1ST WEDNESDAY AFTER PENTECOST
1st Wednesday after Pentecost, Amos the Prophet, Our Righteous Father Hieronymus, Augustine the Blessed, Bishop of Hippo, Jerome the Righteous, Achikos, Stephanas, & Fortuanatos the Apostles, Father among the Saints Jonas, Metropolitan of Kiev, Lazar of Serbia
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE ROMANS 1:18-27
Brethren, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
The Lord said to his disciples, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother without cause shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.”
The Holy Prophet Amos, the third of the Twelve Minor Prophets,1 lived during the eighth century before Christ. He was from Judah, and was born at Tekoah in the land of Zebulon, six miles south of Bethlehem.
At that time, the Hebrew nation was divided into two Kingdoms: Judah in the south, and Israel in the north. King Uzziah ruled in Jerusalem, but the other ten tribes of Israel were ruled by Jeroboam II, who was an idolater. At Bethel he set up an idol in the shape of a golden calf, which the people worshipped, turning away from the true God.
Simple and uneducated, yet fervent in his faith and zealous for the glory of God, this former shepherd of sheep and goats, and dresser of sycamore trees (Amos 7:14-15) was chosen by the Lord for prophetic service. He was sent to the Kingdom of Israel to denounce King Jeroboam's impiety, as well as that of the Israelites. The Prophet predicted great misfortunes which would befall Israel because of its ungodliness. As a result of his denunciations, Amos repeatedly endured beatings and torture.
Amaziah, the chief priest of the royal sanctuary at Bethel, hated Amos, who predicted that the Gentiles would conquer Israel; that they will slay the King, as well as Amaziah's children; that Amaziah's wife would become a harlot; and that Amaziah himself would die in a pagan land, because he led the people into adultery with idols (7:17). Amaziah became furious and had Amos beaten, but all of these prophecies were fulfilled.
According to a later tradition, Uzziah, the son of Amaziah, struck the Prophet Amos with a club, seriously wounding him. He was taken to his native village of Tekoah in Judah, and died there after two days (circa 787 B.C.) He should not be confused with Amoz, the father of the Prophet Isaiah.
In iconography Amos is depicted as an old man with a pointed beard. His scroll reads: It is he who builds his ascent up to Heaven (Amos 9:6).
1 The terms major and minor Prophets refer to the length of their books, not to their individual prominence. Although Amos is ranked third, his prophecy was the first to be recorded.
Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow
Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of All Russia, was born in the city of Galich into a pious Christian family. The father of the future saint was named Theodore. The youth received monastic tonsure in one of the Galich monasteries when he was only twelve years old. From there, he transferred to the Moscow Simonov monastery, where he fulfilled various obediences for many years.
Once, Saint Photius, Metropolitan of Moscow (May 27 and July 2), visited the Simonov monastery. After the Molieben, he blessed the archimandrite and brethren, and also wished to bless those monks who were fulfilling their obediences in the monastery.
When he came to the bakery, he saw Saint Jonah sleeping, exhausted from his work. The fingers of the saint’s right hand were positioned in a gesture of blessing. Saint Photius said not to wake him. He blessed the sleeping monk and predicted to those present that this monk would be a great hierarch of the Russian Church, and would guide many on the way to salvation.
The prediction of Saint Photius was fulfilled. Several years later, Saint Jonah was made Bishop of Ryazan and Murom.
Saint Photius died in 1431. Five years after his death, Saint Jonah was chosen Metropolitan of All Russia for his virtuous and holy life. The newly-elected Metropolitan journeyed to Constantinople in order to be confirmed as Metropolitan by Patriarch Joseph II (1416-1439). Shortly before this the nefarious Isidore, a Bulgarian, had already been established as Metropolitan. Spending a short time at Kiev and Moscow, Isidore journeyed to the Council of Florence (1438), where he embraced Catholicism.
