Saturday, May 31, 2014

Apostle Hermas of the Seventy

Commemorated on May 31

The Holy Apostle Hermas was a bishop in Philippopolis, Thrace. He was a Greek, but he spent some time in Rome. The holy Apostle Paul greets him in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom 16:14). The Apostle Hermas endured much grief from the pagans for preaching the Gospel, but he died in peace.

According to Tradition, St Hermas is the author of THE SHEPHERD, an instructive book based on revelations from angels.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Isaacius, Abbot of the Monastery of Dalmatus

May 30

The righteous Isaacius was from Syria and came to Constantinople in 374, excelled in the monastic life, and departed to the Lord in 396. According to tradition, his monastery was built by Dalmatus the Patrician, a nephew of Saint Constantine the Great. But many say that the monastery was founded by Saint Isaacius, and afterwards took the name of the Abbot Dalmatus who succeeded Saint Isaacius (see Aug. 3 for an account of the life of Saints Isaacius and Dalmatus). Yet others maintain that it received its name from both of these, and that is why its name in Greek is in the plural. According to Zonaras, the Iconoclast Emperor Constantine Copronymus later turned this monastery into a barracks: "And as for the Monastery called Palmatus, which is ancient and the oldest of all those in Constantinople, after he had expelled the monks, [the Emperor] made it a barracks for soldiers" (Chronicle, XV, 8). The Third Ecumenical Council raised its abbot to the rank of archimandrite and exarch of the prominent monasteries of the imperial city. The famous Cathedral of Saint Isaac in Saint Petersburg is dedicated to this Saint.

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



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Holy Ascension

The Lord Jesus passed forty days on earth after His Resurrection from the dead, appearing continually in various places to His disciples, with whom He also spoke, ate, and drank, thereby further demonstrating His Resurrection. On this Thursday, the fortieth day after Pascha, He appeared again in Jerusalem. After He had first spoken to the disciples about many things, He gave them His last commandment, that is, that they go forth and proclaim His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. But He also commanded them that for the present, they were not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait there together until they receive power from on high, when the Holy Spirit would come upon them.

Saying these things, He led them to the Mount of Olives, and raising His hands, He blessed them; and saying again the words of the Father's blessing, He was parted from them and taken up. Immediately a cloud of light, a proof of His majesty, received Him. Sitting thereon as though on a royal chariot, He was taken up into Heaven, and after a short time was concealed from the sight of the disciples, who remained where they were with their eyes fixed on Him. At this point, two Angels in the form of men in white raiment appeared to them and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven" (Acts 1:11). These words, in a complete and concise manner, declare what is taught in the Symbol of Faith concerning the Son and Word of God. Therefore, having so fulfilled all His dispensation for us, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended in glory into Heaven, and sat at the right hand of God the Father. As for His sacred disciples, they returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, rejoicing because Christ had promised to send them the Holy Spirit.

It should be noted that the Mount of Olives is a Sabbath's day journey from Jerusalem, that is, the distance a Jew was permitted to walk on the day of the Sabbath. Ecumenius writes, "A Sabbath day's journey is one mile in length, as Clement says in his fifth Stromatis; it is two thousand cubits, as the Interpretation of the Acts states." They draw this conclusion from the fact that, while they were in the wilderness, the Israelites of old kept within this distance from the Holy Tabernacle, whither they walked on the Sabbath day to worship God.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Christ our God, You ascended in Glory and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
O Christ our God, upon fulfilling Your dispensation for our sake, You ascended in Glory, uniting the earthly with the heavenly. You were never separate but remained inseparable, and cried out to those who love You, "I am with you and no one is against you."


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Transfer of Relics of Holy Hierarchs Cyprian, Photius and Jonah

Upper left:  Saint Cyprian

Upper right:  Saint Photius

Lower icon:  Saint Jonah

Commemorated on May 27

The Uncovering and Transfer of Relics of Holy Hierarchs Cyprian, Photius and Jonah occured on May 27, 1472 during the construction of the new stone Dormition cathedral in the Kremlin, under Metropolitan Philip (January 9) and Great Prince Ivan III (1462-1505). The saints are also commemorated separately: Metropolitan Cyprian (September 16), Metropolitan Photius (July 2), Metropolitan Jonah (March 31).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Monday, May 26, 2014

St Augustine of Canterbury, Evangelizer of England

Saint Augustine was from Italy, and a disciple of St Felix, Bishop of Messana. St Gregory Dialogus (March12) chose him to lead a mission of forty monks to evangelize the people of Britain. They arrived at Ebbsfleet (on the isle of Thanet) in Kent in 597.

King Ethelbert, whose Frankish wife Bertha was a Christian, welcomed them. They were allowed to base their mission at the ancient church of St Martin in Canterbury, which was restored for their use. This church had been built during the Roman occupation of Britain, and the queen often went there to pray. At first, the king was reluctant to give up his pagan beliefs, but he promised not to harm them, and to supply them with whatever they needed. He also promised that he would not prevent them from preaching Christianity. St Augustine later converted the king to Christianity, along with thousands of his subjects. The holy right-believing King Ethelbert is commemorated on February 25.

Bede says that St Augustine was consecrated as Archbishop of Britain by Archbishop Etherius of Arles (others say that it was his successor St Virgilius of Arles [March 5] who consecrated St Augustine). Returning to Britain, he threw himself into the work of evangelizing the country with renewed zeal. St Augustine built Christ Church, predecessor of the present cathedral at Canterbury, and consecrated it on June 9, 603 (according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle). He also founded the monastery of Sts Peter and Paul east of the city. Here St Augustine, the Archbishops of Canterbury, and the Kings of Kent were buried. The monastery, now in ruins, was later known as St Augustine’s Monastery.

The saint was instrumental in founding the dioceses of Rochester and London. In 604 he consecrated St Justus (November 10) and St Mellitus (April 24) as bishops for those Sees. St Augustine also helped the king draft the earliest Anglo-Saxon laws, and founded a school in Canterbury.

