on their knees before the holy martyr and begged forgiveness. They refused to continue with the execution, but St. Panteleimon told them to fulfill the emperor’s command, because otherwise they would have no share with him in the future life. The soldiers tearfully took their leave of the saint with a kiss.
When the saint was beheaded, the olive tree to which the saint was tied became covered with fruit. Many who were present at the execution believed in Christ. The saint’s body was thrown into a fire, but remained unharmed, and was buried by Christians . St. Panteleimon’s servants Lawrence, Bassos and Probus witnessed his execution and heard the Voice from Heaven. They recorded the life, the sufferings and death of the saint.
Portions of the holy relics of the Great Martyr Panteleimon were distributed throughout all the Christian world. His venerable head is now located at the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mt. Athos.
St. Panteleimon is venerated in the Orthodox Church as a mighty saint, and the protector of soldiers. This aspect of his veneration is derived from his first name Pantoleon, which means “a lion in everything”. His second name, Panteleimon, given him at Baptism, which means “all-merciful”, is manifest in the veneration of the martyr as a healer. The connection between these two aspects of the saint is readily apparent in that soldiers, receiving wounds more frequently than others, are more in need of a physician-healer. Christians waging spiritual warfare also have recourse to this saint, asking him to heal their spiritual wounds. The holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon is invoked in the Mystery of Anointing the Sick, at the Blessing of Water, and in the Prayers for the Sick.

The Feast of Saint Paraskevi

26 July 10

The blessed holy martyr Saint Paraskevi was born in Rome (circa 130A.D.) during the reign of the pagan Emperor Adrian. Her parents, Agathon and Politia, were devout Christians even though belief in Christ was a crime against the state punishable by death. Agathon and Politia, who were of nobility, likewise ignored the disdain of their peers by championing the cause of the down trodden. In spite of their devotion to Christ and His teachings, Agathon and Politia secretly and painfully bore the cross of a childless marriage. Trusting in the great mercy and love of God, this Christian

Holy Saint Paraskevi, pray unto God for us!

couple did not despair, nor did they cease praying for a child, which they vowed to rear in a God fearing manner. Lo the miracle! Late in life Agathon and Politia were blessed with a daughter. Because the child was born on Friday (Paraskevi in Greek), they named her Paraskevi.

Keeping their promise to God, Agathon and Politia were vigilant in exposing Paraskevi to the fullness of Christianity. The task was made considerably easier because the young girl had a natural penchant for learning. With the help of private tutors, Paraskevi became an ardent student of both Holy Scriptures and secular learning. However, the greatest influence in her life, according to her own testimony, was the Christ-like example of her parents.

Young Paraskevi developed into a cultured, sensitive and beautiful woman. It wasn’t long before some of the noblemen began to take notice of her, and to seek her hand in marriage. Paraskevi always managed, however, to find some excuse to politely refuse. Because inwardly she was convinced that she was destined for a more sublime mission in life.

Paraskevi was orphaned of both parents when she was twenty years old. At this point in her life, that inner feeling, that she was destined for a higher calling, had crystallized into love and zeal for Christ. Her greatest desire was to become an apostle for Christ. To achieve her goal, Paraskevi distributed all her inheritance among the poor of Rome; entered a convent and was tonsured a nun. At the convent, Paraskevi distinguished herself in humility, love and spiritual fortitude. When she finally became proficient in prayer and sacrifice, the Abbess granted her leave so that she could fulfill her life’s ambition; to preach the love of God to all men. This was truly a precarious mission, because the pagan Roman Empire was extremely hostile toward Christianity. Even the most courageous of Christians were reluctant to openly admit that they were followers of Christ. Nevertheless, this did not daunt Paraskevi, nor did it dampen her zeal. As a matter of fact, she began her preaching mission right in Rome! The fervor of her kerygma, and the example of her commitment were such an inspiration, that great multitudes were converted on their very first encounter with the Saint. In spite of her great fame and legacy, Paraskevi managed to elude the authorities. Heartened by this, she decided to extend her ministry to Turkey.