A Council of Russian hierarchs and clergy deposed Metropolitan Isidore, and he was compelled to flee secretly to Rome (where he died in 1462). Saint Jonah was unanimously chosen Metropolitan of All Russia. He was consecrated by Russian hierarchs in Moscow, with the blessing of Patriarch Gregory III (1445-1450) of Constantinople. This was the first time that Russian bishops consecrated their own Metropolitan. Saint Jonah became Metropolitan on December 15, 1448. With archpastoral zeal he led his flock to virtue and piety, spreading the Orthodox Faith by word and by deed. Despite his lofty position, he continued with his monastic struggles as before.
In 1451 the Tatars unexpectedly advanced on Moscow; they burned the surrounding area and prepared for an assault on the city. Metropolitan Jonah led a procession along the walls of the city, tearfully entreating God to save the city and the people. Seeing the dying monk Anthony of the Chudov monastery, who was noted for his virtuous life, Saint Jonah said, “My son and brother Anthony! Pray to the Merciful God and the All-Pure Mother of God for the deliverance of the city and for all Orthodox Christians.”
The humble Anthony replied, “Great hierarch! We give thanks to God and to His All-Pure Mother. She has heard your prayer and has prayed to Her Son. The city and all Orthodox Christians will be saved through your prayers. The enemy will soon take flight. The Lord has ordained that I alone am to be killed by the enemy.” Just as the Elder said this, an enemy arrow struck him.
The prediction of Elder Anthony was made on July 2, on the Feast of the Placing of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos. Confusion broke out among the Tatars, and they fled in fear and terror. In his courtyard, Saint Jonah built a church in honor of the Placing of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos, to commemorate the deliverance of Moscow from the enemy.
Saint Jonah reposed in the year 1461, and miraculous healings began to take place at his grave.
In 1472 the incorrupt relics of Metropolitan Jonah were uncovered and placed in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin (the Transfer of the holy Relics is celebrated May 27). A Council of the Russian Church in 1547 established the commemoration of Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow. In 1596, Patriarch Job added Saint Jonah to the Synaxis of the Moscow Hierarchs (October 5).
Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow is also commemorated on March 31.
Venerable Cassian and Gregory, Abbots of Avnezh, Vologda
Saints Gregory and Cassian of Avnezh lived in asceticism at the River Sukhona in the Vologda land. On June 15, 1392 they died as martyrs at Avnezh monastery during an incursion by Tatars.
The relics of the monastic martyrs were uncovered in the year 1524. In 1560, with the blessing of Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia (+ 1564), Barlaam, the Igumen of Makrisch monastery, wrote an account of these holy martyrs.
Martyrs Modestus, Crescentia, and Vitus, at Lucania
Saint Crescentia suffered for Christ during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305) with the holy martyrs Vitus and Modestus. She was the governess of Saint Vitus, and tried to save the boy when his father wanted to kill him because he would not abandon his faith in Christ.
Saint Crescentia and the boy’s tutor Saint Modestus, who were Christians, secretly took him from his parental home. They found a boat at the river, and an angel entered the boat with them. They reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly, hiding from those who would persecute them. The holy youth continued to heal the sick and convert pagans to Christianity. His fame soon spread throughout the region.
Saints Vitus and Modestus were arrested and thrown into prison, then Diocletian had them tortured. Saint Crescentia came out of the crowd of spectators and confessed herself a Christian. She reproached the emperor for his cruelty, and he also sentenced her to torture.
Saint Vitus called out to God, “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us.” Then an earthquake struck, and many pagans perished beneath the collapsed buildings. Diocletian fled to his chambers in fear. An angel released the martyrs from the pillars and took them to Lucanium.
Saint Vitus prayed that God would accept their souls in peace and not deprive those who kept their memory of His benefaction. A Voice came from Heaven, “Thy prayer is heard.” Then the saints joyfully surrendered their souls to God.
Saint Crescentia is also commemorated on May 16.
Martyr Doulas of Cilicia
The Holy Martyr Doulas was a pious Christian from the city of Praetoriada. At the height of a persecution against Christians under Maximian (305-313) they arrested him and sent him to trial under the Cilicia district governor Maximus. Before the beginning of the trial the saint firmly besought the Lord to grant him the words to denounce idol-worship.
