Category Archives: Daily Readings

Daily Readings for Thursday, May 19, 2022

4TH THURSDAY AFTER PASCHA

NO FAST

Patrick the Hieromartyr and Bishop of Prusa and His Fellow Martyrs Acacius, Menander, and Polyaenus, Our Righteous Father Memnonus the Wonderworker, Theotima & Kyriake the Martyrs

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 10:34-43

In those days, Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest; not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

JOHN 8:12-20

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." The Pharisees then said to him, "You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true." Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or whither I am going. You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me." They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also." These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Hieromartyr Patrick, Bishop of Prusa, and his companions

Saint Patrick lived during the first century and was bishop of the city of Prusa in Bythnia (Asia Minor). He openly and boldly preached Christ the Savior, and denounced the error of the pagans. Therefore, he and the priests, Acacius, Menander and Polyainus were arrested, and brought to Julius, the prefect of the city for interrogation.

Julius was going to the hot springs for treatment, and he ordered that the Christian bishop and the priests be brought along after him, bound in iron chains. After he washed in the hot springs, Julius offered sacrifice to his gods. He had Saint Patrick and the other prisoners brought before him, ordering them to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, threatening punishment if they refused.

Saint Patrick replied, “I am a Christian and I worship the one true God, Jesus Christ, Who has created the heavens and the earth, and these warm springs for the benefit of all mankind.”

Julius had the saint thrown into the hot spring, and with firm faith the martyr prayed, “Lord, Jesus Christ, help Your servant,” and he remained unharmed.

In an impotent rage, Julius ordered Saint Patrick and his three presbyters beheaded. They received their crowns of unfading glory from Christ around the year 100.

Venerable Cornelius, Abbot of Komel, Vologda

Saint Cornelius of Komel was descended from the boyar (noble) family Kriukov. His brother Lukian served at the court of the Great Prince of Moscow. When Lukian, who was getting old, decided to go to the monastery of Saint Cyril of White Lake, he was followed by Cornelius, who longed for the solitary life from a young age.

After he was tonsured, the young Cornelius began his monastic endeavors with a difficult obedience: he wore heavy chains in the bakery. In his spare time he occupied himself with copying church books. Because of his love for solitude, Saint Cornelius later left the White Lake monastery, and he visited Rostov.

At Novgorod, Saint Gennadius (December 4) attempted to hold on to him, but the ascetic settled in a desolate spot near Novgorod. When people began to visit here also, he moved to the Tver Sabbatiev wilderness monastery. Later, in 1497, he settled in the Komel forest, not far from Vologda, where he built a cell. Monks began to gather around the cell of Saint Cornelius. In 1501 he built a wooden church in honor of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos. In that year Metropolitan Simon ordained him as hieromonk.

In 1512, when the number of brethren had grown, the saint built a stone church and he compiled a Rule for the brethren, based on the Rules of Saints Joseph of Volokolamsk and Nilus of Sora. This was the third monastic Rule written by Russian saints.

Saint Cornelius of Komel was distinguished by his charity toward the unfortunate, and during a famine he built an orphanage in the monastery courtyard. Because of his love for the poor and orphaned, Saint Cornelius was often granted visions of Saint Anthony the Great (January 17), for whom he had a special reverence. He constructed a church at his monastery in honor of this great ascetic.

The saint’s strictness of life provoked some of the brethren to grumbling, and Saint Cornelius was compelled to leave the monastery. He settled at Lake Sursk, 70 versts from his monastery. At times he also lived at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Interceding for the monks of the Korniliev monastery, Great Prince Basil Ivanovich urged the saint to return to his own monastery. The ascetic gave in, and having returned to his own monastery, he transferred its guidance to his disciple Laurence and shut himself in his cell.

During a Tatar incursion into the Vologda region Saint Cornelius went with the monks to the outskirts of White Lake. The saint died at the age of eighty-two on May 19, 1537. Many disciples of Saint Cornelius were also glorified for their holiness of life: Saints Gennadius of Liubimograd (January 23), Cyril of New Lake (February 4), Herodion of Iloezersk (September 28), Adrian of Poshekhonye (March 5), Laurence and Cassian of Komel (May 16).

The commemoration of Saint Cornelius (May 19) was established on January 25, 1600 by Patriarch Job and a council of bishops. The Life of the saint was written by his disciple Nathaniel in the year 1589. There is a service and an encomium to the saint, and the Rule of Saint Cornelius has been preserved.

Saint Cornelius is also commemorated at the Synaxis of the Saints of Vologda (Third Sunday after Pentecost); and at the Synaxis of the Saints of Tver (the Sunday after June 28).

Venerable Cornelius, Abbot of Paleostrov

Saint Cornelius of Paleostrov and Olonets, born at Pskov, was the founder of monastic life on Pali island in Lake Onega at the end of the fourteenth century. Despite the desolation of the island, brethren soon gathered near him. He built for them a church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, and a trapeza church in honor of the holy Prophet Elias.

The saint spent the final years of his life in a cave half a verst from the monastery, in unceasing prayer. The ascetic added the wearing of heavy chains to his struggles.

The saint’s blessed repose occurred around the year 1420. His relics were transferred to the monastery church by his disciple, Saint Abramius of Paleostrov (August 21), who was also glorified by his ascetical life, and was buried in the Paleostrov monastery beside his Elder.

Right-believing John, Prince of Uglich, tonsured as Ignatius

The holy Prince John of Uglich was a devout and God-fearing Christian from his youth. He and his brother Demetrius were thrown into prison by their uncle John, and remained there for thirty-two years.

Before his death, Prince John received monastic tonsure with the name Ignatius. He was known as a wonderworker.

Venerable Sergius of Shukhtom

Saint Sergius (Stephen, in the world) was a Schema-monk of Shukhtom (or Shukhtov) Monastery, located in the village of Shukhtom 50 km from the city of Cherepovets. His Holy Relics were buried under the floor of the monastery church, which later became the Protection parish church when the monastery was abolished.

Some information about the devout and ascetical life of Saint Sergius is given in a lengthy inscription on his tomb. It states that on May 19, 1609, the Feast of the Holy Martyr Patrick, the Bishop of Prussia, the servant of God, Schema-monk Sergius, reposed during the reign of Tsar Basil IV Shuisky, when His Holiness Ermogen (February 17 and May 12) was Patriarch of Moscow. The labor-loving body of Saint Sergius was buried in the chapel of the church of the Life-creating Trinity and the Protection of the Theotokos at Shukhtom, in the region of White Lake.

The Saint was born and raised in Kazan, and from his youth he had a profound reverence for the monastic Life, but considered himself unworthy of it. He spent three years wandering through Palestine, Constantinople, and Greece, worshipping at the holy places, and learning about the monastic life in various countries.

He visited Orthodox shrines from the Holy Land to Solovki Monastery, and his life was very austere. He fasted constantly, allowing himself to sleep only while sitting. Therefore, he received from God the great spiritual gifts of unceasing prayer, clairvoyance, and working miracles.

In 1603, the man of God came to the Vologda region, where he was tonsured with the name Sergius by the Superior, Archimandrite Isaiah of the Cherepovets Monastery of the Resurrection. Later, Father Isaiah painted an icon depicting the Saint's tonsure.

Saint Sergius reposed on May 19, 1609 at the age of seventy-nine, after fifty years of asceticism.

Saint John, Bishop of the Goths in the Crimea

Saint John, Bishop of the Goths, lived during the eighth century. The future saint was born in answer to the fervent prayer of his parents. From an early age, he lived a life of asceticism.

The saint made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and spent three years visiting all the holy places. Then he returned to his native country. At that time the emperor Constantine Copronymos the Iconoclast (741-775) banished the Gothic bishop, and the Goths fervently entreated Saint John to become their bishop.

Saint John went to Georgia, which was isolated from the Iconoclast heresy. There he was ordained. Upon his return to the Goths he was soon compelled to depart from them. Hidden away from the pursuing Khazars, he settled at Amastridia, where he dwelt for four years.

Hearing about the death of the Khazar kagan (ruler), the saint said, “After forty days I shall go to be judged with him before Christ the Savior.” Indeed, the saint died forty days later. This took place when he returned to his people, in the year 790.

The saint’s body was conveyed to the Parthenit monastery in the Crimea, at the foot of Mount Ayu-Dag, where the saint once lived in the large church he built in honor of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

Saint John, Bishop of the Goths, is also celebrated on June 26.

Right-believing Demetrios Donskoy, Grand Prince of Moscow

The right-believing Great Prince Demetrios of Moscow was born in 1350. His father died when Demetrios was just a young child, and so he was entrusted to the guidance of Saint Alexis of Moscow (February 12). The holy Prince Demetrios combined Christian piety with his remarkable political talents, devoting himself to the unification of the land of Russia and to the emancipation of Russia from the Tatar-Mongol Yoke.

On August 18, 1380, after gathering his forces for a decisive battle with Mamai of the Golden Horde, Saint Demetrios visited Saint Sergius of Radonezh (September 25) in order to receive his blessing. The Elder blessed two monks from his monastery, Schema-monk Andrew [Oslyaba] and Schema-monk Alexander [Peresvet], to go along and help the Prince. He also predicted that Saint Demetrios would be victorious. The Prince left Moscow with his army on August 20, and marched toward Kolomna.

One day, as they made camp before the Battle of Kulikovo, an Icon of St. Nicholas appeared in the air, hovering over a pine tree, and it descended into the hands of Saint Demetrios. There is a later Icon depicting this event, with Saint Demetrios kneeling before the Icon of Saint Nicholas, and laying his gold crown at the roots of the tree.

One of those who fought in the Battle of Kulikovo was a Lithuanian Prince by the name of Montvid Montvilo, who saved the life of Saint Demetrios by shielding him from a Tatar sword with his own body. That night he beheld Saint Nicholas in a dream. The holy wonderworker told him that he had cushioned the blow because Prince Montvilo wore on his chest an Icon of Saint Nicholas, which was a family heirloom. In return for saving the Prince's life, Saint Nicholas told Prince Montvilo that one of his descendants would render great service to Russia.

Over the years, the Lithuanian name Montvilo became the Russian Motovilov. Alexander Motovilov, a descendant of Prince Montvilo, proposed and was rejected by his intended bride Maria, and so he entered a monastery. His obedience was to work in the prosphora bakery, but one day he felt so exhausted that he fell asleep at noon. Saint Nicholas appeared to him and said, "Alexander, your path does not lie in the monastery, but in family life. You will find your happiness with Maria, who turned you down. She will bear you a son, whom you shall name Nicholas. God requires him! I am Saint Nicholas, and I shall be the patron saint of the Motovilov family. I have been so since your ancestor, Prince Montvid Montvilo, served in the army of Prince Demetrios of the Don. During the Battle of Kulikovo, the Tatar warrior who struck down the monks Alexander and Andrew rushed at the Great Prince with his sword, but your ancestor took the blow, and the sword struck my Icon, which he wore on his chest. He would have been killed if I had not cushioned the blow, and then struck down the Tatar by Montvid's hand."

The Icon of Saint Nicholas, which was damaged by the Tatar's sword, was treasured as a holy relic in the family of George Nikolaevich Motovilov.

Nicholas Alexandrovich Motovilov was born on May 3, 1809, and reposed on January 14, 1879. His great service to Russia, of course, was to write down his conversation with Saint Seraphim of Sarov (January 2) about the aim of the Christian life, and how to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit.

After winning the battle, the Prince ordered a Moleben of Thanksgiving to God and to Saint Nicholas to be served. Later, he built a church and a monastery dedicated to St. Nicholas on that site.

Following his victory at Kulikovo Field, between the Don and Nepryadva Rivers (on September 8, the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos), Prince Demetrios received the honorific "of the Don." He established the Dormition Monastery at the Dubenka River, and the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos near the graves of those who died for their country. The Memorial Saturday before the Feast of Saint Demetrios of Thessalonika (October 26) was established in memory of the Orthodox warriors who were killed at Kulikovo Field in the great battle against the Horde.

Saint Demetrios fell asleep in the Lord on May 19, 1389. He was buried in the cathedral of the Archangels in the Moscow Kremlin.

Martyr Caluf of Egypt

The Holy Martyr Caluf the Egyptian lived during the third century, and was from the city of Thebes. For his confession of faith in Christ he was arrested and taken before the prefect of the city. He was suspended head downward, and received a cruel beating. The sufferer repeated, “I endure everything in expectation of the future life.”

They then untied him and urged him to offer sacrifice to idols, but the saint did not consent. Finally, he was thrown into a fire and surrendered his soul to God. This occurred in the year 303.

The holy martyr Caluf suffered during the persecution by the emperor Maximian Hercules, who ruled jointly with Diocletian (284-305).

Entrance of Saint Nino (Nina) the Enlightener into Georgia

The holy Apostles Andrew the First-called and Simon the Canaanite first preached the Christian Faith in Georgia in the 1st century, but at the beginning of the 4th century most of the country was still pagan.

After the Theotokos revealed God’s will for her future, the Equal-to-the-Apostles Nino set off for Georgia to enlighten the Iberian people. She arrived in Armenia with the holy martyrs and virgins Rhipsimia, Gaiana and their fifty companions. The holy virgins were martyred in Armenia and, according to God’s will, Saint Nino journeyed on alone to Lake Paravani, entering Georgia from the Javakheti Mountains. She arrived in the spring, but the weather was unseasonably cold.

The Apostolic Church of Georgia has honored the Entrance of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Nino as a major feast day. The Church also commemorates her on January 14, the day of her repose.

Martyr Theotime

There is very little information about Saint Theotime (Θεοτίμη) except that
she was beheaded ca. 311, thereby receiving an incorruptible crown from Christ.

Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 18, 2022

4TH WEDNESDAY AFTER PASCHA – MID-PENTECOST

NO FAST

4th Wednesday after Pascha – Mid-Pentecost, Holy Martyrs: Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, Christina, Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus, Stephen I, Patriarch of Constantinople, Julian the Martyr, Euphrasia the Martyr of Nicea

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 14:6-18

In those days, the apostles fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; and there they preached the gospel. Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, because he was the chief speaker, they called Hermes. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying, “Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of like nature with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways; yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” With these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

JOHN 7:14-30

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. The Jews marveled at it saying, "How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?" So Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me; if any man's will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teacher is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is not falsehood. Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?" The people answered, "You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?" Jesus answered them, "I did one deed, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man upon the sabbath. If on the sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the sabbath I made a man's whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from." So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me." So they sought to arrest him; but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.

Midfeast of Pentecost

Today’s celebration is the midpoint of the fifty days between the Feasts of Pascha and Pentecost. Saint John tells us (John 7:14) that “in the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the Temple, and taught.” The Feast in question is the Feast of Tabernacles (celebrated in September), not Pentecost.

The Church has appointed John 7:14-30 to be read for the Midfeast, thereby linking Pascha and Pentecost. In Chapter 8 of Saint John’s Gospel, the Lord came to the Temple again and taught the people who came to Him. After leaving the Temple, he encounters the man born blind. We will hear about him on the Sunday of the Blind Man.

The Troparion of the Midfeast (“In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as Thou didst cry to all: If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink [John 7:37]. O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to Thee!”) hints at the encounter of Christ and the Samaritan Woman in just a few days.

Today we perform the Lesser Blessing of Water, and the Blessing of Fields.

Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra, and with him the seven Virgin Martyrs: Alexandra, Tecusa, Claudia, Phaine, Euphraisa, Matrona, and Julia, who suffered under Decius

The Holy Martyr Theodotus and the Holy Seven Virgins Tecusa, Phaine, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia lived during the second half of the third century in the city of Ancyra, Galatia, and died as martyrs for Christ at the beginning of the fourth century. Saint Theodotus was an innkeeper and was married.

Theoteknos, prefect of Ancyra, issued a proclamation informing Christians that they were obliged to offer sacrifice to idols, and if they refused, they would be tortured and killed. Pagans would deliver Christians over to torture, and then divide up their property.

