Monday, April 24, 2017

"Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day

Please be sure to scroll down past the Saint or Feast of the day.

After the Saint or Feast of the day I post my "Main Posts". These may be anything including original articles, book reviews, adding new blogs to my web page and just about anything new I may wish the reader to read.

Please note I do not always have "Main Posts" posted.

I tend to leave "Main Posts" up for several days.

Sophocles

St. Joseph the Confessor of Maramures

Commemorated on April 24

Saint Joseph was born in the seventeenth century, and was consecrated as a bishop in Moldavia (northern Romania in 1690 by Metropolitan Dositheus. This was a period of great trials and sufferings for the people of Maramures (in northern Romania) because the Roman Catholic authorities wanted to wipe out Orthodoxy in the region.

St Joseph was a zealous defender of the Orthodox Faith, and therefore he was jailed by the civil authorities. He died in 1711 after suffering for the truth and defending his flock.

St Joseph the Confessor was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Greatmartyr, Victory-bearer and Wonderworker George

Commemorated on April 23

The Holy Great Martyr George the Victory-Bearer, was a native of Cappadocia (a district in Asia Minor), and he grew up in a deeply believing Christian family. His father was martyred for Christ when George was still a child. His mother, owning lands in Palestine, moved there with her son and raised him in strict piety.

When he became a man, Saint George entered into the service of the Roman army. He was handsome, brave and valiant in battle, and he came to the notice of the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and joined the imperial guard with the rank of comites, or military commander.

The pagan emperor, who did much for the restoration of Roman might, was clearly concerned with the danger presented to pagan civilization by the triumph of the Crucified Savior, and intensified his persecution against the Christians in the final years of his reign. Following the advice of the Senate at Nicomedia, Diocletian gave all his governors full freedom in their court proceedings against Christians, and he promised them his full support.

Saint George, when he heard the decision of the emperor, distributed all his wealth to the poor, freed his servants, and then appeared in the Senate. The brave soldier of Christ spoke out openly against the emperor’s designs. He confessed himself a Christian, and appealed to all to acknowledge Christ: “I am a servant of Christ, my God, and trusting in Him, I have come among you voluntarily, to bear witness concerning the Truth.”

“What is Truth?” one of the dignitaries asked, echoing the question of Pontius Pilate. The saint replied, “Christ Himself, Whom you persecuted, is Truth.”

Stunned by the bold speech of the valiant warrior, the emperor, who had loved and promoted George, attempted to persuade him not to throw away his youth and glory and honors, but rather to offer sacrifice to the gods as was the Roman custom. The confessor replied, “Nothing in this inconstant life can weaken my resolve to serve God.”

Then by order of the enraged emperor the armed guards began to push Saint George out of the assembly hall with their spears, and they then led him off to prison. But the deadly steel became soft and it bent, just as the spears touched the saint’s body, and it caused him no harm. In prison they put the martyr’s feet in stocks and placed a heavy stone on his chest.

The next day at the interrogation, powerless but firm of spirit, Saint George again answered the emperor, “You will grow tired of tormenting me sooner than I will tire of being tormented by you.” Then Diocletian gave orders to subject Saint George to some very intense tortures. They tied the Great Martyr to a wheel, beneath which were boards pierced with sharp pieces of iron. As the wheel turned, the sharp edges slashed the saint’s naked body.

At first the sufferer loudly cried out to the Lord, but soon he quieted down, and did not utter even a single groan. Diocletian decided that the tortured one was already dead, and he gave orders to remove the battered body from the wheel, and then went to a pagan temple to offer thanks.

At this very moment it got dark, thunder boomed, and a voice was heard: “Fear not, George, for I am with you.” Then a wondrous light shone, and at the wheel an angel of the Lord appeared in the form of a radiant youth. He placed his hand upon the martyr, saying to him, “Rejoice!” Saint George stood up healed.

When the soldiers led him to the pagan temple where the emperor was, the emperor could not believe his own eyes and he thought that he saw before him some other man or even a ghost. In confusion and in terror the pagans looked Saint George over carefully, and they became convinced that a miracle had occurred. Many then came to believe in the Life-Creating God of the Christians.

Two illustrious officials, Saints Anatolius and Protoleon, who were secretly Christians, openly confessed Christ. Immediately, without a trial, they were beheaded with the sword by order of the emperor. Also present in the pagan temple was Empress Alexandra, the wife of Diocletian, and she also knew the truth. She was on the point of glorifying Christ, but one of the servants of the emperor took her and led her off to the palace.

The emperor became even more furious. He had not lost all hope of influencing Saint George, so he gave him over to new and fiercesome torments. After throwing him into a deep pit, they covered it over with lime. Three days later they dug him out, but found him cheerful and unharmed. They shod the saint in iron sandals with red-hot nails, and then drove him back to the prison with whips. In the morning, when they led him back to the interrogation, cheerful and with healed feet, the emperor asked if he liked his shoes. The saint said that the sandals had been just his size. Then they beat him with ox thongs until pieces of his flesh came off and his blood soaked the ground, but the brave sufferer, strengthened by the power of God, remained unyielding.

The emperor concluded that the saint was being helped by magic, so he summoned the sorcerer Athanasius to deprive the saint of his miraculous powers, or else poison him. The sorcerer gave Saint George two goblets containing drugs. One of them would have quieted him, and the other would kill him. The drugs had no effect, and the saint continued to denounce the pagan superstitions and glorify God as before.

When the emperor asked what sort of power was helping him, Saint George said, “Do not imagine that it is any human learning which keeps me from being harmed by these torments. I am saved only by calling upon Christ and His Power. Whoever believes in Him has no regard for tortures and is able to do the things that Christ did” (John 14:12). Diocletian asked what sort of things Christ had done. The Martyr replied, “He gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, healed the lame, gave hearing to the deaf, cast out demons, and raised the dead.”

Knowing that they had never been able to resurrect the dead through sorcery, nor by any of the gods known to him, and wanting to test the saint, the emperor commanded him to raise up a dead person before his eyes. The saint retorted, “You wish to tempt me, but my God will work this sign for the salvation of the people who shall see the power of Christ.”

When they led Saint George down to the graveyard, he cried out, “O Lord! Show to those here present, that You are the only God in all the world. Let them know You as the Almighty Lord.” Then the earth quaked, a grave opened, the dead one emerged from it alive. Having seen with their own eyes the Power of Christ, the people wept and glorified the true God.

