ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Holy Tuesday, Hieromartyr Antipas, Bishop of Pergamum, Pharmuthios the Anchorite, Guthlac the Hermit of Crowland
MATTHEW 22:15-46; 23:1-39
At that time, the Pharisees went and took counsel against Jesus, how to entangle him in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax." And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Render, therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. " When they heard it, they marveled; and they left him and went away.
The same day the Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies, having no children, his brother must marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.' Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her.
But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living." And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying: "What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 'The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet'? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions.
Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men, but you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of Gehenna as yourselves.
Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, 'If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like white-washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to Gehenna? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'
MATTHEW 24:36-51; 25:1-46; 26:1-2
The Lord said to his disciples, "Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed, ' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man shall come.
For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'
When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified.
Great and Holy Tuesday
Holy Week: A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week
3. MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY: THE END
These three days, which the Church calls Great and Holy have within the liturgical development of the Holy Week a very definite purpose. They place all its celebrations in the perspective of End Times; they remind us of the eschatological meaning of Pascha. So often Holy Week is considered one of the “beautiful traditions” or “customs,” a self-evident “part” of our calendar. We take it for granted and enjoy it as a cherished annual event which we have “observed” since childhood, we admire the beauty of its services, the pageantry of its rites and, last but not least, we like the fuss about the Paschal table. And then, when all this is done we resume our normal life. But do we understand that when the world rejected its Savior, when “Jesus began to be sorrowful and very heavy… and his soul was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death,” when He died on the Cross, “normal life” came to its end and is no longer possible. For there were “normal” men who shouted “Crucify Him” who spat at Him and nailed Him to the Cross. And they hated and killed Him precisely because He was troubling their normal life. It was indeed a perfectly “normal” world which preferred darkness and death to light and life…. By the death of Jesus the “normal” world, and “normal” life were irrevocably condemned. Or rather they revealed their true and abnormal inability to receive the Light, the terrible power of evil in them. “Now is the Judgment of this world” (John 12:31). The Pascha of Jesus signified its end to “this world” and it has been at its end since then. This end can last for hundreds of centuries, but this does not alter the nature of time in which we live as the “last time.” “The fashion of this world passeth away…” (I Cor. 7:31).
Pascha means passover, passage. The feast of Passover was for the Jews the annual commemoration of their whole history as salvation, and of salvation as passage from the slavery of Egypt into freedom, from exile into the promised land. It was also the anticipation of the ultimate passage—into the Kingdom of God. And Christ was the fulfillment of Pascha. He performed the ultimate passage: from death into life, from this “old world” into the new world into the new time of the Kingdom. And he opened the possibility of this passage to us. Living in “this world” we can already be “not of this world,” i.e. be free from slavery to death and sin, partakers of the “world to come.” But for this we must also perform our own passage, we must condemn the old Adam in us, we must put on Christ in the baptismal death and have our true life hidden in God with Christ, in the “world to come….”
And thus Easter is not an annual commemoration, solemn and beautiful, of a past event. It is this Event itself shown, given to us, as always efficient, always revealing our world, our time, our life as being at their end, and announcing the Beginning of the new life…. And the function of the three first days of Holy Week is precisely to challenge us with this ultimate meaning of Pascha and to prepare us to the understanding and acceptance of it.
1. This eschatological (which means ultimate, decisive, final) challenge is revealed, first, in the common troparion of these days:
Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
And blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching,
And again unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep,
Lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.
But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, are You, O our God!
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!
Midnight is the moment when the old day comes to its end and a new day begins. It is thus the symbol of the time in which we live as Christians. For, on the one hand, the Church is still in this world, sharing in its weaknesses and tragedies. Yet, on the other hand, her true being is not of this world, for she is the Bride of Christ and her mission is to announce and to reveal the coming of the Kingdom and of the new day. Her life is a perpetual watching and expectation, a vigil pointed at the dawn of this new day. But we know how strong is still our attachment to the “old day,” to the world with its passions and sins. We know how deeply we still belong to “this world.” We have seen the light, we know Christ, we have heard about the peace and joy of the new life in Him, and yet the world holds us in its slavery. This weakness, this constant betrayal of Christ, this incapacity to give the totality of our love to the only true object of love are wonderfully expressed in the exapostilarion of these three days:
“Thy Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Savior
And I have no wedding garment that I may enter,
O Giver of life, enlighten the vesture of my soul
And save me.”
2. The same theme develops further in the Gospel readings of these days. First of all, the entire text of the four Gospels (up to John 13: 31) is read at the Hours. This recapitulation shows that the Cross is the climax of the whole life and ministry of Jesus, the Key to their proper understanding. Everything in the Gospel leads to this ultimate hour of Jesus and everything is to be understood in its light. Then, each service has its special Gospel lesson.
At Matins: Matthew 22: 15-23, 39. Condemnation of Pharisees, i.e. of the blind and hypocritical religion, of those who think they are the leaders of man and the light of the world, but who in fact “shut up the Kingdom of heaven to men.”
At the Presanctified Liturgy: Matthew 24: 36-26, 2. The End again and the parables of the End: the ten wise virgins who had enough oil in their lamps and the ten foolish ones who were not admitted to the bridal banquet; the parable of ten talents “. . . Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.” And, finally the Last Judgment.
