SAINTS AND FEASTS (June)
Hieromartyr Patrick, bishop of Prusa, and his companions: Presbyters Acacius, Menander, and Polyenus (362)
Commemorated on May 19/June 1
Saint Patrikios lived during the I Century and was bishop of the city of Prussa in Bythnia (Asia Minor). He openly and boldly preached the teachings of Christ the Saviour and denounced the error of the pagans. For this he was taken together with the three presbyters – Akakios, Menander and Polienos, and led for interrogation to the governor of the city, Julius. At the time Julius was on journey for treatment at an hot-springs, and he gave orders to bring along after him also the Christian bishop with the presbyters, bound in iron chains. Having washed in the hot-springs, Julius offered sacrifice to his gods and, summoning Saint Patrikios and the other prisoners, he demanded them to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, threatening punishments in case of refusal.
Saint Patrikios replied to this: "I am a Christian and I worship the One True God, Jesus Christ, Who hath created the heavens and the earth and these warm springs for the benefit of all mankind". On the command of Julius they threw the saint into the hot spring, and with firm faith the martyr prayed for help: "Lord, Jesus Christ, help me, Thy servant", – and he remained unharmed.
In a rage of impotence Julius gave orders to cut off the head of Saint Patrikios and his three presbyters.
The end for the martyrs occurred in about the year 100 after the Birth of Christ.
Martyr Thalelaeus at Aegae in Cilicia and companions, Martyrs Alexander and Asterius (284)
Commemorated on May 20/June 2
The Martyrs Thalaleas, Alexander and Asterias: During the reign of Numerian (283-284), the governor of the city of Aegea dispatched soldiers to seek out Christians. They brought to him Thalaleas, an 18 year old blond-haired youth. To the governor's interrogation Saint Thalaleas answered: "I am a Christian, a native of Lebanon. My father, by the name of Beruchius, was a military commander, and my mother was named Romilia. My brother has the dignity of sub-deacon. I however am a student of medicine under the physician Makarios. During a former time of persecution against Christians in Lebanon I was brought before the governor Tiberias, and just barely escaped execution. But now I stand before this court, do with me what thou dost wish. I desire to die for Christ the Saviour and my God, hoping from Him help to endure all torments".
The enraged governor ordered the two torturers Alexander and Asterias to pierce the legs of the martyr with rope and suspend him head downwards. But the executioners, by the design of God, bored into a block of wood, which they hung up in place of the martyr. When the governor saw that they had deceived him, he then ordered that Alexander and Asterias be fiercely whipped, and they too confessed themselves Christians and glorified God. The governor gave orders to immediately cut off their heads. Twice he himself attempted to carry out the execution, and to pierce the leg-bones of the saint, but the grace of God prevented him, and he in his impotence then commanded that Saint Thalaleas be drowned.
The returning servants reported to the governor that they had carried out the execution, but suddenly, just as they finished their report, Saint Thalaleas appeared in white raiment. For a long while everyone was numbed with terror, but finally the governor said: "Behold, this sorcerer hath bewitched even the sea". Then one of his advisers, the magician Urvician, advised the governor to have the martyr thrown for devouring by wild beasts, but neither the vicious bear, not the hungry lion and lioness, would touch the saint, all meekly but laying down at his feet. Seeing this happen, the people began loudly to shout: "Great is the God of the Christians, O God of Thalaleas, have mercy on us!". The crowd seized hold of Urvician and threw him to the beasts, which did not hesitate to tear apart the magician. Finally, the governor gave orders to kill the holy martyr with a sword. They led away the martyr of Christ to the place of execution, called Aegea, where he prayed to God and bent his neck beneathe the sword. This occurred in the year 284. The relics of the holy martyr Thalaleas are situated in the church of Saint Agathonikos of Constantinople and have made many miracles. The holy Martyr Thalaleas, as a physician without payment treating the sick, is called by the Church an UnMercenary, and is called on in prayers over the sick in the Sacrament of Anointing-with-Oil and during the Blessing of Waters.
Venerable Stephen, abbot of Piperi in Serbia (1697)
Commemorated on May 20/June 2
This saint was born into the Niksich clan in the village of Zupa of poor but devout parents, Radoje and Jacima. According to tradition, he first lived a life of asceticism in the monastery of Moraca where he was abbot. The Turks drove him out of Moraca and he settled in Rovacki, Turmanj in the place which today is called Celishte. Later, he settled in Piperi in a cell where he remained in labor and god-pleasing asceticism until his death. He died peacefully in the Lord on May 20, 1697 A.D. His relics repose there even today and with many miracles they glorify Christ the God and Stephan, God's chosen one.
Holy Equals-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine (337) and Helen, his mother (327)
Commemorated on May 21/June 3
The Holy Emperor Constantine (306-337), has received from the Church the title "Equal-to-the-Apostles", and in world history he received the name "the Great". He was the son of Caesar Constantius Chlorus (305-306), governing the lands of Gaul and Britania. The immense Roman empire was at this time divided into a Western and an Eastern empire, at the head of which were two independent emperors and also co-rulers titled "Caesars", – such in the Western half of the Roman empire was the aforementioned father of Saint Constantine. Saint Contantine's mother was the empress Helen, who was a Christian. The future ruler of all the whole Roman empire – Constantine – was raised to have respect for the Christian religion. His father did not persecute Christians in the lands governed by him, this at a time, when through all the rest of the Roman empire Christians were subjected to fierce persecutions by the emperors Diocletian (284-305) together with his co-ruler Maximian Galerius (305-311) in the East, and the emperor Maximian Hercules (284-305) in the West. After the death of Constantius Chlorus, his son Constantine in 306 was proclaimed by the army as emperor of Gaul and Britania. The first act of the new emperor was to promulgate in the lands subject to him the freedom of confession of the Christian faith. The pagan-fanatic Maximian Galerius in the East and the fierce tyrant Maxentius in the West hated the emperor Constantine and they plotted to overthrow and kill him, but Constantine bested them in a series of battles, and he defeated his opponents with the help of God. He prayed to God to give him a sign, which should inspire his army to fight valiantly, and the Lord manifest to him in the heavens a radiant Sign of the Cross with the inscription "With this Sign thou wilt conquer". Having become sole ruler of the Western half of the Roman empire, Constantine in the year 313 issued the Edict of Milan concerning religious toleration, and in the year 323, when he came to rule as the sole ruler over the whole Roman empire, he extended the conditions of the Milan Edict also over the Eastern half of the Roman empire. After three hundred years of persecution, Christians finally received the possibility to openly confess their faith in Christ.
Renouncing paganism, the emperor did not let his capital remain in ancient Rome, the former centre of the pagan realm. He transferred his capital to the East, to the city of Byzantium, which also was renamed Constantinople ["Constantinopolis" means "the city of Constantine"]. Constantine was deeply convinced, that only the Christian religion could unify the immense Roman empire with its diverse peoples. He supported the Church in every way, he brought back from banishment the Christian confessors, he built churches, and he showed concern for the clergy. The emperor deeply revered the victory-bearing Sign of the Cross of the Lord, and he wanted also to find the actual Life-Creating Cross, upon which was crucified our Lord Jesus Christ. For this purpose he dispatched to Jerusalem his own mother – the holy Empress Helen, granting manifold plenitude of power and material means. Together with the Jerusalem Patriarch Makarios, Saint Helen set about the search, and through the Will of God the Life-Creating Cross was discovered in a miraculous manner in the year 326. (The account about the finding of the Cross of the Lord is located under the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, 14 September). Situated in Palestine, the holy empress did much of benefit for the Church. She gave orders, that all places connected with the earthly life of the Lord and His All-Pure Mother, should be freed of all traces of paganism, and she commanded that churches should be built at these places of memory. Over the Cave of the Sepulchre of the Lord the emperor Constantine himself gave orders to construct a magnificent church to the glory of the Resurrection of Christ. Saint Helen gave the Life-Creating Cross to the Patriarch for safe-keeping, and part of the Cross she took with her for the emperor. Having distributed generous alms at Jerusalem and seeing to the feeding of the needy, during which times she herself attended them, the holy Empress Helen returned to Constantinople, where she soon after died in the year 327.
For her great services to the Church and her efforts in finding the Life-Creating Cross, the empress Helen is titled "Equal-to-the-Apostles".
The peaceful state of the Christian Church was rent by the rise from within the Church by dissensions and quarrels from heresies which had appeared. Already at the beginning of the emperor Constantine's reign there had arisen in the West the heresies of the Donatists and the Novatians, demanding a second baptism over those who lapsed during the times of the persecutions against Christians. These heresies, repudiated by two local Church councils, were finally condemned at the Milan Council of 316. But particularly ruinous for the Church was the rise in the East of the heresy of Arius, daring to repudiate the Divine Essence of the Son of God, and teaching that Jesus Christ was a mere creature. By order of the emperor, in the year 325 there was convened the First OEcumenical Council in the city of Nicea. At this Council were gathered 318 bishops. Among its participants were confessor-bishops from the period of the persecutions and many other luminaries of the Church, among whom – was Sainted-hierarch Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. (The account about the Council is located under 29 May). The emperor was present at the sessions of the Council. The heresy of Arius was condemned and a Symbol-Creed of Faith compiled, in which was included the term "of One-Essence with the Father", always confirming in the consciousness of Orthodox Christians the truth of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, Who took on and assumed upon Himself human nature for the redemption of all the human race.
The deep churchly awareness and feeling of Saint Constantine might possibly surprise one, where the working-out of the definition "of One-Essence"heard by him in the disputes of the Council, was at his insistence included within the Symbol-Creed of Faith.
After the Council of Nicea, Saint Constantine continued with his active role in the welfare of the Church. He accepted holy Baptism at the end of his life, having prepared for it all his whole life. Saint Constantine died on the day of Pentecost in the year 337 and was buried in the church of the Holy Apostles, in a crypt earlier prepared by him.
St. Helen of Dechani, Serbia (1350)
Commemorated on May 21/June 3
(Prepodobna Jelena Decanska je hrišcanska svetiteljka. Jelena je bila sestra Stefana Decanskog. Preminula je sredinom XIV veka i sahranjena je u manastiru Decanima gde joj se mošti i danas nalaze).
St. John-Vladimir, martyr and ruler of Serbia (1015)
Commemorated on May 22/June 4
The Holy Martyr John-Vladimir, a Serbian prince, was born in the X Century. From his childhood he was raised in piety, and at maturity he wisely governed his holdings Illyria and Dalmatia, preserving in purity the holy faith. The noble prince was married to Kosara, a daughter of the Bulgarian tsar Samuel. Summoned under pretense of talks with the Bulgarian tsar John-Vladislav, he was treacherously murdered by him on 22 May 1015, at the entrance to a church. The pious spouse of the holy prince, Kosara, withdrew into a women's monastery that she built, and where also she died, to the very end of her life not quitting the church. The relics of the holy prince are situated near Elbosan.
Venerable Michael the Confessor, bishop of Synnada (818)
Commemorated on May 23/June 5
Sainted Hierarch Michael the Confessor yearned from his youthful years for the monastic life and was directed by His Holiness Patriarch Tarasios (784-806) to a monastery, located at the coast region of the Black Sea. There also entered the monastery together with him – Saint Theophylaktos (Comm. 8 March), the future bishop of Nikomedia. At the monastery both monks proceeded through the efforts of salvation and soon were glorified by graced gifts from the Lord. Once during a time of harvest, when the people were weakened by thirst, by the prayer of the monks an empty metal vessel was filled with water.
His Holiness Patriarch Tarasios ordained Saint Michael as bishop of the city of Synada. Through his holy life and wisdom, Saint Michael gained the deep love of believers and the particular notice of the emperors Nicephoros I (802-811) and Michael I Rangaves (811-813). In the year 787 Saint Michael was present at the Seventh OEcumenical Council at Nicea.
When the Iconoclast heretic Leo the Armenian (813-820) entered upon the throne, he began to expel Orthodox hierarchs from their cathedrae-seats, appointing in their place his like-minded heretics.
Saint Michael during this time firmly defended Orthodoxy, bravely opposing the heretics and denouncing their error. Leo the Armenian brought Saint Michael to trial, but not fearing torture he answered resolutely: "I venerate the holy icons of my Saviour Jesus Christ and the All-Pure Virgin, His Mother, and all the saints, and it is to them I bow down. Thine decrees about the removal of icons from churches I shall not fulfill". Leo the Armenian then banished Saint Michael to imprisonment in the city of Eudokiada, where the confessor died in about the year 821. The head of Saint Michael is preserved in the Laura of Saint Athanasias on Mount Athos, and part of the relics – are at the Iversk monastery.
