Monday, September 30, 2013

Gregory the Illuminator, Bishop of Armenia

September 30

This Saint, a Parthian by race, was the son of Anak. He was born about the year 240 and was taught the Faith of Christ in Caesarea of Cappadocia. He entered the service of Tiridates, King of Armenia, but when discovered to be a Christian, he was subjected to many horrible torments at the King's hands, then was cast into a pit of mire with poisonous serpents and left to die. By the power of God, however, he abode there unharmed for fourteen years, his needs provided by a certain widow, until he was made known by revelation and set free. He converted to piety innumerable multitudes of Armenians, including Tiridates himself, and was consecrated bishop by Leontius, Archbishop of Caesarea, to shepherd the vast flock he had gained for Christ. He spent the last part of his life in retirement in the ascetical discipline, and reposed in peace about the year 325. Saint Gregory is honoured as the Illuminator of Armenia.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Gregory. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Let us the faithful today all acclaim with divine songs and hymns the renowned hierarch Gregory as an athlete for truth's sake, as a shepherd and teacher, a universal luminary bright with splendour; for he intercedeth with Christ that we be saved.



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Venerable Cyriacus the Hermit of Palestine

Commemorated on September 29

Saint Cyriacus was born at Corinth to the priest John and his wife Eudokia. Bishop Peter of Corinth, who was a relative, seeing that Cyriacus was growing up as a quiet and sensible child, made him a reader in church. Constant reading of the Holy Scriptures awakened in him a love for the Lord and of a yearning for a pure and saintly life.

Once, when the youth was not yet eighteen years old, he was deeply moved during a church service by the words of the Gospel: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mt.16:24). He believed these words applied to him, so he went right to the harbor without stopping at home, got onto a ship and went to Jerusalem.

After visiting the holy places, Cyriacus dwelt for several months at a monastery not far from Sion in obedience to the igumen Abba Eustorgius. With his blessing, he made his way to the wilderness Lavra of St Euthymius the Great (January 20). St Euthymius, discerning in the youth great gifts of God, tonsured him into the monastic schema and placed him under the guidance of St Gerasimus (March 4), pursuing asceticism at the Jordan in the monastery of St Theoctistus.

St Gerasimus, seeing the youthfulness of Cyriacus, ordered him to live in the community with the brethren. The young monk easily accomplished the monastic obediences: he prayed fervently, he slept little, he ate food only every other day, nourishing himself with bread and water.

During Great Lent it was the custom of St Gerasimus to go into the Rouva wilderness, returning to the monastery only on Palm Sunday. Seeing Cyriacus’ strict abstinence, he decided to take him with him. In complete solitude the ascetics redoubled their efforts. Each Sunday St Gerasimus imparted the Holy Mysteries to his disciple.

After the death of St Gerasimus, the twenty-seven-year-old Cyriacus returned to the Lavra of St Euthymius, but he was no longer among the living. St Cyriacus asked for a solitary cell and there he pursued asceticism in silence, communicating only with the monk Thomas. But soon Thomas was sent to Alexandria where he was consecrated bishop, and St Cyriacus spent ten years in total silence. At 37 years of age he was ordained to the diaconate.

When a split occurred between the monasteries of St Euthymius and St Theoctistus, St Cyriacus withdrew to the Souka monastery of St Chariton (September 28). At this monastery they received even tonsured monks as novices, and so was St Cyriacus received. He toiled humbly at the regular monastic obediences. After several years, St Cyriacus was ordained priest and chosen canonarch and did this obedience for eighteen years. St Cyriacus spent thirty years at the monastery of St Chariton.

Strict fasting and total lack of evil distinguished St Cyriacus even among the ascetics of the Lavra. In his cell each night he read the Psalter, interrupting the reading only to go to church at midnight. The ascetic slept very little. When the monk reached seventy years of age, he went to the Natoufa wilderness taking with him his disciple John.

In the desert the hermits fed themselves only with bitter herbs, which through the prayer of St Cyriacus was rendered edible. After five years one of the inhabitants found out about the ascetics and brought to them his demon-possessed son, and St Cyriacus healed him. From that time many people began to approach the monk with their needs, but he sought complete solitude and fled to the Rouva wilderness, where he dwelt five years more. But the sick and those afflicted by demons came to him in this wilderness, and the saint healed them all with the Sign of the Cross and by anointing them with oil.

At his 80th year of life St Cyriacus fled to the hidden Sousakim wilderness, where two dried up streams passed by. According to Tradition, the holy Prophet David brought Sousakim to attention: “Thou hast dried up the rivers of Etham” (Ps 73/74:15). After seven years, brethren of the Souka monastery came to him, beseeching his spiritual help during a period of debilitating hunger and illness, which God permitted. They implored St Cyriacus to return to the monastery, and he settled in a cave, in which St Chariton had once lived.

St Cyriacus rendered great help to the Church in the struggle with the spreading heresy of the Origenists. By prayer and by word, he brought the wayward back to the true path, and strengthened the Orthodox in their faith. Cyril, the author of the Life of St Cyriacus, and a monk of the Lavra of St Euthymius, was a witness when St Cyriacus predicted the impending death of the chief heretics Nonos and Leontius, and soon the heresy would cease to spread.

The Most Holy Theotokos Herself commanded St Cyriacus to keep to the Orthodox teaching in its purity: Having appeared to him in a dream together with the Sts John the Baptist and John the Theologian, She refused to enter into the cell of the monk because in it was a book with the words of the heretic Nestorius. “In your cell is My enemy,” She said (The appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos to St Cyriacus is commemorated on June 8).

At the age of ninety-nine, St Cyriacus again went off to Susakim and lived there with his disciple John. In the wilderness a huge lion waited on St Cyriacus, protecting him from robbers, but it did not bother wandering brethren and it ate from the monk’s hand.

Once in the heat of summer, all the water in the hollow of a rock dried up, where the ascetics had stored water during the winter, and there was no other source of water. St Cyriacus prayed, and rain fell, filling the pit with water.

For the two years before his death St Cyriacus returned to the monastery and again settled into the cave of St Chariton. Until the end of his life the righteous Elder preserved his courage, and prayed with fervor. He was never idle, either he prayed, or he worked. Before his death St Cyriacus summoned the brethren and blessed them all. He quietly fell asleep in the Lord, having lived 109 years.


You armed yourself divinely with purity of soul, / And firmly wielding the lance of incessant prayer, / You pierced through the devil’s hosts. / Intercede without ceasing for us all, O Cyriacus, our father!



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Venerable Nicodemus the Prosphora Baker of the Kiev Near Caves

Commemorated on September 28

Saints Spyridon and Nicodemus, the Prosphora-bakers of the Kiev Caves, Near Caves fulfilled their obedience of baking prosphora for thirty years. St Spyridon came to the monastery in the time of Igumen Pimen (1132-1141), when he was no longer a young man. The ascetic combined his work with unceasing prayer and the singing of Psalms. Even during his life St Spyridon was glorified by miracles. He was illiterate, but knew the entire Psalter by heart.

Once, his mantle caught fire from the oven. The fire was put out, but the mantle remained whole. St Nicodemus toiled together with St Spyridon and led a very strict life. Their relics are in the Kiev Caves of St Anthony. The fingers of St Spyridon’s right hand are positioned to make the Sign of the Cross with three fingers. They are also commemorated on September 28, and the second Sunday of Great Lent.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Friday, September 27, 2013

St Anthimus the Georgian

Commemorated on September 27

Saint Anthimus was born in Georgia, and his parents were called John and Mary. The child received the name Andrew in Baptism, and his parents raised him as an Orthodox Christian.

