Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Young Child That Confessed His Faith In Christ

On November 18th the Orthodox Church commemorates a nameless young child, who some sources say was named Barulas.

One day in Antioch in the early fourth century, at a time when the Christians were being persecuted by the pagans, Saint Romanos saw the pagan governor Asclypiades walking to the temple to offer a sacrifice, and he yelled: "The idols are not gods." For this he was beaten and arrested.

When Saint Romanos stood before the governor, he explained to the governor that even children have the common sense to not worship idols. The governor then asked for a young child to be brought forward, and when asked, "In which God do you believe in?",  he responded: "In the God of the Christians."

For this confession of his faith in Christ, the child was beaten and beheaded. Saint Romanos was strangled in prison.

Through their intercessions, have mercy on us and save us, O Lord.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Saint Nektarios as a Teacher of the Youth

Saint Nektarios, the Bishop of Pentapolis and Wonderworker, remains today a far-shining lighthouse and illuminates us with his many virtues, important writings and innumerable miracles.

Among other things, however, he was an excellent Educator and Teacher of the youth, whom he considered the golden hope of the Church and the Nation, as the "foundation of tomorrow". He describes adolescence as important and hurried. "Important indeed is the great mission for which it is allotted, hurried in its short duration, during which it must accomplish many and great things," as he notes in his discourse titled "On the Call of Teenagers in Society" delivered to the High School students of Lamia.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

How a Horror Movie Inspired Me To Begin Studying the Bible

By John Sanidopoulos

It was 1988. I was twelve years old. My aunt was babysitting my older two sisters and I and she decided to take us to the movies. There were no good PG rated movies my aunt wanted to see, but then she saw a movie was starring Demi Moore that she did really want to see, however it was rated R. My aunt asked me if I wanted to see it, but I was nervous to see a rated R horror movie, as I was easily frightened by horror films as a child, and this would also be the very first rated R movie I would ever see in a theater. I gave in, half excited and half nervous. The movie we were going to watch was called The Seventh Seal.

Friday, October 8, 2021

"Friends Are Very Influential on Children" (St. Paisios the Athonite)

Saint Paisios the Athonite once said:

Friends are very influential on children. When I was young, I had love within my nature. I would go somewhere with the animals and I was looking to put one animal on top of the other, while at the same time I had my little brother on my shoulder. One day a brother of mine killed a bird and I got very upset and we got into a fight. I took the bird and buried it with tears.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

"How Can I Become A Saint?": A True Story

Fr. Constantine Virgil Gheorgiou

Virgil Gheorghiu (1916-1992) was a well-known Romanian writer, who is best known for his 1949 novel, The 25th Hour. Gheorghiu was ordained a priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Paris on May 23, 1963. In 1966, Patriarch Justinian awarded him the cross of the Romanian Patriarchate for his liturgical and literary activities. The 25th Hour was made into a movie starring Anthony Quinn in 1967. In 1968 Fr. Virgil wrote Why Was I Called Virgil?, in which he tells us only the beginning of the story below. In 1986 he published his Memoirs, in which the whole story was written.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

A Letter from the Archbishop of Cyprus to All the Youth and Students of Cyprus

With an encyclical that will be read during the first days of classes in the schools of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus urges young people to take advantage of the opportunity given to them during their school years, in order to reap the greatest possible benefit from what will be taught, but also to complete themselves as personalities within the society, which will welcome them upon the completion of their studies. Though not everything here will apply to a general audience, it certainly forms a good foundation and model upon which pastoral advice for the youth at the beginning of the school year could be based on anywhere in these times.

Monday, August 9, 2021

How Saint Nikanor the Wonderworker Became the Protector and Guardian of the Children of Kastoria

In the year 1908, Kastoria suffered from a severe smallpox epidemic, resulting in the death of many young children.

At that time, a request was sent from the city to the Monastery of Zavorda, that the relics of Saint Nikanor (+ August 7, 1549) be sent to Kastoria. The fathers granted the request. They sent the relics accompanied by the brother of the Monastery, then the young Deacon Nikephoros (Papasideris), who came from Dispilio, and later became Metropolitan of Kastoria. As soon as the relics reached the city, the deadly epidemic immediately stopped and, in the expression of the then Kastorians, "the disease was cut with a knife". 

Since then, Saint Nikanor the Wonderworker is the protector and guardian of the children of Kastoria.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Youthful Judgmentalism and "Woke" Culture

Christopher Columbus statue in Newport, RI

“Extraordinary creatures you young people are, altogether. The past you hate, the present you despise, and the future is a matter of indifference. How do you suppose that can lead to any good end?” 

