Saturday, June 30, 2012

Apostle Bartholomew

Commemorated on June 30

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Bartholomew is also commemorated on June 11 and August 25.

For lists of the Apostles' names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


First-enthroned of the apostles,
teachers of the universe:
Entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world,
and to our souls great mercy!


Today Christ the Rock glorifies with highest honor
The rock of Faith and leader of the Apostles,
Together with Paul and the company of the twelve,
Whose memory we celebrate with eagerness of faith,
Giving glory to the one who gave glory to them!


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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Peter and Paul, the Holy Apostles

June 29

The divinely-blessed Peter was from Bethsaida of Galilee. He was the son of Jonas and the brother of Andrew the First-called. He was a fisherman by trade, unlearned and poor, and was called Simon; later he was renamed Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who looked at him and said, "Thou art Simon the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter)" (John 1:42). On being raised by the Lord to the dignity of an Apostle and becoming inseparable from Him as His zealous disciple, he followed Him from the beginning of His preaching of salvation up until the very Passion, when, in the court of Caiaphas the high priest, he denied Him thrice because of his fear of the Jews and of the danger at hand. But again, after many bitter tears, he received complete forgiveness of his transgression. After the Resurrection of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit, he preached in Judea, Antioch, and certain parts of Asia, and finally came to Rome, where he was crucified upside down by Nero, and thus he ascended to the eternal habitations about the year 66 or 68, leaving two Catholic (General) Epistles to the Church of Christ.

Paul, the chosen vessel of Christ, the glory of the Church, the Apostle of the Nations and teacher of the whole world, was a Jew by race, of the tribe of Benjamin, having Tarsus as his homeland. He was a Roman citizen, fluent in the Greek language, an expert in knowledge of the Law, a Pharisee, born of a Pharisee, and a disciple of Gamaliel, a Pharisee and notable teacher of the Law in Jerusalem. For this cause, from the beginning, Paul was a most fervent zealot for the traditions of the Jews and a great persecutor of the Church of Christ; at that time, his name was Saul (Acts 22:3-4). In his great passion of rage and fury against the disciples of the Lord, he went to Damascus bearing letters of introduction from the high priest. His intention was to bring the disciples of Christ back to Jerusalem in bonds. As he was approaching Damascus, about midday there suddenly shone upon him a light from Heaven. Falling on the earth, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" And he asked, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." And that heavenly voice and brilliance made him tremble, and he was blinded for a time. He was led by the hand into the city, and on account of a divine revelation to the Apostle Ananias (see Oct. 1), he was baptized by him, and both his bodily and spiritual eyes were opened to the knowledge of the Sun of Righteousness. And straightway- O wondrous transformation! - beyond all expectation, he spoke with boldness in the synagogues, proclaiming that "Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 9:1-21). As for his zeal in preaching the Gospel after these things had come to pass, as for his unabating labors and afflictions of diverse kinds, the wounds, the prisons, the bonds, the beatings, the stonings, the shipwrecks, the journeys, the perils on land, on sea, in cities, in wildernesses, the continual vigils, the daily fasting, the hunger, the thirst, the nakedness, and all those other things that he endured for the Name of Christ, and which he underwent before nations and kings and the Israelites, and above all, his care for all the churches, his fiery longing for the salvation of all, whereby he became all things to all men, that he might save them all if possible, and because of which, with his heart aflame, he continuously traveled throughout all parts, visiting them all, and like a bird of heaven flying from Asia and Europe, the West and East, neither staying nor abiding in any one place - all these things are related incident by incident in the Book of the Acts, and as he himself tells them in his Epistles. His Epistles, being fourteen in number, are explained in 250 homilies by the divine Chrysostom and make manifest the loftiness of his thoughts, the abundance of the revelations made to him, the wisdom given to him from God, wherewith he brings together in a wondrous manner the Old with the New Testaments, and expounds the mysteries thereof which had been concealed under types; he confirms the doctrines of the Faith, expounds the ethical teaching of the Gospel, and demonstrates with exactness the duties incumbent upon every rank, age, and order of man. In all these things his teaching proved to be a spiritual trumpet, and his speech was seen to be more radiant than the sun, and by these means he clearly sounded forth the word of truth and illumined the ends of the world. Having completed the work of his ministry, he likewise ended his life in martyrdom when he was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero, at the same time, some say, when Peter was crucified.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
First in prominence among the Apostles, and teachers to the Universe, intercede to the Master of all for peace in the world and for our souls great mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
O Lord, receive unto the enjoyment of Your good things and Your rest, the steadfast preachers of Godly words, the pinnacle of Your Disciples. Receive their pain and death above every sacrifice, for You alone know the hearts of men.


