Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Martyr Auxentius of Constantinople

Commemorated on January 25

The holy New Martyr Auxentius was born in 1690 in the diocese of Vellas, part of the Metropolitan district of Ioannina in Greece. When he was a young man, he moved to Constantinople with his parents and became a furrier.

Later, he left his trade and went to work on the ships, leading a sinful life in pursuit of worldly pleasures. His Moslem coworkers turned against him and accused him of denying Christ to embrace Islam. Fearing that they would denounce him to the captain of the ship, Auxentius jumped ship and returned to Constantinople.

Auxentius bought a small boat and earned his living with it. He began to regret his previous conduct, and the desire for martyrdom grew within him. One day, a monk got into his boat in order to cross the water. This was Father Gregory, a monk of Xeropotamou Monastery on Mt. Athos.

He revealed to Father Gregory his desire to be a martyr for Christ. The wise monk praised his desire, but urged caution lest he should weaken under torture and deny Christ. He recommended that Auxentius move to a quiet place and become a monk. Heeding Father Gregory’s advice, Auxentius continued to work with his boat for a time, giving most of his money to the poor, and living as an ascetic.

Auxentius often prayed at the church of the Life-Giving Fountain, asking God to give him strength to become a martyr. Then he returned to his old ship, where his former shipmates began to beat him. They dragged him before the kadi, stating that he had converted to Islam, but then returned to Christianity.

Auxentius said, “I was, and am, an Orthodox Christian. I am prepared to suffer thousands of tortures for the sake of Christ.”

The furious Hagarenes began to beat Auxentius with an iron bar. He lost an eye and several teeth as a result. He remained steadfast in confessing Christ, in spite of all the tortures that were inflicted upon him, and absolutely refused to become a Moslem.

Father Gregory went to see Auxentius in prison, and was asked to bring him Holy Communion on his next visit. The monk did this, also urging him to remain strong in the Orthodox Faith.

The holy martyr was brought before the vizier, who urged him to respect Islam as good and true, instead of treating it with contempt. Saint Auxentius answered that he would never abandon his faith. In fact, he even urged the vizier to become a Christian. This enraged the vizier, and he sentenced Auxentius to death.

After praying for all Orthodox Christians, and for the whole world, Saint Auxentius was beheaded on January 25, 1720 at 9:00 A.M. Two days later, a heavenly light was seen by Christians and Moslems, shining on the body of the martyr.

The sultan’s tailor, an Orthodox Christian named Michael, went to the sultan and asked for the body. Patriarch Jeremiah III accompanied the body to the Church of the Life-Giving Fountain for the funeral and burial.

Two years later, when the saint’s relics were exhumed, a sweet fragrance came forth from them.


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, January 21, 2017

Martyr Anastasius the Disciple of the Venerable Maximus the Confessor

Commemorated on January 21

The Holy Martyr Anastasius was a disciple of Saint Maximus the Confessor, and with him suffered persecution under the Monothelites. Saint Maximus and two of his disciples were subjected to the cruelest torments. Each one’s tongue was cut out, and his right hand was cut off. Then they were exiled to Skemarum in Scythia, enduring many sufferings and difficulties on the journey.

Saint Anastasius wrote the Life of his teacher, and died in the year 662.


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


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, January 15, 2017

St. Prochorus the Abbot in the Vranski Desert on the river Pshina in Bulgaria

Saint Prochorus of Pshina pursued asceticism in the Bransk wilderness at the River Pshina, and he founded a monastery there. He is renowned as one of the great ascetics of monastic life. He died at the end of the tenth century. Miracles occurred from the saint’s relics. According to the Serbian Chronicles, the pious King Milutin (1276-1320) built a church in honor of Saint Prochorus.


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, January 12, 2017

Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 12

Apolytikion of Theophany Afterfeast in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

Kontakion of Theophany Afterfeast in the Fourth Tone
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."


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, January 09, 2017

Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow

January 9

Our Father among the Saints Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, was born in 1507 of noble family, and served for a time in the royal court. While still a young man, he secretly left Moscow and entered Solovki Monastery in the north, about the year 1538, a little over a hundred years after its founding. Because of his spiritual stature he was chosen against his will to succeed Abbot Alexis in 1548. As abbot, Philip was a great builder and beautifier of Solovki Monastery. He laid the foundations for the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, constructed cells, hermitages, and a hospital for the monks and for pilgrims, established a cattle yard on one of the islands, drained swamps and connected waterways by a series of canals and damns, built a mill and various workshops, and even invented ingenious machines and implements to help the monks in their work. His fame spread, and in 1566, by the will of Tsar Ivan IV, he was raised to the rank of Metropolitan of Moscow.

