Saturday, October 31, 2015

Amplias, Apelles, Stachys, Urban, Aristobulus & Narcissus of the 70

October 31

Of these holy Apostles, Stachys became the first Bishop of Byzantium, consecrated by the Apostle Andrew. Having shepherded his people for sixteen years, he reposed in the Lord. As for the others, each one shone forth in the episcopal see appointed to him: Apelles, Bishop of Heraclea; Amplias, Bishop of Odyssopolis; Urban, Bishop of Macedonia; Narcissus, Bishop of Athens; and Aristobulus, Bishop of Britain.

Apolytikion of Stachys and Companions of the 70 in the Third Tone
O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Apostle Aristobulus of the Seventy

Kontakion of Stachys and Companions of the 70 in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Come, let us duly praise Apelles and famed Aristobulus, the wise Apostles, with Urban, Narcissos and Stachys, and blessed Amplias, as the most sacred treasures of the All-holy Spirit and the far-shining beams of Christ, the Sun of Glory, whom God brought together by His grace.



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Friday, October 30, 2015

St Jotham Zedgenidze

Commemorated on October 30

In 1446 George VIII was crowned ruler of a united Georgian kingdom. Filled with every virtue, the valiant warrior and God-fearing king dedicated the twenty years of his reign to a ceaseless struggle for the reunification of his country. He was constantly warding off foreign invaders, surmounting internal strife, and suffering the betrayal of his fellow countrymen.

One of the separatists was the ruler of Samtskhe, the atabeg Qvarqvare Jakeli II (1451-1498). In 1465 King George led his troops toward southern Georgia to attack the rebellious atabeg.

Near Lake Paravani the traitors dispatched assassins to the king’s camp.

Among those who served in the royal court was a certain Jotham Zedgenidze, a man deeply devoted to his king. He heard about the dreadful conspiracy and warned the king, but the noble and fearless George did not believe that such a loathsome betrayal could ever take place.

Desperate to convince the king of the very real and imminent danger, the devoted Jotham told him, “Allow me to spend this night in your bed and prove the truth of my words!”

Certain that his beloved courtier was mistaken and that his unmeasured love and dedication were the reasons for his suspicions, King George permitted him to spend the night in the royal bed.

The next morning King George entered his tent and found his beloved Jotham lying in a pool of blood. Immediately he began weeping bitterly over his error. He arrested and executed the conspirators and buried his faithful servant with great honor.

The Georgian Church numbers Jotham Zedgenidze among the saints for his devotion to God’s anointed king.


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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Our Righteous Father Abramius

October 29

Our Righteous Father Abramius, born in Edessa in Mesopotamia in 296, took up the monastic life and brought many pagans to Christ. Mary, his niece, upon the death of her parents, joined Abramius at his hermitage and under his guidance advanced swiftly in the love of God. Through the wiles of the evil one, however, she fell into sin, and falling from them into despair, she left her uncle and became a harlot. When he learned where his niece was, Abramius put on the clothes of a man of the world and went to visit her in disguise. Through his exhortations, Mary returned to her first hope in the mercy of God, was rescued from the life of harlotry, and ended her life in great holiness. He himself reposed in the year 366. Saints Abramius and Mary were friends of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, and it was he who wrote their account.

Apolytikion of Abramius the Recluse in the 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 Abramius, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion of Abramius the Recluse in the Third Tone
Thou, while living in the flesh, * wast as an angel upon earth;* and through thine ascetic pains,* thou didst become like a great tree* planted by the streams of temp'rance,* increasing greatly;* with the rivers of thy tears, thou didst cleanse away stains. * O Abramius, for this cause, * a godly vessel* of the Good Spirit art thou.


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Martyr Neophytus of Urbin, Georgia

Commemorated on October 28

The holy hieromartyr Neophytus of Urbnisi descended from a line of Persian fire-worshippers.

In the 7th century, by order of the Saracen emir Mumni (Mu’min), the military leader Ahmad attacked Georgia with an enormous army. After overrunning the central part of Shida (Inner) Kartli, Ahmad dispatched two of his commanders, Omar and Burul, to the capital city of Mtskheta. At the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, across from the village of Tsikhedidi in the rocky Sarkineti region, the invaders discovered a group of caves and plotted to occupy them. They tried to cross the Mtkvari but were unable.

Having suffered a setback, the enemies asked their captives what was located in those caves. They were told that this was the Shio-Mgvime Monastery, where dwelt God’s chosen, who had deprived themselves of every earthly blessing.

Surprised at this reply, the commanders decided to pass this information on to Ahmad. Then, as though it were commonplace, Ahmad sent Omar to the monastery to ask the monks to pray for him and remember him at the grave of their abbot, St. Shio. “Pray for me, O slaves of God, and accept these gifts of aloe and incense. Offer these as a sacrifice to your abbot,” he told them.

Approaching the monastery caves, Omar sent a messenger to inform the monks that he was coming to them in peace and bearing gifts. Drawing near to the monastery gates, the commander saw an army of incorporeal hosts descending from the heavens and among them an elder, radiant with a great light.

The meek and modest behavior of the monks left a great impression on Omar. He soon understood that the strange armies he had seen on the steps of the monastery were angels of God and that the elder was St. Shio of Mgvime, abbot of the monastery. He related his vision to the monks and vowed to return to them, receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism, be tonsured a monk, and remain there to join in their holy labors.

Soon Omar abandoned all his possessions, his military rank, and his wealth and was baptized in the Christian Faith at the Shio-Mgvime Monastery as he had promised. Two of his slaves were baptized with him as well. Omar received the new name Neophytus (Newly Planted / From the Greek word neophytos, which in I Tim. 3:6 refers to a new convert.), and his slaves became Christodoulus (Christ’s Slave) and Christopher (Christ-bearer).

According to God’s will, St. Neophytus was consecrated bishop of Urbnisi, and all were amazed at his wisdom and steadfastness. He was a true father to his flock: “He strengthened the weak, healed the sick, raised the fallen, cleansed the possessed, directed the lost and sought out those who were perishing, protecting them, and forbidding them to wander off again.”

