Category Archives: saints

Twilight of marketing day.

“St. Paphnutius prayed to God to reveal whom he (Paphnutius) resembled. He heard a voice which spoke to him: ‘You are similar to a merchant who seeks goodly pearls; arise and do not be idle!’ But why does God not say to every one of us that we are like a merchant who seeks goodly pearls? Because many of us do not seek pearls, but rather bury ourselves under heavy layers of worthless dust.

“Not everything that the net raises up from the bottom of the sea is a pearl; sometimes it is only mud and sand. The ignorant vie for that mud and sand as though it were a pearl. Only the merchant who recognizes a true pearl casts the net into the sea an untold number of times. He hauls it up, sifts out the mud and sand, until he finds one seed pearl!

“Why does God compare Paphnutius to a merchant? Because Paphnutius gave away all of his possessions and invested all of his effort and time in order to find that one true seed pearl. That true pearl is a heart cleansed of all passions and evil thoughts and warmed by the flame of love toward God. You too arise, O man, and do not be lazy! Your marketing day is approaching its twilight.”

-St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Do not shrug your shoulders.

St. Anthony the Great

“It is said about an ancient orator that he labored day and night to perfect himself in the art of oratory. Someone said to him: ‘Demosthenes does not want you to be the chief orator.’ To which he immediately retorted: ‘Neither will I allow him to be the only one.’ If you cannot be a first-class saint like St. Anthony, do not shrug your shoulders and say: ‘Nothing can come of me!’ Increase your efforts and double your talent. In My Father’s house are many mansions, said the Lord (John 14:2). If you merit to settle in the least of these dwelling places, you will be more glorious and more fortunate than all of the rulers who have ever existed on earth. To each according to his own talent. You will not be a St. Anthony, but neither will St. Anthony, alone, occupy the Kingdom of God.”

-St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The cold in Armenia is very sharp.

The 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste are commemorated on March 9. Their martyrdom was in 320 under the Emperor Licinius, and St. Basil eulogized them only 50 years later in a homily on their feast day:

Homily on The Forty Martyrs

Wikipedia has this to say about the saints:

“A church was built at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and it was in this church that Basil publicly delivered his homily. Gregory of Nyssa was especially devoted to the Forty Martyrs; two discourses in praise of them, preached by him in the church dedicated to them, are still preserved, and upon the death of his parents he laid them to rest beside the relics of the confessors. Ephrem the Syrian has also eulogized the Forty Martyrs. Sozomen, who was an eye-witness, has left an interesting account of the finding of the relics in Constantinople, in the shrine of Saint Thyrsus built by Caesarius, through the instrumentality of Empress Pulcheria.”

Those noble soldiers of the Master of all let us honor,
for they were united by their faith
as they passed through fire and water,
and being enlisted by Christ
they entered to divine refreshment.
Now those pious warriors stand and intercede
with Christ God for those who cry out.
Glory to Him that hath given you strength.
Glory to him that hath crowned you.
Glory to Him that made you wondrous,
Holy Forty Martyrs.

-Hymn for the feast

They become resplendent.

At the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, we bless candles in church. I liked this letter from Abbot Tryphon in which he reminds us that the Light of Christ is what our lamps and candles represent, and what makes the saints shine:

“Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent.

St. Symeon the New Theologian

“The saints show us what a glorious destiny we have in God, and through the example of their lives, point the way to our becoming “partakers of divine nature.” The saints, as the cloud of witnesses in heaven, are present in the divine services, worshiping the Holy Trinity with us. They, as our friends, intercede before the Throne of God on our behalf, having won the good fight, and we are encouraged by the memory and example of their lives, as we struggle on our own path to God.

“It has been said that there are two kinds of people in the world: sinners who think they are saints, and saints who know they are sinners. A saint is a Christian who lets God’s light shine through, and whose life has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“We venerate the saints as we seek their intercession with God, but we adore and worship only God in Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We venerate the images (icons) as well as the relics of the saints and martyrs. Yet according to the decisions and Canons of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, this veneration relates not to the icons as such, but to their prototypes, or to the persons whom they represent.

“The interior walls of our temples are adorned with the icons and frescoes of the saints as a reminder that we are surrounded by the cloud of witnesses, the saints, and that the Church Militant (here on earth) is not separated from the Church Triumphant (in heaven). In Christ, death does not divide us, for the saints are not dead, but alive in Christ Jesus.

“Glory to Jesus Christ, Who is glorified in His saints.

“With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon”