Wednesday, April 30, 2014

St Donatus the Bishop of Euroea in Epirus

Commemorated on April 30

Saint Donatus lived during the reign of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-397) and was bishop of the city of Euroea (in Albania). Not far from this city, in the vicinity of Soreia, was a brackish spring of water. When the saint learned of this, he went with clergy to the spring and cast out a monstrous serpent, which died. The saint prayed and then he blessed the spring and drank the water without harm. Seeing this miracle, the people glorified God.

Another time, St Donatus prayed and brought forth water from a dry and rocky place, and during a drought he entreated the Lord to send rain to the parched land.

The daughter of the holy Emperor Theodosius fell terribly ill and was afflicted by an unclean spirit. St Donatus came to the palace, and as soon as he arrived the devil left and the sick woman was healed.

A certain man, shortly before his death, repaid a loan to a money-lender. The creditor tried to extort the money a second time from the dead man’s widow. The saint resurrected the dead man, who told where and when the loan had been repaid. After obtaining a receipt from the creditor, the man fell asleep in the Lord.

St Donatus reposed in peace about the year 387.


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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St Basil the Bishop of Ostrog in Montenegro, Serbia

Commemorated on April 29

Saint Basil, Bishop of Zakholmsk, was born of pious parents in the sixteenth century in the Popov district of Herzegovina. At the age of maturity he left his parental home and settled in the Trebinsk monastery in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, and became a monk.

For his virtuous life the saint was elevated to be Bishop of Zakholm and Skenderia. He occupied the bishop’s cathedra in the second half of the sixteenth century, a successor to Bishop Paul and predecessor of Bishop Nicodemus. St Basil was a good pastor of the flock of Christ, and the Lord strengthened his discourse with various miracles. For the sanctifying of soul with the wisdom of holy ascetic fathers, the saint journeyed to Athos. St Basil died peacefully and was buried in the city of Ostrog in Chernogoria on the border with Herzegovina.


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

Monday, April 28, 2014

St Cyril the Bishop of Turov

Commemorated on April 28

Saint Cyril, Bishop of Turov, was born of rich parents in the thirties of the twelfth century in the city of Turov at the River Pripyat.

From his early years St Cyril eagerly read the sacred books and attained a profound understanding of them. He studied not only in Russian, but also in Greek. When he reached maturity St Cyril refused his inheritance and was tonsured in Turov’s St Boris and Gleb monastery. He struggled much in fasting and prayer and taught the monks to obey the igumen. A monk who is not obedient to the igumen does not fulfill his vow, and therefore is not able to be saved.

Three writings of St Cyril on monastic life have survived, one of which, “A Narrative on the Black Clergy from the Old Law and from the New,” may be ascribed to a period of his being in the monastery.

After a certain while St Cyril lived on a pillar, where he increased his asceticism, and meditated on the Holy Scripture. Many turned to him for counsel in the spiritual life.

St Cyril’s holiness of life and profound enlightenment became known to many, and so he was chosen as Bishop of Turov. In 1169 St Cyril took part in a council censuring Bishop Theodore, who occupied the Vladimir-Suzdal cathedra and who sought to separate from the metropolitanate of Kiev. St Cyril denounced the heresy of Theodore and wrote many letters to the holy prince Andrew Bogoliubsky (July 4), in which he provided him instruction and guidance in discovering the cause of church disorders in the Rostov region.

Because of his love for solitude, St Cyril left his See (by the year 1182, Bishop Laurence is mentioned as the Bishop of Turov) and he devoted himself fully to spiritual writing. He composed a discourse on the yearly cycle of the Lord’s Feasts, but not all of them have been preserved. The works of St Cyril deserve a place beside the works of the holy Fathers in book collections.

The most complete collection of works by St Cyril of Turov, published by Bishop Eugenius of Turov in 1880, includes:

Sermon on Palm Sunday, from Gospel accounts

Sermon on Holy Pascha on the Radiant Day of the Resurrection of Christ, from the prophetic accounts

Sermon on the Sunday after Pascha, on the Renewal of the Resurrection, on the Artos [loaf blessed on Pascha], and on Thomas Touching the Side of the Lord

Sermon on Taking down the Body of Christ and on the Myrrh-bearing Women, from the Gospel account, and in praise of Joseph on the Third Sunday After Pascha

Sermon on the Paralytic from Genesis and from the Gospel account, on the Fourth Sunday After Pascha
Sermon on the Blind man and the enmity of the Jews from the Gospel account, on the Fourth Sunday After Pascha

