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Author Topic: Church Mothers  (Read 16446 times) Average Rating: 4
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Christodoulos
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« on: September 24, 2007, 03:43:29 PM »

God bless!

It would be nice to present also some quotes/stories of our Church Mothers!

Some modern Mothers of the serbian Land:

Blessed Kathrine of Pec 18cent

Blessed Lady Pilgrim Staka18cent

Blessed Stoina of Devich the miracleworker (+1890)

Blessed (Saint) Eldress Euphemia of Serbia 1896 - 1958:

In the night of St. Sava's day 1917 she had a woundrous vision in her sleep. She saw the Allholy Theotokos and fell down and prostrated herself befor her. The Allpure One took her arm in her own right hand, raised her from the ground, and encouraged and comforted her with certain amazing words. For long time Boginja (name in the world) did not wish to say anything publicly about this marvelous vision;but later, at the request of her sister nuns, she told them about it. What exactly the Mother of God told her, however, and with what words she encouraged her, still remains a secret. After this wonderful vision, Boginja remained in an inexpressible state of joyful compunction for over three days. All that time she forgot to eat, for her soul overflowed with joy. She walked around Belgrade and sang the hymns of the Psalter, wich uuntil then she had not known.From her soul arose the hymn "Praise ye the name of the Lord". She was as though numb from spiritual sweetness and indifferent to her surroundings, paying no attention to the oustside world.


When Sister Boginja began to go to church more frequently, her parish priest asked her, "Why Sister do you keep so apart from the world?" She answered," If you first tell me what I shall ask you, then I will answer your question. Do you believe in the truthfulness of the Holy Gospel?" Amazed, he answered that he did. Then she asked, "Why
do you not live as it commands?" Then he, without sufficiently thinking through his answer, said, " If I were to fulfill all that is written in the Gospel, I would have to stand apart from the world" To this she said " And that is my answer to you. You have yourself given the answer. I wish ro live as the Saviour commanded in the Holy Gospel, and therefore I am not ashamed to be apart from the world." 

One day, when she was going out with Sister Maria and Brother Milan, they found along the way, at a crossroads, a warm, round loaf of bread wich had been put there for the purpose of divination. Brother Milan asked Sister Boginja, "Do you believe that nothing will harm us if we eat this bread right now?" She told him that she believed just that. They prayed to God, sat down annd began to eat. An old woman watched them from distance in great terror, for she was familiar with this kind of sorcery. She followed them the whole day, not daring to come near; but seeing the miracle of God, that they remained unharmed, she herself was strengthened in faith.
                                               
" Everyone who delights in any passion in his heart, or engages in impure thoughts, is nothing than an idolater. For the Lord has said, Where your treasure is, there is your heart also. And where the heart is , there also is the mind, the thoughts, the desires and all the feelings. Only imagine how terrible it appears: outwardly a black riza, but inwardly, impurity.  Let us fear lest death find us in such a state, and lest in such a manner we fall away from the lord.

"Without humility and self-abasement no one can be delivered from the storm of sins. Therefore it is necessary throughout your battle to understand the difficulty and the struggle of others, and to symphathize with them, that God may take pity upon you.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2007, 05:07:22 PM »

Christodoulos:

Thank you for sharing these!  Do you have links for more?  I very much like to read about our Church Mothers.

In Christ,
Athanasia
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He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8
Christodoulos
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2007, 06:30:10 PM »

God bless!+

A great Eldress (Saint-fool for Christs sake) of our times is :

Eldress Myrtidiotissa of Klissoura 1886-1974

One winter evening, Sophia (Myrtidiotissa) went outside to light the vigil lamps at the shrine of Saint Anna, and at the Holy Water fount, dedicated to the Life-Giving Spring.
It was ugly outside snow, wind, and cold-well below zero. The custodian, having forgotten about her, shut and bolted the monastery gate and went to the upper floor, to rest near the fireplace. The Eldress finished her task, returned, and began to knock on the gate and to call out. But who could hear her? Who was there to open up at such time?
Day dawned. The custodian opened the gate nonchalantly .............and started back in terror. The struggler got up, shook off the snow wich had half buried her, and entered the monastery. Safe and sound, one would think that she had just stepped out of an oven!
And yet, she had spent the night in the snow, sitting in her usual posture, with her feet pulled up to her chest and her head resting on her knees. She had prayed throughout
the night in this position. Truly, she lived a supernatural life. It was clear that her great devotion to lighting the vigil lamps had been rewarded.

On one occasion, she had gone to the Chapel of the Holy Trinity with a pious soul. Having venerated the Icons, lighted the lamps , and censed the Church, they made their return on the very steep slope, saying the salutations of the Theotokos. Suddenly, what was that?
There was a powerful downpour of rain, and than a severe hailstorm; the surrounding vegetation was devastated. In a short time, the ground was covered by almost ann ich of ice. The danger was great and immediate. Rejoice, Shelter fo the world broader than a cloud.....Rejoice, bush of shady leaves by wich many are sheltered."
The pious woman who had accompanied the Eldress later recalled this event with astonishment:" We said the Salutations as we walked. The hail did not touch us; it fell around us. We streched the out our hands and felt it next to us . But not even a drop fell on us!"

The Panhagia told her:"Take a stick and speak.Talk about short skirts. Talk about apsotasy. Preach repetance." I can't, my Panhagia. They don't listen", she replied.
The Mother of God chided her:"You must speak. Do not cease giving advise."

She often said: Patience, Patience have much Patience!

In CHRIST
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Christodoulos
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2007, 09:14:08 AM »

God bless!+

Eldress Mother Gavrila the Ascetic of Love 1897- 1992
The moneyless, neptic, ascetic and missionary of the lepers, the blind and the lost,
the humble offering, the holocaust of a human being to God and Neighbour!

Avrilia Papayanni. She was born in Constantinopel in 1897, on October 15, the feast of St. Cyprian ans Justina and on 28th March 1992, in the cell of the Holy Angels at Leros, she was born in Heaven - the Homeland she loved and longed for most.
                                  +++
+Better Hell in this world than in the other.

+There is nothing cheaper than money

+Congresses:When people who-can-do-nothing gather to conclude that nothing can be done

+Our purpose should be to have the Paraclete in our heart, even when we have the Parasite in our head.

+Through the invocation of the name of Christ, we batter our ego.

+Miracle is the normal course of events according to God's will.What we call a miracle is only what is natural to God.

+When we think of God all the time, then God also thinks of us all the time.

+Truth is only ONE and it is CHRIST

+Heaven is the Monastery or the Angels and Earth its Metochion

+We are blind and deaf to the daily Miracles of God and to the Lessons He gives us every day. We are also insubordinate. And all that, because we are sinners. This is certain. We are sinners. Yet, you hear people saying: "Well..... I never committed a serious sin... Why should I feel remorse?" Indeed! To begin with, you are a sinner, and you are twice a sinner because you refuse to admit it!

