SUNDAY OF THE 7TH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Sunday of the 7th Ecumenical Council, Longinus the Centurion, The Two Soldiers martyred with Saint Longinus
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO TITUS 3:8-15
Titus, my son, the saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.
When I send Artemas or Tychicos to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful.
All who are with me send greeting to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
The Lord said this parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold." And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience." As he said these things, he cried out "He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Martyr Longinus the Centurion, who stood at the Cross of the Lord
The Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion, a Roman soldier, served in Judea under the command of the Governor, Pontius Pilate. When our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified, it was the detachment of soldiers under the command of Longinus which stood watch on Golgotha, at the very foot of the holy Cross. Longinus and his soldiers were eyewitnesses of the final moments of the earthly life of the Lord, and of the great and awesome portents that appeared at His death. These events shook the centurion’s soul. Longinus believed in Christ and confessed before everyone, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54).
According to Church Tradition, Longinus was the soldier who pierced the side of the Crucified Savior with a spear, and received healing from an eye affliction when blood and water poured forth from the wound.
After the Crucifixion and Burial of the Savior, Longinus stood watch with his company at the Sepulchre of the Lord. These soldiers were present at the All-Radiant Resurrection of Christ. The Jews bribed them to lie and say that His disciples had stolen away the Body of Christ, but Longinus and two of his comrades refused to be seduced by the Jewish gold. They also refused to remain silent about the miracle of the Resurrection.
Having come to believe in the Savior, the soldiers received Baptism from the apostles and decided to leave military service. Saint Longinus left Judea to preach about Jesus Christ the Son of God in his native land (Cappadocia), and his two comrades followed him.
The fiery words of those who had actually participated in the great events in Judea swayed the hearts and minds of the Cappadocians; Christianity began quickly to spread throughout the city and the surrounding villages. When they learned of this, the Jewish elders persuaded Pilate to send a company of soldiers to Cappadocia to kill Longinus and his comrades. When the soldiers arrived at Longinus’s village, the former centurion himself came out to meet the soldiers and took them to his home. After a meal, the soldiers revealed the purpose of their visit, not knowing that the master of the house was the very man whom they were seeking. Then Longinus and his friends identified themselves and told the startled soldiers to carry out their duty.
The soldiers wanted to let the saints go and advised them to flee, but they refused to do this, showing their firm intention to suffer for Christ. The holy martyrs were beheaded, and their bodies were buried at the place where the saints were martyred. The head of Saint Longinus, however, was sent to Pilate.
Pilate gave orders to cast the martyr’s head on a trash-heap outside the city walls. After a while a certain blind widow from Cappadocia arrived in Jerusalem with her son to pray at the holy places, and to ask that her sight be restored. After becoming blind, she had sought the help of physicians to cure her, but all their efforts were in vain.
The woman’s son became ill shortly after reaching Jerusalem, and he died a few days later. The widow grieved for the loss of her son, who had served as her guide.
Saint Longinus appeared to her in a dream and comforted her. He told her that she would see her son in heavenly glory, and also receive her sight. He told her to go outside the city walls and there she would find his head in a great pile of refuse. Guides led the blind woman to the rubbish heap, and she began to dig with her hands. As soon as she touched the martyr’s head, the woman received her sight, and she glorified God and Saint Longinus.
Taking up the head, she brought it to the place she was staying and washed it. The next night, Saint Longinus appeared to her again, this time with her son. They were surrounded by a bright light, and Saint Longinus said, “Woman, behold the son for whom you grieve. See what glory and honor are his now, and be consoled. God has numbered him with those in His heavenly Kingdom. Now take my head and your son’s body, and bury them in the same casket. Do not weep for your son, for he will rejoice forever in great glory and happiness.”
The woman carried out the saint’s instructions and returned to her home in Cappadocia. There she buried her son and the head of Saint Longinus. Once, she had been overcome by grief for her son, but her weeping was transformed into joy when she saw him with Saint Longinus. She had sought healing for her eyes, and also received healing of her soul.
Venerable Longinus the Gatekeeper of the Kiev Caves
Saint Longinus, the Gate-Keeper of the Kiev Caves, Far Caves, made his monastic obedience at the Kiev Caves monastery. His prayerful fervor and humble love for work were rewarded by the Lord. The venerable gatesman was granted the gift of discernment. He encouraged the people who came to the Lavra with good intent, but he denounced those inclined to wickedness and urged them to repentance. He was buried in the Far Caves.
St Longinus is also commemorated on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.
Venerable Longinus of Yarenga
Saint Longinus, the wonderworker of Yarenga, is also commemorated on July 3.