At his interrogation, the holy martyr bravely confessed Christ and forcefully denounced the false religion of the pagans and their gods with their shameful human vices and passions. The governor tried to confute his faith in Christ, but he was not able to resist against the grace-filled words of Saint Doulas. The governor flew into a rage, tortured him without pity and after interrogation sent him back to prison. At each new interrogation the saint appeared strong in spirit and body, prepared for new torture. At the final interrogation of Saint Doulas, they broke his lower jaw, they broke his knees, and they bound him to the chariot of the governor and dragged him about. In this way the holy martyr died, having signed himself with the Sign of the Cross.
They untied his body from the chariot and threw it into the river. The current carried the relics of the holy martyr to his native city. Dogs of shepherds discovered the holy body. One of them sat and guarded the body of the saint from birds, and another brought a shepherd’s robe in its teeth and covered up the body of the saint. The shepherds led Christians to the body of Saint Doulas, who then buried it with reverence.
Saint Doulas, Passion-Bearer of Egypt
Saint Doulas the Passion-Bearer was a monk at one of the Egyptian monasteries. He distinguished himself by his meekness, humility and obedience. For twenty years he endured the mockery, abuse and contempt of several of the monastic brethren. At first it was difficult for him to bear up and humbly endure the insult, but eventually he reached such a degree of passionlessness (apatheia), that he pitied his detractors and prayed for them with all his heart.
At the end of his life Saint Doulas underwent temptation. A certain monk stole some church vessels and hid them. When the Igumen and elders of the monastery started to investigate the theft, they accused Saint Doulas of this sin, because on that day he had not appeared at the Vigil service. Saint Doulas had always come to church before this, but he had been ill that day, and was unable to attend the service. They led Saint Doulas to the elders, to whom he protested his innocence, but his enemies slandered him, saying that they were witnesses of his sin. When he saw that they did not believe his words, Saint Doulas did not argue but said, “Forgive me, holy Fathers, I am a sinner.” The Igumen ordered that the innocent Doulas be stripped of his monastic garb and dressed in secular clothes. Sobbing bitterly, Saint Doulas prayed, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, because of Thy Holy Name I clothed myself in monastic garb, but now, through my sins, it is stripped from me.”
Saint Doulas was placed in chains, and the steward demanded to know where the church vessels were hidden, but the innocent passion-bearer only repeated, “Forgive me, I have sinned.”
Then they turned him over to the civil authorities for trial and subjected him to torture, but the saint repeated, “I have neither silver, nor the lost vessels.” The city eparch asked the monks what to do with him, since they had delivered him over to the secular court. They answered, “Do with him as the laws prescribe.” The saint was sentenced to have both his hands cut off. Before the execution of the sentence the governor said, “Tell us where the vessels are and you shall go free.” The saint answered, “Governor, do you want me to confess something that I did not do? I do not want to tell lies about myself, since every lie is from the devil.” They took the saint to the place of execution. Finally, the perpetrator of the theft experienced remorse and went to the Igumen to confess that he had committed the crime.
After twenty years of exile and humiliation, Saint Doulas was allowed to return to the monastery. The monks began to ask forgiveness of the saint. Not only did he not bear them malice, but he was even grateful that they had given him the opportunity to wipe out his sins by enduring guiltless suffering. The saint asked the Lord to pardon his accusers.
After three days they found the saint had departed to the Lord while kneeling at prayer. His body was locked in the cathedral, and burial was delayed until the arrival of the Igumen and brethren of a nearby monastery. When everyone had gathered and gone into the church, the body of the innocent passion-bearer was not in the cathedral. Only his clothes and sandals remained.
Thus, those who had accused Saint Doulas of sin, were shown to be unworthy of burying his holy body.
Saint Jerome (Hieronymus) of Stridon
Saint Jerome of Stridon was born into a Christian family in the city of Stridon located on the border between Dalmatia and Pannonia. His full name is Eusebius Hieronymos Sophronius. His parents sent him to Rome, where he studied the secular sciences. At the beginning of his life in the capital, the youth was captivated by worldly vanities and fell into temptation. At the end of his time in Rome, Jerome resolved to change his life and to live in goodness and purity. When the youth was about 20 years old, he accepted holy Baptism. After this he visited in Gaul (France). Then Saint Jerome decided to dedicate himself totally to God, and to become a monk.