Saint Augustine was not completely successful in all his efforts, however. He was not able to achieve unity with the already existing Christian communities who followed Celtic practices. He met with some of their bishops to urge them to abandon their Celtic traditions and to accept the Roman practices. He invited them to cooperate with him in evangelizing the country, but they refused to give up their ancient traditions. Before meeting with St Augustine in 603, the Celtic bishops asked a holy hermit whether or not to accept Augustine as their leader. The hermit replied, “If he rises to greet you, then accept him. If he remains seated, then he is arrogant and unfit to be your leader, and you should reject him.” Unfortunately, St Augustine did not rise to greet them. Perhaps St Augustine was, to some degree, a bit tactless and too insistent on conformity to Roman customs. On the other hand, Celtic resentment against Roman authority also contributed to the stormy relationship.

Known in his lifetime as a wonderworker, St Augustine fell asleep in the Lord on May 26, 604. He was laid to rest at the entrance of the unfinished church of Sts Peter and Paul. When the church was dedicated in 613, his holy relics were placed inside. An epitaph was composed for his tomb. In part, it reads: “Here lies the Lord Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, sent here by blessed Gregory, bishop of the city of Rome, who with the help of God, and aided by miracles, guided King Ethelbert and his people from the worship of idols to the Faith of Christ.”

St Bede (May 27) gives detailed information about St Augustine’s mission to Britain in his HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH AND PEOPLE (Book I, 23-33. Book II, 1-3).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hieromartyr Therapon the Bishop of Cyprus

Commemorated on May 25

The Hieromartyr Therapon, Bishop of Cyprus, lived a life of asceticism in a monastery, and afterwards he served as a bishop on the island of Cyprus. At the time of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305), St Therapon bravely confessed the name of Christ and died a martyric death.

The relics of the hieromartyr were at first located on Cyprus and were glorified by numerous miracles. Later, in the year 806, they were transferred to Constantinople. The relics were moved because of a danger of invasion by the Saracens. As the ship sailed to Constantinople, myrrh began to flow from the relics, and travellers on the ship were miraculously saved during a storm by their prayers to St Therapon.

Upon arrival at Constantinople, the relics of the hieromartyr were placed in a temple built in honor of the Icon of the Mother of God of Eleousa or “the Merciful” (November 12).

In the year 806 the relics were again transferred into a temple built in honor of the Hieromartyr Therapon, myrrh flowed from them, and miracles took place. Through the prayers of St Therapon, those who are seriously ill are healed, and the dying restored to life.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Symeon the Stylite of the Mountain

May 24

Saint Symeon, the "New Stylite," was born in Antioch; John his father was from Edessa, and Martha his mother was from Antioch. From his childhood he was under the special guidance of Saint John the Baptist and adopted an extremely ascetical way of life. He became a monk as a young man, and after living in the monastery for a while he ascended upon a pillar, and abode upon it for eighteen years. Then he came to Wondrous Mountain, and lived in a dry and rocky place, where after ten years he mounted another pillar, upon which he lived in great hardship for forty-five years, working many miracles and being counted worthy of divine revelations. He reposed in 595, at the age of eighty-five years, seventy-nine of which he had passed in asceticism.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Thou becamest a pillar of patience and didst emulate the Forefathers, O righteous one: Job in his sufferings, Joseph in temptations, and the life of the bodiless while in the body, O Symeon, our righteous Father, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Desiring the heights, thou wast translated from the earth; thy pillar was made a second Heaven by thy toils; by it, thou didst shine with the splendour of great wonders, O righteous one. And thou ever prayest to Christ the God of all in behalf of all of us.



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Friday, May 23, 2014

St Theodore the Wonderworker of Murom

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.

Saint Theodore, Archbishop of Rostov, in the world John, was the son of Stephen (brother of St Sergius of Radonezh), who occupied an important post under Prince Andrew of Radonezh. Left a widower, Stephen became a monk, and together with his twelve-year-old son, he went to the monastery to St Sergius, who foreseeing the ascetic life of the child John, tonsured him with the name Theodore on the Feast of St Theodore the Hair-Shirt Wearer (April 20).

After Theodore attained an appropriate age, he was given a blessing to be ordined to the priesthood. With the blessing of St Sergius, St Theodore built a church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos and founded a monastery on the banks of the River Moskva, at the place called Simonovo. Soon the monastery began to attract a throng of people. St Theodore built a cell five versts from the Moscow Kremlin, and pursued new ascetical labors, and here disciples gathered around him. St Sergius, visiting this place, blessed the founding of a monastery, and Metropolitan Alexis blessed the construction of a church in the name of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos at Novoe Simonovo, which also had its foundations laid in 1379. The old Simonov monastery remained the burial place of monks.

Because of his virtuous life and strict asceticism, St Theodore became known in Moscow. The Metropolitan St Alexis elevated him to the rank of igumen, and Great Prince Demetrius of the Don chose him as his father confessor. St Theodore journeyed to Constantinople several times on church matters for the Russian Metropolitan. On his first journey in 1384, Patriarch Nilus made him an archimandrite. The Simonov monastery was put directly under the Patriarch, thus became stavropegial. In 1387, he was consecrated archbishop and occupied the See of Rostov.

Being the igumen, and then the archimandrite of the Simonov monastery, and despite being occupied with churchly matters, St Theodore stalwartly guided those in the monastic life and counted many great and famous ascetics among his disciples. Saints Cyril (June 9) and Therapon (May 27), the future founders of two famous White Lake monasteries, were tonsured at the Simonov monastery. St Theodore occupied himself with iconography, and he adorned with icons of his own painting both the Simonov monastery, and many Moscow churches.

At Rostov, Archbishop Theodore founded the Nativity of the Virgin monastery.

