Friday, May 31, 2013

Hermias the Martyr at Comana

May 31

According to some, this Martyr strove in contest during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, also called Antoninus (161-180); according to others, it was in the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161). Already an old man, the Saint was brought before Sebastian, Proconsul in Comana of Cappadocia, and because he would not renounce his confession of Christ, his tormentors showing no reverence to his grey hairs, broke his jaw, tore the flesh from his face, pierced his eyes with a sharp instrument, subjected him to many other torments, and finally, after three days of such torture, beheaded him.

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.


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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Venerable Isaac the Founder of the Dalmatian Monastery at Constantinople

Commemorated on May 30

St Isaac lived during the fourth century, received monastic tonsure and pursued ascetic labors in the desert. During the reign of the emperor Valens (364-378), a zealous adherent of the Arian heresy, there was a persecution of the Orthodox, and churches were closed and destroyed.

Hearing of the persecution, St Isaac left the wilderness and went to Constantinople to console and encourage the Orthodox, and to fight against the heretics. At that time, barbarian Goths along the River Danube were making war against the Empire. They seized Thrace and advanced toward Constantinople.

When the emperor Valens was leaving the capital with his soldiers, St Isaac cried out, “Emperor, unlock the churches of the Orthodox, and then the Lord will aid you!” But the emperor, disdaining the words of the monk, confidently continued on his way. The saint repeated his request and prophecy three times. The angry emperor ordered St Isaac to be thrown into a deep ravine, filled with thorns and mud, from which it was impossible to escape.

St Isaac remained alive by God’s help, and he emerged, overtook the emperor and said, “You wanted to destroy me, but three angels pulled me from the mire. Hear me, open up the churches for the Orthodox and you shall defeat the enemy. If, however, you do not heed me, then you shall not return. You will be captured and burned alive.” The emperor was astonished at the saint’s boldness and ordered his attendants Saturninus and Victor to take the monk and hold him in prison until his return.

St Isaac’s prophecy was soon fulfilled. The Goths defeated and pursued the Greek army. The emperor and his Arian generals took refuge in a barn filled with straw, and the attackers set it afire. After receiving news of the emperor’s death, they released St Isaac and honored him as a prophet.

Then the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395) came to the throne. On the advice of Saturninus and Victor, he summoned the Elder, treating him with great respect. Obeying his instructions, he banished the Arians from Constantinople and restored the churches to the Orthodox. St Isaac wanted to return to his desert, but Saturninus and Victor begged him not to leave the city, but to remain and protect it by his prayers.

Saturninus built a monastery for the saint in Constantinople, where monks gathered around him. St Isaac was the monastery’s igumen and spiritual guide. He also nourished laypeople, and helped many of the poor and suffering.

When he had reached an advanced age, St Isaac made St Dalmatus (August 3) igumen. The monastery was later named for Dalmatus.

St Isaac died in the year 383, and his memory is also celebrated on March 22.


The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father, / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing 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, venerable Isaac, rejoices with the angels.


As a faithful favorite of God you became enflamed with zeal for the Church of Christ / and drew in the reins of the emperor Valens, O venerable one; / you prophetically foretold to him the captivity of the Church and of his own wretched death. / Therefore, venerable Isaac, ceaselessly pray for us who honor you.


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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Midfeast of Pentecost

Commemorated on May 29

Today’s celebration is the midpoint of the fifty days between the Feasts of Pascha and Pentecost. St John tells us (John 7:14) that “in the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the Temple, and taught.” The Feast in question is the Feast of Tabernacles (celebrated in September), not Pentecost.

The Church has appointed John 7:14-30 to be read for the Midfeast, thereby linking Pascha and Pentecost. In Chapter 8 of St John’s Gospel, the Lord came to the Temple again and taught the people who came to Him. After leaving the Temple, he encounters the man born blind. We will hear about him on the Sunday of the Blind Man.

The Troparion of the Midfeast (“In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as Thou didst cry to all: If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink [John 7:37]. O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to Thee!”) hints at the encounter of Christ and the Samaritan Woman in just a few days.

Today we perform the Lesser Blessing of Water, and the Blessing of Fields.


In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, / Fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as You did cry to all: / If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink! / O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!


Christ God, the Creator and Master of all / Cried to all in the midst of the Feast of the law: / Come and draw the water of immortality! / We fall before You and faithfully cry: / Grant us Your bounties, for You are the Fountain of our life!


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

Monday, May 27, 2013

John the Russian of Evia

May 27

The Holy New Confessor John, a native of Russia, was captured during the Russian campaign against the Turks in 1711 and was thereafter sold into slavery in Asia Minor. In this condition he struggled to serve God in piety even while he served his earthly master in all that was needful. He remained steadfast in the Christian Faith in the face of the many enticements the Moslems provided to lure him to their error, and was granted the grace to work miracles by his prayers. He reposed in peace in 1730. His relics remained incorrupt and are found at New Procopion of Euboia in Greece.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
He that hath called thee from earth unto the heavenly abodes, doth even after thy death keep thy body unharmed, O righteous one; for thou wast carried off as a prisoner to Asia, wherein also, O John, thou didst win Christ as thy friend. Wherefore, do thou beseech Him that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
The all-holy mem'ry of thy splendid contests on this day is come to us, and it doth gladden and rejoice the souls of all them that honour thee with faith and rev'rence, O most righteous Father John.