Theodotus was not afraid to bury the remains of holy martyrs, either carrying them off secretly or ransoming them from the soldiers. When the Christian churches at Ancyra were destroyed and closed, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in his inn. Knowing that martyrdom awaited him, Saint Theodotus predicted to the priest Phrontonos that soon they would bring him the relics of martyrs, at a place chosen by both of them. In surety of his words, Saint Theodotus gave the priest his ring.

At this time, seven holy virgins died for Christ. The eldest, Saint Tecusa, was the aunt of Saint Theodotus. The holy virgins Tecusa, Phaine, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia had dedicated themselves to God from their youth, living in constant prayer, fasting, temperance and good deeds. All of them had attained to an advanced age.

Brought to trial as Christians, the holy virgins bravely confessed their faith in Christ before Theoteknos and were given over to torture, yet remained steadfast. The prefect then gave them to shameless youths for defilement. The holy virgins prayed intensely, asking help from God. Saint Tecusa fell down at the feet of a youth, and pushing back her veil she showed him her grey hair. The young men were startled, and ran off weeping. The prefect then ordered that the saints take part in offering sacrifice to the idols, but again the holy virgins refused. For this they were sentenced to death. A heavy stone was tied to the legs of each, and all seven of the holy virgins were drowned in a lake.

On the following night Saint Tecusa appeared in a dream to Saint Theodotus, asking him to take her body and give it Christian burial. Saint Theodotus, taking with him his friend Polychronius and several other Christians, went to the lake. It was dark, and a torch illumined their way. The holy martyr Sosander appeared in front of the guard who was posted by the pagans at the shore of the lake. The frightened guard ran off in terror.

The Christians found the bodies of the holy martyrs and carried them to church, where they were buried. Learning that the bodies of the holy martyrs had been stolen, the prefect flew into a rage and gave orders to arrest all Christians and torture them. Polychronius also was seized. Unable to endure the torture, he accused Saint Theodotus of stealing the bodies. Saint Theodotus was prepared to die for Christ. Speaking with other Christians, he bequeathed his body to the priest Phrontonos, to whom he had given his ring.

The account of the life and martyrdom of Saint Theodotus and the suffering of the holy virgins was compiled by Nilus, a contemporary and companion of Saint Theodotus. Nilus lived in the city of Ancyra during the persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian, and witnessed the saint’s death.

Saint Theodotus is also commemorated on June 7.

Martyrs Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, and Christina who suffered under Decius

The Holy Martyrs Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, and Christina suffered under emperor Decius (249-251). Peter suffered in the city of Lampsaka. Brought to trial before the prefect Optimines, he bravely confessed his faith in Christ. They tried to force the youth to deny the Lord and worship the goddess Venus. The martyr refused to do this, declaring for everyone to hear, that a Christian would not bow to the idol of a lecherous woman.

Saint Peter was subjected to fierce tortures, but he endured them with courage, giving thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ for giving him His all-powerful help. Then he was beheaded.

Dionysius, Nikomachus, and two soldiers, Andrew and Paul, who had been transferred from Mesopotamia, were put on trial. They all confessed their faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols, so they were tortured. To the great sorrow of all the Christians, Nikomachus did not persevere. He denied the Lord Jesus Christ, and entered a pagan temple to offer sacrifice. He fell down in a terrible frenzy and died foaming at the mouth, tearing the skin from his body with his teeth.

On the following morning, Saints Dionysius, Andrew and Paul were again brought before the prefect. For confessing faith in Christ they were given to the pagans to be put to death. They bound the saints by the feet, dragged them to the place of execution, and stoned them to death.

Saint Christina watched the trial of Dionysius, Nikomachus, Andrew, and Paul, and all that happened. The sixteen-year-old Christina shouted, “Nikomachus, you cursed and lost man! Instead of enduring pain for a single hour, you have made yourself worthy of eternal torment!” The prefect gave orders to seize the holy virgin. Learning that she was a Christian, he gave her to dissolute men for their pleasure.

An angel appeared at the house where they had taken the holy virgin. Frightened by his terrible visage, the men tearfully begged the holy virgin’s forgiveness and asked her to pray that the Lord’s chastisement might not befall them. She was then beheaded by order of the prefect.

Martyrs Simeon, Isaac and Bachtisius, of Persia

The Holy Martyrs Simeon, Isaac and Bachtisius were Christians and lived during the third century in Persia under the emperor Sapor, a fierce persecutor of Christians. They tried to force the saints to deny Christ and be converted to fire-worship. They refused and said, “We will not turn away from the Creator of all, and we will not worship fire or the sun.”

They cruelly tortured the holy martyrs, then threw them into prison, where they were not given food for seven days. Finally, the martyrs were beheaded.

Martyrs Heraclius, Paulinus, and Benedimus

The Holy Martyrs Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus suffered for Christ in the city of Athens. They taught the pagans about Christ and urged them to abandon the worship of senseless idols. These chosen vessels of God were brought to trial with their followers who had discerned the true path. After many torments they were thrown into a fiery oven, in which they surrendered their souls to God.

Martyrs David and Tarichan of Georgia

The holy martyrs David and Tarichan were born to Vardan and Tagine, pious Christians and relatives of the king. Vardan died while his sons were still young, and Tagine’s pagan brother Theodosius seized all the family’s possessions.

Concerned that the brothers would eventually claim their legal inheritance, Theodosius resolved to convert his sister and nephews to his own creed. “Leave behind the Faith of the crucified Christ and receive mine and I will adopt your children,” he told Tagine. But Tagine firmly guarded the family against her brother’s evil intent. “It is enough that you have seized my sons’ estate,” she said. “But you cannot seize the inheritance they will receive from their Father in heaven!”

Theodosius was thwarted by his sister’s resoluteness. So instead, he tried to convert his nephews directly. He called them, embraced them warmly, and tempted them with sweets. “Now you are my sons, and everything I have belongs to you,” he told them. “Trust me like obedient sons of a beloved father. Turn from the Faith of your father, and I will show you a better way!”

After a brief silence, the holy youths answered, “We are perfectly content with our father’s Faith and will remain loyal to this Faith until the day our souls depart from our flesh. We are prepared to suffer everything for the love of our Lord and Heavenly Father!”

Theodosius dared not try to sway his nephews since he feared the revenge of the Christian community, so he left them in peace and plotted to murder them in secret. But Tagine sensed that danger was near and escaped with her sons to the region of Tao in the south.

From his spies Theodosius learned that the brothers were now herding sheep at the top of a mountain, and he ordered an ambush. But the brothers heard the noise and saw the armed soldiers before they attacked. David rejoiced upon seeing his uncle and ran toward him, but Theodosius stabbed him before he could embrace him. The holy martyr released his staff from his hand, and when it fell to the ground it was miraculously transformed into a large tree. Two hundred years later a group of Christians chopped the tree down and divided the holy wood among themselves.

Having just witnessed his own brother’s murder, Tarichan raced toward the village of Divri for help. But his pursuers overtook him, stabbed him to death, and ran off. When they returned to Theodosius, they saw that God had punished him by taking away his sight. The soldiers were stunned, and they could neither utter a word nor move from the place of this miracle. After some time Theodosius’ eyes filled with bitter tears, and he was finally moved to repentance.

At first Tagine denounced her brother in a rage, and those who heard the cries of the inconsolable mother wept along with her. But while she was stroking the lifeless bodies of her sons, Theodosius turned to her, saying, “On you has shone the Inextinguishable Light from the Unapproachable and True Light, the Eternal Light. Pray to the holy martyrs that the Lord have mercy on me and make me, the unworthy, worthy of the seal of Christ, the All-merciful God, Who came into the world. Indeed, He is the One True God!” When Tagine heard these words, she recognized that God had received her sons as a holy sacrifice. Filled with new joy, she told her brother, “May God forgive you the murder of my sons!”

Then she took a piece of the earth that had been stained by her son David’s blood and anointed her brother’s eyes. Immediately his sight was restored.

This happened in the year 693. As a witness to the sanctity of His martyrs, our God, Who loves mankind, illumined their bodies with a radiant light each evening when night fell.

Theodosius repented before the catholicos himself. He was baptized into the Christian Faith and erected a church in honor of his nephew Saint David. The mayor of Divri took Saint Tarichan’s holy relics and built a church over them in his name. Blessed Tagine began a new life in the village of Tadzarani and later reposed there.

Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 17, 2022

4TH TUESDAY AFTER PASCHA

NO FAST

4th Tuesday after Pascha, The Holy Apostles Andronicus and Junia, Theophanes and Nectarios, Builders of the Holy Monastery of Varlaam of Meteora, Nicholas the Younger who was martyred in Metsovo, Epirus, Theodotos the Martyr of Ancyra & the 7 Virgin-martyrs, Athanasios, Archbishop of Christianopolis, The New Martyrs of Batak, Bulgaria

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 10:21-33

In those days, Peter went down to the men sent by Cornelius to him and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well-spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house, and to hear what you have to say.” So he called them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went off with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his kinsmen and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered; and he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house; and behold, a man stood before me in bright apparel, saying, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter; he is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the seaside.’ So I sent to you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God, to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

JOHN 7:1-13

At that time, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand. So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world." For even his brothers did not believe in him. Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil. Go to the feast yourselves; I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come." So saying, he remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, "Where is he?" And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, "He is a good man, " others said, "No, he is leading the people astray." Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

Apostle Andronicus of the Seventy and his fellow-laborer, Junia

Saint Andronicus Apostle of the Seventy and Saint Junia were relatives of the holy Apostle Paul. They labored much, preaching the Gospel to pagans. Saint Paul mentions them in his Epistle to the Romans: “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and fellow prisoners, who are of note among the Apostles, who also were in Christ, before me” (Romans 16:7).

Saint Andronicus was made Bishop of Pannonia, but his preaching also took him and Saint Junia to other lands, far from the boundaries of his diocese. Through the efforts of Saints Andronicus and Junia the Church of Christ was strengthened, pagans were converted to the knowledge of God, many pagan temples closed, and in their place Christian churches were built. The service in honor of these saints states that they suffered martyrdom for Christ.

In the fifth century, during the reign of the emperors Arcadius and Honorius, their holy relics were uncovered on the outskirts of Constantinople together with the relics of other martyrs at the gate of Eugenius (February 22).

It was revealed to the pious cleric Nicholas Kalligraphos that among the relics of these seventeen martyrs were the relics of the holy Apostle Andronicus. Afterwards, a magnificent church was built on this spot.

Saint Euphrosynē, Great Princess of Moscow

Today the Orthodox Church commemorates the tonsure of Saint Euphrosynē of Moscow on
May 17,1407.

After the death of her husband, Saint Demetrios of the Don (May 19) from the wounds he received at the Battle of Kulikovo, the Holy Princess Eudokia refrained from participating directly in the affairs of state; but on her advice, the wonderworking Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was transferred from Vladimir to Moscow (August 26, 1395) because of the invasion of Khan Tamerlane. Soon afterward, she established a Convent in the palace, dedicating it to the Lord's Ascension.

Though inclined toward the monastic Life, she did not become a nun at that time, since her sons were very young, and instead, she acted as regent. She dressed in royal splendor, attended banquets, and participated in councils. Beneath her expensive clothing, she wore iron chains, concealing her ascetic labors and acts of charity from those around her.

Shortly before her death, an Angel appeared to her and informed her that her earthly life would end very soon. Then she became mute. By signs and gestures she made it known that she wished to have an icon of the Angel painted. When it was finished, Eudokia venerated it, and asked for another one to be painted. Only after the icons of the Archangel Michael were completed did she recognize the Angel who had appeared to her, and then she regained her voice.

The Saint expressed a wish to be tonsured in order to spend her final days in seclusion and prayer. At that time she appeared to a blind man in a dream and promised to heal him.

On May 17, 1407, Princess Eudokia was on her way to the Convent, and the blind man was sitting by the roadside. Hearing her approach, he shouted: "Holy Great Princess, feeder of the poor! You always gave us food and clothing, and you never refused our requests! Do not disregard my petition now, but heal me of my blindness, as you promised in my dream! You told me, ‘Tomorrow I will give you sight.' Now the time has come for you to fulfill your promise."

She continued on her way, seeming not to understand his words, but as she passed by, she brushed him, as if by accident, with the sleeves of her cloak. The man pressed them to his eyes and regained his sight. According to Tradition, thirty people were healed of various illnesses on that day.

Princess Eudokia was tonsured with the name Euphrosynē, which means “joy” or "gladness" in Greek. Her tonsure took place in the wooden church of the Ascension at the Convent.

The Saint reposed seven weeks after entering the Convent, departing to the Lord at the age of fifty-four on July 7, 1407. At her own request, she was buried in the church which she had started to build in the Kremlin, which was dedicated to the Ascension of Christ. Her wonderworking relics remained there until 1929.

She had been buried under the floor of the church with a cover over the grave. In 1922, after the Revolution, this cover was stolen by the Soviets, while Saint Euphrosynē's relics remained in the grave under the floor. In 1929, the government decided to destroy the Ascension Convent. Thanks to the efforts of museum workers, her relics were saved along with the remains of other royal personages interred there. Her relics, however, have yet to be identified and separated from the others. The remains were interred in the Cathedral of the Archangel.

In 2006, construction of a church dedicated to Saint Euphrosynē began in Moscow. It is located on the site of Great Prince Demetrios's palace. When it is completed, there are plans to tranfer her relics to this church.

Saint Euphrosynē is also commemorated on July 7, the day of her blessed repose.

Martyrs Solochon, Pamphamer, and Pamphalon, at Chalcedon

Saint Solochon, a native of Egypt, suffered for Christ during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). The holy martyrs Pamphamirus and Pamphalon also gave their lives for Christ at the same time. All of them served in the imperial army in the regiment of the tribune Campanus.

During the persecution against Christians by the emperors Maximian and Diocletian, Campanus was sent to the city of Chalcedon with his soldiers. All the soldiers of his regiment were required to offer sacrifice in a pagan temple. The three soldiers, Saints Solochon, Pamphamirus and Pamphalon, refused to offer sacrifice to idols, explaining that they worshiped only the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

On the orders of Campanus they were subjected to terrible tortures, during which the holy martyrs Pamphamirus and Pamphalon died. Saint Solochon survived the torture and remained alive, glorifying Christ. In great anger, the torturer gave orders to open Saint Solochon’s mouth and force him to drink blood offered to idols. But Saint Solochon clenched his teeth so strongly, that they could not open them even with iron. The sword bent, and the saint broke his bonds and stood before the torturer, continuing to glorify Christ. Saint Solochon heard a voice from the heavens encouraging him to persevere to the end.

The saint endured a merciless beating, after which they dragged him over sharp stones, demanding that he renounce Christ, but the holy martyr remained steadfast. Then he was hung up by one hand, with a heavy weight tied to his leg. Saint Solochon remained in this position for about three hours. When finally they cut the ropes, then to everyone’s surprise, Saint Solochon stood upright on his feet, like a healthy man. Insane with anger, Campanus took a stylus and thrust it into the martyr’s ear.

The sufferer fell down, and Campanus and the soldiers departed, casting him aside. Christians carried the martyr to the house of a certain pious widow and placed him on a cot. The saint ate some food and conversed with the Christians, exhorting them to stand firmly for the Faith, and then after he prayed and lifted up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his soul to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint Stephen, Archbishop of Constantinople

Saint Stephen, Patriarch of Constantinople, was the younger son of Emperor Basil the Macedonian, and was a brother of Emperor Leo the Wise. He was ordained to the priesthood under Patriarch Photius. When Saint Photius was compelled to resign the patriarchal throne in the year 886, Saint Stephen was elevated to the See of Constantinople. The saint vigilantly stood watch over his spiritual flock, he was merciful and interceded for the defenseless, he concerned himself with widows and orphans, and distinguished himself by his temperance. He died peacefully in the year 893 and was buried in the Sikellian monastery.

Venerable Dodo of the Saint David-Gareji Monastery, Georgia

A companion of Saint David of Gareji, Saint Dodo belonged to the royal family Andronikashvili. He was tonsured a monk while still a youth, and was endowed with every virtue.

An admirer of poverty and solitude, he labored as a hermit at Ninotsminda in Kakheti.

Having heard about the miracles of David of Gareji, Saint Dodo set off for the Gareji Wilderness to witness them himself. The venerable fathers greeted one another warmly and began laboring there together.