But the enemy could not tolerate the native Persian’s apostolic activity, and he convinced the fire-worshippers to kill the Christian shepherd. So the unbelievers devised an ambush and attacked Neophytus’ isolated cell, then tied him up and began to mock, curse, and revile him. They knew that St. Neophytus longed to become like the holy protomartyr Stephen, and they plotted to stone him to death.
When his time to depart this world had arrived, St. Neophytus turned to his persecutors with a tender voice, saying, “Sweet is death to me, O unbelievers! Sweet it is to me. I desire to sunder the link between my mortal and immortal nature.... With my own blood I will confirm the Holy Church, which is founded upon the Precious Blood of the Son and Word of God, Whom I preach. May that which was foreordained for me by the Providence of God be fulfilled, for He has called me to His light from the depths of ungodliness!”

The furious pagans stoned the saint to death. With his last breath Holy Hieromartyr Neophytus cried out, “Lord Jesus Christ receive my soul!”


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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

St Nestor (not the Chronicler) of the Far Kiev Caves

Saint Nestor (not the Chronicler) of the Kiev Caves, is to be distinguished from St Nestor the Chronicler, who lived as an ascetic in the Far Caves. His memory is celebrated October 27 it seems, because he was named for the St Nestor of Thessalonica.

The name of St Nestor (not the Chronicler) is mentioned in the General Service to the Monastics of the Far Caves: “The Word of God, understood by man, instructed you not by written wisdom, O holy Nestor, but from on high; you beheld it through the prayers of the angel, and you foresaw your death. May we also be made partakers with you, we pray, in honoring your memory.” His memory is celebrated also on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


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Monday, October 26, 2015

Monkmartyr Joseph of Dionysiou on Mt Athos

Saint Joseph was a monk of Dionysiou Monastery on Mt. Athos, where he shone forth with the virtues of monastic life. He was an iconographer, and he painted the icon of the holy Archangels on the iconostasis of Dionysiou’s main church.

In obedience to the instructions of Igumen Stephen, St Joseph traveled to Constantinople with Eudocimus, who had apostasized from Orthodoxy to become a Moslem. Eudocimus repented, and wished to wipe out his sin through martyrdom.

When faced with torture and death, however, the unfortunate Eudocimus denied Christ again, blaming Joseph for turning him from Islam.

St Joseph was arrested and threatened with death. In spite of many tortures, he refused to convert to Islam. This holy martyr of Christ was hanged on February 17, 1819, and so he obtained an incorruptible crown of glory.

Some sources list his commemoration on February 17, while others list him on September 14 or October 26.


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Sunday, October 25, 2015

6th Sunday of Luke

October 25

Tone of the week: Tone Four

Tenth Eothinon

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Having learned the joyful proclamation of the Resurrection from the Angel, and having cast off the ancestral condemnation, the women disciples of the Lord spake to the Apostles exultantly: Death is despoiled and Christ God is risen, granting great mercy to the world.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Second Tone
O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.


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Saturday, October 24, 2015

St John the Hermit of Pskov

Saint John, Hermit of Pskov (+1616) lived an ascetic life during a terrible time of military troubles. In 1592 the Swedes besieged the city of Pskov. From 1608, for seven years, Polish forces attacked under the head of Lisovski. It was only in the week before the death of the monk, through the intercession of the Pskov Caves Icon of the Mother of God and the Pskov Saints, that Pskov was delivered from the besieging army of the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus.

St John, as the chronicle relates, “lived within the city walls for 23 years; his fish was rancid and he did not eat bread. He lived within the city as though in a wilderness, in great silence,” and he died on October 24, 1616.


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Friday, October 23, 2015

Translation of the relics of Blessed James of Borovichi the Wonderworker of Novgorod

Commemorated on October 23

St James took upon himself the arduous task of foolishness for Christ in his youth. Most of the details of his life are unknown, but the Lord glorified him after death.

In the year 1540, on the third day of Pascha, a large block of ice floated up against the current along the River Msta to the village of Borovichi (in Novgorod district), and on this block of ice stood the coffin (made from an oak log) without cover, in which the body of the youth lay. Shunning the holy relics, peasants with poles pushed the block of ice back into the river, but it returned to the shore. This was repeated three times. That night the youth appeared in a dream to the elders of the village, who had seen him upon the ice-flow, and said, "I am also a Christian just like you. Don't push me away. My name is James. I am the namesake of St James, the Brother of God."

The relics of the holy youth were first placed in a chapel, then in 1544 were transferred to the Descent of the Holy Spirit church. Then the annual commemoration of the saint every year on October 23 was established. The Lord, having glorified his God-pleasing one, granted the relics of St James a curative power. A Feastday with Matins was established in 1572. The Iconographic Manuals describe St James: "A youth, bare, girded with a piece of cloth." In 1657 Patriarch Nikon sent part of the relics to Valdai, to the Iveron monastery.


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Thursday, October 22, 2015

St Glyceria at Adrianopolis with The Martyrs Alexander the Bishop, Heraclius the Soldier, Anna, Elizabeth, and Theodota

Commemorated on October 22

Saint Glyceria was killed at Adrianopolis during the third century with the martyrs Alexander the Bishop, Heraclius the Soldier, Anna, Elizabeth, and Theodota for their confession of Christ. This was a time when Christianity spread among the pagans. Despite the persecutions against the Christians, Bishop Alexander fearlessly converted and baptized many pagans into the holy saving faith.

The governor of the region ordered his soldiers to use torture to force Bishop Alexander to deny Christ. The saint patiently endured terrible tortures. Struck by this, the soldier Heraclius believed in Christ, for Whom the saint suffered. And after him, the Women Martyrs Anna, Elizabeth, Theodota and Glyceria confessed themselves to be Christians.

St. Glyceria


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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Venerable Hilarion the Abbot of Gdov and Pskov Lake

St Hilarion of Gdov and Pskov Lake, was a disciple of St Euphrosynus of Pskov (May 15). In 1460 on the banks of the River Zhelcha, not far from Gdov, he founded the Ozersk [Lake] Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God. The monastery bordered the territory of the Livonian Knights, and the monks constantly suffered the incursions of that military order. Despite harsh conditions and insufficient means, St Hilarion maintained a high level of pious and ascetic life at the monastery, and made great efforts to adorn and build up the monastery.