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

Sunday, May 26, 2013

St John Psichaita the Confessor, of Constantinople

Commemorated on May 26

Saint John Psichaita the Confessor lived during the end of the eighth or the beginning of the ninth century. In his youth he left the secular world and became a monk in the Psichaita Lavra (in the suburbs of Constantinople).

Because of his holy life and deeds, he received from God the gift to cast out demons and to heal the sick. During this time the heresy of the iconoclasts was raging, and those venerating holy icons were subjected to persecution.

St John was led away for interrogation, and they tried to force him to sign a document renouncing the veneration of holy icons. Instead of renouncing the holy icons, the saint denounced his persecutors, calling the emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741) a heretic. Therefore, they sent St John into exile. He died, having suffered much from the iconoclasts.


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

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Third Finding of the Honorable Head of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

Commemorated on May 25

The Third Discovery of the Venerable Head of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John occurred in about the year 850 (see the account of the First and Second Discoveries on February 24). The head of St John the Forerunner was found in the city of Emesia during a time of unrest at Constantinople connected with the exile of St John Chrysostom (November 13).

It was transferred to Komana during the Saracen raids (about 820-820) and it was hidden in the ground during a period of iconoclastic persecution. When the veneration of icons was restored, Patriarch Ignatius (847-857) saw in a vision the place where the head of St John the Forerunner was hidden. The patriarch communicated this to the emperor, who sent a delegation to Komana. There the head was found a third time arond the year 850.

Afterwards the head was again transferred to Constantinople, and here on May 25 it was placed in a church at the court. Part of the head is on Mt. Athos. The Third Discovery of the Head of John the Baptist is commemorated on May 25.


As a divine treasure hidden in the ground / Was your head revealed to us by Christ, O prophet and forerunner. / We have gathered in commemoration of this finding / With inspired hymns of praise to the Savior, / Who saves us from corruption through your prayers!


By giving your venerable head to a sinful woman, / Herod broke the law of God. / But we behold it and cry out for joy, / And say to you, O forerunner: / Pray to the Lord that He may grant mercy to us all!


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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Saint Meletius the General, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Callinicus the Sorcerer, Theodore, Faustus and 1218 soldiers, women and children with them, among them Marciana, Susanna, Palladia, and the infants Kyriakos and Christian as well as the holy martyrs Faustus, Festus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Photinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius and Didymus

Saint Meletius the General, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Callinicus the Sorcerer, Theodore, Faustus and 1218 soldiers, women and children with them.

The holy martyr Meletius was a military commander of the Galatia district of Asia Minor during the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). He was a Christian and he prayed fervently that the Lord would put an end to the pagan error. Terrified by his prayer, the devils inhabiting the pagan temples entered into dogs, which frightened the inhabitants of the district with their howling.

St. Meletius and his soldiers got rid of the mad dogs, and destroyed the temples. He was arrested and brought to trial before the governor Maximian. Since he refused to offer sacrifice to idols, St. Meletius was tortured and he died confessing his faith in Christ. The tribunes of his regiment, the holy martyrs Stephen and John, were beheaded for their confession of Christ as true God.

The remaining soldiers of the regiment, also declaring themselves Christians, were beheaded by the sword, together with their wives and children. 1218 men perished, although some historians put the number at 11,000 .

The holy martyrs Theodore and Faustus were burned along with many others. Among the women and children who suffered are the holy martyrs Marciana, Susanna, Palladia, and the infants Kyriakos and Christian. The names of some of the soldiers, and of the twelve tribunes are known: the holy martyrs Faustus, Festus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Photinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius and Didymus.

The holy martyr Serapion was born in Egypt. He had come to Galatia and witnessed the martyrdom of St. Meletius and his comrades. Seeing the bravery with which those who believed in Christ died for Him, St. Serapion also believed, for which he was imprisoned. An angel of God visited St. Serapion in prison and made him a bishop.

Saint Callinicus was a former sorcerer who suffered martyrdom with St Meletius the General.


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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

St Isaiah the Hierarch and Wonderworker of Rostov

Commemorated on May 23

The celebration of the Synaxis of the Rostov and Yaroslav Saints on May 23 was established by resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis I (+ 1970) and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, on March 10, 1964.
St Isaiah is also commemorated on May 15.


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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Basiliscus the Martyr, Bishop of Comana

May 22

This Martyr was from the city of Amasia on the Black Sea, and a nephew of Saint Theodore the Tyro (Feb. 17). When his fellow Martyrs Eutropius and Cleonicus had been crucified (see Mar.8), Basiliscus was shut up in prison. As he was praying the Lord to count him also worthy to finish his course as a martyr, the Lord appeared to him, telling him first to go to his kinsmen and bid them farewell, which he did. When it was learned that he had left the prison, soldiers came after him, and brought him to Comana of Cappadocia, compelling him to walk in iron shoes set with nails. He was beheaded at Comana, and his body was cast into the river, during the reign of Diocletian (284-305).

