WEDNESDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Probus, Andronicus, & Tarachus, Martyrs of Tarsus, Symeon the New Theologian, Cosmas the Hymnographer, Bishop of Maiuma, Domnina the Martyr, Wilfrid of York
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS 5:25-33
Brethren, husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
At that time, Jesus entered a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side of the lake." So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that he commands even wind and water, and they obey him?
Martyrs Probus, Tarachus, and Andronicus, at Tarsus in Cilicia
The Martyrs Tarachus, Probus, and Andronicus suffered for Christ in the year 304 at Tarsus in Cilicia. When the pagans ordered him to offer sacrifice to idols, the old soldier Tarachus replied that he would offer a pure heart to the one true God instead of sacrifices of blood. Seeing the firmness of the saint’s confession the true Faith, the proconsul gave them all over to torture.
“When my body suffers,” Saint Probus said to the idol worshippers, “then my soul is healed and invigorated.” The tormentors refined their tortures, such as their rage could invent, and then they tore the bodies of the saints apart. Christians secretly took up the relics of the saints and buried them.
Saint Cosmas the Hymnographer, Bishop of Maiuma
Saint Cosmas the Hymnographer, Bishop of Maiuma, was a native of Jerusalem. He was raised by the parents of Saint John of Damascus (December 4) together with their son, and he received a fine education. When Saint Cosmas came of age, he set out to one of the monasteries of Palestine, where he attained renown for his monastic exploits.
During a time of persecution against holy icons Saint Cosmas, and the venerable John, came forward to defend Orthodoxy. In the year 743 Cosmas was made Bishop of Maiuma. He died in old age, leaving behind many canons for feast days and a Triodion for four days of Holy Week.
Venerable Amphilochius, Abbot of Glushetsa
Saint Amphilochius, Abbot of Glushetsa, already a monk of priestly rank, came from Ustiug to Saint Dionysius of Glushetsa (July 1) in the year 1417. Saint Dionysius, learning of the wish of Amphilochius to become an ascetic, told him of the severity and harshness of life in his monastery, but this did not deter the newcomer. Then Saint Dionysius said, “If you wish to dwell here, then we shall make an accord not to be distinct one from another while we dwell upon the earth.” Amphilochius joyfully agreed and vowed to fulfill the rule of the monastery.
The venerable Amphilochius spent twenty years in deeds of fasting, prayer and obedience under the guidance of Saint Dionysius, striving to imitate him in all things and assisting in the work of building up the monastery.
After the death of Saint Dionysius, Saint Amphilochius was the abbot of the Glushetsa monastery for fifteen years. He died peacefully in the year 1452, and was buried alongside his mentor.
Martyr Domnina of Anazarbus
The Martyr Domnina of Anazarbus lived in the region of Cilicia, and suffered for confessing Christianity. She was beaten for a long time, by order of the governor Licius, and they also burned her with fire. After many tortures, Saint Domnina was thrown into prison, where she died in 286.
Saint Martin the Merciful, Bishop of Tours
Saint Martin the Merciful, Bishop of Tours, was born at Sabaria in Pannonia (modern Hungary) in 316. Since his father was a Roman officer, he also was obliged to serve in the army. Martin did so unwillingly, for he considered himself a soldier of Christ, though he was still a catechumen.
At the gates of Amiens, he saw a beggar shivering in the severe winter cold, so he cut his cloak in two and gave half to the beggar. That night, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the saint wearing Martin’s cloak. He heard the Savior say to the angels surrounding Him, “Martin is only a catechumen, but he has clothed Me with this garment.” The saint was baptized soon after this, and reluctantly remained in the army.
Two years later, the barbarians invaded Gaul and Martin asked permission to resign his commission for religious reasons. The commander charged him with cowardice. Saint Martin demonstrated his courage by offering to stand unarmed in the front line of battle, trusting in the power of the Cross to protect him. The next day, the barbarians surrendered without a fight, and Martin was allowed to leave the army.
He traveled to various places during the next few years, spending some time as a hermit on an island off Italy. He became friendly with Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers (January 14), who made Martin an exorcist. After several years of the ascetic life, Saint Martin was chosen to be Bishop of Tours in 371. As bishop, Saint Martin did not give up his monastic life, and the place where he settled outside Tours became a monastery. In fact, he is regarded as the founder of monasticism in France. He conversed with angels, and had visions of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29) and of other saints. He is called the Merciful because of his generosity and care for the poor, and he received the grace to work miracles.
After a life of devoted service to Christ and His Church, the saint fell ill at Candes, a village in his diocese, where he died on November 8, 397. He was buried three days later (his present Feast) at Tours. During the Middle Ages, many Western churches were dedicated to Saint Martin, including Saint Martin’s in Canterbury, and Saint Martin-in-the-Fields in London.
