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Κυριακή, 27 Αυγούστου 2017

The Holy Virgin Martyr Helen from Sinopi of Pontos










The Holy Virgin Martyr Helen
from Sinopi of Pontos

This is a faith-filled message in defense of chastity in the contemporary world.

It should be noted that an icon of a saint with an open left hand facing outward means that the saint did not deny Christ.  In most cases these people preferred martyrdom rather than the denial of Christ.

Metropolitan Kyprianos gives the following message.

This booklet is dedicated to my beloved children in Christ.  They are the ones who, with the help of the Holy Mother, even though they find themselves engulfed in the flames of passion of the contemporary Babylon; they are not consumed by the flames of sin.   They glorify God in their bodies and in their souls.  They proclaim this by saying that Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and to the ages.

(Your priest has translated this story from a small booklet that came to me from a Monastery in Greece.) 

HYMNS DEDICATED TO ST. HELEN
Who is commemorated on November 1st.

The sweet smelling flower of purity and the boast of Sinopi, the divine blossom, the Virgin Martyr of Christ, Helen who is ever modest. She struggled fervently.  She defeated the enemy with the power of faith.  She constantly intercedes for us “have mercy on our souls.”

As a pure Virgin, you struck down with the power of Christ the crafty attacks of the enemy and took upon yourself martyrdom, widely proclaimed Virgin-Martyr Helen.

Hail delightful flower of Sinopi.  Hail virgin, the honorable alabaster. Hail to you equal to the Martyrs.  O Virgin Martyr, invincible in Christ. 


CHASTITY TODAY?

We publish with deep emotion this special booklet about the martyrdom of the Young New Martyr Helen of Sinopi.   Even though she was only fifteen years old and defenseless against the world, she was not overwhelmed by the flames of sin.

How is it possible that this young girl defended her chastity?  How was it possible that she was elevated to become a martyr of chastity?  How was it possible for her to do this when the frothy waves of evil attacked the temple of the Holy Spirit which is her blessed body and her enlightened soul?

The answers to these profound questions make up the answer to this many-faceted question.  It is the question of putting into jeopardy   those who desire for their children to live in dignity with integrity. The answer is very important for all of our children who wish to keep their dignity and their integrity in Christ.  Is it possible to retain one’s virginity and dignity in today’s world?  Is it possible for our youth to stand firm against the burning lava flows of moral laxity which obliterates everything that it encounters?  How will children be saved from the constant attacks against their passions?  How will they retain their wholesomeness when they find themselves in the flames of passion?

Firstly, we must clarify that our Heavenly Father and God desires that all His children should live chaste lives.  Chastity is possible in all ages and in all historical environments.   The word and law of God is valid in all ages. Those who pollute their bodily and spiritual pureness in various ways and then continue to remain unrepentant cannot be in communion with the Light and the Life of God.  They will not have a home in the Kingdom of Heaven. Even in the bonds of Holy Matrimony, unrestrained carnal activity is not forgiven since life in Christ and in His Church tells us that “marriage is honorable and undefiled.” (Hebrews 13:4).

Everything that our Creator orders His creatures to do is possible.  This is so simply because what He orders is not foreign to our human nature, a nature that is kept healthy and dwells in the transforming Body of the Church.  This nature is renewed in Christ and in the Holy Spirit through the Holy Sacraments.

Those who are responsible for our upbringing, especially parents, should be knowledgeable about the proper and profound teachings of our Church, the issues of chastity and virginity.   And they should try through prayer, firmness and tact to help their children to conscientiously turn their attention to the blessedness of Heaven.

At the same time, they must tie in their children with the blessed life of the Church, the life of Grace.   The frequent reception of the Blessed Sacraments and the life of prayer sanctify people. This gives grace to people and it especially helps them to remain immune to the attacks, to the fiery darts of the devil.

And you should never forget that virginity has profound ramifications for one’s life.  The Lord calls us all to a life of chastity which means having a clean body as well as a clean heart.  The second important thing is the cleanliness of the heart.  This presupposes the cleanliness of the body. (A note from your priest. Pureness and chastity refers also to people in the married state.  Married people are to remain faithful to their partner throughout their married lives.)

When the heart of man is kept clean from every passion, when the mind soars heavenward, when the soul is the ruler of one’s life, when the mind is the master of all things that we do then the body is obedient and follows suit.