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.


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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Icon of the Mother of God of “Tenderness”

Commemorated on May 21

The Pskov Caves “Tenderness” Icon of the Mother of God was painted and brought to the Pskov Caves monastery through the efforts of the Pskov merchants Basil and Theodore in the year 1521. It was glorified by miracles of healing in 1524. This holy icon and also the Dormition Icon were glorified in 1581 during the siege of Pskov by the Polish king Stephen Bathory.

The October 7 Feast of the “Tenderness” Icon was established in memory of the deliverance of Pskov from the invasion of Napoleon in 1812.


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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Glorification of the Venerable Zebulon and of the Venerable Susanna, the father and mother of St Nino Enlightener of Georgia

 Commemorated on May 20

According to Holy Tradition, St. Nino and Great-martyr George were blood relatives. At the same time as St. George’s martyrdom, a certain nobleman, the servant of God Zabulon, arrived in Rome from Cappadocia. Zabulon began to serve in the emperor’s army, and before long he was widely recognized as a courageous cavalryman and a fine soldier.

During a battle with the Franks the Lord granted victory to Zabulon—he captured the Frankish king and his suite and delivered them to the Roman emperor. The emperor sentenced the captives to death, but before they were executed they confessed their desire to be baptized into the Christian Faith. Zabulon relayed this to the emperor, and Zabulon himself became their godfather. Then he pleaded with the emperor to have mercy on his godchildren, and the emperor set them free.

Nearly all the Franks were converted to Christianity as a result of Zabulon’s struggles on behalf of the Faith. A 9th-century Georgian hymnographer wrote, “Her father Zabulon converted Gaul with his sword, and blessed Nino converted Georgia with the Life-giving Cross.”

Some time later, St. Zabulon journeyed to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. While he was there he distributed all his possessions to the poor and began to serve Patriarch Juvenal of Jerusalem. There he met Sosana, the sister of the patriarch. Shortly thereafter they were joined in marriage by the patriarch.

The newly wedded couple moved to Cappadocia, where they had a baby girl whom they named Nino. While raising Nino, St. Sosana served God and the needy with great dedication.

When Nino reached the age of twelve, her parents sold all their possessions and moved back to Jerusalem. With the blessing of Patriarch Juvenal, Zabulon departed for the wilderness to begin a life of asceticism. The place where he labored is known only to God. With the patriarch’s blessing, Sosana ministered to the poor and infirm. On December 10, 1996, theGeorgian Orthodox Church declared Zabulon and Sosana, the parents of St. Nino, confessors of the Christian Faith. Living during a time when pagan religions were still widely practiced and Christians were often persecuted, they converted many people and then abandoned worldly things to follow God alone.


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

Saturday, May 18, 2013

2nd Saturday after Pascha

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Thomas examined Your life-giving side with his probing right hand, O Christ our God. As You entered, though the doors were closed, he cried out to You, with the other Apostles "You are my Lord and my God."


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

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Translation of the relics of the Venerable Ephraim the Abbot of Perekop, Novgorod

The Transfer of the Relics of St Ephraim of Perekomsk occurred on May 16, 1545. This celebration was established at a Moscow Council of the year 1549. St Ephraim of Perekomsk reposed on September 26, 1492. The Life of the saint is found under September 26 .


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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Achillius the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Larissa

May 15

Saint Achillius was one of the 318 God-bearing Fathers who were present at the First Ecumenical Council; after returning to Larissa he cast down many pagan temples, delivered many from the demons, and raised up churches to the glory of God. He reposed about the middle of the fourth century.

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

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Let us all praise with hymns and songs divine Achillius, the brightly shining and unwaning star of all the world, who is Larissa's unsleeping and loving shepherd. Let us cry to him: Since thou hast boldness with the Lord, do thou rescue us from every raging storm of life, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father Achillius.


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

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Holy Martyr Glyceria

May 13

This Martyr contested in 141 in Trajanopolis of Thrace, during the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. At a heathen festival, when Sabine the Governor of Trajanopolis was offering sacrifice, Saint Glyceria entered the temple and declared herself to be a handmaid of Christ. Sabine commanded her to sacrifice. She went to the statue of Zeus and overturned it, dashing it to pieces. She was subjected to many horrible tortures, and finally was cast to wild beasts; bitten once by one of them, she gave up her soul into the hands of God.

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

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Loving Mary ardently, the Theotokos and Virgin, thou didst keep thy maidenhood all uncorrupted and spotless; smitten in thy heart with longing for thy divine Lord, thou didst strive even to death with courageous valour. O Glyceria, for this cause, Christ God doth crown thee with an august twofold crown.