The sorcerer Athanasius, falling down at the feet of Saint George, confessed Christ as the All-Powerful God and asked forgiveness for his sins, committed in ignorance. The obdurate emperor in his impiety thought otherwise. In a rage, he commanded both Athanasius and the man raised from the dead to be beheaded, and he had Saint George again locked up in prison.

The people, weighed down with their infirmities, began to visit the prison and they there received healing and help from the saint. A certain farmer named Glycerius, whose ox had collapsed, also visited him. The saint consoled him and assured him that God would restore his ox to life. When he saw the ox alive, the farmer began to glorify the God of the Christians throughout all the city. By order of the emperor, Saint Glycerius was arrested and beheaded.

The exploits and the miracles of the Great Martyr George had increased the number of the Christians, therefore Diocletian made a final attempt to compel the saint to offer sacrifice to the idols. They set up a court at the pagan temple of Apollo. On the final night the holy martyr prayed fervently, and as he slept, he saw the Lord, Who raised him up with His hand, and embraced him. The Savior placed a crown on Saint George’s head and said, “Fear not, but have courage, and you will soon come to Me and receive what has been prepared for you.”

In the morning, the emperor offered to make Saint George his co-administrator, second only to himself. The holy martyr with a feigned willingness answered, “Caesar, you should have shown me this mercy from the very beginning, instead of torturing me. Let us go now to the temple and see the gods you worship.”

Diocletian believed that the martyr was accepting his offer, and he followed him to the pagan temple with his retinue and all the people. Everyone was certain that Saint George would offer sacrifice to the gods. The saint went up to the idol, made the Sign of the Cross and addressed it as if it were alive: “Are you the one who wants to receive from me sacrifice befitting God?”

The demon inhabiting the idol cried out, “I am not a god and none of those like me is a god, either. The only God is He Whom you preach. We are fallen angels, and we deceive people because we are jealous.”

Saint George cried out, “How dare you remain here, when I, the servant of the true God, have entered?” Then noises and wailing were heard from the idols, and they fell to the ground and were shattered.

There was general confusion. In a frenzy, pagan priests and many of the crowd seized the holy martyr, tied him up, and began to beat him. They also called for his immediate execution.

The holy empress Alexandra tried to reach him. Pushing her way through the crowd, she cried out, “O God of George, help me, for You Alone are All-Powerful.” At the feet of the Great Martyr the holy empress confessed Christ, Who had humiliated the idols and those who worshipped them.

Diocletian immediately pronounced the death sentence on the Great Martyr George and the holy Empress Alexandra, who followed Saint George to execution without resisting. Along the way she felt faint and slumped against a wall. There she surrendered her soul to God.

Saint George gave thanks to God and prayed that he would also end his life in a worthy manner. At the place of execution the saint prayed that the Lord would forgive the torturers who acted in ignorance, and that He would lead them to the knowledge of Truth. Calmly and bravely, the holy Great Martyr George bent his neck beneath the sword, receiving the crown of martyrdom on April 23, 303.

The pagan era was coming to an end, and Christianity was about to triumph. Within ten years, Saint Constantine (May 21) would issue the Edict of Milan, granting religious freedom to Christians.

Of the many miracles worked by the holy Great Martyr George, the most famous are depicted in iconography. In the saint’s native city of Beirut were many idol-worshippers. Outside the city, near Mount Lebanon, was a large lake, inhabited by an enormous dragon-like serpent. Coming out of the lake, it devoured people, and there was nothing anyone could do, since the breath from its nostrils poisoned the very air.

On the advice of the demons inhabiting the idols, the local ruler came to a decision. Each day the people would draw lots to feed their own children to the serpent, and he promised to sacrifice his only daughter when his turn came. That time did come, and the ruler dressed her in her finest attire, then sent her off to the lake. The girl wept bitterly, awaiting her death. Unexpectedly for her, Saint George rode up on his horse with spear in hand. The girl implored him not to leave her, lest she perish.

The saint signed himself with the Sign of the Cross. He rushed at the serpent saying, “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Saint George pierced the throat of the serpent with his spear and trampled it with his horse. Then he told the girl to bind the serpent with her sash, and lead it into the city like a dog on a leash.

The people fled in terror, but the saint halted them with the words: “Don’t be afraid, but trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him, since it is He Who sent me to save you.” Then the saint killed the serpent with a sword, and the people burned it outside the city. Twenty-five thousand men, not counting women and children, were then baptized. Later, a church was built and dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos and the Great Martyr George.

Saint George went on to become a talented officer and to amaze the world by his military exploits. He died before he was thirty years old. He is known as Victory Bearer, not only for his military achievements, but for successfully enduring martyrdom. As we know, the martyrs are commemorated in the dismissal at the end of Church services as “the holy, right victorious martyr....”

Saint George was the patron saint and protector of several of the great builders of the Russian state. Saint Vladimir’s son, Yaroslav the Wise (in holy Baptism George), advanced the veneration of the saint in the Russian Church. He built the city of Yuriev [i.e., “of Yurii.” “Yurii” is the diminutive of “George”, as “Ivan” is of “John”], he also founded the Yuriev monastery at Novgorod, and he built a church of Saint George the Victory Bearer at Kiev.

The day of the consecration of Saint George’s Church in Kiev, November 26, 1051 by Saint Hilarion, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus, has entered into the liturgical treasury of the Church as a special church feastday. Yuriev Day is beloved by the Russian people as an “autumn Feast of Saint George.”

The name of Saint George was also borne by the founder of Moscow, Yurii Dolgoruky (+ 1157), who was the builder of many churches dedicated to Saint George, and the builder of the city of Yuriev-Polsk. In the year 1238 the heroic fight of the Russian nation against the Mongol Horde was led by the Great Prince Yurii (George) Vsevolodovich of Vladimir (February 4), who fell at the Battle at the Sita River. His memory, like that of Igor the Brave, and defender of his land, was celebrated in Russian spiritual poems and ballads.

The first Great Prince of Moscow, when Moscow had become the center of the Russian Land, was Yurii Danilovich (+ 1325), the son of Saint Daniel of Moscow, and grandson of Saint Alexander Nevsky. From that time Saint George the Victory Bearer, depicted as a horseman slaying the serpent, appeared on Moscow’s coat of arms, and became an emblem of the Russian state. This has strengthened Russia’s connections with Christian nations, and especially with Iberia (Georgia, the Land of Saint George).