After some time, Saint David became deeply impressed with Dodo’s devotion to the Faith, and he proposed that he take with him some of the other monks and begin to construct cells on the opposite mountain.

The brothers built cells and began to labor there with great ardor. Before long the number of cells had reached two hundred. Saint Dodo isolated himself in a narrow crevice, where there was barely room for one man. Day and night, winter and summer, in the heat and the cold, he prayed with penitent tears for the forgiveness of his sins, the strengthening of the souls of his brothers, and the bolstering of the true Faith throughout the country.

Once Saint David miraculously healed the son of Prince Bubakar of Rustavi. In return, the grateful prince donated food and other necessities to the monks of Gareji Monastery. Saint David took part of his contributions and sent what remained to Saint Dodo. He advised Bubakar to have Saint Dodo baptize him, and Saint Dodo joyously baptized Bubakar, his sons, and all his suite.

Saint Dodo labored to an advanced age in the monastery he had founded and reposed peacefully.

His spiritual sons and companions buried him in the cave where he had labored, and a church was later built over his grave.

Greatmartyr Nicholas of Sofia

No information available at this time.

Saint Athanasius the New, Wonderworker and Archbishop of Christianopolis

No information available at this time.

Daily Readings for Monday, May 16, 2022

4TH MONDAY AFTER PASCHA

NO FAST

4th Monday after Pascha, Theodore the Sanctified, Holy Martyr Peter of Blachernae, Nicholas the Mystic, Patriarch of Constantinople, New Martyr Nicholas of Metsovos (1617), Alexandros, Archbishop of Jerusalem, Brendan the Navigator

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 10:1-16

In those days, at Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror, and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and bring one Simon who is called Peter; he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those that waited on him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. The next day, as they were on their journey and coming near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. And he became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

JOHN 6:56-69

The Lord said to the Jews who had believed in him, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?" Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.
After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are Christ, the Son of the living God.

Venerable Theodore the Sanctified, disciple of Venerable Pachomius the Great

Saint Theodore was called “Sanctified” because he was the first in his monastery ordained to the priesthood.

Saint Theodore came from Egypt and was the son of rich and illustrious Christian parents. The yearning for monastic life appeared early in him. Once there was a large party at the house of his parents during the feast of Theophany. The boy did not want to take part in the festivities, grieving that because of earthly joys he might be deprived of joys in the life to come. He secretly left home when he was fourteen and entered one of the monasteries.

Hearing about Pachomius the Great, he burned with the desire to see the ascetic. Saint Pachomius received the young man with love, having been informed by God beforehand about his coming. Remaining at the monastery, Saint Theodore quickly succeeded in all his monastic tasks, particularly in the full obedience to his guide, and in his compassion towards the other brethren. Theodore’s mother, learning that he was at the Tabennisi monastery, came to Saint Pachomius with a letter from the bishop, asking to see her son. Saint Theodore did not wish to break his vow to renounce the world, so he refused to meet with his mother.

Seeing Saint Theodore’s strength of mind and ability, Saint Pachomius once told him to instruct the brethren on Holy Scripture. Saint Theodore was then only twenty years old. He obeyed and began to speak, but some of the older brethren took offense that a new monk should teach them, and they departed. Saint Pachomius said to them, “You have given in to the devil and because of your conceit, your efforts will come to naught. You have not rejected Theodore, but rather the Word of God, and have deprived yourselves of the Holy Spirit.”

Saint Pachomius appointed Saint Theodore as overseer of the Tabennisi monastery, and withdrew to a more solitary monastery. Saint Theodore with filial love continued to concern himself over his instructor, and he looked after Saint Pachomius in his final illness, and when the great abba reposed in the Lord, he closed his eyes. After the death of Saint Pachomius, Saint Theodore directed the Tabennisi monastery, and later on he was at the head of all the Thebaid monasteries. Saint Theodore the Sanctified was famed for his holiness of life and a great gift of wonderworking, and he was well known to Saint Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria. Saint Theodore reposed in his old age in the year 368.

Translation of the relics of Venerable Ephraim, Abbot of Perekop, Novgorod

The Transfer of the Relics of Saint Ephraim of Perekop occurred on May 16, 1545. This celebration was established at a Moscow Council of the year 1549. Saint Ephraim of Perekop reposed on September 26, 1492. The Life of the saint is found under September 26 .

Venerable Cassian, Abbot of Komel (Vologda)

Saint Cassian of Komel and Vologda was a disciple of Saint Cornelius of Komel (May 19) and he guided the Komel monastery after Saint Cornelius went to Lake Sura. Chosen by the brethren with the blessing of Saint Cornelius, he strove to imitate his teacher in everything, and he strictly observed his monastic Rule.

Saint Cassian instructed the monks in the fear of God to spend their time at prayer, to be concerned about inner activity, and to banish all worldly thoughts, to be sober in thought, to be vigilant in soul and contrite in heart (Chapter 1 of the Rule “On Church Decorum and Communal Prayer”).

Upon the return of Saint Cornelius to the monastery, Saint Cassian joyfully met his teacher, and resigned as igumen, wanting to remain in obedience to the holy Elder as before. Saint Cassian reposed in the year 1537.

Venerable Laurence, Abbot of Komel

Saint Laurence of Komel was a disciple of Saint Cornelius of Komel. In the year 1538, on the recommendation of Saint Cornelius, he was unanimously chosen by the brethren as igumen of the monastery, and he made use of the spiritual counsels and instructions of his teacher.

Learning of the approach of Tatars towards the monastery, and on the advice of Saint Cornelius, igumen Laurence led all the brethren away to a safe place. Later, when the danger had passed, the monks returned to the monastery.

Upon the repose of his teacher, Saint Laurence guided the holy monastery for ten years, devoting himself to its welfare. Seeing the zeal and the love for the Lord in Saint Laurence as head of the Korniliev monastery, the Elder Alexius placed the Koptevo monastery, which he directed, under the Korniliev monastery in 1547.

Even with his many cares, Saint Laurence did not forsake his beloved work of copying books. Saint Laurence reposed in the Lord on May 16, 1548.

Saint Alexander, Archbishop of Jerusalem

The Hieromartyr Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, was a disciple of the great teacher and writer of the Church, Clement of Alexandria. At the beginning of the third century he was chosen bishop of Flavia, Cappadocia. He was arrested during the reign of the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211) and spent three years in prison.

After his release from prison he went to Jerusalem to venerate the holy places, and was told to remain there through a divine revelation. In 212 he was chosen as coadministrator with the elderly Patriarch Narcissus, an unusually rare occurrence in the ancient Church. Following the death of Saint Narcissus (August 7), Saint Alexander succeeded him and governed the Church of Jerusalem for thirty-eight years, working for the enlightenment of Christians. He also established the first library of Christian theological works at Jerusalem.

Saint Alexander was arrested during the persecution of the Church under the emperor Decius (249-251). The holy martyr was sent to Cappadocia, where he suffered many tortures. He was condemned to be eaten by wild beasts, but they did not harm him. Saint Alexander was cast into prison, where he surrendered his soul to God in the year 251.

The hieromartyr Alexander is also commemorated on December 12.

Martyrs Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, at Lucania

The Holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia suffered for Christ during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305).

Saint Vitus was the son of an illustrious Sicilian dignitary, the pagan Gelas. Gelas tried to turn his son from Christianity, but failed. Paternal love then turned to hatred, and he decided to kill Vitus.

In order to save the boy, his tutor Saint Modestus and his governess Saint Crescentia, who were Christians, secretly took him from his parental home. They saw a boat at the river, and an angel entered the boat with them. They reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly, hiding from those who would persecute them. The holy youth continued to heal the sick and convert pagans to Christianity. His fame soon spread throughout the region.

Saints Vitus and Modestus went to present themselves before Diocletian, and were thrown into prison. Then the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the prisoners, strengthening them for their contest. He helped them, and the fetters fell from their hands.

filename

Ascribing the miracle to magic, Diocletian ordered that Saint Vitus be thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. The saint stood in it as if in cool water, and remained unharmed. Then a fierce lion was set loose. The young man made the Sign of the Cross, and the beast laid at his feet and began to lick them. They tied the holy martyrs to pillars and began to scrape them with iron claws.

Saint Crescentia came out of the crowd of spectators, confessed herself a Christian and reproached the emperor for his cruelty. He also sentenced her to torture.

Saint Vitus called out to God, “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us.” Then an earthquake struck, and many pagans perished beneath the collapsed buildings. Diocletian fled to his chambers in fear. An angel released the martyrs from the pillars and took them to Lucanium.

Saint Vitus prayed that God would accept their souls in peace and not deprive those who kept their memory of His benefaction. A Voice came from Heaven, “Thy prayer is heard.” Then the saints joyfully surrendered their souls to God.

The holy martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia suffered for Christ in the year 303. These saints are also commemorated on June 15.

The relics of Saint Vitus were transferred to Prague. The Holy Prince Vyacheslav (Wenceslaus) of the Czechs (September 28) built a church in honor of Saint Vitus, in which he was afterwards buried.

Blessed Child Musa of Rome

Saint Musa lived during the fifth century. She was distinguished for her pure life. Saint Gregory Dialogus included her story in his Dialogues, saying that he had heard these things from Musa’s brother Probus.

The Most Holy Theotokos once appeared to Musa in a dream, surrounded by girls dressed in white. She asked her, “Do you wish to live together with these maidens in my court?”

“Yes, I do,” the girl replied.

“Do not do anything silly, as little girls often do. Avoid frivolity and joking. In thirty days I shall come for you and you will be with us.”

From that moment, Musa’s character was changed. She began to pray earnestly and lived a strict life. In answer to the questions of her astonished parents, Saint Musa told them about the vision.

On the twenty-fifth day the maiden developed a fever, and on the thirtieth day she again saw the Mother of God coming to her with the same girls as before. The blessed child reposed with the words, “I am coming, I am coming to you, my Lady!”

Saint Musa departed this earthly life and was gathered into the heavenly Kingdom, where she glorifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit unto ages of ages.

Saint George, Bishop of Mitylene

Saint George was made Bishop of Mytilene in the years 820-829, during the Iconoclast controversy. He died in 842 at Mytilene. In the twelfth century his holy relics were seen by the Russian igumen Daniel, who was journeying through the East and recording what he saw on his journey.

Venerable Monastic Martyrs of Saint Savva Lavra

Forty-four monks of the Saint Savva Lavra received the unfading crown of martyrdom about 614, during the reign of the emperor Heraclius (610-641).

The monastery was attacked by Arabs in search of plunder. When they were unable to find the treasure they expected, they became angry and murdered the defenseless Fathers. Some were beheaded, while others were hacked to pieces.

Saint Antiochus (December 24) has preserved an account of the martyrs in his “107th Homily.” Dositheus also mentions them in his Dodekabiblos.

The saints commemorated today should not be confused with other martyrs of the Saint Savva Lavra, who suffered in 796 (March 20). The two dates reflect separate attacks on the monastery at different times. History tells us that barbarians raided the Saint Savva Lavra on several occasions.

Saint Theodore of Vrsac, Serbia

No information available at this time.

New Martyr Vukasin of Klepci, Serbia

No information available at this time.

New Martyr Nicholas of Metsovo

Nicholas Basdanis was born at Metsovo, Epeiros to poor, but devout Orthodox parents. As a young man he went to Trikkala in Thessaly, where he worked as the assistant of a Moslem baker. While there, some Turks tried to convert him to their religion. Yielding to their persistent efforts, he embraced Islam. Later, realizing the gravity of his sin, he returned to Metsovo, and to the Orthodox Church.

Nicholas earned some extra money by taking wood to Trikkala and selling it. This went on for some time, but one day He was recognized by a Moslem barber, who was a friend of the baker. The barber wondered why Nicholas was no longer dressed as a Turk. Stricken with fear, Nicholas gave him the load of wood, promising to bring him more wood every year, if he would keep his secret. The barber agreed, and things continued that way for a long time.

Nicholas was troubled by his conscience, however, and believed that the only way to atone for his denial of Christ was to become a martyr. He spoke of this to his Spiritual Father at the monastery of Meteora, who advised him not to be too hasty in carrying out his intention, lest he should be unable to endure the inevitable torture, and deny Christ once again. Seeing that Nicholas was determined to pursue this course, the priest strengthened him spiritually for the contest.

When Nicholas felt he was ready, he returned to Trikkala to see the barber. The man asked him about the wood he had promised to bring, and Nicholas told him that he had none. Furthermore, he would not be receiving any wood in future. The barber became angry and denounced Nicholas to the authorities, saying that he had rejected Islam. The barber summoned other Turks to take Nicholas to the kadi for interrogation.

In answer to the kadi's questions, Nicholas admitted freely that he had converted to Islam, but then he repented and returned to his Christian Faith. Fearlessly, he told the Moslems that he was born a Christian, and that he intended to die as a Christian, no matter how much they might torture him.

The kadi tried the usual flattery and promises of riches in order to persuade him to return to their religion. When this failed, the kadi threatened him with horrible torments and death if he did not relent. Nicholas refused, and so he was beaten and thrown into prison, where he received nothing to eat or drink for some time.

Twice more, Saint Nicholas was brought before the kadi with the same results. Seeing that he could not be persuaded, the kadi sentenced him to death. A large fire was lit in the marketplace, and the holy martyr was thrown into it on May 16, 1617. Thus, by enduring this fire, Saint Nicholas escaped the fire of Gehenna.

Later, a pious Christian went to that place, hoping to obtain relics. Since the Saint's body was being guarded, the man had to pay a large sum of money to obtain the skull. He took it home and hid it inside a wall so the Moslems would not find it.

In time, an Orthodox Christian named Melandros bought the house. On the night of May 17, 1618, he noticed a bright light shining from the wall of one of the rooms. In the morning, he opened the wall and found the skull of the New Martyr Nicholas. He brought this treasure to Barlaam Monastery at Meteora, where his brother was a monk, and donated the holy relic to the monastery in remembrance of himself, and of his family.

The Holy New Martyr Nicholas, who is also known as Saint Nicholas the Vlach, is commemorated on May 17 in Greek usage.

Saint Brendan the Navigator

No information available at this time.

Daily Readings for Sunday, May 15, 2022

SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC

NO FAST

Sunday of the Paralytic, 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 9:32-42

In those days, as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints that lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

JOHN 5:1-15

At that time, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water; whoever stepped in first after the troubling of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.
Now that day was the sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet." But he answered them, "The man who healed me said to me, 'Take up your pallet, and walk.' "They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your pallet, and walk'?" Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.

Sunday of the Paralytic

On this day the Church remembers the man who lay by the Sheep’s Pool in Jerusalem for thirty-eight years, waiting for someone to put him into the pool. The first one to enter the pool after an angel troubled the water would be healed of his infirmities, but someone always entered the pool before him.

Seeing the man, the Lord felt compassion for him and healed him.

The Kontakion for this Fourth Sunday of Pascha asks Christ to raise up our souls, “paralyzed by sins and thoughtless acts.”

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

No information available at this time.

The Holy Right-believing Tsarevich Dēmḗtrios of Uglich and Moscow

The Holy Right-believing Tsarévitch 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 Dēmḗtrios 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. Dēmḗtrios 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 Dēmḗtrios were discovered to be incorrupt.

The holy Relics of the Right-believing Tsarévitch Dēmḗtrios 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 Dēmḗtrios 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

Saint Isaiah was one of the saints of the Kiev Caves who struggled during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He was known for his quietness and his unflagging toil, for which he is named a “lover-of-labor.”

The holy ascetic died in the year 1115, and his relics are in the Near Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra. The commemoration of Saint Isaiah is on May 15, September 28, and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

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.

Daily Readings for Saturday, May 14, 2022

3RD SATURDAY AFTER PASCHA

NO FAST

3rd Saturday after Pascha, Isidore the Martyr of Chios, Holy Hieromartyr Therapontus, Holy New Martyrs Mark and John, Leontius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Serapion the Holy Martyr

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 9:19-31

In those days, Saul was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed, and said, “is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests.” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night, to kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down over the wall, lowering him in a basket. And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists; but they were seeking to kill him. And when the brethren knew it, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him off to Tarsus. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.

