Sunday, July 31, 2016

St Germanus the Bishop of Auxerre

Saint Germanus was born at Auxerre around 389, and studied rhetoric and law at Rome. There he practiced as a lawyer.

The emperor Honorius sent him back to Gaul as a provincial governor, with his headquarters at Auxerre. He also married about this time. In 418 he was chosen to succeed St Amator (May 1) as Bishop of Auxerre. From that time on, his faith became deeper, and his prayer more fervent. He gave away his possessions to the poor, and ate coarse barley bread only in the evening. He often fasted for several days, and dressed in simple monastic garb.

Pope Celestine I sent him to Britain in 429 with St Lupus of Troyes (July 29) to fight the Pelagian heresy, where they defeated the teachers of this false doctrine. During one of his two trips to Britain St Germanus took command of an army and defeated a combined force of Saxons and Picts.

When savage barbarians threatened the city of Armorica (now Brittany), St Germanus met their leader, seized his horse’s bridle, and turned him around. After defusing the threat, the saint traveled to Ravenna seeking pardon for the rebels from the emperor Valentian III. He was received with honor, and died there on July 31, 448.

The body of St Germanus was brought back to Auxerre for burial. Centuries later, his holy relics were scattered by the Huguenots.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2015(with 2014's link here also and further:  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009  and even 2008!):

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Icon of the Mother of God of Greben

Commemorated on July 28

The Greben Icon of the Mother of God, glorified by miracles and located in a church in the city of Greben (on the River Chira, flowing into the Don), was presented by the inhabitants of the city to Great Prince Demetrius of the Don upon his return from the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.

In 1471, after a successful campaign against Novgorod, Great Prince Ivan III built the church of the Dormition in Moscow at Lubyanka and placed in it the Greben icon of the Mother of God, which he had taken with him on the campaign. He adorned the icon with a silver riza covered with precious stones, and ordered an Akathist to be written in honor of the icon. When the church burned in 1617, the icon miraculously was preserved. The icon, almost a reverse image of the Iveron icon (February 12, March 31,

October 13), is recognized by the distinctive folds of the Virgin’s omaphorion and the position of the Christ Child’s legs.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2015(with 2014's link here also and further:, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009  and even 2008!):

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hieromartyr Apollinaris the Bishop of Ravenna

St Apollinaris was a disciple of the Apostle Peter, whom he followed from Antioch to Rome sometime during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius (41-54). St Peter appointed Apollinaris as Bishop of Ravenna. Arriving in Ravenna as a stranger, St Apollinaris asked shelter of a local inhabitant, the soldier Irenaeus, and during their conversation he revealed the purpose for which he had come.

Irenaeus had a blind son, whom St Apollinaris healed, after he had prayed to the Lord. The soldier Irenaeus and his family were the first people in Ravenna to believe in Christ. The saint stayed at the house of Irenaeus and preached about Christ to everyone who wished to hear his words. One of the miracles that St Apollinaris performed was the healing of Thekla, the incurably sick wife of the tribune. Through the prayers of the saint, she got up from her bed completely healthy. Not only did she believe in Christ, but so did her husband the tribune. In their house St Apollinaris set up a small church, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy. St Apollinaris ordained two presbyters, Aderetus and Calocyrus, and also two deacons for the newly-baptized people of Ravenna.

St Apollinaris labored with great zeal, preaching the Gospel at Ravenna for twelve years, and the number of Christians steadily increased. Pagan priests complained about the bishop to the governor Saturninus. The hierarch was brought to trial and subjected to grievous tortures. Thinking that he had died, the torturers took him out of the city to the seacoast and threw him into the water. The saint, however, was still alive. A certain pious Christian widow helped him and gave him shelter in her home. St Apollinaris stayed with her for six months, and secretly continued to preach about Christ. The saint’s whereabouts became known when he restored the power of speech to an illustrious resident of the city named Boniface, whose wife had requested the saint to help her husband.