The blessed death of the saint occurred on November 28, 1394. His relics are in the Rostov Dormition cathedral.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

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 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Icon of the Mother of God “Virgin of Tenderness” from the Pskov Caves

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 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Patrick the Hieromartyr & Bishop of Prusa and His Fellow Martyrs Acacius, Menander, and Polyaenus

May 19

Saint Patrick was Bishop of Prusa, a city in Bithynia (the present-day Brusa or Bursa). Because of his Christian Faith, he was brought before Julius (or Julian) the Consul, who in his attempts to persuade Patrick to worship as he himself did, declared that thanks was owed to the gods for providing the hot springs welling up from the earth for the benefit of men. Saint Patrick answered that thanks for this was owed to our Lord Jesus Christ, and explained that when He, Who is God, created the earth, He made it with both fire and water, and the fire under the earth heats the water which wells up, producing hot springs; he then explained that there is another fire, which awaits the ungodly. Because of this, he was cast into the hot springs, but it was the soldiers who cast him in, and not he, who were harmed by the hot water. After this Saint Patrick was beheaded with the presbyters Acacius, Menander, and Polyaenus. Most likely, this was during the reign of Diocletian (284-305).

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

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Since the Church hath thy body as a sacred gem of Jesus Christ, she now rejoiceth thereat, O blest Patrick, and with joy she crieth unto thee: Through thy prayers, O wise Father, all the world is preserved in peace and tranquillity, and it is kept unharmed and unconquered by any heresy.



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Holy Martyrs: Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, Christina, Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus

May 18

These Saints all contested in martyrdom during the reign of Decius (249-251)- Peter was from Lampsacus in the Hellespont. For refusing to offer sacrifice to the idol of Aphrodite, his whole body was crushed and broken with chains and pieces of wood on a torture-wheel; having endured this torment courageously, he gave up his soul.

Paul and Andrew were soldiers from Mesopotamia brought to Athens with their governor, there they were put in charge of two captive Christians, Dionysios and Christina. The soldiers, seeing the beauty of the virgin Christina, attempted to move her to commit sin with them, but she refused and, by her admonitions, brought them to faith in Christ. They and Dionysios were stoned to death, and Christina was beheaded.

Heraclius, Paulinus, and Benedimus were Athenians, and preachers of the Gospel who turned many of the heathen from their error to the light of Christ. Brought before the governor, they confessed their Faith, and after many torments were beheaded.

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

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ye were born of earth, and came from divers cities, but became the citizens of that blest city in the heights, being united in one great choir, O stalwart Martyrs who championed the Trinity.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Martyrs Solochon, Pamphamirus and Pamphalon at Chalcedon

Saint Solochon, a native of Egypt, suffered for Christ during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). The holy martyrs Pamphamirus and Pamphalon also gave their lives for Christ at the same time. All of them served in the imperial army in the regiment of the tribune Campanus.

During the persecution against Christians by the emperors Maximian and Diocletian, Campanus was sent to the city of Chalcedon with his soldiers. All the soldiers of his regiment were required to offer sacrifice in a pagan temple. The three soldiers, Sts Solochon, Pamphamirus and Pamphalon, refused to offer sacrifice to idols, explaining that they worshiped only the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

On the orders of Campanus they were subjected to terrible tortures, during which the holy martyrs Pamphamirus and Pamphalon died. St Solochon survived the torture and remained alive, glorifying Christ. In great anger, the torturer gave orders to open St Solochon’s mouth and force him to drink blood offered to idols. But St Solochon clenched his teeth so strongly, that they could not open them even with iron. The sword bent, and the saint broke his bonds and stood before the torturer, continuing to glorify Christ. St Solochon heard a voice from the heavens encouraging him to persevere to the end.

The saint endured a merciless beating, after which they dragged him over sharp stones, demanding that he renounce Christ, but the holy martyr remained steadfast. Then he was hung up by one hand, with a heavy weight tied to his leg. St Solochon remained in this position for about three hours. When finally they cut the ropes, then to everyone’s surprise, St Solochon stood upright on his feet, like a healthy man. Insane with anger, Campanus took a stylus and thrust it into the martyr’s ear.

The sufferer fell down, and Campanus and the soldiers departed, casting him aside. Christians carried the martyr to the house of a certain pious widow and placed him on a cot. The saint ate some food and conversed with the Christians, exhorting them to stand firmly for the Faith, and then after he prayed and lifted up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his soul to the Lord Jesus Christ.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Venerable Cassian the Abbot of Komel (Vologda)

St Cassian of Komel and Vologda was a disciple of St Cornelius of Komel (May 19) and he guided the Komel monastery after St Cornelius went to Lake Sura. Chosen by the brethren with the blessing of St Cornelius, he strove to imitate his teacher in everything, and he strictly observed his monastic Rule.

St Cassian instructed the monks in the fear of God to spend their time at prayer, to be concerned about inner activity, and to banish all worldly thoughts, to be sober in thought, to be vigilant in soul and contrite in heart (Chapter 1 of the Rule “On Church Decorum and Communal Prayer”).

Upon the return of St Cornelius to the monastery, St Cassian joyfully met his teacher, and resigned as igumen, wanting to remain in obedience to the holy Elder as before. St Cassian reposed in the year 1537.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Venerable Isaiah the Wonderworker of the Kiev Near Caves

Saint Isaiah was one of the saints of the Kiev Caves who struggled during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He was known for his quietness and his unflagging toil, for which he is named a “lover-of-labor.”

The holy ascetic died in the year 1115, and his relics are in the Near Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra. The commemoration of St Isaiah is on May 15, September 28, and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Martyr Maximus

The Holy Martyr Maximus suffered under the emperor Decius (249-251). Maximus was a layman and a merchant. He was a devout Christian and he led many pagans to faith in Christ the Savior, and persuaded them to accept Baptism.

