Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Martyr Theokteristus

The Holy Martyr Theokteristus, Igumen of the Pelekete monastery, suffered for the holy icons under the impious emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775). Also subjected to tortures were Saint Stephen the New (November 28), and other pious monks. Saint Theokteristus was burned with boiling tar.

The holy martyr was a spiritual writer, and composed a Canon to the Mother of God “Sustainer in Many Misfortunes.”


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Monday, February 26, 2018

The Holy Great Martyr Photine, the Samaritan Woman

February 26


Saint Photine was the Samaritan Woman who encountered Christ our Saviour at Jacob's Well (John 4:1-42). Afterwards she laboured in the spread of the Gospel in various places, and finally received the crown of martyrdom in Rome with her two sons and five sisters, during the persecutions under the Emperor Nero.


Third Tone

All illumined by the Holy Spirit, thou didst drink with great and ardent longing of the waters Christ Saviour gave unto thee; and with the streams of salvation wast thou refreshed, which thou abundantly gavest to those athirst. O Great Martyr and true peer of Apostles, Photine, entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.


Third Tone

Photine the glorious, the crown and glory of the Martyrs, hath this day ascended to the shining mansions of Heaven, and she calleth all together to sing her praises, that they might be recompensed with her hallowed graces. Let us all with faith and longing extol her gladly in hymns of triumph and joy.


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Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Finding of the Precious Relics of the Holy Martyrs in the Quarter of Eugenius

February 22


The holy relics of these Saints were found in the quarter of Constantinople called Eugenius when Thomas was Patriarch of that city (607-610).


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.


Fourth Tone

When ye shone forth from the earth like luminaries, ye dispersed the gloomy mist of all impiety, O Saints, and ye enlightened believing souls, O godly Martyrs who championed the Trinity.


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Monday, February 19, 2018

Venerable Dositheus of Palestine, the Disciple of the Venerable Abba Dorotheus

Saint Dositheus, a disciple of Saint Abba Dorotheus (June 5), lived during the sixth-seventh centuries, and was raised in a rich and renowned family. Young Dositheus listened to tales of the holy city of Jerusalem from the servants of his grandfather, a military commander, and this kindled within him the desire to go there. Soon his wish came true.

At Gethsemane, he gazed for a long time at a picture of the Dread Last judgment. Suddenly he saw beside him a woman, who explained to him what was depicted in the image. The youth asked, “How is it possible to avoid the eternal torments?”

She replied, “Fast, do not eat meat, and pray constantly to God.” After this, his strange guide suddenly became invisible. She who conversed with him had been the Most Holy Theotokos. The appearance of the Mother of God produced a strong impression on the youth, and he decided to enter a monastery headed by Abba Seridus (August 13), and populated by such great ascetics as Saints Barsanuphius (February 6) and John (June 19).

Dositheus, asking to be accepted among the brethren, was sent to the Elder Dorotheus. Saint Dositheus fulfilled his obedience in the monastery infirmary, caring for all the sick. Saint Dorotheus trained his disciple in abstinence and fasting, gradually decreasing the quantity of food he consumed each day.

He also weaned the youth from vexation and anger, by constantly reminding him that every unkind word said to a sick person, is said to Jesus Christ Himself. By revealing his thoughts to the Elder and through unhesitating obedience, Saint Dositheus liberated his soul from passions. After five years of tending the sick and obeying his Elder, Saint Dositheus fell into serious sickness. Patiently enduring his sufferings, he prayed constantly and never complained.

Not long before his death he asked a message be sent to Saint Barsanuphius: “Father, grant me pardon, I cannot live much longer.” He replied, “Have patience, my son, for the mercy of God is near.” After several days Saint Dositheus again sent this message to the Elder: “My master, I cannot live any longer.” Then Saint Barsanuphius blessed him to depart to God, and he asked the dying one to pray for all the brethren when he stood before the Holy Trinity.

The brethren were astonished that the great Abba Barsanuphius would ask the prayers of a monk who had lived at the monastery for only five years without any great ascetic accomplishments (they had not seen his vigils and his abstinence). But after the death of the young monk, a certain experienced ascetic was praying that the final resting place of the departed fathers of the monastery might be revealed to him, and in a dream he saw young Dositheus among these saints. Saint Dositheus was given great glory in the Kingdom of Heaven for his perfect obedience to his Elder and for cutting off his own will.