3. These Gospel lessons are explained and elaborated in the hymnology of these days: the stichiras and the triodia (short canons of three odes each sung at Matins). One warning, one exhortation runs through all of them: the end and the judgment are approaching, let us prepare for them:
“Behold, O my soul, the Master has conferred on thee a talent
Receive the gift with fear;
Lend to him who gave; distribute to the poor
And acquire for thyself thy Lord as thy Friend;
That when He shall come in glory,
Thou mayest stand on His right hand
And hear His blessed voice:
Enter, my servant, into the joy of thy Lord.”
4. Throughout the whole Lent the two books of the Old Testament read at Vespers were Genesis and Proverbs. With the beginning of Holy Week they are replaced by Exodus and Job. Exodus is the story of Israel’s liberation from Egyptian slavery, of their Passover. It prepares us for the understanding of Christ’s exodus to His Father, of His fulfillment of the whole history of salvation. Job, the Sufferer, is the Old Testament icon of Christ. This reading announces the great mystery of Christ’s sufferings, obedience and sacrifice.
5. The liturgical structure of these three days is still of the Lenten type. It includes, therefore, the prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian with prostrations, the augmented reading of the Psalter, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and the Lenten liturgical chant. We are still in the time of repentance, for repentance alone makes us partakers of the Pascha of Our Lord, opens to us the doors of the Paschal banquet. And then, on Great and Holy Wednesday, as the last Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is about to be completed, after the Holy Gifts have been removed from the altar, the priest reads for the last time the Prayer of Saint Ephrem. At this moment, the preparation comes to an end. The Lord summons us now to His Last Supper.
by THE VERY REV. ALEXANDER SCHMEMANN
Hieromartyr Antipas, Bishop of Pergamum and Disciple of Saint John the Theologian
The Hieromartyr Antipas, a disciple of the holy Apostle John the Theologian (September 26), was bishop of the Church of Pergamum during the reign of the emperor Nero (54-68).
During these times, everyone who would not offer sacrifice to the idols lived under threat of either exile or execution by order of the emperor. On the island of Patmos (in the Aegean Sea) the holy Apostle John the Theologian was imprisoned, he to whom the Lord revealed the future judgment of the world and of Holy Church.
“And to the angel of the Church of Pergamum write: the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know where you live, where the throne of Satan is, and you cleave unto My Name, and have not renounced My faith, even in those days when Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells” (Rev 2:12-13).
By his personal example, firm faith and constant preaching about Christ, Saint Antipas began to turn the people of Pergamum from offering sacrifice to idols. The pagan priests reproached the bishop for leading the people away from their ancestral gods, and they demanded that he stop preaching about Christ and offer sacrifice to the idols instead.
Saint Antipas calmly answered that he was not about to serve the demons that fled from him, a mere mortal. He said he worshiped the Lord Almighty, and he would continue to worship the Creator of all, with His Only-Begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit. The pagan priests retorted that their gods existed from of old, whereas Christ was not from of old but was crucified under Pontius Pilate as a criminal. The saint replied that the pagan gods were the work of human hands and that everything said about them was filled with iniquities and vices. He steadfastly confessed his faith in the Son of God, incarnate of the Most Holy Virgin.
The enraged pagan priests dragged the Hieromartyr Antipas to the temple of Artemis and threw him into a red-hot copper bull, where usually they put the sacrifices to the idols. In the red-hot furnace the martyr prayed loudly to God, imploring Him to receive his soul and to strengthen the faith of the Christians. He went to the Lord peacefully, as if he were going to sleep (+ ca. 68).
At night Christians took the body of the Hieromartyr Antipas, which was untouched by the fire. They buried him at Pergamum. The tomb of the hieromartyr became a font of miracles and of healings from various sicknesses.
We pray to the Hieromartyr Antipas for relief from toothache, and diseases of the teeth.
Venerable James, Abbot of Zheleznoborov
Saint James of Zheleznoborov was born in the second half of the XIV century, a son of the noble Anosov (or Amosov) line, which had their lands at Galich (Kostroma Province) As a young man he became the disciple of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, who tonsured him, and he remained at Holy Trinity Monastery for several years. In 1392, with his Elder's blessing, Saint James retreated into the forest, seeking solitude at a place on the banks of the Tebza River, which was known as Iron Pines (Железный Борок) because of the deposits of iron ore in the Kostroma region.
The sanctity of his life, worthy of admiration, was already known during his lifetime. In 1415 Sophia (Synklētikḗ in monasticism, + 1453), the wife of Great Prince Basil (1389-1425), became seriously ill before giving birth. The Prince sent a message to Saint James begging him to pray for his wife, and asking him if she would live. The Saint advised him to pray to the Holy Martyr Longinus, and predicted the birth of his son, Basil the Dark. In 1450, that child, Great Prince Basil the Dark (1425-1462), visited the Monastery of Saint James and prayed there to give thanks for his victory over Prince Dēmḗtrios Shemyaka.
The grateful Prince Basil the Dark rewarded Saint James and gave him money to build a Monastery dedicated to the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple, with a church in honor of the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John. Then the Tatars lay waste to the area around Galich. Saint James went deep into the forest with his disciples. When they returned, they found the Monastery in ruins. Everything had to be rebuilt.
