The Holy Martyr Julitta lived at Caesarea in Cappadocia
during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). A certain pagan
stole all her property, and when Julitta turned for relief to the
courts, her antagonist reported to the judge that she was a Christian,
which placed her outside the law’s protection.
The judge demanded
that the saint renounce Christ, for which he promised to return her
unlawfully taken property. St Julitta resolutely refused the deceitful
conditions, and for this she was burned to death in the year 304 (or
305). St Basil the Great wrote an Encomium to St Julitta 70 years after
her death as a martyr.
The Hieromartyr Polychronius, Bishop of Babylon; the
presbyters Parmenius, Helimenas, and Chrysotelus; the deacons Luke and
Mocius; the holy Persian Martyrs Abdon and Sennen; and the holy martyrs
Olympius and Maximus suffered during the third century under the emperor
When Decius conquered Babylon, he found many
Christians there and he began a persecution against them. He arrested St
Polychronius, Bishop of Babylon, the three priests Parmenius,
Helimenas, Chrysotelus, and two deacons, Luke and Mocius. They were
brought before the emperor, who commanded them to offer sacrifice to
idols. St Polychronius boldly replied, “We offer ourselves in sacrifice
to our Lord Jesus Christ, but we shall never worship idols made by human
The enraged Decius had the confessors thrown into
prison. When they were brought out for a second interrogation, St
Polychronius remained silent. Decius said, “Your leader is voiceless.”
St Parmenius replied, “The holy bishop is not without a voice, but he
does not wish to defile his pure lips and ‘cast pearls before swine’”
(Mt. 7:6). In a rage Decius commanded that St Parmenius’ tongue be cut
out. In spite of this, Parmenius spoke clearly to St Polychronius,
saying, “Pray for me, Father, for I behold the Holy Spirit upon you.”
order of Decius the holy Bishop Polychronius was struck in the mouth
with stones, and he gave up his spirit. They left his body lying in
front of the temple of Saturn. Two Persian princes, Abdon and Sennen,
who were secret Christians, came at night and buried the body of the
holy martyr by the city walls.
Decius left for the city of
Kordula, and ordered that the three presbyters and two deacons be taken
along. At Kordula he again demanded that the martyrs offer sacrifice to
idols. St Parmenius, despite his missing tongue, loudly and firmly
Believing that St Parmenius was able speak through some
sort of magic power, Decius increased the tortures and ordered that the
confessors be burned with fire. Then a Voice was heard from Heaven,
“Come to Me, ye humble of heart.” Decius believed that this was also the
work of magic, and he ordered the priests and deacons beheaded with an
The Persian princes Abdon and Sennen took the bodies of the
martyrs by night and buried them in their own village near Kordula.This
was reported to Decius.The princes were arrested and brought before the
emperor, who commanded that the holy princes be locked up in prison.
The saints rejoiced and glorified God.
On the same day two other
Persians, Olympius and Maximus, were brought before Decius and charged
with being Christians. The holy martyrs were fiercely tortured and
beheaded for their bold confession of faith in Christ. For five days
their bodies lay unburied, but on the sixth day Christians secretly
buried them at night.
Decius returned to Rome with Abdon and
Sennen in chains. He told the saints to offer sacrifice to the gods,
promising them freedom and honors. The holy martyrs answered, “We offer
ourselves in sacrifice to our God Jesus Christ, therefore offer your
sacrifice to your own gods.” Decius sentenced them to be eaten by wild
beasts. They set two lions upon them, and later on four bears, which
would not touch the holy martyrs, but instead lay at their feet. Then
they ran Abdon and Sennen through with swords. Their bodies lay for
three days before an idol to frighten Christians. By night a secret
Christian named Cyrenius took the bodies of the martyrs and buried them
in his own home.
The holy Martyrs Abdon and Sennen suffered in the year 251. Their relics are preserved in the church of St Mark at Rome.
The Holy Martyr Acacius was brought to trial for his belief in
Christ. Three governors attempted to compel the holy martyr to offer
sacrifice to idols, having subjected him to fierce tortures. Governor
Licinius gave orders to rend the body of St Acacius with instruments of
torture. He then sent him to Governor Terence, who gave orders to throw
Acacius into a cauldron filled with boiling tar and tallow, but the
martyr remained unharmed. Terence went to the cities of Apamea and
Apollonia and gave orders to bring the martyr after him. In one of these
cities St Acacius was led into a pagan temple, but by his prayer all
the idols there fell down.
They beat the saint viciously and gave
him over to be eaten by wild beasts. When they saw that he remained
unharmed, they threw him into a red-hot furnace. The martyr also
remained unharmed there. The governor, wanting to check whether the
furnace was sufficiently hot, went near it and was burned himself. They
then took the holy Martyr Acacius for torture to a certain Posidonius,
who put heavy fetters on the holy martyr and gave orders to take him to
the city of Miletus. There also the saint, by his prayer, destroyed
idols. Finally, the exhausted torturers beheaded St Acacius. A priest by
the name of Leontius buried his body in the city of Synados (Asia
The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon was born in the city of
Nicomedia into the family of the illustrious pagan Eustorgius, and he
was named Pantoleon. His mother St Euboula (March 30) was a Christian.
She wanted to raise her son in the Christian Faith, but she died when
the future martyr was just a young child. His father sent Pantoleon to a
pagan school, after which the young man studied medicine at Nicomedia
under the renowned physician Euphrosynus. Pantoleon came to the
attention of the emperor Maximian (284-305), who wished to appoint him
as royal physician when he finished his schooling.
hieromartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates, survivors of the
massacre of 20,000 Christians in 303 (December 28), were living secretly
in Nicomedia at that time. St Hermolaus saw Pantoleon time and again
when he came to the house where they were hiding. Once, the priest
invited the youth to the house and spoke about the Christian Faith.
After this Pantoleon visited St Hermolaus every day.
One day the
saint found a dead child on the street. He had been bitten by a great
snake, which was still beside the child’s body. Pantoleon began to pray
to the Lord Jesus Christ to revive the dead child and to destroy the
venomous reptile. He firmly resolved that if his prayer were fulfilled,
he would become a follower of Christ and receive Baptism. The child rose
up alive, and the snake died before Pantoleon’s eyes.
miracle, Pantoleon was baptized by St Hermolaus with the name
Panteleimon (meaning “all-merciful”). Speaking with Eustorgius, St
Panteleimon prepared him to accept Christianity. When the father saw how
his son healed a blind man by invoking Jesus Christ, he then believed
in Christ and was baptized by St Hermolaus together with the man whose
sight was restored.
