Holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalie

From today’s Prolog of Ohrid:


Adrian and Natalia were husband and wife, both of noble and wealthy families from Nicomedia. Adrian was the head of the Praetorium and a pagan and Natalia was secretly a Christian. Both were young and lived together in marriage for only thirteen months until martyrdom. When the nefarious Emperor Maximian visited Nicomedia, he ordered that Christians be seized and subjected to torture. In a cave near the city, twenty-three Christians were hidden. Someone reported them to the authorities and they were cruelly flogged with oxen whips and rods and then cast into prison. After that they were taken out of prison and brought before the Praetor to register their names. Adrian observed these people, tortured but patient, serene and meek and he made them swear to tell him what they expect from their God for so many tortures endured. They spoke to him concerning the blessedness of the righteous in the Kingdom of God. Hearing this and, again observing these people, Adrian, at once, turned to the scribe and said to him: “Write down my name with these saints, I also am a Christian.” When the emperor learned of this, he asked Adrian: “Have you gone out of your mind?” To that Adrian replied: “I have not gone out of my mind but rather I came to my senses.” Learning of this, Natalia greatly rejoiced and when Adrian, with the others, sat chained in prison, she came and administered to all of them. When they flogged and tortured her husband with various tortures, Natalia encouraged him to endure to the end. After lengthy tortures and imprisonment, the emperor ordered that an anvil be brought to prison and their legs and hands be broken with a hammer. This was carried out and Adrian, with twenty-three honorably men, gave up the spirit under the greatest of tortures. Natalia took their relics to Constantinople and honorably buried them there. After a few days, Adrian appeared to her all in light and beauty and called her, that she also come to God and she peacefully gave up her spirit to God.

Troparion of Ss Adrian and Natalie Tone 3
Thou didst value the Faith as imperishable wealth, O thrice-blessed one,/ and didst abandon thy father’s ungodliness./ Accepting thy spouse’s word, thou wast made radiant in contest./ O glorious Adrian, pray to Christ our God for us,/ together with godly-minded Natalie.

Kontakion of Ss Adrian and Natalie Tone 4
Thou didst lay to heart the words of thy godly-minded spouse,/ O Adrian martyr of Christ./ Eagerly didst thou run to the tortures, and with thy wife receive a crown.

Another Kontakion of Ss Adrian and Natalie Tone 4
The memory of the martyrs has dawned,/ and all the ends of the world are radiant./ They cry out with gladness; O Christ, Thou art the joy of the martyrs.

Lies, More Damned Lies

According to this news article on the recent approval of the so-called “Plan B” or “morning after” pill, it would seem like the prolife opposition to its approval is just a bunch of twaddle over nothing.

The pills are a concentrated dose of the same drug found in many regular birth-control pills. Taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, a woman can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. If she already is pregnant, the pills have no effect.

I read this and I thought to myself, “This doesn’t seem quite right to me,” for the abortifacient effects of birth control pills is hardly an unknown mystery.

But the article pretty much makes the statement and moves on–as though it’s as obvious as gravity.

But in this commentary, by Dr. Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., (note: no M.D.), we learn the truth, however inadvertently. Of course, Dr. Caplan’s bias is pretty much upfront and in your face.

Some have long opposed emergency contraception because they see the pill as an “abortion” pill. Others worry that having a day-after pill around will contribute to sexual immorality and promiscuity. This is sheer ignorance.

Sheer ignorance, you say? Ah, but not even the good doctor is quite willing to evade the truth, so he offers up the truth, albeit with a bunch of throat clearing and a final fallacious appeal to authority regarding definition (emphases added).

The pill acts in two ways. Primarily, it prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg so no fertilization can occur. Then in the rare event that an egg has already been released by the ovaries, the pill also changes the chemistry of the lining of the uterus so that any fertilized egg cannot implant.

Is this an abortion pill? No. For the most part the pill simply stops an egg from being available to come in contact with sperm. And even if there happens to be an egg present when sex occurs there is no disruption of an implanted embryo. The only way the pill can be seen as inducing an abortion is if one holds the view that non-implanted, fertilized eggs are fetuses — a view which few doctors, pharmacists, scientists or Americans subscribe to.

