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.