After the death of his father, St Panteleimon
dedicated his life to the suffering, the sick, the unfortunate and the
needy. He treated all those who turned to him without charge, healing
them in the name of Jesus Christ. He visited those held captive in
prison. These were usually Christians, and he healed them of their
wounds. In a short time, reports of the charitable physician spread
throughout the city. Forsaking the other doctors, the inhabitants began
to turn only to St Panteleimon.
The envious doctors told the
emperor that St Panteleimon was healing Christian prisoners. Maximian
urged the saint to refute the charge by offering sacrifice to idols. St
Panteleimon confessed himself a Christian, and suggested that a sick
person, for whom the doctors held out no hope, should be brought before
the emperor. Then the doctors could invoke their gods, and Panteleimon
would pray to his God to heal the man. A man paralyzed for many years
was brought in, and pagan priests who knew the art of medicine invoked
their gods without success. Then, before the very eyes of the emperor,
the saint healed the paralytic by calling on the name of Jesus Christ.
The ferocious Maximian executed the healed man, and gave St Panteleimon
over to fierce torture.
The Lord appeared to the saint and
strengthened him before his sufferings. They suspended the Great Martyr
Panteleimon from a tree and scraped him with iron hooks, burned him with
fire and then stretched him on the rack, threw him into a cauldron of
boiling tar, and cast him into the sea with a stone around his neck.
Throughout these tortures the martyr remained unhurt, and denounced the
At this time the priests Hermolaus, Hermippus and
Hermocrates were brought before the court of the pagans. All three
confessed their faith in the Savior and were beheaded (July 26).
order of the emperor they brought the Great Martyr Panteleimon to the
circus to be devoured by wild beasts. The animals, however, came up to
him and licked his feet. The spectators began to shout, “Great is the
God of the Christians!” The enraged Maximian ordered the soldiers to
stab with the sword anyone who glorified Christ, and to cut off the head
of the Great Martyr Panteleimon.
They led the saint to the place
of execution and tied him to an olive tree. While the martyr prayed, one
of the soldiers struck him with a sword, but the sword became soft like
wax and inflicted no wound. The saint completed his prayer, and a Voice
was heard from Heaven, calling the passion-bearer by his new name and
summoning him to the heavenly Kingdom.
Hearing the Voice, the
soldiers fell down on their knees before the holy martyr and begged
forgiveness. They refused to continue with the execution, but St
Panteleimon told them to fulfill the emperor’s command, because
otherwise they would have no share with him in the future life. The
soldiers tearfully took their leave of the saint with a kiss.
the saint was beheaded, the olive tree to which the saint was tied
became covered with fruit. Many who were present at the execution
believed in Christ. The saint’s body was thrown into a fire, but
remained unharmed, and was buried by Christians . St Panteleimon’s
servants Laurence, Bassos and Probus witnessed his execution and heard
the Voice from Heaven. They recorded the life, the sufferings and death
of the saint.
Portions of the holy relics of the Great Martyr
Panteleimon were distributed throughout all the Christian world. His
venerable head is now located at the Russian monastery of St Panteleimon
on Mt. Athos.
The veneration of the holy martyr in the Russian
Orthodox Church was already known in the twelfth century. Prince
Izyaslav (in Baptism, Panteleimon), the son of St Mstislav the Great,
had an image of St Panteleimon on his helmet. Through the intercession
of the saint he remained alive during a battle in the year 1151. On the
Feast of the Great Martyr Panteleimon, Russian forces won two naval
victories over the Swedes (in 1714 near Hanhauze and in 1720 near
St Panteleimon is venerated in the Orthodox Church as a
mighty saint, and the protector of soldiers. This aspect of his
veneration is derived from his first name Pantoleon, which means “a lion
in everything”. His second name, Panteleimon, given him at Baptism,
which means “all-merciful”, is manifest in the veneration of the martyr
as a healer. The connection between these two aspects of the saint is
readily apparent in that soldiers, receiving wounds more frequently than
others, are more in need of a physician-healer. Christians waging
spiritual warfare also have recourse to this saint, asking him to heal
their spiritual wounds.
The holy Great Martyr and Healer
Panteleimon is invoked in the Mystery of Anointing the Sick, at the
Blessing of Water, and in the Prayers for the Sick.
The Feast of
the holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon is the patronal Feast of
the Russian monastery on Athos. The forefeast starts eight days before
the Feast. Each day after Vespers, Moliebens are sung with Canons in
each of the eight tones. Thus, each day has its own particular Canon.
The second day of the Feast is the monastery feastday. On this day a
general Panikhida is served after Vespers in memory of the founders and
benefactors of the monastery, and kollyva (kutia: wheat or rice boiled
with honey) is blessed and distributed.
The verses of the Ninth
Ode of the Canon of the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon from the
manuscript of the Athonite service are reprinted in the “Journal of the
Moscow Patriarchate” insert into lives values (0, 1975, No.3, pp.
TROPARION - TONE 3
Holy Passion-bearer and healer Panteleimon, / entreat the merciful God, / to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.
KONTAKION- TONE 5
You emulated the Merciful One, / and received from Him the grace of
healing, / Passion-bearer and healer Panteleimon; / by your prayers,
heal our spiritual diseases / and continually drive away the temptations
of the enemy / from those who cry out in faith “Save us, O Lord.”
The Fifth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II) was held at
Constantinople, under the holy Emperor St Justinian I (527-565) in the
year 553, to determine the Orthodoxy of three dead bishops: Theodore of
Mopsuetia, Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Ibas of Edessa, who had expressed
Nestorian opinions in their writings in the time of the Third Ecumenical
Council (September 9).
These three bishops had not been
condemned at the Fourth Ecumenical Council (July 16), which condemned
the Monophysites, and in turn had been accused by the Monophysites of
Nestorianism. Therefore, to deprive the Monophysites of the possibility
of accusing the Orthodox of sympathy for Nestorianism, and also to
dispose the heretical party towards unity with the followers of the
Council of Chalcedon, the emperor St Justinian issued an edict. In it
“the Three Chapters” (the three deceased bishops) were condemned. But
since the edict was issued on the emperor’s initiative, and since it was
not acknowledged by representatives of all the Church (particularly in
the West, and in Africa), a dispute arose about the “Three Chapters.”
