Saturday, October 29, 2016

Venerable Abramius the Archimandrite of Rostov

Commemorated on October 29

Saint Abramius, Archimandrite of Rostov, in the world Abercius, left his parents’ home in his youth and entered upon the path of Christian asceticism. Having assumed the monastic schema, Abramius settled at Rostov on the shore of Lake Nero. In the Rostov lands there were not many pagans, and the saint worked intensely at spreading the true Faith.

Not far from the cell of the saint was a pagan temple, where the pagans worshipped a stone idol of Veles (Volos), which caused fright among the inhabitants of Rostov. In a miraculous vision the Apostle John the Theologian stood before Abramius, and gave him a staff with a cross on top, with which the venerable one destroyed the idol. At the place of the pagan temple, St Abramius founded a monastery in honor of the Theophany and became its head.

In memory of the miraculous appearance, the holy monk built a church named for St John the Theologian. Many of the pagans were persuaded and baptized by St Abramius. Particularly great was his influence with the children whom he taught the ability to read and write, instructing them in the law of God, and tonsured monastics from among them.

Everyone who came to the monastery was accepted with love. The saint’s life was a constant work of prayer and toil for the benefit of the brethren: he chopped firewood for the oven, he laundered the monks’ clothing and carried water for the kitchen. St Abramius reposed in old age and was buried in the church of the Theophany.

His holy relics were uncovered in the time of Great Prince Vsevolod (1176-1212). In the year 1551, Tsar Ivan the Terrible, before his campaign against Kazan, made the rounds of holy places. At the Theophany-Abramiev monastery the monks showed him the staff with which St Abramius had destroyed the idol of Veles. The Tsar took the staff with him on the campaign, but the cross remained at the monastery. And returning again after the subjugation of the Khan, Ivan the Terrible gave orders to build a new stone church at the Abramiev monastery in honor of the Theophany, with four chapels, and he also supplied it with books and icons.


You abandoned all earthly comforts, O Father Abramius, / Living righteously in hope of things to come and receiving a sacred anointing. / Initiated into divine mysteries, you enlighten those who cry: / Glory to him who has strengthened you! / Glory to him who has granted you a crown! / Glory to him who through you works healing for all!


You lived on earth as an angel in the flesh / And flourished as a well-planted tree, watered by abstinence and tears, / O Abramius, vessel of the Holy Spirit!


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Friday, October 28, 2016

St Arsenius of Cappadocia

Commemorated on October 28

St Arsenius of Farasa is the priest who baptised Elder Paisios the Athonite and gave him his Christian name—Arsenios. 


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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

St Demetrius of Tsilibinsk

Saint Demetrius of Tsilibinsk (14th Century), founder of the Archangel Tsilibinsk wilderness monastery in Vologda diocese, was a beloved disciple of St Stephen of Perm (April 26). The monk built a church in honor of the Archangel Michael for the newly-converted. Beneath this temple he dug out a cave and for a long time lived there in solitude.


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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius, Notaries of Constantinople

Commemorated on October 25

The Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius, Notaries of Constantinople served in a Constantinople cathedral. Marcian was a reader and Martyrius a subdeacon. They both performed in the capacity of notaries, i.e. secretaries, for Patriarch Paul the Confessor (November 6).

Arian heretics expelled and secretly executed the righteous Patriarch Paul. His throne was given to the heretic Macedonius. The heretics attempted to entice Sts Marcian and Martyrius over to their side by flattery. They offered them gold and promised to consecrate them as archbishops, but all the efforts of the Arians were in vain.

Then the impious threatened to slander them before the emperor, and sought to intimidate them with torture and death. But the saints steadfastly confessed Orthodoxy, as handed down by the Fathers of the Church. Marcian and Martyrius were sentenced to death. Before death, the martyrs prayed, “Lord God, Who have invisibly created our hearts, and directed all our deeds, accept with peace the souls of Your servants, since we perish for You and are considered as sheep for the slaughter (Ps 32/33:15; 43/44:22). We rejoice that by such a death we shall depart this life for Your Name. Grant us to be partakers of life eternal with You, the Source of life.” After their prayer the martyrs, with quiet rejoicing, bent their necks beneath the sword of the impious (+ ca. 335).

Their holy bodies were reverently buried by Orthodox Christians. Later, by decree of St John Chrysostom, the relics of the holy martyrs were transferred to a church built in their honor. Believers here were healed of many infirmities through the prayers of the saints, to the glory of the One Life-Creating Trinity.