Andrew was captured by Turks who invaded Georgia when he was young, and he was one of many who were made slaves in Constantinople. There he learned to speak Greek, Arabic, and Turkish, and also became skilled in woodcarving, embroidery, and painting. After a few years as a slave, Andrew escaped and fled to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for refuge.

Around 1690, Andrew was invited to Wallachia by Prince Constantine Brancoveanu (August 16), who had heard of his talents. After a year or so, he became a monk and received the name Anthimus. Later, he was ordained to the holy priesthood. He was placed in charge of the royal print shop in Bucharest, and later set up a printing house in the Snagov Monastery.The monastery printed sixty-three books in Romanian, Greek, Arabic, and Georgian. St Anthimus was the author of thirty-eight of them. He was chosen to be the igumen of Snagov in 1696.

The saint was consecrated as Bishop of Rimnicu-Vilcea in 1705, and three years later he was made Metropolitan of Wallachia. As Metropolitan, he established schools for poor children, and built churches and monasteries. Since he was a woodcarver, he used his talent to beautify many churches.

St Anthimus was a zealous pastor who satisfied his flock’s hunger for spiritual knowledge. Preaching in the Romanian language, he taught them the saving truths of Orthodoxy, and offered words of encouragement and consolation. His edifying books and sermons are part of the spiritual legacy of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Anthimus was arrested by the Turks in 1716 and sentenced to be exiled at St Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, but he never arrived at his destination. On September 27, 1716, he was killed by the soldiers who were escorting him. They cut his body into little pieces and threw them into the Tungia River, south of the Danube. Thus, the faithful servant of Christ received the crown of martyrdom.

St Anthimus was a true shepherd of his flock, and a father to his clergy. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Venerable Ephraim the Abbot of Perekop the Wonderworker of Novgorod

Saint Ephraim of Perekop, Novgorod, was born on September 20, 1412 in the city of Kashin. In Holy Baptism he was named Eustathius. His parents, Stephen and Anna, lived not far from the Kashin women’s monastery named in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Drawn to the solitary life, Eustathius left his parental home while still in his early years and settled in the Kalyazin monastery of the Most Holy Trinity. His parents wanted their son to return home, but he persuaded them to leave the world and accept monasticism. Later, they also finished their earthly paths living as hermits.

After three years in the monastery, Eustathius, through a miraculous revelation, transferred to the monastery of St Sava of Vishersk (October 1). It was there in 1437 that he accepted tonsure with the name Ephraim. While in the monastery, St Ephraim received a revelation from the Lord, commanding him to withdraw to a desolate place.

Having received the blessing of St Sava, in 1450 he went to Lake Ilmen, at the mouth of the River Verenda, and on the banks of the River Cherna he built a cell. After a certain while the Elder Thomas and two monks came to St Ephraim, and they settled not far from his cell. From that time, other hermits also began to gather to the new monastery. At their request St Ephraim was ordained a priest at Novgorod by St Euthymius (March 11).

Returning from Novgorod, St Ephraim built a church in honor of the Theophany of the Lord on an island, at the mouth of the River Verenda. To secure a ready supply of water for the monastery, the monk dug a canal to Lake Ilmen, from which the monastery received its name “Perekop” (from “perekopat’” meaning “to dig through”). Later on, St Ephraim built a stone church named for St Nicholas the Wonderworker. Unable to find sufficient skilled builders, he sent several monks to Great Prince Basil with a request for sending stone-workers. The construction of the temple was completed in 1466.

St Ephraim reposed on September 26, 1492 and was buried at the church of St Nicholas. In 1509, because of frequent floodings that threatened the monastery with ruin, it was transferred to another location at the shore of Lake Ilmen. St Ephraim appeared to the igumen Romanus and pointed to the site of Klinkovo for relocating the monastery.

Over the saint’s tomb a chapel was built, since all the monastery churches were in ruins. On May 16, 1545 the relics of St Ephraim were transferred to the site of the new monastery. On this day there is an annual celebration of St Ephraim of Perekop at the monastery, confirmed after the glorification of the holy ascetic at the Council of 1549. (The Transfer of the Relics of St Ephraim of Perekop is celebrated May 16).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Martyr Paphnutius in Egypt and the 546 Martyred Companions of Paphnutius

The Holy Martyr Paphnutius hailed from Egypt and struggled in the desert. During the persecution against Christians under Diocletian (284-305), the governor Hadrian commanded that St Paphnutius be brought to him. The ascetic, not waiting for those sent to bring him, appeared before the governor, confessed his faith in Christ, and was subjected to torture.

The soldiers involved in his torture, Dionysius and Callimachus, seeing how the power of God preserved the martyr, believed in Christ the Savior themselves, for which they were then beheaded. Cast into prison after the tortures, St Paphnutius converted forty prisoners to the Faith. They were all burned alive.

After a while St Paphnutius was set free, and a Christian named Nestorius gladly took him in. He and all his family, after spiritual guidance, became steadfast in the Faith, and ultimately endured martyrdom. The saint strengthened many other Christians to confess our Lord Jesus Christ, and they all died as martyrs. Some were cut with swords, others were burned. There were 546 men in all.

St Paphnutius himself was thrown by the torturers into a river with a stone about his neck, but he miraculously floated to shore with the stone. Finally, they sent the holy martyr to the emperor Diocletian himself, who commanded him to be crucified on a date tree.

Sts Paphnutius and Euphrosyne are also commemorated on February 15.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Venerable Nicander the Hermit of Pskov

Commemorated on September 24

Saint Nicander of Pskov (in Baptism Nikon) was born on 24 July 1507 into the peasant family of Philip and Anastasia in the village of Videlebo in the Pskov lands.

From childhood he dreamed of continuing the ascetic exploits of his fellow villager, St Euphrosynus of Spasoeleazar, the original Pskov wilderness-dweller (May 15). The first in Nikon’s family to accept monasticism was his older brother Arsenius. After the death of his father, the seventeen-year-old Nikon was able to convince his mother to dispose of the property and withdraw into a monastery, where she lived until her own end.

After visiting the monasteries of Pskov, and having venerated at the relics of St Euphrosynus and his disciple St Sava of Krypetsk (August 28), Nikon became firmly convinced of his calling to the solitary life.

In order to have the possibility of reading the Word of God, Nikon was employed as a worker for the Pskov resident Philip, who rewarded his ardor by sending him to study with an experienced teacher. Seeing the zeal of the youth, the Lord Himself directed him to the place of his ascetic effort. Intensely praying in one of the Pskov churches, he heard a voice from the altar commanding him to go to the wilderness place which the Lord would point out through His servant Theodore. The peasant Theodore led him off to the River Demyanka, between Pskov and Porkhov. Afterwards, both Philip and Theodore, who helped St Nicander attain his goal, were themselves to enter upon the path of monasticism, and were tonsured at the Krypetsk monastery with the names Philaret and Theodosius.

