Friday, June 22, 2012

Eastern Saints, Intercessors & Heavenly Friends- 7 QuickTakes

continuing a bit on my theme of diversity in the Church, here are a few quick reflections on some of my favorite Eastern saints. I invite you to add a favorite saint of yours to the comment box:
St Macrina the Younger- Can you imagine having Saints Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa as brothers with Saint Macrina the older as your namesake and your grandmother? It seems that the family business was making saintly people, so she fared well in living a godly life and passing the faith to her more famous brothers.

St Ephrem- a deacon in Syria, he was a poet and songwriter, encouraging women to have a singing role in the Church. he was declared a doctor of the Church. He was a prolific writer:
  • "Remember me, ye heirs of God, ye brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day." (from his The Fear at the End of Life)
  • "You (Jesus) alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?" (Nisibene Hymns 27:8)....and he wrote one of my favorite prayers ever:

O Lord and Master of my life,
Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,
of discouragement,
of lust for power,
and of vain speaking.
But bestow upon me, Thy servant,
the spirit of chastity,
of meekness,
of patience,
and of love.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions,
and judge not my brother,
for blessed art Thou
unto ages of ages. 

St Mary of Egypt- Most women like to live in community, but she became a hermit after leaving a life of debauchery. She's an inspiration to anyone looking to make a major change in life. The image below is depicts St Mary of Egypt receiving Holy Eucharist from St Zozimus

St Nicholas- Simcha Fisher mentioned him (his role as a charitable bishop doing real social justice work) in passing this week at the National Catholic Register. I loved her take on the issue- go read the article on how it is quite okay to fund people away from the abortion industry just as it was okay for St Nicholas to give money to keep girls out of a life of prostitution. I always feel a bit smug (wrong, I know) when Latin-rite Catholics mention him ("Santa Claus is really Saint Nicholas- a Catholic Bishop!") during the Christmas season- do most know that he is one of those Eastern bishops with a Mass that keeps on saying "Lord, Have mercy" (true- a nun asked me, "don't you think that it goes a little overboard with all those Lord, have mercies?" ummm...) The image below shows St Nicholas telling Arius who's boss (God) during the Council of Nicaea

St Charbel- a modern saint from Lebanon, considered a 'wonder worker' and a mermit/monk- this was his prayer when struck with a serious illness during the Divine Liturgy-  “O Father of truth, behold Your Son, victim to please You; condescend to approve this offering, because for me He endured death, to give me life...” 

Blessed Omelian Kovch- a married Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic priest with six children, he died in the Majdanek death camp in 1944.

Martyred Bishops of Romania- Twelve bishops stayed true to their faith and the Church during communist persecution; they are in various stages of beatification.
All you holy saints, pray for us! Lord, have mercy on us!


  1. Beautiful post :) I like to pray to and in union with St. John Chrysostom - he's one of my favorite Saints.

    1. He is one of my favorites, too- we have a book of his marriage sermons that are amazing (those quotations might be next week's quick takes posts- they are so good)

  2. I love St Mary of Egypt. Her story always inspires me and reminds me that there is hope for all sinners, no matter how committed to their sinful ways.

    1. She seems to me to be one the other side of the coin of maybe St Augustine- with him living a very public life and her being a hermit after their conversations

  3. St Anthony the Hermit is one of my favourites. I especially like his hagiography by Athanasius (also a favourite).

    1. There's a semi-new book called "The Fathers Know Best" by ex-evangelical convert Jimmy Akin- it is now my go-to reference for all things Church Fathers

  4. I love families of saints! It gives me so much joy and hope for the future. Just when it feels like I must have picked the wrong vocation and should have gone to a monastery (to be a saint), I run into some amazing family of saints and I think, "This is what I'm working towards!"

    I've been getting to know the Russian missionaries to Alaska- especially St. Herman. (We were kind of thrown in together, as my birthday is his feast day.) He brought the gospel so truly and charitably that it is still lived out today in vibrant communities. They even modified the great fast to suit the native diet of that region. He stayed on till his death, teaching and protecting, acting as a good shepherd to the community.


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