SATURDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK
Lucian the Martyr of Antioch, Savinos the Bishop of Catania, Barsus the Confessor, Euthymios the New
ST. PAUL’S FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS 15:39-45
Brethren, not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
At that time, Jesus was going through the grainfields on the sabbath, and his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath?” And Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” And he said to them, “The Son of man is lord of the sabbath.” On another sabbath, when he entered the synagogue and taught, a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” And he looked around on them all, and said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored.
Saint Euthymius the New of Thessalonica and Mt Athos, in the world was named Nicetas, and he was a native of the city of Ancyra in Galatia. His parents, Epiphanius and Anna, led virtuous Christian lives, and from childhood their son was meek, pious and obedient. At age seven he was left fatherless and he soon became the sole support of his mother in all matters. Having entered military service, Nicetas married, on the insistence of his mother. After the birth of a daughter, he secretly left home in order to enter a monastery. For fifteen years the venerable Euthymius lived the ascetic life on Mount Olympus, where he learned monastic deeds from the Elders.
The monk went to resettle on Mount Athos. On the way he learned that his mother and wife were in good health. He informed them that he had become a monk, and he sent them a cross, calling on them to follow his example. On Mt Athos he was tonsured into the Great Schema and lived for three years in a cave in total silence, struggling with temptations. Saint Euthymius also lived for a long time as a stylite, not far from Thessalonica, instructing those coming to him for advice and healing the sick.
The monk cleansed his mind and heart to such an extent that he was granted divine visions and revelations. At the command of the Lord, Saint Euthymius founded two monasteries in 863 on Mount Peristeros, not far from Thessalonica, which he guided for 14 years, with the rank of deacon. In one of these his wife and mother received monastic tonsure. Before his death he settled on Hiera, an island of Mt Athos, where he reposed in 898. His relics were transferred to Thessalonica. Saint Euthymius is called “the New” to distinguish him from Saint Euthymius the Great (January 20).
The Hieromartyr Lucian, Presbyter of Antioch, was born in the Syrian city of Samosata. At twelve years of age he was left orphaned. Lucian distributed his possessions to the poor, and went to the city of Edessa to the confessor Macarius, under the guidance of whom he diligently read Holy Scripture and learned the ascetic life. For his pious and zealous spreading of Christianity among the Jews and pagans, Lucian was made a presbyter.
In Antioch Saint Lucian opened a school where many students gathered. He taught them how to understand the Holy Scriptures, and how to live a virtuous life. Saint Lucian occupied himself with teaching, and he corrected the Greek text of the Septuagint, which had been corrupted in many places by copyists and by heretics who deliberately distorted it in order to support their false teachings. The entire Greek text of the Bible which he corrected was hidden in a wall at the time of his confession of Christ, and it was found during the lifetime of Saint Constantine the Great.
During the persecution of Diocletian, Saint Lucian was arrested and was sent to prison in Nicomedia, where for nine years he encouraged other Christians with him to remain steadfast in their confession of Christ, urging them not to fear tortures or death.
Saint Lucian died in prison from many terrible tortures and from hunger. Before his death, he wished to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ on the Feast of Theophany. Certain Christians who visited him brought bread and wine for the Eucharist. The hieromartyr, bound by chains and lying on a bed of sharp potsherds, was compelled to offer the Bloodless Sacrifice upon his chest, and all the Christians there in prison received Communion. The next day the emperor sent people to see if the saint was still alive. Saint Lucian said three times, “I am a Christian,” then surrendered his soul to God. The body of the holy martyr was thrown into the sea, but after thirty days dolphins brought it to shore. Believers reverently buried the body of the much-suffering Saint Lucian.
Saint Lucian was originally commemorated on January 7, the day of his death. Later, when the celebration of the Synaxis of Saint John the Baptist was appointed for this day, the feast of Saint Lucian was transferred to October 15.
The October date may be associated with the dedication of a church which was built in Antioch by Saint Helen (May 21) over Saint Lucian’s holy relics.