After several years of silence and severe ascetic deeds, emaciating his flesh, Nikon went to the monastery founded by St Sava of Krypetsk. The igumen, seeing his weakened body, would not agree to accept him at once, fearing that the difficulties of monastic life would be too much for him. Nikon fell down at the crypt of St Sava, and spoke to him as if to one alive, entreating him to take him into his monastery. The igumen relented and tonsured Nikon with the name Nicander.

St Nicander endured many temptations and woes on the path of asceticism. Blessed Nicholas (February 28) while still at Pskov predicted St Nicander’s “wilderness sufferings.” Through the prayers of all the Pskov Saints and St Alexander of Svir (August 30 and April 17), who twice appeared to him, guiding and strengthening him, and with the help of the grace of God, he overcame all the manifold snares of the Evil One.

By the power of prayer the monk conquered the weakness of flesh, human failings and diabolical apparitions. Once, robbers nearly killed him, running off with the hermit’s sole, very precious possessions, his books and icons. Through the prayers of the saint, two of them, taking fright at the sudden death of one of their comrades, repented of their wicked deeds and received forgiveness from the Elder.

St Nicander did not long live at the Krypetsk monastery, and he obtained a blessing to return to his own wilderness. Later, he came to live at the Krypetsk monastery once again, where he fulfilled the obediences of ecclesiarch and cellerer, and then he went into the wilderness again and lived there in fasting and prayer, meditating on the Word of God.

Once a year, during Great Lent, St Nicander came to the Damianov monastery, where he made his confession and received the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Eight years before his death he received the Great Schema. Many people began to come to the monk “for benefit,” since in the words of St John of the Ladder, “monastic life is a light for all mankind.” Believers turned to St Nicander for prayerful help, since the Lord had bestown on him many gifts of grace.

The wilderness-dweller had regard for all the needs of the visitors and even built lodging for them, “the guest-house at the oak,” for which he provided heat. The monk did not permit himself to show off his spiritual gifts. Going secretly to his cell, people always heard him praying with bitter tears. When he noticed there were people nearby, he immediately began to pray, concealing from them the gift of tears that he had received.

St Nicander to the end of his life remained a wilderness-dweller, but he gave final instructions that after his death the place of his ascetic efforts should not be forsaken, promising his protection to the settlers of a future monastery. The saint gave final directions to the deacon Peter of the Porkhov women’s monastery to build a church at his grave and transfer there the icon of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos from the Tishanka church cemetery.

He foresaw his own death, predicting that he would die when enemies invaded the fatherland, and foretelling this immanent assault. On September 24, 1581, during an invasion by the army of the Polish king Stephen Bathory, a certain peasant found the monk dead. He lay on his cot with his hands crossed on his chest. From Pskov came clergy and people who revered the monk, and among whom was also the deacon Peter, and they performed the rite of Christian burial.

In 1584 at the place of St Nicander’s ascetic deeds, sanctified by almost half a century of prayer, a monastery was built, which they began to call the Nikandrov wilderness-monastery. The builder of this monastery was St Isaiah, who had been healed through prayer to the saint.

The glorification of St Nicander occurred under Patriarch Joachim in 1696, and the feastdays in his memory were established for September 24, the day of his repose, and on the temple feast of the monastery, the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos. During a reconstruction of the monastery cathedral church the relics of St Nicander were discovered, concealed in a wall. June 29 is celebrated as the day of the uncovering of his holy relics. At present, strong bonds of prayer connect believers with St Nicander, who is deeply venerated in the Pskov area.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Conception of St. John the Baptist

September 23

This came to pass fifteen months before the birth of Christ, after the vision of the Angel that Zacharias, the father of the Forerunner, saw in the Temple while he executed the priest's office in the order of his course during the feast of the Tabernacles, as tradition bears witness. In this vision, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and said to him, "Thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John" (Luke 1:13). Knowing that Elizabeth was barren, and that both he and she were elderly, Zacharias did not believe what the Angel told him, although he had before him the example of Abraham and Sarah, of Hannah, mother of the Prophet Samuel, and of other barren women in Israel who gave birth by the power of God. Hence, he was condemned by the Archangel to remain speechless until the fulfilment of these words in their season, which also came to pass (Luke 1:7-24).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Rejoice, O thou barren one who hadst not borne until now; for lo, in all truth thou hast conceived the lamp of the Sun, and he shall send forth his light over all the earth, which is afflicted with blindness. Dance, O Zacharias, and cry out with great boldness: The one to be born is the blest Prophet of God Most High.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Great Zacharias now doth rejoice with resplendence; Elizabeth his glorious yoke-mate exulteth; for she hath conceived divine John the Forerunner worthily, whom the great Archangel had announced with rejoicing, whom, as it is meet, we men revere as a sacred initiate of grace divine.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Phocas the Martyr, Bishop of Sinope

September 22

This saint was known for the many miracles he worked and for his apostolic zeal in shepherding the flock of Sinope. He contested for the Faith during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, in the year 102, when he was burned to death in a bath-house. A homily in his honour was composed by Saint John Chrysostom. The translation of his holy relics is celebrated on July 23.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Phocas. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
The Master hath established thee as a divinely-radiant luminous, and spiritual sun shining upon the multitude of the Church's faithful, O glorious Martyr Phocas; for He hath accepted thy life, faith and contests as fragrant myrrh, since He alone is abundant in mercy.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saints John and St George (John) of Georgia


 Saint John                                                                                               Saint George

Commemorated on September 21

Archimandrite John (Basil Maisuradze in the world) was born in the town of Tskhinvali in Samachablo around 1882. He was raised in a peasant family and taught to perform all kinds of handiwork. Basil was barely in his teens when he helped Fr. Spiridon (Ketiladze), the main priest at Betania Monastery, to restore the monastery between 1894 and 1896.

From his youth Basil was eager to enter the monastic life, and in 1903, according to God’s will, he moved to the Skete of St. John the Theologian at Iveron Monastery on Mt. Athos. Among the brothers he was distinguished for his simplicity and obedience. He was tonsured a monk and named John in honor of St. John the Theologian, whom he revered deeply and sought to emulate.

The monk John was soon ordained to the priesthood. Throughout his life the holy father dedicated himself to serving God and his brothers in Christ in hopes that his own life might be fruitful for them.

Fr. John remained on Mt. Athos for seventeen years. Then, due to the increasingly troubling circumstances there, he left the Holy Mountain with the other Georgian monks sometime between 1920 and 1921. He settled at Armazi Monastery outside of Mtskheta, where the Bolsheviks had left just one monk to labor in solitude. Once a band of armed Chekists broke into the monastery, led both Fr. John and the other monk away, and shot them in the back.

Believing them to be dead, they tossed them in a nearby gorge. A group of people later discovered Fr. John’s nearly lifeless body and brought it to Samtavro Monastery in Mtskheta. The other monk suffered only minor injuries and returned to the monastery on his own.

When his health had been restored, Fr. John went to Betania Monastery, where his first spiritual father was still laboring. He was appointed abbot shortly thereafter. Accustomed to hard work from his childhood, he skillfully administered the agricultural labors of the monastery. When visitors came to the monastery seeking advice or solace, Fr. John welcomed them warmly, spreading a festal meal before them. He enjoyed spending time with his guests, especially with children.

It is said that he always had candy or a special treat to give to the little ones. The children loved him so much that on the feast of St. John the Theologian, while he was sprinkling the church with holy water, they skipped around him and tried to tousle his hair. The children’s parents were ashamed, but Fr. John cheerfully assured them that it was fitting to be so joyous on a feast day.

