Saturday, December 17, 2016

St. Dionysius of Zakynthos

St. Dionysius of Zakynthos was born in 1547 on the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea (Greece). Before becoming a monk, his name was Draganigos Sigouros. He was educated by priests and became fluent in Greek, Italian, and Latin. He excelled in theology, became a monk in 1568, received his first degree of ordination as a priest in 1570 as Daniel; he later became the hieromonk of Zakynthos and Strofades. In 1577, he was raised to Archbishop of Aegina and Poros, and after a year, abdicated from this dignity and settled in Zakynthos as an abbot of a monastery. In December 17, 1622 he fell asleep in the Lord. He had asked to be buried in this monastery and his grave is still to be found in the chapel of St George; a dependent of the monastery. 

It has been found that his body remains intact and emits a mixed fragrance of flowers and frankincense. Therefore he is venerated, and his sainthood has been proclaimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople. His feast day is celebrated on December 17, and on August 24, the Church celebrates the transfer of his holy relics.

St. Dionysius is an example to us all for his forgiveness of even the most grievous sins against us.

St. Dionysius rests in the church which bears his name in Zakynthos, where opening his tomb is often found impossible. It appears as though this occurs when Dionysius is out performing miracles. Afterwards, when the tomb can be opened, seaweed is found at his feet and his slippers are found to be worn thin. In fact, his slippers need continual replacement because they receive so much wear! He is often seen alive and walking.
The Holy Monastery of Strofades and Saint Dionysios

Together with your child, read "Saint Dionysius of Zakynthos" by Potamitis Publications!

In honor of his forgiving spirit, color a forgiveness coloring page and discuss how we can "forgive those who trespass against us" like St. Dionysius did.

Friday, November 11, 2016

St. Milica the Princess of Serbia

Princess Milica Hrebeljanović née Nemanjić ca. 1335 – November 11, 1405) also known as Empress (Tsaritsa) Milica, was a royal consort of Serbia. Her husband was Serbian Prince St. Lazar and her children included despot Stefan Lazarević, and Jelena Lazarević, whose husband was Đurađ II
Balšić. She is the author of "A Mother's Prayer" and a famously moving poem of mourning for her husband, "My Widowhood's Bridegroom."

After the death of her husband St. Lazar at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, Milica ruled Serbia until 1393 when her son, Stefan Lazarević Hrebeljanović, came of age to take the throne. At that time,
Ljubostinja monastery
much wisdom and personal courage was needed to reign in a country which was nominally free but always under threat of invading forces, from the East and the West. It was difficult to maintain a national spirit without provoking neighboring kingdoms or pashaluks to raid or plunder. Milica proved herself an able ruler of the country at a very trying time. Her personal tragedy (losing her husband and sending her daughter Mileva (Olivera Despina) to marry Bayezid I, who had ordered the execution of her husband Prince Lazar in 1389) did not interfere with her carrying out her duties. She founded the Ljubostinja monastery around 1390 and later took monastic vows at her monastery and became the nun Eugenia (Јевгенија, later abbess Euphrosine, Јефросина) around 1393.

In 1397 she issued the "A Mother's Prayer" together with her sons at the Dečani monastery. She commissioned the repairing of the bronze horos of Dečani.

In later diplomatic negotiations with Sultan Bayezid I, Eugenia and Euphemia, the former Vasilissa of Serres, both traveled to the Sultan's court in 1398/99.

In 1403, Eugenia went to the Sultan at Serres, arguing in favour of her son Stefan Lazarević in a complicated dispute that had emerged between her two sons and Branković.

She was buried in Ljubostinja, her monastery. She was canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church. Princess Milica was also a writer. She wrote several prayers and religious poems. It appears that her grief and loneliness were captured in her highly lyrical and poetic address to Prince Lazar (Hrebeljanović). Although conceived as a church hymn, it contains a personal note and lyrical tones unusual for solemn and somber church hymnody.

St. Milica is the patron of writers (especially religious ones) and poets. 

A slava is very popular among Serbian Orthodox faithful. Since St. Milica is one of the patron saints of Serbia, consider hosting a slava in her honor.

