Before the English had invaded the whole of Somerset by 710, a host of Celtic saints—monastery builders, preachers, and hermits—had struggled here, and after Somerset had become part of Wessex many early English saints labored on its territory. Such great national saints as Dunstan and Alphege of Canterbury were born in Somerset. This county is home to a number of ancient shrines and sites visited by pilgrims. Let us recall two holy Celts who carried out their spiritual labors in this land: Sts. Congar and Decuman.
This article is dedicated to two female saints of Ireland, whose wide veneration from ancient times has continued in the Emerald Isle. Both of them are venerated by modern Orthodox Christians today, and both are depicted on the icon of the Synaxis of All the Saints of Britain and Ireland that can be found in the Russian Dormition Patriarchal Cathedral in London and elsewhere. Their names are Attracta of Killaraght and Monenna of Killeavy.
The future saint obtained a good education, but Christian teaching did not interest him much. When the boy was sixteen, Irish pirates pillaged his father’s villa during a raid. Thus the young Patrick was sold into slavery and sent to Ireland.
Among the host of saints who shone forth from the fifth to the seventh centuries in Cornwall to the far southwest of England, there were many women. We find holy missionaries, teachers, anchoresses, abbesses, nuns, righteous laywomen, martyrs, princesses and queens. Many of them were natives of Cornwall, but many came from Ireland and Wales where Orthodox Christianity flourished at that time.
Over the past century a keen interest in this unique saint has developed among Orthodox, Catholics and Anglicans in East Anglia; more recently the prominent Suffolk historian Carol Twinch has thoroughly researched St. Walstan. Let us recall his Life.
A very talented man by nature, under the influence of other fathers among his contemporaries, Aldhelm became a prominent scholar, writer, poet, musician, singer, pastor, archpastor, teacher and builder of churches.
There are a number of early saints of England whose spirit of love, humility and kindness was not erased by the centuries of Protestantism and secularism. St. John of Beverley, whom our great authority, the Venerable Bede of Jarrow, referred to as a “wonderworker”, is one of them.
Although the Venerable Bede does not mention her, we know about St. Withburgh from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, early traditions and the Latin manuscript called Liber Eliensis, which is a chronicle compiled in the monastery in Ely at the beginning of the twelfth century and contains, among other things, brief Lives of several East Anglian female saints.
We hope and pray that the veneration of these two early saints of the Channel Islands, which many centuries ago expressed the Orthodox traditions of Celtic Wales and Cornwall and mainland Gaul alike, will revive among Orthodox believers and that the Orthodox faith will be restored in this unique small region between England and France.
Saintly men and women—preachers, teachers, hermits, bishops, abbots and abbesses, holy rulers, princes and princesses—carried out their spiritual labors in Devon and today churches, holy wells and monastic ruins bear witness to their presence.
We firmly believe that the very name of St. Alban predetermined that he became one of the symbols and chief patrons of this country. Let us hope and pray that through his intercession the ancient faith and spirituality will be restored in this ancient Orthodox Christian land.
The founder of the great and famous monastery on Iona along with numerous other monastic communities and churches, St. Columba has for fourteen centuries been greatly venerated by many Christians as the enlightener of Scotland, a co-patron of Ireland and the spiritual father of a host of churches throughout Europe.
The fame of St. Enda spread far and wide. The loving care of the holy abbot was directed not only toward monks, but also at the poor, the oppressed and suffering. According to tradition, he ordered the monks to build “eight places for refuge” on the island, where all who had nowhere else to go could find shelter and care.
Pious English people, especially ordinary folk, have deeply loved and venerated this saint for more than 1300 years as one of their protectors. His veneration is similar to that of Sts. Aidan and Cuthbert of Lindisfarne and Swithin of Winchester; he lived absolutely in the same spirit with them.
An ancient tradition relates that there was no boat on the isle to deliver the newborn Aidan to mainland Ireland so that he could be baptized. Then he was miraculously brought to the Irish shore on a stone and was successfully baptized.
Fr. Alexei has noted that over fifty percent of families at the Holy Trinity parish where he serves have many children. “For the majority of them it was a tough decision to have three-five children. However, when a person overcomes his fear and begins to trust God wholeheartedly, he becomes convinced that his decision was not in vain. And such families find genuine joy,” the priest explained.
The city is famous due to its Jewish name “Har Megiddo”—hence the Greek word “Armageddon,” which refers to the battle between good and evil at the end of the world. According to the revelations received by Apostle John the Divine, this battle is to take place precisely at Tel Megiddo. However, this city experienced its own “apocalypse” 3,000 years ago.
Let us keep the following words said by Venerable Ephraim the Syrian in our memory: “When you notice that you get bored with reading Divine Scriptures and that you listen to spiritual instructions with reluctance, then know that your soul has become extremely sick. For this is the beginning of evil-mindedness and those who have had it reaped the fruit of death.”
“The epoch which we call ‘the second Baptism of Russia’ begun in our Church in 1988. The mass baptism of our population started in Russia in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s,” Metropolitan Hilarion said while relating the history of Orthodoxy in Russia to the Italian guests.
