Martyr Andrew Stratelates and 2,593 soldiers with him in Cilicia (3rd c.)
Commemorated on August 19/September 1

     The Martyr Andrew (Andreios) Stratelates was a military commander in the Roman armies during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). They loved him in the Roman armies because of his bravery, invincibility and sense of fairness. When a large Persian army invaded the Syrian territories, the governor Antiochus entrusted Saint Andrew with the command of the Roman army, giving him the title of "Stratelates" ("Commander-General"). Saint Andrew chose for himself a not large detachment of brave soldiers and proceeded against the adversary. His soldiers were pagans. Saint Andrew himself had still not accepted Baptism, but he believed in Jesus Christ. Before the conflict he persuaded the soldiers, that the pagan gods – were demons and unable to render help in battle. He proclaimed to them Jesus Christ, the omnipotent God of Heaven and earth, giving help to all believing in Him. The soldiers went into battle, calling on the help of the Saviour. The not large detachment set to flight the numerous host of the Persians. Saint Andrew returned from the campaign in glory, having gained a total victory. But the jealous reported on him to the governor Antiochus, that he – was a Christian, converting to his faith the soldiers under his command. Saint Andrew was summoned to trial, and there he declared his faith in Christ. For this they subjected him to torture. He reclined himself upon a bed of white-hot copper, but as soon as he recoursed to help from the Lord, the bed became cool. They crucified his soldiers on trees, but not one of them renounced Christ. Having locked the saints away in prison, Antiochus dispatched the report of charges on to the emperor, being undecided on whether to impose the death sentence upon the acclaimed victor. The emperor knew, how the army loved Saint Andrew, and fearing a mutiny, he gave orders to free the martyrs, and secretly he ordered that each under some pretext be executed separately.
     Having been set free, Saint Andrew together with his fellow soldiers went on to the city of Tarsus. There the local bishop Peter and bishop Nonos of Beroeia baptised them. Then the soldiers proceeded on to the vicinity of Taxanata. Antiochus wrote a letter to the governor of the Cilicia region Seleukos, that under the excuse of deserting their military standards he should overtake the company of Saint Andrew and kill them. Seleukos came upon the martyrs in the passes of Mount Tauros, where they were evidently soon to suffer. Saint Andrew, calling the soldiers his brothers and children, urged them not to fear death. He prayed for all who would honour their memory, and besought the Lord to send a curative spring on the place where their blood would be shed. At the time of this prayer the steadfast martyrs were beheaded with swords (+ c. 302). During this time a spring of water issued forth from the ground. Bishops Peter and Nonos, with their clergy secretly following the company of Saint Andrew, buried their bodies. One of the clergy, suffering for a long time from an evil spirit, drank from the spring of water and at once he was healed. Reports about this spread amongst the local people and they started to come to the spring, and through the prayers of Saint Andrew and the 2593 Martyrs suffering with him, they received gracious help from God.

Martyrs Timothy, Agapius, and Thecla of Palestine (304)
Commemorated on August 19/September 1

     The Martyrs Timothy, Agapios and Thekla suffered martyrdom in the year 304. The Martyr Timothy was a native of the city of Caesarea Palestine. He studied the Holy Scripture, and having received a special gift of eloquence, he became a teacher of the Christian faith. During the time of persecution against Christians under the co-emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305), the martyr was brought to trial by the governor Urban. Saint Timothy fearlessly declared himself a Christian and uttered an account about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for mankind and about His coming into the world for their salvation. The martyr was subjected to cruel torture, and when they saw that he remained down, they killed him.
     And in this same town and year suffered the Martyrs Agapios and Thekla – they were thrown to wild beasts for devouring and in such suffering they received their heavenly crowns.

Venerable Theophanes, new wonderworker of Macedonia (Mt. Athos) (15th c.)
Commemorated on August 19/September 1

     The Monk Theophanes the New, a native of the city of Ianina, lived during the XV Century. He accepted monastic tonsure in early youth on Holy Mount Athos at the Dokhiar monastery. He was afterwards chosen hegumen of this monastery because of his lofty virtuousness. In saving his own nephew from the Turks, who by force had taken Constantinople and there established the Moslem religion, Saint Theophanes with the help of God set free the youth, hid him in his own monastery and gave him blessing for monastic tonsure. The brethren, fearing revenge on the part of the Turks, began grumbling against the saint, and he, not wanting to be the cause of discord and dissensions, he humbly withdrew with his nephew from the Dokhiar monastery, quit the Holy Mountain and went off to Beroeia. There, in the skete monastery of Saint John the Forerunner, Saint Theophanes built a church in honour of the MostHoly Mother of God. And as monks began to gather, he gave them a common-life monastic rule. When the monastery flourished, the saint withdrew to a new place at Nausa, where he made a church in honour of the holy Archangels and founded there also a monastery. To the very end of his days Saint Theophanes did not forsake guiding the monks of both monasteries, both regarding him as their father in common. In a revelation foreseeing his own end and giving his flock a final farewell, the saint died in extreme old age at the Beroeia monastery. Even during life the Lord had glorified his humble saint: saving people from destruction, he quelled a tempest by prayer, and converted sea water into drinking water. And the saint even after death never has forsaken people with his graced help.

Prophet Samuel (6th c. B.C.)
Commemorated on August 20/September 2

     The Prophet Samuel was the 15th and last of the Judges of Israel, living more than 1146 years before the Birth of Christ. He was descended from the Tribe of Levi, and was the son of Elkanah from Ramathaim-Zophima of Mount Ephraim. He was born, having been besought of the Lord through the prayers of his mother Anna (wherefore he received the name Samuel, which means "besought"), and even before birth he was dedicated to God. When the boy reached age 3, his mother went with him to Shiloh and in accord with her vow gave him over to the tabernacle in care of the high-priest Eli, who at this time was a judge over the Israelite nation. The prophet grew in the fear of God, and already at 12 years of age he had the revelation, that God would punish all the house of the high-priest Eli, because he did not restrain the impiety of his sons.
     The prophecy was fulfilled when the Philistines, having slain in battle 30,000 Israelites (among them were also the sons of the high-priest, Hophni and Phinees), gaining victory and capturing the Ark of the Covenant with God. Hearing of this, the high-priest Eli fell from his seat backwards at the gate, and breaking his back, he died. The wife of Phinees, upon hearing what had happened in this very hour, gave birth to a son (Ichabod) and died with the words: "The glory is gone out from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken away" (1 Sam. [1 Kings] 4: 22).
     Upon the death of Eli, Samuel became the judge of the nation of Israel. The Ark of God was returned by the Philistines on their own initiative, and after their returning to God, the Israelites returned to all the cities, which the Philistines had taken. Having gotten up in years, the Prophet Samuel made his sons – Joel and Abiah – judges over Israel, but they followed not in the integrity and righteous judgement of their father, since they were motivated by greed. Then the elders of Israel, wanting that the nation of God should be "like other nations" (1 Sam. [1 Kings] 8: 20), demanded of the Prophet Samuel that a king be established for them. The Prophet Samuel saw in this a deep downfall of the people, which until this time God Himself had governed, announcing His will through His chosen saints. Resigning the position of judge, the Prophet Samuel asked the people, whether they consent in his continued governance, but no one stepped forward for him. After denunciation of the first king, Saul, for his disobedience to God, the Prophet Samuel anointed as king Saint David, to whom he had offered asylum, saving him from the pursuit of king Saul. The Prophet Samuel died in extreme old age. His life is recorded in the Bible (1 Sam. [1 Kings]; Sirach 46: 13-20). In the year 406 A.D. the relics of the Prophet Samuel were transferred from Judea to Constantinople.

Hieromartyr Philip, bishop of Heraclea, and with him Martyrs Severus, Memnon, and 37 soldiers at Plovdiv in Thrace (304).
Commemorated on August 20/September 2

He served in Thrace in the time of Diocletian's persecutions. When the pagans were about to burn a Christian church, he came forward and said to them: 'Do you think that God is shut within walls? He lives in men's hearts.' The church was burned and all its clergy were taken to Jedrene where, after long imprisonment and torture, they were drowned in the river Maritsa. The holy bishop Philip, His Priest Severus, His Deacon Hermes, and thirty-eight other Christians all received the martyr's crown.

Apostle Thaddeus of the Seventy (44)
Commemorated on August 21/September 3

     The Disciple from the Seventy, Thaddeus, was by descent an Hebrew, and he was born in the Syrian city of Edessa. (The holy Disciple from the Seventy Thaddeus mustneeds be distinguished from the Apostle from the Twelve, Jude, also called Thaddeus or Levi, Comm. 19 June). Having come to Jerusalem for a feastday, he heard the preaching of John the Forerunner and, having received from him baptism in Jordan, he remained in Palestine. In beholding the Saviour, he became His follower, and was chosen by the Lord amidst the number of the Seventy Disciples, which He sent by twos for preaching to the cities and locales, which He intended to visit (Lk. 10: 1). After the Ascension of the Saviour to Heaven, the Disciple Thaddeus preached the good-news in Syria and Mesopotamia. He came preaching the Gospel to Edessa and he converted to Christ king Abgar, the people and the pagan-priests. He backed up his preaching with many miracles (about which Abgar wrote to the Assyrian emperor Nerses); he established there priests and built up the Edessa Church. Prince Abgar wanted to reward the Disciple Thaddeus with rich gifts, but he refused and went preaching to other cities, converting many pagans to the Christian faith. Having arrived preaching in the city of Berit (Beirut), he founded there the Church, and it was in this city that he peacefully died in the year 44. (This place for his death is indicated in the Slavonic Meneion, but according to other sources he died in Edessa. According to an ancient Armenian tradition, the Disciple Thaddeus after various tortures was beheaded by the sword on 21 December in the Artaz region in the year 50).

Martyr Bassa of Edessa and her sons Theogonius, Agapius, and Pistus (4th c.)
Commemorated on August 21/September 3

     The Martyress Bassa with her sons Theognios, Agapios and Pistos, lived in the city of Macedonian Edessa and she was married to a pagan-priest. From childhood she had been raised in the Christian faith, which she passed on to her sons. During the time of the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), the husband reported to the governor on his wife and children. All of them, in spite of threats, refused to offer sacrifice to idols. They took the eldest son, Theognios, and tore at him with iron claws. They flayed the skin of the lad Agapios from head to chest, but the martyr did not utter a sound. Finally, they began to torture also the youngest son Pistos. The mother did not hesitate to encourage them to endure the suffering for Christ. Then they beheaded the lads. (By one account, the three martyred brothers suffered at Edessa in Macedonia; by another account – at Larissa in Thessaly their homeland). They locked up Saint Bassa in prison and exhausted her with hunger, but an Angel strengthened her with heavenly food. Under successive tortures she remained unharmed from fire, water and beasts. When they brought her to a pagan temple, she shattered the statue of Zeus. Then they threw the martyress into a whirlpool in the sea. But to everyone's surprise a ship sailed up, and three radiant men pulled her up (the Monk Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain suggested, that these were her children, martyred earlier). After 8 days Saint Bassa came by ship to the governor of the island of Alona, not far from Kyzika, in the Prepontid or Marmora Sea. After a beating with canes they beheaded her.
     It is known, that around the year 450 there already existed at Chalcedon a church in honour of the holy Martyress Bassa.

Venerable Abramius the Lover-of-Labor of the Kiev Caves (14th c.)
Commemorated on August 21/September 3

Ven. Abramius of the Monastery of the Caves, hardworking ascetic of the Monastery of the Caves in the XIV century. His relics repose in the St. Anthony caves.

Martyr Agathonicus of Nicomedia and his companions: Martyrs Zoticus, Theoprepius, Acindynus, Severian, Zeno, and others, who suffered under Maximian (4th c.)
Commemorated on August 22/September 4

     The Martyrs Agathonikes, Zotikos, Theoprepios (in Slavonic: Bogolep), Akyndinos, Severian, Zinon and others accepted death for Christ during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). The Martyr Agathonikes was descended from the illustrious lineage of the Hypasians, and he lived at Nicomedia. Having become well versed in Holy Scripture, he converted many pagans to Christ, in which number was also the most eminent member of the Senate (its "princeps" or leader). Comitus Evtolmius was sent to the Pontine (lower Black Sea) region, where he crucified the followers of the Christian Zotikos, all who had refused to offer sacrifice to idols, but Zotikos himself he took with him. In Nicomedia Evtolmius arrested the Martyr Agathonikes (together with the princeps), and also Theoprepios, Akyndinos and Severian. After tortures, Evtolmius ordered that the martyrs be taken to Thrace for trial by the emperor. But along the way, in the vicinity of Potama, he put to death the Martyrs Zotikos, Theoprepios and Akyndinos ‑- who were unable to proceed further behind the chariot of the governor because of wounds received during the time of torture. The Martyr Severian was put to death at Chalcedon, and the Martyr Agathonikes together with others was beheaded with the sword by order of the emperor, in Selymbria.
     The relics of the Martyr Agathonikes within a church named for him was seen at Constantinople in the year 1200 by the Russian pilgrim Antonii. And in the XIV Century Philotheos, the archbishop of Selymbria, devoted a discourse of laudation to the Martyr Agathonikes.

Virgin-martyr Eulalia of Barcelona (303)
Commemorated on August 22/September 4

The Martyress Eulalia lived in Spain, near the city of Barcionum (at present now – Barcelona), and she was raised by her parents in piety and the Christian faith. Already at 14 years of age the maiden spent a solitary life in the parental home, occupied with several of her own age in prayer, the reading of Holy Scripture, and handicrafts. During the time of a persecution against Christians, – that under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305), there arrived in the city of Barcionum the governor Dacian to rid it of Christians. Hearing about this, the maiden by night secretly left her home and by morning had made her way into the city. Pushing her way through the throng of people, the girl made a bold denunciation of the judge, for forcing people to renounce the True God to instead offer sacrifice to devils. Dacian gave orders to viciously beat the girl with canes, but she steadfastly endured the torment and told the judge, that the Lord would deliver her from the feelings of pain. They suspended the martyress from a tree and tore at her skin with iron claws, and they then burnt at her wounds with torches. During the time of torment Dacian asked the saint: "Where then is thy God, Whom thou hast called upon?" She answered, that the Lord was alongside her, but that Dacian in his impurity would not be able to see Him. During the time of the saint's prayer: "Behold, God wilt help me, and the Lord be defender of my soul" (Ps. 53 [54]: 4) – the flames of the torches turned back upon the torturers, who fell to the ground. The Martyress Eulalia began to pray, that the Lord would take her to Heaven to Himself, and with this prayer she died. People beheld a white dove, flying up from her mouth to Heaven. The body of the saint was buried by night by Christians. The parents of the martyress, having come upon her during her sufferings, wept but were also gladdened, that their daughter would be numbered amidst the ranks of the saints. When they took Saint Eulalia from the tree, one of the Christians, by the name of Felix, said with tears of joy: "Lady Eulalia, thou art the first of us to win the martyr's crown!" The Martyr Felix himself soon accepted death for Christ (his memory is also on this day, 22 August).

Martyr Gorazd of Prague, Bohemia and Moravo-Cilezsk (1942)
Commemorated on August 22/September 4

Matthias (or Matej) Pavlik was born on May 26, 1879, in the Moravian town of Hrubavrbka in what would later be the Czech Republic. Born into a Roman Catholic society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Matthias continued into the Roman Catholic theological faculty in Olomouc after finishing his earlier education. He was subsequently ordained a priest. During his studies he was interested in the mission of Ss. Cyril and Methodius and of Orthodox Christianity. With the end of World War I and the establishment of the new country Czechoslovakia the legal constraints forcing Roman Catholicism were broken. In this environment many people left the Roman church, and many looked to Orthodox Christianity. Fr. Pavlik was among them. The Serbian Orthodox Church provided a shelter for those looking to Orthodoxy. As a leader in Moravia, the Church of Serbia agreed to consecrate Fr. Pavlik to the episcopate for his homeland. On September 24, 1921, was consecrated bishop with the name of Gorazd.
Historically, his monastic name of Gorazd was significant as it was the name of the bishop who succeeded St. Methodius as Bishop of Moravia after he died in 885. Subsequently, Pope Stephen V drove the disciples of St. Methodius from Moravia as the Latin rite was imposed. Thus, by the choice of his monastic name of Gorazd, the continuity of the Orthodox Church in Moravia from some eleven hundred years before was recognized.
Archimandrite Gorazd was named Bishop of Moravia and Silesia on September 24, 1921, and consecrated bishop on the next day at the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Michael in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, by Patriarch Dimitrije.
Over the next decade or so, Bp. Gorazd and his faithful followers organized parishes and built churches in Bohemia. In all they built eleven churches and two chapels. He had the essential service books translated and published into the Czech language, which was the language used in the church services. With Subcarpatho-Russia and Slovakia part of Czechoslovakia, he assisted many who had returned to their ancestral Orthodox Faith.
With the conquest of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in 1938, the church was placed under the Orthodox Metropolitan in Berlin, Germany. Assigned as ruler of Czechoslovakia was Reinhard Heydrich, who was reputed to be designated successor to Adolf Hitler. On May 27, 1942, a group of Czech resistance fighters attacked and killed Heydrick as his car slowed down on a curve near the Cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Prague. In making their escape the group found refuge in the crypt of the Cathedral. When Bp. Gorazd found out a few days later, he recognized the serious position this placed on the Czech Orthodox Church and before he left for the consecration to the episcopate of Fr. John (Gardner) in Berlin he asked that the resistance fighters move elsewhere as soon as possible. However, on June 18, the Nazis found out the hiding places after a betrayal by two members of the resistance group, and the all members of the group were killed.
Reprisals came quickly. The two priests and the senior lay church officials were arrested. Bp. Gorazd, wishing to help his fellow believers and the Czech Church itself, took the blame for the actions in the Cathedral on himself, even writing letters to the Nazi authorities. But, on June 27, 1942, he was arrested and tortured. On September 4, 1942, Bp. Gorazd, the Cathedral priests and senior lay leaders were executed by firing squad.
The reprisals went much further as the Nazis conducted widespread roundups of Czechs, including the whole village of Lidice, then summarily killed the men and placed the survivors in forced labor camps. The Orthodox churches in Moravia and Bohemia were closed and the Church forbidden to operate. Metropolitan Seraphim courageously refused to issue any statement condemning Bp. Gorazd. It wasn't until the end of the war that the Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia would function again.

Martyr Lupus (306), slave of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica
Commemorated on August 23/September 5

     The Martyr Luppos lived at the end of the III Century - beginning II Century, and was a faithful servant of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios of Soluneia (Thessalonika, Comm. 26 October). Being present at the death of his master, he soaked his own clothing with his blood and took a ring from his hand. With this clothing, and likewise with the ring and the name of the GreatMartyr Demetrios, Saint Luppos worked at Soluneia many miracles. He destroyed pagan idols, for which he was subjected to persecution by the pagans, but by the power of God he was preserved unharmed. Saint Luppos voluntarily delivered himself over into the hands of the torturers and by order of the emperor Maximian Galerius he was beheaded by the sword (+ post 306).

