BARTHOLOMEW THE HOLY APOSTLE
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Bartholomew the Holy Apostle, Alexander and Antonina the Martyrs, Timothy, Bishop of Proussa, Theophanes & Pansemne of Antioch, Our Holy Father Gregory, Bishop of Assos, The Holy Martyrs of China
ST. PAUL’S FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS 4:9-16
Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
The Lord said to his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Hieromartyr Timothy, Bishop of Prusa
The Hieromartyr Timothy, Bishop of Prusa (Bithynia), received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking because of his purity and sanctity of life. At Prusa he converted many pagans to the faith in Christ. The emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), upon hearing about Saint Timothy, had him locked up in prison, but even there also the saint continued to preach the Gospel. Julian forbade him to teach about Jesus Christ, but the saint continued to spread the Christian Faith. Finally, the emperor gave orders to behead the saint. His holy relics were afterwards transferred to Constantinople.
Venerable Silvanus the Schemamonk, of the Kiev Far Caves
The Holy Schemamonk Silvanus of the Kiev Caves labored in asceticism in the Far Caves during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. One time, by the power of his prayer, he held fast to the spot robbers, who had come into the monastery garden, and for three days they were not able to move. When they repented, the monk then freed them. The memory of Saint Silvanus is celebrated also on August 28, and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.
Finding of the relics of Saint Basil, Bishop of Ryazan
The Uncovering and Transfer of the Holy Relics of Saint Basil, Bishop of Ryazan (July 3), was done by Archbishop Theodoret of Ryazan (1605-1617). It pleased Divine Providence during the Time of Troubles to glorify Saint Basil. The uncovering of his relics and their transfer into the Ryazan-Dormition (afterwards Nativity) church in the Kremlin of Ryazan-Pereslavl took place on June 10, 1609. This had been the cathedral church from the time of the Ryazan bishop Jonah II (1522-1547). The relics of Saint Basil were placed in a reliquary at the left kleros, beside the iconostasis. A troparion and kontakion were then composed. From that time the name of Saint Basil was “commemorated throughout all the churches of the Ryazan diocese.” People had recourse to him as to “their constant intercessor, a helper in sorrow and peril.” Under Archbishop Moses (1638-1651), a stone crypt was built over the relics of Saint Basil in 1638, and over it was put the Murom Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “the Supplication of Basil.”
During this period services of thanksgiving to Saint Basil were served in the Ryazan churches. The first solemn celebration of the transfer of the relics of the saint took place on June 10, 1645 under Archbishop Moses. Especially fervent in veneration of the Ryazan hierarch was Archbishop Misael (1651-1655). By his command, in 1653, an inscription was made on a large silver vessel for the blessing of water, “This cup is from Ryazan-Pereslavl, in the cathedral church of the Dormition and the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb, and our Father among the saints Basil, Bishop of Ryazan, Wonderworker”.
In 1655 Saint Basil was depicted upon a silver cross together with Saint John the Forerunner and Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow. In 1712 during the time of Metropolitan Stephen Yavorsky, a stone chapel was constructed over the original burial place of Saint Basil, at the Borisoglebsk church , through the zeal of the clerk Nikḗtas Altukhov. In the years 1722-1723 under Tsar Peter I a formal investigation of the saint was conducted, after which Saint Basil was depicted upon an icon together with other Russian saints. Metropolitan Demetrius (Sechenov) of Novgorod, during his time as Bishop of Ryazan (1752-1757) compiled the service to Saint Basil, “having in mind first of all the writing of the troparion, kontakion and canon”.
Through his efforts a new crypt was constructed over the relics of Saint Basil, containing a reliquary with an icon of the saint. In 1782 the reliquary was elegantly adorned by the Archbishop of Ryazan and Zaraisk, Simon (Lagova) (1778-1804). In 1810 under the Ryazan and Zaraisk archbishop Theophylakt (Rusanov), a decree of the Holy Synod was promulgated concerning the celebration of Saint Basil on the Sunday of All Saints. On October 4, 1836 a new memorial was unveiled at the spot of the uncovering of the relics of Saint Basil. It was set up through the zeal of the churchwarden of the Borisoglebsk church, Simeon Panov. In 1871, Archbishop Alexis (Rzhanitsky, 1867-1876) served the Divine Liturgy at the Borisoglebsk church on the Feast day of Saint Basil, July 3, for the first time.