Venerable Symeon Stylites (the Younger) of the Wonderful Mountain (596)
Commemorated on May 24/June 6
The Monk Simeon the Pillar-Dweller was born in the year 521 in Syrian Antioch from the pious parents John and Martha. Saint Martha (Comm. 4 July)from her youthful years prepared herself for an unmarried life and yearned for monasticism, but her parents insisted on her entering into marriage with the youth John. After ardent prayer in a church in the name of Saint John the Fore-Runner, the future nun was directed in a vision to submit to the will of her parents and enter into marriage. In married life, Saint Martha strove to please God and her husband in everything. She often prayed about granting her a baby and promised to devote him to the service of God. In his appearance to the saint, Saint John the Fore-Runner revealed to the pious Martha that of her would be born a son, who indeed would serve God. When the infant was born, he was named Simeon and baptised at two years of age.
When Simeon was six years old, an earthquake occurred in the city of Antioch, during the time of which his father perished. Simeon during the time of the earthquake was in church. Leaving it, he became lost and spent seven days sheltered by a pious woman. Having again appeared to Blessed Martha, John the Baptist indicated where to find the lost boy. The mother of the saint, having found her lost son, settled after the earthquake on the outskirts of Antioch. Already during his childhood the Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to Saint Simeon, foretelling him his future exploits and the recompense for them.
The six year old lad Simeon went off into the wilderness, where for a certain time he was situated in complete isolation. During this time a light-bearing Angel guarded and fed him and finally, he arrived at a solitary monastery, the head of which was the hegumen Abba John, pursuing asceticism upon a pillar, and with love he accepted the lad.
After a certain while Saint Simeon turned with a request to the Elder John to permit him also asceticise upon a pillar. A new pillar was erected by the brethren of the monastery with the blessing of the hegumen, not far from his pillar. Having completed the obedience of the seven year old boy into monasticism, Abba John himself raised him up upon this pillar. The young ascetic, strengthened by the Lord, quickly grew spiritually, in his efforts surpassing even his experienced preceptor. For his stringent efforts, Saint Simeon received from God the gift of healing. The fame about the deeds of the young monk began to spread about beyond the bounds of the monastery, and monks and laypeople began to come to him from various places, wanting to hear his counsel and receive healings from infirmities. The humble ascetic continued to pursue asceticism with instructions from his spiritual mentor Abba John.
At 11 years of age the lad decided to pursue asceticism upon still higher a pillar, to the top of which was 40 feet. The bishops of Antioch and Seleukos came to the place of the monk's exploits, and ordained the holy ascetic to the dignity of deacon, and then they permitted him to go up upon the new pillar, on which the Monk Simeon asceticised over the course of 8 years.
The Monk Simeon prayed ardently for the sending down upon him of the Holy Spirit, and the holy prayer of the ascetic was heard. The Holy Spirit came down upon him in the form of a blazing light, filling the ascetic with Divine Wisdom. Alongside with spoken precepts, Saint Simeon dispatched written precepts about repentance, monasticism, about the Incarnation of Christ and about the future Judgement.
After the death of his elder, Saint Simeon structured his life thus: from the rising of the sun until mid-afternoon he read books and copied Holy Scripture, after which he again rose to prayer and prayed all night. When the new day began, having rested somewhat, he began his usual rule of prayer with the rising of the sun.
The Monk Simeon concluded his efforts on the second column and by the decree of God settled upon the Wondrous Mount, having become in his monastery an experienced elder for guidance to monks. The ascent onto the Wondrous Mount was marked by a vision of the Lord, standing atop a column. Saint Simeon continued his exploits at this place where he saw the Lord, at first upon a stone, and then upon a pillar again raised up. Future events were revealed to the Monk Simeon, and thus he foretold the death of the archbishop of Antioch, Ephrem, and the illness of the bishop, Domnos, which overtook him in punishment for his lack of pity. And finally, the Monk Simeon predicted an earthquake for the city of Antioch and urged all the inhabitants to repent themselves of their sins. On the Wondrous Mount Saint Simeon established a monastery, the church of which sick people healed by him built, in gratitude for the mercy shown them. For the needs of the monastery the monk petitioned by prayer a spring of water, and once during the time of a shortage of grain, by his prayer to the Lord wheat was multiplied in the granaries of the monastery. In the year 560 by the command of the Lord the holy ascetic at age 39 received the priestly dignity from the bishop of Seleukos, Dionysios. At age 75 the Monk Simeon was forewarned by the Lord about his impending end. He summoned the brethren of the monastery, instructed them in a farewell blessing talk and peacefully expired to God in the year 596, having toiled in the feat of pillar-dwelling for 68 years.
Just as during life, so also after death the monk worked miracles, healing the blind and lame and leprous, saving many from wild beasts, casting out devils and resuscitating the dead.
Pentecost – Trinity Sunday
Commemorated on May 25/June 7
The Feast of Holy Pentecost is celebrated each year on the fiftieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter) and ten days after the Feast of the Ascension of Christ. The Feast is always celebrated on a Sunday.
The Feast commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, a feast of the Jewish tradition. It also celebrates the establishment of the Church through the preaching of the Apostles and the baptism of the thousands who on that day believed in the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Feast is also seen as the culmination of the revelation of the Holy Trinity.
The story of Pentecost is found in the book of The Acts of the Apostles. In Chapter two we are told that the Apostles of our Lord were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, a sound came from heaven like a rushing wind, filling the entire house where they were sitting. Then, tongues of fire appeared, and one sat upon each one of Apostles. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as directed by the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
This miraculous event occurred on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, celebrated by the Jews on the fiftieth day after the Passover as the culmination of the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10). The Feast of Weeks began on the third day after the Passover with the presentation of the first harvest sheaves to God, and it concluded on Pentecost with the offering of two loaves of unleavened bread, representing the first products of the harvest (Leviticus 23:17-20; Deuteronomy 16:9-10).
Since the Jewish Feast of Pentecost was a great pilgrimage feast, many people from throughout the Roman Empire were gathered in Jerusalem on this day. When the people in Jerusalem heard the sound, they came together and heard their own languages being spoken by the Apostles (Acts 2:5-6). The people were amazed, knowing that some of those speaking were Galileans, and not men who would normally speak many different languages. They wondered what this meant, and some even thought the Apostles were drunk (Acts 2:7-13).
Peter, hearing these remarks, stood up and addressed the crowd. He preached to the people regarding the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Holy Spirit. He spoke about Jesus Christ and His death and glorious Resurrection. Great conviction fell upon the people, and they asked the Apostles, "What shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38-39).
The Bible records that on that day about three thousand were baptized. Following, the book of Acts states that the newly baptized continued daily to hear the teaching of the Apostles, as the early Christians met together for fellowship, the breaking of bread, and for prayer. Many wonderful signs and miracles were done through the Apostles, and the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).
Apostles Carpus of the Seventy and Alphaeus (1st c.)
Commemorated on May 26/June 8
The Holy Disciple Carpus (from the 70) – was a disciple and companion of the holy Apostle Paul. In the 2nd Epistle to Timothy, the apostle mentions the name Carpus, at the house of whom in Troias he left a phelon and books (2 Tim. 4: 13). Knowing Carpus as a man of virtue and possessing a mind of lofty purity, the Apostle Paul made him bishop of Thracian Bereia. The disciple Carpus went preaching the Gospel to the island of Crete. Here he encountered Saint Dionysios the Areopagite (Comm. 3 October). In his reminiscences Dionysios recounts about a miraculous vision to the disciple Carpus.
The holy disciple Carpus died peacefully at Bereia (according to other histories he received a martyr's end during the persecution under the emperor Nero).
Hieromartyr Therapon, bishop of Sardis (259)
Commemorated on May 27/June 9
The PriestMartyr Therapontos, Bishop of Sardis suffered for Christ during the III Century (the city of Sardis, or Sarda, was situated in the Asia Minor district of Lydia). In fulfilling his priestly service, Saint Therapontos enlightened with the light of the Christian faith and baptised many of the pagan-Hellenes (Greeks). For this, he was brought to trial before the governor Julian and fearlessly declared himself a Christian bishop. They threw him into prison, where for a long time he languished with hunger and thirst, and then they gave him over to cruel tortures, but the torments did not break the saint's valiant confessing of faith. In chains they led off the saint to the city of Sinaion in Phrygia, and thence to Ancyra. In these cities they again tortured him. They took him to the River Astala, where they stretched him cross-form and bare upon the ground, fastened to four posts driven into the ground, and they beat him fiercely. After this torture, they took the passion-bearer of Christ off to the outskirts of the Satalia diocese, part of the Sardis metropolitanate, and here after long beatings Saint Therapontos ended with his martyr's deed. The dry posts, to which the saint had been tied, and having soaked up his blood, gave forth green shoots and grew into large trees, the leaves of which were found to have curative powers through which many people received graced healing.
Venerable Nicetas, bishop of Chalcedon (9th c.)
Commemorated on May 28/June 10
The Monk Nikita the Confessor, Bishop of Chalcedon, lived during the 2nd half of the VIII Century. For his God-pleasing life he was elevated to the dignity of bishop of Chalcedon. Saint Nikita distinguished himself by his charity, he always helped the poor, he took in wanderers into his dwelling, he concerned himself about the orphaned and the widowed, and he interceded for the wronged. During the reign of the Iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820), Saint Nikita bravely denounced the Iconoclast heresy and urged his flock reverently to venerate the holy icons of Christ, the Mother of God and the holy Saints. Saint Nikita endured much suffering from the impious emperor and his like-minded cohorts; he was subjected to tortures and sent off to exile. The holy Confessor Nikita died at the beginning of the IX Century. From his relics occurred miracles of healing. In the Canon of the service to him, written by the Constantinople presbyter Joseph, it declares as glorified amongst the Saints also the brother of Saint Nikita – Saint Ignatios.
Virgin-martyr Theodosia of Tyre (308)
Commemorated on May 29/June 11
The Holy Martyress Theodosia of Tyre suffered in the year 307. On 29 May is celebrated the transfer of her relics to Constantinople, and later on to Venice.
Once, during a time of persecution against Christians, which then had already lasted for five years, the seventeen year old Theodosia went up to condemned Christian prisoners, situated in the Praetorium. It was the day of Holy Pascha, and the martyrs spoke about the Kingdom of God. Saint Theodosia asked them to remember her before the Lord, when they should come to stand before Him. Soldiers saw that the maiden bowed to the prisoners, and they seized hold of her and led her before the governor, Urban. The governor advised the maiden to offer sacrifice to the idols but she refused, confessing her faith in Christ. Then they subjected the saint to cruel tortures, – her body they struck at with iron claws such that they did lay bare the bones. The martyress was silent and with an happy face endured the sufferings, and to a second suggestion by the governor to offer sacrifice to the idols she answered: "Thou fool, I have been granted to join the martyrs!" They threw the maiden with a stone about her neck into the sea, but Angels drew her out from the depths. Then they gave over the martyress for devouring by wild beasts. Seeing that the beasts would not touch her, they cut off her head. By night Saint Theodosia appeared to her parents, who had tried to talk their daughter into not going to the sufferings. She was in bright garb with a crown upon her head and a luminous gold cross in her hand, and she said: "Behold the great glory that ye did want to deprive me of!".
Venerable Isaac, founder of the Dalmatian Monastery at Constantinople (383)
Commemorated on May 30/June 12
The Monk Isaac lived during the IV Century, accepted monastic vows and pursued asceticism in the wilderness. During the years of the reign of the emperor Valentus (364-378) – a zealous adherent of the Arian heresy, they began to persecute the Orthodox, closing and destroying churches. Having learned of the persecution, the Monk Isaac quit the wilderness and arrived in Constantinople, so as to console and encourage the Orthodox. At this time barbarian Goths, dwelling along the River Danube/Dunaj, were making war against the empire. They seized Thrace and advanced towards Constantinople. When the emperor Valentus was leaving the capital with his soldiers, the Monk Isaac – turning himself towards the emperor, loudly cried out: "Emperor, unlock the churches of the Orthodox, and then the Lord wilt aid thee!". But the emperor, disdaining the words of the monk, confidently continued on his way. Three times did the monk repeat his request and prophecy. The angry emperor gave orders to hurl the Monk Isaac into a deep ravine, grown over with prickly thorns. By day the ravine was a swamp, and to emerge from it was impossible. But the monk with the help of God remained alive, and he emerged, overtook the emperor and said: "Thou wanted to destroy me, but the holy Angels did save me from peril. Hear me, open up the churches to the Orthodox and thou shalt defeat the enemy. If however thou dost not heed me, then thou shalt not return alive, but shalt perish in fire". The emperor was astonished at the boldness of the monk and ordered his attendants Saturninus and Victor to take the monk and hold him in prison until his return.
