3RD SATURDAY AFTER PASCHA
3rd Saturday after Pascha, Isidore the Martyr of Chios, Holy Hieromartyr Therapontus, Holy New Martyrs Mark and John, Leontius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Serapion the Holy Martyr
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 9:19-31
In those days, Saul was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed, and said, “is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests.” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night, to kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down over the wall, lowering him in a basket. And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists; but they were seeking to kill him. And when the brethren knew it, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him off to Tarsus. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.
JOHN 15:17-27; 16:1-2
The Lord said to his disciples: "This I command you, to love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause.' But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.
Saint Isidore lived during the reign of Emperor Decius (249-251) and came from Alexandria in Egypt. He was an officer in the Roman Navy when the fleet commanded by Admiral Numerius chanced to be anchored off the Greek island of Chios. There Christianity was not persecuted, and perhaps Saint Isidore was not as cautious as he should have been. Somehow, the centurion Julius discovered that Isidore was a Christian, and denounced him to Admiral Numerius.
The Admiral summoned him in order to determine whether or not the allegation was true. Saint Isidore admitted that he was indeed a Christian, and refused to offer sacrifice to inanimate idols. Numerius urged him to obey the Emperor's decree to offer sacrifice so that he would not be subjected to torture. Saint Isidore replied, "You may be able to kill my body, but you have no power over my soul. The true, living God, Jesus Christ, abides in me; even after my death He shall be with me, and I with Him. I shall abide in Him, and I shall never cease to confess Him while breath still remains in my body."
Saint Isidore was led away to be tortured. In the midst of his suffering, he praised Christ God and mocked the pagan idols. Since Saint Isidore still refused to offer the prescribed sacrifice, he was thrown into prison.
When the Saint's father heard about this, he went to Chios to convince Isidore to deny Christ. He was able to persuade Numerius to place Isidore in his custody, saying that he would try to convert him. The Saint, however, begged his father to open the eyes of his soul and to learn the truth about Christ. His father was most displeased by these words, and he could not accept that his son chose to believe in Christ rather than follow the idolatry of his ancestors. Seeing that Saint Isidore would not change his mind, he disowned him and sent him back to Admiral Numerius, asking him to execute his son right away.
First, the Admiral ordered Isidore to be beaten with whips, and then dragged along over rocky ground. After that, his tongue was cut out. Even without his tongue, Saint Isidore was still able to speak, by the grace of God, and he continued to confess Christ. Meanwhile, God punished Numerius by causing him to loose the power of speech. Finally, the Admiral gave the signal to behead Isidore. When he heard the sentence the holy martyr was overjoyed. Praising God, he was led to the place of execution, where he was beheaded.
After the Saint's martyrdom his body was thrown into a well to be devoured by animals, but two Christians, Saints Ammonios (September 4) and Myrope (December 2) secretly took his body, and buried it in a secret place, with all due honor. The evil Numerius heard that the martyr's body had been stolen and wanted to kill the two guards who had been ordered to prevent the body from being taken. Learning that innocent men would suffer for her good deed, Saint Myrope appeared before the authorities and acknowledged that she had stolen the martyr's body and buried it, but she refused to tell them where.
Numerius commanded that the holy virgin should be whipped, and finally she was confined in a prison, covered with wounds. But the Lord did not leave His martyr without consolation. At midnight a heavenly light illumined the prison, and many angels appeared to her with Saint Isidore in their midst. "Peace be with you, Myrope," he said to her. "God has heard your prayer, and soon you shall be with us and shall receive the crown which has been prepared for you."
The holy martyr rejoiced and surrendered her soul to God at that very moment. A sweet fragrance emanated from her body, filling the entire prison. One of the guards, seeing all of this and smelling the fragrance, told a priest about the vision. He believed in Christ and was baptized. Soon afterward, he also suffered martyrdom. Later, Saint Ammonios himself was put to death in the city of Kyzikos.
Saint Myrope's body was interred beside that of the martyr Isidore, and a chapel was built over the graves. In the fifth century, Saint Markian (January 10), the Oikonomos of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) in Constantinople, built a chapel by the church of Hagia Eirene (Holy Peace). He also transferred the Saint's skull and a portion of his relics to Constantinople, which he placed in the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos at Peran.
In the sixth century, the existence of the rest of the Saint's relics on the island of Chios, and the numerous miracles which occurred, is affirmed by Saint Gregory of Tours (November 17) in his book Liber in Gloria Martyrum (Book of the Glory of the Martyrs):
"The martyr Isidore is buried on the island of Chios. In the Saint's church there is a well into which he is said to have been thrown. After drinking from the water of this well, possessed people, those with fevers, and others who are sick, are often cured. It is said that believers often see a light there, similar to a burning candle. I myself met a priest who insisted that he had often seen this light from the mouth of the well. On this island a seed is picked from the mastic trees which, so they say, are not found in other regions."
Local tradition agrees that at the place where Saint Isidore was martyred, the mastic trees shed fragrant tears because of the Holy Martyr's suffering. Tradition holds that the mastic, which is a major product of the island of Chios, may be gathered and prepared only from the trees near the site of the Saint's martyrdom.
Saint Isidore Tverdislov (“Constant of Word”), Fool-for-Christ, Wonderworker of Rostov. He was born in Germany of rich parents. From his youth, he led “an unsullied life and had a compassionate understanding.” Leaving his parental home and “desiring the Kingdom of God,” Saint Isidore distributed his wealth to the poor. Taking up the staff of a wanderer, he visited many lands and cities.
