The Fall of Constantinople - May 29, 1453

The Fall of Constantinople (Greek: 'Αλωσις τής Κωνσταντινουπόλεως) was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by an invading Ottoman army on 29 May 1453. Our Holy Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the anniversary of this event which sent shock waves throughout Christendom. The attackers were commanded by the 21-year old Sultan Mehmed II, who defeated an army commanded by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos and took control of the imperial capital, ending a 53-day siege that began on 6 April 1453. After conquering the city, Sultan Mehmed transferred the capital of the Ottoman State from Edirne to Constantinople and established his court there.

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The Orthodox Christian Family is Sacred

"Whether the married couple remains a small dyad standing at the intersection of larger kin groups, or whether they begin a new home and family of their own, what is at stake in terms of the Gospel is the manner in which this foundation of a new locus of love, a home, becomes a place where the Gospel injunctions are fulfilled: to clothe the naked, to instruct the ignorant, to heal the sorrowing, to feed the hungry.

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Homily on the Divine Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Part II)

Perhaps the rest of Psalm 23 is loftier than the Gospel teaching. The Lord's Gospel offers a way of living upon the earth and tells of that return which the noble Prophet sets out upon. Corporeal burdens do not oppress him and has joined himself to the transcendent powers whose voices proclaim to us that the Lord has advanced to His Throne surrounded by the Angels. While present upon the earth they adjured men to enter when saying: "Lift up your ancient gates and be lifted up ancient doors, that the King of Glory may enter" (Psalm 23:7).

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The Sin of Ingratitude

"Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! So when He saw them, He said to them, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?' And He said to him, 'Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well" (St. Luke 17:11-19).

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May 21st - The Holy Feast of Saints Constantine and Helen

Today the Church celebrates your reign, and she rejoices mystically, O King. As she rightly honors your all-venerable memory, she sings hymns of praise to you, and she salutes you and says "Rejoice! You zealously emulated Saint Paul, you took up the Cross of Christ, and you crushed the snares of the enemy. Rejoice! Most excellent of rulers, and equal in honor to Apostles. Rejoice! You were the support of the faithful and the rampart of emperors. O blessed Constantine, the adornment of Emperors, never cease interceding with the  Lord on our behalf, for you have great access to Him.

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Homily on the Divine Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Saint Gregory of Nyssa's brief homily on the Divine Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ is perhaps the most ancient witness of this feast's existence, and he does not hesitate to call it the "Great Celebration". The literal reading of the title is "Concerning that festive day which is said to be consecrated in the of the Cappadocians: the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ." On the other hand, there is little allusion to Christ Ascension into heaven; the homily turns out to be more a commentary on Psalms 22 and 23. Because of this, it is not difficult to see that Saint Gregory's sermon was most likely composed about the same time as his Commentary on the Inscriptions of the Psalms.

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