Hieromartyr Pothinus, bishop of Lyons (177)
Commemorated on August 23/September 5

The Holy Polycarp (February 23) sent Pothinus from Asia Minor to spread the Gospel in Gaul. He brought many there to faith in Christ, and became the first bishop of Lyons. During a persecution of Christians Pothinus, who was then ninety years old, was brought before the proconsul, who asked him 'Who is the Christian God?' Pothinus answered 'You will find out, if you are worthy.' He was beaten fiercely with staves and stones, then thrown in prison, where he died of his injuries.

Hieromartyr Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (202)
Commemorated on August 23/September 5

The PriestMartyr Ireneius (Ireneios), Bishop of Lyons, was born in the year 130 in the city of Smyrna (Asia Minor). He received there the finest of educations, studying poetics, philosophy, rhetoric, and all the rest of the classical sciences, considered necessary for a young man of the world. His guide in the truths of the Christian faith was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian – Sainted Polycarp of Smyrna (Comm. 23 February). Saint Polycarp baptised the youth, and afterwards ordained him presbyter and sent him off to a city in Gaul then named Lugdunum (the presentday city of Lyons in France) to the dying bishop Pothinus. A commission was soon entrusted Saint Ireneius: to deliver a letter of Christ-confessors to the holy Pope of Rome Eleutherius (177-190). During the time of his absence all the known Christians were thrown into prison. After the martyr's death of Bishop Pothinus, Saint Ireneius was chosen a year later in 178 as bishop of the city of Lugdunum. "During which time, – Sainted Gregory of Tyre writes concerning him, – by his preaching he transformed all Lugdunum into a Christian city!"       When the persecution against Christians quieted down, the saint expounded upon the Orthodox teachings of faith in one of his fundamental works under the title: "Detection and Refutation of Pretensively Called Gnosis-Knowledge", or in short form "Five Books against Heresy" ("Adversus Haereses"). During these times there had appeared a series of religious-philosophical Gnostic teachings. The Gnostics (from the Greek word "gnosis" meaning "knowledge") taught, that God is not able to be incarnated [i.e. born in human flesh], since matter is imperfect and manifests itself as the bearer of evil. They taught also that the Son of God – is only an outflowing ("emanation") of Divinity. Together with Him from the Divinity issues forth an hierarchical series of powers ("aeons"), the unity of which comprise the "Pleroma", i.e. "Fullness". The world is not made by God Himself, but by the aeons or the "Demiourgos" ("Demiurge"), which is beneathe the "Pleroma". [trans. note: this Gnostic terminology reflects various attempts at a synthesis of the Neo-Platonic thought of the time with Christianity. But lest the reader be confused and consider all "gnosis" to be heretically Gnostic, there is indeed an Orthodox "Gnosis" theologically deriving from Christ as the "Logos" or "Word" – "through Whom all things were made" (Jn. 1: 3) underlying the Creation, without which all theology itself would be impossible. Also, our account neglects to point out that the "Adversus Haeresus" was a compendium of the teachings of all the known heresies of the time, publishing "for free" the esoteric salvation "secret teachings" of the Gnostics, who made a business charging money to be "initiated" into the upper level of "knowers" ("illuminati" or "electi"); in doing so he helped put them out of business].
     In the refutation of the heresy of Valentinus, Saint Ireneius presents the Orthodox teaching about salvation. "The Word of God, Jesus Christ, through His inexplicable blessedness caused it to be, that we also, should be made that which He is..., – taught Saint Ireneius, – Jesus Christ the Son of God through exceedingly great love for His creation condescended to be born of a Virgin, through His own Self having united mankind with God". Through the Incarnation of God creation becomes co-imaged and co-bodied to the Son of God. Salvation consists in the "Filiation" ("Sonship") and "Theosis" ("Divinisation") of mankind.
     In the refutation of another heretic, Marcian, who denied the Divine-origin of the Old Testament [trans. note: based on the problem of suffering and evil, i.e. Theodicy, with Marcian giving insufficient consideration to the issue of freedom], the saint presents the teaching about the Same Origin of the Old and the New Testaments: "It is one and the same the Spirit of God, Which through the prophets proclaimed, in what manner precisely would be the coming of the Lord, – wrote the saint, – He through the apostles preached, that the fullness of time of the filiation had arrived, and that the Kingdom of Heaven was come nigh".
     The truthful veracity of Church teachings was grounded by Sainted Ireneius in the succession of the episcopacy, since the Church is more anciently primary than all the later heretics. "Anyone, that desireth to know the truth, ought to turn to the Church, since through Her alone did the apostles propound the Divine Truth. She is the door to life".
     Saint Ireneius exerted also a beneficial influence in a dispute about the celebration of Pascha. In the Church of Asia Minor was preserved an old tradition to celebrate Holy Pascha on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, irregardless of what day of the week this occurred. Holy Pope Victor (190-202) forcefully demanded uniformity, and his harsh demands fomented a schism. In the name of the Christians of Gaul, Saint Ireneius wrote to the Pope, that while it be impossible to allow a schism on account of traditions, yet foremost of all it is necessary to esteem churchly peace.
     During the reign of the emperor Severus (193-211), Sainted Ireneius was beheaded by the sword for his confession of faith, in the year 202.
     The Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, Sainted Polycarp of Smyrna, and Sainted Ireneius of Lyons – here are three links in an unbroken chain of the grace of succession, which connects back to the Original Pastor, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In extreme old age, Saint Ireneius wrote to his old friend Florinus: "I was a lad when I saw thee (Florinus) with Polycarp. I remember what then happened better than what now happens. And I can now describe for thee the place, where blessed Polycarp usually sat and conversed. I can describe his mannerisms of life, the appearance of his body and his instructions which he spoke to people. The intimate conversations which, as he said, he had with John and others who had seen the Lord, and everything that he remembered from their words, that he heard from them about the Lord... I heard this then, by the mercy of God, with fervour and did write it down, not upon paper, but upon the heart".

Hieromartyr Eutychius (1st c.), disciple of St. John the Theologian
Commemorated on August 24/September 6

     The PriestMartyr Eutykhios, a disciple of the holy Apostles John the Theologian and Paul, lived from the I Century into the beginning II Century, and was from the city of Palestinian Sebasteia. Although Saint Eutykhios is not reckoned among the number of the 70 Disciples, he received the title Disciple for his labours together with the older Apostles, by whom he was made bishop. Having heard the preaching about Christ the Saviour, Saint Eutykhios at first became a student of the Apostle John the Theologian, and then having met the Apostle Paul, he preached together with him on the early journeys. Saint Eutykhios underwent many sufferings: they starved him with hunger, struck at his body with iron, they flung him in the fire and then for devouring by wild beasts. One time there was let loose upon the saint a lion, which brought fright to everyone in that it rendered praise to the Creator – having been given human voice. The Priestmartyr Eutykhios finished with his works in his native city, where he was beheaded with a sword at the beginning of the II Century.

Martyr Tation at Claudiopolis (305)
Commemorated on August 24/September 6

The Martyr Tation lived in Bythnia and suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). When the persecutors of Christians learned that he believed in Christ, they arrested him and took him to the city of Claudiopolis to the governor, Urban. Many times they urged the saint to recant from Christ, and they locked him in prison and gave him over to various tortures. They beat him with sticks and dragged him beyond the city for execution. The holy martyr, having made the sign of the cross, died along the way (+ 305).

Virgin-martyr Cyra of Persia (558)
Commemorated on August 24/September 6

The Martyress Sira lived during the VI Century in Persia and was the daughter of an illustrious pagan-priest of the fire-worshippers (i.e. Zoroastrians) from Karkh-Seleucia in Elimiade (Abizarde). Sira's father, fearing the influence of Christianity on his daughter, sent her after the death of her mother to the city of Tharsis for education as a pagan-priestess, which taught her the pagan-priestly craft. Sira became a priestess at the heathen-temple of fire, and occupied herself with honourable activity. But once, having conversed with some Christian beggars, Sira believed in Christ the Saviour and began to live as a Christian: she began to learn prayers and psalms, to fast and to read Christian books.
     One time Sira fell ill. She was not able to discover a remedy for her sickness, and she went to the Christian church and asked the presbyter only but to give her some of the ashes from the church, hoping to receive healing from it. The presbyter, knowing Sira to be a servitor of idols, refused her request. Sira was not angered, knowing about her own unworthiness, but she with faith touched the robe of the priest, as once formerly the woman with the issue of blood did touch the robe of the Saviour (Mt. 9: 20-22). She immediately received healing and she returned home healthy. Sira's family began to suspect that she wanted to accept Christianity, and they asked Sira's step-mother to persuade her to abandon her intention. The step-mother, making a pretense, as though she herself were a secret christian, with sweetness talked with Sira to keep her faith in secret, and outwardly to continue to serve the fire, so as not to fall away from Christ altogether by being subjected to torture. Sira began to hesitate about accepting Baptism, but having received a vision in her sleep about the desolate fate which befell her mother after death, and about the luminous abodes foreordained for Christians, she made up her mind and went to the bishop, asking him to baptise her. The bishop declined fulfilling her request, fearing to give the pagan-priests occasion for persecuting Christians. Besides this, he thought that Sira, fearing her father's wrath, would recant from Christ. The bishop advised her first to openly confess her faith in the Saviour in front of her kinsfolk.
     One time during the making of the morning sacrifice, Saint Sira was stoking the priestly fire – worshipped by the Persians as their god, and overturning the sacrifice she proclaimed loudly: "I am a Christian and reject false gods and I believe in the True God!" The father beat his daughter until he became exhausted, and then threw her in prison. With tears and entreaties he urged her to return to her former faith, but Sira was unyielding. The father then made denunciation against her to the pagan high-priest, and afterwards to the governor and to the emperor Khozroes the Elder. They tortured the holy maiden for a long time in prison, but the Lord strengthened her, and she stood firmly on her faith in Christ. One time, having bribed the prison guard, Saint Sira went to the bishop and received Baptism. The Lord vouchsafed Saint Sira the gift of wonderworking. When the Persians gave the martyress over for the leering of impious men, they began to jeer at the saint, saying: "What's the fable told about thee, that the chains themselves fall from thee, from thy neck, hands and legs? Let us see now, how the chains fall off!" Against such words Saint Sira prayed in the depths of her heart to the Saviour, and immediately the chains fell from her. And this was not the only time. Succumbing to her tortures, Saint Sira fell deathly ill. She began to entreat the Lord that He not allow her to die from the illness, but rather vouchsafe her a martyr's crown. The Lord heard her and granted healing. Seeing the martyress healthy, the prison guard and jail warden went to dishonour the holy maiden, but the Lord struck one with illness and the other one was struck dead. The martyress was condemned to strangling.
     They conducted the execution with refined cruelty: after a while they left go of the rope, asking the saint whether she wanted to change her mind and remain among the living. But the martyress, barely alive, answered a refusal and requested the execution be done quickly. The body of the saint was thrown to dogs for devouring, but they would not touch it. Christians buried the body of Saint Sira (+ 558).

Venerable Arsenius, abbot of Komel (Vologda) (1550)
Commemorated on August 24/September 6

The monk Arsenii of Komel'sk was born in Moscow, and was descended from a family of nobility, the Sakharusov. In his youth he took monastic vows at the Trinity-Sergiev monastery, and he occupied himself there with the copying of books: a Gospel is known of copied by him in the year 1506. In the years 1525-1527 the monk was hegumen at the Trinity-Sergiev monastery. He often withdrew to the solitary Makrisch monastery. GreatPrince Vasilii IV (1505-1533) – making a visit at the monastery at that time, was surprised to behold the hegumen of a prosperous monastery in old clothes covered with patches. The brethren explained that the Monk Arsenii wished to travel in the wilderness.
     Setting out together with his own cell elder to the Komel'sk forest – located 50 versts from Vologda, the Monk Arsenii made a large wooden cross and with this cross on his shoulders he set out through the forest to pick out a spot for a future wilderness monastery. Coming to a marshy place through a swamp, the monk stumbled under the heavy cross and fell. An heavenly beam of light flashed upon the ascetic at this very moment and convinced him to establish it on this site. He set up the cross and built the first cell.
     The local inhabitants, going therabouts to hunt wild animals, killed the cell-mate of the Monk Arsenii, and he himself was forced to withdraw into the Shilegonsk forest. There soon gathered at his new monastery several monks, and afterwards there settled at it fugitives from a Tatar incursion upon the surrounding populace. The Monk Arsenii, seeking after silence, desired to live in a more quiet spot. In the year 1530 GreatPrince Vasilii gave him a gramota (deed) for land in the Komel'sk forest at the Kokhtisha River. The monk began here to clear the forest together with his student Gerasim. By prayer the saint tamed the wild beasts. When several monks had gathered about him, he built a church in honour of the Placing of the Veil of the MostHoly Mother of God. Visiting the Shilegonsk monastery, the monk instructed the peasants, who had settled in the area of the monastery. He bid them reverently to observe feastdays and Sundays. One time when a peasant had heard him and started to work on a feastday, a wind suddenly arose scattering all his sheaves.
     Having spent his life in fasting, prayer and constant work, the monk died on 24 August 1550. His Life was written soon after his death, but burned during the time of a conflagration in the Komel'sk monastery in 1596. In shortened form it was restored from the surviving manuscripts and added to with posthumous miracles by a monk of the monastery, John. An hundred years later after the death of the monk, the hegumen Joasaph built at the monastery a stone church in honour of the Placing of the Veil of the MostHoly Mother of God. Two chapels of this church show the spiritual bond of teacher and student. The left chapel was dedicated to the Monk Sergei of Radonezh, and the right – to the Monk Arsenii of Komel'sk.

Venerable George Limniotes the Confessor of Mt. Olympus (716)
Commemorated on August 24/September 6

The Monk George Limniotes lived during the VIII Century and was a monk of the Olympia monastery near Constantinople. He suffered for venerating icons under the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Isaurian (716-741). They burned his head and cut off his nose. The Monk George died in about the year 716.

Return of the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew from Anastasiopolis to Lipari (6th c.)
Commemorated on August 25/September 7

     The Transfer of the Relics of the Apostle Bartholomew Was at the end of the VI Century. His apostolic activity and martyr's end are remembered by the Church on 11 June. The Apostle Bartholomew suffered for Christ in Armenian Albano (now Baku) in the year 71, where also his holy relics were situated. From the relics of the holy apostles occurred numerous miracles, and many of the unbelieving were converted to Christ. Under the emperor Anastasios (491-518) the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew were transferred into the newly constructed city of Anastasiopolis (or Dareia) and remained there until the end of the VI Century.
     When the city of Anastasiopolis was captured by the Persian emperor Khozroes, Christians took up the chest with the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew and fled with it to the shores of the Black Sea. Having overtaken them, pagan-priests threw the chest with the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew into the sea. Together with it, 4 other chests were thrown into the sea containing the relics of the holy Martyrs Papian, Lucian, Gregory and Akakios. By the power of God the chests did not sink into the depths of the sea, but rather accomplished a miraculous floating upon the waves and reached Italy. The chest with the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew came to land at the island of Lipari, and the remaining chests continued their journey and came to land at various places in Italy. The chest with the relics of the Martyr Papian halted at Sicily, the Martyr Lucian – at Messina, the Martyr Gregory – at Calabria, and the Martyr Akakios – at Asculusa. The arrival of the relics of the holy Apostle Bartholomew was revealed to the bishop of the island of Lipari ‑- Agathon, who went with clergy to the shores of the sea, took up the chest from the waters and solemnly transferred it to church. From the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew there flowed out myrh, giving healing for various illness. The holy relics remained in the church of the island of Lipari until the middle of the IX Century, when the island was captured by pagans. Christian merchants took up the holy relics of the Apostle Bartholomew and transferred them to the city of Beneventum, where they were received with great veneration and placed in the main church of the city.

Holy Apostle Titus of the Seventy (1st c.)
Commemorated on August 25/September 7

The holy, glorious and all-laudable Apostle Titus was born into idolatry on Crete, though he was of Greek origin. Having believed in Christ through the Apostle Paul, he became Paul's disciple and follower and labored with him greatly in the preaching of the Gospel. He was one of the Seventy Apostles.
In Jerusalem, St. Titus heard Christ's preaching and believed in him. He then witnessed the suffering and death of the Savior on the Cross, his glorious Resurrection and Ascension to heaven. On the day of Pentecost the future apostle heard how the Twelve Apostles, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, spoke in various languages, among which was the Cretan language (Acts 2: 11).
Paul ordained him Bishop of Crete, and he later wrote to him the epistle which bears his name.
St. Titus died peacefully at the age of 97 and is commemorated by the Church on August 25.

Sts. Barses and Eulogius (386), bishops of Edessa, and St. Protogenes, bishop of Carrhae (4th c.), confessors
Commemorated on August 25/September 7

Sainted Barsis and Eulogios, Bishops of Edessa, and Protogenos the Confessor, Bishop of Caria, suffered from the Arians in the second half of the IV Century. The emperor Valentius (364-378), wishing to propagate the Arian heresy, undertook a fierce persecution against the Orthodox. In the city of Edessa he banished from the bishop's throne Saint Barsis, a champion for Orthodoxy, sending him for confinement to the island of Arad. The Orthodox population there received the exiled saint with great honour. They banished him farther, to the Egyptian city of Oxyrinth, but there also was repeated the warm welcome. Then Saint Barsis was banished to the very frontier of the imperial realm, to the faraway city of Thenon where, exhausted by his exiles, he died (+ 378). At Edessa the emperor Valentius raised up upon the bishop's cathedra an Arian false-bishop by the name of Lupus, which means wolf, and who both by name and by deed showed himself to be like a wolf, in scattering the flock of the sheep of Christ. The Orthodox population of Edessa, both clergy and laypeople, ceased to attend their church, which had been seized by the Arians. They gathered together outside the city and celebrated the Divine-services in an open area.
     Having learned of this, the emperor ordered the eparch Modestus to kill all the Orthodox, appearing for Divine-services outside the city. The eparch pitied the city and he informed the Orthodox, that they should not go to Divine-services. But the believers did contrary: fervent with the desire to receive a martyr's crown for Christ, they all as one went to the place where they usually gathered for prayer. Eparch Modestus, obeying his orders, embarked their with his armed soldiers. Along the way he saw a woman, who hastened to Divine-services with her small child, so as not to deprive him of the martyr's crown. Shaken, eparch Modestus turned around back with his soldiers. Appearing before the emperor Valentius, he urged him to cancel the decree about killing all the Orthodox and to extend it only upon the clergy. They led to the emperor persons of spiritual rank, and in the lead the eldest presbyter Eulogios. The emperor urged them to go into church-communion with the pseudo-bishop Lupus, but none of them agreed. After this in chains they sent 80 men of clergy rank for confinement in Thrace. Orthodox met them along the way with great reverence as being confessors, and furnished them all the necessities. Having learned of this, the emperor gave orders to divide up the martyrs in pairs, and to spread them out to remote places.
     The holy presbyters Eulogios and Protogenos were sent to the Thivean city of Antinea. There by their preaching they converted many idol-worshippers to Christ and baptised them. When the emperor Valentius perished and upon the throne entered the holy nobleborn emperor Theodosius (379-395), the Orthodox confessors remaining alive after the persecution were returned from exile. The holy presbyters Eulogios and Protogenos returned to Edessa. On the place of the dead and banished bishop of Edessa, Saint Barsis, presbyter Eulogios was elevated to bishop, and the holy presbyter Protogenos was made bishop in the Mesopotamian city of Caria. Both saints guided their flocks until their death, which occurred at the end of the IV Century.