After this miracle many pagans were converted to Christ, and once again St Apollinaris was brought to trial and tortured. His bare feet were placed on red-hot coals. They expelled him from the city a second time, but the Lord again kept him alive. The saint did not cease preaching until he left the city. For a certain time St Apollinaris found himself elsewhere in Italy, where he continued to preach the Gospel as before. Returning to his flock in Ravenna, St Apollinaris went on trial yet again and was sentenced to banishment.

In heavy fetters, he was placed on a ship bound for Illyrica and the Danube River. Two soldiers were responsible for escorting him to his place of exile. Three of the clergy voluntarily followed their bishop into exile. Along the way the vessel was wrecked and everyone drowned, except for St Apollinaris, his clergy and the two soldiers. The soldiers, listening to St Apollinaris, believed in the Lord and were baptized. Not finding any shelter, the travelers came to Moisia in Thrace, where St Apollinaris healed a certain illustrious inhabitant from leprosy. Both he and his companions were given shelter at the man’s home. In this land St Apollinaris preached tirelessly about Christ and he converted many of the pagans to Christianity, for which he was subjected to persecution by the unbelievers. They beat the saint mercilessly, then they sent him back to Italy aboard a ship.

After a three year absence, St Apollinaris returned to Ravenna and was joyfully received by his flock. The pagans, however, entered the church where the saint was serving the Divine Liturgy, scattered those at prayer, and dragged the saint before the idolatrous priests at the pagan temple of Apollo. The idol fell and shattered to pieces just as the saint was brought in. The pagan priests brought St Apollinaris to Taurus, the new governor of the district for trial. Apollinaris performed a new miracle, healing the son of the governor, who had been blind from birth. In gratitude for the healing of his son, Taurus tried to protect St Apollinaris from the angry crowd. He sent him to his own estate outside the city. Although Taurus’s wife and son were baptized, he feared the anger of the emperor, and did not receive Baptism. However, he was filled with gratitude and love toward his benefactor.

St Apollinaris lived for five years at Taurus’s estate and preached without hindrance. During this time pagan priests sent letters of denunciation to Emperor Vespasian requesting a sentence of death or exile for the Christian “sorcerer” Apollinaris. But the emperor told the pagan priests that the gods were sufficiently powerful to take revenge for themselves, if they felt insulted. All the wrath of the pagans fell upon St Apollinaris: they seized him and beat him fiercely as he was leaving the city for a nearby settlement. Christians found him barely alive and took him to the settlement, where he lived for seven days. During his final illness the saint did not cease to teach his flock. He predicted that after the persecutions ended, Christians would enter upon better times when they could openly and freely confess their faith. After bestowing his archpastoral blessing upon those present, the hieromartyr Apollinaris fell asleep in the Lord. St Apollinaris was Bishop of Ravenna for twenty-eight years, and he reposed in the year 75.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Friday, July 22, 2016

Myrrhbearer and Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene

Commemorated on July 22

On the banks of Lake Genesareth (Galilee), between the cities of Capharnum and Tiberias, was the small city of Magdala, the remains of which have survived to our day. Now only the small village of Mejhdel stands on the site.

A woman whose name has entered forever into the Gospel account was born and grew up in Magdala. The Gospel tells us nothing of Mary’s younger years, but Tradition informs us that Mary of Magdala was young and pretty, and led a sinful life. It says in the Gospels that the Lord expelled seven devils from Mary (Luke. 8:2). From the moment of her healing Mary led a new life, and became a true disciple of the Savior.

The Gospel relates that Mary followed after the Lord, when He went with the Apostles through the cities and villages of Judea and Galilee preaching about the Kingdom of God. Together with the pious women Joanna, wife of Choza (steward of Herod), Susanna and others, she served Him from her own possessions (Luke 8:1-3) and undoubtedly shared with the Apostles the evangelic tasks in common with the other women. The Evangelist Luke, evidently, has her in view together with the other women, stating that at the moment of the Procession of Christ onto Golgotha, when after the Scourging He took on Himself the heavy Cross, collapsing under its weight, the women followed after Him weeping and wailing, but He consoled them. The Gospel relates that Mary Magdalene was present on Golgotha at the moment of the Lord’s Crucifixion. While all the disciples of the Savior ran away, she remained fearlessly at the Cross together with the Mother of God and the Apostle John.

