St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Newly-revealed (source)
Ye faithful, come let us extol in song the mighty Colossus that rose up in the Isle of Rhodes, who wondrously doth stand astride the ages, alive forever in Christ as a God by grace. -from the Canon to St. Phanourios the Great Martyr
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
Homily on Christ Walking Upon the Water (Gospel Reading of the Ninth Sunday of St. Matthew), by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes (+2010)
A school, my beloved, our Church is a
school. Our teacher is Christ. We are all students, small and great.
And our book? The Gospel, greater than all the books of the world.
What did we hear in today's Gospel? What does it say? It relates one
of the countless wonders which our Lord worked, which He works, and
which He will continue to work until the close of the ages. What is
In the Holy Lands there is a lake,
which exists to this day. In this lake, the Disciples of Christ were
sailing one night in a small boat. In the beginning, the sea was
peaceful. But later the wind began to blow stronger and stronger.
Waves were lifted up, great waves. During the night, the clouds had
covered the sky, not even one star was visible. The ship was in
danger. All were afraid. And where was Christ? He was not in the boat
like other times. He was far away on a mountain. He was not sleeping,
He was keeping vigil. All night below the stars He conversed with His
heavenly Father. He was praying for the whole world.
Let me make an observation. Christ kept
vigil. How much does this censure us! If we said that we were serving
a vigil today, how many would come? I gave the order to serve vigils
in our region. In our city, how many came? About two-hundred women
and men, and a few tens of children. The rest? Sleeping, or more
likely watching television. And you expect prosperity?
Let me return to the topic. That night
that the Disciples were in danger, Christ was missing. And as if
their fear was not enough, straightaway they saw upon the wild waves
something like a ghost, and they were even more terrified. In a short
time however they confirmed that it was not a ghost, it was our Lord
Jesus Christ, and He was walking upon the waters. “It is I”, He
told them, “Do not fear.” (Matthew 14:27) Then Peter says: “If
it is you, O Lord, tell me to come towards you.” And Christ told
him to do so. Immediately Peter stepped upon the waves and began to
walk as if on dry land, like it was a steady road. But as he
approached Christ, a wave came. Peter's eye left Christ, and he
looked at the wave, and was shaken. He began to sink, and was going
to be drowned, and cried out loudly: “O Lord, save me!” (Matthew
14:30) Then, Christ extended His hand, grabbed him, and told him: “O
man of little faith! Why did you doubt?”(Matthew 14:31) Afterwards,
Christ also entered the boat, and as soon as he stepped foot on the
hull, the wind and the waves ceased. The Disciples were finally safe.
They knelt and worshiped Him, saying: “Truly, You are the Son of
This wonder teaches us many things. I
will only say one thing, that this life that we are living is like a
sea. From the day that we are born until we die, however many years
that we life, life is like a journey on the sea. And like the sea is
not always peaceful, but frequently lifts up waves and sinks ships,
thus is also our life. Here, a short time ago there was a storm in
the Atlantic. A whole boat was sunk and many people drowned. Like the
sea can create storms and endanger men, thus is our life. Life has
many dangers, it has many wild waves.
What are the waves? The various
misfortunes of human life. They say that the baby, as soon as it
leaves its mother's womb, cries. What does this mean? This is a
foretaste, that our life is weeping, a “valley of wailing”
(Psalms 83:7) It enters another world, into a sea with waves, and it
senses its weakness. How can we count the waves after waves?
One wave is illness. Once, I remember a
bright child came to the metropolis from northern Epirus. His father
was weeping, his mother was crying, because the child could not hold
his head up, he could not stand up straight, he had weakness. They
went to doctors, they went here and there, nothing. You have your
head upright, your eyes healthy, your ears healthy, your heart
healthy, everything is healthy. Do you say thank you, or do you
remain indifferent? Health is a great thing. Have you lost your
health? Woe, here is a wave, a great wave of trials.
And another wave comes: poverty. Do you
know what it means, to come home at noon and to not have anything to
eat? Have you ever been hungry? You have not. Beforehand, children
would die in the streets. They had nothing to eat. They were
skeletons. And not, down in Africa, they are dying like flies. They
don't have bread. And when someone brings them a little food, they
fight to split it. There are places where they are suffering, and if
you threw them an orange—which we throw into the trash many times—a
hundred children would fight like lions for an orange, and we eat
them by the handful. How thankless we are! God gives us all of our
The youth, who will year this, they
will tell you: “We are fine...” Yes, my beloved children, to this
point you are fine, because you have just entered the sea of life.
