Angelina was the daughter of Prince George Skenderbeg of Albania. Her
mother's name is not known, but she raised her daughter in Christian
piety and taught her to love God.
St Stephen Brancovich (October 9 and December 10), the ruler of Serbia,
had come to Albania to escape those who wished to kill him. Some time
before he arrived in Albania, St Stephen was unjustly blinded by the
Turkish Sultan for some perceived offense. Since he was innocent, he
bore his affliction with courage.
St Stephen was not only Prince George's guest, but he was also treated
as a member of his family. Not surprisingly, Stephen and Angelina
eventually fell in love. With her parents' blessing, they were married
in church. After a few years, they were blessed with two sons: George
When the boys were grown, St Stephen and his family were forced to flee
to Italy for their safety. At that time the Turks invaded Albania and
began to slaughter men, women, and even children.
St Stephen died in 1468, leaving Angelina a widow. In her distress, she
turned to the ruler of Hungary for help. He gave them the town of
Kupinovo in Sirmie.
St Angelina left Italy with her sons in 1486, stopping in Serbia to bury St Stephen's incorrupt body in his native land.
The children of these pious parents also became saints. George gave up
his claim to the throne in favor of his brother John, then entered a
monastery and received the name Maximus.
John was married, but had no sons. He died in 1503 at a young age, and many miracles took place before his holy relics.
St Angelina survived her husband and both of her sons. Mindful of her
soul's salvation, she entered a women's monastery. She departed to the
Lord in peace, and her body was buried in the same tomb as her sons in
the monastery of Krushedol in Frushka Gora.
St Angelina is also commemorated on December 10 with her husband St Stephen and her son St John.
The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Mother,
for you took up the Cross and followed Christ.
By so doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away,
but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.
Therefore your spirit, O venerable Angelina, rejoices with the angels.
Saint Irene, who was from Cappadocia, flourished in the
ninth century. Because of her great beauty and virtue, she was brought
to Constantinople as a prospective bride for the young Emperor Michael
(842-867); however, as Saint Joannicius the Great foretold, it was God's
will that she assume the monastic habit instead. She shone forth in
great ascetical labours, and suffered many attacks from the demons;
while yet a novice, she attained to the practice of Saint Arsenius the
Great, of praying the whole night long with arms stretched out towards
Heaven (see May 8). God showed forth great signs and wonders in her, and
she became the Abbess of the Convent of Chrysovalantou. She was granted
the gift of clairvoyance and knew the thoughts of all that came to her.
She appeared in a vision to the king and rebuked him for unjustly
imprisoning a nobleman who had been falsely accused. Through a sailor
from Patmos to whom he had appeared, Saint John the Evangelist sent her
fragrant and wondrous apples from Paradise. She reposed at the age of
103, still retaining the youthful beauty of her countenance. After her
repose, marvelous healings beyond number have been wrought by her to the
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
Not a temporal kingdom on earth didst thou obtain, but Christ,
thy most comely Bridegroom, vouchsafed thee heavenly crowns, and thou
reignest as a queen with Him eternally; for thou didst dedicate thyself
unto Him with all thy soul, O Irene, our righteous Mother, thou boast of
Chrysovalantou, and mighty help of all the Orthodox.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Leaving all the world behind with its impermanent glory, thou
wast wedded unto Christ, the King immortal and holy, bringing Him as
precious dowry thy maiden beauty and thy trophies won through abstinence
over demons. O Irene, our righteous Mother, entreat thy Bridegroom to
show His mercy to us.
Nicholas Konchanov, Novgorod Fool-for-Christ (+ 1392), was born at
Novgorod into a rich and illustrious family. From his youthful years he
loved piety, he went to church faithfully, and loved fasting and prayer.
Seeing his virtuous life, people began to praise him. Blessed Nicholas,
disdaining glory from men, began the difficult exploit of folly for the
Lord's sake. He ran about the city in the bitter cold dressed in rags,
enduring beatings, insults and mockery. Blessed Nicholas and another
Novgorod fool, Blessed Theodore (January 19), pretended to be
irreconcilable foes, and graphically demonstrated to the people of
Novgorod the pernicious character of their internecine strife.
Once, having overcome his sham opponent, Blessed Nicholas went along the
Volkhov as if on dry land, and threw a head of cabbage at Blessed
Theodore, therefore he was called "Konchanov" (i.e. "cabbage-head"). The
Lord glorified Blessed Nicholas with the gift of miracles and
Once, after being turned away by servants from a feast to which he had
been invited, he left. Immediately, the wine disappeared from the
barrel. Only upon the return of the fool, and through his prayer, did it
reappear again. When he died, Blessed Nicholas was buried at the end of
the cemetery by the Yakovlev cathedral.
The relics of Blessed Nicholas rest under a crypt in the church of the Great Martyr Panteleimon which was built over his grave.
Moses the Hungarian of the Caves, was a brother of St Ephraim of Novy
Torg (January 28), and of St George. Together with them he entered into
the service of the holy Prince Boris (July 24). After the murder of St
Boris in 1015 at the River Alta (St George also perished with him), St
Moses fled and hid himself at Kiev with Predislava, sister of prince
Yaroslav. In 1018, when the Polish king Boleslav seized Kiev, St Moses
and his companions wound up in Poland as captives.
Tall and handsome, St Moses attracted the attention of a certain rich
Polish widow, who burned with a passionate desire for him and wanted to
ransom him from captivity and make him her husband. St Moses resolutely
refused to exchange captivity for slavery to a wife. Despite his
refusal, the Polish woman bought the captive.
She did everything in her power to seduce the youth, but he preferred
hunger pains to banquets of food. Then the Polish woman began to convey
St Moses through her lands, thinking to captivate him by power and
riches. St Moses told her that he would not trade spiritual riches for
the perishable things of this world, and that he wished to become a
Passing through the area, an Athonite hieromonk tonsured St Moses a
monk. The Polish woman gave orders to stretch St Moses on the ground and
to beat him with iron rods, so that the ground became soaked with his
blood. She sought permission of Boleslav to do with the captive all that
she pleased. The shameless woman once gave orders to put St Moses in a
bed with her. She kissed and embraced him, but she accomplished nothing
St Moses said, "From the fear of God I loathe you as impure". Hearing
this, the Polish woman gave orders to give the saint each day a hundred
lashes, and then to emasculate him. Boleslav soon began a persecution
against all the monks in the land, but sudden death overtook him. A
revolt arose in Poland, in which the widow also was killed.
Having recovered from his wounds, St Moses arrived at the Kiev Caves
monastery, bearing on himself martyr's wounds and a crown of a confessor
and courageous warrior of Christ. The Lord provided him strength in his
sufferings. A certain monastic brother, oppressed by impure passion,
went to St Moses and sought his help, saying, "I promise to keep until
death everything you tell me to do." St Moses said: "As long as you
live, do not speak a word to any woman." The brother promised to obey
the advice of the monk. St Moses had in his hand a staff, without which
he was not able to walk because of the wounds which he had received.
With this staff St Moses struck the chest of the brother who had
approached him, and immediately he was delivered from temptation.
St Moses pursued asceticism at Kiev for 10 years; he died in about the
year 1043 and was buried in the Near Caves. After venerating the saint's
holy relics and fervent prayer to him, the monks were healed of fleshly
According to tradition, Anna, the ancestor of God, lived
for sixty-nine years, and her spouse Joachim, for eighty; according to
one account, Saint Joachim died two years before Saint Anna. The
Theotokos had been orphaned of both her parents already when she was
eleven years of age, when she was living in the Temple (see Sept. 8 and
Nov. 21). Saint Anna is invoked for conceiving children, and for help in
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Godly-minded Anna, thou didst give birth unto God's pure Mother
who conceived Him Who is our Life. Wherefore, thou hast now passed with
joy to thy heavenly rest, wherein is the abode of them that rejoice in
glory; and thou askest forgiveness of sins for them that honour thee
with love, O ever-blessed one.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
We celebrate now the mem'ry of Christ's ancestors, while asking
their help with faith, that we may all be saved from all manner of
tribulation as we fervently cry aloud: Be thou with us, O Lord our God,
Whose pleasure it was to glorify them both.
Letter of the
Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronimos, regarding the issues of taxation
of the Orthodox Church of Greece and of the payroll of Its clergy to Greek PM
and the leaders of the EU
Prompted by repeated
publications in a part of the European Press regarding the issues of taxation of
the Orthodox Church of Greece and of the payroll of Its clergy, and whose
authors, in violation of any notion of ethics, avoid addressing relevant
questions to the competent Press Office for their complete information, we are
obliged to proceed to the following clarifications in order to restore the
Taxation of the Church. The latest tax exemptions in favour of the
Orthodox Church as well as in favour of all known religions in Greece with no
exception, were repealed on April 23, 2010 by law No. 3842/2010. Henceforth, the
legal entities of the Orthodox Church have been disbursing : (1) a tax on their
real estate, and indeed at a tax rate three times as high as the one applying to
the rest of the public organisations of the country; (2) a tax on the rents they
receive each year from their real estate at a tax rate of 20% of their value,
namely higher than the one applying to private individuals; (3) a complementary
tax on their revenues from edifices and leased lands at a rate of 3%; (4) an
advance payment of tax for the following year at a rate of 55% of the value of
the aforementioned complementary tax; (5) a tax on inheritance and donations at
a rate of 0.5% of their value; (6) a stamp duty fee and Agricultural Insurance
Organisation rights at a total rate of 2.40% on each pecuniary contribution from
the faithful to the Holy Churches by reason of sacred practices. Moreover, the
aforementioned legal entities of the Church withhold and pay to the Greek
Government all taxes which private tax payers are also obliged to withhold and
pay in their transactions with third parties (tax on salaried services, VAT
etc.). In accordance with tax law, only spaces used for worship and public
benefit purposes by all religions and denominations with no exception are
exempted from the tax on real estate. Thus the Central Service of the Church of
Greece, the Holy Metropolises, the Parishes, the Holy Monasteries and the
Ecclesiastic Foundations paid for the year 2011 a total amount of 12,584,139.92€
The payroll of the clergy. The payroll of the clergy is disbursed by
the Government in compliance with a contractual obligation of the latter,
assumed by it as of the year 1833 vis-à-vis the Church, since 65% (i.e. two
thirds) of the rural and urban real estate property of the Church at the time
came to the State. Henceforth and up to this day 96% of the remaining
aforementioned property has also come to the State — either unilaterally
(through a number of laws passed by the Greek Government) or through donations
offered by the Church. The largest mass land concessions by the Church to the
State took place in order to assist the refugees of the Asia Minor Disaster
(1922) as well as the landless cultivators after 1945. Furthermore, the most
significant public edifices of the capital (housing academic institutions,
hospitals etc.) have been erected on real estate conceded by the Church free of
charge for this purpose.
