5TH MONDAY AFTER PASCHA
Pachomius the Great, Achillius the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Larissa, Placing of the Honorable Head of the Apostle Titus, Barbaros the Myrrhbearer of Kerkyra, Andrew the Hermit & Wonderworker
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 12:12-17
In those days, Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran and told that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are mad.” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking; and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell this to James and to the brethren.” Then he departed and went to another place.
The Lord said to the Jews who came to him, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.
The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" Jesus answered, "I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.
Venerable Pachomius the Great, Founder of Coenobitic Monasticism
Saint Pachomius the Great was both a model of desert dwelling, and with Saints Anthony the Great (January 17), Macarius the Great (January 19), and Euthymius the Great (January 20), a founder of the cenobitic monastic life in Egypt.
Saint Pachomius was born in the third century in the Thebaid (Upper Egypt). His parents were pagans who gave him an excellent secular education. From his youth he had a good character, and he was prudent and sensible.
When Pachomius reached the age of twenty, he was called up to serve in the army of the emperor Constantine (apparently, in the year 315). They put the new conscripts in a city prison guarded by soldiers. The local Christians fed the soldiers and took care of them.
When the young man learned that these people acted this way because of their love for God, fulfilling His commandment to love their neighbor, this made a deep impression upon his pure soul. Pachomius vowed to become a Christian. Pachomius returned from the army after the victory, received holy Baptism, moved to the lonely settlement of Shenesit, and began to lead a strict ascetic life. Realizing the need for spiritual guidance, he turned to the desert-dweller Palamon. He was accepted by the Elder, and he began to follow the example of his instructor in monastic struggles.
Once, after ten years of asceticism, Saint Pachomius made his way through the desert, and halted at the ruins of the former village of Tabennisi. Here he heard a Voice ordering him to start a monastery at this place. Pachomius told the Elder Palamon of this, and they both regarded the words as a command from God.
They went to Tabennisi and built a small monastic cell. The holy Elder Palamon blessed the foundations of the monastery and predicted its future glory. But soon Palamon departed to the Lord. An angel of God then appeared to Saint Pachomius in the form of a schemamonk and gave him a Rule of monastic life. Soon his older brother John came and settled there with him.
Saint Pachomius endured many temptations and assaults from the Enemy of the race of man, but he resisted all temptations by his prayer and endurance.
Gradually, followers began to gather around Saint Pachomius. Their teacher impressed everyone by his love for work, which enabled him to accomplish all kinds of monastic tasks. He cultivated a garden, he conversed with those seeking guidance, and he tended to the sick.
Saint Pachomius introduced a monastic Rule of cenobitic life, giving everyone the same food and attire. The monks of the monastery fulfilled the obediences assigned them for the common good of the monastery. Among the various obediences was copying books. The monks were not allowed to possess their own money nor to accept anything from their relatives. Saint Pachomius considered that an obedience fulfilled with zeal was greater than fasting or prayer. He also demanded from the monks an exact observance of the monastic Rule, and he chastized slackers.
His sister Maria came to see Saint Pachomius, but the strict ascetic refused to see her. Through the gate keeper, he blessed her to enter upon the path of monastic life, promising his help with this. Maria wept, but did as her brother had ordered. The Tabennisi monks built her a hut on the opposite side of the River Nile. Nuns also began to gather around Maria. Soon a women’s monastery was formed with a strict monastic Rule provided by Saint Pachomius.
The number of monks at the monastery grew quickly, and it became necessary to build seven more monasteries in the vicinity. The number of monks reached 7,000, all under the guidance of Saint Pachomius, who visited all the monasteries and administered them. At the same time Saint Pachomius remained a deeply humble monk, who was always ready to comply with and accept the words of each brother.
Severe and strict towards himself, Saint Pachomius had great kindness and condescension toward the deficiencies of spiritually immature monks. One of the monks was eager for martyrdom, but Saint Pachomius turned him from this desire and instructed him to fulfill his monastic obedience, taming his pride, and training him in humility.
Once, a monk did not heed his advice and left the monastery. He was set upon by brigands, who threatened him with death and forced him to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Filled with despair, the monk returned to the monastery. Saint Pachomius ordered him to pray intensely night and day, keep a strict fast and live in complete solitude. The monk followed his advice, and this saved his soul from despair.