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

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus

May 12

Saint Epiphanius was born about 310 in Besanduc, a village of Palestine, of Jewish parents who were poor and tillers of the soil. In his youth he came to faith in Christ and was baptized with his sister, after which he distributed all he had to the poor and became a monk, being a younger contemporary of Saint Hilarion the Great (see Oct. 21), whom he knew. He also visited the renowned monks of Egypt to learn their ways. Because the fame of his virtue had spread, many in Egypt desired to make him a bishop; when he learned of this, he fled, returning to Palestine. But after a time he learned that the bishops there also intended to consecrate him to a widowed bishopric, and he fled to Cyprus. In Paphos he met Saint Hilarion, who told him to go to Constantia, a city of Cyprus also called Salamis. Epiphanius answered that he preferred to take ship for Gaza, which, despite Saint Hilarion's admonitions, he did. But a contrary wind brought the ship to Constantia where, by the providence of God, Epiphanius fell into the hands of bishops who had come together to elect a successor to the newly-departed Bishop of Constantia, and the venerable Epiphanius was at last constrained to be consecrated, about the year 367. He was fluent in Hebrew, Egyptian, Syriac, Greek, and Latin, and because of this he was called "Five-tongued." He had the gift of working miracles, and was held in such reverence by all, that although he was a known enemy of heresy, he was well nigh the only eminent bishop that the Arians did not dare to drive into exile when the Emperor Valens persecuted the Orthodox about the year 371. Having tended his flock in a manner pleasing to God, and guarded it undefiled from every heresy, he reposed about the year 403, having lived for ninety-three years. Among his sacred writings, the one that is held in special esteem is the Panarion (from the Latin Panarium, that is, "Bread-box,") containing the proofs of the truth of the Faith, and an examination of eighty heresies.

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

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Let us the faithful duly praise the most wondrous and sacred pair of hierarchs, even Germanos together with the godly Epiphanios; for these righteous Saints of God burned the tongues of the godless with the sacred teachings which they most wisely expounded to all those who in Orthodox belief do ever hymn the great myst'ry of piety.


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

Friday, May 10, 2013

St Simeon the Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal of the Kiev Near Caves

Saint Simon, Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal was an author of the KIEV CAVES PATERIKON, and he became a monk at the Monastery of the Caves, sometime in the second half of the twelfth century.

In the year 1206 he was appointed igumen of the Vladimir Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos, and in 1214, at the wish of Prince George Vsevolodovich (+ 1238), he was made the first bishop of Vladimir-on-the-Klyazma and Suzdal.

In 1218 he consecrated a church at the Nativity monastery, and in the year 1225, a cathedral church at Suzdal. The Great Prince deeply respected St Simon and was prepared to establish a new bishop’s See at Suzdal for his friend, the monk Polycarp of the Kiev Caves monastery, who sought after spiritual glory. St Simon, seeing that Polycarp was not yet ready to assume such an office, talked the Great Prince out of his idea, and he wrote a deeply moving letter to Polycarp, in which he offered his friend advice on overcoming his spiritual shortcomings. St Simon’s own inner life, character, and virtue are also revealed in the epistle.
St Simon was known as a learned teacher, and his epistle to Polycarp was placed at the beginning of the KIEV CAVES PATERIKON. On the eve of his repose in 1226, the saint received the schema.

Initially his body was buried at Vladimir, but later, in accordance with the saint’s last wishes, his body was transferred to the Kiev Caves Lavra, where it rests in the Antoniev Caves.


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

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Repose of the Venerable Shio the Anchorite of Georgia

Commemorated on May 9

An Antiochian by birth, St. Shio of Mgvime was among the Thirteen Syrian Fathers who preached the Christian Faith in Georgia. His parents were pious nobles who provided their son with a sound education.

When the twenty-year-old Shio heard about the great ascetic labors of St. John of Zedazeni and his disciples who labored in the wilderness, he went in secret to visit them. St. John promised to receive Shio as a disciple, provided his parents agreed to his decision.

But when Shio returned home he said nothing to his parents about what had transpired.

Time passed and Shio’s parents both entered the monastic life.

Then Shio sold all his possessions, distributed the profits to the poor, widows, orphans, and hermits, freed all his family’s slaves, and returned to Fr. John.

St. John received Shio joyfully, tonsured him a monk, and blessed him to remain in the wilderness. He labored there with St. John for twenty years. Then John was told in a divine revelation to choose twelve disciples and travel to Georgia to increase the faith of its people. Shio was one of the disciples chosen to follow him on this holy mission.

The holy fathers arrived in Georgia and settled on Zedazeni Mountain. Then, with the blessings of Catholicos Evlavios and Fr. John, they dispersed throughout the country to preach the Word of

At his instructor’s command, St. Shio settled in the Sarkineti caves near Mtskheta and began to lead a strict ascetic life. There was no water there and many wild animals made their home in the caves, but the privations and tribulations he encountered did not shake St. Shio’s great faith. Like the Prophet Elijah, Shio received his food from the mouths of birds that carried it to him.

