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Assumption of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2022-11-27
Bulletin Contents
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Assumption of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church

General Information

  • Street Address:

  • 801 Montecito Drive

  • San Angelo, TX 76903

Contact Information

Services Schedule

Alternating Sundays:

9 AM Orthros Prayer Service & 
10 AM Divine Liturgy Communion Service

10 AM Typica Service

The 10 AM Sunday services are followed by Coffee Hour and Fellowship.

Past Bulletins

Calendar & Announcements


We are still accepting orders for Greek Pastries. Please contact Wilma Dunias, a member of our parish, at or 720-989-7928. 



Calling all volunteers! The organizers of the Concho Christmas Celebration have asked our parish to be hosts for the Christmas light tour.

Date: Friday, December 23 

Time: one-hour shifts, from 6-9 pm

There will be a sign displayed that says we are the hosts, and it will have the name of our church.

What it involves is greeting people in their cars at the starting point of the tour, and handing out a little bag that has a survey card, a pencil, and a candy cane.

This will be a good way for people to meet Orthodox Christians and see that we are friendly. We can invite them to visit our parish, too! It will also help spread Christmas cheer.

If you can volunteer, even for a little while, please see Charis Worden or go to the sign-up sheet in the church kitchen, on the refrigerator. Thank you!



  • Sunday, November 27, 9am Orthros, 10am Divine Liturgy, followed by Coffee Hour. 
    Fr. Mark Lichtenstein, celebrant.
  • Sunday, December 4, 10am Typica service, followed by Coffee Hour.

  • Sunday, December 11, 10am Typica service, followed by Coffee Hour.

  • Sunday, December 18, 9am Orthros, 10am Divine Liturgy, followed by Coffee Hour. 
    Fr. Mark Lichtenstein, celebrant.
  • Saturday, December 24 (Christmas Eve), 9am Orthros, 10am Divine Liturgy, followed by Coffee Hour. 
    Fr. Mark Lichtenstein, celebrant.

  • Sunday, December 25 (Christmas Day), 9am Orthros, 10am Divine Liturgy, followed by Coffee Hour. 
    Fr. Mark Lichtenstein, celebrant.

  • Sunday, January 1 (New Year's Day, St. Basil's Day, and Commemoration of the Circumcision of Christ) 9am Orthros, 10am Divine Liturgy, followed by Coffee Hour. 
    Fr. Mark Lichtenstein, celebrant.



  • The fasting period before Christmas started on November 15.
    • During this pre-Nativity fasting period, we give up meat for the full extent of the Fast, from November 15 through December 24.

    • If we are able and have no health problems that prevent us, we also fast from these things:
      • Fish is permitted on days that are not Wednesdays and Fridays, up through December 12. In addition, fish is permitted on other Feasts and Days of Commemoration designated on the Church calendar. Note: Shellfish is not considered "fish," so it is always permitted.
      • Oil and Wine are permitted on weekends, up through December 24. They are also permitted on days that are not Wednesdays or Fridays through December 12, and on other Feasts and Days of Commemoration designated. This year, those dates when oil and wine are permitted are November 16, 25, 30 and December 9, 12, 15, 20.
    • It is always wise to talk to your priest before undertaking a fast. He can give you advice about how to make the fast manageable for you. Fasting should always be helpful, never harmful.

    • Fasting is not just about food. Fasting is about drawing closer to God. So, in addition to being more mindful about God as we eat and drink, we Christians also change our leisure time activities: we read more books about God, or listen to podcasts on, or watch documentaries about saints. We also pray more, give alms more, and attend church more.

  • December 24 & 25: We will hold the usual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services for the Nativity. Christmas Day is on a Sunday this year. 



The Orthodox Church: Catechism class on Thursday, December 1 at 7:00 pm

Join us for weekly catechism classes online via Zoom.  This week we will be discussing the Ecumenical Councils of the sixth through the eighth centuries and their importance to the theology and practices of the Church.  The reading selection is from The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware - pp. 27 to the end of Chapter 2.  Previous classes are archived on YouTube at

Zoom link: 

Meeting ID: 929 926 5692

Passcode: Grace22

Questions? Email Fr. Nektarios



Currently we are in the pre-Christmas fast, which is described above. When we are in a season of normal fasting, we fast on only Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Question: Why do we fast? 

