ABSTAIN FROM MEAT
The Holy Martyrs Eutropius, Cleonicus, and Basiliscus, Theodoretos the Holy Martyr of Antioch, Nonnita, mother of Saint David
ST. JUDE’S FIRST UNIVERSAL LETTER 1:11-25
Beloved, woe to the ungodly, for they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error, and perish in Korah's rebellion. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever.
It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.
LUKE 23:1-31, 33, 44-56
At that time, the chief priests, the scribes, and elders of the people brought Jesus before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king." And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so." And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no crime in this man." But they were urgent, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.
When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length; but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then, arraying him in gorgeous apparel, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him; neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him; I will therefore chastise him and release him." Now he was obliged to release one man to them at the festival.
But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas" — a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus; but they shouted out, "Crucify, crucify him!" A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him." But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us'; and to the hills, 'Cover us.' For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?
And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, and said, "Certainly this man was innocent!" And all the multitudes who assembled to see the sight, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance and saw these things.
Now there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid; then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.
On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
The Holy Martyrs Eutropius, Cleonicus and Basiliscus suffered in the city of Pontine Amasea (Asia Minor) in about the year 308.
The brothers Eutropius and Cleonicus, and Basiliscus the nephew of the Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (February 17), were comrades. After the martyric death of Saint Theodore, they wound up in prison and by their preaching brought many of the pagans in prison with them to the Christian Faith.
When he tortured Saint Theodore, the governor Publius perished shamefully, struck down by divine wrath. Asclepiodotus was chosen as ruler of Amasea, and was more inhumane than his predecessor. Knowing the comrades of Saint Theodore the Recruit were all in prison, the governor commanded that they be brought to him. Saints Eutropius, Cleonicus and Basiliscus thus firmly confessed their faith in Christ before this new governor. They were mercilessly beaten, so that their bodies were entirely bruised.
As he was being tortured Saint Eutropius prayed loudly to the Savior, “Grant us, O Lord, to endure these wounds for the sake of the crown of martyrdom, and help us, as You helped Your servant Theodore.” In answer to the saint’s prayer, the Lord Himself appeared to the martyrs with His angels and the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit, saying to them: “Behold, the Savior has come to help you, that you may know life eternal.”
Soldiers and many of the people standing nearby were also granted to behold the Savior. They urged Asclepiodotus to halt the tortures. Seeing that the people were distraught and ready to believe in the true God, the governor commanded the martyrs to be taken away. The governor then invited Saint Eutropius to supper and urged him to offer public sacrifice to the pagan gods, yet remain a Christian in soul. Eutropius refused this offer.
On the following day they brought the martyrs to a pagan temple, to force them to offer sacrifice. Eutropius entreated the Savior: “Lord, be with us, and destroy the raging of the pagans. Grant that on this place the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Christians be offered to You, the true God.” No sooner had these last words been spoken, than an earthquake began. The walls of the temple collapsed, and the statue of the goddess Artemis was smashed to bits. Everyone fled from the temple to avoid being crushed among the rubble. In the noise of the earthquake a voice was heard from on high: “Your prayer has been heard, and on this place a house of Christian prayer shall be built.”
When the earthquake ended, the governor Asclepiodotus, barely recovered from his fright, gave orders to drive high wooden stakes into the ground, tie the martyrs to them and pour boiling tar over them. The saints began to pray to God, and Eutropius cried out turning to the torturers: “May the Lord turn your deed against you!”
The tar began to flow beside the bodies of the martyrs, like water over marble, scorching the torturers. Those seeing this fled in terror, but the governor in his bitterness gave orders to rake their bodies with iron hooks and to sting their wounds with mustard mixed with salt and vinegar. The saints endured these torments with remarkable firmness.
The night before their execution the saints spent their time at prayer, and again the Lord appeared to them and strengthened them.
On the morning of March 3, Saints Eutropius and Cleonicus were crucified, but Basiliscus was left in prison.
Saint Basiliscus was executed on May 22 in the city of Komana. They beheaded him, and threw his body into a river, but Christians found his relics and buried them in a ploughed field. Later at Komana a church was built and dedicated to Saint Basiliscus.
An account of the life of the holy martyr is found under May 22.
The holy virgin Piamoun (Πιαμούν) was from Egypt, and she lived during the IV century. Her Life is recorded by Palladius in his Lausiac History.
When the Saint was very young her father died, but her Christian mother raised her with discipline and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). When she grew up, she and her mother engaged in works of mercy and compassion. They were not wealthy, but out of their meagre income, they were able to help their poor and weak brethren.
Saint Piamoun would eat a little food in the evening, and at night she kept constant vigil. She also labored at weaving linen, and she was found worthy of the gift of foresight.
One day a certain village in Upper Egypt attacked another village because of a quarrel about sharing the waters of the Nile. They fought so violently that many men were killed. This village then moved stealthily against the Saint's village. Men marched with staves and spears, intending to kill the inhabitants.
