Christian Saints Podcast

Christian Saints Podcast

The Christian Saints Podcast reflects on the lives of saints from the Christian church, in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. Hosted by Dr. Darren C. Ong, and all music is composed by James John Marks of Generative Sounds (


March 25, 2023 30 min

Saint Innocent of Alaska (also known as Saint Innocent of Irkutsk, or Saint Innocent Metropolitan of Moscow) was a 19th century missionary priest and an archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. He is especially known for bringing the gospel to the native peoples of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska, which was then under Russian control. 

Jim John Marks guests hosts this podcast, drawing mostly from a biography of the saint...

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Saints Chrysanthus and Daria lived in third century Rome, and were pagan converts to the Christian faith who died as martyrs. Saint Daria was in fact a pagan priestess. Saint Chrysanthus converted to Christianity as a young man, and his father, trying to dissuade him married him off to Saint Daria. This plan backfired when Saint Chrysanthus converted his new wife to Christianity instead. The couple lived a celibate life and were pr...

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March 11, 2023 25 min

Saint Innocent I was pope in the years 405-417, and is known for proactively and successfully acting against various heresies that threatened the Christian church. He was also a staunch ally of Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, and advocated for him when Saint John was exiled by his powerful enemies. 

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March 2, 2023 33 min

Saint Luke of Crimea is also known as Saint Luke of Simferopol or Saint Luke the Surgeon. He lived in the years 1877-1961. He was an incredibly accomplished surgeon and scientist, who,after the death of his wife became an Eastern Orthodox priest and eventually an archbishop. Saint Luke lived through the collapse of the Russian Empire, and the rise of the communist Soviet Union. While the Soviet authorities respected Saint Luke&apos...

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February 25, 2023 32 min

Saint Gregory of Narek was a monk, poet and theologian who lived in 10th-11th century Armenia. He was declared a "doctor of the church" in the Roman Catholic church. He is best known for writing his "Book of Lamentations", a collection of poem prayers to God, which expresses deep Christian theology in a beautiful way.

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Saints Lucy Yi Zhenmei, Agnes Tsao Kouying and Agatha Lin Zhao are three Roman Catholic martyrs from 19th century China. They lived in a time of great upheaval in China, and also a time when the Christian faith was spreading in the country.  Their martyrdoms also highlight the important role of women in building the church in China.

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February 11, 2023 30 min

Saint Valentine's day, on February 14 is probably the most well-known saints' feast day in the calendar.  Unfortunately, not much is known for sure about Saint Valentine. He was either a priest or a bishop, and a martyr in the early Christian church during one of the Roman persecutions.  He gained association with romance in the middle ages, since February 14 is around the beginning of spring - when (according to poets li...

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February 4, 2023 28 min

Saint Agatha was a deaconess and martyr from the early 3rd century, from the city of Catania in Sicily, a large island in the south of Italy.  In this episode we will hear the story of her martyrdom, and discuss how veneration of Saint Agatha developed in medieval times and today.

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January 28, 2023 20 min

Saint Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch in the first century. He was a disciple of the Apostle John, and one of the early church leaders who ended up dying for their faith. The letters he wrote had an immense influence on the new church - he is responsible for introducing the phrase "Catholic church", and the idea of a church divided into dioceses, led by a bishop with the help of priests and deacons. He is also noted for hi...

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January 21, 2023 23 min

Saint Anastasius was a Persian, at a time when the Persian Empire was the greatest enemy of the Christian Roman Empire. He was a Zoroastrian, but converted to the Christian faith when he encountered the true cross where Jesus was crucified. This cross was captured by the Persians in a raid.  Saint Anastasius was baptised and became a monk, but was later captured by the Persians and put to death in the year 628 for his faith.  

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James John Marks guest hosts again - this time having a conversation with Father Symeon Kees of St George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston. The topic is the Eastern Orthodox Chinese Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion, but the conversation touches also upon sainthood and martyrdom in general, multiculturalism in the church, and many other intersecting topics. This is a crossover episode with Father Symeon's ReOrientNation podc...

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January 7, 2023 31 min

Saint Theophan the Recluse was a 19th century Russian monk and bishop, who in his later years dedicated himself to a life of seclusion. He is particularly celebrated for his writings, which give practical advice on living a Christian life in language understandable to a modern reader.  Our guest host Jim John Marks shares about the life of this great saint, including reading some excerpts from his most important works.

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December 31, 2022 22 min

Jim John Marks did a guest episode on Saint Basil the Great last year - this year I give my own take on him.

Saint Basil the Great (also known as Saint Basil of Caesarea) was a fourth century bishop and theologian - one of the most important theologians of the church. He is declared a doctor of the church in the west, and one of the three Holy Hierarchs in the East. Basil was bishop during a time when the Arian heresy was ...

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December 24, 2022 36 min

In this special Christmas episode read from "The First Christmas Tree", a short story by American author Henry van Dyke, which is a retelling of the story of Saint Boniface (in this story, called by his German name Winfried) introducing the Christmas tree, during his missionary journeys to the Germanic pagans. This is a powerful story that fleshes out the symbolic significance of the Christmas tree, as a sign of victory o...

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December 17, 2022 26 min

We will play a repeat episode, since I was off on a prayer retreat last weekend. In this season of advent, let us reflect on the crucial role of the Virgin Mary.

For this episode we venerate Mary, the greatest of all the saints. We consider some of the titles given to her from across the Christian tradition: Theotokos, Mother of God, Joy of All who Sorrow, Cause of our Salvation, Mother of the Church. We study how ...

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December 10, 2022 24 min

Saint Lucy of Syracuse was an early Christian martyr from the town of Syracuse in Italy. She was martyred in the early 4th century.  The stories say she used to smuggle supplies to Christians hiding in the catacombs, wearing a wreath of candles so her hands could carry more supplies. Her feast day, 13 December is an important holiday in some parts of Europe, in particular Scandinavia. On Saint Lucy's day little girls would wea...

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December 3, 2022 25 min

No new episode this week, instead we have a rerun of an old episode from 2020, about Saint Nicholas of Myra:


Saint Nicholas of Myra (270 AD-343 AD) , also known as Saint Nicholas the wonderworker, is one of the most beloved Saints in the Christian tradition. Even among non-Christians, he is well-known as the inspiration for Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas is famed for his generosity. When his parents died young he...

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November 26, 2022 23 min

Saint Andrew was one of Jesus' twelve apostles, and the brother of Saint Peter. He is known as the "first-called", because the Gospel of John suggests he was one of the first to follow Jesus. After the Resurrection and Pentecost, Saint Andrew spread the gospel in Eastern Europe. Most significantly, he is believed to have founded the church at Byzantium. Thus the Archbishop of Constantinople, head of the Eastern Ortho...

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November 19, 2022 18 min

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne was a French Roman Catholic  nun in the Society of the Sacred Heart, and a missionary to the Native Americans living in the region we know today as Kansas and Missouri. The Potawatomi people whom she ministered to gave her the name Quahkahkanumad - the woman who prays always.

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November 12, 2022 28 min

Saint John Chrysostom was Archbishop of Constantinople in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, and one of the most celebrated theologians in the Christian church. In the East he is honored as one of the three holy hierarchs, and in the West he is a doctor of the church. The most common liturgy celebrated in the Eastern church, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is attributed to him  and named for him. He wrote many sermon...

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