Once, when the pagans had gathered to offer a human sacrifice to their gods, St Maximus plucked up his courage, unable to bear the sight of such a spectacle, and rushed at them, loudly denouncing their impiety and error, calling the idols soulless creations of mankind. The frenzied pagans stoned the martyr to death.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Martyrs killed by the Latins at the Iveron Monastery on Mt. Athos

Commemorated on May 13

Georgian monks began to settle on Mt. Athos in the middle of the 10th century, and a Georgian monastery, Iveron, was founded there not long after.

At that time foreign armies were constantly invading Mt. Athos. In the 13th century the Crusaders stormed through the region, and between 1259 and 1306 the pope’s private army devastated Mt. Athos several times. Monks of Zographou and Vatopedi monasteries and the Protaton were martyred for the Orthodox Faith, and the monks of the Iveron Monastery eventually met the same fate.

During this period Georgian and Greek ascetics labored together at the Iveron Monastery, and many young ascetics of the new generation began to arrive from Georgia.

The Crusaders demanded that the Iveron monks convert to Catholicism and acknowledge the primacy of the Roman pope. But the monks condemned their fallacies and anathematized the doctrine of the Catholics.

According to the Patericon of Athos, the Iveron monks were forcibly expelled from their monastery. Nearly two hundred elderly monks were goaded like animals onto a ship that was subsequently sunk in the depths of the sea. The younger, healthier monks were deported to Italy and sold as slaves to the Jews.

Some sources claim this tragedy took place in the year 1259, while others record that the Georgian monks of the Holy Mountain were subject to the Latin persecutions over the course of four years, from 1276 to 1280.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blessed Christopher, called Christesia

Commemorated on May 11

Blessed Christesia’s family was from Egrisi in western Georgia. From his youth Christesia longed for the divine services and the solitary life, but he was forced by his master to marry, and by this marriage he begot a son. Later, when both his wife and son had died, his master insisted that he marry again, but the pious Christesia would not heed his master’s order.

Instead he related the order to his spiritual father, who advised him to depart from the world and journey to the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. Deeply inspired by his spiritual father’s counsel, Christesia abandoned his possessions and his life in the world and withdrew to the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness.

The holy father spent many years in humble service to the Lord. He was assigned to gather firewood and bring water for the monastery, and he performed these tasks obediently and in perfect meekness. Every day he walked over four miles to fill a pitcher with water and then carried it to a small hut nearby. He hung the pitcher at the entrance to make it visible from a distance, and travelers who passed by would come to quench their thirst.

He also kept a small vegetable garden to feed the passers-by. Every Saturday he prepared kolio (a dish of wheat and honey traditionally offered to commemorate the departed) and divided it in three parts: one part commemorated the family and loved ones of those who had donated the wheat and honey; the second, the deceased fathers of the monastery; and the last, all departed Orthodox Christians.

It always disturbed St. Christesia to see his brothers and sisters at odds with one another, so when he heard that two people were quarreling, he would go and reconcile them. “My children!” he would say, “If you do not heed my words, I will leave in sorrow, and the devil, who is always resistant to peace, will rejoice and send more tribulations upon you. I came to you hungry, and I will depart hungry!” His words warmed the hearts of those whom he counseled and helped them to be reconciled with one another.

One hot evening after Vespers, St. Christesia set off on foot for a certain village. He left during twilight, and when night fell the sky was without a moon and extraordinarily dark. Before long it became difficult to walk any farther, so St. Christesia stopped to pray, and a bright light appeared before him to light the way. The divine light guided him all through the night, until he reached the village of Sartichala.

St. Christesia’s cell was poor and cramped. He slept on a bed of wooden planks that he covered in sheepskin, and instead of a pillow he rested his head on a stone. The pious ascetic wore a sheepskin coat and sandals made of bark. Whatever he received he gave to the poor. Having placed complete trust in God, he would not permit himself to worry about the morrow, nor did he bother to store up food or supplies for the harsh winter months.

Father Christesia was already advanced in age when he was tonsured a monk and given the new name Christopher. He reposed peacefully in 1771, at the age of eighty.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Holy Martyrs Philadelphus, Alphaeus, Cyprian, Onesimus, Erasmus and 14 others with them in Sicily

The Holy Martyrs Philadelphus, Alphaeus, Cyprian, Onesimus, Erasmus and 14 others with them, lived during the third century and came from Italy. Alphaeus, Philadelphus and Cyprian were sons of a governor in Italy, named Vitalius. They were enlightened by faith in Christ and baptized by St Onesimus.

During this period the emperor Licinius issued orders to seek out and hand over the Christians for torture. The brothers went to Rome together with Onesimus, Erasmus and fourteen other Christians. At Rome they crushed the chest of St Onesimus with a heavy stone, which killed him. Erasmus and the fourteen Martyrs were beheaded.

The brothers Alphaeus, Philadelphus and Cyprian suffered in the city of Mesopolis Leontii in Sicily, where they had been sent from Rome. St Philadelphus was burned over an iron lattice in the year 251, in the reign of the emperor Decius.

In the year 1517 their incorrupt relics were discovered at Leontini [Lentini]. Sts Alphaeus, Philadelphus and Cyprian appeared to St Euthalia (March 2) and told her that she would be healed of an affliction after she was baptized.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Martyrs Callinike and Aquilina of Lycia

Saints Callinike and Aquilina were converted by St. Christopher, and suffered for Christ.

St. Christopher was brought before the emperor, who tried to make him renounce Christ, not by force but by cunning. He summoned two profligate women, Callinike and Aquilina, and commanded them to persuade Christopher to deny Christ, and to offer sacrifice to idols. Instead, the women were converted to Christ by St. Christopher. When they returned to the emperor, they declared themselves to be Christians.Therefore, they were subjected to fierce beatings, and so they received the crown of martyrdom.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

Commemorated on May 8

The Church commemorates St John on this day because of the annual pilgrimage to his grave.

When St. John was more than one hundred years old, he took seven of his disciples and went to a spot outside the city of Ephesus. There he told them to dig a grave in the form of a cross. Then he climbed into the grave and told his disciples to cover him with earth. Later, the grave was opened and the saint’s body was not there.