Truly Fr. John was endowed with a deep love for young people, and he was also blessed with the divine gifts of prophecy and wonder-working. Once a certain Irakli Ghudushauri, a student at Moscow Theological Seminary, visited him at the monastery. Fr. John received him with exceptional warmth, blessing him with tears of rejoicing. This student would later become Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, the beloved shepherd who continues to lead the flock of the Georgian faithful to this very day.

Fr. John disciplined himself severely. He worked hard all day and slept on a single piece of wood. He would spend entire nights praying. Many wondered when he rested and where he had acquired such a seemingly infinite supply of energy.

Occasionally thieves would steal food or domestic animals from the monastery. But the monastery also had many protectors, even within the Soviet government. A group of Christians who worked for the government while secretly practicing their faith supported Fr. John and Fr. George (Mkheidze) (see below), explaining and justifying them to the government as “guardians of a national cultural monument.”

Many of the miracles performed by Fr. John are known to us today, though he was wary of receiving honor for his deeds. Frs. John and George healed the deaf, and many of the terminally ill were brought to them for healing. After spending several days in the monastery, the infirm would miraculously be cleansed of their diseases. Fr. John bore the heaviest workload in the monastery. He sympathized deeply with Fr. George, who was ailing physically and unfit for strenuous labor. But Fr. John departed this life before Fr. George. Fr. John became ill and reposed in 1957, at the age of seventy-five. He was buried at Betania Monastery.

Fr. George (Mkheidze) was born in the village of Skhvava in the Racha region around 1877. He received a military education—a highly esteemed commodity among the Georgian aristocracy—but instead of pursuing a military career in defense of the Russian empire, he dedicated himself to Georgia’s national liberation movement. At one point the pious and learned George worked for St. Ilia the Righteous as his personal secretary. He often met St. Ilia’s spiritual father, the holy hierarch Alexandre (Okropiridze), and the holy hieromartyr Nazar (Lezhava), and he was acquainted with other important spiritual leaders of the time as well.

Desiring to sacrifice his life to God, George was tonsured into monasticism by the holy hieromartyr Nazar. His rare character combined a nobleman’s deportment with a monk’s humble asceticism. Fr. George was ordained a priest and soon after elevated to the rank of archimandrite.

Filled with divine love and patriotic sentiment, the holy father willingly endured the heavy burdens and spiritual tribulations afflicting his country at that time.

In 1924, while Fr. George was laboring at Khirsa Monastery in Kakheti in eastern Georgia, an armed Chekist mob broke into the monastery. The perpetrators beat him, cut off his hair, shaved his beard, and threatened to take his life. He sought refuge with his family, but to no avail—his brothers, who were atheists, shaved off his beard while he was sleeping. (One of Fr. George’s brothers later committed suicide, and the other, together with his wife, was shot to death by the Chekists.) In the same year, Fr. George visited Betania Monastery and was introduced to Fr. John (Maisuradze), with whom he would labor for the remainder of his life.

Fr. George’s health was poor, and he was able to perform only the lightest of tasks around the monastery. He tended the vegetable garden and took responsibility for raising the bees. He was extremely generous. At times he would give all the monastery’s food to the needy, assuring Fr. John that God Himself would provide their daily bread.

Tall, thin, and with an upright posture, Fr. George was strict in both appearance and demeanor. He spoke very little with other people, and children did not play with him as they did with Fr. John. Knowing his character, they tried to please him by reciting prayers and behaving themselves. Fr. George did not like to leave the monastery, but it was often necessary for him to travel to Tbilisi to visit his spiritual children— among whom were many secret Christians who worked for the government.

Fr. George was endowed with the gifts of prophecy and healing, but he was careful to hide them. When constrained to reveal them, he would pass them off as though they were nothing extraordinary. Once a certain pilgrim arrived at the monastery and was surprised to discover that Fr. George knew him by name. Sensing his great amazement, Fr. George told the pilgrim that he had attended his baptism some thirty years earlier, thus concealing his God-given gift. Fr. George knew in advance when his nephew was bringing his sisters, whom he had not seen in forty-eight years, to visit him at the monastery during Great Lent.

Enlightened with this foreknowledge, Fr. George prepared fish and a festal meal in honor of the occasion.
The prayers of Fr. George and Fr. John healed the former’s nephew, who was afflicted by a deadly strain of meningitis. They restored hearing to a deaf child and healed many others of their bodily infirmities.

In 1957, when Fr. John reposed in the Lord, Fr. George was tonsured into the great schema. He was given the name John in honor of his newly departed spiritual brother. Fr. George-John now bore full responsibility for the affairs of the monastery. His health deteriorated further under the weight of this heavy yoke. His spiritual children began to come from the city to care for him.

Once a twenty-year-old girl arrived at the monastery, complaining of incessant headaches. She had been told that the water from Betania Monastery would heal her. She remained there for one week and was miraculously healed. When she left to return home, Fr. George-John walked five miles to see her off, in spite of his physical frailty.

The Theotokos appeared to Fr. George-John in a vision and relieved his terrible physical pain. The protomartyr Thekla also appeared to him, presenting him with a bunch of grapes. Several days before his repose, the holy father was in the city when an angel appeared to him and announced his imminent repose. The angel told him to return to the monastery to prepare for his departure from this world.

St. George-John (Mkheidze) reposed in 1960. He was buried at Betania Monastery, next to Fr. John (Maisuradze). These venerable fathers were canonized on September 18, 2003, at a council of the Holy Synod under the spiritual leadership of His Holiness Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. Frs. John and George-John have been lovingly deemed “one soul in two bodies.”


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Martyr and Confessor Michael the Wonderworker of Chernigov and Martyr Theodore the Counselor of Michael the Confessor

Commemorated on September 20

The Holy Prince Michael of Chernigov, son of Vsevolod Ol’govich the Dark-Red (+ 1212), was noted from childhood for his piety and mildness. His health was very poor, but in 1186, trusting in the mercy of God, the young prince asked for the holy prayers of St Nikita the Stylite of Pereyaslavl (May 24), who during these years received renown by his prayerful intercession before the Lord.

After he received a wooden staff from the holy ascetic, the prince was healed at once. In 1223 Prince Michael took part in a council of Russian princes at Kiev, debating whether to aid the Polovetsians against the approaching Mongol-Tatar hordes. With the death of his uncle, Mstislav of Chernigov in the Battle at the Kalka River in 1223, St Michael became Prince of Chernigov.

In 1225 he was invited to be prince of the Novgorod people. Through his sense of justice, compassion and firmness he gained the love and respect of Old Novgorod. This was particularly important for the Novgorodians, since the accession of Michael as prince signified a reconciliation of Novgorod with the city of Vladimir’s holy Great Prince George Vsevolodovich (March 4), whose wife was the holy princess Agatha, sister of Prince Michael.

But St Michael did not long remain prince at Novgorod. He soon returned to his native Chernigov. To the stipulations and requests of the Novgorodians to remain prince he answered that Chernigov and Novgorod ought to become kindred lands, and their inhabitants like brothers, and he would forge the bonds of friendship of these cities.

The noble prince assiduously concerned himself with the building up of his appenage realm. But it was difficult for him in these troubled times. His activity provoked unease in the Kursk Prince Oleg, and in 1227 internecine strife nearly erupted, but Metropolitan Cyril of Kiev reconciled them. And in this same year Prince Michael peacefully resolved a dispute between the Kiev Great Prince Vladimir Rurikovich and the Galich prince. In 1235 Prince Michael occupied the throne of Kiev.

