Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"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

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Symeon the Myrrhbearer of Serbia


February 13


Reading:
 
Saint Symeon (in the world, the ruler Stephen Nemanja), after capably governing Serbia in piety, wisdom, and justice for many years during the second half of the twelfth century, renounced all rule and earthly glory to become a monk, to struggle in fasting and prayer. Thereafter he went to the Holy Mountain Athos where, together with his son Saint Sabbas (see Jan. 14), he founded the Monastery of Hilandar. After his death, a fragrant and healing myrrh came forth from his holy relics. When Stephen Nemanja put on the monastic habit with the name of Symeon, his wife Anna followed his example, receiving the monastic name of Anastasia; she is commemorated as a Saint on June 21.

Apolytikion of Symeon the Myrrhbearer of Serbia in the Third Tone
 
Illumined by divine grace, even after death thou dost make manifest the radiance of thy life; for thou pourest forth fragrant myrrh for them that have recourse to the shrine of thy relics. Thou didst also guide thy people to the light of the knowledge of God. O our Father Symeon, entreat Christ God that we be granted great mercy.

Kontakion of Symeon the Myrrhbearer of Serbia in the Plagal of the Second Tone
 
Loving the angelic life on this earth, thou didst abandon the world and worldly dominion and didst follow Christ by fasting, O Symeon. In an apostolic manner, thou didst guide unto Christ them that loved thee and didst cry: Love ye the Lord even as He hath loved you.

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Martyr Nicholas Dvali in Jerusalem

Commemorated on February 12

Saint Prokhore the Georgian, a descendant of the noble Shavteli family, was born at the end of the 10th century and grew up in a monastery. When he reached manhood he was ordained a hieromonk and labored for one year at the Lavra of St. Sabbas in Jerusalem. Then, with the blessing of his spiritual father Ekvtime Grdzeli, he began the reconstruction of the Holy Cross Georgian Monastery near Jerusalem.

According to tradition, at this spot Abraham’s nephew Lot planted three trees—a cypress, a pine, and a cedar. Eventually these three trees miraculously grew into one large tree. When the Temple of Solomon was being built, this tree was cut down but left unused. It is said that the Cross on which Christ our Savior was crucified was constructed from the wood of this tree.

In the 4th century, the land on which the miraculous tree had grown was presented to Holy King Mirian, the first Christian king of Georgia. Then in the 5th century, during the reign of Holy King Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Holy Cross Monastery was founded on that land. The monastery was destroyed several times between the 7th and 9th centuries.

Finally, in the 11th century, King Bagrat Kuropalates offered much of his wealth to Fr. Prokhore for the restoration of the monastery. St. Prokhore beautified the monastery, then gathered eighty monks and established the typicon (the monastic rule) for the community in accordance with that of the St. Sabbas Lavra.

When St. Prokhore had labored long and lived to an advanced age, he chose his disciple Giorgi to be the monastery’s next abbot.

Then he departed for the wilderness with two of his disciples, and after some time the righteous monk yielded up his spirit to God.

Beyond this, little is known about the life of St. Prokhore. According to Georgian researchers and scholars, he was probably born sometime between 985 and 990. He spent the years 1010 to 1015 in Jerusalem, and labored at the Lavra of St. Sabbas until 1025. He reposed in the year 1066, between the ages of 76 and 81.

The holy martyr Luka of Jerusalem lived in the 13th century. He was born to an honorable, pious Georgian family by the name of Mukhaisdze. After the repose of Luka’s father, his mother left her children and went to labor at a monastery in Jerusalem.

When Luka reached the age of twenty, he traveled to Jerusalem to visit his mother and venerate the holy places. After spending some time there he decided to remain and be tonsured a monk. He was later ordained a deacon and became fluent in Arabic. Soon the brothers of the monastery recognized his wisdom and asked him to guide them as abbot. For three years Luka directed the monastery in an exemplary manner.

But the devil was envious of the holy father and provoked a certain Shekh-Khidar, an influential Persian at the court of Sultan Penducht, (Probably Sultan Zakhir-Rukedin-Baibars-Bundukdar of Egypt (1260-1277) to take up arms against St. Luka. Sultan Penducht then transferred possession of theHoly CrossMonastery to Shekh-Khidar, who “treated the Georgian monks in a beastly manner and finally ousted them from the monastery altogether.” Fulfilling his God-given duty, the blessed Luka insisted on personally confronting Shekh-Khidar in defense of his brotherhood.