Each year on May 8 a red dust would arise from the grave which the faithful collected in order to be healed of their illnesses.

St John’s main Feast is on September 26.


O beloved Apostle of Christ our God, / Come quickly to deliver your helpless people. / He on whose breast you leaned, will accept you as intercessor. / Entreat Him, O Theologian, to disperse the clouds of darkness, / Granting us peace and great mercy!


Who shall declare your greatness, O Virgin disciple? / For as a fountain of healing you flow with miracles, / Interceding for our souls as Theologian and friend of Christ!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Commemoration of the Apparition of the Sign of the Precious Cross Over Jerusalem, in 351 AD

Commemorated on May 7

The Precious Cross appeared in the sky over Jerusalem on the morning of May 7, 351 during the reign of the emperor Constantius, the son of St Constantine (May 21).

At that time the heresy of Arianism, which taught that Christ was merely a creature and not God, was causing great turmoil and division throughout the Empire. Even after the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325, many people were drawn to this false teaching, and the Orthodox found themselves in the minority in many places.

Constantius, the ruler of the eastern part of the Empire, was a fervent supporter of Arianism. His brothers Constantine II and Constans, who were pious Orthodox Christians, ruled in the west. They were both killed in separate battles around 350, leaving Constantius as sole ruler. Also in 350, St Cyril (March 18) became Patriarch of Jerusalem and began his zealous struggle against Arianism.

In May of 351 a luminous Cross appeared over Jerusalem, stretching from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives, a distance of about five and a half miles. The Cross was wide as it was long, and shone more brightly than the sun. Many people left their homes and workplaces to gather in the church and glorify Christ. The historian Sozomen says that this wondrous sign led to the conversion of multitudes of pagans and Jews to Christianity.

A letter from St Cyril to the emperor describing this phenomenon, and admonishing him to become Orthodox, has been preserved. The apparition of the Cross remained over the city for a whole week.
The vision of the Cross over Jerusalem strengthened the Orthodox faithful and contributed to the return of many Arians to the Church. It is also a reminder of the awesome Second Coming of Christ, when “the sign of the Son of man shall appear in heaven (Matthew 24:30).


The image of Your cross has shown more brightly than the sun, / Extending from the holy mountain to the place of the skull. / In it, You have shown Your strength, O Savior, / And confirmed all Orthodox Christians in the True Faith. / Through the prayers of the Theotokos, / Save us, O Christ our God.


The pure and Life-giving Cross which opened paradise / Appeared in splendor above the earth, / Extending it’s brilliant rays to the heavens. / Today we faithful accept its radiance as our guide to the eternal light. / We bear it in our struggles as an assurance of victory and triumph!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Venerable Micah the Disciple of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh

St Micah of Radonezh was one of the first disciples of St Sergius of Radonezh, and lived with him in the same cell, and under his guidance he attained a high degree of spiritual perfection. For his meekness of soul and purity of heart, St Micah was permitted to witness the appearance of the Mother of God to his great teacher. Once, after St Sergius had completed the morning Rule of prayer, sat down to rest for awhile, but suddenly he said to his disciple, “Be alert, my child, for we shall have a wondrous visitation.”

Hardly had he uttered these words when a voice was heard, “The All-Pure One draws near.” Suddenly there shone a light brighter than the sun. St Micah fell down upon the ground in fear, and lay there as if he were dead. When St Sergius lifted up his disciple, he asked, “Tell me, Father, what is the reason for this wondrous vision? My soul has nearly parted from my body from fright.” St Sergius then informed his disciple about the appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos.

St Micah fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1385.

St Micah’s relics rest in a crypt at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. On December 10, 1734, over St Micah’s tomb, a church was consecrated in honor of the Appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos and the Holy Apostles Peter and John the Theologian to St Sergius of Radonezh.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Monday, May 05, 2014

New Martyr Ephraim

Commemorated on May 5

The holy New Martyr and wonderworker Ephraim was born in Greece on September 14, 1384. His father died when the saint was young, and his pious mother was left to care for seven children by herself.

When Ephraim reached the age of fourteen, the all-good God directed his steps to a monastery on the mountain of Amoman near Nea Makri in Attica. The monastery was dedicated to the Annunciation and also to St Paraskeva. Here he took on his shoulders the Cross of Christ, which all His followers must bear (Matt. 16:24). Being enflamed with love for God, St Ephraim eagerly placed himself under the monastic discipline. For nearly twenty-seven years he imitated the life of the great Fathers and ascetics of the desert. With divine zeal, he followed Christ and turned away from the attractions of this world. By the grace of God, he purified himself from soul-destroying passions and became an abode of the All-Holy Spirit. He was also found worthy to receive the grace of the priesthood, and served at the altar with great reverence and compunction.

On September 14, 1425, the barbarous Turks launched an invasion by sea, destroying the monastery and and looting the surrounding area. St Ephraim was one of the victims of their frenzied hatred. Many of the monks had been tortured and beheaded, but St Ephraim remained calm. This infuriated the Turks, so they imprisoned him in order to torture him and force him to deny Christ.

They locked him in a small cell without food or water, and they beat him every day, hoping to convince him to become a Moslem. For several months, he endured horrible torments. When the Turks realized that the saint remained faithful to Christ, they decided to put him to death. On Tuesday May 5, 1426, they led him from his cell. They turned him upside down and tied him to a mulberry tree, then they beat him and mocked him. “Where is your God,” they asked, “and why doesn’t he help you?” The saint did not lose courage, but prayed, “O God, do not listen to the words of these men, but may Thy will be done as Thou hast ordained.”

The barbarians pulled the saint’s beard and tortured him until his strength ebbed. His blood flowed, and his clothes were in tatters. His body was almost naked and covered with many wounds. Still the Hagarenes were not satisfied, but wished to torture him even more. One of them took a flaming stick and plunged it violently into the saint’s navel. His screams were heart-rending, so great was his pain. The blood flowed from his stomach, but the Turks did not stop. They repeated the same painful torments many times. His body writhed, and all his limbs were convulsed. Soon, the saint grew too weak to speak, so he prayed silently asking God to forgive his sins. Blood and saliva ran from his mouth, and the ground was soaked with his blood. Then he lapsed into unconsciousness.