Troublesome times ensued. In 1238 the Tatars (Mongols) laid waste to Ryazan, Suzdal, and Vladimir. In 1239 they moved against South Russia, and ravaged the left bank of the Dniepr River, and the lands of Chernigov and Pereyaslavl. By the autumn of 1240 the Mongols were coming close to Kiev. The khan’s emissaries proposed that Kiev surrender voluntarily, but the prince would not negotiate with them.

Prince Michael rode urgently to Hungary, to persuade the Hungarian king Bela to organize allied forces to resist the common enemy. St Michael tired to recruit both Poland, and the German emperor into the struggle against the Mongols, but the moment for a combined resistance was lost. Rus was devastated, and later Hungary and Poland. With no foreign support, Prince Michael returned to the ruins of Kiev and for a certain time he lived near the city on an island, and then he resettled in Chernigov.

The prince did not abandon hope in the possibility of an united Christian Europe against the Asiatic nomads. In 1245, at the Council of Lyons in France, his co-worker Metropolitan Peter (Akerovich) was sent as emissary by St Michael, calling for a crusade to march against the pagan Horde. Catholic Europe in the persons of its chief spiritual leaders, the Roman Pope and the German emperor, betrayed the interests of Christianity. The Pope was involved in a war with the German emperor, and the Germans took advantage of the Mongol invasion to attack Rus themselves.

In these circumstances affecting Christianity in general, there is a universal significance to the confessor’s deed of the martyred Orthodox Prince St Michael of Chernigov in the midst of the pagan Horde. In Rus emissaries of the khan soon appeared, in order to conduct a census of the Russian population and to impose taxes upon it.

The prince was ordered to make full submission to the Tatar khan, and for his princely realm, the khan would grant a special charter. The emissaries informed Prince Michael that it was necessary for him to journey to the Horde for an affirmation of rights to rule the princedom under the khan’s charter. Seeing the woeful plight of Rus, Prince Michael recognized the need to obey the khan, but as a fervent Christian he knew that he would not deny his faith before the pagans. From his spiritual Father, Bishop John, he received a blessing to journey to the Horde and be a true confessor of the Name of Christ.

With the holy Prince Michael on the journey to the Horde went his faithful friend and companion, the noble Theodore. At the Horde they knew about Prince Michael’s attempts to organize an uprising against the Tatars in concert with Hungary and the other European powers. His enemies had long sought the opportunity to destroy him.

In 1246 when Prince Michael and the boyar Theodore arrived at the Horde, they were instructed on how to go to the khan, to proceed through a fire to cleanse them of their evil intents, and to worship the primal elements considered gods by the Mongols: the sun and fire. In answer to the pagan priests commanding them to perform the pagan rituals, the holy Prince replied, “A Christian worships only God, the Creator of the world, and not creatures.”

They reported to the khan about the firmness of the Russian Prince. Batu’s attendant El’deg delivered the conditions: either fulfill the demands of the pagan priests, or die in torments. But this also was followed by the resolute answer of holy Prince Michael, “I am prepared to submit to the emperor, since that God has entrusted him with the destiny of the earthly kingdoms, but as a Christian, I cannot worship idols.” The fate of the brave Christians was sealed.

Taking courage in the words of the Lord: “Whoever would save his life, shall lose it, and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall save it” (Mt.16:25), the holy prince and his devoted boyar prepared for a martyr’s death and received the Holy Mysteries, which their spiritual Father gave them, foreseeing this possibility. The Tatar executioners seized the prince and for a long time they beat him fiercely, until the ground ran crimson with blood. Finally, Domanus, an apostate from the faith in Christ, cut off the head of the holy martyr.

The Tatars deceitfully promised St Theodore great honor and his lord’s princely rank if he would fulfill the pagan ritual. But St Theodore was not swayed by this, and he followed in the path of his prince. After quite vicious torments they beheaded him. The bodies of the holy passion-bearers were thrown to be eaten by dogs, but the Lord miraculously guarded them for several days, until faithful Christians could secretly bury them with reverence. Later on, the relics of the holy martyrs were transferred to Chernigov.

The confessor’s act of St Theodore amazed even his executioners. Persuaded of the Russian people’s steadfast fidelity to the Orthodox Faith , and their readiness to die for Christ with joy, the Tatar khans decided not to try the patience of God as before, and ceased demanding that Russians at the Horde perform any pagan rituals. But the struggle of the Russian nation and the Russian Church against the Mongol Yoke continued for yet a long time. The Orthodox Church was adorned in this struggle by new martyrs and confessors. Great Prince Theodore was poisoned by the Mongols. Also martyred were St Roman of Ryazan (+ 1270), St Michael of Tver (+ 1318), his sons Demetrius (+ 1325) and Alexander (+ 1339). All of these took courage from the example and holy prayers of the Russian Protomartyr of the Horde, St Michael of Chernigov.

On February 14, 1572, at the wish of Tsar Ivan Vasilievich the Terrible, and with the blessing of Metropolitan Anthony, the relics of the holy martyrs were transferred to Moscow, to the temple dedicated to them. From there in 1770 they were transferred to the Visitation cathedral, and on November 21, 1774 to the Archangel cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.

The Lives and service to Sts Michael and Theodore were compiled in the mid-sixteenth century by the renowned church writer, St Zenobios of Otonsk.

“The generation of the upright shall be blessed,” says the holy Psalmodist David (Ps. 111/112:2). This occurred in full measure for St Michael. He is at the head of many famous families in Russian history. His children and grandchildren continued the holy Christian service of St Michael. The Church also numbers his daughter St Euphrosyne of Suzdal (September 25), and his grandson St Oleg of Briansk (September 20) among the saints.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Martyr Zosimas the Hermit of Cilicia

The Martyr Zosimas the Desert Dweller lived during the fourth century. Once, while hunting, Dometian, the governor of Sicily, saw the Elder calmly and amiably conversing with the beasts around him.

Seeing the hunters, the beasts fled. They then interrogated the Elder, asking who he was and why he lived in the wilderness. The Elder answered that he was a Christian called Zosimas, and that he could not live in the city with the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, he lived alone among the wild animals.

Then Dometian said threateningly: “If you worship the Nazarene, I shall subject you to fierce tortures at Nazareth, and you will renounce Christ.”

When asked what kind of magic he used to tame wild beasts, St Zosimas replied, “I am a Christian.” At Nazareth the tortures began. They tied the Elder head downwards, with a large stone around his neck, and they began to lacerate his body with iron hooks.

The torturers taunted the sufferer: “If the beasts do listen to you, tell one of them to come here, and then we will believe in your God.” The holy martyr turned to God in prayer, and suddenly a huge lion came forth.

Everyone fled in terror, and the lion went up to the Elder, and began to lift the stone around the martyr’s neck with its paw in order to ease the suffering of the saint. The governor implored the martyr to keep the lion calm, and he gave orders to untie the saint, and to bring him to the emperor, but St Zosimas was already dead, having given up his pure soul to God.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Greatmartyr and Prince Bidzina of Georgia with Martyrs and Princes of Georgia Elizibar and Shalva

Commemorated on September 18

In the 17th century the Persian aggressors razed churches, monasteries, and fortresses and drove out thousands of Georgian families to resettle them in remote provinces of Persia. The deserted territories were settled by Turkic tribes from Central Asia. In the chronicle The Life of
Kartli it is written: “The name of Christ was not allowed to be uttered, except in a handful of mountainous regions: Tusheti, Pshavi, and Khevsureti.”