The Saint built a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, and he dug out ponds with the brethren. Following the example of the Trinity-Saint Sergius Monastery a strict cenobitic Rule was introduced. Many of the hungry and destitute people, displaced by the Tatars, were fed at the Monastery.
After many years of common ascetical labors, the monks entreated Saint James to be their Igoumen. With great humility, he agreed to their request and journeyed to Moscow, where he was ordained as a priest. Soon after his return to the Monastery, he became severely ill. Sensing that his death was near, Saint James appointed his disciple Dosίtheos to succeed him as Igoumen of the Monastery.
After partaking of the Holy Mysteries and giving the monks his final blessing, Saint James reposed on April 11, 1442 and was buried in the church of Saint John the Forerunner at the Monastery he had founded. On his tomb the monks placed his stone cross, hair shirt, and chains – evidence of his ascetical labors.
The relics of Saint James were found to be incorrupt on May 5, 1613. Now he is buried behind the left choir of the Monastery's cathedral church.
Official Church approval for the local veneration of Saint James of Zheleznoborov was granted before 1628; and the first chapel dedicated to Saint James existed as early as 1635 (in Borisoglebsky church in the city of Galich). There have been about fifty cases of sick people being healed at the relics of Saint James, including the demoniac Néphon, and the monk Theodosios, who lay paralyzed for three years, and recovered only after vowing before the Saint's relics that he would not leave the Monastery. Following these events a special icon of Saint James, with fifteen scenes from his life, was commissioned. On the side panels of the Icon some of the most famous healings were depicted (this Icon disappeared after the closure of the Monastery during the Soviet period).
The last miracles were recorded in the early twenties of the XX century, when Hieromonk Joasaph (Sazonov) served a Moleben before the Saint's relics. These events served as an excuse for Hieromonk Joasaph's arrest in 1924, when he was accused of committing "deceptive acts using the religious prejudices of the believing masses."
Saint James is commemorated on April 11, the day of his repose, on May 5, the discovery of his relics in 1613, on July 6 (Synaxis of the Radonezh Saints), and on January 23 (Synaxis of Kostroma Saints).
Saint Barsanuphius, Bishop of Tver
Saint Barsanuphius of Tver was born in the year 1495, and was from Serpukhov. He was named John in Baptism, and he was taught to read and write. While still a youth, he was captured by the Crimean Tatars. Accepting this as the Lord’s will, he meekly submitted to his masters, and dutifully accomplished the work they assigned him to do. After three years, John’s father ransomed him. He then went to Moscow and became a monk in the Andronikov Monastery, where he received the monastic name Barsanuphius.
Devoting himself to the ascetical life, he became proficient in virtue and piety. In 1544, he was appointed as igumen of the Pesnosha Monastery. Later, he went to Kazan and founded a monastery dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Lord.
While in Kazan, Archimandrite Barsanuphius was able to help Saint Gurias (December 5) in spreading Christianity among the Moslems and pagans. His knowledge of the Tatar language proved to be very useful in this work.
In 1567, Saint Barsanuphius was consecrated Bishop of Tver. He healed many sick people with his knowledge of medicine, but he also healed those suffering from infirmities of the soul.
When the God-pleaser reached old age, he returned to Kazan and to the Transfiguration Monastery which he founded. There he received the Great Schema, and he died at the monastery in 1576.
The holy relics of Saints Gurias and Barsanuphius were uncovered on October 4, 1596. They were placed in shrines in a side chapel of the church at the orders of Patriarch Job. On June 20, 1630 their grace-filled relics were transferred from the Transfiguration Monastery to the Cathedral of the Annunciation.
Martyrs Processus and Martinian of Rome
The Holy Martyrs Processus and Martinian were pagans and they served as guards at the Mamertine prison in Rome.
State criminals were held in this prison, among them some Christians. Watching the Christian prisoners and listening to their preaching, Processus and Martinian gradually came to the knowledge of the Savior. When the holy Apostle Peter was locked up at the Mamertine prison, Processus and Martinian came to believe in Christ. They accepted holy Baptism from the apostle and released him from prison.
The jailer Paulinus learned about this, and he demanded that Saints Processus and Martinian renounce Christ. But they fearlessly confessed Christ, and they spat at the golden statue of Jupiter. Paulinus ordered that they be slapped on the face, and then seeing the resolute stance of the holy martyrs, he subjected them to torture. The martyrs were beaten with iron rods, scorched with fire, and finally, thrown into prison.
A certain illustrious and pious woman by the name of Lucina visited them in prison and gave them help and encouragement. The torturer Paulinus was soon punished by God. He fell blind and died three days later. The son of Paulinus went to the city ruler demanding that the martyrs be put to death. Saints Processus and Martinian were beheaded by the sword (+ ca. 67).
Lucina buried the bodies of the martyrs. Today their tomb is in the south transept of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Venerable Pharmuthius the Anchorite of Egypt
Saint Pharmuphius lived during the fourth century at the same desert monastery where Saint John (March 29) lived in asceticism within a well, to whom Saint Pharmuphius gave food.
Venerable John, disciple of Venerable Gregory of Decapolis
Saint John was a disciple of Saint Gregory the Decapolite (November 20). See April 18.