The Fifth Ecumenical Council was convened to resolve this dispute.
bishops attended this Council. Pope Vigilius, though present in
Constantinople, refused to participate in the Council, although he was
asked three times to do so by official deputies in the name of the
gathered bishops and the Emperor himself. The Council opened with St
Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople (552-565, 577-582), presiding. In
accordance with the imperial edict, the matter of the “Three Chapters”
was carefully examined in eight prolonged sessions from May 4 to June 2,
Anathema was pronounced against the person and teachings of
Theodore of Mopsuetia. In the case of Theodore and Ibas, the
condemnations were confined only to certain of their writings, while
they personally had been cleared by the Council of Chalcedon, because of
their repentance. Thus, they were spared from the anathema.
measure was necessary because certain of the proscribed works contained
expressions used by the Nestorians to interpret the definitions of the
Council of Chalcedon for their own ends. But the leniency of the Fathers
of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, in a spirit of moderate economy
regarding the persons of Bishops Theodore and Ibas, instead embittered
the Monophysites against the decisions of the Council. Besides which,
the emperor had given the orders to promulgate the Conciliar decisions
together with a decree of excommunication against Pope Vigilius, for
being like-minded with the heretics. The Pope afterwards concurred with
the mind of the Fathers, and signed the Conciliar definition. The
bishops of Istria and all the region of the Aquilea metropolia, however,
remained in schism for more than a century.
At the Council the
Fathers likewise examined the errors of presbyter Origen, a renowned
Church teacher of the third century. His teaching about the
pre-existence of the human soul was condemned. Other heretics, who did
not admit the universal resurrection of the dead, were also condemned.
pleased the Lord that the Holy Spirit should inspire the Fathers of the
Council in a further definition of Orthodoxy that preserves the
integrity and dignity both of God and of mankind, without the distortion
of either that occurs within the Nestorian or Monophysite heresies.
Saint Hilarion of Tvali (Tulashvili) served as abbot of Khakhuli
Monastery in southwestern Georgia at the beginning of the 11th century.
In his work The Life of George of the Holy Mountain, George the Lesser writes that Venerable Hilarion was outstanding in virtue and celebrated for his sermons and ascetic labors.
Hilarion raised the young George of the Holy Mountain to be a brilliant
writer, translator, theologian and patriot. From him George also
received a blessing to enter the monastic life.
According to the chronicle Life of Kartli, St. Hilarion was a famous translator and writer and an eminent theologian.
St. Hilarion moved from Khakhuli to Tvali Monastery, not far from
Antioch, where he remained for the rest of his life. According to the
19th-century historian-iconographer Michael Sabinin, St. Hilarion reposed in the year 1041.
The Transfer of the Relics of the Hieromartyr Phocas from Sinope to
Constantinople occurred on July 22 in either the year 403 or 404. His
life is found under September 22. TROPARION - TONE 4
By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, / you became a successor to
their throne. / Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to
divine contemplation, / O inspired one of God; / by teaching the word
of truth without error, you defended the Faith, / even to the shedding
of your blood. / Hieromartyr Phocas entreat Christ God to save our
KONTAKION - TONE 2
The Master established you as a brilliant sun / shining on all the
faithful, glorious hieromartyr Phocas. / He has accepted your life,
faith and contest as myrrh, / for He is rich in mercy.
These Saints were from the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia
and flourished during the reign of Justin the Younger (565-578). After a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem they were moved with a desire to forsake the
world; they were tonsured monks by the Abbot Nicon, and soon after left
the monastery to struggle together in the wilderness near the Dead Sea.
When they had passed a little more than thirty years together in silence
and prayer, Symeon, having reached the heights of dispassion, departed
for Emesa in Syria, where he passed the rest of his life playing the
fool, saving many souls from sin while hiding his sanctity with
seemingly senseless behavior. He reposed in 570; by the providence of
God, John, who had remained in the wilderness, departed soon after.
Apolytikion of John & Simeon in the Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy
gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide
our life in peace.
Kontakion of John & Simeon in the First Tone
With faith and love let us acclaim angelic and God-bearing Symeon
who, though in the flesh, appeared as one without flesh and shone
supernaturally with virtues; and with him let us praise renowned John,
for they intercede with the Lord unceasingly for us all.
Saint Dius, who was from Antioch in Syria, later came to
Constantinople and established a monastery there, and wrought many
wonders. He flourished in the time of Saint Theodosius the Great
Apolytikion of Dius, Abbot of Antioch in the First Tone
Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the
flesh, and a wonderworker, O Dius, our God-bearing Father. By fasting,
vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the
sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory
to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned
thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.
Kontakion of Dius, Abbot of Antioch in the Second Tone
In God, thou wast armed with purity of heart and soul; and taking
in hand unceasing prayer as though a spear, Father Dius, thou didst
mightily cut down all the demonic hordes, thou who workest wonders and
signs and prayest unceasingly for all of us.
St Barbara died with St Elizabeth on July 5, 1918, the day after the
murder of Tsar Nicholas and his family. The two nuns were thrown into a
mineshaft, and grenades were tossed in after them. St Elizabeth remained
alive for several hours, and could be heard singing hymns.
The bodies of St Barbara and St Elizabeth were taken to Jerusalem in 1920, and buried in the church of St Mary Magdalene.
TROPARION - TONE 4
Emulating the Lord’s self-abasement on the earth, / You gave up royal
mansions to serve the poor and disdained, / Overflowing with compassion
for the suffering. / And taking up a martyr’s cross, / In your meekness /
You perfected the Saviour’s image within yourself, / Therefore, with
Barbara, entreat / Him to save us all, O wise Elizabeth.
KONTAKION - TONE 3
In the midst of worldliness, / thy mournful heart dwelt in Heaven; / in
barbaric godlessness, / Your valiant soul was not troubled; / You longed
to meet your Bridegroom / as a confessor, / and He found you worthy of
your martyric purpose. / O Elizabeth, with Barbara, / Your brave
companion, / Pray to your Bridegroom for us.
Saint Alexis, the only son of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsaritsa Alexandra, was born in 1904.
St Alexis was shot by Bolshevik executioners on July 4, 1918 along with his parents and sisters.
TROPARION - TONE 1
Most noble and sublime was your life and death, O Sovereigns; / Wise
Nicholas and blest Alexandra, we praise you, / Acclaiming your piety,
meekness, faith, and humility, / Whereby you attained to crowns of glory
in Christ our God, / With your five renowned and godly children of
blessed fame. / O passion-bearers decked in purple, intercede for us. KONTAKION - TONE 2
Royalty and martyrdom were joined together, O blessed ones, / In your
death for righteousness and right belief, O wise Sovereigns, / Nicholas
and Alexandra, with your five children. / Hence, Christ our God counted
you worthy of thrones in Heaven; / And with twofold crowns of glory, /
You reign forever, adorned with grace divine.
