Κυριακή, 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

Patriarch of Alexandria Theodore said: "The smile is a feature of the Christian " (video from the arabic-speaking orthodox christian community of Egypt)

St. Dionysius of Zakynthos, the Saint of Forgiveness, "the Walking Saint" (December 17)

Click here, please!...

"...St. Dionysius was remarkable in his forgiveness and love for his fellow man. A man came to St. Dionysius's cell and begged the saint to hide him from his pursuers. When St. Dionysius asked him why he was being pursued, the man told him that he had killed a man. The murderer did not know that he had killed the saint's own beloved brother Constantine. St. Dionysius was very grieved but hid the man and did not surrender him to the law. Instead he instructed him and brought him to repentance. According to local tradition, the murderer later repented and became a monk himself at that same monastery. St. Dionysius is an example to us all for his forgiveness of even the most grievous sins against us..." 

See also

Σάββατο, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

Patriarch of Alexandria, the "Judge of the Universe"!

Why the Patriarch (Pope) of Alexandria Bears the Title "Judge of the Universe"

Orthodox Church in Ghana
In the Orthodox Vineyard of Africa

Theophilos II was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 1010 to 1020. For most of his patriarchate he lived in exile in Constantinople due to the fierce persecutions in Egypt by the Islamic Fatimid Caliph Al Hakim. During this persecution, many Christians became Muslims or sought refuge in other countries, but in the latter part of the reign of Caliph Al Hakim, he allowed unwilling Christian and Jewish converts to Islam to return to their faith and rebuild their ruined houses of worship.
While in Constantinople, Patriarch Theophilos intervened in a dispute between Emperor Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer (975-1025) and Ecumenical Patriarch Sergios II of Constantinople (999-1019). The dispute was as follows: Sergios II became patriarch during the time that the institution of charistikion was actively used within the empire. Charistikion was a practice wherein the donation (charistike dorea) of monasteries to private individuals was made supposedly to support the operation of monasteries, but in actuality was used by the wealthy gentry to gain income. 
This practice was strongly supported by Emperor Basil for which his lawPeri ton dynatonhad been enacted. The institution of charistikion was not popular among the hierarchy and was challenged by Sergios' predecessor Patriarch Sisinnios II. After he came to the see of Constantinople in 999, Patriarch Sergios continued to resist the charistike dorea. However, as Emperor Basil refused to repeal his law, Patriarch Sergios II resumed its use in 1016.
On account of this reconciliation between two ecumenical leaders that was due to the intervention of Patriarch Theophilos, the Patriarchate of Alexandria was given the title of "Judge of the Universe", with the added privilege of wearing a second stole, known as the stole of judgement (Kritato). The Patriarch of Alexandria continues to bear this title and wear two stoles till today (as seen in the photo above of the current Patriarch of Alexandria, Theodoros II)

See also

Lobengula Khumalo (1845–1894), the last king of the Northern Ndebele people

From Wikipedia
Lobengula Khumalo
King of Matabeleland
(also encompassing Mashonaland)
ReignSeptember 1868 – January 1894
PredecessorMzilikazi (Father)
Bornca. 1845
Diedpresumed January 1894
ca. 70 km south of the Zambesi river in Matabeleland
SpouseLozikeyi (1st royal wife), Lomalongwe (2nd royal wife)
IssueMpezeni (royal son and heir) born in Bulawayo ca. 1880 and died at Somerset Hospital on 9 December 1899 of pleurisy, Njube (royal son), Nguboyenja (royal son) sent to Cape Town after death of Lobengula and buried at Entumbane near to Mzilikazi, Sidojiwa born at Nsindeni ca. 1888 (royal son) and died 13 July 1960 (buried at Entumbane near to Mzilikazi),[citation needed] and at least one daughter[1]
HouseHouse of Khumalo
FatherMzilikazi Khumalo, first king of the Northern Ndebele people
MotherPrincess of the Swazi House of Sobhuza I., an "inferior" wife of Mzilikazi
Lobengula Khumalo (1845–1894) was the second and last king of the Northern Ndebele people (historically called Matabele in English). Both names, in the isiNdebele language, mean "the men of the long shields", a reference to the Ndebele warriors' use of the Zulu shield and spear.