Today the largest part
of Church property consists of forest extents, with regard to which, in
accordance with the Greek Constitution, no change of their purpose and use is
permitted, and of a few urban estates, upon most of which urban planning
compulsory purchase has been imposed by the State so that they may be turned
into communal spaces, without, however, the Orthodox Church legal entities’
having been compensated for them, due to the lack of financial resources of the
relevant Municipalities. It is worth noting at this point that the salaries of
the Deacons and of the Presbyters of the Orthodox Church are stipulated by the
same law as those of Public Servants and are subject to the same cuts and tax
The revenues of the Church. The revenues of the Church derive from the
rents of Its remaining real estate, the dividends from bank shares and voluntary
contributions from the faithful. It should be noted that, as of 2008, paying
dividends to bank shareholders has been suspended by law, while the real estate
market is also going through a severe crisis. Despite all that, in October 2010
the Church of Greece supported the Greek economy by partaking of the share
capital increase of the National Bank of Greece with the amount of 27 million
euro, derived from bank borrowing. Today these shares, apart from the fact that
they yield no dividend, have almost zero resale value. It should be emphasised
that the Church of Greece has no revenues from commercial ventures or business
activities in general.
The social work of the Church. Ever since the establishment of the
Modern Greek State and up to this day, uninterruptedly, and of course these days
in particular, when our people is suffering, Holy Metropolises, Holy Parishes,
and Ecclesiastic Foundations have developed a large number of actions and
charitable initiatives for the relief of those in need. Today the Church of
Greece operates: 2,325 funds for the poor (Philoptocha), 10 nursery schools, 10
kindergartens, 19 hospices for the elderly within the Holy Archdiocese of Athens
and a further 66 in the Holy Metropolitanates, 13 healthcare clinics for persons
with chronic diseases, 8 foundations for persons with special needs, 10
hospitals and medical centres, 7 mental health hospices, 6 hostels for the
homeless, 1 hostel for the accommodation of patients’ relatives, 36 boarding
schools and orphanages, many foundations dedicated to child protection, over 200
free food distribution centres, with the number of portions of food offered
constantly increasing, social supermarkets, free distribution points for
clothing and foot ware, and student boarding houses.
The number of persons
hosted in all the aforementioned forms of social infrastructure of the Church
for the year 2011 (accommodation, boarding, medical and pharmaceutical
healthcare) rose to 5,862. Moreover, 54 camping centres are operated, where more
than 15,000 children are hosted each year. Furthermore, there is a special
service operated by the Holy Synod for the reception of immigrants and for the
provision of legal assistance to them, should they wish to submit asylum
requests. Finally, it should be taken into account that daily pecuniary aid is
provided to the destitute, and academic scholarships are granted to Greek and
foreign students. In total, for the year 2010, all agencies of the Orthodox
Church of Greece spent on their charitable and social work the amount of
It should be taken
into consideration that the aforementioned data do not regard the Monastic
Community of the Holy Mount, the Church of Crete or the Holy Metropolitanates of
the Dodecanese, which constitute administratively independent ecclesiastic
jurisdictions (and distinct from the Church of Greece) in accordance with Greek
We deem the dispatch
of the present to be appropriate so that things may be put back in their right
perspective; so that the irresponsible reproduction of erroneous and
stereotypical information as well as the creation of distorted impressions at
the expense of the Orthodox Church of Greece may cease, being obviously aimed at
serving unfathomable expediencies.
Saint Christina was from Tyre in Syria, the daughter of a
pagan named Urban. Enlightened in her heart to believe in Christ, she
broke her father's idols, made of gold and silver, and distributed the
pieces to the poor. When her father learned this, he punished her
ruthlessly, then cast her into prison. The rulers subjected her to
imprisonments, hunger, torments, the cutting off of her breasts and
tongue, and finally impalement, in the year 200, during the reign of the
Emperor Septimius Severus.
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 Fourth Tone
O dove of golden wings, thou shonest like lightning, and flewest
up unto the height of the Heavens, august Christina; therefore we all
celebrate thy glorious festival, as we faithfully rev'rence the
worshipful shrine wherein thy pure relics are treasured, whence thou
dost truly well forth unto all divine cures both for the body and for
Pancretan Association of Theologians Religious perscutions
of Christians in the world of Islam
In recent years both
the Greek people - but also all those who have access to information media - are
being frequently informed of the constantly increasing incidents of religious
violence which result in the torture, the killing, or the compulsory expulsion
of those fellow-men who convert to Christianity from Islam.