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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Icon of the Mother of God of "the Three Hands"

Commemorated on June 28

The Icon of the Mother of God, "Of the Three Hands": In the ninth century during the time of the Iconoclasts, St. John of Damascus (December 4) was zealous in his veneration of holy icons. Because of this, he was slandered by the emperor and iconoclast Leo III the Isaurian (717-740), who informed the Damascus caliph that St. John was committing treasonous acts against him. The caliph gave orders to cut off the hand of the monk and take it to the marketplace. Towards evening St. John, having asked the caliph for the cut-off hand, put it to its joint and fell to the ground before the icon of the Mother of God. The monk begged Our Lady to heal the hand, which had written in defense of Orthodoxy. After long prayer he fell asleep and saw in a dream that the All-Pure Mother of God had turned to him promising him quick healing.

Before this the Mother of God bid him toil without fail with this hand. Having awakened from sleep, St. John saw that his hand was unharmed. In thankfulness for this healing St. John placed on the icon a hand fashioned of silver, from which the icon received its name "Of Three Hands." (Some iconographers, in their ignorance, have mistakenly depicted the Most Holy Theotokos with three arms and three hands.) According to Tradition, St. John wrote a hymn of thanksgiving to the Mother of God: "All of creation rejoices in You, O Full of Grace," which appears in place of the hymn "It is Truly Meet" in the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.

St. John Damascene accepted monasticism at the monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified and there bestowed his wonderworking icon. The Lavra presented the icon "Of Three Hands" in blessing to St. Sava, Archbishop of Serbia (+ 1237, January 12). During the time of an invasion of Serbia by the Turks, some Christians who wanted to protect the icon, entrusted it to the safekeeping of the Mother of God Herself. They placed it upon a donkey, which without a driver proceeded to Athos and stopped in front of the Hilandar monastery. The monks put the icon in the monastery's cathedral church (katholikon). During a time of discord over the choice of igumen, the Mother of God deigned to head the monastery Herself, and from that time Her holy icon has occupied the igumen's place in the temple. At the Hilandar monastery there is chosen only a vicar, and from the holy icon the monks take a blessing for every obedience.


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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

St Severus the Presbyter of Interocrea in Italy

Commemorated on June 27

Saint Severus the Presbyter during the sixth century served in a church of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Interocleum in Central Italy. He was noted for his virtuous and God-pleasing life. One time, when the saint was working in his garden, cutting grapes in the vineyard, they summoned him to administer the Holy Mysteries for the dying. St Severus said: "Go back, and I'll catch up with you soon."

There remained only but a few more grapes to cut off, and St Severus dallied for awhile in the garden to finish the work. When he arrived at the sick person's home, they told him that the person was already dead. St Severus, regarding himself as guilty in the death of a man without absolution, started to tremble and loudly he began to weep. He went into the house where the deceased lay.

With loud groans and calling himself a murderer, in tears he fell down before the dead person. Suddenly the dead man came alive and related to everyone that the demons wanted to seize his soul, but one of the angels said, "Give him back, since the priest Severus weeps over him, and on account of his tears the Lord has granted him this man." St Severus, giving thanks to the Lord, confessed and communed the resurrected man with the Holy Mysteries. That man survived for another seven days, then joyfully went to the Lord.


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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

David the Righteous of Thessalonika

June 26

Saint David, who was from Thessalonica, lived a most holy and ascetical life. For some years, he took up his dwelling in the branches of an almond tree, exposed to all the elements and extremes of the weather. He reposed in peace during the reign of Saint Justinian the Great, in the sixth century.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy David, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
An Angel on earth, and stranger to all earthly things, thou madest a tree thy dwelling like an eagle's nest, whence, O David, thou didst soar up to Heaven, where thou didst find that Tree which in Eden we lost of old. Remember us all, who keep thy memory.


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

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Righteous Martyr Febronia

June 25

This Martyr practiced the ascetic discipline in Nisibis of Mesopotamia; she was of such great beauty that the report of her came to the persecutor Selenus, and every attempt was made to make her deny Christ. After many horrible tortures, she was cruelly dismembered by the executioners, then beheaded, in the year 310 (or, according to some, in 302, during the reign of Diocletian).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
In ascetic discipline, thou wast made fair as a virgin; then, O famed Febronia, thou shonest forth as a martyr; with thy lamp in hand, thou rannest unto thy Bridegroom, having watched through the night of martyric sufferings. And since thou art crowned in glory, thou intercedest for them that praise thee with faith.