TROPARION- TONE 4

You were bound for good deeds, O martyr of Christ: George; / by faith you conquered the torturer’s godlessness. / You were offered as a sacrifice pleasing to God; / thus you received the crown of victory. / Through your intercessions, forgiveness of sins is granted to all.

KONTAKION-TONE 4

God raised you as his own gardener, O George, / for you have gathered for yourself the sheaves of virtue. / Having sown in tears, you now reap with joy; / you shed your blood in combat and won Christ as your crown. / Through your intercessions, forgiveness of sins is granted to all.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Venerable Anastasius the Abbot of Sinai

Commemorated on April 20

Saint Anastasius of Sinai lived in the seventh century, and was one of the great ascetics who flourished on Mt. Sinai.

From his youth, he was raised in great piety and love for God. When he reached manhood, Saint Anastasius left the world and entered a monastery to take upon himself the yoke of Christ (Mt.11:29). Wishing to perfect himself in virtue, he went to Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, where Saint John of the Ladder (March 30) was abbot. There he profited from the example of many holy men who were proficient in monasticism.

Because of his humility, Saint Anastasius received wisdom and spiritual discernment from God. He wrote the Lives of several holy Fathers, as well as other spiritually instructive books. In time, he was found worthy of ordination to the holy priesthood.

Following Saint John and his brother George, Saint Anastasius became abbot of Sinai. He was most zealous in his opposition to heresy, exposing it, refuting it, and covering its adherants with shame. He even traveled to Syria, Egypt, and Arabia to uproot heresy and strengthen the Church of Christ.

Saint Anastasius taught that God gives each Christian an angel to care for him throughout his life. However, we can drive our Guardian Angel away by our sins, just as bees are driven away by smoke. While the demons work to deprive us of the heavenly Kingdom, the holy angels guide us to do good. Therefore, only the most foolish individuals would drive away their Guardian Angel from themselves.

After a long life of faithfully serving God, Saint Anastasius fell asleep in the Lord in the year 685. He and the other ascetics of Mt. Sinai are also commemorated on Bright Wednesday, the Synaxis of the Monastic Fathers of Sinai.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Icon of the Mother of God Weeping “Ilyin Chernigov”



The Ilyin-Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God was painted in the year 1658 by the iconographer Gregory Dubensky, (Gennadius in monasticism). Tears flowed from the icon for eight days in 1662, from April 16-24.

In this same year Tatars descended upon Chernigov and devastated it. At midnight they burst into the Trinity monastery, went into the church, overturned all the icons and grabbed all the utensils, but the wonderworking icon and its ornaments remained untouched.

An invisible power held back the impious from the holy icon. Previously, the Queen of Heaven had not permitted the enemy to enter the cave of Saint Anthony of the Caves, where the brethren of the monastery had hidden. The Tatars fled, as though terrified by a vision.

The miracle of the Mother of God and Her Chernigov Icon was described by Saint Demetrius of Rostov (October 28 and September 21) in his book, THE MOISTENED FLEECE [Runo Oroshennoe]. Later on, Saint John of Tobolsk (June 10) also wrote about the Chernigov Icon.

A wonderworking copy of the Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God, in the Gethsemane skete of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra, was glorified in the year 1869 (September 1).

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Friday, April 14, 2017

Aristarchus, Pudens, Trophimus the Apostles of the 70

April 14

Saint Aristarchus is mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians (4:10), and also in the Epistle to Philemon (v. 24). By his ascetical manner of life, this Saint proved to be another Saint John the Baptist. He became Bishop of Apamea in Syria, and brought many to the Faith of Christ. Saints Pudens and Trophimus are mentioned in II Timothy 4:20-21. Also, Acts 21:29 mentions that Trophimus was from Ephesus. According to sources that Saint Dorotheus of Tyre (celebrated on June 5) found written in Latin in Rome, these Apostles were beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero (54-68).

APOLYTIKION OF Aristarchus, Pudens, Trophimus of the 70

THIRD TONE

O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Martyr Eupsychius of Caesarea, in Cappadocia

Commemorated on April 9

The Holy Martyr Eupsychius was born in the city of Caesarea in Cappadocia and received a Christian upbringing by his illustrious parents.

During the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363), Saint Eupsychius entered into a Christian marriage.

At Caesarea there was a pagan temple to the goddess Fortuna, whom Julian the Apostate revered. As Eupsychius was going to his wedding, the pagans were offering sacrifice to the goddess Fortuna.

Saint Eupsychius was filled with zeal for the Lord, and he destroyed the temple. He knew that this would inevitably result in his punishment. Saint Eupsychius distributed all his possessions to the poor and prepared himself for martyrdom.

The enraged emperor Julian loosed his wrath not only upon Saint Eupsychius, but against all the inhabitants of this city. Some of the citizens were executed, while the more respectable were sent into exile. Christian clergy were drafted into military service, and he looted the churches of anything valuable. The city was deprived of its title Caesarea [i.e. “Imperial”] and resumed its original name of Maza. He also imposed a severe tax on the inhabitants. The emperor threatened to annihilate the city altogether, if the people did not build a new pagan temple in place of the one destroyed.

Julian tried to compel Saint Eupsychius to offer sacrifice to idols. For many days they tormented the saint on a rack, and also with iron claws. But his faith was firm, and the judge sentenced the martyr to be beheaded with a sword.

Then Julian embarked on a campaign against the Persians, marching through Cappadocia and approaching Caesarea. Danger threatened the city, since the emperor intended to raze it to its foundations. But then Saint Basil the Great (January 1), showing Julian the proper respect as sovereign authority, came out to meet him carrying with him three loaves of barley bread, which he ate. The emperor ordered his retainers to take the loaves, and to give Saint Basil a pinch of hay saying, “You have given us barley, cattle fodder. Now receive hay from us in return.”

The saint answered, “O Emperor, we bring you that which we ourselves eat, and you give us cattle feed. You mock us, since you, by your might, are not able to transform hay into bread, the essential food of mankind.”

Julian angrily retorted, “I’ll shove this hay down your throat when I return here from Persia. I shall raze this city to its very foundations, and plow over this ground and turn it into a field. I know that it was on your advice that the people dared to destroy the statues and temple of Fortuna.”