Monday, September 26, 2016

St. Nilus the Younger of Rossano

Saint Nilus the Younger (910 – December 27, 1005), was a monk, abbot, and founder of Italo-Greek monasticism in southern Italy. His feast day is celebrated on September 26.

Born to a Greek family of Rossano, in the Byzantine Theme of Calabria, for a time he was married and had a daughter. Sickness brought about his conversion, however, and from that time he became a monk and a propagator of the rule of St. Basil in Italy.
He was known for his ascetic life, his virtues, and theological learning. For a time he lived as a hermit, later he spent certain periods of his life at various monasteries which he either founded or restored. He was for some time at Monte Cassino, and again at the Alexius monastery at Rome. He was a charismatic leader and an important figure of his time.
When Pope Gregory V was driven out of Rome, Nilus opposed the usurpation of Philogatos of Piacenza as antipope. Later when Philogatos was tortured and mutilated, he reproached Gregory and the Emperor Otto III for this crime.
Sant'Agata monastery in Amalfi coast
St. Nilus' chief work was the foundation in 1004 of the famous Greek monastery of Grottaferrata near Frascati, on lands granted him by Gregory, count of Tusculum; he is counted as the first Abbot there. He spent the end of his life partly in St. Agata monastery in Tusculum and partly in a hermitage at Valleluce near Gaeta. He died in the Sant'Agata monastery in 1005.

St. Nilus is revered as the patron Saint of the scribes and calligraphers.

Friday, August 5, 2016

St. Oswald King of Northumbria

The holy, glorious, right-victorious martyr and right-believing King St. Oswald of Northumbria (c. 604-August 5, 641/642) was the king of Northumbria (Northern England) from 633 or 634 until his death. The son of Æthelfrith of Bernicia, King of Northumbria, he is best remembered as a Christian martyr. His feast day is August 5.
After his father was defeated and killed by Raedwald of East Anglia, Oswald fled to Dalriada, where he was converted to Christianity by the monks of Iona. He fought under Connadd Cerr in the Battle of Fid Eoin in Ireland.
The Cross at Heavenfield marking the place where
St. Oswald defeated Cadwallon in AD634. 
After the king of Gwynedd, Cadwallon ap Cadfan killed King St. Edwin of Northumbria in battle at Hatfield Chase cross. He knelt down, holding the cross in position until enough earth had been thrown in the hole to make it stand firm. He then prayed and asked his army to join in. In the battle that followed, the Welsh were routed despite their superior numbers and pursued for miles by the Northumbrians; Cadwallon himself was killed.
in 632 (or 633), Northumbria was split between its sub-kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira. St. Oswald's half-brother Eanfrith became king of Bernicia, but he was killed by Cadwallon in 633
(or 634) after attempting to negotiate peace. Oswald then returned from exile with an army and marched against Cadwallon; his ranks were bolstered by Scots sent by the king of Dalriada, Domnal Brecc. The day before the two sides met in battle at Heavenfield, Oswald made his soldiers construct a wooden
Following this victory, Oswald reunited Northumbria. He is considered to have been Bretwalda ("Lord of Britain") for the eight years of his rule, although his authority over the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms seems to have been limited. He did, however, form an alliance with Wessex under Cynegils: Cynegils converted to Christianity and accepted baptism, and Oswald married Cyneburh, the daughter of Cynegils. With her he had a son, Æthelwald.
Although Edwin had previously converted to Christianity in 627, it was Oswald who did the most to spread the religion in Northumbria. It was he who gave the island of Lindisfarne to the bishop St. Aidan, who established a monastery there.
Oswald won some successes against the British to the north, but the primary concern of his reign was Northumbria's conflict with the rising power of Mercia under Penda. He was killed by the Mercians at the Battle of Maserfield in 641 or 642, and his body was dismembered by the pagan Penda. (St. Bede says that Oswald died in the 38th year of his life.) Oswald's head and limbs were placed on stakes, but according to legend, one of his arms martyr and saint: a holy well of healing was said to have sprung up at the spot where the arm had landed, and the site soon became known as Oswestry, or "Oswald's Tree." His holy relics now reside with those of Sts. Aidan and Cuthbert in the cathedral at Durham, England.

