Saturday, January 19, 2013



   Mark Eugenikos was born around 1392, spending  the greater part of his life in Constantinople. He  had desired to live a monastic life, which he did for a time, but the Lord was  preparing him for a much greater task – the defense of all the truths of Orthodoxy against the false teaching and false authority of  the Papacy, at a time when  Orthodox leaders were fearful of attacks and capture of  their beloved city – Constantinople.   Well educated,  Mark was seriously studious and covered many subjects, especially theology and rhetoric. Although he was living in the world he was not bound by it, for his first  desire had always been for the ascetic life of silence and contemplation. Then as the years went by, his soul became increasingly simple and pure, and he was beloved and honored.  The Lord endowed him firm faith and great stamina arming him with the ability to defend the dogmas of Orthodoxy. This defense was supported by his fellows,  first with little,  and later no support, and even worse came the opposition of his fellows. Mark was ordained a Priest and later elevated to Metropolitan.  Through the providence of God,  Mark would be chosen to champion the truth and uphold the dogmas in discussions with the Pope and the possibility of union of the churches.

   Prior to the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the subsequent captivity under  the Turks, the Emperor and Patriarch hoping   that they could prevent the fall of the Empire, especially saving the city of Constantinople, by obtaining  military help from the west, in 

Friday, January 18, 2013



     Although we  usually speak of the 150 Psalms of David, there is a 151st Psalm which is beautiful, wherein  David speaks of his being chosen by God and his famous defeat of the giant Goliath.

     This Psalm was written by the hand of David and outside the number, when he fought a duel with Goliath

    “I was the smallest of my brothers, and the youngest in my father’s house; I tended my father’s sheep.
     My hands made an instrument, and my fingers tuned a psaltery.
But who will tell it to my Lord?  The Lord himself; He will listen.

He sent forth His angel, and took me from my father’s sheep; and anointed me with his anointing oil.

 My brothers were big and handsome, but the Lord did not approve of them.
I went out to meet the alien, and he cursed me by his idols.  But I drew his own sword and beheaded him, and took away the reproach from the sons of Israel.”



“Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; the Lord shall rejoice in His works.
 Who looks upon the earth and makes it quake; who touches the mountains, and they smoke” (Psalm 103:31-32).

     In the days of Emperor Leo the Isaurian in the year 740, a long-lasting and most terrible earthquake occurred in the queen city Constantinople.  The clergy and people understood this as being God’s chastisement for their sins.  They then prayed to the Theotokos and the Great Champion and Martyr Demetrios, repenting of their sins until God showed His mercy and the earthquake ended


      We Orthodox very frequently  sing the Trisagion Prayer:

“Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy upon us.  Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy upon us.  Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy  Immortal, have mercy upon us.”  

 And here is its source!                
Commemoration of the Great Earthquake at Constantinople (447) and the Miracle of the Trisagion 

     During the reign of the Emperor Theophilus, the city of Constantinople was visited by frequent earthquakes for almost four months. The Emperor, the Patriarch Prochlus disciple of St. John Chrysostom, celebrated on November 20th, and the people joined in a barefoot procession offering prayer to God seeking their security. While  gathered, the tremors increased dramatically, and a young boy was taken up into the heavens before all the people, who in fear cried out Kyrie eleison! Lord have mercy! 

     When the boy came down from the heavens, he said that he had been among choirs of Angels who sang:  “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!”  and that a voice had commanded him to tell the Patriarch that the people should make supplication to God in this manner. The Patriarch instructed the people to sing  this hymn, and immediately  the ground stopped shaking and the child fell asleep in the Lord.. The Empress Pulcheria (September 10) asked the Patriarch to order that this hymn be song from then on in the Divine Liturgy, just as it is still sung today before the Epistle reading.: “ Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!”  Our Holy Tradition establishes that this glorification, over 1200 years old,  is always to be read or sung  not less than three times.

Thursday, January 17, 2013



  The source and use of our free will can best be understood by observing the biblical account of  man’s creation.  Man was not formed from matter alone as are animals, for matter which lacks freedom, cannot possibly give freedom to man.  Freedom can only come from the source of freedom which can only be found in the Creator of heaven and earth who possesses absolute freedom.  According to Holy Scripture, God gave freedom to angelic creatures,  and man who was created from the earth. Moses gives this account regarding man:  “God formed man out of the clay of the earth. And breathed into his person  a spirit of life and the man became a living soul.”  Thus it is the free and divine spirit breathed in the beginning into man which  enables him to freely become the living image of God, bearing divine characteristics. 