Under Archbishop Palladius (Raev, 1876-1882) the Holy Synod in 1881 appointed the following days for commemoration of Saint Basil: July 3, the day of his blessed repose, and June 10, the day of the transfer of his holy relics. Even today, Saint Basil is especially venerated in the Ryazan lands. In each temple of the Ryazan diocese there is his icon. In the majority of the churches, moreover, is found a mural of the saint sailing along on the water on his mantiya with the Murom Icon of the Mother of God in hand. In the cathedral church each Wednesday evening an Akathist is sung to him.
Saint John Maximovitch, Metropolitan of Tobolsk
Saint John, Metropolitan of Tobolsk and All Siberia, the Wonderwonder, in the world was named John Maximovitch, and he was born in the city of Nezhino in 1651. His father Maxim Vasil’evich and mother Euphrosynē had seven sons, of which John was the eldest. Upon his completion of the Kiev-Mogilyansk College (afterwards the Kiev Spiritual Academy), the future hierarch emerged from it as a teacher of the Latin language. Thereafter, in 1680, he accepted monasticism at the Kiev Caves monastery and became absorbed in inner spiritual activity. With the general consent of the brethren, the young monk was given the obedience of preaching. From this period he demonstrated an exceptional eloquence. He attached a special significance to inner religious knowledge. The chief theme of his life can be defined at a stroke as, “How ought man to conform his will with the will of God?” He developed this theme both in his preachings, and in his subsequent missionary service. In answer to it appeared the work, published towards the end of his long ascetic life, and entitled “Heliotropion” or “Sunflower,” or “Conforming the Human Will to the Divine Will.” Of the many works of the holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church, this work gives a very thorough answer to this great question of Christian soteriology.
In 1688 they sent him on a mission to Moscow. There he was appointed by Patriarch Joachim (1674-1690) as vicar of the Briansk-Svensk monastery, which was then under the Kiev Caves Lavra.
Saint Theodosius, Archbishop of Chernigov, in 1695 shortly before his own death (February 5) appointed Hieromonk John as Archimandrite of the Chernigov Eletsk monastery, and designated him as his successor as bishop. (Saint John revered the memory of Saint Theodosius, believing in the power of his prayerful intercession before the Lord. Because of his faith, he received healing from a serious illness through the prayers of Saint Theodosius. At the very height of the sickness, Saint Theodosius appeared to him and said, “Serve tomorrow, you will be well.” On the following day Saint John, completely well and to the amazement of everyone, served the Divine Liturgy. This miracle of Saint John’s healing marked the beginning of the veneration of Saint Theodosius as a grace-bearing saint of God.)
On January 10, 1697 Patriarch Adrian of Moscow and All Rus (1690-1700) consecrated Archimandrite John as Bishop of Chernigov, in the Dormition cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.
Upon entering into the administration of the diocese, Bishop John created a Collegium near the archbishop’s cathedral, similar to the Kiev Academy, which the saint intended should serve as an “Athens at Chernigov,” a school of pious enlightenment.
In view of its high level of theological education and training, Saint John’s school received wide renown. In essence, this was the first seminary in Russia. Seminaries on the model of this one began opening in other dioceses of the Russian Church.
The saint also later opened a printing press, at which he and his successors published many works of spiritual and moral content.
The life of Saint John was illumined by lofty virtues, and especially humility. It is reflected also in his works, “The Moral-Didactic Reflector” (Chernigov, 1703 and 1707); “The Alphabet, with Rhymes Added” (1705); “The Virgin Mother of God” (1707); “The Theatre, or Moral-Didactic Disgrace” (1708); “Excursus on Psalm 50” (Chernigov, 1708); “Excursus on the “Our Father” and “The Eight Gospel Beatitudes” (1709); “The Royal Way of the Cross” (Chernigov, 1709); “Thoughts on God to the Benefit of Right-Belief” (1710 and 1711); “Synaxarion Commemoration on the Victory of Poltava” (1710); “The Pilgrim” (in manuscript); “Spiritual Thoughts” (Moscow, 1782).
At Chernigov in 1714 the saint also first published his chief work, written in the Latin language. It was a peculiarity of the graduates of the Kiev school was that they wrote their works in classical Latin. Professor I. A. Maximovich in 1888 translated the “Heliotropion” into the modern Russian language and published it at first in parts in the “Chernigov Diocesan Newsletter”, and later on in a separate book (Kiev, 1896). With his name is connected also “The Latin-Greek-Russian Lexicon.”
Saint John was known to have connections with Mount Athos. He had a special interest in the fate of Russian inhabitants on the Holy Mountain, and sent them substantial material aid during these difficult years. His archbishopal grammota to the Russian monastery of Saint Panteleimon has been preserved, and it testifies to his concern for those on Mount Athos.