Acts such as these are
reminiscent of the dark eras of the past, which all of us had hoped were long
gone, never to return again. Unfortunately, apart from all the horrific social
and psychological consequences for the societies upon which they are being
inflicted, there are also exceptionally negative repercussions on the image of
those countries that commit and foster such acts, including the image of their
civilization and their religion, in the eyes of the whole
During the entire
length of Her history, the Orthodox Church has suffered the violence of
persecutions innumerable times. With horror we recall the atrocious martyrdoms
of Orthodox martyrs during Greece’s 400 years of Turkish occupation, which are
unfortunately very similar to the aforementioned current events. Even during the
20th century, there have been thousands of martyrs – especially in
anti-Christian regimes – who have given their lives out of love for Christ and
have adorned Orthodoxy’s Book of Saints with their heroism and offering of their
It should be noted,
that very Founder and only Head of the Church – the God-Man Jesus Christ Himself
– had laid down His life as an innocent victim, in order to unite the human race
with God. He had thus shown us the path that we should follow, with His paradigm
of love and sacrifice.
It is for these
reasons that we wish to speak from the depths of our hearts and say the
following to our Christian brethren who are suffering for their
have courage. The Lord Jesus Christ, the first Martyr, will give you strength
to withstand human violence, to remain with Him and receive the bright and
incorruptible crown of His kingdom. We are praying for you. Besides, it was He
Who had said “I send you forth like sheep among wolves”; “whoever stands fast to
the end, he shall be saved”; “whosoever confesses Me before people, I shall also
confess them before My Father in heaven” and “fear not those who kill the body
but who cannot kill the soul” and “not one hair from your head shall be lost”
(Matth. 10:16-36, Luke 21:12-19).
We also wish to ask
the international humanitarian and pacifist groups to intervene as much as they
can, in order to avert this senseless bloodbath, before it evolves into one more
incurable plague upon the corpus of mankind, and especially upon the
long-suffering peoples of the so-called “third world”
Finally, we call upon
the citizens and the lands where these acts are being committed, to contemplate
that God is the God of Love, Who does not desire the death of His creations
(only their salvation), nor is He pleased with the shedding of human blood. We
ask them to emulate the example of saint Longinus (the head of the Roman
garrison that had crucified Jesus Christ), who, upon seeing the darkness and the
earthquake that occurred during the Crucifixion, unhesitatingly confessed the
divinity of Christ (Matth. 24:57, Mark 15:39), himself became a Christian and
was bestowed with sainthood. Then there are also the examples of saint
Hermogenis (the potentate who had tortured saint Menas the Sweet-voiced), also
the blessed centurion Porphyrion (Saint Catherine’s jailer), the saints
Stratonikos, Codratos and Acacios (who had tortured the holy martyrs Paul and
Juliana in 270 A.D.) and a host of others who, upon witnessing the bravery and
love of those being martyred, found peace in their own hearts, repented, opened
their hearts to Christ and even offered their own lives, thus gaining eternity
The Prophet Ezekiel ("God is strong") was the son of Buzi
and a priest by rank. He was taken captive and brought to Babylon during
the reign of Jechonias. In the fifth year of this captivity, about 594
or 593 B.C., he began to prophesy. Having prophesied for about
twenty-eight years, he was murdered, it is said, by the tribe of Gad,
because he reproached them for their idolatry. His book of prophecy,
divided into forty-eight chapters, is ranked third among the greater
Prophets. It is richly filled with mystical imagery and marvelous
prophetic visions and allegories, of which the dread Chariot of Cherubim
described in the first Chapter is the most famous; in the "gate that
was shut," through which the Lord alone entered, he darkly foretold of
the Word's Incarnation from the Virgin (44:1-3); through the "dry bones"
that came to life again (37:1-14), he prophesied both of the
restoration of captive Israel, and the general resurrection of our race.
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Ezekiel, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
O divine Ezekiel, as God's true Prophet, thou foretoldest unto
all the Incarnation of the Lord, the Lamb of God, the Artificer, the Son
of God, the Eternal made manifest.
