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Important Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
|Virgin Mary: Virgin Mary is one of
the most notable women of the New Testament, although
little is known about her life. She holds a prominent
place in the birth of Jesus Christ, especially in the
Gospel of St. Luke. Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary
were a couple of the royal house of David. This elderly
couple didn't have a child and even Joachim's offer to
sacrifice a lamb at the temple was rejected, because
their barrenness. In sorrow, Joachim retired to
wilderness to fast for forty days. Gabriel the archangel
appeared to both Joachim and Anne separately to announce
the coming of their child Mary to them. This scene in the
Christian art takes place in the case of Joachim when he
was herding his sheep out in the fields, and in the case
of Anne, when she was by the fountain in the courtyard of
their house. The most important themes about her life in
the Christian art are Annunciation and the Nativity (
birth of Jesus Christ ), as painted on the walls of many
churches. She was present at the Crucifixion of Jesus
Christ who entrusted his mother to St. John who probably
brought her with him to Ephesus. Today, there is stone
house from 1st C. and restorations from 7th C. on the top
of the hill 5 miles away from Ephesus, claimed to be the
place where Mary spent her last years in peace. Also,
Ephesus has the earliest church in the world dedicated to
Mary, also this church was the one where they held the
ecumenical council in 431.
The icon is the "Axion Esti" from the Protaton of Mt. Athos.
|The Gospel mentions Mary when narrating the birth and childhood of Christ. John himself, in the Gospel, mentions Mary twice: in the Cana wedding account and in that of the passion, telling us how Christ addressed his Mother from the cross entrusting to her the disciple he loved and entrusting to John his Mother. According to a very old local tradition, during the first persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem, in the year 49 A.D., the Apostles thought to put the Mother of the Lord in safety, and John, to whom the Lord had entrusted his Mother, accompanied Mary to Ephesus, where she might have lived, if not until she died, at least for some years, until the situation in Jerusalem changed.|
St. Paul The most dynamic figure of the New
Testament, the greatest missionary of Christianity and its first
theologian. Most Christians agree that were it not for St. Paul,
the new faith of Jesus Christ would have never taken hold to
become the mainstay of Western civilization. Paul was born to Jewish parents in Tarsus
c. 3, being a diaspora - the dispersion of Jews into the
Greco-Roman world and was circumcised on the eighth day by the
Jewish tradition. His father or his relatives obtained the Roman
citizenship and full civil rights of the city of Tarsus.His
original name given to him was Saul. However, Saul took as his
everyday name of Latin origin with a sound similar to that of his
original Hebrew name. He had deep knowledge of Greek rhetoric
which he learned in his youth in Tarsus. But also his philosophy
reflects that he had received a formal training in the Jewish
law, probably he was getting prepared for becoming a rabbi. He
was sent to Jerusalem for further studies and studied at the
academy of Gameliel, one of the most respected Jewish teachers.
Paul, in his early years, was a persecutor of the Christians and
even he was a witness to the stoning of St. Stephen, the first of
the Christian martyrs. Again, before his conversion, he accepted
that Christianity was a Jewish sect and that wasn't true to the
Jewish law and that therefore had to be destroyed. His name
created fear and spread all over the Roman world. Paul's
conversion occurred during his journey from Jerusalem to
Damascus, after experiencing a vision of Christ. Christ appeared
to him and said: "Paul, why you persecute me". Paul who
got blind after his vision, was healed with the help of one of
the disciples. When he returned to Jerusalem neither Christian
nor Jewish believed or trusted him.
Paul is well known from his three missionary journeys which covered big part of Anatolia and Greece as recorded in the book " Acts of Apostles ", which he traveled to spread the new born religion. The New Testament refers to 13 letters which Paul was the author, and 7 of the letters ( 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, Philippians and Philemon ) that bear his name and were most certainly written by Paul himself. These letters in which St.Paul speaks of his works, are the major source of information about his life. In his letters, he addressed to the major metropolitan centers of the ancient world. Apparently he covered a great distance on his journeys. From Acts, we know that he was arrested in Jerusalem after riots by Jewish opponents and that later he was taken to Rome. He talks about his own possible death in the Acts. He was probably martyred at Rome c. 62. after the great fire of Rome. Paul and Peter were arrested and were blamed for the fire. Peter was crucified up side down on the capitol hill where there is the great church of Vatican now. As to Paul, since he was a Roman citizen he was beheaded near Ostia gate in Rome.