The Evangelists also list among those standing at the Cross the mother of the Apostle James, and Salome, and other women followers of the Lord from Galilee, but all mention Mary Magdalene first. St John, in addition to the Mother of God, names only her and Mary Cleopas. This indicates how much she stood out from all the women who gathered around the Lord.

She was faithful to Him not only in the days of His Glory, but also at the moment of His extreme humiliation and insult. As the Evangelist Matthew relates, she was present at the Burial of the Lord. Before her eyes Joseph and Nicodemus went out to the tomb with His lifeless Body. She watched as they covered over the entrance to the cave with a large stone, entombing the Source of Life.

Faithful to the Law in which she was raised, Mary together with the other women spent the following day at rest, because it was the great day of the Sabbath, coinciding with the Feast of Passover. But all the rest of the peaceful day the women gathered spices to go to the Grave of the Lord at dawn on Sunday and anoint His Body according to the custom of the Jews.

It is necessary to mention that, having agreed to go on the first day of the week to the Tomb early in the morning, the holy women had no possibility of meeting with one another on Saturday. They went separately on Friday evening to their own homes. They went out only at dawn the following day to go to the Sepulchre, not all together, but each from her own house.

The Evangelist Matthew writes that the women came to the grave at dawn, or as the Evangelist Mark expresses, extremely early before the rising of the sun. The Evangelist John, elaborating upon these, says that Mary came to the grave so early that it was still dark. Obviously, she waited impatiently for the end of night, but it was not yet daybreak. She ran to the place where the Lord’s Body lay.

Mary went to the tomb alone. Seeing the stone pushed away from the cave, she ran away in fear to tell the close Apostles of Christ, Peter and John. Hearing the strange message that the Lord was gone from the tomb, both Apostles ran to the tomb and, seeing the shroud and winding cloths, they were amazed. The Apostles went and said nothing to anyone, but Mary stood about the entrance to the tomb and wept. Here in this dark tomb so recently lay her lifeless Lord.

Wanting proof that the tomb really was empty, she went down to it and saw a strange sight. She saw two angels in white garments, one sitting at the head, the other at the foot, where the Body of Jesus had been placed. They asked her, “Woman, why weepest thou?” She answered them with the words which she had said to the Apostles, “They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” At that moment, she turned around and saw the Risen Jesus standing near the grave, but she did not recognize Him.

He asked Mary, “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom dost thou seek?” She answered thinking that she was seeing the gardener, “Sir, if thou hast taken him, tell where thou hast put Him, and I will take Him away.”
Then she recognized the Lord’s voice. This was the voice she heard in those days and years, when she followed the Lord through all the cities and places where He preached. He spoke her name, and she gave a joyful shout, “Rabbi” (Teacher).

Respect and love, fondness and deep veneration, a feeling of thankfulness and recognition at His Splendor as great Teacher, all came together in this single outcry. She was able to say nothing more and she threw herself down at the feet of her Teacher to wash them with tears of joy. But the Lord said to her: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and tell them: “I ascend to My Father, and your Father; to My God and to your God.”

She came to herself and again ran to the Apostles, to do the will of Him sending her to preach. Again she ran into the house, where the Apostles still remained in dismay, and proclaimed to them the joyous message, “I have seen the Lord!” This was the first preaching in the world about the Resurrection.

The Apostles proclaimed the Glad Tidings to the world, but she proclaimed it to the Apostles themselves.
Holy Scripture does not tell us about the life of Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection of Christ, but it is impossible to doubt, that if in the terrifying minutes of Christ’s Crucifixion she was at the foot of His Cross with His All-Pure Mother and St John, she must have stayed with them during the happier time after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Thus in the Acts of the Apostles St Luke writes that all the Apostles with one mind stayed in prayer and supplication, with certain women and Mary the Mother of Jesus and His brethren.