In CHRIST
                                                                                           
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Christodoulos
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2007, 10:53:52 AM »

God bless!+

Blessed Mother Stavritsa the Missionary (1916-2000)

Blessed Mother Stavritsa viewed both the monastic way and the missionary way as leading to the same goal, to THEOSIS, to everlasting-union with God. wich constitutes salvation.
And she had what the greekChruch Fathers call "klisis me iota," that is, sheer iclination, for both.
"One night in 1969, during Great Lent, I felt a hand wich pulled me vigorously whil I was sleeping. It lifted me up and I saw before me CHRIST. I stood quite astonished by this miracle of seeing the Lord before me, because I was also afraid. He told me:'Go and help the uncivilized inn Africa.' He pointed with His fingers and I saw as in a movie views of all of the places ad cities of Africa wich I later visited. When I turned my head, He vanished.
"Then I handled my shoulders. Am I alive, I asked? My soul answered: 'Yes, you are alive.'
Was it perhaps an illusion, due to mental derangement, or a dream? 'Stavritsa' my soul , commanding me: 'Stavritsa, kneel down, it was CHRIST, Who calls you to go to the uncivilized peoples of Africa.' Then I replied, mentally:'I shall come, my Lord. I shall leave my son, my daughter-in-law, my grandchildren. I detach myself from everything: my possessions,my job and I come. I shall try to prepare myself now and come promptly.'
And this is what I did, my Brethren.

Heeding the call of God to become a missionary in Africa, Stavritsa left America and went and worked as missionary in a number of African countries, especially Kenya, Uganda, and Zaire. Her missionary activities began in Kenya, continued in Zaire, then in Uganda, and again in Kenya. They extended over a period of thirty years. Her God -pleasing deeds in Africa are innumerable and of a quite significant nature.
She reposed in the Lord at the age of 84 while at her place of residence in Nairobi.
She left her last breathe at Nairobi an January 3, 2000.






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Christodoulos
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2007, 10:11:34 PM »

God bless !

Eldress Misaila from Kursk :

The blessed Eldress was from the ancient Russian town of Kursk, in Central Russia.  With her prayers she helped thousands of people in difficult moments of their lives, particularly during the Great Patriotic war that our people waged against the fascist occupation in 1941 to 1945.

On a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem:

I would also have stayed on in Jerusalem, if it hadn't been for one and the same dream that I saw three times. I would dream that I was being flooded with water while a voice was saying: "Go back to your Motherland: you are needed there!" I narrated this dream of mine to a priest. Afterwards, we prayed long together: you know, there are different kinds of dreams, not only sent by the Lord, but those coming from the devil. Eventually, the clergyman blessed my return home."

She had stopped eating meat long before she became a nun, the moment her husband died. She chiefly partook of potato, vegetables, onions, rice and millet, kvass, apples and pears.
My grandmother's whole life was prayer. She prayed extensively and it seemed every moment of prayer irradiated her with joy. Her eyes shone and she stretched her hands to the icon of the Holy Virgin with the words: "What joy, what incredible joy!"

Oh, how many bows she would make! I never saw such blisters as there were on grandmother's knees! She prayed when she was alone, standing, sitting down, while doing something; she prayed to herself, while receiving people: prior to offering somebody advice or counsel, picking up her prayer beads and lifting her eyes to the icon of the Mother of God, during prayer she would receive an answer from the Virgin. Only then would she reply to the question asked of her.


In the morning, after prayer, grandmother always kissed all her icons, and then - the cross, and after partaking of the holy water and prosphora, came out to us and made the sign of the cross over all the corners in the house and all of us, too. Often in the evening I would find her all alone, praying fervently, silently. She would fall asleep with prayer beads in hand.

Her patience and humility were amazing! It seemed as though the dark forces had absolutely no power over her. This explains the love, joy and tranquility that emanated from her and were passed on to other folk. She loved people and helped them. People who arrived from town she invariably welcomed with the words: "Well, my birds have flown in".

So many tears were shed in front of her, so many hearts were consoled by her, and so many people received hope from grandma! People came to her with all sorts of illnesses. These were not only physical ailments, but various problems they faced in life. Some people came complaining of illnesses of the internal organs, the heart, others were possessed by the devil. She cured them all, first and foremost by power of prayer to God, and the Mother of God. Besides, she gave people holy water and used herbs.
She placed a cap that she'd brought from Jerusalem, onto the heads of both the physically ill and the possessed. On top of the cap - a stone likewise from there. Then she placed her hand over the both and read prayers. Moreover, she resorted to the following prayer more often than the rest:
"Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered...

I once personally witnessed how my grandmother treated a possessed woman. Entering the corridor I heard the barking of a dog coming from grandmother's room. I was terrified and rushed in. So what did I see? Sitting on a stool before my grandma was a woman, pale, with sweat running down her face, and barking! I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen and heard it myself! Later, the woman calmed down, and grandma laid her down to rest. To me she said: "Granddaughter, when I am treating people, never enter the room, for although it matters not to me, it might affect you negatively."

The past, the present, and the future were revealed to grandmother to the minute details. Once I came into her room - there was nobody there, and grandma was sweeping the floor with the words: "Oh! Do I feel sorry for her!"
"Whom, grandma?" I asked.
"Oh, she is carrying such a big and heavy watermelon for me!"
Some time later there came a knock at the door and, indeed, on the threshold stood a woman with a huge watermelon........
.....
Her face was tranquil and serene. It was 6 in the evening, December 16th 1953.
She lived modestly and quietly all her life, never annoying anyone, full of love for people, helping them, - so she died peacefully, humbly and beautifully, without burdening anyone

Eldress Misaila died, but didn't leave our life: she is always with those, who are in need of her, who turn to her with Faith and prayer.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2007, 07:44:45 PM »

God bless !

St. Maria Skobtsova of Paris, Nun, + 1945

Feast: July 20
St. Maria was born in 1891 in Latvia, and for some years in her youth she embraced atheism. She married a Bolshevik in 1910 and published poetry. By 1913 her marriage had ended. In 1918 she was elected mayor of Anapa in south Russia. Put on trial for Bolshevism by the White Army, she was acquitted by the judge, Daniel Skobtsov, a former teacher of hers. She married Daniel. She fled to Georgia with her children and later to Paris, where she arrived in 1923. Having turned to faith, she studied theology and social work. She took the vows of a nun in 1932, with her husband's permission, but was not secluded. Rather, Mother Maria rented a house in Paris which she kept as a convent. It was open at all times to refugees, the needy, and the lonely. It also became a centre of theological discussion. When the Nazis took Paris, Jews approached the apartment-convent asking for baptismal certificates (which would save them from deportation and death). These were provided by St. Dmitri, the priest who served the convent. Eventually, Mother Maria, Fr. Dmitri, and Sts. Yuri and Sophia were taken prisoner. On Holy Saturday, 1945, St. Maria was slaughtered in the gas chambers of Ravensbruck concentration camp and entered into the joy of her Lord. These Saints were glorifed early in 2004 by the Oecumenical Patriarchate.



By the prayers of our Holy Mothers Lord Jesus Christ......



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Christodoulos
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2007, 09:02:49 PM »

God bless !