The prophecy of the saint soon happened. The Goths defeated and began to chase down the Greek army. The emperor together with his Arian generals took refuge in a barn with straw, and the attackers set it afire. After receiving news about the perishing of the emperor, they set free the Monk Isaac and began to honour him as a prophet of God. Onto the throne was then chosen the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395), who on the advice of Saturninus and Victor summoned the elder to himself, meeting him with great respect, beseeching prayers to the saints and fulfilling all his instructions: he banished the Arians from Constantinople and restored the churches to the Orthodox. The Monk Isaac wanted to return into the wilderness, but Saturninus and Victor besought him not to leave the city, but rather to protect it with his prayers. In the outskirts of Constantinople they built for the saint an hut, where monks gathered to him. Thus arose a monastery, the hegumen and spiritual guide of which was the Monk Isaac. He nourished also the laypeople, and helped many of the poor and suffering. Having reached extreme old age, the Monk Isaac made co-hegumen together with him the Monk Dalmatos (the account about him is located under 3 August), by whose name the monastery was called. The Monk Isaac died in the year 383, and his memory is celebrated also on 22 March.
Apostle Hermes of the Seventy (1st c.)
Commemorated on May 31/June 13
The Holy Disciple Hermas was a bishop in Thracian Philippopolis. The holy Apostle Paul greets him in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 14). Preaching the Gospel, the Disciple Hermas endured much grief from the pagans, but he died peacefully.
Martyr Hermias at Comana (160)
Commemorated on May 31/June 13
The Holy Martyr Hermias suffered for Christ in the city of Komana during the time of persecution under the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). The governor Sebastian, having arrived in Cappadocia to carry out a commission to chase down Christians, urged the saint to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, promising for this both honours and the mercy of the emperor. But the soldier grey with age bravely confessed his faith in Christ. After long exhortation the governor gave orders to torture the saint. They beat him on the face such that the skin peeled from his face, and they threw him into a red-hot oven. When the oven was opened after 3 days, the Martyr Hermias emerged from it unharmed. The governor Sebastian ordered a sorcerer to poison Saint Hermias with a potion. The poisonous drink did the saint no harm. So likewise a second goblet with even stronger poison failed to kill the saint. The sorcerer believed and offered repentance to Christ the Saviour and was immediately beheaded, baptised by his own blood and receiving a martyr's crown. But Saint Hermias was subjected to even more terrible torturings: they tore at his sinews, threw him in boiling oil, dug out his eyes, but he humbly gave thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they suspended the Martyr Hermias head downwards. For three days he hung in such a position. People, sent by the governor to verify his death, found him alive. Struck by the miracle, they were blinded with fright and began to call out to the saint that he should help them. The holy martyr ordered the blind to approach to him, laid hands on and healed them in the Name of Jesus Christ. In anger the governor ordered to flay the skin on the body of the saint, but as before he remained alive. Then the crazed Sebastian by his own hand beheaded him. Christians secretly buried the body of the Martyr Hermias, from whose relics numerous relics were bestowed.
Martyr Justin the Philosopher, and those with him at Rome: Martyrs Justin, Chariton and his wife Charita, Euelpistus, Hierax, Peon, Valerian and Justus (166)
Commemorated on June 1/June 14
The Holy Martyr Justin the Philosopher was born at Sykhem – an ancient city of Samaria. Justin's parents, being Greeks, were pagan. From the time of his childhood the saint displayed profundity of mind, love for knowledge and a fervent devotion to the cognition of Truth. When he came of age he studied the various schools of Greek philosophy: the Stoics, the Peripatetics (Aristotelians), the Pythagoreans, the Platonists – and he concluded, that none of these pagan teachings revealed the way to the knowledge of the True God.
Once, when he was strolling in a solitary place beyond the city and pondering about where to seek out the way to the knowledge of Truth, he met an old man, who in the ensuing conversation revealed to Justin the essential essence of the Christian teaching and advised him to seek out the solutions to all the questions of life in the books of Holy Scripture. "But before anything else, – said the holy elder, – pray diligently to God, so that He might open to thee the doors of Light. No one is able to comprehend Truth, unless it be given him in understanding by God Himself, Who revealeth it to each that seeketh Him in prayer and in love".
In his 30th year of life Justin accepted holy Baptism (between the years 133 and 137). From this time Saint Justin devoted his talents and vast philosophical knowledge to preaching the Gospel among the pagans. He began to journey about throughout the Roman empire, everywhere sowing the seeds of the faith of salvation. "Whosoever is able to proclaim Truth and does not proclaim, that one will be condemned by God", – he wrote.
Justin opened up a school, where he preached Christian philosophy. Saint Justin subsequently defended the veracity and the salvificity of the Christian teaching, persuasively confuting pagan sophistry (thus, for example, in a debate with the Cynic philosopher Crescentius) and heretical distortions of Christianity (in particular, he spoke out against the teachings of the Gnostic, Marcian).
In about the year 155, when the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) started a persecution against Christians, Saint Justin personally gave him an "Apologia" (Apology) in defense of Christians innocently condemned to execution – Ptolemy and Lucias, the name of a third remaining unknown. In the "Apologia" he demonstrated the falseness of the slander against Christians accused "unjustly for the mere name as loathsome and transgressive Christians". The "Apologia" made such a favourable effect upon the emperor, that he ceased with the persecution. Saint Justin journeyed with the decision of the emperor to Asia Minor, – where they were persecuting Christians with particular severity, and he himself distributed the joyous message about the imperial edict throughout the surrounding cities and countryside.
At Ephesus occurred the debate of Saint Justin with the Rabbi Trypho. The Orthodox philosopher on the basis of the Old Testament prophetic writings demonstrated the truth of the Christian teaching of faith. Saint Justin gave an account of this debate in his work "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew".
A second "Apologia" of Saint Justin was addressed to the Roman Senate. It was written in the year 161, soon after Marcus Aurelius (161-180) ascended the throne.
Having returned to Italy, Saint Justin, like the Apostles, preached everywhere the Gospel and by his Divinely-inspired words he converted many to the Christian faith. When the saint arrived at Rome, the envious Crescentius – whom Justin always defeated in debate – brought against him many false accusations before the Roman court. Saint Justin was put under guard, subjected to torture and accepted a martyr's death (+ 166).
In addition to the above-mentioned works, the following array of compositions belong to the holy martyr Justin the Philosopher: "Observations about the Soul", "Demonstration against the Hellenes", "Speech against the Hellenes". Saint John Damascene preserved a significant part of a non-surviving work of Saint Justin "About the Resurrection". The church historian Eusebios asserts, that by Saint Justin were written books entitled "The Singer", "Denunciation of all Existing Heresies" and "Against Marcian".
The relics of Saint Justin the Philosopher rest in Rome.
In the Russian Church the memory of the martyr is particularly glorified in temples of his name.
St. Nicephorus the Confessor, patriarch of Constantinople (829)
Commemorated on June 2/June 15
Sainted Nicephoros the Confessor was born in Constantinople in the second half of the VIII Century. Deep faith and preparation for the deed of confessor were instilled in him by his parents, Theodore and Eudocia. They gave their son a genuine Christian upbringing, reinforced by the example of their own life. His father suffered as a confessor of Orthodoxy under the Iconoclast emperor Constantine Copronymos (740-775). His mother, having shared in all the tribulation with her husband, followed him into exile, and after his death she returned to Constantinople and finished her life in a convent. Saint Nicephoros received a fine secular education, but most of all he studied the Holy Scriptures and he read spiritual books.
During the reign of Leo IV (775-780), Saint Nicephoros received the position of imperial counselor. Situated at the imperial court, he continued to lead a strict and virtuous life, he firmly preserved the purity of his Orthodox faith and zealously defended the veneration of holy icons. After the death of Leo IV, during the reign of Constantine VI (780-797) and his mother Saint Irene, – at Nicea in the year 787 was convened the VII OEcumenical Council, which condemned the Iconoclast heresy. Being deeply knowledgeable in the Holy Scriptures, Saint Nicephoros in the emperor's name entered into the Council in the defense of Orthodoxy, by which he rendered great assistance to the holy fathers of the Council.
After the Council, Saint Nicephoros remained for several years at court, but the whole life of vanity all more and more became burdensome to the saint. He retired his position and settled in solitude near the Bosphorus, spending his life in scholarly work, and in quietude, fasting and prayer. Saint Nicephoros built a church, founded a monastery, and led a strict monastic life even before taking monastic vows.
During the reign of emperor Nicephorus I (802-811), and after the death of the holy Patriarch Tarasios (784-806), Saint Nicephoros was chosen to his place: he received monastic vows and the priestly dignity and was elevated to the patriarchal throne on 12 April 806, on the day of holy Pascha.
Under the emperor Leo V the Armenian (813-820), – a passionate adherent of the Iconoclast heresy, there again began for the Church a period of unrest and persecutions. The emperor was not immediately able to begin open persecution against Orthodoxy, since Iconoclasm was condemned at the VII OEcumenical Council. The holy Patriarch continued to serve in the Great church, bolding urging the people to preserve the Orthodox faith, and he led the consequent and unremitting struggle with heresy. The emperor began to recall from exile the bishops and clergy, excommunicated from the Church by the VII OEcumenical Council. Having convened with them an heretical council, the emperor demanded that the Patriarch appear for a dispute about the faith. The Patriarch refused to argue about the faith with heretics, since the teachings of the Iconoclasts were already condemned in the anathema of the VII OEcumenical Council. He endeavoured all the more to bring the emperor and those around him to their senses, he fearlessly explained to the people the teaching about the veneration of holy icons, he wrote admonitions to the empress and to the city-governor Eutykhianos, the closest one to the imperial dignity, attaching at the end the prophetic words about a quick perishing of heretics from "the punishing hands of the Lord". Then the heretical council passed an excommunication of holy Patriarch Nicephoros and his predecessors – the blessedly-reposing Patriarchs Tarasios and Germanos. Saint Nicephoros was sent at first to a monastery at Chrysopolis, and later – to the island Prokonnis in the Sea of Marmara. After 13 years of deprivation and sorrow the holy Patriarch Nicephoros died in exile on 2 June 828.
On 13 March 847 the undecayed relics of the holy Patriarch Nicephoros, having lain in the ground for 19 years, were solemnly transferred to Constantinople into the cathedral church of Saint Sophia.
Saint Nicephoros was outstanding as a church activist of his times, "a credit to his era and his chair (cathedra)" and, having much served the Church, he left behind an extensive spiritual legacy – numerous works of historical, dogmatic and canonical content.
Hieromartyr Erasmus of Ochrid, who reposed in peace, and 20,000 Martyrs with him (303)
Commemorated on June 2/June 15
"This saint was born in Antioch and lived in the reigns of Diocletian and Maximian. He lived in strict asceticism on Mount Lebanon, and was endowed by God with great wonderworking gifts. As a bishop, he set out to preach the Gospel. Arriving at the city of Ochrid, he restored the son of a man called Anastasius to life by his prayers, and baptised him. At this time, Erazmus baptised many other pagans and tore down the idolatrous altar in Ochrid. For this he was denounced to the Emperor Maximian, who was at that time staying in Illyria. The Emperor brought him before the copper image of Zeus, and ordered him to bring sacrifices and worship the idol. St Erazmus, by his power, caused a terrible dragon to come out of the statue, which terrified all the people. The saint then worked another wonder, and the dragon died. Then the saint preached Christ and baptised 20,000 souls. The furious Emperor commanded that all 20,000 be beheaded, and put Erazmus to harsh torture, before throwing him into prison. But an angel of God appeared to him, as once to the Apostle Peter, and led him out of the prison. After that, this servant of God went to Campania, where he preached the Gospel to the people, then returned again to the town of Hermelia, where he withdrew to a cave and lived in asceticism for the rest of his days. At the time of his death, he prostrated three times towards the East and, with upraised hands, prayed to God to forgive and give eternal life to all those who would, with faith, call upon his name. At the end of his prayer, a voice was heard from heaven: 'Let it be as thou hast asked, My little healer Erazmus!' The saint looked up once more to heaven with great joy and saw a wreath of glory descending upon him, and a choir of angels, prophets, apostles and martyrs waiting to receive his holy soul. He finally cried: 'Lord, receive my spirit!', and breathed his last, in about the year 303. The cave and chapel of St Erazmus stand to this day not far from Ochrid, and from there is proclaimed to this day the great power of the man of God, Erazmus the hieromartyr." (Prologue)
Martyr Lucillian and those with him at Byzantium: four youths — Claudius, Hypatius, Paul, and Dionysius; and Virgin Paula (270)
Commemorated on June 3/June 16
The Holy Martyrs Lucillian, the Lads Claudius, Ipatius, Dionysius, and Paula the Virgin: Lucillian was a pagan priest during the time of the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275). In his old age he became persuaded of the falseness of the pagan religion, and with all his heart he turned to the faith in Christ the Saviour, and was baptised.
