Saturday, December 31, 2011

Venerable Cyriacus of Bisericani, Romania

Commemorated on December 31

Saint Cyriacus of Bisericani is one of Romania's greatest ascetics, and in his life he was like the great Fathers of the Egyptian desert.

He lived in the Bisericani monastery at the beginning of the seventeenth century, which then had more than a hundred monks. Longing for a life of solitude, St Cyriacus went to live in a cave at Simon Mountain and remained there for sixty years.

Like St Onuphrius (June 12), St Cyriacus went about naked in summer and in winter, and his body became overgrown with hair. He glorified God with unceasing prayer and ascetical struggles, and Christ gave him the grace to overcome the demons which assailed him.

Attaining great holiness and perfecting himself in virtue, St Cyriacus fell asleep in the Lord in 1660. His relics were buried in his cave, where there is now a small chapel dedicated to him. Later, because of unsettled conditions in the land, the faithful took portions of his relics away in order to preserve them.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Venerable Simon the Myrrh-gusher of Mt Athos

Commemorated on December 28

Saint Simon the Myrrh-Gusher lived an ascetical life on Mt Athos, and was glorified by many miracles. He was the founder of the New Bethlehem monastery, now known as Simonopetra. One night, he saw a star of such brightness that he thought it must be the Star of Bethlehem. Seeing the star remain motionless for several nights, he thought at first that it was a demonic temptation. On the eve of the Lord's Nativity the star stood over a high rock, and St Simon heard a voice say, "Here, O Simon, you must lay the foundations of your monastery for the salvation of souls." He built the monastery and called it New Bethlehem.

He reposed in the year 1287, and his holy relics exude myrrh.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stephen, Archdeacon & First Martyr

December 27

Saint Stephen was a Jew, by race, and, as some say, a disciple of Gamaliel, the teacher of the Law mentioned in Acts 5:34 and 22:3. He was the first of the seven deacons whom the Apostles established in Jerusalem to care for the poor, and to distribute alms to them. Being a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, he performed great signs and wonders among the people. While disputing with the Jews concerning Jesus, and wisely refuting their every contradiction, so that no one was able to withstand the wisdom and the spirit whereby he spake, he was slandered as a blasphemer and was dragged off to the Sanhedrin of the elders. There with boldness he proved from the divine Scriptures the coming of the Just One (Jesus), of Whom they had become the betrayers and murderers, and he reproved their faithless and hardheartedness. And finally, gazing into Heaven and beholding the divine glory, he said: "Lo, I see the Heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God." But when they heard this, they stopped up their ears, and with anger cast him out of the city and stoned him, while he was calling out and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then, imitating the long-suffering of the Master, he bent his knees and prayed in a loud voice for them that were stoning him, and he said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge," And saying this, he fell asleep (Acts 6, 7), thus becoming the first among the Martyrs of the Church of Christ.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The crown of the Kingdom hath adorned the brow of thy head because of the contests that thou hast endured for Christ God, thou first of the martyred Saints; for when thou hadst censured the Jews' madness, thou sawest Christ thy Saviour standing at the right hand of the Father. O Stephen, ever pray Him for us, that He would save our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Yesterday the Master arrived in the flesh, today the servant departs from the flesh. Yesterday He who reigns was born. Today the servant dies for Him by stoning, the Protomartyr, the divine Stephen.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Synaxis of the Holy Theotokos

December 26

This Synaxis - which is to say, our coming together to glorify the Theotokos - is celebrated especially in her honour because she gave birth supernaturally to the Son and Word Of God, and thus became the instrument of the salvation of mankind.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
He, who was begotten of the Father before the morning star, without a mother, becomes incarnate of you today, without a father. Wherefore, a star announces the good news to the Magi. Angels with shepherds praise your immaculate birth-giving, O Full of Grace.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

December 25

The incomprehensible and inexplicable Nativity of Christ came to pass when Herod the Great was reigning in Judea; the latter was an Ascalonite on his fathers's side and an Idumean on his mother's. He was in every way foreign to the royal line of David; rather, he had received his authority from the Roman emperors, and had ruled tyrannically over the Jewish people for some thirty-three years. The tribe of Judah, which had reigned of old, was deprived of its rights and stripped of all rule and authority. Such was the condition of the Jews when the awaited Messiah was born, and truly thus was fulfilled the prophecy which the Patriarch Jacob had spoken 1,807 years before: "A ruler shall not fail from Judah, nor a prince from his loins, until there come the things stored up for him; and he is the expectation of the nations" (Gen.49:10).

Thus, our Saviour was born in Bethlehem, a city of Judea, whither Joseph had come from Nazareth of Galilee, taking Mary his betrothed, who was great with child, that, according to the decree issued in those days by the Emperor Augustus, they might be registered in the census of those subject to Rome. Therefore, when the time came for the Virgin to give birth, and since because of the great multitude there was no place in the inn, the Virgin's circumstace constrained them to enter a cave which was near Bethlehem. Having as shelter a stable of irrational beasts, she gave birth there, and swaddled the Infant and laid Him in the manger (Luke 2:1-7). From this, the tradition has come down to us that when Christ was born He lay between two animals, an ox and an ass, that the words of the Prophets might be fulfilled: "Between two living creatures shalt Thou be known" (Abbacum 3:2), and "The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib" (Esaias 1: 3).

