28 February 2011

Just Added to the Orthodox Blogroll

Is the Under the Oak blog, written by a native Irishwoman who belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church and goes by the internet moniker of Brigit (and, I'd be surprised if the second of the three patron saints of Ireland was not her own heavenly patron). Please, check out her posts--especially the lives of the Celtic saints of Ireland!

St. Sillan

reposted from http://brigid-undertheoak.blogspot.com/

Sillan was born, probably a little before or about the middle of the sixth century, but the place does not appear to be known. It is said, he became a disciple to St. Comgall, the first Abbot of Bangor. Sillan was distinguished for his virtues and learning. On account of his erudition and proficiency in scriptural knowledge, he was chosen as professor and rector, over the monastic school. Hence, he enjoyed the title of Magister, or Master.

Beogna, who was Abbot of Bangor, died on the 22nd day of August, a.d. 605. In the Annals of Inisfallen, however, the rest of Beoguini is recorded, 601. St. Siollan was elevated, in succession, to the dignity of Abbot, as the third superior, over this renowned monastery. In the year 609, the burning of the monastery of Bennchoir, in Ulad, is recorded, in the Annals of Inisfallen; but, this happened, most probably, after the time of Sillan. This saint did not long survive his predecessor, in ruling over the monastery for, in about half a year after Beogna's death, according to our " Annals of the Four Masters," Sillan was called to bliss, after having faithfully discharged the duties of his stewardship, in this life. According to the Annals of Inisfallen, at a.d. 604, the death of a Sillain—probably intended for this saint—is placed. He departed on the 28th day of February, in the year
606, according to the Annals of the Four Masters. Again, the same day, but the year 609 is set down, in the Annals of Ulster, for his demise. The Annals of Clonmacnoise have the same date. The Annals of Tighernach have his death, at a.d. 610.

The Irish Martyrologists place the festival of St. Sillan, at this day. Thus we find, in his Festilogy, St. Oengus has an early notice of this holy superior. His name is inserted as Sillan, Abbot, Banchoir, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the same date. The Calendar of Cashel, and Marianus O'Gorman, at this day, commemorate him, as the Abbot of Bennchor and the comorban or successor of St. Comgall. He is noted as a Confessor, in the ancient Martyrology of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Dublin, where his feast is inserted at the ii. of the Kalends of March—corresponding with the 28th of February. Again, in the Martyrology of Donegal, we find mentioned, as having a festival on this day, Siollan, Master, Abbot of Bennchair-Uladh, and successor of Comghall. In Scotland, likewise, this distinguished superior received his share of honour. The holy Abbot, Sillan, departed to Christ in Ireland, on the ii. of the March Kalends, or on the 28th of February, according to the Drummond Kalendar. His personal sanctity gained him the admiration and love of all his community; while his repute for learning has survived, although its manifestation may not now exist, in the shape of works attributed to him.

Troparion of St Sillan (Tone 7)
Under thy God-pleasing rule, O Father Sillan,
Bangor's monastery became a power-house of the true Faith.
As thou wast a bright beacon,
guiding men on their journey to God,
we beseech thee to be also a beacon for us,
bringing us safely into the way of salvation.

Kontakion of St Sillan (Tone 2)
Righteous Father Sillan, Road to our Saviour,
Crown of Bangor's saints and joy of all monastics,
we keep festival in thy honour, ever blessing thy name
and imploring thy prayers for us sinners.

24 February 2011

The First and Second Finding of the Head of the Holy Prophet and Forerunner of Christ, the Baptist John

from the Synaxarion:

After the cutting off of the Head of the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John (Comm. 29 August), his body was buried by disciples in the Samarian city of Sebasteia, and the venerable head was hidden by Herodias in an unclean place. Pious Joanna, wife of king Herod's steward Chuza (he is mentioned by the holy evangelist Luke: Luke 8: 3), secretly took the holy head and placed it into a vessel and buried it on the Mount of Olives, in one of the properties of Herod. After many years this property passed into the possession of the dignitary Innocentius, who began to build a church there. When they dug a trench for the foundation, the vessel with the venerable head of John the Baptist was uncovered. Innocentius recognized the great holiness of it from the signs of grace occurring from it. Thus occurred the First Discovery of the Head. Innocentius preserved it with great piety, but before his own death, fearful so that the holy relic should not be abused by unbelievers, he again hid it in that same place, where it was found. Upon his death the church fell into ruin and was destroyed.

During the days of Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great (+ 337, Comm. 21 May), when the Christian faith began to flourish, the holy Forerunner himself appeared twice unto two monks journeying to Jerusalem on pilgrimage to the holy places, and he revealed the location of his venerable head. The monks uncovered the holy relic and, placing it into a sack of camel-hair, they proceeded homewards. Along the way they encountered an unnamed potter and gave him to carry the precious burden. Not knowing what he was carrying, the potter continued on his way. But the holy Forerunner himself appeared to him and ordered him to flee from the careless and lazy monks, together with that which was in his hands. The potter concealed himself from the monks and at home he preserved the venerable head with reverence. Before his death he sealed it into a water-carrying vessel and gave it over to his sister. From that time the venerable head was successively preserved by pious Christians until the priest Eustathios, infected with the Arian heresy, came into possession of it. He seduced a multitude of the infirm, healed by the holy head, adding abundance to the heresy. When his blasphemy was uncovered, he was compelled to flee. Having buried the holy relic in a cave, near Emessus, the heretic intended to afterwards return and again take possession of it for disseminating falsehood. But God did not permit this. Pious monks settled into the cave, and then at this place arose a monastery. In the year 452 Saint John the Baptist in a vision to the archimandrite of this monastery Marcellus indicated the place of concealment of his head. This became celebrated as the Second Discovery. The holy relic was transferred to Emessus, and later to Constantinople.