Martyr Longinus of Asistavi
No information available at this time.
Saint Eupraxia, Princess of Pskov
Saint Eupraxia, Princess of Pskov (Euphrosynē in the world), was the daughter of Prince Rogvol'd Borisovich of Polotsk, and the aunt of the holy Prince Dovmont-Timothy (May 20). She was also the wife of Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich of Pskov. Prince Yaroslav fled from Pskov to Livonia, and there he married a German woman. Together with the Teutonic knights he made several incursions into the Russian lands, and in 1231 he captured Izborsk. After her husband's departure, Euphrosynē devoted herself to works of piety. In the year 1243, she built a monastery on the banks of the Velika River and dedicated it to Saint John the Forerunner. It is believed that she became its Superior.
Invited to Livonia to meet with her former husband in the city of Odenpa (Bear’s Head), Saint Eupraxίa was murdered (May 8, 1243) by a stepson, more accurately, Yaroslav's son by his German wife. She was buried in the church of the monastery that she founded.
Ten days after Saint Eupraxia's martyrdom, a miracle occurred over her grave, when myrrh issued from an icon of the Savior. The icon was called “The myrrh-streaming Savior."1 Saint Eupraxίa appears on two icons. In one, she is depicted at prayer with Saint John the Forerunner and the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. The other icon is beside the wonderworking icon of the Savior.
Saint Eupraxίa is commemorated on October 16, the day of martyrdom, and on the Third Sunday after Pentecost (Synaxis of the Pskov Saints).
1 "Спаситель Мироточивый."
Saint Domna of Tomsk
The holy fool Saint Domna (Karpovna) was born into a noble family in the central Ukraine around the beginning of the nineteenth century. Orphaned at an early age, Saint Domna grew up in her aunt’s house. She received an excellent education, and was able to speak several languages. She was a beautiful girl, and therefore she had many suitors who hoped to marry her. The righteous one, however, desired to preserve her virginity for the Lord’s sake. When she discovered that her relatives wished to force her to be married, she left the house in secret, dressed in plain clothing, and she went on pilgrimage to the holy places. Since she had no documents to prove her identity, she was arrested and exiled to Siberia, where she settled in the city of Tomsk. There she undertook the exploit of foolishness for the sake of Christ.
Saint Domna had no permanent home, and she often spent her days and nights in the open air. Her clothes consisted of various items in different sizes, which hung from her almost naked body. Bags of all sorts hung from her body, filled with bits of glass, incense, bread, sugar, shoes, ropes, stones, and other things. Saint Domna often counted them instead of the knots on a prayer rope, thereby concealing her unceasing prayer from human sight. When compassionate people gave her coats during the severe winters, she accepted them with gratitude, but a few hours later she would give them to some other beggar, while she continued to suffer from the cold. Knowing about the difficult stay of the prisoners in the Tomsk police station, Domna began to walk among them and sing spiritual songs, for which she herself was detained. Upon learning of this, the Tomsk merchants, who revered Domna, carried her loads of cakes, bliny, tea and sugar, which she meted out to the distressed prisoners.
Remembering the words of Holy Scripture: “A righteous man pities the lives of his animals” (Proverbs 12:10, Septuagint), the saint also took care of stray animals and watchdogs. She often fed them, and she was fond of the dogs, about whom the owners did not care, turning them loose at will. Animals also loved the righteous one and by night a multitude of them surrounded her. But even among dumb animals Domna Karpovna did not forget about God. The residents of Tomsk, amid the howling of dogs, often heard her prayer in the darkness: “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”
The blessed one prayed intensely and fervently in the temple, but only when there were just a few people present. One eyewitness described her prayer: “Once I glanced into the side chapel of the church, and there I saw Domna Karpovna, kneeling, and praying. Oh, how she prayed! And the tears, the tears! They flowed from her eyes in two streams.” But as soon as she noticed someone was looking at her, she began to behave like a fool again, moving from place to place, talking, and extinguishing candles.
Through her exploit of foolishness Saint Domna preserved her virginity, voluntarily enduring poverty, suffering from the heat and cold, and putting the sinful passions to death. At the end of her life she received the gift of clairvoyance from the Lord, which served for the spiritual benefit of others. She surrendered her soul to God on October 16, 1872, and she was buried in the convent of Saint John the Baptist in Tomsk.
The Church of Russia glorified Saint Domna in 1984. She is also commemorated on June 10, the Synaxis of All Saints of Siberia. Some sources give December 16 as the day of her repose. Today, not far from Saint Domna’s burial place, a chapel was built and dedicated to her.