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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Forgiveness Sunday

February 18


Tone Four


Fourth Orthos Gospel


The Holy Fathers have appointed the commemoration of Adam's exile from the Paradise of delight here, on the eve of the holy Forty-day Fast, demonstrating to us not by simple words, but by actual deeds, how beneficial fasting is for man, and how harmful and destructive are insatiety and the transgressing of the divine commandments. For the first commandment that God gave to man was that of fasting, which the first-fashioned received but did not keep; and not only did they not become gods, as they had imagined, but they lost even that blessed life which they had, and they fell into corruption and death, and transmitted these and innumerable other evils to all of mankind. The God-bearing Fathers set these things before us today, that by bringing to mind what we have fallen from, and what we have suffered because of the insatiety and disobedience of the first-fashioned, we might be diligent to return again to that ancient bliss and glory by means of fasting and obedience to all the divine commands. Taking occasion from today's Gospel (Matt. 6:14-21) to begin the Fast unencumbered by enmity, we also ask forgiveness this day, first from God, then from one another and all creation.


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.


Plagal of the Second Tone

O Master, Prudence, Guide of Wisdom, Instruction to the foolish and Defender of the poor, strengthen my heart and grant it discernment. Give me words, Word of the Father, for behold, I shall not keep my lips from crying out to You, "O Merciful One, have mercy on me who has fallen."


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Friday, February 16, 2018

The Holy Martyrs Pamphilius the Presbyter, Valens the Deacon, Paul, Porphyrius, Seleucius, Theodulus, Julian, Samuel, Elias, Daniel, Jeremiah and Isaiah at Caesarea, in Palestine

Commemorated on February 16

The Holy Martyrs Pamphilius the Presbyter, Valens the Deacon, Paul, Porphyrius, Seleucius, Theodulus, Julian, Samuel, Elias, Daniel, Jeremiah and Isaiah suffered during the persecution against Christians, initiated by the emperor Diocletian in the years 308-309 at Caesarea in Palestine.

The holy martyr Pamphilius, a native of the city of Beirut, was educated at Alexandria, after which he was made a priest at Caesarea. He devoted much labor to collecting manuscripts and correcting copyist errors in the texts of the New Testament. The corrected texts of St Pamphilius were copied and distributed to anyone who wanted them. Many pagans were converted to Christ through them.

His works and concerned matters at Caesarea were gathered up into the extensive library of spiritual books available for the enlightening of Christians. St Jerome (4th-5th century) deeply respected St Pamphilius and considered himself fortunate to have located and acquired several of his manuscripts.

Actively assisting St Pamphilius in proclaiming the faith in Christ were St Valens, deacon of the church at Eleia, a man stooped with age and well-versed in the Holy Scriptures, and St Paul, ardent in faith and love for Christ the Savior. All three were imprisoned for two years by Urban, the governor of Palestinian Caesarea.

During the rule of his successor Firmilian, 130 Christians were sentenced in Egypt and sent to Cilicia (Asia Minor) to work in the gold mines. Five young brothers accompanied them to the place of exile. On their return to Egypt they were detained at Caesarea and thrown into prison for confessing Christ.

The youths appeared before Firmilian, together with those imprisoned earlier: Sts Pamphilius, Valens and Paul. The five Egyptian youths took the names of Old Testament prophets, Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel and Daniel. Asked where they were from, the youths said that they were citizens of Jerusalem, meaning the heavenly Jerusalem. Firmilian knew nothing of such a city, since Jerusalem had been razed to the ground by the emperor Titus in the year 70. The emperor Hadrian (117-138) built a new city on the site, which was called Aelia Capitolina.

Firmilian tortured the youths for a long time. He sought to learn the location of the unknown city, and he sought to persuade the youths to apostatize. But nothing was accomplished, and the governor ordered them to be beheaded by the sword with Pamphilius, Valens and Paul.

Before this occurred, a servant of Pamphilius endured suffering. This was the eighteen-year-old youth Porphyrius, meek and humble. He had heard the sentence of death for the condemned martyrs, and asked the governor's permission to bury the bodies after their execution. For this he was sentenced to death, and thrown into a fire.

A witness of this execution, the pious Christian Seleucius, a former soldier, in saluting the deeds of the sufferers, went to Pamphilius and told him about the martyric death of St Porphyrius. He was seized by soldiers and, on Firmilian's orders, was beheaded by the sword together with the condemned.