The saint taught his spiritual children to avoid judging others, and he himself feared to judge anyone even in thought.
Saint Pachomius cared for the sick monks with special love. He visited them, he cheered the disheartened, he urged them to be thankful to God, and put their hope in His holy will. He relaxed the fasting rule for the sick, if this would help them recover their health. Once, in the saint’s absence, the cook did not prepare any cooked food for the monks, assuming that the brethren loved to fast. Instead of fulfilling his obedience, the cook plaited 500 mats, something which Saint Pachomius had not told him to do. In punishment for his disobedience, all the mats prepared by the cook were burned.
Saint Pachomius always taught the monks to rely only upon God’s help and mercy. It happened that there was a shortage of grain at the monastery. The saint spent the whole night in prayer, and in the morning a large quantity of bread was sent to the monastery from the city, at no charge. The Lord granted Saint Pachomius the gift of wonderworking and healing the sick.
The Lord revealed to him the future of monasticism. The saint learned that future monks would not have such zeal in their struggles as the first generation had, and they would not have experienced guides. Prostrating himself upon the ground, Saint Pachomius wept bitterly, calling out to the Lord and imploring mercy for them. He heard a Voice answer, “Pachomius, be mindful of the mercy of God. The monks of the future shall receive a reward, since they too shall have occasion to suffer the life burdensome for the monk.”
Toward the end of his life Saint Pachomius fell ill from a pestilence that afflicted the region. His closest disciple, Saint Theodore (May 17), tended to him with filial love. Saint Pachomius died around the year 348 at the age of fifty-three, and was buried on a hill near the monastery.
Saint Isaiah the Wonderworker, Bishop of Rostov
Saint Isaiah was born near Kiev to pious parents who raised him in the Orthodox Faith. In his youth, he forsook worldly vanity and entered the Kiev Caves Monastery, where he was tonsured by Saint Theodosios († May 3, 1074). Aflame with love for the Savior, the young monk engaged in the difficult struggles of fasting and prayer. At the same time, he was meek, humble, obedient, non-acquisitive, fraternal, and he mortified the carnal passions through abstinence and patience, as well as the virtues of wisdom, spiritual courage, and chastity. He recalled the words of an ancient Elder: "A man's strength does not depend upon human nature, which is subject to change, but upon resolute intention." Strengthened by God's help, he constantly ascended in spirit to the heavenly Jerusalem.1
News of the young monk Isaiah's ascetical struggles soon spread beyond the Monastery. And when Barlaam, the first Igoumen of the Monastery reposed, a Monastery was built in the courtyard of the Great Prince Iziaslav of Kiev, and dedicated to the Holy Great Martyr Dēmḗtrios. In 1065, Prince Iziaslav asked Saint Theodosios to elevate Father Isaiah to the rank of Igoumen of that Monastery because of his virtuous life. Saint Theodosios gave his blessing, and Father Isaiah became the Igoumen. After receiving this high office, the blessed one was a good mentor for the brethren and a good shepherd of Christ's rational flock. As Igoumen, he always thought of the Lord, and continued to abide in humility and in spiritual and corporeal labors. Seeing such a holy man in his Monastery, Prince Iziaslav rejoiced in spirit, thanking the Lord and Saint Theodosios for granting his desire.
In 1078, Saint Isaiah, who was proficient in piety and filled with divine grace, took part in the joint prayer of the Elders of the Caves for the ascetic Nikḗtas (January 31), who had been deceived by a demon (later he became the Bishop of Novgorod). After the podvig2 of monastic life for three years, and then serving as Igoumen for ten years, Saint Isaiah was called to exercise an apostolic ministry.
In 1078, Saint Isaiah was consecrated as Bishop of Rostov, where there were still many pagans at that time. The Diocese of Rostov encompassed a vast territory which included Yaroslavl, Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma, Vologda, and part of Moscow, Tver, and Olonets. The pagan inhabitants of the region clung to many superstitions, bloody customs,
divination, and sorcery. The good shepherd Saint Leontius of Rostov († May 23, 1073) labored hard for the enlightenment of the Rostov region, but still more pagans were to be found there by his valiant successor. Saint Isaiah worked zealously, planting the seeds of Orthodoxy among the inhabitants of his large Diocese, he also built a cathedral in Rostov in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
According to his ancient Life, Saint Isaiah "found the newly-illumined people, who had not yet been firmly established in the Faith," and so he began to instruct them. He travelled around with apostolic zeal, preaching about Christ in the Diocese of Rostov, persuading them of the folly of idolatry, and destroying the pagan idols. Saint Isaiah begged his flock to remain strong in their faith, and to imitate Christ in their life. He repeated his message everywhere he went: "As many of you who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).