Saint Mary was from Magdala in Galilee on the Sea of
Tiberias, and for this was named Magdalene. When the Lord Jesus cast out
seven demons from her, from which she had been suffering, she became
His faithful and inseparable disciple, following Him and ministering
unto Him even to the time of His crucifixion and burial. Then, returning
to Jerusalem together with the rest of the Myrrh-bearers, she prepared
the fragrant spices for anointing the body of the Lord. And on the
Lord's day they came very early to the tomb, even before the Angels
appeared declaring the Resurrection of the Lord. When Mary Magdalene saw
the stone taken away from the tomb, she ran and proclaimed it to Peter
and John. And returning immediately to the tomb and weeping outside, she
was deemed worthy to be the first of the Myrrh-bearers to behold the
Lord arisen from the dead, and when she fell at His feet, she heard Him
say, "Touch Me not." After the Lord's Ascension, nothing certain is
known concerning her. Some accounts say that she went to Rome and later
returned to Jerusalem, and from there proceeded to Ephesus, where she
ended her life, preaching Christ. Although it is sometimes said that
Saint Mary Magdalene was the "sinful woman" of the Gospel, this is
nowhere stated in the tradition of the Church, in the sacred hymnology,
or in the Holy Gospels themselves, which say only that our Lord cast
seven demons out of her, not that she was a fallen woman. "Madeleine" is
a form of Magdalene.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
When Christ God had been born for our sakes from the Virgin, thou
faithfully didst follow him, keeping His statutes and heeding His
sacred laws, O august Mary Magdalene. Hence, as we today observe thy
holy remembrance, we receive the loosing of our sins and transgressions
through thy holy prayers for us.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
When God, the Mighty, the Transcendent in essence, came in the
flesh into the world, He received thee, O Mary, as His true disciple as
was meet. For thou hadst thy whole desire and thy love set upon Him;
wherefore, thou didst bring to pass many cures for the ailing; and now
translated to the Heavens' heights, thou ever fervently prayest for all
Monk Onuphrius the Silent of the Caves was an ascetic in the Near Caves
of St Anthony in the twelfth century. He is also commemorated on October
4, and again on September 28 (Synaxis of the Fathers of the Near
Monk Onesimus of the Caves (XII-XIII), lived in asceticism at the Kiev
Caves Lavra, and became a hermit at the Near Caves of St Anthony. The
saint's holy relics were buried at the place of his ascetic labors.
Elias of great fame was from Thisbe or Thesbe, a town of
Galaad (Gilead), beyond the Jordan. He was of priestly lineage, a man of
a solitary and ascetical character, clothed in a mantle of sheep skin,
and girded about his loins with a leathern belt. His name is interpreted
as "Yah is my God." His zeal for the glory of God was compared to fire,
and his speech for teaching and rebuke was likened unto a burning lamp.
From this too he received the name Zealot. Therefore, set aflame with
such zeal, he sternly reproved the impiety and lawlessness of Ahab and
his wife Jezebel. He shut up heaven by means of prayer, and it did not
rain for three years and six months. Ravens brought him food for his
need when, at God's command, he was hiding by the torrent of Horrath. He
multiplied the little flour and oil of the poor widow of Sarephtha of
Sidon, who had given him hospitality in her home, and when her son died,
he raised him up. He brought down fire from Heaven upon Mount Carmel,
and it burned up the sacrifice offered to God before all the people of
Israel, that they might know the truth. At the torrent of Kisson, he
slew 450 false prophets and priests who worshipped idols and led the
people astray. He received food wondrously at the hand of an Angel, and
being strengthened by this food he walked for forty days and forty
nights. He beheld God on Mount Horeb, as far as this is possible for
human nature. He foretold the destruction of the house of Ahab, and the
death of his son Ohozias; and as for the two captains of fifty that were
sent by the king, he burned them for their punishment, bringing fire
down from Heaven. He divided the flow of the Jordan, and he and his
disciple Elisseus passed through as it were on dry land; and finally,
while speaking with him, Elias was suddenly snatched away by a fiery
chariot in the year 895 B.C., and he ascended as though into heaven,
whither God most certainly translated him alive, as He did Enoch (Gen.
5:24; IV Kings 2: 11). But from thence also, after seven years, by means
of an epistle he reproached Joram, the son of Josaphat, as it is
written: "And there came a message in writing to him from Elias the
Prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because
thou hast not walked in the way," and so forth (II Chron. 21:12).
According to the opinion of the majority of the interpreters, this came
to pass either through his disciple Elisseus, or through another Prophet
when Elias appeared to them, even as he appeared on Mount Tabor to the
disciples of Christ (see Aug. 6).
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The incarnate Angel, the Cornerstone of the Prophets, the second
Forerunner of the Coming of Christ, the glorious Elias (Elijah), who
from above, sent down to Elisha the grace to dispel sickness and cleanse
lepers, abounds therefore in healing for those who honor him.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
O Prophet and foreseer of the great works of God, O greatly
renowned Elias (Elijah), who by your word held back the clouds of rain,
intercede for us to the only Loving One.
of the Relics of Saint Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov: The
glorification of St Seraphim of Sarov (January 2), took place in 1903,
seventy years after his repose. On July 3, 1903 Metropolitan Anthony of
St Petersburg, assisted by Bishop Nazarius of Nizhni-Novgorod and Bishop
Innocent of Tambov, transferred the saint's relics from their original
burial place to the church of Sts Zosimus and Sabbatius. Tsar Nicholas
II and Tsarina Alexandra provided a new cypress coffin to receive the
relics. This cypress coffin was then placed inside an oak coffin and
remained in the church until the day of the saint's glorification.
At noon on July 16, the first day of the festivities, Metropolitan
Anthony offered a Memorial Service for the ever-memorable Hieromonk
Seraphim in the Dormition Cathedral. Services also took place in the
monastery's other churches.
The next day Metropolitan Anthony and Bishop Nazarius served a Memorial
Liturgy in the Dormition Cathedral. At 5:00 that afternoon, the bells of
Sarov began to ring, announcing the arrival of Tsar Nicholas and his
family. Metropolitan Anthony greeted them and then led them to the
Dormition Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving.