St. Menas, patriarch of Constantinople (6th c.)
Commemorated on August 25/September 7

Sainted Minos, Patriarch of Constantinople (536-552), was at first a presbyter at Constantinople and supervisor there for the homeless-shelter home of the holy Monk Sampson the Hospitable-to-Strangers during the reign of Saint Justinian I (527-565). After the removal of the heretic Anthymos (535-536), the holy presbyter Minos was elevated upon the Constantinople patriarchal throne as one worthy to be bishop for his profound virtue and firm confession of Orthodoxy. His ordination was done by the Pope of Rome Agapitus (535-536) who then at the time was in Constantinople. During the time of the patriarchate of Saint Minos there occurred a miracle in Constantinople, widely known to all the city.
     A certain Hebrew lad went with other children to church and he communed the Holy Mysteries of Christ. At home he told his father about this. In a terrible rage he seized the child and threw him into a red-hot oven (this Hebrew was a glass-blower). He said nothing to his wife. The mother for three days in tears searched for her son, – loudly did she call for him, and finally on the third day he emerged to her from the red-hot oven. With difficulty she pulled out the child, who was unharmed. The boy told, that a MostRadiant Lady had there come to him, and She cooled down the fire and brought water and food. This incident became known to Saint Minos and the emperor Justinian I. The boy and his mother received baptism, but the father of the child became obdurate and did not wish to repent, in spite of the great miracle to which he was a witness. Then the emperor handed over for trial as a child-killer and sentenced him to death by execution. The holy Patriarch Minos ruled the Constantinople Church for 16 years. During the time of his patriarchate at Constantinople, the famous temple in honour of Saint Sophia the Wisdom of God was consecrated. The saint died peacefully in the year 552.

Martyrs Adrian and Natalia and 33 companions of Nicomedia (4th c.)
Commemorated on August 26/September 8

     The Martyrs Adrian and Natalia were married in their youth for one year prior to their martyrdom. They lived in Bithynian Nicomedia during the time of the emperor Maximian (305-311). Having started his persecution, the emperor promised a reward to whomever would inform on Christians to bring them to trial. There began the denunciations, and through one of these there were seized 23 Christians, hiding in a cave near Nicomedia. They were tortured, urged to worship idols, and then taken to the judgement palace, in order to record their names and responses. Adrian, the head of the judgement palace, looking on as they brought in the people suffering with such courage for their faith, and how firmly and fearlessly they confessed Christ, asked: "What rewards do ye expect from your God for suffering?" The martyrs replied: "Such rewards, as we are not able to describe, nor thy mind comprehend". Inspired, Saint Adrian told the scribes: "Write me down also, that I be a Christian and with joy I do die for Christ God". The scribes reported about this to the emperor, who summoned Saint Adrian and asked: "Really, hast thou gone mad, that thou dost want to die? Come, cross out thine name from the lists and offer sacrifice to the gods, asking their forgiveness". Saint Adrian answered: "I am not mad, but the rather have been converted to health of mind". Maximian then ordered Adrian to be thrown into prison. His wife, Saint Natalia, knowing that her husband was suffering for Christ, rejoiced, since she herself was secretly a Christian. She hastened to the prison and encouraged her husband saying: "Blest be thou, mine lord, in that thou hast believed on Christ, wherein thou hast obtained a great treasure. Regret not anything of earth, neither beauty, nor youth (Adrian was then 28 years of age), nor riches. Everything worldly – is dust and ashes. Only faith and good deeds be pleasing to God". On the pledge of the other martyrs, they released Saint Adrian from prison to relate to his wife about the day of execution. Saint Natalia at first thought, that he had renounced Christ and thus had been set free, and she did not want to let him into the house. The saint persuaded his wife, that he had not fled martyrdom, but rather had come to give her the news of the day of his execution.
     They tortured Saint Adrian cruelly. The emperor advised the saint to have pity on himself and call on the gods, but the martyr answered: "Let thine gods say, what blessings they promise me, and then I shalt worship them, but if they cannot speak thus, then why should I worship them?" Saint Natalia did not cease to encourage her husband. She asked him also to convey for her a foremost prayer to God, that they would not compel her into a marriage with a pagan after his death. The executioner ordered the hands and the legs of the saints to be broken on the anvil. Saint Natalia, fearing that her husband would hesitate in seeing the sufferings of the other martyrs, besought the executioner to begin the execution with him and let her herself put his hands and legs on the anvil. They wanted to burn the bodies of the saints, but a strong storm arose and the fire went out. Many of the executioners even were struck by lightning. Saint Natalia took the hand of her spouse and kept it at home. Soon an army commander asked the emperor's approval to wed Saint Natalia, who was both young and rich. But she hid herself away in Byzantium. Here Saint Adrian appeared to her in a dream and said, that she would soon be at rest in the Lord. The anemic martyress, worn down by her former sufferings, in fact soon expired to God.

Venerable Tithoes of the Thebaid (4th c.), disciple of St. Pachomius the Great (4th c.)
Commemorated on August 26/September 8

One of the great Egyptian Desert Fathers, he was a disciple of St Pachomius the Great and served as abbot of Tabennisi. Through his years of struggle in prayer, he attained to such purity of heart that whenever he raised his hands in prayer, his spirit was instantly caught up in pure contemplation of God. When one of the brethren asked him what path leads to humility, he answered 'The path of humility is abstinence, prayer and considering oneself as the least of all creatures.' He reposed in peace.

St. Zer-Jacob, missionary of Ethiopia
Commemorated on August 26/September 8

Jacob was a great Christian missionary in Abyssinia [Ethiopia].

Commemoration of the Meeting of the "Vladimir" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and the deliverance of Moscow from the Invasion of Tamerlane in 1395
Commemorated on August 26/September 8

The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was written by the Evangelist Luke on a board from the table, at which the Saviour ate together with His All-Pure Mother and Righteous Joseph. The Mother of God, in seeing this image, exclaimed: "Henceforth shalt all generations call Me blessed. Let the grace of both My Son and Me shalt be with this icon".
     In the year 1131 the icon was sent from Constantinople to Rus' to holy Prince Mstislav (+ 1132, Comm. 15 April) and was installed in the Deviche monastery in Vyshgorod – the ancient appanage city of holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga.
     The son of Yurii Dolgoruky, Saint Andrei Bogoliubsky, in 1155 brought the icon to the city of Vladimir and installed it in the reknown Uspenie-Dormition cathedral built by him. And at this time the icon received its name of "the Vladimir Icon". And in the year 1395 the icon was first brought to Moscow. Thus the blessing of the Mother of God tied the spiritual bonds of Byzantium and Rus' – via Kiev, Vladimir and Moscow.
     The festal celebration of the Vladimir Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God occurs several times during the year (21 May, 23 June, 26 August). The most solemn celebration occurs on 26 August, – the feast established in honour the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon upon its Transfer from Vladimir to Moscow. In the year 1395 the fearsome conqueror khan Tamerlane (Temir-Aksak) reached the Ryazan frontier, took the city of Elets and advancing towards Moscow he came nigh the banks of the River Don. Greatprince Vasilii Dimitrievich went with an army to Kolomna and halted at the banks of the River Oka. He prayed to the Sainted-Hierarchs of Moscow and the Monk Sergei for the deliverance of the Fatherland, and he wrote to the Metropolitan of Moscow Saint Kiprian (Comm. 16 September), that the pending Uspenie-Dormition Fast should be devoted to zealous prayers for mercy and repentance. Clergy were sent to Vladimir, where the famed wonderworking Vladimir Icon was situated. After Divine Liturgy and a molieben on the feast of the Uspenie-Dormition, they clergy took the icon and in a church procession conveyed it to Moscow. Along the way, on both sides of the road and innumerable number of people prayed kneeling: "O Mother of God, save the land of Russia!" And in that selfsame hour, when the people of Moscow were meeting the Vladimir Icon on Kuchkov Field, Tamerlane was slumbering in his tent. Suddenly he saw in a dream a great mountain, at the summit of which coming towards him were the sainted-hierarchs with golden staffs, and over them in a brilliant radiance shone a Majestic Woman. She commanded him to leave the domains of Russia. Awakening in fright, Tamerlane asked the meaning of the apparition. The experts answered that the Radiant Lady was the Mother of God, the great Protectress of Christians. Tamerlane then gave the order for his troops to turn around. In memory of this miraculous deliverance of the Russian Land from Tamerlane on Kuchkov Field, where the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon took place, they built the Sretensk-Meeting monastery. And on 26 August there was then established the all-Russian celebration in honour of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God.
     Very important events in Russian Church history have occurred in front of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God: the election and elevation of Sainted Jona – Advocate of Autocephalous Russian Church (1448), and of Sainted Job – first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1589), and of His Holiness Patriarch Saint Tikhon (1917). And the enthronement of His Holiness Pimen, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, occurred on a day of celebration in honour of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God – on 21 May (NS 3 June) 1971.
     The historical days of 21 May, 23 June and 26 August, connected with this holy icon, have become memorable days for the Russian Orthodox Church.

Venerable Poemen the Great (450)
Commemorated on August 27/September 9

     The Monk Pimen the Great was born in about the year 340 in Egypt. With his two brothers, Anubias and Paisias, he went into one of the Egyptian monasteries, and all three accepted monastic tonsure. The brothers were such strict ascetics, that when their mother came to the monastery to see her children, they did not come out to her from their cells. The mother stood there for a long time and wept. Then the Monk Pimen said to her through the closed door of the cell: "If thou bearest with the temporal parting from us now, then in the future life wilt thou see us, since we do hope upon God the Lover-of-Mankind!". The mother was humbled and returned home.
     Fame about the deeds and virtues of the Monk Pimen spread throughout all the land. One time the governor of the district wanted to see him. The Monk Pimen, shunning fame, reasoned thus: "If dignitaries begin coming to me with respect, then also many of the people will start coming to me and disturb my quiet, and I shalt be deprived of the grace of humility, which I have found only with the help of God". And so he relayed a refusal to the messenger. For many of the monks, the Monk Pimen was a spiritual guide and instructor. And they wrote down his answers to serve to the edification of others besides themselves. A certain monk asked: "Ought one to veil over with silence the sin of a transgressing brother, if perchance one see him?" The elder answered: "If we reproach the sins of brothers, then God will reproach our sins, and if thou seest a brother sinning, believe not thine eyes and know, that thine own sin is like a wood-beam, but the sin of thy brother is like a wood-splinter, and then thou wilt not come into distress and temptation". Another monk turned to the saint, saying: "I have grievously sinned and I want to spend three years at repentance. Is such a length of time sufficient?" The elder answered: "That is a long time". The monk continued to ask, how long a period of repentance did the saint reckon necessary for him – a year or forty days? The elder answered: "I think, that if a man repenteth from the depths of his heart and posits a firm intent to return no more to the sin, then God would accept also a three-day repentance". To the question, as to how to be rid of persistent evil thoughts, the saint answered: "If a man has on one side of him fire, and on the other side a vessel with water, then if he starts burning from the fire, he takes water from the vessel and extinguishes the fire. Like to this are the evil thoughts, suggested by the enemy of our salvation, which like a spark can enkindle sinful desires within man. It is necessary to put out these sparks with the water, which is prayer and the yearning of the soul for God".
     The Monk Pimen was strict at fasting and did not partake of food for the space of a week or more. But others he advised to eat every day, only but without eating one's fill. For a certain monk, permitting himself to partake of food only on the seventh day but being angry with a brother, the saint said: "Thou wouldst learn to fast over six days, yet cannot abstain from anger for even a single day". To the question, which is better – to speak or be silent, the elder said: "Whoso doth speak on account of God, doeth well, and whoso is silent on account of God – that one doth act well". And moreover: "It may be, that a man seems to be silent, but if his heart doth judge others, then always is he speaking. But there are also those, who all the day long speak with their tongue, but within themself they do keep silence, since they judge no one".
     The saint said: "For a man it is necessary to observe three primary rules: to fear God, to pray often and to do good for people". "Malice in turn never wipes out malice. If someone doeth thee bad, do them good, and thine good will conquer their bad". One time, when the monk with his students arrived at an Egyptian wilderness-monastery (since he had the habit to go about from place to place, so as to shun glory from men), it became known to him, that the elder living there was annoyed at his arrival and also was jealous of him. In order to overcome the malice of the hermit, the saint set off to him with his brethren, taking along with them food as a present. The elder refused to come out to them. Thereupon the Monk Pimen said: "We shall not depart from here, until we are granted to see and pay respect to the holy elder", – and he remained standing in the bright heat at the door of the cell. Seeing such perseverance and lack of malice on the part of the Monk Pimen, the elder received him graciously and said: "It is right what I have heard about you, but I see in you the good deeds and an hundred times even moreso". Thus did the Monk Pimen know how to extinguish malice and provide good example to others. He possessed such great humility, that often with a sigh he said: "I shalt be cast down to that place, whither was cast down Satan!"
     One time there came to the saint a monk from afar, to get his guidance. He began to speak about sublime matters difficult to grasp. The saint turned away from him and was silent. To the bewildered monk they explained, that the saint did not like to speak about lofty matters. Then the monk began to ask him about the struggle with passions of soul. The saint turned to him with a joyful face: "Here now thou well hath spoken, and I mustneeds answer", – and for a long while he provided instruction, as to how one ought to struggle with the passions and conquer them.
     The Monk Pimen died at age 110, in about the year 450. Soon after his death he was acknowledged as a saint pleasing to God and received the title "the Great" – as a sign of his great humility, modesty, uprightness and self-denying service to God.

Venerable Poemen of Palestine (605)
Commemorated on August 27/September 9

The Monk Pimen of Palestine lived during the VI Century in a cave in the Ruv wilderness. The holy fathers Sophronios and John speak about him in Chapter 167 of the book, "The Spiritual Meadow" ("Limonarion"). One time during winter the monk Agathonikes came to the Monk Pimen for guidance and remained to spend the night in an adjoining cave. In the morning he mentioned, that he had suffered much from the cold. The Monk Pimen answered, that he himself had been uncovered, but he did not feel the cold because a lion came to him and lay alongside him, warming him. "But I know, – added the ascetic, – that I shall be devoured by wild beasts, since when I lived in the world and shepherded sheep, a man came by my flock whom my dogs attacked and tore apart. I could have saved him, but I did not. It was later revealed to me, that I myself would die a similar death". And so it occurred: three years later it became known, that the holy Hermit Pimen of Palestine was torn apart by wild beasts. This happened at the end of the VI Century.

St. Hosius (Osia) the Confessor, bishop of Cordova (4th c.)
Commemorated on August 27/September 9

Sainted Hosia the Confessor was bishop for more than 60 years in the city of Cordova (Spain) during the IV Century. The holy emperor Saint Constantine the Great (306-337) deeply revered him and made him a privy counsellor. The saint advised that Saint Constantine should convene the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea in the year 325, and he was the first to undersign the deliberations of this Council. After the death of Saint Constantine the Great, Saint Hosia firmly defended Sainted Athanasias of Alexandria (326-373, Comm. 2 May) against the emperor Constantius (337-361), an advocate of the Arian heresy. For this they sent him to prison in Sirmium. Upon his return to Cordova, Saint Hosia died in the year 359.

Venerables Pimen, Kuksha, and Nicon of the Kiev Caves (1114)
Commemorated on August 27/September 9

The PriestMartyr Kuksha and the Monk Pimen the Faster died after the year 1114. Sainted Simon, Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal' (XII Century, Comm. 10 May), in a missive to the Monk Polykarp, Archimandrite of Pechersk (+ 1182, Comm. 24 July), wrote thus about the Monk Kuksha: "How can I worthily proclaim the glory of those saintly men, dwelling in the holy Pechersk monastery, in which pagans were baptised and became monks, and Jews accepted the holy faith? But I cannot keep silent about the Blessed PriestMartyr and Black-Robed Kuksha of this monastery, about whom everyone doth know, that he cast out devils, baptised the Vyatichi, caused it to rain, dried up a lake, did many other miracles, and after many torments was killed together with his disciple Nikon". The death of the PriestMartyr Kuksha was discerned by the Monk Pimen the Faster. Standing amidst the Pechersk Great church, he loudly exclaimed: "Our brother Kuksha was killed at dawn".
     The Vyatichi, among whom the PriestMartyr Monk Kuksha preached and died, lived along the River Oka, and they occupied the locale of the Orlov and Kaluzh districts. They were pagans. The Monk Nestor the Chronicler (Comm. 27 October), writing about the Vyatichi, was shocked by their brutal customs and he added, that they thus live "furthermore only for the present day", remaining unacquainted with the Law of God and instead making their own law. The PriestMartyr Monk Kuksha preached to the Vyatichi during the era of Sainted Theoktist, Bishop of Chernigov (1113-1123, Comm. 5 August). He was buried thus, as was the Monk Pimen the Faster, in the Nearer Caves (Comm. of Monks of the Nearer Caves is 28 September).

