Archive for May, 2016

Deacon Philip Gilbert † May 29, 1997

 Paramedic, Deacon, lover of God.

Our Lady of Cicero

An accident that occurred during his duties as a paramedic resulted in paralysis. The following account is about him. There is a very touching account of his return to St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero, Illinois (where the miraculous weeping icon “Our Lady of Cicero” is located) after the accident. Its a truly inspirational story, an inspirational life.

As our goal is to reflect our Lord Jesus Christ, the Cross, in its various forms designed for each of us, will be borne. And as we know from our liturgical life, “through the Cross joy has come into all the world.”  For following the faithful bearing of the Cross is resurrection and ascension to the glorious presence of God.

Access the whole story here:

Source of Icon (Our Lady of Cicero):

The Christian attitude toward disabled people – a topic for the 2012 St. John Chrysostom oratorical festival, Junior division, grades 7 – 9

Many times in the New Testament, we see Jesus caring about the blind, the paralyzed, and others with physical disabilities (for example, Matthew 9:2 and 9:27–29). Following Christ’s footsteps, discuss the Christian attitude toward disabled people.

 Instructions A. Read the Church’s teachings: Matthew 4:23–25, 8:1–13, 9:27–38, and 12:9–14; Mark 2:12; Luke 13:10–13 B. Consider the direction your speech might take. Here are some examples: • Select several healing stories in the Bible and discuss whom it is that Christ heals. What is the Church’s attitude toward the disabled? Talk about how the Church in general and your local church are helping the disabled, and ways in which they could be of further help. • What is “disability” in the Bible? How does our society define the term? Who are the disabled, according to Christ? Who are they in your eyes? • We are created in the image and likeness of God. How does one carry that image despite a physical disability? C. Once you have chosen a direction, learn more about the topic. 

The winning presentation, by  Athena Eleftheriou: Northeast Cobb Girl Wins St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival 


The Feast Day of St. Servatius of Tongeren †384

St. Servatius

May 26

Another Pre-Schism Western Saint noted as an intercessor for persons with a disability:

St. Servatius was a fourth century champion of Nicene Christianity at a time when the Eastern Emperor Constantius II supported the Arian heresy. St. Servatius met with St. Athanasius the Great, who was in exile from Alexandria, in order to strategize as to how to address this threat. He testified to the Faith in the Councils of Cologne, Serdica, and Rimini, and before Constantius as well.

St. Servatius saw to the building of two Churches, one at Tongeren, and another at Maastricht, the latter of which survives. In addition to being the patron saint of Maastricht (in the Netherlands) he is also the patron saint of those with leg and foot problems (lameness).

Through the intercessions of St. Servatius, O Lord, have mercy on us.

Sources on St. Servatius: &

Icon from The pre-Schism Orthodox Saints who evangelized Western Europe & the Scandinavian lands in the section  HISTORICAL TOPICS on the website OODE– ORTHODOX OUTLET FOR DOGMATIC ENQUERIES

Sermon on the Sunday of the Paralytic, by Fr. Gregory Hogg (when we are weak, He is strong)

from the website Pillar and Ground of Truth

Fr. Gregory explores the theological underpinnings of the weakness of the paralysis that touches us all, and exhorts us to . . .

let weakness teach us humility . . .  

let it teach us to trust Christ,

Who can sympathize with our weakness.

 Being God, He became man

and bore our common weakness.

He hungered, and thirsted, and grew tired,

and, full of love,

embraced our death.

Christ, risen from the dead,

 trampled down death by death,

and upon those in the tombs He bestows life.

icon from: vodkashootsyou

Christ gives us life and delivers us from the many tombs in which we find ourselves stuck

Dynamis: The Power of Resurrection: Acts 3:1-8, especially verse 6 . . . 

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’” The healing of a beggar lame from birth is described in Acts. The account is truly an icon that enlarges our vision of the Resurrection. Saint Peter’s healing of this man transforms the Resurrection from an isolated event, concerning only the Lord Jesus, and shows us the power of the risen Christ ever at work in this world.

Christ gives us life and delivers us from the many tombs in which we find ourselves stuck. The lame man, with his lifelong disability, is eking out an existence in the living death of beggary, which parallels the affliction plaguing every descendant of Adam (vs. 2). Yes, we are born mortal and consigned to inevitable death.

Two apostles come across the lame man as he is begging (vs. 3). They do what the Church does for us, who are likewise crippled by sin and begging mercy from God. They awaken his heart to the reality of life in Christ, to rising and walking (vs. 6). The Church extends God’s power of the Resurrection to us and reveals that we can walk and leap before God, as He intends for us to do (vss. 4-8).

We know sin’s deformities all too well, and how unworthy we are to enter the courts of the Lord. Yet in the Church we experience the compassionate power of the risen Lord Jesus, who brings us to His footstool. Thus the apostles, by the power of the risen Christ, help this lame man to worship his Creator for the first time “within the Temple” (vs. 8).

Let us examine the conditions under which the Church extends the power of Resurrection into our lives. First and foremost, the Church goes about its regular cycle of prayer and worship. In this passage, the Church is represented by two apostles, Peter and John. They are not out on a mission looking for beggars or wounded outcasts, but simply going up to the Temple at the ninth hour to attend the final service of the day (vs. 1).