Erich Maria Remarque, Three Comrades (1938)
Yesterday I decided to go for a drive and catch up on some podcasts I've fallen behind on. It was a fairly nice day so I ended up driving through Newport, Rhode Island. As I came I was stopped at a traffic light I noticed a statue of man immediately to my left that I had never noticed before. From the side he appeared as a man from the Renaissance period, holding a globe in his right hand and at the base of the statue I could make out the word "Pinta". Immediately I realized it was Christopher Columbus. And as soon as I realized it was Columbus, I wondered how this statue has managed to survive "cancel culture", so I looked it up online, and predictably I read how in 2020 the mayor proposed for it to be replaced by "another Italian", since it was put up by the Italian community in the 1950's.

Friday, April 23, 2021

A Model Sermon for Children Attending a Presanctified Liturgy

 By Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Mani

First of all, I want to congratulate you for coming to church today and standing quietly, with reverence, here in the house of God.

I will tell you a few words about the Presanctified Divine Liturgy - this special Liturgy - which is performed only during this period of Great Lent.

The wise Fathers of the Church have instituted the Presanctified Divine Liturgy because at this time we cannot perform the normal, the glorious, the perfect, as we say, Divine Liturgy, and this is because this period is one of mourning, it is a period of fasting, of greater self-control and prayer, it is a period of greater spiritual struggles.

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Response of Saint Amphilochios Makris to a Request for Spiritual Advice from a Sixteen Year Old Girl

My child, the advice I give you will be a beacon throughout your life. These paternal words will guide you and bring you like a hurricane and auspicious wind near the eternal and happy port of your adoring love. Let your soul sail quietly on the calm waters so that it can reach its end. But to be able to reach this end of happiness, you need a lot of struggle and wrestling against the passions.
It is a struggle throughout this life of bitter exile, because in this life we are strangers and wandering sojourners, asking for refuge everywhere. We will find refuge and perfect rest only near our eternal homeland and there we will live in real security. There we will enjoy the unfading and all-white crown of our efforts.

Monday, March 29, 2021

My Mother Forced Me to Go to Confession

The priest was waiting for the next person to confess. He saw a young boy, about fifteen, walking in hesitantly. He welcomed him and motioned for him to sit in the chair opposite him.

The Crucified One on the small table with the small oil lamp looked at them affectionately and protectively. The atmosphere smelled of incense from the vespers that had just preceded.

The young boy with his head down did not speak. The priest also waited, offering a short prayer, as he did for all the faithful who found the courage to come to the mystery of repentance.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Parable of the Prodigal Son: An Instructive Lesson for Youth (St. John Maximovitch)


By St. John Maximovitch

"And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that fall to me'" (Luke 15:11-32).

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a most instructive lesson for youth. We see in the prodigal son the true character of flighty youth: light-minded, thoughtless, thirsting for independence; in short, everything that usually distinguishes the majority of youths.

The younger son grew up in his parents’ house. On reaching adolescence, he already began to imagine that life at home was too restrictive. It seemed unpleasant to him to live under his father’s rule and his mother’s watchful eye.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Orthodox Christian Youth and Suicide (St. Ephraim of Katounakia)

By Professor George Kroustalakis

Question: Elder, I would like you to tell us a little bit about the suicide, which you mentioned earlier, of young people in particular, which is often seen nowadays. We see that some young people, when faced with certain difficulties in life, usually "failures", are led to despair and eventually, without even struggling, sometimes end their lives violently.

Answer: These young people are distant from the Church. The Patriarch Abraham went a hundred years until Isaac was born. And Sarah was ninety. He never despaired! No.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Short Film: "Strange Mystery" (2020)


To commemorate the 100th anniversary since the death of Saint Nektarios (1920-2020), a short film about the childhood years and struggles of Saint Nektarios was made by Alexandros Fotopoulos and Stelios Fetanis, titled "A Strange Mystery", which was shown virtually to all the Middle School and High School students of Crete on December 23, 2020, as a Christmas story. The film is in Greek, but should not be missed, so I have written out the story below presented in the film in order to understand what you are seeing as you watch it.
Before he became known as Saint Nektarios, he was born and baptized with the name Anastasios Kephalas. He was one of the six children of Demmosthenis and Vasiliki, and was born on October 1st, 1846, in Eastern Selybria of Thrace. His parents were very poor but pious Christians who brought up their children according to the teachings of our Church. His grandmother also played a major role in inspiring him to live a life consistent with his Christian beliefs.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Interview With a Popular Orthodox Christian Metropolitan About the Challenges of his Childhood


Interview with Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol in Cyprus

By Elita Michailidou

On February 19, 2020

Interviewer: Does Metropolitan Athanasios have a worldly name? Did he have a worldly name?

Metropolitan Athanasios: Of course, I didn't fall from heaven!

I: What is your name?

MA: Andrew

I: When were you born?

MA: February 8, 1959