Venerable Moses the Black of Scete (400)
Commemorated on August 28/September 10

     The Monk Moses Murin the Black lived during the IV Century in Egypt. He was an Ethiopian, and he was black of skin and therefore called "Murin" (meaning "like an Ethiopian"). In his youth he was the slave of an important man, but after he committed a murder, his master banished him, and he joined in with a band of robbers. Because of his mean streak and great physical strength they chose him as their leader. Moses with his band of brigands did many an evil deed – both murders and robberies, so much so that people were afraid even at the mere mention of his name. Moses the brigand spent several years leading suchlike a sinful life, but through the great mercy of God he repented, leaving his band of robbers and going off to one of the wilderness monasteries. And here for a long time he wept, beseeching that they admit him amidst the number of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance; but the former robber was not to be driven away nor silenced, in demanding that they should accept him. In the monastery the Monk Moses was completely obedient to the hegumen and the brethren, and he poured forth many a tear, bewailing his sinful life. After a certain while the Monk Moses withdrew to a solitary cell, where he spent the time in prayer and the strictest of fasting in a very austere lifestyle. One time 4 of the robbers of his former band descended upon the cell of the Monk Moses and he, not having lost his great physical strength, he tied them all up and taking them over his shoulder, he brought them to the monastery, where he asked of the elders what to do with them. The elders ordered that they be set free. The robbers, learning that they had chanced upon their former ringleader, and that he had dealt kindly with them, – they themselves followed his example: they repented and became monks. And later, when the rest of the band of robbers heard about the repentance of the Monk Moses, then they too gave up their brigandage and became fervent monks.
     The Monk Moses did not quickly become free from the passions. He went often to the monastery hegumen, Abba Isidor, seeking advice on how to be delivered from the passions of profligacy. Being experienced in the spiritual struggle, the elder taught him never to overeat of food, to be partly hungry whilst observing the strictest moderation. But the passions would not cease for the Monk Moses in his dreams. Then Abba Isidor taught him the all-night vigil. The monk stood the whole night at prayer, not being on bended knees so as not to drop off to sleep. From his prolonged struggles the Monk Moses fell into despondency, and when there arose thoughts about leaving his solitary cell, Abba Isidor instead strengthened the resolve of his student. In a vision he showed him many a demon in the west, prepared for battle, and in the East a still greater quantity of holy Angels, likewise readied for fighting. Abba Isidor explained to the Monk Moses, that the power of the Angels would prevail over the power of the demons, and in the long struggle with the passions it was necessary for him to become completely cleansed of his former sins.
     The Monk Moses undertook a new effort. Making the rounds by night of the wilderness cells, he carried water from the well to each brother. He did this especially for the elders, who lived far off from the well and who were not easily able to carry their own water. One time, kneeling over the well, the Monk Moses felt a powerful blow upon his back and he fell down at the well like one dead, laying there in that position until dawn. Thus did the devils take revenge upon the monk for his victory over them. In the morning the brethren carried him to his cell, and he lay there a whole year crippled up. Having recovered, the monk with firm resolve confessed to the hegumen, that he would continue to asceticise. But the Lord Himself put limits to this struggle of many years: Abba Isidor blessed his student and said to him, that the profligate passions had already gone from him. The elder commanded him to commune the Holy Mysteries and in peace to go to his own cell. And from that time the Monk Moses received from the Lord the power over demons.
     Accounts about his exploits spread amongst the monks and even beyond the bounds of the wilderness. The governor of the land wanted to see the saint. Having learned about this, the Monk Moses decided to hide away from any visitors and he departed his own cell. Along the way he met up with servants of the governor, who asked him, how to get to the cell of the wilderness-dweller Moses. The monk answered them: "Go on no further to this false and unworthy monk". The servants returned to the monastery, where the governor was waiting, and they conveyed to him the words of the elder they had chanced upon. The brethren, hearing a description of the elder's appearance, all as one acknowledged that they had come upon the Monk Moses himself.
     Having spent many a year at monastic exploits, the Monk Moses was ordained deacon. The bishop attired him in white vesture and said: "Abba Moses is now entirely white". The saint answered: "Vladyka, what makes it purely white – the outer or the inner?" Through humility the saint reckoned himself unworthy to accept the dignity of deacon. One time the bishop decided to test him and he bid the clergy to drive him out of the altar, whilst reviling him for being an unworthy black-Ethiopian. With full humility the monk accepted the abuse. Having put him to the test, the bishop then ordained the monk to be presbyter. And in this dignity the Monk Moses asceticised for 15 years and gathered round himself 75 disciples.
     When the monk reached age 75, he forewarned his monks, that soon brigands would descend upon the skete and murder all that were there. The saint blessed his monks to leave in good time, so as to avoid the violent death, His disciples began to beseech the monk to leave together with them, but he replied: "I many a year already have awaited the time, when upon me there should be fulfilled the words which my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, did speak: "All, who take up the sword, shalt perish by the sword" (Mt. 26: 52). After this seven of the brethren remained with the monk, and one of these hid not far off during the coming of the robbers, The robbers killed the Monk Moses and the six monks that remained with him. Their death occurred in about the year 400.

Venerable Sabbas, abbot of Krypetsk (1495).
Commemorated on August 28/September 10

The Monk Savva of Krypetsk was tonsured at Athos, and from there he came to Pskov. He began to asceticise on Mount Snetna at the Mother of God monastery, near Pskov, and thereafter he went off to a more remote spot along the River Tolva, at the monastery of the Monk Evphrosyn (Comm. 15 May). Finally, he withdrew for complete solitude to the Krypetsk wilderness, 15 versts from the Tolva, and he settled alone in a small cave in the impenetrable forest. For food the hermit had bread and water, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing. Living the life of an hermit he was much assailed by unclean spirits, but always he prevailed over them through prayer. And after several years in the solitary life, those zealous for wilderness life began to gather round the Monk Savva. They besought him to form a monastery and build a church, in honour of the Apostle John the Theologian. The monk refused to be hegumen of the monastery and entrusted its guidance to the monk Kassian. Many came out from Pskov to the austere starets-elder, and he healed and admonished them, but never did he accept gifts from them.
     One time the Pskov prince Yaroslav Vasil'evich Obolensky, who frequently visited at the monastery, made journey with his sick wife to the saint. The Monk Savva sent off to him a message saying: "The starets, the sinner Savva, telleth thee, prince, enter not into the monastery with the princess; such is our rule here – women are not to enter the monastery; if thou transgress this fatherly command, thy princess wilt not receive healing". The prince asked forgiveness, since it was through ignorance that he was on the point of transgressing the rule. The Monk Savva came out through the monastery gates together with the brethren and there served a molieben. The princess was healed. Through the mediation of the prince, in 1487 Pskov received a grammota-deed to the lands for the monastery.
     The monk taught layfolk to watch over their purity, reminding them about the injunction of the Apostle against the defilers of the body. He told the rich and the judges, not to make their living at the expense of the poor and to preserve rightful truth. He frequently reminded everyone to avoid quarrels and enmity, to preserve love and peace and to overlook the faults of others by courtesy, even as they in turn have forgiven us. At the monastery from the very beginning there had been introduced a strict life-in-common. And then, when sufficient brethren and means had been gathered, there was nothing in the cell of the monk save for two icons, his monk's garb and the cot, upon which he lay down to take his rest. By suchlike poverty he taught the brethren. The monk commanded them to work the land with their own hands. He said: "For how can we call the ancient ascetics our fathers, when we live not by their manner of life, how then can we be accounted their children? They were homeless and poor, they spent their time in caves and in the wilderness and for the Lord with all their strength they subjected their flesh to spirit. And they knew respite neither by day, nor by night. We should love the good Lord, children, not by sounds only nor by our manner of attire for showing off our love for Him, but by deeds: by love one for another, by tears, by fasting, by every manner of temperance, just as the ancient fathers did this".
     The grateful prince built through the fens and the swamps a bridge to the monastery 1400 sazhen [1 sazhen = 7 feet] in length. After his death (+ 28 August 1495), the Monk Savva did not forsake the monastery, and many a time came to its defense. At night one time robbers approached the monastery, but they then caught sight of an august elder, who held in hand a staff and threateningly ordered them to repent. In the morning they learned that there was no suchlike elder at the monastery, and they realised, that this had been the Monk Savva himself. The leader of the robbers made his repentance to the hegumen and remained to live at the monastery.
     The Monk Savva was tall of stature, with a beard grey as snow, roundish and thick and not very long. In suchlike visage he appeared in the mid-XVI Century to the monk Isaiah, in showing him where to find his undecayed relics. Thereafter, in the year 1555, at the request of the Krypetsk brethren, the Pskov priest Vasilii compiled the life of the Monk Savva, and the feastday to him was established.

Synaxis of the Saints of the Kiev Caves whose relics repose in the Far Cave of Venerable Theodosius
Commemorated on August 28/September 10
Moses, Wonderworker. He subdued his body in various ways. For example he carried an iron belt and an iron cross, which he made for himself, on his naked body. For his asceticism and labors he received the gift of working wonders.
Lawrence, Hermit.
Hilarion, Schema-monk.
Paphnutius, Hermit. Constantly crying in recollecting the hour of his death, so he led all his life, and dying he saw choirs of angels which, having come, took his soul and carried it to heaven.
Martyrius, Deacon. For his high purity and Lenten asceticism he became worthy of the deaconate and rewarded with the gift of miracles. Everyone for whom he prayed before God, standing on the ambo, received what they requested. He banished evil spirits by his prayer.
Theodore, Prince of Ostrog. He fervently built and adorned Orthodox temples in Volhynia and was the courageous defender of the Orthodox against the violence of Papism. Together with his acceptance of monasticism in the Kievan Monastery of the Caves he also accepted the new name of Theodosius (see July 6, page 231).
Athanasius, Hermit.
Dionysius, Hermit, nicknamed the Chip. He was a hieromonk and overseer of the caves in the Kievan Monastery of the Caves. Passing through this modest obedience, he achieved such holiness that on the day of Holy Pascha (as this is narrated in his Life), when coming to a cave to cense the relics of the saints, he said according to custom: "Christ is risen"! that at this moment was heard the response from all the relics: "Truly, He is risen"! This event so astounded Dionysius that he left for the solitary life.
Theophilus, Bishop of Novgorod. The last bishop of free Novgorod, he first practiced asceticism in the Otensky Monastery and during the time of St. Jonah he was the Protodeacon and the sacristan of the Episcopal see. After the death of St. Jonah, Theophilus was elected by lot as the Archbishop of Novgorod. He became known as a zealous adherent of Orthodoxy during the Novgorod civil wars. He died in about the year 1480 near Kiev where he went to venerate the saints. His relics repose in a reliquary.
Zeno, Faster and hard laborer. He pleased God with many ascetic efforts of the virtuous monastic way of life: fasting, prayer, humility and obedience.
Gregory, Wonderworker. He was distinguished by various ascetic efforts of abstinence, fasting and prayer. For food during all his life he was served uncooked grass, and for drink, water. He was vouchsafed by God with the gift of working wonders: all the infirm, partaking grass with water, by which he was fed, received healing.
Hypatius, Doctor and Healer. All day long he incessantly worked at monastic obedience, but at night he stood in prayer. Serving the Holy fathers during their illness, he himself received from God such a gift, that a touch of the hand healed the sick.
Lucian, Presbyter, endured martyrdom during the Batu invasion in 1239.
Joseph, the Sickly. Being many years in illness, he made a vow to his death to serve in the Monastery of the Caves if the Lord bestowed health to him. The Lord heard his prayer and he recovered. Having entered the monastery, he to his very death fervently practiced asceticism, pleasing the Lord through fasting and prayer and serving the monastic brothers with humble obedience.
Paul, the Obedient. He never was idle, as a lamb to the slaughter he carried out each obedience assigned to him by the rector.
Sisoe, Schema-monk. He carried out his life in great Lenten labors. God bestowed to him victory over passions and evil spirits.
Nestor (not the learned one who wrote the Russian Chronicles, but another, unlearned and of the simple sort). He so hotly served the Lord that he saw angels and Christ Himself during his prayers and learned the day of the death. Pambo. He endured suffering for his faith by the Tartar pagans. Probably, this was in 1240 when monks, who were shut in caves by the enemies, were compelled to send Pambo for food.
Pambo obediently took on this assignment, but was seized by the Tartars who subjected him to torture. Wonderfully saved from death, he died in seclusion.
Theodore, the Silent, embraced the way of silence for salvation.
Sophronius, Hermit. He daily read through the Psalter, always wore sackcloth of hair and an iron belt on his body.
Pancratius, Hieromonk, reposed in seclusion.
Anatolius, Hermit.
Ammon, Hermit.
Ven. Mardarius, Hermit. He tried to keep the fast, prayer and obedience, and inured himself to full disinterestedness so that he wanted nothing in his cell, except the clothes he wore.
Piorius, Hermit. He was especially distinguished for his fasting and diligence.
Martyrius, Hermit.
Rufus, Hermit.
Benjamin. A wealthy merchant, he distributed all his wealth, voluntarily accepted poverty and was tonsured a monk. His holy relics reposed incorruptibly.
Euphrosyne, Hegumena of Polotsk (see May 23).
Cassian, Hermit.
Arsenius, the Diligent. He never was idle, and always as he prayed, so also he fulfilled his monastic obedience. He never received food before sunset.
Euthymius, Schema-monk. He lived purely and silently, imitating the virtues of the great saints. Having accepted the schema, he never spoke with anyone. He never ate cooked food but only raw vegetables.
Titus. He was formerly a warrior. After he was tonsured, he earnestly practiced asceticism in fasting and prayer. With sincere prayerful tears he received from God such grace that while yet alive it was announced about the forgiveness of his sins.
Achilles, Deacon. He was a strict faster. For food he was served prosphora, partaken once a week.
Paisius and Mercurius the Faster. Living with each other in inseparable brotherly love and of one mind, they incessantly asked God that He not separate them from each other, neither in this life nor in the future. And after their death they were put in the same grave. Now they repose separately.
Macarius, Deacon. Being promised to God from childhood, he as a monk so sincerely served God in fasting and prayer that he was granted the gift of working wonders.
Poemen, the Faster. He was the Hegumen of the Monastery of the Caves from 1132 until 1141. He ate food only once a week and never weakened from fasting and labor.
Leontius and Gerontius, Canonarchs of the Great Church of the Monastery of the Caves. Both monks from adolescence pleased the Lord with prayers, abstinence and zealous learning of their services.
Zachary, the Faster. He ate only kernels of spring grain, using this poor food after sunset and in small quantity. He had the grace of driving away evil spirits.
Silouan, Schema-monk. According to the Canon, he was "zealous in purity and the keeper of gardens". He once by prayer caught thieves who came to steal the fruit, and then, after absolving them, let them go in peace.
Agatho, Wonderworker. By laying on of hands he healed the infirm. He had the gift of prophecy and insight.
Ignatius, Archimandrite of the Caves (since 1435). Through his prayers he healed many of the sick.
Longinus, Gatekeeper of the Caves. He knew the thoughts of the people who entered and left the monastery.
   All the Venerable Ones in the Cave of the Venerable Theodosius were 45, of them probably 32 are those who reposed and 13 are in seclusion. Besides this in the hand-written church calendar and memorials are commemorated the memory of those who repose or invisibly repose in the St. Theodosius Cave.

The Beheading of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John
Commemorated on August 29/September 11

     The Beheading of the Prophet, ForeRunner of the Lord, John the Baptist: The Evangelists Matthew (Mt. 14: 1-12) and Mark (Mk. 6: 14-29) provide accounts about the Martyr's end of John the Baptist in the year 32 after the Birth of Christ.
     Following the Baptism of the Lord, Saint John the Baptist was locked up in prison by Herod Antipas, holding one-fourth the rule of the Holy Land as governor of Galilee. (After the death of king Herod the Great, the Romans divided the territory of Palestine into four parts, and into each part put a governor. Herod Antipas received from the emperor Augustus the rule of Galilee). The prophet of God John openly denounced Herod for having left his lawful wife – the daughter of the Arabian king Aretas, and then instead co-habiting with Herodias, – the wife of his brother Philip (Lk. 3: 19-20). On his birthday, Herod made a feast for dignitaries, the elders and a thousand chief citizens. The daughter of Herod, Salome, danced before the guests and charmed Herod. In gratitude to the girl he swore to give her anything, whatsoever she would ask, anything up to half his kingdom. The vile girl on the advice of her wicked mother Herodias asked, that she be given at once the head of John the Baptist on a plate. Herod became apprehensive, for he feared the wrath of God for the murder of a prophet, whom earlier he had heeded. He feared also the people, who loved the holy ForeRunner. But because of the guests and his careless oath, he gave orders to cut off the head of Saint John and to give it to Salome. By tradition, the mouth of the dead head of the preacher of repentance once more opened and proclaimed: "Herod, thou ought not to have the wife of Philip thy brother". Salome took the plate with the head of Saint John and gave it to her mother. The frenzied Herodias repeatedly stabbed the tongue of the prophet with a needle and buried his holy head in a unclean place. But the pious Joanna, wife of Herod's steward Chuza, buried the head of John the Baptist in an earthen vessel on the Mount of Olives, where Herod was possessor of a parcel of land (the Uncovering of the Venerable Head is celebrated 24 February). The holy body of John the Baptist was taken that night by his disciples and buried at Sebasteia, there where the wicked deed had been done. After the murder of Saint John the Baptist, Herod continued to govern for a certain while. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, later sent to him the bound Jesus Christ, over Whom he made mockery (Lk. 23: 7-12).
     The judgement of God came upon Herod, Herodias and Salome, even during their earthly life. Salome, crossing the River Sikoris in winter, fell through the ice. The ice gave way for her such that her body was in the water, but her head trapped beneathe the ice. It was similar to how she once had danced with her feet upon the ground, but now flailing helplessly in the icy water. Thus she was trapped until that time when the sharp ice cut through her neck. The corpse was not found, but they brought the head to Herod and Herodias, as once they had brought them the head of Saint John the Baptist. The Arab king Aretas in revenge for the disrespect shown his daughter made war against Herod. Having suffered defeat, Herod suffered the wrath of the Roman emperor Caius Caligua (37-41) and was exiled with Herodias first to Gaul, and then to Spain. And there they were from view.
     In memory of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, the feastday established by the Church is also a strict day of fast, – as an expression of the grief of Christians at the violent death of the saint. On this day the Church makes remembrance of soldiers, killed on the field of battle, as established in 1769 at the time of a war of Russia with the Turks and the Poles.

Venerable Theodora, nun, of Thessalonica (892)
Commemorated on August 29/September 11

"A wealthy and devout woman, she lived on the island of Aegina, but, when the Arabs over-ran the island, she moved to Salonica. There, she gave her only daughter to a monastery, where she received the monastic name Theopista. Her husband Theodorinus died very soon, and then Theodora became a nun. She was a great ascetic. She often heard angelic singing, and would say to her sisters: 'Don't you hear how wonderfully the angels are singing in heavenly light?' She entered into rest in 879, and a healing myrrh flowed from her body, which gave healing to many.