See the tours we organise "following the steps of St. Paul" in his second missionary journey in Greece.
St. Peter: Simon, a fisherman from Bethsaida; was called by Jesus together with his brother Andrew, while washing the nets on the shore, by the lake of Genessaret. Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter, which means Rock, explaining that on him he would build his church. He was appointed by the Lord the first among the twelve. On Pentecost, he is the one to preach to the crowds the resurrection of the Lord and he is the first to state that the Good News is to be preached to Jews and pagans alike. He was imprisoned by Herod Agrippa I and miraculously delivered. He presided over the first official meeting of the Apostles (49 - 50 A.D.) and visited the church in Antioch considered to be the first See of Peter. He came to Rome, and here, as bishop of Rome, bearing witness to Christ, he was crucified, head downwards, on the Vatican hill under Nero around the year 67 A.D. His remains were found, after long and meticulous excavations, under the main altar of the Vatican Basilica. He wrote two letters to the Christian churches, mainly made up of converts from paganism, that reflect a time of trial through which these churches were passing, emphasizing the need of fortitude in persecution.
|St. Constantine The Great (280-337 A.D.): son of Constantius Clorus and Helena, transferred the capital of the whole Roman empire, from Rome to Byzantium. He took up the reconstruction of the city, which he wanted to be worthy to be considered "a second Rome". He decreed that the Christian faith was the official religion of the state and the Church after 3 long centuries was able to come out in the open and breath freely without any fear of persecution. He built churches dedicated to Christ under different titles and one dedicated to Christ under different titles and one dedicated to the Twelve Holy Apostles, in which he wanted to be buried. He put an end to crucifixion as a death penalty and for the first time the cross adorned the imperial crown. He adapted the law code to the new religion and granted many privileges to the Church. He died in Nicomedia on May 21, 337 and was buried according to his will in the the Church of the Holy Apostles.|
|His feast day according to the Greek Orthodox church is on May 21 together with his mother St. Eleni. For his services to the Christian Church, Constantine has been named the 13th Apostle by the Orthodox Church and is venerated as a saint together with his mother Helena.|
St. Helen (Helena the Empress, Eleni) was born in Drepanum (Helenopolis), Bithinia, in the middle of the third century. She got married to Constantius Clorus, who later divorced her for state reasons in order to be able to succeed Diocletianus as emperor of the Roman empire. Out of this marriage Constantine the Great was born in 274, who after the death of his father, inherited the imperial throne and tolerated Christianity in his empire. He called Helen by his side and lavishly granted her the title of "August Empress". She distinguished herself for her deep concern for the suffering, in particular for political prisoners and their families, the poor and the sick. In the year 326, already over 80, she visited the Holy Land as a pilgrim and stayed there for a long time. It was the dream of her life. There, after praying on the places where Jesus was born, died and was buried, she ordered that excavations be started. On the Golgotha, the True Cross on which Christ died was found and pieces were brought to Constantinople. She had churches built in Bethlehem, on the Mount of The Olives, from where the risen Lord ascended into heaven, and the Anastasis basilica enshrining the grave where the lifeless body of Christ was laid after the crucifixion, and from where he rose up again to life. She died very probably in Constantinople and was buried in Rome around the year 330. Her feast day in the Catholic Church is held on August 18, while for the Greek Orthodox it is May 21, together with that of her son St. Constantine the Great.
St. John the Evangelist and Apostle. John's birth place is unknown, but for sure he died at Ephesus c.98 AD. He and his brother St. James the Greater were the active apostles of Jesus Christ. He and his brother were fishermen of Galilee and the fishing miracle of Jesus caused these young brothers converted to Christianity. John and Peter were the apostles chosen by Jesus to witness his transfiguration and agony in Gethsamene. John, again was the first to run to the tomb on the morning of Resurrection, and see the tomb empty, and the risen Jesus near the Sea of Tiberias. Also tradition relates John to " the disciple whom Jesus loved " who leaned on Jesus' breast at the last supper. Also we know that Jesus, before he gave his soul on the cross, trusted his mother Mary to St. John, thereafter John and Mary had come to Ephesus. St. Paul describes St. John and St. Peter as the pillars of the church in Jerusalem, a reference probably because of their strong faith. Later, St. John was exiled to the island Patmos by the Roman governor, because he was preaching the word of the Lord, and on this little island he wrote his " Book of Revelations " in which he addressed to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The fourth of the Gospels and three epistles of the Bible and the Book of Revelations are his works that came to us. St. John was the only apostle who died of natural causes, at a very old age, close to his 100. The Christian community of Ephesus built a small grave for him, which was replaced by one of the largest Cathedrals of Asia Minor, built by Justinian the Great in the 6th C, whose remains are still visible today in Ephesus area.