Holy Protomartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Thekla


According to her biographer, St. Epiphanios, Thekla was born of humble parents in the town of Ikonion in Asia Minor about a quarter century after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Like other girls of her class, she had no formal education and was unfamiliar with any of the arts or the classics. A dutiful peasant girl, she was resigned to one day becoming a wife and nothing more was expected of her, but she showed an intellectual curiosity which was frowned upon by her friends but was encouraged by her mother. She attained a degree of literacy, which was rare for a girl in those days, and with the help of her mother found some of the answers she eagerly sought in quest of the real meaning of life.

It was not strange, therefore, when Thekla was eighteen years old that her mother took her to listen and learn about the new faith that was bringing joy to those who were poor in spirit. She and her mother were privileged to listen to the mightiest missionary of them all, no less than St. Paul himself, whose message of Christ so moved the young girl that she sought out the company of St. Paul, who personally converted her to Christianity. She had much to learn about the teaching of Jesus and his true light and attended every meeting held in the the area by St. Paul and spoke with other converts in whom she found the love of God.

When Paul was preparing to leave the area to continue his work for Jesus, Thekla ran to her mother and begged her for permission to go with the holy man and take up the cause for Christ in her own way, if St. Paul would let her. Her mother, a devout Christian herself, told her daughter she was free to go anywhere to serve the Lord. The delighted girl then overtook the missionary party of St. Paul and was welcomed into the group, thereafter to become so deeply involved that she was soon one of the ablest of the missionaries.

It was suggested to Thekla that she undertake her own missionary work in other parts of the lands hitherto unreached, while the rest of the missionaries did likewise and split up into groups that fanned out into all directions of the pagan countries. With St Paul's blessing she set out on a journey into many strange lands, some of which were hostile and others of which were anxious to hear the words of the girl whose reputation had preceded her. She won countless numbers of pagans to the new faith but was finally apprehended by an unnamed pagan ruler whose barbarism struck terror into the hearts of his subjects.

There ensued a series of tortures that would have ended the life of any mortal at the outset, but the Lord had seen fit to make Thekla superhuman, in answer to the cruelties of the enemies of early Christianity. When she was cast into a fire, she walked away unscathed. Lances bounced off her and nails could not penetrate her skin. When the onslaught on her person had been thwarted at every turn, her pagan foe retreated in awe. She died of natural causes at the age of ninety and was declared a Saint and Isapostolos (Equal-to-the-Apostles).

An appearance in our times, to St John:
The protomartyr Thekla also appeared to him, presenting him with a bunch of grapes


Orthodox Monastery and Grave site of St. Thekla, Equal-to-the-Apostles and companion of St. Paul. At the shrine of Mar Thekla (Arabic for St. Thekla), in Syria:








In CHRIST
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2007, 12:46:55 PM »

God bless !

Saint Martyr Euphemia the Allpraised:



Euphemia lived at Chalcedon in the reign of Diocletian (284-305). Her parents were rich and devout and brought her up in the love of Christ. At that time, Priscus became Proconsul of Asia. He was an enthusiastic devotee of Mars, and ordered all the inhabitants of the Province to come to Chalcedon to celebrate the feast of his god, under pain of death. As a result, Christians fled in small groups to isolated houses or to the deserts in order to escape the tyrant and safeguard their faith. Saint Euphemia was among those who went into hiding.

They were soon discovered and brought before the Proconsul, who tried to persuade them to sacrifice by flattering their youth and good sense. “Do not waste your time and your words on us,” the Saint answered him. “We are people endowed with reason, for whom it would be the greatest disgrace to abandon the one true God, the Maker of heaven and earth, in order to worship dumb, senseless idols. We are not afraid of torments you threaten us with. They will be easy for us to bear and will show the power of our God.”

These words enraged the Proconsul, and he had Euphemia and her companions tortured continuously for twenty days. Finding their faith completely unshaken, and seeing that Euphemia was the leading spirit of the group, he ordered her limbs to be crushed by iron wheels. But the Martyr called upon the help of God and was discovered to be completely unscathed. Then she was cast into a furnace with flames forty feet high, but God came to Euphemia’s aid there also, and sent an angel who drew the flames away from her. Seeing this miracle, the executioners Victor and Sosthenes turned to Christ, and died as Martyrs some days later. The Saint had many more torments to endure, from which God each time delivered her, showing how much stronger Grace is than any torture devised by man. In the end, she was thrown to the beasts, and gave up her soul to God through the mere bite of a bear.

When the persecution of Diocletian ended, the Christians laid Saint Euphemia’s relics in a golden sarcophagus, placed within a church that was dedicated to her. Her relics attracted crowds of pilgrims for centuries. They were moved to Constantinople in 616 at the time of the Persian invasions, and remain intact to this day in the church of the Patriarchate at the Phanar. The feast day of Saint Euphemia is celebrated on September 16.

The Miracle of St. Euphemia at the Synod of Chalcedon, Prolog 11 Juli:

The miracle of St.Euphemia is associated with the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, which took place in the Basilica of St.Euphemia, to condemn the Monophysite heresy of Eutyches. The resolutions of the Council are believed to have been confirmed by the miracle of the Saint. According to one version, the tomus of the Orthodox and that of the heretics were placed in the coffin of St.Euphemia. When the tomb was reopened, the canon of the heretics was found thrown at the feetof the Saint while the canon of the Orthodox was in her arms. According to another version, Saint Euphemia got up and gave the Orthodox Tomos to the Bishop.

Icon of the Miracle of St. Euphemia at the Council of Chalcedon:



In CHRIST
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2008, 11:30:27 PM »

Christ is Risen!
Xpuctoc Bockpec!

What a blessing to read these stories.  Thank you so much.  I have cut and pasted it all into an e-mail to my sister.
She has the book "Holy Mothers of Orthodoxy", but so much needs to published.

In the Eastern Slavic Orthodox tradition, in the Office of Oblation or Proskomidiya, female saints are added to the list of male saints commemorated:
"Thekla, Barbara, Kyriaka, Euphemia, Paraskeva, Katherine and all other holy matyred women."

Also in addition to the Godbearing Fathers the following Church Mothers are commemorated:
"our devout mothers in God, Pelagia, Theodosia, Anastasia, Euphraxia, Fevronia, Theodolia, Euphrosynia, Mary of Egypt and all of our holy and devout mothers."

This is a change from the Greek texts.  I don't know about the Romanian or Serbian texts.  Can anyone here tell me?

If you have any other hagiographies of Church Mothers please post them.

Orest
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2008, 11:43:05 PM »

+Mother Gabriella (Eldress Gavrilia) 1897-1992 Many people believe that she will be canonized (hopefully) not too far from now.  +Memory Eternal

-Not a knowledge that you learn, but a knowledge that you suffer. That is Orthodox spirituality.

-Do not desire many things--more than you have, that which is far away. Rather, seek to take care of what you have so as to sanctify it.

-One thing is education: that we learn how to love God.

-Nothing is cheaper than money.

-It is not that which we say, but that which we live. It is not what we do, but what we are.

-We desire our freedom. Why? In order to be slaves to our passions.

-God often does not desire the act but the intention. It is enough that He sees you are willing to do His command.