Under the influence of his preaching many a pagan was converted to Christianity. Then certain Jews, out of concern for his spreading faith in the Christ crucified by them, reported against Lucillian to the Nicomedia city-governor Sylvanus, who thereupon urged the elder to return to idol-worship. For his refusal, they smashed the jawbone of Saint Lucillian, beat him with canes and suspended him head downwards, and then they locked him away in prison. Here he met up with four lads that were confessors of Christianity – Claudius, Ipatius, Paul and Dionysius. Saint Lucillian urged them to stand firm in the faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death. After a certain while they brought them to trial and then thrown into a red-hot furnace, but suddenly rain poured down extinguishing the flames, and the martyrs remained unharmed. The governor sentenced them to death by execution, sending them off to Byzantium for carrying out the sentence. The holy lads were beheaded by the sword, and the holy Martyr Lucillian was nailed to a cross with quite many nails.
Witness to the deed of the holy martyrs was the holy Virgin Paula, who had dedicated herself to the service of those suffering for the faith in Christ. She provided food to Christian prisoners, washed their wounds, brought medications and also buried the bodies of martyrs. After the death of Saint Lucillian and the four lads, she returned to Nicomedia and continued on with her holy service. The holy virgin was arrested and cast into a furnace, but by the power of God she remained unharmed. Then they sent her off to Byzantium, where the holy martyress was beheaded by the sword.
St. Metrophanes, first patriarch of Constantinople (325)
Commemorated on June 4/June 17
Sainted Mitrophanes, Patriarch of Constantinople, was a contemporary of Saint Constantine the Great (306-337). His father, Dometius, was by birth a brother of the Roman emperor Probus (276-282). Having reasoned out the falseness of the pagan religion, Dometius came to believe in Christ. During a time of terrible persecution of Christians at Rome, Saint Dometius set off to Byzantium with two of his sons, Probus and Mitrophanes, and began to be instructed in the law of the Lord by Bishop Titus, a man holy of life. Seeing the ardent desire of Dometius to labour for the Lord, Saint Titus ordained him presbyter. And after the death of Titus there was elevated upon the bishop's throne first Dometius (272-303), and thereafter his sons, Probus (303-315) and in 316 – Saint Mitrophanes.
Upon a time having come to Byzantium, the emperor Constantine was delighted by the beauty and comfortable setting of the city. And having seen the holiness of life and sagacity of Saint Mitrophanes, the emperor took him back along to Rome. Soon Constantine the Great transferred the capital from Rome to Byzantium and he brought Saint Mitrophanes there. In the year 325 there was convened the First OEcumenical Council for resolving the Arian heresy. Constantine the Great had the holy fathers of the Council bestow upon Saint Mitrophanes the title of Patriarch. In such manner, the saint became the first Patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Mitrophanes was himself very old, and was not able to be present at the Council, and he sent in place of himself the khore-bishop (vicar bishop) Alexander. At the close of the Council the emperor together with the holy fathers visited with the ailing Patriarch. At the request of the emperor, the saint disclosed his choice of worthy successor to himself – Bishop Alexander, foretelling, that after Alexander there would be elevated upon the patriarchal throne Paul (at that time a reader), and to the Patriarch of Alexandria Alexander he foretold, that his successor would be the archdeacon Saint Athanasias.
Saint Mitrophanes peacefully expired to God in the year 326, at age 117. His relics rest at Constantinople, in a church, erected in his memory.
Sts. Mary and Martha, sisters of St. Lazarus (1st c.)
Commemorated on June 4/June 17 and on the Sunday of Myrrh-Bearing Women
The Righteous Sisters Martha and Mary were believers in Christ even before the Resuscitation by Christ of their brother Saint Lazarus. After the murder of the holy Archdeacon Stephen a persecution against the Jerusalem Church broke out, and Righteous Lazarus was cast out of Jerusalem. The holy sisters then assisted their brother in the proclaiming of the Gospel in various lands.
Hieromartyr Ioannicus, metropolitan of Montenegro and Littoral (1941)
Commemorated on June 4/June 17
Metropolitan Joanikije (baptismal name Jovan), the son of Spiro and Marija (maiden name Damjanovic) was born in Stoliva in the bay of Boka Kotorska, on February 16, 1880. He completed primary school in Prcanj, Grammar school in Kotor, Orthodox Theological Institute in Zadar, and the Philosophical Faculty in Belgrade. He also passed an exam for the professorship of theological subjects.
Jovan was ordained deacon on November 8 and hieromonk on November 10, 1912, by Rt. Rev. Vladimir, Bishop of Boka Kotorska and Dubrovnik. In the period 1912-1918 he was a chaplain in Kotor, and afterwards a parish priest in Lastva. From 1919 to 1925 he performed the job of assistant professor in the Grammar School on Cetinje, and afterwards in Lower-grade Female School, Female Teachers School, and the Cetinje Seminary. From 1925 to 1940, he was a professor in the First Male Grammar School in Belgrade.
Being a widower, he was elected Auxiliary Bishop of Budimlje in the end of 1939. He took monastic vows and the name Joanikije in the Rakovica Monastery, Skopje, Metropolitan Josif then serving. Joanikije was ordained bishop on February 11, 1940 in the Belgrade Cathedral. That same year, on December 10, he was elected the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral at an extraordinary session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops.
Metropolitan Joanikije managed the Diocese of Montenegro and the Littoral in a very difficult period. By his efforts, the Cetinje Seminary functioned and existed even in the hardest times of war. On July 20, 1942, he said to his priests: "to avoid any kind of political engagement and to take care of their duties and dignity". Due to arresting and persecuting of his clergymen, he tried to leave the country together with seventy priests. Unfortunately, he did not succeed; all of them were captured near Zidani Most. The priests were shot, and Metropolitan Joanikije was taken to Arandjelovac, where the Communists viciously killed him. The site of his remains is still unknown.
At the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops in 1999, Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral was canonized and his name was entered into the List of Names of the Serbian Church Saints.
Hieromartyr Dorotheos, bishop of Tyre (361)
Commemorated on June 5/June 18
The PriestMartyr Dorotheos was bishop of the Phoenician city of Tyre, during the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Heeding the words of the Gospel (Mt. 10: 23), the saint withdrew from Tyre and hid away from the persecutors. He returned to Tyre during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great (306-337, Comm. 21 May), again occupying the bishop's throne he guided his flock for more than 50 years, and converted many of the pagans to Christianity. When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) began openly to persecute Christians, Saint Dorotheos was already over 100 years old. He withdrew from Tyre to the Myzean city of Udum (present day Bulgarian Varna). Delegates of the emperor arrested him there. For his refusal to offer sacrifice to idols they began cruelly to torture the holy elder, and under torture he gave up his soul to the Lord (+ c. year 362, at age 107).
To Saint Dorotheos is ascribed by some the compiling of a work, "The Synopsis", a collection of sayings, and including lives of the holy prophets and apostles.
Venerable Peter, monk, of Korisha, Serbia (1275)
Commemorated on June 5/June 18
The Monk Peter, a Slav by descent, asceticised from his youthful years at the Korishsk monastery near Prizren during the time of the holy emperor Saint Dushan (1337-1351). The holy relics of the monk, situated at the Chernoretsk monastery, were transferred to the church of the Archangel Michael in the city of Kalashin.
Venerable Bessarion the Wonderworker of Egypt (466)
Commemorated on June 6/June 19
The Monk Bessarion, Wonderworker of Egypt, by descent an Egyptian, was baptised while still in his youth and he led a strict life, striving to preserve the grace given him during Baptism. Seeking to become more closely acquainted with the monastic life, he undertook a journey to the holy places, – he was in Jerusalem, he visited the Monk Gerasimos (Comm. 4 March) in the Jordanian wilderness, he viewed other monastic wilderness-monasteries, and assimilated all the rules of monastic life. Upon his return, he accepted monastic tonsure and became a disciple of the Monk Isidor Pelusiotes (Comm. 4 February). Saint Bessarion took upon himself a vow of silence, he partook of food only once a week, and sometimes he remained without food or drink for 40 days. There was an instance when the monk, immersed in prayer, stood motionless for 40 days and 40 nights without food or sleep.
The Monk Bessarion received from God the gift of wonderworking: when on a journey his disciple was strongly beset by thirst, he sweetened bitter water; by his prayer the Lord sent rain upon the earth, and he could as though on dry land cross a river; with but a single word he cast out devils, but he did this privately to avoid glory. His humility was so great, that when one time a priest ordered someone from the skete settlement to leave church for having fallen into sin, together with him went also the monk with the words: "I too am a sinner". The Monk Bessarion slept only standing or sitting. A large portion of the life of the saint was spent under the open sky in prayerful solitude. He peacefully expired to the Lord, having reached old age.
Venerable Hilarion the New, abbot of the Dalmatian Monastery (845)
Commemorated on June 6/June 19
The Monk Ilarion (Hilary) the New was born of pious parents, Peter and Theodosia, who raised him in the virtues and instructed him in Holy Scripture. At twelve years of age Saint Ilarion was tonsured into monasticism at the Isykhia monastery near Byzantium, and from there he transferred to the Dalmatia monastery, where he took on the great schema and became a disciple of the Monk Gregory Dekapolites (Comm. 20 November). The monk deeply venerated his God-bearing patronal-name saint – the Monk Ilarion the Great (Comm. 21 October), and he strove to imitate his life, whereby he came to be called Ilarion the New. At the Dalmatia monastery they ordained him presbyter. After the death of the hegumen the brethren wanted to elect Saint Ilarion to this position, but learning of this, he secretly withdrew away to Byzantium.
Then the monks of Dalmatia monastery sent off a petition to Sainted Patriarch Nikephoros, asking that the Monk Ilarion be assigned as hegumen. The Patriarch summoned the saint and persuaded him to give his assent. The Monk Ilarion submitted out of holy obedience. Over the course of eight years he peacefully guided the monastery. But in the year 813 the iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820) occupied the imperial throne. The monk refused to blaspheme holy icons and he boldly accused the emperor of heresy, for which he endured many torments. They locked him up in prison for awhile, and vexed him with hunger and thirst. The impious patriarch Theodotos, having replaced the exiled Patriarch Nikephoros, caused the monk much suffering in demanding a rejection of Orthodoxy. The monks of the Dalmatia monastery went to the emperor and besought him to release the saint, promising to submit to the imperial will. But having returned to the monastery, the Monk Ilarion and all the monks continued to venerate holy icons. The enraged emperor again locked up the monk in prison. With all the powers at his disposal to demand a renunciation, he gave the saint over to torture and confined him in prison.
But the wrath of God overtook the wicked emperor: he was cut down by his own soldiers in church at that very spot, where once before he had thrown down an holy icon. The new emperor Michael II the Stammerer (820-829) set free the Monk Ilarion from his imprisonment, and the saint settled into a solitary cell. Upon the death of the Monk Theodore the Studite (Comm. 11 November) – who likewise had suffered for holy icons, the Monk Ilarion was vouchsafed to behold holy Angels lifting up to Heaven the holy soul of Saint Theodore.
Under the iconoclast emperor Theophilos (829-842), the Monk Ilarion was again put under guard, and beaten terribly, and they confined him on the island of Athysia.
After the death of Theophilos, the holy empress Saint Theodora (842-855) gave orders to restore the confessors from exile. The Monk Ilarion returned to the Dalmatia monastery, again accepting to be hegumen at it, and he peacefully died in the year 845.
Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra (303)
Commemorated on June 7/June 20
The Holy Martyr Theodotos lived in Galatian Ancyra in the III Century. He was distinguished by an especial kindliness and concern. At the height of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305) he provided Christians all the necessities and gave them shelter in his home, where secretly they made Divine-services. Saint Theodotos visited the Christian captives in prison, paid their bail, and reverently gave burial to the bodies of martyrs thrown for devouring by wild beasts. One time he dragged out of the water and gave burial to the bodies of seven holy martyresses, drowned in the sea (Comm. 18 May). They reported about this to the governor. Having refused to offer sacrifice to idols and having denounced the pagan folly, Saint Theodotos confessed the true faith in Christ, for which they subjected him to terrible tortures and beheaded him with the sword (+ 303). They wanted to burn up the body of the holy martyr, but a storm having arisen made it futile to attempt this, and they gave him over to a Christian for burial.
Translation of the relics of Great-martyr Theodore Stratelates (319)
Commemorated on June 8/June 21
The Holy GreatMartyr Theodore Stratelates suffered for Christ in Herakleia on 8 February 319. At the time of his sufferings the holy Greatmartyr Theodore ordered his servant Uaros to bury his body on the estate of his parents in Eukhaitos. The transfer of the relics of the Greatmartyr Theodore was done on 8 June 319.