In a stikheron from his Church Service, the spirit of Saint Isaiah's ministry is perfectly expressed: "What shall we call you O Hierarch? Angel, for you lived on earth as one incorporeal; Apostle, for you taught the true Faith to the ends of Russia; Martyr, because for the sake of Christ you fought until death, turning people from the darkness of wickedness and bringing them to the pasture of godly reason."
It was a great consolation to Saint Isaiah to have the Great Prince Vladimir Monomakh participate in his ministry. The Great Prince gave money to build a cathedral at Rostov in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, in which there was a wonderworking icon painted by Saint Alypios of the Kiev Caves (August 17). Christ's Hierarch Isaiah treated the poor, the unfortunate, and all those in need with love.
The Lord glorified His servant by working many signs and miracles through him. In 1089, "borne on a cloud like the Apostles of old,"3 Bishop Isaiah was able to be present at the consecration of the "heavenly" church of the Dormition of the Mother of God at the Kiev Caves Monastery.
When it was time for the consecration of the Dormition cathedral at the Kiev Caves Lavra, Metropolitan John of Kiev did not have time to invite the God-loving Bishops from distant lands to attend the Service. But his pious wish was granted by an Angel of God who appeared to Bishop Isaiah and told him to attend the ceremony. Then, miraculously, the Angel brought him to the Kiev Caves Lavra, and he was able to participate in the consecration. He himself, marveling at his wondrous journey, told Metropolitan John about it, saying that he did not dare to disobey his order by not coming to the consecration of the temple. The First Hierarch of Russia was amazed by what he heard, for there was no time to invite the Bishops. This miraculous journey was the fruit of Saint Isaiah's obedience and zeal for the church of God. Three bishops, Isaiah of Rostov, Luke of Belgorod, and John of Chernigov, served with Metropolitan John at the consecration of the church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos on August 14, 1089, and then Bishop Isaiah returned to his flock, which welcomed him with great joy.
After that, Saint Isaiah shepherded his flock of Rostov for less than a year. He departed from this world in the summer after the Nativity of Christ (on May 15, 1090) after thirteen years as a Bishop. The same Angel who bore him to Kiev for the consecration of the church, also carried his soul to dwell in the heavenly abodes for eternity.
The relics of Saint Isaiah were first found together with the relics of Saint Leontius on May 23, 1164. The Holy Right-believing Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky (July 4) laid the foundation for a new stone church in Rostov to replace the wooden one damaged by a fire in 1160. While excavating the foundation under the southern wall, the relics of Saint Isaiah were found. According to ancient Tradition and the Chronicle: "The coffin of blessed Isaiah was found, and when they opened it, they saw the Saint's vestments and body were incorrupt, and they glorified God, Who was pleased to glorify His servant not only in life, but also in death. Though many years had passed, the Hierarch's vestments and his body remained untouched by decay."
The Saint's relics were placed in the church of Saint John, and since the stone church collapsed as soon as it was completed, the relics were moved to the cathedral in 1231 and placed in the narthex, on the right side.
Over the years, however, the memory of Saint Isaiah's miracles was forgotten, so that not even a lamp was lit over his tomb, nor did any priest come with incense to serve a Panikhida for him, because the narthex was always closed. It was not fitting, however, for such a great lamp to remain hidden under a bushel (Matthew 5:15). According to the manuscript Life, "The Archbishop, seeing that the icon of Saint Isaiah was venerated by all, and also his coffin (in the narthex of the cathedral), he summoned the priests on May 17 and opened the coffin of this most wondrous Father. He took him from there in 1474 and placed him in a new coffin with honor, near the southern doors, where he still works miracles of healing."
The first Archbishop of Rostov was Theodore in 1390, and the ecclesiastical veneration of Saint Isaiah began in 1474, at the time of the transfer of his relics to the church. The first written Life of Saint Isaiah also belongs to that same time. In 1722 the relics were moved to a silver casket.