According to His Holiness, “the remains are encrypted” and none of the experts doing the tests know in which vessel the remains are located. “I have a list which was made in the presence of other people, so we are aware which vessels contain which specific remains,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill added, noting that the measures taken will enable us “to trust this examination.”
St. Finbarr preached energetically in the south of Ireland and, according to some traditions, also in Scotland, though there is no written evidence to confirm that. The saint of God spent a part of his life as an anchorite in full seclusion on an island in lake Gougane Barra in county Cork. With time the holy ascetic was joined by numerous disciples, mainly from southern Ireland, and St. Finbarr founded a monastery and a school near his hermitage at Gougane Barra, both of which became very famous and attracted a large number of monks and students from the southern part of the emerald island.
On Tuesday the new children’s ombudsman under the President of the Russian Federation Anna Kuznetsova called for applying every effort to promote family life in Russian society, to support families, and to revive spiritual and moral traditions in family relations and child-rearing.
On October 5, 2016, the clergy and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) prayed to God to bring the people’s deputies to their senses and prevent them from becoming instruments in the anti-religious struggle.
According to its authors, the aim of the draft law is “to provide religious communities with the right to conscious choice and the free and unimpeded change of their subordination to religious centers for the satisfaction of their spiritual needs and the appropriate expression of religious feelings.”
On September 27, 2016, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, during the Divine Liturgy at the Kiev Caves Lavra His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine spoke of the spiritual power of the Cross in the lives of Christians.
Metropolitan Paul of Sisanion and Siatista has compared the behavior of the current Greek Education Minister with that of the notorious Roman Emperor Nero: “Nero set Rome on fire and accused Christians of this crime so as to avoid the people’s wrath. Likewise, Mr. Nikos Filis, who holds the primary responsibility for society’s moral degradation is accusing the Orthodox Church of everything.”
According to Metropolitan Seraphim, the activities of the Metropolitan of Mantineia and Kynouria “have inspired God’s people” for many decades. “He has taken care for his diocese wisely, with prudence and sacrificial love."
Presently there are two active Orthodox jurisdictions in Estonia: the Estonian Orthodox Church (EOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (EAOC) of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (the latter was established early in the 1990s). Both Churches themselves claim to be autonomous though they do not recognize the autonomous status of each other.
For the first time Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy accompanied by sign language translation. Throughout the service several specialists were present at the church who translated everything into sign language.
The Church of St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia was built over a short span of time by the efforts of the convent’s mother-superior – Abbess Barbara (Pop), along with the convent’s benefactors: the Livch and Mandzyuk families.
In all approximately 315,000 people have venerated the relics of the holy elder Silouan the Athonite in Belarus and Russia. In Moscow around 65,000 people have venerated the relics of the saint and the same number of small icons of the saint were distributed.
Catholic Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Religious Freedom which was set up in 2011 by Catholic hierarchs, has described as “irresponsible” the statements made by Chairman of the U.S. Federal Commission on Civil Rights Martin Castro in which the latter condemned religion as a cover for intolerance and homophobia.
As soon as Serbs started removing rubbish and excrement from the desecrated temple which Albanians had turned into a public lavatory and refuge for drug addicts, the police appeared and demanded that they immediately stop the works “on unregistered premises.”
Every year hundreds of tourists visit the canyon of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk River in order to admire the magnificent tenth century Christian temples built on the site of the ancient settlement of Nizhny Arkhyz. Most scientists identify this ancient settlement with Maghas, or Maas – the capital of the large kingdom of Alania which existed in the Middle Ages. The city grew and prospered because strategic routes of the Silk Road passed through it. Alania flourished the most in the mid-tenth century when the kingdom’s nobility embraced Christianity. It was then that over twenty churches were erected in the Bolshoy Zelenchuk valley.
As of September 19 the Holy Prince Vladimir of Kiev, Baptizer of Rus, ranks first with over thirty percent casting the vote that the Equal-to-the-Apostle Prince Vladimir made the greatest contribution to the development of Ukraine.
From 1939 on Valaam’s arable land was overgrown with tall weeds and underbrush. Fifteen years ago the restoration of monastic farming and the methodical reclamation of land on Valaam began. Specialists were found in neighboring Finland where the conditions are similar and lighter technical equipment is produced which is suitable for the waterlogged fields of the island.
St. Eanswythe gained fame as a wonderworker. There are several cases of her miracles which are known: firstly, she returned sight to a blind woman by her prayers; secondly, she restored the mental health of a mad man; thirdly, a holy spring with healing properties gushed forth at her intercessions which provided fresh water to her community and the saint even commanded it to flow upstream from a mile away; fourthly, she forbad birds to steal corn from the convent fields and they obeyed her.
Ukrainians’ negative attitude towards same-sex “marriages” has increased in all socio-demographic groups. Almost seventy per cent of respondents state that such relations should be totally prohibited in Ukraine, fifteen per cent believe that they should be substantially restricted, and only eight per cent are against any restrictions.
