Orthodoxy

The Story of St. Romanos

Saint Romanos the Melodist

Have you ever wondered where some of our hymns come from? It always amazes me that these beautiful words have been preserved for so long. It makes me feel connected to that time period. You may be wondering who St. Romanos was and what he had to do with our hymns.

The abbreviated version of his life: He was a monk that lived around 518 AD. He served as the deacon of the church of Agia Sofia in Constantinople. Back then Deacons would face the congregation and chant most of the service. St. Romanos had trouble reading and singing out loud. He had a dream that the Theotokos asked him to eat a scroll of music. When he woke up, he was able to sing with confidence. He began to sing new hymn that might be familiar to you –

“Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!
Angels with shepherds glorify Him!
The wise men journey with a star!
Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!” (more…)

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Being Grateful to God During Difficult Times

This post is written in honor of my grandparents and all of the Greeks who gave their lives and survived during WWII. OXI Day is October 28th and it commemorates the day the Greeks said, no, and took Greece back.

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While we usually think about the Nazis terrorizing the Jewish people, we also have to remember that they went after other races and even other Christian denominations. Since Greece is next to Italy, Germany’s enemy, the Germans occupied Greece during WWII.

Both of my grandparents experienced family members being killed during the war. My yiayia, grandmother, and her siblings were orphaned because the Nazis killed her father along with several other men from the village. Then her mother died of a broken heart. My papou, grandfather, had a brother killed during the war as well. (more…)

Christ is Risen Teaching Resource

At our church we always have a Holy Friday retreat for the kids. We have activities planned to help them learn more about the important events of the day and of Christ’s Resurrection. A couple of years ago I had to teach the kids the hymn, Christ is Risen. Since my group was preschool through 6th grade, a lot of the kids may not be reading or not reading well enough to read the bigger words. My teacher brain was thinking of ideas to help the non-readers be able to sing along. I’m sure many of you have seen early reader books where they have the text and a small picture that shows the word. I love how icons tell stories and especially love it when a hymn describes exactly what is happening in the image, so I decided to make a visual version of the hymn for my students.  (more…)

Praying Unceasingly

Every day I have every intention of praying all day. I go to bed with such a positive attitude that tomorrow will be the day that I will pray unceasingly. “I won’t forget to pray,” I tell myself. I will be closer to God. I will be filled with the Holy Spirit. I drift off to sleep…

My alarm goes off and then the reality hits. My mind starts racing about all the tasks I need to do to get the kids on the bus in time. All the things I cannot forget. While I’m doing one thing, my kids interrupt me with things that they need. After I’ve had a few digressions from my original task, I’m faced with the burning question, “Now, wait a minute……what was I doing 10 minutes ago??” Then the cycle starts over again. Ahhh! With all of these things going on in my head, I had to figure out a way to REMEMBER to pray. (more…)

Elevation of the Holy Cross – September 14 – Part 1

exaltation of the cross

Greetings! As the days are quickly growing longer and school is about to start, I always think of my Yiayia (grandma). Why? Because it reminds me of going to her house after church in the fall and her giving me bags full of vegetables from her garden. The aroma of the plants, dirt and basil greets you at the end of her driveway. She always had small pots of basil to give to others and she always gave me some around this time of year. We also would get a sprig of basil from church, too. What does basil have to do with this special feast day?  Read this story and you’ll find out! 🙂 (more…)

Happy Birthday Theotokos! September 8

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© Will Clayton, 2010 via Creative Commons

I know it might seem a bit early to post about a date in September, but you know it will be here before you know it!  Whenever school starts, I’m reminded that it is a new liturgical year. And we kick of this new year with the feast, Nativity of the Theotokos on September 8. If you’re like me, you might not have grown up knowing all about the Feast Days (there’s 12 of them, in case you’re wondering. 😉 ). (more…)

Most Holy Theotokos

As you reflect upon the Dormition of the Theotokos, here is a beautiful slideshow that reminds us about the life she lived. 

Want to learn more about her?  Check out, “The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos” from Holy Apostles Convent.  

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!