Monthly Archives: August 2022

Daily Readings for Wednesday, August 31, 2022



The Placing of the Honorable Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos, Cyprian the Hieromartyr & Bishop of Carthage, Gennadius Scholarus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Eanswythe, Abbess of Folkestone, Cuthburga the Queen, Abbess of Wimborne


BRETHREN, the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.

LUKE 10:38-42, 11:27-28

At that time, Jesus entered a village; and a woman called Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve you alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

The Placing of the Cincture (Sash) of the Mother of God

The Placing of the Venerable Belt of the Most Holy Theotokos in a church of Constantinople’s Chalcoprateia district took place during the reign of the emperor Theodosius the Younger. Before this the holy relic, entrusted to the Apostle Thomas by the Mother of God Herself, was kept by pious Christians at Jerusalem after Her Dormition. During the reign of Emperor Leo the Wise (886-911), his wife Zoe was afllicted with an unclean spirit, and he prayed that God would heal her.

The empress had a vision that she would be healed of her infirmity if the Belt of the Mother of God were placed upon her. The emperor then asked the Patriarch to open the coffer. The Patriarch removed the seal and opened the coffer in which the relic was kept, and the Belt of the Mother of God appeared completely whole and undamaged by time. The Patriarch placed the Belt on the sick empress, and immediately she was freed from her infirmity. They sang hymns of thanksgiving to the Most Holy Theotokos, then they placed the venerable Belt back into the coffer and resealed it.

In commemoration of the miraculous occurrence and the twofold Placing of the venerable Belt, the Feast of the Placing of the Venerable Belt of the Most Holy Theotokos was established. Parts of the holy Belt are in the Vatopedi monastery on Mt. Athos, in Trier monastery, and in Georgia.

Hieromartyr Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage

The Hieromartyr Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, was born in about the year 200 in the city of Carthage (Northern Africa), where all his life and work took place. Thascius Cyprianus was the son of a rich pagan senator, and received a fine secular education becoming a splendid orator, and a teacher of rhetoric and philosophy in the school of Carthage. He often appeared in the courts to defend his fellow citizens.

Cyprian afterwards recalled that for a long time “he remained in a deep dark mist.., far from the light of Truth.” His fortune, received from his parents and from his work, was spent on sumptuous banquets, but they were not able to quench in him the thirst for truth. He became acquainted with the writings of the Apologist Tertullian, and became convinced of the truth of Christianity. The holy bishop later wrote that he thought it was impossible for him to attain to the regeneration promised by the Savior, because of his habits.

He was helped by his friend and guide, the presbyter Cecilius, who assured him of the power of God’s grace. At 46 years of age the studious pagan was received into the Christian community as a catechumen. Before accepting Baptism, he distributed his property to the poor and moved into the house of the presbyter Cecilius.

When Saint Cyprian was finally baptized, he wrote in the Treatise To Donatus: “When the water of regeneration cleansed the impurity of my former life, a light from on high shone into my heart… and the Spirit transformed me into a new man by a second birth. Then at once, in a miraculous manner, certainty replaced doubt, mysteries were revealed, and darkness became light…. Then it was possible to acknowledge that what was born of the flesh and lived for sin was earthly, but what the Holy Spirit had vivified began to be of God…. In God and from God is all our strength…. Through Him we, while living upon the earth, have a hint of future bliss.”

Two years after his Baptism, the saint was ordained to the priesthood. When Bishop Donatus of Carthage died, Saint Cyprian was unanimously chosen as bishop. He gave his consent, having complied with his guide’s request, and was consecrated Bishop of Carthage in the year 248.

The saint first of all concerned himself about the welfare of the Church and the eradication of vices among the clergy and flock. The saintly life of the archpastor evoked in everyone a desire to imitate his piety, humility and wisdom. The fruitful activity of Saint Cyprian became known beyond the bounds of his diocese. Bishops from other sees often turned to him for advice on how to deal with various matters.

A persecution by the emperor Decius (249-251), revealed to the saint in a vision, forced him to go into hiding. His life was necessary to his flock for the strengthening of faith and courage among the persecuted. Before his departure from his diocese, the saint distributed the church funds among all the clergy for the aid of the needy, and in addition he sent further funds.

He kept in constant touch with the Carthaginian Christians through his epistles, and he wrote letters to presbyters, confessors and martyrs. Some Christians, broken by torture, offered sacrifice to the pagan gods. These lapsed Christians appealed to the confessors, asking to give them what is called a letter of reconciliation, i.e. a certificate for accepting them back into the Church. Saint Cyprian wrote a general letter to all the Carthaginian Christians, stating that those who lapsed during a time of persecution might be admitted into the Church, but this must be preceded by an investigation of the circumstances under which the falling away came about. It was necessary to determine the sincerity of contrition of the lapsed. To admit them was possible only after penance, and with the permission of the bishop. Some of the lapsed insistently demanded their immediate re-admittance into the Church and caused unrest in the whole community. Saint Cyprian wrote the bishops of other dioceses asking their opinion, and from all he received full approval of his directives.

During his absence the saint authorized four priests to examine the lives of persons preparing for ordination to the priesthood and the deaconate. This met with resistance from the layman Felicissimus and the presbyter Novatus, roused to indignation against their bishop. Saint Cyprian excommunicated Felicissimus and six of his followers. In his letter to the flock, the saint touchingly admonished all not to separate themselves from the unity of the Church, to be subject to the lawful commands of the bishop and to await his return. This letter kept the majority of Carthaginian Christians faithful to the Church.

In a short while, Saint Cyprian returned to his flock. The insubordination of Felicissimus was put to an end at a local Council in the year 251. This Council decreed that it was possible to receive the lapsed back into the Church after a penance, and it affirmed the excommunication of Felicissimus.

During this time there occurred a new schism, led by the Roman presbyter Novatian, and joined by the Carthaginian presbyter Novatus, a former adherent of Felicissimus. Novatian asserted that those who lapsed during a time of persecution could not be readmitted, even if they repented of their sin. Besides this, Novatian with the help of Novatus convinced three Italian bishops during the lifetime of the lawful Roman bishop Celerinus to place another bishop on the Roman cathedra. Against such iniquity, Saint Cyprian wrote a series of encyclicals to the African bishops, and later a whole book, On the Unity of the Church.

When the discord in the Carthage church began to quiet down, a new calamity began: a pestilential plague flared up. Hundreds of people fled from the city, leaving the sick without help, and the dead without burial. Saint Cyprian, providing an example by his firmness and his courage, tended the sick and buried the dead himself, not only Christians but also pagans. The plague was accompanied by drought and famine. A horde of barbarian Numidians, taking advantage of the misfortune, fell upon the inhabitants, taking many into captivity. Saint Cyprian moved many rich Carthaginians to offer up means for feeding the starving and ransoming captives.

When a new persecution against Christians spread under the emperor Valerian (253-259), the Carthaginian proconsul Paternus ordered the saint to offer sacrifice to idols. He steadfastly refused to do this. He also refused to give the names and addresses of the presbyters of the church of Carthage. They sent the saint to the city of Curubis, and Deacon Pontus voluntarily followed his bishop into exile.

On the day the saint arrived at the place of exile he had a vision, predicting for him a quick martyr’s end. While in exile, Saint Cyprian wrote many letters and books. Desiring to suffer at Carthage, he returned there. Taken before the court, he was set at liberty until the following year. Nearly all the Christians of Carthage came to take leave of their bishop and receive his blessing.

At the trial, Saint Cyprian calmly and firmly refused to offer sacrifice to idols and was sentenced to beheading with a sword. Hearing the sentence, Saint Cyprian said, “Thanks be to God!” All the people cried out with one voice, “Let us also be beheaded with him!”

Coming to the place of execution, the saint again gave his blessing to all and arranged to give twenty-five gold coins to the executioner. He then tied a handkerchief over his eyes, and gave his hands to be bound to the presbyter and archdeacon standing near him and lowered his head. Christians put their cloths and napkins in front of him so as to collect the martyr’s blood. Saint Cyprian was executed in the year 258. The body of the saint was taken by night and given burial in a private crypt of the procurator Macrobius Candidianus.

Some say that his holy relics were transferred to France in the time of King Charles the Great (i.e. Charlemagne, 771-814).

Saint Cyprian of Carthage left the Church a precious legacy: his writings and 80 letters. The works of Saint Cyprian were accepted by the Church as a model of Orthodox confession and read at two Ecumenical Councils (Ephesus and Chalcedon).

In the writings of Saint Cyprian the Orthodox teaching about the Church is stated: It has its foundation upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and was proclaimed and built up by the Apostles. The inner unity is expressed in an unity of faith and love, and the outer unity is actualized by the hierarchy and sacraments of the Church.

In the Church Christ comprises all the fulness of life and salvation. Those having separated themselves from the unity of the Church do not have true life in themselves. Christian love is shown as the bond that holds the Church together. “Love is the foundation of all the virtues, and it continues with us eternally in the Heavenly Kingdom.”

Saint Gennadius, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Gennadius, Patriarch of Constantinople, ascended the throne of the Church of Constantinople in the year 458, during the reign of the holy emperor Leo the Great (457-474). His life is known from the book The Spiritual Meadow in which tales of Saints Sophronius and John, monks of Salamis monastery near Alexandria, were recorded. These monks were clergy of the Church of Constantinople under Patriarch Gennadius.

Saint Gennadius was distinguished for his mildness, tolerance, purity and abstinence. One may get some idea of the power of his prayer from the following instance: in the church of the holy Martyr Eleutherius at Constantinople was a disreputable reader Charisius, spending his life in idleness, impurity and even occupying himself with murder and sorcery. For a long time, Saint Gennadius admonished him with gentleness and patience, but Charisius did not change his conduct. The Patriarch resorted to strictness and gave orders to chastize and discipline the disreputable cleric. But even after the punishment, he did not correct himself.

Patriarch Gennadius then sent his emissary in his name to the holy Martyr Eleutherius (August 4) in whose church Charisius served as a reader. Entering the temple, the emissary of the Patriarch came before the altar, stretched out his hand to the grave of the martyr and said: “Holy Martyr Eleutherius! Patriarch Gennadius declares to you, through me a sinner, that the cleric Charisius, serving in your temple, does much iniquity and creates great scandal; therefore, either improve him or cut him off from the Church.”

On the following morning, Charisius was found dead.

Another instance, displaying the great strength of prayer of Saint Gennadius, occurred with one of the portrait painters who dared to paint an image of Christ, giving the Savior the features of the pagan god Zeus. The hand of the painter, having done such blasphemy, immediately withered. The repentant painter was brought in the church and confessed all his sins to the Patriarch. Saint Gennadius prayed over the sinner, and the hand of the painter was healed.

To settle iniquitous actions and false teachings arising in the Church, Saint Gennadius summoned a local Council which condemned the Eutychian heresy and prohibited simony (ordination for a payment of money). The saint would not ordain a man to the priesthood unless he was quite knowledgeable in Holy Scripture, and knew the Psalter by heart.

During the patriarchate of Saint Gennadius, a temple was built in honor of Saint John the Forerunner. Then a certain senator Studius of Rome founded a monastery which later became known as the Studion. The church steward under the holy Patriarch Gennadius was Saint Marcian (January 10). The Patriarch also ordained Saint Daniel the Stylite (December 11) to the priesthood.

Saint Gennadius was the author of dialogues and commentaries on the Prophet Daniel (the works have not survived). There is also his Encyclical Against Simony, affirmed by a Council of the year 459. Saint Gennadius governed the Church of Constantinople for thirteen years. He died peacefully in the year 471.

One night while he was praying, it was revealed to the saint that a powerful enemy would fall upon his flock. He incessantly offered up prayer for the peace of the Church, that the Lord would preserve it invincible against the gates of Hades.

Saint Aidan, Bishop of Lindesfarne

Saint Aidan, a steadfast defender of Celtic practices against the imposition of Roman usage, was born in Ireland (then called Scotland) in the seventh century. As a monk of the monastery founded by Saint Columba (June 9) on the island of Iona, he was known for his strict asceticism.

When the holy King Oswald of Northumbria (August 5) wanted to convert his people to Christianity, he turned to the Celtic monks of Iona, rather than the Roman clergy at Canterbury. The first bishop sent to lead the mission proved unsuitable, for he alienated many people by his harshness, and he blamed the hostile disposition of the English for his failure. Saint Aidan said that the bishop was to blame, and not the English. Instead of being very severe with an ignorant people, he should have fed them with milk rather than solid food (I Cor. 3:2). The bishop was recalled, and an ideal candidate was found to replace him.

Saint Aidan was consecrated bishop and sent to Northumbria to take charge of the mission. King Oswald gave him the island of Lindisfarne near the royal residence of Bamburg for his episcopal See. Saint Aidan also founded the famous monastery on Lindisfarne in 635.

Saint Bede (May 27), in his ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE praises Aidan for his humility and piety, recommending him as a model for other bishops and priests to follow. He was not attached to the things of this world, nor did he seek earthly treasures. Whenever he received gifts from the king or from rich men, he distributed them to the poor. On Wednesdays and Fridays he would fast from all food until the Ninth Hour (about 3 P.M.), except during the paschal season.