      In the book entitled “With the Elder Porphyrios, is found on page 172-3 the following conversation concerning medicine.  “The Elder did not rule out the use of medicine, but  did not give it absolute value regarding its healing role.  One day he asked me, “What is medicine (Greek pharmako?”  I answered, “A chemical preparation we take in order to get well from sickness.”  He was not satisfied with my answer and repeated, “Tell me what  “medicine” (pharmako) means? Doesn’t the word itself tell you something?”  The Elder continued, “Medicine” (pharmako) means “poison” (pharmaki).  Don’t think that medicines only makes the human body better.  They also make it worse.  Why do we take medicine? Because we get sick.  And why do we get sick? Because we get upset.  And why do we get upset?  Because we sin.  If however, we have Christ dwelling throughout our soul, then sin leaves. sadness leaves, sickness leaves, and we throw our medicine away

Monday, January 14, 2013



  On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus said to His disciples:  “Take eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance.  Drink you of it all, for this is my blood in the new covenant which is shed for you and many for remission of sins.” 

“This do in remembrance of me!”

 He that eats and drinks the body and blood of the Lord, will be unable to forget the Lord, but will remember Him for ever.  Let us consider, then, what the nature of this remembrance is.

 The remembrance of Christ consists in thinking, what a person Christ must have been to have done such a work, and what a work, for our salvation!  Thinking, that although being in the form of God, and enjoying all the power, authority, and glory of God, as 

being the perfect Logos of the perfect Mind, as the reflection of His glory, and although served and honored by all the angelic and bodiless forces, and master of all creation visible and invisible, He emptied himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on the Cross.  

    The remembrance of Christ consists in thinking how Christ, although by nature a God, descended upon the earth, and became  man that I, by nature a man, might ascend to heaven, and become a god; that He suffered the most disagreeable of all things disagreeable that I might enjoy the greatest good of all things good which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man; that He humbled himself that I might be exalted; that He suffered dishonor, that I might be honored; that He underwent hardships, afflictions, sorrows, and pain that I might find relaxation, joy, and happiness; that He died that I might live; and in a word, that He became a poor man without form or beauty that I might become a blissful god invested with honor and glory.  

    The remembrance of Christ consists in thinking how much Christ loved me, to allow himself to be slaughtered and to give His most precious life as ransom for my sake! How much Christ loved me, to become my food and my nourisher, feeding me with His own Flesh, just as a mother feeds from her own breast the child to whom she has given birth!  How much Christ loved me to give me all He had and make it mine, without having received anything from me and without needing anything!

 In a word, the remembrance of Christ consists in thinking of the self-abnegation and sacrifice of Christ, the motive of which was His love for me and the end and purpose of which was my deification!  Dearest remembrance!  Sweetest remembrance of the mystery of Eucharist!  You are more dear to me than all other treasures!  You are sweeter to my tongue than honey!  The memory and remembrance and contemplation of the Son of God delights me, because He is exceedingly good.  It delights me because I understand  how good Christ is rather that I know  what good I have received from Him.      
    Your love, Christ has wounded me in my heart, and how shall I heal this wound?  What medicine or dressings shall I put upon my wound?  Your commandments I shall keep, and your will I will do; for these things are a consolation and a comfort to the soul that loves you, and it is such medicines and dressings that the wound of your love seeks.  You have said: “All things whatever you would that me should do to you, do you even so to them.”

  When we keep the commandments of Christ we show our love for Him.  If we say we love Him and neglect His commandments, this belies our love, and we need to correct it for disobedience of Christ, deprives us of the benefits that the Holy Eucharist confers on us.

“Remember me O Lord, when you come in your kingdom.”

   The Eucharist is the divine food, that not only does good to our souls, to the highest degree, but also changes our bodies, making them noble and beneficial. The body is the inseparable companion of the soul, and the instrument by which it accomplishes its actions.  Because the desires of the body can lead the soul into sins, we are taught in both words of the Scripture, and actions of the ascetics, to subject the body to the soul, its rightful master. If we allow the Body to rule over the soul we surrender our freedom and become enslaved to carnal desires.  This is what Orthodox fasting and temperance are about. We follow the rules of  fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays and during the four fasts of the year. This promotes sobriety of the mind and soundness of the body and its good health.

The belief that in the Mystery of Eucharist, the faithful partake of the Lord himself, was a difficult saying to many of the Jews who were His disciples. Christ introduced it to them when He said to the Jews:  “Amen, amen, Moses did not give  you that bread which comes down from heaven but my Father gives you the true bread which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.”   (John 6:32). The Jews murmured at him because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. Jesus told them: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.  And the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  The Jews strove among themselves and did not understand,  thus  Christ said: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is truly food, and my blood is truly drink. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him.” (John 6: 51-56)
     After that many of the Jews who were His disciples, no longer  “walked with them; then Jesus said to the twelve, will you also go away?” Peter answered Him, Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:67). We all must follow Peter’s example and not be scandalized by the pure words of Jesus Christ!