On August 14, 1711, after his elevation to the dignity of metropolitan, Saint John arrived at the see of Tobolsk and All Siberia. The saint concerned himself constantly with the enlightening of his diocese. There he continued with his work, started at Chernigov. He improved the school which had been opened by his predecessor, the renowned missionary Metropolitan Philotheus (Leschinsky, + 1727), and he continued the apostolic preaching among the pagans of Siberia, converting many thousands to Christ. In 1714 Saint John set off to Peking to head a mission with Archimandrite Hilarion (Lezhaisky). At Tobolsk he again undertook publishing activity, using the printing press he set up at Chernigov. To this time belongs also the publication by Metropolitan John of the “Heliotropion” in the Slavonic-Russian language (1714), so that the Siberians could also understand it.
The chronicler describes the life of the saint in Siberia: “He was quiet and unpretentious, graciously considerate, sympathetic to the poor, and merciful.” He often helped people secretly, and sometimes in the garb of a simple monk, he would bring generous alms to the homes of the needy saying, “Accept this in the Name of Jesus Christ.” His home at Tobolsk was always open to all those in need of help or a word of comfort. Even on the day he died, June 10, 1715, after Divine Liturgy Saint John had set up a dining-hall at his home for the clergy and the impoverished, and he himself served at table. Later on, having taken his leave of everyone, the saint withdrew to his chambers. When the church bells rang for Vespers, he died at prayer on his knees. The saint was buried in the chapel of Saint John Chrysostom at the Tobolsk Dormition-Sophia cathedral.
Saint John has long been venerated in Siberia. In light of numerous miracles and the longstanding local veneration of Saint John, in 1916 the Church established the all-Russian celebration of the saint on June 10, the day of repose.
Saint John’s memory is fervently kept by Siberians and by all the believing Russian people. He at present rests in the Tobolsk cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God. The service to him was republished, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis I, by Metropolitan Bartholomew (Gorodtsov) in 1947 at the city of Novosibirsk.
Martyr Alexander and Virgin Martyr Antonina at Constantinople
The Holy Martyrs Alexander and Antonina the Virgin. Saint Antonina was from the city of Krodamos (Asia Minor). She was arrested for being a Christian, and was brought before the governor Festus. He urged her to worship the pagan gods, promising to make her a priestess of the goddess Artemis. But the saint bravely confessed Christ, and she urged the governor to renounce the worship of demons in the form of idols. Festus gave orders to strike the saint on the face and lock her up in prison.
The martyr spent all her time at prayer, she ate and drank nothing, but then she heard the voice of God, “Antonina, fortify yourself with food and be brave, for I am with you.” When they led her before the governor again, the martyr continued to stand up for the Christian Faith and to denounce the pagans.
The governor decided to give the holy virgin over for defilement by soldiers, but the Lord inspired one of them, Saint Alexander, to save the holy virgin. He sought permission to go in to her on the pretext that he might be able to convince her to obey the governor’s will. Saint Alexander then suggested that she put on his military attire and flee. Saint Antonina was afraid, but the Lord ordered her to agree.
No one recognized her dressed as a soldier, and she walked out of prison. The soldiers sent by Festus found Saint Alexander alone in the cell. He would not respond to the questions of the governor, and so he was tortured and mercilessly beaten. Through the inspiration of the Lord Jesus Christ, Saint Antonina also came to stand before Festus.
Soldiers cut off their hands, then they smeared them with pitch and threw them into a pit where a fire was burning. When the fire went out, they threw snakes into the pit, so that Christians would not be able to gather up the bones of the martyrs. Returning home, Festus became numb, and was able neither to eat nor to drink. He died after seven days of terrible torment.
Sts Alexander and Antonina were martyred on May 3, 313. In the Prologue their memory is listed under June 10. The relics of the saints were transferred to Constantinople and placed in the Maximov monastery.
Saint Kanides the Monk of Cappadocia
Saint Kanides was born during the reign of Emperor Theodosios the Great (ca. 379). He was the son of godly parents, Theodotos and Theophano, who lived in Cappadocia. According to Tradition, the Saint’s mother did not eat any fatty foods during the nine months when she was pregnant; and even when the saint was still a child, she was careful about what she ate.
When he was yet a small child, he became attracted to the solitary life, and at the age of seven he went to a mountain where he lived in a cave, fasting and praying. It is said that he ate only one meal of uncooked vegetables per week. Because of the great dampness of this cave, all the hair of his head and his beard fell out.
After living an ascetical and righteous life, he reposed in peace at the age of seventy-three, in the year 460.
