On the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos or Agia Skepi (October 28) we implore the defense and assistance of the Queen of Heaven, “Remember us in your prayers, O Lady Virgin Mother of God, that we not perish by the increase of our sins. Protect us from every evil and from grievous woes, for in you do we hope, and venerating the Feast of your Protection, we magnify you.”

Though celebrated outside of Greece on October 1, the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos was transferred to October 28th after World War 2 with the annual commemoration of Ohi Day. This was done to commemorate the great help and protection of the Theotokos to the Greek nation throughout its history, and especially during World War II during which many miracles are reported.

Tomorrow the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki!

Saint Demetrius came from a noble family of the Roman province of Macedonia. Through this noble ancestry and through his own ability and virtue he rose to a high military position under Galerius Maximian, Caesar of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire (with Diocletian as the Augustus, or senior emperor). Despite this position in the still-pagan empire, he remained fervent in faith and works for Christ, encouraging many Christians to endure persecution and even bringing many pagans to the faith.

When Maximian returned from one of his campaigns to Thessaloniki, which he had made his capital, he had pagan games and sacrifices celebrated for his triumph. Demetrios was denounced by pagans who were envious of his success, and he was thrown into prison. While in prison he was visited by a young Christian named Nestor, who asked him for a blessing to engage in single combat with the giant Lyaios (or Lyaeus), who was posing as the champion of paganism. Demetrios gave his blessing and Nestor, against all odds, slew his opponent in the arena, as David had once defeated Goliath.

The enraged emperor, learning that this had occurred with Demetrios’s aid, first had Nestor beheaded outside the city and then had Demetrios impaled in prison. Later Demetrios’s servant Lupus was beheaded after using his master’s blood-stained tunic and signet ring to work many miracles. The Christians buried Demetrius and Nestor next together in the bath where Demetrius had been imprisoned. During the seventh century a miraculous flow of fragrant myrrh was found emanating from his tomb, giving rise to the appellation Mirovlitis, the Myrrh Gusher to his name. His tomb containing his relics is now in the crypt of the Church of St. Demetrios in Thessaloniki.

St. Demetrius is revered as the patron saint of Thessaloniki and is believed by the people as having intervened to save the city over the years from invading foreigners, from the Slavic nations, Bulgarians, Arabs, Saracens, and others. While well remembered in the Hellenic world, the memory of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki found an attachment in the Slavic, particularly the Russian, world from the times of the Russian Primary Chronicle.

What are your virtues?

One day, while St. Antony was sitting with a certain Abba, a virgin came up and said to the Elder: ‘Abba, I fast six days of the week and I repeat by heart portions of the Old and New Testament daily. To which the Elder replied: ‘Does poverty mean the same to you as abundance?’ ‘No’, she answered. ‘Or dishonour the same as praise?’ ‘No, Abba.’ ‘Are your enemies the same for you as your friends?’ ‘No’, she replied. At that the wise Elder said to her: ‘Go, get to work; you have accomplished nothing.’

Prayer is grace

Prayer is grace. God gives it when there exists zeal and humility… Let Christ not be missing from your heart.

- Elder Amphilochios of Patmos

A message from Anonymous
Hi! I remember a while ago you asked if anyone knew of a parish that was in need of funds, to repair damage and the like and were considering setting up some kind of donation system. My new church was affected by a fire and most of the icons are blackened. It is a very small parish and as such doesn't receive much funding. It is the Parish of St Nicholas in Bunbury, Australia. greekorthodox[.]org[.]au/general/aboutus/parishdirectory?parish_id=117 it would be great if people wanted to support us

Hello dear, Christ is Risen!

Thanks so much for sharing these information with us. I am really sad that this happened to your beautiful parish, but God won’t leave you.

Please, anyone that wants to help the damaged little Church of St. Nicholas in Bunbury (Australia), can visit this link in order to contact the Church and ask ways to help.

May God help you all to gather funds as soon as possible!Christ is Risen!

Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

This night we’ll listen to this one at Church.

“Today is hung upon the Tree, He Who did hang the land in the midst of the waters…”

I always cry when I hear this, I can’t help it! All the believers are crying, including the priest… I feel so blessed that I am Orthodox!

A message from Anonymous
I have no idea if this sounds ridiculous or self centerred, which I hope not but it's three AM in America at the moment, I was wondering if you could pray for me (Elleni) that I can become healthier. During the school year my health always deteriorates and it's been terrible this year. (I had pneumonia for two or thee months). But if you could please pray for mine and my family's health it would be much appreciated. I also will be sure to keep you and your family in my prayers.Efcharisto poli.

Hello my dear Elleni,

I will keep you, and your family in my prayers. I’ll pray that God will make you healthy again and He’ll help your family. Thanks in advance for your prayers for me.

God bless you, blessed Holy Week!

A message from Anonymous
What is your advice for Orthodox Christians living in the West? God bless

Hello my dear friend!

