Tuesday, October 17, 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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Saint Domna of Tomsk

Commemorated on October 16

The holy fool Saint Domna (Karpovna) was born into a noble family in the central Ukraine around the beginning of the nineteenth century. Orphaned at an early age, Saint Domna grew up in her aunt’s house. She received an excellent education, and was able to speak several languages. She was a beautiful girl, and therefore she had many suitors who hoped to marry her. The righteous one, however, desired to preserve her virginity for the Lord’s sake. When she discovered that her relatives wished to force her to be married, she left the house in secret, dressed in plain clothing, and she went on pilgrimage to the holy places. Since she had no documents to prove her identity, she was arrested and exiled to Siberia, where she settled in the city of Tomsk. There she undertook the exploit of foolishness for the sake of Christ.

Saint Domna had no permanent home, and she often spent her days and nights in the open air. Her clothes consisted of various items in different sizes, which hung from her almost naked body. Saint Domna often counted them instead of the knots on a prayer rope, thereby concealing her unceasing prayer from human sight. When compassionate people gave her coats during the severe winters, she accepted them with gratitude, but a few hours later she would give them to some other beggar, while she continued to suffer from the cold. Knowing about the difficult stay of the prisoners in the Tomsk police station, Domna began to walk among them and sing spiritual songs, for which she herself was detained. Upon learning of this, the Tomsk merchants, who revered Domna, carried loads of her cakes, bliny, tea and sugar, which she meted out to the distressed prisoners.

Remembering the words of Holy Scripture: “A righteous man pities the lives of his animals” (Proverbs 12:10, Septuagint), the saint also took care of stray animals and watchdogs. She often fed them, and she was fond of the dogs, about whom the owners did not care, turning them loose at will. Animals also loved the righteous one and by night a multitude of them surrounded her. But even among dumb animals Domna Karpovna did not forget about God. The residents of Tomsk, amid the howling of dogs, often heard her prayer in the darkness: “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”

The Eldress began to dress in rags and assumed the ascetical life of holy foolishness. Bags of all sorts hung from her body, filled with bits of glass, incense, bread, sugar, shoes, ropes, stones, and other things. The local people loved her. She loved animals and they loved her in return, following her as she walked.

The blessed one prayed intensely and fervently in the temple, but only when there were just a few people present. One eyewitness described her prayer: “Once I glanced into the side chapel of the church, and there I saw Domna Karpovna, kneeling, and praying. Oh, how she prayed! And the tears, the tears! They flowed from her eyes in two streams.” But as soon as she noticed someone was looking at her, she began to behave like a fool again, moving from place to place, talking, and extinguishing candles.

Through her exploit of foolishness Saint Domna preserved her virginity, voluntarily enduring poverty, suffering from the heat and cold, and putting the sinful passions to death. At the end of her life she received the gift of clairvoyance from the Lord, which served for the spiritual benefit of others. She surrendered her soul to God on October 16, 1872, and she was buried in the convent of Saint John the Baptist in Tomsk.

The Church of Russia glorified Saint Domna in 1984. She is also commemorated on June 10, the Synaxis of All Saints of Siberia. Some sources give December 16 as the day of her repose. Today, not far from Saint Domna’s burial place, a chapel was built and dedicated to her.

TROPARION - TONE 1

Hearing the voice of Thine Apostle Paul say: “We are fools for Christ;” / Thy handmaiden Mother Domna, O Christ God, was a fool on earth for Thy sake; / therefore, honoring her memory, / we entreat Thee: “O Lord, save 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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council

Commemorated on October 15

Today the Church remembers the 350 holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council under the holy Patriarch Tarasius (February 25).

The Synod of 787, the second to meet at Nicea, refuted the Iconoclast heresy during the reign of Empress Irene and her son Constantine VI.

The Council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry (Exodus 20:4-5), because the honor shown to them is not directed to the wood or paint, but passes to the prototype (the person depicted). It also upheld the possibility of depicting Christ, Who became man and took flesh at His Incarnation. The Father, on the other hand, cannot be represented in His eternal nature, because “no man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).

In Greek practice, the holy God-bearing Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council are commemorated on October 11 (if it is a Sunday), or on the Sunday which follows October 11. According to the Slavic MENAION, however, if the eleventh falls on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, the service is moved to the preceding Sunday.

TROPARION - TONE 8

Most glorious are You, O Christ our God! / You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth! / Through them you have guided us to the true faith! / O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!

KONTAKION - TONE 6

The Son who shone forth from the Father / Was ineffably born, two-fold in nature, of a woman. / Having beheld Him, we do not deny the image of His form, / But depict it piously and revere it faithfully. / Thus, keeping the True Faith, / The Church venerates the icon of Christ Incarnate.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Righteous Paraskeve of Serbia

October 14

READING

Saint Paraskeve was born in Thrace in the eleventh century. In her youth she went to Constaninople, and thence journeyed to the Holy Land in pursuit of the ascetical life. After struggling for many years in the wilderness of the Jordan, she was moved by God to return to her homeland. She continued her monastic labours there for a few more years, and then reposed in peace.

APOLYTIKION OF PARASKEVE OF SERBIA

FOURTH TONE

Thou didst love a silent and solitary life, and didst fervently follow Christ thy Bridegroom. And having taken His easy yoke in thy youth, and having courageously armed thyself with the sign of the Cross against thy spiritual enemies, thou didst extinguish the coals of passions with thy tears, with ascetic labours, fasting, and prayer, O glorious Paraskeve. And now, as thou standest in the heavenly bridal chamber with the wise virgins in the presence of Christ, pray for us who venerate thine honourable memory.

KONTAKION  OF PARASKEVE OF SERBIA

PLAGAL OF THE SECOND TONE

Let us all piously praise most honourable Paraskeve, the holy intercessor for those in affliction. For she gave up her earthly life and received an incorruptible life for ever. Wherefore, she hath won glory and the grace of wonderworking by the command of 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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Friday, October 13, 2017

St. Nicetas the Confessor of Paphlagonia



Saint Nicetas the Confessor of Paphlagonia was a patrician at the imperial court during the reigns of the empress Irene and her son Constantine. He represented the empress Irene at the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, though his name does not appear in the Acts of the Council. He also assisted at the transfer of the relics of Saint Euphemia (September 16).

Renouncing all positions and honors, Nicetas decided to become a monk. At the request of the emperor, he did not go into the wilderness, but rather remained in a monastery in the capital. When the Iconoclast Theophilus occupied the imperial throne, the venerable Nicetas was banished from the monastery by the heretics for opposing the heresy. He wandered for a long time throughout the country.

Saint Nicetas died at the age of seventy-five about the year 838. During his life and after his death he worked many miracles.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Translation of the relic of the Right Hand of John the Baptist

Commemorated on October 12

The Translation from Malta to Gatchina of a Portion of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, together with the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God, and the right hand of Saint John the Baptist took place in the year 1799. These holy things were preserved on the island of Malta by the Knights of the Catholic Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. In 1798, when the French seized the island, the Maltese knights turned to Russia for defense and protection. On October 12, 1799 they offered these ancient holy things to the emperor Paul I, who at this time was at Gatchina. In the autumn of 1799 the holy items were transferred to Saint Petersburg and placed in the Winter Palace within the church dedicated to the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands. The Feast for this event was established in 1800.

