Saint Nektarios of Aegina (1846-1920)

Life of the Saint.
Our Ηoly Father Nektarios was born on 1 October 1846 at Selymbria in Thrace. His parents, Dimos and Maria Kephalas, were pious Christians but not rich in this world’s goods. Their son was baptized Anastasios and, from infancy, showed great piety and love for study. When his mother taught him Psalm 50, he liked to repeat the verse: I shall teach thy ways unto the wicked and sinners shall be converted unto thee. After finishing elementary school, he was sent by his parents to Constantinople to continue his education, at the same time as working in a shop. The boy did not become entangled in worldly cares, but fixed his mind entirely upon building up the inner man in the image of Christ by prayer and meditation on the writings of the holy Fathers.

When he was twenty, he left Constantinople for a teaching post on the island of Chios. The young people and villagers where he taught were encouraged to live in piety and virtue by his words and above all by the example of his ascetic, prayerful life. On November 7, 1876, he became a monk in the famous Monastery of Nea Moni, for he had long desired to embrace the Aesthetic life. Seeking only those things which are above, he was beloved by all the brethren as the very pattern of gentleness and obedience, and was ordained deacon after one year. Thanks to the generosity of a pious islander and to the protection of Patriarch Sophronius of Alexandria, he was able to complete his studies in Athens and to obtain the diploma of the Faculty of Theology. In 1885, he arrived in Alexandria where he was soon ordained priest, then consecrated Metropolitan of Pentapolis (an ancient diocese in Cyrenaica, in what is now Libya). He was appointed preacher and secretary to the Patriarch, whose representative he became in Cairo, where he had charge of the Church of Saint Nicholas.

Daily readings from scriptures December 2011

1 2Thess 2:13‐3:5 Lk 20:9‐18
2 2Thess 3:6‐18 Lk 20:19‐26
3 Gal 1:3‐10 Lk 12:32‐40
4 Gal 3:234:5 Lk 13:1017
5 Gal 5:22‐6:2 Mt 11:27‐30
6 Heb 13:17‐21 Lk 6:17‐23
7 1Ti 1:18‐20;2:8‐15 Lk 21:5‐7,10‐11,20‐24
8 1Ti 3:1‐13 Lk 21:28‐33
9 Gal 4:22‐27 Lk 8:16‐21
10 Gal 3:8‐12 Lk 13:18‐29
11 Col 3:411 Lk 14:1624
12 Eph 5:8‐19 Jn 10:9‐16
13 1Ti 5:11‐21 Mk 8:22‐26
14 1Ti 5:22‐6:11 Mk 8:30‐34
15 2Ti 1:8‐18 Mk 2:23‐3:2
16 2Ti 1:1‐2,8‐18 Mk 9:33‐41
17 Heb 11:33‐12:2 Lk 14:1‐11
18 Heb 11:910,1723,3240 Mt 1:125
19 2Ti 2:20‐26 Mk 9:42‐10:1
20 Heb 10:32‐38 Mk 9:33‐41
21 2Ti 4:9‐22 Mk 10:11‐16
22 Titus 1:5‐2:1 Mk 10:17‐27
23 Isa 9:6‐7; Heb 2:11‐18 Mt 2:13‐23
24 Gal 3:8‐12 Lk 13:18‐29
25 Gen 1:113; Num 24:218; Mic 4:67;5:24
Isa 11:110; Bar 3:354:4; Dan 2:3145
Gal 4:47 Mt 2:112
26 Gal 1:11‐19 Mt 2:13‐23
27 Acts 6:8‐15;7:5,47‐60 Mt 21:34‐42
28 Heb 5:11‐6:8 Mk 11:23‐26
29 Heb 2:11‐18 Mt 2:13‐23
30 Heb 7:18‐25 Mk 12:1‐12
31 1Ti 3:14‐4:5 Mt 3:1‐11


Is there another life?