After this the emperor continued on his way, but soon perished in his campaign against the Persians. He was struck down in the year 363 by the holy Great Martyr Mercurius (November 24).

After the emperor’s demise, the Christians of the city of Caesarea built a splendid church over the grave of Saint Eupsychius, and from his holy relics they received help and healing.

TROPARION - TONE 3

With steadfast heart you finished your course and cast down the wily foe, / for you were armed with the power of the Cross, blest Eupsychius. / You were numbered with the host of martyrs and have attained eternal glory. / Always entreat Christ our God to save us who honor you.

KONTAKION- TONE 2

As a living temple of Christ the Lord / you destroyed the ungodly temple, / and through your steadfast toils, Martyr Eupsychius, / you built a dwelling in Paradise.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Lazarus Saturday

April 8

Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, the friends of the Lord Jesus, had given Him hospitality and served Him many times (Luke 10:38-4z; John 12:2-3). They were from Bethany, a village of Judea. This village is situated in the eastern parts by the foothills of the Mount of Olives, about two Roman miles from Jerusalem. When Lazarus - whose name is a Hellenized form of "Eleazar," which means "God has helped," became ill some days before the saving Passion, his sisters had this report taken to our Saviour, Who was then in Galilee. Nonetheless, He tarried yet two more days until Lazarus died; then He said to His disciples, "Let us go into Judea that I might awake My friend who sleepeth." By this, of course, He meant the deep sleep of death. On arriving at Bethany, He consoled the sisters of Lazarus, who was already four days dead. Jesus groaned in spirit and was troubled at the death of His beloved friend. He asked, "Where have ye laid his body?" and He wept over him. When He drew nigh to the tomb, He commanded that they remove the stone, and He lifted up His eyes, and giving thanks to God the Father, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." And he that had been dead four days came forth immediately, bound hand and foot with the grave clothes, and Jesus said to those standing there, "Loose him, and let him go." This is the supernatural wonder wrought by the Saviour that we celebrate on this day.

According to an ancient tradition, it is said that Lazarus was thirty years old when the Lord raised him; then he lived another thirty years on Cyprus and there reposed in the Lord. It is furthermore related that after he was raised from the dead, he never laughed till the end of his life, but that once only, when he saw someone stealing a clay vessel, he smiled and said, "Clay stealing clay." His grave is situated in the city of Kition, having the inscription: "Lazarus the four days dead and friend of Christ." In 890 his sacred relics were transferred to Constantinople by Emperor Leo the Wise, at which time undoubtedly the Emperor composed his stichera for Vespers, "Wishing to behold the tomb of Lazarus . . ."

APOLYTIKION OF LAZARUS SATURDAY

First Tone

O Christ our God, before Your Passion, You raised Lazarus from the dead to confirm the common Resurrection for all. Therefore, we carry the symbols of victory as did the youths, and we cry out to You, the victor over death, "Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. "

KONTAKION OF LAZARUS SATURDAY

Second Tone

Christ, everyone's joy, the truth, the light, life, the resurrection of the world, has by His goodness appeared to those on earth. He is the archetype of the resurrection, granting divine forgiveness to all.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Monday, April 03, 2017

Nicetas, Abbot of the Monastery of Medicium

April 3

Saint Nicetas lived in the eighth century and became the Abbot of the Monastery of Medicium, which was near the city of Triglia on the Sea of Marmara. For his Orthodox confession of the veneration of the holy icons, he was persecuted and exiled twice by the Iconoclast Emperor Leo the Armenian, but recalled by Michael the Stutterer, and reposed, adorned with the twofold crown of holiness and of confession of the Orthodox Faith, about the year 824.

Apolytikion of Nicetas the Confessor

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 Nikitas, 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.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Venerable Titus the Wonderworker

Commemorated on April 2

Saint Titus the Wonderworker displayed zeal for the monastic life from his youth. He pursued asceticism in the ninth century at the Studion monastery near Constantinople. By his deeds of fasting, purity of life and mild disposition, Saint Titus gained the love of the brethren, and at their request he was ordained a priest.

Fervent of faith, the saint stood up for the Orthodox veneration of icons during the Iconoclast persecution. Because of his virtuous life, God granted him the gift of wonderworking. The saint was translated to the Lord in his old age.

TROPARION- TONE 4

Dedicated to the Lord from childhood, / you lived in the world like an angel; / you received grace from God to work miracles; / you were a guide of monks and a wise steward, O Titus. / Fervently pray to Christ our God for the world.

TROPARION- TONE 4

You forsook the tumult of life; / you lived your life in tranquility, O wise one. / You have passed over to God, / venerable wonderworker, Titus our father.

KONTAKION - TONE 8

You purified yourself through prayer and abstinence. / You were radiant with grace and virtue. / You bring joy to us who sing: / Rejoice, O Titus, / Adornment of the fathers!

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Martyr Cyril the Deacon and Those with him


March 29


Reading

Saint Cyril was a deacon from Heliopolis in Phoenicia. During the reign of the Emperor Constantius, son of Saint Constantine, he had also broken the idols in pieces. When Julian came to power, Saint Cyril was seized by the idolaters and his belly was ripped open. The other holy Martyrs celebrated today, martyred in Gaza and Ascalon during the reign of Julian, were men of priestly rank and consecrated virgins; they were disemboweled, filled with barley, and set before swine to be eaten. The account of all the above Saints is given in Book III, ch. 3, of Theodoret of Cyrrhus' "Ecclesiastical History."

Apolytikion of Martyr Cyril the Deacon & Companions


Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Since they had slain through their abstinence and struggles the fiery ragings and fierce motions of the passions, the staunch Martyrs of Christ God laid hold on the graces to drive off the pains and illnesses of the sick and work wonders both while living and after death. Strange indeed is the miracle! That these bare bones should pour forth such overflowing streams of cures. Glory be to our only God.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hilarion the New

March 28

Saint Hilarion took up the monastic life from his youth and lived in seclusion. Later, as Abbot of the Monastery of Pelecete in Asia Minor (believed to be in Bithynia, not far from Triglia), he suffered much from the Iconoclasts, and reposed in the year 754.

Apolytikion of Hilarion the New


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 Hilarion, your soul rejoices with the angels.