  • One Easter he was about to dine with Saint Aidan. A crowd of poor came begging alms. Oswald gave them all the food and the wealth he carried on him, then had his silver table settings broken up and distributed.
  • Saint Aidan was so moved by the king's generosity that he grasped Oswald's right hand and exclaimed, "May this hand never perish!" For years after, the king was considered invincible. The hand has, indeed, survived, as it is enshrined as a relic in the Bamburgh church.
  • Oswald's body was hacked to pieces on the battle field where he fell, and his head and arms stuck on poles in triumph. One arm taken to an ash tree by Oswald's pet raven. Where the arm fell to the ground, a holy well sprang up.
  • Once a horseman was riding near Heavenfield. The horse developed a medical problem, fell to the ground, rolling around in pain. At one point it happened to roll over the spot where Oswald had died, and was immediately cured.
  • The horseman told his story at a nearby inn. The people there took a paralysed girl to the same spot, and she was cured, too.
  • People began to take earth from the spot to put into water for the sick to drink. So much earth was removed that it left a pit large enough for a man to stand in.
  • Oswald's niece wanted to have the king buried at Bardney Abbey, Lincolnshire. The monks were reluctant as they were not on good terms with Northumbrian overlords. However, the coffin admitted a light at night. The monks considered it a sign, and allowed the burial.
  • When the monks washed the bones prior to enshrinement, they poured the water onto the ground nearby. Local people soon learned that the ground had power to heal.
  • A sick man who had led a dissolute life drank water which contained a chip of the stake on which Oswald's head had been spiked. The man was healed, reformed his life.
  • A little boy was cured of a fever by sitting by Oswald's tomb at Bardney.
  • Pieces from the Heavenfield cross were claimed to have healing powers.
  • Healing powers were claimed for moss that grew on the cross.
  • A plague in Sussex was stopped by Oswald's intercession.
  • Archbishop Willibrord recounted to Saint Wilfrid tales of miracles worked in Germany by Oswald's relics.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

St. Panteleimon the Greatmartyr and Healer

The holy, glorious and right-victorious Greatmartyr St. Panteleimon (born Pantaleon) the Unmercenary Healer was martyred under the reign of Emperor Maximian (ca. 305 A.D.). His feast day is celebrated on July 27.

St. Panteleimon had been educated as a physician, and he "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.

Other physicians brought his case before the Emperor Maximian. St. Panteleimon confessed to being a Christian and refused to offer sacrifice to the state gods."[He] 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.

Hermolaus, Hermippus, and Hermocrates were brought forth; they confessed and were beheaded. Throughout the many tortures, St. Panteleimon remained untouched. Enraged, Maximian ordered that St. Panteleimon be beheaded. The soldiers took him to an olive tree, but when they struck him while he was praying, the sword melted like wax. After he finished his prayer, "a Voice was heard from Heaven, calling the passion-bearer by his new name and summoning him to the heavenly Kingdom." He instructed the soldiers to rise from their knees where they had fallen in fear and to complete the execution. After they followed his instruction, the olive tree became covered with fruit.

St. Panteleimon relics at The Holy Monastery of the Great Martyr Saint Panteleimon:

The holy Great Martyr and Healer St. Panteleimon is invoked in the Mystery of Anointing the Sick, at the Blessing of Water, and in the Prayers for the Sick.
St. Panteleimon is the patron of Physicians, midwives, livestock, invoked against headaches, consumption, accidents and loneliness.

Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon,
thou imitator of God's mercy!
Look down in thy loving kindness and hearken unto us, sinners,
who offer heartfelt prayers before thy holy icon.
Ask for us from the Lord God,
before Whom the Angels stand in heaven,
remission of our sins and transgressions.
Heal the ills of body and soul of the servants of God whom we here commemorate,
who are here present,
and of all Orthodox Christians who seek thy help.
For behold, we, who because of our sins are possessed by bitter ills and have no help or consolation,
yet flee to thee for refuge, since thou hast been given Grace to pray for us and to heal every ill and every disease.
Grant, therefore, to all of us, by thy holy prayers,
health and strength of soul and body,
a good growth in the Faith and in devotion,
and all that is needful unto this temporal life and unto our salvation:
So that, having been granted great and rich mercy thorugh thee,
we may glorify thee and Him that bestoweth all good things,
our God Who is wondrous in His Saints,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

From "Polny Sbornik Molitv", pp. 214-215: Prayer 3.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

St. Lazar the Prince of Serbia

The holy, glorious and right-victorious Great Martyr Lazar, Prince of Serbia (Свети Великомученик кнез Лазар, also Lazarus, or Lazar of Kosovo) was one of the Serbian noblemen who ruled the Serbian empire after the death of Emperor Dušan. After death of Emperor St. Uroš V (December 2), Lazar was the de facto ruler of Serbia. He died for Christ's name on June 15, 1389. His feast day is June 15/June 28 (Old Calendar).

Lazar was born in Prilepac, which is near Novo Brdo, in 1329, the son of the imperial chancellor Pribac Hrebeljanović. He was educated at Emperor Dušan's court in Prizren. He

was later granted the high title knez ("prince" in Serbian) by Dušan's successor St. Emperor Stefan Uroš V. Despite his imperial title, Uroš was a weak and ineffectual leader, allowing local nobles to gain power and influence at the expense of the central authority. Lazar remained a loyal vassal to Stefan Uros V.

After the death of the emperor, Lazar became a central figure in Serbia. He called, together with his son-in-law Đurađ Stracimirović, a synod that elected a new patriarch, St.Ephraem. Lazar sent a delegation to Constantinople with the monk Isaiah to implore the patriarch to heal the Serbian-Constantinople Schism of 1352. In 1375, full communion between Peć and Constantinople was re-established in the Holy Archangels Monastery on the grave of Emperor Dušan.

St. Lazar restored the monasteries of Hilandar on Mount Athos and Gornjak. He built Ravanica and Lazarica in Kruševac and was a benefactor of the Russian monastery of St.
St. Lazar and St. Milica
Pantaleon on Mt. Athos, as well as many other churches and monasteries.

Lazar married Milica (Venerable Euphrosine of Serbia) around 1353. Milica was a relative of Emperor Dušan. She was a daughter of Prince Vratko (кнез Вратко), who was a great-grandson of Vukan Nemanjic. Vukan himself was the eldest son of Stefan Nemanja. Lazar and Milica had seven children: Mara, St. Stefan Visoki, Vuk, Dragana, Teodora, Jelena and Olivera.

The Battle of Kosovo
St. Lazar fought against the Turkish powers on several occasions in order to protect his people. Finally, he fought the Turkish Emperor Amurat and lost on the Field of Blackbirds [Kosovo Polje] on June 15, 1389. Afterwards he was beheaded.
Lazar, having been visited by an angel of God on the night before the battle, was offered a choice between an earthly or a Heavenly kingdom. This choice would result in a victory or defeat, respectively, at the coming Battle of

Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Ravanica

Kosovo. Lazar, naturally, opted for the Heavenly kingdom, which will last "forever and ever" ("Perishable is earthly kingdom, but forever and ever is Kingdom of Heaven!" As a result, he perished on the battlefield. "We die with Christ, to live forever," he told his soldiers. Soon after death Lazar was glorified.
His body was translated and interred in Ravanica, in his memorial church near Ćuprija, and later was translated to Sisatovac in Srem. From there, during World War II, his body was translated to Belgrade and placed in the
Cathedral Church of the Holy Archangel Michael. In 1989, on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of his martyrdom, St. Lazar's relics were again translated to the Monastery of Ravanica in Ćuprija (Central Serbia - Uža Srbija). It rests there today incorrupt and extends comfort and healing to all those who turn to him with prayer.
+holy relics of St. Lazar in the Ravanica Monastary! 
His Troparion can be found here.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

