shout-out from a stylite

Posted by on January 4, 2017 in reflections, soul food | Comments Off on shout-out from a stylite

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Icon of Saint Genevieve of Paris and Saint Simeon the Stylite :: photo taken in Church of Saint Etienne-du-Mont

Troparion of Saint Genevieve

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O Shepherdess who guardest the sheep at Nanterre against the horde of wolves and the Scourge of God,

thou dost protect the city of the Parisians.

O St Genevieve, do not forget to guard thy spiritual sheep even now,

from heaven where thou livest after death.

On January 3rd, the Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Genevieve.  Saint Genevieve of Paris, a delicate young woman, whose fasting, vibrant inviolable faith and hopeful prayers, halted the invasion of barbarian Atilla the Hun into Paris is the patron Saint of that beautiful city.

In venerating Saint Genevieve of Paris, we also remember two other beloved Saints of the Orthodox Church, Saint Simeon the Stylite and Saint John Maximovitch.

Why Saint Simeon the Stylite?  Saint Simeon the Stylite was one of the most exceptional eastern orthodox monks of that time, and out of all the theologians and clergy in France, he sent a shout-out from his pillar in Syria to an otherwise lowly and unknown humble young woman –  who had sought his blessing.  This is why in some icons he stands next to her – and East encounters West.

Saint John Maximovitch, because as Archbishop of Western Europe in the early 1950s, he was deeply interested in learning about and venerating the pre-schism Saints of the region.  He was the first Orthodox Hierarch to encourage the veneration of these local Saints in Western Europe and introduced her to the Russian people living in France at that time.

Saint John Maximovitch said that it contradicts our Orthodox spirituality to only appeal to the saints of Russia or Greece, especially for second and third generations of immigrants to a new country.   Saint John felt that it was essential to live with the grace of the land, as well as the grace of the universal Church, believing in God’s providence, and honor the Saints that God has placed there.

“The Life of St. Genevieve was printed in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1954 or 1955, and she was the first spiritual door for Russians into the veneration of western saints. We had had earlier Orthodox church theologians in the West who knew of her, but their message had not been received by the émigrés…

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When we read the lives of western saints of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, their lives and ascesis often seem strange to the Orthodox mind;  but when you read the life of St. Genevieve, you see clearly that she is one of us. The first moleben to be served before a previously unrecognized western saint was done before her relics in early 1941. Now it is an annual tradition that on the first Sunday after January 3, her feast-day, the Orthodox have a joint moleben for her feast.(1)

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                                  Relics of Saint Genevieve of Paris.  Photo taken in the Church of Saint Etienne-du-Mont

Resources

A CITY OF SAINTS : Road to Emmaus Vol. VII, No. 2 (#25)