Luka’s Christian brothers and sisters warned him, saying, “Shekh-Khidar is threatening you.... Flee and hide from him!” But Luka paid no heed to their admonitions, certain that it was more fitting to die for Christ than to live for the world. As he had insisted, he himself approached Shekh-Khidar and asked for the release of the imprisoned fathers.

Luka told him that he was prepared to accept any demands. The wicked Persian leader demanded nothing from Luka except that he convert to Islam, promising to make him emir if he consented. When he refused, the furious Shekh-Khidar ordered St. Luka’s beheading.

After the terrible deed had been performed, St. Luka’s severed head turned toward the east and gave thanks to God with an expression of pure peace. Soon after, his precious body was set on fire at the command of the bewildered Shekh-Khidar. This occurred in 1277. St. Nikoloz Dvali the Martyr was born at the end of the 13th century to a God-fearing couple who directed his path toward the spiritual life.

At the age of twelve Nikoloz traveled to the Klarjeti Wilderness and was tonsured a monk. From there he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and remained in the holy city, settling at the Holy Cross Monastery. Burning with desire for the apostolic life, Monk Nikoloz was determined to die a martyr’s death.

In Jerusalem a group of godless men arrested and tormented St. Nikoloz for publicly confessing the Christian Faith, but a group of Christians succeeded in rescuing him from prison. Then, in accordance with his abbot’s counsel, St. Nikoloz relocated to a Georgian monastery on Cyprus. There the pious monk beseeched the Lord to make him worthy of the crown of martyrdom. One day, while he was praying before the icon of St. John the Baptist, he heard a voice saying, “Nikoloz! Arise and go to Jerusalem. There you will find a Georgian monk who will teach you the way of righteousness and encourage you on the path of martyrdom. He has been appointed to guide you.”

Accordingly, St. Nikoloz returned to Jerusalem, met the monk whom God had appointed, and informed him of what had been revealed. The Most Holy Theotokos and St. John the Baptist appeared to St. Nikoloz’s spiritual father, who had been praying intensely for guidance, and told him that it was the Lord’s will for Nikoloz to journey to Damascus.

While in Damascus, the holy father entered a mosque and openly confessed Christ to be the Savior, reproving those present for their folly. The angry Muslims seized St. Nikoloz, beat him, and cast him into prison. After a great struggle, the metropolitan and local Christians succeeded in recovering him from captivity, but he immediately returned to the Muslims and began again to denounce their ungodly ways. Again they beat him mercilessly, lashed him five hundred times, and cast him in prison for a second time. But the holy martyr’s wounds were healed through the miraculous intercession of St. John the Baptist, and after two months he was released from prison.

By chance the emir of the city caught a glimpse of St. Nikoloz as he was preparing to return to Jerusalem. The emir recognized him and sent him to Dengiz, the emir of emirs. Dengiz flattered him and offered to convert him to Islam, but St. Nikoloz bravely defended his faith in Christ. In response, Dengiz ordered his execution.

At the hour appointed by Dengiz, the blessed martyr turned to the east, joyfully bowed his neck to the sword, and prayed, “Glory to Thee, O Christ God, Who hast accounted me worthy to die for Thy name’s sake.” The sword pierced his neck, but the severed head glorified God seven times, crying out, “Glory to Thee, O Christ our God!”

The Persians burned the saint’s body, and for three days a pillar of light shone at the place where it lay.

When St.Nikoloz’s spiritual father heard about his martyrdom, he prayed to God to reveal to him whether Nikoloz would be numbered among the saints. Then one day while he was reading, he saw a vision of a host of saints standing atop a mountain, illumined and surrounded by a cloud of incense. Among them the Great-martyr George shone especially brightly, and he called St. Nikoloz, saying, “Nikoloz! Come and see the monk, your spiritual father. He has shed many tears for you.”

Nikoloz greeted his spiritual father, saying, “Behold me and the place where I am, and from this day cease your sorrowing for me.”

St. Nikoloz Dvali was tortured to death on Tuesday, October 19, in the year 1314. The Georgian Church continues to commemorate him on that date.

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hieromartyr Blaise the Bishop of Sebaste

Commemorated on February 11

The Hieromartyr Blaise (Blasius), Bishop of Sebaste, was known for his righteous and devout life. Unanimously chosen by the people, he was consecrated Bishop of Sebaste. This occurred during the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Licinius (307-324), fierce persecutors of Christians. St Blaise encouraged his flock, visited the imprisoned, and gave support to the martyrs.