Although he was only a priest, sometimes Saint Lucian is depicted in the vestments of a bishop. The Stroganov Guide for Iconographers was published in Russia in 1869, based on a 1606 manuscript. There Saint Lucian is depicted wearing a phelonion and holding a Gospel. He does not wear the omophorion of a bishop, however. Another handbook, the Litsevoy Podlinnik, states that Saint Lucian is to be depicted with the omophorion.
It may be that the Russians thought of Saint Lucian as a bishop because of his importance to the Church, and so that is how they depicted him. Similarly, Saint Charalampus (February 10) is depicted as a priest in Greek icons, and as a bishop in Russian icons.
Saint John, Bishop of Suzdal, entered one of the monasteries of Suzdal while a youth. For his virtuous and humble life, the saint was made the first Bishop of Suzdal and Nizhegorod in 1350. Bishop John merited a great mercy of God: Prince Boris of Suzdal saw how an angel of God attended the saint during the Divine Liturgy.
Saint John was known for his love towards the destitute and the sick; he interceded for the poor before the princes to lower their taxes. He also built poor houses and hospices for the sick. The saint was very concerned about enlightening the pagan Mordvians with the Christian Faith. After the annexation of Suzdal to the Moscow Diocese, Saint John took the monastic schema and withdrew to the Bogoliub monastery. He lived there in seclusion and died in peace. Numerous miracles took place at his grave.
Saint Lucian the Presbyter lived in the XIII century, and suffered martyrdom under Batu around 1243. Nothing else is known about him.
Saint Lucian's relics are in the Far Caves of Saint Theodosios, and his Feast Day is on October 15, because of his Patron Saint, Hieromartyr Lucian, the Presbyter of Antioch. He is also commemorated on August 28 (Synaxis of the Saints of the Kiev Caves, whose relics repose in the Far Caves of Saint Theodosios); and again on the second Sunday of Great Lent (Synaxis of all the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves Monastery).
The Holy Martyrs Sarbelus and Bebaia (Barbea) of Edessa were brother and sister, suffering in the second century under the emperor Trajan for confessing Christianity. Saint Sarbelus was a priest of the idols at Edessa, but was converted to Christ by a certain bishop, then he and his sister were baptized. Pagans tortured the saints for a long while, and then beheaded them.
These saints are also commemorated on January 29. Saint Sarbelus may be the same one who is commemorated on September 5.
Saint Sabinus, Bishop of Catania in Sicily, fervently desiring to serve the Lord, withdrew into the wilderness. Here he led a strict ascetic life and received from the Lord gifts of wonderworking and discernment.
The Icon of the Mother of God, the “Multiplier of Wheat”, was painted at the blessing of the Elder Ambrose (October 10) of the Visitation Optina wilderness monastery. Saint Ambrose, a great Russian ascetic of the nineteenth century, was ardent with a childlike faith towards the Mother of God. In particular, he revered all the Feastdays of the Mother of God, and on these days he redoubled his prayer. With the icon, “Multiplier of Wheat,” Saint Ambrose blessed the Shamordino women’s monastery established in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, which he had founded not far from the Optina monastery.
On this icon, the Mother of God is depicted sitting upon the clouds, and Her hands are extended in blessing. Beneath her is a compressed field, and on it amidst the grass and flowers stand and lay sheaves of rye. Elder Ambrose himself decreed the day of celebration, October 15, and called the icon “Multiplier of Wheat”, indicating by this, that the Most Holy Theotokos “is a Helper for people in their labors for the acquiring of their daily bread.”
Before his blessed repose, Saint Ambrose ordered many copies of this icon and sent them to his spiritual children. For the Akathist to this icon, the Elder composed a particular response, “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with You! Grant unto us unworthy ones the dew of Your grace and the showing forth of Your mercy!”
Saint Ambrose’s burial took place on October 15, the Feastday of the icon. The first miracle from the holy icon was witnessed in 1891, when throughout Russia there was a famine because of crop failure. In the Kaluga district and on the fields of the Shamordino monastery, however, grain was produced. In 1892, already after the death of Saint Ambrose, his attendant John Cherepanov sent a copy of the icon to the Pyatnitsa women’s monastery in Voronezh district. In this locale there was a threat of drought and famine, but soon after a Molieben was celebrated before the icon “The Multiplier of Wheat”, rain fell and ended the drought.