On April 25, 1920, by the decision of the Tenth Rostov District Congress of Soviets, despite the protests of believers, the relics of Saint Isaiah, and the relics of Saints Ignatius and Dēmḗtrios (Tuptalo), Venerable Abraham of Rostov, and Saint Euphrosyne of Polotsk were exhibited naked in the center of the Dormition Cathedral. A week later, the shrines with the relics of the Saints were returned to their places. Subsequently, the relics of Saint Isaiah were placed in a closed wooden shrine in the Dormition Cathedral. At the end of the 1980s, some of the relics were brought to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, some were given to Archbishop Platon (Udovenko) of Yaroslavl and Rostov. Now the honorable head of Saint Isaiah is kept in the Serapion tent in the Lavra, and a portion of the relics is in Rostov's Dormition Cathedral, in an ark handed over on June 5, 1999 to the diocesan administrator of Yaroslavl and Rostov, Archbishop Micah (Kharkharov).
In the "Iconographer's Manual" a description of the Saint's external appearance is given: "Our Father among the Saints Bishop Isaiah of Rostov, the wonderworker, a pointed beard like that of Saint Blaise. The Saint's phelonion is red, with a green lining, a white omophorion, a white knobuk on his head, and he holds a Gospel in his hands."
Saint Isaiah is also commemorated on May 23, the Synaxis of the Saints of Rostov – Yaroslavl.
1 Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2, 21:10)
2 Podvig = ascetical effort, spiritual struggle.
3 See the Feast of the Dormition on August 15.
The Holy Right-believing Tsarevich Demetrios of Uglich and Moscow
The Holy Right-believing Tsarévitch Demetrios (Dēmḗtrios) of Uglich (Moscow) was born on October 19, 1582. He was the son of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. During the reign of Theodore, the de facto ruler of the Russian state was his brother-in-law, the power-hungry boyar Boris Godunov. After Ivan's death on March 18, 1584, Boris began to eliminate all the nobles who were opposed to him. Then the Tsarévitch Demetrios and his mother, Tsaritsa Maria, were exiled to Uglich. Desiring to become the lawful heir to the Russian throne, Boris Godunov began to act against the Tsarévitch as against a personal enemy. At first he tried to slander the new heir to the throne, spreading false rumors about his alleged illegitimate birth. Then he spread the fallacy that Demetrios had inherited the harshness of his father, the sovereign.
Since these actions did not bring the desired result, the insidious Boris decided to destroy the Tsarévitch by putting poison in his food and drink. Demetrios was not harmed by the poison, however. Then the villain decided on a more direct course of action. He sent Daniel Volokhov, Michael Bityagovsky, and Nikḗtas Katchalov to Uglich to murder the Tsarévitch.
Suspectiing their evil intentions, the widowed Tsaritsa Maria kept a close watch over her son. She would not let him out of the palace, or away from her side. Therefore, the conspirators enlisted the help of the child's nursemaid, Maria Volokhova (Daniel's mother) to accomplish their purpose.
On Saturday, May 15, 1591, the nursemaid brought the boy out to the lower porch. Daniel Volokhov took the child by the hand and asked if he was wearing a new necklace. "No," he replied, "this is an old one."
Suddenly, Daniel slit the Tsarévitch's throat, and the nursemaid began to scream. Daniel, Michael, and Nikḗtas beat her until she was almost dead. Tsaritsa Maria heard the screams and ran outside. She fell upon the lifeless body of her child and began to sob and wail. The sexton rang the alarm bell, and the residents of Uglich hastened to the palace. The angry crowd stoned the murderers and cast their bodies into a pit to be devoured by dogs.
The Tsarévitch's body was placed in a coffin and was brought to Uglich's Cathedral of the Transfiguration. He was not quite nine years old when he was murdered.
Many miracles and healings began to occur at his tomb, most frequently, for people with sore eyes. On June 3, 1606, the holy relics of the martyred Tsarévitch Demetrios were discovered to be incorrupt.
The holy Relics of the Right-believing Tsarévitch Demetrios were transferred from Uglich to Moscow in 1606, and were placed in the Cathedral of the Archangel (Michael) in the Moscow Kremlin, in the chapel of Saint John the Forerunner.
