2ND MONDAY AFTER PENTECOST: APOSTLES FAST BEGINS TODAY
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Methodios the Martyr, Bishop of Olympus, Kallistos I, Patriarch of Constantinople, Nicholas Cabasilas of Thessaloniki
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE ROMANS 2:28-29; 3:1-18
Brethren, he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God. Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every man be false, as it is written, "That thou mayest be justified in thy words, and prevail when thou art judged." But if our wickedness serves to show the justice of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come? – as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written:
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one.
Their throat is an open grave, they use their tongues to deceive.
The venom of asps is under their lips.
Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood, in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they do not know."
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
MATTHEW 6:31-34; 7:9-11
The Lord said, “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Hieromartyr Methodius, Bishop of Patara
The Hieromartyr Methodius, Bishop of Patara (Lycia in Asia Minor), was distinguished for his genuine monastic humility. Calmly and with mildness he instructed his flock, but he firmly defended the purity of Orthodoxy and he energetically contended against heresies, especially the widespread heresy of the Origenists. He left behind him a rich literary legacy: works in defense of Christianity against paganism, explications of Orthodox dogmas against the heresy of Origen, moral discourses, and explanations of Holy Scripture.
St Methodius was arrested by the pagans, steadfastly confessed before them his faith in Christ, and he was sentenced to death by beheading in the year 312.
Blessed Prince Gleb Andreevich, son of Saint Andrew Bogoliubsky
Holy Prince Gleb of Vladimir, named George in holy Baptism, was a younger son of the holy Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky (July 4). Under the influence of his pious parents he grew up with a deep faith, and from twelve years of age he led a solitary spiritual life. The parents did not hinder their son and even assisted him in spiritual growth. The prince especially loved the reading of holy books, he esteemed the clergy and he was charitable to all. Despite his young age, he chose for himself the exploit of strict fasting and prayerful vigilance. Prince Gleb died in the year 1174, at age nineteen.
His incorrupt relics were preserved and glorified by miracles. In the year 1238, during the time of the incursion of Batu upon the Russian Land, the Tatars burned the cathedral at Vladimir. In this conflagration perished Bishop Metrophanes, Great-princess Agatha, wife of Great-prince George Vsevolodovich (+ 1238), and many inhabitants of the city of Vladimir, who were locked in the cathedral church. The fire, however, did not even touch the tomb of Saint Gleb. Years later, in July 1410, Tatars again descended upon Vladimir. In plundering the city, they began to sack the cathedral church treasury, having murdered the door-keeper Patrick. Supposing that treasure was hidden in the saint’s tomb, they set about to break it open. Just as the Tatars touched the stone crypt of Saint Gleb, flames shot forth from it, and the Tatars fled the city in terror.
Through the prayers of the holy prince the city was saved from an incursion of Polish-Lithuanian plunderers in 1613.
The celebration of Saint Gleb was established in the year 1702, and then also a service was written to him, and somewhat later, a Life. His relics rest in the Dormition cathedral in Vladimir. In the year 1774 the south chapel of the cathedral was dedicated to him. Prince Gleb is revered as the special patron and defender of the city of Vladimir.
Translation of the relics of Saint Gurias, Archbishop of Kazan
The Transfer of Relics of Saint Gurias, Archbishop of Kazan, from the Savior-Transfiguration monastery to the cathedral church of the city of Kazan occurred in the year 1630.
His Life is recorded under December 5, the day of his repose.
Martyrs Inna, Pinna, and Rimma, disciples of Apostle Andrew in Scythia
The transfer of the relics of Saints Inna, Pinna, and Rimma to Alushta took place during the first-second centuries. These holy martyrs are also commemorated on January 20.
Martyrs Aristocles the Presbyter, Demetrian the Deacon, and Athanasius the Reader, of Cyprus
The Holy Martyrs Aristocles the Presbyter, Demetrian, and Athanasius suffered for the Christian Faith during the persecution under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311).
The presbyter Aristocles, a native of the Cypriot city of Tamasa, served in the cathedral church during the time of the persecution against Christians. He became terrified of the tortures, and he left the city and hid in a mountain cave. Once during prayer a light shone upon him, and he heard a command from the Lord to return to the island of Cyprus and suffer for Christ. Saint Aristocles obediently set out to return, and on the way he visited the church of the holy Apostle Barnabas (June 11), where he met Deacon Demetrian and Athanasius the Reader. He told them of his vision, and Saints Demetrian and Athanasius decided to endure martyrdom together with him.
Having arrived in the city of Salamis, all three began to preach to the people about the Lord Jesus Christ, and denounced the folly of idol-worship. The pagans arrested them, and the governor, seeing that they were steadfast in their faith in Christ, gave orders to behead Saint Aristocles, and to burn Saints Demetrian and Athanasius. But even in the fire, the martyrs remained unharmed. After this they were beheaded by the sword in the year 306.
In Greek usage, these saints are commemorated on June 23.
Saint Leucius, Bishop of Brindisi
Saint Leucius the Confessor was born in the city of Alexandria of pious parents named Eudykius and Euphrosynē. They gave their son the name Eutropius. The mother died when the lad was 11 years old, and his father took monastic tonsure at the monastery of Saint Hermias, taking along his son with him to the monastery. The boy was raised under the spiritual guidance of the Igumen Nicetas and also experienced monastic elders. The boy showed himself to be very capable, and assiduously he studied Holy Scripture. Eutropius grew up into a quiet, meek and obedient lad. When he reached age 18, the Igumen Nicetas died.
The brethren of the monastery unanimously chose Eutropius as Igumen, even though he was not yet tonsured into monasticism. Reckoning himself unworthy to guide monks when he was not a monk himself, Eutropius refused. For seven years the monastery of Saint Hermias remained without a head. During these years Eutropius, struggling at monastic labors, attained to an high degree of spiritual life.
One time Eutropius set off on the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God to visit all the churches of the Dormition around the city of Alexandria. At the celebrations Hellius, Bishop of Heliopolis, presided together with his clergy. At the same time he visited the monastery headed by the Igumen Theodore. It was at this monastery that both father and son then remained. By night the father Eudykios had a revelation about his own approaching end, and also that his son would become a bishop and enlighten with the light of the Christian Faith the city and region of Brundisium (now Brindisi in Calabria-Apuleia) in Italy.
And in this same vision a new name for Eutropius was revealed: Leucius, meaning “the Spirit of the Lord is come upon him.” And it was on the feast of the Dormition in the church of the Mother of God that Bishop Hellius heard a voice from Heaven, blessing Leucius for archpastoral service, and he directed the archdeacon to enquire of those praying who it was that bore this name. Then with love he blessed Saint Leucius and his father.
The monks of the Hermias monastery earnestly besought the bishop to install Saint Leucius as Igumen of the monastery. Although the ascetic initially refused, considering himself unworthy, he then submitted himself to the bishop and was ordained to the priesthood and was made Igumen.
From this time Saint Leucius intensified his efforts, and God granted him the grace of working miracles, and casting out demons. Once a devil assumed the form of an immense serpent, and killed many in the nearby villages. The holy ascetic hastened to come to the aid of the villagers and he delivered them from the power of the devil. Seeing this, about three thousand pagans in the vicinity accepted Baptism.
During this period Philip, Bishop of Alexandria, died a martyr, and Saint Leucius was chosen in his place. Seeing that Saint Leucius was converting many pagans to Christianity, the eparch Saturninus decided to kill him. Wishing to defend their archpastor, some of the Christians wanted to kill the eparch. Learning of this, the saint forbade them to cause the eparch any harm. Saint Leucius told his flock that the Lord had commanded him to go to a pagan land and to enlighten with the light of the Christian Faith the city of Brundisium and its surrounding region.
