Sermon on the Holy Transfiguration (Metamorphosis) of Our Savior (Part II)

That same Inscrutable Light shone and was mysteriously manifest to the Apostles and the foremost of the Prophets at that moment, when [the Lord] was praying. This shows that what brought forth this blessed sight was prayer, and that the radiance occurred and was manifest by uniting the mind with God, and that it is granted to all who, with constant exercise in efforts of virtue and prayer, strive with their mind towards God. True beauty, essentially, can be contemplated only with a purified mind. To gaze upon its luminescence assumes a sort of participation in it, as though some bright ray etches itself upon the face.

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The Holy Feast of the Transfiguration (Metamorphosis) of the Savior (August 6)

"Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter, James, AND John his brother, and He brought them up into a high mountain by themselves. [There], He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elias (Elijah) appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter then said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here! If you want, let us make three tents here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elias (Elijah).' While Peter was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.'

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"The Garden of the Theotokos"

The Holy Mountain or Mt. Athos is known as "The Garden of the Theotokos." According to our Orthodox tradition, the Theotokos was invited by Saint Lazarus to visit him on the island of Cyprus. Because of a severe storm, the ship was thrown off course and landed on the coast of Mount Athos, at the location of a pagan temple. As the Panagia went to shore, the pagan inhabitants came out to meet her not knowing who she was. The "highly favored one" and the "blessed...among women" converted them to Christianity. The Theotokos fell in love with the beauty of the land, so much so that she requested from her Son and God to grant her this place for herself. Her prayer and supplication was granted and before the Theotokos left she blessed the people and announced that Athos was hers.

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The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God (Part III)

Mary told no one of the appearance of the Angel, but the Angel himself revealed to Joseph concerning Mary's miraculous conception from the Holy Spirit (St. Matthew 1:18-25); and after the Nativity of Christ, with a multitude of the heavenly host, he announced it to the shepherds. The shepherds, coming to worship the newborn One, said that they had heard of Him. Having previously endured suspicion in silence, Mary now also listened in silence and "kept in Her heart" the saying concerning the greatness of Her Son (St. Luke 2:8-19). She heard forty days later Symeon's prayer of praise and the prophecy concerning the weapon which would piece Her soul. Later She saw how Jesus advanced in wisdom; She heard Him at the age of twelve teaching in the Temple and everything She "kept in Her heart" (St. Luke 2:21-51).

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The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God (Part II)

The Orthodox Church teaches about the Mother of God that which Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture have informed concerning Her, and daily it glorifies Her in its temples, asking Her help and defense. Knowing that She is pleased only by those praises which correspond to Her actual glory, the Holy Fathers and hymn-writers have entreated Her and Her Son to teach them how to hymn Her. "Set a rampart about my mind, O my Christ, for I make bold to sing the praise of Thy pure Mother" (Ikos of the Dormition). "The Church teaches that Christ was truly born of Mary the Ever-Virgin" (Saint Epiphanios, True Word Concerning the Faith).

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The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God (Part I)

From Apostolic times and to our days all who truly love Christ give veneration to Her Who gave birth to Him, raised Him and protected Him in the day of His youth. If God the Father chose Her, God the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, and God the Son dwelt in Her, submitted to Her in the days of His youth, was concerned for Her when hanging on the Cross--then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity venerate Her?

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July 27-St. Panteleimon

Saint Panteleimon, the Great Martyr, was born at the end of the 3rd century A.D. His father, Efstrogios (Eustrogios), was not only very rich but was well known for his zeal in idol worship; whereas his mother Saint Evoule (Euboule) was a faithful Orthodox Christian full of Holy Spirit, love and kindness. Her only interest was to guide her only begotten son in the True faith and virtuous life.

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