But the All-merciful Lord aroused a strong desire in the valiant prince Bidzina Choloqashvili of Kakheti and, together with Shalva and his uncle Elizbar, princes of Aragvi and Ksani provinces, he led a struggle to liberate Kakheti from the Tatars. (The Persian governor of Kakheti, Salim Khan (1656-1664), had been encouraging the Tatar tribesmen to profane the Christian churches.)

Fearing that the enemy, who had already conquered Kakheti, would soon move in and also dominate Kartli, the princes Bidzina, Shalva, and Elizbar united the forces of those two regions in preparation for the attack.

After much deliberation, Bidzina announced his intention to his father-in-law, Prince Zaal of Aragvi. Zaal’s soul was spiritually pained by the countless misfortunes and injustices his country had suffered, and he quickly pledged his support for the effort. He agreed to participate in the insurrection anonymously, while the Ksani rulers Shalva and Elizbar would command the armies.

On the moonless night of September 15, 1659, the feast of the Alaverdi Church (The feast of St. Joseph of Alaverdi) the united army of all eastern Georgia assembled and crossed over the mountains, past the village of Akhmeta, and launched a surprise attack on the Persians from Bakhtrioni Fortress and Alaverdi Church. The invader’s armies were so utterly crushed that their leader, Salim Khan, the Persian governor of Kakheti, barely succeeded in escaping from the avengers, after he had abandoned his family and army.

The victorious Georgian army offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord God and Great-martyr George, the protector of the Georgian people, who had appeared visibly to all during the battle, riding his white horse like a flash of lightning and leading the Georgians to victory.

The joy was great but short lived. The furious Shah Abbas II (1642-1667) ordered King Vakhtang V of Kartli (1658-1675) to deliver to him those who had instigated the insurrection.

Certain that they would receive no mercy from the shah, Georgia’s heroic liberators nevertheless set out for Persia without complaint. The shah received them with respect and generously bestowed gifts upon them, but then demanded that they renounce the Christian Faith. Neither bribery nor flattery would break their will, so the shah ordered his servants to arrest and torture them, strip off their clothing, and cast them, bound, under the blazing sun. Tormented by thirst and insect stings, the martyrs were periodically tempted to renounce Christ, but with God’s help they resisted every temptation.

Finally the enraged Salim Khan, the vassal of Shah Abbas, ordered the beheading of Elizbar and Shalva, hoping by this to break Bidzina’s resolve. But his efforts were in vain. “There is nothing sweeter than death for Christ’s sake!” Bidzina proclaimed.

The Ksani princes calmly bowed their heads, but the undersized executioners could not reach the stately princes with their swords. So the shah’s henchmen hacked each of the princes in two at the shins, then decapitated them after they had fallen to an accessible height.

But even the murder of his companions would not cause St. Bidzina’s will to waver. So the enemies resolved to break his will by mockery. They draped the bound prince in a chadar (the veil worn by Muslim women), seated him on a donkey, and paraded him through the streets. Then they began to butcher him alive. One by one they cut off his fingers and toes, then they chopped off his hands and feet, then his arms and legs, until only his head remained unharmed. It was clear from the movement of his lips that the holy martyr was praying.

Then one of the persecutors pierced his heart with a spear. This happened in the year 1661. The mutilated bodies of the holy martyrs remained under the open sky for one day, and no one was permitted to go near them. During the night they were illumined by a brilliant light.

Then a group of Christians secretly buried the saints’ remains. Several years later St. Shalva’s wife Ketevan and son David sent several of the faithful to Persia to bring back their relics. Crowds of believers gathered at the Kartli border to meet the holy relics and accompany them with hymns of rejoicing to their final resting place at the Ikorta Church of the Archangels.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Martyr Sophia and her three daughters at Rome

Commemorated on September 17

The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were born in Italy. Their mother was a pious Christian widow who named her daughters for the three Christian virtues. Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. St Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. St Sophia and her daughters did not hide their faith in Christ, but openly confessed it before everyone.

An official named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian (117-138), who ordered that they be brought to Rome. Realizing that they would be taken before the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When the holy virgins and their mother came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls remained unyielding.

Then the emperor ordered them to be tortured. They burned the holy virgins over an iron grating, then threw them into a red-hot oven, and finally into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord preserved them.
The youngest child, Love, was tied to a wheel and they beat her with rods until her body was covered all over with bloody welts. After undergoing unspeakable torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the Faith.

They subjected St Sophia to another grievous torture: the mother was forced to watch the suffering of her daughters. She displayed adamant courage, and urged her daughters to endure their torments for the sake of the Heavenly Bridegroom. All three maidens were beheaded, and joyfully bent their necks beneath the sword.

In order to intensify St Sophia’s inner suffering, the emperor permitted her to take the bodies of her daughters. She placed their remains in coffins and loaded them on a wagon. She drove beyond the city limits and reverently buried them on a high hill. St Sophia sat there by the graves of her daughters for three days, and finally she gave up her soul to the Lord. Even though she did not suffer for Christ in the flesh, she was not deprived of a martyr’s crown. Instead, she suffered in her heart. Believers buried her body there beside her daughters.

The relics of the holy martyrs have rested at El’zasa, in the church of Esho since the year 777.


You blossomed in the courts of the Lord / as a fruitful olive tree, / holy martyr Sophia; / in your contest you offered to Christ the sweet fruit of your womb, / your daughters Faith, Hope, and Love. / Together with them intercede for us all.


The Church celebrates and rejoices / In the feast of the three daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love / And their Mother Sophia, named for her wisdom: / For in them she gave birth to the three godly virtues. / Now they eternally behold their bridegroom, God the Word. / Let us rejoice spiritually in their memory and cry: / O our three Heavenly Protectors, / Establish, confirm and strengthen us / In Faith, Hope and Love.


The holy branches of noble Sophia, / Faith, Hope, and Love, / confounded Greek sophistry through Grace. / They struggled and won the victory / and have been granted an incorruptible crown by Christ the Master of all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nikitas the Great Martyr

September 15

This Saint was of high birth among the Goths beyond the Danube River. He was taken by Athanaric, pagan ruler of the Goths, and after being tortured, was burned to death for his confession of Christ. According to some, this took place during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great; according to others, under the Emperor Gratian.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Destroying the might of error by thy firm resolve, and taking the crown of vict'ry through thy sufferings, O Nikitas, namesake of vict'ry, thou rejoicest with angel-kind, and with them, O glorious one, thou ceaselessly prayest Christ God for us all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Monkmartyr Joseph of Dionysiou on Mt Athos

Saint Joseph was a monk of Dionysiou Monastery on Mt. Athos, where he shone forth with the virtues of monastic life. He was an iconographer, and he painted the icon of the holy Archangels on the iconostasis of Dionysiou’s main church.

In obedience to the instructions of Igumen Stephen, St Joseph traveled to Constantinople with Eudocimus, who had apostasized from Orthodoxy to become a Moslem. Eudocimus repented, and wished to wipe out his sin through martyrdom.