By ancient tradition, the Philermia Icon of the Mother of God was painted by the holy Evangelist Luke. From Jerusalem it was transferred to Constantinople, where it was situated in the Blachernae church. In the thirteenth century it was taken from there by crusaders, and from that time was kept by the Knights of the Order of Saint John.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

26 Martyrs of the Zographou Monastery on Mt. Athos at the hands of the Crusaders

Commemorated on October 10

In the year 1274 at the Council of Lyons (in France), the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Paleologos decided to buttress his waning power by forming a union with Catholic Rome. This step evoked universal discontent. In 1278, the emperor issued a decree to introduce the Union at Constantinople by forceful measures, if necessary.

Mt. Athos stood in firm opposition to the Union. The Athonite monks sent a letter to Michael pointing out that the primacy of the Pope, his commemoration in the churches, celebrating the Eucharist with unleavened bread, the insertion of the “filioque” [“and from the Son”] into the Creed, could not be accepted by Orthodox, and they asked the emperor to change his mind. “We clearly see,” the letter said, “that you are becoming a heretic, but we implore you to forsake all this and abide in the teachings that were handed down to you.... Reject the unholy and novel teachings of a false knowledge, speculations, and additions to the Faith.”

The Crusaders pushed out of Palestine and finding refuge in the Byzantine Empire, declared to the emperor their readiness to affirm the power of the Pope by fire and sword, if necessary. In addition, Michael had hired mercenaries, both Turks and Tatars, to enforce his decree.

The emperor despised the monks of Mt. Athos for their opposition. Since he did not want to provoke the Greeks, he decided to vent his spite upon the Athonite Slavs. By Michael’s order, the servants of the Pope descended upon the Bulgarian Zographou monastery. When the demand to accept the Union was presented before the Zographou monks, they refused to listen. They adhered to the doctrines of the Fathers, and fearlessly censured those who accepted the Latin teachings. The majority of the Zographou monks left the monastery, but the most steadfast, twenty-six in number, remained within the monastery tower. These were:Igumen Thomas, and the monks Barsanuphius, Cyril, Michael, Simon, Hilarion, James, Job, Cyprian, Sava, Jacob, Martinian, Cosmas, Sergius, Menas, Joasaph, Joannicius, Paul, Anthony, Euthymius, Dometian, Parthenius, and four laymen.

The holy martyrs for their Orthodox Faith, were burned in the monastery tower on October 10, 1284. (also September 22).

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Monday, October 09, 2017

Martyrs Juventinus and Maximus at Antioch



Martyrs Juventinus and Maximus at Antioch were bodyguards of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Having arrived in Antioch, the emperor gave orders to sprinkle all the foodstuffs in the marketplace and the water in the wells with blood offered to idols. Saints Juventinus and Maximus opposed this edict, and Julian ordered them executed.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Venerable Pelagia the Penitent

Commemorated on October 8

Saint Pelagia the Penitent was converted to Christianity by Saint Nonnus, Bishop of Edessa (Saturday of Cheesefare Week). Before her acceptance of Christianity through Baptism, Pelagia was head of a dance troupe in Palestinian Antioch, living a life of frivolity and prostitution.

One day Pelagia, elegantly dressed, was making her way past a church where Saint Nonnus was preaching a sermon. Believers turned their faces away from the sinner, but the bishop glanced after her. Struck by the outer beauty of Pelagia and having foreseen the spiritual greatness within her, the saint prayed in his cell for a long time to the Lord for the sinner. He told his fellow bishops that the prostitute put them all to shame. He explained that she took great care to adorn her body in order to appear beautiful in the eyes of men. “We... take no thought for the adornment of our wretched souls,” he said.

On the following day, when Saint Nonnus was teaching in the church about the dread Last Judgment and its consequences, Pelagia came. The teaching made a tremendous impression upon her.With the fear of God and weeping tears of repentance, she asked the saint for Baptism. Seeing her sincere and full repentance, Bishop Nonnus baptized her.

By night the devil appeared to Pelagia, urging her to return to her former life. The saint prayed, signed herself with the Sign of the Cross, and the devil vanished.

Three days after her baptism, Saint Pelagia gathered up her valuables and took them to Bishop Nonnus. The bishop ordered that they be distributed among the poor saying, “Let this be wisely dispersed, so that these riches gained by sin may become a wealth of righteousness.” After this Saint Pelagia journeyed to Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. She lived there in a cell, disguised as the monk Pelagius, living in ascetic seclusion, and attaining great spiritual gifts. When she died, she was buried in her cell.

TROPARION - TONE 4

Like a fragrant rose growing from thorns, / You were revealed to the Church through your virtuous deeds / Becoming a source of joy for the faithful. / You offered your life in sweet-smelling fragrance / To him who made you wonderful. / Entreat him to deliver us from every soul-destroying passion, / O righteous Pelagia!

TROPARION - TONE 8

The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Mother, / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away / but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, venerable Pelagia, rejoices with the angels.

KONTAKION - TONE 2

You wore out your body through fasting, vigils, and prayer / beseeching the Creator to completely forgive your deeds. / You achieved this, holy Mother Pelagia, / thereby showing us the way to repentance.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Martyrs Julian the Presbyter and Caesarius the Deacon at Terracina



The Martyr Julian the Presbyter suffered martyrdom for Christ with Saint Caesarius the Deacon at Terracina, Italy in the first century.

Saint Caesarius was thrown into prison for insulting the pagan gods. They later took him in bonds to the temple of Apollo, but before they got him near the pagan temple it collapsed, killing the pagan priests and many of the people.

About the same time the idolators arrested the Christian priest Julian. At the empreor’s orders, the holy martyrs were cast into the sea, but their bodies floated to the surface, and Christians buried the sufferers.

The relics of Saint Caesarius are kept in Rome.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Martyr Evdemoz the Catholicos of Georgia

Commemorated on October 4

Saint Evdemoz led the Georgian Orthodox Church in the mid-17th century during the reign of King Rostom-Khan (1632-1658), a Georgian who had converted to Islam.

Having murdered King Luarsab II of Kartli and chased out King Teimuraz I of Kakheti, the Persian shah Abbas I had declared Rostom-Khan ruler of a unified Kartli-Kakheti kingdom.

Rostom tried to be accommodating in his policies and protect the beliefs and traditions of both the Persian shah and the Georgian people: he set a standard salary for the Georgian clergy and even built churches, but society deteriorated rapidly nevertheless. Human vices became commonplace, and sins like those of Sodom and Gomorrah were multiplied. The nation was so overtaken by sin that even the clergy ceased to conduct themselves in a manner befitting their God-given role.

But the chief shepherd of the Georgian nation would not yield to the moral decline of his flock, and he confronted this crisis with conviction and fearlessness. Several times he led his most valiant military leaders in revolt against Persia. Following the example of Catholicos Evdemoz, several Georgian princes rebelled against the pro-Persian policies of Rostom-Khan and cast out the Islamic influence from their territories.

