Saturday, March 7, 2015



     St. Meletios the Great, Archbishop of Antioch, celebrated by Orthodox Christians on February 12, flourished in the fourth century. He became Archbishop in 360 AD, and met a young man, John Chrysostom. Their  acquaintance profoundly affected the character of young Chrysostom who at that time had entered a class of catechumens; after three years of instruction, he was baptized by Archbishop Meletios at the age of twenty-three. In 370 AD. St. Meletios ordained young John Chrysostom first as Reader and later as Deacon. The Saint also ordained St. Basil the Great as Deacon.

   St. Meletios, being an outstanding defender and interpreter of holy Orthodoxy, zealously spent his life fighting against the Arian heretics who blasphemed against the Holy Trinity. Many Arians nourishing the bitterness of their heresy in their hearts began an ingenious slander campaign hurled against the Saint, even accusing him of being a Sabellian. The struggle between the Orthodox and the heretics was so bitter, that when the Saint was preaching in a church the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, his own deacon who had embraced the wicked Arian heresy, ran up and put his hands over the Archbishop’s mouth to prevent him from continuing his sermon. Meletius then began to preach using his hands; first he opened three fingers and then his fist he represented the one God in trinity. Eventually St. Meletios was driven from his Archbishopric throne by the persecutors. The Antiochene  community was divided between the heretics and the supporters of the First Ecumenical Synod.  When the Emperor Constantius died he was succeeded by Julian the Apostate who persecuted the Christians and initiated efforts to  bring back the insanity of idolatry. Julian drove St. Meletios from his throne, and many Orthodox believing Christians fled his persecution while  some submitted to death and martyrdom.

     After the death of the profane emperor Julian. the pious and God-fearing Jovian became emperor  (363-364). The divine Meletios then was able to return to his see in Antioch. The emperor held St. Meletios in very high regard.  Meletios convened a synod where the Arians hypocritically   pretended to complete agreement with Orthodox doctrine, proclaiming that the Father and the Son were co-essential.  Later a new emperor, under the influence of the Arians, exiled St. Meletios after Arianism had spread over greater territory. While in exile he met St. Basil the Great, who agreed with his wonderful exposition on the Holy Trinity. St. Basil championed Saint Meletios and eventually Meletios returned to his see. It was at this time that he encountered the young John Chrysostom. The pious western Roman Emperor Gratian, influenced by St. Ambrose of Milan, returned Meletios to his see in Antioch for the third time

Tuesday, March 3, 2015



     The period of the Forty Day Fast, offers many opportunities  to believers to increase their relation with God and the benefits are great!  This article will be of interest to those who try to keep the fast and who keep it strictly, according to the requirements of the Church.  Fasting is an important part of our Orthodox Faith for through it we show obedience to God and reduce our passions. Also it fasting by calming the body’s desires, helps prayer to become more lively and joyful. The great Moses fasted for forty days on the mountain.  Our Lord Jesus Christ fasted for forty days before He began His ministry. St. Paul, following His encounter with Christ, became blind and fasted three days and nights from all food and drink, and later became the greatest preacher of the Church. 

     Fasting has the distinction of being the very first law of God given to man, when the Lord told Adam, to completely fast from the forbidden tree, He established the penalty death. Orthodox Christian with a few exceptions, fast Wednesdays and Fridays, the Great Fast of Forty Days, Holy Week, the Fast of Peter and Paul begins a week after Pentecost, the Fast for the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos in the first two weeks of August, the forty days before the Christmas, August 29, beheading of John the Forerunner and Sep. 14th for the Exaltation of the Cross.

      In this article we will not go into the details of bodily  fasting as there are many sources available with detail on methods and reasons for fasting for medical, physical and spiritual reasons. Here we will deal with a different aspect of fasting that does not deal with material food and drink alone.

When we fast it is usually a bodily fast when we limit partially or totally the intake of food and drink, there is also another aspect of fasting which is vital.