St. Panteleimon, the Great Martyr.

His Eminence Panteleimon Metropolitan of Antinoes

St Evouli (the mother of ) St. Panteleimon – St Hermolaos (his teachers)

            During the end of the 3rd century AD St. Panteleimon, the Great Doctor and Martyr, was  born.  His father, Eustrogios, was not only very rich but was well known for his zeal in idol worship; whereas his mother St. 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. 

            St. Panteleimon's first name was Pantoleon.  When he was very young his mother, St. Euboule, passed away and his father taught him to worship the false gods of their ancestors.  He studied under the guidance of the wise doctor Euphrosynos, and shortly differentiated from all his other classmates in wisdom and all virtues.  Even the Roman Emperor Maximianus admired his kind character, that he ordered Euphrosynos to teach him all the secrets of medicine, so that Pantoleon become his own personal  imperial doctor. 

            At that period of time, in the Greek city of Nicomedia, there was an old man named Ermolaos, who was the Orthodox Priest of the city.  He foresaw, that the young Pantoleon will become a vessel of Christ's Grace and will glorify Him through his life.  One day, as Pantoleon was passing by, he called the young doctor to his house and asked him about his family and religious beliefs.  Pantoleon, as noble as he was, answered with politeness to all his questions.  St. Ermolaos said to him, that the medicine which Asclepius, Hippocrates and Galenus taught is of no value, nor the gods of the Empire are true gods, but false and work of man. He taught Pantoleon about the Orthodox Christian Faith and that Christ is the only True God, Who created heaven and earth, and reminded him that his mother believed in Jesus Christ.  He also emphasied that Christ is the True Physician of both soul and body and  assured him, that if he believed in Christ, he shall cure all illnesses through God's Healing Grace.


St. Markella of Chios, the Much-suffering and Glorious Virgin Martyr.

22 July
 St. Markella lived in the village of Volissos, Chios in the middle of the fourteenth century. Her parents were Christians, and among the wealthiest citizens of Volissos. Her mother died when she was young, and so her father, the mayor of the village, saw to her education.
   St. Markella had been trained by her mother to be respectful and devout, and to guard her purity. She avoided associations with other girls who were more outgoing than she was so that she would not come to spiritual harm through such company. Her goal was to attain the Kingdom of Heaven, and to become a bride of Christ.
   St. Markella increased in virtue as she grew older, fasting, praying, and attending church services. She tried to keep the commandments and to lead others to God. She loved and respected her father, and comforted him in his grief over her mother’s death. She told him she would take care of him in his old age and would not abandon him.
As an adult, St. Markella was loved by everyone for her beauty and for her spiritual gifts. The devil tried to lure her into sin by placing evil thoughts in her mind. However, St. Markella resisted these temptations and so the devil turned away from a direct confrontation with her. Instead, he incited her father with an unnatural desire for his daughter.
   Eventually, Markella’s father changed in his behavior toward his child. He became moody and depressed, forbidding her to go into the garden or to speak with the neighbors. Unable to understand the reason for this change, she went to her room and wept. She prayed before an icon of the Mother of God, asking Her to help him. Soon she fell asleep, only to be awakened by her father’s shouting.

Markella, Virgin-Martyr of Chios

Markella, Virgin-Martyr of Chios (ca. 1500) - July 22

Her mother died when she was very young, and she was brought up by her father. As she grew older, she grew in virtue and beauty. Her father conceived an illicit desire for her and made improper advances toward her, which troubled her so greatly that she fled her village and hid in the mountains. Her father pursued her, even wounding her with arrows in his effort to possess her. Finally she took refuge in a cloven rock. When her father found that he could not drag her from her refuge, he viciously dismembered her and threw her head into the sea. From the rock that had sheltered her a stream appeared, whose water had healing virtues. The holy Markella is especially venerated on Chios to this day.


Saint Paisios of Mount Athos on the “Old Calendarists”

Elder Paisios dealt with the Calendar issue too. He was really worried for the division the issue has caused and he was praying about it. He was really worried for the groups formed by old calendarists behaving independently having no communion with the Orthodox Patriarchates and the local Orthodox Churches. Some groups of those kinds that were in Athens and Thessalonica, united under his instruction with the Church of Greece, keeping at the same time the old calendar.
The elder said: “It would have been good if this calendar difference did not exist, but it is not a matter of faith”. In the objections that the New Calendar was done by a Pope he would reply: “The new calendar was made by a Pope and the old one by an idolater,” meaning of course Julius Caesar. In order to understand the position of the Elder more clearly on the matter, the following incident is mentioned.
An Orthodox Christian who was Greek in origin had lived with his family in the USA for many years. He had a serious problem, though. He was himself a “zealot” (old calendarist) whereas his wife and children followed the New Calendar. “We could not celebrate a feast together like a family”, he used to say. ??They would celebrate Christmas when for me was St. Spyridon’s Feast. When I had Christmas, they had St. John’s. And that was the least of our problems. The worst thing was to know, as they had been teaching us, that the NCs are heretics and will be damned.
It is no little thing to keep hearing that your wife and your children betrayed their faith, went with the Pope’s side; their mysteries have no grace etc. We would talk for hours on, but without coming to a conclusion. To say the truth, there was something I did not like with the OCs too, especially when some of our bishops would come to talk to us. They were not talking with love and pain in their heart for the deceived New Calendarists (as they considered them to be). But it was as if they had hatred and were happy when they would proclaim that the NCs would go to hell. They were very fanatical. And when their speech would end, I would feel inside me an internal agitation. I was losing my peace. But I would not even think of leaving our tradition. I was greatly distressed with the whole issue. Surely something would happen to me from the constant worry.
In one of my travels to Greece I mentioned my problem to my cousin Yianni (John). He told me about some elder Paisios. We decided to go to the Holy Mountain, in order for me to meet with him. We arrived at “Panagouda” (where the Elder was living). The Elder offered us something and with a smiling face made me sit next to him. I felt at a loss with his behavior. I felt that, as he was acting as if he had known me forever, he also knew all about me.
– How are things going there with the cars, in America? were his first words.
I was taken aback. I had forgotten to mention that my job was at parking lots, and of course I was dealing with cars all day long.
– I’m doing well, was the only thing I could falter, looking at the Elder with surprise in my eyes.
– How many churches do you have there where you live?
– Four, I replied and a new wave of surprise came over me.
– With the old or with the new (calendar)? , came the third “thunderbolt” which, however, instead of increasing my surprise, somehow made me feel more at ease with the Elder’s charisma.
– Two with the old and two with the new, I replied.
– Which one do you follow?


