21 April 2008

Martyr Petronia

Just the other day I decided to do a thorough Google search on my patron saint, Marytr Petronia. There is very little information about her since she lived and died in the first century, as far as I can tell. I actually found three dates set aside for a St Petronia (Petronilla): Sept 29, May 31, and Oct 8. I don't know if there are three different St Petronia's or if the one is celebrated on different dates.

Interestingly, October 8 is Taisia's name day, our wedding day, and the name day of the priest who married us. I am, however, a little skeptical about this date because of the source where I found it.

In Rome St Petronilla (May 31) is very popular and her relics are even in St Peter's Basillica. There are several of legends attached to her, including that she is the "daughter" of Apostle Peter and that instead of dying a martyr she miraculously became deathly ill and died a virgin, thus avoiding unwanted marriage to a noble. Funny how the people prefer a romantic story to a martyr's crown.

As for September 29, I was able to find her listed on several Orthodox calendars and so I'm sure it is legit. I remembered that this date is around the time that I was baptized, about a week before our wedding (Oct 8). Out of curiosity I asked my mother in law to see if she could find the exact date on which I was baptized (b/c our dated photos are on a hard drive that died, and I didn't have a calendar to mark at that point). She found her day-timer for that year and wrote me back...I was baptized on September 29!

This is really exciting and affirming for me because although I have grown to love my name and have learned to pray to St Petronia, every so often a little doubt creeps in about the reality of her existence. Also, my original intent was to be named after Apostle Peter, so sometimes I wonder if I should consider him as my patron saint. Also, I have been baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church, and it is uncommon to pick a non-Russian name--and Petronia is about as uncommon as one can get (outside of Rome, apparently). So I've had all these little doubts, try as I have to squash them by trusting God's good will.

So yeah, having been unwittingly baptized on my name day makes it quite obvious that Martyr Petronia is praying for me and is meant to be my patron saint. Fits right in with the saying that the saints choose us. Glory to God!

19 April 2008

a little story about St Ephraim

At that time the venerable Ephraim decided to take up his dwelling in Edessa and prayed, "O Lord Jesus Christ, deem me worthy to behold Thy city, and as I enter it, send me someone with whom I can converse profitably about the Scriptures." Arriving at the gates of Edessa, he saw only a woman. The saint was disappointed and whispered, "Lord, Thou hast disdained Thy servant's prayer. Can a woman tell me anything I do not already know about Thy word?"

The woman stopped and stared at Ephraim, who asked her, "At what are you looking?"

"I am looking at you, because the first woman was made from a man's rib, but you should be looking at the ground, from which the first man was taken," she retorted. Ephraim marveled at the reply and praised God, Who had given the woman such wisdom. He realized that the Lord had answered his prayer, and he took up his abode in the city, where he dwelt for a long time.

I cracked up at her response. Then I marveled at his humility.

It is from the life of St Ephraim the Syrian.

05 April 2008

Oprah has her own church, too?

I received an email about this and found it interesting, though not very surprising:

On March 3, 2008, 300K people gathered for Oprah Winfrey’s Church. Now there are 2 million members.

Some of their teachings:
~ Denies Christ’s sacrificial death
~ There is no sin
~ There are millions of ways to ’salvation’
~ Christians are confused
~ Salvation comes from ’me’
~ Teaches the ’New Age Christ’
~ etc. etc.

This is interesting and noteworthy since I bet many faithful followers of Oprah probably thought she was a Christian. Truth is, she seems to "feel" a truth (watch the vid) that may acknowledge Christ, but only as a symbol. Keep in mind when watching that feelings are products of our rational mind; they do NOT represent reality and they are NOT the makings of our soul.

"From the words of Isaac the Syrian we see that what we call prelest proper exists when a man starts trying to live above his capabilities. Without having cleansed himself of passions, he strives for a life of contemplation and dreams of the delights of spiritual grace. Thus the wrath of God befalls a man; because he thinks too highly of himself, God’s grace is withdrawn from him and he falls under the influence of the evil one who actively begins to tickle his vainglory with lofty contemplation and [spiritual] delights..."

I agree with the electronic-sounding guy in the video--everybody, it is time to turn off the d@!$ television!!!