MONDAY OF THE 8TH WEEK
33 Martyrs of Melitene, Lazarus the Wonderworker, Martyr Athenodorus, Alexander the Martyr of Thessaloniki
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE COLOSSIANS 2:13-20
Brethren, you who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, Christ made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?
LUKE 12:13-15, 22-31
At that time, while Jesus was teaching, one of the multitude said to him, “Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.”
The holy martyr Hieron was born in the city of Tiana in great Cappadocia. Raised by a pious mother, he was a kindly and good Christian.
The co-ruling emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305) sent a large military detachment headed by Lysias to Cappadocia to eradicate Christianity there, and also to conscript healthy and strong men into the imperial army. Among those pressed into service, Lysias also ordered his men to draft Hieron, who was distinguished by his great physical strength and dexterity. But Hieron refused to serve emperors who persecuted Christians. When they attempted to seize him by force and bring him to Lysias, he took a stick and started beating the soldiers who had been sent to bring him. The soldiers scattered, ashamed of being defeated by a single man. Hieron then hid himself in a cave with eighteen other Christians. Lysias would not risk losing his soldiers by storming the cave.
Upon the advice of Cyriacus, one of Hieron’s friends, Lysias lifted the siege of the cave and withdrew his detachment. Then Cyriacus persuaded Hieron not to offer resistance to the authorities. He and the other new conscripts and accompanying soldiers were sent to the nearby city of Melitene.
Soon Hieron had a vision in his sleep, in which his impending martyrdom was foretold. Lysias told the soldiers gathered at Melitene to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Hieron and another thirty-two soldiers refused to do this, and openly confessed their faith in Christ. Then the persecutor gave orders to beat the martyrs, and to cut off Hieron’s arm at the elbow. After cruel tortures they threw the martyrs into prison barely alive, and they beheaded them four days later.
A certain rich and illustrious Christian by the name of Chrysanthus ransomed Hieron’s head from Lysias. When the persecutions finally ceased, he built a church on the place where they executed the holy martyrs, and he placed the venerable head in it. The bodies of all the executed saints were secretly buried by Christians. In reign of the emperor Justinian, during the construction of the church of Hagia Eirene (Holy Peace), the venerable relics were uncovered and found incorrupt.
The other martyrs are: Hesychius, Nicander, Athanasius, Mamas, Barachius, Callinicus, Theogenes, Nikon, Longinus, Theodore, Valerius, Xanthius, Theodoulus, Callimachus, Eugene, Theodochus, Ostrychius, Epiphanius, Maximian, Ducitius, Claudian, Theophilus, Gigantius, Dorotheus, Theodotus, Castrichius, Anicletus, Themelius, Eutychius, Hilarion, Diodotus and Amonitus.
Saint Lazarus the Wonderworker of Mt Galesius near Ephesus was born in Lydia, in the city of Magnesium. An educated young man who loved God, Lazarus became a monk at the monastery of Saint Savva, the founder of great ascetic piety in Palestine. He spent ten years within the walls of the monastery, winning the love and respect of the brethren for his intense monastic struggles.
Ordained to the holy priesthood by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Saint Lazarus returned to his native country and settled near Ephesus, on desolate Mount Galesius. Here he saw a wondrous vision: a fiery pillar, rising up to the heavens, was encircled by angels singing, “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.”
On the place where the saint beheld this vision, he built a church in honor of the Resurrection of Christ and took upon himself the feat of pillar-dwelling. Monks soon began to flock to the great ascetic, thirsting for spiritual nourishment by the divinely-inspired words and blessed example of the saint, and a monastery was established there.
Having received a revelation about the day of his death, the saint told the brethren. Through the tearful prayers of all the monks, the Lord prolonged the earthly life of Saint Lazarus for another fifteen years.
Saint Lazarus died at 72 years of age, in the year 1053. The brethren buried the body of the saint at the pillar upon which he had struggled in asceticism. He was glorified by many miracles after his death.
Saint Lazarus is also commemorated on July 17.
No information available at this time.
Saint Cyril the wonderworker of New Lake reposed on February 4, 1532.
In May 1648, during the reign of Alexei Mihailovich, a popular rebellion against Moscow broke out among some of those who were members of the Tsar's retinue. Peter Trahanitov, the head of the artillery, the Deacon Eleazar, and many others were killed and robbed. The rebellious crowd proceeded to the Beautiful Porch and demanded the extradition of the boyar Boris Morozov, the royal tutor and kinsman. They had already broken into his house and looted the property. The boyar, with some difficulty, managed to hide from the hands of the angry mob, and soon he took refuge in the Saint Cyril of White Lake Monastery. When Igoumen Amphilokhios and the brethren learned he would be staying with them, he sent the monk Jonah to him with the icon and the Life of Saint Cyril. The boyar graciously accepted the icon and was moved by the Saint's Life. After that, his soul was filled with joy and delight, but then his tormenting fears and grief returned, and he wanted to venerate Saint Cyril's grave.
After having a Moleben served at the grave and praying to the Saint with tears, the boyar said to the Igoumen and the brotherhood: "Holy Fathers, pray to God and His Most Pure Mother, and the venerable wonderworker Cyril for me. If God is merciful to me, by the prayers of Saint Cyril, and if I return to the royal city, and the great sovereign and his royal council take pity on me and restore me to my former rank, then I will build a stone church here in honor of the glorious Resurrection of Christ and in honor of Saint Cyril."