Venerable Theophanes and Saint Pansemne of Antioch
Saint Theophanes of Antioch was the son of pagans. At a youthful age he entered into marriage, but after three years his wife died. Saint Theophanes then came to believe in Christ and accepted Baptism. He gave up everything and began to live beyond the city in a manner of self-denial. He zealously taught the keeping of the commandments of God to everyone who came to him. He exhorted people to lead a pure and chaste life, and he condemned the debauchery of the people of Antioch. When Saint Theophanes learned about a certain profligate woman, Pansemne, who was caught up in the snares of the devil, he wanted to save her. Knowing how difficult it would be to fulfill such an intention, and conscious of his own infirmity, Saint Theophanes prayed and he besought the Lord to help him save the sinful woman.
Finally, the saint dressed up in fine clothing, took along much gold and then went to Pansemne. The monk gave her the gold and he asked her to forsake the dissolute life to marry him. Pansemne happily consented and gave him her word to become his wife. The sole condition which Saint Theophanes set for Pansemne was that she should accept Baptism. Because of the attractive marriage offer, Pansemne consented. In preparing her to accept Baptism, Saint Theophanes instructed her in the Christian Faith. He explained that the truth of God does not tolerate sin and corruption, but that the love of God is gracious to those that repent.
Having accepted Baptism, Saint Pansemne by the grace of God was completely reborn as a person. She distributed all the riches that she had acquired through profligacy, and she settled into a hut beside the cell of the monk and began to live the life of an ascetic. After 22 months she died on the very same day as the monk (+ 369).
Saint Bassian, Bishop of Lodi in Lombardy
Saint Bassian, Bishop of Lodi, was a friend of Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (December 7). Saint Bassian’s father governed the Syracuse region (in Sicily) and he prepared his son to follow in his footsteps. He sent him to Rome to receive his education. While still in his childhood Saint Bassian had heard about the Christians and he wanted to learn more about them and become familiar with the Christian Faith. Gordian the priest taught him the essentials of the Christian Faith, and the youth was filled with the desire to accept Baptism. At the time of the performing of the Mystery Saint Bassian beheld an angel in the Baptismal font, holding the garment in which the newly-baptized would be clothed. The saint made bold to ask who he was and where he was from. The angel replied that he was sent from afar to help him fulfill his holy intent to know Christ. Then he became invisible.
Saint Bassian began to lead a strict life, eating little food, and spending his nights at prayer. His servants were astonished at such temperance, and they surmised that he had accepted Christianity. They reported about this to Saint Bassian’s father, who ordered him to return to Syracuse. Praying in the church of Saint John the Theologian, the saint received from the Apostle the command to leave Rome. And so Saint Bassian distributed all his substance to the poor and together with his faithful Christian servant, he set off to Ravenna to his kinsman, Bishop Ursus.
Bishop Ursus set him up at a solitary place outside the city near the church in honor of the Hieromartyr Apollinarius. Saint Bassian quickly advanced spiritually, and soon he was glorified by miracles. During this time a judge had been falsely accused and was sentenced to death by decapitation. Along the way to he prayerfully called out for help to Saint Bassian. When the executioner was already holding the sword over his head, the sword suddenly was knocked from his hands and flew off to the side. This occurred three times. The same thing happened with another executioner. When they reported this to the Emperor, the Emperor set the judge free. He then told how he had been saved through the intercession of Saint Bassian.
The people of the city, believing that the prayer of Saint Bassian was powerful before God, asked Bishop Ursus to ordain him to the priesthood. Upon the death of the bishop of the city of Lodium (Lodi in Liguria, Northern Italy), the priest Clement of the cathedral church had a revelation that Saint Bassian would be chosen Bishop of Lodium. Both Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, and Bishop Ursus officiated at at his consecration.
Saint Bassian taught the people not only by word, but also by deed, providing his flock example of a virtuous life. At Lodi he built a beautiful church dedicated to the holy Apostles. Saint Bassian often exchanged letters with Saint Ambrose, and he was present at his blessed repose, and buried his body.
Saint Bassian died peacefully in the year 430, having served as archbishop for 35 years.
Synaxis of the Saints of Ryzan
Basil: Bishop +1295. April 12, May 21, July 3, Sunday of all Saints.
Boris: (Roman in Baptism), prince and passion-bearer. Commemorated on May 2 (translation of relics) and July 24 (+ 1015).
Constantine (Yaroslav Svyatoslavich of Murom), prince & wonderworker. Commemorated on May 21 (+ 1129).
Febronia (Euphrosynē in monasticism). June 25, 1228.