In about the year 372 Saint Jerome returned to his native city, but his parents had already departed this life. On him fell the responsibility of raising his younger sisters and his brother Paulinian. These cares forced him to put aside his plans to enter a monastery, at least for a time.
Having made arrangements for the care of his siblings, he journeyed to the East with several of his friends. In 374, he decided to dwell in the desert of Chalcis southeast of Antioch. There he remained for about 5 years, combining work on the Holy Scriptures with austere ascetic deeds. Besides this, Saint Jerome mastered the Hebrew and Chaldean languages. During this period he began his correspondence with numerous persons upon a variety of questions. About 120 letters, considered as authentically written by Saint Jerome, have been preserved.
At the beginning of the 360s there arose a controversy between the proponents of bishops Meletius, Paulinos and Vitalis. The controversy also reached the monastery where Saint Jerome toiled. In consequence, the disputes caused him to leave the monastery and go to Antioch. Here Bishop Paulinos ordained him to the priesthood. Afterwards, Saint Jerome visited Constantinople and conversed with the holy hierarchs Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa In the year 381 he set off for Rome. At Rome he continued his studies. The holy Pope Damasus I (366-384), who also devoted much of his time to the study of Holy Scripture, made Jerome his secretary.
But because the saint denounced the morals of the contemporary Christian society, a whole party of those bearing malice towards the saint came forward to spread slanders about him. After a three year stay at Rome, Saint Jerome felt compelled to abandon this city for good. Together with his brother Paulinian and friends, Saint Jerome visited the Holy Land, and also the monks of the Nitria wilderness monastery. In the year 386 he settled into a cave at Bethlehem near the cave where Christ was born, and there he began a life of austere asceticism.
This was the period of blossoming of his creative activity. Attending to the studies of his time, Saint Jerome left to the Church a rich written legacy: collections of dogmatic-polemic works, moral-ascetic works, commentaries on Scripture, and historical works. But the most important of his works was a new translation the books of the Old and New Testaments into the Latin language. This Latin translation is called the “Vulgate,” and it passed into general use throughout the Western Church.
Saint Jerome lived through the fall of his beloved city Rome, which was sacked by the Goths in the year 410. In the year 411 a new ordeal beset the saint, Bethlehem was invaded by wild Bedouin Arabs. Only through the mercy of God was the community of the aged ascetic saved from complete destruction. He finished his life at the cave in Bethlehem. Saint Jerome is believed to have reposed in 420. His relics were transferred from Bethlehem to Rome in 642, but their present location is unknown. His hand is enshrined in a church near Rome’s Piazza Farnese.
Translation of the relics of Saint Theodore the Sykeote
The Relics of Saint Theodore the Sykeote, Bishop of Anastasioupolis were transferred from Galatea to Constantinople in the ninth century. His relics were seen in the year 1200 by the Russian pilgrim Anthony at the monastery of Saint George.
St Theodore of Sykeon is also commemorated on April 22.
Right-believing Prince Lazarus the Great Martyr of Serbia
The Holy Prince Lazar of Serbia lived during the fourteenth century at a time when the Turks, having conquered neighboring lands, were preparing to invade Serbia.
Saint Lazar was raised at the court of the holy King Dushan, and was appointed governor of one of the Serbian districts. In the year 1371 he was chosen King of all Serbia and he toiled much at strengthening the condition of the country. He pacified neighboring princes, who had wronged or plundered Serbian settlements. He was concerned also for the Christian enlightenment of the nation, he built churches, supported the monasteries and charitable establishments. In 1380 the saint established the monastery at Rovanetz. Saint Lazar petitioned the Patriarch of Constantinople to remove the anathema from the people of Serbia. During the course of the ten years of his rule, Serbia was at peace.
