SYNAXIS OF ARCHANGEL GABRIEL
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel, Stephen of Mar Sabbas Monastery, Holy Martyr Golinduc, Marcian the Martyr of Iconium, Serapion the Martyr
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE HEBREWS 2:2-10
Brethren, if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will. For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
The Lord said to his disciples, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel
The Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel is celebrated on the day after the Annunciation, and a second time on July 13. It was instituted in the ninth century, perhaps to celebrate the dedication of a church at Constantinople. Originally, the Feast was observed on October 16 (Juan Mateos, Le Typikon De La Grande Eglise).
An account of the Holy Archangel Gabriel is found under March 26 and November 8.
Venerable Stephen of Saint Savva Monastery
Saint Stephen of Saint Savva’s Monastery, the nephew of Saint John of Damascus (December 4), was born in the year 725. When he was ten years old he entered the Lavra of Saint Savva the Sanctified (December 5) and was tonsured as a monk. He spent his whole life at this monastery, sometimes going out into the desert to live in solitude and devote himself to spiritual struggles.
Saint Stephen’s holy life was so pleasing to God that he was given the gifts of wonderworking and clairvoyance. He also healed the sick, cast out devils, and was able to discern the thoughts of those who came to him for counsel. He fell asleep in the Lord in the year 794, foretelling in advance the day of his death. The Life of Saint Stephen was compiled by his disciple Leontius.
Today’s saint should not be confused with the other Saint Stephen of Saint Savva’s Monastery who is commemorated on October 28.
Saint Julian, Bishop of Cenomanis (Le Mans), Gaul
Saint Julian, Bishop of Cenomanis, was elevated to bishop by the Apostle Peter. Some believe that he is the same person as Simon the Leper (Mark 14:3), receiving the name Julian in Baptism.
The Apostle Peter sent Saint Julian to preach the Gospel in Gaul. He arrived in Cenomanis (the region of the River Po in the north of present day Italy) and settled into a small hut out beyond a city (probably Cremona), and he began to preach among the pagans. The idol-worshippers at first listened to him with distrust, but the preaching of the saint was accompanied by great wonders. By prayer Saint Julian healed many of the sick. Gradually, a great multitude of people began to flock to him, asking for help. In healing bodily infirmities, Saint Julian healed also the souls, enlightening those coming to him by the light of faith in Christ.
In order to quench the thirst of his numerous visitors, Saint Julian, having prayed to the Lord, struck his staff on the ground, and from that dry place there came forth a spring of water. This wonder converted many pagans to Christianity. One time the holy bishop wanted to see the local prince. At the gate of the prince’s dwelling there sat a blind man whom Saint Julian pitied, and having prayed, gave him his sight. The prince came out towards the holy bishop, and having only just learned that he had worked this miracle, he fell down at the feet of the bishop, requesting Baptism. Having catechized the prince and his family, Saint Julian imposed on them a three-day fast, and then he baptized them.
On the example of the prince, the majority of his subjects also converted to Christ. The prince donated his own home to the bishop to build a temple in it, and he provided the Church with means. Saint Julian fervently concerned himself with the spiritual enlightenment of his flock, and he healed the sick as before. Deeply affected by the grief of parents, the holy bishop prayed that God would restore their dead children to life. The holy Bishop Julian remained long on his throne, teaching his flock the way to Heaven. The holy bishop died in extreme old age. To the end of his days he preached about Christ and he completely eradicated idolatry in the land of Cenomanis.
The Holy Martyr Serapion, suffered for Christ before the Emperor Severus (193-211). As a Christian he was brought to judgment before the governor Achilles. The holy martyr firmly proclaimed to the pagans his faith in Christ, and he was subjected to inhuman torments. Afterwards, he was thrown into prison.
Healed by the Lord Jesus Christ, he was brought to the judgment place and he presented himself before the judge completely healthy. The enraged pagans sentenced the saint to be burned alive. In the midst of the flames, he gave up his soul to God (+ ca. 205).