The holy archpastor established a worthy bishop in his place, and he then took with him the deacons Eusebius and Dionysius and five students, and they hastened onto a ship sailing for Italy. Along the way they were joined by the priests Leon and Sabinus. On their journey to Brundisium the saint met up with the tribune Armaleon and his 67 soldiers, all whom he converted to Christianity. In the city he began to preach to the people about Jesus Christ. The head of the city, named Antiochus, learned that the tribune Armaleon had converted to Christianity, and so he summoned him and questioned him about the Christian teaching for a long time. Learning about Saint Leucius, the governor wished to meet him.
At the meeting the governor said: “If you want us to believe in the God that you preach, beseech Him to send down rain upon our land, which we have not seen for two years already.” The saint summoned his clergy and all the newly-baptized Christians, and made fervent supplication. Then rain poured down in abundance, soaking the parched earth. Seeing this miracle, Antiochus and all the city of Brundisium (27,000 people) accepted Baptism. In memory of this event, a church was built in honor of the Mother of God, and at the place where the people were baptized, a second church in honor of Saint John the Baptist.
Soon the saint fell ill, and it was revealed to him in a vision that he would die of the sickness. Summoning his spiritual son Antiochus, Saint Leucius gave final instructions to bury him at the place where the ship carrying him from Alexandria had landed. Antiochus fulfilled the request of the archpastor and built a church dedicated to Saint Leucius. The relics of the saint were transferred to it, and numerous miracles occurred there.
Saint Callistus, Patriarch of Constantinople
Saint Callistus I, Patriarch of Constantinople, at first struggled on Athos under the spiritual guidance of Saint Gregory of Sinai (August 8), whose Life he wrote. In 1350, he was elected as Patriarch of Constantinople, serving in that position during the reign of the emperors John Kantakuzenos (1341-1355) and John Paleologos (1341-1376).
In 1354, he withdrew to live in silence at the monastery he had built in honor of Saint Mamas at Tenedos. Later, he was elevated to the Patriarchal throne once again (1355-1363). The holy Patriarch Callistus reposed in the year 1363 in Serbia, where he had travelled with an embassy of Emperor John Paleologos. Saint Callistus is also known as a spiritual writer, and his edifying works appear in the PHILOKALIA with the writings of his close friend Ignatius of Xanthopoulos.
Saint Menas, Bishop of Polotsk
Saint Menas, Bishop of Polotsk led an ascetical life at the Kiev Caves monastery. On December 13, 1105 he was consecrated Bishop of Polotsk. The name of Saint Menas is mentioned in the service of the Holy Fathers of the Kiev Caves, since prior to his elevation to the episcopate, he was a monk at the monastery. Remembrance of him is contained in the Kiev Caves Paterikon. Saint Menas is renowned as one of the first Russian archpastors, continuing the spreading of the grace of faith in Christ after the Baptism of Russia.
Venerable Nicholas Cabasilas
The Venerable (Ὅσιος) Nicholas Cabasilas was born in Thessaloniki in 1322, and was the nephew of Neilos Cabasilas, who was the Archbishop of Thessaloniki. His father's surname was Khamaetos, but he preferred to use his uncle's name – Cabasilas.
Saint Nicholas received an excellent education, both at Thessaloniki and Constantinople, studying rhetoric, theology, philosophy, etc. For a time, he served as an advisor to Emperor John VI Cantacuzenos (reigned 1347-1354), who entrusted him with several important missions in this time of civil war (1341–1347) and religious strife. In the last year of his life, the Emperor abdicated and was tonsured as a monk with the name Joasaph. He remained in the renowned Manganon Monastery (Μονή των Μαγγάνων) until his death. Saint Nicholas seems to have become a monk at Manganon at the same time, and it is possible that he was ordained as a Hieromonk.
He was a disciple of Saint Gregory of Sinai (August 8), and a supporter of Saint Gregory Palamas (November 14), both of whom were proponents of hesychasm (stillness), involving the unceasing prayer of the heart, which can lead to a vision of the Uncreated Light of Tabor. Saint Nicholas took part in the Hesychast controversies of his time, which ended when the Council of 1351 proclaimed the teachings of Saint Gregory Palamas as Orthodox.
