TUESDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK
Hierotheus, Bishop of Athens, Domnina the Martyr and her daughters, John the Hermit
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS 2:19-22; 3:1-7
Brethren, you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles — assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace which was given me by the working of his power.
The Lord said, "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
He also told them a parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye, ' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Hieromartyr Hierotheus, Bishop of Athens
The Hieromartyr Hierotheus, the first Bishop of Athens, was a member of the Athenian Areopagos and was converted to Christ by the Apostle Paul together with Saint Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3).
The saint was consecrated by the Apostle Paul to the rank of bishop. According to Tradition, Bishop Hierotheus was present with Saint Dionysius at the funeral of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Saint Hierotheus died a martyr’s death in the first century.
Uncovering of the relics of Saint Gurias, first Archbishop of Kazan, and Saint Barsanuphius, Bishop of Tver
The Uncovering of the relics of Saint Gurias, First Archbishop of Kazan, and Saint Barsanuphius, Bishop of Tver, occurred at Kazan in the year 1595. During the construction of a new stone church in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord at the Savior-Transfiguration monastery, which had been founded by Saint Barsanuphius, graves with the bodies of the holy hierarchs in the altar-wall were uncovered beneath the former wooden church. The unusual aspect of incorrupt graves filled Saint Hermogenes (February 17) with a pious desire to open the graves before a large crowd of the people.
Saint Hermogenes described this event, “We beheld a marvel we had not hoped for. The coffin of the saint was full of fragrant myrrh, like pure water, and the relics of Saint Gurias were above the myrrh, like a sponge. God gave his venerable and hard-working body incorruption, as is now seen by all. Decay touched only very little of the upper lip, his other limbs were whole, and nothing has disappeared. We touched his burial robe and it held up very firm. Then we opened up the coffin of Saint Barsanuphius and we looked upon the relics of Saint Barsanuphius which were blessed by God with little corruption. Decay had touched the feet of the monk, however the bones were not destroyed, and held up quite well. There was no other sign of corruption in the condition of the rest of his relics, the same was for the relics of Saint Gurias. The burial robe of both saints was strong and like new.”
Many sick were healed, having been anointed with the holy myrrh flowing from the relics of Saint Gurias.
There is a description of the saints in the Iconographer’s Manual under October 4: “In appearance Gurias is grey and bearded, like Basil of Caesarea, with a mitre, omophorion, holding a Gospel in his hands, and dressed in the robes of a hierarch. Barsanuphius is grey and bearded like Gurias, but his is parted at the end. He wears a mitre, the robes of a hierarch, an omophorion and carries the Gospel.”
The Life Saint Gurias is found on December 5; and the Life of Saint Barsanuphius on April 11.
In the correspondence from a report of the Archbishop of Cheboksarsk and Chuvash Benjamin (Novitsky), + 14 October 1976, His Holiness Pimen, Patriarch of Moscow gave a blessing to commemorate the Synaxis of all the Kazan hierarchs on the first Sunday after October 4th.
Synaxis of the Hierarchs of Kazan
Today the Church honors the holy hierarchs of Kazan:
Bishop Barsanuphius of Tver (April 11 and October 4)
Archbishop Herman (June 23, September 25, and November 6)
Archbishop Gurias (June 20, October 4, and December 5).
Right-believing Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich of Novgorod
The holy right-believing Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich of Novgorod, the Wonderworker, was the eldest son of Great Prince Yaroslav the Wise, and was born in the year 1020. At age fourteen, his father made him administrator of Novgorod. The military commander Vyshata and the holy Bishop Menignus Zhidyata (February 10) assisted in guiding the prince.
When he matured, the prince became a brave defender of the land and a pious Christian. Saint Vladimir built the Sophia cathedral at Novgorod, which was begun in the year 1045 and consecrated on September 14, 1052 by Bishop Luke. The holy prince was not only concerned about the strengthening of the princedom (by his decree a stone fortress was built at Novgorod) but he also zealously instructed himself in the law of the Lord. In 1047 the prophetic books with commentaries were copied out for him.