In holy zeal you dispelled the error of Arius / and proclaimed the Trinity, one in essence. / Holy martyrs Marcian and Martyrius, / unshaken bulwarks of Orthodoxy, / entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.


Podoben: “As You were voluntarily raised...” / From your youth you were good athletes, wise Marcian and Martyrius, / vanquishing the Arian heretics; / you kept the faith perfect by following in the footsteps of your bishop and teacher Paul, / therefore, you are worthy to be with him in eternal life, / as respected defenders of the Holy Trinity.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

John the Wonderworker of Kronstadt

October 19

Saint John of Kronstadt was a married priest, who lived with his wife in virginity. Through his untiring labours in his priestly duties and love for the poor and sinners, he was granted by our Lord great gifts of clairvoyance and miracle-working, to such a degree that in the last years of his life miracles of healing--both of body and soul--were performed countless times each day through his prayers, often for people who had only written to him asking his help. During his lifetime he was known throughout Russia, as well as in the Western world. He has left us his diary My Life in Christ as a spiritual treasure for Christians of every age; simple in language, it expounds the deepest mysteries of our Faith with that wisdom which is given only to a heart purified by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Foreseeing as a true prophet the Revolution of 1917, he unsparingly rebuked the growing apostasy among the people; he foretold that the very name of Russia would be changed. As the darkness of unbelief grew thicker, he shone forth as a beacon of unquenchable piety, comforting the faithful through the many miracles that he worked and the fatherly love and simplicity with which he received all. Saint John reposed in peace in 1908.

Apolytikion of John of Kronstadt in the Fourth Tone
O Wonderworker living in Christ for ever, with love have mercy on them that are in danger; hear thy children who call upon thee with faith; be thou compassionate unto them that hope for aid from thee, O Father John of Kronstadt, our beloved shepherd.

Kontakion of John of Kronstadt in the Fourth Tone
O Thou who from infancy wast chosen by God, and in childhood didst miraculously receive from Him the gift of learning, and wast gloriously called to the priesthood in a vision during sleep: Thou didst prove to be a wondrous shepherd of the Church of Christ, O Father John, namesake of grace. Pray to Christ our God that we all be with thee in the Kingdom of the Heavens.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Martyr Marinus the Elder at Anazarbus

The Martyr Marinus the Elder at Anazarbus was from Cilicia (Asia Minor). For his confession of faith in Christ the Elder was subjected to fierce beatings, and then killed on the orders of Lysias, governor of Tarsus, during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305).


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Monday, October 17, 2016

Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, you Preserved your Virginity”

The Icon of the Mother of God “In Giving Birth, You Preserved Your Virginity” (“A Virgin Before Birth and After Birth”) was transferred to the Nikolaev Peshkov monastery of Moscow diocese by the Moscow merchant Alexis Grigorievich Mokeev. Around the year 1780 Alexis joined the brethren of the monastery. He had given all of his wealth to the igumen of the monastery, Archimandrite Macarius, and the holy icon remained in his cell.

After Alexis’s death, the icon was brought to the archimandrite, who observed that the icon was painted in oil on canvas and not according to the prescribed rules of iconography (using egg tempera on wood), and he installed it over the exit door of the chapel of St Methodius, which was on a street not far from the monastery.

The glorification of the holy icon began in 1827, when Captain Platon Osipovich Shabashev, going past the chapel at night, saw an extraordinary light coming from the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Another time he had a vision of the icon at a time when he found himself in difficult circumstances. In a dream, Platon beheld the radiant icon of the Mother of God in the clouds above the chapel of St Methodius and heard a voice say, “If you wish to be delivered from temptation, pray before this icon.” Platon obeyed the guidance of the Mother of God, and the sorrow passed him by.

The pious Platon told the Superior of the monastery about the miracles. He then transfered the holy image into the monastery. When they went to put the icon in a ornamental case, the image of the Most Holy Virgin, painted on canvas, stiffened taut upon a board, on which was concealed a depiction of the Mother of God of finest quality. Numerous miracles are recorded to have taken place from this icon in 1848 during an outbreak of cholera, when many praying before it were healed.

This icon of the Mother of God is of the Hodigitria type.