Holy Tradition testifies that when the Apostles departed from Jerusalem to preach to all the ends of the earth, then Mary Magdalene also went with them. A daring woman, whose heart was full of reminiscence of the Resurrection, she went beyond her native borders and went to preach in pagan Rome. Everywhere she proclaimed to people about Christ and His teaching. When many did not believe that Christ is risen, she repeated to them what she had said to the Apostles on the radiant morning of the Resurrection: “I have seen the Lord!” With this message she went all over Italy.

Tradition relates that in Italy Mary Magdalene visited Emperor Tiberias (14-37 A.D.) and proclaimed to him Christ’s Resurrection. According to Tradition, she brought him a red egg as a symbol of the Resurrection, a symbol of new life with the words: “Christ is Risen!” Then she told the emperor that in his Province of Judea the unjustly condemned Jesus the Galilean, a holy man, a miracleworker, powerful before God and all mankind, had been executed at the instigation of the Jewish High Priests, and the sentence confirmed by the procurator appointed by Tiberias, Pontius Pilate.

Mary repeated the words of the Apostles, that we are redeemed from the vanity of life not with perishable silver or gold, but rather by the precious Blood of Christ.

Thanks to Mary Magdalene the custom to give each other paschal eggs on the day of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ spread among Christians over all the world. In one ancient Greek manuscript, written on parchment, kept in the monastery library of St Athanasius near Thessalonica, is a prayer read on the day of Holy Pascha for the blessing of eggs and cheese. In it is indicated that the igumen in passing out the blessed eggs says to the brethren: “Thus have we received from the holy Fathers, who preserved this custom from the very time of the holy Apostles, therefore the holy Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene first showed believers the example of this joyful offering.”

Mary Magdalene continued her preaching in Italy and in the city of Rome itself. Evidently, the Apostle Paul has her in mind in his Epistle to the Romans (16: 6), where together with other ascetics of evangelic preaching he mentions Mary (Mariam), who as he expresses “has bestowed much labor on us.” Evidently, she extensively served the Church in its means of subsistence and its difficulties, being exposed to dangers, and sharing with the Apostles the labors of preaching.

According to Church Tradition, she remained in Rome until the arrival of the Apostle Paul, and for two more years following his departure from Rome after the first court judgment upon him. From Rome, St Mary Magdalene, already bent with age, moved to Ephesus where the holy Apostle John unceasingly labored. 
There the saint finished her earthly life and was buried.

Her holy relics were transferred in the ninth century to Constantinople, and placed in the monastery Church of St Lazarus. In the era of the Crusader campaigns they were transferred to Italy and placed at Rome under the altar of the Lateran Cathedral. Part of the relics of Mary Magdalene are said to be in Provage, France near Marseilles, where over them at the foot of a steep mountain a splendid church is built in her honor.

The Orthodox Church honors the holy memory of St Mary Magdalene, the woman called by the Lord Himself from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.

Formerly immersed in sin and having received healing, she sincerely and irrevocably began a new life and never wavered from that path. Mary loved the Lord Who called her to a new life. She was faithful to Him not only when He was surrounded by enthusiastic crowds and winning recognition as a miracle-worker, but also when all the disciples deserted Him in fear and He, humiliated and crucified, hung in torment upon the Cross. This is why the Lord, knowing her faithfulness, appeared to her first, and esteemed her worthy to be first to proclaim His Resurrection.


By keeping His commandments and laws, holy Mary Magdalene, / you followed Christ, Who for our sake was born of the Virgin, / and in celebrating your most holy memory today, / we receive forgiveness of sins by your prayers.


Podoben: “Today the Virgin...” / Standing before the Cross of the Savior, / suffering with the Mother of the Lord, / the most glorious Mary Magdalene / offered praise with tears. / She cried out: “What is this strange wonder? / He Who holds the whole creation in His hand chooses to suffer. / Glory to Your power, O Lord.”