St Hilarion reposed on March 28, 1476 and was buried in the church of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos in the monastery he founded. Afterwards, a church was built at the monastery in honor of the Nativity of Christ. The left chapel was dedicated to the founder of the Gdov monastery. St Hilarion of Gdov is also commemorated on October 21, on the Feast of his heavenly patron and namesake.


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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Righteous Child Artemius of Verkhol

Commemorated on October 20

Holy Righteous Artemius of Verkola was born in the village of Dvina Verkola around the year 1532. The son of pious parents, Artemius was a child who was courageous, meek and diligent for every good deed. On June 23, 1545 the twelve-year-old Artemius and his father were taken by surprise in a field by a thunderstorm. A clap of thunder broke right over their heads, and the child Artemius fell dead. People thought that this was a sign of God’s judgment, therefore they left the body in a pine forest without a funeral, and without burial.

Some years later, the village reader beheld a light over the place where the incorrupt body of the Righteous Artemius lay. Taken to the church of St Nicholas in 1577, the holy relics were shown to be a source of numerous healings. In this village a monastery was later built, called the Verkola. In 1918, the impious Soviets chopped the holy relics into pieces and threw them into a well. The memory of St Artemius is also celebrated on October 20.


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Monday, October 19, 2015

Joel the Prophet

October 19

The Prophet Joel, whose name means "Yah is God," was of the tribe of Reuben, the son of Bathuel, and lived from 810 to 750 B.C. (but some say in the 7th century B.C.). His book is divided into three chapters, and is the second in order of the minor Prophets. He foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Joel 2:28, and quoted by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:17), and the saving power of the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Joel 2:32).

Apolytikion of Prophet Joel in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Joel, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Kontakion of Prophet Joel in the First Tone

Since thou hadst seen the glory of God in the spirit, thou truly didst foreknow His divine dispensation; for as thou didst say, God's Spirit is poured forth upon all flesh that believeth in Him Who appeared to the earthborn in a servant's form and made thee wondrous for ever, O Joel, thou seer of God.



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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Apostle and Evangelist Luke

Commemorated on October 18

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, was a native of Syrian Antioch, a companion of the holy Apostle Paul (Phil.1:24, 2 Tim. 4:10-11), and a physician enlightened in the Greek medical arts. Hearing about Christ, Luke arrived in Palestine and fervently accepted the preaching of salvation from the Lord Himself. As one of the Seventy Apostles, St Luke was sent by the Lord with the others to preach the Kingdom of Heaven during the Savior's earthly life (Luke 10:1-3). After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Sts Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.

Luke accompanied St Paul on his second missionary journey, and from that time they were inseparable. When Paul's coworkers had forsaken him, only Luke remained to assist him in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:10-11). After the martyric death of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, St Luke left Rome to preach in Achaia, Libya, Egypt and the Thebaid. He ended his life by suffering martyrdom in the city of Thebes.

Tradition credits St Luke with painting the first icons of the Mother of God. "Let the grace of Him Who was born of Me and My mercy be with these Icons," said the All-Pure Virgin after seeing the icons. St Luke also painted icons of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul. St Luke's Gospel was written in the years 62-63 at Rome, under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. In the preliminary verses (1:1-3), St Luke precisely sets forth the purpose of his work. He proposes to record, in chronological order, everything known by Christians about Jesus Christ and His teachings. By doing this, he provided a firmer historical basis for Christian teaching (1:4). He carefully investigated the facts, and made generous use of the oral tradition of the Church and of what the All-Pure Virgin Mary Herself had told him (2:19, 51).

In St Luke's Gospel, the message of the salvation made possible by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel, are of primary importance.

St Luke also wrote the Acts of the Holy Apostles at Rome around 62-63 A.D. The Book of Acts, which is a continuation of the four Gospels, speaks about the works and the fruits of the holy Apostles after the Ascension of the Savior. At the center of the narrative is the Council of the holy Apostles at Jerusalem in the year 51, a Church event of great significance, which resulted in the separation of Christianity from Judaism and its independent dissemination into the world (Acts 15:6-29). The theological focus of the Book of Acts is the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who will guide the Church "into all truth" John 16:13) until the Second Coming of Christ.

The holy relics of St Luke were taken from Constantinople and brought to Padua, Italy at some point in history. Perhaps this was during the infamous Crusade of 1204. In 1992, Metropolitan Hieronymus (Jerome) of Thebes requested the Roman Catholic bishop in Thebes to obtain a portion of St Luke's relics for the saint's empty sepulchre in the Orthodox cathedral in Thebes.

The Roman Catholic bishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua, noting that Orthodox pilgrims came to Padua to venerate the relics while many Catholics did not even know that the relics were there, appointed a committee to investigate the relics in Padua, and the skull of St Luke in the Catholic Cathedral of St Vico in Prague.
The skeleton was determined to be that of an elderly man of strong build. In 2001, a tooth found in the coffin was judged to be consistent with the DNA of Syrians living near the area of Antioch dating from 72-416 A.D. The skull in Prague perfectly fit the neck bone of the skelton. The tooth found in the coffin in Padua was also found to fit the jawbone of the skull.

Bishop Mattiazzo sent a rib from the relics to Metropolitan Hieronymus to be venerated in St Luke's original tomb in the Orthodox cathedral at Thebes.

Troparion - Tone 5
Let us praise with sacred songs the Holy Apostle Luke,The recorder of the Joyous Gospel of Christ, and the scribe of the Acts of the Apostles, For his writings are a testimony of the Church of Christ: He is the Physician of human weaknesses and infirmities. He heals the wounds of our souls, and constantly intercedes for our salvation!

Kontakion - Tone 4
You became a disciple of God the Word,With Paul you enlightened all the world,Casting out its darkness by composing the Holy Gospel of Christ.

