The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus was a group of Christian youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD, to escape a persecution of Christians being conducted during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius. Another version is that Decius ordered them imprisoned in a closed cave to die there as punishment for being Christians. Having fallen asleep inside the cave, they purportedly awoke approximately 180 years later during the reign of Theodosius II, following which they were reportedly seen by the people of the now-Christian city before dying.
Holy Seven Youths (the “Seven Sleepers”) of Ephesus: Maximilian, Jamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodian (Constantine) and Antoninus
These saints lived in the third century. Saint Maximilian was the son of the Ephesian city governor; the remaining six youths were the sons of other notable Ephesian citizens. The youths were friends from childhood, and all were in military service. When the Emperor Decius (249-251) arrived in Ephesus, he commanded all the citizens to appear for the offering of sacrifice to the pagan deities; but torments and the death penalty awaited the recalcitrant. Upon denunciation by those who sought the Emperor’s favor, the seven Ephesian youths were also called to account. While standing before the Emperor, the holy youths confessed their faith in Christ. Immediately, their military insignia - their military belts - were taken from them. However, Decius set them free, hoping that they would change their minds while he was on a campaign. The youths left the city and hid in a cave on Mount Ochlon, where they passed the time in prayers, preparing for the martyric struggle. The youngest of them - Saint Jamblicus - clothing himself in pauper’s rags, would go to the city and buy bread. During one such excursion to the city, he heard that the Emperor had returned and that they were being sought in order to be put on trial.
Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos
The Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the Feast and preceded by a Matins (Orthros) service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: At Vespers: Genesis 28:10-17; Ezekiel 43:27—44:4; Proverbs 9:1-11. At the Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56. At the Divine Liturgy: Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 1:24-38.
The Feast of the Annunciation in the Greek Orthodox Church also marks a day of national celebration for the people of Greece and those around the world of Greek descent. It was on March 25, 1821 when Greece officially declared its independence and began the revolution that would eventually give the nation its freedom after 400 years of rule by the Ottomans. In addition to the services for the Feast, festivities and parades are held and official proclamations are offered throughout the world in recognition of Greek Independence Day.
Hymns of the Feast
Apolytikion (Fourth Tone) Today marks the crowning of our salvation and the revelation of the mystery before all ages. For the Son of God becomes the son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaims the grace. Wherefore, we also cry out with him, “Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you.”
Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)
To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I, your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering. In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I may call out to you: “Hail, unwedded bride!”
The Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral commonly known as Sameba (Georgian: სამება for Trinity) is the main Georgian Orthodox Christian cathedral, located in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Constructed between 1995 and 2004, it is the largest r…eligious building not only in Georgia but in the region of South Caucasus, and is listed among the largest Orthodox churches in the world. The idea to build a new cathedral to commemorate 1,500 years of autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church and 2,000 years from the birth of Jesus emerged as early as 1989, a crucial year for the national awakening of the then-Soviet republic of Georgia. In May 1989, the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and the authorities of Tbilisi announced an international contest for the project of the “Holy Trinity Cathedral.” No winner was chosen at the first round of the contest when more than a hundred projects were submitted. Finally the project of architect Archil Mindiashvili won. The subsequent turbulent years of civil unrest deferred this grandiose plan for six years, and it was not until November 23, 1995 when the foundation for the new cathedral was finally laid. The construction of the church as a “symbol of the Georgian national and spiritual revival” has been sponsored through mostly anonymous donations by several businessmen and common citizens. On November 23 2004, on St. George’s Day, the cathedral was consecrated by Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II and the high-ranking representatives of fellow Orthodox churches of the world. The ceremonial was also attended by the leaders of other religious and confessional communities of Georgia as well as political leaders.
May the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, surround you all the days of your live. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Christmas Carols at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese 2013
Bixad Monastery, Satu Mare, Romania
On the spiritual - culture level, a special attention was given to restoring the library of the monastery, which now numbers over 3,000 volumes, both from acquisitions and donations. For the monastery edifice, the church was endowed with all the necessary service. In this sense there were done two icons, “The Savior” and “Mother of God”. One of the few monuments of the existing wall in this part, the Orthodox church was dedicated to “the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul”, represents a real treasure for the tourism in the area. Stone walls keep the Byzantine plan, shaped in cross, with lateral semicircular apses and a tall tower. From the beginning of our century dates the subsequent supplements, the tower and altar.
On the eve of the great festivals of the Virgin Mary, all over the Romanian land, but, especially in Transylvania, the people of villages and fairs, from Moisei up to Banat, from the country of Fagaras to Oas country, prepared for pilgrimage. Whether they live 50 or 100 km from Bixad, people respect the old tradition, for centuries, starting with a week earlier, on foot, the virtual pilgrimage. The vast majority of believers today are heading to the holy edifice by train, by car or coach.
On the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Assumption, Assumption of Virgin Mary and the Cross Day atBixad Monastery is the dedication to the titular saint. The greatest feast of St. Mary Major is taking place on August 15. The Vecerniei Ceremony begins on the eve of the festival, in the evening, on the night full of stars, confession, prayers, songs and sermons. The next day takes place the Divine Liturgy and the sacrament of those who have testified in secret night, and then takes place the Holy Unction service, the holy water and a commemoration of remembrance. The believers prepare to leave just after the Divine Liturgy is over. Everyone leaves Bixad with a nostalgic mood.
Location: com Bixad, Jud. Satu Mare, 7 km NW of Negresti-Oas, 55 km north-east of Satu Mare on DN Satu Mare - Negresti-Oas - Sighet Memorial;
Elder Justin Parvu (born 10th of February 1919) is one of the last standing Romanian Orthodox “lighthouses”, survivor of the Communist extermination prisons (between 1948 and 1964) and considered by many one of the greatest living Romanian Elders. Martyr of our times together with Fr. Calciu, Fr. Arsenie Papacioc, Valeriu Gafencu, Costache Oprisan, and so many others…
The Dormition of the Mother of God (Greek: Κοίμησις Θεοτόκου, Koímēsis Theotokos often anglicized as Kimisis, Slavic: Успение Пресвятия Богородици, Uspenie Presvetia Bogoroditsi) is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the “falling asleep” or death of Mary, the mother of Jesus (literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 (August 28, N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar) as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest August 15.
The Feast of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast. From August 1 to August 14 (inclusive) Orthodox and Eastern Catholics fast from red meat, poultry, meat products, dairy products (eggs and milk products), fish, oil, and wine. The Dormition Fast is a stricter fast than either the Nativity Fast (Advent) or the Apostle’s Fast, with only wine and oil (but no fish) allowed on weekends. As with the other Fasts of the Church year, there is a Great Feast that falls during the Fast; in this case, the Transfiguration (August 6), on which fish, wine and oil are allowed.