Standing before the Cross of the Savior, / Suffering with the Mother of the Lord, / The most glorious Mary Magdalene offered praise with tears. / She cried out: What is this strange wonder? / He who holds the whole creation in His hand chooses to suffer: / Glory, O Lord to Your power!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Saint Theodore, Bishop of Edessa

July 19

Our Father among the Saints Theodore was born in Edessa of Mesopotamia. At the age of about nineteen, he became a monk at the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine. After he had spent some twenty-four years there, he was chosen to become Bishop of Edessa, about the year 836. The city of Edessa at that time was beleaguered with many heresies, among them the Arian, Nestorian, Eutychian, and Manichean. Wishing to free the Orthodox of Edessa from the injustices of the many heretics, he undertook a journey to Babylon in Persia - that is, Baghdad - to ask the Persian King, who then ruled over all Syria, to use his power to protect the Orthodox of Edessa. When he arrived he learned that the King was gravely sick; but gaining admission to him, the holy Bishop Theodore restored him to health through prayer, and, after speaking to him many days in secret about the dispensation of God, converted him to Christ, baptizing him with the name of John. Returning to Edessa having accomplished his purpose, Theodore later learned by revelation that King John, with his three Arab body-guards who had been baptized with him, had professed their faith openly and received martyrs' crowns at the hands of the Persian Moslems. This was in the days when the blessed Theodora and her son Michael reigned in Constantinople. Not long thereafter, Theodore retired to the Monastery of Mar Sabbas, and ended his days.

Apolytikion of Theodore of Edessa in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Theodore, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Kontakion of Theodore of Edessa in the Third Tone
From the blessed Edessa, thou wentest forth to the desert, but thou wast called back again to tend Christ's sheep as their shepherd; driving off the wolves of error with thy true doctrines, thou didst make a heathen king a Martyr of Jesus. Hence, O Theodore, we honour thy blest remembrance, O holy Hierarch of Christ.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Passion-bearer Grand Duchess Olga

Commemorated on July 17

Saint Olga, the oldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsaritsa Alexandra, was born in 1895.

St Olga was shot by Bolshevik executioners on July 4, 1918 along with her parents, brother, and sisters.


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.


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.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Martyr Serapion

The Holy Martyr Serapion, suffered for Christ before the Emperor Severus (193-211). As a Christian he was brought to judgment before the governor Achilles. The holy martyr firmly proclaimed to the pagans his faith in Christ, and he was subjected to inhuman torments. Afterwards, he was thrown into prison.

Healed by the Lord Jesus Christ, he was brought to the judgment place and he presented himself before the judge completely healthy. The enraged pagans sentenced the saint to be burned alive. In the midst of the flames, he gave up his soul to God (+ ca. 205).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Martyr Theodore and his son John of Kiev

The Holy Martyrs Theodore the Varangian and his son John lived at Kiev in the tenth century, when the Varangians, ancestors of the present day Swedes and Norwegians took an active role in the governance and military life of Rus. Merchants and soldiers, they opened up new trade routes to Byzantium and to the East, they took part in campaigns against Constantinople, and they constituted a significant part of the populace of ancient Kiev and the princely mercenary retinues. The chief trade route of Rus, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, was then called “the Way from the Varangians to the Greeks.”

The chieftains and organizers of the early Russian realm relied upon their Varangian retinues in their undertakings. Just like the Slavs, among whom they lived, many of the sea-faring newcomers under the influence of the Byzantine Church accepted holy Baptism. Kievan Rus stood between the pagan Scandinavians and the Orthodox Byzantines. Therefore, the spiritual life at Kiev was affected by the vivifying influence of the Christian Faith (under St Askold in the years 860-882, under Igor and St Olga in the years 940-950), and then by the destructive whirlwind of paganism, blowing down from the north from the Varangian Sea (under the reign of Oleg, killing Askold in 882; under the revolt of the Drevliani murdering Igor in 945; under Prince Svyatoslav, who refused to accept Baptism despite the insistence of his mother, St Olga).