But while the earth gave the new-born Saviour such a humble reception, Heaven on high celebrated majestically His world-saving coming. A wondrous star, shining with uncommon brightness and following a strange course, led Magi from the East to Bethlehem to worship the new-born King. Certain shepherds who were in the area of Bethlehem, who kept watch while tending their sheep, were suddenly surrounded by an extraordinary light, and they saw before them an Angel who proclaimed to them the good tidings of the Lord's joyous Nativity. And straightway, together with this Angel, they beheld and heard a whole host of the Heavenly Powers praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men" (Luke 2:8-14).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined the light of knowledge upon the world; for thereby they that worshipped the stars were instructed by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory be to Thee.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
On this day the Virgin beareth the Transcendent in essence; * to the Unapproachable, * the earth doth offer a small cave; * Angels join in choir with shepherds * in giving glory; * with a star the Magi travel upon their journey; * for our sakes is born a young Child, * He that existed * before the ages as God.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Eugenia the Righteous Nun-martyr of Rome

December 24

This Martyr was the daughter of most distinguished and noble parents named Philip and Claudia. Philip, a Prefect of Rome, moved to Alexandria with his family. In Alexandria, Eugenia had the occasion to learn the Christian Faith, in particular when she encountered the Epistles of Saint Paul, the reading of which filled her with compunction and showed her clearly the vanity of the world. Secretly taking two of her servants, Protas and Hyacinth, she departed from Alexandria by night. Disguised as a man, she called herself Eugene while pretending to be a eunuch, and departed with her servants and took up the monastic life in a monastery of men. Her parents mourned for her, but could not find her. After Saint Eugenia had laboured for some time in the monastic life, a certain woman named Melanthia, thinking Eugenia to be a monk, conceived lust and constrained Eugenia to comply with her desire; when Eugenia refused, Melanthia slandered Eugenia to the Prefect as having done insult to her honour. Eugenia was brought before the Prefect, her own father Philip, and revealed to him both that she was innocent of the accusations, and that she was his own daughter. Through this, Philip became a Christian; he was afterwards beheaded at Alexandria. Eugenia was taken back to Rome with Protas and Hyacinth. All three of them ended their life in martyrdom in the years of Commodus, who reigned from 180 to 192.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Being mystically moved by the Spirit, thou didst sing God's praise, thereby receiving the clear light of divine knowledge in thy heart; and shining bright as the sun with a righteous life, thou overcamest the devil in martyrdom. O Eugenia, thou most glorious Martyr of the Lord, entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Fleeing from the fleeting world's temporal glory, thou didst greatly long for Christ, and didst preserve wholly unhurt the high nobility of thy soul, O godly Martyr, all-lauded Eugenia.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

St Paul the Bishop of Neocaesarea

Commemorated on December 23

Saint Paul, Bishop of Neocaesarea, suffered under the emperor Licinius (311-324). At his trial he firmly confessed his faith, and was subjected to beatings. They tortured him also with hunger, but he remained steadfast. Then they scorched his hands with red-hot iron and locked him in a prison at the banks of the Euphrates.

After Licinius was executed in the year 324, when St Constantine became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire, and Christians in prison received their freedom, St Paul returned to his flock. He was a participant at the First Ecmenical Council at Nicea, convened in the year 325, at which the Arian heresy was condemned and the Symbol of Faith adopted. At the end of the Council, the Emperor Constantine solemnly received the Council participants and kissed St Paul's burned hand. After long years of guiding his flock, St Paul peacefully fell asleep in the Lord.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Martyr Evodus who suffered under Diocletian

Commemorated on December 22

Saint Evodus was the eldest son of St Theodota. He, his mother, and his two brothers stood bravely before the judge and endured beatings without protest. After lengthy torture, they were all thrown into a fiery furnace and so received the crown of martyrdom.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Repose of St John of Kronstadt

Commemorated on December 20

St John of Kronstadt was born in the village of Sura in Archangel province on October 19, 1829, and was called John in honor of St John of Rila (August 18). His parents were very poor but were very devoted to the Church. Even though he was poor, as a young boy John learned to feel compassion for others in their misfortune. His neighbors frequently asked him to pray for them, as they noticed this special grace-endowed gift in him. When John was ten, his parents were able to raise some money and send him to the local school which was attached to the church. At first, the boy had an extremely difficult time with his studies. He worked for days on end, but still failed to keep up.

Writing about his life he once recalled an evening when everyone had already gone to bed. "I could not sleep, and I still failed to understand anything I was taught. I still read poorly and could not remember anything I was told. I became so depressed I fell to my knees and began to pray. I don’t know whether I had spent a long time in that position or not, but suddenly something shook my whole being. It was as if a veil had fallen from my eyes, and my mind had been opened, and I remembered clearly my teacher of that day and his lesson. I also recalled the topic and the examples he had given. I felt so light and joyous inside." After this experience he did so well he became one of the first in his class to be chosen to go to seminary, and after seminary to the Theological Academy in St Petersburg (a great honor at that time).

Throughout his studies, John thought about the importance of forgiveness, meekness, and love, and came to believe that these were the very center and power of Christianity, and that only one path - the path of humble love - leads to God and the triumph of His righteousness. He also thought a great deal about the Savior's death on the Cross at Golgotha, and pitied those who did not know Jesus Christ. He wished to preach to them about His death and Resurrection. He dreamed about becoming a missionary to distant China, but saw that there was a great deal of work for a genuine pastor of Christ’s flock both in his own city and the surrounding towns.

When John graduated from the Academy he met Elizabeth Nesvitsky who lived in the town of Kronstadt. They dated, he proposed, and they were married. After his studies, John still desired to learn more about his faith and his Church.