When faced with torture and death, however, the unfortunate Eudocimus denied Christ again, blaming Joseph for turning him from Islam.

St Joseph was arrested and threatened with death. In spite of many tortures, he refused to convert to Islam. This holy martyr of Christ was hanged on February 17, 1819, and so he obtained an incorruptible crown of glory.

Some sources list his commemoration on February 17, while others list him on September 14 or October 26.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Friday, September 13, 2013

St John of Prislop

Commemorated on September 13

Saint John was a monk of the Prislop Monastery in southwestern Romania at the turn of the sixteenth century. After several years in that place, he went into the mountains to lead a solitary ascetical life, struggling against the assaults of the demons.

One day, while St John was making a window in his cell, he was shot and killed by a hunter on the other side of the creek, who mistook him for a wild animal.

St John’s holy relics were later brought to Wallachia (southern Romania). He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Venerable Bassian of Tikhsnen, Vologda

St Bassian of Tiksnensk [Totemsk] (in the world Basil) was a peasant from the village of Strelitsa (by other accounts, from the village of Burtsevo), near the city of Totma, and he was by trade a tailor. Leaving his family, he became a monk under St Theodosius of Totemsk in the Sumorinsk monastery at the River Sukhona, where he spent several years in works and obediences.

In 1594, the monk resettled not far from Totma, at the River Tiksna, near a church named for St Nicholas the Wonderworker. At first he lived at the church portico, but then he made himself a cell near the church. The monk visited at each divine service. For thirty years he wore chains on his body: on his shoulders a heavy chain, on his loins an iron belt, and on his head beneath his head covering an iron cap.

Yearning for solitude, the monk admitted no one to his cell, except his spiritual Father. He lived by the alms which they put by his small window. St Bassian died on September 12, 1624. Only at burial was it discovered how much he had humbled his flesh.

At the place of St Bassian’s ascetic struggles a monastery was established in honor of the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands. Veneration of St Bassian began in the year 1647, when during a deadly plague, many received healing at his tomb. The Life of the monk was written in the year 1745 by the igumen Joseph.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Theodora of Alexandria

September 11

This saint lived in the fifth century. Out of remorse for the adultery that she committed with another man, she fled from her husband's house, renamed herself Theodore, clothed herself as a man, and pretending to be a eunuch, entered a monastery of men. Her identity as a woman was discovered only after her death.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Mother. 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 Theodora, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion in the First Tone
With fasting didst thou consume thy body utterly; with vigilant prayer didst thou entreat thy Fashioner, that thou shouldst receive the complete forgiveness of the sin thou hadst wrought; which receiving in truth, thou didst mark out the path of repentance for us all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apostle Clement of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle Clement of the Seventy was bishop in Sardica (an ancient wealthy city of Lydia in Asia Minor). The holy Apostle Paul mentions his name in the Epistle to the Philippians (Phil. 4:3). Addressing a certain “sincere co-worker of his”, Paul entreats him: “Help those women who labored with me in the Gospel, and with Clement and my other co-workers, whose names are in the Book of Life” (January 4).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Monday, September 09, 2013

Martyr Chariton

Commemorated on September 9

Saint Chariton endured martyrdom with St Staton at an unknown time and place.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Icon of the Mother of God of Kholm

The Kholm Icon of the Mother of God, by a tradition transmitted through Bishop James the Emaciated, was painted by the Evangelist Luke. It was brought from Greece to Russia in the time of St Vladimir, who after Baptism received many icons as a gift from Constantinople.

The Kholm image of the Mother of God is rendered on a board of cypress wood. In the year 1261 at the time of an invasion of the Tatar (Mongol) Horde, the city of Kholm was pillaged, and the icon of the Theotokos also suffered: the jeweled frame was taken, the painting damaged and the icon itself thrown down. After an hundred years the holy icon was relocated and solemnly placed in the Kholm cathedral. On the icon there remain two deep gashes: one on the left shoulder of the Theotokos, the other on Her right hand. There is a tradition that the invading Tatars were punished after they plundered and damaged the holy icon. They lost their sight, and their faces became distorted. Accounts of the miraculous signs worked by the Kholm Icon of the Mother of God, are recorded in a book by Archimandrite Joannicius (Golyatovsky) entitled THE NEW HEAVEN.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Apostle Onesiphorus of the Seventy

Commemorated on September 7

The Holy Apostle Onesiphorus of the Seventy

St Paul writes of him: “God grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my bonds. When he was at Rome, he searched for me with great diligence, and found me. May the Lord grant him to find the mercy of the Lord on that day; and you know how much he served me at Ephesus.” (2 Tim 1:16-18).

St Onesiphorus was bishop at Colophon (Asia Minor), and later at Corinth. He died a martyr in the city of Parium (not far from Ephesus) on the shores of the Hellespont, where he had gone to proclaim Christ among the local pagans.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Friday, September 06, 2013

The Martyrs Eudoxius, Zeno, Macarius and their Companions

The Martyrs Eudoxius, Zeno, Macarius and their Companions received a martyric death for Christ under the emperor Maximian Galerius, the successor of the emperor Diocletian.

St Eudoxius held the high position of a military commander in the imperial armies. He was a Christian, as were his friend Zeno and his house steward Macarius. After the emperor Diocletian issued an edict that Christians who refused to offer sacrifice to idols were to be put to death, many people fled to various lands with their families to avoid torture and death. At this time St Eudoxius resigned his high position, and with his wife St Basilissa and all their family abandoned their property and went into hiding in the region of Armenian Melitene.

The governor of Melitene sent soldiers to search for Eudoxius. When they found Eudoxius, he was attired in white garb. Not recognising him, the soldiers began to question whether a certain military commander Eudoxius had come into these parts. Not revealing who he was, the saint invited the soldiers into his home, fed them and gave them lodging for the night.

St Eudoxius considered his encounter with the soldiers as a sign from the Lord of his impending death by martyrdom. In the morning, he disclosed to his guests that he was the one whom they were seeking. In gratitude for the hospitality, the soldiers offered to conceal from the authorities that they had found St Eudoxius. However, the saint would not consent to this.

Setting his affairs in order, he told his wife not to weep for him, but on the contrary to celebrate the day of his martyric death. Donning his military garb, he went with the soldiers to the governor. St Basilissa and his friends Sts Zeno and Macarius followed after St Eudoxius.

The governor tried to persuade St Eudoxius to offer sacrifice to the idols and by this safeguard his life, exalted rank and property. St Eudoxius firmly refused, denouncing the folly of anyone who would worship soulless idols. He removed his soldier’s belt, the emblem of his authority, and threw it in the governor’s face.

Soldiers present at this, secret Christians, did the same thing, and they numbered more than a thousand men. The embarrassed governor asked the emperor what he should do. He was ordered to try the ringleaders and set the others free.

After prolonged tortures, they led St Eudoxius forth to execution. Following after her husband, St Basilissa wept, and his friend St Zeno also wept for the martyr. St Eudoxius again urged his wife not to mourn him, but rather to rejoice that he was worthy of the crown of martyrdom. He asked that she bury his body in a place called Amimos.

To his weeping friend St Zeno St Eudoxius predicted that they would enter the Kingdom of Heaven at the same time. Emboldened by these words, Zeno loudly declared himself a Christian, for which he was immediately sentenced to death.