It was in Turkey where Paraskevi experienced her first encounter with the law. One day, as she was preaching just beyond present day Istanbul, in the village of Therapia, the soldiers of Emperor Antonius Pius arrested her. The charge against the young missionary was that the blasphemous words which she uttered were the cause of all the ills that had recently befallen the empire. At her trial, the Emperor, infatuated by her beauty, begged Paraskevi to renounce Christ and worship the idols of Rome. To entice her further, Antonius Pius offered to take her as his wife, and to give her half of his empire. Paraskevi’s reply was quick and resolute: “I have made my choice; no amount of wealth or deprivation can separate me from my love for Christ.” Rebuffed and infuriated, Antonius Pius ordered that Paraskevi be imprisoned and beaten mercilessly until she died. The soldiers were astounded to discover that no matter what punishment and torture she received one day, the next morning she would be as refreshed and carefree as if nothing had happened. Fearing the wrath of the Emperor, the soldiers decided to report this strange phenomenon to him. Castigating the ineptness of his soldiers, Antonius Pius shouted another form of execution. This time he ordered the soldiers to take Paraskevi out to the spot where she was arrested and to prepare a cauldron of boiling water, tar and oil. He further stated that it would be his pleasure to personally supervise the scalding of that “blasphemous Paraskevi”.

When Paraskevi was finally thrown into the boiling cauldron, she reacted as if the water were delightfully lukewarm. In utter disbelief, Antonius again began castigating the soldiers. Softly and with a loving smile, Paraskevi reassured the Emperor that his soldiers had executed his command faithfully. She also stated, “My Lord and Master wills that I continue His work”. Utterly enraged and oblivious of her words, Antonius yelled, “Sprinkle me with the oil and tar. I don’t believe what I see!” Obligingly, Paraskevi scooped some of the boiling mixture in her hands, and splashed it on the Emperor’s face.

Antonius squealed with pain and began yelling, “I’m blind! I can’t see!” Instinctively, he began imploring the Saint to have mercy and pity on him. “Restore my eyesight, and I shall believe”, he begged. “Your God is surely the true God!” Accepting his latter statement as a confession of faith, Paraskevi jumped out of the cauldron; rushed to a spring of water that was nearby, and scooped up fresh cool water onto Antonius’ face, invoked the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and sealed his eyes with the sign of the Precious and Life-saving Cross and the Emperor’s eyesight was restored immediately! The miracle had such a profound effect on Antonius that he not only freed Paraskevi and ordered that all persecutions against Christians be stopped, but he himself was baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. Thus, Paraskevi resumed her apostolic mission with greater zeal and faith. The calm, however, did not last long. Marcus Aurelius, Antonius’ successor, renewed the persecutions against the Christian Church. Paraskevi was beheaded in Rome on the 26th of July, in the year 180 A.D.

Portions of the preceding text are from “The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church” by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, and translated from the French by Christopher Hookway


Experience and Purpose

25 July 10

This post is the text of a letter I have written to some friends today regarding my visit to Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, AZ. I won’t say much up here, the chunks below will cover anything else I could say.

Geetings!

All of you attached to this message have mentioned an interest in my trip to St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, AZ today after Liturgy.

Today at Trapeza, (the meal after Liturgy that we do after Liturgy each Sunday) Father asked if anyone received an email that he had sent out during the week. Pretty much noone in the parish had gotten it so Father told us of is contents.

There is an icon from Russia that was in the U.S. for only the 2nd time. This icon is called the Myrrh-Streaming, Wonder-working. Icon of the Theotokos “The Softener of Evil Hearts.”

This icon gushes myrrh at random times and has also literally bled. Scientists have tested the blood and it has been shown to be type “O”. If you are further interested in this icon I can forward you the info that Father Damian gave to us when we arived at the monastery.

This icon made its way to Saint Antohny’s and so we made a pilgrimage to the monastery an hour away. This was my first time seeing this monastery, although I had seen pictures (and can share a link with a photo album of pictures) of the monastery prior to this visit and since then have always wanted to go. We were going to go for the Feast of the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos in August, but I have a camping trip that weekend so I was sad to not be able to go then and really happy for this opportunity.

The grounds of the monastery look like an oasis in the desert. Trees, plants, fruit-bearing and otherwise, all over the property. The property sits on a natural aquifer so it is really fresh. The grounds are immaculately maintained. The buildings are different styles, mainly Greek and Russian looking. There are 6 or 7 churches on the property all named for different saints or Feasts.

The entire place is beautiful beyond words. We arrived at the monastery in time for Vespers. Usually in a parish Vespers lasts about 45 mins to an hour. In a monastery the Vespers service lasted for about 2 hrs. Although the entire service was in Greek and I did not understand a lot of it there were parts of it that I could follow. It gave me a lot of time to pray for my family and friends and the things in life that need intercession. My own mountain of sins not withstanding.