It was in this frame of mind that he prepared to be a priest and to enter public ministry. He was ordained a deacon on December 10, 1885, and then priest on December 12. He was assigned to St Andrew’s Cathedral in the city of Kronstadt. He said, “I made myself a rule to be as sincere as possible in my work, and of strictly watching myself and my inner life.”

Fr John wanted most of all to earn the love of the people in his care, because only a loving attitude could provide the firm support and help he needed as he faced the difficult work of the priesthood. His constant thought was how he would come before the Last Judgment and have to give an account, not only for his own deeds, but also the deeds of his flock, for whose education and salvation he was responsible. To him no one was a stranger; everyone who came to him for help became a friend and relative. He would tell people “The Church is the best heavenly friend of every sincere Christian.” He conducted divine services daily and offered the prayers of the faithful. He called all who rarely receive Holy Communion to prepare themselves and live their lives in a Christian way so that they could receive more often. Listening to Fr John, many people changed their lifestyle, repented sincerely, and joyfully received Holy Communion on a regular basis.

At that time the government exiled murderers, thieves and other criminals to Kronstadt. Life was horrible for the exiles. Even children of exiles would become thieves and criminals. He would go to their dugouts, hovels and shacks to visit with them. Not satisfied with staying for five or ten minutes to administer some rite and then leave, Fr John believed he was coming to visit a priceless soul, his brothers and sisters. He would stay for hours, talking, encouraging, comforting, crying, and rejoicing together with them.

From the beginning he also concerned himself with the material needs of the poor. He would shop for food, go to the pharmacy for prescriptions, to the doctor for help, many times giving the poor his last few coins. The inhabitants of Kronstadt would see him returning home barefoot and without his cassock. Often parishioners would bring shoes to his wife, saying to her, “Your husband has given away his shoes to someone, and will come home barefoot.” He would also write articles for the newspaper exhorting the people of Kronstadt to “support the poor morally and materially.” These appeals touched the hearts of many and Fr John organized many charitable efforts. Realizing that his individual charity was insufficient for aiding the needy, he founded the Orthodox Christian House Parish Trusteeship of St Andrew the First-Called. This brotherhood coordinated many charitable efforts throughout the city and helped many needy people.

In 1857, he began teaching in the local city schools. He would tell people, “If children cannot listen to the Gospel, it is only because it is taught like any other subject, with boredom and indifference. Such teaching defeats the purpose of the Gospel. It fails because it forces students only to read words and memorize them instead of making them live in their lives.” To Fr John there were no incapable students. He taught in such a way that poor pupils as well as good ones were able to understand. His attention was aimed not so much at forcing students to memorize as to fill their souls with the joy of living according to Christian values, sharing with them the holy thoughts which filled his soul.

When speaking to other priests about their vocation he would say, “You are a representative of the faith of the Church, O priest; you are a representative of Christ the Lord Himself. You should be a model of meekness, purity, courage, perseverance, patience, and lofty spirit. You are doing the work of God and must not let anything discourage you.”

St John has performed more miracles than almost any other saint, with the possible exception of St Nicholas. Through his prayers he healed the sick, gave hope to the hopeless, and brought sinners to repentance.

Fr John labored endlessly in his work for the Lord preaching, teaching, and helping those in need. Having spent his entire life serving God and His people, Fr John fell ill and died on December 20, 1908. Almost immediately, people from near and far began to make pilgrimages to the monastery where he was buried. Even today millions of Orthodox Christians in Russia and around the world pray to him to intercede for them as he had always done from his childhood.

St John was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church on June 8, 1990.


As a zealous advocate of the Orthodox faith, As a caring Solicitor for the land of Russia, Faithful to the rules and image of a pastor, Preaching repentance and life in Christ, An awesome servant and administer of God's sacraments, A daring intercessor for people's sake, O Good and righteous Father John, Healer and wonderful miracle-worker, The praise of the town of Kronstadt And decoration of our Church, Beseech the All-Merciful God To reconcile the world and to save our souls!


With the apostles your message has gone out to the ends of the world, And with the confessors you suffered for Christ! You are like the hierarchs through your preaching of the word; With the righteous you are radiant with the grace of God. The Lord has exalted your humility above the heavens And given us your name as a source of miracles. O wonder-worker, living in Christ for ever, Have mercy on those beset by troubles; And hear us when we cry out in faith, O our beloved shepherd John!


This day the pastor of Kronstadt Appears before the throne of God Praying fervently on behalf of the faithful To the chief pastor Christ, who has promised: "I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it!"


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Righteous Aglaida (Aglae) of Rome

Commemorated on December 19

Saint Aglaida (Aglae) was a rich Roman woman and carried on an immoral relationship with her slave St Boniface. But they both felt the sting of conscience and they wanted somehow to be cleansed of their sin. And the Lord granted them the possibility to wash away their sin with their blood and to finish their life in repentance.

Aglaida learned that whoever keeps relics of the holy martyrs in the home and venerates them receives great help in gaining salvation. Under their influence, sin is diminished and virtue prevails. She arranged for Boniface to go to the East, where there was a fierce persecution against Christians, and she asked him to bring back the relics of some martyr, who would become a guide and protector for them.

As he was leaving, Boniface laughed and asked, "My lady, if I do not find any relics, and if I myself suffer for Christ, will you accept my body with reverence?" Aglaida scolded him, saying that he was setting off on a sacred mission, but he was not taking it seriously. Boniface pondered her words, and during the whole journey he thought that he was unworthy of touching the bodies of the martyrs.

Arriving in Tarsus, Boniface witnessed the sufferings of the martyrs and his heart was changed. He cried out, "I am also a Christian." He was arrested, tortured, and put to death, then slaves took his body back to Aglaida in Rome.