From Lindisfarne, Saint Aidan traveled all over Northumbria, visiting his flock and establishing missions. Saint Oswald, who knew Gaelic from the time he and his family were exiled to Iona, acted as an interpreter for Bishop Aidan, who did not speak English. Thus, the king played an active role in the conversion of his people.

One year, after attending the services of Pascha, King Oswald sat down to a meal with Bishop Aidan. Just as the bishop was about to bless the food, a servant came in and informed the king that a great number of needy folk were outside begging for alms. The king ordered that his own food be served to the poor on silver platters, and that the silver serving dishes be broken up and distributed to them.There is a charming illustration of this incident in the thirteenth century Berthold Missal in New York’s Pierpont Morgan Library (Morgan MS 710, fol. 101v). Aidan, deeply moved by Saint Oswald’s charity, took him by the right hand and said, “May this hand never perish.” According to Tradition, Saint Oswald’s hand remained incorrupt for centuries after his death. Saint Bede says that the hand was kept in the church of Saint Peter at Bamburgh, where it was venerated by all. The present location of the hand, if it still survives, is not known.

Saint Oswald was killed in battle against the superior forces of King Penda on August 5, 642 at a place called Maserfield. He was only thirty-eight years old. Saint Aidan was deeply grieved by the king’s death, but his successor Saint Oswin (August 20) was also very dear to him.

King Oswin once gave Saint Aidan a horse and a cart for his journeys (the bishop usually traveled on foot). Soon after this, Bishop Aidan met a beggar and gave him the horse and cart. The king heard of this and was disturbed by it. He asked Saint Aidan why he had given the royal gift away when there were ordinary horses in the stables which were more suitable for a beggar. Aidan rebuked him, asking if the king regarded the foal of a mare more highly than the Son of God. At first, he did not understand. Then he fell at the bishop’s feet, weeping tears of repentance. Asking for forgiveness, Oswin promised never again to judge Saint Aidan’s charitable deeds.

Saint Aidan raised the king to his feet, declaring that he had never seen a king who was so humble. He prophesied that Oswin would soon depart from this life, since the people did not deserve such a ruler. His prophecy was soon fulfilled, for Saint Oswin was murdered at Gilling on August 20, 651. Saint Aidan departed to the Lord on August 31, less than two weeks later. He died at Bamburgh, by the west wall of the church. The beam on which he was leaning to support himself still survives, even though the church was twice destroyed by fire. The beam may still be seen in the ceiling of the present church, above the baptismal font.

On the day Saint Aidan died, Saint Cuthbert (March 20) was a young man tending his master’s sheep. Looking up, Cuthbert saw a vision of angels bearing someone’s soul to heaven in a sphere of fire. Later, he learned that Bishop Aidan had died at the very hour that he had seen the vision.

At first, the holy bishop Aidan was buried at Lindisfarne on the right side of the altar in the church of Saint Peter. In 664 the Synod of Whitby declared that all the churches of Britain must follow Roman practices, and that Celtic customs were to be suppressed. Saint Colman (February 18), the third Bishop of Lindisfarne, was unable to accept this decision. Therefore, he decided to retire to Iona, taking the bones of Saint Aidan with him. Celtic customs survived on Iona until the eighth century.

Saint Eanswythe, Abbess of Folkestone

Saint Eanswythe was born around 614, the only daughter of King Eadbald of Kent and his wife Emma, who was a Frankish princess. At the time of Eanswythe’s birth, her father was probably a pagan, while her mother was almost certainly a Christian. Therefore, it is highly likely that Eanswythe was baptized and raised as a Christian.

When she was two years old, her paternal grandfather King Ethelbert of Kent (February 25) died. Saint Ethelbert had been baptized at Saint Martin’s church in Canterbury by Saint Augustine of Canterbury (May 28). It was Saint Augustine who came to England in 597 with several monks in order to re-establish Christianity, which had almost been wiped out by the pagan Anglo-Saxons. These monks carried out their missionary work under the protection of King Ethelbert.

Eanswythe’s father King Eadbald offered no opposition to Christianity while his father was alive. When Saint Ethelbert died, however, Eadbald’s attitude changed. Not only did he embrace idolatry, he also married his father’s second wife (Bede, ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE Book 2, ch. 1). While this practice was prohibited by Church law, it was quite common among the pagan royalty.

About this time, King Sabert of the East Saxons (and a convert to Christianity) passed away. His three sons were pagans, and so idolatry returned to that territory as well.

Saint Laurence of Canterbury (February 3), Saint Mellitus of London (April 24), and Saint Justus of Rochester (November 10) held a council to determine what they should do. They decided that they should not waste their time among the pagans, and to go where people would be more receptive to their preaching. Appalled by the King’s behavior and by the rise of paganism, Saints Mellitus and Justus went to Gaul.

The night before he was to leave Canterbury, Saint Laurence decided to sleep in the church of Saints Peter and Paul. Saint Peter appeared to him and rebuked him for even thinking of leaving his flock. He also beat Saint Laurence, who remained with his flock and even converted King Eadbald.

The king ended his unlawful marriage and was baptized. Within a year, Saint Justus returned to Rochester. The people of London, who lived in the realm of the East Saxons, refused to accept Saint Mellitus back to his See. Following the death of Saint Laurence in 619, Saint Mellitus succeeded him as Archbishop of Canterbury.

From her childhood, Saint Eanswythe showed little interest in worldly pursuits, for she desired to dedicate her virginity to God and to serve Him as a nun. Her father, on the other hand, wanted her to marry. Saint Eanswythe told him that she would not have any earthly suitor whose love for her might also be mixed with dislike. There was a high rate of mortality for children in those days, so she knew it was likely that at least some of hers would also die. All of these sorrows awaited her if she obeyed her father. The young princess told her father that she had chosen an immortal Bridegroom Who would give her unceasing love and joy, and to Whom she had dedicated herself. She went on to say that she had chosen the good portion (Luke 10:42), and she asked her father to build her a cell where she might pray.

The king ultimately gave in to his daughter, and built her a monastery in Folkestone in Kent. While the monastery was under construction, a pagan prince came to Kent seeking to marry Eanswythe. King Eadbald, whose sister Saint Ethelburga (April 5) married the pagan King Edwin (October 12) two or three years before, recalled that this wedding resulted in Edwin’s conversion. Perhaps he hoped that something similar would happen if Eanswythe married the Northumbrian prince. Eanswythe, however, insisted that she would not exchange heavenly blessings for the things of this world, nor would she accept the fleeting joys of this life in place of eternal bliss.

Around the year 630, the building of the monastery was completed. This was the first women’s monastery to be founded in England. Saint Eanswythe lived there with her companions in the monastic life, and they may have been guided by some of the Roman monks who had come to England with Saint Augustine in 597.

Saint Eanswythe was not made abbess at this time, for she was only sixteen years old. We do not know of any other abbess before Saint Eanswythe, but a few experienced nuns may have been sent from Europe to teach the others the monastic way of life. A temporary Superior could have been appointed until the nuns were able to elect their own abbess.

There are many stories of Saint Eanswythe’s miracles before and after her death. Among other things, she gave sight to a blind man, and cast out a demon from one who had been possessed.

We know few details about the rest of Saint Eanswythe’s life. Following the monastic Rule, she prayed to God day and night. When she was not in church, she spent her waking hours reading spiritual books and in manual labor. This may have consisted of copying and binding manuscripts. The nuns probably wove cloth for their clothing, and also for church vestments. They cared for the sick and aged nuns of their own community, as well as for the poor and infirm from outside. Then there was the daily routine of cooking and cleaning.

According to Tradition, Saint Eanswythe fell asleep in the Lord on the last day of August 640 when she was only in her mid-twenties. Her father King Eadbald also died in the same year.

The monastery at Folkestone did not last very long after the saint’s death. Some say it was destroyed by the sea, while others say it was sacked by the Danes in 867. Saint Eanswythe’s holy relics were moved to the nearby church of Saints Peter and Paul, which was farther away from the sea. In 927 King Athelstan granted the land where the monastery had stood to the monks of Christchurch, Canterbury.

As time passed, the sea continued to encroach on the land. In 1138 a new monastery and church, dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Eanswythe, were built farther inland. The relics of Saint Eanswythe were transferred once again, this time from the church of Saints Peter and Paul to the new priory church. During the Middle Ages, this second transfer of her relics was celebrated on September 12, which is the present Feast Day of the church of Saint Mary and Saint Eanswythe.

On November 15, 1535 the priory was seized by the officers of the King, who plundered the church of its valuables. The shrine of Saint Eanswythe was destroyed, but her relics had been hidden to protect them.

On June 17, 1885 workmen in the church discovered a niche in the walls which had been plastered up. Removing the plaster, they found a reliquary made of lead, about fourteen inches long, nine inches wide, and eight inches high. Judging by the ornamentation on the reliquary, it dated from the twelfth century. A number of bones were found inside, which experts said were those of a young woman. Today the niche is lined with alabaster, and is covered by a brass door and a grille.

At first, the holy relics were brought out for veneration every year on the parish Feast Day. This practice ended when several parishioners accused the Vicar of “worshiping” the relics. Although Saint Eanswythe’s relics are no longer offered for public veneration, candles and flowers are sometimes placed before the brass door where they are immured.

An Orthodox iconographer has presented the parish of Saint Mary and Saint Eanswythe with an icon of the saint.

The restoration of the church of the Theotokos at Neorion

The church, which was the property of the patrician Anthony, was located in the courtyard of his home at Neorion.1 During its restoration, the church received miraculous grace, working many miracles for those who came to it with faith.

After the patrician Anthony reposed, the church was abandoned and stripped bare. When Emperor Romanos Lekapēnós (reigned 919-944) was preparing to demolish it, the foreman in charge of the church's demolition was prevented from doing so by a vision of the Theotokos.

It was then decided to restore the church and a chrysoboulos was obtained, providing an annual grant for its maintenance.

1 Neorion was in the eastern part Constantinople, on the south coast.

9/4 announcements

September 4, 2022

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

I Corinthians 15:1-11: Brethren, I would remind you in what terms I preached to you the Gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He rose on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me. For I am the least of the Apostles, unfit to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God, which is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Matthew 19:16-26: At that time, a young man came up to Jesus, kneeling and saying, “Good Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honor your father and mother, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Troparion of the Resurrection: Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad; for the Lord hath done a mighty act with his own arm. He hath trampled down death and become the First-born from the dead. He hath delivered us from the depths of hades, granting the world the Great Mercy.

Troparion of St. Babylas of Antioch: By choosing the Apostles’ way of life, thou hast succeeded to their throne. Inspired by God, thou didst find the way to divine contemplation through the practice of virtue. After teaching the Word of Truth without error, thou didst defend the Faith to the very shedding of thy blood, O Hieromartyr Babylas. Entreat the Lord our God to save our souls.

Troparion of the Chains of St. Peter: O Holy Apostle, Peter, thou dost preside over the Apostles by the precious chains which thou didst bear. We venerate them with faith and beseech thee that by thine intercessions we be granted the great mercy.

Kontakion of the Nativity of the Theotokos: By thy holy birth-giving, O pure one, Joachim and Anne were delivered from the reproach of barrenness; and Adam and Eve were delivered from the corruption of death; thy people do celebrate it, having been saved from the stain of iniquity, crying unto thee, The barren doth give birth to the Theotokos, who nourisheth our life.


UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: All services listed on the calendar will be available through streaming and webcast.

Sunday, September 4 (Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost)

8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)

10:00 a.m. — Hierarchical Divine Liturgy (webcast)

Monday, September 5

Father Herman off

Tuesday, September 6 (Miracle of the Archangel Michael)

NO Services

Wednesday, September 7 (Deposition of the Belt of the Theotokos)

6:30 p.m. — Great Vespers with Litia and Artoklasia

Thursday, September 8 (Nativity of the Theotokos)

The first feast of the liturgical year celebrates the birth of the Holy Virgin Mary, most blessed of women, chosen to bear God the Son, partaker in the Incarnation as the dwelling place of God. To celebrate her birth and give honor to her life is unavoidably to anticipate the coming of the Messiah and to adore His person. To remember her worthiness is to remember God’s grace. To wonder at her faith is to arouse ourselves to emulate her strength of will and her depth of trust. As we enter the cycle of the year, we turn first to honor the Holy Virgin, she who by her role in history and by her place among the saints most reminds us of the coming of the Saviour and the life He gives us, who by the Incarnation became the ladder between Heaven and Earth, who as the Mother of Christ is also the Mother of all His brethren.

NO Services

Friday, September 9 (Righteous Joachim and Anna)

NO Services

Saturday, September 10

10:00 a.m. — Ladies meet for Akathist

4:45 p.m. — Choir Practice

6:00 p.m. — Great Vespers

Sunday, August 28

8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)

9:00 a.m. — Christian Education resumes

10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)

12:00 p.m. — Pot Luck Meal


The Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Brocks for the Divine Liturgy this morning.

Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.

Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.