This Saint was from Sebastia of Cappadocia and , according
to the Synaxaristes, became Bishop of Pidachthoa. He and ten of his
disciples were tortured and beheaded by the Governor of Philomarchus in
the times of Diocletian. There is a second Martyr Athenogenes
commemorated today, mentioned by Saint Basil in Chapter 29 of his
treatise "On the Holy Spirit"; it is said that as this Athenogenes
approached the fire, wherein he was to die a martyric death, he chanted
the hymn O Joyous Light in praise of the Holy Trinity (see also Mar.
Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Athenogenes in the Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the
Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of
ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of
truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O
Hieromartyr Athenogenes. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be
Kontakion of Hieromartyr Athenogenes in the Fourth Tone
Having followed the Lord's teaching, as an eminent shepherd thou
didst lay down thy life for Christ's sheep, O Hieromartyr Athenogenes.
Wherefore, we praise thee and thy ten disciples who suffered with thee,
guided by the fear of God and thy teaching; for the Lord hath crowned
you as Saints with His life-giving right hand. Pray, then, to Him in
behalf of us all.
Few names in
the annals of history can compare in significance with the name of St
Vladimir, the Baptizer of Rus, who stands at the beginning of the
spiritual destiny of the Russian Church and the Russian Orthodox people.
Vladimir was the grandson of St Olga, and he was the son of Svyatoslav
(+ 972). His mother, Malusha (+ 1001) was the daughter of Malk
Liubechanin, whom historians identify with Mal, prince of the Drevlyani.
Having subdued an uprising of the Drevlyani and conquered their cities,
Princess Olga gave orders to execute Prince Mal for his attempt to
marry her after he murdered her husband Igor, and she took to herself
Mal's children, Dobrynya and Malusha. Dobrynya grew up to be a valiant
brave warrior, endowed with a mind for state affairs, and he was later
on an excellent help to his nephew Vladimir in matters of military and
The "capable girl"
Malusha became a Christian (together with Great Princess Olga at
Constantinople), but she preserved in herself a bit of the mysterious
darkness of the pagan Drevlyani forests. Thus she fell in love with the
austere warrior Svyatoslav, who against the will of his mother Olga made
her his wife. The enraged Olga, regarding as unseemly the marriage of
her "housekeeper" and captive servant to her son Svyatoslav, heir to the
Great Kiev principality, sent Malusha away to her own native region not
far from Vybut. And there in about the year 960 was born the boy with
the Russian pagan name Volodimir, meaning peaceful ruler, ruling with a
special talent for peace.
In the year 970
Svyatoslav set out on a campaign from which he was fated not to return.
He had divided the Russian Land among his three sons. At Kiev Yaropolk
was prince; at Ovrucha, the center of the Drevlyani lands, was Oleg; at
Novgorod was Vladimir. In his first years as prince, we see Vladimir as a
fierce pagan. He headed a campaign, in which the whole of pagan Rus is
sympathetic to him, against Yaropolk the Christian, or in any case,
according to the chronicles, "having given great freedom to the
Christians", on July 11, 978 he entered into Kiev, having become the
"sole ruler" of the Kiev realm, "having subdued the surrounding lands,
some by peaceful means, and the unsubmissive ones by the sword."
Vladimir indulged himself in a wild, sensuous life, he was far from the
libertine that they sometimes portray him as being. He "shepherded his
land with truth, valor and reason", as a good and diligent master, of
necessity he extended and defended its boundaries by force of arms, and
in returning from military campaigns, he made for his companions and for
all Kiev liberal and merry feasts.
Lord prepared him for another task. Where sin increases, there, in the
words of the Apostle, grace abounds (Rom. 5: 20). "And upon him came
visitation of the Most High, and the All-Merciful eye of the Good God
gazed upon him, and shone forth the thought in his heart, of
understanding the vanity of idolous delusion, and of appealing to the
One God, Creator of all things both visible and invisible." The matter
of accepting Baptism was facilitated through external circumstances. The
Byzantine Empire was in upheaval under the blows of the mutinous
regiments of Bardas Skliros and Bardas Phocas, each of whom sought to
gain the imperial throne. In these difficult circumstances the emperors,
the coregent brothers Basil the Bulgar-Slayer and Constantine, turned
for help to Vladimir.
quickly. In August 987 Bardas Phocas proclaimed himself Emperor and
moved against Constantinople, and in autumn of that same year the
emissaries of Emperor Basil were at Kiev. "And having exhausted his
(Basil's) wealth, it compelled him to enter into an alliance with the
Emperor of the Russians. They were his enemies, but he besought their
help," writes one of the Arab chronicles of events in the 980s. "And the
Emperor of the Russians consented to this, and made common cause with
As a reward for his military help,
Vladimir asked for the hand of the emperors' sister Anna, which for the
Byzantines was an unheard of audacity. Princesses of the imperial
lineage did not marry "barbarian" rulers, even if they were Christians.
At the same time the emperor Otto the Great was seeking the hand of Anna
for his son, and he was refused. However, in Vladimir's case
Constantinople was obliged to consent.
agreement was concluded, according to which Vladimir had to send the
emperors six thousand Varangians, and to accept holy Baptism. Under
these conditions he would receive the hand of the imperial daughter
Anna. Thus in the strife of human events the will of God directed the
entering of Rus into the grace-filled bosom of the Ecumenical Church.
Great Prince Vladimir accepted Baptism and sent the military assistance
to Byzantium. With the aid of the Russians, the mutineers were destroyed
and Bardas Phocas killed. But the Greeks, gladdened by their unexpected
deliverance, were in no hurry to fulfill their part of the bargain.
at the Greek duplicity, Prince Vladimir "hastened to collect his
forces" and he moved "against Korsun, the Greek city," the ancient
Chersonessos. The "impenetrable" rampart of the Byzantine realm on the
Black Sea fell. It was one of the vitally important hubs of the economic
and mercantile links of the empire. This blow was so much felt, that
its echo resounded throughout all the regions of Byzantium.
again had the upper hand. His emissaries, the commanders Oleg and
Sjbern soon arrived in Constantinople for the imperial daughter. Eight
days passed in Anna's preparation, during which time her brothers
consoled her, stressing the significance of the opportunity before her:
to enable the enlightening of the Russian realm and its lands, and to
make them forever friends of the Byzantine realm. At Taurida St Vladimir
awaited her, and to his titles there was added a new one: Caesar
(Tsar). The haughty rulers of Constantinople had to accede also in this,
to bestow upon their new brother-in-law the imperial insignia. In
certain of the Greek historians, St Vladimir is termed from these times
as a "mighty basileios-king", he coins money in the Byzantine style and
is depicted on it with the symbols of imperial might: in imperial
attire, and on his head the imperial crown, and in his right hand the
sceptre with cross.
