A German Wehrmacht soldier shows a Greek Eastern Orthodox monk a Greek-language copy of the Wehrmacht published Signal magazine atop of Mount Athos. Signal was a modern, glossy, illustrated photo journal and army propaganda tool, meant specifically for audiences in neutral, allied, and occupied countries. Mount Athos and the entire peninsula is exclusively home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. Following the German invasion and occupation of Greece in April 1941, the Epistassia, Athos’s four-member executive committee, formally asked Hitler to place the Autonomous Monastic State under his personal protection, a request with which the Führer gladly complied. In gratitude for his protection, the monks displayed and revered Hitler images, including a portrait that hung directly in the center of a wall of paintings in the great reception room of St. Panteleimon monastery. Mount Athos, Athonite monastic state, Greece. July 1943.  

Yesterday morning, monks from the Kiev-Caves Lavra Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Melchisedek, and Fr. Ephraim stood on Grushevsky Street in Kiev with a cross and icons, between the demonstrators and the Ukrainian special police force “Berkut”, and stopped the conflict. They entered the arena as peace-makers, and not in support of one side or the other.

Although they were invited to join the “people”, the fathers only prayed and sang the Paschal troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life,” wrote the Ramensky deanery of Moscow on its facebook page. The conflict ceased.

Palestinian Christians celebrate Palm Sunday at the Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza


Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs, Great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom

The three Hierarchs—an earthly trinity as they are called in some of the wonderful troparia of their service—have taught us in their writings and equally by their lives, to worship and to glorify the Holy Trinity, the One God in three Persons. These three luminaries of the Church have shed the light of the true Faith all over the world, scorning dangers and persecutions, and they have left us, their descendants, this sacred inheritance by which we too can attain to utmost blessedness and everlasting life in the presence of God and of all the Saints.

The Feast and commemoration of the Three Hierarchs is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the feast and preceded by a Matins (Orthros) service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast.

Scripture readings for the Feast of are the following: At Vespers: Deuteronomy 1:8-17; Deuteronomy 10:14-21; and the Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9. At the Matins: John 10:9-16. At the Divine Liturgy: Hebrews 13:7-16, Matthew 5:14-19.

In many Greek Orthodox parishes the Feast of the Three Hierarchs is combined with a celebration of Greek Letters. This usually includes special events which are dedicated to the preservation and promulgation of the ideals of Orthodox Christianity and Hellenic education. The Three Hierarchs were great men of letters who were not only defenders of Orthodox Christianity, but supporters of Greek learning.