An amazing recipe for non-dairy tzatziki!

3 heaped soup spoons of tahini - the lighter in colour the better
1 soup spoon of vinegar
2 soup spoons of lemon juice
2 - 3 soup spoons of water
2 cloves of garlic
1 cucumber, grated
Salt - to your liking
Dill - fresh (about quarter of a cup, chopped) or dried (1 teaspoonish)
Whizz everything except the cucumber in a blender until it becomes a nice smooth and creamy mixture - if it's too runny add abit more tahini to thicken it and if it's too thick add a little more water. Pour into a bowl and stir in the grated cucumber - if you like garnish with some olives and a little chopped fresh dill.

Created by Fr Palama, Abbott of the Monastery of Kalipetras


Source: “Wounded by Love: The Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios, ”
published by Denise Harvey, Limni, Evia, Greece (2005), pp. 122-126.

Listen and I’ll tell you about something that happened to me a few days ago. A monk who practices the Jesus Prayer came here from the Holy Mountain and he asked me:
—How do you say the Jesus Prayer? Do you sit on a low stool? Do you lower your head and concentrate?
— No, I replied. I say, Lord Jesus Christ... clearly in my mind, giving attention to the words. LordJesus Christ, have mercy on me... Lord Jesus... That’s how I do it in my mind and pay attention only to the words.
—That’s not right at all, Elder, he said. The way you describe it is quite erroneous, not to say deluded. The mind needs to be in the heart. That’s why it’s called “prayer of the heart.”
—I’ll tell you something else, I said to him. Sometimes when I would be facing some temptation, I would bring into my mind the image of Christ on the cross with his transfixed hands and feet dripping blood and with the crown of thorns piercing his brow and with myself kneeling before him and saying to Him, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
—-And you didn’t bring your mind into your heart?’ he interrupted.
—No, I replied.
— You are deluded, he said to me. The mind must be in the heart. Again, that’s why it’s called “prayer of the heart.” Delusion!
He got up to leave.
—Elder! I said to him. Listen and I’ll tell you something. When I am repeating the prayer in my mind, sometimes my joy becomes more and more intense. Moreover, when my joy becomes ever stronger with the words, Lord Jesus Christ..., I feel my mind leaping within me along with my heart. That is, I feel my mind plummeting into my heart and there I experience all this joy as I say the prayer.
I begin with the mind and then my mind moves on its own when joy comes.
—So that’s how you pray! That indeed is the way!’ he said to me. Forgive me for accusing you of “delusion.”
It is the mind that thinks. The heart does not think. Have your mind on God and your heart will leap for joy spontaneously. It will feel compunction. For Christ to enter your heart you must love Him. In order to love Him, He must first love you. God must first know you and then you Him. He will stoop to you, if you first seek Him. In order for Him to love you, you must be worthy. In order to be worthy, you must prepare yourself.
First, you must shun all self-interest. Prayer must be entirely selfless. Everything must happen mystically and without self- interest. That is, do not think that if you concentrate with your mind then grace will come into your heart also and you will experience that leap of joy. Do not pray with that motive, but with simplicity and humility. Aspire always to the glory of God. What did I tell you about the nightingale? It sings without anyone seeing. Be like that—selfless. Give yourself over to the worship of God in secret.
However, be careful! As we said, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
(Mt 6:3). Do not let your malicious self know what is going on. Live in Paradise and do not let your evil self-know and envy it. Do not forget that there exists the envy of the evil one.
Preparation is also to learn to keep the commandments of God. To expel the passions—condemnation, anger, etc.—in a subtle way.
That is, do not strike at the evil directly, but, disdaining the passion, turn with love to God. Occupy yourself with singing hymns, the triumphant hymns of the saints and martyrs and the Psalms of David. Study Holy Scripture and the Church Fathers. In this way your soul will be softened, sanctified and assimilated to God. It will be ready to hear the disclosures of God. ‘Gradually grace will visit you. You will enter into joy. You will begin to live in peace and then you will become stronger by virtue of the divine grace. You will not become angry, or irritated, you will not be offended, you will not judge others, but rather receive everyone with love. You will have that which
Saint Paul describes: Love does not boast... it does not behave in an unseemly manner... it does not rejoice in injustice, but rejoices in truth; it covers and protects all things, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails, (Cor 13:4-8). The prayer purifies the soul and keeps the mind in check. The most perfect work is done in the depths of the human soul, which is hermetically sealed and known only to God. And so we witness something extraordinary: people who are transformed into children of God, even though they had reached the very depths of their self-destructiveness.
And I, too, wretched and crocked-up fellow that I am, make this effort. I do not give myself over openly in prayer, but secretly I pray. Do you understand? The grace of God comes and overshadows you too. It brings a freshness and joy to youalso as we live together, eat together, talk and pray and simply keep company with one another. Do you understand?