The Matabele were descendents of a faction among the Zulu who fled north during the reign of Shaka following the mfecane ("the crushing") or difaqane ("the scattering"). Shaka's general Mzilikazi led his followers away from Zulu territory after a falling-out. In the late 1830s, they settled in what is now called Matabeleland in western Zimbabwe, but they claimed the sovereignty of a much wider area. The resulting kingdom was an Iron Age society in which the members of the tribe had a privileged position against outsiders whose lives were subject to the will of the king.
In return for their privileges, however, the Ndebele people both men and women had to submit to a strict discipline and status within the hierarchy. That set out their duties and responsibilities to the rest of society. Infringements of any social responsibility were punished with death, subject to the king's seldom-awarded reprieve. This tight discipline and loyalty were the secret of the Ndebele's success in dominating their neighbours.[2]


After the death of Mzilikazi, the first king of the Ndebele nation, in 1868, the izinduna, or chiefs, offered the crown to Lobengula, one of Mzilikazi's sons from an inferior wife. Several impis (regiments) disputed Lobengula's ascent, and the question was ultimately decided by the arbitration of the assegai, with Lobengula and his impis crushing the rebels. Lobengula's courage in the battle led to his unanimous selection as king.


The coronation of Lobengula took place at Mhlanhlandlela, one of the principal military towns. The Ndebele nation assembled in the form of a large semicircle, performed a war dance, and declared their willingness to fight and die for Lobengula. A great number of cattle were slaughtered, and the choicest meats were offered to Mlimo, the Ndebele spiritual leader, and to the dead Mzilikazi. Great quantities of millet beer were also consumed.
About 10,000 Matabele warriors in full war costume attended the crowning of Lobengula. Their costumes consisted of a headdress and short cape made of black ostrich feathers, a kilt made of leopard or other skins and ornamented with the tails of white cattle. Around their arms they wore similar tails and around their ankles they wore rings of brass and other metals. Their weapons consisted of one or more long spears for throwing and a short stabbing-spear or assegai (also the principal weapon of the Zulu). For defence, they carried large oval shields of ox-hide, either black, white, red, or speckled according to the impi (regiment) they belonged to.
The Ndebele maintained their position due to the greater size and tight discipline in the army, to which every able-bodied man in the tribe owed service. "The Ndebele army, consisting of 15,000 men in 40 regiments [was] based around Lobengula's capital of Bulawayo."[3]
The chameleon and the fly: "Did you ever see a chameleon catch a fly? The chameleon gets behind the fly and remains motionless for some time, then he advances very slowly and gently, first putting forward one leg and then the other. At last, when well within reach, he darts his tongue and the fly disappears. England is the chameleon and I am that fly."


Lobengula was a big, powerful, man with a soft voice who was well loved by his people but loathed by foreign tribes. He had well over 20 wives, possibly many more; among them were Xwalile, daughter of king Mzila of the Gaza Empire, and Lozikeyi.[5] His father, Mzilikazi, had around 200 wives. It is said that he weighed about 19 stone (270 lb; 120 kg). He was a fine warrior but not an equal of his father. Life under Lobengula was less strict than it had been under Mzilikazi; still, the Ndebele retained their habit of raiding their neighbours.
By the time he was in his 40s, his diet of traditional millet beer and beef had caused him to be obese according to European visitors. Lobengula was aware of the greater firepower of European guns so he mistrusted visitors and discouraged them by maintaining border patrols to monitor all travellers' movements south of Matabeleland. Early in his reign, he had few encounters with white men (although a Christian mission station had been set up at Inyati in 1859), but this changed when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand within the boundaries of the South African Republic in 1886.
Lobengula had granted Sir John Swinburne the right to search for gold and other minerals on a tract of land in the extreme southwest of Matabeleland along the Tati River between the Shashe and Ramaquabane rivers in about 1870, in what became known as the Tati Concession. However, it was not until about 1890 that any significant mining in the area commenced.[citation needed]
Lobengula had been tolerant of the white hunters who came to Matabeleland; he would even go so far as to punish those of his tribe who threatened the whites. But he was wary about negotiation with outsiders, and when a British team (Francis Thompson, Charles Rudd and Rochfort Maguire) came in 1888 to try to persuade him to grant them the right to dig for minerals in additional parts of his territory, the negotiations took many months. Lobengula gave his agreement to Cecil Rhodes only when his friend, Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, who had once treated Lobengula for gout, proposed to secure money and weaponry for the Matabele in addition to a pledge that any people who came to dig would be considered as living in his kingdom. As part of this agreement, and at the insistence of the British, neither the Boers nor the Portuguese would be permitted to settle or gain concessions in Matabeleland. Lobengula sent two emissaries to the British queen. However, they were delayed by Alfred Beit's associates at the port. The 25-year Rudd Concession was signed by Lobengula on 30 October 1888.

