Archive for October, 2016

Volos Consultation, September 28-30, 2015: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Disability

In Volos, Greece, on September 28-30, 2015, a number of Orthodox Christians, including Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias, Professor Rastko Jovic from the Orthodox Theological Faculty of Belgrade, and Nathan Hoppe, Orthodox Christian missionary to Albania, participated in  the Volos consultation on disability, along with other members of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN).

The report on the consultation, in which one can read short summaries of the contributions of the Orthodox Christian participants: Orthodox perspectives on disability focus of international consultation

Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias speaking at an earlier conference in Volos:


From John Sanidopoulos’ Weblog: Demonic Possession or Mental Illness?

Many in the modern world consider the existence of demons to be lunacy, a relic from the dark ages, a superstition.

On the other hand, many years ago I took the three men with developmental disability who I had charge of to a Christian coffeehouse in town one Friday evening. It was during the 1980’s, at the height of the charismatic renewal, and a Protestant ministry. I too was Protestant back then. Not many people were there, and the two men who were wanted to pray for the three men with me for their deliverance. I tried to explain to them that their disability was from physical rather than demonic sources, but they did not seem convinced.

John Sanidopoulos’ article briefly explains the difference between demonic possession and mental illness  from an Orthodox Christian perspective: 

Mystagogy: Demonic Possession or Mental Illness? 

Here are other Orthodox Christian presentations on this topic:

Insanity and Demonic Possession in Patristic Thought, by Mother Melania (Salem)

A Discussion: On Mental Illness.

From the Huffington Post: The Secrets of Orthodox Exorcists, by Sasa Milosevic

Concerning Evil  Spirits  and “Internal Demons” The Orthodox Christian Teaching about the Nature and Activity of Satan and his Demons. Our Responsibility for Our Choices and Actions, and How we Struggle Against “Self-temptation” and Addiction. by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo. Synaxis Press

An Orthodox Theological Foundation for Ministry to the Sick and Elderly, by Frances C. Fowler

Picture from: Grapes, Gripes, and Gratitude: The Deaf Period of Mental Illness

Fr. Alexis Trader’s Ancient Christian Wisdom, toward the healing of our thoughts, our souls, and our bodies.

Fr. Alexis earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, a master’s degree in literature, and then discovered the Orthodox Christian faith. He entered the monastic life, attaining the Great Schema and becoming a priest. He is working on a doctorate at the University of Thessaloniki in Greece, “investigating the writings of the Church Fathers in Greek and Latin on the thoughts in contrast with Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy. “

The aim of his blog, as I understand it,  is to explore and relate to us the Orthodox Christian understanding of psychology in relation to academic psychology, for application in his and our life toward the healing of the whole person, toward likeness to Christ.

As mental disturbance is a disability and pain attends many disabilities,  here are two blog posts relating to these:

from Fr. Alexis Trader’s Ancient Christian Wisdom:

Thoughts, Feelings, and Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain and Setting the Right Kind of Goals

Acceptance as an Intervention for Chronic Pain 

And there are many more blog posts to explore , in five related categories: The Spiritual life, Prayer, Christian Hope, Cognitive Therapy, and Psychology.

If you struggle with thoughts, or know someone who does that you would like to help, I heartily recommend these writings.

The book: goodreads: Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds

Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of Sibiu’s Free Rehabilitation Clinic for low-income people

St. Nektarios of Aegina

The name of the Center is the  St. Nektarios Center for Neuro-motor Rehabilitation and Psychological Counselling.  Kinetotherapy, speech therapy and psychological counseling are provided free of charge for those who cannot afford the cost of these services.  His Eminence Laurenţiu, Metropolitan of Transylvania blessed the Center in November 2015. The Center is located in  Sibiu, Romania, a city of approximately 150,000 people. 

