The Sixteenth Day of Great Lent. Synaxis in Honor of the Archangel Gabriel

On the Leavetaking of the Feast of the Annunciation, the Church commemorates the Archangel Gabriel, who announced the great mystery of the Incarnation of Christ to the Virgin Mary.  Mindful of the manifold appearances of the holy Archangel Gabriel and of his zealous fulfilling of God’s will and confessing his intercession for Christians before the Lord, the Orthodox Church calls upon its children to pray to the great Archangel with faith and love. The Synaxis

Repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

The Holy, Glorious All-Laudable Apostle and Evangelist, Virgin, and Beloved Friend of Christ, John the Theologian was the son of Zebedee and Salome, a daughter of Saint Joseph the Betrothed. He was called by our Lord Jesus Christ to be one of His Apostles at the same time as his elder brother James. This took place at Lake Gennesareth (i.e. the Sea of Galilee). Leaving behind their father, both brothers followed the Lord. The Apostle

The Dormition of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God

In the Communion of Saints, which is the true Church Universal and Catholic, the mystery of the New Humanity is disclosed as a new existential situation. And in this perspective and living context of the Mystical Body of Christ the person of the Blessed Virgin Mother appears in full light and full glory. The Church now contemplates her in the state of perfection. She is now seen as inseparably united with her Son, who “sitteth

The Fast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (Part V)

By Father Leonidas Contos We would agree, I think, that to identify the “one thing” is not difficult for the Christian. To define it, however, is rather less easy. And to achieve that set of the soul that keeps us in steady pursuit of it is not easy at all. To say so is to mock the whole meaning of spiritual discipline and to devalue the lives of those few in each generation who are

The Fast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (Part IV)

By Father Leonidas Contos Walt Whitman, one of our great modern American poets, suggests this inner conflict when he asserts: “There is more to me than is contained between my hat and my shoes!” One of the most celebrated experiments aimed at concentrating on the man between the hat and the shoes was conducted by another American, Henry David Thoreau, who died about a hundred years ago. Thoreau was what you might call a highly

The Fast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (Part III)

By Father Leonidas Contos During the first fortnight of August, culminating in the Feast of the Dormition, or the Falling Asleep, of the Virgin Mary, there is sung each night in Orthodox churches a very beautiful office of supplication. In this service we alternate between two selections from the Gospel of Luke. In the one we read of the encounter between Mary and her elder cousin Elizabeth who is soon to bear a son in

The Fast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (Part II)

By Father Leonidas Contos, LOS ANGELES, August 2, 1962 Orthodox theology refuses to see Mary as only the physical instrument of Christ’s birth. She is seen as a cooperating instrument in the work of redemption. Christ did not save the world, so to speak, automatically. He was not on earth as an alien thrust in, but lived as part of humanity, sharing its weakness, knowing its need. The grace He released into the world became

The Fast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (Part I)

By Father Leonidas Contos There are in the Orthodox tradition three principal periods of fasting during the ecclesiastical year; they are also the ones that are the least neglected. One is the forty-day period of Advent; the second is the forty-day period of Lent; the third is the fifteen-day fast which begins the first of August, and will end on the fifteenth with the commemoration of the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos. Among the three


We have peace when we are with the Lord and His Most Holy Mother; she is always here to help whenever we call upon her. In her we have unshakable support, which remains the same for all ages and which will not change. We cannot find this support anywhere else on earth, not even among our family members, let alone in things like riches, earthly power, and honor. We can be left without all these


I thank the Lord and the Most Holy Mother of God that He has willed to embellish this feast day of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos through the angelic voices of the children who sang so beautifully. When the chanting is as beautiful as this, we are freed from all our cares and our interest for earthly things and we ascend into eternity with the Lord, His angels, and the saints, where our