Catholicos Evdemoz resisted the Islamic custom of raising the king’s heirs in the shah’s court from a young age. He was never too intimidated by the king to expose his wrongdoing and tell him at every convenient opportunity: “You are the natural father of the Muslims, but the stepfather of the Christians!”

Evdemoz was the spiritual father of Rostom-Khan’s wife, the faithful Queen Mariam, the daughter of Manuchar Dadiani, Prince of Samegrelo.

As a result of the holy labors of Catholicos Evdemoz and Queen Mariam, the Christian soul of the Georgian people was not entirely extinguished. The Georgians built churches, wrote spiritual literature, and gradually regained their national consciousness. Catholicos Evdemoz preached throughout the country and developed and implemented a plan to bring King Teimuraz, who had been driven out by Shah Abbas, back to the throne.

Naturally Rostom-Khan felt threatened by the strong influence Catholicos Evdemoz had on the people. In 1642 he arrested the chief shepherd of the Georgian people and tried to win him over, but neither his feigned tenderness nor his threats could break the firm will of the man who loved Christ and his motherland above all else. After his arrest, Saint Evdemoz criticized the king even more harshly and called on the people to rise up against him. Finally Rostom-Khan ordered that Catholicos Evdemoz be strangled to death in his prison cell, and as a further insult, his body was cast off Nariqala Fortress (in Tbilisi) in the direction of the Turkish baths.

That night, a group of Christians stole the body of the holy hieromartyr Catholicos-Patriarch Evdemoz and buried it in the northwest corner of Anchiskhati Church in Tbilisi.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

St. Damaris of Athens



Saint Damaris was the first Athenian woman to believe in Christ, through the preaching of the Apostle Paul. She is mentioned in Acts 17:34: “Some men joined him and believed; among whom were both Dionysios the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”

The name Damaris (“heifer”) is not Greek, but may be a Hellenized form of the Hebrew name Thamar (“palm tree”). The name Thamar appears in both the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 38:6, and Matthew 1:3). From her name, it may be inferred that Saint Damaris was not a Greek by nationality, but she may have been a Jewish woman who moved to Athens.

After Saint Paul left Beroia and visited Athens in the year 52 AD, Saint Damaris had the opportunity to hear him preach Christianity to the Athenians on the Areopagus. Only a few people accepted Saint Paul’s message, but Saint Damaris was one of them. We do not know anything for certain concerning her life beyond that. Some have speculated that she came from a wealthy Jewish family of social prominence, but there is no documentation of this. Neither is there any concrete evidence for the opinion of some patristic writers, and of Saint Dimitry of Rostov, that she was married to Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, or that they were baptized by Saint Paul, together with their two sons, and their entire household.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Monday, October 02, 2017

Hieromartyr Cyprian of Nicomedia

Commemorated on October 2

Hieromartyr Cyprian, Virgin Martyr Justina and Martyr Theoctistus suffered for Christ at Nicomedia in the year 304.

Saint Cyprian was a pagan and a native of Antioch. From his early childhood his misguided parents dedicated him to the service of the pagan gods. From age seven until thirty, Cyprian studied at the most outstanding centers of paganism: on Mount Olympus, in the cities of Argos and Tauropolis, in the Egyptian city of Memphis, and at Babylon. Once he attained eminent wisdom in pagan philosophy and the sorcerer’s craft, he was consecrated into the pagan priesthood on Mount Olympus. Having discovered great power by summoning unclean spirits, he beheld the Prince of Darkness himself, and spoke with him and received from him a host of demons in attendance.

After returning to Antioch, Cyprian was revered by the pagans as a prominent pagan priest, amazing people by his ability to cast spells, to summon pestilence and plagues, and to conjure up the dead. He brought many people to ruin, teaching them to serve demons and how to cast magic spells.

The holy virgin Justina lived in Antioch. After turning her own father and mother away from pagan error and leading them to the true faith in Christ, she dedicated herself to the Heavenly Bridegroom and spent her time in fasting and prayer. When the youth Aglaides proposed marriage to her, the saint refused, for she wished to remain a virgin. Agalides sought Cyprian’s help and asked for a magic spell to charm Justina into marriage. But no matter what Cyprian tried, he could accomplish nothing, since the saint overcame all the wiles of the devil through her prayers and fasting.

Cyprian sent demons to attack the holy virgin, trying to arouse fleshly passions in her, but she dispelled them by the power of the Sign of the Cross and by fervent prayer to the Lord.

Even though one of the demonic princes and Cyprian himself, assumed various guises by the power of sorcery, they were not able to sway Saint Justina, who was guarded by her firm faith in Christ. All the spells dissipated, and the demons fled at the mere mention of the saint’s name.

Cyprian, in a rage, sent down pestilence and plague upon Justina’s family and upon all the city, but this was thwarted by her prayer. Cyprian’s soul, corrupted by its domination over people and by his incantations, was shown in all the depth of his downfall, and also the abyss of nothingness of the evil that he served.

“If you take fright at even the mere shadow of the Cross and the Name of Christ makes you tremble,” said Cyprian to Satan, “then what will you do when Christ Himself stands before you?” The devil then flung himself upon the pagan priest who had begun to repudiate him, and attempted to beat and strangle him.

Saint Cyrian then first tested for himself the power of the Sign of the Cross and the Name of Christ, guarding himself from the fury of the enemy. Afterwards, with deep repentance he went to the local bishop Anthimus and threw all of his books into the flames. The very next day, he went into the church, and did not want to leave it, though he had not yet been baptized.

By his efforts to follow a righteous manner of life, Saint Cyprian discerned the great power of fervent faith in Christ, and made up for more than thirty years of service to Satan. Seven days after Baptism he was ordained reader, on the twelfth day, sub-deacon, on the thirtieth, deacon. After a year, he was ordained priest. In a short time Saint Cyprian was elevated to the rank of bishop.

The Hieromartyr Cyprian converted so many pagans to Christ that in his diocese there was no one left to offer sacrifice to idols, and the pagan temples fell into disuse. Saint Justina withdrew to a monastery and there was chosen Abbess.

During the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian, Bishop Cyprian and Abbess Justina were arrested and brought to Nicomedia, where after fierce tortures they were beheaded with the sword. Saint Cyprian, fearful that the holy virgin’s courage might falter if she saw him put to death, asked for time to pray. Saint Justina joyfully inclined her neck and was beheaded first.

The soldier Theoctistus, seeing the guiltless sufferings of Saint Justina, fell at Cyprian’s feet and declared himself a Christian, and was beheaded with them.

TROPARION - TONE 4

By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, / you became a successor to their throne. / Through the practice of virtue, / you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; / by teaching the word of truth without error, / you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood. / Hieromartyr Cyprian, entreat Christ God to save our souls

TROPARION - TONE 4

You abandoned ungodly darkness, becoming a light of truth; / You were illustrious as a pastor; / You were glorified in contest: / O righteous Father Cyprian together with godly Justina, / Intercede for us before God the Creator of all!

