Monday, February 3, 2014



     St. Ammon of Nitria was living in the Nitrian desert, and had acquired the  gift of discernment and insight and became a wonder-worker. A man and his wife came to him with their insane son, seeking his help to cure their son by his prayers, but he would not do this. He told them that “the illness of your son is in your own hands. Return to the widow the ox that was stolen from her and your son will be healed.” They promised him that they would do as he said. 

   Our Lord took a small child and placing him among His disciples, said: “Whoever shall humble himself like this child, he is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:4). This same child grew up and became the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer of Antioch, who was called Godbearer because he always carried the name of the Lord in his heart and on his lips. A supernatural wonder  took place at Ignatius’ martyrdom where he was devoured by wild beasts. Only his bones werer left and his heart. A Roman soldier cut it open and they found inscribed in gold, JESUS CHRIST.

   During the Isaurian  dynasty (717 - 802), in the reign of Byzantine Emperor Leo the Isaurian, a  continuous and terrifying earthquake was rattling the great city of Constantinople. Many people began to pray to the Theotokos and St. Demetrios. Then, realizing that the earthquake was a chastisement for their sins with sincere  repentance and tears  they entreated God, who showed His  mercy and the earthquake ended because of their prayers.


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.

During another severe earthquake in Constantinople and the surrounding area, many of its building fell, among them were the most beautiful, and lives were in constant danger, causing the populace to  be filled with fear. The Emperor and Patriarch, many bishops, priests, led the people, and were making  numerous processions, entreating the Lord for relief, for this quake was long and severe. People were afraid to go into buildings, and many had gathered at the shore, away from structures.

   As they were offering heartfelt and tearful prayers, a small boy was wondrously taken up from them into the air and disappeared into the heavens,  becoming invisible to the eyes of the people.  Later he returned and landed gently on the ground. When they asked him where he had been, he said with the angels, and this is what they sang: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have mercy upon us. When the procession resumed they all sang this hymn glorifying the Holy Trinity and the earthquake immediately stopped! St. John Chrysostom’s disciple Proclus, after  becoming Archbishop of Constantinople, placed the Trisagion hymn in the Divine Liturgy.

   We hear from Church hymns of  the three servants, who were thrown into the roaring furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar, after refusing to bow down to his idol. They were singing hymns in the midst of the flames, and  were delivered unharmed, without smelling of smoke or fire.  Daniel who was in captivity with them in Babylon, was left to die in a lion’s den with seven lions. The Prophet Habakkuk was far away from Babylon, for  he did not get taken in the captivity.   Having prepared a meal with bread, the prophet was walking toward the fields to bring it as dinner for his laborers who were reaping.  At that time an angel of the Lord said to Habakkuk:  “Take this dinner that you have fixed to Daniel in Babylon, who is in the lion’s den.”  The prophet protested that he never had seen Babylon and did not know the location of the lion’s den. The angel took up Habakkuk and carrying him by his hair and brought him to the den where Daniel was.  Then Habakkuk cried out: “Daniel, take this dinner which the Lord has sent you.” Daniel said to the Lord: “You have remembered me O God, for you do not forsake those who seek you and love you." Daniel did eat and the angel brought Habakkuk back home. In his written prophecies,  Habakkuk,  foretells the coming of Christ and His incarnation, the Holy Apostles, the Cross and the Ascension, and that “the just shall live by faith in me.” Of Christ, “You went forth for the salvation of your people, to save your anointed ones (Hab.2:13)

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