Contemporary theology

St. Spyridon the Wonderworker and Bishop of Tremithus

Saint Spyridon of Tremithus was born towards the end of the third century on the island of Cyprus. He was a shepherd, and had a wife and children. He used all his substance for the needs of his neighbors and the homeless, for which the Lord rewarded him with a gift of wonderworking. He healed those who were incurably sick, and cast out demons.

After the death of his wife, during the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337), he was made Bishop of Tremithus, Cyprus. As a bishop, the saint did not alter his manner of life, but combined pastoral service with deeds of charity.

According to the witness of Church historians, Saint Spyridon participated in the sessions of the First Ecumenical Council in the year 325. At the Council, the saint entered into a dispute with a Greek philosopher who was defending the Arian heresy. The power of Saint Spyridon’s plain, direct speech showed everyone the importance of human wisdom before God’s Wisdom: “Listen, philosopher, to what I tell you. There is one God Who created man from dust. He has ordered all things, both visible and invisible, by His Word and His Spirit. The Word is the Son of God, Who came down upon the earth on account of our sins. He was born of a Virgin, He lived among men, and suffered and died for our salvation, and then He arose from the dead, and He has resurrected the human race with Him. We believe that He is one in essence (consubstantial) with the Father, and equal to Him in authority and honor. We believe this without any sly rationalizations, for it is impossible to grasp this mystery by human reason.”

The Conception Of The Holy Virgin Theotokos By Saint Anna

 

Saints Joachim and Anna who lived in Nazareth in Galilee “in the whole piety of the Mosaic law,” up to their very old age had no children. On one great feast the righteous Joachim, according to the custom of the law, gave gifts and offerings to God in the temple in Jerusalem. The high priest Issachar who accepted the offerings of the numerous throngs of people, did not want to accept the gifts from Joachim, telling him: “It is not right to accept gifts from you as from a true Israelite; for you are childless. Because of some kind of heavy sins you have not received the blessing of God.”

Struck by the speech of the High Priest, as though by the awesome verdict of the judgment of God Himself, the righteous man had no time even to withdraw from the altar, as a new heavier insult struck his hearing. One of the Israelites bringing his gifts, pushed him away, said, “Depart from here, did you not hear that you are unworthy to bring gifts to God together with us, because you have not left offspring for Israel?” With deep humility Joachim accepted this accusation as if it were from the mouth of the very God, and with deep sadness left the temple. With a painful heart he recognized himself unworthy not only to remain in the sight of the house of God, but also to return to his own house, and he withdrew to the desert, where he grazed his cattle. In fasting and repentance, in tears and prayer he spent 40 days, imploring the Lord to forgive him all his sins, to remove his dishonor in Israel, to bless him in old age by the birth of a child.

St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan

Commemorated on December 7/December 20
This great holy father of the Orthodox Church was of eminent birth. His father was the imperial deputy of Gaul and Spain and was a pagan by faith, but his mother was a Christian. While he was still in the cradle, a swarm of bees settled on him, poured honey onto his lips, and flew away. And while still a child, he extended his hand and spoke prophetically: ``Kiss it, for I will be a bishop.''

After his father's death, the emperor appointed him as his representative in the province of Liguria, of which Milan was the chief city. When the bishop of Milan died, a great dispute arose between the Orthodox Christians and the Arian heretics concerning the election of a new bishop. Ambrose entered the church to maintain order, this being his duty. At that moment, a child at its mother's bosom exclaimed: ``Ambrose for bishop!'' All the people took this as the voice of God, and unanimously elected Ambrose as their bishop, contrary to his will. Ambrose was baptized, passed through all the necessary ranks and was consecrated to the episcopacy, all within a week. As bishop, Ambrose strengthened the Orthodox Faith, suppressed the heretics, adorned churches, spread the Faith among the pagans, wrote many instructive books, and served as an example of a true Christian and a true Christian shepherd. He composed the famous hymn ``We Praise Thee, O God.'' This glorious hierarch, whom men visited from distant lands for his wisdom and sweetness of words, was very restrained, diligent and vigilant. He slept very little, labored and prayed constantly, and fasted every day except Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, God allowed him to witness many of His miracles and to perform miracles himself. He discovered the relics of the Holy Martyrs Protasius, Gervasius, Nazarius and Celsus (October 14). Meek toward lesser men, he was fearless before the great. He reproached Empress Justina as a heretic, cursed Maximus the tyrant and murderer, and forbade Emperor Theodosius to enter a church until he had repented of his sin. He also refused to meet with Eugenius, the tyrannical and self-styled emperor. God granted this man, so pleasing to Him, such grace that he even raised the dead, drove out demons from men, healed the sick of every infirmity, and foresaw the future. Ambrose died peacefully on the morning of Pascha in the year 397.

Archpriest Alexander A. Winogradsky Frenkel: The Ethics Of Purity

MEMRA – WORDS, Meaning And Faith

A new 2018-19 series of articles shared on the roots and the prospects that unite Eastern and Oriental Oxthodox Traditions to the realm of Jewishness and Hassidism,
Compared semantics and exegetical “paysages” by archpriest Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel (Patriarchate of Jerusalem). Below the eighth article.

Writings of Saint Nectarios of Aegina

Translation of the relics of St.  Nectarios of Aegina, August 21/September 3

Selected Passages From the Writings of Orthodox Saints, Compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes.

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Christianity.

The Christian religion is not a certain philosophic system, about which learned men, trained in metaphysical studies, argue and then either espouse or reject, according to the opinion each one has formed. It is faith, established in the souls of men, which ought to be spread to the many and be maintained in their consciousness.

There are truths in Christianity that are above out intellectual comprehension, incapable of being grasped by the finite mind of man. Our intellect takes cognizance of them, becomes convinced of their reality, and testifies about their supernatural existence.