The royal family attended the early Liturgy on July 18th and received
the Holy Mysteries. Later that morning, the final Memorial Service for
the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim's soul was offered in the Cathedral.
These would be the last prayers offered for him as a departed servant of
God. From that time forward, prayers would be addressed to him as a
saint. At 6 P.M. the bells rang for Vigil, the first service with hymns
honoring St Seraphim, and during which his relics would be exposed for
At the time of the Litia during Vespers, the saint's coffin was carried
from the church of Sts Zosimus and Sabbatius and into the Dormition
Cathedral. Several people were healed of various illnesses during this
procession. During Matins, as "Praise ye the Name of the Lord" was sung,
the coffin was opened. After the Gospel, Metropolitan Anthony and the
other hierarchs kissed the holy relics. They were followed by the royal
family, the officiating clergy, and all the people in the cathedral.
On July 19, the saint's birthday, the late Liturgy began at 8 o'clock.
At the Little Entrance, twelve Archimandrites lifted the coffin from the
middle of the church, carried it around the altar, then placed it into a
special shrine. The long awaited event was accompanied by numerous
miraculous healings of the sick, who had gathered at Sarov in large
numbers. More than 200,000 people came to Sarov from all across Russia.
The festivities at Sarov came to an end with the dedication of the first
two churches to St Seraphim. The first church to be consecrated was
over his monastic cell in Sarov. The second church was consecrated on
July 22 at the Diveyevo convent.
In 1991, St Seraphim's relics were rediscovered after being hidden in a
Soviet anti-religious museum for seventy years. Widely esteemed in his
lifetime, St Seraphim is one of the most beloved saints of the Orthodox
You loved Christ from your youth, O blessed one,
and longing to work for Him alone you struggled in the wilderness in constant prayer and labor.
With penitent heart and great love for Christ you were favored by the Mother of God.
Therefore we cry to you:
"Save us by your prayers, venerable Seraphim, our father."
Forsaking the beauty as well as the corruption of this world, you settled in the monastery of Sarov, O Saint.
There you lived an angelic life,
becoming for many the way to salvation.
Therefore, Christ has glorified you, Father Seraphim, enriching you with abundant healing and miracles.
So we cry to you: "Save us by your prayers, venerable Seraphim, our father."
Pambo lived the ascetic life in the Nitrian desert in Egypt. St Anthony
the Great (January 17) said, that the Monk Pambo by the fear of God
inspired within himself the Holy Spirit. And the Monk Pimen the Great
(August 27) said: "We beheld three things in Father Pambo: hunger every
day, silence and handcrafts". The Monk Theodore the Studite termed St
Pambo "exalted in deed and in word."
At the beginning of his monasticism, St Pambo heard the verses from the
38th [39th] Psalm of David: "preserve mine path, that I sin not by my
tongue". These words sank deep into his soul, and he attempted to follow
them always. Thus, when they asked him about something, he answered
only after long pondering and prayer. He would say, "I must think first,
and perhaps I can, in time, give an answer, with God's help." St Pambo
was a model of a lover of work for his disciples. Each day he worked
until exhausted, and by the bread acquired by his own toil.
The disciples of St Pambo became great ascetics: Dioscorus, afterwards
Bishop of Hermopolis (this Dioscorus, bishop of Hermopolis, is
distinguished from another Dioscorus, an arch-heretic and Patriarch of
Constantinople. He lived rather later and was condemned by the Fourth
Ecumenical Council), and also Ammonius, Eusebius and Euthymius,
mentioned in the life of St John Chrysostom. One time St Melania the
Younger (December 31) brought St Pambo a large amount of silver for the
needs of the monastery, but he did not leave off from his work nor even
glance at the money that was brought. Only after the incessant requests
of St Melania did he permit her to give the alms to a certain monastic
brother for distribution to the needs of the monastery. St Pambo was
distinguished by his humility, but together with this he highly esteemed
the vocation of monk and he taught the laypeople to be respectful of
monastics, who often converse with God.
It was said that sometimes St Pambo's face shone like lightning, as did
the face of Moses. Yet, speaking to the brethren who stood about his
deathbed, St Pambo said: "I go to the Lord as one who has not yet begun
to serve Him." He died at the age of 70.
This Martyr lived during the reign of Claudius II
(268-270). She was from Pisidia of Cilicia and was the only daughter of a
certain priest of the idols. On being orphaned by her mother, she was
handed over to a certain woman who instructed her in the Faith of
Christ. When she was fifteen years old, she was apprehended by the ruler
of Olmbrius, and when asked her name, homeland, and faith, she
answered: "My name is Marina; I am the offspring of the Pisidia; I call
upon the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ." Because of this she endured
bonds, imprisonment, and many whippings, and was finally beheaded in the
year 270. Saint Marina is especially invoked for deliverance from
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O Glorious Marina, once betrothed to the Logos, you relinquished
all worldly concerns and brilliantly gave struggle as a virginal beauty.