Being an Orthodox Christian and living in the West is really difficult. There are all kinds of denominations and religions, so it’s difficult to stay a faithful Orthodox. Sometimes it’s difficult even to go at Church on Sunday, as the Church may be hours away from the faithful’s house. There are many practical problems that us in the Eastern countries, and especially the Orthodox ones, like Greece -my country- don’t face.

But, to me, it’s a special blessing to be an Orthodox Christian living in a country that the main religion is not Orthodoxy. I really, really admire all those that besides the practical problems they face, keep the truths of the Holy Orthodox Church and are true defenders of her. These people are true Orthodox, not only in theory. They are much more Christians than many of us living in the East, that we take Orthodoxy as granted and not appreciate it as we should…

Now about advice for Orthodox Christians living in the West, I’ll post the words of Elder Amphilochios Makris of Patmos:

Do not be afraid because of your Orthodoxy; do not be afraid because, as an Orthodox in the West, you will be often isolated and always in a small minority. Do not make compromises but do not attack other Christians; do not be either defensive or aggressive; simply be yourself.

I think his words are enough. Be close to the Orthodox Church, be an active Orthodox Christian, in collaboration with the other Orthodox Christians try with all your powers to keep the Holy ancient Faith unchanged, but without offending people from other Christian confessions and religions, you have to respect them.

I hope this helps! My heart and prayers are always with all the Orthodox around the world <3

Blood-Stained Cassocks and 1821

Without the Orthodox clergy the great national campaign of 1821 would not have succeeded. Some propagandists of outdated ideologies deny the role of the Bishops and speak only of the “lower clergy”. They are wrong both in terms of terminology and in their historical perspective.

In the Orthodox Church the higher clergy are the Bishops, the Presbyters (priests) and the Deacons. To the lower clergy belong the Subdeacon and the Reader, who are laymen. The French Consul François Pouqueville writes that 100 Patriarchs and Bishops were killed during the Turkish Occupation and the Struggle [of 1821]. Before 1821 there were 80 movements made by Greeks, and most were led by Bishops. Remember that from 1680 to 1700 Eastern Central Greece was free after two Bishops revolted, Hierotheos of Thebes and Philotheos of Salona.

1821 is stained with the blood of Patriarch Gregory V and Patriarch Cyril VI, from Andrionople. Besides Bishop Germanos of Patras, who blessed the banner at Holy Lavra Monastery and in Patras, Isaiah of Salona declared Revolution in Fokida and was sacrificed in Alamana. The Patmian Patriarch of Alexandria, Theophilos Pagkostas, went to Patmos and raised the banner of revolution. From then he never returned to his throne.

Most Bishops of Peloponnesos were imprisoned by the Pasha of Tripoli from the beginning of March 1821, and only two were found alive when the Greeks entered after 6.5 months. Let us not forget this sacrifice of the shepherds.

In Cyprus, Archbishop Kyprianos had joined the Filiki Etairia (Society of Friends). The Turks were informed and on 9 July 1821 there was a great slaughter in Nicosia. Kyprianos together with all the Bishops and Archimandrites were killed together with the elders.

Many other Bishops played a significant role in the Struggle, such as Anthimos of Elos, Theodoritos of Vresthena, Joseph of Androusa, and Neophytos of Talantio (Livadeia). And in the Grand Exodus of Messolonghi, Bishop Joseph of Rogon, aid to Metropolitan Porphyrios of Arta, was sacrificed while blowing the windmill.

All who lived at that time were confessors: Bishops, priests, simple monastics, all proclaimed their “presence”. Our Freedom is owed primarily to the Blood-stained Cassocks.

- By Konstantinos Holevas, Political Scientist

Translated by John Sanidopoulos

Your Photos from the Sunday of Orthodoxy

As you all may know, this Sunday is the Sunday of Orthodoxy! It’s a really important day for all the Orthodox Christians worldwide :) This special day, we all take a favourite icon of ours in the Church and we participate to the procession.

So, I would like to ask all the Orthodox followers of the blog to send me photographs from the icon you’ll choose for the procession to your local parish. In the end of the week, I’ll make a photoset with all of them, and I’ll post them either to this blog, or here

So, which icon you’ll choose this year? Let us know! :) You can submit your photos here, just mention your name and the country you live!

Have a blessed fasting day!

Be long-suffering and merciful to your brethren

God is long-suffering and merciful to you: this you experience many times every day. Be long-suffering and merciful to your brethren, also fulfilling the words of the Apostle, who thus speaks of love before everything: “Love suffereth long, and is kind.” You desire that the Lord should rejoice you by His love, rejoice on your part the hearts of others by your tender love and kindness.

- St. John of Kronstadt

Being Christian

Suffering is an indication of another Kingdom which we look to. If being Christian meant being ‘happy’ in this life, we wouldn’t need the Kingdom of Heaven.

- Fr. Seraphim Rose

Our Will and God’s Will

In the measure to which a man cuts off and humbles his own will, he proceeds toward success. But insofar as he stubbornly guards his own will, so much does he brings harm to himself.

- St. Ephraim the Syrian