An Angel of the Lord appeared to Saint Piamoun and warned her that her village would be attacked by the stronger villagers. Summoning the priests of her church, she said, "Go forth to meet the enemy, for they are coming against you, otherwise you and the village will perish. If you beg them not to attack, then perhaps they will spare the village."
The priests were afraid and told her, "We do not dare to face them, for we know their ferocity and their arrogance. However, if you wish to save the village and your own house, then you go out to meet them."
The holy virgin did not go forth, but instead she went up to her roof and stood all night long in prayer. She made many bows and prayed that God would immobilize the enemy where they stood, three miles from her village. Immediately they became paralyzed and were unable to move from that place. It was revealed to them that it was the prayers of Saint Piamoun which hindered them from moving. Therefore, they sent a message to the villagers that they wished to make peace. They also told them to give thanks to God, for it was the prayers of Saint Piamoun which had prevented them from attacking.
When her mother reposed, the venerable one continued the work of ministering to her suffering brothers and sisters by herself. She visited their homes, comforted them, and strengthened their faith.
When Saint Piamoun reposed in 337, there was widespread mourning in her village.
It is not known just when or where Saint Zenon and Saint Zoilos lived, but according to the Byzantine verse Synaxarion, they died while living in the world (Paris. Coislin. 223, from the year 1301).1
The names of Saint Zenon and Saint Zoilos and a couplet composed for them were included in the Greek Menaion (printed in Venice in 1596) and in the Synaxaristis. When the Greek Synaxaria were translated into Slavonic, their names and the couplet in their honor were included in the various Prologs. From there, they were incorporated into the Great Reading Menaion (Великие Минеи Четии) for March, and into the modern calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The couplet reads: "Released from this life, Zenon and Zoilos went forth to a better life" (literally "existence").
1 Le fonds Coislin is a collection of Greek manuscripts acquired by Pierre Séguier, but named for Henri-Charles de Coislin, its second owner. It is now held in the National Library of France.
The Volokolamsk Icon of the Mother of God is a copy of the Vladimir Icon of the Moscow Dormition cathedral. The icon was brought from Zvenigorod to the Dormition monastery of Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk on March 2, 1572, during the second week of Great Lent and was solemnly met by Igumen Leonid (1563-1566; 1568-1573) and all the monastic brethren.
It is distinguished by its particular depiction on the margins of Saint Cyprian (right) and Saint Gerontius (left), Metropolitans of Moscow.
The name of Metropolitan Cyprian is associated with the first arrival of the ancient Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God from Constantinople to Moscow in the year 1395, and under Metropolitan Gerontius in 1480 the Vladimir Icon came finally to Moscow.
In the year 1588 the Volokolamsk Icon was dedicated atop the gate in the church at the south gates of the Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk monastery in honor of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (August 26).
At the end of the seventeenth century, when a church of the same name was built in Moscow at Staraya Basmanna, the church atop the gate of Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk was rededicated in honor of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The Volokolamsk Icon was transferred to its proper place on the iconostasis of the new cathedral Dormition church of the monastery of Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk.
In 1578, the icon was recognized as wonderworking.
The Holy Catholicos John IV (Chrysostom) led the Apostolic Church of Georgia from approximately 980 to 1001.
Catholicos Basil III’s “Story of Saint Shio’s Miracles” describes how the hitherto childless parents of Saint John prayed at length to Saint Shio of Mgvime. After the birth of John, his God-fearing parents sent him to be raised at Shio-Mgvime Monastery.
There he acquired the sanctity and wisdom for which he would later be called “Chrysostom,” meaning “golden mouth” in Greek. By this name he has been known throughout the history of the Georgian Church.
There is yet another John called “Chrysostom” who was also a Catholicos, from 1033 to 1049. This John was a disciple of Holy Catholicos-Patriarch Melchizedek I and his successor as chief shepherd of the Georgian Church.
His life and labors were full of the same holiness as those of the holy catholicos John who is commemorated on this day. For this reason John IV and John V are often erroneously believed to be one and the same person.
The Georgian Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Shio of Mgvime several times throughout the year. Saint John of Zedazeni and his twelve disciples, among whom was Saint Shio of Mgvime, are commemorated on May 7; the repose of Saint Shio is celebrated on May 9; and on Cheese-fare Thursday the Church celebrates the miracle that, for centuries, occurred every year at Saint Shio’s grave.
The 19th-century historian Marie Brosset wrote that every year prior to the 18th century, on Cheese-fare Thursday, the relics of Saint Shio rose up out of the ground from the place of their burial. Those who approached them in faith and reverence received healing of their afflictions.
In the 18th century the Persian shah Nadir (1736-1747) invaded Georgia. Hearing about this miracle and becoming convinced of its truth, the enraged shah assailed the monastery and destroyed the shrine containing the saint’s holy relics. A group of Christians later gathered Saint Shio’s holy relics and reburied them in their former place, but to this day they have never risen again.