When Svyatoslav was killed by the Pechenegs in 972 (other sources say in 970), the principality of Kiev was entrusted to his eldest son, Yaropolk. Oleg, the middle son, held the Drevlianian land, while Vladimir, the youngest son, held Novgorod. The reign of Yaropolk (970-978), just like that of his grandmother Olga, again became a time of predominating Christian influence in the spiritual life of Rus. Yaropolk himself, in the opinion of historians, confessed Christianity, although possibly of the Latin rite, and this did not correspond at all to the interests of the Scandinavian mercenary retinue. They were pagans, who were accustomed to consider Kiev a bulwark of their own influence in the Slavic lands. Their leaders strove to create discord between the brothers themselves. They incited a fratricidal war between Yaropolk and Oleg. After this when Oleg was killed, they supported Vladimir in a struggle against Yaropolk.

The future Baptizer of Rus started on his way as a convinced pagan and he relied upon the Varangians, especially those having come to him from over the sea, as his military force. His campaign against Kiev in 978, crowned with complete success, pursued not only military-political aims: it was also a religious campaign of Russo-Varangian paganism against the outgrowth of Kievan Christianity. On June 11, 978 Vladimir “sat on the throne of his father at Kiev,” and the hapless Yaropolk, invited by his brother for negotiations, was treacherously murdered when he arrived at the entrance hall by two Varangians who stabbed him with swords. In order to intimidate the Kievans, among whom were already many Christians both Russian and Varangian, to renew and strengthen with new idols, human sacrifices were made in the pagan sanctuary, a practice unknown to the Dniepr Slavs until then. The chronicles speak of Vladimir setting up idols: “And they brought them sacrifices, acclaiming them gods, and they brought to them their own sons and daughters, and these sacrifices went to the devils... both the Russian land and this hill were defiled with blood”.

The martyrdom of Sts Theodore and his son John may have taken place during this first period of the triumph of paganism at Kiev with Vladimir’s accession to power. In that case, the date might be July 12, 978. It is probable, however, that the exploit of the holy martyrs took place in the year 983, when the wave of pagan reaction rolled not only through Rus, but throughout all the Slavic-Germanic world. Almost simultaneously pagans rose up against Christ and the Church in Denmark, Germany, the Baltic Slavic principalities, and everywhere the unrest was accompanied by the destruction of churches, and by the killing of clergy and Christian confessors. This was the year Vladimir went on campaign against the Lithuanian tribe of the Yatvyagi, and gained victory over them. In recognition of this victory the Kievan pagan priests again decided to make a bloody sacrificial offering.

“Among the Kievans,” reports St Nestor the Chronicler, “lived a Varangian by the name of Theodore, who was in military service at Constantinople long before this, and was baptized there. His pagan name, preserved in the term “Turov pagan temple,” was Tur (Scandinavian Thor) or Utor (Scandinavian Ottar), and this other signature is also found in the old manuscripts. Theodore had a son John, a devout and handsome youth, confessing Christianity like his father.”

“And the elders and boyars said: let us cast lots upon the boys and girls. Upon whichever one it falls, that one we shall slaughter in sacrifice to the gods.” The lots thrown by the pagan priests, evidently not by chance, fell upon the Christian John.

When the messengers told Theodore that his son “had been chosen by the gods themselves to be sacrificed to them,” the old warrior decisively answered: “This is not a god, but wood. Today it is, and tomorrow it rots. They do not eat, nor drink nor speak, but are crafted by human hands from wood. God however is One, and the Greeks serve and worship Him. He created heaven and earth, the stars and the moon, the sun and man, and foreordained him to live upon the earth. But these gods, what have they created? They themselves are made. I shall not give my son over to devils.”

This was a direct challenge by the Christian to the customs and beliefs of the pagans. An enraged crowd of pagans rushed at Theodore, smashed up his courtyard, and surrounded the house. Theodore, in the words of the chronicler, “stood at the entrance way with his son,” and with weapon in hand he bravely met the enemy. (The entrance way in old Russian houses as mentioned was set up on posts of a roofed gallery of the second storey, which was reached by a ladder). He calmly gazed upon the demon-possessed pagans and said: “If they are gods, let them send one of the gods to take my son.” Seeing that the brave and seasoned warriors Theodore and John could not be beaten in a fair fight, the besiegers knocked down the gallery posts. When they were broken, the crowd rushed upon the confessors and murdered them.

