MONDAY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Monday of the Holy Spirit, Aquilina the Martyr of Syria, Triphyllos the Bishop of Nicosia
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS 5:8-19
Brethren, walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.
The Lord said, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. For the Son of man came to save the lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven, for where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
On the day after every Great Feast, the Orthodox Church honors the one through whom the Feast is made possible. On the day following the Nativity of the Lord, for example, we celebrate the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos (December 26). On the day after Theophany, we commemorate Saint John the Baptist (January 7), and so on.
Today we honor the all-Holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, Who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost in the form of fiery tongues in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to send the Comforter to His disciples (JN 14:16). That same Holy Spirit remains within the Church throughout the ages, guiding it “into all truth” (JN 16:13).
One of the hymns at Vespers on Saturday evening tells us that the Holy Spirit “provides all things. He gushes forth prophecy, He perfects the priesthood, … He holds together the whole institution of the Church.”
At Vespers on the day of Pentecost, we hear that the Holy Spirit is “the Fountain of goodness, through Whom the Father is known, and the Son is glorified.” He is “the living Fountain of spiritual gifts” Who “purifies us from our sins.” It is by the Holy Spirit that “the prophets, divine Apostles, and martyrs are crowned.” He is the source of life and of sanctification.
In the services of this day, we sing the same hymns as on Pentecost, except the Canon of the Holy Spirit, which is sung at Compline. The Vigil is not prescribed for the eve of today’s feast. We sing the Great Doxology at Matins, but not the Polyeleos. The Irmos of the Ninth Ode (“Hail, O Queen, glory of mothers and virgins…”) is sung in place of the Song of the Theotokos (“My soul magnifies the Lord…”).
At the Liturgy, the priest or deacon chants the Entrance Verse (“Be exalted in Thy strength, O Lord. We will sing and praise Thy power.”) as on the day of Pentecost. “Holy God” replaces “As many as have been baptized….” The dismissal of Pentecost is also used.
This whole week is fast-free, and the Leave-taking of Pentecost occurs on Saturday.
The Holy Martyr Aquilina, a native of the Phoenician city of Byblos, suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Her parents raised her in Christian piety. When the girl was only twelve years old, she persuaded a pagan friend to convert to Christ. One of the servants of the imperial governor Volusian accused her of teaching others not to follow the religion of their fathers. The girl firmly confessed her faith in Christ before the governor and said that she would not renounce Him. Volusian tried to influence the young confessor through persuasion and by flattery, but seeing her confidence, he ordered her to be tortured.
They struck her upon the face, then they stripped her and beat her with whips. The torturer asked, “Where then is your God? Let Him come and take you out of my hands”.
The saint answered, “The Lord is here with me invisibly, and the more I suffer, the more strength and endurance will He give me.”
They drilled through the martyr’s ears with heated metal rods. The holy virgin fell down as if dead. The torturer thought that the girl had actually died, and he gave orders to throw her body outside the city to be eaten by dogs.
By night a holy angel appeared to Saint Aquilina, roused her and said, “Arise and be healed. Go and denounce Volusian, so that he and his plans may come to nothing.”
The martyr went to the court of the governor and stood before Volusian. Seeing Saint Aquilina, he called for his servants and ordered them to keep watch over her until morning.
In the morning he sentenced Saint Aquilina to death, saying that she was a sorceress who did not obey the imperial decrees. When they led the saint to execution, she prayed and gave thanks to God for allowing her to suffer for His Holy Name.
A voice was heard in answer to her prayer, summoning her to the heavenly Kingdom. Before the executioner could carry out the sentence, the martyr gave up her spirit to God (+ 293). The executioner feared to disobey the governor’s orders, so he cut off her head although she was already dead.
Christians piously buried the martyr’s body. Later, her relics were taken to Constantinople and placed in a church named for her.
Saint Tryphillius, Bishop of Leukosia, was born in Constantinople, and he received his education at Berit (Beirut, in Lebanon). He was very intelligent and eloquent. In spite of this, the saint chose as his guide a man neither bookish nor learned, but one of conspicuous holiness: Saint Spyridon of Tremithos (December 12).
The emperor Constantine II (337-340) fell grievously ill, and receiving no help from the doctors, he turned to God. In a dream he saw an angel, directing him to a group of hierarchs. Pointing out two of them, the angel said that only through them could he receive healing.
Constantine issued an imperial edict, commanding the bishops to assemble. Saint Spyridon also received this order, and went to the emperor with his disciple Saint Tryphillius. The sick one immediately recognized them as the healers indicated by the angel. He bowed to them and asked them to pray for his health. Saint Spyridon with a prayer touched the head of the emperor, and he became well.
Saint Tryphillius was charmed by the beautiful palace, the majestic figure of the emperor, and the pomp of palace life. Saint Spyridon said, “Why are you astonished? Does all this make the emperor any more righteous? All of them, emperors and dignitaries alike, will die and stand together with the very poorest before the judgment seat of God. One should seek eternal blessings and heavenly glory.”
Soon Saint Tryphillius was made Bishop of Leukosia on Cyprus. He often visited with Saint Spyridon. Once, they passed through an area of vineyards and gardens of special beauty and abundance, named Parimnos. Saint Tryphillius, attracted by the beauty of nature, considered how they might explore this land. Saint Spyridon discerned the thoughts of Saint Tryphillius and said, “Why do you always think about earthly and transitory blessings? Our habitation and riches are in Heaven, for which we ought to strive.” Thus did Saint Spyridon lead his disciple toward spiritual perfection, which Saint Tryphillius attained through the prayers of his instructor. Saint Tryphillius had a charitable soul, a heart without malice, right faith and love towards all, and many other virtues.
Once, a Council of bishops assembled on Cyprus. The Fathers of the Council requested that Saint Tryphillius, known for his erudition and eloquence, address the people. Speaking about the healing of the paralytic by the Lord (Mark 2:11), in place of the word “cot” he used the word “bed”. Impatient with the imprecise rendering of the Gospel text, Saint Spyridon said to Saint Tryphillius, “Are you better than He who said “cot”, that you should be ashamed of His wording?” and abruptly he left the church.
In this way Saint Spyridon gave Saint Tryphillius a lesson in humility, so that he would not become proud of his own eloquence. Saint Tryphillius wisely shepherded his flock. From the inheritance left him by his mother, he built a monastery at Leukosia. The saint died in old age in about the year 370.
The Russian pilgrim Igumen Daniel saw the relics of Saint Tryphillius on Cyprus at the beginning of the twelfth century.
Saint Andronicus was born in Rostov, and was a disciple of Saint Sergius of Radonezh (September 25), and received the monastic tonsure from him. Adorned with every virtue, Saint Andronicus lived at Holy Trinity Monastery for many years.
One day, the holy Metropolitan Alexis (February 12) visited the monastery to speak with Saint Sergius about founding a monastery in fulfillment of a vow he had made when he was saved from shipwreck. Saint Alexis wished to establish a cenobitic monastery dedicated to the Icon of Christ Not-Made-By Hands (August 16), and he wanted Saint Andronicus to become the igumen. Saint Sergius agreed to this proposal, and the monastery was completed between 1358-1361.
Saint Andronicus governed the monastery for many years, attracting many monks to that place. Among the notable monks of that monastery was Saint Andrew Rublev (July 4).
Saint Andronicus fell asleep in the Lord in 1395, and was succeeded as igumen by his disciple Saint Savva of Moscow.
Saint Savva of Moscow succeeded Saint Andronicus as the igumen of the monastery of the Savior, dedicated to the Icon of Christ Not-Made-By Hands (August 16) in 1395. He died in 1410.
The Holy Martyr Antonina suffered during the third century under Diocletian (284-305) in the city of Nicea. They tortured her in various ways: they burned her with fire, they put her on a red-hot plate, they bored into her hands and feet with red-hot rods and they threw her in prison, where she languished for two days.
These torments did not break Saint Antonina’s spirit, and to her very death she confessed her faith in Christ. They threw the holy martyr into the sea.
Saint Anna and her son Saint John lived in the ninth century. Saint Anna was the daughter of a deacon of the Blachernae church in Constantinople. After the death of her husband, she dressed in men’s clothing and called herself Euthymianus. She and her son Saint John lived in asceticism in one of the Bythinian monasteries near Olympus.
Saint Anna died in Constantinople in 826. Her memory is also celebrated on October 29.
Saint James had so much love for Christ, and so little regard for the things of this world, that he sold all of all his possessions, and distributed the money to the poor, keeping none for himself. Unfortunately, he was overcome with pride. He said to himself, “Who knows better than I do, concerning my salvation?”
Following his own will and personal inclinations, he lived in solitude, undertaking difficult spiritual struggles without first seeking the advice of wiser, more experienced ascetics. Because of his pride, he fell away from God's grace. Therefore, Satan was able to enter his soul.
