Contemporary theology

On the Transfiguration of Christ

“Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven.”

At the foot of the God-trodden Mountain of Sinai, Emperor Justinian built the great basilica of St. Catherine's Monastery to the Transfiguration of Christ—the “Feast of monastic feasts.”

The significance of the Lord's Transfiguration

Forty days before He was delivered to an ignominious death for our sins, our Lord revealed to three of His disciples the glory of His Divinity.

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart; and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light” (Matt. 17:1-2). This was the event to which our Lord was referring when He said, “There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). By this means the faith of the disciples was strengthened and prepared for the trial of our Lord’s approaching passion and death; and they were able to see in it not mere human suffering, but the entirely voluntary passion of the Son of God.

Greatmartyr and Healer Panteleimon

The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon was born in the city of Nicomedia into the family of the illustrious pagan Eustorgius, and he was named Pantoleon. His mother Saint Euboula (March 30) was a Christian. She wanted to raise her son in the Christian Faith, but she died when the future martyr was just a young child. His father sent Pantoleon to a pagan school, after which the young man studied medicine at Nicomedia under the renowned physician Euphrosynus. Pantoleon came to the attention of the emperor Maximian (284-305), who wished to appoint him as royal physician when he finished his schooling.

The hieromartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates, survivors of the massacre of 20,000 Christians in 303 (December 28), were living secretly in Nicomedia at that time. Saint Hermolaus saw Pantoleon time and again when he came to the house where they were hiding. Once, the priest invited the youth to the house and spoke about the Christian Faith. After this Pantoleon visited Saint Hermolaus every day.

An Orthodox Understanding of the Atonement

How does the Eastern Orthodox Church view and articulate the atonement of our Lord? This question arises from many converts to the Eastern Orthodox Church, particularly here in America. Many come to the Eastern Orthodox Church looking to leave behind what they may consider harsh or even terrifying notions of God unleashing His wrath upon His Son on the cross. This can become strained when they then come to see the Orthodox Church, through Her fathers and hymnography, employ the same terms and verbiage as their former tradition. So, does the Eastern Orthodox Church thus employ a Penal Substitution model of the atonement?

St. Marina (Margaret), Great Martyr, of Antioch in Pisidia

Commemorated on July 17

The Holy Great Martyr Marina was born in Asia Minor, in the city of Antioch of Pisidia (southern Asia Minor), into the family of a pagan priest. In infancy, she lost her mother, and her father gave her into the care of a nursemaid, who raised Marina in the Orthodox Faith. Upon learning that his daughter had become a Christian, her father disowned her. When she was fifteen years old, St. Marina was arrested and thrown in prison.

Governor Olymbrios was charmed when he saw the beautiful girl, and tried to persuade her to renounce the Christian Faith and become his wife. But Marina refused his offers. The governor became angry and ordered that Marina be tortured. She was fiercely beaten, then fastened to a board and her body torn with hooks. The governor hid his face, unable to witness her suffering. However, Marina refused to yield. Thrown again into prison, an angel appeared and healed her wounds. The next day, she was stripped and tied to a tree, then burned. Barely alive, she prayed: “Lord, You have granted me to go through fire for Your Name, grant me also to go through the water of holy Baptism.”

Holy Archangel Gabriel

Synaxis of the Holy Archangel Gabriel: The Archangel Gabriel was chosen by the Lord to announce to the Virgin Mary about the Incarnation of the Son of God from Her, to the great rejoicing of all mankind. Therefore, on the day after the Feast of the Annunciation, the day on which the All-Pure Virgin is glorified, we give thanks to the Lord and we venerate His messenger Gabriel, who contributed to the mystery of our salvation.

Gabriel, the holy Archistrategos (Leader of the Heavenly Hosts), is a faithful servant of the Almighty God. He announced the future Incarnation of the Son of God to those of the Old Testament; he inspired the Prophet Moses to write the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament), he announced the coming tribulations of the Chosen People to the Prophet Daniel (Dan. 8:16, 9:21-24); he appeared to Saint Anna (July 25) with the news that she would give birth to the Virgin Mary.