To access the online source:

Orthodox Post: The Archdiocese of Sibiu has inaugurated a Centre for Neuro-motor Rehabilitation 

icon from – Our Holy Father Nektarios of Pentapolis and the Monastery of Aegina

St. Paraskeva Orthodox Christian Charity, Romania

St. Parasceva

From the website of the Chicago, Illinois radio station WBEZ 91.5, an interview with physician Mariana Cuceu, president and co-founder of St. Paraskeva Orthodox Christian Charity in Romania, which serves children who are orphans as well as children with disabilities. Mariana herself struggled with and overcame severe disabilities. To access:

Global Activism: St. Paraskeva Orthodox Charity saves orphans in Romania

The Charity is a non-profit organization; all of those who serve through this mission do it on a volunteer basis. The three following pages of their site reveal who they are, their goals, and their Patron Saint, whose earthly and heavenly life in Christ is summarized. To access:

St. Paraskeva Orthodox Charity- About Us  &  Our Mission   Our Patron – Saint Paraskeva 

Icon from Christianorthodox’s Blog – The Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven: Saint Paraskeva the New, whose holy relics are in Iasi, Romania 

A Profile of Dr. Mariana Cuceu:

President and Co-founder: Dr. Mariana Cuceu

A Presentation given by Dr. Cuceu at the 2014 conference of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion, on Ancient Faith Radio:

Dr. Marcel Cuceu, “Jesus Prayer in Healing the Person” (audio)


October 19th: The Feast of Saint John of Rila, Patron Saint of Bulgaria ☦946

St. John is the patron Saint of Bulgaria. He was the first acclaimed “athlete of prayer” from this land (though he fled acclaim). When he began to be eagerly sought after by many on account of the miracles the Lord performed through him, he fled to solitary places in order to escape pride and vainglory and to devote himself to prayer. He lived in caves in the Rila Mountains. For more on St. John of Rila:

The Life of St. John of Rila & Repose of St. John of Rila The Testament of St. John of Rila 

His Feast day is October 19th.

Below, Melissa Bushunow recounts the miraculous results of her pleas to Saint John of Rila in regard to her little baby boy Symeon’s non-functional vocal chords. His intercessions to the Lord were wondrously effective! For the whole story: .

A Recent Miracle of St. John of Rila 

A merciful act by St. John of Rila and his exhortations to the King of Bulgaria:

St. John of Rila and the King

St. John offered a small loaf to nine famished royal hunters who had not eaten for five days. They ate to their hearts content, and after that half the loaf was still left! The hunters reported this wonder to King Peter, who hurried and sought a word from St. John of Rila. He offered him various foods and gold; St. John rejected the gold, but humbly received the food. And this is what he said:

To entirely accept your gift would not be fitting for me. But because of your faith and your zeal towards me, I accept the food. The gold, however, I must return to you, for it greatly harms a monk, especially a monk living in the wilderness and inaccessible places. Why does one need gold who is contend to eat bread, but not to full satisfaction, and enough water only to moisten his parched tongue? To us ‘Christ is life and dead is gain.’ In your state of life, however, gold is a necessity. But even you, who are adorned with a diadem, must not delight in gold because it is said: ‘When wealth is flowing, do not attach your heart to it.’ In spite of what is written: ‘Wealth is proper to a king’s state,’ it is to be used for his arms and his army, not for his own pleasure, but most of all it is for the disabled and the poor, for the naked and the homeless. Therefore, if you wish to inherit the kingdom of heaven, be generous as our heavenly Father is generous. Flee injustice and plundering. Be meek, calm and accessible, and let your eyes be opened for all. ‘Let the oil of your mercy run over all, but let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing! Let the poor be happy when they leave your palace! Your princes curry praises on their lips! Your purple robe shine with the light of virtue! Your sighs and tears be your offspring! The remembrance of death be always on your mind! Your thoughts be unceasingly centered upon longing for the Kingdom! Prostrate yourself at the feet of your mother the church. Diligently kneel and bend your neck before those who rule her, so that the King of kings and Lord of lords, when He sees your diligence, will give you the reward which ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard neither has entered into the heart of man – that which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”

The source of the icon: My Country – Bulgaria 

October 18: St. Didymus the Blind ☦398

 St. Didymus, who is commemorated on October 18 (New Calendar), became blind at the age of four, headed the famous Catechetical School in Alexandria in the fourth century. 

Here are two sites I have found in which St. Didymus the Blind is commemorated:

1. As recorded in The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovičor for the Old Calendar date October 18, and New Calendar date October 31: 

“St. Anthony the Great greatly respected this wondrous blind saint who had the spirit of discernment. He stayed with him and prayed to God with him whenever he came to Alexandria from the desert.”

2. St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas: Ss Julian and Didymus the Blind 

More sources on St. Didymus the Blind:

Source of Image:


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