On the eve of their arrival an angel appeared to Aglaida in her sleep and told her to prepare herself to receive her former slave, now the brother and fellow-servant of the angels. Aglaida summoned the clergy, and she received the holy relics with great reverence. Then she built a church on the site of his grave and dedicated it to the holy martyr. There she enshrined his relics, glorified by numerous miracles. After distributing all her wealth to the poor, she withdrew to a monastery, where she spent fifteen years in repentance, then fell asleep in the Lord. She was buried beside St Boniface. The sins of the one were washed away by his blood, the other was purified by her tears and asceticism. Both were found worthy to appear unsullied before our Lord Jesus Christ, Who desires not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his wickedness and live (Ezek. 33:11).


You fervently followed the way of the martyrs Confessing Christ before unbelievers, O Boniface. You gave your body to modest Aglae As an imperishable treasure. Healing and mercy flow from it for the world.


Willingly you offered yourself as a blameless sacrifice to the One about to be born of the Virgin for our sake, holy crown-bearer, all-wise Boniface.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday before Nativity

December 18

Tone of the week: Tone Two

Fifth Eothinon

On the Sunday that occurs on or immediately after the eighteenth of this month, we celebrate all those who from ages past have been well-pleasing to God, beginning from Adam even unto Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, according to genealogy, as the Evangelist Luke hath recorded historically (Luke 3:23-38); we also commemorate the Prophets and Prophetesses, and especially the Prophet Daniel and the Holy Three Children.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Second Tone
When You descended unto death, O Lord who yourself are immortal Life, then did You mortify Hades by the lightning flash of Your Divinity. Also when You raised the dead from the netherworld, all the Powers of the heavens were crying out: O Giver of life, Christ our God, glory be to You.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Great are the achievements of faith! In the fountain of flame, as by the water of rest, the Three Holy Children rejoiced. And the Prophet Daniel proved a shepherd of lions as of sheep. By their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Third Tone
On this day the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to * God the Word ineffably, * Who was before all the ages. * Dance for joy, O earth, on hearing * the gladsome tidings; * with the Angels and the shepherds now glorify Him * Who is willing to be gazed on * as a young Child Who * before the ages is God.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the Second Tone
You rose from the tomb, O Savior all-powerful, * and Hades beheld the marvel and was struck with fear, * and the dead were rising up, and creation beholds and rejoices with You, * and Adam is also exultant; O my Savior, and the world ever sings Your praise.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dionysios of Zakynthos

December 17

The holy hierarch, Saint Dionysios, who was born and reared on Zakynthos, was the son of pious and wealthy parents, Mocius and Paulina by name. In his youth he entered the ancient monastery of the Strophada Islands, which lie south of Zakynthos, and there he donned the monastic habit. Later, he was appointed Archbishop of Aegina, and adorned its throne for a considerable time. Thereafter he returned to his homeland. One incident in his life especially reveals to what virtue he attained. A man came to him in desperation, witnessing that he had committed a murder, and was being pursued by the slain man's family. He asked Saint Dionysios to give him refuge. The Saint agreed to this, upon learning that it was his own brother whom the man had slain, he said nothing, but concealing the agony of his grief, hid him. When the Saint's kinsmen arrived at the monastery, he told them that the Murderer had gone by such and such a way. When they had departed, he admonished the man concerning the gravity of his sin, instructed him in repentance, and sent him off in peace having forgiven him his brother's murder. According to local tradition, this man later returned and became a monk at this same monastery. Saint Dionysios reposed in peace in 1621, leaving behind his sacred and incorrupt relics as a treasure for his fellow citizens.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
The faithful son of Zakynthos, Aegina's wise prelate, the protector of the august Monastery of Strophada, O wise Dionysius, with one voice, all we the faithful honour thee and cry: By thy prayers, save them that keep thy memorial and cry unto thee sincerely: Glory to Christ Who hath glorified thee. Glory to Him who hath made thee wondrous. Glory to Him Who made thee our unsleeping intercessor.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
On this day doth Zakynthos call all the faithful together, rousing them to offer praise in songs and hymns of thanksgiving to our great and fervent helper in needs and sorrows, who doth swiftly rescue them that are caught in perils. And she honoureth him, crying: O Dionysios, boast of the faithful, rejoice!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

St Sophia

Commemorated on December 16

Saint Sophia, in the world Solomonia, a Great Princess, was the daughter of the noble Yuri Saburov. In the year 1505 she was chosen as bride by the heir to the throne, the future Great Prince Basil. Their marriage was unhappy, because Solomonia remained childless, so he divorced her. In order to have an heir, Great Prince Basil decided to wed a second time (to Elena Glinsky) and on November 25, 1525 he ordered Solomonia to become a nun. Forcibly tonsured with the name Sophia, Solomonia was sent under guard to the Suzdal Protection convent, where by ascetic deeds she banished from her heart worldly thoughts, and totally dedicated herself to God.