In 1008, a cathedral was built at Tours over the relics of Saint Martin. This cathedral was destroyed in 1793 during the French Revolution, together with the relics of Saint Martin and Saint Gregory of Tours (November 17). A new cathedral was built on the site many years later. Some fragments of the relics of Saint Martin were recovered and placed in the cathedral, but nothing remains of Saint Gregory’s relics.
Saint Martin’s name appears on many Greek and Russian calendars. His commemoration on October 12 in the Russian calendar appears to be an error, since ancient sources give the November date.
“Jerusalem” Icon of the Mother of God
The Jerusalem Icon of the Mother of God, by tradition, was painted by the holy Evangelist Luke fifteen years after the Ascension of the Lord at Gethsemane.
In the year 463, the icon was transferred to Constantinople. The Byzantine army carried the Jerusalem Icon into battle when they turned back an invasion of the Scythians. In 988 the icon was transferred to Korsun and given to the holy Prince Vladimir. When the people of Novgorod accepted Christianity, Saint Vladimir sent them this icon. In 1571, Ivan the Terrible transferred the icon to the Moscow Dormition cathedral. During the Napoleonic invasion of 1812, the original was stolen by the French and brought to Paris. An authenticated copy was placed in the Dormition cathedral.
The Jerusalem Icon is also commemorated on November 13, and on the Fifth Saturday of Great Lent.
Saint Edwin, King and Martyr
Saint Edwin (Eadwine) was the son of Alla, King of Deira, and was born around 584. When his father died, Edwin was cheated out of his kingdom by King Ethelred of Bernicia, who united Bernicia and Deira into a single kingdom of Northumbria.
Edwin fled to East Anglia and took refuge with King Redwald. Redwald, because of the threats and promises he had received, was persuaded to give Edwin up to his enemies. Edwin was warned by a friend of the danger he faced. That night, a stranger promised that his kingdom would be restored to him if Edwin would do as he taught him. Edwin agreed, and the stranger laid his hand on Edwin’s head, telling him to remember the gesture.
In time, Edwin became ruler of the entire north of England and, by force of arms, obliged the other kings to acknowledge him as sovereign. He married Ethelburga, the daughter of Saint Ethelbert (February 25), the first Christian king in England. Ethelburga was also the sister of King Ealbald of Kent.
There was an attempt on Edwin’s life in 626, on the eve of Pascha. That night the queen gave birth to a baby girl, and King Quichelm of the West Saxons sent an assassin named Eumer to kill Edwin with a poisoned dagger. Eumer was admitted to Edwin’s presence and tried to stab him. He would have succeeded if it had not been for Lilla, King Edwin’s faithful minister, who placed himself between the king and the assassin. The blade passed through his body, however, and wounded the king. The assassin was killed, and Lilla saved Edwin’s life at the cost of his own. This event is commemorated by a stone cross which stands on Lilla Howe near Fylingdales Ballistic Missile Early Warning System on the North Yorkshire Moors. Before the Pickering-Whitby road was built in 1759, this cross served as a guide for those who walked across the moors from Robin Hood’s Bay to Saltergate.
Edwin thanked his gods that he had been spared, but he was told by Bishop Paulinus of York (October 10) that he had been saved by the prayers of his queen. The bishop said that he should show his gratitude to the true God by allowing his newborn daughter to be baptized. The child was baptized on Pentecost, and was given the name Eanfleda.
The king, who had been slightly wounded in the attack, promised Bishop Paulinus that he would become a Christian if he were restored to health, and if he would triumph over those who conspired to kill him.
As soon as his wound healed, King Edwin marched against the King of the West Saxons with an army. He vanquished the opposing army, killing or capturing those involved in the plot against him. He no longer followed the pagan religion, but he put off his promise to embrace Christianity, and it was many years before Edwin converted. He would sit alone for hours trying to decide which religion he should follow. Saint Paulinus, informed by a revelation about the stranger’s promise to the king, went to Edwin and laid his hand upon his head. “Do you remember this gesture?” he asked.
The king trembled with astonishment, and would have fallen at the bishop’s feet. Saint Paulinus gently raised him up and said, “You see that God has delivered you from your enemies. Moreover, He offers you His everlasting Kingdom. See that you fulfill your promise to become a Christian and keep the commandments of God.”
King Edwin said that he would seek the counsel of his advisers and urge them to convert with him. He asked them what he should do. Coifi, a pagan priest, said it was readily apparent that their gods had no power. Another person said that this brief life was inconsequential, compared to eternity.