On this day also is remembered a miracle from an image of the Greatmartyr Theodore in a church of his name, at a place called Karsata, near about Damascus. The Saracens had turned this church into a residence. One of the Saracens shot an arrow into the image of the greatmartyr. From the shoulder of the saint, where the arrow had stuck into the wall, blood flowed forth in front of the eyes of everyone. A short while later, the Saracens who had settled in the church, killed each other. Accounts about this miracle are given by the holy Patriarch Anastasias of Antioch (+ 599, Comm. 20 April) and the Monk John Damascene (+ c. 780, Comm. 4 December).
St. Cyril, archbishop of Alexandria (444)
Commemorated on June 9/June 22
Sainted Cyril, ArchBishop of Alexandria, a distinguished champion of Orthodoxy and a great teacher of the Church, came from an illustrious and pious Christian family. He studied the secular sciences, among which number also was philosophy, but most of all he strove to acquire knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the truths of the Christian faith. In his youth Saint Cyril entered the skete-monastery of Saint Makarios in the Nitreia hills, where he stayed for six years. The Patriarch of Alexandria Theophilos (385-412) ordained him to the dignity of deacon, numbered him among the clergy and, seeing his giftedness, entrusted him to preach.
Upon the death of Patriarch Theophilos, Saint Cyril was unanimously chosen to the patriarchal throne of the Alexandrian Church. He headed the struggle against the spread in Alexandria of the Novatian heresy, which taught that a Christian, having fallen away from the Church during time of persecution, is not able to be received back by it again.
Saint Cyril, seeing the futility of admonishing the heretics, sought their expulsion from Alexandria. The Jews appeared a greater danger for the Church, repeatedly making riots, accompanied by the brutal killing of Christians. The saint long contended with them. And to end with the remaining paganism, the saint cast out devils from an ancient pagan temple and built on the place a church. Into it were transferred the relics of the holy Unmercenaries Cyrus and John. Still more difficult a struggle awaited the saint with the emergence of the Nestorian heresy.
Nestorius, a presbyter of the Antioch Church, was chosen in 428 to the Constantinople cathedra and therein got the chance to widely spread about his heretical teaching, directed against the dogma about the uncommingled union of two natures in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nestorius called the Mother of God not the Bogoroditsa (Theotokos or "Birth-giver of God"), but rather Khristoroditsa (Christotokos or "Birth-giver of Christ"), implying that she gave birth not to God, but only to the man Christ. The holy Patriarch Cyril repeatedly wrote to Nestorius and pointed out his error, but Nestorius continued to persevere in it. Then the saint sent out epistles against Nestorianism to the clergy of the Constantinople Church and to the holy nobleborn emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450) – two treatises with a denunciation of the heresy. Saint Cyril wrote also to other Churches – to Pope Celestine and to the other Patriarchs, and even to monks of several monasteries, warning about the emergence of a dangerous heresy.
Nestorius started an open persecution against the Orthodox. In his presence one of his partisans, bishop Dorotheos, pronounced from the church cathedra an anathema for anyone who would call the MostHoly Virgin Mary the Bogoroditsa (Theotokos).
Nestorius hated Saint Cyril and brought out against him every kind of slander and fabrication, calling him an heretic. The saint with all his powers continued to defend Orthodoxy. The situation became so aggravated, that it became necessary to convene an OEcumenical Council, which opened in the year 431 in the city of Ephesus. At the Council arrived 200 bishops from all the Christian Churches. Nestorius, awaiting the arrival of the bishop of Antioch John and other Syrian bishops, did not agree to the opening of the Council. But the fathers of the Council began the sessions. The Alexandrian Patriarch Saint Cyril presided. Having examined the teaching of Nestorius, the Council condemned him as an heretic. Nestorius did not submit to the Council, and the arriving bishop John opened a "robber council", which decreed Saint Cyril an heretic. The unrest increased. By order of the emperor, Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria and Archbishop Memnon of Ephesus were locked in prison. And in this measure, Nestorius also was deposed.
Soon Saints Cyril and Memnon were freed, and the sessions of the Council continued. Nestorius, not submitting himself to the determinations of the Council, was deprived of priestly rank and by order of the emperor sent to the faraway place Sasim in the Libean wilderness, where he died in grievous torments: his tongue, having blasphemed the Mother of God, was overtaken by punishment – in it there developed worms. Even Bishop John of Antioch and the remaining Syrian bishops signed the decretals of the Ephesus Council.
Saint Cyril guided the Alexandrian Church for 32 years: towards the end of his abundant activity the flock was cleansed of heretics. Gently and cautiously Saint Cyril approached towards anyone, who by their own simpleness and lack of knowledge fell into false wisdom. To a certain elder, an ascetic of profound life, – who incorrectly considered the Old Testament Righteous HighPriest Melchisedek to be the Son of God, – Saint Cyril turned with a request to pray to the Lord so that He should reveal, correctly how to consider that righteous one. After three days the elder came to Saint Cyril and said, that the Lord revealed to him, that Melchisedek was high-priest and a mere man.
Saint Cyril learned to overcome his prejudice against the memory of the great Sainted-hierarch John Chrysostomos (Zlatoust') (+ 407, Comm. 13 November). The Patriarch of Alexandria Theophilos, by birth an uncle of the saint, was an antagonist of Sainted John, and presided in a council in judgement of him. Saint Cyril from his youthful years found himself thus in a circle antagonistic to John Chrysostom and involuntarily acquired prejudice against him. The Monk Isidoros Pelusiotes (+ c. 436-440, Comm. 4 February) repeatedly wrote to Saint Cyril and urged him to include the name of the great father of the Church into the diptych-list of the saints, but Saint Cyril would not agree. But once in a dream he saw a wondrous temple, in which was present the Mother of God surrounded by an host of Angels and saints, in which number stood also Saint John Chrysostom. When Saint Cyril wanted to approach the MostHoly Lady and offer to Her veneration, Saint John Chrysostom would not let him. The Mother of God asked Saint John to forgive Saint Cyril, for having sinned against him through ignorance. Seeing that Saint John hesitated, the Mother of God said: "Forgive him for Me, since he hath laboured much for My honour, and hath glorified Me among the people calling Me the Mother of God, the Theotokos Bogoroditsa". Saint John answered: "By Thy intercession, Lady, I do forgive him", – and then with love he hugged and embraced Saint Cyril.
Saint Cyril repented himself that he had maintained anger against the great saint of God. Having convened all the Egyptian bishops, he made a solemn festal celebration in honour of Sainted John Chrysostom.
Saint Cyril died in the year 444, leaving behind many works. In particular ought to be mentioned: Commentaries – On the Gospel of Luke, On the Gospel of John, On the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians and to the Hebrews; also an Apologia in Defence of Christianity against the Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Of vast significance are: Five Books against Nestorius; a work About the MostHoly Trinity; – under the title "Thesaurus", written against Arius and Eunomios; also two dogmatic compositions About the MostHoly Trinity, – distinguished by a precise exposition of the Orthodox teaching about the Procession of the Holy Spirit. Saint Cyril wrote a composition – Against Anthropomorphism, for several Egyptians, who through ignorance depicted God in human form. Amidst a number of works by Saint Cyril are also the "Discussions", among which is the moving and edifying "Discourse on the Exodus of the Soul", inserted in the Slavonic "Following Psalter".
Hieromartyr Timothy, bishop of Prusa (362)
Commemorated on June 10/June 23
The PriestMartyr Timothy, Bishop of Prussa (Bithynia), received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking because of his purity and sanctity of life. At Prussa he converted many pagans to the faith in Christ. The emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), upon hearing about Saint Timothy had him locked up in prison, but even there also the saint continued to preach the Gospel. Julian forbade him to anymore teach about the Name of Jesus Christ, but the saint continued to spread about the Christian faith. Finally, the emperor gave orders to behead the saint. The holy relics of the saint were afterwards transferred to Constantinople.
Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas (1st c.)
Commemorated on June 11/June 24
The Holy Apostle Bartholomew was born at Cana of Galilee and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, it fell by lot to the holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip (Comm. 14 November) to preach the Gospel in Syria and Asia Minor. In their preaching they dispersed through various cities, and then met up together again. Accompanying the holy Apostle Philip was his sister, the holy virgin Saint Mariam.Traversing the cities of Syria and Myzia, they underwent much hardship and tribulations, they were stoned and they were locked up in prison. In one of the villages they met up with the Apostle John the Theologian, and together they set off to Phrygia. In the city of Hieropolis by the power of their prayers they destroyed an enormous viper, which the pagans worshipped as a god. The holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip with his sister proved their preaching with many a miraculous sign.
At Hieropolis there lived a man by the name of Stakhios, who had been blind for 40 years. When he received healing, he then believed in Christ and was baptised. News of this spread throughout the city, and a multitude of the people thronged to the house where the apostles were staying. The sick and those beset by demons were released from their infirmities, and many were baptised. The city governor gave orders to arrest the preachers and throw them in prison, and to burn down the house of Stakhios. At the trial pagan priests came forth with the complaint, that the strangers were turning people away from the worship of the ancestral gods. Thinking that perhaps some sort of magic power was hidden away in the clothes of the apostles, the governor gave orders to strip them. But Saint Mariam began to seem like a fiery torch before their eyes, and none dared touch her. They sentenced the saints to crucifixion. The Apostle Philip was raised up on the cross upside down. But there then began an earthquake, and a fissure in the earth swallowed up the governor of the city, together with the pagan priests and many of the people. Others took fright and rushed to take down the apostles from the crosses. Since the Apostle Bartholomew had not been put up high, they managed to take him down quickly. The Apostle Philip however had died. Making Stakhios the bishop of Hieropolis, the Apostle Bartholomew and Blessed Mariam left the city and moved on.
Preaching the Word of God, Mariam arrived in Likaoneia, where she peacefully died (Comm. 17 February). The Apostle Bartholomew set off to India, and there he translated from Hebrew the Gospel of Matthew, and he converted many pagans to Christ. He visited likewise Great Armenia (the country between the River Kura and the upper stretches of the Tigrus and Euphrates Rivers), where he worked many a miracle and healed the daughter of the emperor Polimios from the demons afflicting her. The emperor in gratitude sent gifts to the apostle, who however refused to accept them, saying that he sought only for the salvation of the souls of mankind. Then Polimios together with the empress, their healed daughter and many of those close to them accepted Baptism. And people from the ten cities of Great Armenia followed their example. But through the intrigues of the pagan priests, the Apostle Bartholomew was seized by the emperor brother Astiag in the city of Al'ban (now the city of Baku), and crucified upside down. But even from the cross he did not cease to proclaim the good news about Christ the Saviour. Finally, on orders from Astiag, they flayed the skin from the Apostle Bartholomew and cut off his head. Believers placed his remains in a pewter coffin and buried him.
In about the year 508 the holy relics of the Apostle Bartholomew were transferred to Mesopotamia, to the city of Dara. When the Persians seized the city in 574, Christians took the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew with them when they fled to the shores of the Black Sea. But since the enemy overtook them there, they were compelled to leave the coffin at the sea. By the power of God the coffin miraculously arrived on the island of Lipara. In the IX Century, after the taking of the island by the Arabs, the holy relics were transferred to the Neapolitan city of Beneventum in Italy, and in the X Century part of the relics were transferred to Rome.
There is mention about the holy Apostle Bartholomew in the Vita of Joseph the Melodist (+ 883, Comm. 4 April). Having received from a certain man part of the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew, the Monk Joseph conveyed them to his own monastery near Constantinople, and he built a church in the name of the Apostle Bartholomew, placing therein part of the relics. The Monk Joseph ardently desired to compile a laudation in song in honour of the saint, and he fervently besought God to grant him the ability to do so. On the feastday in memory of the Apostle Bartholomew, the Monk Joseph caught sight of him at the altar. He beckoned to Joseph and took the holy Gospel from the altar-table and pressed it to his bosom with the words: "Bless thou the Lord, and let thine song delight the world". And from that time the Monk Joseph began to write hymns and canons and with them adorn not only the feastday of the Apostle Bartholomew, but also the feastdays of many other saints, – compiling altogether about 300 canons. Saints John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Epiphanios of Cyprus and certain other teachers of the Church regard the Apostle Bartholomew as being one and the same person as Nathanael (Jn. 1: 45-51, 21: 2).