The monumental wall paintings of the pre-Mongolian and Mongolian periods have survived in this church which was transferred to the diocese in 2015. Similar examples of such early Church artwork are known mostly in the north of Russia, first of all in Veliky Novgorod and Pskov.
On September 8 the reliquary with relics of Venerable Father Silouan the Athonite was delivered to the Church of the Nativity of Christ of the Shovskoye village in the Lipetsk region – the saint’s birthplace. For the relics’ arrival the house where the future saint had spent his childhood and youth was restored in the village and a chapel was erected in his honor.
The theological section of the conference included answers from archpastors, pastors and theologians to questions of the faithful, including “How can I keep my personal identity whole, without renouncing Christ?," “How can I guard myself against camouflaged idolatry?," “How can we, those having ears, hear what the Spirit says to the Churches?," and “How can I avoid involuntarily participating in lawless acts?”
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has stated that the creation of one local autocephalous Ukrainian Church in the country will not restrict the freedoms of the faithful and will not change the principles of interaction between the authorities and religious organizations.
"Given the scale of the project and the scope of the work, it became clear that we would not be able to carry it out without the support of the Russian state. So His Holiness Patriarch Kirill appealed to the President of the Russian Federation. We received confirmation of the Russian Federation’s participation in this large-scale project, and today we are happy that the project is beginning to be practically implemented."
“We are closely linked with Crimea, our connection is spiritual, and the bringing of the relics of St. Andrew the First-Called to the lands where he preached – which were later called Rus’, or Russia – is seen as a significant milestone in our people’s spiritual strengthening,” President of St. Andrew Foundation Vladimir Bushuyev noted.
Fr. Gennady Zaridze used a pyrometer, which by means of a non-contact infrared thermometer measures the temperature of an object’s surface, for measuring the temperature of the Holy Fire. A silver plate which was five millimeters wide and one millimeter thick was used as an object. As silver is one of the greatest heat conducting metals, when you place a plate in fire it will instantly obtain the temperature of the flame.
The actor noted that the film’s primary aim is to tell people that they are not alone: “The movie gives you the understanding that there will always be people who will support you; you need only to find them… Please, do not think that your problem is unsolvable."
We have not abandoned Christ completely and still have a chance to return to Him. For those who call themselves pagans in reality reject the spirit of paganism in their heart of hearts. But any flirtation with paganism is very dangerous as it is.
For many years the wonderworking icon, before which St. Silouan the Athonite was praying when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him, was kept at the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Holy Mount Athos permanently and never left it.
Queen Olga went down in Russia’s and Greece’s history not only as a lady of royal blood. Famous for her wide-ranging charity both in Russia and Greece, she was a true example of Orthodox ministry to the people. She opened hospitals (including military ones), orphanages, and infirmaries.
Over the period of his service in the Yaroslavl and Pereslavl Dioceses, Igumen Daniel earned the love and respect of the clergy, monks, and laity, and was actively involved in providing spiritual support to young people and servicemen. Herein are a number of reminiscences of Igumen Daniel by a number of people who knew him well.
At Minsk National Airport, the holy relic was solemnly met by clergy and laity headed by Bishop Veniamin of Barysaw and Maryina Horka. The hierarch accompanied the relic from the aircraft’s boarding ramp to the airport building and served a prayer service before the venerable head with clergy of the dioceses of Minsk and Barysaw concelebrating with him.
Early in August a video appeared on the internet in which a young man was strolling about the streets of Verviers, a Walloon city in eastern Belgium, reciting a Muslim prayer in Arabic which contained death threats against Christians.
“Mt. Elbrus is crowned by two summits, one of which slightly dominates the other one, and it reminds us that a husband is the head of a wife. The indissolubility and stability of marriage is symbolized by the uniting of these two summits under the skies into one flesh. The snow-white top of Mt. Elbrus which is the same in every season always resembles the holiness and purity of marriage that is 'made in heaven' by God,” reports the press service of the “No to Divorce!” Orthodox movement in defense of marriage which is organizing the festival.
“Our aim is to get close to Christ and to help others in achieving this. One’s soul transforms when a person unites with Christ. The primary purpose of human life is to follow Christ, and that is why we must witness to the Savior, the Truth."
“I feel certain that the participation of many people in preparations for the children’s pilgrimage will fill it with special meaning. Just as we used to build churches 'all together' in Russia, we are now uniting and teaming up to kindle the light of faith and hope in the hearts of children who are bereft of parental affection."
The seal was stamped on behalf of Prince Vsevolod Mstislavich who was a grandson of Prince Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev. The prince himself was the elder son of Grand Prince Mstislav Vladimirovich of Kiev and Grand Duchess Christina, daughter of the Swedish king Inge I the Elder. He lived from about 1095 till February 11, 1138.
Is secular art capable of talking about God, or is this the prerogative of church art only? When and why does an artist start to support evil? Is there a chasm between secular and church art, or can they interact with each other? Are modern technologies and styles permissible in the Church?