-When God created us, He gave us life and breathed His Spirit into us. That Spirit is Love. When we lack love, we become corpses and are altogether dead.

-The spiritually advanced person is the one who arrives at a place of no identity and who has understood in his depths that whatever happens is the will of God or by the permission of God.

-Only when the person stops reading other books except the Gospel does he begin to make real interior progress. Only then, united with God through the Prayer, can he hear the will of God.

-Never desire anything but the will of God, and receive with love the evil that comes to you.

-Never say, "Why has this happened to me?" Or when you see someone with gangrene or cancer or blindness, don’t ask, "Why did this happen to them?" But ask God to give you the vision of the other bank of the river. Then you will see with the angels as it is in fact: Everything is according to the plan of God. Everything!

-The language of God is silence.

-Anxiety and worry is for those who don't have faith.
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2008, 02:10:28 PM »

Andrea,

To keep this thread focused on the lives and teachings of the Holy Mothers of our faith and to facilitate your request for information, I have moved your request for reading material to Reviews.

Request for Books on Church Mothers

- PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2008, 05:21:07 AM »

The Life and Struggles of Our Holy Mother Among the Saints Athanasia of Antioch and Egypt

Family Life
Our holy Mother Athanasia was the wife of Andronicos, a money-dealer by trade.  This God-chosen couple was from the great city of Antioch.  The year was 594.  Though he was wealthy with the good things of this world, yet he was devout and replete with good works.  He took Athanasia, a modest and God-beloved woman, in marriage.  The couple was in agreement pertaining to every good and God-pleasing deed; and thus, they divided their wealth in thirds.  One-third was abundantly and ungrudgingly distributed as alms among the poor; one-third was lent out as loans, without interest or gain to those in need; and the final one-third was allocated to their occupation, so they might earn their livelihood.  Their marriage produced two children, John and Mary.  After the birth of these children, they chose to live virtuously and chastely; thus, they mutually agreed to cease marital relations.  Their continence, however, was joined to prayer, ministering to the poor, and visiting the sick.

The Children's Death
Twelve years passed since the birth of their children.  When they reached an age which brings joy to parents, both children died on the same day.  Upon their death, in no wise did Andronicus comport himself in an unmanly fashion; much rather, the memorable one said with Job: "I myself came forth naked from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither" [Job 1:21].

On the other hand, Athanasia mourned inconsolably for her children.  Since the children were buried at the Church of the Holy Martyr Julian, she had no wish to leave that place and said, "Here, too, I desire to die and be buried with my children!"  Andronicos then went to the Patriarch at the patriarchate that he might be comforted and advised since Athanasia would in no wise leave the church.

Athanasia remained at the church lamenting and weeping in great distress.  At midnight, in her sleep, the Martyr Julian appeared to her in monk's garb, and said, "What is it, O woman, that thou dost weep? Why dost thou not leave them(the children) here that they might find rest?" Athanasia answered, "O master, do not charge me, thy handmaiden, for I have much pain and sorrow, since, today, I buried my only two children."  To these words, the martyr answered, "Do not weep for them, because I tell thee, O woman, just as it is natural for man to seek food and it is impossible for him not to feed himself, in like manner children seek those good things from God.  They oblige the Master to render unto them this very day those future good things, when they say, 'O Righteous Jude, O Lord, though Thou hast deprived us of those earthly good things, yet do not deprive us of Thy good things.'" Hearing these moving words, Athanasia's sorrow changed to joy, and she said, "Therefore, my children live in the heavens; why then should I weep?"

Athanasia then turned about and sought the monk that spoke these words.  She went all about the church to find him, and then asked the doorkeeper, "Where is that monk who just passed by here?" The doorkeeper, surmising that she beheld a vision, replied, "Behold, all the doors are secured, and dost thou ask me where is the monk?"

Athanasia, fearing, returned to her home and related to her husband all that she saw and heard.  She then asked him to let her enter a convent.  Andronicos received her words with joy, because it was his desire also to take up the monastic life.

Thereafter, they distributed the remainder of their wealth among the poor.  They then bought the freedom of their slaves.  Andronicos left the rest of his property to his father-in-law, enjoining him to build a hospital and hostelry for monastics.

The Holy Couple Leave Home
The holy couple then took a little money for their expenses on the road.  By night, the couple departed Antioch; but from a distance, Athanasia looked at her home.  She then raised her hands to heaven, and said, "My Lord God Who said to Abraham and Sarah, 'Go forth out of thy land and out of thy kindred....and come into the land which I shall show thee' [Gen. 12:1], do Thou, guide us in Thy fear.' 

"Behold, we have left our house open and have departed for Thy name's sake; therefore, do not close the door of Thy Kingdom to us."  Then the two of them wept and left their homeland. 

They arrived in Jerusalem and worshipped at the holy places.  They also visited many holy fathers.  After Jerusalem, they left for Egypt, towards the famed Abba Daniel.

The Holy Couple Separate
They confided in Abba Daniel their intention and besought him to guide them on the road of salvation.  Therefore, he sent Athanasia to a convent of the Tabennesiotes, but Andronicos he kept with him and vested him with the Angelic Schema of the monastics.  Andronicos then dwelt twelve full years in obedience to Abba Daniel.

After the passage of this time, Fr. Andronicos besought Abba Daniel's leave to go again to Jerusalem that he might worship a second time at the holy places.  Abba Daniel gave his blessing; thus, Andronicos departed. 

The Journey to Jerusalem
At some point when the venerable Andronicos walked along the road in Egypt, he sat under a tree to find a little rest from the desert heat.  Behold now the dispensation of God!  His wife Athanasia, at that very moment, was traveling the same road to Jerusalem.  She had dressed in men's garb as a monk and had taken the name of Athanasios.

After they greeted each other, Athanasia recognized the other monk to be Andronicos; however, Andronicos, in no wise, recognized her.  This is because her beauty withered from extreme asceticism, so now she appeared very dark complexioned, as an Ethiopian.  Athanasia then asked, "Where art thou going, milord, abba?"  Andronicos answered, "To the holy places."  She then said, "I am going there also."  He then asked, "Dost thou wish to walk together?"  Athanasia replied, "Yea, verily, as thou hast determined; but we must walk the road maintaing silence, as though I were not with thee."  Andronicos responded, "Just as thou hast determined, we shall proceed keeping silent."

Athanasia then asked him, "Art thou not the disciple of Abba Daniel?" Andronicos answered, "Yea." She then continued, and said, "Art thou not called Andronicos?" He said, "Yes, I am." She then said, "May the blessings of the elder accompany us on the road."  And Andronicos responded, "Let it be! Amen."

In this manner, therefore, the two traveled in silence to Jerusalem.  After they venerated the holy places, they returned in silence to Alexandria.  Then Athanasia said to Andronicos, "Dost thou wish to remain together in one cell?" Andronicos answered, "As thou hast said, let us abide together.  However, I must first go and seek the permission and blessing of my elder."  She replied, "Go, and I shall await thee by the monastery at the eighteenth milestone (from Alexandria).  If thou can endure to abide with me in silence, as when we walked to and from Jerusalem, I welcome thee.  However, if thou canst not abide in silence, do not come."