Sermon on the Ascension of the Lord, on Thursday of the Sixth Week After Pascha, from prophetic decrees, and on Raising the Race of Adam from Hades

Sermon on the Holy 318 Fathers, from the Holy Books, on Christ the Son of God, and in praise of the Fathers of the Holy Council of Nicea, on the Sunday Before Pentecost

Parable on the Blind and the Lame

Parable on the Human Soul, and on the Body, and on Breaking God’s Commandments, and on the Resurrection of the Human Body, and on the Future Judgment, and on the Torment

Narrative on the Black Clergy, from the Old Testament and from the New, bearing a common form, and the accomplishing of this matter

To Igumen Basil: a Parable on the White Clergy, and on Monasticism, and on the Soul, and on Repentance
Letter of a certain Elder to the Blessed Archimandrite Basil on the Schema

Four Prayers on Sunday (after Matins, Hours, and two after Vespers)

Four Prayers on Monday

Four Prayers on Tuesday

Five Prayers on Wednesday (after Matins, Hours, and three after Vespers)

Three Prayers on Thursday (after Matins, Hours, Vespers)

Four Prayers on Friday (after Matins, Hours, and two after Vespers)

Six Prayers on Saturday (two after Matins, one after Hours, and three after Vespers)

Molieben Canon

Confession and Remembrance.

Later, the “Sermon on the Enlightenment of our Lord Jesus Christ” was discovered. The saint also composed a “Great Canon of Repentance to the Lord in Alphabetic Chapters.” As a theologian St Cyril believed his task was to discern the true and hidden meaning of various texts of Holy Scripture.

St Cyril died on April 28, 1183. His contemporaries regarded him as a Russian Chrysostom. The saint humbly wrote of himself: “I am not a harvester, but I gather sheaves of grain; I am not an artist in literary matters.” He was always conscious of the sublime hierarchical service to which the Lord had called him: “If I were to speak of my own opinions, you would do well not to come to church, but I proclaim to you the Word of God. I read to you the accounts of Christ. I present to you the words of God, finer than gold or other stones, sweeter than mead or honeycomb, and you would be deprived of them by not coming to church, ... but I praise and bless those of you who do come.”


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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Antipascha: St Thomas Sunday

Commemorated on April 27

Some icons depicting this event are inscribed “The Doubting Thomas.” This is incorrect. In Greek, the inscription reads, “The Touching of Thomas.” The Slavonic inscription is, “The Belief of Thomas.” When St Thomas touched the Life-giving side of the Lord, he no longer had any doubts.

This day is also known as “Antipascha.” This does not mean “opposed to Pascha,” but “in place of Pascha.” Beginning with this first Sunday after Pascha, the Church dedicates every Sunday of the year to the Lord’s Resurrection. Sunday is called “Resurrection” in Russian, and “the Lord’s Day” in Greek.


From the sealed tomb, You did shine forth O Life! / Through closed doors You did come to Your disciples, O Christ God! / Renew in us, through them, an upright spirit, / By the greatness of Your mercy, O Resurrection of all!


Thomas touched Your life-giving side with an eager hand, O Christ God, / When You did come to Your apostles through closed doors. / He cried out with all: You are my Lord and my God!


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

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bright Friday: The Life Giving Spring of the Mother of God

Commemorated on April 25

Today we commemorate the Life-Giving Spring of the Most Holy Theotokos.

There once was a beautiful church in Constantinople dedicated to the Mother of God, which had been built in the fifth century by the holy Emperor Leo the Great (January 20) in the Seven Towers district.

Before becoming emperor, Leo was walking in a wooded area where he met a blind man who was thirsty and asked Leo to help him find water. Though he agreed to search for water, he was unable to find any. Suddenly, he heard a voice telling him that there was water nearby. He looked again, but still could not find the water. Then he heard the voice saying “Emperor Leo, go into the deepest part of the woods, and you will find water there. Take some of the cloudy water in your hands and give it to the blind man to drink.Then take the clay and put it on his eyes. Then you shall know who I am.” Leo obeyed these instructions, and the blind man regained his sight. Later, St Leo became emperor, just as the Theotokos had prophesied.

Leo built a church over the site at his own expense, and the water continued to work miraculous cures. Therefore, it was called “The Life-Giving Spring.”

After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the church was torn down by the Moslems, and the stones were used to build a mosque. Only a small chapel remained at the site of the church. Twenty-five steps led down into the chapel, which had a window in the roof to let the light in. The holy Spring was still there, surrounded by a railing.