Saint Callinicus of Cernica, Bishop of Rimnicului in Romania
Our holy Father Callinicus (Calinic) of Cernica, who served as bishop of Ramnicu Valcea in Romania was born in Bucharest on October 7, 1787, near the church of Saint Bessarion. His parents, Anthony and Flora (Floarea) Antonescu, were honest and pious people. In holy Baptism he received the name Constantine.
Constantine’s mother brought her son to church and taught him his prayers, instilling in him a deep love for the Most Holy Theotokos. When he was old enough, he was sent to school in Bucharest. In addition to the usual subjects taught at that time, he also learned Greek.
After raising her children, Flora became a nun in the monastery of Pasarea, and was given the new name Philothea. Her first son became a priest, and later he received the monastic tonsure, taking the name Acacius. It is not surprising that the younger son, Constantine, became attracted to the monastic life and wished to follow their example.
On Feast Days, Constantine loved to visit the monastery of Cernica. The igumen at that time was the most devout George, who was a disciple of Saint Paisius Velichkovsky (November 15). The Cernica monastery also followed the Rule of Saint Paisius.
In 1807, when he was twenty years old, Constantine left his home and entered the monastery. He was given into the care of Father Pimen, a master woodcarver, and one of the Spiritual Fathers of the monastery. In a short time, Constantine surprised the rest of the monks by the way he fulfilled his monastic obediences, by his prayer and fasting, and by his exceptional love and innate goodness.
The young monk continued to fulfill his obediences, and amazed the brethren with his purity, knowledge, long-suffering, kindness, and unfeigned love (2 Cor. 6:6-7). Therefore, Father Pimen decided not to wait for the full three years of monastic trial for Constantine. On November 9, 1808, with the blessing of Igumen Timothy, Brother Constantine was tonsured with the name Callinicus.
Father Callinicus prayed, fasted, fulfilled all the rules, and permitted himself only three hours of sleep each day. Because of the strictness of his life, and his good example to others, he was ordained to the diaconate on December 3, 1808. He remained under the supervision of Father Pimen, for no one may enter the Kingdom of Heaven without obedience.
Hierodeacon Callinicus, because of the strictness of his life, soon attracted the notice of Igumen Timothy. In 1813, after many of the priests at the monastery had died from cholera, Deacon Callinicus was found worthy of the holy priesthood. His ordination took place on February 4, 1813. Though at twenty-six he was younger than most of the other monks, they respected his wisdom and asked him to become their Confessor and Spiritual Father. So it was that on September 20, 1815 Metropolitan Nectarius himself made him the Spiritual Father of the monastery.
So great were his spiritual qualities that many people came to him for Confession, not only monks and laymen from various lands, but even the Metropolitan himself. They all found in him the consolation and tenderness of God. Since the humble Callinicus knew the monastery’s rules so well, Igumen Timothy also made him the Ecclesiarch.
Elder Timothy reposed on March 3, 1816, departing this life with his soul at peace. He had built a large church on the island of Saint Nicholas, and dedicated it to that saint. Although the work of painting icons in the church was only half finished, he knew that others would complete the work he had begun.
Saint Callinicus took part in this work himself. In 1812 he and his Spiritual Father Pimen went to Moldavia looking for help. Upon their return, Father Pimen went to the Holy Mountain for greater tranquility. Saint Callinicus found himself under obedience to Father Dorotheus, who was elected to replace Father Timothy as Igumen in 1816.
Since Father Dorotheus was quite old, most of the cares of the monastery rested on the shoulders of Saint Callinicus. These responsibilities did not interfere with his work of enlightening his own soul, however.
In 1817, Father Dorotheus, feeling that his end was near, sent Saint Callincus and the monk Dionysius (who spoke Turkish) to bring Father Pimen back from Mount Athos so that he could replace him as igumen. Saint Callinicus was happy to undertake this journey. Arriving on the Holy Mountain, Saint Callinicus and Father Pimen visited many of the monasteries there, observing the life of the monks. He learned many things which he later applied when he was the igumen of the monastery, and even as bishop. He listened to the counsels of the Athonite monks, both the learned and those who were humble.
After helping the monasteries with whatever they had, they celebrated the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Then Saint Callinicus and Father Pimen returned to Romania in 1818. When they got to Cernica, they found Father Dorotheus still alive, and he told Father Pimen to take his place. The Lord, however, decreed otherwise.
The ever-memorable Father Dorotheus fell asleep in the Lord on December 13, 1818. On the following day, the monks of Cernica elected Saint Callinicus as the next igumen. Father Pimen was not saddened by this at all. He remained as the Spiritual Father of Saint Callinicus, and until his death he continued to advise and to love his former disciple. Father Pimen was placed in charge of the monastery’s vestments, and of all the monastery’s business. He introduced some new rules to Cernica, which were similar to those he found on Mount Athos. The monks of Cernica found these rules very difficult to follow. Perhaps that is the reason why Saint Callinicus was chosen as igumen, rather than Father Pimen.
Eleven years had passed since the saint entered the monastery, and now he was thirty years old. In less than two years he had completed the iconography work in the church of Saint Nicholas on the island. He also finished the exterior of the church, and furnished it with everything needful. Seeing the zeal which Saint Callinicus had for God’s house, Metropolitan Dionysius Lupu raised him to the rank of Archimandrite.