A true revival of English Orthodox monasticism and piety became possible only in the second half of the tenth century, under the three saintly figures known as the “Three English Holy Hierarchs.” These were the holy hierarchs Dunstan of Canterbury, Oswald of Worcester and York, and Ethelwold (originally Aethelwold) of Winchester, three great archpastors for whom veneration was nationwide.
"The finding of the stele with a king’s inscription which was created on behalf of Darius I and, obviously, dedicated to the Ionian Revolt’s suppression, is, without exaggeration, a scientific sensation of international importance. Discovering such an artifact in Phanagoria places this ancient city in the context of one of the most significant events in early history with far-reaching effects for Greeks and Persians alike."
The incident took place on August 1 when representatives of the authorities and workers arrived on the site to demolish a part of the cathedral building in order to widen the road. But hundreds of parishioners, supported by political opposition representatives, stood in their way.
What shift in the public consciousness makes the population accept homicide? In our talk with Archpriest Maxim Obukhov, director of the “Life” (“Zhizn”) Orthodox medical and educational center, we discuss this and other issues caused by the spread of the “good death”, that is, euthanasia.
Does a Christian have the right to take offense at his parents? Why do so many elderly parents find themselves alone nowadays? Are the children of “bad” parents exempt from any obligation to honor and care for them? How can parents and children develop a proper relationship?
This feast is by tradition celebrated on Mt. Athos every year on the Second Sunday after Pentecost. According to the centenarian abbot of the Russian monastery on Mt. Athos Schema-Archimandrite Jeremiah (Alekhin), on this day the whole of Holy Mount Athos rejoices because each of its monasteries is blessed with having its own ascetics who pleased God and were famous for their holy life.
Monday July 4 has been declared a day of mourning in Russia’s Irkutsk region in connection with the crash on July 1 of the Ilyushin-76 jet of the Ministry for Emergency Situations which was involved in extinguishing forest fires.
“Through this icon the Mother of God shows all of us that She is close to us, that She is listening to us and is always willing to take an active part in our life and help us, to stretch forth a helping hand in hard times, when we are exhausted, and when we lose our hope and orientation,” Metropolitan Rostislav stressed.
Metropolitan Amvrosios has stressed that the external forces, “allied with mendacious Greek politicians who obey them, have put Greece on the verge of disaster”. He has characterized “the godless occupiers who lost the fear of God” as “instruments in the hands of the antichrist who are working hard in order to separate people from God”.
Although St. Herveus (Herve) who lived in the sixth century is still venerated all over Brittany, very little genuine information on him survives. The first detailed Life of this unique holy ascetic was written only in the late Middle Ages. However, besides these late sources, numerous Breton traditions and pieces of folklore testify to St. Herveus and his veneration in Brittany throughout many centuries.
After getting married, newlyweds always dream and hope that the Lord will bless their family with children. But a year, five, ten years pass and the long-awaited pregnancy does not occur. What should a couple do in this situation? Beyond all doubt, they should keep praying. But do they need to do anything else and should they have recourse to modern medicine? And are all popular contemporary assisted reproductive technologies, such as extracorporal (in vitro) fertilization, acceptable for Orthodox Christians?
“Death is the door to eternity. People fear to open this door and even to come up to it because our physical life on earth is closely connected with this world. But each of us is due to go through this door, since we can enter into eternal life only through the door of death. And after that we will stand before the Lord’s face,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia reminds us.
In Orthodox circles, some want to venerate wonderworking icons without fail, to visit “the holiest places”, to bring earth from the grave of one or another saint, to dry up and keep prosphora given them by a priest at home and so on. Do these practices bring us closer to paganism or are they indicative of our reverence for divine things?
And now we, Orthodox Albanians, are travelling with the mission to Kosovo, meeting with Kosovars and trying to convince them of the fact that Orthodoxy exists for all nations, that Orthodoxy is as natural for Kosovars and Albanians as it is for Serbs and other nationalities, and that if we had been with Christ we would not have been bogged down with all these troubles.
Priest Alexei Timakov is doctor by profession who has worked in both intensive care units and the emergency room for many years. What kind of experience does one have seeing people die and return to life every day? What happens after life? And how should we prepare ourselves for death, or, to be more exact, for eternal and true life? Our talk with Priest Alexei will be precisely on this theme.
There are a number of early English saints, mostly kings and princes, who have been venerated from time immemorial as what we call passion-bearers. These saints in most cases were slain not explicitly for Christ, but rather for the truth and righteousness. They were usually murdered by their coreligionist-Christians because of the latter’s spite, perfidy and involvement in plots, especially wishing to seize power.
Today there has been much discussion on the issue of women’s equality. Some find a “violation of women rights” even in the Orthodox Church. Indeed, an Orthodox woman cannot become a priest (or “priestess”), she cannot enter the altar, she submits to her husband in marriage and so on. But is it really sexism? Is there gender inequality in Orthodoxy? What is the role of women in the Church? What should we say to heterodox Christians and non-believers regarding “women’s priesthood”?