After the Greek Revolution in 1821, even this little chapel was destroyed and the Spring was buried under the rubble. Christians later obtained permission to rebuild the chapel, and work began in July of 1833. While workmen were clearing the ground, they uncovered the foundations of the earlier church. The Sultan allowed them to build not just a chapel, but a new and beautiful church on the foundations of the old one.

Construction began on September 14, 1833, and was completed on December 30, 1834. Patriarch Constantine II consecrated the church on February 2, 1835, dedicating it to the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Turks desecrated and destroyed the church again on September 6, 1955. A smaller church now stands on the site, and the waters of the Life-Giving Spring continue to work miracles.

There is also a Life-Giving Spring Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos which is commemorated on April 4.


O most favored by God, you confer on me the healing of your grace from your inexhaustible Spring. Therefore, since you gave birth incomprehensibly to the Word, I implore you to refresh me with the dew of your grace that I might cry to you: Hail, O Water of salvation.


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

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Renewal Thursday

April 24

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
Christ is risen from the dead, by death hath He trampled down death, and on those in the graves hath He bestowed life.

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!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Renewal Monday

April 21


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

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!)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

HOLY PASCHA: The Resurrection of Our Lord

Commemorated on April 20

Pascha (Easter)

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith; receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

(Sermon of St John Chrysostom, read at Paschal Matins)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the center of the Christian faith. St Paul says that if Christ is not raised from the dead, then our preaching and faith are in vain (I Cor. 15:14). Indeed, without the resurrection there would be no Christian preaching or faith. The disciples of Christ would have remained the broken and hopeless band which the Gospel of John describes as being in hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. They went nowhere and preached nothing until they met the risen Christ, the doors being shut (John 20: 19). Then they touched the wounds of the nails and the spear; they ate and drank with Him. The resurrection became the basis of everything they said and did (Acts 2-4): “. . . for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

The resurrection reveals Jesus of Nazareth as not only the expected Messiah of Israel, but as the King and Lord of a new Jerusalem: a new heaven and a new earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . . the holy city, new Jerusalem. And I heard a great voice from the throne saying “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. . . He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:1-4).

In His death and resurrection, Christ defeats the last enemy, death, and thereby fulfills the mandate of His Father to subject all things under His feet (I Cor. 15:24-26).

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (Rev. 5: 12)


The Christian faith is celebrated in the liturgy of the Church. True celebration is always a living participation. It is not a mere attendance at services. It is communion in the power of the event being celebrated. It is God’s free gift of joy given to spiritual men as a reward for their self-denial. It is the fulfillment of spiritual and physical effort and preparation. The resurrection of Christ, being the center of the Christian faith, is the basis of the Church’s liturgical life and the true model for all celebration. This is the chosen and holy day, first of sabbaths, king and lord of days, the feast of feasts, holy day of holy days. On this day we bless Christ forevermore (Irmos 8, Paschal Canon).


Twelve weeks of preparation precede the “feast of feasts.” A long journey which includes five prelenten Sundays, six weeks of Great Lent and finally Holy Week is made. The journey moves from the self-willed exile of the prodigal son to the grace-filled entrance into the new Jerusalem, coming down as a bride beautifully adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2) Repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and study are the means by which this long journey is made.

Focusing on the veneration of the Cross at its midpoint, the lenten voyage itself reveals that the joy of the resurrection is achieved only through the Cross. “Through the cross joy has come into all the world,” we sing in one paschal hymn. And in the paschal troparion, we repeat again and again that Christ has trampled down death—by death! St Paul writes that the name of Jesus is exalted above every name because He first emptied Himself, taking on the lowly form of a servant and being obedient even to death on the Cross (Phil. 2:5-11). The road to the celebration of the resurrection is the self-emptying crucifixion of Lent. Pascha is the passover from death to life.

Yesterday I was buried with Thee, 0 Christ.
Today I arise with Thee in Thy resurrection.
Yesterday I was crucified with Thee:
Glorify me with Thee, 0 Savior, in Thy kingdom (Ode 3, Paschal Canon).


The divine services of the night of Pascha commence near midnight of Holy Saturday. At the Ninth Ode of the Canon of Nocturn, the priest, already vested in his brightest robes, removes the Holy Shroud from the tomb and carries it to the altar table, where it remains until the leave-taking of Pascha. The faithful stand in darkness. Then, one by one, they light their candles from the candle held by the priest and form a great procession out of the church. Choir, servers, priest and people, led by the bearers of the cross, banners, icons and Gospel book, circle the church. The bells are rung incessantly and the angelic hymn of the resurrection is chanted.

