Orthodox icon of the Righteous Benjamin. Copy of a contemporary icon.
Commemorated December 17.
The youngest son of Jacob, he was called Benoni and then Benjamin (Genesis 35:16-18). Before his death Jacob blessed him in a seemingly backhanded way, saying that “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, devouring his prey in the morning, and dividing the spoil in the evening” (Genesis 49:27). Commentators say this is not a reference to Benjamin himself, but to the warlike nature of the tribe of Benjamin.
Theotokos the "Liberator" icon (2)
Orthodox icon of the Most Holy Theotokos the "Liberator", "Ελευθερώτρια" (2)
Protector of pregnant wonen.
Resurrection icon (1)
Orthodox icon of the Resurrection of our Jesus Christ our Lord (1). Contemporary icon
Orthodox icon of tSaint Isidore of Pelusium Mountain (Isidoros). Contemporary icon
Commemorated February 4.
Saint Isidore of Pelusium lived during the fourth-fifth centuries. He was a native of Alexandria, and was raised among pious Christians. He was a relative of Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, and of his successor, Saint Cyril (January 18). While still a youth he quit the world and withdrew to Egypt to Mount Pelusium, which became the site of his monastic efforts.
Saint Isidore’s spiritual wisdom and strict asceticism, combined with his broad learning and innate knowledge of the human soul, enabled him to win the respect and love of his fellow monks in a short time. They chose him as their head and had him ordained a priest (the earliest sources for his life, however, say nothing of him being an Abbot).
Following the example of Saint John Chrysostom, whom he had managed to see and hear during a trip to Constantinople, Saint Isidore devoted himself primarily to Christian preaching, that “practical wisdom” which, in his own words, is both “the foundation of the edifice and the edifice itself”, while logic is “its embellishment, and contemplation its crown”.
He was a teacher and a willingly provided counsel for anyone who turned to him for spiritual encouragement, whether it was a simple man, a dignitary, a bishop, the Patriarch of Alexandria, or even the emperor. He left behind about 10,000 letters, of which 2,090 have survived. A large portion of these letters reveal profound theological thought and contain morally edifying interpretations of Holy Scripture. Saint Photius (February 6) calls Isidore a model of priestly and ascetical life, and also a master of style.
Saint Isidore’s love for Saint John Chrysostom resulted in his support of Saint John when he was persecuted by the empress Eudoxia and Archbishop Theophilus. After the death of Saint John, Saint Isidore persuaded Theophilus’ successor Saint Cyril to inscribe the name of Saint John Chrysostom into the Church diptychs as a confessor. Through the initiative of Saint Isidore the Third Ecumenical Council was convened at Ephesus (431), at which the false teaching of Nestorius concerning the person of Jesus Christ was condemned.
Saint Isidore lived into old age and died around the year 436. The Church historian Evagrius (sixth century) writes of Saint Isidore, “his life seemed to everyone the life of an angel upon the earth.” Another historian, Nicephorus Callistus (ninth century), praises Saint Isidore thus: “He was a vital and inspired pillar of monastic rules and divine vision, and as such he presented a very lofty image of most fervent example and spiritual teaching.”
Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, Theophany Icon (2)
Orthodox icon of the Baptism of our Lord (Theophany, also Epiphany) (2). Copy of a contemporary icon.
Commemorated January 6th.
This icon is about the Feast that reveals the Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was baptized by the St John the Forerunner, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove. From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to illumine those who sat in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace. John is on the left baptizing Christ, His face turned toward heaven and beholding the miracle of the Theophany.
On the opposite bank to John the Baptist, angels wait invisibly to receive the newly baptized Christ and clothe Him. Despite being the one submerged in the Jordan, Christ is shown in the center of the icon standing up and staring at us. His body is depicted as strong and beautiful. At the bottom of the Icon, little creatures appear to be fleeing from the feet of Christ. This is a reflection of the words of the Psalmist regarding the Messiah (Christ): the sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned back (Psalm 114:3). At the top we see the representation of the Heavenly realm and the action of the Holy Spirit also symbolized by the dove.
Widow's offering icon
Orthodox icon of The Widow's offering Contemporary icon.
NOTE: the name of the store in the icon is just a watermark. Your icon will NOT have it.
" Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark: 12: 41-44)
St. Theodore Tiron Icon (2)
Orthodox Icon of Holy and Great Martyr Theodore Tiron or Theodore of Amasea Tyro or Tyron or Tiro or Teron (2).
Comemmorated February 17th.
Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (Tiron) came from Amasia in Pontus and was a Roman legionary at the time of Maximian's great persecution (c. 303) He was commaned by his superior to offer incense to the idos and refused. St Theodore firmly confessed his faith in Christ the Savior in a loud voice. He was accused of setting a pagan temple on fire and was brought to the governor where St Theodore boldly and fearlessly confessed his faith, for which he was subjected to new torments and condemned to burning.
The martyr Theodore climbed onto the fire without hesitation, and with prayer and gave up his holy soul to God. Unharmed by the fire, the body of St Theodore was buried in the city of Euchaita, not far from Amasium. His relics were afterwards transferred to Constantinople. Fifty years after the death of St Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), knowing that the Christians sanctified the first week of Lent by fasting and prayer, he ordered to have all of the food set out for sale in the markets sprinkled with the blood of animals sacrificed to the gods. In this way no one in the city would escape the contagion of idolatry.
St Theodore appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva). Thus the Christian people were protected from the stain of idolatry. The Orthodox Church annually celebrates the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit on the first Saturday of Great Lent.
On Friday evening, at the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts following the prayer at the ambo, the Canon to the holy Great Martyr Theodore, composed by St John of Damascus, is sung. After this, kolyva is blessed and distributed to the faithful. The celebration of the Great Martyr Theodore on the first Saturday of Great Lent was set by the Patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople (381-397). We pray to St Theodore for the recovery of stolen articles.
The Prayer in Gethsemane icon
Orthodox icon of the Prayer of our Savior Jesus Christ in Gethsemane.
"Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[a]with me.”And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on.[ See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26: 36-56)
St. Theodore the General Icon
Orthodox Icon of Saint Theodore the General, Commander, Stratelates, also known as Theodore of Heraclea.
Comemmorated February 8th.
The Great Martyr Theodore Stratelates came from the city of Euchaita in Asia Minor. He is know for killing a giant serpent living on a precipice in the outskirts of Euchaita that had devoured many people spreading fear in the countryside. St Theodore was made the military commander [stratelatos] in the city of Heraclea. Here he combined his military service with preaching the Gospel among the pagans subject to him. His gift of persuasion, reinforced by his personal example of Christian life and brought most of Heraclea to become Christian.
Emperor Licinius (311-324) began a fierce persecution against Christians to try to stamp out Christianity. Licinius tried to force St Theodore to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. The saint invited Licinius to come to him with his idols so both of them could offer sacrifice before the people. Licinius trusted the saint but St Theodore smashed the gold and silver statues into pieces distributing the pieces to the poor. St Theodore was arrested and tortured. An angel healed the saint's wounded body. In the morning, the imperial soldiers found him alive and unharmed.
Seeing with their own eyes the infinite might of the Christian God, they were baptized not far from the place of the unsuccessful execution. Unwilling to escape martyrdom for Christ, St Theodore voluntarily surrendered himself to Licinius, and discouraged the Christians from rising up against the torturer, saying, Beloved, halt! My Lord Jesus Christ, hanging upon the Cross, restrained the angels and did not permit them to take revenge on the race of man.
By order of the emperor, St Theodore was beheaded by the sword. Before his death he told Varus, Do not fail to record the day of my death, and bury my body in Euchaita. He also asked to be remembered each year on this date. Then he bent his neck beneath the sword, and received the crown of martyrdom which he had sought. This occurred on February 8, 319, on a Saturday, at the third hour of the day. St Theodore is regarded as the patron saint of soldiers.
St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saint. Simon the Myrrh-streamer, or Myrrh-gusher (2), the founder of Simonopetra Monastery. Contemporary icon
Commemorated on December 28
"On December 28, shortly after the Feast of the Nativity, the Church celebrates the memory of St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher through whom the Lord wrought great wonders. A star, like that which led the Magi to Bethlehem, miraculously revealed to the saint the site upon which, by divine command, he was to found a monastery. The monastery was appropriately dedicated to the Feast of the Nativity and was named New Bethlehem. Today, seven centuries later, it is still one of the flourishing monasteries on Mt. Athos.
The life of the venerable Simon was arrayed with mighty ascetic feats and miracles not only during his lifetime, but even after his repose when there gushed forth from his relics are abundant fount of myrrh in a manner similar to that of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Where he came from, who his parents were, and where he began his monastic labors, no one knows. Some time in the 13th century, he arrived on the Holy Mountaim Recalling the saying of the Fathers that without obedience one cannot be saved, the venerable Simon sought before all else to find a spiritual elder, one to whom he could entrust his soul without reserve, an elder who would be not only a faithful guide unto salvation and a radiant model of ascetic perfection, but also strict in bodily discipline.