KONTAKION - TONE 1

You turned from the art of sorcery to the knowledge of God, / and were shown forth as a skillful healer for the world, Cyprian, inspired by God. / Together with Justina you grant cures to those who honor you; / with her, pray to the Master who loves mankind that He may save 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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Commemoration of the apparition of the Pillar with the Robe of the Lord under it at Mtskheta in Georgia

Commemorated on October 1

During the reign of King Aderki of Kartli, the Jewish diaspora in Mtskheta learned that a wondrous Child had been born in Jerusalem. Then, thirty years later, a man came from Jerusalem to deliver this message: “The youth has grown up. He calls Himself the Son of God and preaches to us the New Covenant. We have sent envoys to every Jewish diaspora to urge the scholars of the religion to come to Jerusalem and judge what measures should be taken in regard to this matter.”

In response to the envoy’s request and at the recommendation of the Jewish Sanhedrin, Elioz of Mtskheta and Longinoz of Karsani were chosen to journey to Jerusalem. Elioz of Mtskheta was born to a pious family, and as his mother prepared him for the journey, she tearfully begged him not to take any part in the spilling of the blood of the Messiah.

When the Roman soldiers were nailing our Savior to the Cross on Golgotha, Elioz’s mother miraculously heard each strike of the hammer. She cried out in fear, “Farewell majesty of the Jews! For inasmuch as you have killed your Savior and Redeemer, henceforth you have become
your own enemies!” With this she breathed her last.

After the soldiers had cast lots for the Robe of our Lord, it was acquired by Elioz and Longinoz, and with great honor they carried it back with them to Mtskheta. Upon their arrival, Elioz met his sister Sidonia, who took from him the Sacred Robe. With much grief she listened to the story of our Savior’s Crucifixion, clutched the Robe to her breast, and immediately gave up her spirit.

Many miracles were worked by the Robe, and news of this flashed like lightning throughout Mtskheta. King Aderki had a great desire to possess the Robe but, frightened by the miracles, he did not attempt to free it from Sidonia’s embrace. Elioz was obliged to bury his sister and the Precious Robe together. A cypress tree grew up on Sidonia’s grave. When the disciples of Christ cast lots after Pentecost, the lot for evangelizing Georgia fell to the Most Holy Theotokos. But Christ revealed to His Mother that it was not His will for her to preach there. “You have been entrusted to protect the Georgian nation,” He said, “but the role of evangelizing that land belongs to My disciple Andrew the First-called. Send him with an image of your face “Not-Made-By-Hands” to protect the Georgian people to the end of the ages!”

According to the will of God and the blessing of the Theotokos, Saint Andrew the First-called set off for Georgia to preach the Christian Faith. He entered Georgia from the southwest, in the region of Atchara, and subsequently preached in every region of the nation. He established a hierarchy for the Georgian Church and then returned to Jerusalem for Pascha. When he visited Georgia for the second time, the Apostle Andrew was accompanied by the Apostles Matthias and Simon the Canaanite.

Years passed and, under threat from Persian fire-worshippers and other pagan communities, the memory of Christ faded from the minds of the Georgian people.

Then, at the beginning of the 4th century, according to God’s will and the blessing of the Most Holy Theotokos, the holy virgin Nino arrived in Kartli to preach the Christian Faith. She settled in the outskirts of Mtskheta, in the bramble bushes of the king’s garden. Saint Nino inquired as to the whereabouts of our Lord’s Robe, but no one could remember where it had been preserved. In her quest for the Precious Robe, she became acquainted with Elioz’s descendants, the Jewish priest Abiatar and his daughter, Sidonia. Saint Nino converted them to Christianity.

Saint Nino was blessed by God with the gift of healing. She healed the afflicted through the name of our crucified Savior and through the grace of the cross formed from grapevines by the Theotokos and bound with strands of Saint Nino’s hair.

At that time King Mirian ruled Kartli. Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, he worshiped the idol Armazi, but in the depth of his heart he was drawn to the Faith that the holy virgin was preaching. Mirian’s wife, Queen Nana, was the daughter of a famous military leader of Pontus. Thus, the king had received some prior knowledge of the Faith of the Greeks.

Once Queen Nana fell deeply ill, and only through the prayers of Saint Nino was she spared from death. After this miraculous healing, King Mirian became intrigued by the Faith that Saint Nino was preaching, and he began asking the newly enlightened Abiatar about the Holy Scriptures.

Once, while he was hunting on Mt. Tkhoti near Mtskheta, King Mirian was suddenly gripped by an evil spirit, and he burned with a desire to destroy the Christian people of his land and—above all others—the virgin Nino. But suddenly the sun was eclipsed, and the king was surrounded by darkness. The frightened Mirian prayed to the pagan gods to save him from this terror, but his prayers went unanswered. Then, in utter despair, he began to pray to the Crucified God-man and a miracle occurred: the darkness scattered and the sun shone as before. Raising his hands to the east, Mirian cried out, “Truly Thou art the God preached by Nino, God of gods and King of kings!”

Having returned to the capital, King Mirian went immediately to the bramble bushes where Saint Nino dwelt. He greeted her with great honor and spent several hours seeking her counsel. Upon her recommendation, he sent messengers to Emperor Constantine in Byzantium, requesting that he send priests to baptize the people of Kartli and architects to build churches.

This happened on June 24 of the year 324, which was a Saturday. King Mirian began to construct a church so that the priests arriving from Constantinople would have a place to serve. Seven columns to support the church were formed from the wood of a cypress tree that had grown in the king’s garden. Six of the columns were erected without a problem, but the seventh could not be moved from the place where it had been carved. Saint Nino and her disciples prayed through the night, and at dawn they watched as a youth, encompassed by a brilliant light, descended from the heavens and raised the column. The miraculous column began to shine and stopped in mid-air at a height of twelve cubits.

Sweet-smelling myrrh began to flow from under the Holy Pillar’s foundations, and the entire population of Mtskheta flocked to that place to receive its blessing. Approaching the Life-giving Pillar, the sick were healed, the blind received sight, and the paralyzed began to walk.

By that time a certain Bishop John and his suite had arrived from Constantinople. Saint Constantine the Great sent a cross, an icon of the Savior, a fragment from the Life-giving Cross of our Lord (from the place where His feet lay), and a nail from His Crucifixion as gifts to the newly enlightened King Mirian and his people.

At the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers in Mtskheta, the king and queen, the royal court, and all the people of Kartli were baptized into the Christian Faith. After the glorious baptism, Bishop John and his retinue from Constantinople set off toward southern Georgia, for the village of Erusheti. There they built churches and presented the Christian community with the nail from our Lord’s Crucifixion. Soon after, they began to construct Manglisi Church and placed the fragment from the Life-giving Cross inside.

King Mirian wanted to keep some of the newly obtained sacred objects in the capital city, but St.Nino informed him that one of the holiest objects, the Robe of our Savior, was already located in Mtskheta. The king summoned the priest Abiatar and inquired about the Robe, then rejoiced greatly after Abiatar confirmed Saint Nino’s words that the Robe of the Lord was held in the embrace of Sidonia, who was buried under the stump of the cypress tree which now served as the pedestal for the Life-giving Pillar.