JOHN 15:17-27; 16:1-2

The Lord said to his disciples: "This I command you, to love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause.' But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

Martyrs Isidore and Myrope of Chios

Saint Isidore lived during the reign of Emperor Decius (249-251) and came from Alexandria in Egypt. He was an officer in the Roman Navy when the fleet commanded by Admiral Numerius chanced to be anchored off the Greek island of Chios. There Christianity was not persecuted, and perhaps Saint Isidore was not as cautious as he should have been. Somehow, the centurion Julius discovered that Isidore was a Christian, and denounced him to Admiral Numerius.

The Admiral summoned him in order to determine whether or not the allegation was true. Saint Isidore admitted that he was indeed a Christian, and refused to offer sacrifice to inanimate idols. Numerius urged him to obey the Emperor's decree to offer sacrifice so that he would not be subjected to torture. Saint Isidore replied, "You may be able to kill my body, but you have no power over my soul. The true, living God, Jesus Christ, abides in me; even after my death He shall be with me, and I with Him. I shall abide in Him, and I shall never cease to confess Him while breath still remains in my body."

Saint Isidore was led away to be tortured. In the midst of his suffering, he praised Christ God and mocked the pagan idols. Since Saint Isidore still refused to offer the prescribed sacrifice, he was thrown into prison.

When the Saint's father heard about this, he went to Chios to convince Isidore to deny Christ. He was able to persuade Numerius to place Isidore in his custody, saying that he would try to convert him. The Saint, however, begged his father to open the eyes of his soul and to learn the truth about Christ. His father was most displeased by these words, and he could not accept that his son chose to believe in Christ rather than follow the idolatry of his ancestors. Seeing that Saint Isidore would not change his mind, he disowned him and sent him back to Admiral Numerius, asking him to execute his son right away.

First, the Admiral ordered Isidore to be beaten with whips, and then dragged along over rocky ground. After that, his tongue was cut out. Even without his tongue, Saint Isidore was still able to speak, by the grace of God, and he continued to confess Christ. Meanwhile, God punished Numerius by causing him to loose the power of speech. Finally, the Admiral gave the signal to behead Isidore. When he heard the sentence the holy martyr was overjoyed. Praising God, he was led to the place of execution, where he was beheaded.

After the Saint's martyrdom his body was thrown into a well to be devoured by animals, but two Christians, Saints Ammonios (September 4) and Myrope (December 2) secretly took his body, and buried it in a secret place, with all due honor. The evil Numerius heard that the martyr's body had been stolen and wanted to kill the two guards who had been ordered to prevent the body from being taken. Learning that innocent men would suffer for her good deed, Saint Myrope appeared before the authorities and acknowledged that she had stolen the martyr's body and buried it, but she refused to tell them where.

Numerius commanded that the holy virgin should be whipped, and finally she was confined in a prison, covered with wounds. But the Lord did not leave His martyr without consolation. At midnight a heavenly light illumined the prison, and many angels appeared to her with Saint Isidore in their midst. "Peace be with you, Myrope," he said to her. "God has heard your prayer, and soon you shall be with us and shall receive the crown which has been prepared for you."

The holy martyr rejoiced and surrendered her soul to God at that very moment. A sweet fragrance emanated from her body, filling the entire prison. One of the guards, seeing all of this and smelling the fragrance, told a priest about the vision. He believed in Christ and was baptized. Soon afterward, he also suffered martyrdom. Later, Saint Ammonios himself was put to death in the city of Kyzikos.

Saint Myrope's body was interred beside that of the martyr Isidore, and a chapel was built over the graves. In the fifth century, Saint Markian (January 10), the Oikonomos of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) in Constantinople, built a chapel by the church of Hagia Eirene (Holy Peace). He also transferred the Saint's skull and a portion of his relics to Constantinople, which he placed in the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos at Peran.

In the sixth century, the existence of the rest of the Saint's relics on the island of Chios, and the numerous miracles which occurred, is affirmed by Saint Gregory of Tours (November 17) in his book Liber in Gloria Martyrum (Book of the Glory of the Martyrs):

"The martyr Isidore is buried on the island of Chios. In the Saint's church there is a well into which he is said to have been thrown. After drinking from the water of this well, possessed people, those with fevers, and others who are sick, are often cured. It is said that believers often see a light there, similar to a burning candle. I myself met a priest who insisted that he had often seen this light from the mouth of the well. On this island a seed is picked from the mastic trees which, so they say, are not found in other regions."

Local tradition agrees that at the place where Saint Isidore was martyred, the mastic trees shed fragrant tears because of the Holy Martyr's suffering. Tradition holds that the mastic, which is a major product of the island of Chios, may be gathered and prepared only from the trees near the site of the Saint's martyrdom.

Venerable Isidore the Fool-For-Christ and Wonderworker of Rostov

Saint Isidore Tverdislov (“Constant of Word”), Fool-for-Christ, Wonderworker of Rostov. He was born in Germany of rich parents. From his youth, he led “an unsullied life and had a compassionate understanding.” Leaving his parental home and “desiring the Kingdom of God,” Saint Isidore distributed his wealth to the poor. Taking up the staff of a wanderer, he visited many lands and cities.

He was raised in Catholicism, and it is not known where he accepted the holy Orthodox Faith. Finally, he arrived in Russia and decided to live in Rostov. Here Saint Isidore, “in filth and snow and rain and cold” and “enduring every outrage,” settled in a rickety wooden hut that he himself had made. He chose a foolish manner of life for the sake of Christ, which Saint Paul describes in his Epistle (1 Cor.4:10-13).

Saint Isidore spent all his time at unceasing prayer, not allowing himsetlf much sleep or rest. “He stood at all night vigil and praise” to dedicate his body “everlastingly to God.”

By day the blessed one made the rounds of the city, acting like a fool. “Like Job of old in his patience,” Blessed Isidore, while still alive, was “an earthly angel and a heavenly man,” “a compassionate soul, and pure of thought, and vigilant heart and faith unassailed, and true love without pretense.” During his life he received the grace to work miracles.

Saint Isidore reposed in the year 1474. They learned of his death only when, passing by his hut, they noticed a special fragrance. At the place of his burial in the city of Rostov the church of the Ascension of the Lord was built, in which his relics rest in a crypt as a source of miracles to the present day.

Blessed Isidore is termed “Tverdislov” [“Constant of Word”] since he spoke constantly. [The title “Tverdislov” seems unique to Saint Isidore. This supplemental account of him is from Bulgakov’s Nastolnaya Kniga (1900).]

Saint Nikḗtas, Bishop of Novgorod, Recluse of the Kiev Far Caves

Saint Nikḗtas, Hermit of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Novgorod (+1109): The memory of Saint Nikḗtas was celebrated on May 14 at Novgorod, where his relics are located. The saint is also commemorated on January 31, the day of his repose, and on April 30, the day of the Uncovering of his Relics (1558).

Martyr Maximus

The Holy Martyr Maximus suffered under the emperor Decius (249-251). Maximus was a layman and a merchant. He was a devout Christian and he led many pagans to faith in Christ the Savior, and persuaded them to accept Baptism.

Once, when the pagans had gathered to offer a human sacrifice to their gods, Saint Maximus plucked up his courage, unable to bear the sight of such a spectacle, and rushed at them, loudly denouncing their impiety and error, calling the idols soulless creations of mankind. The frenzied pagans stoned the martyr to death.

Venerable Serapion of Egypt

Saint Serapion lived during the fifth century in Egypt. He was called the linen cloth-wearer (Sindonite) since he wore only a coarse linen garb called a “sindon.” From his youth the monk lived like the birds of the air, without a shelter.

For several days at a time he did not eat, not having the means to buy bread. He gave away his sindon to a beggar who was shivering from the cold, and he himself was naked.

A certain Greek philosopher, wishing to test the non-covetousness of the monk, gave him a gold coin and watched him. The saint went to the bakery, bought one loaf of bread, gave the merchant the gold coin and left, having no regard for the value of the money.

Saint Serapion led many on the way of salvation. Once, he was the servant of a Greek actor, whom he converted to Christ. The actor, imitating the example of the holy life of the saint, believed and was baptized together with all his family. He asked Saint Serapion to remain with him not as a servant, but as a guide and friend, but the monk went away, not taking any of the money offered him.

Traveling to Rome, Saint Serapion got on a ship, but paid nothing to the ship owners. At first they began to reproach him for this, but noticing that the Elder had gone five days already without eating, they began to feed him for the sake of God, and in this they fulfilled the command of the Lord.

At Rome, the saint continued to wander about, going from house to house, having nothing, accumulating only spiritual wealth for himself and for his neighbor.

Saint Leontius, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Saint Leontius was Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1223-1261, according to Saint Gregory Palamas (Nov. 14) and Theodore, a monk of Constantinople.

This Life was translated from Greek into the Russian language in an abridged form. It was translated a second time more fully by Saint Νikόdēmos of the Holy Mountain (July 14), who says the death of the Patriarch actually occurred in 1175.

First opening of the relics of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk

The incorrupt relics of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk were first uncovered in May 1846, during the construction of the new cathedral at Zadonsk. They were found beneath the altar of the old church.

Saint Tikhon is also commemorated on August 13.

“Sweet-Kissing” Icon of the Mother of God

No information available at this time.

“Yaroslavl-Caves” Icon of the Mother of God

Alexandra Dmitrievna Dobychkina, who was from a middle-class family in Yaroslavl, suffered terribly from spiritual and physical ailments for seventeen years. In 1823 she beheld a vision of a church in which was an Icon of the Mother of God. Offering her heartfelt prayers to the Most Holy Theotokos, she asked to be freed from these afflictions. One day Alexandra had a vision in which she was shown a church where there was a certain Icon of the Mother of God. Then a mysterious voice told her to search for the Icon in that church, and there she would be healed.

On May 1, 1823, Alexandra managed to find the church beside the residence of the Bishop of Yaroslavl. The church was very old, and was dedicated to the Feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord (August 1). Recognizing the church as the one she had seen in her vision, Alexandra went inside to look around. Suddenly, she found herself before an Icon of the Mother of God painted on the wall, the same one she had been shown in the vision. Struck with fear, she fell to the floor with terrible convulsions, and writhed in pain. When these subsided, Alexandra stood up and prayed fervently before the holy Icon. As she prayed, she began to feel relief from her painful torments. The next day she was perfectly well.

From that time, many miraculous cures have taken place before this Icon for those who pray to the Most Holy Theotokos with faith and reverence.

The Yaroslavl-Caves Icon of the Mother of God depicts her seated on a throne with her Divine Child, and it also includes Saints Anthony and Theodosios, the wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves (September 2). Two Angels stand behind the throne on either side.

There are two other Yaroslavl Icons: the first is the famous Yaroslavl Icon (June 8), which is of the Eleousa (Tenderness) type, and dates from the XIII century. The second is the Yaroslavl-Kazan Icon, which was revealed on July 8,1588.

New Martyr Raiko (John) of Bulgaria

No information available at this time.

Hieromartyr Therapontus of Cyprus

No information available at this time.

Daily Readings for Friday, May 13, 2022

3RD FRIDAY AFTER PASCHA

NO FAST

3rd Friday after Pascha, The Holy Martyr Glyceria, Sergios the Confessor, Alexandros the Martyr, Pausikakos, Bishop of Synnada

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 8:40; 9:1-19

In those days, Philip was found at Azotos, and passing on he preached the gospel to all the towns till he came to Caesarea. But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, " I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened.

JOHN 6:48-54

The Lord said to the Jews who believed in him: "I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Virgin Martyr Glyceria at Heraclea

Saint Glyceria suffered as a martyr for her faith in Christ in the second century, during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Antoninus (138-161). She came from an illustrious family, and her father Macarius was a high-ranking Roman official. Later, the family moved to the Thracian city of Trajanopolis.

Saint Glyceria lost both her father and mother at an early age. Falling in with Christians, she converted to the true Faith, and she visited the church every day. Sabinus, the prefect of Trajanopolis, received the imperial edict ordering Christians to offer sacrifice to the idols, and so he designated a certain day for the inhabitants of the city to worship the idol Zeus.

Saint Glyceria firmly resolved to suffer for Christ. She told the Christians of her intention, and she begged them to pray that the Lord would give her the strength to undergo the sufferings. On the appointed day Saint Glyceria made the Sign of the Cross on her forehead, and went into the pagan temple.

The saint stood on a raised spot in the rays of the sun, and removed the veil from her head, showing the holy Cross traced on her forehead. She prayed fervently to God to bring the pagans to their senses and destroy the stone idol of Zeus. Suddenly thunder was heard, and the statue of Zeus crashed to the floor and smashed into little pieces.

In a rage, the prefect Sabinus and the pagan priests commanded the people to pelt Saint Glyceria with stones, but the stones did not touch the saint. They locked Saint Glyceria in prison, where the Christian priest Philokrates came to her and encouraged the martyr in the struggle before her.

In the morning, when the tortures had started, suddenly an angel appeared in the midst of the torturers, and they fell to the ground, overcome with terror. When the vision vanished, Sabinus, who was hardly able to speak, ordered them to throw the saint into prison.

They shut the door securely and sealed it with the prefect’s own ring, so that no one could get in to her. While she was in prison, angels of God brought Saint Glyceria food and drink. Many days afterwards, Sabinus came to the prison and he himself removed the seal. Going in to the saint, he was shaken when he saw her alive and well.

Setting off for the city of Heraclea in Thrace, Sabinus gave orders to bring Saint Glyceria there also. The Christians of Heraclea came out to meet her with Bishop Dometius at their head, and he prayed that the Lord would strengthen the saint to endure martyrdom.

At Heraclea they cast Saint Glyceria into a red-hot furnace, but the fire was extinguished at once. Then the prefect, in a mindless fury, gave orders to rip the skin from Saint Glyceria’s head. Then they threw the martyr into prison onto sharp stones. She prayed incessantly, and at midnight an angel appeared in the prison and healed her of her wounds.

When the jailer Laodicius came for the saint in the morning, he did not recognize her. Thinking that the martyr had been taken away, he feared he would be punished for letting her escape. He wanted to kill himself, but Saint Glyceria stopped him. Shaken by the miracle, Laodicius believed in the true God, and he entreated the saint to pray that he might suffer and die for Christ with her.

“Follow Christ and you will be saved,” the holy martyr replied. Laodicius placed upon himself the chains with which the saint was bound, and at the trial he told the prefect and everyone present about the miraculous healing of Saint Glyceria by an angel, then he confessed himself a Christian.

The newly chosen one of God was beheaded by the sword. Christians secretly took up his remains, and reverently buried them. Saint Glyceria was sentenced to be eaten by wild beasts. She went to execution with great joy, but the lioness set loose upon the saint meekly crawled up to her and lay at her feet.

Finally, the saint prayed to the Lord, imploring that He take her unto Himself. In answer she heard a Voice from Heaven, summoning her to heavenly bliss. At that moment, another lioness was set loose upon the saint. It pounced upon the martyr and killed her, but did not tear her apart. Bishop Dometius and the Christians of Heraclea reverently buried the holy martyr Glyceria. She suffered for Christ around the year 177. Her holy relics were glorified with a flow of healing myrrh.

Saint Glyceria, whose name means “sweetness,” now rejoices in the unending sweetness of the heavenly Kingdom.

Martyr Laodicius the Keeper of the Prison

Saint Glyceria was tortured at Heraclea in Thrace during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Antoninus (138-161).The martyr was then thrown into prison onto sharp stones. She prayed incessantly, and at midnight an angel appeared in the prison and healed her of her wounds.

When the jailer Laodicius came for the saint in the morning, he did not recognize her. Thinking that the martyr had been taken away, he feared he would be punished for letting her escape. He wanted to kill himself, but Saint Glyceria stopped him. Shaken by the miracle, Laodicius believed in the true God, and he entreated the saint to pray that he might suffer and die for Christ with her.

“Follow Christ and you will be saved,” the holy martyr replied. Laodicius placed upon himself the chains with which the saint was bound, and at the trial he told the prefect and everyone present about the miraculous healing of Saint Glyceria by an angel, then he confessed himself a Christian.