Life in Bulawayo, ca. 1900

Matabele War

It soon became obvious that Lobengula had been defrauded and that Beit and Rhodes's team intended to annexe his territory. The First Matabele War began in October 1893, and the British South Africa Company's use of the Maxim gun led to devastating losses for the Ndebele warriors, notably at the Battle of the Shangani. As early as December 1893, it was reported that Lobengula had been very sick, but his death sometime in early 1894 was kept a secret for many months, and the cause of his death remains inconclusive. By October 1897, the white colonists had successfully settled in much of the territory known later as Rhodesia, and Matabeleland was no more.

Lobengula's youngest daughter, ca. 1880-1910

See also

Notes and references
  • "Lobengula's Youngest Daughter". World Digital Library. 1880–1910. Retrieved 2013-05-30.

  • Dodds, Glen Lyndon (1998). The Zulus and Matabele: Warrior Nations. Arms and Armour. ISBN 978-1-85409-381-3.

  • Meredith, Martin (23 September 2008). Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa. PublicAffairs. pp. 207–208. ISBN 978-1-58648-677-8.

  • Parsons, Neil (1993). A New History of Southern Africa (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-0-8419-5319-2.
    1. Kathleen E. Sheldon (2005). Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5331-7.
    External links

    300 Martyrs Laypeople & 62 Priests of Africa, martyred by the Arians, & the Conception by Righteous Anna

    The Holy Martyrs of Africa (62 Clergy and 300 Laypeople): They suffered in the time of the emperor Zeno (474-491). Guneric, the ruler of the Vandal kingdom in North Africa (map), came under the influence of heretical Arian bishops and began a fierce persecution against the Orthodox.
    When believers had gathered at one of the churches and secretly celebrated the Divine Liturgy, barbarian soldiers burst into the church. Some of the worshippers fled, but 300 men voluntarily gave themselves over to torture and were beheaded. Of the clergy, two were burned, and sixty had their tongues cut out. By a miraculous Divine power they continued to preach and to oppose the Arian heresy.
    They all endured horrible torments, but remained faithful to Christ and His holy Church. 

    See also

    Saint Patapios of Thebes (Egypt), the Wonderworker (December 8) [icon]
    The Conception by Righteous Anna of the Most Holy Mother of God
    Saint Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She married Saint Joachim (September 9), who was a native of Galilee.
    For a long time Saint Anna was childless, but after twenty years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to them that they would be the parents of a daughter, Who would bring blessings to the whole human race.
    The Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching that the Mother of God was exempted from the consequences of ancestral sin (death, corruption, sin, etc.) at the moment of her conception by virtue of the future merits of Her Son. Only Christ was born perfectly holy and sinless, as Saint Ambrose of Milan teaches in Chapter Two of his Commentary on Luke. The Holy Virgin was like everyone else in Her mortality, and in being subject to temptation, although She committed no personal sins. She was not a deified creature removed from the rest of humanity. If this were the case, She would not have been truly human, and the nature that Christ took from Her would not have been truly human either. If Christ does not truly share our human nature, then the possibilty of our salvation is in doubt.
    The Conception of the Virgin Mary by Saint Anna took place at Jerusalem. The many icons depicting the Conception by Saint Anna show the Most Holy Theotokos trampling the serpent underfoot.
    “In the icon Saints Joachim and Anna are usually depicted with hands folded in prayer; their eyes are also directed upward and they contemplate the Mother of God, Who stands in the air with outstretched hands; under Her feet is an orb encircled by a serpent (symbolizing the devil), which strives to conquer all the universe by its power.”
    There are also icons in which Saint Anna holds the Most Holy Virgin on her left arm as an infant. On Saint Anna’s face is a look of reverence. A large ancient icon, painted on canvas, is located in the village of Minkovetsa in the Dubensk district of Volhynia diocese. From ancient times this Feast was especially venerated by pregnant women in Russia. 