Together with the
empress Anna, there arrived for the Russian See Metropolitan Michael
ordained by holy Patriarch Nicholas II Chrysoberges. He came with his
retinue and clergy, and many holy relics and other holy things. In
ancient Chersonessos, where each stone brings to mind St Andrew the
First-Called, there took place the marriage-crowning of St Vladimir and
Blessed Anna, both reminiscent and likewise affirming the oneness of the
Gospel of Christ in Rus and in Byzantium. Korsun, the "empress's
dowry", was returned to Byzantium. In the spring of 988 the Great Prince
and his wife set out through the Crimea, Taman and the Azov lands,
which had come into the complexion of his vast realm on the return trip
to Kiev. Leading the princely cortege with frequent Services of
Thanksgiving and incessant priestly singing they carried crosses, icons
and holy relics. It seemed, that the Ecumenical Holy Church was moving
into the spacious Russian land, and renewed in the font of Baptism, Holy
Rus came forth to meet Christ and His Church.
followed an unforgettable and quite singular event in Russian history:
the morning of the Baptism of the Kievans in the waters of the River
Dneipr. On the evening before, St Vladimir declared throughout the city:
"If anyone does not go into the river tomorrow, be they rich or poor,
beggar or slave, that one shall be my enemy." The sacred wish of the
holy Prince was fulfilled without a murmur: "all our land glorified
Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit at the same time."
is difficult to overestimate the deep spiritual transformation of the
Russian people effected by the prayers of St Vladimir, in every aspect
of its life and world-view. In the pure Kievan waters, as in a "bath of
regeneration", there was realized a sacramental transfiguration of the
Russian spiritual element, the spiritual birth of the nation, called by
God to unforeseen deeds of Christian service to mankind.
did the darkness of the idols begin to lift from us, and the dawn of
Orthodoxy appear, and the Sun of the Gospel illumined our land." In
memory of this sacred event, the regeneration of Rus by water and the
Spirit, the Russian Church established the custom of an annual church
procession "to the water" on August 1. Later, the Feast of the
Procession of the Honorable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord,
which Russia celebrated with the Greek Church, was combined with the
Feast of the All-Merciful Savior and the Most Holy Theotokos
(established by St Andrew Bogoliubsky in the year 1164). In this
combination of feasts there is found a precise expression of the Russian
theological consciousness, for which both Baptism and the Cross are
Everywhere throughout Holy
Rus, from the ancient cities to the far outposts, St Vladimir gave
orders to destroy the pagan sanctuaries, to flog the idols, and in their
place to clear land in the hilly woods for churches, in which altars
would be consecrated for the Bloodless Sacrifice. Churches of God grew
up along the face of the earth, at high elevated places, and at the
bends of the rivers, along the ancient trail "from the Variangians to
the Greeks" figuratively as road signs and lamps of national holiness.
Concerning the famed church-building activity of St Vladimir, the
Metropolitan of Kiev St Hilarion (author of the "Word on Law and Grace")
exclaimed: "They demolished the pagan temples, and built up churches,
they destroyed the idols and produced holy icons, the demons have fled,
and the Cross has sanctified the cities."
the early centuries of Christianity it was the custom to raise up
churches upon the ruins of pagan sanctuaries or upon the blood of the
holy martyrs. Following this practice, St Vladimir built the church of
St Basil the Great upon a hill, where a sanctuary of Perun had been
located, and he built the stone church of the Dormition of the Most Holy
Theotokos (Desyatinnaya) on the place of the martyrdom of the holy
Varangian Martyrs (July 12). The magnificent temple was intended to
become the cathedral for the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus, and thus
the primal altar of the Russian Church. It was built in five years, and
was richly adorned with frescoes, crosses, icons and sacred vessels,
brought from Korsun. The day of the consecration of the church of the
Most Holy Theotokos, May 12 (in some manuscripts May 11), was ordered by
St Vladimir to be inserted into the Church calendar as an annual
celebration. This event was linked with other events celebrated on May
11, and it provided the new Church a twofold sense of continuity. Under
this day in the calendar is noted the churchly Founding of
Constantinople "dedicated by the holy emperor St Constantine as the new
capital of the Roman Empire, the city of Constantine is dedicated to the
Most Holy Theotokos (330). On this same day of May 11, the church of
Sophia, the Wisdom of God was consecrated at Kiev (in the year 960 under
St Olga). St Vladimir, having had the cathedral church consecrated to
the Most Holy Theotokos, followed the example of St Constantine in
dedicating the capital city of the Russian Land (Kiev) to the Queen of
Then a tithe or tenth was bestown
on the Church; and since this church had become the center of the
All-Russian collection of churchly tithes, they called it the Tithe
church. The most ancient text of the grant, or church rule by holy
Prince Vladimir spoke thus: "For I do bestow on this church of the Holy
Mother of God a tenth of all my principality, and also throughout all
the Russian Land from all the princely jurisdiction a tithe of
squirrel-pelts, and from the merchant, a tithe of the week, and from
households each year, a tenth of every herd and every livelihood, to the
wondrous Mother of God and the wondrous Savior." The grant also
specified "church people" as being free from the jurisdictional power of
the prince and his "tiuni" (officials) and placed them under the
jurisdiction of the Metropolitan.
chronicle has preserved a prayer of St Vladimir, with which he turned to
the Almighty at the consecration of the Dormition Tithe church: "O Lord
God, look down from Heaven and behold, and visit Your vineyard, which
Your right hand has planted. And make this new people, whom You have
converted in heart and mind to know You, the True God. And look down
upon this Your church, which Your unworthy servant has built in the name
of the Mother Who gave birth to Thee, the Ever-Virgin Theotokos. And
whoever prays in this church, let his prayer be heard, through the
prayers of the All-Pure Mother of God."