Tsar Ivan the Terrible revered Philip, even as Herod had revered Saint John the Baptist, and he had been a generous benefactor of Solovki Monastery. But because the Tsar had established the oprichnina, a state within a state, giving power to the oprichniki, who used it to oppress and rob the innocent, Philip told him the he could not be Metropolitan if the Tsar suffered the oprichniki to continue in power. This angered the Tsar, he told Philip that it was not for him to interfere in matters of state, and many hierarchs prevailed upon Philip to accept the Metropolitan's throne. But as the horrors committed by the oprichniki grew worse-thefts, false accusations, murders, and all manner of injustice and rapacity, with the knowledge of the Sovereign- Saint Philip could not remain silent. He rebuked the Tsar once and again for the reign of terror that he had brought upon his own people. The Tsar warned him to hold his peace and bless him to do as he wished. The Metropolitan answered that his silence brought sin upon the Sovereign. The Tsar threatened him with his wrath, and told him to resign his throne if he were not willing to comply. Saint Philip answered that he had not sought the Metropolitan's throne, and it was the Tsar who had deprived him of his hermitage on Solovki; but now the pastoral burden was upon him, he would not remain silent when the canons of the Church were broken.

The more the Tsar threatened Philip with his wrath, the more the holy hierarch stood fast and threatened the Tsar with judgment of God; Philip alone had the courage to rebuke the Tsar openly and oppose his iniquity. Finally the Tsar, finding false witnesses against Philip in his own monastery on Solovki, held a council against him in early November, 1568; the Saint had to endure the persecution of the Tsar who had torn him from his beloved monastery, the betrayal of his fellow hierarchs, and the slanders of his own spiritual children. He was imprisoned in Moscow, but because of the love of the people for him the Tsar feared him even in prison, and he was transferred to a monastery in Tver, where he spent a year in great hardships and continual prayer. On December 23, 1569, a royal messenger came, asking the Metropolitan's blessing for the Tsar's expedition to Novgorod. Saint Philip told him to do that which he came to do, then raised his hands in prayer to God. The Tsar's messenger fell upon him and suffocated the holy hierarch with a pillow. In 1591 his relics were transferred to Solovki, and in 1652 to the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow; many miracles were wrought through his holy relics (See also Oct. 5 and July 3).

Apolytikion of Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O successor of first prelates, pillar of Orthodoxy, champion of truth, new confessor, Saint Philip, thou didst lay down thy life for thy flock. Wherefore, since thou hast boldness with Christ, pray for the suffering Russian land and them that worthily honour thy holy memory.

Kontakion of Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow in the Third Tone
Let us praise most wise Philip, guide and teacher of Orthodoxy, herald of truth, emulator of Chrysostom, lamp of Russia, who fed his children spiritually with the food of his words; for by chanting praise with his tongue, he taught us to chant with our lips as an initiate of the grace of God.



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, January 08, 2017

Martyr Abo the Perfumer, of Tibilisi, Georgia

Commemorated on January 8

In the 8th century a Saracen army tyrannized Kartli as a first step towards overturning the Georgian nation. The invaders were certain that the best way to conquer Georgia was to uproot the Christian Faith. The Georgian people were alarmed, and the clergy and the best sons of Kartli sought desperately for a resolution to this calamity. Much blood was shed in 766 when theMuslim invaders crushed an uprising in the eastern region of Kakheti.

In 772, Caliph Al Mansur (754-775), dissatisfied with the provincial governor of Kartli, Duke Nerse, summoned him to Baghdad. Nerse spent the following three years in captivity. During that time he became acquainted with a seventeen-year-old perfumer named Abo, and when he was released he brought Abo back with him to Georgia. Abo was amazed at the great piety of the Georgian people, and he began to learn the Georgian language, attend the divine services, and speak with local priests. Abo sought with all his heart to become a Christian, and he was eventually baptized in Khazaria, while in the company of Duke Nerse.

Later, Abo accompanied the duke to Abkhazeti, to escape the Saracen raids. Discovering an entire population of Christians praising Jesus Christ with one heart and mouth, Abo gave great thanks to God for the opportunity to visit this area. Nerse later returned to Kartli, but Abo remained at the request of the Abkhaz king, who feared that the Saracens would torture Abo for his devout faith in Christ. Soon, however, Abo became restless and told the king, “Let me go, and I will freely declare my Christian Faith to those who hate Christ!”

Abo labored in Tbilisi for three years, preaching the Christian Faith. Then his own former countrymen betrayed and captured him, but he was released soon after at the request of the duke Stepanoz.

A new emir was appointed to rule in Tbilisi, and when the Christians heard that he was plotting to capture Abo, they begged him to conceal his identity. But Abo simply rejoiced and told them, “I am prepared not only to be tortured for Christ, but to die forHis sake as well.” As predicted, the emir’s servants captured Abo and brought him before a judge. The judge tried in vain to entice Abo to return to the faith of his ancestors. Then, in a rage, he ordered that Abo be cast into prison and that his hands and feet be fettered in chains. But his suffering for Christ filled the blessed Abo with even greater love, and he asked his Christian brothers and sisters to sell his clothes and use the money earned to buy candles and incense for local churches.