You haven't had great waves, which test us adults. You have little
waves. What are the little waves? For example, problems with school
lessons, the struggle during test season, the danger of misfortune.
The newspapers wrote that a young girl failed her exams, and
committed suicide. She did not have faith, and she was left to drown
by a little wave.
Young people and children, ask your
grandparents, they will tell you what they went through, what wild
waves hit them. And they however were not shaken, because they
believed in God. You, however, are still “mommy's boys”. You have
just exited into a wave. Think about what is taking place in the
world. Now you have “mommy” to look after you, and you have
“daddy” to feed you. If—God-forbid--your mother or father died,
you would see a terrible strike, the wave of orphanhood. How many
orphans there are!
Later you will grow older and get
married. You young lady, do you think that getting married will save
your whole situation? What if your husband is crude, will you have
patience? Another calamity is the evil match, another wave. Once, a
woman came to the metropolis, battered, scratched. She was bleeding
from her wounds. Her husband got drunk and struck her all night, and
she called the police and ran to the metropolis. I felt sorry for
her. A terrible wave is the harsh tongue of a husband, cursing and
the slander of evil relatives.
You say, I will get married, I will
take a good man. But at one point your husband might die. Widowhood!
Do you know what it means to remain without your spouse, without your
Therefore, sickness is a wave, poverty
is a wave, misfortune is a wave, orphanhood is a wave, an evil spouse
is a wave, widowhood is a wave, and so are the various situations of
life, like slander and divisions, etc. However, a wave for the whole
society are the general adversities and natural disasters, floods,
droughts, etc. All of these are waves.
But I haven't yet said the greatest
wave. What is it? It is sin, which we do not think about. Sin comes
and strikes us, to sink the little ship of our soul, to cause us to
drown. This is the most terrible wave.
What is needed? Prayer. Save us, O
Lord! Let us have faith in God, and from this we will take courage.
And even if in this world we are left without mother or father, even
if we fall into orphanhood or widowhood, even if we are tried by
hunger or thirst, even if we are found in the desert with wild
beasts, or in a terrible society of injustice and indifference, even
if there were an earthquake or flood, even if the earth filled with
scorpions and snakes, and even if the stars begin to fall, and the
earth is risen up, and if the sun were quenched, let us not loose
hope. “And if nothing would remain for me within this world, where
would I go, where would I stand? There on high is my God, so how
could I loose hope?” Let us not be false Christians. Let us entreat
God to array us with unshakable faith. Then, whatever dangers will
find us, we will remain unshaken upon the rock of faith. Amen.
(Delivered in the Holy Church of St.
George Protis—Florina, 8/5/90, translated from source)
Having experienced all the difficulties of earthly life, the Intercessor of the Christian race sees every tear, hears every groan and entreaty directed to Her. Especially near to Her are those who labour in the battle with the passions and are zealous for a God-pleasing life. But even in worldly cares She is an irreplaceable helper. "Joy of all who sorrow, and intercessors for the offended, and feeder of the hungry, consolation of travellers, harbour of the storm-tossed, visitation of the sick, protection and intercessor for the infirm staff of old age, Thou are the Mother of God on high, O Most Pure One" (Sticheron of the Service to the Hodigitria). "The hope and intercession and refuge of Christians", "The Mother of God unceasing in prayers" (Theotokion of the Third Tone). "She day and night doth pray for us and the sceptres of kingdoms are confirmed by Her prayers" (daily Nocturne). -St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco, "Orthodox Veneration of the Theotokos"
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth...And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1: 14, 16-17
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages! Amen!
"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration.
This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world." Excerpt from the Synodikon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy (http://www.anastasis.org.uk/synodikon.htm)
By the Grace of God, here are presented a few true stories of the Saints, sayings of the Holy Fathers, sacred icons, and many other things so that, maybe in a small way, we may remind ourselves that (though we might not be ready to accept it) Jesus Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, and that the Holy Orthodox Church is full of Christ's GRACE and TRUTH, and is no less than the Kingdom of God on earth.
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Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
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