the Tithe church and Bishop Anastasius, certain historians have made a
connection with the beginnings of Russian chronicle writing. At it were
compiled the Life of St Olga and the account of the Varangian Martyrs in
their original form, and likewise the "Account, How in the Taking of
Korsun, Vladimir came to be Baptized." Here also originated the early
Greek redaction of the Lives of the Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb.
the time of St Vladimir, the Kiev Metropolitan See was occupied
successively by the Metropolitan St Michael (September 30), Metropolitan
Theophylactus, who transferred to Kiev from the See of Armenian Sebaste
(991-997), Metropolitan Leontius (997-1008), and Metropolitan John I
(1008-1037). Through their efforts the first dioceses of the Russian
Church were opened: at Novgorod (its first representative was St Joachim
of Korsun (+ 1030), compiler of the Joachimov Chronicle),
Vladimir-Volyn (opened May 11, 992), Chernigov, Pereslavl, Belgorod, and
Rostov. "And thus throughout all the cities and villages there were set
up churches and monasteries, and the clergy increased, and the Orthodox
Faith blossomed forth and shone like the sun."
advance the Faith among the newly enlightened people, learned people
and schools were needed to help prepare them. Therefore, St Vladimir and
the holy Metropolitan Michael "commanded fathers and mothers to take
their young children and send them to schools to learn reading and
writing." St Joachim of Korsun set up such a school at Novgorod, and
they did the same in other cities. "And there were a multitude of
schools of scholars, and of these were there a multitude of
With a firm hand St Vladimir
held in check enemies at the frontiers, and he built fortified cities.
He was the first in Russian history to set up a "notched boundary," a
line of defensive points against nomadic peoples. "Volodimir began to
set up cities along the Desna, along the Vystra, along the Trubezha,
along the Sula and along the Stugna. And he settled them with the
Novgorodians, the Smolyani, the Chuds and the Vyatichi. He made war
against the Pechenegs and defeated them." But the real reason for his
success was the peaceful Christian preaching among the pagans of the
In the Nikol'sk Chronicles under
the year 990 was written: "And in that same year there came to Volodimir
at Kiev four princes from the Bulgars and they were illumined with
Divine Baptism." In the following year "the Pecheneg prince Kuchug came
and accepted the Greek faith, and he was baptized in the Name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and served Vladimir with a
pure heart." Under the influence of the holy prince several apparent
foreigners were also baptized. For example, the Norwegian "koenig"
(king) Olaf Trueggvason (+ 1000) who lived several years at Kiev, and
also the renowned Torvald the Wanderer, founder of a monastery of St
John the Forerunner along the Dneipr near Polotsk, among others. In
faraway Iceland the poet-skalds called God the "Protector of the Greeks
In addition to the Christian
preaching, there were the renowned feasts of St Vladimir. After Liturgy
on Sundays and Church Feasts there were put out abundant feasting
tables for the Kievans, they rang the bells, choirs sang praise, the
"transported infirm" sang bylini-ballads and spiritual verses. On May
12, 996, for example, on the occasion of the consecration of the Tithe
church, the prince "made a bright feast." He distributed goods "to many
of the poor, and destitute and wanderers, and through the churches and
the monasteries. To the sick and the needy he delivered through the
streets casks and barrels of mead, and bread, and meat, and fish, and
cheese, desiring that all might come and eat, glorifying God". Feasts
were likewise celebrated in honor of the victories of Kievan warriors,
and the regiments of Vladimir's retinue: of Dobrynya, Alexander
Popovich, Rogda the Bold.
In the year 1007
St Vladimir transferred the relics of St Olga to the Tithe church. Four
years later, in 1011, his spouse and companion in many of his
undertakings, the Blessed Empress Anna, was also buried there. After her
death the prince entered into a new marriage with the young daughter of
the German Graf Kuno von Enningen, granddaughter of the emperor Otto
The era of St Vladimir was a crucial
period for the formation of Orthodox Rus. The unification of the Slavic
lands and the formation of state boundaries under the domain of the
Rurikovichi resulted from a strenuous spiritual and political struggle
with neighboring tribes and states. The Baptism of Rus by Orthodox
Byzantium was a most important step in its self-definition as a state.
The chief enemy of Vladimir became Boleslav the Brave, whose plans
included the extensive unification of the West Slavic and East Slavic
tribes under the aegis of Catholic Poland. This rivalry arose back when
Vladimir was still a pagan: "In the year 6489 (981). Volodimir went
against the Lakhs and took their cities, Peremyshl, Cherven, and other
cities, which be under Rus." The final years of the tenth century are
likewise filled with the wars of Vladimir and Boleslav.
a brief lull (the first decade of the eleventh century), the "great
stand-off" entered into a new phase: in the year 1013 a conspiracy
against St Vladimir was discovered at Kiev. Svyatopolk the Accursed, who
was married to a daughter of Boleslav, yearned for power. The
instigator of the conspiracy was Boleslav's cleric, the Kolobzheg
Catholic bishop Reibern.
The conspiracy of
Svyatopolk and Reibern was an all-out threat to the historical existence
of the Russian state and the Russian Church. St Vladimir took decisive
measures. All the three involved were arrested, and Reibern soon died in
St Vladimir did not take revenge
on those that "opposed and hated" him. Under the pretense of feigned
repentance, Svyatopolk was set free.
misfortune erupted in the North, at Novgorod. Yaroslav, not yet "the
Wise," as he was later to be known, in the year 1010 having become ruler
of Novgorod, decided to defect from his father the Great Prince of
Kiev. He formed his own separate army, moving on Kiev to demand the
customary tribute and tithe. The unity of the Russian land, for which St
Vladimir had struggled all his life, was threatened with ruin. In both
anger and in sorrow St Vladimir gave orders to "secure the dams and set
the bridges," and to prepare for a campaign against Novgorod. His powers
were on the decline. In the preparations for his final campaign,
happily not undertaken, the Baptizer of Rus fell grievously ill and
surrendered his soul to the Lord in the village of Spas-Berestov on July
15, 1015. He had ruled the Russian realm for thirty-seven years
(978-1015), twenty-eight of these years after his Baptism.
for a new struggle for power and hoping for Polish assistance, and to
play for time, Svyatopolk attempted to conceal the death of his father.
