Friday, January 31, 2014

Martyr Tryphaina at Cyzicus

Commemorated on January 31

The Holy Martyr Tryphaina came from the city of Cyzicus. She tried to convert the pagans to Christ, and was arrested for this. When threats and flattery had no effect on her, she was tortured. They threw her into a red-hot oven, tied her from a high tree, threw her onto sharp spears. Then they took her away to be devoured by beasts, but the Lord preserved her unharmed. Finally, she was killed by a mad bull.
Women who have difficulty nursing their babies pray to St Tryphaina.


Your holy martyr Tryphaina, O Lord, / Through her sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, she laid low her adversaries, / And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through her intercessions, save our souls!


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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Venerable Zeno the Faster, of the Kiev Caves

Saint Zeno the Faster and Lover of Labor of the Far Caves of Kiev lived in the fourteenth century. In the Third Ode of the Canon to the Monks of the Far Caves, he is described as “resplendant in fasting.” His memory is also celebrated on August 28 and 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!)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Translation of the relics of St John Chrysostom the Archbishop of Constantinople

Commemorated on January 27

Saint John Chrysostom

This great ecumenical teacher and hierarch died in the city of Comana in the year 407 on his way to a place of exile. He had been condemned by the intrigues of the empress Eudoxia because of his daring denunciation of the vices ruling over Constantinople. The transfer of his venerable relics was made in the year 438, thirty years after the death of the saint during the reign of Eudoxia’s son emperor Theodosius II (408-450).

St John Chrysostom had the warm love and deep respect of the people, and grief over his untimely death lived on in the hearts of Christians. St John’s disciple, St Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434-447), during services in the Church of Hagia Sophia, preached a sermon praising St John. He said, “O John, your life was filled with sorrow, but your death was glorious. Your grave is blessed and your reward is great, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. O graced one, having conquered the bounds of time and place! Love has conquered space, unforgetting memory has annihilated the limits, and place does not hinder the miracles of the saint.”

Those who were present in church, deeply touched by the words of St Proclus, did not allow him even to finish his sermon. With one accord they began to entreat the Patriarch to intercede with the emperor, so that the relics of St John might be brought back to Constantinople.

The emperor, overwhelmed by St Proclus, gave his consent and gave the order to transfer the relics of St John. But those he sent were unable to lift the holy relics until the emperor realized that he had sent men to take the saint’s relics from Comana with an edict, instead of with a prayer. He wrote a letter to St John, humbly asking him to forgive his audacity, and to return to Constantinople. After the message was read at the grave of St John, they easily took up the relics, carried them onto a ship and arrived at Constantinople.

The coffin with the relics was placed in the Church of Holy Peace (Hagia Eirene). When Patriarch Proclus opened the coffin, the body of St John was found to be incorrupt. The emperor approached the coffin with tears, asking forgiveness for his mother, who had banished St John. All day and night people did not leave the coffin.

In the morning the coffin was brought to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The people cried out, “Father, take up your throne.” Then Patriarch Proclus and the clergy standing by the relics saw St John open his mouth and say, “Peace be to all.” Many of the sick were healed at his tomb.

The celebration of the transfer of the relics of St John Chrysostom was established in the ninth century.


Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon has enlightened the universe; / It has shone to the world the riches of poverty; / It has revealed to us the heights of humility. / Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom, / Intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls.


Having received divine grace from heaven, / You teach all men to adore the one God in three persons. / O all-blessed John Chrysostom, we rightly praise you, / For you are our teacher, revealing things divine!


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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Venerable Xenophon of Robika

Saint Xenophon of Robeika was a student of St Barlaam of Khutyn (+ 1192, November 6). He was the head of the Khutyn monastery after the igumen Isidore (+1243). Resigning as igumen, St Xenophon founded the Trinity Monastery on the banks of the Robeika River (not far from Novgorod). Here he fell asleep in the Lord on June 28, 1262.


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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Translation to Moscow of the Icon of the Mother of God “Assuage my sorrow”

Commemorated on January 25

The “Assuage my Sorrows” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was glorified at Moscow by many miracles in the second half of the eighteenth century, particularly during a plague in 1771. The icon had been brought to Moscow by Cossacks in 1640 in the reign of Tsar Michael (1613-1645), and placed in the church of St Nicholas in the Pupishevo district of Moscow.

Once, perhaps after a fire and the rebuilding of the temple, the icon was carelessly put in a bell tower. However, the abundant mercies manifested by the Mother of God would one day bring about a renewed veneration of this holy icon.

The Feast of the wonderworking icon on January 25 was established in 1760 to commemorate the healing of a sick woman who had seen the icon in a vision. A voice instructed her to go to the church of St Nicholas in the Pupishevo district of Moscow where she would find this icon. “Pray before it, and you will receive healing.”

She obeyed and went to Moscow, where she found an icon, darkened by age and dust, in the church’s bell tower. When the sick woman saw the face and inscription she cried out, “It is She!” The woman, who previously had been unable to move her arms and legs, walked out of church on her own after a Molieben was served before the icon on January 25.