The procession comes to a stop before the principal doors of the church. Before the closed doors the priest and the people sing the troparion of Pascha, “Christ is risen from the dead...”, many times. Even before entering the church the priest and people exchange the paschal greeting: “Christ is Risen! Indeed He is risen!” This segment of the paschal services is extremely important. It preserves in the experience of the Church the primitive accounts of the resurrection of Christ as recorded in the Gospels. The angel rolled away the stone from the tomb not to let a biologically revived but physically entrapped Christ walk out, but to reveal that “He is not here; for He has risen, as He said” (Matt. 28:6).

In the paschal canon we sing:

Thou didst arise, 0 Christ, and yet the tomb remained sealed, as at Thy birth the Virgin’s womb remained unharmed; and Thou has opened for us the gates of paradise (Ode 6).

Finally, the procession of light and song in the darkness of night, and the thunderous proclamation that, indeed, Christ is risen, fulfill the words of the Evangelist John: “The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

The doors are opened and the faithful re-enter. The church is bathed in light and adorned with flowers. It is the heavenly bride and the symbol of the empty tomb:

Bearing life and more fruitful than paradise
Brighter than any royal chamber,
Thy tomb, 0 Christ, is the fountain or our resurrection (Paschal Hours).


Matins commences immediately. The risen Christ is glorified in the singing of the beautiful canon of St John of Damascus. The paschal greeting is repeatedly exchanged. Near the end of Matins the paschal verses are sung. They relate the entire narrative of the Lord’s resurrection. They conclude with the words calling us to actualize among each other the forgiveness freely given to all by God:

This is the day of resurrection.
Let us be illumined by the feast.
Let us embrace each other.
Let us call “brothers” even those who hate us,
And forgive all by the resurrection. . .

The sermon of St John Chrysostom is then read by the celebrant. The sermon was originally composed as a baptismal instruction. It is retained by the Church in the paschal services because everything about the night of Pascha recalls the Sacrament of Baptism: the language and general terminology of the liturgical texts, the specific hymns, the vestment color, the use of candles and the great procession itself. Now the sermon invites us to a great reaffirmation of our baptism: to union with Christ in the receiving of Holy Communion.

If any man is devout and loves God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. . . the table is fully laden; feast you all sumptuously. . . the calf is fatted, let no one go hungry away. . .


The sermon announces the imminent beginning of the Divine Liturgy. The altar table is fully laden with the divine food: the Body and Blood of the risen and glorified Christ. No one is to go away hungry. The service books are very specific in saying that only he who partakes of the Body and Blood of Christ eats the true Pascha. The Divine Liturgy, therefore, normally follows immediately after paschal Matins. Foods from which the faithful have been asked to abstain during the lenten journey are blessed and eaten only after the Divine Liturgy.


Pascha is the inauguration of a new age. It reveals the mystery of the eighth day. It is our taste, in this age, of the new and unending day of the Kingdom of God. Something of this new and unending day is conveyed to us in the length of the paschal services, in the repetition of the paschal order for all the services of Bright Week, and in the special paschal features retained in the services for the forty days until Ascension. Forty days are, as it were, treated as one day. Together they comprise the symbol of the new time in which the Church lives and toward which she ever draws the faithful, from one degree of glory to another.

0 Christ, great and most holy Pascha.
0 Wisdom, Word and Power of God,
grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee in the never-ending day of Thy kingdom
(Ninth Ode, Paschal Canon).

The V. Rev. Paul Lazor
New York, 1977


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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Monkmartyr Agathangelus of Esphigmenou of Mt Athos

Commemorated on April 19

The Monk Martyr Agathangelus, in the world Athanasius, was born in the city of Enos, Thrace, and was raised in a strict Orthodox family. After the death of his parents Constantine and Krystalia, he became a sailor. The Turks wanted to convert the skilled and intelligent youth to Islam, but knew that he would not do so of his own free will. So they arrested him in the city of Smyrna, wounded him and threatened him with death, then demanded that he become a Moslem.

The youth was terrified and promised to do as they asked, hoping to escape from the bullies and then go back on his promise. However, he was unable to do this for a long time. Tormented by pangs of conscience, he was able to quit the city and seek refuge on Mount Athos. Igumen Euthymius of Esphigmenou monastery confessed him and blessed him to become a novice.

