FRIDAY OF THE 12TH WEEK
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
The Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus, Thomas the Righteous of Bithynia
ST. PAUL’S SECOND LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS 3:6-18
Brethren, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one's bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.
If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
LUKE 21:37-38, 22:1-8
At that time, Jesus was teaching in the temple every day, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him. Now the feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death; for they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and engaged to give him money. So he agreed, and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of the multitude. Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So he sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.”
The Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus suffered for their faith in Christ under the emperor Maximian (305-313).
Saint Menas was sent by the emperor from Athens to Alexandria to suppress the riots that had arisen between the Christians and the pagans. Distinguished for his gift of eloquence, Menas instead openly began to preach the Christian Faith and he converted many pagans to Christ. Learning of this, Maximian sent Hermogenes to Alexandria to place the saints on trial. Moreover, he gave orders to purge the city of Christians.
Hermogenes, although he was a pagan, was distinguished by his reverent bearing. And struck by the endurance of Saint Menas under torture and by his miraculous healing after the cruel torments, he also came to believe in Christ. Maximian himself then arrived in Alexandria. Neither the astonishing stoic endurance of Saints Menas and Hermogenes under torture, nor even the miracles manifested by God in this city, mollified the emperor. Instead, they vexed him all the more. The emperor personally stabbed Saint Eugraphus, the secretary of Saint Menas, who had declared himself a Christian upon witnessing the endurance of Saints Menas and Hermogenes; and then gave orders to behead the holy Martyrs Menas and Hermogenes.
The relics of the holy martyrs, cast into the sea in an iron chest, were afterwards found (see February 17) and transferred to Constantinople in the ninth century. The emperor Justinian built a church in the name of the holy Martyr Menas of Alexandria. Saint Joseph the Hymnographer (April 4) composed a Canon in honor of these holy martyrs.
Saint Joasaph was born at Proluka, in the former Poltava governance, on September 8, 1705, the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. He was descended from the old and venerable Little Russian (Ukrainian) lineage of the Gorlenkovi. At Baptism he was named Joachim.
In 1712, his father enrolled the seven-year-old Joachim in the Kiev Spiritual Academy. Within the walls of the academy he felt attracted to monastic life. For seven years he studied it further, and finally revealed his intention to his parents.
For a long time his mother and father pleaded with their first-born son not to accept monastic tonsure. But in 1725, unknown to them, he became a “rasophore” (“robe-wearing novice”) with the name Hilarion at the Kiev Mezhigorsk monastery, and on 21 November 1727 he was tonsured in the mantya with the name Joasaph at the Kievo-Bratsk monastery. This event coincided with the completion of his studies at the spiritual academy.
After the death of His Grace Barlaam, the See of Kiev was governed by Archbishop Raphael Zaborovsky. Archbishop Raphael noticed the abilities of the young ascetic and assigned him to greater service to the Church. He was entrusted with the responsibility of the office of examiner of the Kiev archbishopric.
In November 1734, Archbishop Raphael ordained the hierodeacon Joasaph as hieromonk, and he was transferred from the Bratsk monastery school to the Kiev-Sophia archbishop’s house. At the same time, he was appointed a member of the Kiev religious consistory.
In fulfilling the office of examiner, he exerted much effort towards the correction of moral deficiencies among the parish clergy. The saint’s service in the consistory office enabled him to develop his administrative abilities. During this time, he made a good study of the needs of clergy-servers, noting both the good points and the failings of the diocese. His talent for administration was combined with his great spiritual effort. He quickly ascended the ladder of spiritual perfection, which can be seen in his work, “The Conflict of the Seven Venerable Virtues with the Seven Deadly Sins.”
On June 24, 1737 Hieromonk Joasaph was appointed head of the Holy Transfiguration Mgarsk monastery, and elevated to the rank of igumen. Here he worked with all his strength to put the monastery in good order, for it was an old bastion of Orthodoxy in the struggle with the Unia. In this monastery were relics of Saint Athanasius, Patriarch of Constantinople and Wonderworker of Lubny (May 2). Several times Saint Athanasius appeared to Igumen Joasaph, as a sign of his patronal protection.