St. Luke of Crimea the Unmercenary Physician

Saint Luke, the Bishop of Simferopol and Crimea, and Blessed Surgeon, was born Valentin Felixovich Voino-Yasenetsky on April 14, 1877 and died June 11, 1961.
His family members were civil servants to Lithuanian and Polish Kings. The family was impoverished over time but Saint Luke remembers that he received his religious inheritance from his pious father. His first true understanding of the Christian faith came from the New Testament given to him at his high school graduation by his principal.
A Doctor of Medicine, Professor, and State Prize winner, since 1944 he was the Archbishop of Tambov and Michurinsk, and later of Simferopol and the Crimea. While he was serving the church as an Archbishop, he was also practicing as a surgeon and taught and published many books and articles on regional anesthesia and surgery. He is now known to be a world-famous pioneering surgeon.
Another important event in Valentin’s life was the marriage to his wife Anna, a nurse. They had four children. The family was transferred frequently to various regional health care facilities and from the very beginning Valentine never requested funds from his patients, nor would he turn anyone away because of his ethnic background or personal beliefs. When his wife died, God in setting the path for Valentine’s Sainthood provided the family with Sofia Sergeevna who would be the joyful surrogate mother of his children during the harsh times ahead. Valentine never remarried.
Photograph from the Funeral of Saint Luke the Archbishop of Simferopol
In November of 1995 he was announced as a Saint by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and was officially glorified by the Patriarchate of Russia May 25, 1996. He is commemorated by the church June 11 the anniversary of his falling asleep in the Lord.

The Reliquary of St. Luke of Simferopol in Sagmata Monastery

Saint Luke’s prayers to have “Holy God” chanted at his funeral during the atheistic times were answered!
Holy Hierarch Luke of Crimea, the Unmercenary Physician by Catalin Grigore 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

St. Bede the Church Historian (May 27)

Saint Bede was a church historian who recorded the history of Christianity in England up to his own time. He is widely regarded as the greatest of all the Anglo-Saxon scholars. his most famous writing was on theology and history and his best known work is The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. He was probably born around 673 in Northumbria, likelysomewhere in NE England near Jarrow or Monkton. 
When he was seven, Bede was sent to St. Benedict Biscop (January 12) at the monastery of St. Peter at Wearmouth to be educated and raised. Then he was sent to the new monastery of St. Paul founded at Jarrow in 682, where he remained until his death. There he was guided by the abbot St. Ceolfrith (September 25).

There is an incident in the anonymous Life of Ceolfrith which may refer to the young Bede. A plague swept through Ceolfrith’s monastery in 686, taking most of the monks who sang in the choir for the church services. Only the abbot and a young boy raised and educated by him remained. This young boy “is now a priest of the same monastery and commends the abbot’s admirable deeds both verbally and in writing to all who desire to learn them.”
St Bede was ordained as a deacon when he was 19, and to the holy priesthood at the age of 30 by St. John of Beverley (May 7), the holy Bishop of Hexham (687), and later (705) of York. Bede had a great love for the church services, and believed that since the angels were present with the monks during the services, that he should also be there. “What if they do not find me among the brethren when they assemble? Will they not say, ‘Where is Bede?’
Bede began as a pupil of St Benedict Biscop, who had been a monk of the famous monastery at Lerins (left), and had founded monasteries himself. St Benedict had brought many books with him to England from Lerins and from other European monasteries. This library enabled Bede to write his own books, which include biblical
commentary, ecclesiastical history, and hagiography.
Bede was not an objective historian. He is squarely on the Roman side in the debate with Celtic Christianity, for example. He was, however, fair and thorough. His books, derived from “ancient documents, from the traditions of our ancestors, and from my own personal knowledge” (Book V, 24) give us great insight into the religious and secular life of early Britain. To read St Bede is to enter a world shaped by spiritual traditions very similar to those cherished by Orthodox Christians. These saints engage in the same heroic asceticism shown by saints in the East, and their holiness fills us with love and admiration. Christians were expected to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, and there was a 40 day Nativity Fast (Book IV, 30).
St Bede became ill in 735. For about two weeks before Pascha, he was weak and had trouble breathing, but experienced little pain. He remained cheerful and gave daily lessons to his students, then spent the rest of the day singing Psalms and giving thanks to God. He would often quote the words of St Ambrose, “I have not lived in such a way that I am ashamed to live among you, and I do not fear to die, for God is gracious” (Paulinus, Life of Saint Ambrose, Ch. 45).
After a sleepless night, St Bede continued his dictation on Wednesday morning. At the Third Hour, there was a procession with the relics of the saints in the monastery, and the brethren went to attend this service, leaving a monk named Wilbert with Bede. The monk reminded him that there remained one more chapter to be written in the book which he was dictating. Wilbert was reluctant to disturb the dying Bede, however. St Bede said, “It is no trouble. Take your pen and write quickly.”
At the Ninth Hour, Bede paused and told Wilbert that he had some items in his chest, such as pepper, incense, and linen. He asked the monk to bring the priests of the monastery so that he could distribute these items to them. When they arrived, he spoke to each of them in turn, requesting them to pray for him and to remember him in the services. Then he said, “The time of my departure is at hand, and my soul longs to see Christ my King in His beauty.”
After chanting, “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit” to its ending, St Bede fell asleep in the Lord Whom he had loved.
Although St Bede reposed on May 25, the eve of the Ascension, he is commemorated on the 27th, since the Feast of St Augustine of Canterbury is appointed for the 26th. His body was first buried in the south porch of the monastery church, then later transferred to a place near the altar. Today his holy relics lie in Durham Cathedral, in the Galilee chapel. St Bede is the only Englishman mentioned by Dante in the DIVINE COMEDY (Paradiso).
Bede's tomb in Durham Cathedral
He is the patron saint of English (British) writers, and historians.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