Kontakion - Tone 2

Let us praise the godly Luke:He is the true preacher of piety,The orator of ineffable mysteriesAnd the star of the Church,For the Word who alone knows the hearts of men,Chose him, with the wise Paul, to be a teacher of the gentiles!


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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Venerable Anthony the Abbot of Leokhnov, Novgorod

Saint Anthony of Leokhnov, Novgorod, was from the Tver lineage of the Veniaminov nobles. The monk lived as a hermit not far from Novgorod, in the Rublev wilderness at the River Perekhoda. In about the year 1556 he resettled with the wilderness-dweller Tarasius, who lived beyond Lake Ilmen at Leokhnov, near Stara Rus, and received monastic tonsure from him. Thus began the wilderness monastery in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord, afterwards called the Leokhnov or Ivetsk-Antoniev monastery. St Anthony lived to old age, having acquired the gift of clairvoyance.

In the year 1611, when the Swedes had laid waste the area around Novgorod, the monk on the invitation of Metropolitan Isidore moved to Novgorod. He died on September 14, 1611 at age 85 and was buried near the church of the holy Evangelist Luke, on the side towards the church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia).

Before his death, and in the presence of many of the monks, he said that his body would rest in his wilderness-monastery. A disciple of the monk, named Gregory, returned to the site of the monastery that had been laid waste and burned by the Swedes, built a cell and a chapel, and remained there to live.

St Anthony appeared to him three times in a dream and said, “Brother Gregory, go to Novgorod, tell Metropolitan Cyprian and the elders of the city that they should put me in the place of my monastery.” After Gregory’s report, the Metropolitan led a church procession to the grave of St Anthony. The incorrupt relics were transferred to the Leokhnov monastery on July 13, 1620. At the uncovering of the relics, a blind man named Joseph gained his sight, and many other miracles occurred.

There is a special order of commemorations, celebrated by the churches in the name of St Anthony of Leokhnov, both in the village of Leokhnov and in the Rublev wilderness-monastery. On the second Friday after the Feast of the Foremost Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29), we celebrate the Uncovering and Transfer of the Relics of St Anthony from Novgorod to the Leokhnov monastery. On the Ascension of the Lord, the coming of St Anthony from the Rublev wilderness to Leokhnovo is remembered. On October 17 the Repose of the saint, who died on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the ninth hour of the evening, is commemorated. At the Rublev wilderness monastery the memory of the Consecration of the church in the name of the venerable Anthony on August 30 (1873) is also celebrated.


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Friday, October 16, 2015

Venerable Longinus of Yarenga

St Longinus, the wonderworker of Yarenga, is also commemorated on July 3.


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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Venerable Euthymius the New of Thessalonica, and Monk of Mt Athos

Commemorated on October 15

Saint Euthymius the New of Thessalonica and Mt Athos, in the world was named Nicetas, and he was a native of the city of Ancyra in Galatia. His parents, Epiphanius and Anna, led virtuous Christian lives, and from childhood their son was meek, pious and obedient. At age seven he was left fatherless and he soon became the sole support of his mother in all matters. Having entered military service, Nicetas married, on the insistence of his mother. After the birth of a daughter, he secretly left home in order to enter a monastery. For fifteen years the venerable Euthymius lived the ascetic life on Mount Olympus, where he learned monastic deeds from the Elders.

The monk went to resettle on Mount Athos. On the way he learned that his mother and wife were in good health. He informed them that he had become a monk, and he sent them a cross, calling on them to follow his example. On Mt Athos he was tonsured into the Great Schema and lived for three years in a cave in total silence, struggling with temptations. St Euthymius also lived for a long time as a stylite, not far from Thessalonica, instructing those coming to him for advice and healing the sick.

The monk cleansed his mind and heart to such an extent that he was granted divine visions and revelations. At the command of the Lord, St Euthymius founded two monasteries in 863 on Mount Peristeros, not far from Thessalonica, which he guided for 14 years, with the rank of deacon. In one of these his wife and mother received monastic tonsure. Before his death he settled on Hiera, an island of Mt Athos, where he reposed in 898. His relics were transferred to Thessalonica. St Euthymius is called “the New” to distinguish him from St Euthymius the Great (January 20).


The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father, / 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 Euthymius, rejoices with the angels.


Crossing dryshod through the storms of life, / venerable and divinely wise Euthymius, / you mightily drowned the bodiless foe in the streams of your tears; / you received the gift of miracles to heal all sufferings. / Unceasingly pray for us all.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius, & Celsus of Milan

October 14

The holy Martyrs all contested for piety's sake in Milan; after the passage of much time their holy relics were discovered and given honourable burial by Saint Ambrose.

Apolytikion of Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius, & Celsus in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion of Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius, & Celsus in the Second Tone
In shedding the light of miracles like shining lamps, O Martyrs of God, ye make the whole creation bright, at all times dispelling the deepest night of sickness and maladies and without cease pleading with Christ, the only God, that He grant His mercy to us.



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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Martyr Benjamin the Deacon of Persia

The Martyr Benjamin the Deacon of Persia converted many pagan Persians to Christianity, and for his zeal and evangelic preaching he suffered in Persia during the fifth century.


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Monday, October 12, 2015

Icon of the Mother of God of Rudens

Commemorated on October 12

The Rudens Icon of the Mother of God appeared in the year 1687 in the Rudno locale of Mogilevsk diocese. In 1712 the icon was transferred to the Florovsk Ascension monastery in Kiev, where now it is located.


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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Venerable Leonid of Optina

Leo Nagolkin, the future St Leonid, was born in Karachev in the Orlov Province in 1768. As a young man he worked for a merchant, making long and frequent trips on his employer’s business. He met all sorts of people, and this experience helped him later in life when visitors of diverse backgrounds would come to him for spiritual advice.

Leo first entered Optina Monastery in 1797, but remained for only two years. Then he went to White Bluff monastery in the Orlov diocese, where Hieromonk Basil (Kiskin) was igumen. He tonsured Leo as a monk in 1801, giving him the new name Leonid. In December of that year, Fr Leonid was ordained as a deacon and then as a priest.