Already during the time of St Nestor, less than a hundred years after the confessor’s deed of the Varangians, the Russian Orthodox Church numbered them among the Saints. Theodore and John became the first martyrs for the holy Orthodox Faith in the Russian land. They were called the first “Russian citizens of the heavenly city” by the transcriber of the Kiev Caves Paterikon, the holy Bishop Simon of Suzdal (May 10). The last of the bloody pagan sacrifices at Kiev became the first holy Christian sacrifice with a co-suffering for Christ. The pathway “from the Varangians to the Greeks” became for Rus the pathway from paganism to Orthodoxy, from darkness to light.

On the place of the martyrdom of the Varangians, St Vladimir later built the Desyatin Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, consecrated on May 12, 996. The relics of St Olga were transferred into it in the year 1007.

Wondrous is God in His saints! Time does not spare stones and bronze, but the lower framework of the wooden house of the holy Varangrian martyrs, burned a thousand years before, has been preserved to our day. It was discovered in the year 1908 during the excavation of the altar of the Desyatin church at Kiev.

Sts Theodore and John are invoked by women who have miscarried.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Holy Martyrs Bianor and Silvanus of Pisidia

St Bianor came from the Pisidia district of Asia Minor. As a confessor of Christianity they brought him to the prefect of the city of Isauria in Lykaonia, who demanded that St Bianor renounce Christ. The saint stood steadfast in the true Faith, in spite of the refined tortures. A man by the name of Silvanus beheld the suffering of the martyr. The endurance and bravery of St Bianor inspired the faith of Christ in Silvanus, and he openly declared this. They cut out his tongue and then cut off his head. St Bianor, after long torturing, was also beheaded.

The date of the suffering of the holy Martyrs Bianor and Silvanus is not precisely known. It is presumed that they died in Pisidia under the Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305).


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Saturday, July 09, 2016

St Theodore the Bishop of Edessa

Saint Theodore, Bishop of Edessa, was born in the Syrian city of Edessa. All his life the holy saint was a bright witness of the great deeds of God, glorified in His Saints.

At twelve years of age, after he lost his parents and gave away his inheritance to the poor, he went to Jerusalem, where he was tonsured at the Lavra of the St Sava the Sanctified. After twelve years of fervent monastic obedience and then another twenty-four years of full seclusion and great abstinence, the Lord called the valiant ascetic to be a bishop, so that he might enlighten the world. After the death of the Bishop of Edessa, no worthier successor was found than Theodore, and with the mutual consent of the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem, and of the clergy and laity, this fine man was chosen bishop.

It was not easy for St Theodore to forsake his solitude, but he submitted himself to the will of God and undertook his pastoral guidance of the Edessa Church. This occurred during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Michael and his mother Theodora (842-855). At the time of St Theodore’s episcopal consecration, there occurred a great miracle. The people beheld a dove, white as snow, flying about beneath the cupola of the church, which then alit upon the head of the newly-made bishop.

St Theodore devoted all his abilities to the governance of his flock. He was a model for the faithful in word, in life, in love. By the good example of his holy ascetic life, he guided the flock entrusted to him by God, onto the path of salvation. Theodore exerted much effort in the struggle with heretics, and with a firm hand he guarded the Church from temptations and false teachings. By his consolation and support for St Theodore, the clairvoyant Elder Theodosius the Stylite also served the spiritual community while laboring in asceticism not far from the city, near the monastery of the holy Great Martyr George.

With the blessing of the Elder, St Theodore journeyed to Baghdad to the caliph Mavi to complain about unjust measures against the Orthodox. Having come to Mavi, the saint found him seriously ill. Calling on the help of the Lord, the holy bishop threw a bit of earth from the Sepulchre of the Lord into a vessel of water and gave it to the caliph to drink, and the sick one was healed. The grateful Mavi, favorably disposed towards the saint, happily heard his teachings. Finally, together with three close associates, he accepted holy Baptism with the name John.