After many miracles from the Saint's relics in 1606, it was decided that the Tsarévitch Demetrios was to be commemorated three times a year – on the day of his birth (October 19), the day of his death (May 15), and the day of the transfer of his relics (June 3).
Venerable Isaiah, Wonderworker of the Kiev Near Caves
Very little information about the life and podvig1 of Saint Isaiah the Wonderworker has been preserved. He contested during the XI – early XII centuries. His life, by which he pleased the Lord, was one of silence and tireless work, for which he is called "a venerable and industrious Elder." In the Service for the Venerable Saints of the Near (Antoniev) Caves, Saint Isaiah is mentioned along with Saints Onuphrios (July 21) and Sylvester (January 2).
"Onuphrios, the lover of silence, and Isaiah, the desert-loving turtle-dove, with the blessed Sylvester, are a triple-stranded sling against the demons, who are driven away by them; for setting the assaults of the passions completely at naught, they received the gift of helping others. Therefore, they are magnified by all" (Ode 9, stikheron 5).
This Saint Isaiah reposed on May 15, 1115, and his relics are in the Near Caves of Saint Anthony. He is not mentioned in the Paterikons, and there is no special Service in his honor. He is commemorated on May 15, September 28, and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.
This Saint Isaiah is commemorated separately on May 15, and should not be confused with his namesake Bishop Isaiah of Rostov, who reposed in 1090.
1 ascetical effort, spiritual struggle.
Venerable Pachomius, Abbot of Nerekhta
Saint Pachomius of Nerekhta, in the world James, was born into the family of a priest at Vladimir on the Klyazma. He was sent to school at the age of seven, since from childhood he knew the Holy Scriptures very well. Finding the bustle of the perishing world burdensome, he was tonsured at the Vladimir Nativity monastery, fulfilling various obediences without complaint.
Yearning for the solitary wilderness life, the ascetic secretly left the monastery and went to the outskirts of Nerekhta. Here, at the River Gridenka, he found a suitable place for a monastery, a raised semi-island in the deep forest. The saint asked the people around Nerekhta to establish and build a monastery in the vicinity of Sypanovo, on the Kostroma frontier. The people of Nerekhta happily consented and helped in the construction of the monastery.
Saint Pachomius painted an icon of the Holy Trinity, and after singing a Molieben he carried it to the place where he was to build the church in the Name of the Holy Trinity. After the church was completed, Saint Pachomius organized the new monastery, which soon began to attract monks.
At the newly-formed monastery the monks had to cultivate the land themselves and feed themselves by the toil of their own hands. The saint set an example for the brethren in this matter.
He died in 1384, advanced in age, and he was buried in the Trinity church he built. One of his disciples, Irenarchus, painted an icon of the saint, and later a crypt was built for his holy relics. The dates of commemoration for Saint Pachomius are on May 15, his Name Day, and on March 23, the day of his repose.
Venerable Silvanus of Nerekhta
No information available at this time.
Venerable Euphrosynus the Wonderworker, Abbot of Pskov
Saint Euphrosynus of Pskov, in the world Eleazar, was born in about the year 1386 in the village of Videlebo, near Pskov, the same village where Saint Nicander of Pskov (September 24) had also been born. His parents wanted Eleazar to marry, but secretly he withdrew to the Snetogorsk monastery (on the Snyatni hill, now in Pskov itself) and there accepted tonsure.
Around the year 1425, searching for a place where he might devote himself to more intense prayer, Saint Euphrosynus with the blessing of the abbot moved to a solitary cell at the River Tolva, not far from Pskov. But concern for the salvation of his neighbor impelled the saint to abandon his wilderness dwelling, and he began to receive everyone who was in need of an experienced Elder and guide. Saint Euphrosynus blessed those coming to him to live according to a skete rule, compiled by himself.
The Rule of Saint Euphrosynus presents a rather generalized advice for monks about proceeding on the monastic path, “how it befits monks to dwell.” He does not address the strict regulation of all aspects of monastic life, as did, for example, the Rule of Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk; there is nothing at all in it concerning the order of divine services.