Fr Leonid’s rise to prominence was unusually rapid. He was an example to others in the way he fulfilled his obediences, and this attracted the notice of his superiors. In 1804, after only five years at White Bluff, he was appointed by Bishop Dorotheus of Orlov and Svensk to succeed Fr Basil as igumen.

Before assuming his new duties, Fr Leonid spent some time at Cholnsk monastery, where he met Schemamonk Theodore, a disciple of St Paisius Velichkovsky (November 15). Fr Theodore, who was about ten years older than Fr Leonid, was also from Karachev. Under his direction, Fr Leonid learned a great deal about spiritual struggles and how to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Fr Leonid was saddened when he had to leave his wise Elder in order to assume his responsibilities at White Bluff. Their separation was not long, however, because Fr Theodore moved to White Bluff in 1805. Their frequent conversations inspired him to even greater progress in the spiritual life.

Fr Theodore longed for solitude, and was permitted to live in a cell about a mile from the monastery with his disciple Fr Cleopas. Fr Leonid joined them after resigning as igumen in 1808. It is possible that Fr Leonid may have been tonsured into the Great Schema with the name Leo during this time.

The fame of these ascetics soon spread throughout the area, and many visitors came to seek their advice. They found these distractions detrimental to their spiritual struggles, and they resolved to move to a more remote place.

Fr Theodore was the first to leave. In 1809 he stayed briefly at New Lake Monastery. Then Metropolitan Ambrose of St Petersburg sent him to the Palei Island Hermitage, where he remained for three years. Fr Theodore moved to the All Saints Skete of Valaam Monastery in 1812. Fr Leonid and Fr Cleopas also moved there in 1812, and were reunited with Fr Theodore. Hieroschemamonk Cleopas died in 1816, and Fr Leonid and Fr Theodore moved to the St Alexander of Svir monastery.

Tsar Alexander I visited the monastery in 1820 in order to meet these Elders, of whom he had heard. They replied to the Sovereign’s questions with the briefest of answers, since they did not want to seem too talkative. When he asked for their blessing, Fr Theodore told him that he was not an ordained monk. The Tsar bowed and went on his way.

Fr Theodore went to the Lord on April 7, 1822 (Bright Friday). After this Fr Leonid left the monastery to live in a more secluded place with some like-minded disciples. Archbishop Ambrose (Podobedev) of Kazan knew about Fr Leonid, and was willing to receive him in his diocese. Fr Leonid was also invited to live at the Ploschansk Hermitage in the Orlov diocese. Fr Leonid, however, chose to accept the invitation of St Moses (June 16) to live at Optina. Bishop Philaret of Kaluga also wanted Fr Leonid to live at Optina, but it was not possible for him to do so just then.

Fr Leonid had to remain at the Svir monastery for five more years before he was allowed to leave. In April of 1829 he arrived at Optina with six of his disciples. He was given a cell in the Skete, near the apiary. Cells were also found in the Skete for his disciples.

The arrival of Fr Leonid marked a new chapter in Optina’s history, for it was he who introduced eldership at this monastery. Guidance by an Elder has always been recognized as a sure and reliable path to salvation. It spread from the deserts of Egypt and Palestine to Mt Athos, and later to Russia. Fr Leonid received this teaching from Fr Theodore, the disciple of St Paisius Velichkovsky. Through Fr Leonid and his disciple St Macarius (September 7) eldership was established at Optina.

With the arrival of Fr Leonid, the whole way of life at Optina was changed. Nothing important was ever done without his knowledge and blessing. Each evening the brethren came to him to discuss their spiritual needs and to reveal how they had sinned in thought, word, or deed during the day. He offered consolation in their sorrows, advice in their spiritual struggles, and help in resolving their problems.

St Leonid’s wisdom and spiritual counsels made him known outside of Optina. People from cities and villages, of all social classes, flocked to Optina seeking his help. He treated their spiritual afflictions with the knowledge and experience he had gained after thirty years of living in asceticism. Sometimes he healed their physical infirmities as well, anointing them with oil from the lamp that always burned before the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God in his cell.

Fr Macarius (Ivanov) moved to Optina Skete from Ploschansk in 1834. He had been under the guidance of an Elder who had been a disciple of St Paisius Velichkovsky. After the Elder’s death Fr Macarius felt orphaned, and prayed that God would send him an experienced spiritual guide. His prayers were answered when Fr Leonid came to Ploschansk in 1828. Even after Fr Leonid left Ploschansk Fr Macarius stayed in touch with him through letters.

At Optina Fr Macarius assisted the Elder with his correspondence, and in the spiritual care of the brethren and those who visited Fr Leonid. After 1836 Fr Macarius became the spiritual Father of the Monastery. Although he had been the spiritual Father of the Sevsk convent for more than seven years, he regarded himself as nothing. Disdaining human glory, he was content to submit his will to Fr Leonid in all things. Fr Leonid, in turn, showed similar humility toward Fr Macarius, regarding him as a friend and fellow laborer rather than a disciple.

Even though he had a high regard for Fr Macarius, he was mindful of the saying of St John of the Ladder that in the first place, a spiritual guide would be deprived of a reward himself if he did not correct those under them. Secondly, the spiritual guide acts unjustly when he might bring profit to others, but does not do so. Thirdly, even those who are hard-working and patient might suffer harm if they are left for a time without reproaches from the Superior, for then they can lose the meekness and patience they once had (Step 4:27). Therefore, he gave Fr Macarius many opportunities to win the crown of victory by testing his patience so that others might benefit by the example of his humility.

One day Fr Macarius was summoned by the igumen Fr Moses, who asked him to sponsor some of the brethren at their tonsure. Regarding the igumen’s request as a command, he merely bowed and left. He went to see Fr Leonid, who was surrounded many people seeking his advice, and informed him why Fr Moses had sent for him.

Fr Leonid gazed at him sternly and asked, “What did you do? Did you agree to it?”

“I almost agreed,” Fr Macarius replied, “or perhaps it is better to say that I did not dare to refuse.”

“That is typical of your pride,” the Elder said. Then he raised his voice and reprimanded Fr Macarius as though he were really angry with him.