The holy prince died at age thirty-two on October 4, 1052, twenty days after the consecration of the Sophia cathedral, and his relics were placed in the church he built. His wife, Princess Alexandra, is mentioned in the Novgorod Synodikon. Commemoration of the holy prince Vladimir was established in the year 1439 by Saint Euthymius, Archbishop of Novgorod (March 11).
Venerable Helladius of the Kiev Near Caves
No information available at this time.
Venerable Onesimus of the Kiev Near Caves
No information available at this time.
Venerable Ammon the recluse of the Kiev Caves
Saints Ammon the Recluse of the Kiev Caves, Far Caves, was given the title “Lover of Labor.” The saint went to Athos and to Jerusalem. Upon his return, he became famous for his exploits, and he was an image of holy life for the brethren. He was buried in the Far Caves. His memory is also celebrated on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.
Martyrs Gaius, Faustus, Eusebius, and Chaeremon, of Alexandria
Saints Gaius, Faustus, Eusebius, and Chaeremon were deacons and disciples of Saint Dionysius of Alexandria (October 5). They were arrested and banished from from Alexandria along with with Saint Dionysius.
They were tortured and beheaded during the persecution of Valerian (253-259).
Martyr Peter of Capitolias
Saint Peter was born and raised in the city of Capitolias (an ancient city in eastern Jordan, on the way to Damascus), and he was both wise and very prudent. He was married with three children, and after his wife died he became a monk.
He was ordained to the holy priesthood by the Bishop of Busra (an ancient Syrian city in Choran, 80 km. east of Lake Gennesaret, and 90 km. south of Damascus, where Job's tomb is located). As a Christian teacher, he was denounced to the Saracen ethnarch. Because Saint Peter courageously confessed his faith before the ethnarch, his hands and feet were cut off. Then they gouged his eyes out and crucified him. Finally, he was beheaded. After his martyrdom, his body was burnt in a fire, and then it was thrown into the river.
Some sources say that the Hieromartyr Peter received his crown of martyrdom during the III or IV century; it is more probable, however, that his martyrdom occurred in the VIII century.
Martyr Domnina with her daughters of Syria
Saint Domnina was a woman with two daughters named Verine (Saint John Chrysostom calls her Vernike, or Berenice) and Prosdoce. Leaving their home and family, they settled in Edessa on the plain of Mesopotamia.
Berenice’s father and her husband, who were pagans, took the women to Hieropolis in Syria. When the soldiers stopped to rest and eat, they became drunk with wine. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the women fled and were drowned in the river.
According to Saint John Chrysostom (PG 50, 629-640), Domnina stood in the middle of the river and pulled her daughters under the water with her, for she was afraid that the soldiers were going to rape them. Saint John praises Domnina for her courage, and Berenice and Prosdoce for their obedience.
Saint Ammon of Egypt was raised in Christian piety. He entered into marriage at the urging of his parents, but by agreement with his spouse preserved his virginity and they lived as brother and sister. The spiritual spouses pursued asceticism in fasting, prayer and joint effort for twenty years. Having matured in piety, the spouses separately continued their ascetic deeds. Ammon’s wife remained home and established a women’s monastery. Ammon went out into the Nitrian desert, where he dwelt for twenty-two years and attained the high spiritual accomplishments of wonderworking and discernment.
Saint Ammon often came to Saint Anthony the Great (January 17) for his blessing. At the time of Saint Ammon’s death, Saint Anthony saw angels bearing the soul of the righteous one to heaven. Saint Ammon died in the mid-fourth century.
Venerable Paul the Simple of Egypt
Saint Paul the Simple of Egypt also lived in the fourth century and was called the Simple for his simplicity of heart and gentleness. He had been married, but when he discovered his wife’s infidelity, he left her and went into the desert to Saint Anthony the Great (January 17). Paul was already 60 years old, and at first Saint Anthony would not accept Paul, saying that he was unfit for the harshness of the hermit’s life. Paul stood outside the cell of the ascetic for three days, saying that he would sooner die than go from there. Then Saint Anthony took Paul into his cell, and tested his endurance and humility by hard work, severe fasting, with nightly vigils, constant singing of Psalms and prostrations. Finally, Saint Anthony decided to settle Paul into a separate cell.