Andronicos then went to his elder, Abba Daniel, and disclosed the matter to him.  By Andronicos' words, the elder understood the great advances in virtue made by Athanasios.  Therefore, he gave Andronicos permission, and said, "God, love quiet and abide with that brother, since he is truly what a monk ought to be."

Andronicos then trekked back and remained with Athanasia for twelve years, without knowing that she was his spouse.  The two dwelt together as angels in the monastic state.  They added to virtue, as they ascended in holiness and divine love.  Ofttimes, Abba Daniel visited the two of them and spoke with them soul-benefitting counsels.

The Repose of the Saints
One time, during a visit of Abba Daniel, after he spoke at length with them, he bade them farewell and started his return trip back to his cell.  Then the holy Andronicos ran after him and, overtaking him, said, "Abba Athanasios is sick unto death and shall go unto the Lord."  The elder returned and found Athanasios suffering from a high temperature.  When she beheld the elder, she began to weep.  The elder then said, "Why dost thou weep?  Instead, thou ought to rejoice because thou goest to enjoy the Lord."  She answered, "I do not weep for myself, but for Abba Andronicos.  Therefore, I beseech thee, when thou wilt bury me, check nearby my head and thou shall find a written tablet.  Read it and afterwards give it to Abba Andronicos."

After the three of them prayed, the blessed Athanasia communicated the undefiled Mysteries.  She then fell asleep in the Lord.  Abba Daniel found the writting-tablet and read it.  By this he knew that she, the ever-memorable Athanasia, was the spouse of Andronicos.  When the holy Andronicos read the tablet, he wept and embraced the holy relics in wonder and awe.  Then, when they prepared her holy relics, it was surely discovered that she was not a man, but a woman.

The entire Lavra heard these tidings.  Whereupon, Abba Daniel informed the brethren, including those fathers dwelling in the inner desert and the lavrites.  He also notified all the monasteries of Alexandria and the city itself.  Hence, all converged at Scete to inter her holy relics.

All the Scetiotes wore white garments because this was their custom when they buried one of the brethren.  It was a symbol of victory against the three enemies: the flesh, the world and its ruler, and the devil.  In a procession, they filed before the honorable relics of blessed Athanasia bearing palms and branches.  She was interred with extreme reverance, glorifying God Who gave great patience to the holy woman.  Abba Daniel remained by the relics to perform seven memorial services for the saint.

After the memorial services were completed, Abba Daniel wished to depart and take Abba Andronicos with him.  However, Abba Andronicos did not wish to follow him, and said, "Here I wish to die together with my lady Athanasia!"  The elder then bid him farewell and departed.

Not much time passed when a brother came and said to Abba Daniel, "Abba Andronicos follows Abba Athanasios; therefore, assemble."  Whereupon, all the fathers hastened and arrived while he was yet living.  After Andronicos gave his blessing to them, then the ever-memorable man fell asleep in the Lord.

Upon his repose, a contention and opposition arose as to which group would receive the sacred relics of the holy Andronicos.  One faction represented the dwellers of the monastery at the eighteenth milestone; whereas, the other group included the Scetiotes.  Only with constraint was Abba Daniel able to quell the rivalry when he said that Andronicos should be buried at the monastery at the eighteenth milestone together with his co-struggler, the holy woman, that is, Athanasia.  Thus, he was buried there, to the glory of the God over all.  Amen.  Both husband and wife are commemorated on the same day by the Holy Church, the 9th of October.

Source: The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers, (Holy Apostles Convent, 1991), pp. 466-474
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2009, 12:13:50 AM »

Saint Sarah ( the Black ) of Egypt

July 13th
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In you, O Venerable Mother Sarah, the faithful image of God shone forth, for you carried your cross and followed Christ. You taught by your deeds how to spurn the body, for it passes away, and how to value the soul, for it is immortal. Wherefore, your soul is forever in happiness with the angels.

During St. Sarah's sixty years living as a hermit near the Nile, she fought with many demons tempting her to indulge in fornication.  She lived a very ascetic life.  Many visited her in the desert and sought her advice.  She is reported to have said "It is good to give alms for men's sake. Even if it is only done to please men, through it one can begin to seek to please God."  St. Sarah is one of the few women to be included in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.  She is more commonly known as Amma Sarah. 



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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2009, 01:20:00 PM »

 This thread is wonderful! St. Maria (Skobtsova) of Paris is one of my favourite Saints. I love this book:

Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9781570754364

. . it was one of the very first books I read on my Christian journey; her message is so simple and beautifully refreshing.

"May Mother Maria be an example for us, wherever we are, to answer our calling to serve God in whatever way we are asked. May we too be living witnesses to the good news. +" ~ A Saint of Our Day by Bonnie A. Michal.


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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2009, 12:18:03 AM »

God bless !

Holy Protomartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Thekla



Love the photos!  (edited out only to save bandwidth).

The monastery has a spring which has the sweetest water I have ever tasted, and the village that the monastery is in still speaks the toungue of Christ, Aramaic.

Your pictures have made me quite homesick.

Anyway, to the OP: in the Proskomedia, there are lists of Mothers in the Faith, female martyrs etc.  It disgusts me that they are omitted as "optional" by some.
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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2009, 09:34:10 AM »