    See also

    When the Orthodox Church celebrates pregnancy...  

    Τετάρτη, 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

    KANANGA - Documentary 2018: Faith and hope in one of the most dangerous places of the world

    In Kananga, the third largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, famine and poverty is part of the lives of the people. But hope never dies. The message that two Greek Orthodox priests carried along with them in the 60's and their way of life carries on to this day, helping the locals deal with the harsh reality. This feature documentary was filmed during a fragile window of temporary peace.

    Director: Pavlos Tripodakis
    Screenwriting: Pavlos Tripodakis / Florentia Amboderin
    Drone: Dimitris Papageorgiou
    Music: NVμ (Dimitris B. / Florence A.). http://nvmmusic.com
    Production: Tripodakis LTD

    Please, see also

    In Greek

    Democratic Republic of Congo 
    Orthodox Democratic Republic of Congo 

    Great Ancient Orthodox Saints on December 4-8


    Three Great Orthodox Saints on December 4
    The Holy Great Martyr Barbara
    Our Fother Saint John of Damaskus
    St Hieromartyr Seraphim, bishop of Phanarion, Greece

    Saint Sava the Sanctified (December 5) 

    St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia (December 6)

     st Nicholas, orthodox icon from here

    St. Ambrose the Bishop of Milan (December 7)

    Saint Patapios of Thebes (Egypt), the Wonderworker (December 8)

    Feast day of st Barbara 2018 in the Orthodox Church of Rwanda (from here)

    Δευτέρα, 3 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

    Saint Hieromartyr Theodore, the Archbishop of Alexandria

    Commemorated on December 3

    The Hieromartyr Theodore, Bishop of Alexandria, was born in Egypt in the city of Alexandria. This city was famous for its many martyrs and confessors: from the holy Evangelist Mark, Protomartyr of Alexandria (April 25), to Saint Athanasius the Great (January 18 and May 2), a pillar and confessor of Orthodoxy.

    Regrettably, historical records do not give us precise details of Saint Theodore’s life and deeds, but the Church of Christ has preserved the name of the hieromartyr in its diptychs for all time.

    A fiery preacher, powerful of word and church activity, Bishop Theodore evoked an angry hatred in the boisterous pagans of Alexandria, who did not like his preaching. During one of his sermons they surrounded and seized the saint. They beat him and jeered at him, but he did not offer resistance. They placed a crown of thorns on his head, and led him through the city.

    Then they led him to the seacoast and threw him from a cliff into the sea, but the wind and the waves carried him back to dry land. The astonished pagans brought Saint Theodore to the prefect of the city, who commanded that he be subjected to harsh tortures. Not a word did the torturers hear from the tortured confessor, except his prayer to the Lord. Then the holy martyr was handed over to Roman soldiers and executed in the manner of the Apostle Paul, he was beheaded with a sword. 

    Κυριακή, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

    Saint Porfyrios the Kafsokalyvitis, the Wonderworker & Prophet of Athens († 1991, December 2)

    The 1st video: An illustrated talk on Saint Porphyrios of Mount Athos who was canonized a saint in 2013 and is the author of the beloved book "Wounded by Love." The presentation is given by Deacon Michael Tishel, a lecturer at Hellenic College and Director of the CroosRoad Summer Institute. The presentation took place at Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
    2nd video: Father Jonah, now a missionary hieromonk in Taiwan, was a very close disciple of Elder Porphyrios (Saint Porphyrios the Kavsokalivite). In this video, Fr. Jonah tries to recall the figure of Saint Porphyrios as he knew him personally.