Answer: Because Christ did. He also said that we need to fast to increase our spiritual strength. “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29)

Question: Why do we fast on Wednesdays and Fridays even when it's not Lent? 

Answer: Because Christ was betrayed on a Wednesday, and crucified on a Friday.



If you know someone who needs meals due to illness, birth, etc., please see Kathy Baughman or Noelle Bartl. Thank you to everyone who volunteers for this ministry. You are being the hands of Christ!



As you know, Joanna Garcia continues to go through a very difficult time with her ongoing illness.  Joe is her faithful caregiver, so he is at home full-time helping her now.  They could really use some extra support from us!  
If you want to give a financial donation to help with medical expenses, etc., please make your check out to our church (Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, or AVMGOC for short), and make note that it's for the Garcias.
If you have any questions, please call or text Kathy at 325-277-0274.
The Garcias sure appreciate our prayers and support. Cards or notes of encouragement would brighten their days too.  You can send them to the church, and we will forward them on. The church address is Assumption Orthodox Church, 801 Montecito Dr., San Angelo, TX 76903.
Thank you for helping during this time of great need.



The next meeting will be Sunday, December 18, during Coffee Hour.



We have open slots on the sign up sheet for Coffee Hour, which can be found on the refrigerator in the church kitchen. Can you help host? It's okay to bring something simple, or even just one dish. Encourage others to sign up with you as co-hosts. "Many hands make the burden light." Thank you for your help!


Check out the rest of the bulletin online! See below for news from the world of Orthodoxy, online concerts and lecture series, and more.



Birthdays: Presba. Suzanne Lichtenstein

Anniversaries: none


  • 11/21 Eva Bartl (Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple)

  • 11/25 Seraphina Katerina Bartl, Kathleen Baughman, Katia Lichtenstein (St. Katherine)

Memorials: Fr. David Eckley



Please join us for refreshments in the Social Hall.


** As always, see the parish website for any changes and updates. **



Fasting Recipes


When you hear that Lent is coming, do you close your eyes and groan? What if I said there is a secret to not starving when you fast — would that help you fast more cheerfully?

Well, there is. Fasting is about more than just food, of course, but let's face it: It's hard to do those other things when we are low on energy due to not getting good nutrition.

So here it is: The secret to fasting without starving is eating complementary protiens, such as beans + rice.

Proteins are made of amino acids. Meats, seafood, and dairy have all the amino acids our bodies need, so they are called "complete proteins."

Most fasting foods, however, rely on "partial proteins." In a beans-and-rice dish, for example, beans have some of the amino acids our bodies need daily...and rice has the others. They are complementary to each other, meaning that they complete each other by being together.

When we pair partial proteins together, we can create a "complete protein." Instead of feeling like we are starving during Lent, we can feel light and satisfied. We just need to know there are two categories of partial proteins, and we need one from each category to create a complete, satisfying protein.

Category 1: Beans*, seeds, peas, nuts**

Category 2: Rice, potatoes, corn, grains, bread, pasta, tortillas

*See below for tips on how to avoid gassiness from beans.
**It is not recommended to bring nut dishes to public events.

Did you know that fasting foods are supposed to be simple to prepare? This is so we can have more time to spend on praying, reading our Bibles, going to weekday services, studying about saints and Church history, giving alms, and doing good deeds for others, as caring Christ-followers should.

These physical actions of devotion, alms-giving, and doing good deeds are part of fasting. Why? Because we are fasting from some of our worldly activities (such as more-elaborate meal preparation) and devoting our time and attention to Christ.

It's not that elaborate meal preparation is unholy — not at all! Fancier cooking is simply an activity we give up on Wednesdays and Fridays, and all during Lent, so we can devote more of our time and energy to Christ.

Even so, fasting food can be tasty! Here are two examples:

  1. Try this Creamy Pea Pasta dish. The creamy green sauce is made using a blender to puree some of the peas, shallots (onion), and garlic. Frozen petite peas work very well in this sauce, and fresh garden mint and lemon make a delicious, aromatic flavor.

  2. This vegan Louisiana Red Beans and Rice dish uses smoked paprika to give it a deep, delicious taste. Serve it with a crunchy salad or stewed greens on the side.


Worried about gas from beans? Watch this video about proper preparation of beans to make them more digestible.

If you prefer canned beans, we recommend using Eden Organic canned beans. They are prepared with overnight soaking to avoid gassiness.