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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting


I was contacted by Jen Reviews regarding a post I had done some time ago regarding the Church's teaching and practice on fasting.  The article that was brought to my attention is very interesting and appropriate for this time in the Lenten period.

It is named "The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting"

Please do take a look.

Martyr Matrona of Thessalonica

Commemorated on March 27

The Holy Martyr Matrona of Thessalonica suffered in the third or fourth century. She was a slave of the Jewish woman Pautila (or Pantilla), wife of one of the military commanders of Thessalonica. Pautila constantly mocked her slave for her faith in Christ, and tried to convert her to Judaism. Saint Matrona, who believed in Christ from her youth, still prayed to the Savior Christ, and secretly went to church unbeknownst to her vengeful mistress.

Pautila, learning that Saint Matrona had been to church, asked, “Why won’t you come to our synagogue, instead of attending the Christian church?” Saint Matrona boldly answered, “Because God is present in the Christian church, but He has departed from the Jewish synagogue.” Pautila went into a rage and mercilessly beat Saint Matrona, tied her up, and shut her in a dark closet. In the morning, Pautila discovered that Saint Matrona had been freed of her bonds by an unknown Power.

In a rage Pautila beat the martyr almost to death, then bound her even more tightly and locked her in the closet. The door was sealed so that no one could help the sufferer. The holy martyr remained there for four days without food or water, and when Pautila opened the door, she again found Saint Matrona free of her bonds, and standing at prayer.

Pautila flogged the holy martyr and left the skin hanging in strips from her body. The fierce woman locked her in the closet again, where Saint Matrona gave up her spirit to God.

Pautila had the holy martyr’s body thrown from the roof of her house. Christians took up the much-suffered body of the holy martyr and buried it. Later, Bishop Alexander of Thessalonica built a church dedicated to the holy martyr. Her holy relics, glorified by many miracles, were placed in this church.

The judgment of God soon overtook the evil Pautila. Standing on the roof at that very place where the body of Saint Matrona had been thrown, she stumbled and fell to the pavement. Her body was smashed, and so she received her just reward for her sin.

TROPARION- TONE 3

With undaunted spirit you preserved the Faith, / And your soul, Matrona, was not enslaved by the cruelty of your torturers. / You excelled in contest, slaying the crafty one / And were mystically wedded to the Lord of creation. / Fervently entreat him to deliver us from all harm!

KONTAKION- TONE 4

Filled with the light of the Spirit, O Matrona, / you regarded your prison cell as a bridal chamber; / and from it you hastened to your radiant dwelling in the heavens, crying out: / “In divine love for You, O Word, I gladly endured scourgings.”

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Saturday, March 25, 2017

4th Saturday of Great Lent: Memorial Saturday

Commemorated on March 25

Saturday is the day which the Church has set aside for the commemoration of Orthodox Christians departed this life in the hope of resurrection and eternal life. Since the Divine Liturgy cannot be served on weekdays during Great Lent, the second, third, and fourth Saturdays of the Fast are appointed as Soul Saturdays when the departed are remembered at Liturgy.

In addition to the Liturgy, kollyva (wheat or rice cooked with honey and mixed with raisins, figs, nuts, sesame, etc.) is blessed in church on these Saturdays. The kollyva reminds us of the Lord’s words, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).The kollyva symbolizes the future resurrection of all the dead. As Saint Simeon of Thessalonica (September 15) says, man is also a seed which is planted in the ground after death, and will be raised up again by God’s power. Saint Paul also speaks of this (I Cor. 15:35-49).

It is also customary to give alms in memory of the dead. The angel who spoke to Cornelius testifies to the efficacy of almsgiving, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4).

Memorial services for the dead may be traced back to ancient times. Chapter 8 of the Apostolic Constitutions recommends memorial services with Psalms for the dead. It also contains a beautiful prayer for the departed, asking that their voluntary and involuntary sins be pardoned, that they be given rest with the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles in a place where sorrow, suffering, and sighing have fled away (Isaiah 35:10). Saint John Chrysostom mentions the service for the dead in one of his homilies on Philippians, and says that it was established by the Apostles. Saint Cyprian of Carthage (Letter 37) also speaks of our duty to remember the martyrs.

The holy Fathers also testify to the benefit of offering prayers, memorial services, Liturgies, and alms for the dead (Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Saint John of Damascus, etc.). Although both the righteous and those who have not repented and corrected themselves may receive benefit and consolation from the Church’s prayer, it has not been revealed to what extent the unrighteous receive this solace. It is not possible, however, to transfer a soul from a state of evil and condemnation to a state of holiness and blessedness through the Church’s prayer. Saint Basil the Great points out that the time for repentance and forgiveness of sins is during the present life, while the future life is a time for righteous judgment and retribution (Moralia 1). Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Gregory the Theologian, and other patristic writers concur with Saint Basil’s statement.

By praying for others, we bring benefit to them, and also to ourselves, because “God is not so unjust as to forget your work and the love which you showed for His sake in serving the saints...” (Heb. 6:10).

TROPARION-TONE 8

Only Creator, with wisdom profound, You mercifully order all things, / and give that which is needed to all men: / Give rest, O Lord, to the souls of Your servants who have fallen asleep, / for they have placed their trust in You, our Maker and Fashioner, and our God.

KONTAKION-TONE 8

With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Your servants, / where there is neither sickness nor sorrow, and no more sighing, / but life everlasting.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hieromartyr Basil of Ancyra

Commemorated on March 22

Hieromartyr Basil was a presbyter in Ancyra, Galatia. Fighting against the Arian heresy, he urged his flock to cling firmly to Orthodoxy. Because of this Saint Basil was deposed from his priestly rank by a local Arian council, but a Council of 230 bishops in Palestine reinstated him.

Saint Basil openly continued to preach and denounce the Arians. Therefore, he became the victim of persecution and was subjected to punishment as a man dangerous to the state. Two apostates, Elpidios and Pegasios, were ordered to turn Saint Basil from Orthodoxy. The saint remained unshakable, and was again subjected to tortures.

When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) arrived in the city of Ancyra, Saint Basil bravely confessed Christ before him at the trial, and denounced the emperor for his apostasy. Julian ordered that strips of skin be cut from the saint’s back. Saint Basil endured the gruesome torture with great patience.