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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday of the 7th Ecumenical Council

October 16

Tone of the week: Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Sixth Eothinon

On the Sunday that falls on or immediately after the eleventh of this month, we chant the Service to the 350 holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which gathered in Nicaea in 787 under the holy Patriarch Tarasius and during the reign of the Empress Irene and her son, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, to refute the Iconoclast heresy, which had received imperial support beginning with the Edict issued in 726 by Emperor Leo the Isaurian. Many of the holy Fathers who condemned Iconoclasm at this holy Council later died as Confessors and Martyrs for the holy Icons during the second assult of Iconoclasm in the ninth century, especially during the reigns of Leo the Armenian and Theophilus.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
From on high didst Thou descend, O Compassionate One; to burial of three days hast Thou submitted that Thou mightest free us from our passions. O our Life and Resurrection, Lord, glory be to Thee.

Apolytikion of Sun. of the 7th Ecumenical Council in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
You are greatly glorified, O Christ our God, who established our Fathers as luminaries upon the earth, and through them led us all to the true Faith. O Most compassionate, glory to You.

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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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Translation of a Particle of the Life Giving Cross from Malta to Gatchina

Commemorated on October 12

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

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


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Commemoration of the Miracle of the Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beret

At the fourth session of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (in 787), St Peter, Bishop of Nicomedia, in defending the necessity of icon veneration, presented an account of St Athanasius about a miracle which occurred in the city of Beret, Phoenecia.

In this city, near the Jewish synagogue, lived a certain Christian. When he moved to another place, he left behind an icon of the Lord Jesus Christ. A Jew, who moved into the house, paid no attention to the icon. Once, his friend noticed of the image of Jesus Christ on the wall and said to the homeowner, “Why do you, a Jew, have an icon in your house?” He then went to the synagogue and reported this transgression of Jewish law.

The Jews expelled the owner of the house from the synagogue.They took the icon from the wall and began to scoff at it, “As once our fathers mocked Him, so we also mock Him.” They spit at the face of the Lord. Hurling abuses, they lashed at the icon, they placed thorns around the head, nailed it to a tree, and put a sponge with vinegar to the mouth. Finally, they took a spear, and one of the Jews thrust it into the side of the Savior. Suddenly, from the hole in the icon made by the spear, blood and water flowed. The Jewish rabbis, seeing the miracle, said, “The followers of Jesus Christ say that He could heal the sick. Let us take this blood and water into the synagogue and anoint those afflicted with infirmities. Then we shall see whether what is spoken of Him is true.”

A vessel with the blood was put in the synagogue. The inhabitants of Beret, once they learned of the miracle, began to bring those suffering from various illnesses into the synagogue. They all were healed, after being anointed with the blood from the icon of the Savior. Then the Jewish people believed in Christ and exclaimed, “Glory to You, O Christ, Whom our fathers crucified, Whom we also crucified in the form of Your icon. Glory to You, O Son of God, for having worked such a miracle! We believe in You, therefore be merciful to us and receive us!”

The Jews went to the Bishop of Beret. After showing him the wonderworking icon and the blood and water that flowed from it, they told him of their misdeed. The bishop, seeing their sincere repentance, accepted them, catechized them for many days and then baptized them. Then he consecrated the synagogue into a church of our Savior Jesus Christ. At the request of the Jews, he also consecrated other synagogues into churches dedicated to the holy martyrs. There was great joy in that city, not only because many people were healed, but because many were baptized due to the miracles worked by the icon of the Savior.


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Sunday, October 09, 2016

Martyrs Juventinus and Maximus at Antioch

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


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Friday, October 07, 2016

Martyr Athenodorus

November 7

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Venerable Joseph the Elder and Wonderworker of Khevi, Georgia

Commemorated on October 7

Little is known about the life of St. Joseph of Khevi. The Church is certain only that he was a native of Khevi (in northern Georgia) and served as a priest in that village. In addition to being great warriors, the people of Khevi have throughout history been remarkably steadfast in the Christian Faith. The churches and monasteries in Khevi are extraordinary in both beauty and inaccessibility. They were deliberately built in mountainous places, as if reaching them should demand the greatest of zeal.

The most important ornament and symbol of Khevi is the ice that perpetually caps the peak of Mt. Kazbegi. On the slope of this mountain stands Trinity Monastery, where at one time St. Nino’s cross was preserved (it is presently kept in Tbilisi, in the northern section of the iconostasis at Sioni Cathedral).

Located above Trinity Monastery, on the ice-covered, vertical cliff of Mt. Kazbegi, is a cave hermitage at 13,450 feet, known as the Bethlehem Cave. It is possible to reach this hermitage only by climbing chains let down from its height. According to the chronicle Life of Kartli, this cave has throughout history been used to store sacred objects and treasures of the Church.