Saint Callinicus was very patient and kind with people, but he could also be very strict when it was necessary. He counseled those who were lazy or disobedient, and he sent some of them away to other monasteries so that his monks would not be influenced by their bad example. He would not allow slander in the monastery, considering this vice to be “the death of the soul.” Abba Or says something similar. See SAYINGS OF THE DESERT FATHERS, transl. Benedicta Ward London, 1975, p. 207, # 15.
The saint fulfilled his responsibilities as igumen with great fervor, though he knew what a difficult task it was to govern men. He believed that the igumen should be “the heart of all hearts who seek him or ask him for instruction or consolation. He is the path to perfection for all the believing souls around him.”
Just as Saints Anthony the Great (January 17), Pachomius (May 15) and Macarius (Jan. 19) were responsible for many monasteries in the desert of Egypt, so was Saint Callinicus responsible for several monasteries and sketes in addition to his own: the monasteries of Pasarea, Tiganesti, Caldarusani, and the Sketes of Saint John of Tigia, Poiana Marului, Ratesti, and Ciorogirla.
The parish churches at Campina, Ghenoaia, and Tohani Buzaului were also under his authority. In the latter church, it was the prerogative of the Spiritual Father of Cernica to choose the chief priest.
Saint Callinicus was the igumen of Cernica during difficult times. In March of 1821 the uprising of Tudor Vladimirescu began. After this, the Turks attacked the country, and many of the citizens of Bucharest sought shelter in the monastery of Cernica.
Saint Callinicus received everyone with paternal love, hiding them in the cells of the church of Saint Nicholas. At this time he sent monks to the island of Saint George. On May 15 of the same year, the Turks came to the town of Catsela, which was close to the monastery. Someone informed the Turks that some rebels were hiding in the monastery. The Turks surrounded the buildings and placed cannons everywhere, intending to raze the monastery.
Learning of this danger, Saint Callinicus assembled the people and the monks in the church. After encouraging them, he prayed all night in the church with them, asking that they and the monastery might be spared. The next day he sent a monk to the Pasha at Catsela to assure him that there were only simple folk from Bucharest with women and children in the monastery. The Pasha changed his mind, and sent soldiers to protect the monastery from danger.
The supply of food for those staying in the monastery began to run low, but the monks had no more provisions. Deeply saddened, Saint Callinicus prostrated himself in front of an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and Saint Nicholas, and prayed for assistance. When he finished praying, a miracle took place. Five carts loaded with bread and drawn by two bulls came through the monastery gates.
Another Pasha came to the monastery of Pasarea in the village of Panteleimon, and kidnapped one of the nuns. Saint Callinicus moved the rest of the nuns from Pasarea to the monastery of Snagov for their safety. He then wrote a letter of protest to the governor, who ordered the Pasha to release the nun. The Pasha swore that he would destroy the monastery of Cernica and take revenge upon Saint Callinicus. Once again, the saint learned of the Pasha’s intentions, and he prayed all night long with his clergy for the monastery to be spared.
At midnight, the Pasha was prepared to attack the monastery, but first he asked for a cup of coffee. A servant handed him the coffee, and as he did so, he shot the Pasha. The bullet struck the bag of gold coins which he wore under his shirt, and so he was not killed. In gratitude for his deliverance, he sent the gold to Saint Callinicus saying that it should be used to build a well for the monastery.
Fearing some sort of trickery, the saint told the Turks, “If you wish, and if you are telling the truth, then you yourselves should build the well next to the bridge.” Workmen built the well on the north shore of Saint George’s Island, and it is known as the Well of the Turk, to this very day.
On another occasion, the monastery cook told Saint Callinicus that they had no more flour. He replied, “Let us place our hope in the Mother of God and in Saint Nicholas, and we shall want for nothing.” The saint went to his cell to pray before the holy icons, asking Saint Nicholas to help them.
A miracle took place that evening after Vespers. A cart with two drivers came to the monastery with a load of flour. They asked Father Charalampus, the ecclesiarch, where to unload the flour which their master had sent as a gift. When the monk asked for the name of their master, they said that he wished to remain anonymous. Saint Callinicus served a Molieben of Thanksgiving to Saint Nicholas, and then went to bless the flour, which was used to bake bread for the consolation of the brethren.
In 1827, a certain man came to the monastery when Saint Callinicus was speaking to his Spiritual Father, Pimen. The man asked if he might borrow fifty lei (Romanian currency). An hour after this man had left; a young man came to Saint Callinicus and kissed his hand saying, “Holy Father, my father has died. Before his death he told me to give one thousand lei to the monastery. I do not have the full amount now, but here are five hundred lei, and later on I will bring you another five hundred lei.”
Saint Callinicus realized that the person who had requested the loan of fifty lei had been sent by God to test his mercy and his love, and so he received ten times that amount in return. Father Pimen asked him, “What were you thinking, Father Callinicus, when you gave alms to that man?”
The saint replied, “I wanted to give one hundred lei, but I did not have that much. I gave him fifty and received five hundred. As the Gospel says, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Matt. 5:7).”
After Matins one morning in July of 1829, Saint Callinicus was in his cell reading the Life of Saint Nicholas. When he got to the sixth chapter, he fell asleep from weariness after the all-night Vigil. Suddenly, Saint George appeared in his armor and Saint Nicholas in the vestments of a bishop. Behind them was Father George, the late igumen of Cernica.