Once, after St. Shio had prayed at length, a radiant light appeared suddenly in the place where he was, and theMost Holy Theotokos and St. John the Baptist stood before him. After this miraculous visitation St. Shio began to pray with even greater zeal, and he would spend hours alone in the wilderness.

Another time, St. Evagre (at that time ruler of Tsikhedidi and military adviser to King Parsman) went hunting in the Sarkineti Mountains. There he encountered St. Shio and, astonished by his piety, resolved to remain there with him. The news of the ruler’s conversion soon spread through all of Georgia, and many people flocked to witness the venerable father’s miraculous deeds. Many remained there with them, following St. Evagre’s example.

Once St. Shio prayed to God to reveal to him the place where He desired a church to be built. He placed a lump of hot coal in his hand and sprinkled incense on it, as though his hand were a censer. Then he followed the smoke as it swirled up from the hot coal. In the place where it rose straight up like a pillar, he took his staff and marked the ground where the church would be built.

When King Parsman heard about his military adviser’s radical change of life, he was deeply disturbed and wandered into the wilderness to find him. But when he witnessed the divine grace shining on St. Shio’s face, he took off his crown and knelt humbly before him. Fr. Shio reverently blessed the king, helped him to stand up, and replaced the crown on his head. Following the king’s example, all the royal court came to receive Shio’s blessing. A certain nobleman with an injured eye knelt before St. Shio, touched his eye to the holy father’s foot, and received healing at once.

At another time King Parsman asked St. Shio if there was anything he needed, and he answered, “O Sovereign King, God enlightens the hearts of kings. Do that which your heart tells you!” In response, the king donated much wealth for the construction of a church in the wilderness: the lands of four villages, a holy chalice and diskos, a gold cross, and an ornately decorated Gospel that had belonged to the holy king Vakhtang Gorgasali (†502).

When construction of the church was complete, the king traveled there in the company of the catholicos, several bishops and St. John of Zedazeni. The hierarchs consecrated the newly built church, and a monastic community soon grew up on its grounds. Eventually, the number of monks laboring at King Parsman’s monastery grew to nearly two thousand. Many people visited this place to receive St. Shio’s wonder-working blessings, and they were healed from many diseases.

St. Shio performed many miracles: Once a wolf that had been prowling the monastery grounds ravaged a herd of donkeys. When St. Shio heard this, he prayed to God to transform the wolf into the protector of the herd. From that time on the wolf grazed peacefully among the other animals.

With the blessings of both his teacher, John of Zedazeni, and the catholicos of Georgia, St. Shio gathered his disciples, advised them on the path they should follow, appointed Evagre his successor as abbot, and went into reclusion in a well that he had dug for himself. There St. Shio spent fifteen years in prayer and fasting. Finally, when God revealed to him that his death was approaching, St. Shio partook of the Holy Gifts and lifted up his hands, saying, “O Lord, receive the soul of Thy servant!”

Later, during one of the Persian invasions, the soldiers of Shah Abbas uncovered the holy father’s relics and carried them back to Persia. In the same year Persia was ravaged by a terrible plague, and the frightened invaders returned the holy relics to the Shio-Mgvime Monastery.


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

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Arsenios the Great

May 8

Saint Arsenios was a deacon of the Church of Rome, born of an illustrious family, and wondrous in virtue. In the days of Saint Theodosius the Great, he was chosen to be the tutor of the Emperor's young sons, Arcadius and Honorius. While living at the imperial palace in Constantinople, compassed with all luxury and innumerable temptations to sin, Arsenios often besought God with tears to guide him to salvation. This prayer was answered one day when a voice came to him saying, "Arsenios, flee from men, and thou shalt be saved." He sailed secretly to Alexandria, and from there went to Scete, where he became a monk. Yet after he had withdrawn from the world, and was come among the most illustrious monks of his day, he heard, 'Arsenios, flee, be silent, pray always, for these are the causes of sinning not." Following this call, he separated himself even from his fellow monks, practicing extreme silence. On Saturday evenings, he would turn his back on the setting sun, and would stretch out his hands in prayer to Heaven, till the sun shone upon his face the following morning, and only then would he sit down. Once a monk came to visit him, and looking into his cell saw Arsenios entirely like a flame of fire. After living some fifty-five years as a monk, and attaining to heights reached by few, he reposed in peace about the year 449, at the age of ninety-five.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Arsenios, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Since thou hadst shown forth the life of the Angels while in a body, O God-bearing Arsenios, thou wast also counted worthy of their honour; and with them thou standest before the Lord's throne, interceding that divine forgiveness be granted unto all.