One day he was visited by a demon who had assumed the appearance of an Angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He told James that Christ was very pleased by his labors, and would come that night to reward him. “Clean your cell,” he said, “and make ready by lighting the lamps and burning incense.”
James, blinded by his delusion, accepted these words without question. When the Antichrist appeared at midnight, James opened his door and fell down in worship before him. The devil struck him on the head, and then vanished. Only then did the deceived monk realize the truth.
He awoke at dawn and went to visit a certain Elder to tell him what had happened, and to ask how he might atone for his sin. Before James could utter a single word, the Elder said, “You must leave this place, for you have been deceived by Satan.”
James was heartbroken and wept bitter tears. The Elder advised him to go to a cenobitic monastery in order to acquire humility, the cornerstone of all the virtues. There he observed all the rules of the Monastery and persevered in his assigned obedience in the trapeza. Then for another seven years, he sat in his cell working at some handicraft, and performing his Prayer Rule.
After some time, Saint James was restored to grace, acquiring the gift of discernment, following God's straight and narrow path, and becoming a great worker of miracles. After living the rest of his life in all righteousness and humility, he reposed in peace. No one knows where he lived, or when.
Saint Antipater’s life is not to be found in the Synaxaristes. From other sources, we know that he was the Bishop of Bostra in Arabia, and he lived in the second half of the fifth century. He was esteemed highly by his contemporaries. His best known work was a book refuting the doctrines of Origen, which has been lost, and only a few fragments of it have been preserved in the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. He is known to have composed a treatise against the Apollonarians, but we possess only a few fragments of it. Two of his sermons have survived, however: one on the Annunciation, and another on Saint John the Baptist.
Saint Antipater reposed in peace.
Saint Anthimus of Iberia was one of the most highly educated people of his time. He was fluent in many languages, including Greek, Romanian, Old Slavonic, Arabic, and Turkish and well-versed in theology, literature, and the natural sciences. He was unusually gifted in the fine arts—in painting, engraving, and sculpture in particular. He was famed for his beautiful calligraphy. Finally, Saint Anthimus was a great writer, a renowned orator, and a reformer of the written Romanian language.
Little is known about the youth of Saint Anthimus. He was a native of the Samtskhe region in southern Georgia. His parents, John and Mariam, gave him the name Andria at Baptism. He accompanied King Archil to Russia and helped him to found a Georgian print shop there, but after he returned he was captured by Dagestani robbers and sold into slavery. Through the efforts of Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem, Anthimus was finally set free, but he remained in the patriarch’s service in order to further his spiritual education.
Already famed for his paintings, engravings, and calligraphy, Anthimus was asked by Prince Constantine Brincoveanu (1688-1714) of Wallachia (present-day Romania) to travel to his kingdom around the year 1691. After he had arrived in Wallachia, he began to manage a local print shop. The printing industry in that country advanced tremendously at that time, and the chief inspiration and driving force behind the great advances was the Georgian master Anthimus. He succeeded in making Wallachia a center of Christianity and a major publisher of books for all the East.
In 1694 Anthimus was enthroned as abbot of Snagov Monastery (in present-day Romania), where he soon founded a print shop. In the same year his new print shop published Guidelines for the Divine Services on May 21, All Saints’ Day. The book was signed by Subdeacon Michael Ishtvanovich, future founder of the first Georgian print shop.
In 1705 Anthimus, “the chosen among chosen abbots of Wallachia,” was consecrated bishop of Rimnicu Vilcea, and in 1708 he was appointed metropolitan of Hungro-Wallachia. The whole country celebrated his elevation. As one abbot proclaimed: “The divine Anthimus, a great man and son of the wise Iberian nation, has come to Wallachia and enlightened our land. God has granted him an inexhaustible source of wisdom, entrusted him to accomplish great endeavors, and helped to advance our nation by establishing for us a great printing industry.”
Under the direct leadership of Saint Anthimus, more than twenty churches and monasteries were erected in Wallachia. Of particular significance is All Saints’ Monastery, located in the center of Bucharest. The main gates of this monastery were made of oak and carved with traditional Georgian motifs by Saint Anthimus himself. The metropolitan also established rules for the monastery and declared its independence from the Church of Constantinople.