“Arise,” said Saint Nicholas, “and on this island build a church dedicated to the Holy Great Martyr George.” Saint George told him, “We will send you everything that you require.” Then Igumen George said, “Do not doubt in your heart.” They departed after saying these things.
When he woke up, Father Callinicus continued reading the Life of Saint Nicholas until he reached the end. Then he went out to visit his Spiritual Father Pimen on the small island of Saint George in order to ask him whether this vision might have been some sort of temptation from the Devil. “No, my child,” Father Pimen replied, “this is not demonic, but is really something from God. These same three individuals also appeared to me three times tonight, ordering the work to begin at once. I have just finished getting dressed so that I could pass on their instructions to you.”
At that time there were only a few cells on Saint George’s Island, among them was the cell of the late Igumen George, where Father Pimen had now taken up his residence. There was also a small church dedicated to Saint George, a gift from Bratovian. Next to this, Saint Callinicus built a large and beautiful church.
In time, the words of Saint George were fulfilled, and indeed all that was necessary was provided. Several years after the uprising of Tudor Vladimirescu, a certain Romanian noble made a secret agreement to banish the Phanariots from the country and to choose a Romanian king. They collected money and other necessities for this purpose. The funds were to be held by Bishop Ioannicius, who lived in Bucharest. The nobles told him that if their plan failed, and if they had to flee the country, that the money should be used to build a church. The holy bishop also contributed some of his own money to this sum.
In 1831, during an outbreak of cholera, Bishop Ioannicius came to Cernica and entrusted all the money to Saint Callinicus. The building of the church had already begun in 1823. It was completed in 1836 and consecrated that year on the Feast of the Transfiguration (Aug. 6).
In January of 1838, the church was destroyed by a great earthquake. The saint restored it and built cells nearby, surrounding the buildings with strong walls. This work was completed in 1842. In 1846, he began construction of a church at the Skete of Pasarea, which was consecrated the following year.
Saint Callinicus also built a church in Buesti on the Baragan River, and he built stone houses in the village for the overseers. He also built barns for Cernica Monastery’s animals. Many people were surprised when he tilled the land and planted willow trees in the middle of the field.
Several times when Alexander Ghica was governor, Saint Callinicus was selected to become Metropolitan, but he always declined. He had no wish to leave the monastery where he had labored for so many years.
About this time, someone in the monastery poisoned the saint. The brethren of the monastery were much saddened by this evil deed. Since he was near death, he advised the monks to select someone to replace him as Igumen. They chose the most devout Benjamin Katulos.
One night, as Saint Callinicus lay in bed waiting for the Lord to take him, he entreated, “O Lord my God, I did not think. I do not wish to die from poison.” At that moment he seemed to hear a voice say to him, “You will not die from poison. Arise and be well, for soon you shall become the Bishop of Ramnicu Valcea. There you will guide the church on a true course, for some have caused it to deviate from the right path.”
At once, he felt himself to be completely well. He got up and went into the church, where the monks were chanting the midnight service. They were amazed to see him fully recovered and standing in his usual place. They went to his cell after the service to ask him how he had become well all of a sudden. He shared with them everything that the voice had told him. They all rejoiced, giving glory to God.
The assigned governor of Romania, Barbu Demetrius Stirbei had just returned from the Sublime Porte (this was the official name of the gate leading to a block of buildings in Constantinople which housed government offices). He was an intelligent man and a good ruler. As such, he decided to put the Church’s affairs in order, as well. So he had bishops elected to fill sees which were vacant.
Saint Callinicus was elected Bishop of Ramnicu Valcea (a city located north and west of Bucharest) on September 14, 1850, and only with great reluctance did he accept the position. He accepted only because he did not wish to make the sovereign sad. Since he would have to leave his monastery in order to fulfill the responsibilities of a bishop, the monks elected Archimandrite Nikander to replace him.
The monks loved their Spiritual Father who had guided them on the path to salvation by his words and by his example. When he left Cernica, the great bell was rung until everyone had gathered in the church to bid the saint farewell. There were about 350 monks in the monastery at that time, and even those who were ill got up from their beds in order to receive his blessing one last time.
Saint Callinicus entered the church and read the Prayer of Forgiveness, asking them to maintain the rules of the Church and of the monastery. When the service had concluded, everyone left and went outside and walked to the waiting carriage, to the sound of the monastery’s bells. Many were weeping, and even the hardest hearts were softened. Saint Callinicus took several monks with him so that they might assist at the Divine Services in the diocese. In this manner the saint left the monastery of Cernica where he had lived for almost 43 years, serving as Igumen for 32 of those years. As the carriage bore him away, Saint Callinicus looked out the window at the domes of the monastery’s two churches. As he remembered his life in this place, his eyes filled with tears.
Ramnicu Valcea, the see of the diocese, was in Craiova, the capital of the province of Olteni. During the long journey, he would stop at several towns and villages, where the people greeted him with the traditional bread and salt. At Craiova the church bells rang, and many people sang songs written in his honor. So many people came to see him that the church of the holy Great Martyr Demetrius could not contain them all. Prayers were offered for the new bishop’s health, and official representatives of the city’s clergy and lay leaders congratulated him and wished him success in his archpastoral ministry.
Saint Callinicus began his work the next day, visiting churches and monasteries, and correcting those things that were not according to the proper order of the Church. His door was always open to the poor and downtrodden, and he taught his flock by word and by personal example.