Martyr Marcian of Iconium
The Holy Martyr Marcian, a native of Lycian Iconium, while still at a youthful age converted many to Christ by his fiery preaching. For his zeal the idol-worshippers subjected the saint to bodily punishment, and then sent him to Cappadocia to the governor Perennias. By persuasion and threats, he attempted to turn the youth away from the Truth, Christ.
Saint Marcian fearlessly testified about the truthfulness of the Christian Faith, and he accused Perennias of worshipping inanimate idols. The enraged governor gave orders to subject the saint to severe torments, but in his sufferings the saint remained steadfast in his faithfulness to Christ. They cut off his head while he prayed, giving thanks to God for his fate (+258).
“It Is Truly Meet” (“Axion Estin”) Icon of the Mother of God
The “It is Truly Meet” Icon of the Mother of God is in the high place of the altar of the cathedral church of the Karyes monastery on Mount Athos.
One Saturday night an Elder went to Karyes for the all-night Vigil. He left, instructing his disciple to remain behind and read the service in their cell. As it grew dark, the disciple heard a knock on the door. When he opened the door, he saw an unknown monk who called himself Gabriel, and he invited him to come in. They stood before the icon of the Mother of God and read the service together with reverence and compunction.
During the Ninth Ode of the Canon, the disciple began to sing “My soul magnifies the Lord…” with the Irmos of Saint Cosmas the Hymnographer (October 14), “More honorable than the Cherubim….”
The stranger sang the next verse, “For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden….” Then he chanted something the disciple had never heard before, “It is truly meet to bless Thee, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God…” Then he continued with, “More honorable than the Cherubim….”
While the hymn was being sung, the icon of the Theotokos shone with a heavenly light. The disciple was moved by the new version of the familiar hymn, and asked his guest to write the words down for him. When the stranger asked for paper and ink, the disciple said that they did not have any.
The stranger took a roof tile and wrote the words of the hymn on its surface with his finger. The disciple knew then that this was no ordinary monk, but the Archangel Gabriel. The angel said, “Sing in this manner, and all the Orthodox as well.” Then he disappeared, and the icon of the Mother of God continued to radiate light for some time afterward.
The Eleousa Icon of the Mother of God, before which the hymn “It Is Truly Meet” was first sung, was transferred to the katholikon at Karyes. The tile, with the hymn written on it by the Archangel Gabriel, was taken to Constantinople when Saint Nicholas Chrysoberges (December 16) was Patriarch.
Numerous copies of the “It Is Truly Meet” Icon are revered in Russian churches. At the Galerna Harbor of Peterburg a church with five cupolas was built in honor of the Merciful Mother of God, and into it they put a grace-bearing copy of the “It Is Truly Meet” icon sent from Athos.
Saint Just of Penwith
No information available at this time.
Virgin Abbess Sarah of Sketis in Libya
It is written in The Paradise of the Fathers that Mother Sarah spoke these words: “If I were to ask God that all people might be built up through me, I would be found expressing contrition at the door of each one who repents. But I pray to God especially that my heart may be pure with Him and with everyone.”
Once two great Elders and anchorites left Mount Pelusium (in the northeastern Nile Delta) and went to see Amma Sarah. Speaking among themselves they said, “Let us humble this old woman.” When they came to her she said, “Be careful, you may be humbled by the words you have spoken. Behold, anchorites have come to one who is a woman. According to nature, I am a woman, but not according to my worth.”
Once she went to Sketis, and she was offered some food. She did not eat any of the best food however, she ate only the plain food. This was because she did not want to use her journey and her visit as an excuse to relax her fasting. Then they said to her, “Truly, you are like those who dwell at Sketis.”
It was said of Amma Sarah, the ascetic of Sketis, that the blessed one lived above a river for sixty years, but she never looked out from her abode to see it.
Mother Sarah said, “It is a good thing for a person to give alms, even if he does so in order to win the approval of others, because by doing this, he will come to do it for God’s sake.”
Saint Sarah brought many women to monasticism by the example of her holy and God-pleasing life. She reposed in peace in the year 370 at the age of eighty.