The icon was placed in an honored place in the church, and later a chapel was built in its honor. The services and the Akathist in honor of the icon date from this period. Copies of the “Assuage my Sorrows” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos are to be found in churches of Moscow and other cities. The icon is also commemorated on September 25 and October 9.


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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blessed Xenia of St Petersburg

Commemorated on January 24

Saint Xenia lived during the eighteenth century, but little is known of her life or of her family. She passed most of her life in Petersburg during the reigns of the empresses Elizabeth and Catherine II.

Xenia Grigorievna Petrova was the wife of an army officer, Major Andrew Petrov. After the wedding, the couple lived in St Petersburg. St Xenia became a widow at the age of twenty-six when her husband suddenly died at a party. She grieved for the loss of her husband, and especially because he died without Confession or Holy Communion.

Once her earthly happiness ended, she did not look for it again. From that time forward, Xenia lost interest in the things of this world, and followed the difficult path of foolishness for the sake of Christ. The basis for this strange way of life is to be found in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:18-24, 1 Cor. 2:14, 1 Cor. 3:18-19). The Lord strengthened her and helped her to bear sorrow and misfortune patiently for the next forty-five years.

She started wearing her husband’s clothing, and insisted that she be addressed as “Andrew Feodorovich.” She told people that it was she, and not her husband, who had died. In a certain sense, this was perfectly true. She abandoned her former way of life and experienced a spiritual rebirth. When she gave away her house and possessions to the poor, her relatives complained to the authorities. After speaking to Xenia, the officials were conviced that she was in her right mind and was entitled to dispose of her property as she saw fit. Soon she had nothing left for herself, so she wandered through the poor section of Petersburg with no place to lay her head. She refused all assistance from her relatives, happy to be free of worldly attachments.

When her late husband’s red and green uniform wore out, she clothed herself in rags of those colors. After a while, Xenia left Petersburg for eight years. It is believed that she visited holy Elders and ascetics throughout Russia seeking instruction in the spiritual life. She may have visited St Theodore of Sanaxar (February 19), who had been a military man himself. His life changed dramatically when a young officer died at a drinking party. Perhaps this officer was St Xenia’s husband. In any case, she knew St Theodore and profited from his instructions.

St Xenia eventually returned to the poor section of Petersburg, where she was mocked and insulted because of her strange behavior. When she did accept money from people it was only small amounts, which she used to help the poor. She spent her nights praying without sleep in a field outside the city. Prayer strengthened her, and in her heart’s conversation with the Lord she found the support she needed on her difficult path.

When a new church was being built in the Smolensk cemetery, St Xenia brought bricks to the site. She did this in secret, during the night, so that no one would know.

Soon her great virtue and spiritual gifts began to be noticed. She prophesied future events affecting the citizens of Petersburg, and even the royal family. Against her will, she became known as someone pleasing to God, and nearly everyone loved her.They said, “Xenia does not belong to this world, she belongs to God.” People regarded her visits to their homes or shops as a great blessing. St Xenia loved children, and mothers rejoiced when the childless widow would stand and pray over a baby’s crib, or kiss a child. They believed that the blessed one’s kiss would bring that child good fortune.

St Xenia lived about forty-five years after the death of her husband, and departed to the Lord at the age of seventy-one. The exact date and circumstances of her death are not known, but it probably took place at the end of the eighteenth century. She was buried in the Smolensk cemetery.

By the 1820s, people flocked to her grave to pray for her soul, and to ask her to intercede with God for them. So many visitors took earth from her grave that it had to be replaced every year. Later, a chapel was built over her grave.

Those who turn to St Xenia in prayer receive healing from illness, and deliverance from their afflictions. She is also known for helping people who seek jobs.


Having lived as a stranger in the world, / you outwitted the deviser of evil / by your pretended foolishness, O Xenia. / You received the grace from God / to foresee and foretell things to come. / Now, as you have been translated from earth to heaven, / you are numbered with the choirs of the angels.


Podoben: “Today You have shown forth...” / You gave your wealth to the poor, O Xenia, / and accepted poverty out of love for Christ; / having lived a life rivaling the angels, you were accounted worthy of glory on high.


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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Venerable Maximus the Greek

Commemorated on January 21

Saint Maximus the Greek was the son of a rich Greek dignitary in the city of Arta (Epiros), and he received a splendid education. In his youth he travelled widely and he studied languages and sciences (i.e. intellectual disciplines) in Europe, spending time in Paris, Florence, and Venice.

Upon returning to his native land, he went to Athos and became a monk at the Vatopedi monastery. And with enthusiasm he studied ancient manuscripts left on Athos by the Byzantine Emperors Andronicus Paleologos and John Kantakuzenos (who became monks).

During this period the Moscow Great Prince Basil III (1505-1533) wanted to make an inventory of the Greek manuscripts and books of his mother, Sophia Paleologina, and he asked the Protos of the Holy Mountain, Igumen Simeon, to send him a translator. St Maximus was chosen to go to Moscow, for he had been brought up on secular and ecclesiastical books from his youth. Upon his arrival, he was asked to translate patristic and liturgical books into Slavonic, starting with the Annotated Psalter.