In the following days a great and long-expected event happened in their flat where the Heavenly Kingdom had clearly and openly manifested itself, just as the Holy Prophets Elias and Moses appeared before the apostles on Mount Tabor. A priest baptized the dying man, chrismated him, and then gave him the Holy Body and Blood of Christ and anointed him.
According to the Legal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, “Amendments to the Ukrainian law on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations”, proposed by the deputy, are instrumental in legalizing the takeover of churches by raiding and pose a potential threat to Ukrainian society.
“This Council aims to find the role of the Church in the world – a place where we would not compromise our rules, principles and dogmas, but where we would live on and labor for the salvation, which the Church has been doing for already 2000 years,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry stressed.
As the newspaper noted, the Catholic Church of Austria has received no fewer than 300 applications for Baptism of adults for the first quarter of 2016, of which about 70% are refugees. Liverpool Cathedral in England holds special weekly services in Persian (Farsi), attended by 100-140 people – nearly all of them from Iran, Afghanistan, and central Asian countries.
The clergy, parishioners and children – pupils of Sunday schools of the Diocese of Kharkiv along with students of educational institutions of the city of Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region – walked in the cross procession from the Annunciation Cathedral to the Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God.
And let everybody see the hidden spiritual meaning in the fact that “The Inexhaustible Cup” Icon became a source of saving hopes and cures from the wicked passion of alcoholism: the Mother of God is praying for every single sinner; She, the merciful one, knows the suffering of those who give themselves over to debauchery, knows how strong is the desire of many of them to rid themselves of this brutal vice, but cannot find strength to struggle.
Each rehabilitation cycle at the center will last for 20 working days, including rehabilitation for children with Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome and Autism. The center will be able to take up to 10 children simultaneously. Not only medics, but also hospital nurses (sisters of charity) of the Yoshkar-Ola Sisterhood of the Holy New Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth will work with them.
At the Tsargrad studio in Moscow historians, politicians, public figures and people of art will speak about the phenomenon of Holy Mount Athos, Russian-Athonite relations and their own pilgrimage experience. The program will also cover the events which were organized not only in Russia and Greece but also in the whole of the Orthodox world.
According to early Orthodox tradition, Christianity was brought to London by the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul who both preached there. The tradition holds that St. Peter founded a church “in the west” which was a predecessor of what is now Westminster Abbey, while St. Paul erected a church “in the east”, which was a predecessor of what is now St. Paul’s Cathedral on Ludgate Hill.
The memorial Divine Liturgy along with the funeral service over the newly departed were headed by Bishops Alexis of Buzuluk and Sorochinsk and Thomas of Zhigulevsk. The archimandrite was buried on the territory of the Iveron Convent.
“I would compare my joining of the Protestant community with the escape from Egypt (that is, from the sinful world) to the Desert of Sinai. And my return to Orthodoxy is like the crossing the Jordan, the beginning of the invasion of the promised land.
The bill considerably restricts the right of freedom of conscience and religion, contains signs of discrimination and splits Ukrainian citizens on the basis of religion. The adoption of this bill may lead to new conflicts in the country’s social and religious environments and have a negative impact on the international image of Ukraine.
“Today Metropolitan Mitrofan has given the Lord, Who is going to His voluntary passion, this present – this wonderful cathedral which was created with such taste! It is an amazing gift to God and to all of us in the days of anticipation of Holy Pascha! Your Eminence, let me cordially thank you for your ability to give marvelous presents not only to your neighbors, but also to the Almighty! We have no church in the whole of Donbass that can rival this one!” Metropolitan Hilarion said after the service.
The Church of the Nativity of Christ in the village of Naurskaya was built by specialists invited from Yekaterinburg, which is why the temple’s architectural features are atypical for churches of the Northern Caucasus. The church has a polished tile floor made from seven types of granite, the domes are covered with gold leaf, and an automated bell ringing system has been installed which can be operated by SMS. The icons for the iconostasis were painted by sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent in Yekaterinburg, modeled on fifth-century Byzantine icons.
Such decisions as whether to take up monasticism can only be made after serious and sober reflection. And you need to have an earnest desire and be convinced (following a long period of testing) that this is really your vocation.
On April 5/18, 1993, three monks of the famous Optina Monastery in Russia were slain with a knife that had the numbers “666” on inscribed on the handle. It was the act of a Satanist, whose master hates all mankind but especially monks. But these men, Hieromonk Vasily and monks Trophim and Therapont, are now venerated by the Church as martyrs—and many facts in the lives show that the Lord had prepared His chosen ones for such an end. Now through their prayers, miracles happen. Here are a few examples taken from the Optina Monastery website.
My interviewee has had an extremely interesting and unusual life for an American woman. Charming, intelligent, she looks some 15 years younger than she really is. And behind her there is a long life full of the hard labors of a noble, self-sacrificing person who seeks to see Divine providence in every turn of her life. Here she is: secretary of Bishop Basil (Vasily) Rodzianko, assistant to Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen), an expert in the Russian literature and arts, honorable parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey.
There are no other churches besides the Holy Orthodox Church, except for heresies and schisms, and it is dogmatically, theologically and canonically totally incorrect to call these organizations “churches”.