Eucharist Bread Schedule:

Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour

September 4 Brock Meadows/Pigott

September 7 (Wed. p.m.) Meadows (Artoklasia bread) NO Coffee Hour

(Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos)

September 11 R. Root POT LUCK MEAL


September 13 (Tues. .m.) Pacurari Lasseter/Pacurari/Miller

(Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross)

September 18 Baker D. Root/Baker/Cooper

September 25 Henderson Henderson/Jones

Also, please remember that we still need your tithes and offerings which may be placed in the tray that is passed during the Divine Liturgy, in the tithe box at the back of the nave or be mailed to: St. Peter Orthodox Church, P.O. Box 2084, Madison, MS 39130-2084.

Schedule for Epistle Readers – Page numbers refer to the Apostolos (book of the Epistles) located on the Chanters’ stand at the front of the nave. Please be sure to use this book when you read.

Reader Reading Page#

September 4 Sam Habeeb I Cor. 15:1-11 146

September 11 Walt Wood Gal. 6:11-18 198

September 13 (Tues. p.m.) Kh. Sharon Meadows I Cor. 1:18-24 311-312

September 18 Sh. Charlotte Algood Gal. 2:16-20 193

September 25 Ian Jones II Cor. 4:6-15 163

Please remember the following in your prayers: Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Lamia Dabit and her family; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon’s sister); Jay and Joanna Davis; Fr. Leo and Kh. Be’Be’ Schelver and their family; Kathy Willingham; Marilyn (Kyriake) Snell; Jack and Jill Weatherly; Lottie Dabbs (Sh. Charlotte Algood’s mother), Sh. Charlotte and their family; Maria Costas (currently at St. Catherine’s Village); Reader Basil and Brenda Baker and their family; Buddy Cooper.

We welcome His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS! May God grant him Many Years!

Congratulations and Many Years to George and Tiffany Mychaskiw who were married yesterday! They will soon be settling into their new life in California. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Please mark your calendars now for this year’s Diocesan Fall Retreat. It will be hosted by St. Ignatius in Franklin, TN again this year, on September 9-10.

Instructions for streaming our services can be found on the parish website.

Calendar Items:

* The men of the parish meet for lunch at 11:30 a.m. on the first Thursday of the month.

* The Ladies meet at the church at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children on behalf of our children.

* The Ladies meet for lunch on the last Tuesday of the month.

* We will celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos with Great Vespers with Litia and Artoklasia on Wednesday evening, September 8th, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

* Church School will resume on Sunday September 11th at 9:00 a.m.

* The Feast of the Precious and Life-giving Cross will be celebrated with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy on Tuesday evening, September 13th, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

PARENTS, a problem has arisen due to the nursery room being left messy after Coffee Hour. No food of any kind should be taken into that room. Also, it is necessary for a parent to be in the room whenever their children are in there playing. Thank you for your assistance with this.

Fasting Discipline for September

In September, the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil) is observed on all Wednesdays and Fridays of the month. The Feast of the Elevation of the Cross on September 14th is also a strict fast day.

Major Commemorations for September

September 6 Miracle of the Archangel Michael

September 8 Nativity of the Theotokos

September 9 Righteous Joachim and Anna

September 13 Dedication of the Church of the Anastasis

September 14 Elevation of the Precious Life-giving Cross

September 23 Conception of the Forerunner

September 24 Proto-martyr Thekla

September 26 Apostle John the Theologian (repose)

Quotable “So many temptations come to us because we do not pray, because the house is empty. However, many temptations also come to us when we pray. Oftentimes, when we are praying hard, the memory of an old sin comes to us with great strength. It’s like a fire has been lit in us that all at once reaches our mind, our heart, and our feelings. It seems to us that we cannot resist this fire, but despite its strength against us, we must not think the sin is inevitable. It is but a thought, coming from the devil himself. You cannot let yourself be conquered by sin. Make an effort, try to get yourself moving in the right direction. Believe that God is stronger than the sin and that through Him you will be victorious.”

Elder Sergei of Vanves

Worship: Sunday, September 11, 2022 (Sunday before the Elevation of the Holy Cross)

Scripture: Galatians 6:11-18; John 3:13-17

Celebrant: Father Herman

Epistle Reader: Walt Wood

Prosphora: R. Root

Coffee Hour: POT LUCK MEAL


Daily Readings for Tuesday, August 30, 2022



Apodosis of the Feast of the Forerunner, Alexander, John, and Paul the New, Patriarchs of Constantinople, Phantinos the Righteous of Calabria, 16 Monk-martyrs of Thebes, 6 Martyrs of Melitene, The Synaxis of the Holy Hierarchs of Serbia, The Holy New Martyrs of Serbia, Fiacre the Hermit of Meaux


Brethren, Christ died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

MARK 1:16-22

At that time, Jesus, passing along by the Sea of Galilee, saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boats mending the nets. And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him. And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Saint Alexander, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saints Alexander, John and Paul, Patriarchs of Constantinople, lived at different times, but each of them happened to clash with the activities of heretics who sought to distort the teachings of the Church. Saint Alexander (325-340) was a vicar bishop during the time of Saint Metrophanes (June 4), the first Patriarch of Constantinople.

Because of the patriarch’s extreme age, Alexander substituted for him at the First Ecumenical Synod at Nicea (325). Upon his death, Saint Metrophanes left instructions in his will to elect his vicar to the throne of Constantinople. During these times His Holiness Patriarch Alexander had to contend with the Arians and with pagans. Once, in a dispute with a pagan philosopher the saint said to him, “In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ I command you to be quiet!” and the pagan suddenly became mute. When he gestured with signs to acknowledge his errors and affirm the correctness of the Christian teaching, then his speech returned to him and he believed in Christ together with many other pagan philosophers. The faithful rejoiced at this, glorifying God Who had given such power to His saint.

The heretic Arius was punished through the prayer of Saint Alexander. Arius had apparently agreed to enter into communion with the Orthodox. When the Emperor asked him if he believed as the Fathers of Nicea taught, he placed his hand upon his breast (where he had cunningly concealed beneath his clothes a document with his own false creed written upon it) and said, “This is what I believe!” Saint Constantine (May 21), unaware of the deceitful wickedness of Arius, set a day for receiving him into the Church. All night long Saint Alexander prayed, imploring the Lord not to permit this heretic to be received into communion with the Church.

In the morning, Arius set out triumphantly for the church, surrounded by imperial counselors and soldiers, but divine judgment overtook him. Stopping to take care of a physical necessity, his bowels burst forth and he perished in his own blood and filth, as did Judas (Acts 1:18).

His Holiness Patriarch Alexander, having toiled much, died in the year 340 at the age of 98. Saint Gregory the Theologian (January 25) mentioned him afterwards in an encomium to the people of Constantinople.

The Service to Saint Alexander was printed in Venice in 1771. According to some ancient manuscripts, Saint Alexander ought to be commemorated on June 2. Today he is remembered together with the holy Patriarchs John the Faster (September 2) and Paul the New (eighth century).

Saint John, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint John IV the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople (582-595), is famed in the Orthodox Church as the compiler of a penitential Nomokanon (i.e. rule for penances), which has come down to us in several distinct versions, but their foundation is one and the same. These are instructions for priests on how to hear the confession of secret sins, whether these sins have been committed, or are merely sins of intention.

Ancient Church rules address the manner and duration of public penances which were established for obvious and manifest sinners. But it was necessary to adapt these rules for the secret confession of things which were not evident. Saint John the Faster issued his penitential Nomokanon (or “Canonaria”), so that the confession of secret sins, unknown to the world, bore witness to the good disposition of the sinner and of his conscience in being reconciled to God, and so the saint reduced the penances of the ancient Fathers by half or more.

On the other hand, he set more exactly the character of the penances: severe fasting, daily performance of a set number of prostrations to the ground, the distribution of alms, etc. The length of penance is determined by the priest. The main purpose of the Nomocanon compiled by the holy Patriarch consists in assigning penances, not simply according to the seriousness of the sins, but according to the degree of repentance and the spiritual state of the person who confesses.

Among the Greeks, and later in the Russian Church, the rules of Saint John the Faster are honored on a level “with other saintly rules,” and the Nomocanons of his book are accounted “applicable for all the Orthodox Church.” Saint Νikόdēmos of the Holy Mountain (July 14) included him in the Manual for Confession (Exomologitarion), first published in 1794, and in the Rudder (Pedalion), published in 1800.

The first Slavonic translation was done quite possibly by Saint Methodius, Equal of the Apostles, at the same time as he produced the Nomocanon in 50 Titles of the holy Patriarch John Scholastikos, whose successor on the throne of Constantinople was Saint John the Faster. This ancient translation was preserved in Rus in the “Ustiug Rudder” of the thirteenth century, which was published in 1902.

From the sixteenth century in the Russian Church the Nomocanon of Saint John the Faster was circulated in another redaction, compiled by the monks and clergy of Mount Athos. In this form it was repeatedly published at the Kiev Caves Lavra (in 1620, 1624, and 1629).

In Moscow, the Penitential Nomokanon was published in the form of a supplement to the Trebnik (Book of Needs): under Patriarch Joasaph in 1639, under Patriarch Joseph in 1651, and under Patriarch Nikon in 1658. The last edition since that time is that printed in the Great Book of Needs. A scholarly edition of the Nomocanon with parallel Greek and Slavonic texts and with detailed historical and canonical commentary was published by A. S. Pavlov (Moscow, 1897).

Saint John is also commemorated on September 2.

Saint Paul the New, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Paul, by birth a Cypriot, became Patriarch of Constantinople (780-784) during the reign of the Iconoclast Emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780), and was a virtuous and pious, but timid man. Seeing the martyrdom which the Orthodox endured for the holy icons, the saint concealed his Orthodoxy and associated with the iconoclasts.

After the death of the emperor Leo, he wanted to restore icon veneration but was not able to accomplish this, since the iconoclasts were still quite powerful. The saint realized that it was not in his power to guide the flock, and so he left the patriarchal throne and went secretly to the monastery of Saint Florus, where he took the schema.

He repented of his silence and association with the iconoclasts and spoke of the necessity for convening the Seventh Ecumenical Council to condemn the Iconoclast heresy. Upon his advice, Saint Tarasius (February 25) was chosen to the patriarchal throne. At that time, he was a prominent imperial counselor. The saint died as a schemamonk in the year 804.

Venerable Alexander, Abbot of Svir

Saint Alexander of Svir was born on July 15, 1448, on the Feast Day of the Prophet Amos, and was named for him in Baptism. Saint Alexander was a beacon of monasticism in the deep forests of the Russian North, living in asceticism, and so he received remarkable gifts by the All-Holy Spirit.

His parents, Stephen and Vassa (Vasilisa) were peasants living in the village of Mandera near Lake Ladoga, on the shores of the Oyata River, a tributary of the Svira River. They had adult sons and daughters who had left the home of their parents. Stephen and Vassa longed to have another son, and prayed that God would grant their wish. The couple heard a voice from on high: “Rejoice, good man and wife, you shall bear a son, in whose birth God will give comfort to His Church.”

Amos grew up to be an extraordinary child. He was always obedient and gentle, he avoided games, jokes and foul talk; he wore poor clothing and so weakened himself with fasting that it caused his mother much anxiety. When he came of age, he met some monks from Valaam who had come to the Oyata to purchase various necessities, and on other monastery business.

By this time Valaam was already known as a monastery of great piety and strict ascetic life. After speaking with the monks, the young man was fascinated by their account of Skete life (with two or three monks living together) and the solitary life of the anchorite. Knowing that his parents had arranged a marriage for him, the young man fled secretly to Valaam when he was nineteen. An Angel of the Lord appeared to him the guise of a traveler, and showed him the way to the island.

Young Amos lived at the monastery as a novice for seven years, leading an austere life. He spent his days at work, and his nights in vigil and prayer. Sometimes, he prayed in the forest bare-chested, covered with mosquitoes and gnats, until it was time for Matins.

In the year 1474, Amos was tonsured with the new name Alexander. After several years, his parents eventually learned where their son had gone from some Karelians visiting Mandera. Following the example of their son, the parents also went to monasteries and were tonsured with the names Sergius and Barbara. After their deaths, Saint Alexander, with the blessing of the Igumen of the monastery, settled on an island, where he built a cell in the crevice of a cliff and continued his spiritual endeavors.

The fame of his asceticism spread far and wide. Then in 1485, Saint Alexander departed from Valaam and, after receiving instructions from on high, chose a place in the forest by the shores of a beautiful lake, which was later called Holy Lake. Here he built a shack, living in solitude for seven years, eating only what he gathered in the forest.1

During this time, Alexander experienced terrible suffering from hunger, frost, sickness and demonic temptations, but the Lord sustained the righteous one's spiritual and bodily strength. Once, he was afflicted with a terrible pain in his stomach. Not only was he unable to get up off the ground, but he couldn't even lift his head. He just lay there and chanted Psalms. Then an Angel appeared to him. Placing his hand on the sore spot, he made the Sign of the Cross over the Saint and healed him.