The Holy Disciple Barnabas
Commemorated on June 11/June 24
The Holy Disciple Barnabas was born on the island of Cyprus into the family of rich Hebrews, and he was named Joseph. He received his education at Jerusalem, being raised with his friend and co-student Saul (the future Apostle Paul) under the then reknown teacher of the law, Gamaliel. Joseph was pious, he frequented the Temple, he strictly observed the fasts and avoided youthful distractions. And during this time period our Lord Jesus Christ began His public ministry. Seeing the Lord and hearing His Divine Words, Joseph believed on Him as the Messiah, he was ardent with love for Him and followed Him. The Lord chose him to be among His Seventy Disciples. And it was amongst the followers of the Lord that Joseph received a second name – Barnabas, which in Hebrew means "son of consolation". After the Ascension of the Lord to Heaven, Barnabas sold land belonging to him near Jerusalem and he brought the money to the feet of the Apostles, leaving nothing for himself (Acts 4: 36-37).
When Saul after his conversion arrived in Jerusalem and sought to join with the followers of Christ, everyone there was afraid of him as having been a persecutor but a short while before. Barnabas however came with him to the Apostles and reported, how the Lord had appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 26-28).
As entrusted him by the Apostles, Saint Barnabas went to Antioch to encourage the believers: "Having come and having seen the grace of God, he rejoiced and he urged all to cleave to the Lord with sincerity of heart" (Acts 11: 23). Then the Disciple Barnabas went to Tarsis, and thereafter he brought the Apostle Paul to Antioch, where for about a year they taught the people in the Church. It was here that the disciples first began to be called Christians (Acts 11: 26). With the onset of famine, and taking along generous alms, Paul and Barnabas returned to Jerusalem. When king Herod killed the Apostle James Zebedaeus, and to please the Jews had the Apostle Peter put under guard in prison, Saints Barnabas and Paul and Peter were led out of the prison by an Angel of the Lord, and they hid out at the house of Barnabas' aunt Maria. Later, when the persecution had quieted down, they returned to Antioch, taking with them Maria's son John, surnamed Mark. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophets and teachers there imposed hands upon Barnabas and Paul, and sent them off on matters to which the Lord had summoned them (Acts 13: 2-3). Arriving in Seleucia, they sailed off to Cyprus and in the city of Salamis they preached the Word of God in the Jewish synagogues. On Paphos they came across a sorcerer and false-prophet named Barjesus, who was close with the proconsul Sergios. Wanting to hear the Word of God, the proconsul invited the saints to come to him. The sorcerer attempted to sway the proconsul from the faith, but the Apostle Paul denounced the sorcerer, who through his words suddenly fell blind. The proconsul believed in Christ (Acts 13: 6-12). From Paphos Barnabas and Paul set sail for Pergamum Pamphylia, and then they preached to the Jews and the Gentiles at Pisidian Antioch and throughout all that region. The Jews made a riot and expelled Paul and Barnabas. The saints arrived in Iconium, but learning that the Jews wanted to stone them, they withdrew to Lystra and Derben. There the Apostle Paul healed a man, crippled in the legs from birth. The people assumed them to be the gods Zeus and Hermes and wanted to offer them sacrifice. The saints just barely persuaded them not to do this (Acts 14: 8-18).
When the question arose, whether those converted from the Gentiles should accept circumcision, Barnabas and Paul set off to Jerusalem. There they were warmly received by the Apostles and elders. The preachers related, "what God had wrought with them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles "Acts 14: 27). After long deliberations the Apostles collectively resolved not to impose upon Gentile-Christians any sort of burden beyond that necessary – to refrain from idol-sacrifice and its blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication, and not to do to others that which they themselves not do (Acts 15: 19-20). Letters were dispatched with Barnabas and Paul, and they again evangelised at Antioch, and after a certain while they decided to visit the other cities, where earlier they had preached. The Disciple Barnabas wanted to take Mark along with him, but the Apostle Paul did not want to, since earlier he had gone off from them. A quarrel arose, and they separated. Paul took with him Silas and set off to Syria and Cilicia, and Barnabas took with him Mark – to Cyprus (Acts 15: 36-41).
Having multiplied the number of believers, the Disciple Barnabas set off to Rome, where he was perhaps the first to preach Christ.
The Disciple Barnabas founded the episcopal seat at Mediolanum (now Milan in Italy), and upon his return to Cyprus he continued to preach about Christ the Saviour. Thereupon the enraged Jews incited the pagans against Saint Barnabas, and they led him out beyond the city and stoned him, and then built a bon-fire so as to burn the body. Later on, having come upon this spot, Mark took up the unharmed body of the Disciple Barnabas and buried it in a cave, placing upon the bosom of Saint Barnabas, in accord with his final wishes, the Gospel of Matthew copied out in his own hand.
The Disciple Barnabas died in about the year 62, at age 76. Over the course of time the place of burial of the Disciple Barnabas was forgotten. But numerous signs appeared at this place. In the year 448, during the time of the emperor Zeno, the Disciple Barnabas thrice appeared in a dram-vision to the Cyprus archbishop Anthymos and indicated the place of burial of his relics. Starting to dig at the indicated spot, Christians found the incorrupt body of the saint, and upon his chest was the Holy Gospel. It was from these times that the Cyprus Church began to be termed Apostolic in origin and received the right of autonomously choosing its head. And thus the Disciple Barnabas defended Cyprus against the pretensions of the opponent of the Fourth OEcumenical Council, the heretic surnamed Knapheios, who had usurped the patriarchal throne at Antioch and sought to gain dominion over the Cyprus Church.
Venerable Onuphrius the Great (400)
Commemorated on June 12/June 25
The Vitae/Lives of the Monk Onuphrios the Great and of other hermits of the IV Century, asceticising in the inner Thebaid wilderness in Egypt (among them were the Monk Timothy the Wilderness-Dweller, and the Monks John, Andrew, Herakleimon (Heraklambonos), Theophilos and others) – was written down by their contemporary and fellow monk of the Thebaid, the Monk Paphnutios.
One time the thought occurred to Saint Paphnutios to go off into the depths of the wilderness, in order to see for himself the fathers asceticising there and to hear from them, as to how they sought after salvation. He set out from his monastery and went into the wilderness. Over the span of four days the monk reached a cave and found in it the body of a long since dead elder. Having buried the hermit, the Monk Paphnutios went on further. After another four days he came across yet another cave and from the marks in the sand he realised, that the cave was inhabited. At sundown he saw an herd of buffalo and walking amidst them a man. This man was naked, but covered over literally as though by clothing by long hair. This was the Monk Timothy the Wilderness-Dweller. Catching sight of a fellow man, the Monk Timothy thought that he was seeing an apparition, and he began to pray. Saint Paphnutios finally convinced the hermit, that he was actually a live man and a fellow Christian. The Monk Timothy readied him a guest-place and related, that he had been already asceticising in the wilderness for 30 years, and this was the first he had seen of another man. In his youth, the Monk Timothy had lived in a common-life monastery, but he was troubled by thoughts of being saved alone. The Monk Timothy left his monastery and went to live nearby a city, sustaining himself by the work of his own hands (he was a weaver). One time a woman came to him with an order and he fell into sin with her. Having come to his senses, the fallen monk went far off into the wilderness, where with patience he underwent tribulation and sickness as a merited chastisement from God. And when he was already at the point of dying from hunger, just then in a miraculous manner he received healing.
From that time the Monk Timothy had lived peacefully in complete solitude, eating dates from the trees, and quenching his thirst with water from a spring. The Monk Paphnutios besought the elder that he might remain with him in the wilderness. But he was told, that he would be unable to bear the demonic temptations which beset wilderness-dwellers, and instead he blessed him and supplied him on his way with dates and water.
Having rested up at the wilderness monastery, the Monk Paphnutios undertook a second journey into the depths of the wilderness. He went on for 17 days. His supply of bread and water was exhausted, and the Monk Paphnutios twice collapsed from weakness. An Angel strengthened him. On the 17th day the Monk Paphnutios reached an hilly place and sat down to rest. Here he caught sight of a man approaching him, from head to foot covered with white hair and with a belt of leaves about the loins. The sight of the elder frightened Saint Paphnutios, and he jumped up and fled off towards the hill. The elder sat down at the foot of the hill. And when, lifting his head, he caught sight of the Monk Paphnutios, he called out to him to come over. This was the great wilderness-dweller – the Monk Onuphrios. At the request of Saint Paphnutios, he told him about himself.
The Monk Onuphrios had lived in complete isolation in the wilds of the wilderness for 60 years. In his youth he had been raised at the Erita Thebaid monastery. Having learned from the elders about the hardships and lofty life of the wilderness-dwellers, to whom the Lord dispatched help through His Angels, the Monk Onuphrios blazed up in his spirit to copy their exploits. By night he secretly left the monastery and saw before himself a ray of light. Saint Onuphrios became frightened and decided to go back, but the voice of his Guardian Angel urged him on upon his utmost path. In the depths of the wilderness the Monk Onuphrios came upon a wilderness dweller and he stayed with him to learn of the wilderness manner of life and the struggle with demonic temptations. When the elder was convinced, that Saint Onuphrios was strong enough in this terrible struggle, he then led him off to this bidden place of exploits and left him alone. Once a year the elder was wont to come to him, and after several years, having finally come to the Monk Onuphrios, he then died.
At the request of the Monk Paphnutios, the Monk Onuphrios told about his exploits and efforts and about how the Lord had cared for him: roundabout the cave where he lived, there grew a date-palm tree and a spring of pure water issued forth. Twelve different branches of the palm tree in succession bore fruit, and so the monk endured neither hunger nor thirst. The shade of the palm tree sheltered him from the noonday heat. An Angel brought the saint bread and each Saturday and Sunday communed him, as also with the other wilderness dwellers, with the Holy Mysteries.
The monks conversed until evening. At evening there appeared amidst the saints white bread, and they partook of it with water. The elders spent the night at prayer. After the singing of matins the Monk Paphnutios saw, that the face of the Monk Onuphrios had become transformed, which frightened him. Saint Onuphrios was saying: "God, Merciful to all, hath sent thee to me, so that thou might give burial to my body. On this present day I shalt finish my earthly course and pass over to life unending, in rest eternal, going to my Christ". The Monk Onuphrios bid Saint Paphnutios, that he should tell the account about him to his brother ascetics and to all Christians, for the sake of their salvation.
The Monk Paphnutios besought blessing to remain in the wilderness, but Saint Onuphrios said, that this was not the will of God, and he ordered him to return to the monastery and relate to everyone about the lives of the Thebaid Wilderness-Dwellers. Having then blessed the Monk Paphnutios and made farewell, Saint Onuphrios prayed long with tears, and then he lay down upon the earth, uttering his final words: "Into Thine hands, my God, I commend my spirit", – and he died.
The Monk Paphnutios with weeping tore off a portion of his garb and with it wrapped the body of the great wilderness dweller, which he placed in the crevice of a large rock, and in the semblance of a grave, he covered it over with a multitude of small stones. Then he began to pray, whether it was that the Lord had decided he should stay til his life's end at the place of the exploits of the Monk Onuphrios. Suddenly the cave fell in, the palm tree withered, and the water spring dried up.
Realising that he had not been given the blessing to remain, the Monk Paphnutios set out on his return journey.
After 4 days the Monk Paphnutios reached a cave, where he met a wilderness dweller, who was there in the wilderness for more than 60 years. Except for the two other elders, with whom he asceticised, this wilderness dweller had seen no one in that time. Each week these three had gone on their solitary paths into the wilderness, and on Saturday and Sunday they gathered for psalmody. They ate the bread, which an Angel brought them. And since it was Saturday, they had gathered together. Having partaken of the bread from the Angel, they spent the whole night at prayer. In leaving, the Monk Paphnutios asked the names of the elders, but they said: "God, Who knoweth all, knoweth also our names. Remember us, that we be vouchsafed to see one another in God's habitations on high".
Continuing on his way, the Monk Paphnutios came upon an oasis, which impressed him with its beauty and abundance of fruit-bearing trees. And then the four youths inhabiting this place came to him from out of the wilderness. The youths told the Monk Paphnutios, that in their childhood they had lived in the city of Oxyrhynchus (Upper Thebaid) and they had studied together. They had been ardent with the desire to devote their lives to God. Making their plans to go off into the wilderness, the youths left the city and after several days journey they reached this wilderness area. A man radiant with light met them and led them to a wilderness elder. "We are living here six years already, – said the youths, – Our elder dwelt here one year and then he died. We live here at present alone, we eat of the fruit of the trees, and we have water from a spring". The youths gave him their names: they were Saints John, Andrew, Heraklambonos (Herakleimon) and Theophilos. The youths asceticised separately from one another the whole week long, but on Saturday and Sunday they gathered at the oasis and offered up common prayer. On these days an Angel would appear and commune them with the Holy Mysteries. This time however, because of the Monk Paphnutios, they did not go off into the wilderness, but spent the whole week together at prayer. On the following Saturday and Sunday Saint Paphnutios together with the youths was granted to commune the Holy Mysteries from the hands of the Angel and to hear the words of utterance of the Angel: "Receive ye the Food Imperishable, the Bliss Unending and Life Eternal, the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, our God".