St Maximus tried to fulfill his task, but since Slavonic was not his native language, there were certain imprecisions in the translations.

Metropolitan Barlaam of Moscow highly valued the work of St Maximus, but when the See of Moscow was occupied by Metropolitan Daniel, the situation changed.

The new Metropolitan ordered St Maximus to translate the Church History of Theodoritus of Cyrrhus into Slavonic. St Maximus absolutely refused this commission, pointing out that “in this history are included letters of the heretic Arius, and this might present danger for the semi-literate.” This refusal caused a rift between Maximus and the Metropolitan. Despite their differences, St Maximus continued to labor for the spiritual enlightenment of Rus. He wrote letters against Moslems, Roman Catholics, and pagans. He translated St John Chrysostom’s Commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and John, and he also wrote several works of his own.

When the Great Prince wished to divorce his wife Solomonia because of her infertility, the dauntless confessor Maximus sent the Prince his “Instructive Chapters on Initiating Right Belief,” in which he persuasively demonstrated that the Prince was obliged not to yield to bestial passions. The Prine never forgave Maximus for his audacity, and locked St Maximus in prison. From that moment a new period began in the life of the monk, filled with much suffering.

Mistakes in his translations were regarded as deliberate and intentional corruptions of the text by St Maximus. It was difficult for him in prison, but in his sufferings the saint also gained the great mercy of God. An angel appeared to him and said, “Endure, Abba! Through this temporary pain you will be delivered from eternal torments.”

In prison the Elder wrote a Canon to the Holy Spirit in charcoal upon a wall, which even at present is read in the Church: “Just as Israel was nourished with manna in the wilderness of old, so Master, fill my soul with the All-Holy Spirit, that through Him I may serve Thee always....”

After six years, St Maximus was set free from prison and sent to Tver. There he lived under the supervision of the good-natured Bishop Acacius, who dealt kindly with the guiltless sufferer. The saint then wrote in his autobiography: “While I was locked in prison and grieving, I consoled and strengthened myself with patience.” Here are some more words from this vivid text: “Neither grieve, nor be sad, beloved soul, that you have suffered unjustly, for it behooves you to accept all for your benefit.”

Only after twenty years at Tver did they decide to let Maximus live freely, and remove the church excommunication. St Maximus, now about seventy years of age, spent the final years of his life at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Oppression and work took their toil on his health, but his spirit remained vigorous, and he continued with his work. Together with his cell-attendant and disciple Nilus, the saint translated the Psalter from Greek into Slavonic.

St Maximus reposed on January 21, 1556. He was buried at the northwest wall of the Holy Spirit church of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Many manifestations of grace took place at the grave of St Maximus, and a Troparion and Kontakion were composed in his honor. St Maximus is depicted on the icon of the Synaxis of the Saints of Radonezh (July 6).


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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Venerable Macarius the Roman of Novgorod

Commemorated on January 19

Saint Macarius the Roman was born at the end of the fifteenth century into a wealthy family of Rome. His parents raised him in piety and gave him an excellent education. He might have expected a successful career in public service, but he did not desire honors or earthly glory. Instead, he focused on how to save his soul.

He lived in an age when the Christian West was shaken by the Protestant Reformation. While others around him were pursuing luxury and lascivious pleasures, he studied the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers. St Macarius was grieved to see so many darkened by sin and worldly vanity, and was disturbed by the rebellions and conflicts within the Western Church. With tears, he asked God to show him the path of salvation, and his prayer did not go unanswered. He came to realize that he would find the safe harbor of salvation in the Orthodox Church.

St Macarius left Rome secretly, and set out for Russia without money, and wearing an old garment. After many sufferings on his journey, he arrived in Novgorod, where he rejoiced to see so many churches and monasteries. One of these monasteries had been founded three centuries before by his fellow countryman, St Anthony the Roman (August 3).

St Macarius came to the banks of the River Svir, where St Alexander of Svir (April 17 and August 30) had founded the monastery of the Holy Trinity. St Alexander received Macarius into the Orthodox Church and tonsured him as a monk. Macarius, however longed for the solitary life. He moved to an island on the River Lezna, forty-five miles from Novgorod, where he engaged in ascetical struggles and unceasing prayer.
The winters were very cold, and the summers were hot and humid. The marshy area was also a breeding ground for mosquitos, which tormented the saint. St Macarius survived on berries, roots, and herbs. Sometimes bears would come to him for food, and they allowed him to pet them.

Such a great lamp of the spiritual life could not remain hidden for long. One rainy night someone knocked on his door and asked him to open it. Several people, who seemed to be hunters, entered his cell. Astonished by his appearance, and the divine light shining from his face, the men asked for his blessing. They told him they had come to the forest to hunt, and only by the prayers of the saint did God permit them to find him.

“It is not my sinful prayers,” he told them, “but the grace of God which led you here.”

After feeding them, he spoke and prayed with them, then showed them the way out of the marsh. St Macarius was concerned that his peace would be disturbed, now that his dwelling place was known. His fears were justified, because many people sought him out to ask for his advice and prayers.

