Science

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.

Saint of the Day: Third Finding of the Head of John the Baptist

Third Finding of the Head of Saint John the Baptist

There are not enough days in the calendar year to set aside one for every religious commemoration. But of the 365 days of the solar year allowed us, each could bear some mention of the great St. John the Baptist without wearing thin the reputation of this mighty figure of Christianity. Referred to as the prefiguration of Jesus Christ, he is remembered on more than one occasion even though it is in seemingly grisly reference to the head that was severed from his body to grant a favor by a callous monarch to a scatterbrained girl.

The eminent St. John the Baptist is commemorated by the Greek Orthodox Church in five different observances as follows: (1) the Conception of St. John the Baptist on September 23, (2) the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on June 24, (3) the official Feast Day of St. John the Baptist on January 7, (4) the First and Second Findings of the Relics of St. John on February 24, and (5) the Third Finding of the Relics of St. John on May 25. It is only fitting that St. John, the forerunner of the Savior for whom he prepared the way, be given at least these five commemorative days, if only for the fact that Jesus Himself said of him in the Gospel of St. Luke (7:25-28): “Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled and live delicately in the king’s court. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face which shall prepare the way before thee. For I say unto you, among those who are born unto woman, there is no greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he...”

How to Properly Prepare for the Apostles Fast, and Whether a Modern Person Needs to Fast

In this brief interview, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine speaks on fasting, modern man, and role models.

—Your Beatitude, Pentecost ends the Paschal cycle. We start counting anew from this week. How does this period differ from the other cycles of the year?

—The holy Church was born on Pentecost, and after the feast it began to actively work and preach; similarly, after Pentecost, a new enumeration of every following Sunday begins in the Church’s liturgical year, in which are recalled, besides the mystery of the Resurrection, notable Gospel events or events from Christian history. For example, on the first Sunday, the Synaxis of All Saints is remembered, and on the second, All Saints Who Shone Forth in the Russian Land, and so on.

Translation of the relics of St Nicholas the Wonderworker from Myra to Bari

The Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nicholas to Bari in Italy. His Life is found under December 6.

In the eleventh century the Byzantine Empire was going through some terrible times. The Turks put an end to its influence in Asia Minor, they destroyed cities and villages, they murdered the inhabitants, and they accompanied their cruel outrage with the desecration of churches, holy relics, icons and books. The Mussulmen also attempted to destroy the relics of Saint Nicholas, deeply venerated by the whole Christian world.

Holy Queen Tamar (†1213)

In 1166 a daughter, Tamar, was born to King Giorgi III (1155–1184) and Queen Burdukhan of Georgia. The king proclaimed that he would share the throne with his daughter from the day she turned twelve years of age.

The royal court unanimously vowed its allegiance and service to Tamar, and father and daughter ruled the country together for five years. After King Giorgi’s death in 1184, the nobility recognized the young Tamar as the sole ruler of all Georgia. Queen Tamar was enthroned as ruler of allGeorgia at the age of eighteen. She is called “King” in theGeorgian language because her father had no male heir and so she ruled as a monarch and not as a consort.

At the beginning of her reign, Tamar convened a Church council and addressed the clergy with wisdom and humility: “Judge according to righteousness, affirming good and condemning evil,” she advised. “Begin with me — if I sin I should be censured, for the royal crown is sent down from above as a sign of divine service. Allow neither the wealth of the nobles nor the poverty of the masses to hinder your work. You by word and I by deed, you by preaching and I by the law, you by upbringing and I by education will care for those souls whom God has entrusted to us, and together we will abide by the law of God, in order to escape eternal condemnation.… You as priests and I as ruler, you as stewards of good and I as the watchman of that good.”