In 1493 while hunting for deer, a nearby landowner named Andrew Zavalishin happened to discover the Saint's cell. Andrew told him of a fiery pillar he had seen over this place, and begged him to tell him about his life. The Saint was deeply saddened by this, because he had not able to hide himself from men. After making the other promise not to tell anyone about him until after his death, Saint Alexander spoke to him about his life in the wilderness, where he had lived for seven years without seeing anyone, how he had subsisted on plants alone, and how he had been healed of a pain in his stomach by an Angel. After that, Andrew began to visit Saint Alexander often. Finally, following the Saint's advice, he went to Valaam, where he was tonsured with the name Adrian. Saint Adrian founded the Ondrusov monastery, and led a holy life (Saint Andrew is commemorated on August 26 and May 17).

Andrew Zavalishin was unable to remain silent about the holy ascetic, despite the promise he had given. News of the righteous one began to spread widely, and soon monks gathered around him. Therefore, Saint Alexander withdrew from the brethren and built a cell 130 sazhen from the monastery. There he encountered a multitude of temptations. The demons assumed the forms of wild animals. Hissing like snakes, they ordered him to leave. Saint Alexander's prayers scorched and scattered the demons like a fiery flame.

In 1508, twenty-three years after he came to this secluded spot, the Life-Creating Trinity appeared to Saint Alexander. One night he was praying in his cell. Suddenly, there was a dazzling light, and he saw three Angels in resplendent white garments approaching him. They shone with a pure brightness greater than the sun. Each held a staff in His hand. Saint Alexander fell down in terror, and after recovering his senses, he prostrated himself upon the ground. Raising him by the hand, the Angels said: “Have faith, blessed one, and do not be afraid.”

The Saint was told to build a church and a monastery. He fell to his knees, protesting his own unworthiness, but the Lord raised him up and ordered him to carry out the instructions he had been given. Saint Alexander asked to whom the church ought to be dedicated. The Lord said: "Beloved, as you see us speaking with you in Three Persons, so build the church in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the consubstantial Trinity. Peace I leave you; my peace I give you.”

Then Saint Alexander beheld the Lord with outstretched wings, moving along the ground until He became invisible.

This appearance is acknowledged as unique in history of the Russian Orthodox Church After this vision, the Saint began thinking of where to build the church. Once, as he was praying to God, he heard a voice. Gazing up to the heavens, he saw an Angel of the Lord clothed in a mantiya and klobuk, such as Saint Pachomios (May 15) had seen.

The Angel, standing in the air with outstretched wings and upraised hands, proclaimed: “One is Holy, One is the Lord, Jesus Christ, to the Glory of God the Father. Amen.” Then he turned to Saint Alexander saying, “Build a church here in honor of the Lord Who has appeared to you in Three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Undivided Trinity.”

After making the Sign of the Cross over the place three times, the Angel became invisible.

In that same year he built a wooden church in honor of the Life-Creating Trinity (a stone church was built here in 1526). At the same time as the church was built, the brethren urged Saint Alexander to be ordained to the holy priesthood. For a long time he refused, considering himself unworthy. Then the brethren implored Saint Serapion, the Archbishop of Novgorod (March 16), to convince him to accept this office. So that very year Saint Alexander went to Novgorod and was ordained by the holy Archbishop. Soon afterward, the brethren also asked the Saint to be their Superior.

As Igumen, Saint Alexander became even more humble than before. He wore tattered clothes, and he slept on the bare ground. He himself prepared food, kneaded dough and baked bread. On one occasion, there was not enough firewood, so the steward asked the Saint to send any unoccupied monks to gather firewood. Saint Alexander replied, "I am not busy." Then he began to chop firewood. Another time, he carried water.

When all were asleep, the saint was often busy grinding wheat with hand-stones to make more bread. Every night, he went around to all the cells, and if he heard vain conversations, he tapped softly on the door and left. In the morning, if the brother readily acknowledged his guilt and repented, he was forgiven. On the other hand, if the brother tried to justify himself, he was admonished and given a penance.

Toward the end of his life, Saint Alexander decided to build a stone church in honor of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. One evening, after chanting an Akathist to the Mother of God, he settled down to rest in his cell. Suddenly, he said to his cell attendant Athanasios, “Child, be sober and alert, because at this very hour we shall have a wondrous and astounding visitation."

Then a voice like thunder said, “Behold, the Lord and His Mother are coming.”

Saint Alexander hastened to the entrance to the cell, which it was illumined by a great light shining throughout the monastery, brighter than the rays of the sun. The Saint beheld the Most Pure Mother of God upon the foundation of the Protection church, and sitting where the altar would be, like a Queen upon a throne. She held the Infant Christ in her arms, and a multitude of Angels stood before her, with shining with indescribable radiance.

He fell down to the ground, unable to endure the great light. The Most Holy Theotokos said, “Arise, chosen one of my Son and God. I have come here to visit you, my dear one, and to see the foundation of my church. Since you have prayed for your disciples and for your monastery, henceforth they shall have all that they need; not only during your lifetime, but also after your death. I shall be with your monastery always, providing an abundance of what is required. Behold, and note carefully how many are the monks who have come into your flock. You must guide them on the path of salvation in the name of the Holy Trinity.”

The Saint arose and saw a multitude of monks carrying stones and bricks for the foundation. Again the Mother of God said: “My dear one, if someone brings even one brick for the building of my church, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Son and God, he shall not lose his reward.”

After saying this, she became invisible.

A year before his death, Saint Alexander foresaw the time of his departure from this life. He summoned the brethren and gave them his final instructions, commending them to the Mother of God. The brethren wept at the thought of being separated from their beloved Father. When they asked where he wished to be buried he said, "Bind my sinful body by the legs and drop it into a the marsh then, after covering it with moss, trample on it with your feet."

The brethren replied, "No, Father, we cannot do this.”

Then the holy ascetic said that if they would not do as he asked, then they should bury him near the church of the Transfiguration. Saint Alexander departed to the heavenly Kingdom on August 30, 1533 at the age of 85.

Countless miracles of healing took place at his grave for those who came there with faith.

In 1545, his disciple and successor, Igumen Herodion, compiled his Life. In 1547 local veneration of the Saint began and a Service was composed for him. On April 17,1641, during the rebuilding of the Transfiguration church, the incorrupt relics of Saint Alexander of Svir were uncovered, and his universal veneration was established on two dates: the day of his repose, August 30, and on April 17, the day of his glorification (and the uncovering of his relics).

Saint Alexander of Svir instructed a multitude of disciples, just as the Mother of God had promised him. These Include Ignatius of Ostrov, Leonid of Ostrov, Cornelius of Ostrov, Dionysios of Ostrov, Athanasios of Ostrov, Theodore of Ostrov, and Therapon of Ostrov.

In addition to these saints, there are disciples and conversers with Saint Alexander of Svir, who have separate days of commemoration: Saint Athanasios of Syandem (January 18), Saint Gennadios of Vasheozersk (February 9), Saint Makarios of Orodezh (August 9), Saint Adrian of Ondrosov (May 17), Saint Nikephoros of Vasheozersk (February 9), Saint Gennadios of Kostroma and Liubimograd (January 23).

All these saints (except Saint Gennadios of Kostroma) are depicted on the Icon of the monastic Fathers who shone forth in the land of Karelia (the icon is in the church at the Seminary in Kuopio, Finland). The Synaxis of the Saints who have shone forth in Karelia is celebrated by the Finnish Orthodox Church on the Saturday which falls between October 31 and November 6.

The incorrupt relics of Saint Alexander were removed from the Svir Monastery by the Bolsheviks on December 20, 1918 after several unsuccessful attempts to confiscate them. There was an infamous campaign to destroy the relics of the Saints which continued from 1919 to 1922. Many relics of Russsian Saints were stolen and subjected to "scientific examination” or displayed in anti-religious museums. Some of them were completely destroyed.2

A second uncovering of Saint Alexander’s relics took place in December of 1997.

The relics were found to be incorrupt, just as they were when they were confiscated. The saint’s appearance matched the description in the records from 1641. Once it was determined that these were truly the relics of Saint Alexander, Metropolitan Vladimir of Saint Petersburg permitted them to be taken to the church of Saint Sophia and her three daughters Faith, Hope, and Love (September 17) for four months before they were returned to the Monastery. As people venerated Saint Alexander’s relics, they noticed a fragrant myrrh flowing from them.

The holy relics were taken to the Saint Alexander of Svir Monastery in November 1998, and miraculous cures continue to take place before them.

1 Later at this place, Holy Lake, 36 versts from the future city of Olonets and 6 versts from the River Svira, Saint Alexander founded the monastery of the Life-Creating Trinity, and 130 sazhen (i.e. 910 feet) from it, at Lake Roschina, he built a cell on the future site of the Saint Alexander of Svir Monastery.

2 The Soviets conducted many tests, hoping to prove that the relics were fakes. However, the tests only confirmed that the relics were genuine. Finally, the holy relics were sent to Petrograd’s Military Medical Academy, where they remained for almost eighty years.

Translation of the relics of Saint Alexander Nevsky

The Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky (in monastic schema Alexis) died on the return journey from the Horde at Gorodtsa on the Volga, on November 14, 1263, and on November 23, 1263 he was buried in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity Monastery in the city of Vladimir.1

Veneration of the Prince began right at his burial, where a remarkable miracle took place. The saint extended his hand for the prayer of absolution (a written document placed in the coffin). Great Prince John (1353-1359), in his spiritual testament written in the year 1356, left to his son Demetrius (1363-1389), the future victor of the Battle of Kulikovo, “an icon of Saint Alexander.” The incorrupt relics of the holy Prince were uncovered, because of a vision, before the Battle of Kulikovo in the year 1380, and then they were sent forth for a local celebration.

Russian commanders asked for the intercession of the holy Prince, glorified by his defense of the Fatherland, in the following times: On August 30, 1721 Peter I, after a lengthy and exhausting war with the Swedes, concluded the Nishtad Peace. On this day it was decided to transfer the relics of the holy Prince Alexander Nevsky from Vladimir to the new northern capital, Peterburg, on the banks of the Neva. Removed from Vladimir on August 11, 1723, the holy relics were greeted at Shlisselburg on September 20 of that year and remained there until 1724. On August 30, they were placed in the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, where they now rest in Saint Petersburg. By an edict on September 2, 1724 a feastday was established on August 30.2

Archimandrite Gabriel Buzhinsky (later Bishop of Ryazan, + April 27, 1731) compiled a special service in remembrance of the Nishtad Peace, combining with it a service to Saint Alexander Nevsky.

The name of the Defender of the borders of Russia and the Patron of Soldiers is famous far beyond the borders of Russia. The numerous temples dedicated to Saint Alexander Nevsky bear witness to this. The most famous of them: the Patriarchal Cathedral at Sofia, the Cathedral church in Talinin, and a church in Tbilisi. These churches are a pledge of friendship of the Russian National-Liberator with brother nations.

1 There is now a memorial to the holy prince at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity Monastery. Another memorial is in the city of Pereslavl-Zalessk.

2 In 1727, the feast was discontinued because of secular matters, which involved clique struggles at the imperial court. In 1730, the Feast was again re-established.

Uncovering of the relics of Saint Daniel, Prince of Moscow

The Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, who was the son of Saint Alexander Nevsky (November 23 & August 30), went to the Lord on March 4,1303. On August 30, 1652 his relics were uncovered and found to be incorrupt. Later, they were transferred to the church dedicated to the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Now they rest in the Danilov Monastery in Moscow. Many of the faithful are healed of their infirmities when they pray at his shrine.

See March 4 for his Life.

Saint Christopher of Palestine

Saint Christopher, a Roman, lived during the sixth century. He was tonsured into monasticism at the monastery of Saint Theodosius (January 11) in Palestine, near Jerusalem. The accounts of Abba Theodulus about Saint Christopher are contained in chapters 105 and 234 of the book The Spiritual Meadow (Limonarion)

Once Saint Christopher went to Jerusalem to worship at the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord and at the Life-Creating Cross. At the gateway of the church he beheld a monk not moving from the spot. Two ravens flew before his face. Saint Christopher discerned that these were demons, which held the monk back from entering the church.

He asked the brother: “Why do you stand at the gate and not enter?” The brother answered: “Pardon me, Father, but within me struggle two thoughts. One says: go and venerate the Venerable Cross. The other says: don’t go in, make some excuse, and come to venerate the Cross another time.” Then Saint Christopher took the brother by the hand and led him into the church. The ravens immediately disappeared, and the brother venerated the Cross and the Holy Sepulchre. Saint Christopher told this story to someone who was distracted by his duties and neglected his prayers.

By day Saint Christopher fulfilled his monastic obedience, and by night he retired to a cave, where at an earlier time Saint Theodosius and other Fathers had prayed. At each of the 18 steps leading into the cave, he made 100 prostrations, and spent the greater part of the night in prayer, before the semantron was sounded for Orthros. He spent eleven years doing this. One time, descending into the cave, he beheld a multitude of lamps in it. Two radiant youths were tending them.

“Why have you put the lamps here so that I cannot enter in and pray?” asked the monk.

“These are the lamps of the Fathers,” they replied.

“Tell me, does my lamp burn or not?”

They said, “Pray, and we will light it.”

“Pray?” he said, “What have I been doing up to now?”

Then the saint said to himself: “Christopher, if you wish to be saved, greater effort is needed!”