The holy ascetic decided to move even farther into the wilderness, choosing an elevated place on the left bank of the Lezna. Even here, however, he was not able to conceal himself for very long. Sometimes a pillar of fire would rise up into the sky at night above his place of refuge. During the day, the grace of God was made manifest by a fragrant cloud of smoke. Drawn by these signs, the local inhabitants of the region were able to find him once more.

Some of his visitors begged St Macarius to permit them to live near him and to be guided by his counsels. Seeing that this was the Lord’s will, he did not refuse them. He blessed them to build cells, and this was the foundation of his monastery.

In 1540, they built a wooden church dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. St Macarius was ordained to the holy priesthood by Bishop Macarius of Novgorod, who later became Metropolitan of All Russia. The hierarch also appointed St Macarius as igumen of the monastery.

St Macarius was an example to the others, and was given the gifts of clairvoyance and wonderworking from God. He wore himself out with his labors and vigils, encouraging others not to become faint-hearted in their own struggles.

After several years, he entrusted the monastery to one of his disciples, and returned to the island where he had first lived. There he fell asleep in the Lord on August 15, 1550. His disciples buried him outside on the left side of the Dormition church which he had founded.

The Hermitage of St Macarius was never a prosperous monastery with many monks, but it was distinguished by the high level of spiritual life. In the seventeenth century, many of the monasteries near Novgorod were plundered by Swedish invaders. The Hermitage of St Macarius was also burned in 1615, and some of the monks were put to the sword.

By the eighteenth century, the monastery had become a dependency of the St Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St Petersburg. The Empress Catherine closed it in 1764, just as she had closed other monasteries, and it was designated as a parish church. Although pilgrims still came to venerate the saint’s relics and to celebrate his Feast Day, the buildings soon fell into ruin.

In the mid-nineteenth century, some benefactors restored the two churches and the miraculous healing spring which the saint himself had dug. About this time an old priest was living there, and he celebrated the church services until his death. In 1894, the monastery began to function once more under the noted missionary Hieromonk Arsenius, who introduced the Athonite Typikon. The monastery was destroyed by the Soviets in 1932.

St Macarius the Roman is commemorated on August 15 (the date of his repose), and also on January 19 (his nameday).


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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Venerable Marcian of Cyrrhus in Syria

Saint Marcian of Cyrrhus lived in the desert near the city of Cyrrhus. He built a small hut and settled in it, passing his time in prayer, singing Psalms and reading spiritual books. He ate very little food, just enough to keep him alive. Reports of his holy life attracted to him many zealous ascetics, and St Marcian established a monastery for them.

God’s blessing rested upon the saint, and he possessed the gift of wonderworking. Once, a serpent crawled into his cell. The saint made the Sign of the Cross and the serpent perished, burned up by flames. At night, when the ascetic read, a heavenly light shone for him. The monk also worked many other miracles on behalf of the brethren. He died in peace about the year 388.


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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

St Honoratus the Archbishop of Arles and Founder of Lerins Monastery

Saint Honoratus was born in Gaul (modern France) about 350, and came from a distinguished Roman family. After a pilgrimage to Greece and Rome, he became a hermit on the isle of Lerins, where he was joined by Sts Lupus of Troyes (July 29), Eucherius of Lyons (November 16), and Hilary of Arles (May 5), among others.

The saint depleted his youthful vigor through fasting and asceticism, and so “the powers of the body made way for the power of the spirit.” Though in poor health, he managed to follow the same rule of fasting and keeping vigil as those who were younger and stronger than he. He would visit the sick when he was even sicker than they were, offering consolation for body and soul.Then, fearing he had not done enough for them, he would review each case in his mind to determine how he could ease their suffering.

Adorned with virtues, St Honoratus treated a variety of spiritual diseases, freeing many from their enslavement to vice. His insight into each person’s character enabled him to apply the appropriate remedies for restoring souls to spiritual health.

St Honoratus died in 429 shortly after being consecrated as Bishop of Arles.St Hilary, his relative and successor, delivered a eulogy which still survives.


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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Venerable Salome of Ujarma and Venerable Perozhavra of Sivnia

Commemorated on January 15

Saints Salome of Ujarma and Perozhavra of Sivnia were the helpers and closest companions of St. Nino, Enlightener of Georgia. St. Nino herself had converted them to the Christian Faith.

Salome was the wife of Revi, the son of King Mirian, and Perozhavra was married to the ruler of the Kartli region. Both women were queens, but they succeeded in serving St. Nino while retaining their imperial roles. St. Nino taught them to pray, and the women fasted regularly and performed good works. As a result of their influential social status, the two queens were able to help St. Nino tremendously in spreading the Christian Faith.

After the conversion of Kartli, with inspiration from St. Nino and by the order of King Mirian, St. Salome erected a cross in Ujarma in the Kakheti region.