St. Photini the Samaritan Woman

One day about noon called "the sixth hour" in Biblical times our Lord Jesus Christ stopped to rest quietly beside an old well in the desert at the foot of a mountain. He was very tired and very likely thirsty. The Lord Jesus and his followers were on their way to Galilee and had to go through the town
of Samaria to reach their destination. It was this city of Samaria, which the disciples were sent to buy food leaving the Lord Jesus alone resting at the well outside the city.
The well where our Lord was resting was known as "Jacob's well" (shown right). It was a very old and deep well. There was not many wells along the path the Lord Jesus was traveling so it was indeed a welcome site and one frequently visited by those who lived nearby and needed water.
A woman of Samaria came to well where the Lord Jesus was resting with her water jar to draw water. As the Samaritan woman approached the well, the Lord Give Me a drink" (John 4:10). The woman from Samaria obviously noting the Lord was a Jew, questioned the Lord's asking her for a drink of water. The Samaritans were a mixed race of people unlike the Jews and it was generally accepted that the Samaritans and Jews did not like each other and often were enemies whom fought one another.
The Samaritan woman was a very sinful woman whom had had many husbands and was openly living with a man outside of marriage when she met the Lord Jesus Christ. She did not have any remorse at all about her shameful life in which she chose to live. The Lord Jesus knew of her sinful ways, told her this lifestyle was wrong, and to confess, repent, and be converted to the Christian faith. She was very amazed and astounded at the all knowing of the Lord Jesus Christ about her life having never seen Him nor Him her.
The Lord Jesus Christ told the Samaritan woman about water that "lived" not that flowed from a stream or ran down the side of a mountain. "Living water" meant the grace of the Holy Spirit giving those who believe in our Lord Jesus and obey Him--eternal life that is they will go to Heaven.
First, the Samaritan woman thought our Lord was a great prophet or leader like Jacob whom the well was named after. She thought this because the Lord told her all the many sins she had committed. When the Samaritan woman left the well and went back to the city she told everyone, "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29).
The townspeople people followed the Samaritan woman back to Jacob's well. They asked the Lord to come to their town where they stayed with the Lord and listened to His teachings for two entire days. They did not ask "how much longer was the sermon" or "when will this be over so I can have something to eat and drink". They listened very carefully to all that the Lord Jesus Christ had to say.
This was also earmarked as a great Biblical event as it was the first time our Lord Jesus admitted to being a messenger from God our Father.
On the day of Pentecost, the Samaritan woman and her five sisters (Anatolia, Phota, Photida, Paraskeva and Kyriake) were baptized. When the Samaritan woman was baptized on the day of Pentecost she took the name "Photini" which means the enlightened one. St. Photini helped to spread the Good News about the Lord. Following her baptism, she became a missionary and was known for her brave Christian teachings. She went to Carthage to spread the gospel. She would give her life and that of her children for the Lord Jesus Christ by refusing to deny the Lord Jesus and His teachings. While there, her and her family (including her two sons Victor and Josiah) were arrested, taken to Rome under Nero, imprisoned and later martyred for Christ by being thrown into a well.