On the day of his execution Abo washed his face, anointed it with holy oil, partook of the Holy Gifts, and prepared for his death as though preparing for a feast. “Weep not, but rejoice, for I am going to my Lord. Pray for me, and may the peace of God protect you,” he cheerfully told the faithful Christians who surrounded him in his last hours.

When his time had come, Saint Abo placed his arms on his breast in the form of a cross and joyously bowed his head beneath the sword. The executioners swung their swords three times in hopes of frightening Abo into denying Christ, but the blessed Abo stood unyielding until his last breath. Finally, convinced that all their efforts and cunning were in vain, the executioners were given a sign and they beheaded the holy Abo.
Defeated and ashamed, Abo’s godless executioners tossed his body, his garments, and the earth that had been soaked with his blood into a sack, dragged it outside the city, and burned it near the Mtkvari River.

Then they wrapped his ashes in sheepskin and cast them into the river.
In the evening a sign was given from above. Next to the Metekhi Cliff, by the bridge, a shining star hung over the river with its bright light reflecting in the water where the remains of the saint rested. Later, a chapel was built in honor of Saint Abo on the left bank of the Mtkvari.


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, January 05, 2017

Venerable Gregory of Crete

Saint Gregory of Akrita was born on the island of Crete in the year 760, and was raised by pious parents. At this time the iconoclast heretics persecuted the Orthodox. The youth Gregory, wanting to preserve his Orthodox Faith, went to Seleukia and led a life of piety.

At the age of twenty, Saint Gregory went to Jerusalem and lived there for twelve years, enduring fierce persecution from the Jews. From there Saint Gregory journeyed to Rome, where he entered a monastery. He became acquainted with Saint Michael, Bishop of Synnada (May 23), who took him along and settled in a monastery on the Cape of Akrita (Sea of Marmora). The saint accomplished great ascetic deeds and died there around the year 820.


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, January 04, 2017

Apostle Stephen the Archdeacon of the Seventy

Commemorated on January 4

The Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen was the eldest of the seven deacons, established by the Apostles themselves, and therefore he is called “archdeacon.” He was the first Christian martyr, and he suffered for Christ at about age 30. In the words of Asterias, he was “the starting point of the martyrs, the instructor of suffering for Christ, the foundation of righteous confession, since Stephen was the first to shed his blood for the Gospel.”

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Saint Stephen preached Christianity and defeated Jewish teachers of the Law in debate. The Jews maligned Saint Stephen, saying that he had uttered blasphemy against God and against Moses. Saint Stephen came before the Sanhedrin and the High Priest to answer these charges. He gave a fiery speech, in which he recounted the history of the Jewish nation, and denounced the Jews for persecuting the prophets, and also for executing the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ (Acts ch. 7).

During his speech, Saint Stephen suddenly saw the heavens opened and Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God. The Jews shouted and covered their ears, and rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city and stoned him, but the holy martyr prayed for his murderers. Far off on the heights stood the Mother of God with the holy Apostle John the Theologian, and She prayed fervently for the martyr. Before his death Saint Stephen said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. O Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Then he joyfully gave up his pure soul to Christ.

The body of the holy Protomartyr Stephen, left to be eaten by beasts, was secretly taken up by the Jewish teacher Gamaliel and his son Habib, who buried Stephen on his estate. They both believed in Christ, and later received holy Baptism.


Holy apostle Stephen of the Seventy; / entreat the merciful God / to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.


The Church ever sees you as a shining star, O apostle Stephen, / Your miracles have manifested great enlightenment. / Therefore we cry out to Christ: / “Save those who with faith honor Your apostle, O Most Merciful One.”


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

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Forefeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 3

Apolytikion of Forefeast of the Theophany in the Fourth Tone
Be thou ready, Zabulon; prepare thyself, O Nephthalim. River Jordan, stay thy course and skip for gladness to receive the Sovereign Master, Who cometh now to be baptized. O Adam, be thou glad with our first mother, Eve; hide not as ye did of old in Paradise. Seeing you naked, He hath appeared now to clothe you in the first robe again. Christ hath appeared, for He truly willeth to renew all creation.

Kontakion of Forefeast of the Theophany in the Fourth Tone
In the running waters of the Jordan River, on this day the Lord of all crieth to John: Be not afraid and hesitate not to baptize Me, for I am come to save Adam, the first-formed man.


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

Monday, January 02, 2017

New Martyrs Theologia and George

Commemorated on January 2

Saint George (Zorzes) was from Georgia, and was sold into slavery when he was young. His master, a Muslim from the Greek island of Mytilene, forced him to embrace Islam and renamed him Sali. After his master died, George remained on the island and opened a small shop.

In 1770, when he was seventy years old, he appeared before the authorities and announced that he was an Orthodox Christian. The kadi thought that George had lost his mind, since his declaration would lead to his death.
The next day George was questioned again, and then he was beaten. He endured his torments with silence, but would not be turned from his confession of faith. After more torture, the holy martyr was hanged on January 2, 1770, receiving a crown of glory from the Savior Christ.


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