When St. Nino fell ill in the village of Bodbe, the queens Salome and Perozhavra stood by her bed and wept bitterly at having to part with their beloved teacher and healer. They entreated St. Nino, who was finishing her last hours on this earth, saying, “Tell us, our Queen, how did you come to our country to free our souls, and where were you raised? Tell us how to continue your good works. You who have delivered us from bondage to the enemy, tell us, what shall we do?”

From the information that St. Nino then related to them, Sts. Salome and Perozhavra wrote The Life of St. Nino, Enlightener of Georgia. The Apostolic Orthodox Church of Georgia commemorates them on January 15, the day following the commemoration of St. Nino.


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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sabbas (Sava), Archbishop of Serbia

January 14

Saint Sabbas (Sava), the first Archbishop and teacher of the Serbs, and the most beloved of all the Saints of Serbia, was born in 1169, and was named Rastko by his parents. He was the son of Stephen Nemanja, the ruler of Serbia, who is better known as Saint Symeon the Myrrh-streamer (see Feb. 13). As a young man, Rastko fled secretly to the Holy Mountain, Athos, to the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon. When his father learned of his flight, he sent soldiers after him. Before they could seize him, he was tonsured a monk with the name of Sabbas, after Saint Sabbas the Sanctified (celebrated Dec. 5). Soon after, he entered the Monastery of Vatopedi, where his father joined him in 1197. Together they rebuilt the Monastery of Hilandar and made it a great spiritual center for their countrymen. In 1200 Saint Symeon reposed, and his body became a source of holy myrrh; in 1204 Saint Sabbas was compelled to return to Serbia with his father's relics, that he might restore peace between his two brothers, who were struggling over the rule of the kingdom. The grace of Saint Symeon's relics, and the mediations of Saint Sabbas, healed the division between his brethren. After persuading the Emperor in Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant autocephaly to the Serbian Church, the Saint against his will was ordained first Archbishop of his native land in 1219, where he labored diligently to establish the Orthodox Faith. In 1221 he crowned his brother Stephen first King of Serbia (the memory of Saint Stephen, First Crowned King of Serbia, is kept on September 24). In 1234, foreseeing by divine grace his coming departure to the Lord, he resigned the archiepiscopal throne, named his disciple Arsenius as his successor, and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Mount Sinai; while returning through Bulgaria, he fell asleep in peace in 1236. Because he has been ever since the national hero of Serbia and an invincible bulwark strengthening the Orthodox Faith, the Moslem Turks burned his incorrupt relics in the year 1594. See also June 28.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Thou wast a guide of the way that leadeth to life, and a first prelate and teacher; for thou wast the first to enlighten thy fatherland, O Saint Sabbas, having given it rebirth in the Holy Spirit. Thou didst plant thy sanctified children like olive trees in the spiritual Paradise. Wherefore, as we honour thee as an equal of the Apostles and holy hierarchs, we implore thee; Pray to Christ God to grant us great mercy.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The Church of thy people glorifieth thee as her first great prelate and a companion of the Apostles, O Saint. But since thou hast boldness with Christ God, by thy prayers save us from all harm that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O divinely-wise Father Sabbas.


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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Icon of the Mother of God the “Milkgiver”

Commemorated on January 12

The “Milk-Giver” Icon of the Mother of God was originally located at the Lavra of St Sava the Sanctified near Jerusalem. Before his death, the holy founder of the Lavra foretold that a royal pilgrim having the same name as himself would visit the Lavra. St Sava told the brethren to give the wonderworking icon to that pilgrim as a blessing.

In the thirteenth century, St Sava of Serbia visited the Lavra. As he approached the reliquary of St Sava the Sanctified, the saint’s staff fell at his feet. The brethren asked the visitor his name, and he told them he was Archbishop Sava of Serbia. Obeying the instructions of their founder, the monks gave St Sava his staff, the “Milk-Giver” Icon, and the Icon “Of the Three Hands” (June 28 & July 12).

The holy archbishop took the icon to Hilandar on Mount Athos and put it on the right side of the iconostasis in the church of St Sava at the kellion of Karyes, which is attached to Hilandar. The icon was later named Typikonissa, since the Rule (Typikon) of St Sava was preserved there.


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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

St Theodosius of Antioch

Commemorated on January 11

Saint Theodosius of Antioch in his early years left the rich home of his illustrious parents and entered upon the straight and arduous path of asceticism. He settled into a small cell on the shore of the Gulf of Isska, near the city of Ossos. The saint weakened his body with prostrations and by lying upon the bare ground. He also wore a hairshirt and heavy iron chains. His hair grew so long that it covered his feet.

By continuous feats of fasting and prayer he conquered his fleshly and spiritual passions, he quieted his temper, and drove away unclean thoughts. He labored much, tilling his garden and occupying himself with plaiting ropes. In his native land St Theodosius founded a monastery (Skupela). He imparted to the monks a love for physical toil and for spiritual deeds. St Theodosius had a special concern for strangers.

The sublime life of the saint was known even beyond the confines of the monastery. Both Christians and pagans knew him. Seafarers in time of peril called out for help to “the God of Theodosius.” It happened that at the mere mention of St Theodosius, the waves of the sea were calmed. Brigands feared and respected him, and sought his prayers. Fleeing the praise of people, the saint settled near the village of Maraton, founding here the Maratonia monastery. There the great ascetic peacefully finished the days of his God-pleasing life (412).