During the many years of ascetic exploits the Lord granted Saint Paul both discernment, and the power to cast out demons. When they brought a possessed youth to Saint Anthony, he guided the afflicted one to Saint Paul saying, “I cannot help the boy, for I have not received power over the Prince of the demons. Paul the Simple, however, does have this gift.” Saint Paul expelled the demon by his simplicity and humility.
After living for many years, performing numerous miracles, he departed to the Lord. He is mentioned by Saint John, the Abbot of Sinai (Ladder 24:30): “The thrice-blessed Paul the Simple was a clear example for us, for he was the rule and type of blessed simplicity….”
Saint Paul is also commemorated on March 7.
Martyr Callisthene and her father Audactus of Ephesus
The holy martyr Callisthene was born in Ephesus, and her father was the eparch Audactus. She was to marry the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), but her father would not consent to the match because the emperor was a pagan. Therefore, Audactus was deprived of his wealth and position, and was exiled to Melitene, Armenia where he was beheaded.
Callisthene hid for a time in Nicomedia with a certain woman, and healed the woman’s daughter of an eye ailment. After the death of Maximian, Licinius (311-324) became the last pagan emperor. Callisthene became friendly with his Christian wife Constantia, the daughter of Saint Constantine (May 21). She told Constantia of all that had happened to her, and Constantia helped Callisthene to regain her father’s wealth and possessions. She did not want these things for herself, but gave everything away to the poor.
She also brought her father’s body back to Ephesus and built a church which was dedicated to him.
Saint Callisthene devoted the rest of her life to Christ, and died in Ephesus in the first half of the fourth century.
Saint Stephen Stiljianovitch of Serbia
Saint Stephen Stiljianovich of Serbia was born into a pious Christian family in the Serbian city of Zhupa (south of Zakholmya). During this time Serbia was often subjected to invasions by the Turks, who devastated the land. Saint Stephen defended his native land, did military service in the army of the Serbian ruler. When famine began in the country, the kindly Saint Stephen distributed his own bread to the hungry.
The patriotic activity of the saintly soldier was indissolubly bound up with his truly Christian life. “In virtue, he lived as an ascetic with charity, purity, prayer, the Orthodox Faith and unhypocritical love of neighbor.”
The saint fell asleep in the Lord on October 4, 1515. After a time, the Turks saw a light shining over his grave. Thinking that they had found a hidden treasure, they opened the grave and found the incorrupt body of Saint Stephen. Serbian monks ransomed the relics from the Turkish Pasha and transferred them to the Shishatovets monastery on Mount Phrushtsk.
The Serbian Church prays to him as a glorious righteous defender of his native land, “Glory in the struggles, warrior Stephen Stiljianovich, great healer of those who pray to you in faith.”
Martyr Evdemoz, Catholicos of Georgia
Saint Evdemoz led the Georgian Orthodox Church in the mid-17th century during the reign of King Rostom-Khan (1632-1658), a Georgian who had converted to Islam.
Having murdered King Luarsab II of Kartli and chased out King Teimuraz I of Kakheti, the Persian shah Abbas I had declared Rostom-Khan ruler of a unified Kartli-Kakheti kingdom.
Rostom tried to be accommodating in his policies and protect the beliefs and traditions of both the Persian shah and the Georgian people: he set a standard salary for the Georgian clergy and even built churches, but society deteriorated rapidly nevertheless. Human vices became commonplace, and sins like those of Sodom and Gomorrah were multiplied. The nation was so overtaken by sin that even the clergy ceased to conduct themselves in a manner befitting their God-given role.
But the chief shepherd of the Georgian nation would not yield to the moral decline of his flock, and he confronted this crisis with conviction and fearlessness. Several times he led his most valiant military leaders in revolt against Persia. Following the example of Catholicos Evdemoz, several Georgian princes rebelled against the pro-Persian policies of Rostom-Khan and cast out the Islamic influence from their territories.