Many hid themselves from the persecutors by going off to desolate and solitary places. St Blaise also hid himself away on Mount Argeos, where he lived in a cave. Wild beasts came up to him and meekly waited until the saint finished his prayer and blessed them. The saint also healed sick animals by laying his hands upon them.

The refuge of the saint was discovered by servants of the governor Agrilaus, who had come to capture wild beasts to loose on the Christian martyrs. The servants reported to their master that Christians were hiding on the mountain, and he gave orders to arrest them. But those sent out found there only the Bishop of Sebaste. Glorifying God Who had summoned him to this exploit, St Blaise followed the soldiers.

Along the way the saint healed the sick and worked other miracles. Thus, a destitute widow complained to him of her misfortune. A wolf had carried off a small pig, her only possession. The bishop smiled and said to her, “Do not weep, your pigl will be returned to you...” To the astonishment of everyone, the wolf came running back and returned his prey unharmed.

Agrilaus, greeting the bishop with words of deceit, called him a companion of the gods. The saint answered the greeting, but he called the gods devils. Then they beat him and led him off to prison.

On the next day, they subjected the saint to tortures again. When they led him back to the prison, seven women followed behind and gathered up the drops of blood. They arrested them and tried to compel them to worship the idols. The women pretended to consent to this and said that first they needed to wash the idols in the waters of a lake. They took the idols and threw them in a very deep part of the lake, and after this the Christians were fiercely tortured. The saints stoically endured the torments, strengthened by the grace of God, their bodies were transformed and became white as snow. One of the women had two young sons, who implored their mother to help them attain the Kingdom of Heaven, and she entrusted them to the care of St Blaise. The seven holy women were beheaded.

St Blaise was again brought before Agrilaus, and again he unflinchingly confessed his faith in Christ. The governor ordered that the martyr be thrown into a lake. The saint, going down to the water, signed himself with the Sign of the Cross, and he walked on it as though on dry land.

Addressing the pagans standing about on shore, he challenged them to come to him while calling on the help of their gods. Sixty-eight men of the governor’s retinue entered the water, and immediately drowned. The saint, however, heeding the angel who had appeared to him, returned to shore.

Agrilaus was in a rage over losing his finest servants, and he gave orders to behead St Blaise, and the two boys entrusted to him, the sons of the martyr. Before his death, the martyr prayed for the whole world, and especially for those honoring his memory. This occurred in about the year 316.

The relics of the Hieromartyr Blaise were brought to the West during the time of the Crusades, and portions of the relics are preserved in many of the lands of Europe [and his memory traditionally honored there on February 3].

We pray to St Blaise for the health of domestic animals, and for protection from wild beasts.

TROPARION - TONE 4

By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, / you became a successor to their throne. / Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; / by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, / even to the shedding of your blood. / Hieromartyr Blaise, entreat Christ God to save our souls.

KONTAKION - TONE 2

Godly shoot, unfading flower, / most fruitful branch of Christ the Vine, God-bearing Blaise, / fill with joy those who in faith honor your memory / as you unceasingly intercede for us all.

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Venerable Longinus of Koryazhemsk, Vologda

Commemorated on February 10

Saint Longinus of Koryazhemsk first pursued asceticism at the monastery of St Paul of Obnora, and then lived at the Sts Boris and Gleb Solvychegod monastery. From there he settled with his friend Simon near Vychegda, toward the mouth of the Koryazhema river.

Here, deep in the countryside, ten versts from Solvychegod, the ascetics built cells and a chapel. When brethren gathered around them, they built a church named for St Nicholas, and built a monastery in which the saint was igumen. Near the church there was a well, dug out by St Longinus himself.

After his death in 1540 the saint’s body was buried, in accord with his last wishes, near the entrance to the church. Sixteen years later, it was placed inside the church.
The memory of St Longinus is celebrated with a special service, and there is a brief Life, compiled at a later time.

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

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Leavetaking of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple


February 9


Apolytikion of Apodosis of the Presentation in the First Tone
 
Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

Kontakion of Apodosis of the Presentation in the First Tone
 
Your birth sanctified a Virgin's womb and properly blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and saved us O Christ our God, give peace to Your commonwealth in troubled times and strengthen those in authority, whom You love, as the only the loving One.
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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):