When they began to beat his shoulders and stomach with red-hot rods, he fell down upon the ground from the torments and cried out, “O Christ, my Light! O Jesus, my Hope! Quiet Haven from the stormy sea. I thank You, O Lord God of my fathers, that You have snatched my soul from the pit of Hell and preserved Your Name in me unstained! Let me finish my life a victor and inherit eternal life according to the promise You gave my fathers. Now accept my soul in peace, plying steadfast in this confession! For You are merciful and great is Your mercy, You Who live and sojourn throughout all the ages. Amen.”

Having made such prayer, and lacerated all over by the red-hot rods, the saint fell into a sweet slumber, giving up his soul into the hands of God. The Hieromartyr Basil died June 29, 362. His commemoration was transferred to March 22 because of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
This saint should not be confused with Saint Basil of Ancyra (January 1), a layman.

TROPOARION - TONE 3

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit you worthily received the anointing of the priesthood, O Basil. / You offered your martyr’s contest / as a royal sacrifice to the King of the Ages. / Righteous Father, entreat Christ God to grant us His great mercy.

KONTAKION - TONE 8

Having run the race in righteousness, / You preserved the faith, O Hieromartyr Basil. / For this you were made worthy of the crown of martyrdom, / And You have become an unshakable pillar of the Church, / Confessing the undivided Trinity: the Son, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit. / Entreat Him to deliver those who honor you from distress, / That we may cry to you: Rejoice, O divinely wise Basil!

KONTAKION TONE 3

As a priest of the King of Glory, / you also became a holy warrior by your contest. / You shamed the counsels of the lawless / and received the enjoyment of the heavenly Kingdom, / blessed hieromartyr of Christ, Basil.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Monday, March 20, 2017

Righteous Fathers Saints John, Sergius, Patrick and others slain at the Monastery of St. Savas

March 20


Reading

These Righteous Martyrs were put to death by the barbarians during the reign of Emperor Heraclius, when Saint Modestus was Patriarch of Jerusalem (632-634).

Apolytikion of Fathers of the Monastery of St. Savas


Second Tone

Blessed is the earth that drank your blood, O prizewinners of the Lord, and holy are the tabernacles that received your spirits; for in the stadium ye triumphed over the enemy, and ye proclaimed Christ with boldness. Beseech Him, we pray, since He is good, to save our souls.

Kontakion of Fathers of the Monastery of St. Savas


Fourth Tone

Shunning all earthly and corruptible pleasures, ye chose a life of great ascetical struggles, disdaining worldly beauty and all fleeting fame; wherefore, ye dwell joyously in the Kingdom of Heaven with the Martyrs' holy choirs and the ranks of ascetics. Hence, we revere your memory and cry: From every peril, O Fathers, deliver us.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Holy Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria and with them the Martyrs Claudius the Tribune with his wife Hilaria and their sons Jason and Maurus, and Diodorus the Presbyter and Marianus the Deacon

 
 Martyr Daria

 Commemorated on March 19


Saint Chrysanthus came from a pagan family who had moved to Rome from Alexandria. He received a fine education, and among the books he read were those in which pagans discussed Christianity. The young man, however, wanted to read books written by Christians themselves. He finally managed to find a copy of the New Testament, which enlightened his rational soul.
 
Seeking someone to instruct him in the Holy Scriptures, he found the presbyter Carpophoros hiding from persecution, and received holy Baptism from him. After this, he began to preach the Gospel. Chrysanthus’ father tried to turn his son from Christianity, and finally married him to Daria, a priestess of Minerva.

Saint Chrysanthus managed to convert his wife to Christ, and the young couple mutually agreed to lead celibate lives. After the death of the father, they began to live in separate houses. Saint Chrysanthus converted several young men to Christ, and many pious women gathered around Saint Daria.

The people of Rome complained to the eparch Celerinus that Saints Chrysanthus and Daria were preaching celibacy and attracting too many young men and women to monasticism. Saint Chrysanthus was sent to the tribune Claudius for torture.

The torments, however, did not shake the bravery of the young martyr, since the power of God clearly aided him. Struck by this, the tribune Claudius himself came to believe in Christ and accepted holy Baptism together with his wife Hilaria, their sons Jason and Maurus, and all his household and soldiers. When news of this reached the emperor Numerian (283-284), he commanded them all to be executed. The Martyr Claudius was drowned in the sea, and his sons and soldiers were beheaded. Christians buried the bodies of the holy martyrs in a nearby cave, and Saint Hilaria constantly went there to pray. Once, they followed her and led her off for torture. The saint asked that they give her a few moments to pray, and as soon as she finished, she gave up her soul to God. A servant buried the saint in the cave beside her sons.

The torturers sent Saint Daria to a brothel, where she was protected by a lion sent by God. A certain man who tried to defile the saint was knocked to the ground and pinned down by the lion, but the lion did not kill him. The martyr preached to them about Christ and set them to the path of salvation.

They threw Saint Chrysanthus into a foul-smelling pit, into which all the filth of the city flowed. But a heavenly light shone on him, and the pit was filled with a sweet fragrance.

Then the emperor Numerian ordered Saints Chrysanthus and Daria to be turned over to the executioners. After many cruel tortures, the martyrs were buried alive in the ground.

In a cave near the place of execution, Christians began to gather to honor the anniversary of the saints’ martyrdom. They celebrated Church services and partook of the Holy Mysteries. Learning of this, the pagan authorities sealed the entrance to the cave, and those within received the crown of martyrdom.

Two of these martyrs are known by name: the Presbyter Diodorus and the Deacon Marianus.

TROPARION - TONE 1

Let us honor the like-minded pair of martyrs / Chrysanthus, scion of purity, and supremely modest Daria. / United in holiness of faith, / they shone forth as communicants of God the Word. / They fought lawfully for Him and now save those who sing: / “Glory to Him who has strengthened you! / Glory to Him who has crowned you! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!”

KONTAKION- TONE 1

In the sweet fragrance of holiness, O Chrysanthus, / you drew Daria to saving knowledge. / Together in contest you routed the serpent, / the author of all evil, / and were worthily taken up to the heavenly realms.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Thursday, March 16, 2017

St. Demetrius the Devoted, King of Georgia

Commemorated on March 16

Saint Demetre the King, also called “the Devoted,” was a great-grandson of Holy Queen Tamar. God sent Saint Demetre many tribulations during his childhood, thus encouraging him in the Faith from an early age. Demetre was still an infant when the Mongols killed his mother, the pious Queen Gvantsa. His father, King Davit V (1258-1269), died when Demetre was just ten years old.