St. Athanasios Athanasius was born at Trebizond on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey in the 10th C. After serving as a teacher in the Imperial city Constantinople, he joined Mount Kyminias Monastery in the Bithynia Region of Asia Minor. Later in c. 958 he went to Mount Athos in Greece that was a popular place for hermits. Hermits of Mt. Athos lived in isolation and away from community life. Athanasius was the first, with financial aids from the Emperor Nikiphorus II to build a monastery there and gather the hermits under the roof of that monastery. At the beginning, Athanasius received so much opposition from hermits, and took years to establish his authority there with the help of Another Emperor, John Tsimiskes. The monastery built by Athanasius and dedicated in c.963 is still there and known as " The Monastery of Megistis Lavras ". Unfortunately, the church that Athanasius built also became the cause of his death. He was killed by falling masonry when the cupola of his church fell in.
|St. George is one the most popular saints in the Christian History. St. George is the patron of numerous churches throughout the world. Despite his popularity, the information about his life is very limited. One of his widespread stories says he was a soldier saint and tortured and martyred at Nicomedia, during the emperor Diocletian's persecutions. Also the story from the book Golden Legend describes him as a Knight from Cappadocia. The legend told about him has gained so much popularity in the East, that people painted this legend on the church walls, especially in the Cappadocia region. The Legend says, at the town Silene, now part of Libya was a dragon killing and eating people, upon hearing that the next meal was the daughter of the King, George flew down there, slain the dragon and saved the beloved daughter of the King.|
St Basil the Great (330-379) One of the most notable personalities of the Christian History. He was born at Caeserea ( modern Kayseri, Turkey ) into an old Christian family with strong and long tradition. His family members were too distinctive Christians of the religious history, his grand mother Macrina the elder, his father Basil the great, his mother Emmelia, his brothers Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter of Sebatea are all among the saints of early Christian history. He received his education at big metropolitan centers of Caeserea, Constantinople and Athens and gained for himself the fame of a brilliant theologian.. During his education, he met Gregory of Nazianus, and established a strong relationship with him. He visited the monastic centers in the Pontus area, and became a monk there. Actually, St. Basil didn't stay long with his own community. But his influence on the foundation of monastic centers of Cappadocia was essential, making him one of the founders of the Monastic life. Even today's monastic life of the Orthodox church is still based on the principles established by him. He was appointed bishop of Caeserea in 370. As a bishop, he had to deal with the emperor Valens, the supporter of Arians, a sect whom St. Basil rejected their beliefs, and only two years after his death the Arianism was over. A person with a strong personality he said the emperor: " Perhaps, you have never before had to deal with a proper bishop before". His great contribution to his community was that a large complex he built in Cappadocia area, which included a church, hospice, hospital, and rock dwellings where number of doctors, nurses, staff and artists were employed. He defended the poor and did much to help them. We can understand that he was the beloved saint of Cappadocians, as a big crowd wept at his funeral. What is known about St. Basil comes from his own letters and sermons. After a relatively short life, he died at his home city Caeserea in 379. Today, Cappadocia area has many churches that bear his name. His close connections with St. Gregory of Nazianus and his younger brother St. Gregory of Nyssa came to describe these three saints of Cappadocia as " Church Fathers ". His feast is held on January 1.
St. Andrew was one of the original Twelve Apostles, brother to St. Peter, both former fisherman called to follow Christ. He is the patron Saint of Greece as well as Scotland. In early Byzantine tradition, he is known as "first called." St. Andrew is reputed to travelled with St. John the Evangelist to Ephesus and later preached in Scythia. He is said to have been crucified on an X-shaped Cross at Patras in Archaia. His feast day is celebrated on 30th November.