In 1447 at the request of the brethren, Saint Euphrosynus built a church in honor of the Three Holy Hierarchs Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, who appeared to him, and also in honor of Saint Onuphrius the Great (June 12). The monastery later received the name Spaso-Eleazarov. Out of humility and his love for the solitary life, the saint did not wish to be igumen, but instead nominated his disciple Ignatius for this office. He then went to live in the forest near a lake.
Saint Euphrosynus died at the advanced age of ninety-five, on May 15, 1481. At his crypt, by order of Archbishop Gennadius of Novgorod, was placed an icon painted by his disciple Ignatius while the saint was still alive. Also included was the last testament of the saint to the brethren on a piece of parchment, stamped with the lead seal of Archbishop Theophilus of Novgorod. This is one of very few surviving wills written by an ascetic in his own hand.
Saint Euphrosynus, the originator of Pskov wilderness life, taught many famed disciples, who also established monasteries, and planted the seeds of monasticism throughout the lands of Pskov. Among the disciples of Saint Euphrosynus were the skete Elders Savva of Krypetsk (August 28; Saint Dositheus of Verkhneostrov (October 8); Saint Onuphrius of Malsk (June 12); Saint Joachim of Opochsk (September 9); Saint Hilarion of Gdovsk (October 21); Saint Chariton of Kudinsk, founder and igumen of a monastery at Lake Kudina near Toroptsa; and the locally venerated brothers from Pskov Ignatius, Charalampos and Pamphilius, buried at the Spaso-Eleazar monastery.
Venerable Serapion of Pskov
Saint Serapion of Pskov was born at Yuriev (now Tartu), which then was under the rule of Germans, who sought to stamp out Orthodoxy. His parents were parishioners of a Russian church in the name of Saint Nicholas.
Saint Serapion was well versed in the Holy Scripture, and more than once he entered into the defense of Orthodoxy. When they wanted to convert him by force to the foreign faith, he departed to the Tolvsk wilderness, not far from Pskov, where the Pskov ascetic monk Euphrosynus (May 15) began his prayerful work.
Under his nurturing, Saint Serapion began to acquire the wisdom of wilderness life. But soon he happened to undergo temptations. Without a blessing, he wanted to leave his guide and to live an ascetic life in complete solitude. But the Lord brought the inexperienced novice to his senses: after he seriously hurt his leg, he repented of his self-will and disobedience and returned to the Elder.
After he received the Great Schema, he dwelt constantly with Saint Euphrosynus for 55 years, strictly keeping the vow of silence. Brethren began gradually to gather around Saint Euphrosynus, for which the Elder built a temple in the name of the Three Hierarchs and gave a skete rule.
Saint Serapion zealously fulfilled everything commanded of him and was a role model for the monks. The monk so strictly fulfilled the monastic vow of uncovetousness, that a copyist of his life called him “an unburied corpse.” He bore every insult with extraordinary humility, always blaming himself alone, and he himself asked forgiveness of his insulter. The monk deeply sensed the power of communal prayers and he said that “the order of the twelve Psalms” sung alone in the cell cannot equal one “Lord, have mercy” sung in church.
Saint Serapion died on September 8, 1480, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. Since the day of repose of Saint Serapion coincides with one of the twelve Great Feasts, his commemoration is on September 7. A Troparion and Kontakion were composed for the saint.
Saint Euphrosynus himself committed the body of his disciple to the earth. By his fervent deeds he had transformed himself into mere “bones, covered by skin.” Saint Serapion was not separated from his spiritual Father even after death: their holy relics were placed beside each other. A common service was composed to Saints Euphrosynus and Serapion (15 May), wherein Saint Serapion is glorified as the first co-ascetic, “companion and friend” of Saint Euphrosynus.
St Serapion is also commemorated on September 7.
Saint Achilles, Bishop of Larissa
Saint Achilles, Bishop of Larissa, lived during the fourth century, during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great. Glorified for his holiness of life and erudition, he was made Bishop of Larissa in Thessaly.
Saint Achilles participated in the First Ecumenical Council, where he boldly denounced the heretic Arius. In his city he strove to promote Christianity, destroyed idolatrous pagan temples, and he built and adorned churches.
Saint Achilles had the gift of healing sickness, especially demonic possession, and he worked many miracles. The saint died peacefully in about the year 330. His relics have remained in Prespa, in today's Republic of Macedonia, since 978.