You soundly trounced the invisible enemy who appeared to you, O
Champion, and you are now the world's wellspring of healing grace.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Adorned with the beauty of Purity, O Virgin; crowned with the
stigmata of martyrdom; stained with the blood of your struggles; and
brilliantly radiant with healing wonders, piously, O Marina, you
received the trophy of victory for your struggles.
ten disciples of St Athenogenes suffered for Christ during the
persecution of Christians in the city of Sebastea in Cappadocia. The
governor Philomachos arranged a large festival in honor of the pagan
gods and called upon the citizens of Sebastea to offer sacrifice to the
idols. Most of the inhabitants of Sebastea were Christians, and refused
to participate in the impious celebration. Soldiers were ordered to kill
those who resisted, and so many Christians received a martyr's crown.
It came to the governor's attention that Christianity was spreading
because of the grace-filled preaching of Bishop Athenogenes. Soldiers
were ordered to find the Elder and arrest him. Bishop Athenogenes and
ten of his disciples lived in a small monastery not far from the city.
The soldiers did not find the bishop there, so they arrested his
disciples. The governor ordered that they be bound with chains and
thrown into prison.
St Athenogenes was arrested when he came to Sebastea to inform the judge
that those who had been jailed were innocent. While in prison, St
Athenogenes encouraged his spiritual children for their impending
struggle. Led forth to trial, all the holy martyrs confessed themselves
Christians and refused to offer sacrifice to idols.
The disciples of the holy bishop were beheaded after undergoing fierce tortures.
Most blessed and wise Bishop and Martyr Athenogenes,
You grew as a palm tree in the Monastic life;
Towering as a cedar in your struggles,
Through your teachings you brought a number of martyrs to Christ.
We honor them together with you.
You have appeared as bright lamps, O holy martyrs!
Illumine the whole creation with the brightness of your miracles!
Deliver it from infirmity and drive away the deep darkness,
Always interceding before Christ God for us all!
On the Sunday that falls from the 13th to the 19th of the
present month, we chant the Service to the Holy and God-bearing Fathers
who came together in the Seven Ecumenical Councils, that is: the First
Council, of the 318 Fathers who assembled in Nicaea in 325 to condemn
Arius, who denied that the Son of God is consubstantial with the Father;
the Fathers of the First Council also ordained that the whole Church
should celebrate Pascha according to the same reckoning; the Second
Council, of the 150 Fathers who assembled in Constantinople in 381 to
condemn Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who denied the Divinity
of the Holy Spirit; the Third Council, of the 200 Fathers who assembled
in Ephesus in 431, to condemn Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople,
who called Christ a mere man and not God incarnate; the Fourth Council,
of the 630 who assembled in Chalcedon in 451, to condemn Eutyches, who
taught that there was only one nature, the divine, in Christ after the
Incarnation, and Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who illegally
received Eutyches back into communion and deposed Saint Flavian,
Patriarch of Constantinople, who had excommunicated Eutyches; the Fifth
Council in 535, of the 165 who assembled in Constantinople for the
second time to condemn Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia, the teacher of
Nestorius; the Sixth Council in 680, of the 170 who assembled in
Constantinople for the third time, to condemn the Monothelite heresy,
which taught that there is in Christ but one will, the divine; and the
Seventh Council in 787, of the 350 who assembled in Nicaea for the
second time to condemn Iconoclasm.
Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
Let us worship the Word who is unoriginate * with the Father and
the Spirit, and from a Virgin was born * for our salvation, O believers,
and let us sing His praise. * For in His goodness He was pleased * to
ascend the Cross in the flesh, and to undergo death, * and to raise up
those who had died, * by His glorious Resurrection.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
You are greatly glorified, O Christ our God, who established our
Fathers as luminaries upon the earth, and through them led us all to the
true Faith. O Most compassionate, glory to You.
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
Resurrectional Kontakion in the Plagal of the First Tone
You descended to Hades, my Savior, and shattered its gates, as
the Almighty. As Creator, You raised the dead with yourself, and smashed
the sting of death, O Christ. You freed Adam from the curse, O Lover of
humanity. Therefore we all cry out to You, Save us, O Lord.
Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain was born on the Greek island of Naxos in
the year 1748, and was named Nicholas at Baptism. At the age of
twenty-six, he arrived on Mount Athos and received the monastic tonsure
in the Dionysiou monastery with the name Nicodemus.
As his first obedience, Nicodemus served as his monastery's secretary.
Two years after his entry into the Dionysiou monastery, the Metropolitan
of Corinth, St Macarius Notaras (April 17), arrived there, and he
assigned the young monk to edit the manuscript of the PHILOKALIA, which
he found in 1777 at the Vatopedi monastery. Editing this book was the
beginning of many years of literary work by St Nicodemus. The young monk
soon moved to the Pantokrator skete, where he was under obedience to
the Elder Arsenius of the Peloponnesos, under whose guidance he
zealously studied Holy Scripture and the works of the Holy Fathers.
In 1783 St. Nicodemus was tonsured to the Great Schema, and he lived in
complete silence for six years. When St Macarius of Corinth next visited
Athos, he gave the obedience of editing of the writings of St. Symeon
the New Theologian to St. Nicodemus, who gave up his ascetic silence and
occupied himself once more with literary work. From that time until his
death he continued zealously to toil in this endeavor.