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

Friday, January 10, 2014

St Theophan the Recluse the Bishop of Tambov

Commemorated on January 10

George Govorov, the future St Theophan, was born on January 10, 1815 in the village of Chernavsk in the Orlov province where his father was a priest.

At first, George attended a primary school at Liven, then a military school. From 1837-1841 he studied at the Kiev Theological Academy, and probably visited the Monastery of the Caves several times. In these surroundings, it was not surprising that he received the monastic tonsure while he was still a student. After graduation Hieromonk Theophan was appointed rector of Kiev’s church schools, and later became rector of the seminary in Novgorod. Before he retired from teaching, Fr Theophan served as a professor and Assistant Inspector at the Petersburg Academy.

St Theophan was not complely happy with academic work, so he asked to be relieved of his duties. He was assigned to be a member of the Russian Mission in Jerusalem. After being raised to the rank of Archimandrite, he became Rector of Olnets Seminary. Soon he was assigned as the chief priest of the embassy church in Constantinople. St Theophan was eventually recalled to Russia to become rector of the Petersburg Academy, and supervisor of religious education in the capital’s secular schools.

On May 9, 1859 St Theophan was consecrated as Bishop of Tambov, where he established a diocesan school for girls. During his time in Tambov he came to love the secluded Vysha Monastery in his diocese. In 1863 he was transferred to Vladimir and remained there for three years. He also established a diocesan school for girls at Vladimir.
The holy bishop visited parishes throughout his diocese serving, preaching, restoring churches, and sharing the joys and sorrows of his flock. It was very difficult for Bishop Theophan to live in the world and become involved with vain worldly disputes. Many abused his trust, but he could not bring himself to chastise anyone. Instead, he left left such unpleasant tasks to the Archpriest of his cathedral.

He was present at the uncovering of the relics of St Tikhon of Zadonsk in 1861, and this made a tremendous impression on him, for he had much in common with that saint. He had loved St Tikhon from early childhood, and always spoke about him with great enthusiasm. When St Tikhon was glorified as a saint on August 13, Bishop Theophan’s joy knew no bounds.

In 1866 his request to be relieved of his duties as Bishop of Vladimir was granted. He was appointed as Superior of the Vysha Monastery, but soon resigned from that position. He was permitted to live there and to celebrate services whenever he wished. He also received a pension of 1000 rubles.

As he prepared to leave his diocese, he wished to focus on his own salvation, and to concentrate on undisturbed communion with God. On July 24, 1866 he bade his diocese farewell, leaving the world for a life of reclusion, and to devote himself to writing spiritual books. Through these books, St Theophan has become the spiritual benefector of all Orthodox Christians. Although he sought the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mt. 6:33), a reputation as a writer of great significance for the whole world was also added to him.

Bishop Theophan wrote many books, but received no profits from their sale. He tried to keep them as inexpensive as possible, and they quickly sold out. He wrote about topics which others before him had not fully treated, such as how to live a Christian life, how to overcome sinful habits, and how to avoid despair. He tried to explain the steps of spiritual perfection systematically, as one who had himself gone through these various steps. Some of his books include THE SPIRITUAL LIFE AND HOW TO BE ATTUNED TO IT, THE PATH TO SALVATION, and LETTERS ON THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. He also translated the PHILOKALIA in five volumes, and THE SERMONS OF ST SIMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN.

For the first six years in the monastery, Bishop Theophan attended all the services, including the early Liturgy. He stood still in church with his eyes closed so that he would not be distracted. He often celebrated Liturgy on Sundays and Feast Days.

Beginning in 1872, he cut off all relationships with people (except for his confessor) and no longer left his cell to attend church. He built a small chapel in his quarters and dedicated it to the Lord’s Baptism. For ten years he served there on Sundays and Feast Days. For the last eleven years of his life he served every day by himself. Sometimes he would sing, and sometimes he kept completely silent.

Whenever anyone visited him on business, Bishop Theophan would reply with as few words as possible, then immerse himself in prayer. If anyone sent him money, he would distribute it to the poor, keeping only a small portion to purchase books.

Whenever he was not occupied with writing or praying, the reclusive bishop worked at carpentry or painting icons. He received from twenty to forty letters each day, and he answered all of them. He was able to discern each writer’s spiritual condition, then give detailed answers to the questions of those who were struggling for the salvation of their souls.

His eyesight deteriorated in his latter years, but he did not curtail his work because of it. In the evening, his cell attendant would prepare everything for the bishop to serve Liturgy the next morning. After finishing the Liturgy, Bishop Theophan would knock on the wall to signal the cell attendant to serve him tea. On days when there was no fasting, he would eat lunch at 1:00 P.M. This consisted of one egg and a glass of milk. At four o’clock he would have some tea, and then no more food that day.

Bishop Theophan began to get weaker at the beginning of 1894. He was still writing on the afternoon of January 6, but when the cell attendant came to check on him at 4:30 he found that the bishop had departed to the Lord.