The events in the Pticha village developed on March 30 after an unsuccessful attempt to block the Kiev–Chop international highway, made by representatives of the so-called "Kyiv Patriarchate". The attempt failed and as a result the schismatics locked the Orthodox faithful inside the church for three days without water and food.
“There are no extraneous or false words in the Holy Scriptures," the patriarch noted. "If the Lord says something, then it is true. If sorrows come to our life, even from our own mistakes and folly, we should accept them as a saving cross, the carrying of which fills our life with meaning and opens the gates of eternity."
According to the main obstetrician-gynecologist of Abkhazia Rita Trapsh, around 700 abortions were performed in 2015, only fifteen of which were done for medical reasons. But in most cases, the doctor says, women have abortions because of social issues.
“These victims represent the whole of Montenegro at the time when the criminal armada was destroying our motherland, and our duty is to remember them. The Montenegrin authorities should commemorate them as well, because these victims are not the Vietnamese, but Montenegrins."
“Have faith and wholeheartedly trust God Who will never abandon those who Love Him”—these words belong to St. Cuthbert, “the wonderworker of the English land” who lived more than 1300 years ago. It is indisputable that St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne is the most beloved and venerated English saint throughout the history of the country.
On March 31 Metropolitan James of Bodbi celebrated the funeral service over the newly-departed Emma in the courtyard of the church which the holy elder Gabriel had built with his own hands in 1955. After the repose of her brother, Emma looked after their house for 21 years.
"Georgia is a country which has never oppressed anybody. Georgia is a country where everyone always feels free, but there are some things that can never be tolerated. How can unlawfulness be legitimated? Legalization of abominations is a grave sin. This is precisely what I said before."
Speaking before the Moscow State Duma deputies, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged them not to justify the utilitarian preservation of names of city objects which perpetuate the memory of murderers and terrorists.
Archbishop Joachim of Beroun (the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia) talks about the life of this Local Orthodox Church, the difficulties it is faced with, the cooperation among the Slavic Churches and the destructiveness of schisms.
Let us not receive immigrants on the Peloponnese! Let us keep our national identity intact and free from contamination. Let us defend the Orthodox faith and our tradition. Let us defend our language and culture.
It should be noted that the Convent of the Nativity of the Mother of God at Saidnaya was one of the first Syrian monastic communities to suffer at the hands of militants: on Sunday January 29, 2012, the convent, situated 35 kilometers from Damascus, was shelled, although the shell that pierced the wall and flew into a cell did not explode.
Kieran in his spiritual labors imitated the feats of the Desert Fathers and especially St. John the Baptist, and, like many of them, he wore animal skins and slept on the ground. Angels were his companions and helpers from childhood throughout his life.
The cause of the complaint was the shooting of a documentary by the BBC2 British TV channel.In fact, the BBC2 film crew with their cameras and equipment sailed up to Esphigmenou – one of the Athonite monasteries – in a boat at night.
A couple’s childlessness of many years, a long-awaited but very difficult pregnancy, emergency delivery, intensive care… And constant prayer. Infant Simeon would not have been born without the help of God, the Mother of God and saints.
The place name Diveyevo comes from the Russian root word, “divo,” or wondrous. As St. Seraphim said, “When my relics will return Diveyevo, that will be the wonder of wonders.” Through the prayers of our holy father Seraphim, may this project succeed—a may it also be translated into English!
Deputy chief editor of the AgionOros (“Holy Mountain”) publishing house, editor-in-chief of the AgionOros website, expert on Greece Athanasius Zoitakis talks about the new pro-sodomite law in Greece and its consequences
To those on the new style calendar who are celebrating the Nativity of Christ, we wish all a joyous feast. Please keep this delightful article on fasting in mind for Wednesdays and Fridays, and the other three extended fast periods. But for those who are still observing the Nativity fast, may these instructions encourage you during this final stretch.
I would like to open one of the little-known pages of the book of the imperial Romanov family, and to remember its last legitimate male line descendant, who spent almost all her life in the USSR (as a class enemy) and post-Soviet Russia.
St. Edmund, whose name means “blessed protection”, was probably born in 841. He lived during one of the most troubled periods of early English history, when hordes of Danish pirates were devastating English kingdoms one after another, burning churches and monasteries, ravaging them, murdering Christians and all inhabitants.
St. Illtyd, who knew very well both the Old and New Testaments, all kinds of philosophy, and other sciences, and was one of the most learned figures of his age, was probably born in the first half of the fifth century.
Maria had only the following words in her mind throughout the pregnancy: “I do not want a girl. I want another boy.” And also: “At any cost.” Even when Maria was already in the maternity hospital and the midwife asked her jokingly: “Who will we deliver: a girl?” Maria answered stubbornly: “No, only a boy!”
Fr. Pavel had different relationships with different people. He wrote letters individually, addressing every individual person. And his words always reached people’s hearts. Nobody had even a slightest thought of disobeying him.