After looking all over the Holy Mountain, he finally chose out of the multitude of monks leading virtuous lives, an unknown elder, perfect in all respects in the ascetic life. He labored in complete submission to his elder, fulfilling all his obediences with love and zeal and soon attained to such great spiritual heights that he became known all over the Holy Mountain for his irreproachable life. Finally. the time came when the elder was convinced that his period of trial was over. Casting aside his paternal kindness towards the venerable Simon, he decided to dwell with him. as with a brother and on several occasions he even asked for his advice and counsel.
But instead of rejoicing over the benevolence and honor bestowed upon him by his elder, Simon was utterly grieved. He decided to leave, seeking for himself total reclusion. Expressing his intention to his elder, he asked his blessing amidst a shower of tears, desiring with heartfelt sorrow that the elder would grant his consent. In this way, he took leave of his dear elder for whom he had already become not so much a disciple as another mighty co-struggler in the angelic life.
For a long time St. Simon searched all over the Holy Mountain for a secluded hermitage where no one would know of his existence and no one would find him. Finally, with God's help, he found a deserted mountainside with caves on the southern part of the Holy Mountain. Knowing that before him lay the relentless struggle of unseen warfare, the saint clothed himself with spiritual armor with the help of the Holy Spirit, taking the cross, prayer, faith, patience, fasting, and everything that could crush the wily schemes of the demons and raise a man to angelic purity and childlike simplicity. It is difficult to recount the fierce s c h e m e s and hidden traps with which satan tormented and tried to catch unawares Saint Simon. The holy ascetic, however, boldly trampled upon the brazen arrogance of his adversary and crushed all his plans. For many years St. Simon remained secluded within his cave where he manfully endured the constant battle with the unseen enemies of his soul. He lived in sorrows and utter deprivation, lacking even the assurance of his own salvation.
Meanwhile, hearing of the severity of his life and in particular of his spiritual discernment and insight, many monks on the Holy Mountain began to come to him and to receive great spiritual benefit from his soul-profiting counsel, thus fulfilling the word of God: "A city that is set on a hill cannot he hid" (Matt. 5:14). Together with those who came to him, Simon was accounted worthy to receive from the Lord the gift of foreknowledge. However, through his humility he grew weary of such earthly honor, and he sought refuge from the disturbance created by all those who came to him. He was burdened by the stream of visitors which, it seemed to him, only served as a hindrance to his desire for a life of seclusion. He yearned, therefore, to abandon his dwelling for a yet more isolated one. But God, desiring the well-being and salvation of each and every one, prevented the. realization of his desire in the following way:
One night, while persevering in prayer, the righteous one saw outside his cave, as if before his very eyes, the effulgence of a divine light; an ineffable fragrance spread all around him and he heard a loud voice: "Simon, Simon, thou faithful friend and servant of my Son! Do not go away from here. I shall glorify this place; you shall be its guiding light, and your name shall be glorified.'' Out of caution, Simon chose at first not to believe this vision, not desiring to fall into the nets of the evil one; for he knew, according to the word of the Apostle, that satan could transform himself into an angel of light. Neyertheless, he continued to ponder upon the actual source of the voice. This took place shortly before the Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Then, one night, walking outside his cave, he saw a strange apparition: a star descended from the heavens and came to rest just above the rocky cliffs where later the holy monastery was to be situated. This same vision repeated itself on the following evenings; but the venerable Simon was still fearful. Wasit possible that this was solely one of the consequences of his intense spiritual warfare? And he continued to distrust the vision.
When the Eve of the Nativity of Christ arrived, he saw in a dream a brilliant star and heard a divine voice: "Simon! you must build a monastic dwelling here. I myself shall help you. Cast aside your doubts, or you shall be punished for your unbelief." The same voice spoke to him three times. At that time (as he later related to his disciples) it seemed to him that he was in Bethlehem of Judea, in the very place where the shepherds were tending their flocks, and he heard the sweet sound of angelic singing: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men: fear not, for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke2:l4, 10). After this, said the saint, all fear and uneasiness were dispelled from my soul and I rejoiced in spirit, and secretly beheld the scene in Bethlehem; there, before the manger, the Sovereign Lady stood before the Divine Child, lying in swaddling clothes.
Several days after the Feast of the Nativity, three rich men, brothers after the flesh, came to the venerable one. They confessed all their sins and began persuasively to entreat him to permit them to live in obedience under his direction. After a brief period of trial and testing, St. Simon revealed unto them, as to his own sons according to the spirit, the divine vision. More than once he related to them the v i s i o n concerning the building of a monastery on the neighboring cliffs, asking them not to speak of this to any, one while he was still alive until the proper time. Hearing all this, the brothers with love offered to the saintly elder all of their earthly wealth for the construction of the monastery, and in accordance with the saint's wish and blessing, they offered immediately to prepare everything necessary for such an important and God-pleasing labor.