St. Andreas, although born in Damascus of Asia Minor in 669 AD, and grew up in the city of the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord, yet he is closely associated with the island of the heroes, of Crete. His parents, George and Gregoria, being devout Christians, infused the soul of their son with the commandments of God. His Christian education bestowed St. Andreas with the required qualities of distinction. He was tonsured a monk at a young age and later distinguished himself as patriarchal notary in Jerusalem.
At the age of 25 he was ordained deacon by the Patriarch of Constantinople George. St. Andreas looked upon the city of Jerusalem and upon Constantinople as the beacons of universal education and as sources of theological thought. His presence could not go unnoticed. He was referred to as "wV p? ep? ?V keimenh". His prudence and vigour were soon recog-nised by the Patriarch of Jerusalem who included him in the delegation to the sixth Ecumenical Synod in Constantinople in 680 AD. That Synod convened in order to examine the issue of Monophysitism - Monothelitism. The works lasted for approximately a year and meetings totalled eighteen. St. Andreas exhibited strategic qualities in defending Orthodox faith and defeated the cause of the heretics. By the end of the Synod the disparities between the parties had been dissolved.
At the age of 51 St. Andreas was appointed Archbishop of Crete. As chief administrator on ecclesiastical matters on the island he assumed the responsibility of organising the Church of Crete. During his office he prompted philanthropy, erected churches and charitable institutions. St. Andreas comforted and encouraged his flock during harsh times. He distinguished himself as an orator and great hymnographer. Today, approximately 100 canons and numerous troparia of the saint are preserved. Being extremely sensitive and receptive to social problems, he would travel to Constantinople to consult with the head of the Church. During one of his trips, the saint passed away on board ship on his way back to Crete. He was buried in the Church of Agia Anastasia on the island of Chios in 740 AD. Our church celebrates his memory on July 4 every year.
It is customary in Crete to praise a person who exhibits valour all his life. The valiant never perish, we believe. They are always contemporary and an inspiration to all those who dare stand up against the enemy to defend our priceless and perennial heritage. It is high time to rally our forces, assume initia-tive to claim what is rightfully ours. It is our destiny to defend our beliefs and come out victorious, in spite of the fact that we are always outnumbered by the numerous enemies.
St. Barbara was one of the earliest Christians. Nicomedia (Iznik), Antioch (Antakya) and Heliopolis all claim to have been her birth place, in the second half of the third century or early fourth. Converted to the Christian faith at a very young age, her father, Dioscorus, a Roman Governor at Nicomedia, after trying hard to gain her back to the pagan rites, imprisoned her in a tower with two windows. She had workers add an extra window to the tower, making a total of three, a reference to the Trinity. Upon her father's question about the windows, she answered: " Know, my father, that through these windows my soul receive the light - the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and three are one". Her father furious at her answer beheaded his own daughter right there and was himself struck by a lightning and his body turned to ashes. She became the patron Saint of Gunners, Miners, with a reference to her father's fate. A Tower is emblem for St. Barbara. Her feast day falls on December 4.
St. Barnabas or Joseph, surnamed Barnabas "son of encouragement" by the Apostles, was a Levite from Cyprus. He might have been one of the 72 disciples of the Lord. If not the founder, he was certainly the one who organized the church in Antioch, where the followers of Jesus were for the first time called CHRISTIANS. He introduced Paul to the church of Antioch and became his faithful companion in many of his missionary endeavors. According to tradition, he was stoned by the Jews in Salamina. His feast day falls on June 11 in both the Catholic and Orthodox Church.
St. Titus Titus, born pagan, was converted to the Gospel by Paul during his first journey. Together with Barnabas, he accompanied Paul to Jerusalem where the problem of the circumcision of the pagans was discussed and resolved. He was entrusted by Paul to collect alms for the Christian Jews of Jerusalem, as well as his special envoy to the troubled church in Corinth. From Paul's letter to him it is evident that he was residing in Crete.
St. Silas was a Roman citizen probably converted by Paul himself. After parting with Barnabas, Paul chose him as his companion in his second journey. He was arrested and imprisoned with Paul in Philippi. He is considered as the first bishop of Corinth.