Thinking that he had died, the Turks cut the ropes which bound him to the tree, and the saint’s body fell to the ground. Their rage was still not diminished, so they continued to kick and beat him. After a while, the saint opened his eyes and prayed, “Lord, I give up my spirit to Thee.” About nine o’clock in the morning, the martyr’s soul was separated from his body.

These things remained forgotten for nearly 500 years, hidden in the depths of silence and oblivion until January 3, 1950. By then a women’s monastery had sprung up on the site of the old monastery. Abbess Makaria (+ April 23, 1999) was wandering through the ruins of the monastery, thinking of the martyrs whose bones had been scattered over that ground, and whose blood had watered the tree of Orthodoxy. She realized that this was a holy place, and she prayed that God would permit her to behold one of the Fathers who had lived there.

After some time, she seemed to sense an inner voice telling her to dig in a certain spot. She indicated the place to a workman whom she had hired to make repairs at the old monastery. The man was unwilling to dig there, for he wanted to dig somewhere else. Because the man was so insistent, Mother Makaria let him go where he wished. She prayed that the man would not be able to dig there, and so he struck rock. Although he tried to dig in three or four places, he met with the same results. Finally, he agreed to dig where the abbess had first indicated.

In the ruins of an old cell, he cleared away the rubble and began to dig in an angry manner. The abbess told him to slow down, for she did not want him to damage the body that she expected to find there. He mocked her because she expected to find the relics of a saint. When he reached the depth of six feet, however, he unearthed the head of the man of God. At that moment an ineffable fragrance filled the air. The workman turned pale and was unable to speak. Mother Makaria told him to go and leave her there by herself. She knelt and reverently kissed the body. As she cleared away more earth, she saw the sleeves of the saint’s rasson. The cloth was thick and appeared to have been woven on the loom of an earlier time. She uncovered the rest of the body and began to remove the bones, which appeared to be those of a martyr.

Mother Makaria was still in that holy place when evening fell, so she read the service of Vespers. Suddenly she heard footsteps coming from the grave, moving across the courtyard toward the door of the church. The footsteps were strong and steady, like those of a man of strong character. The nun was afraid to turn around and look, but then she heard a voice say, “How long are you going to leave me here?”

She saw a tall monk with small, round eyes, whose beard reached his chest. In his left hand was a bright light, and he gave a blessing with his right hand. Mother Makaria was filled with joy and her fear disappeared. “Forgive me,” she said, “I will take care of you tomorrow as soon as God makes the day dawn.” The saint disappeared, and the abbess continued to read Vespers.

In the morning after Matins, Mother Makaria cleaned the bones and placed them in a niche in the altar area of the church, lighting a candle before them. That night St Ephraim appeared to her in a dream. He thanked her for caring for his relics, then he said, “My name is St Ephraim.” From his own lips, she heard the story of his life and martyrdom.

Since St Ephraim glorified God in his life and by his death, the Lord granted him the grace of working miracles. Those who venerate his holy relics with faith and love have been healed of all kinds of illnesses and infirmities, and he is quick to answer the prayers of those who call upon him.


You shone forth like the sun on the mountain of Amomon, O God-bearer. / Through martyrdom you departed unto God. / You endured the invasion of the barbarians, / O Ephraim, Great Martyr of Christ. / Therefore, you pour forth grace forever upon those who devoutly call upon you. / Glory to Him Who gave you strength. / Glory to Him Who magnified you. / Glory to Him Who, through you, grants healing to all.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women

May 04

Tone of the week: Tone Two

Fourth Eothinon

About the beginning of His thirty-second year, when the Lord Jesus was going throughout Galilee, preaching and working miracles, many women who had received of His beneficence left their own homeland and from then on followed after Him. They ministered unto Him out of their own possessions, even until His crucifixion and entombment; and afterwards, neither losing faith in Him after His death, nor fearing the wrath of the Jewish rulers, they came to the sepulchre, bearing the myrrh-oils they had prepared to annoint His body. It is because of the myrrh-oils, that these God-loving women brought to the tomb of Jesus that they are called the Myrrh-bearers. Of those whose names are known are the following: first of all, the most holy Virgin Mary, who in Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40 is called "the mother of James and Joses" (these are the sons of Joseph by a previous marriage, and she was therefore their step-mother); Mary Magdalene (celebrated July 22); Mary, the wife of Clopas; Joanna, wife of Chouza, a steward of Herod Antipas; Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus; and Susanna. As for the names of the rest of them, the evangelists have kept silence (Matt 27:55-56; 28:1-10. Mark 15:40-41. Luke 8:1-3; 23:55-24:11, 22-24. John 19:25; 20:11-18. Acts 1:14).

Together with them we celebrate also the secret disciples of the Saviour, Joseph and Nicodemus. Of these, Nicodemus was probably a Jerusalemite, a prominent leader among the Jews and of the order of the Pharisees, learned in the Law and instructed in the Holy Scriptures. He had believed in Christ when, at the beginning of our Saviour's preaching of salvation, he came to Him by night. Furthermore, he brought some one hundred pounds of myrrh-oils and an aromatic mixture of aloes and spices out of reverence and love for the divine Teacher (John 19:39). Joseph, who was from the city of Arimathea, was a wealthy and noble man, and one of the counsellors who were in Jerusalem. He went boldly unto Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, and together with Nicodemus he gave Him burial. Since time did not permit the preparation of another tomb, he placed the Lord's body in his own tomb which was hewn out of rock, as the Evangelist says (Matt. 27:60).

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Second Tone
When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of Thy Divinity. And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, all the powers in the Heavens cried out: O Life-giver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee.