St Theophan’s body lay in the small church in his cell for three days, then three more days in the cathedral. There was no trace of corruption, however. He was laid to rest in the Kazan church of the Vysha Monastery.
Several of St Theophan’s books have been translated into English, and are reliable spiritual guides for Orthodox Christians of today. St Theophan’s gift was the ability to present the wisdom of the Fathers in terms which modern people can understand. Since he lived close to our own time, many readers find his books “more approachable” than the earlier patristic literature. He treats the life of the soul and the life of the body as a unified whole, not as two separate elements, and reveals to people the path of salvation.


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

Thursday, January 09, 2014

St Peter the Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia

Saint Peter, Bishop of Sebaste, was a brother of St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nyssa (January 1 and January 10). His older sister, St Macrina (July 19) played a large role in his upbringing.

St Basil the Great ordained St Peter as presbyter, and later he was made Bishop of Sebaste (in Armenia). St Peter was present at the Second Ecumenical Council in the year 381, convened at Constantinople against the heresy of Macedonius.


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

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Hieromartyr Isidore and 72 Others at Yuriev, Estonia

Commemorated on January 8

Saint Isidore was priest of St Nicholas church in the city of Yuriev (Derpto, at present Taru in Estonia). According to the terms of a treaty concluded in 1463 between the Moscow Great Prince Ivan III and the Livonian knights, the latter were obligated to extend every protection to the Orthodox at Derpto. But the Livonian knights (who were German Catholics) broke the treaty and tried to force the Orthodox to become Roman Catholics.

The priest Isidore bravely stood forth in defense of Orthodoxy, preferring to accept a martyr’s crown rather than submit to the Catholics. The Latin bishop and the Roman Catholic nobles of Yuriev had been told that St Isidore and the Orthodox population of the city had spoken against the faith and customs of the Germans.

When St Isidore and seventy-two of his parishioners went to bless the waters of the River Omovzha (or Emaiyga, now Emajogi) for the Feast of Theophany, they were arrested and brought before the Latin bishop Andrew and the civil judges of the city. Pressure was brought on them to convert to Catholicism, but the saint and his flock refused to renounce Christ or the Orthodox Faith. Enraged by this, the authorities had them thrown into prison.

St Isidore encouraged his flock to prepare themselves for death, and not to fear torture. He partook of the reserved Gifts he carried with him, then communed all the men, women, and children with the Holy and Life-Giving Mysteries of Christ.

Then the bishop and the judges summoned the Orthodox to appear before them once more, demanding that they convert to Catholicism. When they refused to do so, they were dragged back to the river and pushed through the hole in the ice that they had cut to bless the water. So they all suffered and died for Christ, Who bestowed on them crowns of unfading glory.

These holy martyrs and their priest St Isidore were put to death by German Catholics in 1472. 

During the spring floods, the incorrupt bodies of the holy martyrs, including the fully-vested body of the hieromartyr Isidore, were found by Russian merchants journeying along the river bank. They buried the saints around the church of St Nicholas.

Although people began to venerate these saints shortly after their death, they were not officially glorified by the Church until 1897.


Your holy martyrs, O Lord, / Through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. / For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, / And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through their intercessions, save our souls!


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

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 7

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.


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

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 6

About the beginning of our Lord's thirtieth year, John the Forerunner, who was some six months older than Our Saviour according to the flesh, and had lived in the wilderness since his childhood, received a command from God and came into the parts of the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. Then our Saviour also came from Galilee to the Jordan, and sought and received baptism though He was the Master and John was but a servant. Whereupon, there came to pass those marvellous deeds, great and beyond nature: the Heavens were opened, the Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon Him that was being baptized and the voice was heard from the Heavens hearing witness that this was the beloved Son of God, now baptized as a man (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:1-22). From these events the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and the great mystery of the Trinity were demonstrated. It is also from this that the present feast is called "Theophany," that is, the divine manifestation, God's appearance among men. On this venerable day the sacred mystery of Christian baptism was inaugurated; henceforth also began the saving preaching of the Kingdom of the Heavens.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."


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

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Virginmartyr Appolinaria of Egypt

Commemorated on January 5

Saint Apollinaria was a daughter of Anthemias, a former proconsul of the Byzantine Empire during the minority of Theodosius the Younger (408-450). Disdaining marriage, she requested her parents’ permission to make a pilgrimage to the holy places of the East. Arriving in Alexandria from Jerusalem, she slipped away from her servants and changed into monastic garb. She hid in a marsh, where she practised asceticism for several years in strict fasting and prayer.

An angel appeared to her in a dream and told her to go to the monastery of Sketis, which was under the spiritual direction of St Macarius of Egypt (January 19), and to call herself Dorotheus. St Macarius accepted her as one of the brethren, and she quickly distinguished herself by her ascetical life.

St Apollinaria’s parents had another daughter who was possessed by demons. They sent her to Sketis to St Macarius, who brought the afflicted girl to Dorotheus (Apollinaria). By her prayers, the maiden received healing. After she returned home, the maiden was attacked by a violent demon, who made her appear pregnant. The demon spoke through the girl’s lips, saying that Dorotheus had forced himself on her. Her outraged parents sent soldiers to the monastery to find the one who had defiled their daughter.