St. Nicholas ( Santa Claus ) Probably the most popular of the Saints in the Christian world and sometimes known as Santa Claus. The patron saint of children, sailors, travelers and prisoners. He was born to a wealthy family at Patara in southwestern Turkey around 270 A.D. Patara his birth place was a flourishing city especially in the Roman times. The remains of this city that are still visible there prove this fact. In his youth he traveled to Palestine and Egypt, later he became bishop of Myra, a town to the west of Antalya in Mediterranean Turkey. When he was bishop at Myra, his influence was already great all over Anatolia, and by the 6 C. a church was built and dedicated to him in Constantinople. He was also present at the Nicea ecumenical council meeting in 325, and he met such a strong opposition from Arius the heretic. His figure is shrouded in legends and folklore. One of the local stories told about him is, in the time of famine a butcher cut up the bodies of three children and put them in a barrel of salt, intending to sell them for food. The St. Nicholas was told by an angel in his dream about the incident, and hastened to the butcher's house and restored the children back to life. Another story says, a young girl with no money to buy her dowries was about to take up a prostitution life, St. Nicholas had thrown three bags of gold into their garden and enabled the girl to buy her dowries and get married. This story probably gave the way the custom of giving presents to children at Christmas time. Today, there is a nice church at Myra in which the Saint was buried in a sarcophagus and his tomb has survived the Arab raids, but in 1087, the remaining parts of his body was taken to Bari in Italy by the Italian merchants. When they broke the tomb, they found the bones of the Saint covered in Myrrh. His body and some other relics kept in the church of Myra were removed to the Cathedral in Bari, and the remaining parts are in Antalya Museum. His feast day is celebrated both in the east and west on December 6.Greece and Russia among other countries adopted him as their Patron Saint.
St. Ephraem Ephraem was born in Nisibis (Nusaybin), Syria, in 306 A.D. At a very young age he became a Christian and joined the monastic life. Later he was ordained deacon. During the Persian occupation of Nisibi he went to Edessa (Urfa), an important Syrian religious and cultural centre. A good speaker and scholar, he defended in his writings and sermons the catholic faith against some errors propagated by heretics. His hymns are still sung in the liturgy by the Syrian churches. He died in Edessa and is venerated as a Doctor in both Catholic and Orthodox churches on June 9 and January 28 respectively.
St. Gregory Nazianzen (329- 389) from Nazianzus, in Cappadocia. Intimate friend of Basil from youth, he followed the monastic way of life. In 379 he was chosen Patriarch of Constantinople at the height of the Arian controversy, where he stayed only for two years handing in his resignation during the First Constantinopolitan Council and retired in Nazianzus where he died. The great Theologian of the fourth Century was born at Arianzus, central Turkey in c. 329 and died near this town c. 389. He is one of the Church Fathers, and an active person in the Christian History. He received a good education at Athens along with his friend St. Basil. Contrary to his will to be a simple monk at a monastery, he was always given important missions and posts which he rejected some of them. When he was appointed by St. Basil, the bishop of Sasima, he chose to stay as assistant to St. Basil, rather than take this post. While he was at a Monastery at Seleucia, he accepted the job offered to him to be the bishop of Constantinople. On the other hand, this job was really hard one, as the Arians had a strong presence in Constantinople, because Arianism was long supported by some of the emperors, particularly by Valens. Valens died, but Arians were still powerful, so Gregory had to place his altar in the home of a friend, and called it Anastasis " the Resurrection ". Gregory's anastatis altar was attacked and stoned by Arians at the eve of Easter. Only after 1 1/2 years of this incident, he was led in triumph by the Orthodox emperor Theodisius to his throne in St. Sophia. Upon complaints from some jealous bishops, he was called to defend himself at the council meeting. Too proud to fight for his position as a bishop, he retired to his home town Nazianus in Cappadocia and spent the rest of his life in peace. His eloquent preaching did so much to end the Arianism in the Country. His learning and his power of oratory were remarkable and gained him the title of "The Theologian". He is commemorated on January 2, together with Saint Basil.
St. Gregory of Nyssa - 335c-394 Brother of Basil the Great, like him he also lead a monastic life until he was elected Bishop of Nyssa. During the Council of Constantinople he revealed his philosophic acumen and was acclaimed as one of the greatest exponents of Christian Orthodoxy.