The fame of Saint Nicholas rests mainly on his two books: Explanation of the Divine Liturgy (Ἑρμηνεία τῆς θείας Λειτουργίας), and Concerning the Life in Christ (Περί της εν Χριστώ ζωής), which describes the Church's Holy Mysteries, divine grace, and perfection in the divine virtues.
In his writings Saint Nicholas expounds the hesychastic (and Patristic) teaching that the life in Christ, which begins in this life, is perfected in the Kingdom. Sanctification comes only from Christ, but sanctity is achieved when our wills are in harmony with Christ's will.
Book 6 of Concerning the Life in Christ contains some very instructive comments on the Beatitudes. Saint Nicholas points out that those who study and meditate on these sayings of Christ shall become truly happy. He compares the Beatitudes to "a ladder by which we may ascend to (the life of blessedness)."
Some of his sermons have survived: on the Ascension, on the Annunciation, etc. There are also encomia in honor of Saint Demetrios, Saint Theodora, Saint Nicholas, and the Three Hierarchs.
The date of Saint Nicholas's blessed repose is uncertain, but it probably occurred before 1391. If that is true, then he must have been aware of the fall of Thessaloniki to the Turks in 1387.
Saint Nicholas Cabasilas was glorified as a saint on July 19,1983. The Troparion composed in his honor describes him as "a divine teacher, a wise interpreter of the dogmas of faith, and of the divine virtues."
Saint Nahum of Ochrid, disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Equals of the Apostles
Saint Naum of Ochrid, a Bulgarian by descent, was one of the disciples of the holy Equals of the Apostles Cyril and Methodius (May 11), and he accompanied Saint Clement of Ochrid (July 27) when he preached the Gospel in Bulgaria. When Saint Clement set off to the southwestern regions, Saint Naum remained in the then capital city of Plisk. Afterwards Saint Naum succeeded Saint Clement in a monastery on the shores of Lake Ochrida, where he labored for ten years.
Saint Naum reposed on December 23, 910, and his relics were glorified by numerous miracles, especially healings of spiritual infirmities. The memory of the saint is also celebrated on December 23.
Hodēgḗtria Icon of the Mother of God (Παναγία Οδηγήτρια)
The Most Holy Hodēgḗtria Icon is one of the earliest Icons in the Church's history. The Mother of God holds her Divine Child with her left hand, and with her right hand she indicates that the way we must follow on our earthly pilgrimage is that which leads us to Christ, Who said: "I am the way (οδός), and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, except through me" (John 14:6).
The Icon is traditionally ascribed to Saint Luke, as the following Megalynarion from the Canon of Supplication to the Most Holy Theotokos bears witness: "Speechless be the lips of the impious, who refuse to venerate your revered Icon, which has been painted for us by the most holy Apostle Luke, and is called the Hodēgḗtria."
According to the Synaxaristes, the Holy Evangelist Luke painted an Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos on a panel, using various colors. Then he painted two more Icons of the Mother of God and showed them to her. Receiving them with great joy, she blessed them and said, "May the grace of Him Who was born of me be imparted to these Icons."
The Hodēgḗtria Icon was kept at Jerusalem, and was sent to Constantinople in the reign of Emperor Theodosios the Younger by Empress Eudokia, as a gift for Saint Pulkheria (February 17), the sister of Theodosios. She then brought it to the Odigon Monastery, which she had founded.
After performing innumerable miracles for centuries, the Hodēgḗtria Icon disappeared during the Fall of Constantinople (May 29, 1453).
There is a copy of the Hodēgḗtria Icon at Xenophontos Monastery on Mount Athos.
Icon of the Mother of God “the Directress” from the Monastery of Xenophontos on Mount Athos
This icon of the Mother of God is of the Hodēgḗtria type, and is found in the Xenophontos Monastery on Mount Athos.