The cleanliness of the body is like a fragrant flower, a beautiful flower which has it roots deep in a clean heart which gives off a fragrance of humbleness, prayer, love, divine love.  It is a heart that is the heart of Christ. Chastity is not so much keeping oneself clean from that which is polluted on the outside as it is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart.  The Grace of the Holy Spirit cleanses us totally even to the very core of our being.

Man’s body is the Temple of God!  Our bodies have been granted great holiness. We can understand this only when we comprehend that God, the Logos, has been united with our human nature. Our bodies were made god-like and they were honored with their encounter with the Father. We are obligated to glorify our Lord  with our souls and with our bodies by keeping them chaste and clean with the help of His Grace.

Within the life of Monasticism there exists the ideal of lifelong virginity.  But also in the venerable bonds of Holy Matrimony there is nothing that cannot be applied when the unity of the couple is the result of profound spiritual love—a unity which is like the icon that depicts the unity of Christ with His Church.

It is therefore possible today to live a chaste life, certainly it is understood by our Church and as it has been taught by Her.  “As incense gladdens the senses so does the Holy Spirit also rejoice in our chastity and dwells in man.”  (St. Ephraim, the Syrian)
   
That is the living, powerful, and hopeful message of the Martyrdom of St. Helen and I have the conviction that it will have a profound impact on those welcoming hearts who desire continuously to have their existence rooted in Christ.  They do not forget that “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1John 3:3.

Cyprian the Metropolitan of Oropos and Fili                                                            


THE MARTYRDOM OF SAINT HELEN, THE VIRGIN MARTYR
FROM THE CITY OF SINOPI

Her  martyric struggle happened in the 18th century

The virgin martyr of Christ Saint Helen was the daughter of the pious family Bekiari and she lived in the eighteenth century in the oldest city of Pontos, beautiful Sinopi. Her parents raised her with the admonitions and teachings of the Lord.  They planted in her heart the seed of love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Her uncle played a very important role in her upbringing.  He was the brother of her father.  He taught in the catacomb Church of Sinopi.

Helen was a ravishing beauty.  Her virginity showed forth with a special grace on her face.  It was a reflection of the Holy Spirit. She was known for her obedience to her parents and for the warm love that her soul had for the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, our Savior. She was fifteen years old when on a particular day her mother sent her to buy some yarn for her needlepoint at the store owned by Mr. Kriona. On the road that led to the store was the home of Oukouzoglou Pasha, the Turkish administrator of Sinopi.  He saw Helen from the window of his house as she passed by.  The beauty of Helen attracted the attention of his damned soul and he desired to despoil her.

The Pasha ordered that she be brought to him.  When he learned who she was, he immediately tried two or three times to rape her.  But there was an invisible power that surrounded her! There was an invisible wall that protected the girl.  It was the wall of prayer.  Helen, during the course of that whole horrible incident, kept praying within herself, repeatedly reciting six psalms. In spite of this the evil one did not give up in his attempt to rape her.  He ordered the soldiers to keep Helen under house arrest.  He had hoped that a little later he would be able to succeed in his evil desire.

During the course of her house arrest she was able, with the help of God, to avoid the detection of the soldiers guarding her and she slipped away.  She returned to her parents who had been very worried about her and she revealed to them all that had happened to her. In a short time, the Pasha realized that she had escaped from his house and he was beside himself.  He was threatening everyone and everything. He invited the elders of Sinopi and requested that Helen be brought to him.  If this demand of his was not fulfilled he would order the total annihilation of the Greek population of the city.

The Elders came together in the Greek School of Sinopi.  They invited the father of Helen and they requested that he surrender his daughter to the Pasha in order to avoid the greater catastrophe. The father of the girl was overwhelmed with remorse.  But finally he gave in to the request. It was similar to what the Patriarch Abraham did in sacrificing his son.  He accepted to sacrifice his daughter in order to avoid the slaughter of the people. He went home and prepared his daughter as best he could.   Overwhelmed with fatherly grief, he took her to the Pasha.   She was not offered up to him to satisfy his banal desires but as a sweet-smelling offering to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

The abominable Oukouzoglou Pasha received the beautiful Helen with unbridled joy hoping that he would finally be able to satisfy his lewd desires. Straightway he tried repeatedly to rape her but again the same phenomenon happened, an impenetrable wall surrounded the girl and hindered the Pasha from touching her. There was an invisible power that kept him away. While all this was going on, the holy girl was praying with great fervor.  She was reciting the Six Psalms which she knew by heart.  She had learned them from her uncle.