All necessary preparations were made. They had yet to learn, however, of the exact site for the foundation upon which the monastery was to be built. When St. Simon directed the brothers to the location where the church and other buildings were to be constructed they w e r e horrified, seeing t h e sheer cliffs which, according to his orders, were to serve as the monastery's foundation. "Are you trying to fool us, Abba?" they asked the saint, 'or are you speaking the truth? How can this be the site, when that cliff might be quite dangerous for the workers and even more so for those that will dwell here. If this is your desire, we shall surely oppose you !"
The matter was left undecided. In the meantime, seeing that he could not convince them to proceed with the work, St. Simon ordered the trapeza meal to be served. While they were eating, one of the saint's disciples who was bringing wine to the table, lost his , balance ,through the prompting of a demon, and fell off the cliff into a great abyss; still holding in one hand a pitcher and in the other several glasses of wine. Stricken with horror at this sudden tragedy, the spokesman of the brothers strongly rebuked the venerable one: "Behold, Abba, what has already been wrought by these deadly crags before you have even begun your undertaking. How many similar incidents of such a frightful death will occur if we should agree to build the monastery here." The saint did not answer but secretly prayed to the Sovereign Lady Theotokos that he would not be put to shame in placing his trust in her intercession. "Who can tell of all thy miracles, O Sovereign Lady, and who can praise thy majesty?' What happened next was entirely unexpected: the brother who had fallen over the precipice suddenly appeared before them. Through the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos he was not only perfectly whole and unscathed, but he even held the glasses and pitcher from which not a drop of wine had spilled! Such a miracle brought fear and trembling upon the laborers. They fell to their knees before the saint and beseeching forgiveness said: "Now we know, O father, that you are truly a man of God." With heartfelt sincerity they were all grateful to be numbered among the saint's disciples and were soon accounted worthy of the angelic habit. Then, under the immediate supervision of the venerable Simon himself, his disciples, formerly simple laborers, proceeded with the construction of the Monastery.
The situation, however, was such that before anything else it was necessary to lay the foundation. According to the instruction of the saint, they were to use a nearby stone of enormous size. The elder ordered them to move it, but they, forgetting about the miracle of the unspilled wine, were of the firm opinion that not only was it impossible for them with their combined efforts to move that massive weight, but that it could not even be budged. They stood there bewildered, not having the slightest idea what to do. Seeing this, the saint approached them and, making the sign of the life-giving Cross on the stone, he single-handedly lifted it upon his shoulder and carried it to the designated site. In this way he demonstrated in actual fact the truth of the word which the Lord spoke unto the Apostles: "Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove" (Matt. 17120).
That such a man, whose body was weakened by fasting and ascetic labor, should lift such a weight far exceeding human strength, can only serve as a testimony of God's almighty power and His readiness to help those who turn to Him with faith.
Having established the monastery which he named New Bethlehem, and having spent his life in God-pleasing labors, St. Simon reposed on the 28th of December, 1287. On the morning of the next day, in the presence of the entire brotherhood, the face of the righteous one shone with a wondrous light. After his soul had ascended unto the choirs of the righteous, a fragrant myrrh issued forth from his holy relics through which St. Simon worked many miracles to the glory of God, for kings, monks, and laymen.
Many years after the saint's earthly departure, a pious Serbian king helped to greatly enlarge and rebuild the monastery in honor of its founder. Since that time it has been known as Simonopetra, or the "Rock of Simon". Today it is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring architectural monuments in the world, a standing testimony to the power of faith and God's good will toward men."
Orthodox icon of Apostle Philemon of the Seventy. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated November 22.
The Holy Apostle of the Seventy Philemon lived in the city of Colossa in Phrygia. After they were baptized by the holy Apostle Paul, they converted their house into a house of prayer, where all those who believed in Christ gathered and attended services. They devoted themselves to serving the sick and downcast.
Saint Philemon became bishop of the city of Gaza, and he preached the Word of God throughout Phrygia. The holy Apostle Paul continued to be his guide, and addressed to him his Epistle filled with love, and in which he sends blessings “to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to our beloved Apphia, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house” (Phil 1:1-3).
Saint Philemon received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival an enraged crowd rushed into the Christian church when services were going on. All fled in terror, and only Saints Philemon, Archippus and Apphia remained. They seized them and led them off to the city prefect. The crowd beat and stabbed Saint Archippus with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Saints Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the prefect.
Orthodox icon of the Holy Parents Anna and Joachim with Theotokos.
Orthodox icon of the Holy Forefathers, Abraham, Isak and Jacob.
St. Amphilochios of Patmos icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Amphilochios, of Patmos Monastery.