Calendar

Nativity Fast

The establishment of the Nativity Fast, as well as other multi-day fasts relates to the ancient times of Christianity. But already from IV century St. Ambrosius of Milan, Philistrius and St. Augustin mention the Nativity Fast in their works. In V century Leo the Great wrote about the Nativity Fast . At first the Nativity Fast lasted seven days for Christians, and for the others - a bit longer. At the Council of 1166 when was held in the time of the Constantinople Patriarch Luke and Byzantine emperor Manuel a forty-day fast was ordered to be observed by all Christians before the great feast of the Nativity of Christ.

Christian Fasting

The life of each Orthodox Christian should be ascetic. Without our spiritual and physical effort, aided by the grace of the God, it is impossible to free of a power of sin and to unite with the Lord. That is why Fasting in the Orthodox spirituality holds a very important place and without it there is no progress in any Christian virtue. In the distant past, the concept of fasting included the complete abstinence from any food, and later took on the meaning of abstaining from one type of food called "fatty", ie. the one that contains animal fat, but at certain times and food that is prepared on vegetable fat. A special kind of fasting is "dry eating" which means using of non-cooked, dry fasting food.

The Life of St. Stephen of Decani, King of Serbia

St. Stephen of Decani was born as the eldest son of the saintly King Milutin (Stephen Uros II) and his wife Elizabeth, a Hungarian princess. Living at the court of his parents, the heir-apparent received a good education, his mind exercised by study of the language and writings of his people, and his heart strengthened by study of the Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Orthodox Faith.

The good fruit of his upbringing proved itself when King Milutin was forced to send him as hostage to the Tartar chief Nogyi. In spite of the potential dangers, Stephen was obedient to his father's will and did not resist, trusting his life to the Lord. And his hope was not in vain. He eventually made friends with one of the Tartar nobles, who succeeded in assisting his safe return home.

Saint Petka of the Balkans, you are glory and praise of Belgrade

   

Saint Petka or Parascheva of the Balkans  (Greek Παρασκευή - Friday)  was an ascetic female saint of the 11th century. She was born in the town of Epibatos (today Selimpaşa) on the shore of the Sea of Marmara between Silivri and Constantinople in Thrace in the half of  X century. She was of Serbian origin, from a wealthy and pious family. She had a brother, whose name was Euthymios, and who took monastic vows when he was very young, and later he was elected for Bishop of Madyta (989-996).

Monday of the Holy Spirit

Света ТројицаAfter the Ascension of Christ His disciples stayed in Jerusalem and in one room at the Zion frequently gathered and together they prayed the Lord awaiting impatiently the promised Comforter, The Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father. Matthias was voted in to replace Judas among the twelfe.

Holy Thursday

On the evening of this day, which was the eve of the feast of unleavened bread (that is, the Passover), our Redeemer supped with His twelve disciples in the city. He blessed the bread and the wine, and gave us the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. He washed the feet of the disciples as an example of humility. He said openly that one of them was about to betray Him, and He pointed out the betrayer by revealing that it was he "that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish." And after Judas had straightway gone forth, Jesus gave the disciples His final and sublime instructions, which are contained in the first Gospel Reading of the Holy Passion (John 13:31-18:1 known as the Gospel of the Testament).

The Holy Martyrs Ermil and Stratonik of Belgrade

The Holy Martyrs Ermil and Stratonik, by origin Slavs, lived at the beginning of the IV Century during the time of persecution against Christians by the emperor Licinius (307-324). They were friends. Saint Ermil served as deacon in the city of Singedonum (Belgrade). Condemned by Licinius to imprisonment, he was long and cruelly tortured for the Name of Christ, but he remained unyielding. Saint Stratonik was a superintendent of the prison and a secret christian. Seeing the agonising torments of his friend, he was not able to keep from weeping, and he revealed that he was a christian. They subjected him also to torture. After the torturing, they put the martyrs into a net and threw them into the Danube/Dunai. On the third day, the bodies of the saints were discovered on the bank of the river by christians and buried near Singedonum. Their venerable heads are located in the Church of Saint Sophia, where the Russian pilgrim Antonii saw them in the year 1200.