St Athanasius considered even his most intense efforts insufficient to atone for his sin of apostasy. He believed that he had to suffer martyrdom for Christ, and he began to pray about this.

On the fourth Sunday of Great Lent the nineteen-year-old youth was tonsured as a monk with the name Agathangelus.

St Nicholas the Wonderworker appeared to the new monk in a dream and promised to help him. The igumen of the monastery saw this as a special sign, and blessed St Agathangelus to bear witness to Christ at Smyrna before those who forced him to become a Moslem.

In the Ottoman courtroom the confessor told how they had compelled him to accept an alien faith. Then he publicly renounced Islam and confessed himself a Christian. They began to cajole and admonish St Agathangelus to reconsider his statement. He replied, “I will not give in to you, nor to your threats, nor to your promises. I love only Christ, I follow only Christ, only in my Christ do I hope to know happiness.”

The judge threatened him with death by torture. “I am prepared to endure all for my Christ! I accept every manner of torment with the greatest joy! I ask only that you do not tarry in carrying out your word,” the saint replied.

They bound St Agathangelus with heavy chains, hammered his feet into wooden boots, and threw him into prison. With him were two other wrongly condemned Christians. One of them, Nicholas, gave an account of the saint’s martyrdom.

On the following day, St Agathangelus was again brought before the judge in fetters. Bravely enduring all the torments which the Turks had readied for him, he again was sent to prison. Nicholas told him that a certain influential man would intervene before the judge for his release, but St Agathangelus wrote a note to this man asking that he not attempt to free him, but to pray to God that he be strengthened for martyrdom.

The saint readied himself for the final trial. At midnight, it was revealed to him in a vision that they would execute him no later than five o’clock, and he waited for the appointed hour. At about the fourth hour, a watch was placed over him. Seeing no possibility of converting the confessor from his faith in Christ, the judges decided to execute him. Absorbed in prayer, the martyr did not take notice the preparations for execution, nor the large throng of people.

He was beheaded at the fifth hour of the morning, on April 19, 1818. Christians gathered up the holy relics of the martyr and buried them in the city of Smyrna, in the church of the Great Martyr George.

A portion of the relics of St Agathangelus was sent to the Esphigmenou monastery on Mount Athos in 1844.


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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holy Wednesday

April 16

Two women - say the more discerning interpreters of the Gospel - anointed the Lord with myrrh; the one, a long time before His Passion; the other, a few days before. One was a harlot and sinner; the other, chaste and virtuous. The Church commemorates this reverent act today. While mentioning herein the person of the harlot, it also mentions Judas' betrayal; for, according to the account in Matthew, both of these deeds took place two days before the Passover, on Wednesday.

That woman, then, anointed Jesus' head and feet with very precious myrrh, and wiped them with the tresses of her hair. The disciples, especially the avaricious Judas, were scandalized, supposedly because of the waste of the myrrh, which could be sold for a great price and given to the poor. The Lord Jesus reproved them and told them not to trouble the woman. Indignant, Judas went to the high priests, who were gathered in the court of Caiaphas and were already taking counsel against Jesus. On agreeing with them to betray his Teacher for thirty pieces of silver, Judas sought from that time opportunity to betray Him (Matt. 26:14-16). Because the betrayal took place on Wednesday, we have received the tradition from Apostolic times to fast on Wednesday throughout the year.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
See! The Bridegroom sets forth in the dead of night. And blessed is that servant whom he shall find on watch; unworthy the one he shall come upon lazing. See to it, soul, that sleep does not overtake you, lest you be given up to death and be shut out of the kingdom. Bestir yourself, then, and sing out: "Holy, holy, holy are You, our God; by the power of Your Cross, save us."

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Though I have outdone the harlot in sin, yet I have offered You no shower of tears. Rather, I fall before You fervently kissing Your spotless feet, praying silently that, as Master, You will remit my debts as I cry: "Savior, free me from the foulness of my deeds!"


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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Martyr Suchias and his Soldiers in Georgia: Andrew, Anastasius, Talali, Ivherion, Jordan, Kondrat, Lucian, Mimnenos, Nerangios, Polyeuctus, Jacob, Phocas, Domenitian, Victor, Zosimas and Theodoritus

Upper leftMartyr Suchias

Upper rightMarty Victor

Commemorated on April 15

The Holy Martyr Suchias and his 16 Georgian Companions were illustrious dignitaries who served at the court of the Albanian (Hagbanite) ruler (i.e. “Caucasian Albania” on the present day territory of Azerbaizhan).

