Martyr Menas of Egypt

The Holy Great Martyr Menas of Egypt, an Egyptian by birth, was a military officer and served in the Kotyaeion region of Phrygia under the centurion Firmilian during the reign of the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (305-311). When the emperors began the fiercest persecution against Christians in history, the saint refused to serve these persecutors. He removed his soldier’s belt (a sign of military rank) and withdrew to a mountain, where he lived an ascetic life of fasting and prayer.

Once he happened to arrive in the city during a pagan festival. At the climax of the games the saint’s accusing voice rang out, preaching faith in Christ, the Savior of the world. At his trial before the prefect Pyrrhus, the saint bravely confessed his faith, saying that he had come to denounce the impious. The prefect was angered, and had Menas arrested.

Translation of the relics of the Venerable John of Rila

The Transfer of the Relics of the Monk John of Ryla from the city of Sredets (Sofia) to the then capital of the Bulgarian realm – the city Tirnovo, took place in the year 1238. The Monk John of Ryl'sk – a great spiritual ascetic of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and Heavenly Protector of the Bulgarian nation, was born in the year 876 in the village of Skrino in the Sredetsk district (ancient Sredets – is now Sofia). Early on having been left orphaned, the boy became a cowherd in the avoidance of people. One time the rich man beat him for losing a cow with its calf...

Sermon on the Nativity of the Theotokos

The Church’s veneration of Mary has always been rooted in her obedience to God, her willing choice to accept a humanly impossible calling. The Orthodox Church has always emphasized Mary’s connection to humanity and delighted in her as the best, purest, most sublime fruition of human history and of man’s quest for God, for ultimate meaning, for ultimate content of human life.

If in Western Christianity veneration of Mary was centered upon her perpetual virginity, the heart of Orthodox Christian East’s devotion, contemplation, and joyful delight has always been her Motherhood, her flesh and blood connection to Jesus Christ. The East rejoices that the human role in the divine plan is pivotal. The Son of God comes to earth, appears in order to redeem the world, He becomes human to incorporate man into His divine vocation, but humanity takes part in this. If it is understood that Christ’s “co-nature” with us is as a human being and not some phantom or bodiless apparition, that He is one of us and forever united to us through His humanity, then devotion to Mary also becomes understandable, for she is the one who gave Him His human nature, His flesh and blood. She is the one through whom Christ can always call Himself “The Son of Man.”

Saint Nahum of Ochrid, the Disciple of Sts Cyril and Methodius, Equal of the Apostles

The feast of St. Naum of Ohrid, the Miracle Worker, is celebrated on July 3rd, to honor the medieval scholar and writer, together with St. Clement, is credited with building upon the work of the sainted brothers Cyril and Methodius to spread Christianity among the Slavic speaking peoples of Europe. Naum is known as the “living saint” for the numerous miracles that are attributed to him even today, centuries after his death in 910, at an age of 80 years.

The Life of Our Blessed Father Peter of Korisha

SAINT PETER'S HEROIC struggles recall the spiritual labours of Saint Anthony the Great and the monks of theEgyptian desert. This unseen and inner warfare is not confined to monks alone. From the moment of our baptism, all Orthodox Christians are called to fight the varied lusts and passions of the flesh and to oppose the evil demons who ceaselessly rage against us day and night. As the Apostle Paul says, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).

May Orthodox Christians find in Saint Peter of Korisha a powerful intercessor before God in their spiritual warfare. He is a ready helper for those distressed in body, soul and spirit by the pressures, tensions and demands of living in these last days of general unbelief in God.