The historian David Batonishvili records that St. Joseph was especially known for his love of holy objects, for keeping the strictest of fasts, and for his outstanding virtues. He climbed to the Bethlehem Hermitage and returned with a piece of the tent of the patriarch Abraham, (Georgian tradition relates that both the tent of the Patriarch Abraham and the manger of Christ were kept in the Bethlehem Cave for many centuries.) which he presented to King Erekle. Having attained the heights of clairvoyance and miracle-working, St. Joseph reposed peacefully in the year 1763.


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Wednesday, October 05, 2016

St Gregory of Chandzoe in Georgia

Commemorated on October 5

Our Holy Father Gregory of Khandzta was raised in the court of the Kartlian ruler Nerse. His family was part of the Meskhetian aristocracy. He received an education befitting his family’s noble rank and displayed a special aptitude for the sciences and theology.

The youth chosen by God was extraordinarily dedicated to his studies. In a short time he memorized the Psalms and familiarized himself with the doctrines of the Church. He also learned several languages and knew many theological works by heart.

While Gregory was still young, his loved ones expressed a wish to see him enter the priesthood. The wise youth had aspired to the spiritual life from early on, but he considered himself unprepared to bear such an enormous responsibility. “My pride prevents me from fulfilling your desire,” he told them.

Finally he consented to be ordained a priest, but the local princes sought to consecrate him a bishop. Frightened at the prospect, Gregory secretly fled to southwestern Georgia with three like-minded companions: his cousin Saba (a future bishop and the reviver of Ishkhani Monastery),Theodore (the builder of Nedzvi [Akhaldaba] Monastery), and Christopher (the builder of the Dviri Monastery of St. Cyricus). The four brothers were unified by faith and love of God and bound by a single desire, as though they were one soul existing in four bodies.

The brothers arrived at the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Opiza and presented themselves before the abbot George. With his blessing they labored there for two years. Then St. Gregory visited the monk Khvedios, the righteous hermit of Khandzta. Prior to Gregory’s arrival, Khvedios had received a sign from God indicating that a monastery would be built in Khandzta by the hands of the priest Gregory. It was revealed to him that Fr. Gregory’s prayers were so holy that their sweet-smelling fragrance rose up before God like incense. The monk showed St. Gregory the environs, and he was so drawn to this area that he soon returned there with the other brothers and began to build a monastery.

The monks were forced to construct the monastery in difficult conditions, since the earth was rocky and mountainous and they were not equipped with the proper tools. First they built a wooden church, and later four cells and a dining hall.

A certain aristocrat by the name of Gabriel Dapanchuli lived nearby, and Gregory turned to him for help with construction of the monastery. With great joy he donated the stone, labor and food necessary for this worthy project to be realized. In such a way the first monastery church in Khandzta was established.

Gabriel informed Holy King Ashot Kuropalates about the brothers’ activity, and the king invited their leader, St. Gregory, to the palace.

There he received him with great honor, asked him to bless the royal family, and inquired in detail about the life and labors of the holy monks. Then he presented Gregory with a generous donation to the monastery and, having learned that the land in Khandzta could not be cultivated, bestowed upon the monastery a large plot of fertile land in Shatberdi. King Ashot’s sons, the princes Adarnerse, Bagrat, and Guaram, also donated generously to the monastery.

And so, during the bloody Arab-Muslim period of rule, when the Georgian people had sunk into deep despair, the Klarjeti Wilderness was transformed into a life-giving oasis to which the greatest sons of the nation flocked.

The rules of the monastery were strict. In each monk’s cell was nothing but a short, stiff bed and a small pitcher for water. Neither fires nor candles were lit inside.

St. Gregory was known throughout all of Georgia. At the request of King Demetre II of Abkhazeti (837-872), Fr. Gregory built a monastery in the village of Ubisi in Imereti and appointed his disciple Ilarion of Jerusalem as abbot. He built this monastery on the border of western and eastern Georgia and in so doing foresaw the unification of the two kingdoms.

The Lord performed many miracles through St. Gregory. Once the church bell-ringer was approaching the abbot’s cell and saw a light issuing forth from inside. He knew that St. Gregory had lit neither a fire nor his oil lamp, and he became frightened, believing that a fire might have started in the abbot’s cell. As it turned out, others had witnessed similar wonders: when the saint stood praying, he would light up like the sun, and beams of light would emanate from his body in the shape of a cross.