I have two small paper icons that I received at the monastery. The things I have written are just a small peice of the feelings I experienced today. To be in a place that was so quiet and serene with others from all over the country and world. There were Russians, Greeks, Egyptians, as well as many many English speaking people as well. It was so cleansing to experience the renewal that can be found a monastery.

I hope to return to St. Anthonys soon with Rachel and Talia since they had a baby shower to attend today with 2 other women that are pregnant and a part of a mom’s group that she is a part of.

I hope that is feeble attempt has given you a tiny picture of the joys I have ezprienced this day.

My love and prayers to you all,
Joseph-Juvenaly


Repose of St. Anna, the Mother of the Theotokos

24 July 10

Today we celebrate (amongst other commemorations) the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of Saint Anna, the mother of the most pure Virgin Theotokos Mother of God. Saint Anna also has a feast with her husband, Saint Joachim, on 9 Sept.

For today’s posting I am going to repost a “Hymn of Praise” written by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic. There is an entire book of these hymns written for various saints and feasts. The following hymn is written for the Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anna.

A Hymn of Praise
Saints Joachim and Anna

Be glad, O barren one;
Be glad, O aged Anna.
You will conceive and give birth
To a wondrous child, a chosen one-

As once did the aged Sarah
And the mother of Samson
And the mother of Samuel
And the mother of John-

Yet you will be more glorious than all,
For you will give birth from the womb
To the wonderful Virgin, the only
Wonderful Mother of the Most-high King.

Be glad, O Joachim,
Father of the unprecedented mother
Of whom the Creator desires
To be clothed with glory.

The Law loses its power
When God wills,
and where He wills
Who can gainsay God?

Can there be any dispute with God?
Not by disputation, but by love
Does God change His laws
Before love, all laws

Are as if nonexistent.
When men hunger, the Lord
Makes the dry field fertile
And because of the spiritual hunger of the world

He makes the barren one fertile
For the salvation of men, the Lord
Arranges all for the best
That is why all the Church of the saints
Cries out to Him: Glory! Glory


Martyr Christina of Tyre

24 July 10

Commemorated: 24 July

The life of the Martyr Christina is similar to that of Saint Barbara the Great Martyr. I read this vitae last night and was struck by the simplicity and strength of her faith. She had no Scriptures, no human teacher, and yet she was willing to suffer and die for the True God and the true Faith. Martyr Christina of Tyre, pray to god for us of little Faith!

The Martyr Christina lived during the third century. She was born into a rich family, and her father was governor of Tyre. By the age of 11 the girl was exceptionally beautiful, and many wanted to marry her. Christina’s father, however, envisioned that his daughter should become a pagan priestess. To this end he placed her in a special dwelling where he had set up many gold and silver idols, and he commanded his daughter to burn incense before them. Two servants attended Christina.

In her solitude, Christina began to wonder who had created this beautiful world. From her room she was delighted by the stars of the heavens and she constantly came back to the thought about the Creator of all the world. She was convinced, that the voiceless and inanimate idols in her room could not create anything, since they themselves were created by human hands. She began to pray to the One God with tears, entreating Him to reveal Himself. Her soul blazed with love for the Unknown God, and she intensified her prayer all the more, and combined it with fasting.

One time Christina was visited by an angel, who instructed her in the true faith in Christ, the Savior of the world. The

Martyr Christina of Tyre

Martyr Christina of Tyre, Pray to God for us!

angel called her a bride of Christ and told her about her future suffering. The holy virgin smashed all the idols standing in her room and threw them out the window. In visiting his daughter Christina’s father, Urban, asked her where all the idols had disappeared. Christina was silent. Then, having summoned the servants, Urban learned the truth from them.

In a rage the father began to slap his daughter’s face. At first, the holy virgin remained quiet, but then she told her father about her faith in the One True God, and that she had destroyed the idols with her own hands. Urban gave orders to kill all the servants in attendance upon his daughter, and he gave Christina a fierce beating and threw her in prison. Having learned about what had happened, St Christina’s mother came in tears, imploring her to renounce Christ and to return to her ancestral beliefs. But Christina remained unyielding. On another day, Urban brought his daughter to trial and urged her to offer worship to the gods, and to ask forgiveness for her misdeeds. Instead, he saw her firm and steadfast confession of faith in Christ.