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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nativity of the Forerunner John the Baptist

June 24

He that was greater than all who are born of women, the Prophet who received God's testimony that he surpassed all the Prophets, was born of the aged and barren Elizabeth (Luke 1: 7) and filled all his kinsmen, and those that lived round about, with gladness and wonder. But even more wondrous was that which followed on the eighth day when he was circumcised, that is, the day on which a male child receives his name. Those present called him Zacharias, the name of his father. But the mother said, "Not so, but he shall be called John." Since the child's father was unable to speak, he was asked, by means of a sign, to indicate the child's name. He then asked for a tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And immediately Zacharias' mouth was opened, his tongue was loosed from its silence of nine months, and filled with the Holy Spirit, he blessed the God of Israel, Who had fulfilled the promises made to their fathers, and had visited them that were sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, and had sent to them the light of salvation. Zacharias prophesied concerning the child also, saying that he would be a Prophet of the Most High and Forerunner of Jesus Christ. And the child John, who was filled with grace, grew and waxed strong in the Spirit; and he was in the wilderness until the day of his showing to Israel (Luke 1:57-80). His name is a variation of the Hebrew "Johanan," which means "Yah is gracious."

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Prophet and Forerunner of the presence of Christ, we who fervently honor you cannot worthily praise you. For by your revered and glorious birth the barrenness of your mother and the muteness of your father were unbound, and the incarnation of the Son of God is proclaimed to the world.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
She that once was barren doth today bring forth Christ's Forerunner, John, the culmination and the crown of all the Prophets. For when he, in River Jordan, laid his hand on Him Whom the Prophets preached aforetime, he was revealed as God the Word's fore-chosen Prophet, His mighty preacher, and His Forerunner in grace.


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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Martyr Luarsab II the King of Georgia

Commemorated on June 21

The Holy Martyr Luarsab II, Emperor of Georgia was born in 1587. He was the son of George X (1600-1603), poisoned by the Persian shah Abbas I (1584-1628). After the death of his father Luarsab remained with his two sisters, Choreshan and Helen. He was still a child, but distinguished himself by his intellect and piety. Despite his youthful age, he was crowned with the name Luarsab II. In 1609 Georgia suffered invasion by a Turkish army under the leadership of Deli-Mamad-khan. The young emperor gave decisive battle to the Turks near the village of Kvenadkotsi (between Gori and Surami). On the eve of battle the 14,000 Georgians spent all night in prayer. In the morning after Divine Liturgy and having received the Holy Mysteries, the Georgian forces put 60,000 enemy soldiers to flight in a heroic battle.

The Persian shah Abbas I, alarmed over this victory by the Georgians, and bearing enmity towards Luarsab II, sought for an opportunity to destroy him. Because he saved Kartli (Central Georgia) from destruction St Luarsab was forced to give his sister Helen in marriage to the Moslem shah Abbas. But even this did not stop the shah. Several times he entered Georgia with a large army. Because of the treachery of several feudal lords, the emperor Luarsab and the Kakhetian emperor Teimuraz I were compelled at the end of 1615 to withdraw to Imeretia (Western Georgia) to the Imeretian emperor George III (1605-1639).

Shah Abbas I laid waste to Kakhetia and, threatening Kartli with ruin, he demanded that he should have Luarsab II, promising that if he came, he would conclude a peace. The emperor Luarsab II, trying to preserve the churches of Kartli from devastation, set out to shah Abbas with the words, "I place all my hope in Christ, and whatever fate awaits me, life or death, blessed be the Lord God!"

Shah Abbas I received St Luarsab II amicably and, it would seem, was prepared to fulfill his promise. After a hunt together Shah Abbas invited him to Mazandaran, but Luarsab II refused to eat fish (since it was Great Lent), despite the threats and demands of the shah. The enraged shah began to insist that the Georgian emperor accept Islam, in return for which he promised to let him go with great treasures to Kartli, threatening death by torture if he did not. The emperor Luarsab II, having from his youth kept strict fasts and constantly at prayer, without hesitation refused the demands of the shah. They seized him and imprisoned him in the impenetrable fortress of Gulab-Kala, near Shiraz. The Mrovel Bishop Nicholas relates that the emperor Luarsab spent seven years imprisoned in chains undergoing cruel torments and frequent beatings to force him to accept Islam. But the holy confessor remained faithful to the Holy Church of Christ and accepted a martyr's death in the year 1622 at 35 years of age. Two of his faithful retainers were martyred with him.

By night the bodies of the holy martyrs were cast out of the prison without burial, but on the next day Christians committed them to earth in a common grave.


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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Word From Saint Nektarios to Future Priests

From here.

The following is taken from an address given by St. Nektarios when he was first assigned dean of Rizarios Ecclesiastical School.