Shortly afterwards for his open confession of faith in Christ before the Moslems, the caliph John was killed with his three associates. Having appeared in a dream simultaneously to St Theodore and to Theodosius the Stylite, he said that he had been granted to suffer for Christ, and was numbered among the ranks of the Martyrs. He promised that soon he would meet them in the Kingdom of Heaven. This was an indication to the saint of God that his own end was approaching. In 848, again in solitude at the Lavra of St Sava the Sanctified, he peacefully departed to the Lord. St Theodore has left Christians his edifying writings. The Life of St Theodore of Edessa was popular reading in Rus during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and was preserved in many manuscripts.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Venerable Thomas of Mt. Maleon

Commemorated on July 7

Saint Thomas of Mt. Maleon was a military commander before he became a monk. Strong and brave, he had participated in many battles, and brought victory to his countrymen, for which he gained glory and esteem. But, striving with all his heart towards God, Thomas abandoned the world and its honors, and he took monastic vows.

With great humility he visited monastic Elders, asking for guidance in the spiritual life. After several years Thomas received the blessing for solitary wilderness life and, led by a pillar of fire at night by the holy Prophet Elias, he settled on Mount Maleon (on the eastern part of Athos). Dwelling in complete seclusion, St Thomas fought with invisible enemies with as much courage as he had displayed against the visible enemies of his country.

The life and deeds of St Thomas could not be concealed from the surrounding area. People began to flock to him seeking spiritual guidance, and even those suffering from sickness, since he received from God the blessing to heal infirmities.

Many believers received help through the prayers of the holy monk. Even after his death, he does not cease to heal those who seek his aid, from every passion and sickness.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Monday, July 04, 2016

Uncovering of the relics of the Venerable Euthymius the Archimandrite of Suzdal

Commemorated on July 4

The uncovering of the relics of Saint Euthymius the Wonderworker of Suzdal, who died on April 1, 1405, occurred in the year 1507 during the construction of a new stone church when the monastery was headed by the igumen Cyril (later Bishop of Rostov). The incorrupt relics were the source of numerous miracles, and they were placed in the Transfiguration cathedral of the monastery. In 1511 after its restorations, the church (a rare memorial of fourteenth century architecture) was consecrated in the name of St Euthymius.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Martyr Hyacinth of Caesarea, in Cappadocia

Commemorated on July 3

Saint Hyacinth, a native of Caesarea in Cappadocia, was raised in a Christian family. The emperor Trajan made the boy his “cubicularius” (chamberlain), unaware that he was a secret Christian.

One day, while the emperor and his entourage were offering sacrifice to idols, the young Hyacinth remained at the palace, shut himself up in a small room, and prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the servants overheard him praying and denounced him to the emperor. He said that although Hyacinth was entrusted with an imperial position, he did not honor the Roman gods, and was secretly praying to Christ.

Hyacinth was brought to trial before Trajan, who tried to persuade him to deny Christ and sacrifice to the deaf and dumb idols, but the holy martyr remained steadfast and declared that he was a Christian. He was whipped and thrown into prison, where the only food given to him was what had already been offered to the idols. They hoped that he would be overcome with hunger and thirst and eat it. St Hyacinth did not eat the food, and he died after thirty-eight days. When they came to torture him again, they found his dead body.

The jailer saw two angels in the cell. One covered the saint’s body with his own garment, and the other placed a crown of glory on his head.

The twelve-year-old Hyacinth suffered for Christ in the year 108 in the city of Rome. Later, the saint’s relics were transferred to Caesarea.


Your holy martyr Hyacinth, O Lord, / through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls!


Like a fragrant hyacinth of the Church of Christ, O all-blessed Hyacinth, / You radiate grace to the ends of the world. / By the brilliance of your confession of faith, / You were illustrious in contest in emulation of God the Word / And you ever illumine those who acclaim you.


Come, you faithful, / plait a crown of unfading hyacinths today for the Martyr Hyacinth, / and let us cry to Him: / “Rejoice, glory of martyrs.”


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2014(with 2013's link here also and further:, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):