Dear brothers and sisters,
In our final summer at Newman Hall, one of the greatest joys was to celebrate the feast of St Calogero of Agrigento, a 6th century Sicilian saint who arrived on the island as an exile, fleeing persecution and heresy, and by so doing blessed Sicily with his fearless preaching of Orthodox dogma– becoming one of the most well-loved saints and wonderworkers of the island. See:
We were unable to celebrate his feast on his day, 18 June on the Church calendar, 1 July on the civil calendar- but will serve a litia before the icon, painted and presented in response to that Newman celebration, at the end of tomorrow’s Liturgy.
This happily reflects the celebrations held on and between the first two Sundays of July, in Sicily – and the icon remains a sign of friendship and proof that the saints bring us together in the bonds of Faith.
Though persecution and exile and the negatives of life caused St Calogero’s flight to Sicily, his preaching, miracles, and pastoral care in his new land show that blessings so often come through adversity – if only we take advantage and control of the new and unknown circumstances into which we are thrown.
Through exile, homelessness and escape from heresy came the preaching of Orthodoxy; countless miracles; the restoration of sight to the blind, speech to the dumb and hearing to the deaf; and the great consolation that this holy monk brought to the people of not only to the people of Byzantine Sicily, but to the Sicilian people to this day.
In the present dark times, an exiled, refugee saint should be an inspiration, opening our minds and hearts see that even in sorrow and darkness, God sends grace, light and life, and that seeds may be planted and new beginnings emerge even in adversity and trial.
Святый Преподобне Отче, Калогере, моли Бога о нас
Holy, venerable Father, Calogero, pray to God for us!
Troparion, Tone 8. By the streams of thy tears, thou didst make the soil of the desert fertile and with your deep groans didst make thy labours to bear fruit an hundredfold; and thou didst became a beacon for the whole world, radiating light by miracles, O Calogero, our Father; intercede with Christ-God to save our souls.
Glory be to the father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever, unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion. Tone IV: Celebrating today the sacred memory of Calogero with songs, we give glory to Christ, to him who grantest him the grace of miracles to heal infirmities.