Actually, soaking is good to do for more than just beans: Soaking any partial protien before cooking improves its digestibility. In other words, soaking before cooking makes it easier for your body to break down the food, and lets you absorb more nutrients from it. For more on this, see the article, "Living with Phytic Acid."



Looking for a fasting cookbook that deals with modern diets like paleo, gluten-free, and nut-free? That isn't ethnic?

  • Try Fasting as a Family by Melissa Naasko, blogger and mother of 11. Available from Ancient Faith and Amazon.

  • Melissa also has a useful Facebook page @FastingFamily.

Article on "Joyful Fasting" © 2022 Presvytera Suzanne Thorpe Lichtenstein, used by permission



Denver Metropolis News

Mosaic Workshop in December

Mosaic Iconography Workshop in December

Please click the button below to register:

The cost of registration is $50 per person. Registration includes all materials, tools and a complimentary apron. The remainder of the costs for this event (valued at $500 per person) have been generously underwritten by a grant from Leadership 100.

February 2023 College & Young Adult Conference

.February 2023 College & Young Adult Conference

Save the Date: 2023 Camp Emmanuel

Save the Date: 2023 Camp Emmanuel

The Metropolis of Denver's Camp Emmanuel is a week-long summer camp for Orthodox youth, aged 11-18. Camp involves prayer services, fun activities and games, music, and thoughtful conversation on spiritual topics. Our goal is to provide an edifying Orthodox Christian community that has a profound effect on each person's life, helping participants to develop both faith and friendships that will last a lifetime. 
In addition, we invite young adults to apply to become volunteer Camp Emmanuel staff members, to develop their spiritual life, leadership skills, and friendships within our camp setting. 


Assembly of Bishops News

Assembly of Bishops Executive Committee Meets, Approves Agenda for AoB XII as well as a Working Group on Marriage and Family Ministries


Assembly of Bishops Executive Committee Meets, Approves Agenda for AoB XII as well as a Working Group on Marriage and Family Ministries


Archdiocese News

New Leadership For Metropolis Missions And Evangelism Ministry


The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco Missions and Evangelism Ministry (MEM) has a new leadership team. Rev. Father Gerasimos “Jerry” Markopoulos and Mr. Kenny Scott will be serving as co-leads of this ministry, working collaboratively to further this important initiative for the growth of our faith and the establishment of new parishes.

Young Adult Fall Retreat Focuses on Wellness of Mind, Body, and Soul


Over 55 young adults gathered for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco Young Adult Fall Retreat held at Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in Dunlap, CA over the weekend of November 4 – 6, 2022. Participants came from throughout the Metropolis of San Francisco, as well as from Florida, Maine, and Utah.

YAL San Diego 2022 - Another Shining Success


What happens when 585 young adults from 33 states COMMIT to their faith, vocation and life? They form a powerful force that will lead our church and preserve our faith for generations to come! COMMIT was the theme for the 2022 Young Adult League (YAL) Conference hosted by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco over Labor Day weekend in San Diego, California.



On Tuesday, November 22, 2022, two new Vicars for the Archdiocesan District visited the Archdiocese for an Archpastoral blessing upon their new assignments:

Fanari Camp Celebrates 50 Years!


On Sunday, October 9, 2022, nearly 450 campers, staff and friends gathered to celebrate FIFTY years of their beloved Fanari Camp. Through the efforts of the 50th Anniversary committee and the support of many sponsors, donors and those who attended, it was an amazing evening.

Deacons Retreat Held in Metropolis of San Francisco


The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco offered a Deacons Retreat at Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in Dunlap, CA from October 28 – 30, 2022. The retreat welcomed Deacons and Diaconal Candidates, and some of their spouses, who spent over two days in fellowship while gaining valuable information and insight into the important role of the Diaconate and how this ministry is beneficial to our parishes and the overall Church. Under the direction of His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, this retreat was designed to provide training to enhance the ministry of the Deacons, as well as provide a basis for Diaconal candidates studying at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA.

Cyber Monday on Orthodox Marketplace


One day only, November 28th, 2022, shop and receive 20% off sitewide. Find religious gifts and books for sale for you and your loved ones. Sale items include icons, prayer books, bibles, children’s books, Light & Life publications, and more. Mark your calendars!

Gospel and Epistle Readings

Matins Gospel Reading

Second Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from Mark 16:1-8

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back - it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, He is not here; see the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, as He told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 7th Tone. Psalm 28.11,1.
The Lord will give strength to his people.
Verse: Bring to the Lord, O sons of God, bring to the Lord honor and glory.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 2:14-22.