The Pasha on the following day tried again to fulfill his lewd desires but again he was met by that strange phenomenon.  He became extremely agitated and angry.  He ordered that the girl be locked away in the fearful damp jails of Sinopi.

The heart of the evil minded Pasha became even more hardened. His eyes did not see the evident miracle that was happening before him.  His unclean soul would not come to its senses but on the contrary he was being overwhelmed by satanic powers.  He desired wantonly to stain the holy virgin. The following day he went to the jail determined to succeed at last in satisfying his passion.  But once again the invisible wall was there!  And again Divine Grace turned him away!

The Pasha was now overwhelmed with rage. He ordered that Helen be tortured and then killed.  Helen was tortured and killed by the soldiers.   Helen had now become a Holy Relic. She was put in a bag and was thrown into the sea.  But instead of sinking to the bottom of the sea, the sack with the martyred body in it floated on the surface of the sea while a heavenly light shown upon it from heaven. The Turks became frightened by this phenomenon and cried out that “the infidel is burning, the infidel is burning” The precious Relic continued to float until it reached the area of the sea known as Gaei, where because of the depth of  the sea, the color of the water is black.   At this point the bag sank to the bottom of the sea.

After a few days, a Greek ship dropped anchor in the area of Gaei.   On the third night, the watch on duty noticed that a bright light was being emitted from the bottom of the sea.  The seaman thought that maybe there was a large amount of gold at the bottom of the sea.

The sailor on watch immediately notified the captain of the ship to grapple up what they thought was gold from the bottom of the sea.  Finally, instead of gold, they grappled up the bag with the precious Relic of St. Helen, the Virgin-Martyr. In the precious bag that the sailors had recovered was the head of the Saint which had been severed from the body.  At the top of the head was a nail.  In addition to this, there was also another hole made by another nail. It became very evident that the evil ones had terribly tortured the Saint.  They drove two nails into her head and then they decapitated her. Two of the Turkish divers knew about the martyrdom because they were the ones who threw the Saint into the ocean but they were afraid to talk about it. The captain then transferred the holy Head of St. Helen to the Church of the Holy Mother in Sinopi.  Her body was placed upon another boat that was leaving for Russia filled with Greeks.

At the location of the ocean floor where the martyred Helen sank to the bottom of the ocean, a stream of fresh poured forth and this area ever since then has been known as the Blessed Place.

Many miracles have happened through the relic of Helen’s head in Sinopi.  This is especially true for people who suffer from headaches.  They would call the priest, who would also have the Head of the Blessed Helen.  He would sing a service of Supplication and he would do a blessing of the water and the pain would disappear.

The president of Sinopi, Chris Kaforopoulos, during the ethnic cleansing in 1924, took with him the Holy Head of St. Helen and placed it in the Church of the Great Martyr Marina in Ano Toumba, Thessaloniki.  It is enshrined there to this very day.  It is very fragrant and performs miracles for the glory of our Lord and God.

Through the intercessions of Saint Helen the Virgin-Martyr of Sinopi, Pontos, Lord God Jesus Christ forgive us and save us.
Amen!

This story of the Virgin Martyr St. Helen was brought to my attention by my spiritual father, Fr. Panteleimon Fatsis.  It is a story that comes out of the life of the suffering Orthodox Church.  It tells us graphically exactly what Jesus expects of us who believe in Him.  If our faith in Him is fervent, He will respond to our love for Him in a very powerful way.  St. Helen, the teenage martyr speaks to our contemporary world and says to our young people look to the heavens for life and not to the passions of the body.

Her struggle with Oukouzoglou is the classic struggle between Jesus Christ and satanic depravity.  It is a struggle between good and evil.  St. Helen’s faithfulness to Jesus to the very end has been rewarded with a special place in heaven.  The very Creator of the Universe came to her lifeless body as it floated out to sea.  He sent His shining Divine Light to shine upon her as she floated out to sea and sank to the bottom of the sea.   Even in the depths of the sea, God’s Divine Light permeated her martyred body and it shone like precious gold. 

This story tells us once again that we should take our faith seriously and that It should be the most important part of our lives for it leads to eternal life. 

 Translated from the Greek by:     
+Fr. Constantine J. Simones, Waterford, CT. USA, Feb. 17, 2014,














ST. HELEN OF SINOPI PONTOS
ΑΓΙΑ ΕΛΕΝΗ ΕΚ ΣΙΝΩΠΗΣ ΠΟΝΤΟΥ
1 ΝΟΕΜΒΡΊΟΥ

SHE IS HONORED ON NOVEMBER 1

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