At dawn he went from the monastery to Mount Sinai, taking nothing with him. The monk toiled there for fifty years at great exploits. Finally, he heard a voice saying, “Christopher! Go to the monastery where you struggled earlier, so that you might rest there with your Fathers.”

Saint Fantinus of Calabria

Saint Fantinus the Wonderworker was born in Calabria (Italy) of parents George and Vriena. He was given over to a monastery, and from childhood he was accustomed to ascetic deeds. In his youth he wandered into the wilderness, remaining often without food or clothes for twenty days. The monk spent 60 years in such exploits.

Before the end of his life, fleeing before pursuing Saracens, he went with his disciples Vitalius and Nikēphóros to the Peloponnesos (Greece). Preaching the way of salvation, the monk visited Corinth, Athens, Larissa and Thessalonica, where he venerated the relics of the Great Martyr Demetrius (October 26). He died peacefully in extreme old age at the end of the ninth, and beginning of the tenth century.

Synaxis of the Serbian Hierarchs

The Synaxis of Serbian Hierarchs celebrates archpastors of the Serbian Church of the thirteenth—fourteenth centuries. The majority of them have individual days of celebration in addition to this general commemoration.

Saint Archbishop Savva I, January 12.

Saint Arsenius I, Archbishop of Serbia, October 28.

Saint Savva II, Archbishop of Serbia, February 8.

Saint Eustathius I, Archbishop of Serbia, January 4.

Saint Νikόdēmos, Archbishop of Serbia, May 11.

Saint Daniel, Archbishop of Serbia, December 20.

Saint Joannicius II, first Patriarch of Serbia, September 3.

Saint Ephraim II, Patriarch of Serbia, June 15.

Saint James the Serbian Hierarch, commemoration date unknown.

Saint Spyridon, Patriarch of Serbia

Saint Spyridon, Patriarch of Serbia (1382-1388), was much concerned about the monastic communities during difficult years of civil and ecclesial unrest. He was consecrated by Saint Ephraim II, Patriarch of Serbia (1367-1382), who then withdrew to the Archangelsk monastery of the Dushan church. Saint Spyridon termed Church singing “a spiritual flute,” and evidently he wrote church hymns for the Serbian Church. The saint died at almost the same time as the holy Prince Lazar (June 15), who was killed in the battle with the Turks at Kosovo Pole.

After the death of Saint Spyridon, the guidance of the Serbian Church was again placed upon Saint Ephraim II.

Saint Macarius, Patriarch of Serbia

Saint Macarius, Patriarch of Serbia (1557-1574), toiled in particular for the spread of education in Serbia. Many church books were printed in his time. The brother of the saint was vizier under the sultan and assisted in the restoration of monasteries and churches despoiled by Moslem fanaticism, and also with the restoration of the patriarch’s monastery.

Saint Gabriel I, Patriarch of Serbia

Saint Gabriel I, Patriarch of Serbia (family name Raicha), occupied the cathedra in the mid-seventeenth century, a time when the Moslem fanaticism had become intense. In the urgent need for both cathedral and country the saint went to collect alms at Walachia, and from there to Moscow.

In Moscow in 1655, he was present with the Patriarch of Antioch at a Church Council which sought to correct various aspects of church service books in accord with the Greek and Old Slavonic texts. The saint brought several manuscripts and three liturgies printed in the south as gifts to the Russian Church.

The saint returned to Serbia with generous alms for his Church and country. His cathedra had been given to another occupant, and moreover, Austrian Jesuits had slandered him with treason before the vizier. The saint’s innocence was obvious, because the vizier pretended he would spare his life and grant him an important official position, if the saint would betray his faith in the Savior.

“I am completely innocent of state crimes,” said Saint Gabriel, “this you admit yourself. I shall never agree to save my life by betraying the Christian Faith while I remain of sound mind. Keep your riches and honors, for I don’t need them.” After harsh torture, Saint Gabriel was hanged in October 1659.

In the general service of the Serblyak (collective services to Serbian saints) on August 30 are also remembered: Saint Iakov, Archbishop of Serbia (February 3, 1292), the holy Bishop Gregory (a descendant of the renowned Nehemanicha lineage), and also the saints: Archbishop Savva III (1305-1316), and the Patriarchs Cyril, Nikon, John, Maximus.

Saint Gregory the Bishop

No information available at this time.

Daily Readings for Monday, August 29, 2022



Beheading of the Holy and Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, Theodora of Thessaloniki, Anastasios the New Martyr of Bulgaria


IN THOSE DAYS, as John was finishing his course, he said, “What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.” Brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you that fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets which are read every sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning him. Though they could charge him with nothing deserving death, yet they asked Pilate to have him killed. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead; and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.

MARK 6:14-30

At that time, Herod the King heard about the fame of Jesus, for his name had become known. He said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.

The Beheading of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John

The Beheading of the Prophet, Forerunner of the Lord, John the Baptist: The Evangelists Matthew (Mt.14:1-12) and Mark (Mark 6:14-29) provide accounts about the martyric end of John the Baptist in the year 32 after the Birth of Christ.

Following the Baptism of the Lord, Saint John the Baptist was locked up in prison by Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch (ruler of one fourth of the Holy Land) and governor of Galilee. (After the death of king Herod the Great, the Romans divided the territory of Palestine into four parts, and put a governor in charge of each part. Herod Antipas received Galilee from the emperor Augustus).

The prophet of God John openly denounced Herod for having left his lawful wife, the daughter of the Arabian king Aretas, and then instead cohabiting with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19-20). On his birthday, Herod made a feast for dignitaries, the elders and a thousand chief citizens. Salome, the daughter of Herod, danced before the guests and charmed Herod. In gratitude to the girl, he swore to give her whatever she would ask, up to half his kingdom.

The vile girl on the advice of her wicked mother Herodias asked that she be given the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod became apprehensive, for he feared the wrath of God for the murder of a prophet, whom earlier he had heeded. He also feared the people, who loved the holy Forerunner. But because of the guests and his careless oath, he gave orders to cut off the head of Saint John and to give it to Salome.

According to Tradition, the mouth of the dead preacher of repentance once more opened and proclaimed: “Herod, you should not have the wife of your brother Philip.” Salome took the platter with the head of Saint John and gave it to her mother. The frenzied Herodias repeatedly stabbed the tongue of the prophet with a needle and buried his holy head in a unclean place. But the pious Joanna, wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, buried the head of John the Baptist in an earthen vessel on the Mount of Olives, where Herod had a parcel of land. (The Uncovering of the Venerable Head is celebrated February 24). The holy body of John the Baptist was taken that night by his disciples and buried at Sebastia, there where the wicked deed had been done.

After the murder of Saint John the Baptist, Herod continued to govern for a certain time. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, later sent Jesus Christ to him, Whom he mocked (Luke 23:7-12).

The judgment of God came upon Herod, Herodias and Salome, even during their earthly life. Salome, crossing the River Sikoris in winter, fell through the ice. The ice gave way in such a way that her body was in the water, but her head was trapped above the ice. It was similar to how she once had danced with her feet upon the ground, but now she flailed helplessly in the icy water. Thus she was trapped until that time when the sharp ice cut through her neck.

Her corpse was not found, but they brought the head to Herod and Herodias, as once they had brought them the head of Saint John the Baptist. The Arab king Aretas, in revenge for the disrespect shown his daughter, made war against Herod. The defeated Herod suffered the wrath of the Roman emperor Caius Caligua (37-41) and was exiled with Herodias first to Gaul, and then to Spain.

The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, a Feast day established by the Church, is also a strict fast day because of the grief of Christians at the violent death of the saint. In some Orthodox cultures pious people will not eat food from a flat plate, use a knife, or eat food that is round in shape on this day.

Today the Church makes remembrance of Orthodox soldiers killed on the field of battle, as established in 1769 at the time of Russia’s war with the Turks and the Poles.

Saint Anastasius of the Strumitza Eparchy

The New Martyr Anastasius, a Bulgarian, was born in 1774 in the Strumnitsk diocese, in the village of Radovicha. His parents gave him over to military studies. When the youth was twenty years old, he happened to be with his teacher in Thessalonica. The master wanted to sell some Turkish clothes without paying the customary duty. He told his disciple to dress himself as a Turk and go into the city. The collectors of the duty stopped him and demanded the written receipt of duty payment. The youth answered that he was a Turk. Then the collectors demanded that he recite the salutation with the Moslem prayer. The youth became confused and quiet. They ordered him to appear before the commander, who in interrogating the martyr suggested that he become a Moslem. The youth refused, and they led him away to the chief tax-collector.

The official tried at first to flatter, then to threaten the martyr, who admitted his civil guilt, but would not agree to betray the holy Faith. The tax-collector made this known to the mufti, who in turn answered, “You have in one hand the sword, in the other the law, use what you wish.”

He knew that by law the tax-collector ought to collect the tax from the youth, but then by judgment of the mufti he would not be a follower of Mohammed, armed with a sword. When he had received such an answer, the commander of the haraje sent the youth to the local mullah together with five Turks, who were obliged to testify that the Christian had blasphemed the Moslem religion.

To the accusations of blasphemy against Mohammed by these witnesses, the youth honestly answered that he did not blaspheme him, but he would allow having shown disrespect to Moslem customs. They subjected him to torture and condemned him to hanging. Along the way, they continued to urge the martyr to renounce his faith, but bleeding and exhausted, he fell upon the wayside and died on August 29, 1794.

Saint Arkadios the Wonderworker, Bishop of Arsinoe, Cyprus

Saint Arkadios was born in Arsinoe, Cyprus and lived in the late third century until the early fourth century. He was the son of pious and wealthy parents, Michael and Anna. Saint Arkadios went to be educated in Constantinople, and then he returned home to Arsinoe.

He became known for his ascetic struggles and for his great virtues. When Saint Nikon died, Arkadios was chosen as his successor on the throne of Arsinoe. After shepherding his flock in a God-pleasing manner, he reposed peacefully on August 29th. He also had a brother, Saint Theosebios the God-bearer of Arsinoe (October 12).

Venerable Theodora and her daughter Theopiste

Although the commemoration of these saints is on August 29, their celebration was moved to August 3 because of the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.

Deposition of the Holy Relics of Saint Joseph Samakos the Sanctified (1669)

Saint Joseph the Sanctified reposed on January 22, 1511 when he was about seventy years old, and was buried in his monastery. His holiness was recognized at the recovery of his relics, because they were found incorrupt and emitting a divine fragrance. They were deposited in the katholikon of the monastery. Even after his death, there were continuous miracles where many sick persons were healed, the blind and possessed, established his reputation as a miracle worker.

In 1669 the Ottomans occupied Heraklion in Crete, and so the devout clergyman Anthony Armakis transferred the sacred relics of Saint Joseph to Zakynthos on August 29, 1669 and placed them in the Monastery of Saint John of Mantineos in Xerobounia. There the Saint's relics remained until 1915, when they were placed in the parish church of the Pantokrator at Gaitanios, Zakynthos.

Daily Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2022



11th Sunday of Matthew, Moses the Black of Scete, Diomedes & Laurence the Martyrs, 33 Martyrs of Nicomedea, Job of Pochaev , Synaxis of the Kiev Cave Fathers


Brethren, you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

MATTHEW 18:23-35

The Lord said this parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him to the torturers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Uncovering of the relics of Venerable Job the Wonderworker, Abbot of Pochaev

Saint Job of Pochaev died on October 28, 1651, and his relics were transferred to the church of the Holy Trinity on August 28, 1659. A second uncovering of the relics took place on August 28, 1833. In the year 1902, the Holy Synod decreed that on this day the holy relics of Saint Job be carried around the Dormition cathedral of the Pochaev Lavra after the Divine Liturgy.

Venerable Moses the Ethiopian of Scete

Saint Moses lived in Egypt during the fourth century. He was an Ethiopian, and since he was black of skin he was called “Murin” (meaning “like an Ethiopian”). In his youth he was the slave of an important man, but after he committed a murder, his master banished him, and he joined a band of robbers.

Because of his bad character and great physical strength, they chose him as their leader. Moses and his band of brigands were feared because of their many evil exploits, including murders and robberies. People trembled at the mere mention of his name.

Moses the brigand spent several years leading a sinful life, but through the great mercy of God he repented, left his band of robbers and went to one of the desert monasteries. Here he wept for a long time, begging to be admitted as one of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance, but the former robber would neither be driven away nor silenced. He continued to implore that they accept him.

Saint Moses was completely obedient to the hegoumen and the brethren, and he poured forth many tears of sorrow for his sinful life. After a certain while Saint Moses withdrew to a solitary cell, where he spent his time in prayer and the strictest fasting.

Once, four of the robbers of his former band descended upon the cell of Saint Moses. He had lost none of his great physical strength, so he tied them all up. Throwing them over his shoulder, he brought them to the monastery, where he asked the Elders what to do with them. The Elders ordered that they be set free. The robbers, learning that they had chanced upon their former ringleader, and that he had dealt kindly with them, followed his example: they repented and became monks. Later, when the rest of the band of robbers heard about Saint Moses’ repentance, then they also gave up their thievery and became fervent monks.