Lukas the Evangelist was a gentile, Greek by origin, and a medical man by profession as St. Paul mentions him as " our beloved " Luke the Physician ". He was the author of one of the four gospels and co-author of the " Acts of Apostles " with St. Paul. As we know from St. Paul, he accompanied Paul on his second and third missionary journeys, St. Paul in his letter to Timothy says " Luke is my only companion ". So, we can be sure that St. Luke has been to Rome and probably wrote his gospel when he was there. Although his death is debated, as some scholars claim that he was martyred in Greece, or some others say he died of natural, but sure when he died he was well over his eighty. An oral tradition says he was imprisoned at Ephesus in a prison called " Luke's Tower " of which the remains are still visible.
St. Marina The legend says, Marina's father became a monk in Bithynia region of Turkey and kept his daughter with him, dressing her like a boy. On her father's death she stayed on in the Monastery. She was later exiled, because she was accused of fathering the child of an innkeeper's daughter later received back in the monastery. After her death, her sex and consequent innocence was discovered.
St. Panteleimon was born at Nicomedia and martyred there. He was the court physician to the emperor Galerius. When he separated from the public life on an advise from one his friends, he came under suspicions that resulted in his execution under the emperor Diocletian's persecutions. Because of his profession, he became the most popular patron saint of Medical world.
Pelagia of Antioch ( M ) She was born at Antioch and martyred there c. 305. She was a young girl when Roman soldiers came to her home to arrest her, rather than surrender she threw herself to death from the top of the building.
Pelagia of Tarsus probably lived in Tarsus during the reign of the emperor Diocletian as told in her legend. against her will, this beautiful girl was affianced to one of the sons of emperor Diocletian. When she converted to Christian, her fiancee killed himself. The emperor, instead of punishing her, wanted her for himself. When she refused this offer, she was roasted to death in a red-hot brazen bull.
Philip the Apostle He was born at Bethsaida. Philip preached the gospel in Asia Minor. Tradition says he was martyred at the ancient city Hierapolis ( modern Pamukkale, Turkey ) by having been nailed on a tree upside down c. 80. There is still a martyrdom built for St. Philip from 6th C., of which the ruins are still visible there.
Philip of Heraclia ( B M ) He was born at Heraclia on the coast of the Sea of Marmara. He lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian. He was the bishop of Heraclia in Thrace. When his church was closed by the Roman soldiers, he told them that God dwells in men's hearts not within the walls. He summoned the service in the open air. Bassus the governor of the city ordered him to hand over the church's books and relics which Philip and his deacon Hermes refused to do. When Philip and Hermes the deacon refused to sacrifice for Hercules the chief and name god of the city, Philip was dragged to jail by his feet. After tortured in jail for seven months, Philip, Hermes and another priest called Severus were taken to Hadrianople ( modern Edirne ), where they were beaten and tortured for weeks, and finally both were sentenced to death. St. Philip was so much weary of the tortures, he had to be carried to execution.
St. Theodore We don't know for sure when he lived and died, but he became one the three most important soldier-saints of the East along with St. George and St. Demetrius. We know that he was born at Amasea in Pontus ( modern Amasya ), and martyred there because he set fire to a pagan temple. After he suffered tortures in the prison, he was thrown into a furnace and martyred. His burial place at Euchaita became an important pilgrimage place. He was venerated in Anatolia as early as 4 th C. Also, in the Christian art, the paintings on the church walls that show the slaying of a dragon by a knight is attributed to this St. Theodore as well as to the St. George.
Theodore of Sykeon Born at Sykeion in Galatia region of Asia Minor, and died there after his stays at different towns, monasteries in Jerusalem, Anastasiopolis. He probably lived in the 6th C. The account written by his disciples says, Theodore was the bastard child of a girl who with her mother and sister kept an inn where they prostituted themselves to their customers against some money. Later on, his mother married and left him with his grand mother and his aunt. Theodore was converted to Christian by his aunt, and on a journey to Jerusalem, became a monk and gained considerable experience there. On returning to his home, he founded monasteries in his home country. Against his will, he was elected bishop of Anastasiopolis near Ancyra ( modern Ankara ). After ten years in this office, he went to Constantinople to see his patron emperor Maurice. Later he returned to his home village Sykeion where spent his remaining years as a monk. Also, from the account written by his disciples, he is attributed with some miracles and marvels i.e. healing the sick, and some miraculous works.