Things continued in this way until 1854 when war broke out between Russia and the Turks. These were also difficult times for Romania, because the Turks entered the province of Olteni on July 18. Even though Saint Callinicus had been ordered to return to Bucharest with his clergy and staff, he went instead to Ramnicu Valcea, the former See of the diocese. The church and its surrounding buildings had been damaged when a fire broke out there on March 27, 1847. Saint Callinicus was able to restore everything in two years.
The holy bishop was also a writer. He composed a “Lamentation,” various poems, and an “Instruction” for monks, in addition to a Chronicle of the events of 1821. At the same time that the See was returned to Ramnicu Valcea from Craiova, Saint Callinicus set up a printing press so that he could print service books for the churches, and spiritual books for the benefit of the faithful.
The saint had the gift of working miracles, and many people were aware of this at the time. A young monk who was close to him and was able to observe his holy life said of him, “I was struck by his spiritual life, because I had read a great deal concerning the lives of other Holy Fathers. I understood then that I was serving a living saint.”
Saint Callinicus also knew the thoughts of others. The same young monk recalled that after evening prayers the bishop would call him and talk to him about faith and about his obligations as a monk. One time he was listening to the bishop and thought that His Grace might be glorified as a saint after his death. Saint Callinicus answered his unspoken thoughts, “Why do you think so highly of me? I ask God that after my death my sinful body might be returned to the earth, and not what you are thinking, my pious one.”
The monk asked his forgiveness because he had this thought about him. Then the bishop told him not to speak of his gift of discerning thoughts during his lifetime. “My son,” he said, “there are monks and laymen who are believers only in word. Their thoughts, however, are far from Christian righteousness; thus, they do not need to know what you know of me. After my death, you may tell those who are true Christians about me, through both the spoken and written word.”
Saint Callinicus once made the body of a person who was long dead turn to dust. In the summer of 1854 he went up the river Valea Jiului to the skete of Lainici. Many of the faithful from all the villages came out to receive his blessing. Among these were the sons of a certain wealthy man who had died some time before. They asked the bishop to stay in their home that night, because the next day was a Saturday and they wanted him to serve a Memorial Service for their father.
The saint agreed to stay at their home that night. With great sadness they told him that their father had reposed a long time before, but that his body had not yet turned to dust. They opened his grave three times, and had bishops and priests conduct Memorial Services for him. Since the body still had not decayed, they thought that some sort of curse had been placed on him.
The next day Saint Callinicus served the Divine Liturgy in the village church, then went to the man’s grave, which had been opened for the fourth time. The body was taken from the grave and placed by the church wall. All of his clothes looked as if they were new.
After the service the bishop read the prayer of forgiveness of all sins. As he was reading, the body began turning to dust, starting with the feet. When the prayer was finished, nothing was left of the body but a pile of dust and some white bones. Those present began to glorify God, Who had endowed Bishop Callinicus with such miraculous power.
After three days at the Skete of Lainici, Saint Callinicus set off along a mountain path for his metochion. At a certain hill, he suddenly stopped, sat down on the ground, and started to weep. One of his disciples asked if he felt ill. “No, my son,” he replied, “but I did not think that I would outlive the Elder of Cernica. Elder Nikander has fallen asleep.”
The disciple noted the exact day and time of this conversation. Later, when he went to Bucharest on business, he stopped at Cernica. There he was told that Elder Nikander had indeed reposed on the very day and at the very hour that he had spoken to Saint Callinicus in the mountains.
On another occasion, Saint Callinicus healed a woman who had been possessed by a demon. He performed this miracle in one of the churches of Ramnicu Valcea. This took place in the presence of Father Kostako, the Archpriest of that city, Archimandrite Anastasius Baldovin, and the land owner Kostako, who built the Skete of Frasinei and other sketes.
Saint Callinicus had just finished serving the Divine Liturgy when he was asked to read a prayer for a woman who was quite ill. Possessed by an evil spirit, she was restrained by four men. Her clothes were tattered and torn, and she screamed and foamed at the mouth. It was only with great difficulty that they brought her to the bishop and had her kneel.
The saint read the prayer, blessed her three times and said, “Arise, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” At once the woman got up, completely healed in soul and in body. She bowed before the holy icons and gave thanks to God. She asked for some clothes, since she could not go out in the rags she was wearing.
Saint Callinicus also healed the son of the land owner Kostako, who showed signs of epilepsy. Each day he seemed to get worse. When the young man fell to the ground foaming at the mouth the land owner went to the bishop and told him about his son. “Go home,” the saint told him, “and pray to the Mother of God.”
When Kostako reached his home he found his son praying before an icon of the Theotokos. The young man told his father and his family, “You should pray to the Mother of God, as well. Do you not see how the bishop is praying? Now I shall not be sick any more.”
Kostako went back to the bishop to thank him for this miracle. At the gate to his home Kostako met Archimandrite Anastasius Baldovin, who carried a silver reliquary containing the head of the holy Martyr Mercurius (November 24). The monk asked him where he was going. “I am going to thank the bishop, because my son has become well,” he answered.
“His Grace has sent me here with the relic of Saint Mercurius so that your son may venerate it,” said Father Anastasius. From that hour the young man was completely well.