Fr Macarius bowed continually, asking forgiveness. Those who were present were astounded by this. Finally, when Fr Leonid fell silent, he bowed and said, “Forgive me, Father. Do you bless me to refuse?”

“How can you refuse?” he demanded. “You asked for this yourself, and now you wish to refuse? You cannot refuse, it has been settled.”

On the other hand, Fr Leonid showed his love and respect for Fr Macarius by confiding in him, and by making him his helper and coworker.

Fr Leonid’s spiritual influence extended beyond Optina, and he established eldership in two other monasteries of the Kaluga diocese. There were also nuns from other dioceses who were guided by Fr Leonid. In three women’s monasteries (in Belev, Sevsk, and Borisov), some of his disciples were more advanced in the spiritual life than others. These became Eldresses for the other sisters both during Fr Leonid’s lifetime and after his repose.

Fr Leonid endured persecution during 1835-1836 over the institution of eldership at Optina. Those who instigated the persecution were unlearned people who did not understand the concept of eldership, regarding it as an innovation. Even some of the monks complained to the bishop about Fr Leonid, but they were not always successful.

Bishop Gabriel of Kaluga visited Optina and was favorably disposed toward Fr Moses. In the presence of all the brethren, he reprimanded the malcontents and ordered them to correct themselves.

Some of the monks, however, remained unhappy with Fr Leonid because of the many visitors who came to him. They sent reports to the bishop complaining that the peaceful routine of the monastery was being disrupted. Nicholas, the new Bishop of Kaluga ignored these reports at first. Then a false accusation against Fr Moses and Fr Leonid was sent anonymously to the bishop. Bishop Nicholas, for whatever reason, ordered that Fr Leonid leave his cell near the apiary and go to live in the Monastery. He would not allow Fr Leonid to receive the laity of either sex. Since there was no cell available in the Monastery, Fr Leonid moved to a cell in the Skete. A directive was sent in 1836 ordering Fr Leonid to move to the Monastery without fail. The igumen Fr. Moses and the Skete Superior Fr Anthony were caught in the middle. They knew Fr Leonid was innocent, yet they had to obey the bishop.

In 1837 Metropolitan Philaret of Kiev visited Optina accompanied by Bishop Nicholas of Kaluga. The Metropolitan had known Fr Leonid previously at White Bluff Monastery, and he showed his respect for the Elder and for the igumen Fr Moses. The detractors of Fr Leonid and Fr Moses were taken aback by this. Even Bishop Nicholas began to give less weight to the complaints, and Fr Leonid’s position began to improve.

In the years before his death, Fr Leonid had to endure another trial. This time it affected his spiritual children at the Belev Convent of the Exaltation of the Cross.

The nuns of Belev were under the Eldress Anthia, who had advanced under the guidance of Elder Leonid. Abbess Epaphrodite was pleased to see how Mother Anthia and those close to her had cut off their own will, purified their thoughts, and uprooted the passions. Seeing that the abbess loved these nuns for their spiritual progress, some of the other nuns became jealous. One in particular complained to her spiritual Father and spread false stories about Mother Anthia and the sisters.

The priest was already inclined to believe evil against Mother Anthia, and he also resented the fact that they went to Fr Leonid for spiritual counsel. He began spreading accusations and slanders against Fr Leonid, for he did not understand the nature of eldership. Hearing rumors that the priest had uncovered a new heresy at the Belev Convent, Bishop Damascene of Tula summoned him and Mother Epaphrodite in order to question them. He believed the priest’s erroneous opinions and decided to take action. In February of 1841 he ordered the expulsion of Mother Anthia and one of the other sisters from the convent.

Fr Leonid was labeled as a troublemaker and a rebel against authority, but he bore everything with patience. He was ordered to leave his cell by the apiary and move to a cell as far as possible from the monastery gates. He was also forbidden to receive lay visitors.

In the end it was Metropolitan Philaret of Kiev who interceded with the Bishop of Tula on behalf of Fr Leonid. He also helped Mother Anthia and the other nun. Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow also wrote to Bishop Damascene, who came to realize that he had been deceived by the priest’s misguided zeal which was not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). Both of the expelled sisters were received back into the convent on October 4, 1841, just a week before St Leonid’s death.

Fr Leonid’s health began to decline in September of 1841, and he was ill for five weeks. He refused to see a doctor or to take any medicine, however. He received Holy Unction on September 15, and from that time he began to prepare for death. He said farewell to the brothers who came to him, and blessed them. He also gave each one something as a remembrance, an icon, a book, etc.

He received Holy Communion on September 28, and requested that the Canon for the Departure of the Soul be read. The brethren were grieved by this, but the Elder told them that perhaps they would have to read the Canon several times for him. In fact, it was read eight times before his death.

Between September 28 and October 11, he took no food, but only a little water. He was strengthened by the life-giving Mysteries of Christ, however. During the last two weeks of his life, Fr Leonid received Holy Communion twelve times. After October 6 he could no longer stand up, and he asked the brethren to pray that the Lord would shorten his sufferings.

On the morning of October 11, 1841 St Leonid received the Holy Mysteries, and was visited by Basil Braguzin, who was known in the area as a fool for the sake of Christ. Braguzin had foreseen the Elder’s repose and had journeyed more than 180 kilometers to bid him farewell.

At ten o’clock that morning, the Elder began to cross himself and say, “Glory to God.” After repeating this many times, he became quiet. Later, he spoke again to those around him saying, “Now the mercy of God will be with me.” After an hour or so, he became very joyful despite his physical pain. He could not hide his happiness at the blessings he was about to receive, and his face grew more radiant.

That evening he said farewell to those who were with him and silently blessed them. They left the room, and only one disciple remained with the Elder. At 7:30 he closed his eyes and surrendered his soul to God.
The saint’s body remained in the church for three days with no sign of an odor. His body was warm, and his hands remained soft. From morning until night the church was filled with people who came to pay their respects. St Moses served the funeral on October 13 with all the hieromonks and the hierodeacons who were present. Fr Leonid was buried near the main church of the Entrance of the Theotokos, opposite the chapel of St Nicholas.