The Monk Paphnutios made bold to ask of the Angel the permission to remain to the end of his days in the wilderness. The Angel answered, that God had decreed for him another path – to return to Egypt and to make report to all Christians about the life of the wilderness dwellers.
Having made his farewell of the youths, the Monk Paphnutios after three days journey reached the edge of the wilderness. Here he found a small skete monastery, and the brethren received him fondly. The Monk Paphnutios related everything, that he had learned about the holy fathers, whom he had encountered in the depths of the wilderness. The brethren wrote down in detail the account of the Monk Paphnutios and spread it about through other sketes and monasteries. The Monk Paphnutios gave thanks to God, Who had granted him to learn about the lofty lives of the hermits of the Thebaid wilderness, and he returned to his own monastery.
Venerable Peter of Mt. Athos (734)
Commemorated on June 12/June 25
The Monk Peter of Athos, a Greek by birth, served as a soldier in the imperial armies and he lived at Constantinople. In the year 667 during the time of a war with the Syrians, Saint Peter was taken captive and locked up in a fortress in the city of Samara on the River Euphrates.
For a long time he languished in prison and he pondered over what sins of his had incurred the chastisement of God. Saint Peter remembered, that once upon a time he had the intention to leave the world and go off to a monastery, but he had not done so. He began to observe strict fast in the prison and to pray fervently, and he besought of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker to intercede before God for him. Saint Nicholas appeared in a dream to Saint Peter and advised him to call for help on Saint Simeon the God-Receiver. And encouraging the prisoner in patience and hope, Saint Nicholas once more appeared to him in a dream. The third time it was not in a dream that he appeared with Saint Simeon the God-Receiver. Saint Simeon touched his staff to the chains of Saint Peter, and the chains melted away, literally like wax. The doors of the prison opened up, and Saint Peter emerged to freedom. Saint Simeon the God-Receiver became invisible, but Saint Nicholas conveyed Saint Peter to the borders of the Greek lands. And reminding him of his vow, Saint Nicholas likewise became invisible. Saint Peter then journeyed to Rome to assume the monastic form at the tomb of the Apostle Peter. And even here Saint Nicholas did not leave without his help: he appeared in a dream to the Pope of Rome and informed him about the circumstances of Saint Peter's liberation from captivity, and he commanded the Pope to tonsure the former prisoner into monasticism.
On the following day, amidst a numerous throng of the people during Divine-services, the Pope loudly exclaimed: "Peter, thou who art come from the Greek lands, and whom Saint Nicholas hath freed from prison in Samara, come thou forth unto me". Saint Peter stood forth in front of the Pope, who tonsured him into monasticism at the tomb of the Apostle Peter. The Pope taught Saint Peter the rules of monastic life and kept the monk by him. And then with a blessing he sent off Saint Peter thither, whence God had blessed him to journey.
Saint Peter boarded a ship, sailing to the East. The ship-owners, during a time of having come ashore, besought Saint Peter to come and pray at a certain house, wherein the owner and all the household lay sick. Saint Peter healed them through his prayer.
The MostHoly Mother of God then appeared in a dream to Saint Peter and indicated the place, where he should live til the very end of his days – Holy Mount Athos. When the ship sailed alongside Athos, it then halted of its own accord. Saint Peter realised, that this was the place he had to go, and so he went ashore. This was in the year 681. The Monk Peter then dwelt in the desolate places of the Holy Mountain, not seeing another person for 53 years. His clothing had tattered, but his hair and beard had grown out and covered his body in place of clothes.
At first the Monk Peter was repeatedly subjected to demonic assaults. Trying to force the saint to abandon his cave, the devils took on the form at times of armed soldiers, and at other times of fierce beasts and vipers that seemed ready to tear apart the hermit. But through fervent prayer to God and the Mother of God, the Monk Peter conquered the demonic assaults. Then the enemy began to resort to trickery. Appearing under the guise of a lad, sent to him from his native home, he with tears besought the monk to leave the wilderness and return to his own home. The monk was in tears, but without hesitation answered: "Hither have the Lord and the MostHoly Mother of God led me, and without Her leave I go not from hence". Hearing the Name of the Mother of God, the demon vanished.
After seven years the devil came before the monk in the guise of a luminous angel and said, that God was commanding him to go into the world for the enlightening and salvation of people needful of his guidance. The experienced ascetic again replied, that without the permission of the Mother of God he would not forsake the wilderness. The devil disappeared and did not bother more to approach the saint. The Mother of God appeared to the Monk Peter in a dream together with Saint Nicholas and said to the brave hermit, that each 40 days an Angel would bring him Heavenly manna. From that time the Monk Peter fasted for 40 days, and on the fortieth day he fortified himself with the Heavenly manna, receiving the strength for further forty-day abstinence.
One time an hunter, chasing after a stag, caught sight of the naked man, covered about with hair and girded about the loins with leaves. He took fright and was about to flee. The Monk Peter stopped him and told him about his life. The hunter asked leave to remain with him, but the saint sent him off home. The Monk Peter gave the hunter a year for self-examination and forbade him to tell about the meeting with him.
A year later the hunter returned with his brother, afflicted with a demon, and together with several other companions. When they entered the cave of the Monk Peter, they then saw, that he had already reposed to God. The hunter amidst bitter sobs told his companions about the life of the Monk Peter, and his brother, with but a touch to the body of the saint, received healing. The Monk Peter died in the year 734. His holy relics were situated on Athos at the monastery of Saint Clement. During the Iconoclast period the relics were hidden away, and in the year 969 they were transferred to the Thracian village of Photokami. With the name of the Monk Peter of Athos is connected the sacred testimonial of the Mother of God about Her earthly appenage – Holy Mount Athos, which even now presently remains in force: "To Mount Athos let there be its peace, for this is allotted Me by My Son and God, given unto Me, wherein let them be separated from worldly whisperings and gathered together those spiritual in the power of their exploits, with faith and love in soul calling out My Name, thereupon to pass their earthly lifetime without travail, and for their God-pleasing deeds to receive life eternal: for exceedingly do I love this place and I do wish upon it the increase of monks, and they possessing the mercy of My Son and God thereupon as monks shalt never be undone, if they observe the saving commandments: and I shalt spread them forth upon the Mountain to the south and to the north, and they shalt possess it from the world til the end of the world, and their name throughout all under the sun I shalt make praiseworthy and so defend those, which there with patience would asceticise in fasting".
Martyr Aquilina of Byblos in Lebanon (293)
Commemorated on June 13/June 26
The Holy Martyress Acelina, a native of the Phoenician city of Byblos, suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Her parents raised her in Christian piety. When the girl was but 12 years of age, she persuaded a pagan friend to convert to Christ. One of the servants of the imperial governor Volusian made a denunciation, that she was teaching her peers not to honour the religion of their fathers. The girl firmly confessed her faith in Christ in front of the governor and said, that she would not renounce Him. Volusian tried by persuasion and by flattery to sway the young confessor, but seeing her assuredness, he then gave orders to hand her over for torture. They struck her upon the face, and then, having been stripped they whipped her. The torturer mockingly asked: "Where then is thy God? Let Him come and take thee out of my hands". The saint answered: "The Lord is invisibly here together with me, and the more I suffer, all the more shalt He give me strength and endurance".
With red-hot rods they drilled at the head of the martyress at the ears. The holy martyress fell down as though dead. The torturer decided that the girl had actually died, and he gave orders to throw out her body outside the city for devouring by dogs. By night an holy Angel appeared to Saint Acelina, roused her and said: "Arise and be well. Go and denounce Volusian, that he himself and his intent are thus come to naught before God". The martyress, offering up praise to God, and having been restored unharmed, went to the court of the governor and stood before Volusian. Seeing Saint Acelina, Volusian in fright called for his servants and ordered them to keep watch over her until morning. In the morning he delivered a death sentence against Saint Acelina on the grounds of being a sorceress and not obeying the imperial decrees. When they led the saint to execution, she prayed and gave thanks to God, for having granted her to suffer for His Holy Name. A voice was heard in answer to her prayer, summoning her to the Heavenly Kingdom, after which the martyress gave up her spirit to God (+ 293). The executioner feared to disobey the orders of the governor, and although already dead, he cut off her head. Christians piously buried the body of the martyress. Later on, her relics were taken to Constantinople and placed within a church named for her.
St. Triphyllius, bishop of Leucosia (Nicosia) in Cyprus (370)
Commemorated on June 13/June 26
Sainted Triphyllios, Bishop of Leukyssa, was born in Constantinople, and he received his education at Berit (Beirut, in Lebanon). He was very intelligent and eloquent. In spite of this, the saint chose as his guide a man not bookish nor learned, but of profound holiness – Sainted Spyridon of Trimiphunteia (+ 348, Comm. 12 December). The emperor Constantine II (337-340) fell grievously ill and, having received no help from the doctors, he turned with fervent prayer to God. In a dream he saw an Angel, directing him to a gathering of saintly hierarchs. Pointing out two of them, the Angel said that only through them could he receive healing. Constantine circulated an imperial edict throughout all the districts, commanding the bishops to gather. Saint Spyridon also received this order. Together with his disciple Saint Triphyllios, he set out to the emperor. The sick one immediately recognised them as the healers pointed out by the Angel. He bowed to them and asked them to pray for his health. Saint Spyridon with a prayer touched the head of the emperor, and he became well. Saint Triphyllios was charmed by the beautiful palace, the majestic figure of the emperor, and the pomp of palace life. Saint Spyridon said to this: "Why art thou astonished? Doth then this lustre make the emperor any more righteous? All of them – emperors and dignitaries – will alike die and stand together with the very poorest before the judgement-seat of God. One ought to seek after the eternal blessings and Heavenly glories".
Soon Saint Triphyllios was made bishop of the city of Leukyssa on Cyprus. He often visited with Saint Spyridon. One time they passed together through an area of vineyards and gardens of especial beauty and abundance, named Parimnos. Saint Triphyllios, attracted by the beauty of nature, began to consider how they might explore this land. Saint Spyridon discerned the thoughts of Saint Triphyllios and said: "Why dost thou incessantly think about earthly and transitory blessings? Our habitation and riches art in Heaven, to which we ought to strive". Thus did Saint Spyridon constantly lead his student towards spiritual perfection, which Saint Triphyllios attained through the prayers of his preceptor. Saint Triphyllios had a charitable soul, an heart without malice, right faith and love towards all, and many other virtues.
One time a Council of bishops assembled on Cyprus. The father of the Council requested that Saint Triphyllios, known for his erudition and eloquence, give an edifying speech to the people. Speaking about the healing of the paralytic by the Lord (Mk. 2 : 11). in place of the word "cot" he used the word "bed". Impatient with the imprecise rendering of the Gospel text, Saint Spyridon roused himself and said to Saint Triphyllios: "Art thou better than He that spake "cot", that thou be ashamed of His wording?" – and abruptly he left the church. Thus did Saint Spyridon give Saint Triphyllios a lesson in humility, so that he would not get puffed up with pride over the talent of eloquence bestown on him. Saint Triphyllios wisely shepherded his flock. From the means left him by his mother, he built a monastery at Leukyssa. The saint died in old age in about the year 370.
At the beginning of the XII Century the Russian pilgrim Hegumen Daniel saw the relics of Saint Triphyllios on Cyprus.
Prophet Elisha (10th c. B.C.)
Commemorated on June 14/June 27
The Holy Prophet Elisha (Elisei) lived in the IX Century before the Birth of Christ, and was a native of the village of Abelmaum, near Jordan. By the command of the Lord he was called to prophetic service by the holy Prophet of God Eliah (Ilias, Elijah) (Comm. 20 July).