New Martyr Anastasius of Bulgaria and Serbia (1794).
Commemorated on August 29/September 11

The Martyr Anastasii, a Bulgarian, was born in 1774 in the Strumnitsk diocese, in the village of Radovicha. His parents gave him over to military studies. When the youth was 20 years old, he happened to be with his teacher in Soluneia (Thessalonika). The master wanted to sell some Turkish clothes without paying the customary dutyy-tax. He told his student to dress himself as a Turk and go into the city. The collectors of the duty‑tax (haraje) stopped him and demanded the written receipt (teskere) of duty-tax payment. The youth answered that he was a Turk. Thereupon the collectors demanded him to recite the salutation with the Mahometan prayer. The youth became confused and quiet. They ordered him off to the commander, who in interrogating the martyr offered him to become Turkish. The youth refused, and they led him away to the chief tax-collector. The official tried at first to flatter, then to threaten the martyr, who owned up to his civil guilt, but would not agree to betray his holy faith. The tax-collector made this known to the mufti, who in turn answered: "Thou hast in one hand the sword, in the other the law; use what thou wishest". He knew, that by law the tax-collector ought to take the duty-tax from the youth, but then by judgement of the mufti he would not be a follower of Mahomet, armed with a sword. And having received such an answer, the commander of the haraje sent the youth to the local mullah together with five Turks, who were obliged to testify that the Christian had blasphemed the Mahometan faith. To the accusations of blasphemy against Mahomet by these witnesses, the youth honestly answered that he did not blaspheme him, but he would allow having shown disrespect to Mahometan customs. They subjected him to torture and condemned him to hanging. Along the way they continued to urge the martyr to renounce his faith, but bleeding and exhausted, he fell upon the wayside and died on 29 August 1794.

Synaxis of the Serbian Hierarchs: Sts. Sava I (1235), Arsenius (1266), Sava II (1271), Eustathius I (1285), James (1292), Nicodemus (1325), and Daniel II (1338), archbishops; Sts. Ioannicius II (1354), Spyridon (1388), Ephraim II (1395), Cyril (1419), Nicon (ca. 1439), Macarius (1574), Gabriel I (1659), patriarchs; and St. Gregory (1012), bishop
Commemorated on August 30/September 12
     The Sobor-Assemblage of Serbian Sainted-Hierarchs celebrates arch-pastors of the Serbian Church of the XIII-XIV Centuries. The majority of them, in addition to this general commemoration, have individual days of celebration: Sainted Archbishop Savva I ‑- 12 January; Sainted Archbishop Arsenii I – 28 October; Sainted Archbishop Savva II – 8 February; Sainted Archbishop Evstaphii I – 4 January; Sainted Archbishop Nikodom – 11 May; Sainted Archbishop Daniel – 20 December; Sainted Patriarch Joannikii II – 3 September; Sainted Patriarch Ephrem II – 15 June.

Sts. Alexander (340), John (595), and Paul the New (784), patriarchs of Constantinople
Commemorated on August 30/September 12

Saints Alexander, John and Paul, Constantinople Patriarchs, lived at different times, but each of them happened to clash with the activities of heretics who sought to distort the teachings of the Church. Saint Alexander (325-340) was a "chor-bishop" (vicar bishop) during the period of the first patriarch of Constantinople, Sainted Mitrophanes (315-325), and because of the patriarch's extreme age substituted for him at the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea against the Arians (325). Upon his death, Saint Mitrophanes had instructed in his will to elect his vicar to the Constantinople throne. During these times His Holiness Patriarch Alexander had to contend with the Arians and with pagans. Once in a dispute with a pagan philosopher the saint said to him: "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to be quiet!", and the pagan suddenly became voiceless. When he gestured with signs of acknowledgement of his errors and affirmation of the correctness of the Christian teaching, then his speech returned to him and he believed in Christ together with many other pagan-philosophers.
     The heretic Arius was punished through the prayer of Saint Alexander. The heretic deceitfully agreed to enter into communion with the Orthodox, and the emperor Saint Constantine set a day for receiving Arius. All night long Saint Alexander prayed, imploring the Lord not to permit the heretic to be received into communion with the Church. In the morning, when Arius triumphantly went to the church, surrounded by imperial counselors and soldiers, he was stricken with illness on the Constantine Square, – his belly exploded and the innards fell out.
     His Holiness Patriarch Alexander, having toiled much, died in the year 340 at the age of 98. Sainted Gregory the Theologian (or Nazianzen, Comm. 25 January) made mention about him afterwards in words of praise to the people of Constantinople.
     Sainted John the Faster (582-595) is in particular remembered by the Church on 2 September (the account about him is located under this heading).
     Sainted Paul, by birth a Cypriot, became Patriarch of Constantinople (780-784) during the reign of the Iconoclast-emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780), and was a virtuous and pious but timid man. Viewing the martyrdom, which the Orthodox endured for holy icons, the saint concealed his Orthodoxy and associated with the iconoclasts. After the death of the emperor Leo, he wanted to restore icon-veneration but was not able to accomplish since, since the iconoclasts were still quite powerful. The saint realised, that it was not in his powers to guide the flock, and so he left the patriarchal throne and went secretly to the monastery of Saint Florus, where he took the schema. He repented his silence and association with the iconoclasts and talked of the necessity for convening the Eighth OEcumenical Council to condemn the Iconoclast heresy. Upon his advice, there was chosen to the patriarchal throne Saint Tarasios (784-806), at that time a prominent imperial counselor. The saint died a schema-monk in the year 804.

Venerable Christopher of Palestine (6th c.)
Commemorated on August 30/September 12

The Monk Christopher, a Roman, lived during the VI Century. He was tonsured into monasticism at the monastery of the Monk Theodosios (Comm. 11 January) in Palestine, Near Jerusalem. The accounts of Abba Theodulos about the Monk Christopher are contained in the book "Spiritual Meadows" ("Leimon" or "Limonar'") by John Moskhos and Sophronios.
     One time the Monk Christopher went to Jerusalem, to worship at the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord and at the Life-Creating Cross. At the gateway of the church he beheld a monk not moving from the spot. Two ravens flew before his face. The Monk Christopher discerned that these were demons, which held the monk back from entering the church. He asked the brother: "Why standest thou at the gate and enter not in?". – The brother answered: "Pardon me, father, but within me struggle two thoughts: one says: go and venerate the Venerable Cross, but the other says: go not in, rather first finish thou thine affairs, and another time come and venerate". Then Saint Christopher took the brother by the hand and led him into the church. The ravens immediately disappeared, and the brother made his veneration. The Monk Christopher recounted this in instructing those who were very little diligent in prayer, and who forgot, that first one ought to fulfill spiritual service, and then afterwards the necessary work.
     By day the Monk Christopher fulfilled his monastic obedience, and by night he retired to a cave, where at an earlier time had prayed the Monk Theodosios and other fathers. At each of the 18 steps, leading into the cave, he made about 100 poklons and the greater part of the night he spent in prayer, before the pealing calling to morning song. At this exploit he spent 11 years. One time, descending into the cave, he beheld in it a multitude of lamps. Two radiant youths were lighting them. "Why have ye put the lampadi here, such that I be not able to enter in and pray", – said the monk. "These are the lampadi of the fathers, serving God", – answered the youths. "Tell me, – asked the saint, – does my lampada burn or not?" They answered: "Work, pray, and we shall light it". Then the saint said to himself: "Oi, Christopher, thou oughtest to assume yet greater a burden, that thy lamp might be lighted!" He went from the monastery to Mount Sinai, taking nothing with him. The monk toiled there for 50 years at great exploits. And finally, he heard a voice saying: "Christopher! Go to thine monastery where thou didst asceticise earlier, so that thou mightest repose there with thine fathers".

The Placing of the Cincture (Sash) of the Most Holy Theotokos (395-408)
Commemorated on August 31/September 13
     The Placing of the Venerable Belt of the MostHoly Mother of God in the Constantinople Blakhernae Church was during the reign of the emperor Arcadius (395‑408). Before this the holy relict, entrusted to the Apostle Thomas by the Mother of God Herself, was after Her Dormition thereafter kept at Jerusalem by pious Christians. After many years, during the reign of emperor Leo the Wise (886-911), from the Belt of the Mother of God was accomplished a miraculous healing of his spouse Zoa, suffering from an unclean spirit.
     The empress had a vision, that she would be healed of her infirmity when the Belt of the Mother of God would be placed upon her. The emperor turned with his petition to the Patriarch. The Patriarch removed the seal and opened the vessel in which the relict was kept: the Belt of the Mother of God appeared completely whole and undamaged by time. The Patriarch placed the Belt on the sick empress, and she immediately was freed from her infirmity. They served a solemn thanksgiving molieben to the MostHoly Mother of God, and the venerable Belt they placed back into the vessel and resealed the seal.
     In commemoration of the miraculous occurrence and the twofold Placing of the venerable Belt, the feast of the Placing of the Venerable Belt of the MostHoly Mother of God was established. Parts of the holy Belt are in the Athos Batopedia monastery, in Trier monastery and in Gruzia (Georgia).

St. Gennadius, patriarch of Constantinople (471)
Commemorated on August 31/September 13

Sainted Gennadios, Patriarch of Tsargrad, was placed on the throne of the Constantinople Church in the year 458, during the reign of the holy nobleborn emperor Leo the Great (457-474). His life is known about from the book "Spiritual Meadows" in which were inscribed tales of the monks of Salamis monastery (near Alexandria), – the Monks Sophronios and John. These monks were clergy of the Constantinople Church under Patriarch Gennadios. Sainted Gennadios was distinguished for his mildness, tolerance, purity and abstinence. About his power of prayer one might judge from the following instance: in the church of the holy Martyr Eleutherios at Constantinople was a disreputable clergyman Charisimos, spending his life in idleness, impurity and even occupying himself with theft and sorcery. For a long time Saint Gennadios admonished him with gentleness and patience, but Charisimos did not change his conduct. The patriarch resorted to strictness and gave orders to give the disreputable cleric several blows for comprehension. But even after the punishment he did not straighten out. Patriarch Gennadios then entrusted his emissary in his name to turn to the holy Martyr Eleutherios (Comm. 4 August) in whose church Charisimos served. Entering the temple, the emissary of the patriarch came before the altar, stretched out his hand to the grave of the martyr and said: "Holy Martyr Eleutherios! Patriarch Gennadios announces to thee through me a sinner, that the cleric Charisimos, serving in thy temple, doth do much iniquity and create great scandal; wherefore do thou either improve him or cut him off from the Church". On the following morning Charisimos was found dead. Another instance, displaying the great strength of prayer of Saint Gennadios, occurred with one of the portrait painters who dared to paint an image of Christ, giving the Saviour the features of the pagan god Zeus. The hand of the painter, having done such blasphemy, immediately withered. The repentant painter was brought in the church and confessed all his sins to the patriarch. Saint Gennadios prayed over the sinner, and the hand of the painter was healed.
     To settle iniquitous actions and false teachings arising in the Church, Saint Gennadios summoned a Local Council at which were condemned the Eutykhian heresy and which interdicted simony (the buying of the dignity of ordination). The saint concerned himself that a person wishing to accept the priestly dignity would be quite knowledgeable in Holy Scripture and know the Psalter by heart.
     During the time of the patriarchate of Saint Gennadios, there was built a temple in honour of Saint John the Precursor. Then a certain senator Studius having come from Rome founded a monastery, which afterwards became known as the "Studite". The church steward under the holy Patriarch Gennadios was the Monk Marcian (Comm. 10 January). The patriarch also ordained to the priesthood the Monk Daniel the Stylite (Comm. 11 December). Saint Gennadios was the author of dialogues and commentaries on the Prophet Daniel (the works have not survived). There is known also his Circular Missive against Simony", affirmed by a Council of the year 459. Sainted Gennadios governed the Constantinople Church for 13 years. He died peacefully in the year 471.
     Once during the time of night prayer it was made known to the saint that a powerful enemy would fall upon his flock. He incessantly offered up prayer for the peace of the Church, that the Lord would preserve it invincible against the gates of Hades.

Hieromartyr Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (258)
Commemorated on August 31/September 13

The PriestMartyr Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, was born in about the year 200 in the city of Carthage (Northern Africa), where all his life and work took place. Thasius Cyprianus was the son of a rich pagan senator, and received a fine secular education becoming a splendid orator, teacher of rhetoric and philosophy in the school of Carthage. He often appeared in the courts to plea and defend the deeds of his townsmen. Cyprian afterwards recollected, that for a long while "he remained in a deep dark myst..., far from the light of Truth". His fortune – received from his parents and from his vocational activity, he expended on sumptuous banquets, but they were not able to quench in him the thirst for truth. Having become curious about Christianity, he became acquainted with the writings of the Apologist presbyter Tertullian (born about the year 160). The sainted-bishop later wrote, that it then seemed impossible for him because of his habits to attain to the regeneration promised by the Saviour.
     From such a burdened and undecided state of mind he was helped out by his friend and guide – the presbyter Cecilius. At 46 years of age the studious pagan was received into the Christian community as a catechumen. And before accepting Baptism, he distributed his property to the poor and moved into the house of the presbyter Cecilius. Strengthened by the power of the regenerative grace of God – received by him in Baptism, Sainted Cyprian wrote in a letter to his friend Donatus: "When the surge of regeneration cleansed the impurity of my former life, a light – steady and bright, shone down from Heaven into my heart. When the second birth by the Heavenly Spirit transformed me into a new man, then in a miraculous manner I was strengthened against doubt, mysteries were revealed, and darkness was made light... and I learned, that my having lived in the flesh for sin belonged to the earthly, but now was begun a Divine living by the Holy Spirit. In God and from God is all our strength; from Him is our might. Through Him we, living upon the earth, have the hint of a condition of future bliss". Exemplarily a year after his Baptism the saint was ordained to the priesthood, and when bishop Donatus of Carthage died, all unanimously chose Saint Cyprian as bishop. He gave his consent, having complied with his guide's request, and was ordained bishop of Carthage in about the year 248.
     The saint first of all concerned himself about the welfare of the Church and the eradication of vices amidst the clergy and flock. The saintly life of the archpastor evoked in everyone a desire to imitate his piety, humility and wisdom. The fruitful activity of Saint Cyprian became reknown beyond the bounds of his diocese. Bishops from other sees often turned to him for advice, as how to deal with this or that other matter. A persecution by the emperor Decius (249-251) – revealed to the saint in a dream vision, forced him to go into hiding. His life was necessary to his flock for the strengthening of faith and courage among the persecuted. Before his departure from his diocese, the saint distributed the church treasury among all the clergy for the rendering of help to the needy, and in addition he dispatched further funds.
     He kept in constant touch with the Carthaginian Christians through his epistles, and he wrote letters to presbyters, confessors and martyrs. Some Christians, broken by torture, offered sacrifice to the pagan gods. These lapsed Christians appealed to the confessors, asking to give them what is called a letter of reconciliation, i.e. an interceding certificate about accepting them back into the Church. Sainted Cyprian wrote to all the Carthaginian Christians a general missive, in which he indicated that those lapsed during a time of persecution might be admitted into the Church, but this needed to be preceded by an investigation of the circumstances under which the falling-away came about. An examination was necessary of the sincerity of contrition of the lapsed. To admit them was possible only after a Church penance and with the permission of the bishop. Some of the lapsed insistently demanded their immediate re-admittance into the Church and by this caused unrest in the whole community. Saint Cyprian wrote the bishops of other dioceses asking their opinion, and from all he received full approval of his directives.
     During the time of his absence the saint authorised four clergy to examine the lives of persons preparing for ordination to the priesthood and the deaconate. This met resistance from the layman Felicissimus and the presbyter Novatus, roused to indignation against their bishop. Saint Cyprian excommunicated Felicissimus and six of his accomplices. In his letter to the flock, the saint touchingly admonished all not to separate themselves from the unity of the Church, to be subject to the lawful commands of the bishop and to await his return. This letter held the majority of Carthaginian Christians in fidelity to the Church.
     In a short while Saint Cyprian returned to his flock. The insubordination of Felicissimus was put to an end at a Local Council in the year 251. This Council rendered a judgement about the possibility of receiving the lapsed back into the Church after a church penance and it affirmed the excommunication of Felicissimus.
     During this time there occurred a new schism, put forward by the Roman presbyter Novatian, and joined by the Carthaginian presbyter Novatus – a former adherent of Felicissimus. Novatian asserted that the lapsed during time of persecution could not be admitted back, even if they repented of their sin. Besides this, Novatian with the help of Novatus convinced three Italian bishops during the lifetime of the lawful Roman bishop Celerinus to place another bishop on the Roman cathedra. Against such iniquity, Saint Cyprian wrote a series of circular missives to the African bishops, and afterwards a whole book, "On the Unity of the Church".
     When the discord in the Carthage church began to quiet down, a new calamity began – a pestilential plague flared up. Hundreds of people fled from the city – leaving the sick without help, and the dead without burial. Saint Cyprian, providing an example by his firmness and his courage, himself tended the sick and buried the dead, not only Christians but pagans also. The pestilential plague was accompanied by drought and famine. An horde of barbarian Numidians, taking advantage of the misfortune, fell upon the inhabitants taking many into captivity. Saint Cyprian moved many rich Carthaginians to offer up means for feeding the starving and ransoming captives.
     When a new persecution against Christians spread under the emperor Valerian (253-259), the Carthaginian proconsul Paternus ordered the saint to offer sacrifice to idols. He steadfastly refused both to do this and to name names and abodes of the presbyters of the Carthage Church. The sent off the saint to the locale of Corubisum. Deacon Pontus voluntarily followed his bishop into exile. On the day when the saint arrived at the place of exile he had a dream vision, predicting for him a quick martyr's end. Situated in exile, Saint Cyprian wrote many letters and books. Wanting to suffer at Carthage, he himself returned there. Taken before the court, he was set at liberty until the following year. Nearly all the Christians of Carthage came to take their leave of their bishop and receive his blessing. At the trial Saint Cyprian calmly and firmly refused to offer sacrifice to idols and was sentenced to beheading with a sword. Hearing the sentence, Saint Cyprian said: "Thanks be to God!" and all the people with one voice cried out: "And we want to die with him!" Coming to the place of execution, the saint again gave his blessing to all and arranged to give 25 gold coins to the executioner. He himself then covered over his eyes, and gave his hands to be bound to the presbyter and archdeacon standing near him and lowered his head. Christians with lamentation put their shawls and veils by him so as to gather up the priestly blood. The martyr's death occurred in the year 258. The body of the saint was taken by night and given burial in a private crypt of the procurator Macrovius Candidianus.
     Afterwards, during the time of king Charles the Great (i.e. Charlemagne, 771-814), his holy relics were transferred to France.
     Sainted Cyprian of Carthage left the Church a precious legacy: his writings and 80 letters. The works of Saint Cyprian were accepted by the Church as a model of Orthodox confession and read at OEcumenical Councils (III Ephesus and IV Chalcedon). In the writings of Saint Cyprian is stated the Orthodox teaching about the Church – having its foundation upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and proclaimed and built by the Apostles. The inner unity is expressed in an unity of faith and love, and the outer unity is actualised by the hierarchy and sacraments of the Church. In the Church Christ comprises all the fulness of life and salvation. Those having separated themselves from the unity of the Church do not have in themself true life. Christian love is shewn as the bond holding together the Church. "Love, – is the foundation of all the virtues, and it continues with us eternally in the Heavenly Kingdom".