One of the governor's servants, Theodulus, a man of venerable age and a secret Christian, met the martyrs being led to execution, embraced them and asked them to pray for him. He was taken by soldiers to Firmilian, on whose orders he was crucified.

The young Julian, a native of Cappadocia who had come to Caesarea, saw the bodies of the saints which had been thrown to wild beasts without burial. Julian went down on his knees and venerated the bodies of the sufferers. Soldiers standing by at the wall seized him and took him to the governor, who condemned him to burning. The bodies of all twelve martyrs remained unburied for four days, but neither beasts nor birds would touch them. Embarrassed by this situation, the pagans permitted Christians to take the bodies of the martyrs and bury them.


Your holy martyrs, Pamphilius and his companions, O Lord, through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions, save our souls!


Faced with terrible sufferings, the fearless athletes of the Lord rejoiced; they conversed with one another ignoring the flesh. Therefore, they have inherited eternal glory, ever praying for us who praise their struggles.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2017(with 2016's link here also and further: 2015,2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Venerable Stephen (In Monasticism Simeon), the Myrrhgusher and Prince of Serbia

Commemorated on February 13

Stephen Nemanya was the Great Zhupan of Serbia, and lived during the twelfth century. The saint toiled much for his fatherland: he united a large portion of the Serbian lands, and strove for the political independence of his country from the Byzantine Empire. In his zeal for the Orthodox Church, he defended his nation against heresy and false teaching.

At the age of eighty, Stephen went to Mt. Athos, where his son Saint Sava (January 12), was glorified by the holiness of his life. Together they restored the desolate Hilandar monastery, to which monks from various lands began to gather.

Saint Simeon was a great ascetic and wise guide for the monks. He died on February 13, 1200, and his relics began to exude myrrh. Saint Sava transported his father’s relics back to Serbia, and placed them in a church of the Most Holy Theotokos at the River Studenitsa. Saint Simeon had richly adorned this church while he was still ruler of Serbia.


You were illumined with the image of Godly grace, / And after death you have shone with the light of your life, / By issuing sweet-scented myrrh / Which flows from the tomb of your relics, / And sustains your people on this earth, / O our Father Simeon, discerner of the Way of God, / Pray to Christ our God that He may grant us His great mercy.


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Monday, February 12, 2018

St. Kristo the Gardener of Albania

The holy New Martyr Kristo was an Albanian who worked in a vegetable garden. At the age of forty, he decided to go to Constantinople to seek better business opportunities.

One day he was negotiating with a Turk who wished to purchase his entire stock of apples, but they were unable to agree on a price. The Turk became angry and accused Kristo of expressing a desire to become a Moslem. Kristo was brought before the authorities, and false witnesses were found to testify that he had indeed stated his intention to convert.

Kristo declared that he never said that he wished to become a Moslem. His testimony was discounted, however, because he was a Christian, and Moslem witnesses had contradicted him.

The saint was beaten and tortured the next day, but remained steadfast in his confession of Christ. Kaisarios Dapontes, a well known monk and author, visited Saint Kristo and got him freed from the place where he was chained. He brought food for him, but he refused to eat. “Why should I eat?” he asked. “I do not expect to live, so I may as well die hungering and thirsting for Christ.”

Since he refused to abandon the Orthodox Faith, Saint Kristo was sentenced to be beheaded. Before they led him away, Kristo gave Dapontes a metal file and told him to sell it and use the money to have memorial services offered for him.

On February 12, 1748 Saint Kristo the Gardener was beheaded, thereby receiving an imperishable crown of glory from Christ.


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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Venerable Demetrius the Wonderworker of Priluki, Vologda

Commemorated on February 11

Saint Demetrius of Priluki, Wonderworker, was born into a rich merchant’s family in Pereyaslavl-Zalessk. From his youth the saint was uncommonly handsome. Receiving monastic tonsure at one of the Pereyaslavl monasteries, the saint later founded the Saint Nicholas cenobitic monastery on the Saints Boris and Gleb Hill at the shore of Lake Plescheevo near the city, and became its igumen.