The torturers tied her to an iron wheel, beneath which they lit a fire. The body of the martyr, turning round on the wheel, was scorched on all sides. They then threw her into prison.

An angel of God appeared at night, healing her wounds and strengthening her with food. Her father, seeing her unharmed, gave orders to drown her in the sea. An angel sustained the saint while the stone sank down, and Christina miraculously came out of the water and reappeared before her father. In terror, the torturer imputed this to sorcery and he decided to execute her in the morning. That night he himself suddenly died. Another governor, Dion, was sent in his place. He summoned the holy martyr and also tried to persuade her to renounce Christ, but seeing her unyielding firmness, he again subjected her to cruel tortures. The holy martyr was for a long while in prison. People began to flock to her, and she converted them to the true faith in Christ. Thus about 300 were converted.

In place of Dion, a new governor Julian arrived and resumed the torture of the saint. After various torments, Julian gave orders to throw her into a red-hot furnace and lock her in it. After five days they opened the furnace and found the martyr alive and unharmed. Seeing this miracle take place, many believed in Christ the Savior, and the torturers executed St Christina with a sword.


St. Joseph of Arimathea: Enlightener of Britain?

23 July 10

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an Anglophile. I love the history of Britain, both ancient and present day, and any correlation that can be shown between Britain and the Orthodox Church’s roots is a great find. This vitae is one of those finds.

The Feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea is celebrated on July 31st, along with the Feast that the Church holds on April 18th with the holy Myyrhbearers after the resurrection of Christ. We all know the story from the Scriptures of how St. Joseph was a secret disciple of the Lord throughout his ministry because, as a member of the Sanhedrin he did not participate in the “counsel and deed” of the Jews in passing a death sentence for Jesus Christ. After the Crucifixion and Death of the Savior he made bold to go to Pilate and ask him for the Body of the Lord, to Which he gave burial with the help of Righteous Nicodemus, who was also a secret disciple of the Lord.

They took down the Body of the Savior from the Cross, wrapped it in a winding-cloth, and placed it in a new tomb, in which no one had ever been buried, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the presence of the Mother of God and the holy Myrrh-Bearing Women (St Joseph had prepared this tomb for himself). Having rolled a heavy stone before the entrance of the tomb, they departed (John. 19: 37-42; Mt. 27: 57-61; Mark 15: 43-47; Luke. 24: 50-56).

The OCA website, where his life is written, ends their commemoration by saying that at the end of his life Saint Joseph reposed peacefully in Britain.. but on another (warning: not Orthodox) website there is more info listed:

After the Resurrection, our Lord appeared to him and revealed to him the mystery of His Resurrection. It was after Christ’s ascension that Saint Joseph gave up all fear and boldly confessed his faith in our Lord. Even though his former friends and loved ones opposed him, he could not bear to keep silent and openly preached the mystery of the Resurrection. Finally, he was driven from his home, but he was not grieved. Instead, he took this as a sign that he should travel and enlighten those who had never heard the Holy Faith. The Holy Apostle Philip sent him with twelve followers to the Isles of Briton.
The history of the enlightenment of Britain was well known in the early Church. Tertullian (AD 155-222) wrote that Britain had already received and accepted the Gospel in his life time:

All the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons–inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ.

Hippolytus (AD 170-236), considered to have been one of the most learned Christian historians, identifies the seventy whom Jesus sent in the Gospel of Saint Luke, and includes Saint Aristobulus listed in Romans 16:10 with Saint Joseph and states that he ended up becoming a Shepherd in Britain.

Eusebius, (AD 260-340) Bishop of Caesarea and father of ecclesiastical history wrote:

The Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the isles called the Britannic Isles.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers (AD 300-376) also wrote that the Apostles had built churches and that the Gospel had passed into Britain. The same is said by Saint John Chrysostom (AD 347-407):

The British Isles which are beyond the sea, and which lie in the ocean, have received virtue of the Word. Churches are there found and altars erected … Though thou shouldst go to the ocean, to the British Isles, there though shouldst hear all men everywhere discoursing matters out of the scriptures, with another voice indeed, but not another faith, with a different tongue, but the same judgment.