Catholicos Evdemoz resisted the Islamic custom of raising the king’s heirs in the shah’s court from a young age. He was never too intimidated by the king to expose his wrongdoing and tell him at every convenient opportunity: “You are the natural father of the Muslims, but the stepfather of the Christians!”
Evdemoz was the spiritual father of Rostom-Khan’s wife, the faithful Queen Mariam, the daughter of Manuchar Dadiani, Prince of Samegrelo.
As a result of the holy labors of Catholicos Evdemoz and Queen Mariam, the Christian soul of the Georgian people was not entirely extinguished. The Georgians built churches, wrote spiritual literature, and gradually regained their national consciousness. Catholicos Evdemoz preached throughout the country and developed and implemented a plan to bring King Teimuraz, who had been driven out by Shah Abbas, back to the throne.
Naturally Rostom-Khan felt threatened by the strong influence Catholicos Evdemoz had on the people. In 1642 he arrested the chief shepherd of the Georgian people and tried to win him over, but neither his feigned tenderness nor his threats could break the firm will of the man who loved Christ and his motherland above all else. After his arrest, Saint Evdemoz criticized the king even more harshly and called on the people to rise up against him. Finally Rostom-Khan ordered that Catholicos Evdemoz be strangled to death in his prison cell, and as a further insult, his body was cast off Nariqala Fortress (in Tbilisi) in the direction of the Turkish baths.
That night, a group of Christians stole the body of the holy hieromartyr Catholicos-Patriarch Evdemoz and buried it in the northwest corner of Anchiskhati Church in Tbilisi.
Saint Elena of Serbia
Princess Elena was the wife of the Despot Stephen Štiljanović who is also venerated as a Saint. After his death around 1515, she fled to Germany in order to escape from the Turks.
Later, a light appeared at his grave by night, which led to the discovery of his holy relics. The Saint's body was kept for a long time in the monastery of Šišatovacnto at Fruška Gora. When she learned that her husband's incorrupt relics had been uncovered, Saint Elena went to the monastery to venerate them. After witnessing the miracles which took place at his grave, she decided to remain there with the monastic name Jelisaveta. According to Tradition, she founded the Monastery of Petkovica in 1522.
After a life of asceticism, Saint Elena reposed in 1546. There is reason to believe that she was buried at the Convent of the Most Holy Theotokos in Sremski Karlovci.
Saints Jonah and Nectarius of Kazan
Saints Jonah and Nectarius of Kazan were called John and Nestor Zastolsky before they received monastic tonsure. When Saint Gurias (December 5 ) was sent to the newly established Kazan diocese, the boyar John Zastolsky went with him. Under the spiritual guidance of Saint Gurias, John led a virtuous and pious life. He avoided sin, loved truth, and was strictly honest.
John raised his son Nestor in the fear of God. The gentle youth was an ascetic from childhood. He wore a hair-shirt, kept the fasts, and he loved to pray in church. With his father’s consent, Nestor became a monk with the new name Nectarius. He died at a young age, and was buried near the grave of Saint Gurias.
John was tonsured into monasticism with the name Jonah. Before his death, he left instructions that he also be buried near Saint Gurias.
At the uncovering of the relics of Saints Gurias and Barsanuphius in 1595, the incorrupt bodies and clothing of Saints Jonah and Nectarius were also found. They were left beneath a crypt in a chapel of the Kazan Savior-Transfiguration monastery. The chapel had been built by Jonah over the grave of Saint Gurias.
The saints are mentioned in the service to Saint Gurias, “Two monks, Jonah and Nectarius, ascetics well-pleasing to God, one born of the other, faithfully served you in the world. Upon your death, O Gurias, keeping sincere faith for you, they built a chapel over your grave. These saints are buried here beside you, honored with incorruption from God above. Saint Gurias, pray with them unto Christ God, to grant us peace and great mercy.”