The noble Joseph, taking Thine immaculate Body down from the Tree, and having wrapped It in pure linen and spices, laid It for burial in a new tomb. But on the third day Thou didst arise, O Lord, granting great mercy to the world.

Unto the myrrh-bearing women did the Angel cry out as he stood by the grave: Myrrh oils are meet for the dead, but Christ hath proved to be a stranger to corruption. But cry out: The Lord is risen, granting great mercy to the world.

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 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Venerable Theodosius the Abbot of the Kiev Far Caves Monastery, and Founder of Coenobitic Monasticism in Russia

Commemorated on May 3

Saint Theodosius of the Caves, was the Father of monasticism in Russia. He was born at Vasilevo, not far from Kiev. From his youth he felt an irresistible attraction for the ascetic life, and led an ascetic lifestyle while still in his parental home. He disdained childish games and attractions, and constantly went to church. He asked his parents to let him study the holy books, and through his ability and rare zeal, he quickly learned to read the books, so that everyone was amazed at his intellect.

When he was fourteen, he lost his father and remained under the supervision of his mother, a strict and domineering woman who loved her son very much. Many times she chastised her son for his yearning for asceticism, but he remained firmly committed to his path.

At the age of twenty-four, he secretly left his parents’ home and St Anthony at the Kiev Caves monastery blessed him to receive monastic tonsure with the name Theodosius. After four years his mother found him and with tearfully begged him to return home, but the saint persuaded her to remain in Kiev and to become a nun in the monastery of St Nicholas at the Askold cemetery.

St Theodosius toiled at the monastery more than others, and he often took upon himself some of the work of the other brethren. He carried water, chopped wood, ground up the grain, and carried the flour to each monk. On cold nights he uncovered his body and let it serve as food for gnats and mosquitoes. His blood flowed, but the saint occupied himself with handicrafts, and sang Psalms. He came to church before anyone else and, standing in one place, he did not leave it until the end of services. He also listened to the readings with particular attention.

In 1054 St Theodosius was ordained a hieromonk, and in 1057 he was chosen igumen. The fame of his deeds attracted a number of monks to the monastery, at which he built a new church and cells, and he introduced cenobitic rule of the Studion monastery, a copy of which he commissioned at Constantinople.
As igumen, St Theodosius continued his arduous duties at the monastery. He usually ate only dry bread and cooked greens without oil, and spent his nights in prayer without sleep. The brethren often noticed this, although the saint tried to conceal his efforts from others.

No one saw when St Theodosius dozed lightly, and usually he rested while sitting. During Great Lent the saint withdrew into a cave near the monastery, where he struggled unseen by anyone. His attire was a coarse hairshirt worn next to his body. He looked so much like a beggar that it was impossible to recognize in this old man the renowned igumen, deeply respected by all who knew him.

Once, St Theodosius was returning from visiting the Great Prince Izyaslav. The coachman, not recognizing him, said gruffly, “You, monk, are always on holiday, but I am constantly at work. Take my place, and let me ride in the carriage.” The holy Elder meekly complied and drove the servant. Seeing how nobles along the way bowed to the monk driving the horses, the servant took fright, but the holy ascetic calmed him, and gave him a meal at the monastery. Trusting in God’s help, the saint did not keep a large supply of food at the monastery, and therefore the brethren were in want of their daily bread. Through his prayers, however, unknown benefactors appeared at the monastery and furnished the necessities for the brethren.

The Great Princes, especially Izyaslav, loved to listen to the spiritual discourses of St Theodosius. The saint was not afraid to denounce the mighty of this world. Those unjustly condemned always found a defender in him, and judges would review matters at the request of the igumen. He was particularly concerned for the destitute. He built a special courtyard for them at the monastery where anyone in need could receive food and drink. Sensing the approach of death, St Theodosius peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1074. He was buried in a cave which he dug, where he secluded himself during fasting periods.

The relics of the ascetic were found incorrupt in the year 1109, and he was glorified as a saint in 1108. Of the written works of St Theodosius six discourses, two letters to Great Prince Izyaslav, and a prayer for all Christians have survived to our time.

The Life of St Theodosius was written by St Nestor the Chronicler (October 27), a disciple of the great Abba, only thirty years after his repose, and it was always one of the favorite readings of the Russian nation. St Theodosius is also commemorated on September 2 and 28.


Having been raised on virtue, you loved the monastic life from your youth, / and having valiantly attained your desire, you lived in a cave; / you adorned your life with the radiance of fasting, persevering in prayer as though bodiless. / Like a bright lamp you illumined the Russian lands, Father Theodosius. / Entreat Christ God that our souls may be saved.


“Today the Virgin...” / Today let us honor a star of Russia, / who shone forth from the East, and came to the West. / The entire world has been enriched by wonders and blessings, / and all of us by grace / and by the establishment of the monastic rule by Blessed Theodosius.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Friday, May 02, 2014

St Boris (in Holy Baptism Michael), Equal of the Apostles, Prince and Baptizer of Bulgaria

Commemorated on May 2

The Holy Equal of the Apostles Tsar Boris, in Holy Baptism Michael:

 His apostolic deeds were foretold by an uncle, St Boyan. The first years of the reign of Tsar Boris were marked by misfortune. The Bulgarians were frequently at war with surrounding nations, famine and plague beset the land, and in the year 860 Bulgaria found itself in dire straits. Tsar Boris saw the salvation of his land, which was darkened by paganism, in its enlightenment by the faith in Christ.

During one of the battles of the Bulgarians with the Greeks he captured the illustrious courtier Theodore Kuphares, who had become a monk. He was the first man to plant the seed of the Gospel in the soul of the Bulgarian tsar. In one of the campaigns with the Greeks the young sister of Tsar Boris was taken captive, and was raised in the Orthodox Faith at the court of the Byzantine Emperor.

