Science

The Placing of the Honorable Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God at Blachernae

The Placing of the Venerable Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos at Blachernae: During the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Leo the Great (457-474), the brothers Galbius and Candidus, associates of the emperor, set out from Constantinople to Palestine to venerate the holy places.

In a small settlement near Nazareth they stayed in the home of a certain old Jewish woman. In her house they noticed a room where many lamps were lit, incense burned, and sick people were gathered. When they asked her what the room contained, the pious woman did not want to give an answer for a long time. After persistent requests, she said that she had a very precious sacred item: the Robe of the Mother of God, which performed many miracles and healings. Before Her Dormition the Most Holy Virgin bequeathed one of her garments to a pious Jewish maiden, an ancestor of the old woman, instructing her to leave it to another virgin after her death. Thus, the Robe of the Mother of God was preserved in this family from generation to generation.

The Venerable Female-martyr Febronia [Fevronia]

Febronia was the daughter of Prosphorus, a senator from Rome. In order to avoid marriage with a mortal man, Febronia betrothed herself to Christ and was tonsured a nun in the east, in the country of Assyria, in a convent where her aunt Bryaena was abbess. Lysimachus, the son of a nobleman, desired to wed Febronia but since Emperor Diocletian suspected him to be a secret Christian, he sent Lysimachus to the east with his uncle Silenus to apprehend and kill Christians. Silenus was as cruel as a beast and exterminated Christians everywhere without mercy. Lysimachus, on the contrary, spared the Christians wherever he could and hid them from his beast-like uncle. Making Palmyra a wasteland of Christians, Silenus came to the town of Nisibis close to which was a convent with fifty ascetics among whom was Febronia. 

Holy Apostle Bartholomew

The Holy Apostle Bartholomew was born at Cana of Galilee and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, it fell by lot to the holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip (November 14) to preach the Gospel in Syria and Asia Minor. In their preaching they wandered through various cities, and then met up again. Accompanying the holy Apostle Philip was his sister, the holy virgin St Mariamnne.

Traversing the cities of Syria and Myzia, they underwent much hardship and tribulations, they were stoned and they were locked up in prison. In one of the villages they met up with the Apostle John the Theologian, and together they set off to Phrygia. In the city of Hieropolis by the power of their prayers they destroyed an enormous viper, which the pagans worshipped as a god. The holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip with his sister confirmed their preaching with many miracles.

St. Cyril the Archbishop of Alexandria

Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, a distinguished champion of Orthodoxy and a great teacher of the Church, came from an illustrious and pious Christian family. He studied the secular sciences, including philosophy, but most of all he strove to acquire knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the truths of the Christian Faith. In his youth Cyril entered the monastery of Macarius in the Nitreia hills, where he stayed for six years. Theophilus (385-412), the Patriarch of Alexandria, ordained him as a deacon, numbered him among the clergy and entrusted him to preach.

Upon the death of Patriarch Theophilus, Cyril was unanimously chosen to the patriarchal throne of the Alexandrian Church. He led the struggle against the spread of the Novatian heresy in Alexandria, which taught that any Christian who had fallen away from the Church during a time of persecution, could not be received back into it.

Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Metropolitan Kallistos—or at least to Timothy Ware. I read his book The Orthodox Church long ago and it was an important part of my conversion to Orthodoxy. I still have the somewhat battered volume on my bookshelf, a gold bishop’s mitre on the cover set off against a black background. That was before Timothy became Kallistos and parenthesized his surname, and I have followed his ecclesiastical promotion and the consequent name changes as he became a priest, then an archimandrite, and then a bishop, and then finally a metropolitan.

Saint Nicetas, Confessor and Bishop of Chalcedon Whom We Comemorate Today

In his youth, he renounced the world and withdrew to a life of monastic asceticism. Shining like the sun with virtues, he was noticed by the elders of the Church and was elevated to the episcopal throne of Chalcedon. As a bishop, he was especially merciful toward the less fortunate, and he greatly concerned himself with the welfare of orphans, widows and the poor. When the evil Leo the Armenian rose up against the icons, Nicetas courageously stood up in their defense, denouncing the emperor and explaining their meaning. Consequently, he endured great humiliation, calumny and imprisonment. He was finally banished into exile for his confession of Faith, and in labors and sufferings presented himself to the Lord to receive a wreath of glory in the Kingdom of God.

Sola Scriptura

Most Evangelical Protestants do not have a great love for Latin (people of my vintage can remember when Latin was inevitably associated in Evangelical minds with the horrible benighted Catholics, who used Latin as their liturgical language), but there are two Latin words very close to their hearts: “sola Scriptura”, which is Latin for “Scripture alone”. Those dipping a little into Reformation history will recall that it shared the stage with a few other Latin slogans, such as “sola fide” (faith alone), “sola gratia” (grace alone), and “solus Christus” (Christ alone). The words formed something like a banner, a code for the entire Reformed package—and sometimes a war-cry shouted when going into ideological battle.