St Apollinaria took the blame and accompanied the envoys to the home of her parents. There she revealed her secret to her parents, healed her sister, and returned to Sketis. She died shortly thereafter in the year 470. Only after the death of Dorotheus was it revealed that “he” was actually a woman. The saint was buried in a cave in the monastery church of St Macarius of Egypt.


Your lamb Apollinaria, / calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: / “I love You, my Bridegroom, / and in seeking You, I endure suffering. / In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / for I have offered myself in love.” / Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.


Having found your holy relics as healing for our souls, We faithful call out to you with a loud voice: / “O reknowned Virgin Martyr Apollinaria, / Intercede to Christ God for us all!”


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

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Forefeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 4

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Be thou ready, Zabulon; prepare thyself, O Nephthalim. River Jordan, stay thy course and skip for gladness to receive the Sovereign Master, Who cometh now to be baptized. O Adam, be thou glad with our first mother, Eve; hide not as ye did of old in Paradise. Seeing you naked, He hath appeared now to clothe you in the first robe again. Christ hath appeared, for He truly willeth to renew all creation.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
In the running waters of the Jordan River, on this day the Lord of all crieth to John: Be not afraid and hesitate not to baptize Me, for I am come to save Adam, the first-formed man.


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

Friday, January 03, 2014

Gordios the Martyr of Caesarea

January 3

The Martyr Gordios who was from Caesarea of Cappadocia, was a centurion by rank. Unable to bear the impiety of the heathen, he withdrew to the wilderness to purify himself through prayer and fasting. After he perceived that his ascetical training had prepared him sufficiently, he came down from the mountains when a certain pagan festival was held in Caesarea, attended by all, and presented himself before the multitude. Although the spectacles of the festival continued, no one paid them any heed, but all eyes were turned upon him. From his sojourn in the mountains, his look was wild, his beard was long, his raiment squalid, his body like a skeleton; yet a certain grace shone round about him. He was recognized, and a loud shout and tumult was made as his fellow Christians rejoiced, and the enemies of the truth cried out for his death. He boldly professed his faith before the Governor, and after torments was beheaded, in the reign of Licinius in the year 314. Saint Basil the Great delivered a homily on Saint Gordios, mentioning that some of those in his audience had been present at the saint's martyrdom (PG 31:497)
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The whole earth hast thou watered with thy sweat and toils, O glorious one, and hast made all the world glad with thy precious blood, O godly-minded Gordios. By thine earnest entreaties, O famed Martyr, save all them that sing thy praise in faith and worthily revere thee as one that hath truly suffered much.


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

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Righteous Juliana of Lazarevo, Murom

Commemorated on January 2

Righteous Juliana of Lazarevo and Murom presents an astonishing example of a self-denying Russian Christian woman. She was the daughter of the nobleman Justin Nediurev. From her early years she lived devoutly, kept the fasts strictly and set aside much time for prayer. Early on having become orphaned, she was given over into the care of relatives, who did not take to her and laughed at her. Juliana bore everything with patience and without complaint. Her love for people was expressed by nursing the sick and sewing clothing for the poor.

The pious and virtuous life of the maiden attracted the attention of the Lazarevo village owner, Yurii Osoryin, who soon married her. The husband’s parents loved their gentle daughter-in-law and left the running of the household in her hands. Domestic concerns did not disrupt the spiritual efforts of Juliana. She always found time for prayer and she was always prepared to feed the orphaned and clothe the poor. During a harsh famine, she herself remained without food, having given away her last morsel to someone begging. When an epidemic started after the famine, Juliana devoted herself completely to the nursing of the sick.

Righteous Juliana had six sons and a daughter. After the death of two of her sons she decided to withdraw to a monastery, but her husband persuaded her to remain in the world, and to continue to raise their children. On the testimony of Juliana’s son, Kallistrat Osoryin, who wrote her Life, at this time she became all the more demanding towards herself: she intensified her fasting and prayer, slept not more than two hours at night, and then laying her head upon a board.

Upon the death of her husband, Juliana distributed to the poor her portion of the inheritance. Living in extreme poverty, she was none the less vivacious, cordial, and in everything she thanked the Lord. The saint was vouchsafed a visitation by St Nicholas the Wonderworker and guidance by the Mother of God in church. When Righteous Juliana fell asleep in the Lord, she was then buried beside her husband at the church of St Lazarus. Here also her daughter, the schemanun Theodosia was buried. In 1614 the relics of Righteous Juliana were uncovered, exuding a fragrant myrrh, from which many received healing.


By your righteous deeds you revealed to the world / An image of the perfect servant of the Lord. / By your fasting, vigil and prayers, / You were inspired in your evangelical life, / Feeding the hungry and caring for the poor, / Nursing the sick and strengthening the weak. / Now you stand at the right hand of the Master, Christ, / O holy Juliana, interceding for our souls.


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