From the day of his consecration, Metropolitan Anthimus fought tirelessly for the liberation of Wallachia from foreign oppressors. On the day he was ordained he addressed his flock: “You have defended the Christian Faith in purity and without fault. Nevertheless, you are surrounded and tightly bound by the violence of other nations. You endure countless deprivations and tribulations from those who dominate this world…. Though I am unworthy and am indeed younger than many of you—like David, I am the youngest among my brothers— the Lord God has anointed me to be your shepherd. Thus I will share in your future trials and griefs and partake in the lot that God has appointed for you.”
His words were prophetic: In 1714 the Turks executed the Wallachian prince Constantine Brincoveanu, and in 1716 they executed Stefan Cantacuzino (1714-1716), the last prince of Wallachia.
In his place they appointed the Phanariote (a member of one of the principal Greek families of the Phanar, the Greek quarter of Constantinople, who, as administrators in the civil bureaucracy, exercised great influence in the Ottoman Empire after the Turkish conquest) Nicholas Mavrokordatos, who concerned himself only with the interests of the Ottoman Empire.
During this difficult time, Anthimus of Iberia gathered around him a group of loyal boyar patriots determined to liberate their country from Turkish and Phanariote domination. But Nicholas Mavrokordatos became suspicious, and he ordered Anthimus to resign as metropolitan. When Anthimus failed to do so, he filed a complaint with Patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople.
Then a council of bishops, which did not include a single Romanian clergyman, condemned the “conspirator and instigator of revolutionary activity” to anathema and excommunication and declared him unworthy to be called a monk. But Nicholas Mavrokordatos was still unsatisfied and claimed that to deny Anthimus the title of Metropolitan of Hungro-Wallachia was insufficient punishment. He ordered Anthimus to be exiled far from Wallachia, to Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. Metropolitan Anthimus, beloved of the Romanian people, was escorted out of the city at night since the conspirators feared the reaction of the people.
But Metropolitan Anthimus never reached Mt. Sinai. On September 14, 1716, a band of Turkish soldiers stabbed Saint Anthimus to death on the bank of the Tundzha (Tunca) River where it flows through Adrianople, not far from Gallipoli, and cast his butchered remains into the river.
Thus ended the earthly life of one more Georgian saint—a man who had dedicated all of his strength, talent, and knowledge to the revival of Christian culture and the strengthening of the Wallachian people in the Orthodox Faith.
In 1992 the Romanian Church canonized Anthimus of Iberia and proclaimed his commemoration day to be September 14, the day of his repose. The Georgian Church commemorates him on June 13.
Today we also commemorate 10,000 Martyrs, beheaded by the sword for Christ. The year of their death is not known.
Today we commemorate the finding of the relics of Saint Nicholas the Deacon at Karyes Monastery on Lesbos on June 13, 1960.
In April of 1960 he appeared to three women in the town of Thermi, telling them where his relics were to be found. They hesitated to ask the Metropolitan of Mytilene for permission to dig, lest the tomb should not be found and they become objects of derision. Finally, they went and told the Metropolitan about seeing Saint Nicholas in their dreams, and the Hierarch blessed them to dig.
Doukas Tsolakis was asked to dig where the women told him. He dug a little, and then stopped because the ground was hard. That night Doukas saw Saint Nicholas in a dream, sitting at the very place where he had been digging. The Saint said, "I am Nicholas. Why do you doubt that my grave is here?" Then he told Doukas that he would be punished if he did not dig at the spot indicated by the women.
On June 13, 1960, Mr. Tsolakis was helped by another workman, and after some difficulties, the Martyr's relics were found. That day was one of great rejoicing for the pious people, for many miracles took place. On that same day, a round Patriarchal Privelege Seal was found. It was made of lead and silver, and was from the XIV century. One side depicted the Mother of God, and the Archangel Michael on the other.
Other persons also saw Deacon Nicholas in their dreams, and he told them that he was a native of Thessaloniki, from an aristocratic family, and he was ordained as a Deacon. In 1454, Saint Nicholas accompanied Saint Raphael to Lesbos after the Turks invaded Thrace.
In 1463, the Turks invaded the Karyes Monastery and captured the monks, subjecting them to various torments. Then the Turks dragged Archimandrite Raphael by his hair and beard, and tied him to a tree. They beat him and struck him with their heated weapons. Finally, they sawed through his mouth, separating the jaw and his head. This took place on Bright Tuesday (April 9, 1463). Saint Nicholas died of heart failure after witnessing Saint Raphael's martyrdom.
Saint Nicholas is short and thin, with a small blond beard. Sometimes he appears in his vestments, holding a censer. He always stands before Saint Raphael with great respect.