When the emperor Theophilus died, Tsar Boris decided to take advantage of this circumstance to take revenge upon the Greeks for his former defeats. But the widow of the emperor, Theodora, showed courage and sent a messenger to the Bulgarian tsar saying that she was prepared to defend the Empire and humiliate its opponents. Tsar Boris agreed to a peace alliance, and Theodore Kuphares was exchanged for the Bulgarian princess, who influenced her brother toward Christianity. A while later St Methodius was sent into Bulgaria. He and his brother St Cyril were enlightening the Slavic peoples with the light of Christ. St Methodius baptized Tsar Boris, his family and many of the nobles.

When the pagan Bulgarians learned of this, they wanted to kill Tsar Boris, but their plot was frustrated by the tsar. Deprived of their rebellious leaders, the Bulgarian people voluntarily accepted Baptism. A peace was concluded between Byzantium and Bulgaria, based on their unity in faith, which was not broken until the end of the reign of the noble tsar. The Patriarch Photius (February 6) took great interest in the spiritual growth of the Bulgarian nation. In 867, preachers from Rome were sent into Bulgaria. This led to three years of discord between the Greek and Roman Churches in Bulgaria.

A Council at Constantinople in 869 put an end to the quarrel, and on March 3, 870 Bulgaria was joined to the Eastern Church, and Orthodoxy was firmly established there. Bulgaria’s holy ascetics: Sts Gorazd (July 27) and Clement of Ochrid (July 27) were glorified as saints. Tsar Boris adorned the land with churches and furthered the spread of piety. Later, a Patriarchal See was established in Bulgaria. In his declining years, Tsar Boris entered a monastery, leaving the throne to his sons Vladimir and Simeon.

While in the monastery the saint learned that Vladimir, who succeeded him, had renounced Christianity. Distressed by this, St Boris again donned his military garb, punished his disobedient son and threw him in prison. After giving the throne to his younger son Simeon, St Boris returned to the monastery. He left it once more to repel a Hungarian invasion. St Boris, who was named Michael in holy Baptism, reposed on May 2, 907.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Prophet Jeremiah

Commemorated on May 1

The Holy Prophet Jeremiah, one of the four great Old Testament prophets, was son of the priest Helkiah from the city of Anathoth near Jerusalem, and he lived 600 years before the Birth of Christ, under the Israelite king Josiah and four of his successors. He was called to prophetic service at the age of fifteen, when the Lord revealed to him that even before his birth the Lord had chosen him to be a prophet. Jeremiah refused, citing his youth and lack of skill at speaking, but the Lord promised to be always with him and to watch over him.

He touched the mouth of the chosen one and said, “Behold, I have put My words into your mouth. Behold, I have appointed you this day over nations and kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to rebuild, and to plant” (Jer. 1:9-10). From that time Jeremiah prophesied for twenty-three years, denouncing the Jews for abandoning the true God and worshipping idols, predicting sorrows and devastating wars. He stood by the gates of the city, and at the entrance to the Temple, everywhere where the people gathered, and he exhorted them with imprecations and often with tears. The people, however, mocked and abused him, and they even tried to kill him.

Depicting for the Jews their impending enslavement to the king of Babylon, Jeremiah first placed on his own neck a wooden, and then an iron yoke, and thus he went about among the people. Enraged at the dire predictions of the prophet, the Jewish elders threw the Prophet Jeremiah into a pit filled with horrid, slimy creatures, where he almost died. Through the intercession of the God-fearing royal official Habdemelek, the prophet was pulled out of the pit, but he did not cease his prophecies, and for this he was carted off to prison. Under the Jewish king Zedekiah his prophecy was fulfilled.

Nebuchadnezzar came, slaughtered many people, carried off a remnant into captivity, and Jerusalem was pillaged and destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar released the prophet from prison and permitted him to live where he wanted. The prophet remained at the ruins of Jerusalem and bewailed his nation’s misfortune. According to Tradition, the Prophet Jeremiah took the Ark of the Covenant with the Tablets of the Law and hid it in one of the caves of Mount Nabath (Nebo), so that the Jews could no longer find it (2 Mac. 2). Afterwards, a new Ark of the Covenant was fashioned, but it lacked the glory of the first.

Among the Jews remaining in their fatherland there soon arose internecine clashes: Hodoliah, Nebuchadnezzar’s viceroy, was murdered. The Jews, fearing the wrath of Babylon, decided to flee into Egypt. The Prophet Jeremiah disagreed with their intention, predicting that the punishment which they feared would befall them in Egypt. The Jews would not listen to the prophet, however, and taking him along by force, they went into Egypt and settled in the city of Tathnis. There the prophet lived for four years and was respected by the Egyptians, because by his prayers he killed crocodiles and other creatures infesting these parts. When Jeremiah prophesied that the King of Babylon would invade Egypt and annihilate the Jews living there, the Jews murdered him. In that very same year the saint’s prophecy was fulfilled. There is a tradition that 250 years later, Alexander the Great transported the relics of the holy Prophet Jeremiah to Alexandria.

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote his Book of Prophecies and also the Book of Lamentations about the desolation of Jerusalem and the Exile. The times in which he lived and prophesied are described in 4/2 Kings (Ch. 23-25) and in the Second Book of Chronicles (36:12) and in 2 Maccabbees (Ch. 2).

In the Gospel of Matthew it is said that the betrayal of Judas was foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah, “And they took thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom the sons of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me” (Mt. 27:9-10). Perhaps Jeremiah 32:6-15 is meant.

Even after his death, the Prophet Jeremiah was regarded as a wonderworker. Dust from his tomb was believed to cure snake-bite, and many Christians pray to him for this purpose.


Celebrating the memory / of Your Prophet Jeremiah, O Lord, / for his sake, we entreat You to save our souls.


Cleansing your radiant heart through the Spirit, / O great Prophet and Martyr, / glorious Jeremiah, / You received from on high the gift of prophecy. / You cried out with a great voice to the nations: / This is our God, and there is none other beside Him / who became incarnate and appeared on earth.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)