Theodore the Studite ( S ) He was born at Constantinople in 759 and died at Akritas in 826. His father was an imperial treasury official, and Theodore succeeded his uncle as head of the monastery at Sakkoudion in Bithynia region. He had troubles with the emperor Constantine VI, for he refused the emperor's divorce, he was banished from his position. Later, he moved his community to Constantinople, where they occupied the Studius Monastery founded by the Roman counsel Studius in 463. Under Theodor, the development of this monastery was great and remarkable. His ideals and regulations made a way for Byzantine monasticism and the influence of this monastery covered a large community. But, this wasn't the end of Theodore's troubles, he was once more exiled to Princes' island in the Sea of Marmara, because of the emperor's adultery. Later, his troubles continued with the emperor Leo V, when this emperor revived the Iconoclastic movement as state policy. This time, Theodore organized public resistance against the emperor's edict, and exiled to various places for seven years. On the other hand, Theodore supported his community with letters to keep their common struggle alive. He also sent an appeal to the Pope Paschal I, who later sent legates to Constantinople, without any result. After the violent death of the emperor, Theodore was released from the prison, but never allowed to return to his Studius monastery. He was the leader of the monastic movement and also the strongest defender of the sacred images.
Spyridon Born on the
island of Cyprus, he preferred the tranquility of the countryside
he roamed as a boy while shepherding his father's flocks, and
even after he rose to the office of bishop he would find the time
to tend the sheep on a hillside, where he knew complete
contentment. Coming from a rural family which for generations had
lived in such remoteness that there was no school for miles
around. Although he was exceptionally bright, Spyridon was no
exception to the rule that doomed most youngsters who were never
taught to read or write. As a boy Spyridon's church attendance
was regular. He displayed remarkable intelligence, which enabled
him to memorize long passages from the Bible simply by listening.
Although he was needed at home, Spyridon was not denied the
formal education he deserved. His parents, not wanting to see his
great talent and love for Christ restricted, sought counsel from
their priest, who in turn arranged for the boy's education and
Ordained a priest, Spyridon was assigned to a rural community much like the one in which he had been reared and made it his first act to use the church as a school for the education of children. His dedication to the people and his complete commitment to the Savior did not go unnoticed, and he was appointed bishop of his province, a post in which he won the admiration of his flock and prominence in the international Christian community.
It was in 325 AD that the momentous Synod of Nicaea (First Ecumenical Council) was convened at the request of the Emperor Constantine to resolve the issues so divisive in that era, a conclave to which the greatest figures of Christianity were invited. Among them was the shepherd-bishop Spyridon, whose reputation preceded him and who was therefore made one of the directors. At this meeting Spyridon met St. Nicholas, with whom he formed a lasting friendship, one destined to form a parallel of their lives which comes down to us as a glorious part of the rich heritage of Christianity.
St Spyridon acquitted himself most honorably at his meeting and was instrumental in settling a heated debate on the Mystery of the Holy Trinity, which allowed for a successful conclusion to the most important council in early Church history. Like his friend St Nicholas, St Spyridon fell victim to pagan persecution and was one day hauled off to prison, where he was so brutally beaten by the guards that he lost the sight of one eye. Years of misery were to follow then, for rather than execute him the Romans consigned him to the mines. There the gentle bishop lived in squalor and laboured in agony for many years before at last he died. Faithful to the end, his last words were in praise of the Lord. His body was cast into a ditch from which it was taken by friends for Christian burial. Later removed, his body lies intact to this day, preserved by the hand of God. The Holy Relics of St Spyridon, after sixteen centuries, are still in such a remarkable state of preservation that every year he is carried in solemn triumph through the streets on the occasion of his feast day.
St. Dionysios the Areopagite was one of the first Athenian disciples of the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:34) and the first bishop of Athens. He was martyred in Paris and is commemorated on October 3. A number of works (including The Divine Names, Mystical Theology, The Celestial Hierarchies, and The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy) have been attributed to him which have influenced basic Orthodox teaching and inspired later Orthodox theologians such as St Maximus the Confessor (7th century). It is generally accepted that these works, in their present form, were probably written in the fifth century, because they seem to have been unknown to earlier Christian centuries, and their style and content indicate that they are later in date. Irrespective of the authorship of these works, the Orthodox world finds no difficulty in regarding them as in the tradition of St Dionysius, and through him, of St Paul the Apostle.
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