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

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Renewal Tuesday: The Commemoration of Saints Raphael, Nicholas, Irene, and the Other Newly-revealed Martyrs of Lesbos

On the island of Mytilene (Lesbos in ancient times), near the village of Therme, the villagers had a custom of ascending a certain hill on this day to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the ruins of a small chapel, although no one knew whence the tradition sprang. In the year 1959, certain villagers began seeing persons who spoke to them, first in dreams, then awake, both by day and by night. Through these wondrous appearances, which were given to many people independently, the holy Martyrs Raphael, Archimandrite of the ancient monastery, and Nicholas, his deacon, together with other Saints who had been martyred on the island, told the villagers the whole account of their martyrdom, which had taken place at the hands of the Moslem Turks ten years after the fall of Constantinople, in 1463. The twelve-year-old Irene had been tortured, then burned alive in a large earthenware jar in the presence of her parents. On Tuesday of Renewal Week, Saint Raphael had been tied to a tree and his head sawn off through his jaws; Saint Nicholas had died at the sight of this. Although the feast is celebrated today because it is the day of their martyrdom, through the appearances of the Saints as living persons five hundred years after their martyrdom, it is also a singular testimony to the Resurrection of Christ.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
On Lesbos, ye strove in contest for the sake of Christ God; ye also have hallowed her with the discovery of your relics, O blessed ones. O God-bearer Raphael, with thee, we all honour Nicholas the deacon and Irene the chaste virgin, as our divine protectors, who now intercede with the Lord.

 Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Ye shone on the world like stars first as ascetics, then as athletes slain for Christ, and were translated to the heights through the great torments that ye endured; and them that praise you, ye keep and protect, O Saints.


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

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Great and Holy Pascha

May 05

Mary Magdalene, and the other women who were present at the burial of our Saviour on Friday evening, returned from Golgotha to the city and prepared fragrant spices and myrrh, so that they might anoint the body of Jesus. On the morrow, because of the law which forbids work on the day of the Sabbath, they rested for the whole day. But at early dawn on the Sunday that followed, almost thirty-six hours since the death of the Life-giving Redeemer, they came to the sepulchre with the spices to anoint His body. While they were considering the difficulty of rolling away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, there was a fearful earthquake; and an Angel, whose countenance shone like lightning and whose garment was white as snow, rolled away the stone and sat upon it. The guards that were there became as dead from fear and took to flight. The women, however, went into the sepulchre, but did not find the Lord's body. Instead, they saw two other Angels in the form of youths clothed in white, who told them that the Saviour was risen, and they sent forth the women, who ran to proclaim to the disciples these gladsome tidings. Then Peter and John arrived, having learned from Mary Magdalene what had come to pass, and when they entered the tomb, they found only the winding sheets. Therefore, they returned again to the city with joy, as heralds now of the supernatural Resurrection of Christ, Who in truth was seen alive by the disciples on this day on five occasions.

Our Lord, then, was crucified, died, and was buried on Friday, before the setting of the sun, which was the first of His "three days" in the grave; observing the mystical Sabbath, that "seventh day" in which it is said that the Lord "rested from all His works" (Gen. 2:2-3), He passed all of Saturday in the grave; and He arose "while it was yet dark, very early in the morning" on Sunday, the third day, which, according to the Hebrew reckoning, began after sunset on Saturday.

As we celebrate today this joyous Resurrection, we greet and embrace one another in Christ, thereby demonstrating our Saviour's victory over death and corruption, and the destruction of our ancient enmity with God, and His reconciliation toward us, and our inheritance of life everlasting. The feast itself is called Pascha, which is derived from the Hebrew word which means "passover"; because Christ, Who suffered and arose, has made us to pass over from the curse of Adam and slavery to the devil and death unto our primal freedom and blessedness. In addition, this day of this particular week, which is the first of all the rest, is dedicated to the honour of the Lord; in honour and remembrance of the Resurrection, the Apostles transferred to this day the rest from labour that was formerly assigned to the Sabbath of the ancient Law.

All foods allowed during Renewal Week.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and bestowing life on those in the graves.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Though You went down into the tomb, You destroyed Hades' power, and You rose the victor, Christ God, saying to the myrrh-bearing women, "Hail!" and granting peace to Your disciples, You who raise up the fallen.


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

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Venerable Alphan with his brothers Sts Nikita, Cyril, Nicephorus, Clement and Isaac of Novgorod, founders of the Sokolnitzky Monastery

The Alfanov Brothers Sts Nikita, Cyril, Nicephorus, Clement, Isaac lived during the fourteenth century at Novgorod. They led a righteous life and founded the Sokolnitsky monastery. As the chronicles relate, “A wooden church dedicated to St Nicholas was built on the Sokol hill and a monastery was founded” in 1389.
The righteous Alfanov (Sokolnitskyie) brothers were kinsmen according to the chronicler James Anphalov [or Alfanov], who fled to the Dvina to avoid pursuit because of his dealings with Moscow.
The righteous ones were subjected to misfortune because they were related to James, and they purified themselves through their innocent suffering. In the Tale of the brothers, a miracle took place at their relics.
Their memory is celebrated on May 4 and June 17. As the result of a fire which destroyed the Sokolnitsky monastery, their holy relics were transferred to the Antoniev monastery on May 4, 1775.