In 1744 Metropolitan Raphael elevated Igumen Joasaph to the dignity of archimandrite. Towards the end of that same year he was called to Moscow and soon, at the direction of the Most Holy Synod, he was appointed vicar of the Holy Trinity Sergiev Lavra monastery. At this monastery of Saint Sergius he also unstintingly fulfilled obedience to the Church (this year required much exertion for the rebuilding of the monastery after a fire).
On June 2, 1748 at the Peter and Paul cathedral in Peterburg, Archimandrite Joasaph was ordained Bishop of Belgorod. Ascending the archbishop’s throne, Saint Joasaph strictly concerned himself with piety and the condition of the churches, with the proper celebration of divine services, and especially with the moral condition of his flock.
The saint devoted great attention to the education of the clergy, and the correct observance of churchly norms and traditions. Just as before, the saint worked with all his strength in his archpastoral service, without regard for his health.
On the eve of his repose, the saint forbade his cell attendant Stephen to aspire to the priesthood, and he predicted that if he did not obey him, he would meet with an untimely end. To another cell attendant Basil, the saint indicated that he would be a deacon, but would never become a priest. Later, this prediction was fulfilled. Saint Joasaph died on December 10, 1754, and was glorified on September 4, 1911.
The Holy Martyr Gemellus of Paphlagonia was subjected to cruel tortures for his staunch denunciation of the emperor Juilan the Apostate (361-363) in the city of Ancyra (Galatia). A red-hot iron belt was placed around his waist. Then he was ordered to accompany the impious Julian on his journey. When they reached Edessa in Mesopotamia, he was stretched out on the ground and his limbs were pierced with wooden stakes. Then he was hung on a post and mutilated.
Enduring the tortures, the saint continued to revile the emperor. After being subjected to even more horrible torments, they let him go. He was still able to walk and speak, so he went on his way until he met a priest. He entreated the priest to baptize him, and when he emerged from the water, his wounds were all healed.
Hearing of this miracle, Julian ordered that Saint Gemellus be crucified. The victorious athlete of Christ gave up his soul to God, and his body was secretly taken down and buried by Christians.
Saint Thomas Dephourkinos was born in Bithynia. From his youth he was fond of monastic life and entered one of the area monasteries. Later in his life, when the Byzantine official Galoliktos had founded a monastery at the River Sagarisa, Saint Thomas was already an experienced monk, and the brethren chose him as head of the new monastery.
From there Saint Thomas withdrew into the wilderness, where for a long time he labored in solitude. The monk overcame many snares of the devil in the wilderness. The Lord glorified him with the gift of healing and prophecy.
Once, the emperor Leo the Wise (886-911) came to the monastery to Saint Thomas for advice. Not finding the monk at the monastery, the emperor sent his messenger with a letter for him. And just as the messenger arrived at the the Elder’s hut, the saint carried out to him a sealed answer, resolving the emperor’s question. It is not known when Saint Thomas reposed.
The life of the Serbian ruler Stephen Brankovich and his family was filled with instability and misfortune. After Serbia was seized in 1457 by the Turks, the then Serbian ruler’s middle son, Stephen (October 9), distinguished by a meek disposition and fine knowledge of Holy Scripture, went to the capital of Turkey after his sister had been given to Sultan Murat in marriage. Learning that the Turks had burned the Mileshevsk monastery with fanatic cruelty, Saint Stephen rose up to defend Serbia from oppression.
When he married Angelina (July 30), the daughter of the Prince of Albania, the Turks threatened Saint Stephen and his family with punishment. With his wife and three children he was forced to hide first in Albania, and then in Italy, where he died.
Saint Angelina transferred the incorrupt relics of her spouse to Kupinovo. At the end of the fifteenth century a son of the Righteous Stephen and Angelina, Saint John, became ruler of Serbia. The incorrupt relics of Saint John and his parents were afterwards glorified by many miracles.
No information available at this time.