Troparion of the Forerunner (Tone 4)
The head of the Forerunner has risen from the earth and sends forth healing rays of incorruption to all the faithful. In heaven it is mustering a host of Angels, and on earth it is assembling mankind to ascribe glory to our God.

Kontakion of the Forerunner (Tone 2)
O Prophet of God and Forerunner of Grace, having obtained thy head from the earth as a most sacred rose, we are always receiving healings; for still as of old in the world thou preachest repentance.

23 February 2011

Saint Gorgonea

from the Synaxarion:

Saint Gorgonea, Sister of Sainted Gregory the Theologian, was distinguished for her great virtue, piety, meekness, sagacity and toil. Her house was ever an haven for the poor. She died at age 39 in about the year 372 with the words of the psalm: "In peace I do both fall asleep and expire".

22 February 2011

Saint Mauricios the Martyr, and those with him

from the Synaxarion:

Saint Mauricios, a military commander of Syrian Apameia, suffered in the year 305 under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311) together with his son Photinos and 70 soldiers under his command (from the soldiers are known the names of only two: Theodore and Philip).

During a time of persecution, pagan priests made denunciation to the emperor that Saint Mauricios was spreading the faith in Christ. Brought to trial, Saint Mauricios, together with his son and his soldiers, firmly and unflinchingly confessed their faith in Christ, wavering neither to entreaty nor to threats. They were then beaten without mercy, burned with fire, and torn at with iron hooks. Young Photinos, having firmly endured the tortures, was beheaded by the sword before the very eyes of his father. But even this cruel torment did not break Saint Mauricios, who took comfort in that his son had been vouchsafed the martyr's crown.

They then devised for the martyrs even more subtle tortures: they led them to a swampy place, where it was full of mosquitoes, wasps and gnats, and they tied them to trees, having smeared their bodies with honey. The insects fiercely stung and bit at the martyrs, who were weakened by hunger and thirst. The saints endured these torments over the course of 10 days, but they did not cease praying to and glorifying God, until finally the Lord put an end to their sufferings. The wicked torturer gave orders to behead them and leave their bodies exposed without burial, but Christians secretly by night buried the venerable remains of the holy martyrs at the place of their horrible execution.

Elaeth's Englynion

I picked up my copy of Celtic Spirituality and ran across this little gem from the ancient Orthodox Celts of Wales. May it be a blessing to you.
Since my clothes are as battered as my spirits,
On account of sin, I confess it,
May God not punish me twice.

May God not punish a man twice
In his wrath and sadness,
Those cursed by heaven are cursed on earth.

Let the man of earth and sin pray to God,
And keep vigil in the dark,
Let him who offends Christ not slumber.

Let the son of man not slumber for the Son of God's Passion,
Let him be awake at matins,
Then he will win heaven and forgiveness.

He will gain forgiveness who remembers God,
And does not neglect him,
And heaven too on the night he dies.

If he dies unreconciled to God,
Then for the sin he may have done,
It was unfortunate that he was born.

The wicked man does not practice prayer to God,
Against the day of tribulation,
The foolish man does not ponder his end.
"God, grant me always to remember Thy love and Thy mercy in prayer, and that I not be unmindful of the end appointed unto me. Have mercy on this foolish and wicked man, O Lord, lest I forget that the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; blessed is the servant whom He finds watching, but again unworthy is the servant whom He heedless. Remind me ever of Thee, and keep in Thy ways, O Lord. Through the prayers of Thy holy and God-pleasing martyrs, Thy pure and blameless mother, and of all the saints, have mercy and forgive me. Amen."

21 February 2011

St. Zakharios Patriarch of Jerusalem

from the Synaxarion:

The Monk Zakharios, Patriarch of Jerusalem, lived from the end of the 6th to the early 7th century. In the year 614 the Persian emperor Chosroes fell upon Jerusalem, looted it, and led into captivity many a Christian, including also Saint Zakharios. Together with his captives, Chosroes seized also the Life-Creating Cross of Christ. During the time of the invasion as many as 90,000 Christians perished. Afterwards Chosroes was compelled to sue for peace with the Byzantine emperor Heraclius (610-641). The Cross of the Lord was returned to Jerusalem. The Christian captives that yet remained alive also were returned, among them Patriarch Zakharios, who died peacefully in the year 633.

14 February 2011


I have not kept up with the blog much at all lately, and for that I am sorry. Several of you have written and asked if I am all right. I must say, I am deeply touched. I had not thought there was much readership here. The things that have gotten in the way are the cares and worries of this life: family problems, relationship problems, work problems, sickness, and death. I have much I want to blog about, and many things have been on and in my mind of late. However, there has simply not been enough time to do this. Pray for me, a sinner. And God repay the kindness and warmth shown by all of you.
Turn us back, O God of our salvation, and turn away Thine anger from us. Wilt Thou be wroth with us unto the ages? Or wilt Thou draw out Thy wrath from generation to generation? O God, Thou wilt turn and quicken us, and Thy people shall be glad in Thee. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy, and Thy salvation do Thou give unto us. I will hear what the Lord God will speak in me; for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints and to them that turn their heart unto Him. (from Psalm 84, LXX)