The newly chosen one of God was beheaded by the sword. Christians secretly took up his remains, and reverently buried them.

Righteous Virgin Glykerίa of Novgorod

The scarcity of information about Saint Glykeria (Γλυκερία) indicates that she kept the details of her life and ascetical struggles hidden from those around her. She was the daughter of Panteleimon, an official of Legoscha Street in Great Novgorod.

On July 14, 1572, her body was found incorrupt, fifty years after her repose. An old woman named Nastasia told Archbishop Leonid of Novgorod that she had received healing fifty years before, when Saint Glykeria was buried. The second Novgorod Chronicle states that her tomb was discovered behind the stone church of the Holy Martyrs Florus and Laurus, and that her relics were incorrupt. Afterward, Archbishop Leonid solemnly placed the Saint's relics in the church of Saints Florus and Laurus.

On the same day, at the Righteous one's tomb, the four-year-old son of Bogdan Suvorov was healed of an illness, after which other miraculous healings occurred. These were the basis for her canonization.

The Holy Virgin Glykeria is depicted on an ancient icon of the Novgorod wonderworkers. At the top of the icon, Sophia, the Wisdom of God, is depicted. Next we see the Mother of God and Saint John the Forerunner; then there are six rows of Novgorod Saints. In the fourth row is Venerable Anna of Novgorod (February 10). The Righteous Glykeria is in the sixth row.

In the middle of the XIX century, a chapel dedicated to Saint Glykeria was built in the Tikhvin church of Moscow's Simonov Monastery.

Venerable Macarius, Archimandrite of Obruch

The Relics of the Hieromartyr Macarius, Archimandrite of Kanev, were transferred on May 13, 1688 from Kanev to the city of Pereslavl because of the threat of enemy invasion. The main Feast commemorating Saint Macarius is on September 7.

Martyr Alexander of Rome

The Holy Martyr Alexander suffered for Christ at the beginning of the fourth century. He was a soldier serving in the regiment of the tribune Tiberian at Rome. When he was eighteen, the Roman emperor Maximian Hercules (284-305) issued an edict that all citizens were to go to the temple of Jupiter outside the city on a designated day to offer sacrifice.

The tribune Tiberian assembled his soldiers and he ordered them to go to this festival, but Alexander, raised from childhood in the Christian Faith, refused and said that he would not offer sacrifice to devils. Tiberian reported to the emperor Maximian that there was a soldier in his regiment who was a Christian. Soldiers were immediately sent to arrest Alexander.

Alexander was asleep, but an angel woke him and warned him of his impending martyrdom, saying that he would be with him during this time. When the soldiers arrived, Alexander came out to meet them. His face shone with a light so bright that the soldiers fell to the ground when they saw him. The saint upbraided them and told them to carry out their orders.

Standing before Maximian, Saint Alexander boldly confessed his faith in Christ and he refused to worship the idols. He said that he was not afraid of the emperor, nor of his threats. The emperor tried to persuade the young man with promises of honors, but Alexander remained steadfast in his confession, and denounced the emperor and all the pagans. They tortured the holy martyr, but he bravely endured all the sufferings.

Maximian remanded Saint Alexander to the tribune Tiberian, who was being sent to Thrace to persecute Christians there. So they brought the martyr to Thrace, fettered in chains. At this time an angel told Saint Alexander’s mother, Pimenia, of her son’s martyrdom. Pimenia found her son in Carthage, where he stood before Tiberian and again he steadfastly confessed himself a Christian.

They subjected him to torture before the eyes of his mother, and then they took the prisoner on his final journey, walking behind Tiberian’s chariot. The brave Pimenia asked the soldiers to let her go to her son, and she encouraged him to undergo torments for Christ. The soldiers were astonished at the stoic strength of the martyr and they said one to another, “Great is the God of the Christians!”

The angel appeared to the martyr several times, strengthening him. By night a fearsome angel appeared to Tiberian with sword in hand, and commanded the tribune to hasten to Byzantium, since the martyr’s end was drawing near. Tiberian hurried on his way.

In the city of Philippopolis, Tiberian retried Saint Alexander in the presence of the city dignitaries gathered for this event. At this trial Saint Alexander remained steadfast. During his grievous journey the holy martyr had been repeatedly subjected to cruel tortures. He was strengthened by God, however, and he endured all the torments.

He gave strength to the soldiers weakened by thirst, asking the Lord to provide a spring of water for them. During the journey, the martyr prayed beneath a tree, asking for strength in his sufferings, and the fruit and leaves of this tree received a curative power. At a place named Burtodexion, the saint again met his mother Pimenia, who fell weeping at his feet. The holy martyr said to her, “Do not weep , my mother, for the day after tomorrow, the Lord shall help me finish matters.”

In the city of Drizipera Tiberian imposed the death sentence on the saint. The holy martyr gave thanks to the Lord for giving him the strength to endure all the torments, and to accept martyrdom. The soldier who was supposed to carry out the execution asked the saint’s forgiveness, and for a long time he could not bring himself to raise his sword, for he saw angels waiting to take the soul of the martyr.

The saint prayed and asked God to remove the angels, since he wanted to go to the Lord. Only then was the executioner able to cut off the saint’s holy head. The saint’s body was cast into a river, but four dogs dragged it out of the water, and they would not let anyone near it, until Saint Alexander’s mother Pimenia came. She took up the remains of her martyred son and reverently buried them near the River Ergina.

Healings began to take place at the grave of Saint Alexander. Soon the holy martyr appeared to his mother in a dream, in which he comforted her and said that soon she too would be transported to the heavenly habitations.

Saint Pausicacus, Bishop of Synnada

Saint Pausicacus, Bishop of Synnada, lived at the end of the sixth century in the Syrian city of Apamea. He had been raised in the Christian Faith by his pious parents, and he began to lead an ascetic life of prayer, vigil and fasting in his youth.

The Lord gave him the gift of healing sicknesses of both soul and body. Patriarch Cyriacus of Constantinople (591-606) consecrated Saint Pausicacus as Bishop of Synnada. Saint Pausicacus wanted neither heretics nor dissolute people in his flock. He constantly taught his flock about the virtuous life, and his discourse was always powerful and lively.

Having come to Constantinople on affairs of the Church, he healed the emperor Mauricius of sickness, and on his return journey he asked the Lord for water to quench the thirst of his companions. After the prayer of the saint, a spring of pure water sprang up from the ground. Saint Pausicacus died peacefully in the year 606.

Saint George the Confessor, with his wife and children, of Constantinople

The Holy Confessor George suffered for the veneration of holy icons at Constantinople in the first half of the ninth century. The emperor Theophilus demanded that Saint George renounce the veneration of holy icons, but the brave confessor refused the order and told the impious emperor that in venerating holy icons, we offer worship to their eternal Prototype [i.e. Christ the Logos].

For his disobedience, the emperor ordered Saint George’s property to be taken away and seized, and to drag him through the streets of Constantinople with a rope about his neck, and then cast him into prison. After this, Saint George was sent into exile with his wife Irene and their children. Saint George died after suffering many afflictions in exile.

Saint Irene, with her husband and children, of Constantinople

Saint Irene lived in Constantinople in the first half of the ninth century. When her husband Saint George was sent into exile because he venerated the holy icons, she and their children went with him.

Saint Euthymius the New, Founder of the Ivḗron Monastery, and his fellow Georgian Saints of Mount Athos

Our holy Father Euthymius was from the town of Tao in Georgia . He was the son of pious, noble and wealthy parents. When his father renounced the temporal and perishable splendor and glory of this world, preferring poverty in Christ which leads to heavenly riches, he donned the angelic schema of a monk, changed his name to John, and moved to Constantinople. Euthymius, who was still quite small, stayed with his grandfather (though some sources say that Euthymius was left with John’s brother-in-law) a man renowned in glory and in virtue, who raised the child in the instruction and admonition of the Lord. After a little time had passed, he took Euthymius with him, and they went to Constantinople looking for John. When he found him, he urged him with many words and tears to come back to his country. Not only was John not persuaded by this, he tried in every way to keep his son with him, thereby causing the boy’s grandfather great sadness.

Since they quarreled a great deal about this, and because John tried to take his son and his father would not allow him to do this, the Emperor Nikephorus Phokas (r. 963-969) learned of it, and commanded that both men appear before him and bring Euthymius with them. After the three presented themselves to the Emperor and he had heard the argument they had about the youth, the sovereign decreed that neither of them should take him by force. They were to leave it to God to decide what to do with him. He also told them to let the youth go to whomever he freely chose to go. He ran at once into his father’s arms, though he had never seen or known him until that moment. This action evoked wonder and tears in all those who were present.

The blessed John received his son as if from the hands of God and soon clothed him in the monastic schema, then gave him to teachers in order to be educated. The good Euthymius, having a sharp mind, much fervor and diligence, soon learned worldly wisdom and also the inner wisdom of God from his instructors. So he appeared as a river of the teachings of the Spirit. After this, he fell gravely ill, but he recovered through the care and help of the Most Holy Lady Theotokos. He excelled in virtue, wisdom, and grace, and in many other wondrous things from which it was apparent to all what sort of prodigy he would become.

The blessed one despised the glory of men as something contrary to the glory of God, so he left and went to Mount Athos with his father John. After meeting Saint Athanasius (July 5), they desired to live with him in the holy Lavra. The divine Athanasius, seeing with the clear-sighted eye of his soul the grace of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Euthymius, urged him to receive the dignity of the priesthood. At first he did not wish to do so, saying that he was not worthy of it. Finally, he obeyed the words of the holy Athanasius and was ordained as a priest. From that time he began to add struggles upon struggles, abstinence on top of abstinence, and greatly increased all the virtues that he had. As a result, he became a vessel of the All-Holy Spirit, and translated all the Holy Scriptures into the Georgian language. He also wrote many books filled with his teachings on morality and virtue. Saint George of Mount Athos (May 13 & June 27), the author of the Life of Saint Euthymius, says that the saint translated the Holy Scriptures, and more than fifty other works, into the Georgian language. He also rebuilt many churches and hospitals, and adorned the Holy Mountain with hermitages.

With what words can one describe worthily the kindness which he showed toward all or his incomparable humility when for fourteen years he cared for the great Athanasius and his father who were ill? Once these two had gone to the Lord, the blessed Euthymius was given the protection of the Holy Lavra, and not just the Lavra, but all of the Holy Mountain . In this he was willing and quick in his dual healing of the souls and bodies of the brethren. His divine mouth always spouted forth rivers of wisdom and instruction to the glory of God. Since he was overcome by the love of extreme tranquility, he made his cousin George the igumen of the Lavra. Euthymius remained alone, pleasing God night and day. No one knew of his spiritual struggles and their fruits, because he strove to accomplish them in secret, so that no one should know of them but God, Who wished to reveal the many accomplishments by which His servant shone forth.

Once there was a drought on the Holy Mountain, and all the Fathers were immeasurably sad because of the lack of water, so they begged the saint to pray to God about this. The blessed one was persuaded only with great difficulty. He climbed to the chapel of the Prophet Elias, which is near the Holy Monastery of Ivḗron, praying with tears to the All-Merciful God, offering to Him the rational and bloodless Sacrifice. Immediately, so much rain fell that the ground was saturated. Everybody glorified God, Who glorifies those who glorify Him.

It is customary for the monks on the Holy Mountain to ascend to the summit of the mountain during the all-radiant Feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior (August 6), and to serve the all-night Vigil. The next day they celebrated the Divine Liturgy, and then came back down. Once, when this Great Feast had arrived, Euthymius ascended the mountain with many others just when it time for the Divine Liturgy to be celebrated. With one voice they all begged him to serve the Divine Liturgy and he fulfilled their request with great humility.

He came to the exclamation where the priest says, “Singing the triumphant hymn, shouting, proclaiming, and saying….” Suddenly a blinding light flashed about all of them and the earth quaked, and everyone fell face down upon the ground. Only the blessed Euthymius remained standing motionless before the altar, appearing as a pillar of fire. This wondrous event made him even more renowned everywhere.

When the Archbishop of Cyprus departed unto the Lord, the Emperor Basil II (976-1025) sent envoys with letters, fervently entreating Euthymius to accept the position. The saint would not even consent to hear the whole message, saying that he was not worthy of the appointment. Indeed, he said, he felt more worthy to be shepherded than to shepherd others. So Euthymius, in a God-pleasing manner, remained alone in stillness and quiet both day and night. In his heart was rooted humility, the mother of all virtues.

Meanwhile, the apostate devil, who always bears malice and works against all good and God-pleasing works, could not tolerate seeing the saint’s virtues. He progressed each day and was very pleasing to God, and everything he did was for the glory of Christ God.

The devil grieved out of envy and malice and so found a man who, by his dress, appeared to be a monk, but who had a defiled and unclean heart. Since this man was such a suitable dwelling place, the devil entered into him and persuaded him to kill the saint. The devil whispered into his ears, just as he had whispered to Eve of old, “If you kill this Euthymius, I give you my word that you will receive great favor.”

The wretched one was willing to commit this act of murder. He got his knife ready and he climbed to the tower where the saint had his cell. Seeing that the man was completely dominated by the devil, and that he held a knife in his hand, the saint’s disciple closed the door to the cell and would not let him in. The murderer, not finding the saint in order to satisfy the rage which overcame him, immediately wounded the disciple and left that place amidst wild cries and shouts. He encountered another disciple of the saint and attacked him in the same manner. He went a little farther, and then fell face down on the ground. After confessing his sin and revealing all the words that the devil had spoken to him, he violently gave up his foul soul. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the saint recognized that the accident which had befallen his disciples occurred with the devil’s collaboration. Quickly he descended from the tower, hastening to perfect his disciples with the Great monastic schema. Shortly after he tonsured them, they both departed unto the Lord.

The devil could not stand to see the saint’s accomplishments which he performed for the glory of God. Therefore, he incited a gardener to slay the saint. The man had the knife ready, and approached the saint, stabbing him in the abdomen, but the saint remained unharmed. The edge of the knife bent like wax, and the hand that struck the saint withered and remained unmoving. Falling at the saint’s feet, the gardener confessed the demon’s plan, and he pleaded earnestly with Euthymius for forgiveness and healing. Being compassionate, the saint entreated God on his behalf, and so the gardener received both spiritual and bodily health.

What words suffice to recount the virtues of the saint, the sympathy he had for all, his compassion, his cheerfulness, his lack of anger, his tranquility, his all-night vigils, his ceaseless prayer, and his humility, the poor quality of his food and clothing which inured his body to hardship? He also wore heavy iron chains on his body. To put it plainly, he was truly an angel in an earthly body, an unwavering beacon to the world, reflecting in his own person the word of life.

Because there are scandals everywhere, and the earth is the principal place for scandal, some troubles also occurred on the Holy Mountain . Because of this, the Fathers pleaded with the saint to go to Constantinople to ask for an imperial decree to put an end to the scandals, and to restore peace on Mount Athos. Heeding their words, the blessed one went to Constantinople. The whole Senate and the nobility received him with great courtesy and much reverence. At once, his request was granted.

One day, the blessed one was riding a mule through Constantinople . He and another monk were going to the section of the city called Platia for some necessities. A beggar sat in the road asking for alms. Seeing him, the saint felt compassion and was about to give him something. The mule he was riding became startled when it saw the beggar, and it became wild. Violently carrying the saint away, the mule galloped off and did not halt until it had thrown the saint to the ground and crushed him. Some Christians ran and picked him up, bringing him back to the home where he was staying. A few days later, on May 13, 1028 he received the Holy Mysteries, and then gave his holy soul into the hands of God. During the burial of his holy body, many healings and miracles took place. These were seen as proof of his holiness and boldness before God, and they were performed for the glory of the Lord.

Later, his holy relics were moved to the Holy Mountain , and were buried in the venerable monastery of the honorable, glorious prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John. Later, the monastery was renamed the Ivḗron (Georgian) Monastery which had been rebuilt by the blessed Euthymius to the glory of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one Godhead, to Whom is due glory, honor and worship, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Monastic Martyr John of the Ivḗron Monastery on Mount Athos

No information available at this time.

