2ND FRIDAY OF LENT
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Quadratus the Martyr & his Companions, Anastasia of Alexandria, Michael Mauroudes the New-Martyr
In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it. When the house of David was told, "Syria is in league with Ephraim, " his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.
And the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go forth to meet Ahaz, you and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller's Field, and say to him, 'Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, "Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it, " thus says the Lord GOD: It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. (Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken to pieces so that it will no longer be a people.) And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.'
Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, "Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test." And he said, "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. Then the LORD said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart always; tie them about your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adventuress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for a harlot may be hired for a loaf of bread, but an adulteress stalks a man’s very life. Can a man carry fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. Do not men despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry? And if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. He who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself. Wounds and dishonor will he get, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation, nor be appeased though you multiply gifts. My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you.
Martyr Quadratus and those with him at Corinth
During a persecution against Christians (in the third century) a certain pious woman named Rufina fled from Corinth to a mountain, to escape from her pursuers. There she gave birth to a son Quadratus, and died soon afterward. By the Providence of God the infant remained alive and was nourished in miraculous manner: a cloud appeared over him, dropping a sweet dew into his mouth.
The childhood and youth of Saint Quadratus were spent in the wilderness. When he was a young man, he chanced upon Christians, who enlightened him with the light of the true Faith. Quadratus studied grammar, and later learned the physician’s art and attained great success in it. But most of all, Quadratus loved the wilderness solitude and he spent the greater part of his time in the hills, in prayer and meditation upon God. Many years passed, and his friends and followers frequently came to the saint to hear his instruction. Among them were Cyprian, Dionysius, Anectus, Paul, Crescens and many others.
By order of the impious emperor Decius (249-251), the military prefect Jason arrived at Corinth to torture and slay Christians. Since Quadratus was the eldest, he spoke for the rest. The saint bravely defended his faith in Christ the Savior, then they began the torture. Saint Quadratus, despite inhuman suffering, encouraged the others, urging them not to be afraid and to stand firmly for the Faith.
Unable to persuade any of them to deny Christ, Jason ordered the martyrs to be thrown to wild beasts to be torn apart. But the beasts did not touch them. They tied the saints to chariots by their feet and dragged them through the city, and many of the crowd threw stones at them. Finally, they condemned the martyrs to beheading by the sword. At the place of execution the martyrs requested for a certain time to pray, and then one after the other they bent their necks beneath the sword.
The remaining disciples of Saint Quadratus also suffered for Christ: Dionysius (another one) was stabbed in the night; Victorinus, Victor and Nikēphóros were crushed in a large stone press; Claudius’s hands and feet were cut off; Diodorus was thrown into a fire prepared for him; Serapion was decapitated; Papias and Leonidas were drowned in the sea. Many holy women also went voluntarily to suffer for Christ: Saints Chariessa, Nunechia, Basilissa, Nike, Galla, Galina, and Theodora were among them.
Martyr Quadratus and those with him at Nicomedia
The Holy Martyrs Quadratus of Nicomedia, Saturinus, Rufinus and others suffered during the persecutions of the emperor Decius (249-251) and his successor Valerian (253-259).
Saint Quadratus was descended from an illustrious family. Possessing considerable wealth, the saint did not spare his means in helping fellow Christians, languishing in prison for the faith.
When the envoy of the impious Decius, the proconsul Perennius, arrived in Nicomedia, Saint Quadratus voluntarily appeared before him, in order to strengthen the courage of the imprisoned brethren by his self-sacrificing decision. At first Perennius attempted to lure Quadratus from Christ, promising him rewards and honors. Then, seeing the futility of his attempts, he cast the saint into prison and gave orders to lay him down on a bed of nails and to lay a large stone on him.
Setting out for Nicea, the proconsul commanded that all the imprisoned Christians be brought after him. In that number was Saint Quadratus. Upon arriving in the city, Saint Quadratus implored that they be led to the pagan temple. As soon as they untied his hands and feet, he began to overturn and destroy the idols. By order of the proconsul, they gave Quadratus over to torture. Enduring terrible torments, the saint held firm in spirit and by his act encouraged the other martyrs, whose wounds were seared with burning candles.
During the suffering of the martyrs, suddenly there shone a brilliant cloud, but the pagans found themselves in total darkness. In the ensuing silence was heard the singing of angels glorifying God. Many of those present confessed themselves Christians. Perennius ascribed the miracle to sorcery, and gave orders to take them to prison.
From Nicea the martyrs walked behind the proconsul to Apamea, then to Caesarea, Apollonia and the Hellespont, where they tortured them in all sorts of ways, hoping to make them deny Christ.
