Sunday, April 19, 2015

Venerable Simeon of Philotheou

Commemorated on April 19

St Simeon the Bare-Foot [Bosoi] was the son of a priest. When he was fifteen years old, he came under the spiritual guidance of Pachomius, the Bishop of Demetriada (Larissa diocese), who tonsured him and ordained him as hierodeacon. Desiring to follow a strict monastic life, St Simeon soon went to a monastery near Mount Olympus, and then to Mount Athos, to the Lavra of St Athanasius.

By his humility and obedience he gained the respect of the brethren and was ordained hieromonk. After he transferred to the Philotheou monastery, he intensified his God-pleasing labors, he became an example for the brethren, and was unanimously chosen as head of this monastery. Later, through the cunning of the Enemy of mankind, St Simeon had to endure the complaints of monks who thought he was too strict.

Leaving it to God to judge the culprits, St Simeon left the monastery and went to Mt. Phlamourion on Mt. Pelion. There, in solitude and quiet, with neither roof nor fire, the holy hermit engaged in spiritual struggles dressed in old clothing, almost without food, in constant prayer either standing or on bended knees. After three years, he was found by certain God-loving people. Inspired with reverence for his way of life, they begged him to allow them to live with him.

After seven years, through the efforts and zeal of St Simeon, a monastery was formed. A church was built in honor of the Most Holy Trinity, where he served the Divine Liturgy every day. When the life of the brethren in the wilderness monastery had been put in order, the wise servant left the monastery and began to preach the Word of God in Epirus, Thessaly and Athens.

By his instructions and teaching the saint strengthened the wavering in their faith, and he set those in error on the path to salvation. He made those who were strong in their faith even stronger, and he taught everyone to love one another, and to attend church on Sundays and feastdays.

The boldness of the holy confessor aroused the malice of the opponents of Christianity. In the city of Euripa they slandered St Simeon before the city ruler, Ayan, accusing him of converting a Turk to Christianity. The saint was arrested and sentenced to public burning. However, God did not permit the unjust sentence to be carried out.

The condemned one was led to his interrogation in shackles, barefoot [bosoi] and in an old rassa. St Simeon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, answered the governor so wisely that Ayan could not impose the death sentence. The saint received his freedom and continued his efforts, sealing his preaching with healings and miracles.

Many followed St Simeon and submitted themselves to him. He accepted everyone, blessed them for the monastic life, and sent them to his monastery.

St Simeon ended his life at Constantinople. He fell asleep in the Lord and was buried by the Patriarch at Chalke, in a church dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos. After two years, when the monks of the Phlamourion monastery decided to transfer his holy relics to their monastery, and his grave was opened, an ineffable fragrance came forth, and healings began.

The Life and the Service to St Simeon were published at Smyrna in 1646.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New Martyr John the New of Epirus

Commemorated on April 18

The Holy Martyr John Kulikos was born in the Greek district of Epirus, in the city of Ioannina. His parents were pious, but he was orphaned at an early age, and he went to Constantinople. With the means left him by his parents, he built a small stall in the city bazaar and was occupied with trade.

He loved to work, he honorably filled all his orders, and his business was successful. However, his soul did not yearn for earthly blessings, but for the Kingdom of Heaven.
St John lived during difficult times. Constantinople was under the dominion of the Turks, and Christians were subjected to oppressions. Many Christian tradesmen and merchants went over to the Moslem religion. St John reproached them for their betrayal of Christ, and he also sustained the unwavering in their faith. The apostates were filled with hatred for St John, and they desired his ruin. The saint knew this, but was not afraid. He was willing to suffer for Christ.

On Great and Holy Friday he went to his spiritual Father and asked his blessing to seek martyrdom. The priest counselled the youth to examine himself and to prepare himself by fasting and prayer, so that at the time of torture he would not deny Christ. St John prayed ardently to the Lord to strengthen him. At night on Great and Holy Saturday he saw himself in a dream, standing in a fiery furnace and singing praises to the Lord. Interpreting this vision as an indication to go to martyrdom, St John received the Holy Mysteries and asked the priest’s blessing.

When St John arrived at the market, the vexed tradesmen began to reproach him that he had promised to renounced Christ, but that he was not fulfilling his word. In reply, the martyr declared that he was a Christian and had never renounced, nor would he ever renounce Christ.

Then the envious merchants had him arrested. The judge tried to persuade St John to accept Islam, for he respected him as a skilled master craftsman. But the martyr steadfastly confessed himself a Christian. For several days, they wearied him with hunger and thirst, and beat him without mercy. They sentenced the martyr to be burned alive.

St John met his sentence with joy. When they led him to the blazing fire, he went boldly into the midst of the flames. The torturers, seeing that St John was prepared to die in the fire, pulled him out and beheaded him with the sword (+ 1526). They then threw the martyr’s head and body into the fire.

Christians gathered up the bones of the martyr which remained from the fire, and reverently brought them to the cathedral church.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Friday, April 17, 2015

St Agapitus the Pope of Rome

Commemorated on April 17

Saint Agapitus, Bishop of Rome, was a zealous adherent of Orthodoxy. By his pious life he won the general esteem and was elevated to the See of Rome in the year 535.

The Gothic king Theodoric the Great sent Agapitus to Constantinople for peace negotiations. Along the way, St Agapitus encountered a man who was lame and mute. He healed him of his lameness, and after receiving the Holy Mysteries the mute one spoke. After arriving in Constantinople, the saint healed a blind beggar.

