Renewal Wednesday, Martyrs Emmanuel, Theodore, George, Michael and the other George of Samothrace, The Holy Hieromartyr Symeon, Kinsman of the Lord, Eulogios the Innkeeper of Constantinople
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 2:22-38
In those days, Peter said to the people, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, 'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence.'
Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says, 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.' Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.
At that time, John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
On Bright Wednesday we commemorate the holy monastic Fathers who have shone forth on the God-trodden Mt Sinai. This commemoration was established by the Church of Russia on April 17, 1997.
Saints Theocharis and Apostolos are local saints of Arta. The first fell asleep in 1845 and the second a little later. Saint Theocharis was a teacher at Komboti, Arta. The icons of these saints are in the church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) in Arta.
The Kasperov Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is also commemorated today. 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 side 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.
The Holy Apostle and Hieromartyr Simeon, a kinsman of the Lord, was the son of Cleopas, who was the younger brother of Saint Joseph the Betrothed. Thus, Saint Simeon is Joseph's nephew, and a cousin of the Lord. As an adult, he witnessed the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ, believed in Him, and became one of the 70 Apostles. Saint Simeon proclaimed the teachings of Christ, was instructed in the truths of the holy Faith, and denounced idol worship. After the murder of the Holy Apostle James (October 23), the first Bishop of Jerusalem, Christians chose the Apostle Simeon to succeed him.
The Emperors Vespasian and Domitian had ordered that all descendants of King David be put to death. Emperor Trajan (98-117) renewed that decree, and certain heretics and some others denounced Saint Simeon as a descendant of King David, as well as a Christian.
The pagans arrested Saint Simeon, who at that time was more than one hundred and twenty years old. He astonished the judge and his attendants by enduring several days of torture, and then he was crucified in the year 107, during Trajan's reign, when Atticus was consul.
The Parisian Codices contain a Service in honor of Saint Simeon, the poem of the hymnographer Theophanēs. (Some Synaxaristes also commemorate him on September 18).
Saint Stephen, Igumen of the Caves, Bishop of Vladimir in Volhynia, pursued asceticism at the Kiev Caves monastery under the guidance of Saint Theodosius (May 3). Saint Theodosius sometimes entrusted him to exhort the brethren with edifying words.
Before the death of Saint Theodosius the monks asked him to appoint Saint Stephen as Igumen, who was the domesticus (chief arranger for the choir). “He grew up under your instruction,” they said, “and he served you. Give him to us.” So Saint Theodosius transferred the guidance of the monastery to Saint Stephen.
During his tenure as Superior, he laid the foundations of a spacious church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, begun under Saint Theodosius. The cells of the brethren were moved near the new church. At the front of the place there were several cells for monks who were entrusted with burying the dead. They served the Divine Liturgy each day, and also commemorated the dead.
In 1078 Saint Stephen was removed from office and driven from the monastery through the malice of an evil monk. He endured this meekly and without bitterness, and continued to pray for those who had turned against him.
Saint Stephen learned that master builders had come from Greece with an icon of the Theotokos, and they told him of the appearance of the Heavenly Queen at Blachernae. Because of this, Saint Stephen also built a church at Klovo in honor of the Theotokos (in memory of the Placing of Her Robe at Blachernae). The monastery was founded in thanksgiving for solicitude of the Most Holy Theotokos for the Caves monastery.
In 1091 Saint Stephen was made Bishop of Vladimir in Volhynia, and he participated in the transfer of the relics of Saint Theodosius from the cave to the monastery (August 14). He also labored to convert the inhabitants of Volhynia to Christianity.
Saint Stephen died on April 27, 1094 during the sixth hour of the night.
Saint Eulogius the Hospitable lived during the fourth century in the Thebaid. He served the Lord by offering hospitality to wanderers (Mark 9:41).
After his death in Trnovo, Bulgaria on January 14, 1235 Saint Savva was buried in the
Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs. On May 6, 1237 his relics were carried in procession from Trnovo to Mileshevo Monastery in Serbia. When the casket was opened, the relics were found to be incorrupt, and produced an ineffable fragrance. In 1253, the Serbian Orthodox Church glorified the holy hierarch Savva as a Saint.
Following the Battle of Kosovo on June 25, 1389, the Serbian nation fell under the Turkish Yoke. During this period the Serbs continued to visit the tomb of Saint Savva, asking him to give them the strength to endure the oppressive persecution they suffered at the hands of the Turks. His icon was placed on their flags, and the faithful turned to the Saint for encouragement, consolation, and healing.
The Serbs revolted in 1595, led by Patriarch John Kantul and others. Sinan Pasha, the Turkish military leader in Belgrade, sent soldiers to crush the rebellion. Sultan Mohammed II ordered that the relics of Saint Savva be burnt. On Great and Holy Friday, the Turks removed the Saint's relics from Mileshevo Monastery. The next day, April 27, they climbed Savinac Hill in the Vrachar district and set fire to the holy relics.
Instead of becoming despondent, the Serbs were inspired to even greater love for Christ, for Holy Orthodoxy, and for Saint Savva. Although the Saint's relics had been destroyed, the people continued to venerate him, and to remember the burning of his relics every year.
After national independence in 1879, there was a proposal to build a memorial church in honor of Saint Savva. In 1895, the three hundredth anniversary of the burning of Saint Savva's relics, plans were made to build a church on the site where his relics were burnt. A temporary chapel was constructed the following year, but it was not possible to build a large cathedral until after World War I. In 1927, Patriarch Barnabas announced a competition for architects to submit designs for the cathedral. In 1935, architects were chosen and construction began.
During World War II, work was halted when the Communists seized power. Only in 1984 did Patriarch German receive government approval to resume construction. On June 25, 1989, Patriarch German served the first Divine Liturgy in Saint Savva's Memorial Cathedral, which towers over the city of Belgrade.
There is a famous Serbian saying: "Sinan Pasha lit the flames, Savva's body burned, but Savva's memory and his glory did not burn."