Saint Basil the Great
When we hear the name Saint Basil our minds may slide to thoughts of Vasilopita and The Liturgy of Basil. Saint Basil worked on many fronts for the faith. We should remember that he was not only a theologian but also founder of a complex of buildings to help the needy- orphanages and hospitals.
While his name is associated with the Liturgy we only know that he worked on the Anaphora, the preparation prayers for communion.
He wrote many books and letters, here are the names of a few-
The Shorter Rules, and Longer Rules (for monks), An Address to Young Men (on the importance of reading about pagans), Six Days, Nine Lenten Sermons of Creation, Against Eunomius, On the Holy Spirit, and many Canonical Epistles.
St Juliana The Merciful
Juliana was born into a noble family, but lost her parents when she was very young. She was raised by relatives but never fit into their family, she was always left out. She married a man who loved her caring soul. He often went to church with her (some sources say she went every morning). His parents loved her as their own daughter. She found her family.
She took fantastic care of the household, making sure that everyone was taken care of. There were difficult times, and it was difficult to make sure everyone had enough food. She made sure that everyone in the household (family and servants) ate before she did. She was resourceful, making food from scraps and even using ground up tree bark in her bread to give everyone more to fill their tummies.
At this time in history, women could not spend money without their husband’s permission and her husband often traveled for months, so she couldn’t get his permission when the poor or sick needed help. St Juliana became famous as the noble women who worked. She did extra things like needlework or baking, so that she would always be able to take care of the people in need around her.
St Juliana and her husband had many children but half of them died as babies. It made her so sad that she wanted to go live in a monastery. She decided to devote all her life to prayer and fasting. Her husband did not let her go to live in a monastery, because the other kids still needed her. When her children were grown, and her husband passed away St Juliana finally moved to a monastery.
Venerable Desert Mother Syncletica
Syncletica’s family was from Alexandria. As a young girl she loved and did what pleases God. People said she was beautiful and she was from a wealthy family. So when boys started to visit her as a teen, she made it clear she did not want to marry. She spend her time praying and fasting.
When her parents died, she gave away everything in the house. Sold her family home and took her little sister to live in the desert.
Stories about her spread around and soon other women and girls came to live in the cave with them. She lived to be an old lady, about 80 years old before she became very ill and fell alseep in the Lord.
Baptism of Christ
In ancient times clean water was very important. Well water was usually safe but didn’t taste good. The best water was from rivers or streams. Hikers still know, moving water doesn’t grow germs so its safest. In Jesus’ time they called this living water. The Jews used this water in ritual washing. John the Baptist washed his followers to prepare them for the Christ. Jesus was washed and transformed the water for full life in God- spiritual and physical cleansing. Now a priest will Baptise new Christians in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
St Gregory the Theologian
Gregory and Saint Basil met as young monks. They continued to be friends throughout their lives. Gregory went to Constantinople to defend the faith and help create the second part of the Nicene Creed (about the Holy Spirit). It is well known that he wrote volumes defending the faith. He also wrote poems expressing the beauty of the faith.
He comes from a very devout family. His mother (St Nonna), father (also St Gregory of Nazianzus) and some of his siblings are all revealed as saints.
St John of Chrysostom
John the “Golden Mouthed” was a famous monastic preacher. He wrote commentaries on many Books of the New Testament. In Constantinople he was ordained. John worked tirelessly for Church unity. He held all accountable, even the powerful and wealthy. Hurting their reputations made them angry. They had him arrested for treason and he was falsely convicted.
Download here the document for the Three Holy Hierarchs together as a “triptych”
Nativity Blessings! We are done opening gifts but the season of Nativity continues on. Venerable Desert Mother Syncletica Syncletica’s family was from Alexandria. As a young girl she loved and did what pleases God. People said she was beautiful and she was from a wealthy family. So when boys started to visit her as aContinue reading “January”