But patriotically inclined Kievan nobles, by night, secretly removed the
body of the deceased sovereign from the Berestov court, where
Svyatopolk's people were guarding it, and they conveyed the body to
Kiev. At the Tithe church the coffin with the relics of St Vladimir was
met by Kievan clergy with Metropolitan John at the head of the
procession. The holy relics were placed in a marble crypt, set within
the St Clement chapel of the Dormition church beside the marble crypt of
The name and deeds of the
holy Equal of the Apostles St Vladimir, whom the people called the
Splendid Sun, is interwoven with all the successive history of the
Russian Church. "Through him we too have come to worship and to know
Christ, the True Life," testified St Hilarion. His deeds were continued
by his sons, and grandsons and descendants, rulers of the Russian land
for almost six centuries, from Yaroslav the Wise, who took the first
steps towards the independent existence of the Russian Church, down to
the last of the Rurikovichi, Tsar Theodore Ioannovich, under whom (in
1589) the Russian Orthodox Church became the fifth independent
Patriarchate in the dyptichs of Orthodox Autocephalous Churches.
festal celebration of the holy Equal of the Apostles Vladimir was
established under St Alexander Nevsky, in memory of the intercession of
St Vladimir on May 15, 1240, for his help in gaining the renowned
victory by Nevsky over Swedish crusaders.
the first veneration of the holy prince began in Rus rather earlier.
The Metropolitan of Kiev St Hilarion (+ 1053), in his "Word on Law and
Grace," spoken on the day of memory of St Vladimir at the saint's crypt
in the Tithe church, calls him "an apostolic sovereign", like St
Constantine, and he compares his apostolic evangelisation of the Russian
Land to the evangelisation by the holy Apostles.
Troparion - Tone 4
Prince Vladimir,you were like a merchant in search of fine pearls.By
sending servants to Constantinople for the Orthodox Faith, you found
Christ, the priceless pearl. He appointed you to be another Paul,washing
away in baptism your physical and spiritual blindness.We celebrate your
memory,asking you to pray for all Orthodox Christians and for us, your
Kontakion - Tone 8
glorious Vladimir, in your old age you imitated the great apostle
Paul:he abandoned childish things, while you forsook the idolatry of
your youth.Together with him you reached the fullness of divine
wisdom:You were adorned with the purity of holy baptism.Now as you stand
before Christ our Savior, pray that all Orthodox Christians may be
Saint Aquila, who was from Pontus of Asia Minor, was a Jew
by race and a tent-maker by trade. In the year 52 he and his wife
Priscilla were in Corinth when Saint Paul first came there. They gave
him hospitality, and the Apostle remained with them for many days,
himself working at the same trade as they (Acts 18:2-3). And having
believed in Christ through Paul, they followed him from that time on,
working together with him and suffering perils with him for the sake of
the preaching of the Gospel, as he himself testifies concerning them in
his Epistle to the Romans, saying: "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my
helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks:
unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the
nations" (Rom. 16:3-4). When and where they reposed is unknown.
Apolytikion of Aquila of the 70 in the Third Tone
O Holy Apostle Aquila, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion of Aquila of the 70 in the Fourth Tone
Ranked with the Apostles' choir as their companion, O Apostle
wise in Christ, thou madest all the world to shine with thy bright
doctrines and miracles, O famed Aquila, while gaining a glorious crown.
Saint Michael Maleinus was born about the year 894 in the Charsian
region (Cappadocia) and at Baptism he received the name Manuel. He was
related to the Byzantine emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-911). At age 18
Manuel went off to Bithynia, to the Kyminas monastery under the guidance
of the Elder, John Heladites, who tonsured him into monasticism with
the name Michael. Fulfilling a very difficult obedience in spite of his
illustrious lineage, he demonstrated an example of great humility.
the passage of a certain time, he was found worthy of the grace of the
priesthood. Constantly studying the Holy Scripture, St Michael showed
how the priesthood ought to be properly conjoined with monasticism, he
attained to a high degree of dispassion and acquired the gift of
perspicacity. He was very compassionate and kindly towards people; he
could not let remain without help and consolation those who were in need
and in sorrow, and by his ardent prayer he accomplished many miracles.
much monastic effort under the guidance of the Elder John, St Michael
asked his blessing to live in a cave as a hermit, Five days of the week
he spent at prayerful concentration, and only on Saturday and Sunday did
he come to the monastery for participation in the divine services and
to partake of the Holy Mysteries.
By his example of sublime
spiritual life the holy hermit attracted many seeking salvation. In a
desolate place called Dry Lake, the venerable Michael founded a
monastery for the brethren gathering around him, and gave it a strict
monastic rule. When the monastery was secure, St Michael went to a still
more remote place and built there a new monastery. By the efforts of
the holy abba, the whole mountain of Kyminas was covered with monastic
communities, where constantly prayers were raised up for all the world
to the Throne of the Most-High.
About the year 953, the youth
Abraham entered the brotherhood, flourishing under the guidance of St
Michael, who gave him the name Athanasius. Later, St Athanasius (July 5)
founded the renowned Great Lavra, the first cenobitic monastery on
Mount Athos. In the building of the Lavra great help was given to St
Athanasius by St Michael’s nephew, the future Byzantine emperor
Nicephoros Phocas (963-969), who met Athanasius while visiting his
uncle. After fifty years of ceaseless monastic struggle, St Michael
Maleinos went peacefully to the Lord in the year 962.
TROPARION - TONE8
The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father, / for you took up
the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing, you taught us to
disregard the flesh, for it passes away, / but to care instead for the
soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, O holy Father
Michael, rejoices with the angels.
KONTAKION - TONE 2
By your deeds you withered the arrogance of the flesh; / through
enlightenment you gave wings to your agility of spirit. / You were
revealed as a dwelling place of the Trinity, / Whom you now clearly
behold. / Blessed Michael, unceasingly pray for us all.
Saint Arcadius of Vyazma and Novy Torg was from the city of Vyazma of
pious parents, who from childhood taught him prayer and obedience. The
gentle, perceptive, prudent and good youth chose for his ascetic feat of
being a fool-for-Christ. He lived by alms, and slept wherever he found
himself, whether in the forest, or on the church portico.
blessed serenity and closeness to nature imparted to the figure of young
Arcadius a peculiar spiritual aspect and aloofness from worldly vanity.
In church, when absorbed in prayer, St Arcadius often wept tears of
tenderness and spiritual joy. Though he seldom spoke, his advice was
always good, and his predictions were fulfilled.
guide, St Ephraim the Wonderworker of Novy Torg (January 28), helped the
young ascetic to avoid spiritual dangers while passing through the
difficult and unusual exploit of foolishness. After this the people of
Vyazma witnessed several miracles, worked through the prayers of Blessed
Arcadius, but the saint fled human fame and traveled along the upper
Tvertsa River. Here St Arcadius shared the work with his spiritual guide
St Ephraim, and with him founded a church and monastery in honor of the
holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb (May 2).
