Posts on Orthodox subjects such as spirituality, practices, saints, services, and history

St. Hierotheos on the Dormition

Icon of the TheotokosWhen was such a wonder of wonders ever seen by men? How does the Queen of all lie breathless? How has the Mother of Jesus reposed? Thou, O Virgin, wast the preaching of the prophets; thou art heralded by us. All the people venerate thee; the angels glorify thee. Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee, and through thee, with us. With Gabriel we hymn thee, with the angels we glorify thee; and with the prophets we praise thee, for they announced thee.

Habakkum beheld thee as an overshadowed mountain, for thou art (more…)

The Snakes That Venerate Icons (Symbolism of the Serpents)

This article on A Reader’s Guide to Orthodox Icons begins with a very brief history about the snakes, but it is particularly interesting for its discussion on the symbolism of these serpents in Orthodoxy.

Icon of Panagia Fidousa (Virgin of the Snakes)

Icon of Panagia Fidousa (Virgin of the Snakes)

The snakes that venerate icons

In a tiny Greek village in the south of Kefallonia, a miracle occurs every year after the feast of the Transfiguration (Aug 6). Around the bell-tower of the chapel at Markopoulo, small venomous snakes appear. These snakes crawl around the church, and upon the icons of the Mother of God in an act of apparent veneration. The snakes remain in the confines of the chapel, docile throughout, until the feast of the Dormition (Aug 15), when they disperse and become almost impossible . . .

. . . Read More

Akathist to the Theotokos

Icon of the Akathist to the TheotokosThe Akathist to the Theotokos is a spiritual weapon to wield against the various afflictions that trouble us —  suffering through trials and temptations, trying to overcome the passions, or being in a state of indecision or uncertainty about God’s will. Typically the personal prayers of intercession (for yourself or on the behalf of others) are offered at the end of the Akathist. It is also a custom for Orthodox Christians to (more…)

Metropolitan Anthony: Sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord

posts-icon-transfigurationBy Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky, +1936), the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad

The prayers sung in church today explain to us, brothers, that the Lord revealed His divine Transfiguration with the specific goal of persuading His followers that they, too, are to adorn their inner image with virtues, and to shine also with external spiritual beauty. Within our souls lies the insatiable thirst of seeing the (more…)

St. Theophan the Recluse on Prayer and Fasting

posts-icon-st-theophan-the-recluse“This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” [Matthew 17:14-23]

If this kind goes out by the prayer and fasting of another person, then it is even less able to enter one who fasts and prays.

What protection!

Although there are a slew of demons and all the air is packed (more…)

The Miracle of the Dormition Snakes

Photo of the Dormition SnakesEach year a miracle occurs in a small Greek village in Kefallonia. Between the feasts of Transfiguration (August 6) and the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15), snakes with small crosses on their heads and tongues come from the bell tower and enter the church to venerate icons. They disappear after Dormition until the next year.

You can read about the history of the snakes in the article The Holy Snakes of the Virgin Mary in Kefallonia (Part 1). Pictures of the snakes are in Part 2.

You can also see videos of the snakes below.



The Seven Holy Maccabees

Icon of the Seven Holy MaccabeesThe account of the Martyrdom of the Seven Holy Maccabees (Saints Habim, Antonin, Guriah, Eleazar, Eusebon, Hadim (Halim) and Marcellus) and their mother St. Solomonia from II Maccabees Chapter 7.


It came to pass also, that seven brethren with their mother were taken, and compelled by the king against the law to taste swine’s flesh, and were tormented with scourges and whips. (more…)

On Reading the Fathers by C.S. Lewis

posts-pic-cs-lewisThe following is an excerpt from C. S. Lewis’ Introduction to On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius the Great.


There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing (more…)

St. John of Karpathos: On Falling Down and Getting Up

posts-icon-st-john-karpathos“My brethren, do all that is in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall, but, if you do fall, get up again at once, and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times, because of the withdrawal of God’s grace, rise up again at each time, and keep on doing so until the day of your death. For it is written: ‘If a righteous man falls seven times,’ that is, repeatedly throughout his life, ‘seven times shall he rise again’ [Proverbs 24:16].”

+ St. John of Karpathos, from the collection of letters to monks in India

You are Three and We are Three

This short movie (~20 minutes total) illustrates why “you should not judge people on the basis of how many or how few prayers they read or how many they know by heart.”

(Note: This movie is on YouTube in two parts; the viewer below is set up to play Part 2 automatically when Part 1 finishes.)

You can find other Orthodox movies recommendations on our YouTube playlist.