«For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come». (Heb. 13:14)
Mankind is full of queries. Children have queries, the youth have queries and men have queries. Similarly, the elderly and women also have many questions. The whole world has countless queries. But if there is one query which worries a person most, it is this-is there another life? And this question becomes all the more tormenting as one is approaching the hour of death. Does another life exist? Present life exists because we live it. But a future life? Who is going to tell us? Who has gone to the other life and come back? But such a witness exists. And He is an unfaltering withness. He is a witness who has never told a lie. He is the One who has heralded: «l am the truth». The very one who was in heaven and descended down to earth. «He who is in the heavens... and from heaven descended". This witness is our Lord Jesus Christ. He tells us through His teachings that there exists yet another life. Jesus Christ always spoke about this other life. In his every sermon, He referred to this other life, the eternal life, the Kingdom of Heaven, to His Father's House in Paradise.
 On the subject of this after-life, He once told a descriptive parable about the rich man and the poor Lazarus. The first part of the parable refers to life here on earth, the present life. The second part refers to the next life. Here in this life the rich man lived a horrible lifestyle. He was harsh and indifferent towards everyone; not to mention a glutton, a drinker, riotous and a hedonist. Richly dressed in «purple and dark red», not the slightest concerned him about the poor. Neither a thought about the soul or about death.
Lazarus indeed was a hero. He had a great soul. His patience alone was unattainable. Poor, full of sores, without a home, with nothing, alone, all alone as he was. Yet he never held one single grudge against God. It was sufficient for him to eat the crumbs of the gluttonous rich man's food in order to fill his hunger as well as tolerating the dogs that licked his sores.

To the Holy Spirit . Prayer of St. Augustine

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.


Saint Amphilochios (November 23)

Saint Amphilochios, who was born in Cappadocia, shone forth in asceticism and divine knowledge even from his youth. He was consecrated Bishop of Iconium in 341, he struggled courageously against the blasphemies of Eunomius, Macedonius the enemy of the Holy Spirit, and the followers of Arius. He was present at the Second Ecumenical Council of the 150 Fathers, which took place in Constantinople, convoked during the reign of Theodosius the Great in the year 381. In 383 Amphilochios wished to persuade the Emperor Theodosius to forbid the Arians from gathering in Constantinople and to commit the churches to the Orthodox, but the Emperor was reluctant to do such a thing. The next time that Amphilochios entered the palace, he addressed Theodosius with proper honour, but slighted his young son Arcadius in his presence. Theodosius was indignant, and said the dishonour shown to his son was equally an insult to himself. To this Saint Amphilochios answered that as he would not suffer an insult to his son, so he ought to believe that God is wroth with those who blaspheme His Only-begotten. Saint Theodosius understood and admired Amphilochios' ingenious device, and he issued the desired edict in September of the same year. Saint Amphilochios, having reached deep old age, reposed in peace about the year 395. Saint Basil the Great wrote many letters to Saint Amphilochios, his friend and Fellow champion of the Faith, and at his request wrote his treatise On the Holy Spirit, which besides demonstrating the divinity of the Holy Spirit and His equality with the Father and the Son, defends the Church's unwritten ancient traditions, such as making the sign of the Cross, turning towards the East in prayer, no kneeling on Sunday, and so forth.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
O thunder divine, thou husbandman of faithful men, the Spirit's clear trump, O axe that hewest heresies, Hierarch Amphilochios, thou great servant of God the Trinity, ever with the Angels on high cease not interceding for us all, O Saint.


Kykkos icon of Mother of God "Merciful"

The name of this icon comes from that of Mt. Kykkos in the north-western part of Cyprus. The holy image, which, according to a legend, was painted by the Apostle St.Luke, was sent by him to the Egyptian Christians. In Egypt, however, disturbances broke out and. in order to save the icon, it was translated to a secluded island. On the way there it was seized by Arabs, but soon Byzantines recaptured it and sent it to the imperial palace in Constantinople. In the reign of Emperor Alexius Comnenus (1081-1118), the icon was translated to Cyprus. There exist numerous legends associated with this event, which tell about countless cures of members of the imperial family and common people. This miracle-working icon has one interesting feature: no one can see its original, for it is kept under a coverlet. He who dares lift the coverlet will suffer God's punishment. In 1699, Patriarch Gerasimus of Alexandria removed the coverlet and was punished. Only after he offered a prayer to the Mother of God was his wrongdoing forgiven. Apparently, it was in the 17th century that copies of this miraculous icon appeared in Russia. Feast day; November 12/25.



4 cups Milk
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Fine semolina
1/4 cup Butter
Zest from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch of Salt
5 Eggs; lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1 lb Filo pastry sheets
1 lb Unsalted butter; melted

1 cup honey
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water (or more if a wetter consistency is desired)
1 one inch strip of orange rind
Add all syrup ingredients to a sauce pan and bring to a boil and let cool.