At that time a lush, sweet-smelling, wonder-working tree grew up on a mountain over Mtskheta and, at Bishop John’s suggestion, Prince Revi, the son of King Mirian, ordered that the tree be chopped down and a cross formed from its wood. The tree was chopped down and replanted, without its roots, next to a church that was under construction. For thirty-seven days the tree retained its original appearance—even its leaves did not fade or wither. Then, after thirty-seven days had passed, three crosses were formed from its wood.

For many days after this miracle the people of Mtskheta saw a vision: during the night a fiery cross shone above the church, surrounded by stars. When morning came, two of the stars had moved away from the cross in opposite directions—one to the west and the other to the east. The fiery cross headed to the north, stopped for some time over the hill on the other side of the River Aragvi, then disappeared.

Saint Nino advised King Mirian to erect one of the three crosses in the west, on Tkhoti Mountain, and another in the east, in the village of Ujarma. But it was unclear where the third cross should be erected, so King Mirian prayerfully beseeched the Lord to reveal to him the place.

The Lord heard his prayers and sent an angel to show him the place: a rocky hill to the north of the capital, at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers. Today this hill is called Jvari (Cross) and upon it towers the magnificent church of Jvari Monastery. At the moment the cross was erected on this hill, all the idols in Mtskheta fell and shattered to pieces.

Prior to his death King Mirian blessed his heir, Prince Bakar, and urged him to dedicate his life to the Holy Trinity and fight ceaselessly against idolaters. Then he peacefully reposed in the Lord.

According to his will, Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles King Mirian was buried in the upper church at Samtavro, where today a convent in honor of Saint Nino is located. The king was too modest to be buried in the lower church, the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, in which the Life-giving Pillar had been preserved.

Queen Nana reposed two years later and was buried next to her husband.
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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Hieromartyr Gregory the Bishop of Greater Armenia, Equal of the Apostles and Enlightener of Armenia

Commemorated on September 30

The Hieromartyr Gregory, Enlightener of Greater Armenia, was born in the year 257. He was descended from the line of the Parthian Arsakid emperors. The father of Saint Gregory, Anak, in striving after the Armenian throne, had murdered his kinsman, the emperor Kursar, in consequence of which all the line of Anak was marked for destruction.

A certain kinsman saved Gregory: he carried off the infant from Armenia to Caesarea in Cappadocia and raised him in the Christian Faith. At maturity, Gregory married, had two sons, but soon was left a widower. Gregory raised his sons in piety. One of them -- Orthanes, afterwards became a priest, and the other -- Arostanes, accepted monasticism and went off into the wilderness.

In order to atone for the sin of his father, who had murdered the father of Tiridates, Gregory entered into the service of the latter and was a faithful servant to him. Tiridates loved Gregory like a friend, but he was intolerant of the Christian confession of faith. After ascending the Armenian throne, he began to demand that Saint Gregory renounce the Christian Faith.

The steadfastness of the saint embittered Tiridates, and he gave his faithful servant over to cruel tortures: they suspended the sufferer head downwards with a stone about his neck, for several days they choked him with a stinking smoke, they beat and ridiculed him, and forced him to walk in iron sandals inset with nails.

At the time of these sufferings Saint Gregory sang Psalms. In prison the Lord healed all his wounds. When Gregory again stood before the emperor cheerful and unharmed, he was astonished and gave orders to repeat the torments. Saint Gregory endured them, not wavering, with all his former determination and bearing. They then poured hot tin over him and threw him into a pit filled with vipers. The Lord, however, saved His chosen one: the snakes did him no harm.

Some pious women fed him with bread, secretly lowering it into the pit. A holy angel, appeared to the martyr, strengthening and encouraging him. Saint Gregory remained in the pit for fourteen years. During this time the emperor Tiridates executed the holy virgin Saint Rhipsime, the aged abbess Gaiana and another 35 virgins from one of the monasteries of Asia Minor. As punishment for this horrible deed, the king’s face became disfigured.

Saint Gregory was released from the pit, and buried the relics of the holy virgins with honor. Then he began to preach to the people, urging them to turn away from the darkness of idolatry and toward Christ. The people came to believe in Christ, and wished to build a large church. When it was completed, Saint Gregory had the relics of the holy nuns brought into it. Then he brought King Tiridates there before the bodies of the saints whom he had slain. He repented, and immediately his face was made whole once more.

Soon all of Armenia was converted to Christ. The temples of the idols were destroyed, and churches for the worship of the true God were built. Saint Gregory ordained priests, established schools, founded monasteries, and provided for the good order of the Church.

Saint Gregory went into the wilderness, where he departed to the Lord. His son Aristanes was made a bishop in Cappadocia, and was one of the 318 holy Fathers at the Council of Nicea.

Troparion — Tone 4

By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, / you became a successor to their throne. / Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, / O inspired one of God; / by teaching the word of truth without error, / you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood. / Hieromartyr Gregory entreat Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion — Tone 2

Today, let us the faithful, praise with songs and hymns / the admirable hierarch Gregory as an initiate in the sacred mysteries. / He was a contender for the truth, a vigilant pastor and teacher, / a light for the whole world, / interceding with Christ that our souls may be saved!

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Venerable Nestor the Chronicler of the Kiev Near Caves

Commemorated on September 28

Saint Nestor the Chronicler, of the Kiev Caves, Near Caves was born at Kiev in 1050. He came to Saint Theodosius (May 3) as a young man, and became a novice. Saint Nestor took monastic tonsure under the successor to Saint Theodosius, the igumen Stephen, and under him was ordained a hierodeacon.

Concerning his lofty spiritual life it says that, with a number of other monastic Fathers he participated in the casting out of a devil from Nikita the Hermit (January 31), who had become fascinated by the Hebrew wisdom of the Old Testament. Saint Nestor deeply appreciated true knowledge, along with humility and penitence. “Great is the benefit of book learning,” he said, “for books point out and teach us the way to repentance, since from the words of books we discover wisdom and temperance. This is the stream, watering the universe, from which springs wisdom. In books is a boundless depth, by them we are comforted in sorrows, and they are a bridle for moderation. If you enter diligently into the books of wisdom, then you shall discover great benefit for your soul. Therefore, the one who reads books converses with God or the saints.”

In the monastery Saint Nestor had the obedience of being the chronicler. In the 1080s he wrote the “Account about the Life and Martyrdom of the Blessed Passion Bearers Boris and Gleb” in connection with the transfer of the relics of the saints to Vyshgorod in the year 1072 (May 2). In the 1080s Saint Nestor also compiled the Life of the Monk Theodosius of the Kiev Caves. And in 1091, on the eve of the patronal Feast of the Kiev Caves Monastery, he was entrusted by Igumen John to dig up the holy relics of Saint Theodosius (August 14) for transfer to the church.

The chief work in the life of Saint Nestor was compiling in the years 1112-1113 The Russian Primary Chronicle. “Here is the account of years past, how the Russian land came to be, who was the first prince at Kiev and how the Russian land is arrayed.” The very first line written by Saint Nestor set forth his purpose. Saint Nestor used an extraordinarily wide circle of sources: prior Russian chronicles and sayings, monastery records, the Byzantine Chronicles of John Malalos and George Amartolos, various historical collections, the accounts of the boyar-Elder Ivan Vyshatich and of tradesmen and soldiers, of journeymen and of those who knew. He drew them together with a unified and strict ecclesiastical point of view. This permitted him to write his history of Russia as an inclusive part of world history, the history of the salvation of the human race.