“My children, in each of you there exists a future priest, an important element of the history and future life of our suffering country. You should be proud to wear your cassocks (anteri). Pray to the Almighty that He grants you the ability to serve His Church, for this vocation is not merely a job but is a mission which begins on earth and continues in heaven. Please heed these humble words and may your souls continuously shine with the eternal truths of our Holy Gospel…

“My children, I also want you to be proud of our Orthodox faith. Orthodoxy is our treasure, our priceless pearl, if you will. Orthodoxy is also the light that guides us. If we were ever to lose this treasure, this light, then we would be scattered to the ends of the earth like dust, ceasing to exist as a people and as a nation. There are so many aspects of our treasure that I want to share with you, but our time today does not permit it. We will, however, have the chance to explore these aspects in future lectures. Today, I would like to touch upon some other thoughts that I would like to share with you. My children, our lives begin like a clean piece of slate. It is up to us to determine what will be written on that slate. If on this virtues and good God-fearing acts are written, then we have lived up to our divine mission…

“So my children, I hope that from this day on we will live together as one family in Jesus Christ. We should, in essence, create a blessed brotherhood. I promise that I will stand by your side always as a spiritual father. As I close my talk to you today, may I comment on something which bothers me. I have noticed that almost all of you are beardless. Why are you shunning this natural and beautiful tradition? Do not be swayed by the Europeans. We Greek Orthodox have our own traditions, which date back to the Apostles and early Fathers of the Church. I ask that you follow their manly examples, and hold yourselves to it. Do it for the struggles and hardships they endured for the early Church. This is, after all, the least we can do.”

Source: Saint Nektarios: The Saint of Our Century, Sotos Chrondropoulos, Holy Trinity - St. Nekatarios Convent: Aegina

Icon of the Mother of God "the Directress" from the Monastery of Xenophontos on Mt Athos

Commemorated on June 20

This icon of the Mother of God is of the Hodigitria type, and is found in the Xenophontos Monastery on Mount Athos.


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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Venerable Leontius the Hagiorite

Commemorated on June 18

Saint Leontius the Clairvoyant of Mt. Athos, was born in Peloponnesian Argos. He labored on Mount Athos for a long time at the monastery of Dionysiou. He spent sixty years at the monastery, and not once did the holy ascetic leave the monastery. For his deep faith and deeds God granted him the gift of clairvoyance and prophecy.

St Leontius departed to the Lord on March 16, 1605 at age 85. The saint's holy relics were glorified by a flow of healing myrrh.


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

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2nd Sunday of Matthew

June 17

Tone of the week: Tone One

Second Eothinon

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.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Second Tone
O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.

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, June 16, 2012

Martyr Tigrius the Presbyter and Martyr Eutropius the Reader of Constantinople

Commemorated on June 16

Hieromartyr Tigrius the Presbyter and the Martyr Eutropius the Reader were contemporaries of St John Chrysostom (November 13) and were among his clergy. The holy presbyter Tigrius was a mild and kindly pastor, and St Eutropius was distinguished for his prudence and purity of life. When St John Chrysostom was banished from Constantinople in 404, St Tigrius and the reader Eutropius were arrested as his partisans and were accused of setting fire to churches and buildings belonging to the opponents of St John Chrysostom.

St Tigrius was put to torture, beaten with leather and banished to Mesopotamia, where he was imprisoned and died. St Eutropius was flogged, suspended, struck with iron rods, and thrown into prison. When the torments were repeated, he died. His body, which had been thrown to the dogs, was taken by night and buried by Christians. As they took his body for burial, angelic singing was heard in the sky above them.


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

Friday, June 15, 2012

Martyr Doulas of Cilicia

Commemorated on June 15

The Holy Martyr Doulas was a pious Christian from the city of Praetoriada. At the height of a persecution against Christians under Maximian (305-313) they arrested him and sent him to trial under the Cilicia district governor Maximus. Before the beginning of the trial the saint firmly besought the Lord to grant him the words to denunce idol-worship.

At his interrogation, the holy martyr bravely confessed Christ and forcefully denounced the false religion of the pagans and their gods with their shameful human vices and passions. The governor tried to confute his faith in Christ, but he was not able to resist against the grace-filled words of St Doulas. The governor flew into a rage, tortured him without pity and after interrogation sent him back to prison. At each new interrogation the saint appeared strong in spirit and body, prepared for new torture. At the final interrogation of St Doulas, they broke his lower jaw, they broke his knees, and they bound him to the chariot of the governor and dragged him about. In this way the holy martyr died, having signed himself with the Sign of the Cross.

They untied his body from the chariot and threw it into the river. The current carried the relics of the holy martyr to his native city. Dogs of shepherds discovered the holy body. One of them sat and guarded the body of the saint from birds, and another brought a shepherd's robe in its teeth and covered up the body of the saint. The shepherds led Christians to the body of St Doulas, who then buried it with reverence.