Entering into the
newly-built monastery, St Arcadius became a monk and took upon himself
the exploit of full obedience to his spiritual Father, St Ephraim. St
Arcadius never missed Liturgy and he was always the first to appear for
Matins together with his spiritual guide. After St Ephraim’s repose
(January 28, 1053), St Arcadius continued to pursue asceticism in accord
with the last wishes of his Elder, dwelling in prayer, fasting and
silence. After several years, he also fell asleep in the Lord (December
In 1594, a chapel dedicated to St Arcadius was built
in one of the churches of Vyazma. A combined celebration of Sts Arcadius
and Ephraim was established by Metropolitan Dionysius in the years
1584-1587. The relics of St Arcadius, glorified by miracles of healing,
were uncovered on June 11, 1572, and on July 11, 1677, they were placed
in a stone crypt of Sts Boris and Gleb cathedral in the city of Novy
Torg (New Market). In 1841, the left side chapel of Sts Boris and Gleb
cathedral church was dedicated in honor of St Arcadius. The solemn
celebration of the 300th anniversary of the uncovering of the holy
relics of St Arcadius took place in the city of Novy Torg in July of
1977. He is also commemorated on August 14 and June 11 (Transfer of his
The Holy Schemamonk Silvanus (Silouan) of the Kiev Caves,
zealously preserved the purity of both soul and body, he subdued his
flesh with fasting and vigils, and he cleansed his soul with prayer and
meditation on God. The Lord granted him an abundance of spiritual gifts:
a prayerful boldness towards God, constant joy in the Lord,
clairvoyance and wonderworking. The monk lived at the end of the
thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries. His relics rest in
The incorrupt relics of St
Procopius were uncovered during the eighteenth century near the Entry
of the Theotokos parish church in Ustya (Vologda diocese) and placed in
the church, where for two hundred years they remained in open view, a
source of numerous healings. No account of the origin and life of the
holy saint of God has been preserved. His name became known when he
himself revealed it in a vision to a pious local inhabitant named
In connection with an increase in the number of miraculous
healings, the relics of St Procopius were examined in 1696 (or 1645)
and in 1739. After this a chapel in honor of the saint was consecrated
in the church where his relics rest. His icon was painted, and a Service
to him was composed.
Saint Thomas, though wealthy in material goods, though
illustrious for the military trophies he had won in wars against the
barbarians, forsook all that he had that he might gain Christ, and was
led by a pillar of fire to Mount Maleon. By divine grace he wrought
wonders, cast out demons, gave sight to the blind, caused springs of
water to gush forth, healed many, and while in prayer appeared as a
pillar of fire. The century in which he lived is not known.
Apolytikion of Thomas of Malea 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 Thomas, your soul rejoices
with the angels.
Kontakion of Thomas of Malea in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Leaving the army that is earthly and corruptible, thou didst
ascend into the mountain of unceasing prayer, joining battle with the
spirits of nether darkness. And since thou didst overcome thy fleshless
enemies, thou was brought to thine eternal King in victory; hence we
cry to thee: Rejoice, O Thomas of godly mind.
The Holy Martyrs Isaurius the Deacon, Innocent, Felix,
Hermias, Basil, Peregrinus were Athenians, suffering for Christ in the
Macedonian city of Apollonia under the emperor Numerian (283-284).
Beheaded with them for believing in Christ were two city officials,
Rufus and Ruphinus.
Saint Juvenal , Patriarch of Jerusalem, occupied the throne
of the Holy City during the years 420-458. During this period great
luminaries of the Church enlightened the world: Sts Euthymius the Great
(January 20), Simeon the Stylite (September 1), Gerasimus of Jordan
(March 4), and many others.
St Juvenal was a friend and converser
with St Euthymius the Great. During St Juvenal’s archpastoral service,
the Eastern Church was troubled by dangerous false teachings, which he
opposed with a pastoral zeal, safeguarding the flock of Christ.
Third Ecumenical Council was convened in the city of Ephesus in 431. It
condemned the heresy of Nestorius, which was opposed to the Orthodox
teaching of the divine nature of Jesus Christ. St Cyril of Alexandria
(June 9) presided at this Council, and among his colleagues was
In 451, the Fourth Ecumenical Council met in
the city of Chalcedon. It condemned the Eutchian [Monophysite] heresy,
which taught that the human nature in Christ was totally swallowed up
and absorbed by the divine nature. The holy Fathers, among them St
Juvenal, condemned the heresy of Eutychius and affirmed the Orthodox
doctrine of the union of two natures in the Lord Jesus Christ, the
divine and the human, without separation and without mixture. The
heretics, however, continued to confuse the minds of Christians.
the head of the heretics stood Theodosius, who had won over to his side
the widow of the emperor Theodosius the Younger (+ 450), named Eudokia,
who lived at Jerusalem. He demanded that Patriarch Juvenal repudiate
the Council of Chalcedon, that is, that he should renounce the Orthodox
dogma of the two natures in Christ.
St Juvenal would not agree to
embrace falsehood, and bravely confessed the Chalcedon doctrine before
the heretics. Theodosius and his adherents then deposed Patriarch
Juvenal from the patriarchal throne. The saint withdrew to
Constantinople, to Patriarch Anatolius (July 3) and the emperor Marcian.
The heretic Theodosius, under the patronage of Eudokia, occupied the
patriarchal throne in Palestine, but only for twenty months. Emperor
Marcian, holding St Juvenal in high esteem, placed him on the
patriarchal throne once more, and so the holy confessor returned to
The saint made many efforts to restore Church peace.
At the suggestion of St Simeon the Stylite, the empress Eudokia repented
before St Juvenal and returned to communion with the Orthodox. A large
part of the Jerusalem flock, who had been led astray by the heretics,
followed her. Having defeated the pernicious heresies, and having
established oneness of mind and propriety, Patriarch Juvenal died
peacefully among his faithful flock, after serving as a bishop for
On October 19, 1238 the relics of St John of Rila were solemnly
transferred to the new capital, Trnovo, and put in a church dedicated to
the saint. Then on July 1, 1469 the holy relics of St John were
returned to the Rila monastery, where they rest to the present day,
granting grace-filled help to all the believers.