Escorting the Albanian ruler’s daughter Satenika, wife of the Armenian emperor Artaxar (88-123), St Suchias and his sixteen companions arrived in Artashat, the ancient capital of Armenia (the city was later destroyed by the Romans in the year 163).

Preaching there at the time was a Greek Christian named Chrysos, who had been enlightened and ordained by the holy Apostle Thaddeus (August 21). The Georgian dignitaries came to believe in Christ the Savior, and they resolved to devote their lives to the service of God. All seventeen of the newly-converted followed Chrysos into Mesopotamia. When Bishop Chrysos baptized them in the waters of the Euphrates, they were permitted to behold the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ.

The holy martyrs set up a cross at the place of their Baptism and named it the “Cross of the Annunciation.” Bishop Chrysos gave all the saints new names: the eldest was called Suchias (replacing his old name Bagadras), and his companions were named Andrew, Anastasius, Talale, Theodoritus, Ivherion, Jordan, Kondrat, Lukian, Mimnenus, Nerangius, Polyeuctus, James, Phoka, Domentian, Victor and Zosimas.

After the martyric death of Bishop Chrysos, St Suchias became the spiritual leader of the brethren. All soon resettled in a wild locality on Mount Sukaketi, not far from the mountain village of Bagrevandi. Here the former dignitaries led very strict ascetic lives. The scant mountain vegetation served as their food, and they drank from a cold spring of water.

The new ruler of pagan Albania, Datianos, learned that his former officials had accepted Christianity and had gone into solitude. He sent his associate Barnapas with a detachment of soldiers to persuade them to return to court and return also to their former faith. Barnapas searched for St Suchias and his companions, but keeping their vow of service to God, they refused all entreaties.

Then by order of Barnapas, St Suchias and his companions were stretched out and nailed to the ground, and then burned. After this, their bodies were dismembered and scattered all about Mount Sukaketi, from which the martyrs received also the title the “Mesukevians” (more correctly, “Sukaketians”). This occurred in the year 123 (by another account, in the year 130; although an Athos manuscript of the eleventh century from the Iveron monastery gives the year as 100).

The holy relics of the martyrs remained incorrupt and unburied until the fourth century, when they were placed in graves and consigned to the earth by local Christians (the names of the holy martyrs were found written on a cliff).

The holy hieromartyr Gregory, Enlightener of Armenia (September 30), built a church on this spot and established a monastery. And afterwards, a curative spring of water was discovered there.


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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Martyr Ardalion the Actor

The Holy Martyr Ardalion suffered for Christ under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). St Ardalion was a talented actor.

Once, he played the role of a Christian. In the play, the actor at first refused to offer sacrifice to idols, but then consented to renounce Christ. Suddenly the saint ordered everyone to be quiet and declared that he actually was a Christian.

St Ardalion continued to confess his faith in Christ. Then the governor ordered the martyr to be thrown onto a red-hot iron grill. So St Ardalion attained a martyr’s crown.


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

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome

April 13

Saint Martin was born in Tuscany. He had been the papal delegate at Constantinople; upon the death of Pope Theodore, Saint Martin was elected his successor. At this time the Emperor Constans II, also known as Constantine Pogonatus (reigned 641-668), was seeking support of his confession of faith called the Typos, which espoused the Monothelite heresy, that is, that there is only one will and energy in the Incarnate Son of God. But the newly-consecrated Pope not only did not accept the Typos, but convened the Lateran Council of 649 (attended by 105 of his bishops, and Saint Maximus the Confessor, who was then in Rome), which anathematized the Typos and the Monothelite heresy. Because of this Saint Martin was seized by an imperial force in 653 and brought to Constantinople, where he was charged with sending money to the Saracens and conspiring with them, and blaspheming against the most holy Mother of God. Though innocent of these accusations, he was exiled to Cherson on the Black Sea, where, after many sufferings and privations, he received the crown of his courageous confession in the year 655.

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


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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Venerable Acacius the Younger of Mt Athos

Commemorated on April 12

Saint Acacius the New was a monk at the Holy Trinity monastery of St Dionysius of Olympus (January 24) at Zagora. After visiting several monasteries on Mount Athos, the saint on the advice of his father-confessor, Father Galacteon, settled in the skete monastery of St Maximus the Hut-Burner (“Kavsokalyvites”, January 13), who repeatedly appeared to the ascetic.