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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Methodius the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

June 14

As for Saint Methodius, he was born to wealthy parents in Syracuse of Sicily about the end of the eighth century. Being a presbyter, he was sent as an ambassador to Rome in 815 or 816 on behalf of Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople, who had been exiled by Leo the Armenian (see June 2). After Leo's death, he returned to Constantinople; but since he was a zealot for the veneration of the holy icons, he was immediately exiled by Emperor Michael the Stutterer to a fortress near Bithynia. When Michael died, he was freed for a short time; but then, because of his confession of the Orthodox Faith, he was imprisoned again by the Emperor Theophilus in a dark and foul-smelling sepulcher. Since this was not enough for the Emperor's inhumanity, he commanded that two thieves be shut up with Methodius, and when one of them died, that the corpse not be removed. While the Saint was imprisoned there, a certain poor fisherman ministered to his needs. Finally, when the Church received its freedom under Saint Theodora the Empress, the Saint ascended the patriarchal throne of Constantinople in 842. Together with the holy Empress, Methodius restored the holy icons to their proper honor; this is commemorated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. He governed the Church of Constantinople for four years, and reposed in 846.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Methodios, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Thou didst struggle on earth as one without a body, and didst inherit Heaven, O Methodius; for thou didst set forth the veneration of icons to the ends of the earth. And while living in abundant labours and hardships, thou didst not cease boldly to censure them that set at nought the icon of Christ.


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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Aquilina the Martyr of Syria

June 13

This Martyr contested in Byblos of Syria during the reign of Diocletian, in 289. Because she taught other young maidens to turn from the idols to Christ, she was brought before the governor. Her ears were pierced with heated spits until blood ran from her nostrils; finally she was beheaded, at the age of ten or twelve.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
With the sprinkling of thy blood was thou made pure, O fair virgin, and with crowns of martyrdom thou art crowned, O Aquilina; Christ thy Bridegroom, Who doth well forth life everlasting for this cause hath given thee to those in afflictions, for the healing of their illness and their salvation when they in faith flee to thee.


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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peter the Athonite

June 12

Saint Peter was born of noble parents in Constantinople in the ninth century. Sent forth with the Roman army against the Saracens, he was taken captive and shut up in the prison of Samarra in Syria; this is no doubt the same prison in which the Forty-Two Martyrs of Amorion were kept (see Mar. 6). Released from prison through the prayers of Saint Nicholas of Myra and Saint Symeon the God-receiver, he fled to Rome, where he became a monk, and later came to the peninsula of Athos, where he lived in a cave as a solitary, suffering many temptations from the evil one, but also enjoying the manifest help of the most holy Theotokos. After many years, he reposed in peace.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Having received the noetic and heavenly light in thy heart, O Peter, thou wast seen to be a most radiant vessel of the pure Trinity; and thou didst receive the grace to work miracles, and dost cry: Alleluia.


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

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bartholomew and Barnabas the Holy Apostles

June 11

Saint Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles, and had Galilee as his homeland; this is all that is known of him for certain according to the history of the Gospels. Concerning his apostolic work, certain say that he preached in Arabia and Persia, and especially in India, bringing to them the Gospel written by Saint Matthew, which had been written originally in Hebrew, and which was found there one hundred years later by Pantaenus, formerly a stoic philosopher and later an illustrious teacher of the Christian school in Alexandria (see Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., 5: 10). Other accounts say that he went to Armenia. According to some, he ended his life by being crucified, or by being flayed alive, in Albanopolis (Urbanopolis) of Armenia. This also confirms an ancient tradition preserved by the Armenians. According to some, Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person, because the Evangelists who mention Bartholomew do not mention Nathanael; and John, who alone mentions Nathanael as one of the Twelve, says nothing of Bartholomew. Indeed, Bartholomew is a patronymic, "son of Talmai," which means "bold, spirited" (see also Jesus of Navi 15:14; II Kings 3:3), and Nathanael could have had this as a surname. According to the Synaxarion of the Menaion on April 22, however, it is Simon the Zealot and Nathanael who are the same; the Evangelists who mention Simon the Zealot (or "the Canaanite") do not mention Nathanael.

Saint Barnabas, one of the Seventy, was from Cyprus, of the tribe of Levi, and a fellow disciple with Paul under Gamaliel. He was called Joses, but was renamed Barnabas, which means "son of consolation," perhaps to distinguish him from the Joses called Barsabas and surnamed Justus (Acts 1:23). Saint Barnabas had a field, which he sold and brought the money to the Apostles (Acts 4:36-37). Before the conversion of Saul to Paul, it was Barnabas who was the leader of the Seventy Apostles, the first in preaching and chief spokesman. After Saul's vision on the road to Damascus, it was Barnabas who joined him to the Apostles when the others, because of Saul's reputation as a persecutor of the Church, still feared him (Acts 9:26-27); again it was Saint Barnabas who conscripted Paul as a preacher, bringing him from Tarsus to Antioch after the stoning of Stephen, to assist in spreading the Gospel (Acts 11:25-26). Saint Barnabas preached the Gospel in many places, traveled together with Paul, and finally was stoned to death by the Jews in his native Cyprus. During the reign of Zeno, in the year 478, his sacred relics were found, having on his chest the Gospel according to Matthew written in Greek by Barnabas' own hand. This Gospel was brought to Zeno. Because of this the Church of Cyprus received the right of autonomy, and its archbishop was given the privilege, like the emperor, of signing his decrees and encyclicals in vermilion.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
To the Church thou hast appeared as a great daystar; with thy teachings as thy rays and beams of awesome miracles, thou hast enlightened those praising thee, the Lord's Apostle, O sacred Bartholomew.

