Archive for July, 2015

the 318 Fathers of the 1st Council of Nicea

Holy Fathers with St. Constantine

Holy Fathers with St. Constantine


Virtually all of them, Marutha says, “were more or less maimed…Some had the nails of their fingers or toes torn out; some were otherwise mutilated.” Thomas of Marash, he says, had been imprisoned for 22 years, and each year his captors had cut off a finger, put out an eye, or wounded him some other way in an attempt to make him deny Christ. . . .(text from Khorea Frederica Mathewes-Green’s 

The Voice Beneath the Altar

[from A Faith and Culture Devotional, Zondervan, 2008]

A fuller quote: (

…  The General Council having thus received authority from the king, the fathers directed that there should be gradations in the assembly and that each Bishop should sit in his place according to his rank. Chairs were there made for all and the king entered and sat with them. He kissed the spots which were the marks of Christ in their bodies. Of the 318 fathers, only 11 were free from such marks, whose name were Absalom, Bishop of Edessa, and son of Mar Ephrem’s sister, Jonah of Raikson, Mara of Dora, George of Shegar, Jacob of Nisibis, Marouta of Mepairkat, John of Goostia, Shimon of Diarbekir, Adai of Agal, Eusebius of Caesarea and Joseph of Nicomedia. But all the others were more or less maimed in their persecutions [15] from heretics. Some had their eyes taken out; some had their ears cut off. Some had their teeth dug out by the roots. Some had the nails of their fingers and toes torn out; some were otherwise mutilated; in a word there was no one without marks of violence; save the above-named persons. But Thomas, Bishop of Marash was an object almost frightful to look upon; he had been mutilated by the removal of his eyes, nose and lips; his teeth had been dug out and both his legs and arms had been cut off. He had been kept in prison 22 years by the Armanites [Armenians] who used to cut off a member of his body or mutilate him in some way every year, to induce him to consent to their blasphemy, but he conquered in this fearful contest to the glory of believers and to the manifestation of the unmercifulness of the heretics. The fathers took him with them to the Council and when [14] the king saw him, he fell down upon the ground and worshipped + him saying, “I worship thee, O thou martyr of Christ, who art adorned with many crowns.”

Icon from TheoLogic Systems, Inc. (

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”( Revelation 6:9-10)

The disabilities of the confessors of the first Ecumenical Council at Nicea are ornaments of honor in the Kingdom of God, indications of their participation in the sufferings of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ.

The Nicene Creed, A.D. 325 & A.D. 381 (2nd Ecumenical Council at Constantinople):

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.  . . .

And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

see the Orthodox Church in America’s website listing on the Nicene Creed:


Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, with Prayers for healing

Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon

As we are called to care and pray for one another, here is a prayer for all sick people:

O Lord Almighty, healer of our souls and bodies, Who putteth down and raiseth up, Who chastiseth and health also; now, in Thy great mercy, visit our brothers and sisters who are sick. Stretch forth Thy hand that is full of healing and health, and raise them up, and cure them of their illness. Put away from them the spirit of disease and of every malady, pain and fever to which they are bound. And if they have sins and transgressions, grant to them remission and forgiveness, for Thou lovest humankind. Yea, O Lord my God, have pity on Thy creation, through the compassions of Thine only-begotten Son, together with Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, with whom Thou art blessed, both now and ever, and to ages of ages.

Fighting the Good Fight With Faith and Love

Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, thou imitator of God’s mercy! Look down in thy loving kindness and hearken unto us, sinners, who offer heartfelt prayers before thy holy icon. Ask for us from the Lord God, before Whom the Angels stand in heaven, remission of our sins and transgressions. Heal the ills of body and soul of the servants of God whom we here commemorate, who are here present, and of all Orthodox Christians who seek thy help. For behold, we, who because of our sins are possessed by bitter ills and have no help or consolation, yet flee to thee for refuge, since thou hast been given Grace to pray for us and to heal every ill and every disease. Grant, therefore, to all of us, by thy holy prayers, health and strength of soul and body, a good growth in the Faith and in devotion, and all that is needful unto this temporal life and unto our salvation: So that, having been granted great and rich mercy through thee, we may glorify thee and Him that bestoweth all good things, our God Who is wondrous in His Saints, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Full of Grace and Truth: St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary, and those with him

The Joy of All Who Sorrow

The Theotokos, Joy of all who sorrow

The Theotokos, Joy of all who sorrow

Akathist to the Theotokos, Joy of All Who Sorrow – Kontakion 2


“Beholding the streams of wonders which pour forth from Thy holy icon, O most blessed Mother of God, in that Thou art the good helper of them that pray, the support of the oppressed, the hope of the hopeless, the consolation of them that grieve, the nourisher of the hungry, the raiment of the naked, the chastity of virgins, the guide of strangers, the assistance of them that labor, the restoration of sight for the blind, the clear hearing of the deaf, and the healing of the sick, in Thee do we thankfully chant unto God: Alleluia!”

from Kathryn Kessler’s Facebook Community Fighting the Good Fight of the Faith 

For more on the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon: Joy of All Who Sorrow

East-West Church & Ministry Report: Christian Ministry to the Disabled in Russia

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias (1946- ) with kids at the patriarchal yolka

This article, while 8 years old, provides a wealth of perspective on ministry to disabled persons in Russia. Additionally, their Agape Restoration Center project is truly visionary. A course on social ministry which focuses on ministry to persons with disability is also offered on the website. Dr. Robert Hosken and his wife Cheryl converted to the Orthodox Christian faith from the Protestant Evangelical community.

To access the report: Christian Ministry to the Disabled in Russia

Source of picture: Voices from Russia

the foundation for Orthodox Christian Psychotherapy

Here is a robust article that is at the same time very personal, accessible, and in my opinion, not all that intimidating, considering the depth of the subject:

 Ancestral Versus Original Sin: An Overview with Implications for Psychotherapy

by V. Rev. Antony Hughes, M.Div; St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Also: Original and Ancestral Sin: A Brief Comparison by Alison Bennett 

picture from Fr. Ted’s Blog: John Romanides THE ANCESTRAL SIN (B) see also John Romanides THE ANCESTRAL SIN (A) 

So if the first article seems too difficult, try the second. And if you want to go somewhat deeper, read what John Romanides says on the subject.

Developing Multiple Intelligences in the Orthodox Church

This short article is a gem:

Bringing up children Multiply Blessed and Fully Alive: To Grow in Faith is to Glorify God “Multiple Intelligence Theory” and Learning in the Orthodox Church, By Stephania Gianulis

Our Orthodox tradition is richly and “multiply” abundant with ways to know and grow in God through Scripture, liturgical worship, icons, hymns, and personal prayer. However your children are “smart,” you can engage them in ways that are true to their personalities and to our faith. Discerning your children’s “intelligences” is the key to helping them learn and grow.

The article references Howard Gardner as the author of the theory. Here is his page: 

A Q & A with Dr. Howard Gardner by Sarah Weiss in regard to Multiple Intelligences and their good use: 

Illustration from Teaching Intelligence 

a disability resource: the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society

From the website listed below one can access “programs” and “target groups.” Among the target group categories are “disabled,” hearing impaired,” and “visually impaired.” And of course there are many other efforts as well; God’s love extends to all. Click on: – Department of Social Services

Here’s some of the efforts they support:








image from Orthodox Way of Life: Women of Faith – The Philoptochos Society


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