The exploits of St Acacius were extremely severe: in place of bread he ate dry grass, which he crushed with a piece of marble. When asked how much a monk ought to sleep, he said that for a true monk half an hour even was sufficient. He said, “In order to conquer the flesh, a monk must practice two virtues: fasting and vigil.” In spite of his age and illness, he was an example of this.

Once, when St Acacius had come on a Sunday to the skete church, the igumen Neophytus handed him his own staff and said, “Father, take the staff, and be the Superior for all these brethren until your last breath.” St Acacius kissed the hand of the igumen, and accepted the staff with all humility. Although previously he had walked with a staff because of his age, from that time forward the righteous one no longer held a staff in his hand.

For his exalted exploits St Acacius was granted the gifts of unceasing mental prayer and divine revelations. He fell asleep in the Lord on April 12, 1730, being nearly a hundred years old.


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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Martyrs Processus and Martinian of Rome

Commemorated on April 11

The Holy Martyrs Processus and Martinian were pagans and they served as guards at the Mamertine prison in Rome.

State criminals were held in this prison, among them some Christians. Watching the Christian prisoners and listening to their preaching, Processus and Martinian gradually came to the knowledge of the Savior. When the holy Apostle Peter was locked up at the Mamertine prison, Processus and Martinian came to believe in Christ. They accepted holy Baptism from the apostle and released him from prison.

The jailer Paulinus learned about this, and he demanded that Sts Processus and Martinian renounce Christ. But they fearlessly confessed Christ, and they spat at the golden statue of Jupiter. Paulinus ordered that they be slapped on the face, and then seeing the resolute stance of the holy martyrs, he subjected them to torture. The martyrs were beaten with iron rods, scorched with fire, and finally, thrown into prison.

A certain illustrious and pious woman, by the name of Lucina, visited them in prison and gave them help and encouragement. The torturer Paulinus was soon punished by God. He fell blind and died three days later. The son of Paulinus went to the city ruler demanding that the martyrs be put to death. Sts Processus and Martinian were beheaded by the sword (+ ca. 67).

Lucina buried the bodies of the martyrs. Today their tomb is in the south transept of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.


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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Terence & his Companions beheaded at Carthage

April 10

These Saints were from Africa, and they all contested during the reign of Decius, in 251. After many torments, they were beheaded at the command of Fortunatus the Governor.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
All the powers of Heaven were awestruck and amazed at the achievements and deeds of the holy Martyrs of Christ; for contending well in mortal bodies clothed with flesh, they overcame the fleshless foe by the power of the Cross and invisibly subdued him. And now they pray to the Lord, that He might bestow His mercy on our souls.


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

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Icon of the Mother of God “Spanish”

The Spanish Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, which is one of the Panachranta type, depicts the Mother of God seated upon a throne.


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

Monday, April 07, 2014

Venerable Serapion of Egypt

Saint Serapion lived during the fifth century in Egypt. He was called the linen cloth-wearer (Sindonite) since he wore only a coarse linen garb called a “sindon.” From his youth the monk lived like the birds of the air, without a shelter.

For several days at a time he did not eat, not having the means to buy bread. He gave away his sindon to a beggar who was shivering from the cold, and he himself was naked.

A certain Greek philosopher, wishing to test the non-covetousness of the monk, gave him a gold coin and watched him. The saint went to the bakery, bought one loaf of bread, gave the merchant the gold coin and left, having no regard for the value of the money.

St Serapion led many on the way of salvation. Once, he was the servant of a Greek actor, whom he converted to Christ. The actor, imitating the example of the holy life of the saint, believed and was baptized together with all his family. He asked St Serapion to remain with him not as a servant, but as a guide and friend, but the monk went away, not taking any of the money offered him.

Traveling to Rome, St Serapion got on a ship, but paid nothing to the ship owners. At first they began to reproach him for this, but noticing that the Elder had gone five days already without eating, they began to feed him for the sake of God, and in this they fulfilled the command of the Lord.

At Rome, the saint continued to wander about, going from house to house, having nothing, accumulating only spiritual wealth for himself and for his neighbor.


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

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

April 06

Tone of the week: Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Eighth Eothinon

The memory of this Saint is celebrated on April 1, where her life is recorded. Since the end of the holy Forty Days is drawing nigh, it has been appointed for this day also, so that if we think it hard to practice a little abstinence forty days, we might be roused by the heroism of her who fasted in the wilderness forty-seven years; and also that the great loving-kindness of God, and His readiness to receive the repentant, might be demonstrated in very deed.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
From on high didst Thou descend, O Compassionate One; to burial of three days hast Thou submitted that Thou mightest free us from our passions. O our Life and Resurrection, Lord, glory be to Thee.

