5TH TUESDAY OF LENT
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Monk-Martyrs Claudius, Diodore, Victor, Victorinus, Pappias, Nicephorus, and Serapion, Theodora the Righteous of Thessaloniki, Agathopodes and Theodulos the Martyrs, George the new Martyr
Thus says the LORD: To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? The idol! a workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. He who is impoverished chooses for an offering wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skilful craftsman to set up an image that will not move. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nought, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? Says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hid from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in two, and laid each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the minds of fools. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is his delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but he loves him who pursues righteousness. There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; he who hates reproof will die. Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, how much more the hearts of men! A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise. A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken. The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. All the days of the afflicted are evil, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. The way of a sluggard is overgrown with thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.
The Holy Martyrs Agathopodes the Deacon and Theodulus the Reader lived in Thessalonica during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305) and were among the church clergy. The holy Deacon Agathopodes was very old, and Saint Theodulus very young.
Both distinguished themselves by righteous life and piety. Once, Saint Theodulus had a vision in his sleep, in which an unknown person in radiant garb placed some object in his hand. When he awoke, he saw in his hand a beautiful ring with the image of the Cross and he realized that this was a sign of his future martyrdom. By the power of the Cross depicted on the ring, the saint healed many of the sick and converted pagans to faith in Christ the Savior.
When the emperor Diocletian issued an edict of a persecution against Christians (303), many attempted to hide themselves from pursuit, but Saints Agathopodes and Theodulus fearlessly continued to proclaim the Gospel.
Governor Faustinus of Thessalonica heard of this, and gave orders to bring them to him for trial. Seeing the youth and excellence of Saint Theodulus, Faustinus attempted flattery to persuade him to renounce Christianity and to offer sacrifice. Saint Theodulus replied that he had long ago renounced error and that he pitied Faustinus, who by embracing paganism had condemned himself to eternal death. The governor offered the martyr a choice: the fortunes of life, or immediate death. The saint said that he would certainly choose life, but life eternal, and that he did not fear death.
When Faustinus saw that he would not persuade Theodulus, he began to talk with Saint Agathopodes. The governor attempted to deceive him and said that Saint Theodulus had already agreed to offer sacrifice to the gods. But Agathopodes did not believe this. He was convinced that Saint Theodulus was prepared to offer his life for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not having any success, Faustinus commanded the martyrs to be taken to prison. The holy martyrs prayed fervently and boldly preached the Word of God to the imprisoned, so that many were converted to Christianity. Eutinios, the head of the prison, reported this to the governor.
Faustinus again summoned them to trial and again he urged them to renounce Christ. Before the eyes of Saint Theodulus they brought forth some who had been Christians, but betrayed the Faith. “You have conquered the weak, but you will never conquer the strong warriors of Christ, even if you invent greater torments,” exclaimed Saint Theodulus. The governor commanded the martyr to produce the Christian books. “Here, is my body given for torture,” he answered, “do with it what you wish; torture me fiercely, but I shall not hand over the sacred writings to be mocked by the impious!”
Faustinus gave orders to bring Saint Theodulus to the place of execution, where an executioner readied a sword in order to cut off his head. The martyr bravely and with joy cried out, “Glory to You, O God, the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, Who deigned to suffer for us. Here, by His grace, I am coming to You, and with joy I die for You!”
Then Faustinus halted the execution and again locked up the martyrs in prison. There the holy martyrs prayed fervently and both had the same dream. They were sailing in a ship, which was in danger of being wrecked in a storm. The waves cast them up on shore, arrayed in radiant white clothing. The saints told each other about the vision, and they gave thanks to God for their impending martyrdom.
In the morning, when the martyrs were again brought to Faustinus, they declared to him: “We are Christians and we are prepared to undergo any suffering for Christ.” Faustinus gave orders to cast them into the sea. The waves carried Saint Agathopodes to the rocks, and he loudly exclaimed, “This shall be for us a second Baptism, which will wash away our sins, and we shall come to Christ in purity.” Saint Theodulus was also cast into the sea (+ 303).
The bodies of the saints were washed up on shore. They were dressed in radiant garb, but the ropes and stones used to weight them down were gone. Christians took their holy bodies and gave them reverent burial.
Saint Publius lived a life of asceticism in the Egyptian desert during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Before a military campaign against the Persians, the emperor sent a devil to explore the way for the army to go. The venerable Publius foresaw the intent of the emperor. He stood in prayer with upraised hands, praying day and night, and blocked the path of the devil.
For ten days the evil spirit waited until the monk concluded his prayer. Unable to proceed, he returned to the emperor and reported that he had been thwarted. In a rage against Saint Publius, Julian the Apostate vowed to avenge himself on the saint upon his return from the campaign. He did not fulfill this oath, since he soon perished.
After the death of Julian, one of his military commanders distributed his effects and received monastic tonsure at the hand of Saint Publius.
No information available at this time.