Venerable Gregory stood firmly in defense of morality, and he even confronted King Ashot Kuropalates when his conduct was at odds with the values of the Georgian people. Gregory had united his companions in their love of God, but among the roses there appeared a thorn. A certain Tskir, a protégé of the Tbilisi emir Sahak, schemed to obtain the episocopal see of Anchi.

He forcibly took control of Anchi Cathedral and committed many blasphemies. The clergy, and venerable Gregory in particular, condemned his behavior, but Tskir was consumed by pride and hired a killer to eliminate St. Gregory. Like a prophet, St. Gregory foresaw the imminent danger but went out to meet it nevertheless. Approaching his victim, while still at a distance from him, the murderer saw a bright light enveloping the holy father. He froze in fear, and his hand immediately withered. Only the prayers of St. Gregory could heal him and permit him to return home.

The Church excommunicated Tskir, and he fled to the emir for refuge. With Sahak’s help he returned to the throne of Anchi and sent a military detachment to destroy Khandzta Monastery.

The monks of Khandzta and their abbot met the attackers in meekness and requested time to celebrate the Sunday Liturgy. The whole brotherhood prayed tearfully to the Lord to save the monastery.

The Liturgy had not yet been completed when a messenger arrived from Anchi to report that Tskir had died suddenly.

Near the end of his life St. Gregory spent most of his time at Shatberdi Monastery, which he himself had built. When he received a sign that his death was approaching, he distributed candles throughout all the monasteries in the Klarjeti Wilderness and requested that they be burned on the day of his death. He asked all to remember him and bade farewell to Khandzta.

On the day of his repose, holy fathers from all over Klarjeti gathered to receive a final blessing from their teacher. Gregory blessed them, admonished them for the last time, and gave up his soul to God. When he breathed his last, a voice was heard from heaven, calling him: “Do not be afraid to come, O Venerable Servant of Christ, for Christ, the King of heaven, has Himself anointed you an earthly angel and a heavenly man. Now come and approach thy Lord with great joy and prepare for exaltation, for you are blessed among the saints and your everlasting glory has been prepared!”

Abounding in blessings and perfect in wisdom, justly ruling the inhabitants of the wilderness, St. Gregory of Khandzta reposed on October 5, 861, at the age of 102. In accordance with his will, he was buried among his brothers at Khandzta Monastery.


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

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

St Stephen Stiljianovitch of Serbia

Commemorated on October 4

Saint Stephen Stiljianovich of Serbia was born into a pious Christian family in the Serbian city of Zhupa (south of Zakholmya). During this time Serbia was often subjected to invasions by the Turks, who devastated the land. St Stephen defended his native land, did military service in the army of the Serbian ruler. When famine began in the country, the kindly St Stephen distributed his own bread to the hungry.

The patriotic activity of the saintly soldier was indissolubly bound up with his truly Christian life. “In virtue, he lived as an ascetic with charity, purity, prayer, the Orthodox Faith and unhypocritical love of neighbor.”

The saint fell asleep in the Lord on October 4, 1515. After a time, the Turks saw a light shining over his grave. Thinking that they had found a hidden treasure, they opened the grave and found the incorrupt body of St Stephen. Serbian monks ransomed the relics from the Turkish Pasha and transferred them to the Shishatovets monastery on Mount Phrushtsk.

As a glorious righteous defender of his native land, the Serbian Church prays to him, “Glory in the struggles, warrior Stephen Stiljianovich, great healer of those who pray to you in faith.”


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Monday, October 03, 2016

St John the Chozebite the Bishop of Caesarea, in Palestine

Commemorated on October 3

Saint John the Chozebite, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine (587-596), was famed for his struggle against the Eutychian heresy, and also for his grace-filled gifts of discernment and wonderworking. He was born in the Egyptian city of Thebes and while still a youth he spent a long time in the Thebaid desert with his uncle, who was an ascetic.

The emperor, who learned of John’s holy life, decided to make him bishop of the city of Caesarea. But the saint, yearning for solitude, left his cathedra and withdrew into the Chozeba wilderness (between Jerusalem and Jericho) where he struggled in asceticism until the end of his life.

Once, while on his way to visit some of the brethren, he met a woman on the road. She entreated him to follow her to her home so that he might bless it and sanctify it by his prayers. Once they entered the house, however, the vile woman locked the door and removed all her clothing, and tried to tempt the saint into sinning with her. He opened the door and fled from the place.

After this, he performed many miracles until he fell asleep in the Lord. It is said that whenever he served the Divine Liturgy, he would see a heavenly light in the altar.


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