At that time, a local Council was convened in Constantinople. St Agapitus participated in it and zealously defended the Orthodox teaching against the heretic Severus, who taught that the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ was subject to decay similar to every man’s body.

St Agapitus died at Constantinople in the year 536.


SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

"Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day

Please be sure to scroll down past the Saint or Feast of the day.

After the Saint or Feast of the day I post my "Main Posts". These may be anything including original articles, book reviews, adding new blogs to my web page and just about anything new I may wish the reader to read.

Please note I do not always have "Main Posts" posted.

I tend to leave "Main Posts" up for several days.

Sophocles

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

St Ephraim the Great of Atsquri

Commemorated on April 15

Saint Ephraim the Great of Atsquri—one of the most important figures in the Georgian Church of the 8th and 9th centuries—was a disciple and companion of St. Grigol of Khandzta.

On his way from Klarjeti in southern Georgia to Abkhazeti in the northwest, St. Grigol met the young Ephraim and immediately perceived in him a like-minded companion and the future wonderworker and bishop of Atsquri.

Grigol promised to take the young man as his disciple. On his way back to Klarjeti St. Grigol accompanied Ephraim and another youth, Arsenius, the future Catholicos of Georgia. He entrusted the upbringing of these two holy youths to his spiritual sons Christopher and Theodore.

The brothers of Khandzta Monastery objected to the arrival of the youths, since the monastery rules prohibited young visitors. But St. Grigol told them that God had revealed this as His will and that, after being raised at the monastery, these young men would be like spiritual successors of St. Ephraim the Syrian and St. Arsenius the Great.

St. Ephraim was later consecrated bishop of Atsquri and became a major figure in the Church of his time. He significantly contributed to the definitive strengthening of the autocephaly of the Georgian Church. As a result of his labors, the Georgian Church received a blessing from Antioch to prepare its own chrism in Mtskheta.
St. Ephraim administered the diocese of Atsquri for forty years. God endowed him with the gifts of prophecy, wonder-working, and healing. He lived to an advanced age and reposed peacefully. Even today, those who approach his holy relics are healed of their infirmities. (St. Ephraim of Atsquri is also mentioned in the Life of St. Arsenius the Great [commemorated September 25].)

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Martyr Azades (Azat) the Eunuch of Persia with 1000 other Christian Martyrs



Saint Azades (Azat) was a wealthy man who served in the household of King Shapur II of Persia, and enjoyed his confidence. He was arrested for professing Christianity, and then suffered martyrdom with 1000 other Christians. After this, the king repented and ordered an end to the persecution of Christians.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):

Monday, April 13, 2015

Icon of the Mother of God of Mt. Athos, “Sweet Kissing”

Commemorated on April 13

Like the Panagia Portaitissa, the Glykophilousa Icon is one of those which were saved during the iconoclastic period and brought miraculously to Mount Athos. It originally belonged to Victoria, the devout wife of the senator Symeon. Victoria was one who venerated the holy icons, especially that of the Most Holy Theotokos, before which she prayed each day. Her husband was an iconoclast who found her piety offensive, for he, like Emperor Theophilos (r. 829-842), found the veneration of icons distasteful. Symeon told his wife to give him her icon so that he could burn it. In order to save the icon from being destroyed, she threw it into the sea, and it floated away standing upright on the waves. After a few years, the icon appeared on the shores of Mount Athos near the Monastery of Philotheou, where it was received with great honor and rejoicing by the Abbot and Fathers of the Monastery, who had been informed of its impending arrival through a revelation of the Theotokos.

A spring of holy water sprouted forth on the very spot where they placed the icon on the shore. Every year on Monday of Bright Week there is a procession and blessing of water. Numerous miracles have occurred.

Although there are many miracles of the Glykophilousa Icon, we will mention only a few. In 1713, the Mother of God answered the prayers of the devout Ecclesiarch Ioannikios, who complained about the poverty of the monastery. She assured him that she would provide for the material needs of the monastery.

Another miracle took place in 1801. A pilgrim, after seeing the precious offerings (tagmata) hanging from the icon, planned to steal them. He stayed in the Temple after the Ecclesiarch closed it. Then he stole the offerings and left for the port of Iveron Monastery. There he found a boat that was leaving for Ierissos. After a while the ship sailed, but despite the excellent weather, it remained stationary in the sea. When the Ecclesiarch saw what had happened, the abbot sent monks out in various directions. Two went to the port of Iveron and when they saw the immobile ship, they realized what happened. Getting into a boat they went to the ship and came aboard. The guilty man who committed this fearful sacrilege asked for forgiveness. The monks were magnanimous and did not want the thief to be punished.

A pilgrim from Adrianopolis visited Philotheou Monastery in 1830. He listened attentively to a monk tell the story of the holy Icon and the miracles associated with it, but he regarded the account as a fictitious tale which only a child might believe. The monk was grieved at the man’s unbelief, and tried to persuade him that everything he had said was absolutely true. The unfortunate pilgrim remained unconvinced.

That very day, as the pilgrim was walking on an upper balcony, he slipped and began to fall. He cried out, “Most Holy Theotokos, help me!” The Mother of God heard him and came to his assistance. The pilgrim landed on the ground completely unharmed.

The Glykophilousa Icon belongs to the Eleousa (the Virgin of Tenderness) category of icons, where the Mother accepts the affection shown by the Child Christ. The icon is commemorated by the Church on March 27 and also on Bright Monday. The icon depicts the Theotokos inclining toward Christ, Who embraces her. She seems to be embracing Him more tightly than in other icons, and her expression is more affectionate.

The Icon is located on a pillar on the left side of the katholikon (main church).

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!):