Mix milk, sugar, semolina, butter, lemon rind, cinnamon stick orange blossom water, and salt in a saucepan and heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
Let the custard simmer gently over low heat for 5 minutes continuing to stir constantly.

Take from heat and remove cinnamon.  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent skin forming.  When cool, blend in eggs and vanilla.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan.  Place half of the filo pastry sheets in the pan, brushing each sheet with the melted butter.

Pour in custard and top with remaining sheets, again brushing butter on each sheet as you layering the top crust, make sure to brush top with butter and score the top sheets of filo in 3 inch squares or diamonds. With a spray mister, sprinkle the top lightly with water.

Bake in oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the custard is set when tested with a knife.
Remove from oven and cool thoroughly in the dish.

Cool syrup to lukewarm before straining and pouring over the cool pie.
Let the Galatoboureko completely cool before serving.


Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt

Commemorated on October 19

"Saint John of Kronstadt was a married priest, who lived with his wife in virginity. Through his untiring labours in his priestly duties and love for the poor and sinners, he was granted by our Lord great gifts of clairvoyance and miracle-working, to such a degree that in the last years of his life miracles of healings — both of body and of soul — were performed countless times each day through his prayers, often for people who had only written to him asking his help. During his lifetime he was known throughout Russia, as well as in the Western world. He has left us his diary My Life in Christ as a spiritual treasure for Christians of every age; simple in language, it expounds the deepest mysteries of our Faith with that wisdom which is given only to a heart purified by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Foreseeing as a true prophet the Revolution of 1917, he unsparingly rebuked the growing apostasy among the people; he foretold that the very name of Russia would be changed. As the darkness of unbelief grew thicker, he shone forth as a beacon of unquenchable piety, comforting the faithful through the many miracles that he worked and the fatherly love and simplicity with which he received all. Saint John reposed in peace in 1908." (Great Horologion)


 Start getting you recipes lined up for the Holiday season!
These cookies are traditionally served during the Christmas and New Years Holidays, but Mom would make them for us anytime of the year.
I have modified Moms recipe by using ground clove instead of the whole clove which is traditionally placed in the center of each cookie before baking. I do this for 2 reasons one, I never liked biting into the cookie and chewing on a whole clove, secondly in my mind I think it is unsafe for little kids to have a whole clove hidden under all that beautiful powder sugar.

3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove

3/4 pound butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons Metaxa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar for decoration

Sift flour with baking powder and spices. Set aside.

Cream butter and gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, brandy, almond, and vanilla. Beat again until very light.
Add flour to the butter mixture and almonds, mix well but don’t over work the dough. Chill 30 minutes or until it can be handled easily.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Shape level tablespoonfuls of dough into crescent-shapes. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet line with parchment paper. Insert whole clove into center of each. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light...do not brown.
Cool the cookies on the sheets for a few minutes roll them in powdered sugar while they're still hot.  You can roll several times to create a thicker coating.  Cool the cookies completely, Dust generously with more confectioners’ sugar.

Saint John Chrysostom Nov. 13th

This great ecumenical teacher and hierarch died in the city of Comana in the year 407 on his way to a place of exile. He had been condemned by the intrigues of the empress Eudoxia because of his daring denunciation of the vices ruling over Constantinople. The transfer of his venerable relics was made in the year 438, thirty years after the death of the saint during the reign of Eudoxia's son emperor Theodosius II (408-450).
St John Chrysostom had the warm love and deep respect of the people, and grief over his untimely death lived on in the hearts of Christians. St John's disciple, St Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434-447), during services in the Church of Hagia Sophia, preached a sermon praising St John. He said, "O John, your life was filled with sorrow, but your death was glorious. Your grave is blessed and reward is great, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ O graced one, having conquered the bounds of time and place! Love has conquered space, unforgetting memory has annihilated the limits, and place does not hinder the miracles of the saint."
Those who were present in church, deeply touched by the words of St Proclus, did not allow him even to finish his sermon. With one accord they began to entreat the Patriarch to intercede with the emperor, so that the relics of St John might be brought back to Constantinople.
The emperor, overwhelmed by St Proclus, gave his consent and gave the order to transfer the relics of St John. But those he sent were unable to lift the holy relics until the emperor realized that he had sent men to take the saint's relics from Comana with an edict, instead of with a prayer. He wrote a letter to St John, humbly asking him to forgive his audacity, and to return to Constantinople. After the message was read at the grave of St John, they easily took up the relics, carried them onto a ship and arrived at Constantinople.
The coffin with the relics was placed in the Church of Holy Peace (Hagia Eirene). When Patriarch Proclus opened the coffin, the body of St John was found to be incorrupt. The emperor approached the coffin with tears, asking forgiveness for his mother, who had banished St John. All day and night people did not leave the coffin.
In the morning the coffin was brought to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The people cried out, "Father, take up your throne." Then Patriarch Proclus and the clergy standing by the relics saw St John open his mouth and say, "Peace be to all." Many of the sick were healed at his tomb.
The celebration of the transfer of the relics of St John Chrysostom was established in the ninth century.