Monastic Martyr George of the Ivḗron Monastery on Mount Athos

No information available at this time.

Monastic Martyr Gabriel of the Ivḗron Monastery on Mount Athos

No information available at this time.

Martyrs killed by the Latins at the Ivḗron Monastery on Mount Athos

Georgian monks began to settle on Mt. Athos in the middle of the 10th century, and a Georgian monastery, Ivḗron, was founded there not long after.

At that time foreign armies were constantly invading Mt. Athos. In the 13th century the Crusaders stormed through the region, and between 1259 and 1306 the pope’s private army devastated Mt. Athos several times. Monks of Zographou and Vatopedi monasteries and the Protaton were martyred for the Orthodox Faith, and the monks of the Ivḗron Monastery eventually met the same fate.

During this period Georgian and Greek ascetics labored together at the Ivḗron Monastery, and many young ascetics of the new generation began to arrive from Georgia.

The Crusaders demanded that the Ivḗron monks convert to Catholicism and acknowledge the primacy of the Roman pope. But the monks condemned their fallacies and anathematized the doctrine of the Catholics.

According to the Patericon of Athos, the Ivḗron monks were forcibly expelled from their monastery. Nearly two hundred elderly monks were goaded like animals onto a ship that was subsequently sunk in the depths of the sea. The younger, healthier monks were deported to Italy and sold as slaves to the Jews.

Some sources claim this tragedy took place in the year 1259, while others record that the Georgian monks of the Holy Mountain were subject to the Latin persecutions over the course of four years, from 1276 to 1280.

Daily Readings for Thursday, May 12, 2022

3RD THURSDAY AFTER PASCHA

NO FAST

3rd Thursday after Pascha, Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople, Removal of the Sacred Relics of Saint Joachim “Papoulakis” of Vatopaidi, Theodorus the Righteous of Cythera

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 8:26-39

In those days, an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert road. And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless some one guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this: “As a sheep led to the slaughter or a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken up from the earth.” And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, pray, does the prophet say this, about himself or about some one else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus. And as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.

JOHN 6:40-44

The Lord said to the Jews who believed in him: “This is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus

Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, “a last relic of ancient piety,” as Saint Jerome calls him, lived during the fourth century in Phoenicia. The Roman empress Honoria was his sister. He was of Jewish descent, and in his youth he received a fine education. He was converted to Christianity after seeing how a certain monk named Lucian gave away his clothing to a poor person. Struck by the monk’s compassion, Epiphanius asked to be instructed in Christianity.

He was baptized and became a disciple of Saint Hilarion the Great (October 21). Entering the monastery, he progressed in the monastic life under the guidance of the experienced Elder Hilarion, and he occupied himself with copying Greek books.

Because of his ascetic struggles and virtues, Saint Epiphanius was granted the gift of wonderworking. In order to avoid human glory, he left the monastery and went into the Spanidrion desert. Robbers caught him there and held him captive for three months. By speaking of repentance, the saint brought one of the robbers to faith in the true God. When they released the holy ascetic, the robber also went with him. Saint Epiphanius took him to his monastery and baptized him with the name John. From that time, he became a faithful disciple of Saint Epiphanius, and he carefully documented the life and miracles of his instructor.

Reports of the righteous life of Saint Epiphanius spread far beyond the monastery. The saint went a second time into the desert with his disciple John. Even in the wilderness disciples started to come to him, so he established a new monastery for them.

After a certain time, Saint Epiphanius made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to venerate its holy shrines, and then returned to the Spanidrion monastery. The people of Lycia sent the monk Polybios to Saint Epiphanius asking him to take the place of their dead archpastor. When he learned of this intention, the clairvoyant ascetic secretly went into the Pathysian desert to the great ascetic Saint Hilarion (October 21), under whose guidance he had learned asceticism in his youth.

The saints spent two months in prayer, and then Hilarion sent Saint Epiphanius to Salamis. Bishops were gathered there to choose a new archpastor to replace one who recently died. The Lord revealed to the eldest of them, Bishop Papius, that Saint Epiphanius should be chosen bishop. When Epiphanius arrived, Saint Papius led him into the church, where in obedience to the will of the participants of the Council, Epiphanius agreed to be their bishop. Saint Epiphanius was consecrated as Bishop of Salamis in 367.

Saint Epiphanius won renown because of his great zeal for the Faith, his love and charity toward the poor, and his simplicity of character. He suffered much from the slander and enmity of some of his clergy. Because of the purity of his life, Saint Epiphanius was permitted to see the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Gifts at Divine Liturgy. Once, when the saint was celebrating the Mystery, he did not see this vision. He then suspected this was caused by the spiritual state of one of the clergy and quietly said to him, “Depart, my son, for you are unworthy to participate in the celebration of the Mystery today.”

At this point, the writings of his disciple John break off, because he became sick and died. The further record of the life of Saint Epiphanius was continued by another of his disciples, Polybios (afterwards bishop of city of Rinocyreia).

Through the intrigues of the empress Eudoxia and the Patriarch Theophilos of Alexandria, towards the end of his life Saint Epiphanius was summoned to Constantinople to participate in the Synod of the Oak, which was convened to judge the great saint, John Chrysostom (September 14 and November 13). Once he realized that he was being manipulated by Chrysostom’s enemies, Saint Epiphanius left Constantinople, unwilling to take part in an unlawful council.

As he was sailing home on a ship, the saint sensed the approach of death, and he gave his disciples final instructions: to keep the commandments of God, and to preserve the mind from impure thoughts. He died two days later. The people of Salamis met the body of their archpastor with carriages, and on May 12, 403 they buried him in a new church which he himself had built.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council named Saint Epiphanius as a Father and Teacher of the Church. In the writings of Saint Epiphanius, the PANARIUM and the ANCHORATUS are refutations of Arianism and other heresies. In his other works are found valuable church traditions, and directives for the Greek translation of the Bible.

In his zeal to preserve the purity of the Orthodox Faith, Saint Epiphanius could sometimes be rash and tactless. In spite of any impetuous mistakes he may have made, we must admire Saint Epiphanius for his dedication in defending Orthodoxy against false teachings. After all, one of the bishop’s primary responsibilities is to protect his flock from those who might lead them astray.

We also honor Saint Epiphanius for his deep spirituality, and for his almsgiving. No one surpassed him in his tenderness and charity to the poor, and he gave vast sums of money to those in need.

Saint Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, was born at Constantinople in the seventh century. His father, a prominent senator, was killed by order of the emperor Constantine Pogonatos (668-685). The young Germanus was emasculated and sent to a monastery, where he studied Holy Scripture.

Because of the sanctity of his life, Germanus was made bishop in the city of Cyzicus. Saint Germanus rose up in defense of the Orthodox Faith against the iconoclast heretics. He was later made Patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Germanus continued to stand up against the iconoclasts and to their spokesman, the heretical emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-741), but the contest was unequal. He was forced to put his omophorion upon the altar table in the sanctuary, and to resign the archpastoral throne. Then the enraged emperor, who accused the Patriarch of heresy the day before, sent soldiers, who beat the saint and threw him out of the patriarchal residence. Saint Germanus was Patriarch for fourteen years and five months.

He went to a monastery, where he spent the remaining days of his life. The holy Patriarch Germanus died in the year 740, at age ninety-five, and was buried in the Chora monastery in Constantinople. Afterwards, his relics were transferred to France.

At the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), the name of Patriarch Germanus was included in the diptychs of the saints. He wrote a “Meditation on Church Matters or Commentary on the Liturgy;” also an explanation of the difficult passages of Holy Scripture, and another work on the rewards of the righteous after death.

His important work on the various heresies that had arisen since apostolic times, and on the church councils that took place during the reign of the emperor Leo the Iconoclast, provides a wealth of historical information. There are also three letters from the Patriarch about the veneration of icons, which were read at the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

His other works include hymns in praise of the saints, discourses on the Feasts of the Entry into the Temple, the Annunciation and the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, and on the restoration of the church in honor of the Placing of the Venerable Zone of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

The Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, was glorified on May 12, 1913.

The memory of Patriarch Hermogenes as a holy martyr was passed on from generation to generation for three centuries, and people increasingly regarded him as an intercessor and supplicant for the Russian land before the Throne of the Almighty.

During terrible years of national hardship, the nation turned to the memory of the heroic Patriarch. The Russian people came to his tomb with their personal tribulations, sicknesses and infirmities, reverently asking the help of Saint Hermogenes, and the All-Merciful Lord rewarded their faith.

Believers from all ends of Russia began to flock to Moscow for the glorification of the hieromartyr Hermogenes 300 years after his death. Pilgrims hastened to venerate the relics of the holy Patriarch, in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin, where panikhidas were served almost without interruption.

On the eve of the glorification there was a procession with an icon of Saint Hermogenes, and after it a grave cover, on which the saint was depicted full-length in mantiya and holding a staff. Beside the icon of the Patriarch they carried an icon of Saint Dionysius of Radonezh, his fellow-struggler in spiritual and patriotic deeds for the liberation of the Russian land from Polish-Lithuanian usurpers.

On the bell tower of Ivan the Great hung a tremendous banner, “Rejoice, Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Great Intercessor of the Russian land.” A hundred thousand candles blazed in the hands of believers. At the end of the procession, they began to chant the Paschal Canon and a Canon to Saint Hermogenes, at the shrine where the relics of the Patriarch rested.

The all-night Vigil took place under the open skies at all the Kremlin squares. On this night a number of healings occurred through the prayers of Saint Hermogenes. For example, a certain sick person came to the Dormition Cathedral on crutches, and was healed as he approached the shrine with the relics of the saint. Another sick person was healed, who had suffered from terrible crippling disease. They brought him to the reliquary of the hieromartyr Hermogenes on a stretcher, where he was completely cured. These and other similar healings, witnessed by a multitude of the faithful, were remarkable proofs of the holiness of the new Russian wonderworker.

On Sunday May 12, Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Dormition Cathedral. Presiding at the celebration of the solemn glorification of the new saint was His Beatitude Gregorios, Patriarch of Antioch. At the finish of Liturgy in all the churches of Moscow, Moliebens were served to Saint Hermogenes and a procession made to the Moscow Kremlin, in which more than twenty hierarchs took part. They accompanied the procession singing, “O Holy Hierarch Father Hermogenes, pray unto God for us.” From this day the liturgical veneration of Saint Hermogenes began. Thus, the wish of the faithful Russian people was fulfilled. Through their prayers the Russian Orthodox Church received a heavenly patron.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Church established the commemoration of the hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus for February 17, the day of his repose (his life and works are found under this day), and May 12, the day of his glorification.

Great is the national significance of Saint Hermogenes, a tireless struggler for the purity of Orthodoxy and the unity of the Russian land. His ecclesial and civil activity during several centuries serves as an outstanding example of his ardent faith and love for the Russian people.

The ecclesial activity of the archpastor is characterized by an attentive and strict regard for church services. Under him were published a GOSPEL, a MENAION for September (1607), October (1609), November (1610), and for the first twelve days of December. The “Great Primary Rule” was printed in 1610. Saint Hermogenes did not merely give his blessing for this book, but carefully oversaw the accuracy of the text. With the blessing of Saint Hermogenes the Service to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called (November 30) also was translated from Greek into the Russian language, and his Feast began to be celebrated in the Dormition Cathedral.

Under the supervision of the Archpastor, new presses were made for printing service books, and a new print shop was built. This was damaged during the 1611 conflagration, when Moscow was burned by the Poles. Concerned about the order of divine services, Saint Hermogenes compiled a “Letter to all the People, Especially Priests and Deacons, on the Improvement of Church Singing.” The “Letter” chastizes the clergy for performing Church services not according to the Typikon, for unnecessary talking, and lay people for their irreverent attitude toward the divine services.

The literary activity of the first hierarch of the Russian Church is widely known. He wrote “An Account of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the Service to this Icon (1594);” “A Letter to Patriarch Job, Containing an Account of the Kazan Martyrs” (1591), a collection of articles in which questions about divine services (1598) are examined; there are patriotic documents and appeals, directed to the Russian nation (1606-1613), and other works.

His contemporaries speak of Patriarch Hermogenes as a man of outstanding intellect and erudition, “a Master of great reason and thought,” “very remarkable,” “very accomplished in wisdom and refined in learning,” “ever concerning himself about divine literature, and all the books about the Old Law and the New Grace, and pursuing to the end various Church rules and principles of law.” Saint Hermogenes spent a lot of time in monastery libraries, especially in the library of the Moscow Chudov monastery, where he copied precious historical accounts from ancient manuscripts.

In the seventeenth century they called the Chronicle by His Holiness Patriarch Hermogenes the “Resurrection Chronicle.” In the collected works of the saint and his archpastoral documents there are many quotations from Holy Scripture, and examples taken from history, which testify to his profound knowledge of the Word of God and his familiarity with the Church literature of his time.

Patriarch Hermogenes incorporated his research in his preaching and teaching. The saint’s contemporaries regard the Archpastor as “a man of reverence,” “purity of life,” “a true shepherd of the flock of Christ,” and “a sincere upholder of the Christian faith”.

These qualities of Saint Hermogenes were quite especially apparent during the Time of Troubles, when the Russian land was overwhelmed by internal chaos, and worsened by Polish-Lithuanian intrigue. During this dark period, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church selflessly protected the Russian realm, by word and by deed defending the Orthodox Faith from Latinism, and also national unity from internal and external enemies. In saving his native land, Saint Hermogenes won the crown of a martyrdom, becoming a heavenly intercessor for Russia before the Throne of the Holy Trinity.

Venerable Dionysius, Archimandrite of Saint Sergius’ Monastery

Saint Dionysius of Radonezh, in the world David Zobninovsky, was born about 1570 in the city of Rzhev. A novice, and then head of the Staritsky Dormition monastery, during the Time of Troubles he was the foremost helper of Saint Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow.

From 1611, Saint Dionysius was archimandrite of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Under his administration, a house and hospice for the injured and those left homeless during the Polish-Lithuanian incursion was opened near the monastery. During a famine, he told the brethren of the Lavra to eat oat bread and water, leaving the wheat and the rye bread for the sick. In 1611-1612, he and the steward of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery, the monk Abraham Palitsyn (+ 1625), wrote letters asking the people of Nizhni-Novgorod and other cities to send fighting men and money to liberate Moscow from the Poles. He also wrote to Prince Demetrius Pozharsky and to all the military people, urging them to hasten the campaign for Moscow.

His monastic training helped Saint Dionysius to maintain his own inner light undiminished during the terrible years of this evil time. The saint achieved a high degree of spiritual pefection through unceasing prayer, which gave him the gift of working miracles. He carefully concealed his spiritual life from other people, who might suffer harm from a superficial knowledge of it.

“Do not ask a monk about things concerning his monastic life,” said Saint Dionysius, “since for us monks, it is a great misfortune to reveal such secrets to laymen. It is written that what is done in secret should not be known, even by your own left hand. We must hide ourselves, so that what we do remains unknown, lest the devil lead us into all manner of negligence and indolence.”

We can only measure his spiritual development, and the knowledge of God which he attained, by those things which became apparent when circumstances compelled Saint Dionysius to take an active part in the life of the world around him.

One such circumstance was his involvement in the revision of the service books. In 1616 Saint Dionysius spoke of work on correction of the Book of Needs by comparing it with the ancient Slavonic manuscripts and various Greek editions.

During their work, investigators discovered discrepancies in other books edited in the period between patriarchs (1612-1619). People did not understand what the editors were doing, so they accused Saint Dionysius and the others of heresy at a Council of 1618.

Deposed from his priestly rank and excommunicated from the Church, he was imprisoned in the Novospassky (New Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior) monastery, where they wanted to kill him by starvation. The intervention of Patriarch Philaretos of Moscow and Patriarch Theophanes of Jerusalem (1619-1633) won his release in 1619, and he was cleared of the charges against him.

Saint Dionysius was known for his strict observance of the monastery Rule, for sharing in monastery tasks and in the rebuilding of the monastery after the siege of the Lavra. The Life and Canon to the saint was composed by the Trinity-Sergiev monastery steward Simon Azaryn and augmented by the priest John Nasedka, a coworker of Saint Dionysius when he was correcting the service books.