So, the good doctor and all those calm rational people who agree with them are true by fiat. Ipse dixit indeed.

No, the “Plan B” pill doesn’t cause abortions, because even if it did we just simply redefine what counts as an abortion.

Got it, Sparky.

Holy Hieromartyr Eutyches, Disciple of the Apostle St John

From today’s reading from the Prolog

Eutyches was one of the lesser apostles and was born in Sebastopol. He was a disciple and imitator of the Apostle John the Theologian and the Apostle Paul. Even though he is not numbered among the seventy apostles, nevertheless, he is called an apostle because he was a disciple of the great apostles and because in his evangelical service he displayed true apostolic zeal. Consecrated a missionary bishop, St. Eutyches traveled much, having an angel as his companion. In prison, he received heavenly bread from an angel. When his body was scraped with a serrated iron rod, blood flowed from him with unusual fragrant myrrh. He was thrown into a fire and before wild beasts and finally beheaded with a sword in Sebastopol.

Troparion of St Eutyches Tone 4
O disciple of the holy Apostles, thou wast a teacher of godliness/ and didst openly proclaim the incarnation of the Word./ Thou didst suffer as a martyr and confirm the word of Faith by thy miracles./ O Hieromartyr and Father Eutyches/ pray to Christ our God for our souls.

Kontakion of St Eutyches Tone 3
Thou wast a successor of the Apostles and an example to bishops/ O Eutyches who didst die as a martyr./ Thou didst shine like the sun and illuminate all,/ dispelling the darkness of godlessness./ Wherefore we venerate thee as Christ’s divine servant.

The Holy Martyr St. Andrew the Commander and the 2593 Martyrs with Him

From today’s entry in the Prolog of Ohrid:


Andrew was an officer, a tribune, in the Roman army during the reign of Emperor Maximian. He was a Syrian by birth and served in Syria. When the Persians menaced the Roman Empire with there military, Andrew was entrusted with the army to battle against the enemy. During this occasion, Andrew was promoted as a commander – Stratelates. Secretly a Christian, even though he was not baptized, Andrew trusted in the living God and, of the many soldiers, he chose only the best and entered into battle. He said to his soldiers before the battle that if they would call upon the help of the one, true God, Christ the Lord, their enemies will scatter as dust before them. Truly, all the soldiers filled with enthusiasm at Andrew and his faith invoked Christ for assistance and made an assault. The Persian army was utterly destroyed. When the victorious Andrew returned to Antioch some, who were envious, accused Andrew of being a Christian and the imperial deputy summoned him to court. Andrew openly confessed his unwavering faith in Christ. After bitter tortures, the deputy threw Andrew into prison and wrote to the emperor in Rome. Knowing Andrew’s respect among the people and in the army, the emperor ordered the deputy to free Andrew to freedom and to seek another opportunity and another reason (not his faith) and then to kill him. Through God’s revelation, Andrew learned of the emperor’s command and, taking with him his faithful soldiers, 2593 in number, departed with them to Tarsus in Cilicia and there, all were baptized by Bishop Peter. Persecuted even there by the imperial authorities, Andrew with his detachment withdrew farther into the Armenian mountain Tavros. Here, in a ravine while they were at prayer, the Roman army caught up with them and all to the last one were beheaded. Not one of them even wanted to defend themselves but all were desirous of a martyr’s death for Christ. On this spot, where a stream of the martyr’s blood flowed, a spring of healing water erupted which cured many from every disease. Bishop Peter came secretly with his people and, on the same spot, honorably buried the bodies of the martyrs. Dying honorably, they were all crowned with the wreath of glory and took up habitation in the Kingdom of Christ our Lord.

Troparion of St Andrew the Commander Tone 3
Thou didst recruit a divinely chosen army for Christ the King/ by the power of the holy Faith,/ and as their commander and model thou didst excel with them in the warfare of martyrdom./ Wherefore together with them intercede with the Lord Who has glorified thee/ to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion of St Andrew Tone 4
O Andrew most excellent commander, thou didst lead an army of martyrs to Christ./ And with them, O Andrew, thou didst proclaim: / O Compassionate One, Thou art the martyrs’ Crown.