In 1334 Saint Demetrius first met with Saint Sergius of Radonezh, who had come to Pereyaslavl to see Metropolitan Athanasius. From that time, he frequently conversed with Saint Sergius and became close with him. The fame of the Pereyaslavl igumen was so widespread that he became godfather to the children of Great Prince Demetrius Ioannovich. Under the influence of the Radonezh wonderworker, Saint Demetrius decided to withdraw to a remote place, and went north with his disciple Pachomius.

In the Vologda forests, at the River Velika, near the Avnezh settlement, they built a church of the Resurrection of Christ and they prepared to lay the foundations for a monastery. The local inhabitants were fearful that if a monastery were built there, their village would become monastery property. They demanded that the monks leave their territory, and wishing to be a burden to no one, they moved farther away.

Not far from Vologda, at the bend of a river in an isolated spot, Saint Demetrius decided to form the first of the cenobitic monasteries of the Russian North. The people of Vologda and the surrounding region gladly consented to help the saint. The owners of the land intended for the monastery, Elias and Isidore, even trampled down a grain field, so that a temple might be built immediately. In 1371 the wooden Savior cathedral was built, and brethren began to gather.

Many disciples of the monk came there from Pereyaslavl. Saint Demetrius combined prayer and strict asceticism with kindliness. He fed the poor and hungry, he took in strangers, he conversed with those in need of consolation, and he gave counsel. He loved to pray in solitude. His Lenten food consisted of prosphora with warm water. Even on feastdays, he would not partake of the wine and fish permitted by the Rule. Both winter and summer he wore an old sheepskin coat, and even in his old age he went with the brethren on common tasks. The saint accepted contributions to the monastery cautiously, so that the welfare of the monastery would not be detrimental to those living nearby.

The Lord granted His servant the gift of clairvoyance, and he attained a high degree of spiritual perfection. Saint Demetrius died at an advanced age on February 11, 1392. The brethren approaching found him as though asleep, and his cell was filled with a wondrous fragrance.

Miracles from the relics of Saint Demetrius began in the year 1409, and during the fifteenth century his veneration spread throughout all Rus. And no later than the year 1440, the Priluki monk Macarius recorded his Life (Great Reading Menaion, February 11) based on the narratives of Saint Demetrius’s disciple Igumen Pachomius.


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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Icon of the Mother of God “Areovindus”

Commemorated on February 10

The origins of this unusual icon, in which the Most Holy Theotokos is depicted without Christ, are unknown. The bright red color of her outer garment inspired the name Areovindus, or “Fire Appearing” (“Fiery Vision”).


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Friday, February 09, 2018

Venerable Nicephorus of Vazheozersk

Saint Nicephorus of Vazhe Lake came to Saint Alexander of Svir (April 17) in the year 1510 and was warmly received by him. In 1518 he made a visit, with the blessing of his mentor, to Saint Cyril of New Lake (February 4). When Nicephorus approached New Lake, he was fatigued by his long journey and lay down in the darkness and fell asleep.

Saint Cyril hastened by boat to row across the lake and awoke him. Saint Nicephorus spent eight days in spiritual conversation with the saint. Nicephorus then journeyed to Kiev to venerate the relics of the saints of the Caves.

Upon his return, and with the blessing of Saint Alexander, he settled at Vazhe Lake, where Saint Gennadius pursued asceticism. Saint Nicephorus built the Church of the Transfiguration and a monastery, where he lived until his own death.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, in the Zadne-Nikiforov wilderness, a church was built and dedicated to Saints Nicephorus and Gennadius of Vazhe Lake. The relics of the saints were put to rest in a hidden place in the monastery they founded.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2017(with 2016's link here also and further: 2015,2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Virginmartyrs Martha and Mary with their brother Lycarion in Egypt

Commemorated on February 6

The Holy Virgin Martyrs Martha and Mary were sisters who lived in Asia Minor, and fervently desired to suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ. Once, a pagan military commander marched past their house. The sisters went out to him and loudly declared that they were Christians. At first the commander paid no attention to them, but they persistently shouted after him, repeating their confession.

They were arrested together with their brother Lykarion. All three were crucified, and during the execution their mother came to them, encouraging them in their sufferings for Christ. The sisters were pierced with spears, and Lykarion was beheaded by the sword.


Virginmartyr Martha


Your lambs Martha and Mary, call out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: / “I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering. / In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / for I have offered offered myself in love.” / Through their prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.


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


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2017(with 2016's link here also and further: 2015,2014  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):