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

Seasonal Kontakion in the Second Tone
O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.


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

Saturday, April 05, 2014

5th Saturday of Great Lent: of the Akathist to the Theotokos

Commemorated on April 5

On the Fifth Saturday of Great Lent, the Saturday of the Akathist, we commemorate the “Laudation of the Virgin” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.

In 625, when the emperor Heraclius was fighting the Persians, the Khan sent forces to attack Constantinople by land and by sea. Patriarch Sergius urged the people not to lose heart, but to trust in God.

A procession was made around the city with the Cross of the Lord, the robe of the Virgin, the Icon of the Savior not made by hands, and the Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God. The Patriarch dipped the Virgin’s robe in the sea, and the city’s defenders beat back the Khan’s sea forces. The sea became very rough, and many boats sank. The invaders retreated, and the people of Constantinople gave thanks to God and to His Most Pure Mother.

On two other occasions, in 655 and 705, the Theotokos protected the city from Saracen invaders. A feastday dedicated to the Laudation of the Virgin was established to commemorate these victories. The Akathist to the Mother of God is believed to originate from this period, and its use has spread from Constantinople to other Orthodox lands.

The icon before which the Akathist was sung was given to the Dionysiou Monastery on Mt. Athos by Emperor Alexius Comnenos. There, it began to flow with myrrh. There were at least three wonderworking copies of this icon in Russia before the Revolution.

This icon shows the Mother of God seated on a throne, and surrounded by Prophets with scrolls.


When the archangel understood the mysterious command, / he came to the house of Joseph with haste and proclaimed to the unwedded Lady: / The One Who bowed the heavens by His condescension / is contained wholly and without change in you! / As I behold Him in your womb, taking the form of a servant, I am frightened, but cry: / Rejoice, unwedded Bride!


Victorious leader of triumphant hosts, / we your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, Theotokos! / As you possess invincible might set us free from every calamity, / so that we may sing: Rejoice, unwedded Bride!


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

Friday, April 04, 2014

Virginmartyr Pherbutha (Phermoutha) of Persia, with her sister and servant

Commemorated on April 4

The Holy Martyr Pherbutha (Phermoutha) and her sister and servants were martyred for Christ between the years 341 and 343. St Pherbutha and her sister were sisters of Bishop Simeon of Seleucia, who suffered for Christ under the Persian emperor Sapor between the years 341-344.

Both sisters and their servants had been brought to the court by the empress to attend her. St Pherbutha was distinguished by her extraordinary beauty, and the empress suggested that she marry in order to gain high position. The saint refused, since she had made a vow of virginity and total service to God.

Soon the empress fell ill. The sorcerers who were brought in to treat the empress, saw St Pherbutha and were struck by her extraordinary beauty. One of them asked her to become his wife. The saint answered that she was a Christian and had vowed to remain a bride of Christ.

The offended sorcerer reported to the emperor that the sickness of the empress was caused by poison given her by servants. By order of the emperor St Pherbutha, and her sister and servants were brought to trial.

At the trial the holy martyrs fearlessly declared that they were innocent of any crime, and that they were prepared to accept death for Christ.

The chief judge, the sorcerer Mauptis, was captivated by the beauty of the holy virgin Pherbutha, and he secretly sent his servant to her in the prison offering to free her and her companions, if only she would consent to become his wife. The two other judges secretly made similar offers to the holy virgin, one after the other.

St Pherbutha resolutely refused all these offers, saying that she was a bride of Christ and could never consent to an earthly marriage.

After this, the martyrs were found guilty of being Christians and of working magic in poisoning the empress, and they were sentenced to death. The pagan priests said that the bodies of the Christians should be cut into pieces. They placed three pieces on one side, and three pieces on the other side. Then they told the empress to walk between the body parts in order to receive healing. The bodies of the holy martyrs were thrown into a ditch, from which Christians secretly retrieved them and buried them.


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

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Titus the Wonderworker

April 2

Little is known of this Saint except that he took up the monastic life from his youth, became the abbot of a monastery, and reposed in peace.

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 Titus, 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!)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Martyrs Gerontius and Basilides

Commemorated on April 1

 The Martyrs Gerontius and Basilides suffered martyrdom for Christ in the third century. They were beheaded by the sword.


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

 Martyr Gerontius