A certain peasant in the village of Muereasca-Valcea had a daughter who was ill. She could not be brought to the bishop at the nearby Skete of Frasinei because Saint Callinicus did not allow women there. He followed the example of Saint Athanasius of Athos (July 5), who did not permit women to set foot on Mount Athos, the Garden of the All-Holy Theotokos.
A tablet had been placed at the boundary between the Skete and Muioriaska-Vylcha. The inscription read: “Callinicus, by the mercy of God Bishop of Ramnicu Valcea and Noul Severin, orders that no woman should set foot beyond this place.”
No one disobeyed the order, because the people were afraid to do so. In the summer of 1862 or 1863 a girl from Muereasca unknowingly crossed the boundary line while chasing a cow. She became ill and had fits. Her parents asked the village priest to ask for Saint Callinicus to forgive and heal her. When the bishop heard of this he agreed to go and see the girl.
Upon entering the girl’s house, Saint Callinicus found her in bed and in great pain. He asked her, “Do you recognize me?” The afflicted one nodded her head. As he caressed her head the saint told her, “You will become well; yes, you will become well. I have forgiven you; now let us pray to the Lord that He may also forgive you.” He read the Prayer of Forgiveness, and told her again, “Yes, you will be well.” The girl, of course, was healed, and news of the miracle spread throughout the district.
Saint Callinicus performed similar miracles during the seventeen years he served as Bishop of Ramnicu Valcea. When he reached the age of 80, he began to feel the approach of death. He had served the Lord for sixty-two years, and he was much weakened by all his labors, and thought that he should retire from his Episcopal duties. He decided to return to the monastery of Cernica, where he wanted to be buried.
On May 24, 1867, the saint arrived at the monastery, where he saw some of the monks he had known in his younger days. As he looked around him, he saw many reminders of his earlier accomplishments. There was Saint George’s Island, and the church of Saint George which he had built, and surrounded with strong walls. Everything in this place was dear to him, and it was fitting that he should come here to rest, and also to die.
On the second day after his arrival, Saint Callinicus went into the church and prayed for a long time in front of the holy icons. After the service, he gave out prosphora to everyone and gave them his blessing. After this, he returned to his cell, and he never left it again until the end of his life.
For nearly a year, the saint remained in his cell. On Great and Holy Thursday in 1868, he called seven priests to come and administer to him the Mystery of Holy Unction. At the end of the service he said to them, “Fathers, pray to the Lord for me, for soon we will be parted.”
On the radiant day of Christ’s Resurrection, he asked one of the priests to bring him Holy Communion. After partaking of the Holy Mysteries, he received one of the monks who wanted to obtain his blessing to travel to Ramnicu Valcea, where he was being sent.
“You will go on April the eleventh,” he told the monk, “but until then, please read the Prayer Rule for me, since in my weakness I cannot read it for myself.”
At five o’clock on the morning of the date specified, the saint asked his disciple Germanus to give him a clean shirt, for several high-ranking individuals had come to bid him farewell. Saint Callinicus also asked that a cross be placed in his hand. He kissed it and said, “Holy Cross, help me.” Placing his head on the breast of Father Germanus, he sighed three times and gave his soul to God.
Saint Callinicus had lived almost eighty-one years. He had lived for forty-three years at Cernica, spent seventeen years as bishop, and returned to Cernica in the last year of his life. About two weeks before his repose, he told the pious Anastasius Baldovin, “I have fourteen days to live, and then I shall leave you. Do not forget to clothe me in the garments which I have shown you.”
Saint Callinicus fell asleep in the Lord on April 11, 1868. Not only did he know the time of his own death, but also foresaw the date of the repose of Metropolitan Niphon, his spiritual child. When the Metropolitan came to confess to him, the saint spoke with him for some time. When the Metropolitan left, Father Germanus entered the cell of Saint Callinicus. The saint told him that there was hope that Niphon would live for another seven years. “My son,” he continued, “seven years after they dig me up, Metropolitan Niphon himself will be placed in the grave.”
So it came to pass. Seven years later, on May 5, 1875, Metropolitan Niphon reposed.
Saint Callinicus also made predictions concerning the Romanian land. He prophesied that a foreign prince would be placed on the throne, that in 1877 the Russian Tsar would cross the Danube with his army and do battle with the Turks, and that there would be a great war, “such as there has never been upon the earth (World War I).”
News of the saint’s repose spread quickly to Bucharest, and to other cities and towns. Many people came to Cernica to see the holy bishop for the last time.
Saint Callinicus was dressed in the vestments he had received as a gift from Savva Brancoveanu when he was consecrated as bishop. He was brought to the church seated in a chair, holding the Gospel and a staff in his hands. He remained there for two days.
On Saturday, April 16, 1868, Metropolitan Niphon arrived at Cernica with four bishops, and chanted the service for the departure of a soul together with all the clergy of the monastery. Afterward, Saint Callinicus was buried in the narthex of the church of Saint George.
Saint Callinicus died in poverty, for he gave everything away to widows and orphans, donated funds for the building of churches, and also for other charitable purposes. Though he renounced worldly riches, he had acquired great spiritual treasures during the course of his holy and God-pleasing life. Through the prayers of Saint Callinicus, let us strive to lay up for ourselves similar spiritual treasures, holy and incorruptible, in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Amen.