Saint Moses was not quickly freed from the passions. He went often to the hegoumen, Abba Isidore, seeking advice on how to be delivered from the passions of profligacy. Being experienced in the spiritual struggle, the Elder taught him never to eat too much food, to remain partly hungry while observing the strictest restraint. But the passions did not cease to trouble Saint Moses in his dreams.

Then Abba Isidore taught him the all-night vigil. The monk stood the whole night at prayer, so he would not fall asleep. As a result of his prolonged struggles, Saint Moses fell into despondency, and when he began to have thoughts about leaving his solitary cell, Abba Isidore instead strengthened the resolve of his disciple.

In a vision he showed him many demons in the west, prepared for battle, and in the east a still greater quantity of holy angels, also ready for fighting. Abba Isidore explained to Saint Moses that the power of the angels would prevail over the power of the demons, and in the long struggle with the passions it was necessary for him to become completely cleansed of his former sins.

Saint Moses drove himself to additional labors. Making the rounds of the wilderness cells at night, he carried water from the well to each brother. He did this especially for the Elders, who lived far from the well and who were not easily able to carry their own water. Once, kneeling over the well, Saint Moses felt a powerful blow upon his back and he fell down at the well like one dead, laying there in that position until dawn. Thus did the devils take revenge upon the monk for his victory over them. In the morning the brethren carried him to his cell, and he lay there crippled for a whole year. After he recovered, the monk with firm resolve confessed to the hegoumen, that he would continue with his ascetic struggles. But the Lord Himself put limits to this toil which lasted for many years: Abba Isidore blessed his disciple and told him that the passions had already left him. The Elder commanded him to receive the Holy Mysteries, and to go to his own cell in peace. From that time, Saint Moses received from the Lord power over demons.

Accounts about his exploits spread among the monks and even beyond the bounds of the wilderness. The governor of the land wanted to see the saint. When he heard of this, Saint Moses decided to hide from any visitors, and he departed his own cell. Along the way he met servants of the governor, who asked him how to get to the cell of the desert-dweller Moses. The monk answered them: “Go no farther to see this false and unworthy monk.” The servants returned to the monastery where the governor was waiting, and they told him the words of the Elder they had chanced to meet. The brethren, hearing a description of the Elder’s appearance, told them that they had encountered Saint Moses himself.

After many years of monastic exploits, Saint Moses was ordained deacon. The bishop clothed him in white vestments and said, “Now Abba Moses is entirely white!” The saint replied, “Only outwardly, for God knows that I am still dark within.”

Through humility, the saint believed himself unworthy of the office of deacon. Once, the bishop decided to test him and he bade the clergy to drive him out of the altar, reviling him as an unworthy Ethiopian. In all humility, the monk accepted the abuse. Having put him to the test, the bishop then ordained Saint Moses to the priesthood. Saint Moses labored for fifteen years in this rank, and gathered 75 disciples around himself.

When the saint reached the age of 75, he warned his monks that soon brigands would descend upon the skete and murder all those who remained there. The saint blessed his monks to leave, in order to avoid violent death. His disciples begged the saint to leave with them, but he replied: “For many years now, I have awaited the time when the words spoken by my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be fulfilled: ‘All who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword’” (Matt. 26: 52). After this, seven of the brethren remained with Saint Moses, and one of them hid nearby during the attack of the robbers. The robbers killed Saint Moses and the six monks who remained with him. Their death occurred about the year 400.

Righteous Anna the Prophetess and Daughter of Phanuel, who met the Lord at the Temple in Jerusalem

Righteous Anna the Prophetess was descended from the tribe of Aser, and was the daughter of Phanuel. She lived with her husband for seven years until he died. After his death, Righteous Anna led a strict and pious life, “not leaving the Temple, and serving God both day and night in fasting and prayer” (Luke. 2: 37). When Righteous Anna was 84 years old, she saw the Infant Jesus Christ at the Temple of Jerusalem. He was brought to be dedicated to God as a firstborn child according to the Mosaic law.

Righteous Anna also heard the prophetic words of Saint Simeon the God-Receiver spoken to the Most Holy Theotokos. The Prophetess Anna together with Saint Simeon glorified God, and told everyone that the Messiah had come into the world (Luke. 2: 38).

Martyr Susanna, Queen of Georgia

Saint Shushanik (Susanna) was the wife of the Georgian prince Varsken, the ruler of Hereti.1 Having been raised in a pious Christian family, she was deeply penetrated with love and the fear of God.

At that time Kartli was under heavy political pressure from Persia, and Prince Varsken visited the Persian king Peroz in hopes of encouraging more friendly relations between the two countries. He willingly denied the true Faith, converted to the worship of fire, and promised the king to convert his wife and children upon his return to Hereti.

Having approached the border of Hereti, Varsken sent messengers to Tsurtavi, the city in which he ruled, to ensure that his subjects met him with due respect. The blessed Shushanik, having learned of her husband’s betrayal, fell to the ground and wept over him with bitter tears. Then she took her four children, deserted the palace, and sought refuge in a nearby church.

That evening Shushanik was visited by her spiritual father, the elder Jacob, who predicted, “Varsken’s cruelty and mercilessness are unmistakable. Know that terrible trials await you. Will you be firm and unbending in your position?”

“I would rather die than unite with him and destroy my soul!” she answered.

Three days later the prince arrived in Tsurtavi. As promised, he tried to persuade his wife to convert, but Saint Shushanik firmly answered, “As you have renounced your Creator, so I am renouncing you. I will no longer take part in your affairs, no matter what suffering I must endure!”

The next time, Varsken sent his younger brother Jojik and Bishop Apots to convince Shushanik to return to the palace. Shushanik refused for some time, but in the end she yielded to their persuasion. She set off for the palace with the Holy Gospel and the Lives of the holy martyrs, and when she arrived she locked herself in a squalid cell. Two days later Varsken returned to the palace and invited Shushanik, his brother Jojik, and his sister-in-law for supper. The queen, however, could not bring herself to share a meal with one who had betrayed Christ: she pushed away the cup that Jojik’s wife had offered her, thus further angering her husband.

The furious Varsken beat his wife mercilessly, fettered her in irons, locked her in prison, and forbade the guards to let anyone in to see her.

Saint Shushanik spent six years in captivity. While she was serving her sentence, she helped the poor that came to her. Through her prayers the sick were healed and children were born to the childless. Before her death, Holy Martyr Shushanik blessed those around her and requested that she be buried at the place from which her unbelieving husband had dragged her out of the palace.

This happened in the year 475. The clergy and people alike wept bitterly over Shushanik’s tragic fate. Her holy relics were buried in accordance with her will.

In 578, with the blessing of Catholicos Kirion I, Saint Shushanik’s holy relics were translated to Tbilisi, where they remain today, in the Metekhi Church of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Saint Susanna of Georgia is also commemorated on October 17.

1 Hereti, a province of southeastern Georgia, was under Persian control at that time. Prince Varsken was essentially the viceroy for the Persians.

Synaxis of the Saints of the Kiev Caves, whose relics repose in the Far Caves of Venerable Theodosius

On this day the Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Holy Fathers of the Kiev Caves, whose relics repose in the Far Caves of Saint Theodosius. They have their own individual days of commemoration, but today we honor the whole assembly of these monastic saints who were a light upon the earth, guiding us on the path of salvation.

Igumen Theodosius, the Founder (May 3, August 14, September 2)

Monk Agathon the Wonderworker (February 20)

Archimandrite Acindynus (+1235)

Monk Ammon (October 4)

Bishop Amphilochius of Vladimir, Volhynia (October 10)

Monk Anatolius the Recluse (July 3)

Monk Aquila the Deacon (January 4)

Monk Arsenius, Lover of Labor (May 8)

Monk Athanasius the Recluse (December 2)

Monk Benjamin the Recluse (October 13)

Monk Cassian the Recluse (February 29, May 8)

Elder Daniel (14th Century)

Hieromonk Dionysius the Recluse (October 3)

Archimandrite Dositheus (+ 1218)

Elder Eulogius (14th Century)

Hieroschemamonk Euthymius (January 20)

Monk Gerontius the Canonarch (April 1)

Monk Gregory the Recluse (January 8, August 8)

Schemamonk Hilarion (October 21)

Monk Hypatius the Healer (March 31)

Archimandrite Ignatius (December 20)

Monk Isidore the Recluse (12th-13th Centuries)

Monk Joseph the Much-Ailing (April 4)

Monk Laurence the Recluse (January 20)

Monk Leontius the Canonarch (April 1, June 18)

Monk Longinus the Gate-Keeper (October 16)

Hieromartyr Lucian the Priest (October 15)

Monk Macarius the Deacon (January 19)

Monk Mardarius the Recluse (December 13)

Monk Martyrius the Recluse (October 25)

Monk Martyrius the Deacon (October 25)

Monk Mercurius the Faster (November 4, 24)

Monk Moses the Wonderworker (July 26, 28)

Monk Nestor the Unlearned (October 29)

Monk Paisius (July 19)

Hieromonk Pambo the Recluse (July 18)

Hieromonk Pancratius the Recluse (February 9)

Monk Paphnutius the Recluse (February 15)

Monk Paul the Obedient (September 10)

Igumen Pimen the Faster (May 8, August 7)

Monk Pior the Recluse (October 4)

Monk Rufus the Obedient (April 8)

Schemamonk Silvanus (June 10, July 10)

Schemamonk Sisoes (July 6)

Monk Sophronius the Recluse (March 11, May 11)

Monk Theodore the Silent (February 17)

Monk Theodosius (Prince Theodore) (August 11)

Archbishop Theophilus of Novgorod (October 26)

Igumen Timothy (+ 1132)

Monk Titus the Soldier (January 27, February 27)

Monk Zachariah the Faster (March 24)

Monk Zeno the Faster (January 30)

Saint Savva of Pskov

Saint Savva of Krypetsk was tonsured at Athos, and from there he came to Pskov. He began to struggle on Mount Snetna at the monastery of Mother of God near Pskov, and then he went to a more remote spot along the River Tolva, at the monastery of Saint Euphrosynē (May 15). Finally, he withdrew for complete solitude to the Krypetsk wilderness, 15 versts from the Tolva, and he settled alone in a small cave in the impenetrable forest.

His food was bread and water, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing. Living the life of a hermit he was assailed by unclean spirits, but always he prevailed over them through prayer. After several years in the solitary life, those zealous for wilderness life began to gather around Saint Savva. They asked him to form a monastery and build a church in honor of the Apostle John the Theologian. The monk refused to be igumen of the monastery and entrusted its guidance to the monk Cassian. Many came out from Pskov to the austere Elder, and he healed and admonished them, but never did he accept gifts from them.

One time the Pskov prince Yaroslav Vasilievich Obolensky, who frequently visited at the monastery, journeyed with his sick wife to see the saint. Saint Savva sent him a message saying, “The Elder, the sinner Savva, tells you, Prince, not to enter the monastery with the princess. Our rule here states that women are not to enter the monastery. If you transgress this fatherly command, your princess will not receive healing.”

The prince asked forgiveness, since it was through ignorance that he was on the point of violating the rule. Saint Savva came out through the monastery gates with the brethren, and served a Molieben there. The princess was healed. In 1487, through the mediation of the prince, Pskov received a deed to the lands for the monastery.

The monk taught the laity to guard their purity, reminding them of the injunction of the Apostle against the defilers of the body (I Cor. 6:9-10). He told the rich and the judges not to make their living at the expense of the poor and to preserve righteous truth. He frequently reminded everyone to avoid quarrels and enmity, to preserve love and peace and to overlook the faults of others by courtesy, even as they in turn have forgiven us.

At the monastery, a strict cenobitic life had been introduced from the very beginning. Then, when sufficient brethren and means had been gathered, there was nothing in the cell of the monk except for two icons, his monk’s garb and the cot upon which he lay down to take his rest.

Through such poverty he taught the brethren. The monk commanded them to work the land with their own hands. He said, “How can we call the ancient ascetics our Fathers, when we do not live their way of life? How can we be counted as their children? They were homeless and poor, they spent their time in caves and in the wilderness, and for the Lord with all their strength they subjected their flesh to the spirit. They knew no respite by day, or by night. We should love the good Lord, children, and show our love for Him not only by words, nor by our manner of attire, but by deeds: by love one for another, by tears, by fasting, by every manner of temperance, just as the ancient Fathers did.”

The grateful prince built a bridge to the monastery through the fens and the swamps 1400 sazhen [1 sazhen = 7 feet] in length. After his death (August 28, 1495), Saint Savva did not forsake the monastery, and many times came to its defense.

Once, robbers approached the monastery at night, and they saw an august Elder who held a staff in his hand and threateningly ordered them to repent. In the morning, they learned that there was no such Elder at the monastery, and they realized that it had been Saint Savva himself. The leader of the robbers repented before Savva igumen and remained at the monastery.

Saint Savva was tall of stature, with a beard grey as snow, roundish and thick and not very long. In this form he appeared to the monk Isaiah in the mid-sixteenth century, and showed him where to find his incorrupt relics. Later, in the year 1555, the Pskov priest Basil compiled the Life of Saint Savva at the request of the Krypetsk brethren, and his Feastday was established.