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

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura

May 3

The holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura were husband and wife. Timothy was from Penapeis in the Thebaid, a reader in the Church, and had been married to Maura only twenty days when he was betrayed to Arian, the Governor of the Thebaid, as a teacher of the Christians. Arian commanded Timothy to surrender his sacred books, which he refused to do, comparing it to a father's giving up his children to death. For this answer, heated iron spits were thrust through his ears. As he was being put to other tortures, Arian summoned Maura, hoping that she would persuade her husband to worship the idols, but she confessed herself a Christian. The hair of her head was pulled out, her fingers were cut off, then she was lowered into a cauldron of boiling water, but remained unharmed. Finally husband and wife were crucified facing each other, and after nine days, received their martyric end, during the reign of Diocletian (284-305).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
To Timothy let us faithful render homage today together with Maura, his fellow contestant and wife, that most faithful bride of Christ, lauding their brave steadfastness; for by crucifixion they followed with longing in the steps of their Master, Who nailed the sins of all to the Cross when He was slain for us.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Since ye endured through divers woundings and tortures and have received from God the garlands of vict'ry, rise up in intercession with the Lord for us, who with longing celebrate this, your sacred memorial, O Great Martyr Timothy, and most glorious Maura, that He grant peace to all His Church and flock, for He is truly the strength of all faithful flock.


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

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Translation of the relics of the Holy Passionbearer Boris, in Holy Baptism Roman and the Holy Passionbearer Gleb, in Holy Baptism David

Commemorated on May 2

The Transfer of the Relics of the Holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb. St Gleb (September 5) was a brother of the Great Prince of Kiev Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054), and was baptized with the name David. The holy relics of Prince Gleb were found at Smyadyno, near Smolensk, and from there they were brought to Kiev.

Metropolitan John I of Kiev (1008-1035) and his clergy solemnly met the incorrupt relics of the holy passion-bearer and placed them in the church of St Basil the Great at Vyshgorod, where the relics of St Boris already rested. Soon the burial place was glorified by miracles. Then the relics of the holy brothers Boris and Gleb were removed from the ground and placed in a specially constructed chapel. On July 24, 1026 a church of five cupolas built by Yaroslav the Wise was consecrated in honor of the holy martyrs.

In later years, Vyshgorod’s church of Sts Boris and Gleb containing the relics of the holy Passion-Bearers became the family church of the Yaroslavichi, their sanctuary of brotherly love and service to the nation. The symbol of their unity was the celebration of the Transfer of the Relics of Boris and Gleb, observed on May 2. The history of this Feast is bound up with the preceding events of Russian history. On May 2, 1069 the Great Prince Izyaslav, who had been expelled from the princedom for seven months (i.e. from September 1068) because of an uprising of the Kievan people, entered into Kiev. In gratitude for God’s help in establishing peace in the Russian land, the prince built a new church to replace an older structure. Two Metropolitans, George of Kiev and Neophytus of Chernigov, participated in its consecration with other bishops, igumens, and clergy. The transfer of the relics, in which all three of the Yaroslavichi (Izyaslav, Svyatoslav, Vsevolod) participated, was set for May 2, and it was designated as an annual celebration.

Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, Prince of Kiev during 1073-1076, made an effort to transform the Sts Boris and Gleb temple into a stone church, but he was able to build the walls only eight cubits high. Later Vsevolod (+ 1093) finished the church construction, but it collapsed by night.

The veneration of Sts Boris and Gleb developed during the time of Yaroslav’s grandsons, often producing a peculiar pious competition among them. Izyaslav’s son Svyatopolk (+ 1113), built silver reliquaries for the saints. In 1102 Vsevolod’s son Vladimir Monomakh (+ 1125), sent master craftsmen by night and secretly adorned the silver reliquaries with gold leaf. Svyatoslav’s son Oleg (+ 1115) outdid them. He was called “Gorislavich”, and was mentioned in the “Tale of Igor’s Campaign.” He “intended to raise up the collapsed stone (church) and hired some builders.” He provided everything that was necessary.

The church was ready in the year 1111, and Oleg “pressured and besought Svyatopolk to transfer the holy relics into it.” Svyatopolk did not want to do this, “because he did not build this church.”

The death of Svyatopolk Izyaslavich (+ 1113) brought a new insurrection to Kiev, which nearly killed Vladimir Monomakh, who had become Great Prince of that city. He decided to cultivate friendship with the Svyatoslavichi through the solemn transfer of the relics into the Oleg church. “Vladimir gathered his sons, and David and Oleg with their sons. They all arrived at Vyshgorod. All the hierarchs, igumens, monks and priests came, filling all the town and there was no space left for the citizenry along the walls.”

On the morning of May 2, 1115, the Sunday of the Myrhhbearing Women, they began to sing Matins at both churches, old and new, and the transfer of relics began. The three were separated. “First they brought St Boris in a cart, and with him went Metropolitan Vladimir and his clergy.” On other carts went St Gleb “and David with bishops and clergy.” (Oleg waited for them in the church).

This separation was adhered to in future generations. St Boris was considered a heavenly protector of the Monomashichi; St Gleb, of the Ol’govichi and the Davidovichi. When Vladimir Monomakh speaks about Boris in his “Testament”, he does not mention Gleb. In the Ol’govichi line, none of the princes received the name Boris.