Prince Kurbsky calls the blessed princess "a Monastic Martyr." In the manuscript Lives of the Saints she is called "the holy Righteous Princess Sophia the Nun, the wonderworker, who dwelt at the Protection monastery." Under Tsar Theodore they revered her as a saint. Tsaritsa Irene sent to Suzdal, "to the Great Princess Solomonia, also called Sophia, a velvet veil with depiction of the Savior and other saints." Patriarch Joseph wrote to Archbishop Serapion of Suzdal about serving Panikhidas and Moliebens for Sophia. St Sophia departed to God in the year 1542. The Suzdal sacristan Ananias speaks of several miraculous healings at her grave.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hieromartyr Eleutherius the Bishop of Illyria, and His Mother

Commemorated on December 15

Hieromartyr Eleutherius, his mother Evanthia and Caribus the Eparch: St Eleutherius, the son of an illustrious Roman citizen, was raised in Christian piety by his mother. His virtue was such that at the age twenty, he had been elevated to bishop of Illyria. In the reign of the emperor Hadrian, St Eleutherius was tortured for his bold preaching about Christ, then was beheaded at Rome with his mother Evanthia. The Eparch Caribus, who had tortured St Eleutherius, also came to believe in Christ and was executed.


Adorned with the robe of priest Stained with the streams of your blood, O wise and blessed Eleutherius, over-thrower of Satan You hastened to Christ your Master. Pray unceasingly for those who faithfully honor your contest!


We all praise and entreat you, O Hieromartyr Eleutherius, Adornment of priests and encouragement of martyrs: Free from danger those who lovingly celebrate your memory, And pray unceasingly for us all!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Holy Martyrs Philemon, Apollonius, Arianus and Theotychus of Alexandria

Commemorated on December 14

The Holy Martyrs Philemon, Apollonius, Arianus and Theotychus suffered for the Faith in Egypt, at the city of Antinoe, under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). St Arrian up until his conversion to Christ was a persecutor of Christians, among whom were the martyrs Apollonius and Philemon.

St Apollonius, at first fearing to face the sufferings, asked the pagan musician Philemon to change clothes with him and offer sacrifice to the idols for him. But unexpectedly St Philemon confessed himself a Christian in front of the pagans.

St Apollonius repented and also confessed Christ. After torture, both martyrs were executed. St Philemon's body was hung upon an olive tree, and arrows were shot at him. One struck prefect Arianus in the eye, destroying it. Arianus' injured eye was healed when he applied dirt taken from Philemon's grave. He repented and was converted to the Christian Faith and baptized together with all his household and bodyguards. Out of love for Christ they voluntarily went to torture and were sentenced to death.

The Martyr Theotychus was the eldest of the guards, and is remembered with the other saints. The Martyrs Philemon and Apollonius died on March 16, 286, and the Martyrs Arrian and Theotychus on March 4, 287.


With garlands and songs let us adorn the seven martyrs, Thyrsus, Philemon, and steadfast Apolonius, Arianus, Callinicus, Apollonia and glorious Leucius, For they destroyed the enemy and are pillars of godliness. Together they shine on all the world with rays of heavenly grace!


Your holy martyrs, O Lord, Through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions, save our souls!


Let us gather today, And praise the Church's luminaries, Acclaiming them as fitting trophy–bearers of Christ our God!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Virginmartyr Lucy of Syracuse

Commemorated on December 13

Saint Lucy was born in Syracuse, Sicily during the reign of Diocletian. She distributed her wealth to the poor, and made a vow of virginity. Since she refused to marry him, a rejected suitor denounced her to the prefect Paschasius as a Christian, and she was arrested. She was sentenced to be defiled in a brothel, but with God's help she preserved her purity.

Then the pagans attempted to burn her alive, but she was not harmed by the fire. Finally, she was killed by a sword thrust to the throat.

The name Lucy (Lucia) is derived for the Latin word for light (lux), and so she is often invoked for afflictions of the eyes. There is a tradition that she was blinded by her torturers, and the church of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples even claims to possess her eyes.

Today's saint should not be confused with St Lucy of Campania (July 6).


Wearing the radiant cloak of virginity And being betrothed to the Lifegiver Christ You forsook the love of your earthly betrothed O Lucy Virgin-Martyr Therefore as a bridal gift You have brought to Christ the outpouring of your blood You also intercede to Him for us all!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spyridon the Wonderworker of Trymithous

December 12

Spyridon, the God-bearing Father of the Church, the great defender of Corfu and the boast of all the Orthodox, had Cyprus as his homeland. He was simple in manner and humble of heart, and was a shepherd of sheep. When he was joined to a wife, he begat of her a daughter whom they named Irene. After his wife's departure from this life, he was appointed Bishop of Trimythus, and thus he became also a shepherd of rational sheep. When the First Ecumenical Council was assembled in Nicaea, he also was present, and by means of his most simple words stopped the mouths of the Arians who were wise in their own conceit. By the divine grace which dwelt in him, he wrought such great wonders that he received the surname 'Wonderworker." So it is that, having tended his flock piously and in a manner pleasing to God, he reposed in the Lord about the year 350, leaving to his country his sacred relics as a consolation and source of healing for the faithful.

About the middle of the seventh century, because of the incursions made by the barbarians at that time, his sacred relics were taken to Constantinople, where they remained, being honoured by the emperors themselves. But before the fall of Constantinople, which took place on May 29, 1453, a certain priest named George Kalokhairetes, the parish priest of the church where the Saint's sacred relics, as well as those of Saint Theodora the Empress, were kept, took them away on account of the impending peril. Travelling by way of Serbia, he came as far as Arta in Epirus, a region in Western Greece opposite to the isle of Corfu. From there, while the misfortunes of the Christian people were increasing with every day, he passed over to Corfu about the year 1460. The relics of Saint Theodora were given to the people of Corfu; but those of Saint Spyridon remain to this day, according to the rights of inheritance, the most precious treasure of the priest's own descendants, and they continue to be a staff for the faithful in Orthodoxy, and a supernatural wonder for those that behold him; for even after the passage of 1,500 years, they have remained incorrupt, and even the flexibility of his flesh has been preserved. Truly wondrous is God in His Saints! (Ps. 67:3 5)