Healing, then, takes place within the ongoing routine of prayer. The power of the Resurrection is manifested in the context of the Church’s life and worship. Indeed, the ninth hour marks the time for “thanksgiving for what we have been given during the day and for our achievements; and confession of our failures, our voluntary or involuntary misdeeds, and those perhaps unknown to us, whether in word or deed or in the heart itself, asking God’s mercy for all through our prayers” (Saint Basil the Great, The Long Rules II, Q37).

The apostles are following their regular schedule of prayer when they are confronted by the lame man in need. “Ever blessing the Lord,” the apostles are preparing to “sing [Christ’s] Resurrection: for in that He endured the Cross for us He hath destroyed death by death” (Paschal hours). The power of the Resurrection occurs within the Church’s life of worship.

Further, we note how the apostles rely on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ when they reach the gate of the Temple. Here, God shows us that “the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:12-13).

Indeed, Peter and John place no faith in their own abilities. They trust wholly in Christ’s authority. They give what they know: the compassion of Jesus. They trust in Him that everyone should be healed and brought to the knowledge of the living God. They expect Christ, their Risen Lord, to act.

Full of faith, they take the lame man by the hand and lift him up (Acts 3:7). To all who come attentively to the Church, the Lord extends His hand for our healing.

Arise O God: help us and redeem us for Thy name’s sake! – Prayer Before the Gospel at Orthros

Picture from What I Have I Give To You –

Holy Martyr Vitus †303


Holy Martyr Vitus

  The holy martyr St. Vitus was a wonderworker; many were healed and converted by his prayers and preaching. His father followed counsel to turn Vitus away from Christ by means of luxuries and other temptations, to no avail. The Emperor Diocletian himself offered St. Vitus even greater allurements to renounce Christ. St. Vitus stood firm.

Having failed to turn St. Vitus from the Lord, Diocletian resorted first to boiling oil, and then lions, and then hung Vitus and the other holy martyrs upside down to be torn with iron hooks. An earthquake intervened, and the martyrs were delivered. An angel took the martyrs away to Lucanium; St. Vitus prayed that the Lord would receive their souls and deliver all who would honor their memory. Their prayer was heard. St. Vitus suffered with St. Modestus and St. Crescentia in 303 A.D. He is counted as intercessor for those with epilepsy, St. Vitus Dance, rheumatic chorea, among other things. (See the last website below) from Martyr Vitus at Lucania 

icon from Carole’s Chatter: St. Vitus 
Concerning St. Vitus as an intercessor

St. Dymphna, holy martyr, wonder-worker, and intercessor for victims of nervous diseases and mental disorders ☦

Holy Martyr and Wonder-Worker Dympha

St. Dympha’s Feast Day is May 15. St. Dymphna (pronounced Deemfna) is known to be the patron Saint of those suffering from insanity, mental illness, nervous disorders, neurological disorders, depression and epilepsy. 

St. Dymphna was the daughter of a pagan king of Ireland, but became a Christian and was secretly baptized. After the death of her mother, who was known for her beauty, her father offered his own hand in marriage to his daughter. However, Dymphna ran away with the assistance of a priest, Gerebernus. Landing in Antwerp, Belgium, they traveled to the village of Gheel, where they lived near a local chapel.

In 650, St. Dymphna’s father found her and renewed his offer of marriage. Realizing that she would never accept him in this way, he demanded that Fr. Gerebernus be killed. Dymphna received a martyr’s crown when her father cut off her head with a sword.

The bodies were placed in coffins and entombed in a cave where they were later found by local Christians. Eventually, the relics of St. Dymphna were buried in the church at Gheel, while St. Gerebernus was buried in Kanten.

In Christian art, St. Dymphna is depicted with a sword in her hand and a devil at her feet. She has been invoked as the patroness against insanity. The church where Dymphna was buried in Gheel (25 miles from Antwerp) was destroyed by a fire in 1489. A new church was consecrated on the same site in 1532 and still stands to this day.

By permission of


Full of Grace and Truth: St. Dymphna the Virgin Martyr

Orthodox Thought for the day: An Orthodox Saint for those suffering mental or nervous disorders

More on St. Dympha 

St. Dymphna, Martyr, in Belgium

Prayer in Honor of St Dymphna:

Lord Jesus Christ, You have willed that St. Dymphna should be invoked by thousands of clients as the patroness of nervous and mental disease and have brought it about that her interest in these patients should be an inspiration to and an ideal of charity throughout the world. Grant that, through the prayers of this youthful martyr of purity, those who suffer from nervous and mental illness everywhere on earth may be helped and consoled. I recommend to You in particular (here mention those you wish to pray for).

Be pleased to hear the prayers of St. Dymphna and of Your Blessed Mother. Give those whom I recommend the patience to bear with their affliction and resignation to do Your divine will. Give them the consolation they need and especially the cure they so much desire, if it be Your will. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


prayer to St. Dymphna for the mentally afflicted

Holy God, we humbly beseech You through Your servant, St. Dymphna, who sealed with her blood the love she bore for You, to grant relief to those who suffer from mental afflictions and nervous disorders, especially (names).  St. Dymphna, helper of the mentally afflicted, pray for the sufferers, (names).  Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.  Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us, Amen.

icon from St. Dympha


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