Saint Theodora of Sihla

August 7

   Saint Theodora, the greatest of Romania's holy ascetics, was born in the village of Vanatori, Neamts in the first half of the seventeenth century, and was the daughter of Stephen Joldea and his wife.
   She was married to a man of Ismail, but had no children. Therefore, she and her husband decided to enter the monastic life. Her husband went to the Skete of Poiana Marului, where he was tonsured with the name Eleutherius. He was also ordained to the holy priesthood.
   Theodora also received the monastic tonsure in the Skete of Poiana Marului. In just a few years, she advanced in obedience, prayer, and asceticism, acquiring the grace of unceasing prayer of the heart.
   When her skete was destroyed by the Turks, she fled to the Buzau Mountains with her spiritual mother, Schemanun Paisia. They lived for several years in fasting, vigil and prayer, enduring cold, hunger, and demonic temptations. When her spiritual mother fell asleep in the Lord (1670-1675), St Theodora was led by God to the mountains of Neamts. After venerating the wonderworking Neamts Icon of the Mother of God (June 26) in the monastery, she was told to seek the advice of Hieromonk Barsanuphius of Sihastria Skete. Seeing her desire for the eremetical life, and recognizing her great virtues, he gave her Holy Communion and assigned Hieromonk Paul as her Father Confessor and spiritual guide.
   Fr Barsanuphius advised Theodora to go and live alone in the wilderness for a year. "If, by the grace of Christ, you are able to endure the difficulties and trials of the wilderness, then remain there until you die. If you cannot endure, however, then go to a women's monastery, and struggle there in humility for the salvation of your soul."
   Fr Paul searched in vain for an abandoned hermitage where St Theodora might live. Then they met an old hermit living beneath the cliffs of Sihla. This clairvoyant Elder greeted them and said, "Mother Theodora, remain in my cell, for I am moving to another place."
Fr Paul left Theodora on Mount Sihla, blessing her before he returned to the skete. St Theodora lived in that cell for thirty years. Strengthened with power from on high, she vanquished all the attacks of the Enemy through patience and humility. She never left the mountain, and never saw another person except for Fr Paul, who visited her from time to time to bring her the Spotless Mysteries of Christ and the supplies she needed to survive.
   St Theodora made such progress in asceticism that she was able to keep vigil all night long with her arms lifted up toward heaven. When the morning sun touched her face, she would eat some herbs and other vegetation to break her fast. She drank rainwater which she collected from a channel cut into the cliff, which is still known as StTheodora's Spring.
   When Turks attacked the villages and monasteries around Neamts, the woods became filled with villagers and monastics. Some nuns found St Theodora's cell, and she called out to them, "Remain here in my cell, for I have another place of refuge." Then she moved into a nearby cave, living there completely alone. An army of Turks discovered the cave, and were about to kill the saint. Lifting up her hands, she cried out, "O Lord, deliver me from the hands of these murderers." The wall of the cave opened, and she was able to escape into the woods.
   As St Theodora grew old, she was forgotten and there was no one to care for her. Placing all her hope in God, she continued her spiritual struggles, and reached great heights of perfection. When she prayed her mind was raised up to Heaven, and her body was lifted up off the ground. Like the great saints of earlier times, her face shone with a radiant light, and a flame came forth from her mouth when she prayed.
   In time her clothes became mere rags, and when her food ran out, she was fed by birds like the Prophet Elias (July 20). They brought her crusts of bread from the Sihastria Skete. Seeing the birds come to the skete and then fly away with pieces of bread in their beaks, the igumen sent two monks to follow them. Night fell as they walked toward Sihla, and they lost their way in the woods. They decided to wait for daylight, and began to pray. Suddenly, they saw a bright light stretching up into the sky, and went to investigate. As they approached, they saw a woman shining with light and levitating above the ground as she prayed.
   St Theodora said, "Brethren, do not be afraid, for I am a humble handmaiden of Christ. Throw me something to wear, for I am naked."
Then she told them of her life and approaching death. She asked them to go to the skete and ask for Fr Anthony and the hierodeacon Laurence to come and bring her Communion. They asked her how they could find their way to the skete at night, for they did not know the way. She said that they would be guided to the skete by a light which would go before them.
   The next day at dawn, Fr Anthony went to Sihla with the deacon and two other monks. When they found St Theodora, she was praying by a fir tree in front of her cave. She confessed to the priest, then received the Holy Mysteries of Christ and gave her soul to God. The monks buried her in her cave with great reverence sometime during the first decade of the eighteenth century.
   News of her death spread quickly, and people came from all over to venerate her tomb. Her holy relics remained incorrupt, and many miracles took place before them. Some kissed the relics, others touched the reliquary, while others washed in her spring. All who entreated St Theodora's intercession received healing and consolation.
   St Theodore's former husband, Hieromonk Eleutherius, heard that she had been living at Sihla, and decided to go there. He found her cave shortly after her death and burial. Grieving for his beloved wife, Eleutherius did not return to his monastery, but made a small cell for himself below the cliffs of Sihla. He remained close to her cave, fasting, praying, and serving the Divine Liturgy. He lived there for about ten years before his blessed repose. He was buried in the hermits' cemetery, and the Skete of St John the Baptist was built over his grave.
   St Theodora's relics were taken to the Kiev Caves Monastery between 1828 and 1834. There she is known as St Theodora of the Carpathians.


Source provided by ma2000:  http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=149013  -PtA
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2009, 04:29:18 AM »

"Many people living secluded lives on the mountain have perished by living like people in the world. It is better to live in a crowd and want to live a solitary life than to live a solitary life but all the time be longing for company" - Amma Matrona

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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2009, 05:29:24 AM »

“At the Last Judgement I will not be asked whether I satisfactorily practised asceticism, nor how many prostrations I have made before the divine altar.  I will be asked whether I fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and the prisoner in his jail. That is all I will be asked.” 
-St. Maria of Paris (Mother Maria of Ravensbrück)
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2010, 01:21:22 AM »

Amma Syncletica said, "In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek (as it is said: 'Our God is a consuming fire' [Heb. 12:24]): so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work." - Amma Syncletica, The Forgotten Desert Mothers, p. 43
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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2010, 03:04:41 PM »

The mothers of the church are very nice and also have an very respectful talk. They are very simple and also caring for all. They will help you in many of the ways. I am very much impressed also by your information.
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« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2011, 02:01:35 PM »

This thread is wonderful! St. Maria (Skobtsova) of Paris is one of my favourite Saints. I love this book:

Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9781570754364

. . it was one of the very first books I read on my Christian journey; her message is so simple and beautifully refreshing.

"May Mother Maria be an example for us, wherever we are, to answer our calling to serve God in whatever way we are asked. May we too be living witnesses to the good news. +" ~ A Saint of Our Day by Bonnie A. Michal.



Me too. She's pretty uncompromising. Anyone who thinks they're gonna find a nice little babushka is in for a surprise! LOL
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2011, 04:51:43 AM »

Thank you for sharing these!  GOD bless you!
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« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2011, 08:00:27 PM »

There is also St. Theodora of the Carpathians, very popular with Ukrainian Orthodox from the province of Bukovyna.
She is know under another name, which I can't remember at the moment, in the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Her relics used to be in the Pecherska Lavra in Kyiv, but I think since the fall of communism that her relics were returned to Romania.
I would appreciate an update about this from anyone in the Romanian orthodox Church.
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2011, 10:07:11 AM »

There is also St. Theodora of the Carpathians, very popular with Ukrainian Orthodox from the province of Bukovyna.
She is know under another name, which I can't remember at the moment, in the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Her relics used to be in the Pecherska Lavra in Kyiv, but I think since the fall of communism that her relics were returned to Romania.
I would appreciate an update about this from anyone in the Romanian orthodox Church.

Hello! We call her "Sfânta Teodora de la Sihla" (Saint Theodora of Sihla). Sihla is the place of the cave where she lived as a hermit. Nowadays there is a skete in there. She is celebrated on August 7, which is my birthday. Fr Ioaniche Balan wrote in the Romanian Patericon that her relics are at Pecherska Lavra, but no one knows more. I've asked many Romanians that visited the Lavra if they found her holy relics, but they said that they didn't find her. They've asked some fathers at the Lavra, but at least those who answered didn't know anything. Perhaps someone you know might ask around at Pecherska Lavra?
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« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2011, 03:46:33 PM »

There is also St. Theodora of the Carpathians, very popular with Ukrainian Orthodox from the province of Bukovyna.
She is know under another name, which I can't remember at the moment, in the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Her relics used to be in the Pecherska Lavra in Kyiv, but I think since the fall of communism that her relics were returned to Romania.
I would appreciate an update about this from anyone in the Romanian orthodox Church.