To thy Lord, O Barnabas, thou wast a genuine servant; and among the Seventy Apostles, thou wast the foremost; and with Paul, thou shonest brightly in thy wise preaching, making known unto all men Christ Jesus, the Saviour. For this cause, we celebrate thy divine memorial with hymns and spiritual songs.


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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All Saints

June 10

Tone of the week: Plagal of the Fourth Tone

First Eothinon


Honouring the friends of God with much reverence, the Prophet-King David says, "But to me, exceedingly honourable are Thy friends, O Lord" (Ps. 138:16). And the divine Apostle, recounting the achievements of the Saints, and setting forth their memorial as an example that we might turn away from earthly things and from sin, and emulate their patience and courage in the struggles for virtue, says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every burden, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).

This commemoration began as the Sunday (Synaxis) of All Martyrs; to them were added all the ranks of Saints who bore witness (the meaning of "Martyr" in Greek) to Christ in manifold ways, even if occasion did not require the shedding of their blood.

Therefore, guided by the teaching of the Divine Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition, we the pious honour all the Saints, the friends of God, for they are keepers of God's commandments, shining examples of virtue, and benefactors of mankind. Of course, we honour the known Saints especially on their own day of the year, as is evident in the Menologion. But since many Saints are unknown, and their number has increased with time, and will continue to increase until the end of time, the Church has appointed that once a year a common commemoration be made of all the Saints. This is the feast that we celebrate today. It is the harvest of the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world; it is the "much fruit" brought forth by that "Grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died" (John 12:24); it is the glorification of the Saints as "the foundation of the Church, the perfection of the Gospel, they who fulfilled in deed the sayings of the Saviour" (Sunday of All Saints, Doxasticon of Vespers).

In this celebration, then, we reverently honour and call blessed all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown, who have been added to the choirs of the Saints and shall be added, from the time of Adam until the end of the world, who have been perfected in piety and have glorified God by their holy lives. All these, as well as the orders of the Angels, and especially our most holy Lady and Queen, the Ever-virgin Theotokos Mary, do we honour today, setting their life before us as an example of virtue, and entreating them to intercede in our behalf with God, Whose grace and boundless mercy be with us all. Amen.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
You descended from on high, O compassionate One, and condescended to be buried for three days, so that from the passions You might set us free. Our life and resurrection, O Lord, glory be to You.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Your Church, O Christ our God, clothed itself in the blood of Your martyrs from throughout the world, as though it were a robe of linen and purple; through them, she cries out to You, "Send down upon Your people compassion, grant peace to Your commonwealth, and to our souls, great mercy."

Seasonal Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The world offers You, the author of all creation, as the first-fruits of nature, the God-bearing martyrs. O most merciful, by their intercessions, through the Theotokos, maintain Your Church in perfect peace.


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

Saturday, June 09, 2012

St David Gareji

Commemorated on June 9

Saint David of Gareji was Syrian by birth. The future ascetic became a disciple of St. John of Zedazeni and journeyed with him to Georgia. St. David and his spiritual son Lucian settled on a mountain above Tbilisi, the capital of Kartli.

At that time Kartli was constantly under threat of the Persian fire-worshippers. St. David would spend entire days in prayer, beseeching the Lord for forgiveness of the sins of those who dwelt in the city. When he was finished praying for the day, he would stand on the mountain and bless the whole city. Once a week Sts. David and Lucian would go down into the city to preach. A church dedicated to St. David was later built on the mountain where he labored.

St. David’s authority and popularity alarmed the fire-worshippers, and they accused him of adultery, in an attempt to discredit him in the eyes of the people. As a “witness” they summoned a certain expectant prostitute, who accused him of being the child’s father. Hoping in God, the holy father touched his staff to the prostitute’s womb and ordered the unborn child to declare the truth. From out of the womb the infant uttered the name of his true father.

Outraged at this slander, the bystanders savagely stoned the woman to death. St. David pleaded with them to stop, but he was unable to placate the furious crowd. Deeply disturbed by these events, St. David departed the region with his disciple Lucian.