Afterwards there began war with the Turks. At the time of the Battle of Kosovo, the wounded king was taken prisoner. On the orders of Sultan Bayazet, he was beheaded with a sword on June 15, 1389. The body of the holy King Lazar was buried at a nearby church. In 1391 his incorrupt relics were transferred to the Ravanica monastery. The monastery was destroyed by the Turks in 1683, and the relics of King Lazar were transferred to the monastery of New Ravanica on Mount Thruzh. He was the founder of the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon on the Holy Mountain, as well as numerous other monasteries and churches.
Saint Ephraim the Bulgarian, Patriarch of Serbia
Saint Ephraim, Patriarch of Serbia, lived in asceticism on Mount Athos, and afterwards became Igumen of the Serbian Ivḗron monastery. After the death of Patriarch Savva III in 1376, he was chosen to the patriarchal throne. Aspiring to silence, the saint left the throne and for nine years dwelt at the Archangel-Dushanov monastery. After the Battle of Kosovo he returned to the throne. He died peacefully at age 88 in the year 1400, and was buried in the Patriarchal church at Pec.
Blessed Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
Saint Augustine was born in the city of Thagaste in northern Africa. He was raised by his mother, Saint Monica (May 4), and he received his education at Carthage. In the capacity of professor of rhetoric, Augustine arrived at Milan, Italy where Saint Ambrose (December 7) was bishop. Under the guidance of Saint Ambrose, Augustine studied the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God produced in his soul a radical crisis; he accepted holy Baptism, gave all his wealth to the poor and was tonsured as a monk.
In the year 391 Valerian, Bishop of Hippo, ordained Saint Augustine a priest, and in 395, appointed him vicar bishop of the see of Hippo. After the death of Bishop Valerian, Saint Augustine took his place.
During his 35 years as bishop, Saint Augustine wrote many works devoted to combating the Donatist, Manichaean and Pelagian heresies.
Saint Augustine wrote many works (according to his student and biographer Possidias, the number approached 1030). Of his works the best known are: The City of God (De civitate Dei), The Confessions, 17 Books against the Pelagians and Handbook of Christian Knowledge (The Enchiridion). Saint Augustine was concerned above all else that his writings be intelligent and edifying. “It is better,” he said, “for them to condemn our grammar, than for people not to understand.” Saint Augustine died on August 28, 430.
“Marianica” Icon of the Mother of God
No information available at this time.
Saint Michael, first Metropolitan of Kiev
Based on certain Russian sources, Saint Michael is remembered as the first Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia (988-992). He began his missionary work in Kiev, Suzdal, Novgorod, and Rostov, as well as in other cities. He built the first wooden church of the Dormition of the Theotokos at Rostov, and installed Theodore the Greek there as bishop.
The largest church in Kiev was the one dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, which was adorned with icons, crosses and Church utensils, brought from Korsun by Saint Michael. Saint Vladimir moved the coffin containing the relics of Saint Olga, Equal-of-the-Apostles († 969) to that church. When Saint Michael fell asleep in the Lord on June 15, 992, he was also buried there.1
The First Hierarch of the See of Kiev left behind a good memory. At the Synods held in the Holy Wisdom cathedrals of Kiev and Novgorod, he is forever described as "the first beginning of the hierarchy in Russia."
Saint Michael was distinguished for his wisdom, kindness and his strictness, and he was succeeded by Leo.
About the year 1103, the Saint's body was transferred to the katholikon in the Near Caves of Saint Anthony by Igoumen Theóktistos.2
Saint Michael is also commemorated on September 30 (the Transfer of his relics).
1 Saint Vladimir set aside a tithe of his income and property to pay for the church's construction and maintenance, which gave the church its popular name: 'the church of the Tithes."
2 Saint Theóktistos (August 5) later became Bishop of Chernigov. He reposed in 1123.
Saint Theophanes of the Roslavl Forests
The holy Schema-monk Theophanes (in the world, Theodore Talunin) was from Vladimir Province. He served in the Black Sea Cossack army until 1791. After his discharge, he lived at Sophroniev Hermitage for a time, and then he went to Moldavia, where he lived at Neamts Monastery under obedience to Saint Paisios Velichkovsky (Nov. 15) for three years. After the death of Elder Paisios, he returned to Russia and was accepted into the brotherhood of Optina Hermitage in 1800, and he was tonsured there in 1801.