They tied Saint Quadratus into a sack filled with poisonous serpents, and threw it into a deep pit. On the following morning, everyone was astonished to see the martyr whole and unharmed. When they began to beat him mercilessly, two noblemen, Saturinus and Rufinus, were moved with pity for the martyr. This was observed, and Saturinus and Rufinus were beheaded.
Perennius subjected the martyr to even more fierce and refined tortures, but was not able to break his spirit. The saint lost his strength and was hardly able to move. For the last time the proconsul urged the martyr to abjure Christ. Marshalling his strength, the saint firmly replied, “Since childhood I have acknowledged Christ as the one and only God, and I know no other.”
The proconsul gave orders to light the fire, make the iron grate red-hot and throw the martyr on it. Having blessed himself with the Sign of the Cross, Saint Quadratus laid himself down upon the red-hot couch as upon a soft bed, emerging unharmed from the flames. In frustration, the proconsul gave orders to behead Saint Quadratus.
Saint Anastasia the Patrician of Alexandria
Saint Anastasia the Patrician of Alexandria lived in Constantinople and was descended from an aristocratic family. She was an image of virtue, and she enjoyed the great esteem of the emperor Justinian (527-565). Widowed at a young age, Anastasia decided to leave the world and save her soul far from the bustle of the capital. She secretly left Constantinople and went to Alexandria. She founded a small monastery not far from the city, and devoted herself entirely to God.
Several years later, the emperor Justinian was widowed and decided to search for Anastasia and marry her. As soon as she learned of this, Saint Anastasia journeyed to a remote skete to ask Abba Daniel (March 18) for help.
In order to safeguard Anastasia, the Elder dressed her in a man’s monastic garb and called her the eunuch Anastasius. Having settled her in one of the very remote caves, the Elder gave her a Rule of prayer and ordered her never to leave the cave and to receive no one. Only one monk knew of this place. His obedience was to bring a small portion of bread and a pitcher of water to the cave once a week, leaving it at the entrance. The nun Anastasia dwelt in seclusion for twenty-eight years. Everyone believed that it was the eunuch Anastasius who lived in the cave.
The Lord revealed to her the day of her death. Having learned of her approaching death, she wrote several words for Abba Daniel on a potsherd and placed it at the entrance to the cave. The Elder came quickly and brought everything necessary for her burial. He found the holy ascetic still alive, and he confessed and communed her with the Holy Mysteries. At Abba Daniel’s request, Saint Anastasia blessed him and the monk accompanying him. With the words: “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” the saint died in peace (ca. 567-568).
When the grave was prepared, the Elder gave his disciple his outer garment and ordered him to dress the deceased “brother” in it. As he was putting on the rassa, the monk noticed that she was a woman, but he did not dare to say anything. However, when they returned to the monastery after they buried the nun, the disciple asked Abba Daniel whether he knew the “brother” was a woman, and the Elder related to the young monk the life of Saint Anastasia. Later, the abba’s narrative was written down and received wide acclaim.
The relics of Saint Anastasia were transferred to Constantinople in the year 1200, and put not far from the church of Hagia Sophia.
Saint John of Khakhuli the Oqropiri, also called Chrysostom
In the second half of the 10th century King Davit Kuropalates founded Khakhuli Monastery in the historical region of Tao, at the gorge of the Khakhuli River, where it joins the Tortumi River.
Once famed for its holiness and academic activity, today Khakhuli Monastery is a Turkish possession and has become a tourist site. Nevertheless, the Georgian nation continues to be illumined by its grace and the radiance of the Georgian faithful who labored there.
A contemporary of King Bagrat III (975-1014), Saint John of Khakhuli was a highly educated theologian, translator, and calligrapher. He has been called “Chrysostom” since he, like the beloved archbishop of Constantinople, delivered his sermons with extraordinary eloquence.
Some sources claim that Saint John was first consecrated bishop of Bolnisi and later transferred to the Khakhuli diocese. It is generally agreed, however, that he left Khakhuli around the year 1019 and traveled to Mt. Athos with Arsen of Ninotsminda and John Grdzelisdze.
One Georgian manuscript, however, suggests that Saint John was not a bishop at that time, and this has baffled Church historians to this day. In this manuscript it is written: “Pray for the blessed monk John Grdzelisdze and his spiritual son John Chrysostom, who labored to write this holy book.”
While laboring on Mt. Athos, Saint John faithfully assisted Saint Ekvtime of the Holy Mountain, and these spiritual brothers became close friends.
The countless good works he performed from the bishop’s throne, the title “Chrysostom,” and the many important writings accredited to him attest to the piety, wisdom, and patriotism of Saint John of Khakhuli. It is written in The Life of Giorgi of the Holy Mountain that Saint John reposed on Mt. Athos.
Saint Michael the New Martyr
No information available at this time.