When it became time for the holy Prophet Eliah to be taken up to Heaven, he said to Elisha: "Ask, what shalt I do for thee, before that I be taken from thee". Elisha boldly asked for a double portion of the grace of God: "The Spirit, which be in thee, let it be upon me twofold". The Prophet Eliah said: "Thou dost ask the difficult; if thou seest as I be taken from thee, then so shalt it be for thee, but if thou seest not, it wilt not be" (4  Kings 2: 12). And when they went along the way and conversed, there appeared a fiery chariot and horses and parted them both. Elisha cried out: "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horse!" (4  Kings 2: 12). Picking up the cloak (mantle) of his teacher which fell from the sky, Elisha received the power and prophetic gift of Eliah. He spent more than 65 years in prophetic service, under six Israelite kings (from Ahab to Joash). "And in those days he trembled not before the prince, and no one could overcome him" (Sirach 48: 13 ["Sirach" in the canon of Old Testament books is found in Catholic but not Protestant English translations of the Bible, rendered as "Ecclesiasticus"]). The holy prophet worked numerous miracles. He divided the waters of the Jordan, having smitten it with the mantle of the Prophet Eliah; he made fit for drinking the waters of a Jericho spring; by an abundant bringing forth of water by his prayer he saved the armies of the kings of Israel and Judah that stood in an arid wilderness; he delivered a poor widow from death by starvation through a miraculous increase of oil in a vessel. The Shunamite woman showing hospitality to the prophet was gladdened by the birth of a son through his prayer, and when the child died, he was raised back to life by the prophet. The Syrian military-commander Namaan was healed from leprosy but the servant of the prophet, Gehazi, was afflicted since he disobeyed the prophet and on the sly took money from Namaan. Elisha predicted to the Israelite king Joash the victory over his enemies and by the power of his prayer worked many other miracles (4  Kings 3-13). The holy Prophet Elisha died in old age at Samaria. "And in life he worked miracles, and at death astounding was his deed" (Sir. 48: 15). A year after his death, a corpse was thrown into the cave wherein lay his remains, and came alive by a mere touch to his bones. The Prophet Elisha, just like his teacher the Prophet Eliah, left behind them no books, since their prophetic preaching was but oral. Jesus, son of Sirach, inscribed eulogistic praise to both the great prophets (Sir. 48: 1-15).
Saint John Damascene compiled a canon in honour of the Prophet Elisha, and at Constantinople a church was built in his name.
Julian the Apostate (361-363) gave orders to burn the relics of the Prophet Elisha, Abdia (Obadiah) and John the Forerunner, but the remains of the holy relics were preserved by believers, and part of them were transferred to Alexandria.
St. Methodius, patriarch of Constantinople (847)
Commemorated on June 14/June 27
Sainted Methodios, Patriarch of Constantinople, was born in Sicily into a rich family. Having a vocation to God, he went while still in his youth off to a monastery on the island of Chios and renovated it with his means. During the reign of the iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820), Saint Methodios held the high position of "apokrisiaros" ("advocate for Church matters") under the holy Patriarch Nicephoros (Comm. 2 June). He was dispatched by the patriarch to Rome on a mission to the papacy and he remained there. During this period Leo the Armenian removed Nicephoros from the patriarchal throne and put on it the iconoclast Theodotos of Melissinea, given the nickname "Kassiter" ("Tinman") (815-822). After the death of Leo the Armenian, Saint Methodios returned, and in the dignity of presbyter he struggled incessantly against the Iconoclast heresy. The emperor Michael the Stammerer (820-829) at first was noted for his benevolence and he set free many imprisoned by his predecessor for their veneration of icons, but after a while he renewed the persecution against Orthodoxy. Saint Methodios was locked up in prison in Akrita. After the death of Michael the Stammerer, the ruler was Theophilos (829-842), who also was an iconoclast. More refined a man than his father, he set free Saint Methodios, who likewise was a man of learning, superbly skilled in matters not only ecclesial, but also civil. Having received his freedom, Saint Methodios renewed the struggle with the heretics, and for a while the emperor tolerated this.
But after defeat in a war with the Arabs, Theophilos vented his anger against Saint Methodios, saying, that God had punished him because he had let come close to him an "icon-worshipper" (such was what the iconoclasts called those who venerate holy icons). Saint Methodios objected, saying that the Lord was angry with him for the insults upon His holy icons. They gave the saint over to tortures, and struck him much about the face, from which his jaw was broken. On his face remained ugly scars. Saint Methodios was sent off to the island of Antigonos and he was locked up there with two robbers in a deep cave. In this dark prison where the light of day penetrated not, Saint Methodios languished for 7 years until the death of the emperor Theophilos.
During this time, the holy Icon-Confessors Theodore and Theophanes the Lettered-Upon (Comm. 27 December), likewise banished to prison, sent Saint Methodios greetings in verse, and the prisoner likewise answered with greetings in verse.
After the death of Theophilos, his son Michael III (842-867) began to rule, but not being of mature age, the Byzantine empire was actually ruled by his mother, the empress Blessed Theodora, a venerator of icons.
The empress tired to extirpate the Iconoclast heresy, and gave orders to free the confessors imprisoned for icon veneration. The heretic Annios occupying the patriarchal throne was banished, and Saint Methodios chosen in his place. At Constantinople was convened a Local Council with Saint Methodios presiding (842). The Council restored icon veneration and established an annual celebration of the triumph of Orthodoxy. The "Rite of Orthodoxy" compiled by Saint Methodios is done on the First Sunday of the Great Lent.
Attempting to undermine the authority of Saint Methodios, and also the love and esteem of his flock for him, the heretics slandered him as having transgressed chastity. The slandering was exposed as such, and the enemies of the saint put to shame. The final years of the saint passed peacefully, he toiled much, wisely guided the Church and his flock, renovated temples ruined by the heretics, gathered up the relics of saints scattered about by the heretics, and transferred the relics of Patriarch Nicephoros from the place of his imprisonment back to Constantinople. Saint Methodios died in the year 846. He was spiritually close to the Monk Ioannikos (Comm. 4 November), who had foretold him his becoming patriarch and also the time of his end. Besides the "Rite of Orthodoxy", the holy hierarch also compiled a rule for those converted to the faith, three rites of marriage and several pastoral sermons and church songs.
Prophet Amos (8th c. B.C.).
Commemorated on June 15/June 28
The Holy Prophet Amos, third of the 12 Lesser Prophets, lived during the VIII Century before the Birth of Christ. At this time the Hebrew nation was divided into two kingdoms: the Judean and the Israelite. The Judean king Hosiah ruled in Jerusalem, but the 10 separated Israelite tribes were ruled by Jeroboam II, an idol-worshipper. At Bethel he set up an idol in the form of a golden calf, which they worshipped, having rejected the True God of the Israelites.
The Prophet Amos was a Judean, native to the city of Thekui. Simple and untaught, but strongly fervent of faith and zealous for the glory of the True God – the shepherd was chosen by the Lord for prophetic service and sent to the Israelite kingdom for the purpose of denouncing the impiety of King Jeroboam, and the Israelites for falling away from God. The prophet predicted for them a great misfortune, which would befall the Israelite kingdom, and the pagan nations surrounding it, for their impiety. Because of his denunciations, the Prophet Amos repeatedly suffered beatings and torture. But he again returned to Bethel, and threatening inevitable misfortunes, he continued to call the Israelites to repentance. The pagan-priest Amasiah of the idolatrous temple in particular hated the prophet. The prophet predicted for him and all his household a speedy destruction and for this he was subjected to a beating. The son of Amasiah, Hosiah, struck the saint on the head with a club and seriously wounded him. The Prophet Amos, still alive, reached his native village and there he died in about the year 787 before the Birth of Christ.
Great-martyr Tsar Venerable Lazar of Serbia (1389)
Commemorated on June 15/June 28
The Holy Nobleborn Prince of Serbia Lazar (Lazarus) lived during the XIV Century – at a time when the Turks, having conquered neighbouring lands, prepared an invasion of Serbia.
Saint Lazar was raised at the court of the holy king Dushan. He was appointed governor of one of the Serbian districts. In the year 1371 he was chosen king of all Serbia and he toiled much at strengthening the condition of the country. He pacified neighbouring princes, which had wronged or plundered Serbian settlements. And he was concerned for the Christian enlightenment of the nation, he built churches, supported the monasteries and charitable establishments. In 1380 the saint established the monastery at Rovanetz. Saint Lazar petitioned the Constantinople Patriarch for an agreement of recognition of the Archbishop of Serbia by the Patriarch. During the course of the 10years of his rule, Serbia was at peace.
Afterwards there began war with the Turks. At the time of the Kossovo Battle the wounded king was taken prisoner and on orders of Sultan Bayazet was beheaded with a sword on 15 June 1389. The body of the holy king Lazar was buried at a nearby church. In 1391 his undecayed relics were transferred to the Rovanetz monastery. The monastery was destroyed by the Turks in 1683, and the relics of king Lazar were transferred to the monastery of New Rovanetz on Mount Thruzh.
St. Tychon, bishop of Amathus in Cyprus (425)
Commemorated on June 16/June 29
Sainted Tykhon, Bishop of Amaphuntum, was born in the city Amaphuntum on the island of Cyprus. His parents raised their son in Christian piety, and taught him the reading of Sacred books. There is an account extant, that the gift of wonderworking appeared in Saint Tykhon at a still quite youthful age.
His father was the owner of a bread bakery and he sent his son to distribute bread. The holy lad gave bread free to the needy. Learning about this, his father became angry, but the son answered, that he had read in the holy books, that "in giving to God one receiveth back an hundredfold". "I too, – said the youth, – gave to God the bread which was taken" and he persuaded his father to go to where the grain was stored. With astonishment the father saw that the granary which formerly was empty, was now filled to overflowing with wheat. From that time the father did not hinder his son from distributing bread to the needy.
A certain gardener brought from the vineyard the dried prunings of vines. Saint Tykhon gathered them, planted them in his garden and besought the Lord, that these branches might take root and yield salubrious fruit for the health of people. The Lord did so through the faith of the holy youth. The branches took root, and their fruit had a particular and very pleasant taste and was used during the lifetime of the saint and after his death for the wine in making the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.
They accepted the pious youth into the church clergy, made him a reader, and afterwards the bishop of Amaphuntum Memnon ordained him to the dignity of deacon. After the death of Bishop Memnon, Saint Tykhon by universal agreement was chosen as bishop of Amaphuntum. The ordination was headed by Sainted Epiphanios, Bishop of Cyprus (+ 403, Comm. 12 May).
Saint Tykhon laboured zealously for the eradication of the remnants of paganism on Cyprus – he destroyed an idolatrous temple and spread the Christian faith. The sainted-bishop was generous, his doors were open to all, and with love he listened to and fulfilled the request of each person who came to him. Fearing neither threats nor tortures, he firmly and fearlessly confessed his faith before pagans.
In the service to Sainted Tykhon it is pointed out, that he foresaw the time of his death, which occurred in the year 425.
The name of Sainted Tykhon of Amaphuntum was accorded great honour in Russia. In honour of the saint, temples were constructed at Moscow, at Nizhni Novgorod, at Kazan and other cities. But the saint was particularly venerated in Voronezh diocese, where there were three archpastors in succession sharing the name with the Sainted-bishop of Amaphuntum: Sainted Tikhon I (Sokolov) (+ 1783, Comm. 13 August), Tikhon II (Yakubovsky, until 1785) and Tikhon III (Malinin, until 1788).
Martyrs Manuel, Sabel, and Ismael of Persia (362)
Commemorated on June 17/June 30
The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael, brothers by birth, were descended from an illustrious Persian lineage. Their father was a pagan, but their mother was a Christian, who baptised the children and raised them with firm faith in Christ the Saviour. Having grown into adults, the brothers entered military service. Speaking on behalf of the Persian emperor Alamundar, they were his emissaries in the concluding of a peace treaty with the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Julian received them with due honour and showed them his favour. But when the brothers refused to take part in a pagan sacrificial offering, Julian became angry, and annulling the treaty, he locked up the peace emissaries of a foreign country in prison, like common criminals. At the interrogation he told them, that if they scorned the gods worshipped by him, it would be impossible to reach any peace or accord between the two sides. The holy brothers answered that they were sent as emissaries of their emperor on matters of state, and not arguments about gods. Seeing the firmness of faith of the holy brothers, the emperor gave orders to subject them to fierce tortures. They suspended the holy martyrs, having nailed their hands and feet to wood, at their heads they thrust nails, and under their finger-nails and toe-nails they wedged sharp needles. During this time of torment the saints, as though not feeling the tortures, glorified God and prayed. Finally, they beheaded they holy martyrs. Julian ordered their bodies to be burned. But suddenly there occurred an earthquake, and the ground opened up and took the bodies of the holy martyrs into its bosom. After two days, following upon the fervent prayers of Christians, the earth returned the bodies of the holy brothers, from which issued forth a fragrance. Many pagans, having witnessed the miracle, came to believe in Christ and were baptised. Christian reverently buried the bodies of the holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael. This occurred in the year 362. And since that time the relics of the holy passion-bearers have been glorified with wonderworking.
Having learned about the murder of his emissaries, and that the law-transgressor Julian was marching against him with a numerous army, the Persian emperor Alamundar gathered up his army and started off towards the border of his domain. In a large battle the Persians vanquished the Greeks. Julian the Apostate was killed by the holy GreatMartyr Mercurius (Mercury, Comm. 24 November).
Thirty years later the pious emperor Theodosius the Great (+ 397) built at Constantinople a church in honour of the holy martyrs, and Sainted Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople (Comm. 12 May), then still a priestmonk, wrote a canon in memory and in praise of the holy brothers.