The ferocious pagan called Penda soon afterwards began to rule over the Kingdom of Mercia in present-day central England. The northeastern part of the country then was called Northumbria, which was later ruled by Edwin, who was still a pagan but who was destined to become one of the apostles of his Kingdom. Let us now recall his life.
Unfortunately, no authentic information on St. Melor (also Melorius, Mylor) survives. We know neither when nor where he lived. The only thing we can say for sure is that his life was connected with Brittany and/or Cornwall, and the most important center of his veneration for many years from the tenth century was the English town of Amesbury in the county of Wiltshire (southern England).
We simply cannot leave our church to its fate or hand it over to someone else. Now some people have lost the fear of God and do not want our communal prayer to continue in the church. And we will do our best to defend our holy places.
On October 7, 2015, a public campaign to support the parents whose children went to participate in jihad was launched in France. It was initiated by four families who had gone through this drama and who still cannot understand their children’s choice.
Our guides say that very many people even change outwardly after visiting our monastery. They straighten their shoulders. Even their appearance changes! Attitudes to their own lives also change along with their perception of Russian history.
St. Bega is said to have been Irish. She was a virgin who led a holy life in north-western England. The legend says that she was an Irish princess, the most beautiful in her kingdom, who fled from her native land to avoid marriage with a pagan Viking—a Norwegian prince. Guided by an angel, Bega refused a pagan husband, as she wanted to devote her life to the Heavenly Bridegroom—Christ.
The arrival of thousands of refugees, migrants and settlers from Africa and Asia to “the Old World” is already being interpreted by many Europeans as a catastrophe, a curse, and a real challenge not only to the culture, economy, and the Christian faith of the continent (which is still alive, though is becoming very weak), but, therefore, to the very existence of the continent and its native inhabitants. What should Europe do not to be afraid?
The first missionary who came from Iona was Corman, but he was very stern with the Angles and could not speak their language, so he soon had to go back. On his return to Iona, Corman told the brethren: “What a hopeless task it is to preach to these savage and stubborn Angles!” One of the monks, named Aidan, answered him gently: “Brother, you were probably too strict with these illiterate people.” So it was decided to send Aidan to Northumbria.
So we see three examples of holy women who were abbesses of Minster successively. All these nuns and those living after them were witnesses in quite difficult and unstable times, full of dangers and challenges, but in spite of everything they unceasingly glorified Christ, loved their neighbors and practiced hospitality and prayer.
This holy man contributed immensely to the restoration of spirituality and serious monasticism in Ireland in the second half of the eight century. Under his influence the monastic life and asceticism in the country reached a high level such as can only be compared with that of the era of the great founding fathers of Irish monasticism of the sixth century.
St. Moluog was an Irishman destined to become one of the most venerated saints in Scotland. He was born in about 530 in what is now Northern Ireland to a noble family. His first monastery was Bangor in Ireland; and about the year 562 he crossed the Irish Sea and founded a monastery on the Scottish isle of Lismore.
As a young man, Nectan decided to become a monk and serve God for the rest of his life, imitating the Holy Fathers of Egypt. So together with a group of his pious relatives, Nectan boarded a boat, promising to lead an ascetic life at the site where his boat would land.
Of the life of Venerable Abbot Beuno, probably the greatest saint in North Wales, we know very little. His Life was written many years after his repose, but even the bloody 16th-century Reformation could not erase the memory of this saint of God.
Notably, the saint had so many disciples whom he instructed, that every time he left the monasteries he had established he blessed dozens of them to remain and live there and blessed the most experienced ones to be in charge of these communities.
Father John Musther, an Orthodox Englishman, serves in the Orthodox missionary parish of Sts. Bega, Mungo and Herbert in Keswick, Cumbria, North West England. His community, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is part of the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church. The congregation is a living witness of the truth of Holy Orthodoxy to the people living nearby.
Before he had sailed three miles he suddenly saw a small black cloud that was swiftly approaching from the Welsh coast. Soon the cloud drew near and the holy man to his great astonishment realized that these were the bees from all the beehives of the Mynyw Monastery. The insects began impetuously and joyfully descending onto the boat of their master.
The seventh century played a key role in the history of Christianity in England, as all seven early English kingdoms were converted to the Orthodox faith in that century; the period can be called “the golden age of English Orthodoxy.”
It is no good us Russian Orthodox saying, “It cannot happen here.” Remember the Tower in Siloam. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13, 4-5). If we do not go to Church, at least attempt to live a Church life, the same thing will happen to us, our children and grandchildren.
St. Cadoc (c. 497 - c. 580) was the founder of the famous monastery of Llancarfan (c. 518) in the present-day Vale of Glamorgan in Wales. This monastery was to become one of the best-known in Wales, as well as a great centre of learning.
Amazingly, Celtic holiness is unique for its “families of saints”, which were sometimes very large and included representatives of several generations. There was the spiritual relation between saints; but besides this, there were many saints who were relatives by blood: holy parents and children and grandchildren, holy brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces.