No information available at this time.
No information available at this time.
Saint Mark was born in Athens. He related his life to Abba Serapion who, by the will of God, visited him before his death.
He had studied philosophy in his youth. After the death of his parents, Saint Mark withdrew into Egypt and settled into a cave of Mount Trache (in Ethiopia). He spent ninety-five years in seclusion and during this time not only did he not see a human face, but not even a beast or bird.
The first thirty years were the most difficult for Saint Mark. Barefoot and bedraggled, he suffered from the cold in winter, and from the heat in summer. The desert plants served him for food, and sometimes he had to eat the dust and drink bitter sea water. Unclean spirits chased after Saint Mark, promising to drown him in the sea, or to drag him down from the mountain, shouting, “Depart from our land! From the beginning of the world no one has come here. Why have you dared to come?”
After thirty years of tribulation, divine grace came upon the ascetic. Angels brought him food, and long hair grew on his body, protecting him from the cold and heat. He told Abba Serapion, “I saw the likeness of the divine Paradise, and in it the prophets of God Elias and Enoch. The Lord sent me everything that I sought.”
During his conversation with Abba Serapion, Saint Mark inquired how things stood in the world. He asked about the Church of Christ, and whether persecutions against Christians still continued. Hearing that idol worship had ceased long ago, the saint rejoiced and asked, “Are there now in the world saints working miracles, as the Lord spoke of in His Gospel, ‘If ye have faith even as a grain of mustard seed, ye will say to this mountain, move from that place, and it will move, and nothing shall be impossible for you’ (Mt.17:20)?”
As the saint spoke these words, the mountain moved from its place 5,000 cubits (approximately 2.5 kilometers) and went toward the sea. When Saint Mark saw that the mountain had moved, he said, “I did not order you to move from your place, but was conversing with a brother. Go back to your place!” After this, the mountain actually returned to its place. Abba Serapion fell down in fright. Saint Mark took him by the hand and asked, “Have you never seen such miracles in your lifetime?”
“No, Father,” Abba Serapion replied. Then Saint Mark wept bitterly and said, “Alas, today there are Christians in name only, but not in deeds.”
After this, Saint Mark invited Abba Serapion to a meal and an angel brought them food. Abba Serapion said that never had he eaten such tasty food nor drunk such sweet water. “Brother Serapion,” answered Saint Mark, “did you see what beneficence God sends His servants? In all my days here God sent me only one loaf of bread and one fish. Now for your sake He has doubled the meal and sent us two loaves and two fishes. The Lord God has nourished me with such meals ever since my first sufferings from evil.”
Before his death, Saint Mark prayed for the salvation of Christians, for the earth and everything in the world living upon it in the love of Christ. He gave final instructions to Abba Serapion to bury him in the cave and to cover the entrance. Abba Serapion was a witness of how the soul of the one-hundred-thirty-year-old Elder Mark was taken to Heaven by angels.
After the burial of the saint, two angels in the form of hermits guided Abba Serapion into the inner desert to the great Elder John. Abba Serapion told the monks of this monastery about the life and death of Saint Mark.
Saint Plato was born in the year 735 into a pious Christian family of the parents, Sergius and Euphemia. Orphaned early on, the boy was taken to be raised by relatives, who gave him a fine education. When he grew up, he began life on his own. The saint occupied himself in the first years in the management of the property which his parents had left him upon their death. He was very temperate and hard-working and acquired great wealth by his toil. However, the future monk’s heart blazed with love for Christ. He gave away all his property, set his servants free and withdrew into a monastery named Symbolon near Mount Olympos.
His prayerful zeal, love of work and geniality won him the love of the brethren. When he was not praying he copied service books, and compiled anthologies from the works of the holy Fathers.
When the head of the monastery Theoctistus died in 770, the brethren chose Saint Plato as igumen, even though he was only thirty-five years old. After the death of the emperor Constantine Kopronymos (775), Saint Plato went to Constantinople. Patriarch Paul wanted to make him Bishop of Nicomedia, or the Igumen of one of the monasteries in Constantinople; but such was the saint’s humility, that he hastened back to the Symbolon Monastery. In 782, he withdrew to the desolate place of Studion with his nephews Saints Theodore (November 11) and Joseph (January 26). On the mount they built a church in honor of the holy Apostle John the Theologian, and founded a monastery, whose Superior was Saint Plato.
When Saint Tarasius and the empress Irene convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council in Nicea in 787, Saint Plato took an active part in its work. Being learned in Holy Scripture, he successfully unmasked the error in the Iconoclast heresy and defended the veneration of holy icons. When Saint Plato approached old age, he transferred the administration of the monastery to Saint Theodore.
In 795 the emperor Constantine VI (78-797) forced his wife to become a nun, and he married one of his relatives, Theodota.
Even though the holy Patriarch Tarasius condemned this marriage, Joseph, a prominent priest of Constantinople, violated the Patriarch’s prohibition and celebrated the marriage of the emperor.