St. John, metropolitan of Kiev (1089)
Commemorated on August 31/September 13
St. John was Metropolitan of Kiev since 1080 and soon earned general profound respect. The Ven. Nestor, his contemporary, says the following about him: "this man is an expert in books, skilful in teaching, merciful to the needy and the widows, kind to everyone, rich and poor, humble and meek". St. John died in the second half of the 11th century. He left some writings, of which the following are famous: "Message of Metropolitan John to Clement, Pope of Old Rome" and "Church Canons", written for Monk James with his explanation of the Canons of the universal (catholic) Church in their application for the Russian Church.

Church New Year
Commemorated on September 1/September 14

On this day, when the Jews celebrated the new summer, the Savior, came to Nazareth where He was brought up and entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day as was His custom, and read these words of the Prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed Me ... to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4, 18:19). On the first of September 312 the Emperor Constantine the Great won a victory over Maxentius. After this Christians were granted complete freedom to confess their faith. In commemoration of these two events the fathers of the First Ecumenical Council decided to begin the New Year on the first of September (See January 1, March 1 and the Paschalia). In its hymns for this day the Holy Church prays "Creator and Fashioner of all things visible and invisible" "bless the crown of the year", "grant fruitful seasons and rains from heaven for those on earth", "bless our comings and goings, direct the works of our hands and grant us forgiveness of offences", "grant peace to Thy churches", "overthrow heresies", "protect our cities unbesieged, make glad our faithful Sovereigns by Thy power, giving them victories against enemies".

Venerable Symeon Stylites (the Elder) (459) and his mother St. Martha (428)
Commemorated on September 1/September 14

The Monk Simeon the Stylite was born in the Cappadocian village of Sisan in the Christian family of Susotian and Martha. At 13 years of age he began to tend his father's flock of sheep. To this his first obedience he concerned himself attentively and with love. One time, having heard in church the Gospel commands of the Beatitudes, he was struck by their profundity. Not trusting to his own immature judgement, he turned therefore with his questions to an experienced elder. The elder readily explained to the lad the meaning of what he had heard and it strengthened in him finally the resolve to follow the Gospel path. Instead of heading homewards, Simeon set off to the nearest monastery and, after tears of entreaty, he was accepted after a week into the number of the brethren. When Simeon became age 18, he took monastic vows and devoted himself to feats of the strictest abstinence and of unceasing prayer. His zealousness – beyond strength for the other monastic brethren – so alarmed the hegumen (abbot) that he suggested to the monk that he either moderate his ascetic deeds or leave the monastery. The Monk Simeon thereupon withdrew from the monastery and settled himself by day upon a very high column, where he was able to carry out his austere vows unhindered. After some time, Angels appeared in a dream vision to the hegumen, which commanded him to bring back Simeon to the monastery. The monk however did not long remain at the monastery. After a short while he settled into a stony cave, situated not far from the village of Galanissa, and he dwelt there for three years, all the while perfecting himself in monastic feats. One time, he decided to spent the entire Forty-day Great Lent without food and drink. With the help of God, the monk endured this strict fast. From that time he always completely refrained during the entire period of the Great Lent even from bread and water – twenty days he prayed while standing, and twenty days while sitting – so as not to permit the corporeal powers to relax. A whole crowd of people began to throng to the place of his efforts, wanting to receive healing from sickness and to hear a word of Christian edification. Shunning worldly glory and striving again to find his lost solitude, the monk chose a yet unknown mode of asceticism. He went up a pillar 4 meters in height and settled upon it in a little cell, devoting himself to intense prayer and fasting. Reports about the Monk Simeon reached the highest church hierarchy and the imperial court. The Antioch Patriarch Domninos II ((441-448) visited the monk, made Divine Liturgy on the pillar and communed the ascetic with the Holy Mysteries. Fathers pursuing asceticism in the wilderness all heard about the Monk Simeon, who had chosen such a difficult form of ascetic striving. Wanting to test the new ascetic and determine whether his extreme ascetic feats were pleasing to God, they dispatched messengers to him, who in the name of these desert fathers were to bid the Monk Simeon to come down from the pillar. In the case of disobedience they were to forcibly drag him to the ground. But if he offered obedience, they were entrusted in the name of the desert fathers to bless his continued ascetic deeds. The monk displayed complete obedience and deep Christian humility.
     The Monk Simeon was brought to endure many temptations, and he invariably gained the victory over them – relying not on his own weak powers, but on the Lord Himself, Who always came to him in help. The monk gradually increased the height of the pillar on which he stood. His final pillar was 40 cubits in height. Around him was raised a double wall, which hindered the unruly crowd of people from coming too close and disturbing his prayerful concentration. Women in general were not permitted beyond the fence. In this the monk did not make an exception even for his own mother, who after long and unsuccessful searchings finally succeeded in finding her lost son. Not having gained a farewell, she thus died, nestled up to the fence encircling the pillar. The monk thereupon asked that her coffin be brought to him; he reverently bid farewell to his dead mother – and her dead face then brightened up with a blissful smile.
     The Monk Simeon spent 80 years in arduous monastic feats – 47 years of which he stood upon the pillar. God granted him to accomplish in such unusual conditions an indeed apostolic service – many pagans accepted Baptism, struck by the moral staunchness and bodily toughness which the Lord bestowed upon His servant.
     The first one to learn of the end of the monk was his close pupil Anthony. Concerned that his teacher had not appeared to the people over the course of 3 days, he went up upon the pillar and found the dead body stooped over at prayer (+ 459). The Antioch Patriarch Martyrios performed the funeral of the monk before an huge throng of clergy and people. They buried him not far from the pillar. At the place of his ascetic deeds, Anthony established a monastery, upon which rested a special blessing of the Monk Simeon.

Righteous Joshua the Son of Nun (1400 B.C.)
Commemorated on September 1/September 14
Saint Jesus Son of Navin (Joshua) after the death of the Prophet Moses was leader of the Israelite People. He conquered the Promised Land and brought upon it the Hebrew nation. The Lord worked a great miracle through Jesus Navinus. The Jews went across the River Jordan as though on dry land, the Archistratigos [Leader of the Heavenly Hosts] Michael appeared to Jesus Navinus, and the walls of the city Jericho – besieged by the Israelites – fell down by themselves after the Ark of the Covenant was carried around the city during the course of seven days. Finally at the time of the battle with the enemy, Jesus Navinus, by the will of God, halted the motion of the sun and prolonged the day until that moment when victory was won. After the end of the war, Jesus Navinus divided the Promised Land among the 12 Tribes of Israel. He died at 110 years of age (XVI Century B.C.), in his last will commanding the nation to preserve the Law of Moses. All these events are recounted in the Book of Jesus Navinus (Joshua) (Chapters 3, 5, 6, 10), which is included within the Holy Bible.

Martyr Mamas of Caesarea in Cappadocia (275), and his parents, Martyrs Theodotus and Rufina (3rd c.)
Commemorated on September 2/September 15

     The Holy Martyr Mamant was born in Paphlagonia of pious and illustrious parents, the Christians Theodotos and Ruphina. For their open confession of their faith, the parents of the saint were arrested by the pagans and locked up in prison in Caesarea Cappadocia. Knowing his own bodily weaknesses, Theodotos prayed, that the Lord would take him before being martyred. The Lord heard his prayer and he died in prison. Saint Ruphina died also after him, having given birth to a premature son, whom she prayerfully entrusted to God, beseeching that He be the Protector and Defender of the orphaned infant. God hearkened to the death-bed prayer of Saint Ruphina: a rich Christian widow named Ammea reverently buried the bodies of Saints Theodotos and Ruphina, and she took the boy into her own home and surrounded him with motherly care. Saint Mamant grew up in the Christian faith. His foster mother concerned herself with the developing of his natural abilities and early on she sent him off to study his grammar. The boy learned easily and willingly. He was not of an age of mature judgement but distinguished himself by maturity of mind and of heart. By means of prudent conversations and personal example young Mamant converted many of his own peers to Christianity. There was a denunciation about this to the governor, named Democritus, and the youth was arrested and brought to trial. In deference to his illustrious parentage Democritus decided not to subject him to torture, but instead sent him off to the emperor Aurelian (270-275). The emperor tried at first kindly, but then with threats to turn Saint Mamant back to the pagan faith, but all in vain: the saint bravely confessed himself a Christian and pointed out the madness of the pagans in their worship of mindless idols. Infuriated, the emperor subjected the youth to cruel tortures. They eventually wanted to drown the saint, but an Angel of the Lord saved Saint Mamant and bid him live on an high mountain in the wilderness, located not far from Caesarea. Bowing to the will of God, the saint built there a small church and began to lead a life of strict temperance, in exploits of fasting and prayer.
     Soon he received a remarkable power over the forces of nature: wild beasts inhabiting the surrounding wilderness gathered at his abode and listened to the reading of the Holy Gospel. Saint Mamant nourished himself on the milk of wild goats and deer.
     The saint did not ignore the needs of his neighbours: preparing cheese from this milk, he gave it away freely to the poor. Soon the fame of Saint Mamant's life spread throughout all of Caesarea. The governor in concern sent a detachment of soldiers to arrest him. Coming across Saint Mamant on the mountain, the soldiers did not recognise him, and mistook him for a simple shepherd. The saint then invited them to his dwelling, gave them a drink of milk and then told them his name, knowing that a suffering death for Christ awaited him. In surrendering himself over into the hands of the torturers, Saint Mamant was brought to trial under a deputy governor named Alexander, who subjected him to intensive and prolonged tortures. But they did not break the Christian will of the saint. He was strengthened by the words addressed to him from above: "Be strong and take courage, Mamant". When they gave Saint Mamant over for devouring by wild beasts, these creatures would not touch him. Finally, one of the pagan-priests struck at him with a trident-spear. Mortally wounded, Saint Mamant went out beyond the city limits. There, in a small stone cave, he offered up his spirit to God, Who in the hearing of all summoned the holy Martyr Mamant into the habitation on high (+ 275). He was buried by believers at the place of his death.
     Christians soon began to receive from him blessings of help in their afflictions and sorrows. Saint Basil the Great speaks thus about the holy Martyr Mamant in a sermon to the people: "Commemorate ye the holy martyr: those, who saw him in a vision, who from amongst the living here have him as an helper, those whom in calling on his name he hath helped in some matter, those whom he hath guided out of a prodigal life, those whom he hath healed of infirmity, those whose children already dead he hath restored to life, those whose life he hath prolonged – all of ye, gathered as one, praise ye the martyr".

Venerable John the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople (595)
Commemorated on September 2/September 15

Saint John IV the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople (582-595), is famed in the Orthodox Church as the compiler of a Penitential nomokanon (i.e. Law-Canon of penances), which has come down to us in several distinct versions. But their foundation is one and the same. This – is an instruction for priests, how to hear a secret confession of secret sins, be this a sin already committed or constituting merely a sin of intent. Ancient churchly rules address the manner and duration of churchly public penances, established for obvious and evident sinners. But it was necessary to effectively adapt these rules for the secret confession of undetected things being repented of. Saint John the Faster because of this issued his Penitential nomokanon (or "Canonaria"), so that the good-intentioned confession of secret sins, unknown to the world, already testifies to the disposition of the sinner and his conscience in being reconciled to God, and therefore the saint shortened the penances by the ancient fathers by half or more. Yet on the other hand, he set more exactly the character of the penances: severe fasting, daily performing of an established number of prayerful prostrations to the ground, the distribution of alms. The length of penance is determined by the priest. The main purpose of the nomocanon, compiled by the holy Patriarch, consists in establishing penances not simply by the measure of sins, but by the measure of admitting the confessed, and through the appraisement of penitence not by continual punishment, but through the extent of the experience to be confessed, one's spiritual state.
     Among the Greeks, and afterwards also in the Russian Church the rules of Saint John the Faster are honoured on a level "with other saintly rules", and the law-canons of his book are accounted "applicable for all the Orthodox Church". The Monk Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (Nikodim Svyatogorets, Comm. 1 July) included him in the Greek handbook for priests (Exomologitaria), first published in 1796, and in the Greek "Rudder Book" (Pedalion), published by him in 1800.
     The first Slavonic translation was done quite possibly by the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Methodios, at the same time as he produced the "Nomocanon in 50 Titles" of the holy Patriarch John Scholastikos, whose successor on the Constantinople cathedra-seat was Saint John the Faster. This ancient translation was preserved in Rus' in the "Ustiug Rudder" (XIII), published in 1902.
     From the XVI Century in the Russian Church was circulated the nomocanon of Saint John the Faster in another redaction, compiled by priest-monks and clergy of Holy Mount Athos. In this form it was repeatedly published at the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra (in 1620, 1624, 1629). In Moscow the Penitential Nomokanon was published in the form of a supplement to the Trebnik ("Book of Needs"): under Patriarch Joasaph in 1639, under Patriarch Joseph in 1651, and under Patriarch Nikon in 1658. The last edition since that time invariably is that printed in the Large Trebnik. A scholarly edition of the nomocanon with parallel Greek and Slavonic texts and with detailed historical and canonical commentary was done by A. S. Pavlov (Moscow, 1897).

Righteous Eleazar, son of Aaron, and Righteous Phineas.
Commemorated on September 2/September 15
He was the second high priest of Israel, the son of Aaron the high priest of Israel,. During his time Moses made a census of the Hebrew people according to the command of God. After gaining the promised land, St. Eleazar together with Joshua, son of Nun, participated in dividing the land among the tribes the Israelites and then lived in Shiloh, where there was a tabernacle. He died after Joshua, son of Nun, and was buried in Gibeah.

Hieromartyr Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, and those with him: Martyrs Theophilus deacon, Dorotheos, Mardonius, Migdonius, Peter, Indes, Gorgonius, Zeno, the Virgin Domna, and Euthymius (302)
Commemorated on September 3/September 16

     The PriestMartyr Anthymos, Bishop of Nicomedia, and the Martyrs with him suffered during the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305). The persecution of Christians became particularly intense after the occurrence of a conflagration at the imperial court at Nicomedia. The pagans accused the Christians of setting the fire and reacted against them with terrible ferocity. Thus, in Nicomedia alone, on the day of the Nativity of Christ, at a church as many as twenty thousand Christians were burned. But this monstrous inhumanity did not frighten off the Christians: they firmly confessed their faith and accepted a martyr's death for Christ. And thus during this period of sufferings died Saints Dorotheus, Mardonius, Migdonius, Peter, Indysos and Gorgonios. One of them was beheaded by the sword, others perished – by burning, or being covered over in the ground or by drowning in the sea. Zinon, a soldier, for his bold denunciation of the emperor Maximian was stoned, and then beheaded. Then also perished at the hands of the pagans the holy Virgin-Martyr Domna – a former pagan-priestess, and also Saint Euthymios, because of their concern that the bodies of the holy martyrs should be buried. Bishop Anthymos, who headed the Nicomedia Church, at the request of his flock concealed himself in a village not far from Nicomedia. From there he sent missives to the Christians, urging them to cleave firmly to the holy faith and not to fear tortures. One of his letters, dispatched with the Deacon Theophilos, was intercepted and given over to the emperor Maximian. Theophilos was subjected to interrogation and died under torture, without revealing to his torturers the whereabouts of Bishop Anthymos. But after a certain while Maximian managed to learn where Saint Anthymos was situated, and he sent a detachment of soldiers after him. The bishop himself met up with them along the way. The soldiers did not recognise the identity of the saint. He invited them to join him and provided them a meal, after which he revealed that he was the one that they were searching for. The soldiers did not know what to do in this instance; indeed, they wanted to leave him be and tell the emperor that they had not found him. Bishop Anthymos was not one to tolerate a lie, and so he would not consent to this. The soldiers themselves came to believe in Christ and accepted holy Baptism. But amidst all this, the saint nonetheless demanded them to carry out the orders of the emperor. When Bishop Anthymos was brought before the emperor, the emperor gave orders that the instruments of execution be brought out and placed before him. "Dost thou think, emperor, to frighten me with these tolls of execution?" – asked the saint. – "No indeed, thou canst not frighten one that doth wish to die for Christ! Execution is frightening only for the cowardly of soul, for whom the present life is most precious". The emperor then directed that the saint be fiercely tortured and beheaded by the sword. Bishop Anthymos to his last gasp with joy glorified God, for Whom he had been vouchsafed to suffer (+ 302; another account of the Nicomedia Martyrs is located under 28 December).

Martyr Basilissa of Nicomedia (309)
Commemorated on September 3/September
The Martyress Basilissa of Nicomedia suffered for her faith in Christ under the emperor Diocletian. The Nicomedia governor Alexander gave orders to arrest the nine year old Basilissa and force her to renounce Christ. But the young maiden displayed unshakable firmness in fidelity to her Lord and for this she was subjected to protracted and intense torture. But through the grace of God the holy martyress remained alive and unharmed. This was evident to all those present as a manifestation of the power of God, and it so shook up the governor Alexander, that he also came to believe in Christ and confessed himself a Christian. Baptised later by Bishop Anthymos, he lived for a short while afterwards in deep repentance, and then expired peacefully to the Lord, as also did Saint Basilissa some while after him. Her end was one of Christian peace and accompanied by miraculous signs of God's mercy (+ 309).

St. Ioannicius II, first patriarch of Serbia (1349)
Commemorated on September 3/September 16

Sainted Joannikii, Patriarch of Serbia, was a native of the city of Prizren. It is known of him, that at first he started out as a secretary under king Karl (Charles) of Serbia, and later on from the year 1339 – he guided the Church in the dignity of archbishop. In the year 1346 a Council (Sobor) of all the Serbian archpastors, and including also the Patriarch of Bulgaria, at the wish of king Dushan, chose Archbishop Joannikii as Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Sainted Joannikii reposed on 3 September 1349 and was buried in the Pech monastery.

Venerable Theoctistus (451), fellow-faster with St. Euthymius the Great
Commemorated on September 3/September 16

The Venerable Theoctistus, according to the Canon, is "the most respectable pastor", and first was tonsured together with the Venerable Euthymius in a cave, but later became the head of the monastery built by the Venerable Euthymius near Jerusalem. He died in the year 467.