Vacuous Notes

Kevin’s reply to my third soteriological sidebar has a single point: he wants to assert that the debate on the generation of the Son cannot but be a debate within the very strict parameters of God’s nature and will. My argument has been that the generation of the Son, while inescapably involving nature and will, is by revelation and the Church’s experience (and not simply, despite his sarcastic question ending his second paragraph, by virtue of my own definition), first a personal generation, which generation hypostatizes the nature and will of the person so generating.

After a couple of paragraphs of throat clearing, Kevin gets to the heart of his argument in his third paragraph:

Bottom line- it is not possible to remove this question from the nature/will debate.

This, as it stands, is the whole of his argument. By a simple ispe dixit he has removed from the debate, so he thinks, Trinitarian modes of being and of personal exercise of the divine will. What is his evidence? Simply that he cannot apparently conceive of any other way to talk about filial generation and pneumatological procession. For he certainly offers no other evidence than his assertion. The rest of his argument begs this essential question.
Continue reading “Vacuous Notes”

My St. John the Wonderworker Blog Category Page

It’s late at night, and once again I find myself in a reflective mode. Life here has begun to fall into the shape of new routines, some good, some already not so good. But while it’s not that good a thing that I’m shorting myself of sleep–especially this week–the penchant for reflection during the quiet moments of darkness of night and early morning takes hold of me now more often.

I’m mindful again of the intercessions of our family’s patron saint, St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco (or St John the Wonderworker as I prefer to call him). I’ve collected accounts of his intercessions for my family on my St. John the Wonderworker blog category page. There you will find other goods such as links to services, icons of the saint, his biography, and so on.

It occurred to me in reading the post below how many have been the answers to St. John’s prayers for us. In fact, to be sure, I can think of nothing for which we’ve asked his prayers that God has not seen fit to answer in some affirmative way.

As I’ve remarked before, this isn’t due to some magic or what have you. It’s a matter of God’s love. His love for the saint, his love for us.

St. John’s protection of orphans is the quintessential picture of God’s fatherhood, and revelatory, too, of what it means for God to love us.

I read again of the uncovering of the saint’s incorrupt relics and was deeply moved.

Our God is a man-befriending God. What love he shows us in that he cares for us through the love and prayers of others, not the least of whom are his glorified ones.

St. John the Wonderworker’s Effective Intercessions

From here:

M.A. Shakhmatova witnessed the saint’s ascetic exploit in Shanghai almost from the very moment of his arrival there in 1934, on the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. She saw Archbishop John crucify himself in both founding and managing the orphanage. Living conditions were terrible, and the needs of the children, whose parents had escaped Communism, were overwhelming. The young Bishop, almost from the start, gathered concerned ladies from his parish, asked them to found a committee, rented a house, and opened up a hostel for orphans or children whose parents were in need. The children would often be underfed, abused, and frightened, until Archbishop John would come and personally take them into his orphanage and school. Each child – and there were over three thousand who went through the orphanage – had a traumatic story.

There was, for example, a boy named Paul who had witnessed his father and mother being killed and chopped into pieces by the Communists right in front of his eyes. Because of the trauma the boy had become mute and could not even pronounce his own name. He was like a trapped animal, afraid of everyone, and trusted only his fists and spitting. He was brought into the orphanage at a time when it was packed and had no place for him. Due to the fact that Paul was so frightened, the ladies there thought that he was abnormal and refused to accept him lest he scare the other children.

When Archbishop John found out about him, he insisted on immediately dropping everything and going to meet the boy personally. They did not even know that he was a Russian boy and spoke Russian, for he only mumbled and hissed like a caged animal. When Archbishop John arrived, he sat down before the boy, who was still trembling, and said to him the following: “I know that you have lost your father, but now you have found another one – me,” and he hugged him. This was said with such power that the boy burst out in tears and his speech returned to him.

Continue reading “St. John the Wonderworker’s Effective Intercessions”