The delighted Igoumen and the brotherhood responded with their fervent good wishes. After distributing alms, the boyar returned to the Saint Cyril of White Lake Monastery. After a short time, after the excitement in Moscow subsided, the boyar was summoned by the Tsar and restored to his former position. The following year, in 1649, Morozov began to fulfill his promise. On September 4, at his orders, the Archimandrite Athanasios of the Saint Cyril of White Lake Monastery and the Elder Sabbatius Yushkov were at the foundation of the stone temple. In their presence they began to dig ditches, and when they came to the place where Saint Cyril's tomb was, a completely intact coffin was found among the roots of a tree.
Without a patriarchal decree and the blessing of the Metropolitan and the Archimandrite, Elder Sabbatius did not dare to take the coffin from the earth in order to open and to examine It. The coffin was placed on some boards, and the discovery was reported to Metropolitan Barlaam of Rostov, Patriarch Joseph, and the boyar Morozov. Mozarov, after receiving the news, told the Tsar all this and informed him about the Life and miracles of the venerable Cyril. In October, the Patriarch, at the Tsar's suggestion, sent Archbishop Marcellus of Vologda with a Gramota instructing him to go to New Lake and examine the relics of the Saint, and move the relics to a temporary room, arrange a celebration, and report everything to the Tsar and Patriarch.
Archbishop Marcellus arrived at New Lake Monastery with Archimandrite Athanasios of Saint Cyril of White Lake Monastery and, from the same monastery, the cellarer Sabbatius with the Elders of the cathedral. On November 7, Igoumen Amphilokhios ordered them to remove the coffin from the earth, and then open it in order to inspect the Saint's relics and clothing. After the hierarch completed his inspection he placed the relics in a new coffin and moved it into the wooden church of the Resurrection of Christ.
On the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos Vespers was served at the cathedral in the evening. In the morning, before the Liturgy, a Moleben to the All-Merciful Savior, the Theotokos, and All Saints was served, with the blessing of water. Many sick persons were healed at the celebration. People took pieces of wood from the old coffin and brought them home because they had faith in their healing power.
Saint Cyrill is commemorated on November 7 (the discovery of his relics), on January 23 (Synaxis of All Saints of Kostroma), and on the third Sunday after Pentecost (Synaxis of All Saints of Novgorod).
The Martyrs Melasippus and Karina and their son Antoninus, and 40 children converted by their martyrdom at Ancyra suffered during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate in the city of Ancyra in Phrygia in the year 363. The holy Martyrs Melasippus and Karina, lacerated by iron hooks and exhausted, died under torture.
Their son Antoninus, whom the persecutor forced to watch the torture of his parents, spat in the face of the apostate emperor. For this he was subjected to cruel tortures, but he remained unharmed, and then he was beheaded. Forty other youths, seeing that the Lord had preserved His confessor Antoninus unharmed by tortures, believed in Christ, and they openly confessed their faith and endured martyrdom..
Saints Auctus and Taurion suffered martyrdom with Saint Thessalonica, the daughter of a pagan priest. When the impious father learned that his daughter had become a Christian, he ruthlessly beat her and threw her out of the house, with no means of providing for herself. Saints Auctus and Taurion attempted to intercede for the girl, and to reason with the embittered father. The pagan priest denounced them both to the authorities, and they were arrested.
After confessing their faith in Christ before the torturers and undergoing cruel torments, the saints were then beheaded. Soon after their martyric death, Saint Thessalonica also died. Her body was reverently buried in the city of Amphypolis in Macedonia, together with the holy Martyrs Auctus and Taurion.
The “Joyful” (Взыграние) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos appeared near Moscow on November 7, 1795. Nothing is known of the Icon's history, except that many miracles have taken place before it.
For many years, the Icon was one of the symbols of the Saint Nicholas – Ugresh Monastery (now called Dzerzhinsk). The history of the Monastery is associated with the name of the Holy Prince Dēmḗtrios of the Don, and the Battle of Kulikovo, 15 versts from Moscow. On his way there, he saw an icon of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker in the branches of a tree. Not knowing where it came from, the Prince took it as a sign of God's blessing and vowed to establish a monastery on the site if he were victorious.
Thus, the Saint Nicholas – Ugresh Monastery was built, and also a cathedral church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, where the miraculous Icon of the Mother of God known as "Joyful" was later kept.
After the Revolution, the Icon disappeared when the Monastery was looted. By the mercy of God, one of the copies of the wonderworking Icon painted in 1814 has been preserved. Today, this ancient image is part of the collection of the Moscow State Museum.
However, in the Saint Nicholas – Ugresh Monastery there is another "Joyful" Icon of the Mother of God. At the beginning of the XXI century, believing Christians, who wished to remain anonymous, transferred a copy of that icon which they found at the Monastery in the 1990s. It belongs to the same iconographic type, but there are some differences from the original. There was Cross Procession as the brethren of the Monastery and its parishioners met the Icon at the gates, and it was placed in the Monastery's Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, where it is kept for the faithful to venerate.
Icons of this name are to be found in the Novodevichii Monastery in Moscow, and at Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos. In appearance, the “Joyful” Icon resembles the Πελαγονιτίσσα Icon, a variant of the Glykophylousa (“Sweet-Kissing”), or Eleousa (Merciful) type.
The Icon is sometimes called “Child Jumping for Joy.”
Saint Theodotus was an innkeeper. When seven virgins who lived near Corinth were drowned in a lake, he buried their bodies under the cover of night. For this reason, he was tortured and beheaded.