Later, St Basilissa took her husband’s body without hindrance, and buried it in the place where he had requested. After this, they arrested the saint and led her before the governor. Desiring to share the fate of her husband, she fearlessly denounced both the governor and his false gods, the idols. The governor, however, saw her intent and would not torture her, but instead sent her away. As she left, the saint said to him that God would see her intention to suffer for her faith and would accept this intent as an accomplished deed.

Seven days later, St Eudoxius appeared to his wife in a vision and bade her to inform his friend and house steward Macarius, that both he and St Zeno awaited the arrival of Macarius. Macarius immediately went to the governor and declared himself a Christian, for which he was sentenced to death and beheaded. Many Christians also suffered martyrdom during this time.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Prophet Zachariah the father of St John the Baptist

Commemorated on September 5

The Holy Prophet Zachariah and the Righteous Elizabeth were the parents of the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John. They were descended from the lineage of Aaron: St Zachariah, son of Barach, was a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, and St Elizabeth was the sister of St Anna, the mother of the Most Holy Theotokos. The righteous spouses, “walking in all the commandments of the Lord (Luke 1:6), suffered barrenness, which in those times was considered a punishment from God.

Once, during his turn of priestly service in the Temple, St Zachariah was told by an angel that his aged wife would bear him a son, who “will be great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1:15) and “will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias” (Luke 1:17).

Zachariah doubted that this prediction would come true, and for his weakness of faith he was punished by becoming mute. When Elizabeth gave birth to a son, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit she announced that his name was John, although no one in their family had this name.

They asked Zachariah and he also wrote the name John down on a tablet. Immediately the gift of speech returned to him, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he began to prophesy about his son as the Forerunner of the Lord.

When King Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill all the infants up to two years old at Bethlehem and the surrounding area, hoping that the new-born Messiah would be among them.

Herod knew about John’s unusual birth and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Elizabeth hid herself and the infant in the hills. The murderers searched everywhere for John. Elizabeth, when she saw her pursuers, began to implore God for their safety, and immediately the hill opened up and concealed her and the infant from their pursuers.

In these tragic days St Zachariah was taking his turn at the services in the Temple. Soldiers sent by Herod tried in vain to learn from him the whereabouts of his son. Then, by command of Herod, they murdered this holy prophet, having stabbed him between the temple and the altar (MT 23: 35). Elizabeth died forty days after her husband, and St John, preserved by the Lord, dwelt in the wilderness until the day of his appearance to the nation of Israel.

On the Greek calendar, Sts Zachariah and Elizabeth are also commemorated on June 24, the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.


The memory of Your prophets Zachariah and Elizabeth / We celebrate today, O Lord. / By their prayers, we beseech You, / O Christ God, save our souls!


Robed in the vestments of the priesthood, / according to the Law of God you offered whole-burnt offerings in a sacred manner, wise Zachariah. / You became a luminary and a seer of the mysteries, / bearing within yourself the signs of grace, all-wise one. / Slain by the sword in the temple of God, O prophet of Christ, / intercede together with the Forerunner / that our souls may be saved.


Today the prophet Zachariah, priest of the Most High / and parent of the Forerunner, / has prepared a banquet to his memory to nourish the faithful, / mixing the drink of righteousness. / Therefore we praise him as a divine initiate of the grace of God.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Martyr Hermione the Daughter of St Philip the Deacon

Commemorated on September 4

The Holy Martyr Hermione was a daughter of St Philip the Deacon (October 11). Wishing to see the holy Apostle John the Theologian, Hermione with her sister Eutychia went to Asia Minor in search of the saint. During their journey, they learned the saint had died. Continuing on, the sisters met a disciple of St Paul named Petronius, and imitating him in everything, they became his disciples. St Hermione, having mastered the healing arts, rendered help to many Christians and healed the sick by the power of Christ.

During this period, the emperor Trajan (98-117) waged war against the Persians and he came with his army through the village where the saint lived. When they accused Hermione of being a Christian, he gave orders to bring her to him.

At first the emperor, with casual admonitions, sought to persuade the saint to renounce Christ. When this did not succeed, he commanded that she should be struck on the face for several hours, but she joyfully endured this suffering. Moreover, she was comforted by a vision of the Lord, in the form of Petronius, sitting upon the throne of judgment. Convincing himself that she was steadfast in her faith, Trajan sent her away. Hermione later built a hospice in which she took in the sick, treating their infirmities both of body and soul.

Trajan’s successor, Hadrian, again commanded that the saint be brought to trial for confessing the Christian Faith. At first, the emperor commanded that she be beaten mercilessly, then they pierced the soles of her feet with nails, and finally they threw her into a cauldron with boiling tar, lead and sulphurous brimstone. The saint bore everything, giving thanks to God.

And the Lord granted her His mercy: the fire went out, the lead spilled out, and the saint remained unharmed. Hadrian in surprise went up to the place of torture and touched at the cauldron, to ascertain whether it had cooled. When he touched the cauldron, he burned the skin on his hand, but even this did not dissuade the torturer.

He gave orders to heat a sort of skillet and put the holy martyr in it naked. Here again another miracle took place. An angel of the Lord scattered the hot coals and burned many who stood by the fire. The saint stood in the skillet, as though on green grass, singing hymns of praise to the Lord.

When she was removed from the skillet, the holy martyr seemed to be willing to offer sacrifice to the pagan god Hercules. The delighted emperor gave orders to take her off to the temple. When the saint prayed to God, a loud thunderclap was heard, and all the idols in the pagan temple fell and shattered.

In a rage, the emperor ordered that Hermione be led out of the city and beheaded. Two servants, Theodulus and Theotimos, were entrusted to carry out the execution. Since they were in such a hurry to execute the saint, not allowing her time for prayer, their hands withered. Then they believed in Jesus Christ and with repentance they fell at the feet of St Hermione. They besought her to pray that the Lord would call them to Himself before her. This is what transpired, through her prayers. After this, she also fell asleep in the Lord.



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Martyr Basilissa of Nicomedia

Commemorated on September 3

The Martyr Basilissa of Nicomedia suffered for her faith in Christ under the emperor Diocletian. The Nicomedia governor Alexander gave orders to arrest the nine-year-old Basilissa and force her to renounce Christ. But the young maiden displayed unshakable firmness in fidelity to her Lord, and so she was subjected to protracted and intense torture.

Through the grace of God, the holy martyr remained alive and unharmed. This was evident to all those present as a manifestation of the power of God, and it so upset the governor Alexander, that he also came to believe in Christ and confessed himself a Christian.

Baptized later by Bishop Anthimus, he lived for a short while in deep repentance, and then departed peacefully to the Lord, as did St Basilissa some while after him. Her death was peaceful and accompanied by miraculous signs of God’s mercy.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)

Monday, September 02, 2013

Mammas the Martyr

September 2

Saint Mammas was from Gangra of Paphlagonia. He was born in prison, where his parents were suffering for Christ's sake and ended their lives. He was named Mammas because, after he had long remained without speaking, he addressed his foster mother Ammia as "mamma." He contested for Christ about the year 275.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
With the staff bestowed on thee by God, O holy Great Martyr, shepherd us thy people now in green and life-giving pastures; swiftly crush with godly power unseen and wild beasts underneath the feet of them that praise thee with longing; for in dangers we all have thee, O Mammas, as our fervent protector and help.



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2012(with 2011's link here also and further, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!)