Hieromartyr Babylas, bishop of Antioch, with Martyrs Urban, Prilidian, and Epolonius, and their mother Christodula (251)
Commemorated on September 4/September 1
     The PriestMartyr Babyla and with him the 3 Lads Urban, Prilidian, Eppolonias and their Mother Christodoula died as martyrs under the emperor Decius (249-251). During a time of his stay at their city of Antioch, the emperor arranged for a large festival in honour of the pagan gods. During this same time the holy and God-fearing bishop of Antioch, Babyla, was making Divine Liturgy in church; he prayed for his flock and taught it bravely to undergo all the tribulations for the faith in Christ. After his abomination of idol-worship, Decius– wanting to behold the making of the Divine Mysteries, decided to enter the church and by his visit to defile the Sanctuary of the Lord. News of this reached the bishop, and he, not wanting to permit impiety in the temple of God, went out to meet him and block the path to the church. When the emperor tried to get closer to the church doors, Saint Babyla shoved him away with his hands, such that the emperor had to forego his intent. He wanted to take his revenge on the saint right away, but seeing the large throng of Christians, he feared having them riot.
     The next day the angry emperor gave orders to set fire to the Christian temple, and to bring Bishop Babyla before him. To the question about why he should insult the imperial dignity, and not allow the emperor into the church nor render him due respect of position, the holy bishop answered: "Anyone that would rise up against God and want to desecrate His sanctuary, – such an one not only is not worthy of respect, but is become the enemy of the Lord".
     The emperor demanded, that the holy bishop worship the idols and in such manner redeem his offence against the emperor, or else face execution. But having convinced himself that the martyr would remain steadfast in his faith, he commanded the military-commander Victorinus to put him in heavy chains and lead him through the city in disgrace. To this the holy martyr replied: "Emperor, for me these chains be as venerable, as for thee is thine imperial crown, and the suffering for Christ for me is as acceptable, as is the imperial power for thee; death for the Immortal King for me is as desirable, as thine life be for thee".
     At the trial with Bishop Babyla were three young brothers, who did not forsake him even in this most difficult moment. Seeing them, the emperor asked: "Who are these children? " "These are my spiritual children, – answered the saint, – and I have raised them in piety, I have nourished them with an education, cultivated them with guidance, and here in a small body before thee are these great young men and perfect Christians. Test and see".
     The emperor tried in all sorts of ways to entice the youths and their mother Christodoula into a renunciation of Christ, but in vain. Then in a rage he gave orders to whip each of them in a number equivalent to their years of age. The first they whipped with 12 blows, the second – 10, and the third – 7. Having dismissed the mother and children, the torturer again summoned the bishop, telling him that the children had renounced Christ. But the lie quickly unraveled and brought no success. Then in a rage he commanded all the martyrs be tied on a tree and burnt at with fire. But seeing the stoic bravery of the saints, the emperor finally condemned them to the death of martyrdom by beheading with the sword (+ c. 251).

Holy Prophet and God-seer Moses (1531 B.C.)
Commemorated on September 4/September 17

 The Holy Prophet and God-Seer Moses: his life is narrated within the Bible (Exod. 2 through Deut. 34: 12).

Martyrs Theodore, Mianus (Ammianus), Julian, Kion (Oceanus), and Centurionus of Nicomedia (305-311).
Commemorated on September 4/September 17
 The Holy Martyrs Theodore, Mianos, Julian and Kion lived during the reign of Maximian (305-311) and were from the village of Quandababa (near Nicomedia). For confessing faith in Christ they were arrested and given over to torture. At first their bodies were torn at with sharp iron hooks, and then they were locked into an hot and flooded bath-house. And so that they should not escape, the doors were locked and sealed with the imperial signet-ring. But an Angel of the Lord freed them. Soldiers again arrested the martyrs and led them beyond the city for execution. The saints at their request were given time for prayer, and then they gave up their souls to the Lord. Their bodies were hacked into pieces and thrown into a fire.

Holy Prophet Zacharias and Righteous Elizabeth (1st c.), parents of St. John the Forerunner
Commemorated on September 5/September 18

     The Holy Prophet Zachariah and Holy Righteous Elizabeth were the parents of the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John. They were descended from the lineage of Aaron: Saint Zachariah, son of Barach, was a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, and Saint Elizabeth was the sister of Saint Anna, – the mother of the MostHoly Mother of God. The righteous spouses, "comporting themselves through all the commandments of the Lord blameless (Lk. 1: 5-25), suffered barrenness, which in the Old Testament times was considered a punishment from God. One time during the occasion of service in the Temple, Saint Zachariah received the news from an Angel, that his aged wife would bear him a son, who "wilt be great before the Lord" (Lk. 1: 15) and "wilt go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias" (Lk. 1: 17). Zachariah was doubtful of the possibility of the fulfilling of this prediction, and for his weakness of faith he was punished by becoming unable to speak. When Righteous Elizabeth gave birth to a son, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit she announced that his name was John, although earlier in their family line no one had been given such a name as this. They asked Righteous Zachariah and he likewise wrote down on the writing-board the name John. Immediately the gift of speech returned to him, and inspired of the Holy Spirit, he began to prophesy about his son as being the Forerunner of the Lord.
     When impious king Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill at Bethlehem and its surroundings all the infants up to 2 years old, hoping that in this number would be also the new-born Messiah. Herod well know about the unusual birth of John and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Righteous Elizabeth hid herself away with the infant in the hills. The murderers searched everywhere for John. Righteous Elizabeth, catching sight of her pursuers, began tearfully to implore God concerning their safety, and immediately the hill opening up concealed her together with the infant from their pursuers. In these tragic days Saint Zachariah was taking his turn making services at the Jerusalem Temple. Soldiers sent by Herod tried in vain to learn from him the whereabouts of his son. Then, by command of Herod, they murdered this holy prophet, having stabbed him betwixt the offertory and the altar (Mt. 23: 35). Righteous Elizabeth died 40 days after her spouse, and Saint John, preserved by the Lord, dwelt in the wilderness until the day of his appearance to the nation of Israel.

Martyrs Juventinus and Maximus at Antioch (4th c.)
Commemorated on September 5/September 18

The Martyred Soldiers Juventinus and Maximus suffered during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate, whom they served as bodyguards. One time while he was at Antioch, Julian decided to make a defilement of Christians, having besprinkled with idol-offering blood all the food-supplies offered in the market-places. Saints Juventinus and Maximus openly condemned the emperor's course of action and they boldly denounced him for his apostasy from the Christian faith. After merciless beatings they were both put to death on orders of the impious emperor (+ c. 361-363).

Martyrs Urban, Theodore, Medimnus, and 77 Companions at Nicomedia (370)
Commemorated on September 5/September 18

The Martyrs Urban, Theodore, Medimnos and with them 77 Men of Churchly Rank suffered at Nikomedia during the reign of the Arian-heretic emperor Valentus (Valens) (364-378 or 379). Under this Arian heretic they banished from the Constantinople Church the Orthodox bishop Euagrios, and Christians not wishing to consort with this heresy were locked up into prison and subjected to various outrages. Having then been driven to the point of despair, the Orthodox Christians decided to petition protection from the emperor and they dispatched 80 chosen men of religious rank, headed by Saints Urban, Theodore and Medimnos. Hearing their justified complaints, the emperor flew into a rage. But he know how to hide his wrath, and quietly he summoned the eparch Modestus and ordered him to put the delegates to death. Modestus put them upon a ship, having initially given them to understand the false news that they all would be sent off to imprisonment, while he instead gave orders to the ship-officers to burn the ship on the open sea. The ship was set afire and in the embrace of its flames it thus for awhile floated upon the sea. Finally, reaching a place called Dakizis, the ship burnt up completely together with all the holy martyrs on board it (+ 370).

Martyrdom of St. Athanasius, abbot, of Brest, by the Latins (1649)
Commemorated on September 5/September 18

The MonkMartyr Athansii (Afanasii) of Bretsk was Belorussian and was born in about the year 1597 into a pious Christian family named Philippovich. He received a serious upbringing, and he knew the theological and historical literature, as is evidenced in the diary of the saint, which has been preserved.
     In his youthful years Saint Athanasii for a certain while was a teacher in the houses of Polish merchants. In the year 1627 he accepted tonsure under hegumen Joseph at the Vilensk monastery of the Holy Spirit. The Monk Athanasii was ordained priest-monk in the year 1632 and made head of the Duboisk (Dubovsk) monastery near Pinsk. Saint Athanasii, with a special blessing of the Mother of God, self-denyingly re-established Orthodoxy within the boundaries of the ancient Russian territories that had been seized by the Polish Reche. Between the years 1638-1648 Saint Athanasii fulfilled his obedience as hegumen of the Bretsk Simeonov monastery. The monk endured much abuse from the Uniates and illegal persecution from the civil authorities – he thrice suffered being locked up in prison. The saint was sent off to the authorities at Kiev to appear before a religious tribunal, but he was acquitted, and returned again to his own monastery. Over the course of ten years the Monk Athanasii, finding himself amidst persons maliciously disposed towards him, led a constant struggle for Holy Orthodoxy, – his faithfulness to which is evidenced by his sufferings.
     Attempts to wear down the spiritual endurance of the saint were to no avail. He again went to trial, by the decision of which, for his cursing of the Unia, the monk was sentenced to death by execution. Saint Athanasii died a martyr on the night of 4‑5 September 1648 (the Uncovering of Relics was on 20 July 1679).


Commemoration of the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Colossae (Chonae) (4th c.)
Commemorated on September 6/September 19

     The Remembrance of the Miracle, worked by the Holy Archistrategos (Heavenly Hosts Leader) Michael, at Khona (IV): In Phrygia, not far from the city of Hieropolis, in a place called Kherotopos, there was a church named for the Archangel Michael, and outside the church flowed a health-curative spring. This church was built through the zeal of a certain inhabitant of the city of Laodiceia in gratitude to God and to the holy Archistrategos Michael, who had appeared in a dream vision to this man – the father of a mute girl, and who then had not yet been illumined by holy Baptism, and revealed to him, that his daughter would receive the gift of speech in drinking from the water of the spring. During her drinking the girl actually did receive healing and began to speak. After this miracle, the father with his daughter and all their family were baptised, and in fervent gratitude the father built the church in honour of the holy Archistrategos Michael. And for healing began to come to the water-spring not only Christians, but also pagans. In so doing, many of the pagans turned from their idols and were converted to the faith in Christ.
     At this church of the holy Archistrategos Michael a certain pious man by the name of Archippos served over the span of 60 years as church-attendant. By his preaching and by the example of his saintly life he brought many a pagan to faith in Christ. With the general malice of that time towards Christians, and even moreso against Archippos, who had never forsaken the church and gave example of a real servant of Christ, the pagans gave thought to destroying the church and at the same time kill Archippos. Towards this end they made a confluence of two mountainous rushing streams and directed its combined flow against the church. Saint Archippos prayed fervently to the Archistrategos Michael to ward off the danger. Through his prayer the Archangel Michael appeared at the temple, and with a blow of his staff opened into the mountain a wide fissure and commanded to flow into it the rushing torrents of water. The temple thus remained unharmed. In beholding such an awesome miracles, the pagans fled in terror, and Archippos together with Christians gathered in church glorified God and gave thanks to the holy Archangel Michael for the help. The place where the miracle happened received the name "Khona", which means "opening" or "fissure".

Martyrs Romulus and 11,000 others in Armenia (2nd c.)
Commemorated on September 6/September 19

 The Martyr Romilus lived during the reign of the emperor Trajan and was a confidant to the emperor by virtue of his office – military-commander. During a time of sojourn of the emperor in the East with the aim of suppressing the uprisings of various peoples against the Romans, – whether the Iberians, the Sarmatians, the Arabs –in the year 107 and again a second time in 115 the emperor, in conducting a review of the military strength of his army, found in his troops upwards to 11,000 Christians. Trajan immediately sent off in disgrace these Christians into exile in Armenia. Saint Romilus, in view of this, reproached the emperor with his impiety and the sheer folly to diminish the army's numeric strength during a time of war. And Saint Romilus moreover openly acknowledged that he himself was a Christian. The enraged Trajan had the holy martyr subjected to a merciless beating, after which the holy martyr Romilus was beheaded.
     The Christian soldiers sent off to exile in Armenia were killed by various forms of execution.

Martyr Eudoxius, and with him Martyrs Zeno, Macarius, and 1,104 soldiers in Melitene (311)
Commemorated on September 6/September 19

The Martyrs Eudoxios, Zinon, Makarios and their Companions received a martyr's death for Christ under the emperor Maximian Galerius, the successor to the emperor Diocletian.
     Saint Eudoxios held the high position of a military-commander in the imperial armies. He was a Christian, as were also his friend Zinon and his house steward Makarios. After the issuance by the emperor Diocletian of an edict about putting Christians to death, such as who refused to offer sacrifice to idols, many – including people of illustrious position and rank, fled to various lands with their families to avoid torture and death. And at this time also Saint Eudoxios resigned his high position, and with his wife Saint Basilissa and all their family abandoned their property and went into hiding in the region of Armenian Meletina.
     The governor of Meletina dispatched soldiers to search for Eudoxios. When they came across Eudoxios himself, attired in white garb, and not recognising him, the soldiers began to question whether a certain military-commander Eudoxios had come into these parts. Not revealing who he actually was, the saint invited the soldiers into his home, fed them and gave them lodging for the night. Saint Eudoxios considered his encounter with the soldiers as a sign from the Lord about his impending end by martyrdom. In the morning he disclosed to his guests, that he was the one whom they were seeking. In gratitude for the hospitality the soldiers offered to conceal from the authorities that they had managed to find Saint Eudoxios. But the saint would not consent to this. Setting his house in order, he said to his wife not to bewail, but on the contrary to celebrate the day of his martyr's death. Donning his military attire, he went off with the soldiers to the governor. Saint Basilissa and his friends – Saints Zinon and Makarios – followed after Saint Eudoxios. The governor tried to persuade Saint Eudoxios to offer sacrifice to the idols and by this safeguard his life, exalted rank and substance. Saint Eudoxios firmly refused, denouncing the folly of anyone who would worship soulless idols. His soldier's sash – the emblem of his power of authority – he himself removed and threw in the face of the governor. Soldiers present at this, secret Christians, did likewise, and they numbered more than a thousand men. The embarrassed governor enquired of the emperor as to what he should do, and he received the orders: try the ringleaders and set free the rest. After prolonged tortures they led forth Saint Eudoxios to execution. Following after her husband, Saint Basilissa wept, and his friend Saint Zinon also bewept the martyr. Saint Eudoxios thereupon again urged his wife not to bewail him, but rather to rejoice that he be deigned the crown of martyrdom, and he asked that she bury his body in a place called Amimos. To his weeping friend Saint Zinon Saint Eudoxios predicted, that they would simultaneously enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Emboldened by these words, Zinon loudly declared himself a Christian, for which he was immediately sentenced to death. Later, Saint Basilissa without hindrance took up the body of her husband and buried it there where he had requested. After this they arrested the saint and led her before the governor; wanting to share the fate of her husband, she fearlessly denounced both the governor and his false gods – the idols. The governor however saw into her intent and would not torture her, but instead sent her away. In leaving, the saint said to him, that God would see her intent to suffer for her faith and would accept this intent as accomplished deed. Seven days later Saint Eudoxios appeared to his wife in a vision and bid convey to his friend and house-steward Makarios, that both he and Saint Zinon awaited the arrival of Makarios. Makarios immediately went to the governor and declared himself a Christian, for which he was sentenced to death and beheaded. Many a Christian likewise accepted a martyr's death during this time (+ 311-312).

Venerable David of Hermopolis in Egypt (6th c.)
Commemorated on September 6/September 19

The Monk David before his entry into a monastery was the leader of a band of bandits in Egypt, in the Hermopolis wilderness. He had committed many a murder and other wicked deeds. Getting old, he thought over his life and took fright at his past misdeeds. Leaving his band of bandits, he went to the monastery and besought the hegumen to accept him amongst the brethren for repentance. The hegumen refused, explaining to David, that their monastic life was very severe and would be beyond his ability. David persisted and, finally, he revealed to the hegumen, that he was the notorious robber David. He said, that if they did not open the doors of the monastery to him for repentance, he would then return to his former manner of life, come back and plunder the monastery and kill the monks. The hegumen thereupon allowed him into the monastery, and to the surprise of all, David became an excellent monk. By his severe efforts David surpassed all the monks. After a certain length of time the Lord sent the Archangel Gabriel to David with the announcement, that the Lord had forgiven him. But the Monk David in his great humility could not believe, that for so great a sinner as he, the Lord would so quickly grant forgiveness. The Archangel then said to him, that for his little-faith David would become speechless. David implored, that he should be left the ability to say his prayers, monastic rule and share in church services. This was granted him, and the rest of the time he remained speechless. Towards the end of his life the Monk David received from God the gift of wonderworking: he healed many of the sick and cast out evil spirits. Having lived in such manner for many years, he reposed to the Lord (VI).

Martyr Sozon of Cilicia (304)
Commemorated on September 7/September 20

     The Martyr Sozontes, a native of Likaonea, was a shepherd. He read the Holy Scriptures attentively, and he loved to share his knowledge about the One God with the shepherds who gathered together with him. He brought many to the faith in Christ and to Baptism. By night-time once, when he sat under an oak tree, he had a vision foretelling his deed of martyrdom for Christ. He set off to the city of Cilician Pompeiopolis, where a festal pagan celebration was being prepared for a golden idol, standing in a pagan temple. Unseen by anyone, saint Sozontes went into the pagan temple and broke off the hand of the idol, and having smashed it he gave the gold to the poor. The missing hands of the idol caused an uproar and commotion in the city: many were under suspicion, given over to interrogation and torture. Not wanting to be the cause ofd suffering for other people, Saint Sozontes went to the emperor Maximian (284-305) and declared, that it was he that broke the hand from the idol. "I did this, – he said, – so that ye might see the lack of power of your god, which offered me no resistance. It is not a god, but rather a deaf and dumb idol. I wanted to smash it all into pieces, so that people would no longer worship its wrought hands". The emperor in a fitful rage commanded that Saint Sozontes be tortured mercilessly. They hung him up and struck at him with iron claws, and then they put on his legs iron shackles with nails inside and took him through the city. After this they again suspended him and beat him with iron rods until his bones broke. In these terrible torments Saint Sozontes gave up his spirit to God (+ c. 304). By decree of the emperor, slaves set a strong fire so as to burn the body of the martyr, but suddenly lightning flashed, it thundered loudly and a strong rain poured down over the flames of the fire. Christians took the body of the martyr by night and gave it over to burial. By his grave and at the place where he had the vision, there occurred healing of many of the sick. A church later was built in memory of the sufferings of the holy martyr.

Apostles Evodus (Euodias) (66) and Onesiphorus (67) of the Seventy
Commemorated on September 7/September 20

The Holy Disciple from the 70 – Evodus was, after the holy Apostle Peter, the first bishop in Syrian Antioch. About him there reminisces his successor the PriestMartyr Ignatios the God-Bearer (Comm. 20 December) – disciple of the holy Apostle John the Theologian, in Ignatios' Letter to the Antiochenes: "Remember your blessed father Evodus, who was made first pastor for you by the Apostles..."
     Saint Evodus served in the dignity of bishop for 27 years and died a martyr's death under the emperor Nero (54-68). Saint Evodus wrote several compositions. In one of them he writes about the MostHoly Virgin Mary, that She gave birth to the Saviour of the world at age 15.
     Other compositions of the saint have not survived. Of them there is known a book under the title "the Star" mentioned by the XIV Century church historian Nicephoros Kallistos. The martyr's death of Saint Evodus occurred in the year 66.

