Tuesday, March 28, 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

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.







SOURCE:

SOURCE FOR ICON:

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.

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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, 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!):