Bishop Nicholas of Kaluga visited Optina in 1843 and served a panikhida at the grave of St Leonid. He told the igumen and the brethren he regretted the fact that he had not properly appreciated the Elder during his lifetime, and had even believed some unsubstantiated rumors about him, which caused him to regard Fr Leonid with suspicion and distrust. He acknowledged that he was wrong to believe what certain people had told him, and expressed a hope that the Elder’s biography would be published someday.

The Moscow Patriarchate authorized local veneration of the Optina Elders on June 13,1996. The work of uncovering the relics of Sts 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 St John the Baptist, etc.) associated with the actual dates of the uncovering of the relics, Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow 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.


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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hieromartyr and Metropolitan of Moscow and Krutitsy, Peter Polyansky

Commemorated on October 10

New Hieromartyr Peter, Metropolitan of Krutitsy was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church at the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church on February 23, 1997.

St Peter was born in the Voronezh region, and studied at the Moscow Theological Academy, graduating in 1892, where he then continued as inspector. After a short stay at the seminary of Zhirovits in Belarus as inspector, he was appointed secretary of the Synodal Education Committee becoming de facto inspector of all the theological schools of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Unlike many of his contemporaries who had graduated from a theological academy, Peter Polyansky did not seek ordination, and for a long time remained a layman. As secretary of the Synodal Education Committee he traveled widely, visiting innumerable theological establishments, meeting and knowing many people. Gifted with an outstanding intellect, a firm character and a sociable nature, he was widely known and made many friends. He exercised a beneficial influence on the religious education of future priests.

In 1917-18, Peter Polyansky took part in the work of the local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, when St Tikhon (April 7) was elected Patriarch. The latter made Peter Polyansky one of his closest aides, and persuaded him to become bishop; the Patriarch wished to consolidate the leadership of the Church in what was fast becoming the darkest time for the Church in many centuries. In 1920 Peter Polyansky was made a monk and auxiliary bishop for the diocese of Moscow; in a matter of months he was appointed Metropolitan of Krutitsy, one of the highest ranking bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Tikhon died on April 7, 1925, the day of the Annunciation (March 25). Foreseeing increasing troubles and uncertainty for the Church, thinking that the government would not allow a Church council to assemble and elect the next patriarch, St Tikhon took an administrative decision aimed at securing a smooth succession when he died. He nominated three bishops in order of priority, as locum tenens; the third was Metropolitan Peter Polyansky. When the first two choices were found to be in prison and thus unable to assume the leadership of the Church, this heavy task befell Metropolitan Peter.

Persecution against the Church was raging, the government gave its support to the splinter group “The Living Church” in an attempt to discredit and destroy the official Orthodox Church. A great number of bishops had been imprisoned or exiled to remote parts of the country, and were unable to have a clear understanding of the prevailing situation. The whole country was in turmoil; the so-called Living Church energetically tried to replace the true Church.

In the absence of a patriarch, people did not know whom to believe and to whom to give their allegiance. Metropolitan Peter then issued an uncompromisingly firm “Letter to the Russian Church” where he described the position of the Church vis a vis the authorities and vis a vis the “Living Church.” He made no compromises with anybody, and stood firm in the truth of Christ. This letter helped the Church to strengthen itself but caused the Metropolitan to be arrested.

The history of the few months in which a campaign was master-minded by the Commissar for religious affairs, Tuchkov, to compromise and weaken St Peter, shows how determined the government was to defeat the head of the Church, but this did not break him. On December 10, 1925, St Peter was put under house arrest, and two days later sent to the Lubianka prison; in May 1926 he was transferred to the Suzdal fortress, then back to the Lubianka, and finally, in December, he was sent to Siberia, first to Tobolsk, then to the village of Abalak on the banks of the river Irtysh which he reached in 1927. Many of the other bishops had experienced a similar fate, the dioceses remaining without their shepherds.

In August 1927, Metropolitan Peter was taken to another destination beyond the Arctic Circle, a place called Khe on the mouth of the Ob, in the frozen tundra. For a little while he lived there peacefully, recovering from the arduous journey. However, on August 29, the day of the Beheading of the St John the Baptist, he suffered his first attack of angina and had to stay in bed. Two paramedics who came from a far distance by river in a boat manned by a native, advised him to be seen by a doctor and be transferred to a hospital. The Metropolitan wrote to the authorities at the GPU, but never got a reply, or money, or provisions, although he knew that several parcels had arrived in Tobolsk addressed to him.

The damp, cold climate of this northern region was extremely harmful to him in his condition. Eventually, towards the end of September, he was taken back to Tobolsk. Unexpectedly, he had an interview with Tuchkov who offered him freedom if he surrendered his title of locum tenens, but he remained firm and refused to compromise. He was then sent back to Khe for another three years of exile, but he was never granted his freedom. In Moscow in 1936, ten years after his first imprisonment, believers were waiting for his return, counting on the end of his ten-year term of exile. They never saw him again. He may have been moved for the last time to a monastery nearer central Russia where he was a little less constrained, but with no freedom to write or communicate with the world. He was shot by decision of the Soviet authorities after years of prison and exile.


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Friday, October 09, 2015

Righteous Lot

The Righteous Forefather Abraham (“Father of a multitude”) and his nephew Lot (“veil”) lived around 2000 B.C.

The Righteous Lot is regarded as the progenitor of the Moabites and the Ammonites.He lived in Sodom with his wife and two daughters, a righteous man living in the midst of wicked people. The citizens of Sodom despised him as a newcomer, and also hated him for his upright life, hospitality, and obedience to God.

Lot’s efforts to turn them from their wickedness only increased their wrath. As fire consumed the city, Lot and his family were led to safety by an angel.

Abraham and Lot are also commemorated with Christ’s ancestors according to the flesh on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (between December 11 and 17).