He was raised in Catholicism, and it is not known where he accepted the holy Orthodox Faith. Finally, he arrived in Russia and decided to live in Rostov. Here Saint Isidore, “in filth and snow and rain and cold” and “enduring every outrage,” settled in a rickety wooden hut that he himself had made. He chose a foolish manner of life for the sake of Christ, which Saint Paul describes in his Epistle (1 Cor.4:10-13).
Saint Isidore spent all his time at unceasing prayer, not allowing himsetlf much sleep or rest. “He stood at all night vigil and praise” to dedicate his body “everlastingly to God.”
By day the blessed one made the rounds of the city, acting like a fool. “Like Job of old in his patience,” Blessed Isidore, while still alive, was “an earthly angel and a heavenly man,” “a compassionate soul, and pure of thought, and vigilant heart and faith unassailed, and true love without pretense.” During his life he received the grace to work miracles.
Saint Isidore reposed in the year 1474. They learned of his death only when, passing by his hut, they noticed a special fragrance. At the place of his burial in the city of Rostov the church of the Ascension of the Lord was built, in which his relics rest in a crypt as a source of miracles to the present day.
Blessed Isidore is termed “Tverdislov” [“Constant of Word”] since he spoke constantly. [The title “Tverdislov” seems unique to Saint Isidore. This supplemental account of him is from Bulgakov’s Nastolnaya Kniga (1900).]
Saint Nikḗtas, Hermit of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Novgorod (+1109): The memory of Saint Nikḗtas was celebrated on May 14 at Novgorod, where his relics are located. The saint is also commemorated on January 31, the day of his repose, and on April 30, the day of the Uncovering of his Relics (1558).
The Holy Martyr Maximus suffered under the emperor Decius (249-251). Maximus was a layman and a merchant. He was a devout Christian and he led many pagans to faith in Christ the Savior, and persuaded them to accept Baptism.
Once, when the pagans had gathered to offer a human sacrifice to their gods, Saint Maximus plucked up his courage, unable to bear the sight of such a spectacle, and rushed at them, loudly denouncing their impiety and error, calling the idols soulless creations of mankind. The frenzied pagans stoned the martyr to death.
Saint Serapion lived during the fifth century in Egypt. He was called the linen cloth-wearer (Sindonite) since he wore only a coarse linen garb called a “sindon.” From his youth the monk lived like the birds of the air, without a shelter.
For several days at a time he did not eat, not having the means to buy bread. He gave away his sindon to a beggar who was shivering from the cold, and he himself was naked.
A certain Greek philosopher, wishing to test the non-covetousness of the monk, gave him a gold coin and watched him. The saint went to the bakery, bought one loaf of bread, gave the merchant the gold coin and left, having no regard for the value of the money.
Saint Serapion led many on the way of salvation. Once, he was the servant of a Greek actor, whom he converted to Christ. The actor, imitating the example of the holy life of the saint, believed and was baptized together with all his family. He asked Saint Serapion to remain with him not as a servant, but as a guide and friend, but the monk went away, not taking any of the money offered him.
Traveling to Rome, Saint Serapion got on a ship, but paid nothing to the ship owners. At first they began to reproach him for this, but noticing that the Elder had gone five days already without eating, they began to feed him for the sake of God, and in this they fulfilled the command of the Lord.
At Rome, the saint continued to wander about, going from house to house, having nothing, accumulating only spiritual wealth for himself and for his neighbor.
Saint Leontius was Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1223-1261, according to Saint Gregory Palamas (Nov. 14) and Theodore, a monk of Constantinople.
This Life was translated from Greek into the Russian language in an abridged form. It was translated a second time more fully by Saint Νikόdēmos of the Holy Mountain (July 14), who says the death of the Patriarch actually occurred in 1175.
The incorrupt relics of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk were first uncovered in May 1846, during the construction of the new cathedral at Zadonsk. They were found beneath the altar of the old church.
Saint Tikhon is also commemorated on August 13.
No information available at this time.
Alexandra Dmitrievna Dobychkina, who was from a middle-class family in Yaroslavl, suffered terribly from spiritual and physical ailments for seventeen years. In 1823 she beheld a vision of a church in which was an Icon of the Mother of God. Offering her heartfelt prayers to the Most Holy Theotokos, she asked to be freed from these afflictions. One day Alexandra had a vision in which she was shown a church where there was a certain Icon of the Mother of God. Then a mysterious voice told her to search for the Icon in that church, and there she would be healed.
On May 1, 1823, Alexandra managed to find the church beside the residence of the Bishop of Yaroslavl. The church was very old, and was dedicated to the Feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord (August 1). Recognizing the church as the one she had seen in her vision, Alexandra went inside to look around. Suddenly, she found herself before an Icon of the Mother of God painted on the wall, the same one she had been shown in the vision. Struck with fear, she fell to the floor with terrible convulsions, and writhed in pain. When these subsided, Alexandra stood up and prayed fervently before the holy Icon. As she prayed, she began to feel relief from her painful torments. The next day she was perfectly well.
From that time, many miraculous cures have taken place before this Icon for those who pray to the Most Holy Theotokos with faith and reverence.
The Yaroslavl-Caves Icon of the Mother of God depicts her seated on a throne with her Divine Child, and it also includes Saints Anthony and Theodosios, the wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves (September 2). Two Angels stand behind the throne on either side.
There are two other Yaroslavl Icons: the first is the famous Yaroslavl Icon (June 8), which is of the Eleousa (Tenderness) type, and dates from the XIII century. The second is the Yaroslavl-Kazan Icon, which was revealed on July 8,1588.
No information available at this time.
No information available at this time.