In general the names Boris and Gleb, and so also Roman and David, were esteemed by many generations of Russian princes. The brothers of Oleg Gorislavich were named Roman (+ 1079), Gleb (+ 1078), David (+ 1123), and one of his sons was named Gleb (+ 1138).

From Monomakh were the sons Roman and Gleb; from Yuri Dolgoruky, Boris and Gleb; of St Rostislav of Smolensk, Boris and Gleb; of St Andrew Bogoliubsky, St Gleb (+ 1174); of Vsevolod Big Nest, Boris and Gleb. Among the sons of Vseslav of Polotsk (+ 1101) was the full range of “Sts Boris and Gleb” names: Roman, Gleb, David, Boris.

The Vyshgorod sanctuaries were not the only centers for the liturgical veneration of Sts Boris and Gleb. It was spread throughout the Russian land. First of all, there were churches and monasteries in specific places connected with the martyrdom of the saints, and their miraculous help for people; the temple of Boris and Gleb at Dorogozhich on the road to Vyshgorod, where St Boris died; the Sts Boris and Gleb monastery at Tmo near Tver where Gleb’s horse injured its leg; a monastery of the same name at Smyadyno at the place of Gleb’s murder; and at the River Tvertsa near Torzhok (founded in 1030), where the head of St George the Hungarian was preserved [trans. note: the beloved servant of St Boris was beheaded in order to steal the gold medallion given him by St Boris]. Churches dedicated to Sts Boris and Gleb were built at the Alta in memory of the victory of Yaroslav the Wise over Svyatopolk the Accursed on July 24, 1019; and also at Gzena near Novgorod where Gleb Svyatoslavich defeated a sorcerer.

The Ol’govichi and the Monomashichi vied with each other in building churches dedicated to the holy martyrs. Oleg himself, in addition to the Vyshgorod church, built the Sts Boris and Gleb cathedral in Old Ryazan in 1115 (therefore, the diocese was later called Sts Boris and Gleb). His brother David also built at Chernigov (in 1120). In the year 1132 Yuri Dolgoruky built a church of Boris and Gleb at Kideksh at the River Nerla, “where the encampment of St Boris had been.” In 1145, St Rostislav of Smolensk “put a stone church at Smyadyno,” at Smolensk. In the following year the first (wooden) Sts Boris and Gleb church was built in Novgorod. In 1167 a stone foundation replaced the wood, and it was completed and consecrated in the year 1173. The Novgorod Chronicles name the legendary Sotko Sytinich as the builder of the church.
The holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb were the first Russian saints glorified by the Russian and Byzantine Churches. A service to them was composed soon after their death, and its author was St John I, Metropolitan of Kiev (1008-1035), which a MENAION of the twelfth century corroborates. The innumerable copies of their Life, the accounts of the relics, the miracles and eulogies in the manuscripts and printed books of the twelfth-fourteenth centuries bear witness to the special veneration of the holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb in Russia.

[trans. note: Neither this account nor those of the individual feastdays give the details of their martyrdom. Perhaps it is assumed that the reader is familiar with the story, or perhaps it is too painful to recount. The saints chose not to take up arms to defend themselves, or flee to safety. In their final prayers, they refer to the Lord’s voluntary suffering and death, as recorded by the chroniclers. Since they meekly accepted an unjust death for the sake of Christ, they are known as “Passion-Bearers.”]


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

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Jeremias the Prophet

May 1

This great Prophet of God, Jeremias, who loved his brethren and lamented for them greatly, who prayed much for the people and the Holy City, was the son of Helkias of the tribe of Levi, from the city of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. He was sanctified from his mother's womb, as the Lord Himself said concerning him: "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth from the womb, I sanctified thee; I appointed thee a prophet to the nations" (Jer. 1:5). He prophesied for thirty years, from 613 to 583 B.C. During the last captivity of the people in the reign of Sedekias, when only a few were left behind to cultivate the land, this Prophet remained with them by the permission of Nabuzardan, the captain of the guard under Nabuchodonosor. He wept and lamented inconsolably over the desolation of Jerusalem and the enslavement of his people. But even the few that remained behind transgressed again, and fearing the vengeance of the Chaldeans, they fled into Egypt, forcibly taking with them Jeremias and Baruch his disciple and scribe. There he prophesied concerning Egypt and other nations, and he was stoned to death in Taphnas by his own people about the year 583 B.C., since they would not endure to hear the truth of his words and his just rebukes. His book of prophecy is divided into fifty-one chapters, and his book of lamentation into five; he is ranked second among the greater Prophets. His name means "Yah is exalted."

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Jeremias, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O blessed Jeremias, being chosen of God from thy mother's womb, in thy compassion, thou sorely didst mourn for the falling away of Israel. And in Egypt, O Prophet, thou wast murdered by stoning for thy most just rebukes by them that understood not to cry with thee: Alleluia.


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