The holy fathers settled in a small cave in the wilderness and began to spend all their time in prayer. They ate nothing but herbs and the bark of trees. When the herbs withered from the summer heat, the Lord sent them deer. Lucian milked them and brought the milk to St. David, and when the elder made the sign of the Cross over the milk it was miraculously transformed into cheese.

Shaken by the holy father’s miracle, Lucian told him, “Even if my body rots and wastes away from hunger and thirst, I will not permit myself to fret over the things of this temporal life.”

The fathers kept a strict fast on Wednesdays and Fridays—they ate nothing, and even the deer did not come to them on those days.

A frightful serpent inhabited a cave not far from where they lived and attacked all the animals around it. But at St. David’s command the serpent deserted that place.

Once local hunters were tracking the fathers’ deer, and they caught sight of Lucian milking them as they stood there quietly, as though they were sheep. The hunters paid great respect to St. David and, having returned to their homes, reported what they had seen.

Soon the Gareji wilderness filled with people who longed to draw nearer to Christ. A monastery was founded there, and for centuries it stood fast as a center and cornerstone of faith and learning in Georgia.

After some time St. David set off on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He entrusted Lucian to fulfill his responsibilities at the monastery and took some of the other brothers with him. When the pilgrims were approaching the place called the “Ridge of Grace,” from which the holy city of Jerusalem becomes visible, St. David fell to his knees and glorified God with tears. Judging himself unworthy to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, he was satisfied to gaze upon the city from afar.

Then he stood at the city gates and prayed fervently while his companions entered the Holy City and venerated the holy places. Returning, St. David took with him three stones from the “Ridge of Grace.” That night an angel appeared to the patriarch of Jerusalem and informed him that a certain pious man named David, who was visiting from afar, had taken with him all the holiness of Jerusalem.

The angel proceeded to tell him that the venerable one had marched through the city of Nablus, clothed in tatters and bearing on his shoulders an old sack in which he carried the three holy stones. The patriarch sent messengers after the stranger with a request that he return two of the stones and take only one for himself. St. David returned the two stones, but he declined the patriarch’s invitation to visit him. He took the third stone back with him to the monastery, and to this day it has been full of the grace of miraculous healing.

After St. David brought the miraculous stone from Jerusalem, the number of brothers at the monastery doubled. The venerable father ministered to all of them and encouraged them. He also visited the cells of the elder hermits to offer his solace. In accordance with his will, a monastery in the name of St. John the Baptist was founded in the place called “Mravalmta” (the Rolling Mountains).

The Lord God informed St. David of his imminent departure to the Kingdom of Heaven. Then he gathered the fathers of the wilderness and instructed them for the last time not to fall into confusion, but to be firm and ceaselessly entreat the Lord for the salvation of their souls.

He received Holy Communion, lifted up his hands to the Lord, and gave up his spirit.

St. David’s holy relics have worked many miracles: approaching them, those blind from birth have received their sight. To this day, believers have been healed of every spiritual and bodily affliction at his grave.


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

Friday, June 08, 2012

Finding of the relics of St Constantine the Prince of Yaroslavl

Commemorated on June 8

The holy Princes Basil and Constantine Vsevolodovich of Yaroslav.

In their youth they lost their father, Vsevolod, who fell in battle with the Tatars (Mongols). St Basil, the elder brother, succeeded to the throne. As prince, he had to face a multitude of concerns, tasks and sorrows. The city and the villages were devastated from the invasion of the Tatars, many households remained without shelter and food, and he had to concern himself about everything and about everyone. Besides this, it was necessary to gain the good will of the Tatar Khan, and the holy prince more than once journeyed for this reason to the Horde. He suffered also a family misfortune, the loss of his only son.

All his tribulations the holy prince suffered without complaint, and he ruled the princedom, like a true Christian. He did not enter into disputes with other princes, he concerned himself with the unfortunate among his subjects, and he built churches. But soon his life, filled with many sorrows, exhausted the strength of the prince, and he took sick and died in the year 1249.

After him holy Prince Constantine succeeded to the throne. He strove to imitate his brother, but to his great dismay, everywhere he saw pillage and murdering done by the Tatars. In 1257 the Tatars fell upon Yaroslavl itself. The prince came out to fight the enemy, but here in this battle he gave up his life for his country. In the year 1501 the incorrupt relics of the holy princes were uncovered and now rest in the Yaroslav cathedral.


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

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Martyr Gelasius

Commemorated on June 6

St Gelasius, the holy martyr of Christ, lived during a time of fierce persecution. He gave away all his property and possessions to the poor, put on a long white garment, and went to visit those who were facing martyrdom.