Saint Moses of Optina has provided most of the information about Schema-monk Theophanes, and has related the following: “He zealously pursued the active virtues of fasting, prayer, and prostrations with extreme non-acquisitiveness and meekness of spirit. During the first and last weeks of Great Lent, he ate nothing at all; and during the other fasting periods he ate only every third day. This zeal for fasting made him take up the great measure of fasting beyond the bounds of nature.”
Saint Theophanes often went from Optina to the Roslavl Forest to see Fathers Athanasios and Moses. In 1819, when Fathers Moses and Anthony came to look over Optina Hermitage, he told them that he would come to visit them for the entire period of Great Lent. “You are most welcome, please come,” the hermits told him. He came to them before the beginning of Great Lent in 1819, and he announced that he intended to pass the entire Fast without eating. “I have faith that I will not die from fasting,” he said.
“Let it be according to your faith,” they answered, not daring to dissuade him. He moved in with them, and brought along his icon of the Crucifixion painted on linen, before which he prayed. Saint Theophanes decided not to eat, and not to lie down to sleep. In addition to his usual Prayer Rule, he also made 800 prostrations.
When he prayed, he wore special cuffs with cords which were tied to the hooks on the wall where the icon was hanging. In this way, he was able to stand at prayer all night without falling from exhaustion. In addition, he heated his own cell, helped to sing at Church services, and he appeared cheerful. He ate nothing during the entire Fast, and once a week he drank some water mixed with vinegar, because the dryness of his mouth. Once, seeing his thinness, Saint Moses said, “Father, you have worn yourself out.” Father Theophanes replied, “No. Christ my Savior has poured out all His blood to the last drop for my sake. There is plenty of blood left in me yet.”
After the Fast, which he endured until the end, he partook of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Later, he wanted to repeat this struggle, but because of the cold he fell ill with a terrible cough. He became very weak, and gradually wasted away, departing to the Lord on June 15, 1819.
A few moments before Father Theophanes died, Father Moses asked, “Is your soul at peace? Do you fear anything at this hour of death?” He replied, “With joy I desire to be released from this life.” At that moment, he passed away. He had just started to make the Sign of the Cross upon himself, and gave up his soul to God. He is buried in the wilderness.
Father Anthony, in whose arms Father Theophanes died, said that he forgot to ask him for his prayers at his death. On the fortieth day after death, the Elder appeared to him. “Batiushka,” said Father Anthony, “I wanted to ask you for your prayers for me when you come before the throne of God, and I did not do it.” Father Theophanes said, “I always pray to God for you. Saint Basil the Great says, ‘He who prays for others, prays for himself.’”
According to Father Anthony, this Elder had such a radiant face when he was still alive, that one could not look directly at it, but only small glances from the side. His grave is on the edge of a ravine by the Florovka creek, and is revered by pilgrims to this day.
Saint Theophanes was approved for local veneration in the Smolensk Diocese on August 31, 2017.
Apostles Fortunatus, Akhaikos, and Stephanas of the 70
Saints Fortunatus, Akhaikos and Stephanas of the 70 Apostles were coworkers of the Apostle Paul, who, with all their heart and soul, helped to spread the Gospel among the nations. Saint Paul mentions these three men in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (16:17): "Now I rejoice in the presence of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Akhaikos, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part; for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Therefore, give recognition to such men."
The household of Stephanas were among the first fruits of the province of Akhaia ( I Corinthians 16:15), and were baptized by Saint Paul, who declares that they devoted themselves to serving the saints.
Fortunatus is perhaps the Latin name of Tykhikos (Τυχικός), mentioned in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, which state that he came from Asia and accompanied Paul, along with others (Acts 20:5). This man Tykikos delivered two of Saint Paul's Epistles (see Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7). It is not certain, however, that Fortunatus and Tykikos are the same individual.