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Thou wast shown forth as a champion of the First Council and a wonderworker, O Spyridon, our God-bearing Father. Wherefore, thou didst speak unto one dead in the grave, and didst change a serpent to gold. And while chanting thy holy prayers, thou hadst Angels serving with thee, O most sacred one. Glory to Him that hath glorified thee. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Pierced through with the love * of Christ, O sacred Spyridon, * thou gavest thy mind * divine wings with the Spirit's light; * in the active vision of God were all thy labours, O inspired of God, * whereby thou becamest the Lord's * divine altar, asking divine light for all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

11th Sunday of Luke

December 11

Tone of the week: Tone One

Fourth Eothinon

On the Sunday that occurs on or immediately after the eleventh of this month, we commemorate Christ's forefathers according to the flesh, both those that came before the Law, and those that lived after the giving of the Law.
Special commemoration is made of the Patriarch Abraham, to whom the promise was first given, when God said to him, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18). This promise was given some two thousand years before Christ, when Abraham was seventy-five years of age. God called him and commanded him to forsake his country, parents, and kinsmen, and to depart to the land of the Canaanites. When he arrived there, God told him, "I will give this land to thy seed" (Gen. 12:7); for this cause, that land was called the "Promised Land," which later became the country of the Hebrew people, and which is also called Palestine by the historians. There, after the passage of twenty-four years, Abraham received God's law concerning circumcision. In the one hundredth year of his life, when Sarah was in her ninetieth year, they became the parents of Isaac. Having lived 175 years altogether, he reposed in peace, a venerable elder full of days.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the First Tone
The stone had been secured with a seal by the Judeans, * and a guard of soldiers was watching Your immaculate body. * You rose on the third day, O Lord * and Savior, granting life unto the world. * For this reason were the powers of heaven crying out to You, O Life-giver: * Glory to Your resurrection, O Christ; * glory to Your eternal rule; * glory to Your dispensation, only One who loves mankind.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
By faith didst Thou justify the Forefathers, when through them Thou didst betroth Thyself aforetime to the Church from among the nations. The Saints boast in glory that from their seed there is a glorious fruit, even she that bare Thee seedlessly. By their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
O thrice-blessed ones, you did not revere an image wrought by hand. But, putting on the armor of the Indescribable Essence, you were glorified in the ordeal of fire, standing in the midst of unbearable flame. You called upon God, "Compassionate One, come swiftly Merciful One hasten to our aid. For You are able to do whatever it is that You will."

Seasonal Kontakion in the Second Tone
On this day the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to * God the Word ineffably, * Who was before all the ages. * Dance for joy, O earth, on hearing * the gladsome tidings; * with the Angels and the shepherds now glorify Him * Who is willing to be gazed on * as a young Child Who * before the ages is God.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the First Tone
You arose from the sepulcher in glory as God, and with yourself resurrected the world. And mortal nature extolled You as God, and death was obliterated, and Adam is dancing, O Master; and Eve, now redeemed from the bonds, rejoices crying out: O Christ, You are He who grants resurrection to all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blessed Angelina Brancovich the Princess of Serbia

Commemorated on December 10

Saints Angelina and Stephen were the parents of St John of Serbia. The life of the Serbian ruler Stephen Brankovich and his family was filled with instability and misfortune. After Serbia was seized in 1457 by the Turks, the then Serbian ruler's middle son, Stephen (October 9), distinguished by a meek disposition and fine knowledge of Holy Scripture, went to the capital of Turkey after his sister had been given to Sultan Murat in marriage. Learning that the Turks had burned the Mileshevsk monastery with fanatic cruelty, St Stephen rose up to defend Serbia from oppression.

When he married Angelina (July 1 & 30), the daughter of the Prince of Albania, the Turks threatened St Stephen and his family with punishment. With his wife and three children he was forced to hide first in Albania, and then in Italy, where he died.

St Angelina transferred the incorrupt relics of her spouse to Kupinovo. At the end of the fifteenth century, their son St John, became ruler of Serbia. The incorrupt relics of St John and his parents were afterwards glorified by many miracles.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

December 9

According to the ancient tradition of the Church, since Saint Anna, the Ancestor of God, was barren, she and her husband Joachim remained without children until old age. Therefore, sorrowing over their childlessness, they besought God with a promise that, if He were to grant them the fruit of the womb, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift. And God, hearkening to their supplication, informed them through an Angel concerning the birth of the Virgin. And thus, through God's promise, Anna conceived according to the laws of nature, and was deemed worthy to become the mother of the Mother of our Lord (see also Sept. 8).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed; for God hearkened to Joachim and Anna. And though it was beyond hope, He clearly promised them that they should bear a divine child, from whom was born the Uncircumscribable One Himself Who became a mortal, and through an Angel commanded them to cry unto her: Rejoice, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Today the world rejoices in the conception of Anna, wrought by God. For she bore the One who beyond comprehension conceived the Logos.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Patapios the Righteous of Thebes

December 8

This Saint was from the Thebaid of Egypt and struggled many years in the wilderness. He departed for Constantinople, and having performed many miracles and healings, he reposed in peace in a mountain cave on the Gulf of Corinth, where his holy relics are found incorrupt to the present day.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Patapius, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Having found thy Church to be a place of spiritual healing, all the people flock with haste thereto, O Saint, and they ask thee to bestow the ready healing of their diseases and forgiveness of the sins they wrought in their lifetime; O Patapios most righteous, in every need, thou art the protector of all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