Saint Dionysius reposed on May 12, 1633 and was buried in the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra.

Saint Sabinus, Archbishop of Cyprus

Saint Sabinus, Bishop of Cyprus, was born in the Phoenician city of Lycia. Hearing of the renowned ascetic, Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus, Sabinus went to him and received monastic tonsure. For five years he lived in asceticism with Saint Epiphanius in the wilderness. Afterwards, he wrote about the life and deeds of Saint Epiphanius.

When Saint Epiphanius was elevated to the See of Cyprus, he ordained Saint Sabinus to the holy priesthood. After the death of his bishop and spiritual guide, Saint Sabinus became his successor. The wise archpastor zealously defended the Church from heretics. He died in the mid-fifth century.

Saint Polybius, Bishop in Cyprus

Saint Polybius was a disciple of Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus. He accompanied him on all his journeys and he wrote about the life and miracles of his teacher.

Saint Polybius accompanied Saint Epiphanius when he was returning from Constantinople, unwilling to take part in the council condemning Saint John Chrysostom. As he was dying, Saint Epiphanius told Saint Polybius, “Go to Egypt, and after my death I shall concern myself about you.” Saint Polybius obeyed his teacher’s order with humility and, not waiting for the burial of the body, he went to Egypt, where he was made bishop of the city of Rinocyria.

For his virtuous ascetic life, Saint Polybius was granted the gift of wonderworking. Once, through his prayer, the Lord sent rain during a drought and provided an abundant harvest in the fields. Saint Polybius reposed in the fifth century at an advanced age.

Martyr John of Vlachia, Romania

The Holy New Martyr John of Vlachia was born in 1644 in Oltenia. He received a good upbringing from his parents, who raised him in the fear of God, the love of country, and in their ancestral faith. At that time the Ţara Românească (the former name for Vlahia) was ruled by princes called Voevods, who were subject to the Sultan. The Voevod of Vlahia, Mihnea Voda, revolted against the Turks because he was unable to pay the exorbitant tribute which they demanded. He entered the Turkish territory, burning, killing, or jailing many Turks. Sultan Mehmet IV sent an army of Turks and Tatars against him, and he was forced to retreat. In retaliation, the Turks and Tatars ravaged Vlachia, killing many Christians, or throwing them into prison. Saint John, who came from a noble and wealthy family, was one of those who was jailed.

After crossing the Danube River, a Turkish army captain noticed how handsome he was, and so he bought him for his own evil purposes. When he tried to seduce him, John resisted, so he was tied to a tree until the Hagarene could find an opportunity to fulfill his desires. John was afraid that he might be raped, so when he had the chance, he killed the Turk. When the other soldiers learned what had happened, they bound the young man and took him to Constantinople and turned him over to the man's widow. She brought him to the Vizier, who questioned him, and John admitted what he had done. The Vizier gave him to the widow to do whatever she wished with him. At first, she made him one of her slaves. Then, seeing how handsome he was, she offered to spare his life if he would marry her and become a Moslem. Saint John made the Sign of the Cross and prayed that Christ would always preserve him steadfast in the Orthodox Faith. The woman continued her efforts for two and a half years. Finally, he told her that he would prefer to die for Christ rather than become a Moslem and marry her. The woman then turned him over to the prefect, who put him in jail. The Turks subjected him to frightful torments for several days. Meanwhile, the vile woman never ceased her attempts to flatter John, or to seduce him, or persuade him to reject Christ. The young man remained firm in both faith and virtue. Strengthened by the Lord Jesus Christ, he turned his back on the woman and on her religion.

Seeing that their efforts were in vain, the Turks asked the Vizier to condemn the martyr to death. This was done, and so the prefect was ordered to carry out the sentence. The executioners brought him to Parmak Kapi (“Gate of the Pillar”) near the covered bazaar, and hanged him there on May 12, 1662. He had not yet reached the age of eighteen. His holy relics were either thrown into the waters of the Bosphorus, or buried by Christians in an unknown place. Thus, the New Martyr John received an unfading crown from God.

Saint John was first glorified by the Greek Orthodox Church, which listed him among the New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke. Beginning in 1801, his veneration also began to spread in what is now Romania. In 1950, the Holy Synod of Romania decided that Saint John ought to be honored in the country of his birth. Saint John of Vlahia was glorified by the Romanian Orthodox Church in October of 1950, and his name was added to their Church Calendar. His Feast Day is observed on May 12, the day of his martyrdom.

Martyr Pancratius

The Holy Martyr Pancratius was a native of Phrygia, but lived in Rome with his uncle Dionysius after his parents died. They heard Bishop Cornelius preach, and were later baptized.

The fourteen-year-old youth suffered martyrdom at Rome during the persecution under Diocletian (284-305). He was buried on the Via Aurelia, and a church was built over his grave. The Aurelian gate is known today as the Porta Saint Pancrazio.

Saint Gregory Dialogus (March 12) venerated Saint Pancratius, who was beheaded near the site of his monastery, and had a silver reliquary made for the martyr’s head. After Saint Gregory became bishop, the reliquary was placed in his cathedral on the Lateran hill. The reliquary was returned to the church of Saint Pancratius in the twentieth century.

When Saint Augustine of Canterbury (May 26) arrived in Britain, he transformed a pagan temple into a Christian church, dedicating it to Saint Pancratius. Saint Augustine built another church in honor of Saint Pancratius outside London. This church, which contains an old altar stone, is now called “Old Saint Pancras.”

The holy martyr Pancratius is especially venerated by the Western Church, where he is known as Saint Pancras.

Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 11, 2022

3RD WEDNESDAY AFTER PASCHA

NO FAST

3rd Wednesday after Pascha, Renewal of Constantinople, Methodius & Cyril, Equal-to-the Apostles Illuminators of the Slavs, Hieromartyr Mocius, Theopemptos the Martyr & his Companions, Dioscoros the New Martyr, Argyrios the New-Martyr of Epanomi

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 8:18-25

In those days, when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.
Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

JOHN 6:35-39

The Lord said to the Jews who believed in him: "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.

Commemoration of the Founding of Constantinople

In 324 the holy Emperor Constantine (May 21) decided that the imperial capital had to be closer to the Eastern provinces, and yet have direct communication with the West. The city of Byzantium fulfilled these requirements, and on November 8, 324 the site of the new capital was consecrated.

Tradition tells us that the Emperor was tracing the boundaries of the city with a spear, when his courtiers became astonished by the magnitude of the new dimensions of the capital. “Lord,” they asked, “how long will you keep going?”

Constantine replied, “I shall keep going until the one who walks ahead of me stops.”

Then they understood that the emperor was being guided by some divine power. There is an iconographic sketch by Rallis Kopsides showing an angel of the Lord going before Saint Constantine as he traces the new boundaries of the city.

Construction of the main buildings was begun in 325, and pagan monuments from Rome, Athens, and other cities were used to beautify the new capital. The need for the new city is partially explained by the changing requirements of government, the Germanic invasion of the West, and commercial benefits, but the new city was also to be a Christian capital. For this, a new foundation was required.

In 330, the work had progressed to the point where it was possible for Constantine to dedicate the new capital. The dedication took place on May 11, followed by forty days of joyous celebration. Christian Constantinople was placed under the protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, and overshadowed pagan Byzantium. Saint Constantine was the first Emperor to submit voluntarily to Christ, and Constantinople became the symbol of a Christian Empire which lasted for a thousand years.

Hieromartyr Mocius the Presbyter of Amphipolis in Macedonia

Saint Mocius was a presbyter in Macedonia in the city of Amphipolis. During a persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), Saint Mocius exhorted the pagans who had assembled for the pagan festival of Dionysus (Bacchus), to abandon iniquity and the vile customs which accompanied this celebration. He urged them to repent and be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ, and be cleansed through holy Baptism.

The saint was brought to trial before the governor of Laodicea. When threatened with torture, he replied, “My death for Christ is a great accomplishment for me.” Saint Mocius was subjected to torture, which he bore with marvelous endurance, and did not cease to denounce the idol-worshippers.

Taken to the pagan temple of Dionysus, the saint shattered the idols when he called upon Jesus Christ. After this he was put into a red-hot oven, where he remained unharmed, but the flames coming out of the oven scorched the governor.

Again the commander subjected Saint Mocius to fierce torture, which he endured with the help of God. He was given to wild beasts to be eaten, but they did not touch him. The lions lay down at his feet. The people, seeing such miracles, urged that the saint be set free. The governor ordered the saint to be sent to the city of Perinth, and from there to Byzantium, where Saint Mocius was executed.

Before his death he gave thanks to the Lord for giving him the strength to persevere to the very end. His last words were, “Lord, receive my spirit in peace.” Then he was beheaded. Saint Mocius died about the year 295. Later, the emperor Constantine built a church in honor of the hieromartyr Mocius and transferred his holy passion-bearing relics into it.

Equals of the Apostles and Teachers of the Slavs, Cyril and Methodius

Saints Cyril and Methodius, Equals of the Apostles, and Enlighteners of the Slavs came from an illustrious and pious family living in the Greek city of Thessalonica. Saint Methodius was the oldest of seven brothers, Saint Constantine [Cyril was his monastic name] was the youngest. At first Saint Methodius was in the military and was governor in one of the Slavic principalities dependent on the Byzantine Empire, probably Bulgaria, which made it possible for him to learn the Slavic language. After living there for about ten years, Saint Methodius later received monastic tonsure at one of the monasteries on Mount Olympus (Asia Minor).

Saint Constantine distinguished himself by his great aptitude, and he studied with the emperor Michael under the finest teachers in Constantinople, including Saint Photius, the future Patriarch of Constantinople (February 6).

Saint Constantine studied all the sciences of his time, and also knew several languages. He also studied the works of Saint Gregory the Theologian. Because of his keen mind and penetrating intellect, Saint Constantine was called “Philosopher” (wise). Upon the completion of his education, Saint Constantine was ordained to the holy priesthood and was appointed curator of the patriarchal library at the church of Hagia Sophia. He soon left the capital and went secretly to a monastery.

Discovered there, he returned to Constantinople, where he was appointed as instructor in philosophy. The young Constantine’s wisdom and faith were so great that he won a debate with Ananias, the leader of the heretical iconclasts. After this victory Constantine was sent by the emperor to discuss the Holy Trinity with the Saracens, and again he gained the victory. When he returned, Saint Constantine went to his brother Saint Methodius on Olympus, spending his time in unceasing prayer and reading the works of the holy Fathers.

The emperor soon summoned both of the holy brothers from the monastery and sent them to preach the Gospel to the Khazars. Along the way they stayed in the city of Korsun, making preparations for their missionary activity. There the holy brothers miraculously discovered the relics of the hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (November 25).

There in Korsun Saint Constantine found a Gospel and Psalter written in Russian letters [i.e. Slavonic], and a man speaking the Slavic tongue, and he learned from this man how to read and speak this language. After this, the holy brothers went to the Khazars, where they won a debate with Jews and Moslems by preaching the Gospel. On the way home, the brothers again visited Korsun and, taking up the relics of Saint Clement, they returned to Constantinople. Saint Constantine remained in the capital, but Saint Methodius was made igumen of the small Polychronion monastery near Mount Olympus, where he lived a life of asceticism as before.

Soon messengers came to the emperor from the Moravian prince Rostislav, who was under pressure from German bishops, with a request to send teachers to Moravia who would be able to preach in the Slavic tongue. The emperor summoned Saint Constantine and said to him, “You must go there, but it would be better if no one knows about this.”

Saint Constantine prepared for the new task with fasting and prayer. With the help of his brother Saint Methodius and the disciples Gorazd, Clement, Savva, Naum and Angelyar, he devised a Slavonic alphabet and translated the books which were necessary for the celebration of the divine services: the Gospel, Epistles, Psalter, and collected services, into the Slavic tongue. This occurred in the year 863.

After completing the translation, the holy brothers went to Moravia, where they were received with great honor, and they began to teach the services in the Slavic language. This aroused the malice of the German bishops, who celebrated divine services in the Moravian churches in Latin. They rose up against the holy brothers, convinced that divine services must be done in one of three languages: Hebrew, Greek or Latin.

Saint Constantine said, “You only recognize three languages in which God may be glorified. But David sang, ‘Praise the Lord, all nations, praise the Lord all peoples (Ps 116/117:1).’ And the Gospel of Saint Matthew (28:18) says, ‘Go and teach all nations….’” The German bishops were humiliated, but they became bitter and complained to Rome.

The holy brothers were summoned to Rome for a decision on this matter. Taking with them the relics of Saint Clement, Saints Constantine and Methodius set off to Rome. Knowing that the holy brothers were bringing these relics with them, Pope Adrian met them along the way with his clergy. The holy brothers were greeted with honor, the Pope gave permission to have divine services in the Slavonic language, and he ordered the books translated by the brothers to be placed in the Latin churches, and to serve the Liturgy in the Slavonic language.

At Rome Saint Constantine fell ill, and the Lord revealed to him his approaching death. He was tonsured into the monastic schema with the name of Cyril. On February 14, 869, fifty days after receiving the schema, Saint Cyril died at the age of forty-two.

Saint Cyril commanded his brother Saint Methodius to continue with their task of enlightening the Slavic peoples with the light of the true Faith. Saint Methodius entreated the Pope to send the body of his brother for burial in their native land, but the Pope ordered the relics of Saint Cyril to be placed in the church of Saint Clement, where miracles began to occur from them.

After the death of Saint Cyril, the Pope sent Saint Methodius to Pannonia, after consecrating him as Archbishop of Moravia and Pannonia, on the ancient throne of Saint Andronicus (July 30). In Pannonia Saint Methodius and his disciples continued to distribute services books written in the Slavonic language. This again aroused the wrath of the German bishops. They arrested and tried Saint Methodius, who was sent in chains to Swabia, where he endured many sufferings for two and a half years.

After being set free by order of Pope John VIII of Rome, and restored to his archdiocese, Saint Methodius continued to preach the Gospel among the Slavs. He baptized the Czech prince Borivoi and his wife Ludmilla (September 16), and also one of the Polish princes. The German bishops began to persecute the saint for a third time, because he did not accept the erroneous teaching about the procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son. Saint Methodius was summoned to Rome, but he justified himself before the Pope, and preserved the Orthodox teaching in its purity, and was sent again to the capital of Moravia, Velehrad.

Here in the remaining years of his life Saint Methodius, assisted by two of his former pupils, translated the entire Old Testament into Slavonic, except for the Book of Maccabbees, and even the Nomocanon (Rule of the Holy Fathers) and Paterikon (book of the Holy Fathers).

Sensing the nearness of death, Saint Methodius designated one of his students, Gorazd, as a worthy successor to himself. The holy bishop predicted the day of his death and died on April 6, 885 when he was about sixty years old. The saint’s burial service was chanted in three languages, Slavonic, Greek, and Latin. He was buried in the cathedral church of Velehrad.

Venerable Sophronius the Recluse of the Kiev Far Caves

The Relics of Saint Sophronius were buried in the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves monastery. In the Canon to the monks of the Far Caves the saint’s solitary ascetical struggles are mentioned. He was deemed worthy to hear angels singing. The memory of Saint Sophronius is also celebrated on March 11.

Saint Joseph, Metropolitan of Astrakhan

The Hieromartyr Joseph, First Metropolitan of Astrakhan, was born at Astrakhan in 1579. After becoming a monk, Saint Joseph was made Archimandrite of the Astrakhan Trinity monastery at the age of fifty-two.

In 1656 he was at Moscow, after which he was chosen to be Metropolitan of Astrakhan. On May 11,1672, during an uprising of the townspeople, Saint Joseph suffered martyrdom at Astrakhan. This sad event was recorded in detail by two eyewitnesses, priests of the Astrakhan cathedral, Cyril and Peter.

The priests took the body of the martyr, dressed it in bishop’s vestments, and placed it in a prepared grave. On the following day, after serving a Panikhida, the saint’s body was taken to a chapel, and it remained unburied for nine days. The relics of the holy hierarch were placed into the grave, and were soon glorified by miracles.