Since these Christians had been tortured in various ways, St Gelasius kissed their wounds and encouraged them to remain steadfast in their confession of Christ. When the pagans saw him doing this they seized him and brought him before their ruler. When he was questioned he proclaimed Christ as the true God, denouncing the idols as deaf and inanimate objects.

The governor mocked him and had him flogged. Finally, he ordered that the saint's head be cut off, and so St Gelasius received the unfading crown of martyrdom from the Lord.

This saint should not be confused with the third century saint Gelasius (one of the ten martyrs of Crete, commemorated on December 23), St Gelasius of Palestine (December 31), nor with St Gerasimus the actor of Heliopolis (February 27).


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

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

St Peter of Korisha

Commemorated on June 5

Saint Peter was born in 1211 in the village of Unjimir between the city of Pech and the Field of Kosovo. As a child, he was meek and humble, and seldom participated in children's games. At an early age, he and his younger sister Helena devoted themselves to prayer and fasting. When he was ten years old, the future saint told his parents that he wished to serve God by becoming a monk.

St Peter's father died when the boy was fourteen, so he put off his plans to enter the monastery in order to care for his mother and sister. At the same time, he increased his ascetical efforts. When St Peter was sixteen, his beloved mother reposed. Determined to enter a monastery, he asked his sister whether she intended to be married, for his conscience would not allow him to abandon her unless he had provided for her. Helena said that it was her wish to preserve her virginity and become a nun. She said she would share his life of prayer and asceticism if only he would take her with him. Peter rejoiced and replied, "May the Lord's will be done."

They sold their family possessions and distributed the money to the poor. Traveling to Pec, they reached the Monastery of Sts Peter and Paul. Peter remained here, while Helena entered a nearby women's monastery. After several years, both were granted permission to live in solitude.

Peter built two cells, one for himself and one for his sister, near the monastery. They spent their time in continual prayer and fasting, freeing themselves from worldly attachments, subduing the flesh, and struggling on the path of salvation.

These two spiritual lamps could not remain hidden for very long. People started coming to them for spiritual counsel and healing. St Peter and his sister agreed to avoid the snare of vainglory by moving to a more remote area. They went to Crna Reka (the town of Black River) on the Ibar River.

St Peter wished to move even farther into the woods for a life of even greater asceticism, but was reluctant to leave his sister. On the other hand, he was concerned that she might risk her physical and spiritual health if she were to come with him, so he decided to slip away and leave her in order to live alone on a mountain. He did not get very far before she noticed he was gone. She caught up to him and they traveled together to a mountain near the town of Prizren. On top of the mountain was a town called Korisha (modern Kabash), where they stopped to rest. Helena went to sleep there in the grass. St Peter wept and made the Sign of the Cross over her, then went off into the forest. When she awoke and found him gone, she wept and called his name. Finally, she went down from the mountain and lived in Prizren for the rest of her life. St Helena is also commemorated on June 5 with her brother, St Peter.

The holy ascetic lived in a cave near Korisha, where he continued his spiritual struggles in the heat of summer and in the cold of winter. He withstood the temptations and attacks of the demons which assailed him. When this happened, he sang Psalms and hymns all night until the sun came up in the morning. He fervently prayed for God to help and comfort him in his struggles. The Archangel Michael appeared to him and drove away the demons, promising St Peter that they would never enter his cell again. The Archangel warned him to be vigilant and to persevere, for the Devil wished to destroy him. After advising the saint to call upon the name of the Lord whenever he was attacked by the forces of evil, the holy Archangel vanished.

St Peter still endured temptations, but was victorious against all of them. Realizing his own weakness, he turned to Christ, Who strengthened him and sustained him. After these victories, the Lord consoled him with a vision of the Uncreated Light which lasted several days. From that time forward, St Peter was illumined by the grace of God, so no demon ever dared to approach him again.

Before St Peter's death, many monks were sent to him by God, and he guided all of them. He blessed them and tonsured them, and permitted them to live in the caves below his cave. Forseeing the approach of death, he dug out a tomb for himself in the wall of his cell.

Acceding to the wish of his disciples, he told them the story of his life. Then he and his disciples received the Life-Giving Mysteries of Christ. After bidding each brother farewell, he surrendered his soul to God on June 5, 1275.

On the night of his blessed repose, a heavenly light was seen in his cave, and the singing of angels was heard by the other monks. In the morning, St Peter's face shone with radiance, and a sweet fragrance came from his body. After the saint's burial, many of those who came to his tomb were healed of their physical and spiritual infirmities. Seventy years later, King Dushan built a church at Korisha over St Peter's relics, and dedicated it to the God-bearing ascetic.

The holy relics of St Peter were later transferred to the Black River monastery, then to the church of the Archangel Michael in the city of Kalashin.

Many of the icons of St Peter proved to be miracle working. The inscription reads: "St Peter of Korisha, desert-dweller and wonder-worker."


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