The monk-patriot describes the history of the Russian Church in its significant moments. He speaks about the first mention of the Russian nation in historical sources in the year 866, in the time of Saint Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople. He tells of the creation of the Slavonic alphabet and writing by Saints Cyril and Methodius; and of the Baptism of Saint Olga at Constantinople. The Chronicle of Saint Nestor has preserved for us an account of the first Orthodox church in Kiev (under the year 945), and of the holy Varangian Martyrs (under the year 983), of the “testing of the faiths” by Saint Vladimir (in 986) and the Baptism of Rus (in 988).

We are indebted to the first Russian Church historian for details about the first Metropolitans of the Russian Church, about the emergence of the Kiev Caves monastery, and about its founders and ascetics. The times in which Saint Nestor lived were not easy for the Russian land and the Russian Church. Rus lay torn asunder by princely feuds; the Polovetsian nomads of the steppes lay waste to both city and village with plundering raids. They led many Russian people into slavery, and burned churches and monasteries. Saint Nestor was an eyewitness to the devastation of the Kiev Caves monastery in the year 1096. In the Chronicle a theologically thought out patriotic history is presented. The spiritual depth, historical fidelity and patriotism of the The Russian Primary Chronicle establish it in the ranks of the significant creations of world literature.

Saint Nestor died around the year 1114, having left to the other monastic chroniclers of the Kiev Caves the continuation of his great work. His successors in the writing of the Chronicles were: Igumen Sylvester, who added contemporary accounts to the The Russian Primary Chronicle; Igumen Moses Vydubitsky brought it up to the year 1200; and finally, Igumen Laurence, who in the year 1377 wrote the most ancient of the surviving manuscripts that preserve the Chronicle of Saint Nestor (this
copy is known as the “Lavrentian Chronicle”). The hagiographic tradition of the Kiev Caves ascetics was continued by Saint Simon, Bishop of Vladimir (May 10), the compiler of the Kiev Caves Paterikon. Narrating the events connected with the lives of the holy saints of God, Saint Simon often quotes, among other sources, from the Chronicle of Saint Nestor.

Saint Nestor was buried in the Near Caves of Saint Anthony. The Church also honors his memory in the Synaxis of the holy Fathers of the Near Caves commemorated September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent when is celebrated the Synaxis of all the Fathers of the Kiev Caves. His works have been published many times, including in English as “The Russian Primary Chronicle”.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Venerable Ignatius the Abbot in Asia Minor



Saint Ignatius lived during the tenth century in Cappadocia, and from his youth he was dedicated by his parents to God. Upon attaining the age of maturity, he accepted monasticism and soon was ordained to the holy priesthood.

Later, Saint Ignatius was made igumen of a monastery of the Savior, called “Deep River,” close to Constantinople. Saint Ignatius concerned himself about the monastery, embellishing the churches and making an enclosure for the monastery. Saint Ignatius died in the city of Amoreia in the year 975. His relics were uncovered after a long period of time and found to be incorrupt.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Icon of the Mother of God “Mirozh”

Commemorated on September 24

The Mirozh Icon appeared at the Mirozh monastery in the year 1198. But later, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, at a time when a plague raged at Pskov, an ancient report tells how tears flowed from both eyes of the icon. Many benefits and healings for man occured from the icon of the Mother of God.”

The Mirozh Icon is an “Orans” (“Praying”) type. On either side of the Most Holy Theotokos stand the Pskov Saints: on the right, the holy Prince Dovmont-Timothy (May 20); on the left, his wife, the holy nun Martha, in the world named Maria Dimitrievna (November 8, 1300). Tsar Ivan Vasilievich took away the wonderworking icon from Pskov, but at the monastery an exact copy remained: the so-called “Great Panagia” from the Savior-Mirozh monastery.

On September 24, 1567, on the Feast of Saint Abraham at the Mirozh monastery there occurred a miraculous sign from an ancient icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. The celebration of the Mirozh Icon of the Sign was established in that same year, with the blessing of Archbishop Pimen of Novgorod and Pskov. A special service to this icon was composed, and was published in the 1666 MENAION.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Friday, September 22, 2017

Venerable Cosmas of the Zographou Monastery on Mt. Athos



Saint Cosmas, Hermit of Zographou, was a Bulgarian. In his youth he avoided entering into marriage, and secretly left his parents’ home for Mount Athos. Then as he was on his way to the Holy Mountain, the devil tried to shake the yearning of the youth, vexing him with a vision of the infinite abyss of the sea surrounding the Holy Mountain. The fervent prayer of the youth dispelled the demonic temptation.

On Athos, Saint Cosmas was accepted in the Zographou monastery. There he was a novice for a long time, and then he was tonsured, and was appointed ecclesiarch. Saint Cosmas received a special mercy to see the heavenly abbess of Mount Athos Herself, Who on the Feast of the Annunciation at the Vatopedi monastery deigned to reveal to him a glimpse of Her care for Her earthly appanage. He saw a Woman of royal majesty and grandeur, Who attended to both in church for services, and in the trapeza. All the monks served and obeyed Her.

Soon the saint was ordained as deacon, and then as presbyter, which inspired him to new exploits. Zealous for salvation, the saint through fervent prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos was granted a particular sign of Her special favor. He heard the voice of the Mother of God issuing from Her holy icon and asking Her Son, “How will Cosmas be saved?” The Lord answered, “Let him withdraw from the monastery into silence.” After obtaining the blessing of the Superior, Saint Cosmas withdrew into the wilderness, and there in a cave cut into a cliff, and began his new deed of silent seclusion. God did not forsake the faithful man of prayer, for the saint was granted the gift of clairvoyance.

Just as at the start of his ascetic life, the Enemy of the race of mankind again tried to dissuade the saint from his intended path, and so the final days before the righteous one’s death were also a grievous trial for him.

Not long before the death of God’s chosen one, he was granted a vision of Christ Himself, Who informed the saint that before his soul would depart to the heavenly Kingdom, Satan himself with his hosts would beat and gnash at him. Prepared for the suffering by this divine solace, the saint bravely underwent the terrible demonic assaults, and on the third day after furious beatings, he received the All-Pure Mysteries. With words of praise on his lips, he peacefully departed to the Lord.

God, “Who glorifies those who glorify Him,” also glorified Saint Cosmas miraculously at his death. At the time of the saint’s burial a multitude of beasts and birds flocked to his cave, as though sensing the common loss of the Holy Mountain. When they placed his body in the grave and began to cover it with ground, each of the speechless creatures let out a mournful cry, bestowing final respect to the saint of God.