Saint Joseph was glorified at the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in April 1918.

Saint Νikόdēmos, Archbishop of Serbia

Saint Νikόdēmos, Archbishop of Serbia, was Igumen of the Hilandar monastery on Mount Athos, and was consecrated bishop in the year 1316. In 1319 he translated the Typikon< of Saint Savva the Sanctified of Jerusalem into the Slavonic language, and ordered it to be used in Serbia.

Saint Νikόdēmos died in the year 1325.

Saint Rostislav, Prince of Great Moravia

Saint Rostislav (Rastislav) the Prince of Great Moravia, and Equal of the Apostles, became Prince in 846, following the death of his uncle Mojmir I. At that time, missionaries from Greece, the Balkans, and Germany were already preaching in the territory of Great Moravia. Prince Rostislav was among those who received Holy Baptism, and soon afterward he decided to enlighten the entire country with the light of the Christian Faith.

Wary of the German missionaries, who were subject to Louis the German, the King of East Francia, Prince Rostislav understood that for the preaching of the Gospel to be successful, it must be proclaimed in the language of the people.

At first, Rostislav asked the Roman Pope Nicholas I to send him some missionaries who knew the Slavic language. When his request was refused, he turned to the Byzantine Emperor Michael III. On the advice of Patriarch Photios of Constantinople (February 6), Michael sent Prince Rostislav two brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodios, who translated the Bible, the Divine Liturgy, and other books into Slavonic. Icons and other items which were required for the Church Services were also provided, and Christian schools were established. Christianity spread rapidly throughout Great Moravia with the full support of Prince Rostislav.

In 870, Prince Rostislav's nephew Svatopluk betrayed him to Carloman, the son of King Louis, after acknowledging him as his overlord. In return, Carloman promised that Svatopluk would rule in Great Moravia. Prince Rostislav was blinded and confined in a castle at Regensburg in the State of Bavaria, where he reposed that same year.

Saint Rostislav was glorified by the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia at Prešov in October of 1994.

New Martyr Dioscorus

No information available at this time.

New Martyr Argyrus

No information available at this time.

Blessed Christopher, called Christesia

Blessed Christesia’s family was from Egrisi in western Georgia. From his youth Christesia longed for the divine services and the solitary life, but he was forced by his master to marry, and by this marriage he begot a son. Later, when both his wife and son had died, his master insisted that he marry again, but the pious Christesia would not heed his master’s order.

Instead he related the order to his spiritual father, who advised him to depart from the world and journey to the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. Deeply inspired by his spiritual father’s counsel, Christesia abandoned his possessions and his life in the world and withdrew to the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness.

The holy father spent many years in humble service to the Lord. He was assigned to gather firewood and bring water for the monastery, and he performed these tasks obediently and in perfect meekness. Every day he walked over four miles to fill a pitcher with water and then carried it to a small hut nearby. He hung the pitcher at the entrance to make it visible from a distance, and travelers who passed by would come to quench their thirst.

He also kept a small vegetable garden to feed the passers-by. Every Saturday he prepared kolio (a dish of wheat and honey traditionally offered to commemorate the departed) and divided it in three parts: one part commemorated the family and loved ones of those who had donated the wheat and honey; the second, the deceased fathers of the monastery; and the last, all departed Orthodox Christians.

It always disturbed Saint Christesia to see his brothers and sisters at odds with one another, so when he heard that two people were quarreling, he would go and reconcile them. “My children!” he would say, “If you do not heed my words, I will leave in sorrow, and the devil, who is always resistant to peace, will rejoice and send more tribulations upon you. I came to you hungry, and I will depart hungry!” His words warmed the hearts of those whom he counseled and helped them to be reconciled with one another.

One hot evening after Vespers, Saint Christesia set off on foot for a certain village. He left during twilight, and when night fell the sky was without a moon and extraordinarily dark. Before long it became difficult to walk any farther, so Saint Christesia stopped to pray, and a bright light appeared before him to light the way. The divine light guided him all through the night, until he reached the village of Sartichala.

Saint Christesia’s cell was poor and cramped. He slept on a bed of wooden planks that he covered in sheepskin, and instead of a pillow he rested his head on a stone. The pious ascetic wore a sheepskin coat and sandals made of bark. Whatever he received he gave to the poor. Having placed complete trust in God, he would not permit himself to worry about the morrow, nor did he bother to store up food or supplies for the harsh winter months.

Father Christesia was already advanced in age when he was tonsured a monk and given the new name Christopher. He reposed peacefully in 1771, at the age of eighty.

Holy Monastic Martyrs Olympia and Euphrosynē

Saint Olympia (Ολυμπία) was born to devout parents who were from Constantinople. Her father was a priest, and her mother was the daughter of a priest. They fled Constantinople for some unknown reason and went to the Peloponnesos. At the age of ten, Saint Olympia lost her parents, and her relatives sent her to Karyes Monastery at Therme on the island of Lesbos, where her aunt Dorothy was the Igoumeness. Originally this was a womens' monastery, but today it is Saint Raphael's Monastery.

At the age of nineteen, Saint Olympia was tonsured as a nun. When she was twenty-five, she succeeded her aunt as Igoumeness. About ten years later, on May 11, 1235, pirates arrived on Lesbos and went to the monastery where there were thirty nuns. Some of them were raped by the pirates, but others fled to the mountains.

Igoumeness Olympia and Eldress Euphrosynē (Ευφροσύνη) were subjected to frightful torments. Saint Euphrosynē was hanged from a tree and was burnt. Saint Olympia was burnt all over her body with torches, and after that they took a red-hot iron rod and passed it from one ear and out through the other. Finally, her tortured body was nailed to a board with twenty nails, and this board was buried with her. Then the pirates went away.

The account of the lives and martyrdom of these two holy women became known in 1959 when, by divine revelation, the relics of these saints were found at Therme. Twenty nails were found in Saint Olympia's tomb. Sometimes she has appeared together with Saint Raphael.

Saint Olympia and Saint Euphrosynē are commemorated on May 11 and also on Bright Tuesday with Saints Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene.

Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 10, 2022

SIMON THE ZEALOT & APOSTLE

NO FAST

Simon the Zealot & Apostle, Laurence of Egypt, Isodora of Egypt

ST. PAUL’S FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS 4:9-16

Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

LUKE 6:12-19

At that time, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaios, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all.

Apostle Simon the Zealot

Saint Simon was from Cana in Galilee, and was known to the Lord and His Mother. Tradition says that he was the bridegroom at the wedding where the Savior performed His first miracle. After witnessing the miracle of the water which had been turned into wine, he became a zealous follower of Christ. For this reason, he is known as Saint Simon the Zealot.

Saint Simon was one of the twelve Apostles, and received the Holy Spirit with the others on Pentecost. He traveled to many places from Britain to the Black Sea, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. After winning many pagans to the Lord, Saint Simon suffered martyrdom by crucifixion.

Saint Demetrius of Rostov says that this Saint Simon is to be distinguished from the Apostle Simon Peter, and from the Lord’s relative Simon (Mt.13:55), who was the second Bishop of Jerusalem.

Saint Simon is also commemorated on June 30 with the other Apostles.

Saint Simon, Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal of the Kiev Near Caves

Saint Simon, Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal was an author of the Kiev Caves Paterikon, and he became a monk at the Monastery of the Caves, sometime in the second half of the twelfth century.

In the year 1206 he was appointed igumen of the Vladimir Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos, and in 1214, at the wish of Prince George Vsevolodovich (+ 1238), he was made the first bishop of Vladimir-on-the-Klyazma and Suzdal.

In 1218 he consecrated a church at the Nativity monastery, and in the year 1225, a cathedral church at Suzdal. The Great Prince, who deeply respected Saint Simon, was prepared to establish a new bishop’s See at Suzdal for his friend, the monk Polycarp of the Kiev Caves monastery, who sought after spiritual glory. Saint Simon, seeing that Polycarp was not yet ready to assume such an office, talked the Great Prince out of his idea, and he wrote a deeply moving letter to Polycarp, in which he offered his friend advice on overcoming his spiritual shortcomings. Saint Simon’s own inner life, character, and virtue are also revealed in the epistle.

Saint Simon was known as a learned teacher, and his epistle to Polycarp was placed at the beginning of the Kiev Caves Paterikon. On the eve of his repose in 1226, the saint received the schema.

Initially his body was buried at Vladimir, but later, in accordance with the saint’s last wishes, his body was transferred to the Kiev Caves Lavra, where it rests in the Antoniev Caves.

Martyrs Philadelphus, Cyprian, Alphius, Onesimus, Erasmus, and 14 others, in Sicily

The Holy Martyrs Philadelphus, Alphaeus, Cyprian, Onesimus, Erasmus and 14 others with them, lived during the third century and came from Italy. Alphaeus, Philadelphus and Cyprian were sons of a governor in Italy, named Vitalius. They were enlightened by faith in Christ and baptized by Saint Onesimus.

During this period the emperor Licinius issued orders to seek out and hand over the Christians for torture. The brothers went to Rome together with Onesimus, Erasmus and fourteen other Christians. At Rome the pagans crushed the chest of Saint Onesimus with a heavy stone, which killed him. Erasmus and the fourteen Martyrs were beheaded.

The brothers Alphaeus, Philadelphus and Cyprian suffered in the city of Mesopolis Leontini in Sicily, where they had been sent from Rome. Saint Philadelphus was burned over an iron lattice in the year 251, in the reign of the emperor Decius.

In the year 1517 their incorrupt relics were discovered at Leontini [Lentini]. Saints Alphaeus, Philadelphus and Cyprian appeared to Saint Euthalia (March 2) and told her that she would be healed of an affliction after she was baptized.

Martyr Hesychius of Antioch

The Holy Martyr Hesychius of Antioch lived in Antioch during the reign of Maximian Galerius (305-311), and he occupied a high official position. Maximian issued an edict by which all Christians were to be deprived of military rank and expelled from military service. Those who would not renounce Christianity were stripped of their soldier’s belt and military insignia, and degraded to the level of hired servants. Saint Hesychius was one of these.

Maximian ordered Hesychius to remove his robes of office, put on common attire, and to be placed among the women servants. After several days he summoned Hesychius and asked, “Are you not ashamed to remain in such dishonor?” Saint Hesychius answered, “The honors which I had from you were only temporal.”

Then Maximian gave orders to drown Saint Hesychius in a river, with a millstone tied about his neck. The exact year of the martyr’s death is not known.

Blessed Isidora the Fool of Tabenna in Egypt

Saint Isidora, Fool-for-Christ, struggled in the Tabenna monastery in Egypt during the sixth century. Taking upon herself the feat of folly, she acted like one insane, and did not eat food with the other sisters of the monastery. Many of them regarded her with contempt, but Isidora bore all this with great patience and meekness, blessing God for everything.

She worked in the kitchen and fulfilled the dirtiest, most difficult tasks at the monastery, cleaning the monastery of every impurity. Isidora covered her head with a plain rag, and instead of cooked food she drank the dirty wash water from the pots and dishes. She never became angry, never insulted anyone with a word, never grumbled against God or the sisters, and was given to silence.

Once, a desert monk, Saint Pitirim, had a vision. An angel of God appeared to him and said, “Go to the Tabenna monastery. There you will see a sister wearing a rag on her head. She serves them all with love, and endures their contempt without complaint. Her heart and her thoughts rest always with God. You, on the other hand, sit in solitude, but your thoughts flit about all over the world.”

The Elder set out for the Tabenna monastery, but he did not see the one indicated to him in the vision among the sisters. Then they led Isidora to him, considering her a demoniac. Isidora fell down at the knees of the Elder, asking his blessing. Saint Pitirim bowed down to the ground to her and said, “Bless me first, venerable Mother!”

To the astonished questions of the sisters the Elder replied, “Before God, Isidora is higher than all of us!” Then the sisters began to repent, confessing their mistreatment of Isidora, and they asked her forgiveness. The saint, however, distressed over her fame, secretly hid herself away from the monastery, and her ultimate fate remained unknown. It is believed that she died around the year 365.

Blessed Thais of Egypt

Saint Thais lived in Egypt in the fifth century. Left an orphan after the death of her wealthy parents, she led a pious life, distributing her wealth to the poor, and she gave shelter to pilgrims on her estate. She decided that she would never marry, but would devote her life to serving Christ.

After spending all her inheritance, Thais was tempted to acquire more money by any means, and began to lead a sinful life. The Elders of Sketis near Alexandria heard of her fall, and asked Saint John the Dwarf (November 9) to go to Thais and persuade her to repent. “She was kind to us,” they said, “now perhaps we can help her. You, Father, are wise. Go and try to save her soul, and we will pray that the Lord will help you.”

The Elder went to her home, but Thais’s servant did not want to allow him into the house. Saint John said, “Tell your mistress that I have brought her something very precious.” Thais, knowing that the monks sometimes found pearls at the shore, told her servant to admit the visitor. Saint John sat down and looked her in the face, and then began to weep. Thais asked him why he was crying. “How can I not weep,” he asked, “when you have forsaken your Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, and are pleasing Satan by your deeds?”

The Elder’s words pierced the soul of Thais like a fiery arrow, and at once she realized how sinful her present life had become. In fear, she asked him if God would accept the repentance of a sinner like her. Saint John replied that the Savior awaited her repentance. That is why He came, to seek and to save the perishing. “He will welcome you with love,” he said, “and the angels will rejoice over you. As the Savior said Himself, one repentant sinner causes the powers of Heaven to rejoice” (Luke 15:7).

A feeling of repentance enveloped her, and regarding the Elder’s words as a call from the Lord Himself to return to Him, Thais trembled and thought only of finding the path of salvation. She stood up and left her house without speaking to her servants, and without making any sort of disposition of her property, so that even Saint John was amazed.

Following Saint John into the wilderness, she hastened to return to God through penitence and prayer. Night fell, and the Elder prepared a place for Thais to lay down and sleep. He made a pillow for her from the sand, and he went off somewhat farther, and went to sleep after his evening prayers.

In the middle of the night, he was wakened by a light coming down from the heavens to the place where Thais was at rest. In the radiant light he saw holy angels bearing her soul to Paradise. When he went over to Thais, he found her dead.

Saint John prayed and asked God to reveal to him whether Thais had been saved. An angel of God appeared and told him, “Abba John, her one hour of repentance was equal to many years, because she repented with all her soul, and a compunctionate heart.”

After burying the body of the saint, Saint John returned to Sketis and told the monks what had happened. All offered thanks to God for His mercy toward Thais who, like the wise thief, repented in a single moment.

“Kiev-Bratsk” Icon of the Mother of God

The Kiev-Bratsk Icon of the Mother of God is celebrated also on September 6, June 2, and on Saturday of the Fifth Week of Great Lent.

Venerable Comgall of Bangor

Saint Comgall (Comhghall), “the Father of Monks,” was born in Ireland at Dalaradia, Co. Ulster sometime between 510 and 520. Unlike many of the early Irish saints, Saint Comgall was not of noble birth. He served as a soldier, then studied with Saint Finnian of Moville (September 10). He was ordained to the holy priesthood by Bishop Lugaid before the age of forty.

Saint Comgall and several companions lived for a time on an island in Lough Erne in the county of Ulster, where they lived a very strict ascetical life. Although his desire was to be a missionary in Scotland, Bishop Lugaid asked him to stay in Ireland and establish a monastery at Bangor (Bennchor) on the southern shore of Belfast Loch (in modern Co. Down). The monastery was founded sometime between 552-555.

It is believed that over four thousand monks were trained by Saint Comgall at Bangor, including Saint Columbanus of Luxeuil (November 21, or 23) and Saint Moluag (June 25). Saint Comgall often prayed while standing in the water for several hours. Sometimes at night his cell seemed to be ablaze with a heavenly radiance.

Later Saint Comgall did visit Scotland, where he became very close to Saint Columba of Iona (June 9), by whose prayers Comgall was once saved from drowning.

Saint Comgall lived to an advanced age, then suffered from a prolonged illness. He completed the course of his earthly life at Bangor on May 10, 602, after receiving Holy Communion from Saint Fiacre (August 30).