    Σάββατο, 1 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

    Saint Philaret the Merciful of Amnia in Asia Minor, the saint of bees!...

    Righteous Philaret the Merciful, son of George and Anna, was raised in piety and the fear of God. He lived during the eighth century in the village of Amnia in the Paphlagonian district of Asia Minor. His wife, Theoseba, was from a rich and illustrious family, and they had three children: a son John, and daughters Hypatia and Evanthia.
    Philaret was a rich and illustrious dignitary, but he did not hoard his wealth. Knowing that many people suffered from poverty, he remembered the words of the Savior about the dread Last Judgment and about “these least ones” (Mt. 25:40); the Apostle Paul’s reminder that we will take nothing with us from this world (1 Tim 6:7); and the assertion of King David that the righteous would not be forsaken (Ps 36/37:25). Philaret, whose name means “lover of virtue,” was famed for his love for the poor.
    One day Ishmaelites [Arabs] attacked Paphlagonia, devastating the land and plundering the estate of Philaret. There remained only two oxen, a donkey, a cow with her calf, some beehives, and the house. But he also shared them with the poor. His wife reproached him for being heartless and unconcerned for his own family. Mildly, yet firmly he endured the reproaches of his wife and the jeers of his children. “I have hidden away riches and treasure,” he told his family, “so much that it would be enough for you to feed and clothe yourselves, even if you lived a hundred years without working.” 

    The saint’s gifts always brought good to the recipient. Whoever received anything from him found that the gift would multiply, and that person would become rich. Knowing this, a certain man came to Saint Philaret asking for a calf so that he could start a herd. The cow missed its calf and began to bellow. Theoseba said to her husband, “You have no pity on us, you merciless man, but don’t you feel sorry for the cow? You have separated her from her calf.” The saint praised his wife, and agreed that it was not right to separate the cow and the calf. Therefore, he called the poor man to whom he had given the calf and told him to take the cow as well.
    That year there was a famine, so Saint Philaret took the donkey and went to borrow six bushels of wheat from a friend of his. When he returned home, a poor man asked him for a little wheat, so he told his wife to give the man a bushel. 
    Theoseba said, “First you must give a bushel to each of us in the family, then you can give away the rest as you choose.” Philaretos then gave the man two bushels of wheat. Theoseba said sarcastically, “Give him half the load so you can share it.” The saint measured out a third bushel and gave it to the man. Then Theoseba said, “Why don’t you give him the bag, too, so he can carry it?” He gave him the bag. The exasperated wife said, “Just to spite me, why not give him all the wheat.” Saint Philaret did so.
    Now the man was unable to lift the six bushels of wheat, so Theoseba told her husband to give him the donkey so he could carry the wheat home. Blessing his wife, Philaret gave the donkey to the man, who went home rejoicing. Theoseba and the children wept because they were hungry. 

    The Lord rewarded Philaret for his generosity: when the last measure of wheat was given away, an old friend sent him forty bushels. Theoseba kept most of the wheat for herself and the children, and the saint gave away his share to the poor and had nothing left. When his wife and children were eating, he would go to them and they gave him some food. Theoseba grumbled saying, “How long are you going to keep that treasure of yours hidden? Take it out so we can buy food with it.”
    During this time the Byzantine empress Irene (797-802) was seeking a bride for her son, the future emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (780-797). Therefore, emissaries were sent throughout all the Empire to find a suitable girl, and the envoys came to Amneia.
    When Philaret and Theoseba learned that these most illustrious guests were to visit their house, Philaret was very happy, but Theoseba was sad, for they did not have enough food. But Philaret told his wife to light the fire and to decorate their home. Their neighbors, knowing that imperial envoys were expected, brought everything required for a rich feast.
    The envoys were impressed by the saint’s daughters and granddaughters. Seeing their beauty, their deportment, their clothing, and their admirable qualities, the envoys agreed that Philaret’ granddaughter, Maria was exactly what they were looking for. This Maria exceeded all her rivals in quality and modesty and indeed became Constantine’s wife, and the emperor rewarded Philaret. 