Saint Paulinus addressed the gathering, and when he had finished, Coifi told the king that the altars and temples of their false gods should be burned. The king asked him who should be the first to profane them. Coifi replied that he should be the first, since he had been foremost in leading their worship. The chief priest of the pagans was not permitted to bear arms or to ride a horse. It was customary that he ride a mare. Coifi, however, asked for a horse and for arms. Mounted on the king’s own horse, Coifi threw a spear into their temple, commanding the others to pull it down and set it afire. This place was not far from York, and today it is known as Godmanham.
In 627, the eleventh year of his reign, Saint Edwin was baptized by Saint Paulinus of York in the wooden church of Saint Peter. Saint Edwin began the construction of a new stone church, which was completed by his successor Saint Oswald (August 5).
Saint Edwin ruled his kingdom in peace for six more years, and continued to practice and promote Christianity. He was killed in a battle with Penda of Mercia and Cadwalla of Wales in 633, when he was forty-eight years old, at a place now known as Hatfield.
Saint Edwin’s body was buried at Whitby, but his head was buried at York in the church he had built. Most of the early English calendars list Saint Edwin as a martyr.
After the death of Saint Edwin, his wife Saint Ethelburga (April 5) returned to Kent, where she became the abbess of a monastery which she founded at Lyminge.
Icon of the Mother of God of Rudens
The Rudens Icon of the Mother of God appeared in the year 1687 in the Rudno locale of Mogilevsk diocese. In 1712 the icon was transferred to the Florovsk Ascension monastery in Kiev, where now it is located.
Translation from Malta to Gatchina: of a Particle of the Life Giving Cross, the Filersk Icon of the Mother of God, and the relic of the Right Hand of John the Baptist
The Translation from Malta to Gatchina of a Portion of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, together with the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God (from Mount Philermos on the Greek island of Rhodes), and the right hand of Saint John the Baptist took place in the year 1799. These holy things were preserved on the island of Malta by the Knights of the Catholic Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. In 1798, when the French seized the island, the Maltese knights turned to Russia for defense and protection. On October 12, 1799 they offered these ancient holy things to the emperor Paul I, who at this time was at Gatchina. In the autumn of 1799 the holy items were transferred to Saint Petersburg and placed in the Winter Palace within the church dedicated to the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands. The Feast for this event was established in 1800.
By ancient tradition, the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God was painted by the holy Evangelist Luke. From Jerusalem it was transferred to Constantinople, where it was situated in the Blachernae church. In the thirteenth century it was taken from there by crusaders, and from that time was kept by the Knights of the Order of Saint John.
New Martyr John, Archbishop of Riga and Latvia
No information available at this time.
Saint Tarasius of Glushetsa
Saint Tarasius of Glushetsa was abbot of a monastery built by Saint Stephen of Perm (April 26), and he zealously spread and affirmed the Orthodox Faith among the Zyryani people.
In 1427, under the successor of Saint Stephen, Bishop Gerasimus (January 29), Saint Tarasius voluntarily gave up leading the monastery and went to the Glushetsa monastery under the guidance of Saint Dionysius (June 1).
Saint Dionysius, seeing Tarasius’ deep humility, accepted him. The former igumen Tarasius toiled alongside the novices as an equal at the monastery and he led a strict ascetic life. He was buried at the Dionysiev monastery in 1440.
Saint Macarius, Abbot of Glushetsa
Saint Macarius, Abbot of Glushetsa (in the world Matthew), was born in Rostov. As a twelve-year-old boy he was given to Saint Dionysius (June 1) to be raised. Growing up under the guidance of the great Elder, the saint was distinguished by a rare purity of soul. Saint Macarius, already a hieromonk, was chosen by the brethren as igumen of the monastery after the death of Saint Amphilochius. Saint Macarius fell asleep in the Lord on May 13 (not earlier than 1462).
Icon of the Mother of God of Yaroslav-Smolensk
The Yaroslav-Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God was the cell icon of the archimandrite of the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra, Anthony. On October 12, 1642 while he was praying, he heard a voice from the Smolensk Hodēgḗtria (Directress) icon saying, “Go, go to the limits of the city of Yaroslavl, to a newly-made monastery in My name.” Archimandrite Anthony sent this icon with the Venerable Gersaim to the indicated monastery, being built in the forest, not far from Yaroslavl. The wonderworking icon was set in the monastery church in the altar area.
Icon of the Mother of God of Kaluga
The Kaluga Icon of the Mother of God appeared in the year 1748 (September 2). In 1812 many Russian and French soldiers beheld the Kaluga icon of the Mother of God, standing in the air. Thus also it was around Kaluga and Maloyaroslavl. During such appearances the Russian armies were always victorious. This vision was also granted to the peasant Paraskevḗ Alekseeva.