The Holy Great Martyr Menas of Egypt,

 The Holy Great Martyr Menas of Egypt,an Egyptian by birth, was a military officer and served in the Kotyaeion region of Phrygia under the centurion Firmilian during the reign of the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (305-311). When the emperors began the fiercest persecution against Christians in history, the saint refused to serve these persecutors. He removed his soldier's belt (a sign of military rank) and withdrew to a mountain, where he lived an ascetic life of fasting and prayer.

Once he happened to arrive in the city during a pagan festival. At the climax of the games the saint's accusing voice rang out, preaching faith in Christ, the Savior of the world. At his trial before the prefect Pyrrhus, the saint bravely confessed his faith, saying that he had come to denounce the impious. The prefect was angered, and had Menas arrested.

Pyrrhus offered to restore the saint's former rank if he would offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. When he refused, he was put to cruel tortures, then he was beheaded. This occurred in the year 304. Christians gathered up the martyr's relics by night and hid them until the end of the persecution. Later, they were brought to Egypt and placed in a church dedicated to St Menas southwest of Alexandria.

The saint received grace from God to work miracles, and to help those in need. St Menas is noted for healing various illnesses, delivering people from possession by demons, and as a protector, especially during times of war. We also ask his help in finding lost objects.

Prayer of Saint John Chrysostom Hourly Prayers of the Day and Night

01. O Lord, deprive me not of Thy heavenly blessings;

02. O Lord, deliver me from eternal torment;

03. O Lord, if I have sinned in my mind or thought, in word deed, forgive me.

04. O Lord, deliver me from every ignorance and heedlessness, from pettiness of the soul and stony hardness of heart;

05. O Lord, deliver me from every temptation;

06. O Lord, enlighten my heart darkened by evil desires;

07. O Lord, I, being a human being, have sinned; do Thou, being God, forgive me in Thy loving kindness, for Thou knowest the weakness of my soul.

08. O Lord, send down Thy grace to help me, that I may glorify Thy holy Name;

09. O Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me, Thy servant, in the Book of Life, and grant me a blessed end;

10. O Lord my God, even if I have done nothing good in Thy sight, yet grant me, according to Thy grace, that I may make a start in doing good.

11. O Lord, sprinkle on my heart the dew of Thy grace;

12. O Lord of heaven and earth, remember me, Thy sinful servant, cold of heart and impure, in Thy Kingdom.

13. O Lord, receive me in repentance;

14. O Lord, leave me not;

15. O Lord, save me from temptation;

16. O Lord, grant me pure thoughts;

17. O Lord, grant me tears of repentance, remembrance of death, and the sense of peace;

18. O Lord, grant me mindfulness to confess my sins;

19. O Lord, grant me humility, charity, and obedience;

20. O Lord, grant me tolerance, magnanimity, and gentleness;

21. O Lord, implant in me the root of all blessings: the fear of Thee in my heart;

22. O Lord, vouchsafe that I may love Thee with all my heart and soul, and that I may obey in all things Thy will;

23. O Lord, shield me from evil persons and devils and passions and all other lawless matters;

24. O Lord, Who knowest Thy creation and that which Thou hast willed for it; may Thy will also be fulfilled in me, a sinner, for Thou art blessed forever and ever. Amen

O Pure Virgin

By St. Nektarios of Aegina
Translated by Bishop Basil (Essey)