When they learned of this, Saints Plato and Theodore excommunicated the emperor from the Church and sent a letter about this to all the monks. The enraged emperor gave orders to lock Saint Plato in prison and to banish Saint Theodore to Thessalonica. Only after the death of the emperor in 797 did they receive their freedom. Saint Theodore settled in Constantinople and became igumen of the Studion monastery. Saint Plato lived as a simple monk at this monastery under obedience to his nephew.
When the new emperor Nikēphóros (802-811) returned the excommunicated priest Joseph to the Church on his own authority, Saints Plato and Theodore again came forward denouncing the unlawful activities of the emperor. For this the brave confessors were again subjected to punishment in 807. They were jailed for four years. Saint Plato was freed from imprisonment in 811 after the death of the emperor, and he returned to the Studion monastery.
He lived three more years at work and prayer, and departed to the Lord on Lazarus Saturday at age 79, on April 8, 814. Saint Plato is honored as a Confessor because of his fearless defense of the holy icons.
Saint Theodora of Thessalonica. We have no information about Saint Theodora’s birthplace or early life. From a young age, she loved Christ and turned away from worldly pursuits. She entered a women’s monastery, where she struggled in asceticism and adorned her soul with virtues. Regarding the other sisters as worthy of honor, she was obedient to all, especially to the abbess. Even after her death, Saint Theodora was a model for the nuns of a pure and blameless life.
Years after the saint’s blessed repose, the abbess also departed to the heavenly habitations. When they dug the grave to bury the abbess, they uncovered the relics of Saint Theodora. Just as though she were still alive, she moved over in order to make room for the abbess. When those present witnessed this remarkable event they cried, “Lord, have mercy!”
Many miracles were worked through Saint Theodora’s holy relics. Those who came to venerate her were healed of all manner of diseases, or freed from the power of demons. Therefore, the faithful continue to celebrate her memory.
Saint Theodora should not be confused with the other Saint Theodora of Thessalonica who is commemorated on August 29.
After his death in 1607, the relics of Patriarch Job were buried by the western doors of the Dormition Church of the monastery in Staritsa. Many miracles took place at his grave.
In 1652, on the recommendation of Metropolitan Nikon of Novgorod, Tsar Alexei ordered that the relics of Saint Job and Saint Philip (January 9) be transferred to Moscow.
Metropolitan Barlaam of Rostov presided at the uncovering of Saint Job’s relics in Staritsa. The Patriarch’s incorrupt and fragrant relics became the source of healing for many who were afflicted by physical and mental illnesses.
On March 27 a procession set off for Moscow with the relics. On Monday of the sixth week of Lent (April 5), the relics of Patriarch Job were brought to the Passions Monastery. From there, the procession proceeded to the Kremlin, and the relics of the saint were placed in the Dormition cathedral. A few days later, Patriarch Joseph died and was buried next to Saint Job.
Saint Job has long been revered as a worker of miracles. The Altar Crosses in the churches of the Staritsa monastery and the Tver cathedral contained particles of his holy relics.
Saint Job is commemorated on June 19, and also (in the Tver diocese) on the first Sunday after the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
The Kasperov Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Tradition says that this holy icon had been brought to Cherson from Transylvania by a Serb at the end of the sixteenth century. Passing down from parent and child, the icon had come to a certain Mrs. Kasperova of Cherson in 1809.
One night in February of 1840 she was praying, seeking consolation in her many sorrows. Looking at the icon of the Virgin, she noticed that the features of the icon, darkened by age, had suddenly become bright. Soon the icon was glorified by many miracles, and people regarded it as wonderworking.
During the Crimean War (1853-1856), the icon was carried in procession through the city of Odessa, which was besieged by enemy forces. On Great and Holy Friday, the city was spared. Since that time, an Akathist has been served before the icon in the Dormition Cathedral of Odessa every Friday.
The icon is painted with oils on a canvas mounted on wood. The Mother of God holds Her Son on her left arm. The Child is holding a scroll. Saint John the Baptist (Janurary 7) is depicted on one border of the icon, and Saint Tatiana (January 12) on the other. These were probably the patron saints of the original owners of the icon.
The Kasperov Icon is commemorated on October 1, June 29, and Bright Wednesday.
Saints Claudius, Diodoros, Victor, Victorinus, Pappios, Serapion, and Nikephoros are most probably the same saints who are commemorated on January 31. See their Life on that date.
Saint Hypomone (Αγία Υπομονή), who suffered during the pre-Nicene persecutions, is not mentioned in the Synaxaristes of Saint Νikόdēmos (July 14), nor in the printed Menaia, but she is mentioned in Vatican Codex 1104 f. 986, which contains her Service, composed by Saint Theophanes (October 11). The acrostic of the Canon is: "I marvel at your sufferings, Hypomone." Her name means "patience."