Forty days later, when the brethren opened the saint’s tomb after the all-night Vigil (as was customary), in order to transfer them to the monastery with honor, they were not to be found. The Lord hid them in a miraculous manner. This occurred in the year 1323.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Venerable Joseph of Zaonikiev Monastery, Vologda



Saint Joseph of Zaonikiev, was named Hilarion in the world, a pious peasant from the village of Obukhovo Kubensk in the region of the Vologda gubernia. For a long time he suffered a disease of the eyes and he fervently prayed for the help of the Lord, to the Most Holy Theotokos, and to the Saints, in particular the holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian.

His prayer was heard, and in 1588, by a revelation of Saint Cosmas, Hilarion went into the forest into a swampy place, to an icon of the Mother of God, from which he received healing. In gratitude the monk cleared a forest thicket at the place of the appearance of the wonderworking icon and built a chapel, in which he placed the icon. He himself settled close by, taking the monastic schema with the name of Joseph.

Afterwards, with the blessing of Saint Anthony, Bishop of Vologda, on the place of Joseph’s ascetic exploits the Zaonikiev monastery emerged, so named from the brigand Anikios who once dwelt in this forest. When the monastery expanded and the number of monks grew, upon the advice of Saint Joseph, Anthony was chosen as igumen. Joseph did not accept the leadership himself out of humility. Since he concealed his own strict exploits from the others, he was perceived as a fool-for-Christ. He stood on his feet at prayer in his chapel, and he went about barefoot in the fierce cold.

Saint Joseph reposed on September 21, 1612 at age 83, and was buried in the monastery founded by him.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Holy Martyrs Trophimus, Sabbatius and Dorymedon

Commemorated on September 19

The Holy Martyrs Trophimus, Sabbatius and Dorymedon suffered for Christ during the reign of the Roman emperor Probus (276-282). A pagan festival was being celebrated in the city of Antioch. Sacrificial offerings were brought, the wine was poured, and vile acts were performed. The Christians Trophimus and Sabbatius arrived in the city just as the festival was taking place, and were saddened by this loud and indecent spectacle. They prayed that the Lord would guide the errant on the way of salvation. As they said this, the idolaters noticed their presence. Seeing that the strangers did not worship the idols, they arrested them and took them to the governor.

At their interrogation, the saints firmly confessed their faith. When they were told to renounce Christ, they resolutely refused to do so. Saint Sabbatius died under the fierce torment. Saint Trophimus was sent to the city of Synnada in Phrygia for even more terrible tortures.

For three days Saint Trophimus walked shod in iron sandals with sharp nails, driven on by a cavalry guard. The governor of Frigius, Dionysius, infamous as a torturer and executioner, used all manner of tortures to break the will of the brave Christian. Saint Trophimus merely repeated the words of Scripture: “many afflictions has the righteous one, but from them all will the Lord deliver him” (Ps 33/34:20).

The senator Dorymedon, a secret Christian, visited Saint Trophimus in prison, washing and binding his wounds. When the pagans learned that the senator would not participate in the festival of Castor and Pollux, they asked the reason for his refusal. He said that he was a Christian, and would not attend a festival in honor of the demons. He and Saint Trophimus were thrown to the wild beasts to be eaten by them, but the martyrs remained unharmed. Then they were beheaded with the sword.

TROPARION - TONE 8

God praised in Trinity has glorified a trinity of martyrs: / Trophimus, Sabbatius, and Dorymedon. / By their faith, they overthrew the adversary. / Through their prayers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us.

KONTAKION - TONE 8

As the foundation of athletes and the confirmation of piety / the Church honors and glorifies your brilliant suffering, / wise and glorious Trophimus, ever-praised and blessed athlete. / Together with your fellow sufferers, ask cleansing for those who hymn you, / for you are invincible.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

John the Foreigner

September 20













SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and even 2007!):

Monday, September 18, 2017

Venerable Hilarion of Optina



Saint Hilarion (Ponamarov) was born in Kluch on the night of Pascha, April 8-9, 1805. Nikita and Euphemia Ponamarov named their third son Rodion in honor of Saint Herodion of the Seventy. He always considered April 8, the day of his patron saint’s commemoration, as his birthday. After Rodion, a son and a daughter were born to the Ponamarovs. The daughter, however, died as a baby.

Nikita Ponamarov worked in town as a tailor, and sometimes his business took him to the homes of the local landowners. Consequently, Rodion seldom saw his father until he was fifteen years old.

Rodion was a quiet, uncoordinated child who did not play much with other children, since they made fun of his clumsiness. Even members of his own family behaved in a rude manner toward him, and seldom showed him any affection. The way he was treated made him thoughtful and introspective.

One winter he was playing in the snow with some friends, using an old board as a sled. The board broke and left Rodion with a permanent scar on the finger of his left hand. Another time he injured himself on a saddle-horn while riding. These injuries also had an effect on his health, which was never robust.

The family moved to the Novopersk region of Voronezh in 1820, and Rodion lived there until he was twenty. He helped his father in his work, and gradually acquired skill as a tailor. His parents wanted him to follow this trade, even though his mother once foretold that he would be a monk. Rodion himself desired the monastic life even as a young child, but now he applied himself to tailoring, for he knew that this handicraft would be very useful in the monastery.

Rodion went to Moscow in December of 1825 in order to learn more about being a tailor, arriving with very little money, and with nowhere to stay. He worked with various tailors, but the work was difficult and he became ill. His poor health, he said in later life, probably saved him from falling into many vices. Having increased his proficiency as a tailor, Rodion left Moscow and returned home.

The family moved again in 1829, this time to Saratov. Rodion was engaged twice, but the Lord did not want him to follow this path. His first fiancée died after a short illness, and Rodion simply lost interest in the second.

Saratov was the home to many sectarians of all sorts, and the future saint became involved with certain activists who tried to refute their false teachings. Rodion’s missionary labors may have influenced many sectarians to return to the Orthodox Church. Because of some misunderstanding, however, Rodion and his friends were put on trial. As a result, the authorities kept Rodion under observation for the next four years. This scrutiny was hard for him to endure, and made it very difficult for him to conduct his affairs.

Through his study of the Holy Scripture and the writings of the holy Fathers, Rodion’s desire to become a monk was reawakened. Therefore, he decided to find the monastery which was most suitable for him. In 1837 and 1838 Rodion visited monasteries at Sarov, Suzdal, Rostov, Tikhvin, Moscow, Pochaev, and other places. Finally, he arrived before the gates of Optina. He was thirty-four years old.

At first, Rodion was placed in a cell next to Father Barlaam, a retired igumen of Valaam Monastery. Father Barlaam was a man of great spiritual stature, who had a profound influence on the young man, and became his first instructor in the Jesus Prayer. In later years, Elder Hilarion recalled visiting Father Barlaam to tell him of the various things he had seen or heard. Father Barlaam would ask, “Is that useful? It would be better for you not to see or hear anything. Try to examine your thoughts and your heart more often.” With his wise counsel, Father Barlaam helped Rodion in his spiritual growth as a monk.

Saint Anthony (August 7), the Superior of the Skete, was transferred to Maloyaroslavets on December 1, 1839. He was replaced by Saint Macarius (September 7), the monastery’s confessor. Rodion was assigned to be his cell attendant, remaining in this obedience until the Elder’s death in 1860. Rodion went to Father Macarius for Confession, and to Saint Leonid (October 11) for the daily revelation of his thoughts. In an effort to cleanse himself of the passions, Rodion renounced his own will and obeyed Elder Macarius in all things.