Not long before his repose, Father Nicodemus, worn out by his literary
work and ascetic efforts, went to live at the skete of the iconographers
Hieromonks Stephen and Neophytus Skourtaius, who were brothers by
birth. He asked them to help in the publication of his works, since he
was hindered by his infirmity. There St. Nicodemus peacefully fell
asleep in the Lord on July 14, 1809.
According to the testimony of his contemporaries, St. Nicodemus was a
simple man, without malice, unassuming, and distinguished by his
profound concentration. He possessed remarkable mental abilities: he
knew the Holy Scriptures by heart, remembering even the chapter, verse
and page, and he could even recite long passages from the writings of
the Holy Fathers from memory.
The literary work of St. Nicodemus was varied. He wrote a preface to the
PHILOKALIA, and short lives of the ascetics. Among the saint's
ascetical works, his edition of Lorenzo Scupoli's book, UNSEEN WARFARE
is well known, and has been translated into Russian, English, and other
languages. A remarkable work of the ascetic was his MANUAL OF CONFESSION
(Venice, 1794, 1804, etc.), summarized in his treatise, "Three
Discourses on Repentance". His most edifying book CHRISTIAN MORALITY was
published in Venice in 1803.
The saint also made great contributions by publishing liturgical books.
Using materials from the manuscript collections of Mt Athos, he
published sixty-two Canons to the Most Holy Theotokos under the title,
NEW THEOTOKARION (Venice, 1796, 1849).
St. Nicodemus prepared a new edition of the the PEDALION or RUDDER,
comprised of the canons of the Holy Apostles, of the holy Ecumenical and
Local Synods, and of the holy Fathers.
St Nicodemus had a special love for hagiography, as attested by his
work, NEW EKLOGION (Venice, 1803), and his posthumous book, THE NEW
SYNAXARION in three volumes (Venice, 1819). He completed a Modern Greek
translation of a book by St Theophylact, Archbishop of Bulgaria, PAUL'S
FOURTEEN EPISTLES in three volumes. St. Nicodemus himself wrote AN
INTERPRETATION OF THE SEVEN CATHOLIC EPISTLES (also published at Venice
in 1806 and 1819).
The exceedingly wise Nicodemus is also known as the author and
interpreter of hymns. His Canon in honor of the Mother of God "Quick to
Hear" (November 9) and his "Service and Encomium in Honor of the Fathers
who Shone on the Holy Mountain of Athos" are used even beyond the Holy
Mountain. Some of his other books include the HEORTODROMION, an
interpretation of the Canons which are sung on Feasts of the Lord and of
the Mother of God (Venice, 1836), and THE NEW LADDER, an interpretation
of the 75 Hymns of Degrees (Anabathmoi) of the liturgical book called
the OKTOECHOS (Constantinople, 1844).
Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel is celebrated on the day after the
Annunciation, and a second time on July 13. It was instituted in the
ninth century, perhaps to celebrate the dedication of a church at
Constantinople. Originally, the Feast was observed on October 16 (Juan
Mateos, LE TYPIKON DE LA GRANDE EGLISE).
An account of the Holy Archangel Gabriel is found under March 26 and November 8.
Gabriel, commander of the heavenly hosts,
we who are unworthy beseech you,
by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory,
and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you:
"Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commander of the powers on high!"
You look upon God's glory in heaven,
and bring grace from on high to earth,
wise Gabriel, leader of angels,
minister of God's glory, and divine defender of the world!
Save and preserve those who cry to you:
"Be our defense, so that no one can be against us!"
In 451, during the reign of the Sovereigns Marcian and
Pulcheria, the Fourth Ecumenical Council was convoked in Chalcedon
against Eutyches and those of like mind with him. After much debate, the
Fathers who were the defenders of Orthodoxy, being 630 in number,
agreed among themselves and with those who were of contrary mind, to
write their respective definitions of faith in separate books, and to
ask God to confirm the truth in this matter. When they had prepared
these texts, they placed the two tomes in the case that held Saint
Euphemia's relics, sealed it, and departed. After three days of
night-long supplications, they opened the reliquary in the presence of
the Emperor, and found the tome of the heretics under the feet of the
Martyr, and that of the Orthodox in her right hand. (For her life, see
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
O Euphemia, Christ's comely virgin, thou didst fill the Orthodox
with gladness and didst cover with shame all the heretics; for at the
holy Fourth Council in Chalcedon, thou didst confirm what the Fathers
decreed aright. O all-glorious Great Martyr, do thou entreat Christ God
that His great mercy may be granted unto us.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
You made fervent effort in your struggles of trial, in your
struggles of faith for Christ your bridegroom. But even now, intercede
with the Theotokos that the heresies and insolence of enemies be trod
beneath the feet of our rulers, O All Praised, who received and kept the
Decree of the 630 God-bearing Fathers.
Holy Martyr Apollonius came from the city of Sardis, located in Lydia
(Asia Minor). He declared himself a Christian and was arrested. When
they demanded that he swear an oath on the name of the emperor, he
refused, saying that it was improper to swear on the name of a mortal
man. They tortured Apollonius for a long time and then crucified him.
This occurred at Iconium either under the emperor Decius (249-251) or
the emperor Valerian (253-259).