O pure and virgin Lady, O spotless Theotokos:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!
O Virgin Queen and Mother, O dewy Fleece most sacred:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O height transcending heaven above, O beam of light most radiant:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O joy of chaste and virgin maids, surpassing all the angels:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O brilliant light of heaven above, most clear and most radiant:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Commanding Chief of heavenly hosts, O holiest of holies:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O ever virgin Mary, O Mistress of creation:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Bride all pure and spotless, O Lady all holy:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O holy Mary, Bride and Queen, O cause of our rejoicing:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Maiden Queen honorable, O Mother most holy:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

More precious than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Surpassing Principalities, Dominions, Thrones, and Powers:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, song of the Cherubim; Rejoice, hymn of the Angels:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, ode of the Seraphim, and joy of the Archangels:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, O peace, Rejoice, O joy, and haven of salvation:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O bridal chamber of the Word, unfading, fragrant blossom:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, delight of paradise, Rejoice, life everlasting:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, O holy Tree of Life, and Fount of immortality:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

I supplicate thee, Lady, I humbly call upon thee!

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Queen of all, I beg thee, to grant me thy favor:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O spotless and most honored Maid, O Lady all holy:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

I call upon thee fervently, thou temple most holy:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O thou my help, deliver me from harm and all adversity:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

And by thy prayers show me to be an heir of immortality:

Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!


Daily readings from scriptures November 2011

1 1Co 12:2713:8 Mt 10:1,58
2 Col 1:1823 Lk 11:4246
3 Col 1:2429 Lk 11:4712:1
4 Col 2:17 Lk 12:212
5 2Co 3:1218 Lk 9:16
6 Gal 2:1620 Lk 8:4156
7 Col 2:1320 Lk 12:1315,2231
8 Heb 2:210 Lk 10:1621
9 Col 3:174:1 Lk 12:4859
10 2Co 4:916 Lk 13:19
11 2Co 4:615 Lk 13:3135
12 2Co 9:611 Mt 5:1417
13 Heb 7:268:2 Lk 10:2537
14 1Co 4:916 Jn 1:4451
15 1Thess 1:610 Lk 14:2535
16 Rom 10:1111:2 Mt 9:913
17 1Co 12:711 Lk 16:19
18 1Thess 2:1419 Lk 16:1518;17:14
19 2Co 8:15 Lk 9:5762
20 Eph 2:410 Lk 12:1621
21 Exod 40:135; 1Kg 7:518:11; Ezek 43:2744:4
Heb 9:17 Lk 10:3842;11:2728
22 Philemon 1:125 Lk 17:2637
23 1Thess 4:112 Lk 18:1517,2630
24 Php 3:204:3 Lk 18:3134
25 Gal 3:234:5 Mk 5:2434
26 2Co 11:16 Lk 10:1921
27 Eph 2:1422 Lk 18:1827
28 2Thess 1:110 Lk 19:3744
29 2Thess 1:102:2 Lk 19:4548
30 1Co 4:916 Jn 1:3651


† Holy New Martyr Helen of Sinope (18th c.) November 1

She was a maiden of fifteen who lived with her parents in the Christian enclave of Sinope in Pontus during the 1700s. One day, as she went to the marketplace, she passed by the house of the local Pasha (governor), who, seeing her beauty, was seized by lust for her. He ordered his servants to bring her to him, and made two attempts to defile her; each time, however, he was prevented by a mysterious power that kept him from her like an invisible wall. Determined to have his way for her, he kept her prisoner in his house; but she was able to slip away and run home to her parents' house.

Enraged that his prey had escaped, the Pasha called together the leaders of the Christian community and promised that, unless Helen were handed over to him, all the Christians in the town would be massacred. Grief-stricken and fearful, the leaders persuaded Helen's father to return the girl to the palace. The vile Pasha made several more attempts to rape the Saint, but once again he was restrained as if by an invisible wall as she recited the Six Psalms and all the prayers that she knew by heart. Realizing that he was powerless against her, the Pasha had her thrown in the common jail, then ordered that she be tortured to death. The executioners subjected the maiden to several cruel torments before killing her by driving two nails into her skull and beheading her. They then put her body in a sack and threw it in the Black Sea.

Some Greek sailors followed a heavenly light to the place where the sack had sunk, and divers retrieved the Saint's relics, which immediately revealed themselves as a source of healing for many. Her body was taken to Russia; her head was placed in the church in Sinope, where it continued to work miracles, especially for those who suffered from headaches. When the Greeks were driven from Sinope in 1924, refugees took the head with them. It is venerated today in a church near Thessalonika.