Hello! We call her "Sfânta Teodora de la Sihla" (Saint Theodora of Sihla). Sihla is the place of the cave where she lived as a hermit. Nowadays there is a skete in there. She is celebrated on August 7, which is my birthday. Fr Ioaniche Balan wrote in the Romanian Patericon that her relics are at Pecherska Lavra, but no one knows more. I've asked many Romanians that visited the Lavra if they found her holy relics, but they said that they didn't find her. They've asked some fathers at the Lavra, but at least those who answered didn't know anything. Perhaps someone you know might ask around at Pecherska Lavra?

Thanks for your comments.  When I was at Pecherska Lavra I also asked.  I was told that her relics were returned to the Romanian orthodox Church after 1991 (fall of commuism).  Can you look into that.  Where I am from in Alberta, most of us Ukainians have roots in Bukovyna so she is a very popular saint.  Along with St. Onufry.  Onufry was a very, very popular name 3 or 4 generations ago.

By the way I see that another poster was kind enough to post the life story of St. Theodora. above.  The web link is:
http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=149013  -PtA
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« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2011, 12:25:39 AM »

She also said, "There is grief that is useful, and there is grief that is destructive. The first sort consists in weeping over one's own faults and weeping over the weakness of one's neighbors, in order not to destroy one's purpose, and attach oneself to the perfect good. But there is also a grief that comes from the enemy, full of mockery, which some call accidie. This spirit must be cost out, mainly by prayer and psalmody."

--The Forgotten Desert Mothers, Amma Syncletica, 26
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« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2011, 08:47:06 PM »

"There was a virgin in this monastery who for Christ's sake pretended to be a halfwit and possessed by a demon. She thought by this to practise the best way of developing that most desirable of virtues, that of being downtrodden and humble. The others looked down on her to such an extent that they would not even eat with her, which she quite happily accepted. She worked in the kitchen, doing all kinds of menial tasks for the others, so that there was never a moment when she was not slaving away for somebody. She was, as the saying goes, the 'blessed sponge' of the monastery, believing truly that in this she was fulfilling what was written in the Gospels: 'Whosoever would be great among you, let them be as slaves and servants of all' (Matt. 20:26), and again, 'If anyone among you seems to be wise in this world, let them become foolish in order to be wise ' (1 Cor. 3:18). The other virgins wore proper monastic hoods on their heads, she went about her task of serving others covering her head with only a scrap of old rag. No one ever saw her eating for all the forty years of her life. She never sat down at table, never even ate the broken bread, but gathered up the crumbs from the table with a sponge, and cleaned up what was left in the pots. She was content with that. She never wore shoes, never spoke angrily to anyone, never complained, made no reply either small or great when treated with anger, or even with blows and curses, despised by all."
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« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2011, 02:54:06 PM »

Christ the Lord has shown forth in thee a new mediatress and intercessor for our race;/ thou didst will to endure evil in thy life and didst lovingly serve both God and man./ We zealously run to thee in misfortune and sorrow,/ we hope in thee and cry from our hearts:/ Put not our hope to shame, O blessed Xenia.

-- Troparion of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg


Having lived as a stranger in the world, O Xenia,/ thou didst outwit the deviser of evil/ by thy pretended foolishness./ Thou didst receive from God/ grace to foresee and foretell things to come./ Now thou hast been translated from earth/ and art numbered with the choirs of Angels.

-- Troparion of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg
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« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2011, 10:18:16 PM »

As an aside, why was the Church Mothers thread at a 2 star rating?  Huh
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« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2012, 10:00:01 PM »

She also said, 'I put out my foot to ascend the ladder, and I place death before my eyes before going up it.'

--Amma Sarah, Sayings of the Desert Fathers, 6
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« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2012, 11:58:04 PM »

She also said that neither asceticism, nor vigils nor any kind of suffering are able to save, only true humility can do that.

-- Amma Theodora, Source
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« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2012, 03:51:51 AM »

has anyone heard the story of Theotokos?
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« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2012, 01:12:17 PM »

Saint Juliana of Lazarevo (1530-1604)

Righteous Juliana of Lazarevo is an astonishing example of a self-denying Christian woman. She was the daughter of a nobleman. From her early years she lived devoutly, kept the fasts, and set aside the majority of her time for prayer. Early on, having become orphaned, she was given over into the care of relatives, who laughed at her. Juliana bore everything with patience and without complaint. Her love for people was expressed by nursing the sick and sewing clothing for the poor.
 
The pious and virtuous life of the maiden attracted the attention of Yurii Osoryin, who soon married her. Her husband’s parents loved their gentle daughter-in-law and left the running of the household in her hands. Domestic concerns did not disrupt the spiritual efforts of Juliana. She always found time for prayer, and she was always prepared to feed the orphaned and clothe the poor. During a harsh famine, she herself remained without food, having given away her last morsel to a beggar. When an epidemic began, Juliana devoted herself completely to the nursing of the sick.
 
Righteous Juliana had six sons and a daughter. After the death of two of her sons, she decided to withdraw to a monastery, but her husband persuaded her to remain in the world and to continue to raise their children. On the testimony of Juliana’s son, Kallistrat Osoryin, who wrote of her life, she became all the more demanding towards herself. She intensified her fasting and prayer, slept no more than two hours at night, and only then would lay her head upon a board.
 
Upon the death of her husband, Juliana distributed to the poor her portion of the inheritance. Living in extreme poverty, she was nonetheless vivacious, cordial, and in everything she thanked the Lord. The saint was vouchsafed a visitation by St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and guidance by the Mother of God. When Righteous Juliana fell asleep in the Lord, she was buried beside her husband at the Church of St. Lazarus. Her daughter, Theodosiam, was also buried there. In 1614, the relics of Righteous Juliana were uncovered, exuding a fragrant myrrh, from which many received healing.

-- Source
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« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2012, 02:40:40 PM »

has anyone heard the story of Theotokos?

Is this her?
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« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2013, 09:37:51 PM »

Amma Theodora said: A certain monk, afflicted by many sorrows, said to himself, "Leave this place." With these words he began to put his sandals on his feet, and suddenly he saw the devil in the form of a man sitting in the corner of his cell. The devil was also putting on his sandals. He said to the monk, "Are you leaving here because of me? Well then, wherever you go, I will be there before you.

-- Source
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« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2013, 02:36:00 AM »

St. Tatiana of Rome (d. c. 225)

Tatiana was a Roman whose parents were of great nobility. Her father was a Roman civil servant who was secretly a Christian and raised his daughter in the faith. She was made a deaconess in one of the Roman churches and served God in fasting and prayer, tending the sick and helping the needy. This was dangerous for that period, and one day the jurist Ulpian captured Tatiana and attempted to force her to make a sacrifice to Apollo. She prayed, and miraculously, an earthquake destroyed the statue of Apollo and part of the temple. The demon inhabiting the idol fled screeching from that place. Those present saw its shadow flying through the air.

Tatiana was then tortured. They tore holy virgin's eyes out with hooks, but she bravely endured everything, and prayed for her tormentors that the Lord would open their spiritual eyes. And the Lord heard the prayer of His servant. The executioners saw four angels encircle the saint and beat her tormentors. Seeing this, eight of them believed in Christ and fell on their knees before St Tatiana, begging them to forgive them their sin against her. For confessing themselves Christians they were tortured and executed, receiving Baptism by blood.

