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sweetnessIn honour of the Sunday of St. Gregory of Palamas, here is an excerpt from my second book, The Sweetness of Grace: Stories of Christian Trial and Victory published by Ancient Faith Publishing. It is from Chapter 7, “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God”, pp. 214-216. 

To read more stories, you can purchase an e-book or paperback copy from the publisher here or on amazon here.

st-gregory-palamas-st-cyril-and-methodius-church In Praise of Thessaloniki

I would do a great disservice to the great saint and co-protector (together with St. Demetrios) of Thessaloniki if I were to write this whole book and not mention our father among the saints, Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki.

You can hardly go two paces in that Byzantine city without being reminded of the various local saints and historical faith of the Thessalonians. But two places in particular always occupied a special place in my heart: the church of Hagia Sophia, where St. Gregory preached against the Barlaamite heresy, and the Cathedral of St. Gregory Palamas, in which his relics reside in a side chapel covered in icons depicting his life. Any time I was downtown, I made a point to venerate his holy, fragrant relics.

In a city like Thessaloniki, the cloud of witnesses feel more like companions, such is the intimacy of their presence. In many respects, life there is a living continuation of the Scriptures, and the many churches, sites of martyrdom or imprisonment of saints, and holy relics are enough to make you forget the modern world and enter into the spiritual world.

Practically every night you can attend a vigil in the city. The vigil service according to the Greek Typicon begins with Small Vespers, followed by Compline, Great Vespers, Matins, Hours, Liturgy and finally the Ninth Hour. These vigils can last up to five, six, or more hours. They usually end well after midnight.

I remember one we went to in the heart of town for the feast of St. Gregory Palamas (November 14). During the Matins service, when the life of the saint is read from the Great Horologion, one of the chanters proceeded to the middle of the church to read a long version of St. Gregory’s life. Looking at this young man in his long, black chanter’s robe, standing before the royal doors with only vigil lamps and a lone candle stand illuminating the passage he read aloud, it was easy to be confused as to whether it was the first or twenty-first century, whether we were on earth or in heaven. Coming out of a vigil like that, you felt as though the whole city was more sanctified, as if the stones and stars themselves had participated in our celebration of the Bloodless Sacrifice.

O Thessaloniki, the city Apostle Paul wrote to, preached in, wept over; the city St. Demetrios fought for and continues to protect even after his martyric death; the city St. Gregory Palamas guided, instructed, reprimanded, and loved! Through the prayers of the great hesychast and of all saints of Thessaloniki, may you always remain blessed.

 

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Following the Holy Fathers: Timeless Guides of Authentic Christianity

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE HERE!

Zisis_Fathers_Front_Cover_Final_2048x2048Author: Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisis
Translator: Fr. John Palmer
Pages: 344  Binding: Sewn softcover

From the Introduction:

It must be clearly established in our minds that the Fathers of the Church, those wise and holy teachers of the Orthodox faith, are not the product of some by-gone age; they are not a thing of the past. This is greatly important since many contemporary Orthodox theologians, having fallen under the influence of non-Orthodox scholars, believe and teach that the mark of antiquity renders an ecclesiastical writer a Father of the Church; in other words, in order to be a Father one must have lived in some ancient era. Consequently, this view divides the Church’s indivisible history according to quality and spiritual depth; it treats the Church as if it were not Christ Himself extended unto the ages of ages, as if during particular eras – such as our own – it had ceased to be guided by the Holy Spirit and to produce saints, teachers and theologians. On the contrary, the Church continues on its course through history ever undiminished in quality, sanctifying through Christ its holy head and through the All-Holy Spirit, who remains eternally and continually within it…
—Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisis 


From the Translator’s Introduction:
This book, then, represents a collection of valuable scholarship covering both a broad range of Patristic figures dating from apostolic times to the present day, as well as a wide variety of themes. Moreover, it paints a roughly representative picture of one of Greece’s most important modern Patristic scholars and effectively introduces him to the English-speaking world. Most importantly, though, this volume offers to show readers how an authentic Orthodox Patrologist relates to the lives, text, and teachings of the Holy Fathers.
—Rev. Dr. John Palmer

Rich enough in content to hold the interest of one who is theologically inclined but practical and approachable enough to be enjoyed by any reader.

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This little book, a novelette to be precise, is my newest publication. I am happy to present it to you, now available for purchase!

Out of the African Lands: The Story of St. Perpetua and Her Companions

by Constantina R. Palmer

 

Description:

      In the African provinces of the Roman Empire conversion to the Christian faith is punishable by death. This does not stop Perpetua and her companions, however, from seeking entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven even if living for Christ means having to die for Him.

      Out of the African Lands is a historical fiction novelette and chronicles the arrest, imprisonment and death of Perpetua and her five companions Felicity, Saturus, Saturnius, Revocatus and Secundulus. Receiving freedom from their sins through baptism while imprisoned, the martyrs shine with the light of Christ, instructing us in word and deed how a person not only lives as a Christian by dies as one.
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Print$6.95 + sh&h (USD) / $7.95 + sh&h (CAD)
E-book$2.99 (USD)
For Canadians wishing to order copies shipped within Canada please contact me directly at wiserthantheworld (at) gmail (dot) com
Order your copy here today!
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Do you struggle to find suitable books for your teens and pre-teens?  Perhaps even for yourself?  Lumination Press titles are well-crafted works of fiction deeply rooted in the Orthodox Christian mindset of  life in Christ, presented to today’s world.

Lumination Press publishes works of fiction which reflect the mystery and miracle of a world filled with the light of Orthodoxy: a world in which passions rage, miracles abound, blood is shed and kingdoms are won. Such a world comes alive in Lumination Press stories not to distract us from the cruel reality of this world but rather to reveal the spiritual reality that is all around us, if only we have the eyes to see it.

Acknowledging the notable scarcity of Orthodox fiction, Lumination Press hopes to fill that need with quality works. With a focus on youth and the youthful at heart, Lumination Press offers a variety of stories of spiritual struggle and victory for the whole family.

More from Lumination Press:

light guardian

The Light Guardian: Beginnings  

by Fr Matthew Penney

Description:

     Moisi, a troubled man with a troubled past, seeks desolate places for self-imposed punishment … and revenge. What he discovers in his rocky exile is not only the enemy he is pursuing , but a deeper darkness that seeks to consume him. The only question is … will he choose to fight? In this mature Young Adult fantasy novelette, the world of the spiritual warfare–normally invisible to us–is brought vividly to life. In Moisi’s world the struggle against the passions and the presence of the dark forces of evil can be all too real. But there is the opportunity to discover, along with Moisi, where the path to victory truly lies.
Print: $5.95 + sh&h (USD) / $6.95 + sh&h (CAD)
E-book: $2.49 (USD)
Target Audience: Ages 15+
Order your copy here today!

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