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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Pelagia the Righteous

October 8

This Saint was a prominent actress of the city of Antioch, and a pagan, who lived a life of unrestrained prodigality and led many to perdition. Instructed and baptized by a certain bishop named Nonnus (Saint Nonnus is commemorated Nov. 10), she departed for the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem, where she lived as a recluse, feigning to be a eunuch called Pelagia. She lived in such holiness and repentance that within three or four years she was deemed worthy to repose in an odour of sanctity, in the middle of the fifth century. Her tomb on the Mount of Olives has been a place of pilgrimage ever since.

Apolytikion of Righteous Pelagia in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Mother. 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 Pelagia, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion of Righteous Pelagia in the Second Tone
With fasting didst thou consume thy body utterly; with vigilant prayer didst thou entreat thy Fashioner that complete forgiveness of thy former deeds be granted thee, which, O Mother, thou didst receive. The path of repentance hast thou shown to us.


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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Icon of the Mother of God “Tenderness” of the Pskov Caves

Commemorated on October 7

The “Tenderness” Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God was found in the monastery of the caves in 1521, and was transferred to the city of Pskov by the pious Christians Basil and Theodore. The Icon is particularly renowned for the deliverance of Pskov and the Pskov Caves monastery from the army of Stephen Bathory (1533-1586) in 1581. It is commemorated on May 21, June 23, August 26, October 7, and on the Seventh Sunday of Pascha.

The Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God is of the Eleousa (Umilenie) type, and is regarded as the patroness of the city of Pskov.

The October 7 commemoration was established in thanksgiving for the deliverance of Pskov from the invading army of Napoleon in 1812.


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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Icon of the Mother of God “O All-Hymned Mother”

Commemorated on October 6

The Icon “O All-Hymned Mother” derives its title from the thirteenth Kontakion of the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos. “O All-Hymned Mother who bore the Word, holiest of all the saints....”

The Mother of God wears a crown, and clasps Her child to Her breast with both hands. Christ is held in Her left arm, and rests on Her left shoulder. He is facing Her, and both of His hands are placed below Her neck.

Instead of the usual stars on Her head and shoulders, the faces of angels appear in three circles. This is similar to the Arabian Icon (September 6) and the “Stone of the Mountain not cut by Hands” Icon on the iconostasis of the cathedral of the Transfiguration at Solovki.


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Monday, October 05, 2015

Martyr Memelchtha of Persia

Commemorated on October 5

The Martyr Mamelchtha of Persia was, before her conversion to the Christian Faith, a pagan priestess of the goddess Artemis.

The saint’s sister convinced her to accept Baptism. When the pagans saw Mamelchtha in her white baptismal robe, they stoned her. The saint suffered in the year 344. Later, a church was dedicated to her on the site of the temple of Artemis.


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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Venerable Paul the Simple of Egypt

Commemorated on October 4

Saint Paul the Simple of Egypt also lived in the fourth century and was called the Simple for his simplicity of heart and gentleness. He had been married, but when he discovered his wife’s infidelity, he left her and went into the desert to St Anthony the Great (January 17). Paul was already 60 years old, and at first St Anthony would not accept Paul, saying that he was unfit for the harshness of the hermit’s life. Paul stood outside the cell of the ascetic for three days, saying that he would sooner die than go from there. Then St Anthony took Paul into his cell, and tested his endurance and humility by hard work, severe fasting, with nightly vigils, constant singing of Psalms and prostrations. Finally, St Anthony decided to settle Paul into a separate cell.

During the many years of ascetic exploits the Lord granted St Paul both discernment, and the power to cast out demons. When they brought a possessed youth to St Anthony, he guided the afflicted one to St Paul saying, “I cannot help the boy, for I have not received power over the Prince of the demons. Paul the Simple, however, does have this gift.” St Paul expelled the demon by his simplicity and humility.

After living for many years, performing numerous miracles, he departed to the Lord. He is mentioned by St John, the Abbot of Sinai (Ladder 24:30): “The thrice-blessed Paul the Simple was a clear example for us, for he was the rule and type of blessed simplicity....”

St Paul is also commemorated on March 7.


In you, o venerable Father Paul, / The image of God shone forth, / For you carried your Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away, / And to care instead for the soul since it is immortal, / Wherefore your soul forever rejoices with the angels!


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

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Venerable Dionysius the Recluse of the Kiev Caves

Commemorated on October 3

Saint Dionysius, Hermit of the Kiev Caves, Far Caves, called Schepa, is mentioned briefly in the Kiev Caves Paterikon. In the year 1463 during Paschal Matins, Dionysius went around censing the relics of the God-pleasers buried in the Kiev Caves. When the monk cried out: “Holy Fathers and brethren, today is the great day! Christ is Risen!” their reply resounded like thunder: “Truly, He is Risen!”

From that very day St Dionysius lived as a recluse, and after many labors he fell asleep in the Lord. The miracle involving St Dionysius is mentioned in the 8th Ode of the Canon of the Kiev Caves Saints. He is also commemorated on August 28, and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


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Friday, October 02, 2015

Martyr Theoctistus of Nicomedia

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


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

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Venerable Sava the Abbot of Vishera, Novgorod

Commemorated on October 1

Saint Sava of Vishera was the son of the noble, John Borozda, of Kashin. From childhood, the monk was noted for his piety. He initially lived the ascetic life at the Tver Savvino wilderness monastery, where the brethren chose him to be the abbot.

Shunning honors, St Sava went to Mt. Athos, where he worked on copying service books. Upon his return from Athos, he selected a solitary place seven versts from Novgorod on the banks of the River Vishera for his ascetic efforts.

Here, with the blessing of Archbishop Simon of Novogorod, the monk organized a small monastery in honor of the Ascension of the Lord in 1418. St Sava set up a pillar nearby the monastery and lived as a stylite. He died in 1461 at the age of 80. He appointed as his successor his disciple Andrew, who was known for his strict and ascetic life.

The local commemoration was established under Archbishop Jonah of Novgorod (+ 1470), in connection with the healing of the igumen of the Sava-Vishera monastery. Archbishop Jonah ordered an icon of the monk be painted and a Canon composed. The general church glorification of St Sava took place at the Moscow Council of 1549. The service to him was composed by Hieromonk Pachomius of Serbia.


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