Servants of Christ Jesus of the Catholic Faith

Apostolic See of St. John

             His Eminence Archbishop-Primate +John Paul Hozvicka SCJ, D.D.

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In Honor


of


Great Orthodox Saints




St. Innocent:

 

St. Innocent is known as the father among the saints, one who is “Equal-to-the-Apostles” and brought wisdom and understanding to North America (1797-1879), he was a Russian Orthodox priest, bishop, archbishop, and Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia. He is remembered for his missionary work, scholarship, and leadership in Alaska. He is known for his great passion as a scholar, linguist, and administrator. He was a missionary, later a bishop and archbishop in Alaska and the Russian Far East. He learned several native languages and was the author of many of the earliest scholarly works about the natives and their languages, as well as dictionaries and religious works in these languages. He also translated parts of the Bible into several native languages





Saint Paisios:


“My God, I do not know what you will do but I surrender myself to you completely so that you will make me unto a human being.” St. Paisios


St. Paisios experience many things in his life with God even to the point where God blessed him and he was allowed to acutely physical see and feel God grace. This divine experience was so intense and powerful that it sustained and kept St. Paisios going for ten years until on Mi. Saini he experience even greater states in a different way. St. Paisios live by himself in the mountains for two years of prayer and conversing with God, an experience he did not share with others.


He return to Mount Athos where pilgrims would seek him out for his wisdom and for his gift of healing.   He was respected for his spiritual guidance and ascetic life and many people worldwide highly venerate St. Paisios, especially in Greece and in Russia. St. Paisios was canonized on 13 January 2015 by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the church commemorates his feast day on July 12. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided at its meeting of May 5, 2015 also to add the name of the St. Paisios of Mount Athos to the Menology of the Russian Orthodox Church, establishing his feast day on June 29/July 12, following the Menology of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople.




Saint Ephrem the Syrian:


Our Righteous Father Ephrem the Syrian was a prolific Syriac language hymn writer and theologian of the 4th century. He is venerated by Christians throughout the world, but especially among Syriac Christians, as a saint. His feast day in the Orthodox Church is January 28. St. James (Mar Jacob), the first bishop of Nisibis, was appointed in 308, and Ephrem grew up under his leadership of the community. St. James is recorded as a signatory at the First Ecumenical Council in 325. Ephrem was baptized as a youth, and James appointed him as a teacher, a title that still carries great respect for Syrian Christians. He was ordained as a deacon either at this time or later. He began to compose hymns and write biblical commentaries as part of his educational office. In his hymns, he sometimes refers to himself as a "herdsman" to his bishop as the "shepherd" and his community as a "fold.”


Ephrem is popularly credited as the founder of the School of Nisibis, which in later centuries was the Centre of learning of the Assyrian Church of the East (i.e., the Nestorians). Centuries later was the Centre of learning of the Assyrian Church of the East. Though St. Ephrem was probably not formally a monk, he was known to have practiced a severe ascetical life, ever increasing in holiness. In Ephrem's day, monasticism was in its infancy in the Egypt. He seems to have been a part of a close-knit, urban community of Christians that had "covenanted" themselves to service and refrained from sexual activity. Some of the Syriac terms that Ephrem used to describe his community were later used to describe monastic communities, but the assertion that he was monk is probably anachronistic.




The Life of Saint Lazarus:


According to St. John the Evangelist, "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and their brother Lazarus."  But this last visit that Christ paid to Lazarus home was not an ordinary one. The two sisters had informed Christ that their sick brother was dying: "Lord, behold; he whom thou lovest is sick". And the Lord declares that, "this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God", is delayed two days and then He sets out for Bethany where He arrives four days after Lazarus' burial. Jesus "mourned in the spirit" and "wept"; then He stood before the tomb and – having power over life and death - Jesus restored Lazarus to life, despite the fact that "he had been dead four days" and was already decaying (John 11:1-44).


Later, Lazarus was compelled to seek refuge in Kition, Cyprus, to avoid the anger of the high priests and the pharisees, who wanted to kill him: Really, "the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus" (John 12:1011). Probably, Lazarus left his country when many Christians of Judea "which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and Antioch..." (Acts 11:19).


Christ wept for Lazarus because He loved him and his family very much; this was, a great privilege for him. At the same time, Larnaca was also privileged to become Lazarus's native town, a second Bethany. Here he was met by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey to Cyprus and according to tradition, he was ordained by them as the first Bishop of Kition. That's why all the episcopal thrones in the churches of Larnaca bear the icon of St. Lazarus instead of that of Christ, as it is the custom in the Orthodox Church. Here he lived thirty more years, and here he was buried for the second and last time.


Note: What an honor the town of Larnaca had to be able to witness Christ greatest miracle, that of conquering death, when looking upon the face of St. Lazarus as he lived among them. The man who was brought back to life after being dead for four days




St. Tikhon of Moscow:


St. Tikhon was born on January 19, 1865. From his early years he displayed a particular religious interest, his love for the Church as well as rare meekness and humility. ..From 1878 to 1883, he studied at the Pskov Theological Seminary. ... His fellow students liked and respected him for his piety, brilliant progress in studies, and constant readiness to help friends, who often turned to him for explanations of lessons, especially for help in drawing up and correcting numerous compositions. He was often called 'bishop' and 'patriarch' by his classmates."


"Following graduation from the Pskov Seminary and St. Petersburg Theological Academy, he becomes an instructor first at Pskov Theological Seminary (1888-91), then Kholm Theological Seminary (1891-97), where he quickly became Rector. Just prior to his transfer to Kholm he was tonsured a monk with the name Tikhon and ordained."


Life and ordination


One of the first Orthodox bishops to do major work in North America, St. Tikhon went on to establish the "Diocese of the Aleutians and North America" after converting many people on the continent. Deemed an honorary citizen of the United States, he consecrated Orthodox Churches in America during the early 20th Century. The saint was also the primary founder of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Monastery (South Canaan, Pennsylvania), naming it for his heavenly patron, St. Tikhon of Zadonsk.


After returning to Russia in 1907, he continued to win the affection of thousands with his humble piety and loving affection. During World War I, he charitably aided displaced citizens, who flocked to him. He was also honored on November 5, 1917 by being elected Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. St. Tikhon had to overcome much disunity within the Church.


When the communist Bolshevik rebels took control of the country, Church property was confiscated and the Russian Orthodox Church had to endure much repression. St. Tikhon openly condemned the killings of Czar's family in 1918 and protested against violent attacks by the Bolsheviks on the Church. At this time, he called Russian Orthodox Christians to unite and strengthen their practices. To avoid further persecution, he issued a message that clergy were not to make any political statements.


From 1922 to 1923, Patriarch Tikhon was imprisoned in Donskoy Monastery after he openly opposed the government's decree of being able to confiscate Church property. Thousands of Russian believers were shot. Upon being released, he assured the regime of his loyalty in an apparent attempt to relieve the harsh pressures on the Church. Despite his declaration of loyalty, he continued to enjoy the trust of the Orthodox community in Russia.


As persecution continued, he began to feel overwhelmed, and his strength and health declined. On Sunday April 5, 1925 he served his last Liturgy. He died giving the Sign of the Cross, saying, "Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee." He only crossed himself two times, dying before he could complete the third. After his death, he was considered a martyr for the faith. In 1989, Patriarch Tikhon was glorified by the Church of Russia.