Saint Nonna is best known as mother of Saint Gregory the Theologian. She was a Christian woman who married a pagan man. She prayed and worked hard to convince her husband to stop worshiping animals and follow the true God. She was rewarded with a faithful husband who eventually became bishop. She worked just as hard to raise her children in Christian virtues. Three of her children are recognized saints! When her children were adults and had moved away, Nonna got sick and refused to eat. She ate bread brought to her in a vision by her son Gregory. She believed the vision so strongly that he body got stronger.
Transfiguration of Christ
When Jesus told His students that He was going to leave soon, they had bad attitudes. They were sad and didn’t understand why He would go away. So Jesus took Peter, James and John and hiked up Mount Tabor.Mt Tabor is mentioned throughout the Old Testament. It was a Holy place, up high close to God. It was also important for its view of the land. The military used it, and travelers used it. It was safe because you could see for a long way off. Jesus used it to show His students something new. All of a sudden Moses and Elijah appeared and Jesus’ clothes turned white. The disciples (Jesus’ students) heard a voice say, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him”. Peter, John, and James all knew this was the voice of God. They fell down on the ground and covered their faces until Jesus touched them and said, “Rise and don’t be afraid”. When they looked up, their teacher looked normal and the prophets, Moses and Elijah were gone. Nobody else had climbed up the mountain, and nobody was climbing down, or the disciples would have been able to see them. It wasn’t a trick. Jesus wanted His students to understand that He was on Earth for a reason, and soon He was going home to Heaven. God wanted to show the disciples that Jesus was telling the Truth.
The Falling Asleep of Mary
the Mother of God-Theotokos
Mary was a special girl from the moment she was born to the moment she died. Her parents prayed to God for a miracle because they wanted a child, and He gave them Mary. When she was a kid her parents brought her to live at the Holy Temple to be taught all God’s rules by the priests. Then as a teenager God sent an angel to ask her if she would bring His son into the world and raise Him. She accepted this very special job and gave birth to Jesus on Christmas. Mary became the first Christian, believing that He was God’s Son. She encouraged Jesus to do God’s good work. She went with Him when He preached. And when Jesus died for everyone’s sins, Mary was there. She helped bury Jesus’ body and was there for His Resurrection on Holy Pascha. Eventually Mary was an old lady. One day she fell asleep and didn’t wake up. All Jesus friends came to say goodbye. And just like she was there for Jesus, He came and carried His Mom up to Heaven. She has a special spot in Heaven, close to Jesus Christ where she is still there for us. She prays and prays to Jesus and can help us when we ask.
Here is a small piece of Paraklesis to try as a prayer
To the Theotokos, let us run now most fervently,As sinners and lowly ones,Let us fall down in repentance,Crying from the depths of our soul:Lady, come and help us,Have compassion upon us;Hasten now for we are lostIn the host of our errors;Do not turn your servants away,For you alone are a hope to us.Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.-Amen
St Natalia had only been married for a year when Emperor Maximian (4th century) began rounding up Christians. Her husband worked for the Emperor so she never told him that she was a Christian. Adrian, her husband, saw the faith of the Christians being tortured and told the scribe to add him to the list of Christians to be executed. She encouraged her husband, and revealed that she too was a Christian. She encouraged her husband to stand firm through his torture and execution. She was saved from execution by a guard who wanted to marry her for her money. She ran away, excaping the unwanted marriage. But she was so exhuasted that she fell asleep in the Lord.
Abba Moses the Ethiopian
Please note that different traditions have widely different stories for him so I went with the OCA’s version.
Moses was an angry man. He was a slave who ran away from his master and started a gang. People were terrified of this big strong man and his violent gang! After years of stealing, God brought Moses to a monastery to end his life of crime. Moses lived at the monastery for years in faithful obedience to the Abbot.
One day robbers came to the monastery and where met by the big strong Moses. He tied all of them up, and dragged the to the Elders. The Elders said to show mercy and let them free. The robbers where shocked when their gang’s old boss let them go. They saw God had changed Moses, and they decided to stay at the monastery.
They followed Moses example, becoming monks and living faithful lives. It wasn’t always easy, their sinful pasts bothered their consciences. They followed the advice of the Elders. Moses even gave himself extra chores. He lived a long life at the monastery, but in the end robbers killed him.
St John the Baptist and Forerunner
John the Baptist was Jesus cousin. He was a very holy man. We call him The Forerunner because he started preaching that the Christ was coming before Jesus began his ministry. He lived almost like a monk, his icon shows him wearing fur or green clothes to remind us that he lived close to nature. John was a prophet. He told everyone God’s important news. John’s followers were baptized to wash their sins off and make them ready to follow Jesus.
We remember John the Baptist on August 29th. He was killed by an evil woman who tricked a powerful man into having him executed. John spoke the truth about her naughty life and she felt bad but did not ask for God to forgive her. Instead she got angry and got a man to cut off his head. Throughout history his head has been lost and then found!
I hope you enjoy coloring The icon of John the Baptist, God’s messenger (just like angels). Remember he lived in the desert, so he wears green and angel wings are yellow or orange.Find John’s head under crafts!
St Aidan of Lindisfarn
Aidan was an Irish monk who lived on a tiny island, Iona, off the coast of Ireland. The King Oswald wanted his people to convert to Christianity. The first Bishop sent to the region was a Briton who insisted on using the Roman Rites. Aidan defended the Celtic traditions and that bishop was sent away. Aidan helped build an Irish style monastery . It had wooden buildings and round houses, so it looked familiar and felt like part of the community. He ensured this monastery and local community would last into the future by educating the people. He started his school with twelve boys. He insisted on using English for the benefit of the people. This system was so successful that missionaries from his schools spread throughout Anglo-Saxon England!
Abbreviated from – https://www.lindisfarne.org.uk/general/aidan.htm