The next day St Tatiana was brought before the wicked judge. Seeing her completely healed of all her wounds, they stripped her and beat her, and slashed her body with razors. A wondrous fragrance then filled the air. Then she was stretched out on the ground and beaten for so long that the servants had to be replaced several times. The torturers became exhausted and said that an invisible power was beating them with iron rods. Indeed, the angels warded off the blows directed at her and turned them upon the tormentors, causing nine of them to fall dead. They then threw the saint in prison, where she prayed all night and sang praises to the Lord with the angels.

A new morning began, and they took St Tatiana to the tribunal once more. The torturers beheld with astonishment that after such terrible torments she appeared completely healthy and even more radiant and beautiful than before. They began to urge her to offer sacrifice to the goddess Diana. The saint seemed agreeable, and they took her to the heathen temple. St Tatiana made the Sign of the Cross and began to pray. Suddenly, there was a crash of deafening thunder, and lightning struck the idol, the sacrificial offerings and the pagan priests.

Once again, the martyr was fiercely tortured. She was hung up and scraped with iron claws, and her breasts were cut off. That night, angels appeared to her in prison and healed her wounds as before. On the following day, they took St Tatiana to the circus and loosed a hungry lion on her. The beast did not harm the saint, but meekly licked her feet. As they were taking the lion back to its cage, it killed one of the torturers.

They threw Tatiana into a fire, but the fire did not harm the martyr. The pagans, thinking that she was a sorceress, cut her hair, thinking, according to their pagan reasoning, that some sorcery or some magical power was concealed in her hair. Then they locked her up in the temple of Zeus. On the third day, pagan priests came to the temple intending to offer sacrifice to Zeus. They beheld the idol on the floor, shattered to pieces, and the holy martyr Tatiana joyously praising the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, Tatiana along with her father were both beheaded on January 12. Thus, Tatiana ended her earthly life about the year 225 A.D., and this heroic virgin, who had the fragile body of a woman but a robust and valiant spirit, was crowned with the immortal wreath of glory.

-- Source
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« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2013, 12:54:55 PM »

And St. Tatiana is the patron saint of students in the Eastern Slavic world.
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« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2013, 09:45:11 AM »

St. Olympias the Deaconess

Olympias was born in Constantinople of very distinguished parents. Her father, Anysius Secundus, was a senator and her mother was the daughter of the famous nobleman Eulavius who is mentioned in the hagiography of St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker. When Olympias reached maturity, she was betrothed to a nobleman who died before the marriage took place. The emperor and the other relatives pressured Olympias to marry another, but in vain. However, she refused them this and devoted herself to a god-pleasing life, giving from her inherited estate great offerings to the churches and alms to the needy. She served as a deaconess in the Church, at first during the time of Patriarch Nectarius and, after his death, during the time of St. John Chrysostom. When Chrysostom was exiled, he counseled Olympias to remain in the church and to serve as before regardless who the patriarch after him would be. Immediately after the banishment of this great saint, someone started a fire in the Great Church [The Church of the Divine Wisdom Hagia Sophia] and the fire consumed many prominent buildings in the capital.

The enemies of Chrysostom accused this holy woman of initiating this malicious fire. Olympias was banished from Constantinople to Nicomedia where she died in the year 410 A.D., requesting in her testament that her body be placed in a box and cast into the sea and wherever the water tosses it up, there she is to be buried. The coffin was cast ashore in the city of Vrochthoi, where there existed a church dedicated to the Apostle Thomas. From her relics, great healing miracles appeared throughout the centuries. The exiled Chrysostom wrote beautiful letters to the exiled Olympias which, even today, serve as a great comfort to all those who suffer for the sake of God's justice. Among other things, Chrysostom writes to Olympias: "Now I am very elated not only because you were relieved from infirmity, but more so, that you are nobly enduring all difficulties referring to them as trivialities which is characteristic of a soul full of power and abounding in the rich fruits of courage. For you not only courageously are enduring misfortune rather you do not even notice it when it comes and without exertion, without labor and disturbance not even talking about it to others but rejoicing and triumphing over it. That serves as the greatest wisdom" (Letter VI).

-- The Prologue From Ohrid, July 25th
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« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2013, 01:42:13 AM »

St. Geneviève of Paris (Feast Day - January 3)

Saint Genevieve was born of wealthy parents in Gaul (modern France) in the village of Nanterre, near Paris, around 422. Her father’s name was Severus, and her mother was called Gerontia. According to the custom of the time, she often tended her father’s flocks on Mt. Valerien.

When she was about seven years old, St Germanus of Auxerre (July 31) noticed her as he was passing through Nanterre. The bishop kissed her on the head and told her parents that she would become great in the sight of God, and would lead many to salvation. After Genevieve told him that she wished to dedicate herself to Christ, he gave her a brass medal with the image of the Cross upon it. She promised to wear it around her neck, and to avoid wearing any other ornaments around her neck or on her fingers.

When it was reported that Attila the Hun was approaching Paris, Genevieve and the other nuns prayed and fasted, entreating God to spare the city. Suddenly, the barbarians turned away from Paris and went off in another direction.

Years later, when she was fifteen, Genevieve was taken to Paris to enter the monastic life. Through fasting, vigil and prayer, she progressed in monasticism, and received from God the gifts of clairvoyance and of working miracles. Gradually, the people of Paris and the surrounding area regarded Genevieve as a holy vessel (2 Tim. 2:21).

St Genevieve considered the Saturday night Vigil service to be very important, since it symbolizes how our whole life should be. “We must keep vigil in prayer and fasting so that the Lord will find us ready when He comes,” she said. She was on her way to church with her nuns one stormy Saturday night when the wind blew out her lantern. The nuns could not find their way without a light, since it was dark and stormy, and the road was rough and muddy. St Genevieve made the Sign of the Cross over the lantern, and the candle within was lit with a bright flame. In this manner they were able to make their way to the church for the service.

There is a tradition that the church which St Genevieve suggested that King Clovis build in honor of Sts Peter and Paul became her own resting place when she fell asleep in the Lord around 512 at the age of eighty-nine. Her holy relics were later transferred to the church of St Etienne du Mont in Paris. Most of her relics, and those of other saints, were destroyed during the French Revolution.

Source: http://oca.org/saints/lives/2013/01/03/100015-venerable-genevieve-of-paris

For more a detailed biography of St. Geneviève, check out: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/01/saint-genevieve-patron-saint-of-paris.html
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« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2014, 08:53:00 AM »

O Lord, move my heart to love and forgiveness. Teach me true compassion with kindliness to look upon my neighbors' faults. Still within me the aggravations of this day and my unjust criticisms, let me see myself as I truly am, help me to judge my own reactions rather than dwell upon those of others. Help me to banish from my heart and memory all resentments, anger and annoyance. Even there where my dislike is justified, temper my feelings with charity and contrition for my own share in the world's sin. May I this night and at all times forgive seventy times seven and be worthy of Thee and not have to fear Thy judgments for Thou art faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

-- Mother Alexandra (d. 1991), Source
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