Traveling across the perilous marshes of Somerset, the thirteen holy companions crossed the water to Glastonbury, coming at last to a hill which tradition still shows today, called Weary-All. As was the custom, the saint carried a pastoral staff of dry hawthorn. When he stopped to rest, he stuck the staff into the ground where it blossomed as a sign of God’s favour. The miraculous staff soon grew into a great tree, which continues to blossom to this day during Holy Nativity. In fact, official records show that after England adopted the Gregorian Calendar the Glastonbury Thorn continued to blossom on the Church Calendar date for Nativity.

Here at Weary-All Hill the saint’s party was met by a local chieftain, Arviragus, who, being impressed by the piety, gentleness, and meekness of Saint Joseph, donated twelve ‘hides’ of land to the group (approximately 160 acres). Here, on the Twelve Hides of Glastonbury, our holy patron sank the firm roots of Orthodox Christianity, building a church which he dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos. St. Joseph and his companions enlightened many of the Tritons and baptized large numbers of them into the Holy Church. It was here that Saint Joseph of Arimathea, gave up his soul into the hands of our Saviour. Much later in 183 A.D. another group of missionaries came to the holy site where Saint Joseph had reposed, and there occurred many miraculous deeds and mysteries of healings. Christians lived at this site as hermits until the fifth century when our holy father among the saints, Patrick of Ireland, visited Glastonbury and formed a monastery on the site. Shortly after this St. David of Wales also visited this venerable place and began the building of a larger Church on the site. Glastonbury became a great place of pilgrimage for the Orthodox people of Britain. Many other saints came and dwelt on the lands where the Holy Apostolic Faith was first preached to the natives of Britain, the lands of Glastonbury, sanctified by Saint Joseph.

Glory to God for all things.

This is a really great account of the ending of the life of St. Joseph. Seeing as how we really only recall the life of St Joseph when we think of the Passion of Christ, t is always good to remember this great saint on his other Feast as well (31 July) and commemorate his deeeds as an apostolic preacher and Enlightener.

St. Joseph of Arimathea, pray unto God for us!


The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

22 July 10

Equal to the Apostles and Myrrhbearer of Christ

Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Equal to the Apostles and Myrrhbearer of Christ. Since coming to Orthodoxy I have learned to have a certain love and respect for St. Mary Magdalene that I did not really have in my prior days. The histories of this saint are so drastically different in so many ways that when you compare the two versions of events you have a hard time trying to remind yourself that it is the same person.

This saint is also dear to me because of a mission church in Merced, CA that holds St. Mary Magdalene as their patron. Fr. David is a great priest whom I consider to be a great friend and his family and congregation are daily in my prayers, especially on this day.

And for those who celebrate this day as their patronal feast, especially my dear sister Samantha-Mary Johnson, may God grant you many many blessed and wonderful years! You are loved by myself and my family very much, even if you are a goober. 🙂

Below I will post the life of St. Mary Magdalene for those interested. St. Mary Magdalene, Equal to the Apostles and Myhrrbearer of Christ, pray to God for us!

Mary Magdalene was one of the myrrh-bearing women and “equal to the apostles”. She was born in the town of Magdala along the shore of Lake Gennesaret and was from the tribe of Issachar.

She was tormented by seven evil spirits from which the Lord Jesus freed her and made her whole. She was a faithful follower and servant of the Lord during His earthly life.

Mary Magdalene stood beneath the Cross on Golgotha and grieved bitterly and mourned with the All-Holy Birth-giver of God. After the death of the Lord she visited His sepulchre three times. When the Lord resurrected she saw Him on two occasions: once alone and the other time with the other myrrh-bearing women.

She traveled to Rome and appeared before Tiberias Caesar and presenting him with a red colored egg, greeted him with the words: “Christ is Risen!” At the same time, she accused Pilate before Caesar for his unjust condemnation of the Lord Jesus. Caesar accepted her accusation and transferred Pilate from Jerusalem to Gaul where, this unjust judge, in disfavor with the emperor, died of a dread disease.

After that, Mary Magdalene returned from Rome to Ephesus to St. John the Theologian whom she assisted in the work of preaching the Gospel. With great love toward the resurrected Lord, and with great zeal, she proclaimed the Holy Gospel to the world as a true apostle of Christ.

She died peacefully in Ephesus and, according to tradition, was buried in the same cave in which seven youths were miraculously put to sleep for hundreds of years and, after that, were brought to life and then died (August 4).

The relics of St. Mary Magdalene were later transferred to Constantinople. There is a Russian Orthodox convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene near the Garden of Gethsemane.