    Image result for beekeeping in Africa
    Beekeeping in Sudan (here)

    Thus fame and riches returned to Philaret. But just as before, this holy lover of the poor generously distributed alms and provided a feast for the poor. He and his family served them at the meal. Everyone was astonished at his humility and said: “This is a man of God, a true disciple of Christ.”
    He ordered a servant to take three bags and fill one with gold, one with silver, and one with copper coins. When a beggar approached, Philaret ordered his servant to bring forth one of the bags, whichever God’s providence would ordain. Then he would reach into the bag and give to each person, as much as God willed.
    Saint Philaret refused to wear fine clothes, nor would he accept any imperial rank. He said it was enough for him to be called the grandfather of the Empress. The saint reached ninety years of age and knew his end was approaching. He went to the Rodolpheia (“The Judgment”) monastery in Constantinople. He gave some gold to the Abbess and asked her to allow him to be buried there, saying that he would depart this life in ten days.
    He returned home and became ill. On the tenth day he summoned his family, he exhorted them to imitate his love for the poor if they desired salvation. Then he fell asleep in the Lord. He died in the year 792 and was buried in the Rodolpheia Judgment monastery in Constantinople.
    The appearance of a miracle after his death confirmed the sainthood of Righteous Philaret. As they bore the body of the saint to the cemetery, a certain man, possessed by the devil, followed the funeral procession and tried to overturn the coffin. When they reached the grave, the devil threw the man down on the ground and went out of him. Many other miracles and healings also took place at the grave of the saint.
    After the death of the righteous Philaret, his wife Theoseba worked at restoring monasteries and churches devastated during a barbarian invasion. 

    See also

    Beekeeping in Africa
    Saint Porfyrios the Kafsokalyvitis, the Wonderworker & Prophet of Athens († 1991, December 2)

    Πέμπτη, 29 Νοεμβρίου 2018

    Patriarchate of Alexandria establishes 5 new dioceses in the Orthodox Church of Africa

    Photo from here

    Serbian Orthodox Church

    Meeting in Alexandria under the chairmanship of Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa on Monday, the Holy Synod of the Church of Alexandria resolved to establish 5 new dioceses for the Church, reports the Patriarchate’s website.
    The decision came on the first day of the session that is scheduled to run through Friday.
    At the proposal of Patriarch Theodors, the Synod decided to establish the new Metropolis of Katanga and the Dioceses of Malawi, Gulu and East Uganda, Toliara and South Madagascar, and Goma and Kisangani.
    Archimandrite Theodosius Tsitsivos was elected as the Metropolitan of Katanga, and Archimandrite Daniel Biazis, the secretary of the Holy Synod, was also elected as the new Metropolitan of Aksum.

    Image result for Bishop Innokentios of Burundi and Rwanda.
    Metropolitan Innocentios of Burundi and Rwanda (from here)

    The new Diocese of Malawi was created by dividing the former Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi and will be led by Archimandrite Photios (Hadjantoniou), the abbot of St. Sabba’s Monastery in Alexandria, who was born in Nikaia, Attica, in 1954.
    The newly-established Diocese of Gulu and East Uganda will be led by Archimandrite Sylvester (Kisitou), also from the Monastery of St. Sabba in Alexandria. He was born in Uganda and studied theology in Greece.
    The Diocese of Toliara and South Madagascar will be led by Archimandrite Prodromos (Katsoulis), who was born in Sparta, Greece, in 1982.
    The bishop for the new Diocese of Goma and Kisangani has not yet been chosen.
    The Synod also resolved to raise the Bishop of Rwanda to the dignity of Metropolitan. The Diocese is currently headed by His Grace Bishop Innocentios of Burundi and Rwanda.

    See also
    Appointment of Bishop Elect Silvestros Kisitu of the Bishopric of Gulu and Eastern Uganda (photo)

    "Uganda has now got two Orthodox Bishops..Glory to God!" 
    Bishop Neofitos Neokong'ai (Kenya), from here.