Brethren, Christ is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Gospel Reading

13th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 18:18-27

At that time, a ruler came to Jesus and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.' " And he said, "All these I have observed from my youth." And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."


Hymns of the Day

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the 7th Tone

By the cross, O Lord, you destroyed death; to the thief you opened paradise. The myrrhbearers' sorrow you transformed into joy, and you sent your apostles forth to proclaim that you had risen from the dead, Christ our God, bestowing on all the world your great mercy.

Apolytikion for Martyr James the Persian in the 1st Tone

Be Thou entreated for the sake of the sufferings of Thy Saints which they endured for Thee, O Lord, and do Thou heal all our pains, we pray, O Friend of man.

Apolytikion Hymn of Our Parish: for the Dormition of the Theotokos, in the 1st Tone

In giving birth you remained a virgin.  
And in your dormition, you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos.  
For as the Mother of Life, you have yourself passed into life.  
And by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death.

Seasonal Kontakion in the 3rd Tone

On this day the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to * God the Word ineffably, * Who was before all the ages. * Dance for joy, O earth, on hearing * the gladsome tidings; * with the Angels and the shepherds now glorify Him * Who is willing to be gazed on * as a young Child Who * before the ages is God.

Saints and Feasts

November 27

13th Sunday of Luke

November 27

James the Great Martyr of Persia

This Saint was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth; he was the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the King's friendship and flatteries. When his mother and his wife learned of this, they declared to him by letter that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words and coming to himself, the Saint wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. Therefore, becoming exceedingly wroth, the King - this was Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438), Isdiger's son and successor - condemned him to a most bitter death, the likes of which not even a brute beast was ever condemned to: that is, his body was dismembered at every joint of his arms and legs. And so, when he had been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous Martyr was finally beheaded, in the year 421.

November 27

Nathaniel of Nitria & Pinouphrios of Egypt, the Righteous

November 27

Gregory of Sinai and his disciple Gerasimos

November 27

James the Wonderworker, Bishop of Rostov

November 27

Arsenios of Rhaxos

November 28

Monday of the 11th Week

November 28

Auxentius, 16 Martyrs of Tiberioupolis

November 28

Stephen the New

The righteous Stephen was born in Constantinople in 715 to pious parents named John and Anna. His mother had prayed often to the most holy Theotokos in her church at Blachernae to be granted a son, and one day received a revelation from our Lady that she would conceive the son she desired. When Anna had conceived, she asked the newly-elected Patriarch Germanus (see May 12) to bless the babe in her womb. He said, "May God bless him through the prayers of the holy First Martyr Stephen." At that moment Anna saw a flame of fire issue from the mouth of the holy Patriarch. When the child was born, she named him Stephen, according to the prophecy of Saint Germanus.

Stephen struggled in asceticism from his youth in Bithynia at the Monastery of Saint Auxentius, which was located at a lofty place called Mount Auxentius (see Feb. 14). Because of his extreme labours and great goodness, he was chosen by the hermits of Mount Auxentius to be their leader. The fame of his spiritual struggles reached the ears of all, and the fragrance of his virtue drew many to himself.

During the reign of Constantine V (741-775), Stephen showed his love of Orthodoxy in contending for the Faith. This Constantine was called Copronymus, that is, "namesake of dung," because while being baptized he had soiled the waters of regeneration, giving a fitting token of what manner of impiety he would later embrace. Besides being a fierce Iconoclast, Constantine raised up a ruthless persecution of monasticism. He held a council in 754 that anathematized the holy icons. Because Saint Stephen rejected this council, the Emperor framed false accusations against him and exiled him. But while in exile Saint Stephen performed healings with holy icons and turned many away from Iconoclasm. When he was brought before the Emperor again, he showed him a coin and asked whose image the coin bore. "Mine," said the tyrant. "If any man trample upon thine image, is he liable to punishment?" asked the Saint. When they that stood by answered yes, the Saint groaned because of their blindness, and said if they thought dishonouring the image of a corruptible king worthy of punishment, what torment would they receive who trampled upon the image of the Master Christ and of the Mother of God? Then he threw the coin to the ground and trampled on it. He was condemned to eleven months in bonds and imprisonment. Later, he was dragged over the earth and was stoned, like Stephen the First Martyr; wherefore he is called Stephen the New. Finally, he was struck with a wooden club on the temple and his head was shattered, and thus he gave up his spirit in the year 767.