The holy, incorrupt foot of St. Photini the Great Martyr is treasured by the Monastery of Iveron in Mount Athos, Greece.

Read the chapter on Saint Photini in "Christina’s True Heroes" by Maria C. Khoury

One craft we found from Illumination Learning was to make water bottles in honor of St. Photini's service to Jesus Christ

 We found a nice craft kit with the lesson of the Samaritan woman here:
Use a glass of water for a visual so the children can see the "living water" that flows through Christ our True God! 


Sunday, January 3, 2016

St. Genevieve of Paris

Saint Genevieve was born of wealthy parents in Gaul (modern France) in the village of Nanterre, near Paris, around 422. Her father’s name was Severus, and her mother was called Gerontia. According to the custom of the time, she often tended her father’s flocks on Mt. Valerien.

When she was about seven years old, St. Germanus of Auxerre (July 31) noticed her as he was
St. Germanus of Auxerre
passing through Nanterre. The bishop kissed her on the head and told her parents that she would become great in the sight of God, and would lead many to salvation. After Genevieve told him that she wished to dedicate herself to Christ, he gave her a brass medal with the image of the Cross upon it. She promised to wear it around her neck, and to avoid wearing any other ornaments around her neck or on her fingers.

When it was reported that Attila the Hun was approaching Paris, Genevieve and the other nuns prayed and fasted, entreating God to spare the city. Suddenly, the barbarians turned away from Paris and went off in another direction.

Years later, when she was 15, Genevieve was taken to Paris to enter the monastic life. Through fasting, vigil and prayer, she progressed in
St. Genevieve Calming the Parisians on the
Approach of Attila by Jules-Elie Delaunay.
monasticism, and received from God the gifts of clairvoyance and of working miracles. Gradually, the people of Paris and the surrounding area regarded Genevieve as a holy vessel (2 Tim. 2:21).

St. Genevieve considered the Saturday night Vigil service to be very important, since it symbolizes how our whole life should be. “We must keep vigil in prayer and fasting so that the Lord will find us ready when He comes,” she said. She was on her way to church with her nuns one stormy Saturday night when the wind blew out her lantern. The nuns could not find their way without a light, since it was dark and stormy, and the road was rough and muddy. St Genevieve made the Sign of the Cross over the lantern, and the candle within was lit with a bright flame. In this manner they were able to make their way to the church for the service.

There is a tradition that the church which St. Genevieve suggested that King Clovis build in honor of Sts. Peter and Paul became her own resting place when she fell asleep in the Lord
around 512 at the age of 89. Her holy relics were later transferred to the church of St. Etienne du Mont in Paris. Most of her relics, and those of other saints, were destroyed during the French Revolution.

In the Middle Ages, St Genevieve was regarded as the patron saint of wine makers.

The tomb of St. Genevieve located in St. Etienne du Mont in Paris.
 You can also read "St. Genevieve of Paris" by Mary Xenia Fagan to older children or young adults. 

A family activity to do together to honor St. Genevieve would to assist at a food bank or collect food items to give to the poor just like she did!

Finally, bake a loaf of french bread to remember the bread that St. Genevieve gave to the hungry with your family and sing her troparion:

O Shepherdess who guardest the sheep at Nanterre against the horde of wolves and the Scourge of God, / thou dost protect the city of the Parisians. / O St Genevieve, do not forget to guard thy spiritual sheep even now, / from heaven where thou livest after death.