Righteous Hezekiah

Righteous Hezekiah (721-691 B.C.) was the son of the impious king Ahaz. The life of Righteous Hezekiah is described in the Bible (4/2 Kings 18-20).

He became King of Judah at the age of twenty-five, and reigned at Jerusalem for 29 years. A zealous worshipper of the True God, Hezekiah reopened the Temple of Solomon (2 Chron. 20:3). At the time of the celebration of the Passover, to which he summoned all the subjects of the kingdom of Israel, Hezekiah gave orders to destroy the idols throughout his kingdom, reminding the people of the punishments which befell their ancestors for forsaking the True God. After this, idolatry ceased not only in the kingdom of Judah, but also in many places in the kingdom of Israel.

Therefore, God delivered him from his enemies and fulfilled his petitions. Thus, in the fourteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah, the Assyrian king Sennacherib son of Salmanassar, having conquered Israel, gathered his forces to make war upon Hezekiah.

The Assyrian king took the fortress of Lachis and sent an army towards Jerusalem, demanding that the Jewish king surrender. Hezekiah turned to God in prayer, and an angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 soldiers in the Assyrian camp. Soon after the withdrawal of Sennacherib, Hezekiah fell ill. The Prophet Isaiah came to him through the will of God and told him to set his affairs in order, since he would soon die. But the power of Hezekiah’s prayer was so great that God prolonged his life for another fifteen years.

His prayer was fervent when he besought God to help him. But even more ardent was his prayer of thanks. Hezekiah died at age 54 and was buried with great reverence at Jerusalem. The memory of the Righteous Hezekiah is also celebrated on Cheesefare Saturday.

Daily Readings for Saturday, August 27, 2022



Pimen the Great, Holy Martyr Phanurius, Anthousa the Martyr, Poimen of Palestine, Hosisos the Confessor, Liverios, Pope of Rome, Monica


Brethren, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge – even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you – so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

MATTHEW 19:3-12

At that time, Pharisees came up to Jesus and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

Venerable Pimen the Great

Saint Pimen the Great was born about the year 340 in Egypt. He went to one of the Egyptian monasteries with his two brothers, Anoub and Paisius, and all three received monastic tonsure. The brothers were such strict ascetics that when their mother came to the monastery to see her children, they did not come out to her from their cells. The mother stood there for a long time and wept. Then Saint Pimen said to her through the closed door of the cell, “Do you wish to see us now, or in the future life?” Saint Pimen promised that if she would endure the sorrow of not seeing her children in this life, then surely she would see them in the next. The mother was humbled and returned home.

Fame of Saint Pimen’s deeds and virtues spread throughout the land. Once, the governor of the district wanted to see him. Saint Pimen, shunning fame, thought to himself, “If dignitaries start coming to me and show me respect, then many other people will also start coming to me and disturb my quiet, and I shall be deprived of the grace of humility, which I have acquired only with the help of God.” So he refused to see the governor, asking him not to come.

For many of the monks, Saint Pimen was a spiritual guide and instructor. They wrote down his answers to serve for the edification of others besides themselves. A certain monk asked, “If I see my brother sinning, should I conceal his fault?” The Elder answered, “If we reproach the sins of brothers, then God will reproach our sins. If you see a brother sinning, do not believe your eyes. Know that your own sin is like a beam of wood, but the sin of your brother is like a splinter (Mt. 7:3-5), and then you will not enter into distress or temptation.”

Another monk said to the saint, “I have sinned grievously and I want to spend three years at repentance. Is that enough time?” The Elder replied, “That is a long time.” The monk continued to ask how long the saint wished him to repent. Perhaps only a year? Saint Pimen said, “That is a long time.” The other brethren asked, “Should he repent for forty days?” The Elder answered, “I think that if a man repents from the depths of his heart and has a firm intention not to return to the sin, then God will accept three days of repentance.”

When asked how to get rid of persistent evil thoughts, the saint replied, “This is like a man who has fire on his left side, and a vessel full of water on his right side. If he starts burning from the fire, he takes water from the vessel and extinguishes the fire. The fire represents the evil thoughts placed in the heart of man by the Enemy of our salvation, which can enkindle sinful desires within man like a spark in a hut. The water is the force of prayer which impels a man toward God.”

Saint Pimen was strict in his fasting and sometimes would not partake of food for a week or more. He advised others to eat every day, but without eating their fill. Abba Pimen heard of a certain monk who went for a week without eating, but had lost his temper. The saint lamented that the monk was able to fast for an entire week, but was unable to abstain from anger for even a single day.

To the question of whether it is better to speak or be silent, the Elder said, “Whoever speaks on account of God, does well, and whoever is silent on account of God, that one also does well.”

He also said, “If man seems to be silent, but his heart condemns others, then he is always speaking. There may be a man who talks all day long, but he is actually silent, because he says nothing unprofitable.”

The saint said, “It is useful to observe three things: to fear God, to pray often, and to do good for one’s neighbor.”

“Wickedness never eradicates wickedness. If someone does evil to you, do good to them, and your goodness will conquer their wickedness.”

Once, after Saint Pimen and his disciples arrived at the monastery of Scetis, he learned that the Elder living there was annoyed at his arrival and was also jealous of him, because monks were leaving the Elder to see Abba Pimen.

In order to console the hermit, the saint went to him with his brethren, taking food with them as a present. The Elder refused to receive them, however. Then Saint Pimen said, “We shall not depart from here until we are permitted to see the holy Elder.” He remained standing at the door of the cell in the heat. Seeing Saint Pimen’s humility and patience, the Elder received him graciously and said, “Not only is what I have heard about you true, but I see that your works are a hundred times greater.”

He possessed such great humility that he often sighed and said, “I shall be cast down to that place where Satan was cast down!”

Once, a monk from another country came to the saint to receive his guidance. He began to speak about sublime matters difficult to grasp. The saint turned away from him and was silent. They explained to the bewildered monk that the saint did not like to speak of lofty matters. Then the monk began to ask him about the struggle with passions of soul. The saint turned to him with a joyful face, “Now you have spoken well, and I will answer.” For a long while he provided instruction on how one ought to struggle with the passions and conquer them.

Saint Pimen died at age 110, about the year 450. Soon after his death, he was acknowledged as a saint pleasing to God. He was called “the Great” as a sign of his great humility, uprightness, ascetic struggles, and self-denying service to God.

Hieromartyr Kuksha and Venerable Pimen of the Kiev Near Caves

The Hieromartyr Kuksha and Saint Pimen the Faster died after the year 1114. Saint Simon, Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal (May 10), in a letter to Saint Polycarp, Archimandrite of the Caves (July 24), wrote of Saint Kuksha: “How can I worthily proclaim the glory of those saintly men dwelling in the holy Monastery of the Caves, in which pagans were baptized and became monks, and Jews accepted the holy Faith? But I cannot keep silent about the holy hieromartyr and Black-Robed Kuksha of this monastery. Everyone knows that he cast out devils, baptized the Vyatichi, caused it to rain, dried up a lake, performed many other miracles, and after many torments was killed together with his disciple Nikon.”

The death of the hieromartyr Kuksha was revealed to Saint Pimen the Faster. Standing in the church of the Monastery of the Caves, he loudly exclaimed, “Our brother Kuksha was killed today for the Gospel.” After saying this, he also surrendered his soul to God.

The Vyatichi, among whom the hieromartyr Kuksha preached and died, were pagans living along the River Oka, and they occupied the area of the Orlov and Kaluga districts. Saint Nestor the Chronicler (October 27), writing about the Vyatichi, was shocked by their brutal customs and he added that they live “only for the present day,” remaining unacquainted with the Law of God, and making their own law instead.

The Hieromartyr Kuksha preached to the Vyatichi during the era of Saint Theoctistus, Bishop of Chernigov (August 5). He was buried, as was Saint Pimen the Faster, in the Near Caves. The Monks of the Near Caves are commemorated on September 28.

Saint Hosius the Confessor, Bishop of Córdoba

Saint Hosius the Confessor was bishop for more than sixty years in the city of Córdoba (Spain) during the fourth century. The holy emperor Saint Constantine the Great (306-337) deeply revered him and made him a privy counselor. The saint advised Saint Constantine to convene the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325, and he was the first to sign the acts of this Council.

After the death of Saint Constantine the Great, Saint Hosius defended Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (May 2) against the emperor Constantius (337-361), an advocate of the Arian heresy. Because of this, they sent him to prison in Sirmium.

Saint Hosius died in the year 359 after his return to Córdoba.

Saint Liberius, Pope of Rome

Saint Liberius the Confessor, Bishop of Rome, became Bishop of Rome in the year 352, after the death of Pope Julius. Saint Liberius was a fervent proponent of Orthodoxy against the Arian heresy and a defender of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (May 2). The emperor Constantius (337-361) was inclined to side with the Arians, but was not able to compel Saint Liberius to condemn Saint Athanasius. For such intransigence he was sent off to prison in Beroea (Thrace), but was soon returned to his see on the insistent petitions of the Roman people.

Before his return, they summoned Saint Liberius to the Semi-Arian Council of Sirmium, where they forced him to sign the acts of the Council. Saint Liberius deeply repented of this later, and labored much at Rome on behalf of Orthodoxy. He died peacefully in the year 366.

Venerable Pimen of Palestine

Saint Pimen of Palestine lived during the sixth century in a cave in the Rouba desert. The holy Fathers Sophronius and John speak of him in Chapter 167 of The Spiritual Meadow (Limonarion).

Once, during winter the monk Agathonicus came to Saint Pimen for guidance and remained to spend the night in an adjoining cave. In the morning, he said that he had suffered much from the cold. Saint Pimen answered that he had been uncovered, but did not feel the cold because a lion came and lay beside him, warming him.

“But I know,” added the ascetic “that I shall be devoured by wild beasts, since when I lived in the world and herded sheep, my dogs attacked a man and tore him apart. I could have saved him, but I did not. It was later revealed to me that I would die a similar death.” So it came to pass: three years later, at the end of the sixth century, Saint Pimen of Palestine was torn apart by wild beasts.

Martyr Anthusa

No information available at this time.

Venerable Savva of Benephali

No information available at this time.

Saint Caesarius, Bishop of Arles

No information available at this time.

Saint Phanourius

We know nothing for certain about the background of Saint Phanourius, nor exactly when he lived. Tradition says that when the island of Rhodes had been conquered by Moslems, the new ruler of the island wished to rebuild the walls of the city, which had been damaged in previous wars. Several ruined buildings were near the fortress, and stone from these buildings was used to repair the walls at the end of the fifteenth century, or the beginning of the sixteenth.

While working on the fortress, the Moslems uncovered the ruins of a beautiful church. Several icons, most of them badly damaged, were found on the floor. One icon, of Saint Phanourius, looked as if it had been painted that very day. The local bishop, whose name was Nilus, was called to see the icon. It said, “Saint Phanourius.”

The saint is depicted as a young soldier holding a cross in his right hand. On the upper part of the cross is a lighted taper. Twelve scenes from his life are shown around the border of the icon. These scenes show him being questioned by an official, being beaten with stones by soldiers, stretched out on the ground while soldiers whip him, then having his sides raked with iron hooks. He is also shown locked up in prison, standing before the official again, being burned with candles, tied to a rack, thrown to the wild animals, and being crushed by a large rock. The remaining scenes depict him standing before idols holding burning coals in his hands, while a demon stands by lamenting his defeat by the saint, and finally, the saint stands in the midst of a fire with his arms raised in prayer.

These scenes clearly revealed that the saint was a martyr. Bishop Nilus sent representatives to the Moslem ruler, asking that he be permitted to restore the church. Permission was denied, so the bishop went to Constantinople and there he obtained a decree allowing him to rebuild the church.

At that time, there was no Orthodox bishop on the island of Crete. Since Crete was under the control of Venice, there was a Latin bishop. The Venetians refused to allow a successor to be consecrated when an Orthodox bishop died, or for new priests to be ordained, hoping that in time they would be able to convert the Orthodox population to Catholicism. Those seeking ordination were obliged to go to the island of Kythera.

It so happened that three young deacons had traveled from Crete to Kythera to be ordained to the holy priesthood. On their way back, they were captured at sea by Moslems who brought them to Rhodes to be sold as slaves. Lamenting their fate, the three new priests wept day and night.

While in Rhodes the priests heard of the miracles performed by the holy Great Martyr Phanourius. They began to pray to him with tears, asking to be freed from their captivity. Each of the three had been sold to a different master, and so remained unaware of what the others were doing.

By the mercy of God, each of the priests was allowed by his master to pray at the restored church of Saint Phanourius. All three arrived at the same time and prostrated themselves before the icon of the saint, asking to be delivered from the hands of the Hagarenes (Moslems, descendents of Hagar). Somewhat consoled, the priests left the church and returned to their masters.

That night Saint Phanourius appeared to the three masters and ordered them to set the priests free so that they could serve the Church, or he would punish them. The Moslems ignored the saint’s warning, believing the vision to be the result of sorcery. The cruel masters bound the priests with chains and treated them even worse than before.

Then Saint Phanourius went to the priests and freed them from their shackles, promising that they would be freed the next day. Appearing once more to the Moslems, the holy martyr told them severely, “If you do not release your slaves by tomorrow, you shall witness the power of God!”