Gleb: (David in Baptism), prince and passion-bearer. Commemorated on May 2 (translation of relics), July 24, September 5 (martyrdom).
Metropolitan Jonah of Kiev & Moscow (+ 1461), Wonderworker. March 31, May 27 (translation of relics in 1472), June 15.
Juliana of Lazarevo January 2.
Michael of Murom, prince. He was the son of Constantine of Murom. Commemorated on May 21.
Peter (David in monasticism), prince & wonderworker. Commemorated on June 25 (+ 1228).
Roman Olegovich, prince & martyr. Commemorated on July 19 (+ 1270).
Theodore of Murom, prince and wonderworker, the son of Constantine of Murom. May 21.
Synaxis of the Saints of Siberia
Andrew, Igumen of Raphael (Tobolsk). He is commemorated on May 14 (+ 1820)
Anthony, Metropolitan of Tobolsk. He is commemorated on March 27. (+ 1740)
Arethas of Valaam & Verkhoturye. He is commemorated on May 15 (+ 1910)
Barlaam, Archbishop of Tobolsk. He is commemorated on December 27 (+ 1802)
Barlaam, desert-dweller of Chikoysk. He is commemorated on October 5 (+ 1846)
Basil of Mangazea. He is commemorated on March 22 (+1602), May 10 (Translation of his relics in 1670), May 23 (All Saints of Rostov and of Yaroslavl).
Cosmas of Verkhoturye. He is commemorated on November 1 (+ 1706)
Daniel of Achinsk. He is commemorated on April 15 (+ 1843)
Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov. He is commemorated on October 28 (+1709) and on September 21 (The uncovering of his relics in 1752)
Domna of Tomsk, Eldress, fool-for-Christ. She is commemorated on December 16 (+ 1872)
Gerasimus, Bishop of Astrakhan and Enotaeva. He is commemorated on June 24 (+1880)
Herman of Alaska. He is commemorated on December 13 (+ 1837) and on July 27/Aug. 9 (His Glorification in 1970)
Innocent, first Bishop of Irkutsk. He is commemorated on November 26 (+ 1731) and on February 9 (The uncovering of his relics in 1805)
Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of Alaska & Siberia. He is commemorated on March 31 (+ 1879), on Sept. 23 /Oct. 6 (His glorification in 1977), and on the Sunday before August 26 (All Saints of Moscow)
John, Metropolitan of Tobolsk, wonderworker. He is commemorated on June 10 (+ 1715)
John of Verkhoturye, fool-for-Christ. He is commemorated on April 16 (+ 1701)
Macarius of Altai. He is commemorated on May 16 (+ 1847)
Meletius, Bishop of Kharkov. He is commemorated on February 12 (+ 1840)
Meletius, Bishop of Ryazan. He is commemorated on January 14 (+ 1900)
Misael of Abalatsk, Hieromonk. He is commemorated on December 17 (+ 1797)
Nectarius, Archbishop of Tobolsk. (+ 1666)
Peter, Metropolitan of Tobolsk. He is commemorated on March 4 (+ 1820)
Philaret, Metropolitan of Kiev. He is commemorated on December 2 (+ 1857)
Philotheus, Metropoltian of Tobolsk. He is commemorated on May 31 (+ 1727)
Simeon, Metropolitan of Smolensk. He is commemorated on January 4 (+ 1699)
Simeon of Verkhoturye. He is commemorated on September 12 (The transfer of his relics in 1704), and on December 18 (His glorification in 1694)
Sinesius of Irkutsk. He is commemorated on May 10 (+ 1787)
Sophronius, Bishop & wonderworker of Smolensk. He is commemorated on March 30 (+ 1771) and on June 30 (His glorification in 1918)
Stephen of Omsk. He is commemorated on June 30 (+ 1876)
Theodore Kuzmich, Elder of Tomsk. He is commemorated on January 20 (+ 1864)
Saint Neaniskos the Martyr
Saint Neaniskos lived in the time of Maximius, the ruler of Alexandria. During the persecution of the Church by Emperor Diocletian (284-304), a female slave denounced the most wise and handsome athlete of Christ. The ruler tortured him for seven days in various ways, trying to make him deny Christ. When the tyrant saw that he was unable to do so, he ordered him to be put to death.
As he was led to the place of execution, he noticed the slave girl who betrayed him in the crowd that had followed him. Then Saint Neaniskos made signs for her to approach him, and when she came near he gave her his gold ring as a token of his gratitude; because by her complaint he would now draw near to Christ, Whom he had desired for so long, and he would inherit everlasting life. When they arrived at the place of execution, he prayed for a time, and then they beheaded him.