November 28

Irenarchos & his Companion Martyrs at Sebaste

Saint Irenarchos, who was from Sebastia, lived during the reign of Diocletian. In his youth he ministered to the holy Martyrs during the time of their punishment in prison. Once, on beholding seven women being tormented in behalf of Christ, and marvelling at their courage, and seeing how, although they were weak in body, they nonetheless became like men before the tyrant and put him to shame, the Saint was enlightened by divine grace and confessed Christ with boldness. Tried by fire and water, he was beheaded together with the holy women in the year 298.

November 29

Paramon & his 370 Companion Martyrs in Bithynia

Saint Paramonus contested for piety's sake during the reign of Decius, in the year 250. A ruler named Aquilinus, seeking relief from a bodily malady, visited a certain therapeutic hot spring. He brought with him captive Christians from Nicomedia, and commanded them to offer sacrifice in the temple of Isis. When they refused, he had them all slaughtered, to the number of 370. Saint Paramonus, beholding their murder, boldly cried out against such an act of ungodliness. When Aquilinus heard this, he sent men to take the Saint. Some smote him with spears, others pierced his tongue and body with sharp reeds, until he died.

Saint Philumenus' contest in martyrdom took place during the reign of Aurelian, in the year 270. Coming from Lycaonia, he was conveying a load of wheat into Galatia when he was denounced as a Christian to Felix, Governor of Ancyra. Nails were driven into his hands, feet, and head, and he was commanded to run. While running in the road, he fell and gave up his holy soul into the hands of God.

November 30

Andrew the First- Called Apostle

This Saint was from Bethsaida of Galilee; he was the son of Jonas and the brother of Peter, the chief of the Apostles. He had first been a disciple of John the Baptist; afterwards, on hearing the Baptist's witness concerning Jesus, when he pointed Him out with his finger and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1.29,36), he straightway followed Christ, and became His first disciple; wherefore he is called the First-called of the Apostles. After the Ascension of the Saviour, he preached in various lands; and having suffered many things for His Name's sake, he died in Patras of Achaia, where he was crucified on a cross in the shape of an "X," the first letter of "Christ" in Greek; this cross is also the symbol of Saint Andrew.

December 01

Nahum the Prophet

The Prophet Nahum had Elkesaeus (Elkosh) as his homeland, and was from the tribe of Symeon; he is seventh in order among the twelve Minor Prophets He prophesied during the time of Hezekias, after the destruction of Samaria (721 years before Christ), but before the ten tribes were taken into captivity; he prophesied against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. His name means "comforter." His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters.

December 01

Philaret the Merciful of Amnia

Saint Philaret a native of Paphlagonia in Asia Minor, was a virtuous Christian layman who lived in lawful wedlock and raised a family. He was most renowned for his generosity to all in need. With the permission of God, in a short space of time he lost the greater part of his possessions to theft and other misfortunes and was left with nothing but his family, his home, and a little livestock. Yet he continued to give generously to the poor despite the faint-heartedness of his family, who reproached him for giving alms when they were in need themselves; and God, seeing his faith, restored his prosperity to him many times over. He foresaw the day of his death, and reposed in an odour of sanctity in Constantinople in 789.

December 02

Habakkuk the Prophet

This Prophet, whose name means "loving embrace," is eighth in order of the minor Prophets. His homeland and tribe are not recorded in the Divine Scriptures; according to some, he was of the tribe of Symeon. He prophesied in the years of Joachim, who is also called Jechonias, before the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish People, which took place 599 years before Christ. When Nabuchodonosor came to take the Israelites captive, Habakkuk fled to Ostrakine, and after Jerusalem was destroyed and the Chaldeans departed, Habakkuk returned and cultivated his field. Once he made some pottage and was about to take it to the reapers in the field. An Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and carried him with the pottage to Babylon to feed Daniel in the lions' den, then brought him back to Judea (Bel and the Dragon, 33-39): His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters; the third chapter is also used as the Fourth Ode of the Psalter. His holy relics were found in Palestine during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great, through a revelation to Zebennus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis (Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., Book VII, 29).