When he reached the age of twelve, the royal court sent him to the Mongol ordu (the military camp and headquarters of the Mongols. This particular camp of the Ilkhanid Mongols lay in Mughan of Azerbaijan.), to the ruler Abaqa Khan (1265-1282) (ruler of the Ilkhanid Mongols (descendents of Qubilay Khan’s brother Hulegu).

As the Georgians were under Mongol dominion, they asked Abaqa Khan to proclaim Demetre king, and their request was honored.

Filled with virtue, King Demetre ruled the nation in wisdom and kindness. At night he would go out in search of the poor, the infirm, and the orphaned to distribute his wealth to them. The king took advantage of comparatively peaceful periods to build and restore churches and monasteries and to strengthen fortifications.

Many of King Demetre’s lofty goals, however, were never realized, because the khan was constantly calling the Georgian soldiers to arms. A vast number of Georgia’s finest soldiers fought and perished in the khan’s battles. Soon Georgia was exhausted from battle and the sacrifice of her sons’ blood in the wars of foreign nations.

Internal strife began to tear at the Georgian people, and in desperation they began to pillage the lands and villages that belonged to their own Church.

During this difficult time, Demetre yielded to a temptation. Although already joined in a marriage of political convenience, he abducted Natela, the daughter of southern Georgia’s ruler, Beka Jakeli. She bore Demetre a son, whom they named Giorgi. He would later be honored with the title Giorgi V “the Brilliant” (1314-1346).

After the death of Abaqa Khan, his brother, Ahmad Tegüder (1282-1284), was proclaimed khan. In the second year of his reign, Ahmad’s brother, Qongurdam, plotted to overthrow him but failed. A short time later, Abaqa Khan’s son, Arghun (1284-1291), rose up against his uncle and seized the throne. Finally, Bugha Chingsang, the khan’s prime minister, organized a plot against Arghun. On January 17, 1289, Bugha Chingsang was executed along with his fellow conspirators.

Demetre, who had been on friendly terms with the khan, was now summoned to the khan’s ordu as a suspected member of the plot.

King Demetre immediately surmised the reason for this summons: “The khan is very angry and has called me to him,” he told his court. “I am certain he intends to do me evil, but my kingdom will lie defenseless before him if I do not go. How many Christians will die or become his slaves? How many churches will be laid to waste? Truly my life cannot be so valuable that I could live and bear this sin while many Christian souls are left to perish. It is my wish to go to the khan. God’s will be done: if I am killed, I will be certain that my country is saved!”

The royal court tried with all its might to convince Demetre that it was foolish to go, meet certain death, and leave the country without a ruler. Catholicos Abraam alone supported King Demetre’s decision and advised him, “If you sacrifice your own life for your nation, we, the bishops of this land, will bear your sins, and will pray to God that you be numbered among the holy martyrs. For the Lord Himself said, Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). And if it is good for a man to lay down his life for just one neighbor, how profitable is it for a man to die for the sake of many?”

Upon hearing these words, the king rejoiced exceedingly and began to prepare for his journey to the Mongol ordu. He took with him Catholicos Abraam, a certain priest Mose, his son Davit, and several members of his court. At the ordu the Mongols could find no fault in the young Georgian king, but they imprisoned him nevertheless. Then a group of Georgian faithful forced their way into the prison to see him and offered to help him escape. The king was deeply moved by their compassion, but nevertheless he told them, “I knew from the beginning the death I would suffer, and I offered my life for this nation. If I escape now, the nation will be destroyed. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).”

The khan ordered his execution. Fully prepared to meet death, King Demetre prayed fervently, received the Holy Gifts, and gave up his soul to the Lord. Those present witnessed a divine miracle: the sun grew dark and an ominous gloom enshrouded the whole city.

The holy relics of the Royal Martyr Demetre were guarded until the catholicos and the priest Mose secretly retrieved the body and, with the help of a group of Tbilisi fishermen, returned the king to his homeland. He was buried in Mtskheta, in the burial vault of his forefathers at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Holy Martyrs Agapius, Publius, Timolaus, Romulus, Alexander, Alexander, Dionysius and Dionysius

Commemorated on March 15

The Holy Martyrs Agapius, Publius, Timolaus, Romulus, Alexander, Alexander, Dionysius and Dionysius suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) in the city of Palestinian Caesarea. During one of the pagan festivals they began to torture and execute Christians who refused to offer sacrifice to idols.

The Martyr Timolaus (August 19) was sentenced to burning, and the Martyrs Agapius and Thekla (August 19) were sentenced to be torn apart by wild beasts. A group of young Christians: Publius, Timolaus, Alexander, another Alexander, Dionysius, and Romulus, the subdeacon of the Diospolis church decided to confess their faith and suffer for Christ.

As a sign of their voluntary deed they tied their own hands behind their backs and appeared before the governor Urbanus. Seeing their youth, the governor tried to persuade them to reconsider their decision, but in vain. He then threw them in prison, where there were already two Christians, Agapius and his servant Dionysius. All these saints were subjected to terrible tortures and beheaded.

Troparion - Tone 4

Your soul aflame with love for Christ,
You gathered a company of illustrious athletes, O glorious (Agapius/ Publius/ Timolaus/ Romulus/Alexander/ Alexander/ Dionysius/Dionysius).
With them you excelled in righteous contest,
And together you were beheaded by the sword.
Henceforth always pray for the forgiveness of our sins!

Kontakion - Tone 4


Out of love for Christ
The eight-fold choir of martyrs spurned all earthly things.
As they were beheaded
They cried out together:
O compassionate One, give joy to your servants!

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Venerable Benedict of Nursia

Commemorated on March 14

Saint Benedict, founder of Western monasticism, was born in the Italian city of Nursia in the year 480. When he was fourteen years of age, the saint’s parents sent him to Rome to study. Unsettled by the immorality around him, he decided to devote himself to a different sort of life.

At first Saint Benedict settled near the church of the holy Apostle Peter in the village of Effedum, but news of his ascetic life compelled him to go farther into the mountains. There he encountered the hermit Romanus, who tonsured him into monasticism and directed him to live in a remote cave at Subiaco. From time to time, the hermit would bring him food.