Father Macarius was very strict with the novices, and would not permit the slightest disobedience. He was never the first to bring up a person’s failures and shortcomings, but waited for him to confess his own negligence. He taught the novices to love their neighbor, and to bear their afflictions with patience.


From the time Rodion came to Optina, he had other obediences in addition to serving as cell attendant to Father Macarius. He also tended the flower and vegetable gardens, and worked as a baker, and a bee-keeper. He carried out every task assigned him without complaint.

While his spiritual progress was hidden from men, it was certainly noticed by the all-seeing God. In due course, he received the monastic tonsure and was given the name Hilarion. Father Macarius recognized his disciple’s spiritual maturity, and predicted that he and Saint Ambrose (October 10) would succeed him as Elders after his death. Elder Macarius therefore entrusted Father Hilarion and Father Ambrose with giving counsel to his many spiritual children.

As the closest disciple of Saint Macarius, Father Hilarion was chosen to be Superior of the Skete, and the monastery’s Father Confessor. He confessed all the brethren entrusted to him five times a year, once during each of the Fasts, and twice during Great Lent. Each monk was questioned about the details of his inner life, and was given advice on how to conduct himself in future. Once he finished hearing the Confession of the monks, Father Hilarion began confessing the nuns, and the men and women who came to him from various places. Although there were many people, Father Hilarion never refused anyone. He rarely gave his own opinion, but quoted from the Scriptures or the writings of the Fathers. Sometimes, he would tell people what Father Macarius had said in similar situations. He was very effective in giving advice, because he always practiced what he preached, and he had already experienced the things that were troubling his spiritual children.

The Elder led people to feel sorrow for their sins, and through his questions he brought them to an awareness of their spiritual state. Sometimes he would help them to remember sins which they had forgotten to confess, sins which might lie at the root of their spiritual infirmity. He gave penances according to a person’s age, health, and circumstances. He might require the penitent to read certain prayers, do prostrations, give alms, and to avoid those habits and amusements which are not fitting for a Christian. Many people received much benefit from confessing to him, and continued to live according to the advice he had given them. Not only were they cured of their spiritual afflictions, but sometimes Father Hilarion also healed them of their physical or mental illness as well.

Father Hilarion, by God’s providence, became seriously ill for two years. All during that time he did not ask God to let him recover. Instead, he asked to be given the patience to help him bear the illness. He received Holy Communion frequently, and twice he was given Holy Unction.

During the last thirty-three days of his life, Father Hilarion partook of the life-giving Mysteries of Christ every day. In the last four weeks of his life, the Elder was unable to lie down in bed because of water in his lungs. Therefore, he remained seated on a couch in front of a portrait of Father Macarius. He experienced great discomfort, and was not able to sleep very well.

Father Hilarion observed the cell rule of prayer until the last moments of his life. Early on the morning of September 18, 1873 he listened to the morning rule being read, and received Holy Communion at 1:00 A.M. Five hours later, he rested from his labors and gave his soul into the hands of God.

It is said that during Father Hilarion’s final illness, Saint Macarius appeared to him many times in his dreams. As he drew closer to death, these appearances became more frequent. He died with his prayer rope in his hands, and was buried next to his beloved Elder Saint Macarius.

The Moscow Patriarchate authorized local veneration of the Optina Elders on June 13,1996. The work of uncovering the relics of Saints Leonid, Macarius, Hilarion, Ambrose, Anatole I, Barsanuphius and Anatole II began on June 24/July 7, 1998 and was concluded the next day. However, because of the church Feasts (Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, etc.) associated with the actual dates of the uncovering of the relics, Patriarch Alexey II designated June 27/July 10 as the date for commemorating this event. The relics of the holy Elders now rest in the new church of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God.

The Optina Elders were glorified by the Moscow Patriarchate for universal veneration on August 7, 2000.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Icon of the Mother of God of Constantinople



The Constantinople Icon commemorated today is probably the prototype of another Constantinople Icon (April 25) venerated at Moscow’s Dormition church on Malaya Dimitrovka.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Friday, September 15, 2017

St. Joseph the New of Partos the Metropolitan of Timishoara (Romania)

Commemorated on September 15

Saint Joseph the New was born in 1568 at Raguza in Dalmatia, and was given the name Jacob at his Baptism. When he was very young, his father died, and he was raised by his mother. At the age of twelve, he was sent to Ochrid to be schooled.

The young Jacob was called to live the monastic life when he was fifteen, and entered the monastery of the Mother of God. After five years, he traveled to Mount Athos, and was tonsured at the Pantokrator Monastery with the new name of Joseph. He fulfilled his various obediences in an exemplary manner, becoming perfected in virtue and holiness. He attained unceasing prayer of the heart, receiving from God the gift of tears. He also performed many miracles, healing the sick and the crippled. Some of the monasteries of the Holy Mountain would send for him so that he could heal those monks who were afflicted with severe bodily suffering.

On July 20, 1650, at the age of eighty-two, Saint Joseph was elected as Metropolitan of Timishoara. He was a wise and good shepherd to his flock, healing their physical and spiritual illnesses. Once he extinguished a fire in the western part of Timishoara by his prayers, when God sent a heavy rainfall.

After three years of archpastoral labors, he retired to the Partosh Monastery, where he was often visited by many of the faithful. The monastery was an important center of church activity in those days, and even had a school for training priests.

Metropolitan Joseph fell asleep in the Lord on August 15, 1656 when he was eighty-eight years old, and he was buried in the monastery church. He is commemorated on September 15.

He worked many miracles during his lifetime, and there are reports that his relics remained incorrupt after his death.

For more than 300 years the monks reverently tended his grave, then at his glorification on October 7, 1956 Saint Joseph’s relics were transferred into the cathedral at Timishoara. The casket containing his holy relics is adorned with carvings depicting scenes from his life.

An Akathist composed to honor Saint Joseph speaks of his many virtues.

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Monday, September 11, 2017

Martyrs Diodorus, Didymus and Diomedes of Laodicea



These Saints were born in Laodicea in the fourth century, and suffered martyrdom in that city. They were flogged to death.



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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, 2008 and even 2007!):

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday before Holy Cross

 September 10


TONE OF THE WEEK

PLAGAL OF THE FIRST TONE

EOTHINON

THIRD ORTHROS GOSPEL

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

PLAGAL OF THE FIRST TONE

Let us worship the Word, O ye faithful, praising Him that with the Father and the Spirit is co-beginningless God, Who was born of a pure Virgin that we all be saved; for He was pleased to mount the Cross in the flesh that He assumed, accepting thus to endure death. And by His glorious rising, He also willed to resurrect the dead.

SEASONAL KONTAKION

FOURTH TONE

In your holy birth, Immaculate One, Joachim and Anna were rid of the shame of childlessness; Adam and Eve of the corruption of death. And so your people, free of the guilt of their sins, celebrate crying: "The barren one gives birth to the Theotokos, who nourishes our life."

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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, 2008 and even 2007!):