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Mary, Our Cause of Rejoicing
by His Grace Bishop Basil

Her relationship with Christ was a unique relationship, something that no one else can have. It gives her a unique place in salvation history. Until the coming of the Archangel Gabriel to the dwelling in Nazareth, the people of God would make pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, to worship God who was present there, and to revere the very stones of the temple. Yet at a moment in time, in an obscure Palestinian village, in a young virgin, that temple became passé and irrelevant. She became the temple, and it is for that reason that we venerate her. She became the temple, a unique thing that gives her a unique position in our salvation. It was from her blood that God took blood, blood that would become the fountain for our immortal life. It was of her flesh that God took flesh, the flesh that is now offered to us as the food of immortality. more


The Life and Ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn

In the summer of 1896, Saint Raphael undertook the first of several pastoral journeys across the continent. He visited thirty cities between New York and San Francisco, seeking out the Master’s lost sheep in cities, towns, and on isolated farms. He fed the spiritually hungry people with the word of God in each place where he stopped. He performed marriages and baptisms, heard confessions, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the homes of the faithful where there was no church building. In other words, he zealously fulfilled his ministry as a preacher of the Gospel, enduring many hardships and afflictions, and he was watchful in all things concerning the care of his flock (2 Timothy 4:5). more

Fr. Nicola Yanney: The First Antiochian Priest in Mid-America
by Fr. Paul Hodge

....Upon returning to Nebraska in 1904, the Yanney household relocated from the vicinity of Gibbon, Nebraska to a home in Kearney, where Fr. Nicola could be close to the center of his parish, the church of St. George. The church building was in Kearney, in a one room schoolhouse purchased from the Kearney Cotton Mill. The building still stands, having been long ago converted to a private residence. As of this writing, it may still be seen on the northeast corner of 11th and H Streets in Kearney.

While the structure of the church building was small, the boundaries of the parish itself were vast, encompassing all of the Great Plains of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, as well as the “southwestern states,” as they were then known, of Oklahoma and Texas. Additionally, Fr. Nicola, during the years of his priesthood until his death, would answer the call of communities of Syrian Orthodox Christians as far away as Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. more


North American Saints

St. Herman lived and worked on Spruce Island in Alaska for more than forty years. He lived in a little hut, and not far from this he built a schoolhouse and a guest house. Father Herman himself spaded a garden in front of his hut, raising potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables. Everything that he acquired as a result of his immeasurable labors he used for the feeding and clothing of orphans and for books for his students. He loved all and everyone loved to converse with him and to hear his sermons, especially the children, for whom he would bake cookies. He even conversed with wild animals and he fed bears out of his hands. Because of the many miraculous events and healings associated with him, he is known as the “Wonderworker of America.”

Just before he died, Father Herman asked one of his spiritual children to light the candles and read the Acts of the Apostles. The cell filled with a wonderful, fresh, floral scent; and the elder’s face began to glow. Father Herman fell asleep in the Lord on December 13, 1837. His spiritual children kept his body lying in state at the orphanage for a number of weeks, but it did not decay and the sweet scent continued to linger about him. more

Dachau 1945: The Souls of All are Aflame
by Douglas Cramer

In the open air, behind the shanty, the Orthodox gather together, Greeks and Serbs. In the center, both priests, the Serb and the Greek. They aren't wearing golden vestments. They don't even have cassocks. No tapers, no service books in their hands. But now they don't need external, material lights to hymn the joy. The souls of all are aflame, swimming in light.

Blessed is our God. My little paper-bound New Testament has come into its glory. We chant “Christ is Risen” many times, and its echo reverberates everywhere and sanctifies this place.

Hitler's Germany, the tragic symbol of the world without Christ, no longer exists. And the hymn of the life of faith was going up from all the souls; the life that proceeds buoyantly toward the Crucified One of the verdant hill of Stein. more


Everything is Like an Ocean: On the Essential Role of the Saints
by Fr. John Oliver

There is a scene in The Brothers Karamazov, the novel by the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, featuring a long thoughtful speech by the elderly monk Zossima, who is nearing the end of his life. Fr. Zossima tells those under his care that they will come to a point in their spiritual lives when they will not think it strange to ask forgiveness from the birds. “That sounds senseless,” Fr. Zossima says, “but it is right.” Then the good monk offers this: “Everything is like an ocean, all is flowing and blending; a touch in one place sets up movement at the other end of the earth.”

This sense of the interconnectedness of all things, that there exists a fundamental unity to all life, that all humanity is like a finely woven fabric wherein all threads are in some kind of relationship with one another—this may be the primary reason why the saints of God are so critical for our time and so necessary for all times. When the holiness of God—in the form of a saint—enters through the surface of our world, the ripples go forth and somehow raise all that exists toward the Kingdom of Heaven. more


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