For three years the saint waged a harsh struggle with temptations and conquered them. People soon began to gather to him, thirsting to live under his guidance. The number of disciples grew so much, that the saint divided them into twelve communities. Each community was comprised of twelve monks and was a separate skete. The saint gave each skete an igumen from among his experienced disciples, and only the novice monks remained with Saint Benedict for instruction.

The strict monastic Rule Saint Benedict established for the monks was not accepted by everyone, and more than once he was criticized and abused by dissenters.

Finally he settled in Campagna and on Mount Cassino he founded the Monte Cassino monastery, which for a long time was a center of theological education for the Western Church. The monastery possessed a remarkable library. Saint Benedict wrote his Rule, based on the experience of life of the Eastern desert-dwellers and the precepts of Saint John Cassian the Roman (February 29).

The Rule of Saint Benedict dominated Western monasticism for centuries (by the year 1595 it had appeared in more than 100 editions). The Rule prescribed the renunciation of personal possessions, as well as unconditional obedience, and constant work. It was considered the duty of older monks to teach the younger and to copy ancient manuscripts. This helped to preserve many memorable writings from the first centuries of Christianity.

Every new monk was required to live as a novice for a year, to learn the monastic Rule and to become acclimated to monastic life. Every deed required a blessing. The head of this cenobitic monastery is the igumen. He discerns, teaches, and explains. The igumen solicits the advice of the older, experienced brethren, but he makes the final decisions. Keeping the monastic Rule was strictly binding for everyone and was regarded as an important step on the way to perfection.

Saint Benedict was granted by the Lord the gift of foresight and wonderworking. He healed many by his prayers. The monk foretold the day of his death in 547. The main source for his Life is the second Dialogue of Saint Gregory.

Saint Benedict’s sister, Saint Scholastica (February 10), also became famous for her strict ascetic life and was numbered among the saints.

TROPARION - TONE 1

By your ascetic labors, God-bearing Benedict, / you were proven to be true to your name. / For you were the son of benediction, / and became a rule and model for all who emulate your life and cry: / “Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!”

KONTAKION - TONE 6

You were enriched with God’s grace; / your works agreed with your name, O Benedict, helpful servant of Christ God. / Through prayer and fasting you were revealed to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit of God! / You are a healer of the sick, the banisher of demons and speedy defender of our souls!

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Martyr Hesychius of the Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebaste

Commemorated on March 9

Saint Hesychius was one of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste who refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, and suffered for Christ around 320. Licinius, the co-ruler of Saint Constantine the Great, was a pagan, and he decided to stamp out Christianity in his part of the Empire. As Licinius prepared his army to fight against Constantine, he feared mutiny and so he decided to remove all Christians from his army.

A company of forty Cappadocians, brave soldiers who had distinguished themselves in many battles, was stationed in the Armenian city of Sebaste under the command of the pagan Agricola. When these soldiers refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, Agricola locked them up in prison.

It was winter, and there was a severe frost. The holy soldiers were lined up and thrown into a lake near the city, and a guard was stationed on the shore to prevent them from coming out of the water. In order to break the will of the martyrs, a warm bath house was set up on the shore. One of the soldiers came out of the water to offer sacrifice, and the guard Aglaius took his place.

In the morning, the torturers were surprised to see that the martyrs were still alive, and their guard Aglaius was glorifying Christ together with them. They led the soldiers out of the water and broke their legs. During this horrible execution the mother of the youngest of the soldiers, Meliton, pleaded with her son not to persevere until death.

They put the bodies of the martyrs on a cart and committed them to fire. Young Meliton was still breathing, and they left him to lay on the ground. His mother then picked up her son, and on her own shoulders she carried him behind the cart. When Meliton drew his last breath, his mother put him on the cart with the bodies of his fellow sufferers. The bodies of the saints were tossed in the fire, and their charred bones were thrown into the water, so that Christians would not gather them up.

Three days later the martyrs appeared in a dream to Saint Peter, Bishop of Sebaste, and commanded him to bury their remains. The bishop together with several clergy gathered up the relics of the glorious martyrs by night and buried them with honor.

There is a pious custom of baking “skylarks” (pastries shaped like skylarks) on this day, because people believed that birds sing at this time to announce the arrival of spring. Forty “skylarks” are prepared in honor of the Forty Martyrs. 

TROPARION - TONE 1

 Together let us honor the holy company united by faith, / Those noble warriors of the Master of all. / They were divinely enlisted for Christ, / And passed through fire and water. / Then they entered into refreshment praying for those who cry: / Glory to him who has strengthened you! / Glory to him who has crowned you! / Glory to him who has made you wonderful, O holy Forty Martyrs!Together let us honor the holy company united by faith, / Those noble warriors of the Master of all. / They were divinely enlisted for Christ, / And passed through fire and water. / Then they entered into refreshment praying for those who cry: / Glory to him who has strengthened you! / Glory to him who has crowned you! / Glory to him who has made you wonderful, O holy Forty Martyrs!

KONTAKION - TONE 6

 You abandoned all earthly armies, / cleaving to the heavenly Master, O Forty Martyrs of the Lord. / Having passed through fire and water, O Blessed Ones, / you have fittingly received heavenly glory and many crowns.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Icon of the Mother of God “the Surety of sinners” in Moscow

Commemorated on March 7

The Icon of the Mother of God “Surety of Sinners” is known by this name because of the inscription on the icon: “I am the Surety of sinners for My Son Who has entrusted Me to hear them, and those who bring Me the joy of hearing them will receive eternal joy through Me.” The Mother of God embraces Her Child, Who holds Her right hand with both His hands so that Her thumb is in His right hand, and Her small finger in His left hand. This is the gesture of one who gives surety for another.

Although we do not know when or by whom the icon was originally painted, it is believed that the basis of the icon is to be found in the Akathist to the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos: “Rejoice, You Who offer Your hands in surety for us to God.”

In 1848, through the zeal of Lt. Col. Demetrius Boncheskul, a copy of the wonderworking “Surety of Sinners” Icon was made and placed in his home. Soon it began to exude a healing myrrh, which was given to many so they might recover their health after grievous illnesses. Boncheskul donated this wonderworking copy to the church of Saint Nicholas at Khamovniki in Moscow, where a chapel was built in honor of the icon.


The “Surety of Sinners” Icon is also commemorated on May 29 and on Thursday of the week of All Saints.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):