December 7

This Saint was born in Gaul in 340, and was a member of the Roman Senate. After the death of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, a violent dispute arose among the Orthodox and Arians about who would succeed him. Ambrose, desiring as Governor of the province to restore the peace, attempted to mediate between them. As he spoke to the people, eloquently persuading them to elect a new bishop without tumult and disorder, a young child, inspired from on high, suddenly cried out "Ambrose, bishop!" To his astonishment and dismay, the people immediately took up this cry themselves, and over his many protests, he was raised to the episcopal throne of Milan on December 7, 374. A great Father of the Church, he wrote many works in Latin, and was both an unwearying opponent of Arianism, and a fearless accuser of emperors when they transgressed the law of God. Having lived fifty-seven years, he reposed on April 4, on the eve of Pascha, in the year 397.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Ambrose, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Flashing lightning-like with godly doctrines, thou, O Ambrose, dravest off the darkness of the impious error of Arius; and working wonders and signs by the Spirit's might, thou, O good shepherd, didst heal divers sufferings. Righteous Father, thou initiate of sacred mysteries, entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

St Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

Commemorated on December 6

Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia is famed as a great saint pleasing unto God. He was born in the city of Patara in the region of Lycia (on the south coast of the Asia Minor peninsula), and was the only son of pious parents Theophanes and Nonna, who had vowed to dedicate him to God.

As the fruit of the prayer of his childless parents, the infant Nicholas from the very day of his birth revealed to people the light of his future glory as a wonderworker. His mother, Nonna, after giving birth was immediately healed from illness. The newborn infant, while still in the baptismal font, stood on his feet three hours, without support from anyone, thereby honoring the Most Holy Trinity. St Nicholas from his infancy began a life of fasting, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he would not accept milk from his mother until after his parents had finished their evening prayers.

From his childhood Nicholas thrived on the study of Divine Scripture; by day he would not leave church, and by night he prayed and read books, making himself a worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Bishop Nicholas of Patara rejoiced at the spiritual success and deep piety of his nephew. He ordained him a reader, and then elevated Nicholas to the priesthood, making him his assistant and entrusting him to instruct the flock.

In serving the Lord the youth was fervent of spirit, and in his proficiency with questions of faith he was like an Elder, who aroused the wonder and deep respect of believers. Constantly at work and vivacious, in unceasing prayer, the priest Nicholas displayed great kind-heartedness towards the flock, and towards the afflicted who came to him for help, and he distributed all his inheritance to the poor.

There was a certain formerly rich inhabitant of Patara, whom St Nicholas saved from great sin. The man had three grown daughters, and in desperation he planned to sell their bodies so they would have money for food. The saint, learning of the man's poverty and of his wicked intention, secretly visited him one night and threw a sack of gold through the window. With the money the man arranged an honorable marriage for his daughter. St Nicholas also provided gold for the other daughters, thereby saving the family from falling into spiritual destruction. In bestowing charity, St Nicholas always strove to do this secretly and to conceal his good deeds.

The Bishop of Patara decided to go on pilgrimage to the holy places at Jerusalem, and entrusted the guidance of his flock to St Nicholas, who fulfilled this obedience carefully and with love. When the bishop returned, Nicholas asked his blessing for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Along the way the saint predicted a storm would arise and threaten the ship. St Nicholas saw the devil get on the ship, intending to sink it and kill all the passengers. At the entreaty of the despairing pilgrims, he calmed the waves of the sea by his prayers. Through his prayer a certain sailor of the ship, who had fallen from the mast and was mortally injured was also restored to health.

When he reached the ancient city of Jerusalem and came to Golgotha, St Nicholas gave thanks to the Savior. He went to all the holy places, worshiping at each one. One night on Mount Sion, the closed doors of the church opened by themselves for the great pilgrim. Going round the holy places connected with the earthly service of the Son of God, St Nicholas decided to withdraw into the desert, but he was stopped by a divine voice urging him to return to his native country. He returned to Lycia, and yearning for a life of quietude, the saint entered into the brotherhood of a monastery named Holy Sion, which had been founded by his uncle. But the Lord again indicated another path for him, "Nicholas, this is not the vineyard where you shall bear fruit for Me. Return to the world, and glorify My Name there." So he left Patara and went to Myra in Lycia.

Upon the death of Archbishop John, Nicholas was chosen as Bishop of Myra after one of the bishops of the Council said that a new archbishop should be revealed by God, not chosen by men. One of the elder bishops had a vision of a radiant Man, Who told him that the one who came to the church that night and was first to enter should be made archbishop. He would be named Nicholas. The bishop went to the church at night to await Nicholas. The saint, always the first to arrive at church, was stopped by the bishop. "What is your name, child?" he asked. God's chosen one replied, "My name is Nicholas, Master, and I am your servant."

After his consecration as archbishop, St Nicholas remained a great ascetic, appearing to his flock as an image of gentleness, kindness and love for people. This was particularly precious for the Lycian Church during the persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Bishop Nicholas, locked up in prison together with other Christians for refusing to worship idols, sustained them and exhorted them to endure the fetters, punishment and torture. The Lord preserved him unharmed. Upon the accession of St Constantine (May 21) as emperor, St Nicholas was restored to his flock, which joyfully received their guide and intercessor.

Despite his great gentleness of spirit and purity of heart, St Nicholas was a zealous and ardent warrior of the Church of Christ. Fighting evil spirits, the saint made the rounds of the pagan temples and shrines in the city of Myra and its surroundings, shattering the idols and turning the temples to dust.

In the year 325 St Nicholas was a participant in the First Ecumenical Council. This Council proclaimed the Nicean Symbol of Faith, and he stood up against the heretic Arius with the likes of Sts Sylvester the Bishop of Rome (January 2), Alexander of Alexandria (May 29), Spyridon of Trimythontos (December 12) and other Fathers of the Council.

St Nicholas, fired with zeal for the Lord, assailed the heretic Arius with his words, and also struck him upon the face. For this reason, he was deprived of the emblems of his episcopal rank and placed under guard. But several of the holy Fathers had the same vision, seeing the Lord Himself and the Mother of God returning to him the Gospel and omophorion. The Fathers of the Council agreed that the audacity of the saint was pleasing to God, and restored the saint to the office of bishop.

Having returned to his own diocese, the saint brought it peace and blessings, sowing the word of Truth, uprooting heresy, nourishing his flock with sound doctrine, and also providing food for their bodies.

Even during his life the saint worked many miracles. One of the greatest was the deliverance from death of three men unjustly condemned by the Governor, who had been bribed. The saint boldly went up to the executioner and took his sword, already suspended over the heads of the condemned. The Governor, denounced by St Nicholas for his wrong doing, repented and begged for forgiveness.

Witnessing this remarkable event were three military officers, who were sent to Phrygia by the emperor Constantine to put down a rebellion. They did not suspect that soon they would also be compelled to seek the intercession of St Nicholas. Evil men slandered them before the emperor, and the officers were sentenced to death. Appearing to St Constantine in a dream, St Nicholas called on him to overturn the unjust sentence of the military officers.

He worked many other miracles, and struggled many long years at his labor. Through the prayers of the saint, the city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine. He appeared to a certain Italian merchant and left him three gold pieces as a pledge of payment. He requested him to sail to Myra and deliver grain there. More than once, the saint saved those drowning in the sea, and provided release from captivity and imprisonment.

Having reached old age, St Nicholas peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. His venerable relics were preserved incorrupt in the local cathedral church and flowed with curative myrrh, from which many received healing. In the year 1087, his relics were transferred to the Italian city of Bari, where they rest even now (See May 9).

The name of the great saint of God, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, a speedy helper and suppliant for all hastening to him, is famed in every corner of the earth, in many lands and among many peoples. In Russia there are a multitude of cathedrals, monasteries and churches consecrated in his name. There is, perhaps, not a single city without a church dedicated to him.

The first Russian Christian prince Askold (+ 882) was baptized in 866 by Patriarch Photius (February 6) with the name Nicholas. Over the grave of Askold, St Olga (July 11) built the first temple of St Nicholas in the Russian Church at Kiev. Primary cathedrals were dedicated to St Nicholas at Izborsk, Ostrov, Mozhaisk, and Zaraisk. At Novgorod the Great, one of the main churches of the city, the Nikolo-Dvorischensk church, later became a cathedral.

Famed and venerable churches and monasteries dedicated to St Nicholas are found at Kiev, Smolensk, Pskov, Toropetsa, Galich, Archangelsk, Great Ustiug, Tobolsk. Moscow had dozens of churches named for the saint, and also three monasteries in the Moscow diocese: the Nikolo-Greek (Staryi) in the Chinese-quarter, the Nikolo-Perervinsk and the Nikolo-Ugreshsk. One of the chief towers of the Kremlin was named the Nikolsk.

Many of the churches devoted to the saint were those established at market squares by Russian merchants, sea-farers and those who traveled by land, venerating the wonderworker Nicholas as a protector of all those journeying on dry land and sea. They sometimes received the name among the people of "Nicholas soaked."

Many village churches in Russia were dedicated to the wonderworker Nicholas, venerated by peasants as a merciful intercessor before the Lord for all the people in their work. And in the Russian land St Nicholas did not cease his intercession. Ancient Kiev preserves the memory about the miraculous rescue of a drowning infant by the saint. The great wonderworker, hearing the grief-filled prayers of the parents for the loss of their only child, took the infant from the waters, revived him and placed him in the choir-loft of the church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) before his wonderworking icon. In the morning the infant was found safe by his thrilled parents, praising St Nicholas the Wonderworker.

Many wonderworking icons of St Nicholas appeared in Russia and came also from other lands. There is the ancient Byzantine embordered image of the saint, brought to Moscow from Novgorod, and the large icon painted in the thirteenth century by a Novgorod master.

Two depictions of the wonderworker are especially numerous in the Russian Church: St Nicholas of Zaraisk, portrayed in full-length, with his right hand raised in blessing and with a Gospel (this image was brought to Ryazan in 1225 by the Byzantine Princess Eupraxia, the future wife of Prince Theodore. She perished in 1237 with her husband and infant son during the incursion of Batu); and St Nicholas of Mozhaisk, also in full stature, with a sword in his right hand and a city in his left. This recalls the miraculous rescue of the city of Mozhaisk from an invasion of enemies, through the prayers of the saint. It is impossible to list all the grace-filled icons of St Nicholas, or to enumerate all his miracles.

St Nicholas is the patron of travelers, and we pray to him for deliverance from floods, poverty, or any misfortunes. He has promised to help those who remember his parents, Theophanes and Nonna.

St Nicholas is also commemorated on May 9 (The transfer of his relics) and on July 29 (his nativity).


In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you. Hierarch Father Nicholas, entreat Christ our God that our souls may be saved.


You revealed yourself, O saint, in Myra as a priest, For you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ By giving up your soul for your people, And saving the innocent from death. Therefore you are blessed as one become wise in the grace of God.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2010(with 2009's link here also and further, 2008's, even 2007!)