December 02

Our Righteous Father Cyril of Phileus

December 02

Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia

Saint Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) was born in 1907 with the name Evangelos in Evoia, Greece, in the small village of Agios Ioannis (Saint John). As a child he tended to the sheep in the hills, and it is there that he first read the life of Saint John the Hut-Dweller (Commemorated January 15th) which planted the desire of monasticism in his heart. The spark lit by Saint John was fanned when at the age of seven he overheard a conversation about the divine beauty of the Holy Mountain. Eventually he stowed away on a boat to Thessalonica, hoping from there to reach Mount Athos.

On the evening after his arrival, a group of monks gathered at the harbor to take the boat to Mount Athos. One of them noticed the young Porphyrios and asked him where he was going. Porphyrios told the monk that he was going to the Holy Mountain, but lied about the reason as to why. The monk, seeing through this, told Porphyrios to tell any inquirers that he was his nephew and that his mother had passed away, for otherwise he would not be allowed on the mountain since he was still a child.

The monk, whose name was Panteleimon, became his spiritual father and brought him to Kavsokalyvia, a small skete where Panteleimon lived with his brother, the Priest Ioannikos, as fellow monastics. The young Porphyrios loved to carry out the virtue of obedience to his elders, at times being tested by them without even knowing it. When he was fourteen, his elder asked Porphyrios what he was planning to do with his life. The young man told him that he wished to stay on the Mountain. Two or three years later, Porphyrios was tonsured with the name Nikitas.

Once, being obedient to one of his elders against the wishes of the other, Porphyrios went out on a rainy day to collect snails. After hours of filling his sack, and burdened by the wind and cold, Porphyrios found himself suddenly caught in a rockslide and was buried up to his knees. Crying out to the Theotokos he was miraculously delivered, but having suffered badly he developed pleurisy and had to leave Mount Athos to seek medical treatment. The elder who told him to collect the snails profusely apologized, and personally saw Porphyrios off of Mount Athos, kissing him on the forehead in tears.

Porphyrios returned to the village of Agios Ioannis in Evoia where he reunited with his family. He stayed at the monastery of Saint Haralambos, which was near the village Avlonari, until he recovered. his good reputation as a faithful and obedient monk quickly spread and thus caught the attention of the Bishop Fostinis of Kymi. He began to visit Porphyrios frequently, and with the aid of Archbishop Porphyrios III of Sinai (from whom Porphyrios was given his final name), ordained the young monk a deacon and then a priest. Two years later he was made a confessor and would at times hear confessions for multiple days at a time without sleep or food.

His next major ministry was serving as the Chaplain at the Polyclinic Hospital in Athens for roughly 33 years (1940-1973). It was through the well-known Professor of Canon Law, Amilkas Alivizatos, that Porphyrios was assigned to the Church of Saint Gerasimos which was associated with the hospital. During this time he helped many patients spiritually by acting as their father confessor. In addition to his hospital duties, he helped to renew the Church of Saint Nicholas in Kallisia, often having recourse to it during the night to pray by himself or with family.

However, Porphyrios had still been unable to fulfill another dream he shared with his family: founding a monastery. After years of searching, he bought some land upon the top of a hill in Milesi where he later founded The Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration. He remained there for many years before returning to his old cell on Mount Athos where he spent his last years. He departed this life on December 2nd, 1991. Porphyrios was declared a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on November 27th, 2013.

December 03

Zephaniah the Prophet

This Prophet, who is ninth in order among the minor Prophets, was the son of Chusi (Cushi), from the tribe of Levi, or according to some, the great-grandson of King Hezekias. He prophesied in the years of Josias, who reigned in the years 641-610 before Christ. His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters. His name means "Yah is darkness."

December 03

Our Righteous Father John, Bishop and Hesychast

December 04

10th Sunday of Luke


Wisdom of the Fathers

Spiritual delight is not enjoyment found in things that exists outside the soul.
St. Isaac of Syria
Unknown, 7th century

Love of money is the worship of idols, a daughter of unbelief, an excuse for infirmities, a foreboder of old age, a harbinger of drought, a herald of hunger.
St. John Climacus
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 16:2,7 and Step 17:1, 6th Century

Poverty is the resignation of cares, life without anxiety, an unencumbered traveler, alienation from sorrow, fidelity to the commandments.
St. John Climacus
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 16:2,7 and Step 17:1, 6th Century

He who has conquered this passion has cut out care; but he who is bound by it never attains to pure prayer.
St. John Climacus
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 16:2,7 and Step 17:1, 6th Century