The next morning, all the inhabitants of the homes where the priests were held awoke to find themselves blind, paralyzed, and in great pain. They considered what they were to do, and so decided to send for the priests. When the three priests arrived, they asked them whether they could heal them. The priests replied, “We will pray to God. May His will be done!”

Once more Saint Phanourius appeared to the Hagarenes, ordering them to send to the church a document granting the priests their freedom. He told them that if they refused to do this, they would never recover their sight or health. All three masters wrote letters releasing the priests, and sent the documents to the church, where they were placed before the icon of Saint Phanourius.

Before the messengers returned from the church, all those who had been blind and paralyzed were healed. The priests joyfully returned to Crete, carrying with them a copy of the icon of Saint Phanourius. Every year they celebrated the Feast of Saint Phanourius with deep gratitude for their miraculous deliverance.

The saint’s name sounds similar to the Greek verb “phanerono,” which means “to reveal” or “to disclose.” For this reason, people pray to Saint Phanourius to help them find lost objects. When the object is recovered, they bake a sweet bread and share it with the poor, offering prayers for the salvation of saint’s mother. Her name is not known, but according to tradition, she was a sinful woman during her life. Saint Phanourius has promised to help those who pray for his mother in this way.

Daily Readings for Friday, August 26, 2022



The Holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalie, Our Righteous Father Joseph, Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir


Brethren, recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on the prisoners, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; but my righteous one shall live by faith.

MATTHEW 24:27-33, 42-51

The Lord said to his disciples, "As the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed, ' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

Martyrs Adrian and Natalia and 23 companions, of Nicomedia

The Martyrs Adrian and Natalia were married in their youth for one year prior to their martyrdom, and lived in Nicomedia during the time of the emperor Maximian (305-311). The emperor promised a reward to whomever would inform on Christians to bring them to trial. Then the denunciations began, and twenty-three Christians were captured in a cave near Nicomedia.

They were tortured, urged to worship idols, and then brought before the Praetor, in order to record their names and responses. Adrian, the head of the praetorium, watched as these people suffered with such courage for their faith. Seeing how firmly and fearlessly they confessed Christ, he asked: “What rewards do you expect from your God for your suffering?” The martyrs replied: “Such rewards as we are not able to describe, nor can your mind comprehend.” Saint Adrian told the scribes, “Write my name down also, for I am a Christian and I die gladly for Christ God.”

The scribes reported this to the emperor, who summoned Saint Adrian and asked: “Really, have you gone mad, that you want to die? Come, cross out your name from the lists and offer sacrifice to the gods, asking their forgiveness.”

Saint Adrian answered: “I have not lost my mind, but rather have I found it.” Maximian then ordered Adrian to be thrown into prison. His wife, Saint Natalia, knowing that her husband was to suffer for Christ, rejoiced, since she herself was secretly a Christian.

She hastened to the prison and encouraged her husband saying: “You are blessed, my lord, because you have believed in Christ. You have obtained a great treasure. Do not regret anything earthly, neither beauty, nor youth (Adrian was then 28 years of age), nor riches. Everything worldly is dust and ashes. Only faith and good deeds are pleasing to God.”

On the pledge of the other martyrs, they released Saint Adrian from prison to tell his wife about the day of his execution. At first Saint Natalia thought that he had renounced Christ and thus had been set free, and she did not want to let him into the house. The saint persuaded his wife that he had not fled from martyrdom, but rather had come to give her the news of the day of his execution.

They tortured Saint Adrian cruelly. The emperor advised the saint to have pity on himself and call on the gods, but the martyr answered: “Let your gods say what blessings they promise me, and then I shall worship them, but if they cannot do this, then why should I worship them?” Saint Natalia did not cease to encourage her husband. She asked him also to pray to God for her, that they would not force her into marriage with a pagan after his death.

The executioner ordered the hands and the legs of the saints to be broken on the anvil. Saint Natalia, fearing that her husband would hesitate on seeing the sufferings of the other martyrs, asked the executioner to begin with him, and permit her to put his hands and legs on the anvil herself.

They wanted to burn the bodies of the saints, but a storm arose and the fire went out. Many of the executioners were even struck by lightning. Saint Natalia took the hand of her husband and kept it at home. Soon an army commander asked the emperor’s approval to wed Saint Natalia, who was both young and rich. But she hid herself away in Byzantium. Saint Adrian appeared to her in a dream and said that she would soon be at rest in the Lord. The martyr, worn out by her former sufferings, in fact soon fell asleep in the Lord.

Saints Adrian and Natalia are the patrons of married couples, as are Saints Timothy and Maura (May 3). The Kykkos Monastery on Cyprus has a portion of Saint Natalia's relics.

Venerable Adrian, Abbot of Ondrusov, Valaam

Saint Adrian of Ondrusov (in the world the nobleman Andrew Zavalushin), was the owner of a rich estate (Andreevschina), 9 versts from the monastery of Saint Alexander of Svir (August 30). He accidentally encountered Saint Alexander of Svir during a stag hunt in 1493, and after this he went often to him for guidance, and supplied bread for the ascetics.

Forsaking his estate, he took monastic tonsure at the Valaamo monastery with the name Adrian. Several years later, with the blessing of Saint Alexander of Svir, Saint Adrian settled in a solitary place on the peninsula of Lake Ladoga. There he built a church in honor of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. Opposite the settlement of monks in the deep forest was an island, Sala (the Thicket), where there was a gang of robbers under the leadership of Ondrusa as their ataman. Encountering the monks, the ataman demanded that they get off his land. Saint Adrian, knowing that he did not have money to buy the place, promised the ataman to intercede for him before God. The robber laughed at the monk, but he entreated him so long and so humbly, that the ataman softened and said, “Live.”

This ataman was soon taken captive by another gang, hidden not far from the stoney Cape of Storozhev. The hapless fellow knew that after suffering, torture and death awaited him, and he bitterly repented of his former life. Suddenly, he saw Saint Adrian before him. He said, “You are freed through the mercy of the Lord, for Whose sake you were asked to show mercy to the wilderness brethren,” and he vanished.

The ataman saw himself without fetters at the shore, and with no one around. Astonished, he rushed to the monastery of Saint Adrian and found all the ascetics chanting Psalms. It seemed that Saint Adrian had not left the monastery. The robber fell at the knees of the saint and begged to be accepted as one of the brethren. He finished his life in repentance at the monastery. The robber of another gang also repented. Through the prayers of Saint Adrian, he was tonsured with the name Cyprian. Afterwards, at the place of a tributary, he built a monastery and was glorified by miracles.

The monastery of Saint Adrian received an endowment from Tsar Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584). In August 1549, Saint Adrian was godfather for Anna, daughter of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. When the saint was returning from Moscow to the monastery, robbers killed him near the village of Obzha, hoping to find money. The brethren waited for a long time for their Superior, and two years later, he appeared one night in a vision to a few Elders and told them of his death. On another day, May 17, the brethren found his incorrupt body in a swamp and committed it to burial in the wall of his church in honor of Saint Nicholas.

The memory of Saint Adrian, having received the martyr’s crown, has come to be celebrated twice: on the day of the finding and transfer of his relics (May 17), and on the day of his repose, which he shares with his namesake, the holy Martyr Adrian.

Commemoration of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God and the deliverance of Moscow from the Invasion of Tamerlane

The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was painted by the Evangelist Luke on a board from the table at which the Savior ate together with His All-Pure Mother and Righteous Joseph. The Mother of God, upon seeing this image, exclaimed, “Henceforth, all generations shall call Me blessed. The grace of both My Son and Me shall be with this icon.”

In the year 1131, the icon was sent from Constantinople to Rus to holy Prince Mstislav (April 15) and was installed in the Devichi monastery in Vyshgorod, the ancient appanage city of the holy Equal of the Apostles Princess Olga.

The son of George Dolgoruky, Saint Andrew Bogoliubsky, brought the icon to the city of Vladimir in 1155 and installed it in the renowned Dormition cathedral which he built. At this time the icon received its name of “the Vladimir Icon.” The icon was first brought to Moscow in the year 1395. Thus, the blessing of the Mother of God established the spiritual bonds of Byzantium and Rus via Kiev, Vladimir and Moscow.

The festal celebration of the Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos occurs several times during the year (21 May, 23 June and 26 August). The most solemn celebration occurs on August 26, the Feast established in honor of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon upon its Transfer from Vladimir to Moscow.

In the year 1395, the fearsome conqueror Khan Tamerlane (Temir-Aksak) reached the Ryazan frontier, took the city of Elets and advancing towards Moscow he came near the banks of the River Don. Great Prince Basil Dimitrievich went with an army to Kolomna and halted at the banks of the River Oka. He prayed to the holy Hierarchs of Moscow and Saint Sergius for the deliverance of the Fatherland, and he wrote to the Metropolitan of Moscow Saint Cyprian (September 16), that the pending Dormition Fast should be devoted to zealous prayers for mercy and repentance.

Clergy were sent to Vladimir, where the famed wonderworking Vladimir Icon was. After Divine Liturgy and a Molieben on the feast of the Dormition, they clergy took the icon and brought it to Moscow. Along the way, on both sides of the road, countless people prayed kneeling: “O Mother of God, save the land of Russia!” At that same hour, when the people of Moscow were meeting the Vladimir Icon on Kuchkov Field, Tamerlane was sleeping in his tent. Suddenly, he saw in a dream a great mountain, at the summit of which were the holy hierarchs with golden staffs coming towards him. Above them, in a brilliant radiance, was a Majestic Woman. She commanded him to leave the domains of Russia.

Awakening in fright, Tamerlane asked the meaning of the vision. The experts answered that the Radiant Lady was the Mother of God, the great Protectress of Christians. Tamerlane then gave the order for his troops to retreat. In memory of this miraculous deliverance of the Russian Land from Tamerlane, they built the monastery of the Meeting on Kuchkov Field, where the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon took place. On August 26, the all-Russian celebration in honor of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God was established.

Very important events in Russian Church history have occurred before the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God: the election and elevation of Saint Jonah, advocate of an Autocephalous Russian Church (1448), and of Saint Job, first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1589), and of His Holiness Patriarch Saint Tikhon (1917). The enthronement of His Holiness Pimen, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, occurred on a day of celebration in honor of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God on May 21 (O.S.), 1971.

The historical days of 21 May, 23 June and 26 August, connected with this holy icon, have become memorable days for the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Virgin of Tenderness” Icon of the Mother of God of the Pskov Caves

The “Tenderness” Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God was found in the monastery of the caves in 1521, and was transferred to the city of Pskov by the pious Christians Basil and Theodore. The Icon is particularly renowned for the deliverance of Pskov and the Pskov Caves monastery from the army of Stephen Bathory (1533-1586) in 1581. It is commemorated on May 21, June 23, August 26, October 7, and on the Seventh Sunday of Pascha.

The Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God is of the Eleousa (Umilenie) type, and is regarded as the patroness of the city of Pskov.

The October 7 commemoration was established in thanksgiving for the deliverance of Pskov from the invading army of Napoleon in 1812.

Saint Adrian of Úglich

Saint Adrian of Úglich was one of the first ten disciples of Saint Paϊsios of Úglich (June 6), and was his cell-attendant, closest disciple, and co-ascetic. Together with Saint Paϊsios, Saint Adrian was accounted worthy of a vision of the Most Holy Theotokos in 1472. Saint Paϊsios was in one of the cells with Saint Cassian of Úglich (October 2), and Saints Gerásimos and Adrian, chanting an Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos. Suddenly, the entire Monastery was filled with an extraordinary light, and the monks heard a voice calling them to come out of the cell. The ascetics were afraid and confused, and an Angel showed them the Mother of God, sitting on a throne and holding the Divine Infant in her arms. The ascetics fell to the ground in fear, but the Angel raised them up and told Saint Paϊsios that the Mother of God's commanded them to build a church dedicated to the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos at that place. The vision ended, and the monks spent the whole night in vigil and prayer. In 1482, Saint Adrian helped to build a stone church at the site indicated by the Angel. Later, an icon of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos was discovered.

In 1489, Saint Adrian assisted Saint Paϊsios in building a Monastery dedicated to Saint Nicholas, near the Grekhova stream, on the right bank of the Volga. As an experienced and virtuous Elder, Saint Adrian was installed as the Monastery's Superior and was ordained as a Hieromonk. He attended the funeral of Saint Paϊsios on June 6, 1504 and later, according to his last wishes, he was buried near the grave of Saint Paϊsios.

Saint Adrian is commemorated on August 26 (because of his namesake, the Holy Martyr Adrian), and also on Cheesefare Saturday. The date of his local canonization is unknown, but it could have occurred in the XVII century, since the local canonization of Saint Paϊsios took place in 1610, when his Life and Church Service were written.

There was an icon, no older than the XVIII century, depicting the appearance of the Mother of God to Saints Paϊsios, Cassian and Adrian of Úglich, in which Saint Adrian is shown with a halo.

His name was added to the Synaxis of Rostov and Yaroslavl Saints on March 10, 1964.

Venerable Joasaph, son of Saint Abenner the King

No information available at this time.