St. Samthann was distantly related to St. Patrick who lived over 200 years before her. As a child she was given to the Irish king Cridan to be brought up. When Samthann grew up, the king found her a suitable, rich candidate as a husband. But the future ascetic did not wish to marry, but rather to live in chastity, prayer and service to God.
The wisdom and prudence of this holy woman were held in such high esteem that even kings and bishops asked for her advice. Venerable Hilda took special care of the poor and the oppressed, for which she was revered and loved as “the mother of her country”.
St. Seiriol is one of a great multitude of island saints who led a solitary life in tiny hermits’ cells on small isles off the coasts of Wales, Scotland and Ireland. St. Cybi is along with St. Seiriol one of the most venerated saints in Anglesey.
St. Kenneth became renowned for his sermons, which were full of inspiration and rated very highly by his contemporaries. Among other things, the saint was a well-known spiritual poet and theologian as well. These written works include commentaries on all four Gospels, known as the “Chain of St. Canice”.
The future saint was most probably born in the second half of the fourth century—perhaps in about 360. He belonged to the so-called “Roman-British” tradition of early British Christianity. His native land was most likely Cumbria; at least it is nearly certain that he was born south of Hadrian’s Wall in today’s northern England. His father, according to some sources, was a local Christian ruler.
Once Sts. Oswald and Aidan were sitting at the same table on Easter Day. Servants brought the king the royal meal on a large, silver dish. Suddenly one servant informed him that a great multitude of beggars had gathered in the neighbouring streets, waiting for alms from the king. The king at once ordered all the food to be given to the beggars as well as to break the dish into pieces and give them to the needy. St. Aidan then took Oswald by his right arm and exclaimed: “May this arm be incorrupt forever”.
The boy related his dream to his old and wise nanny Wolweline. The latter wept very bitterly, realizing that the boy was to be martyred very soon and that unrighteous people were to seize power in the kingdom. But at the same time she rejoiced as Kenelm was to dwell among the saints.
St. Botolph has been venerated in many countries outside Britain—in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, where many churches are dedicated to him. In the 11th century, his veneration reached Kievan Rus’ and more recently it reached North America. In England and the whole of Western Europe St. Botolph is mainly venerated as patron-saint of travellers, as the saint travelled much himself.
The Gospel was brought to Cornwall in the fifth century or even earlier, and monastic life began there in 475. At that time Cornwall became known as “the land of saints” or “the Thebaid of saints”. Indeed, between the fifth and sventh centuries Cornwall produced so many saints, ascetics, hermits, abbots, missionaries, holy bishops and kings, that nearly each town and village in the region has its own patron-saint.
St. Comgall is venerated as one of the greatest confessors, spiritual fathers and ascetics of his age. The biographer of St. Columban, Jonah of Bobbio, wrote the following of St. Comgall: "He was a great father of monks in Ireland, noted for his perseverance in teaching and strict discipline." St. Comgall was venerated all over Ireland.
The abbot led the same simple life as his monks and worked as hard as any of them. All the community members wore simple clothes and all their belongings were held in common. Voluntary poverty and the refusal of all possessions were among the main rules of the monastery. St. David himself, like many other Celtic saints, used to retreat to the river to read the whole Psalter, standing in cold river water even in winter.
St. Cuthman of Steyning, one of the most venerated saints in southern England, probably lived in the late 7th to early 8th century. He is best remembered in the small town of Steyning in West Sussex. Sussex people have for many centuries venerated him for his meekness, humility, love, compassion, closeness to the people and many miracles.
St. Kentigern was much loved and venerated by the people for his gift of working miracles. Once he brought back to life a tame robin of St. Serf, which had been killed by jealous monks. Another time he miraculously lit a fire in St. Serf's monastery, which had earlier gone out.
Once a certain herdsman named Ioves was searching for a pig that had gone astray. He walked deep into the forest and saw the Mother of God with two angels on the site of present-day Evesham. Amazed by this vision, the herdsman told Bishop Egwin about the miracle. The saint prayed very hard for several days and then decided to go to that place himself. The holy hierarch had exactly the same vision, which had already appeared to Ioves. The Mother of God ordered Bishop Egwin to found a monastery on the site and blessed him with a cross. This event is considered to be the first recorded miraculous appearance of the Mother of God in England.
The disciples of Clonard established hundreds of churches and monasteries in Ireland as well as in other countries. According to a custom which existed in Clonard, every monk who left the monastery as a missionary took with him a copy of the Gospels, a crozier and some holy object and later, when building his own church or monastery, placed these relics inside it.
In 635 the bishop successfully reached the shores of Albion and landed in the port of Southampton on the south coast of Britain, in the Kingdom of Wessex. He intended to go further inland where there were no missionaries, but since he met only pagans in Wessex, he realized that he must remain there.
—Dmitry, the readers of Pravoslavie.ru know you as the translator of a series of articles on the history of Christianity in England and its Orthodox Saints. You are also an independent author of publications about English Orthodoxy. It is less well known that you are a visually handicapped person from childhood and these works are a testimony to the courage and persistence with which you have overcome your handicap. How did your interest in Orthodoxy in England begin?