Martyr Eupsychius of Caesarea in Cappadocia (2nd c.)
Commemorated on September 7/September 20

The Holy Martyr Eupsykhias was born in Caesaria Cappadocia. In one of the synaxaria (saints-accounts)  he is called the son of a senator Dionysios. During a time of a persecution against Christians under Adrian he was arrested and subjected to torture. After the torture they threw him into prison, where he was healed of his wounds by an Angel. When they set the martyr free, he distributed all his property to the poor, besides which he gave away a certain portion even to his enemies, who had reported on him and given him over to torture. Under the changeover to a new governor Saint Eupsykhias was again arrested. They hung him up and cut at his body with iron, and then they cut off his head with a sword. The martyr died under the emperor Adrian (117-138).

St. John, archbishop and wonderworker of Novgorod (1186).
Commemorated on September 7/September 20

Sainted John, Archbishop of Novgorod, was born at Novgorod of the pious parents Nikolai and Christina. He passed his childhood in quiet and peaceful surroundings.
     After the death of the parents John and his brother Gabriel, having received a small inheritance, decided to make on their inherited property a small monastery in honour of the Annunciation (Blagoveschenie) of the MostHoly Mother of God. At first they built a wooden church, but a short time later built also a stone church. Their good intentions were not without difficulties. Before they finished construction on the stone temple, the brothers totally exhausted their means. Only their steadfast and living faith inspired them to continue what they had started. They turned for help with it to the Queen of Heaven, on Whose account this God-pleasing matter was begun. Through their unflagging prayer She manifested to them Her mercy – She foretold in a dream, that everything necessary for the completion of the temple would be provided. On the following morning the brothers saw a splendid horse, loaded with two sacks of gold. No one came by for it, and when the brothers took hold of the sacks, the horse then vanished. Thus did the Mother of god send means for the monastery.
     Upon completion of the monastery construction, – here under the protection of the Mother of God, the brothers took monastic vows. Saint John took the name of Ilia, and Saint Gabriel – the name Gregory.
     The chronicles speak about Saint John being made bishop under the entries for the year 1162. His first archpastoral missive was directed to the clergy of his diocese. It was embued with an endearing concern about his flock, written in a spirit of fatherly guidance: "It pleased God and the MostHoly Mother of God, through your prayers, that I but a mere man, should not refrain from this high dignity, of which I am unworthy. Wherein that ye yourselves have encouraged me to this service, now hearken to me..." The saint spoke about the vocation of the pastor – he is concerned about his sheep, he not only chastises but also heals those that lead a sinful life. "At the beginning of my discourse I ask you, be not strongly attached to this world, but rather be instructive to people. Look first of all, that they not give themselves over to strong drunkenness. Yet ye yourselves know, that through this most of all do not only the simple people perish, but we also. When your spiritual children approach you in repentance, then question them with mildness. It is not seemly to impose harsh penances. Scorn not the reading of books, since if we do not make a start of doing this, then what will distinguish us from the simple unschooled people?... Do not impose penances upon orphans.... Let everything be seemly, in that the yoke of Christ ought to be light..."
     In the year 1165 Saint John was elevated to archbishop (from that time the Novgorod cathedra became archbishopal).
     The winter of 1170 was a very difficult time for Novgorod. Suzdal' forces with their allies laid siege to the city for two days since the Novgorod people would not accept prince Svyatoslav, and likewise the took the tribute-tax of the Dvina district which was not subject to them.
     In grief the Novgorod people prayed God and the MostHoly Mother of God for the salvation of the city. On the third night, while he was praying before an image of the Saviour, Saint John heard a voice, ordering him to go to the church of the Saviour on Il'ina street, to take the icon of the MostHoly Mother of God and put it up upon a trident-hook. In the morning the saint told the assembly about the command and sent the archdeacon with clergy to the Sophia church for the icon. Going into the church, the archdeacon bowed down before the icon and wanted to take hold of it, but the icon would not budge. The archdeacon returned to the archbishop and told him about what happened. Then the saint with all the assembly went to the Il'ina church and on their knees began to pray before the icon. They began to sing a molieben canon, and at the 6th ode at the kondak " Mediatrix of Christians" the icon itself moved from the place. The people with tears cried out: "Lord, have mercy!" Then Saint John took the icon and together with two deacons carried it on the trident-hook. The Novgorod people in terror foresaw their doom, since the Suzdal' forces with their allies had made their way ready for pillage. In the sixth hour of the evening there began an assault, and the arrows fell like rain. Then by the Providence of God the icon turned its visage towards the city, and from the eyes of the MostHoly Mother of God there trickled down tears, which the saint gathered on his phelon. A darkness like ashes covered over the Suzdal' forces, they became unable to see and with terror they fell back. This occurred on 25 February 1170. Saint John established in honour of this a solemn feastday for Novgorod – the Sign (Znamenie) of the MostHoly Mother of God (celebrated 27 November).
     The Suzdal' army wreaked great harm on the Novgorod region. Here also the archpastor did not remain on the sidelines. He showed fatherly concern about devastated households suffering hunger, and he distributed aid to hapless orphans. Just like other Russian hierarchs, by prayer and by virtue he calmed and soothed the internecine strife in much-suffering Rus'. Thus, in 1172 the archpastor himself journeyed to Vladimir to reconcile the nobleborn prince Andrei Bogoliubsky with the Novgorod people.
     The saint not only shared in the adversity of his people, but most of all he concerned himself about their spiritual enlightenment. Saint John devoted great attention to spiritual conversations, which often occurred in the circle of the clergy and the laypeople. There are preserved about 30 of his instructions: concerning Baptism, Confession, the Holy Eucharist. The Guidance for Monks is filled with spiritual grandeur: "Once having followed after Christ, monks as actualisers of spiritual life by the cross ought to live in solitary places, separate from worldly folk. Let them pilfer nothing for themself, nor not wholly be dedicated to God. A monk ought always to be a monk, at every time and at every place – both in sleep and in wakefulness they should preserve the memory of death, and in flesh to be fleshless. Not for everyone does the monastery serve as a doctoring for sensual-love, just as silence – is to anger, and death – to greed for money, and the tomb – to avarice... Monastic life and worldly life are incompatible, – just as they do not harness together a camel and horse. The monk bends his neck beneathe the yoke of the Creator and ought to pull the plow in the valley of humility, in order to multiply the fine wheat by the warmth of the Life-bestowing Spirit and to sow the seed-grains of the reason of God. The black-robed is not his own master; being like gods take care not to rot in likeness to people, nor fall from the heights like the light-bearing prince [i.e. of angels, Lucifer-satan]... for from human glory is begotten haughty pride..."
     The saint's spiritual powers of grace were unusual. For his simplicity of soul and purity of heart God gave him power against devils. One time, when the saint as was his custom prayed by night, he heard in the wash-bowl something splashing the water. Seeing that there was no one alongside him, the saint perceived, that this was the doing of a devil trying to scare him. The saint made the sign of the cross over the wash-bowl and restrained the devil. Soon the evil spirit could no longer bear the prayer of the saint, which scorched it with fire, and it began to implore to be released from the wash-bowl. The saint was agreeable, but set a condition, that the devil carry him from Novgorod to Jerusalem to the Sepulchre of the Lord, and back all in one night. The devil fulfilled the command of the saint, but asked him to tell no one about his shaming.
     In one of his conversations the saint told his flock, that he knew a man, who by night visited the Holy Land. The revenge of the evil spirit was not slow in coming. It began to scatter about women's things in the cell of the saint. One time when a large crowd of city-folk, stirred up by jealous and unvirtuous people, had gathered at the cell of the monk, the devil appeared to them, looking like a woman which ran out from the cell. The saint came out to the racket and gently asked: "What has happened, my children, what is the noise all about?" The unruly crowd, shouting various charges of perverse life against the saint, dragged him to the River Volkhov. They put the saint on a raft and released it down along the current of the river, reckoning to be rid of it. But the raft, contrary to expectation, sailed against the current straight to the men's Yur'ev monastery, situated three versts from Novgorod. Seeing this, people took shame and with weeping and shouts they went along the river-bank after the raft, beseeching the saint to forgive them and to return to the city. The heart of the simple-souled archpastor was filled with thankful joy, not only for himself but just as much for his flock: ""Lord, hold this not in sin against them!" – he prayed and granted pardon to all.
     This occurrence happened not long before the death of the saint. Sensing its approach, he put off the hierarch's omophor and took the schema with the name John, – the same name he had in his youth. As successor to himself he appointed his brother, Sainted Gregory (Comm. 24 May). The saint died on 7 September 1186 and was put in the portico of the Sophia church.
     In 1439 through the zeal of Sainted Evphymii repairs were being made at the Sophia cathedral; in the portico chapel-temple of Saint John the Fore-Runner a stone suddenly came loose and powerfully cracked the lid of the tomb standing there. Sainted Evphymii gave orders to lift off the boards broken by the stone, and the temple was filled with fragrance. In the tomb they beheld the undecayed relics of the saint, but no one was able to identify whom this archpastor was. In his cell Sainted Evphymii began fervently to pray God to reveal to him the name of this saint. By night there appeared before him a man, clothed in hierarchical garb, and said that he was Archbishop John, found worthy to serve the miracle of the MostHoly Mother of God in honour of Her Sign (Znamenie). "I proclaim thee the will of God, – continued the saint, – to make the memory of the archbishops and princes lying here, on 4 October, and I shall pray Christ for all Christians". His memory is celebrated likewise with the Assemblage (Sobor) of Novgorod Sainted-hierarchs on 10 February; in 1630 a feastday was also established on 1 December.

The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
Commemorated on September 8/September 21

     The Nativity of Our MostHoly Lady Mother of God and EverVirgin Mary: The MostHoly Virgin Mary was born at a time, when people had reached such limits of decay of moral values, that it seemed altogether impossible to restore them. The best minds of this era were aware and often said openly, that God mustneeds come down into the world, so as to restore faith and not tolerate the ruination of the race of mankind.
     The Son of God chose for the salvation of mankind to take on human nature, and the All-Pure Virgin Mary, – alone worthy to contain in Herself and to incarnate the Source of purity and holiness, – He chose as His Mother.
     The Birth of Our MostHoly Lady Mother of God and EverVirgin Mary is celebrated by the Church as a day of universal joy. Within the context of the Old and the New Testaments, on this radiant day was born the MostBlessed Virgin Mary, – having been forechosen through the ages by Divine Providence to bring about the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God, and She is revealed as the Mother of the Saviour of the World, Our Lord Jesus Christ. The MostHoly Virgin Mary was born in the small city of Galilee, Nazareth. Her parents were Righteous Joakim from the tribe of the King and Prophet David, and Anna from the tribe of the First-Priest Aaron. The couple was without child, since Saint Anna was barren. Having reached old age, Joakim and Anna did not lose hope on the mercy of God. They had strong faith that for God everything is possible, and that He would be able to solve the barrenness of Anna – even in her old age, as He had once solved the barrenness of Sarah, spouse of the Patriarch Abraham. Saints Joakim and Anna made a vow to dedicate the child which the Lord might bestow on them, into the service of God in the Temple. Childlessness was considered among the Hebrew nation as a Divine punishment for sin, and therefore the righteous Saints Joakim and Anna had to endure abuse from their own countrymen. On one of the feastdays at the Temple in Jerusalem the elderly Joakim brought his sacrifice in offering to God, but the High Priest would not accept it, – considering him to be unworthy since he was childless. Saint Joakim in deep grief went into the wilderness and there he prayed with tears to the Lord for the granting of a child. Saint Anna, having learned about what had happened at the Jerusalem Temple, wept bitterly; never once did she complain against the Lord, but rather she prayed, asking God's mercy on her family. The Lord fulfilled her petitions when the pious spouses had attained to extreme old age and prepared themselves by virtuous life for a sublime calling – to be the parents of the MostHoly Virgin Mary, the future Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Archangel Gabriel brought Joakim and Anna the joyous message: their prayers were heard by God, and of them would be born a MostBlessed Daughter Mary, through Whom would come the Salvation of all the World. The MostHoly Virgin Mary of Herself in purity and virtue surpassed not only all mankind but also the Angels; – She was manifest as the Living Temple of God, such that the Church sings in its festal verses of song: "the Heavenly Gate, bringing Christ into the world for the salvation of our souls" (2nd Stikhera on "Lord, I have cried", Tone 6).
     The Birth of the Mother of God marks the change of the times, wherein the great and comforting promises of God begin to be fulfilled about the salvation of the human race from slavery to the devil. This event has brought nigh to earth the grace of the Kingdom of God, – a Kingdom of Truth, piety, virtue and life immortal. Our Mother FirstBorn of All Creation is revealed to all of us by grace as a merciful Intercessor and Mother, to Whom we steadfastly recourse with filial devotion.

Venerable Icons of the Nativity of Most Holy Mother of God Syamsk (1524), Glinsk (16th C), Lukianovsk (16th C), Isaacovsk (1659), Kholmsk, Kursk "Sign" Icon (1259), Pochaev (1559), Lesninsk, Domnitsk (1696)
Commemorated on September 8/September 21

The Kholmsk Icon of the Mother of God, by a tradition transmitted through Bishop James the Emaciated, was written by the Evangelist Luke. It was brought from Greece to Russia during the time of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir, who after Baptism received many icons as a gift from Constantinople. The Kholmsk image of the Mother of God is rendered on a board of cypress wood. In the year 1261 at the time of an invasion of the Tatar (Mongol) Horde, the city of Kholm was pillaged, and the icon of the Mother of God likewise suffered: the jeweled framed was taken, the painting damaged and the icon itself thrown down. After an hundred years the holy icon was relocated and solemnly placed in the Kholmsk cathedral. On the icon there remain two deep gashes: one on the left shoulder of the Mother of God, the other – on Her right hand. The tradition was preserved, that the invading Tatars, having plundered and damaged the holy icon, – were then punished: they lost their eyesight and their faces became distorted. Accounts about the miraculous signs, worked by the Kholmsk Icon of the Mother of God, are recorded in a book by Archimandrite Ioannikes (Golyatovsky) entitled "The New Heaven".

Icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God (Kiev)
Commemorated on September 8/September 21

The Icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God (Kiev), occupies an unique place in the Russian Orthodox Church. On the icon is depicted the Mother of God, and incarnated of Her is the Hypostatic Wisdom – the Son of God. In Wisdom or Sophia, ponders the Son of God, about Whom in the Book of the Proverbs of Solomon it says: "Wisdom hath built up Her House supported of seven pillars" (9: 1). These words refer to Christ, the Son of God, Who in apostolic epistles is called "Wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1: 30), and the word "House" refers to the MostHoly Virgin Mary, of Whom the Son of God is incarnated. The arrangement of the icon testifies concerning the fulfillment of prophecy. On the icon of Kievan Sophia is depicted a church and standing at it is the Mother of God in chiton-robe, with a veil on the head, under hallway of seven pillars. The palms of Her hands are outstretched, and her feet are set upon a crescent moon. The Mother of God holds the Praeternal Christ-Child, blessing with Her right hand, and holding the Infant with Her left. On the entrance cornice are inscribed the words from the Book of Proverbs: "Wisdom hath built up Her House supported of seven pillars". Over the entrance are imaged God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. From the mouth of God the Father issues the words: "I am affirmation of Her footsteps". Along both sides are imaged the seven Archangels with outstretched wings, holding in their hands symbols of their duties. On the right side: Michael with flaming sword, Uriel with a lightning flash hurling downwards, Raphael with alabaster vessel of myrh. On the left side: Gabriel with a lily blossom, Selaphiel with a scale, Jerudiel with royal crown, and Barachiel with flowers on a white shawl. Under a cloud with the crescent moon, serving as footrest for the Mother of God, is imaged an amvon-stair with seven steps (depicting the Church of God on earth): those standing on the seven steps are the Old Testament witnesses of the manifestation of Wisdom – the Forefathers and the Prophets. On each of the seven amvon-stair steps are inscribed: faith, hope, love, purity, humility, blessedness, glory. The seven steps of the amvon-stair are set upon the seven pillars, on which are inscribed images and their explanation taken from the Apocalypse.

Holy and Righteous Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna
Commemorated on September 9/September 22

Righteous Saint Joakim, son of Barpathir, was a descendant of King David, to whom God had revealed that from the descendants of his line would be born the Saviour of the world. Righteous Saint Anna was the daughter of Matthan and through her father she was of the tribe of Levi, and through her mother – of the tribe of Judah. The spouses lived at Nazareth in Galilee. They were childless into their old age and all their life they grieved over this. They had to endure derision and scorn, since at that time childlessness was considered a disgrace. But they never grumbled and only but fervently prayed to God, humbly trusting on His will. Once during the time of a great feast, the gifts which Righteous Joakim took to Jerusalem for offering to God were not accepted by the priest Ruben, who considered that a childless man was not worthy to offer sacrifice to God. This pained the old man very much, and he, regarding himself the most sinful of people, decided not to return home, but to settle in solitude in a desolate place. His righteous spouse Anna, having learned, what sort of humiliation her husband had endured, in prayer and fasting began sorrowfully to pray to God for granting her a child. In his desolate solitude and with fasting Righteous Joakim also besought God for this. And the prayer of the saintly couple was heard: to both of them an Angel announced, that there would be born of them a Daughter, Who would bless all the race of mankind. By order of this Heavenly Messenger, Righteous Joakim and Anna met at Jerusalem, where through the promise of God was born to them the Daughter, named Mary.
     Saint Joakim died a few years later after the Entry into the Temple of his Blessed Daughter, at about age 80. Saint Anna died at age 70, two years after him, spending the time in the Temple alongside her Daughter.

Commemoration of the Third Ecumenical Council (431)
Commemorated on September 9/September 22

The Third Ecumenical Council was convened in the year 431 in the city of Ephesus (Asia Minor) during the reign of the emperor Theodosius the Younger (408‑450). The Council was convened for the purpose of an investigation by the Church of the false-teachings of the Constantinople patriarch Nestorius (428-431). Contrary to the dogmas of the OEcumenical Church, Nestorius dared to assert that the Son of God Jesus Christ is not one Person (Hypostasis), as Holy Church teaches, but is rather two distinct persons – the one Divine, and the other human. Regarding the Mother of God, he impiously asserted, that She ought not to be called the Mother of God but rather only the mother of the man Christ. The heresy of Nestorius conflicts against one of the basic dogmas of the Christian faith – against the dogma of the God-manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ, since according to the false-teaching of Nestorius, Jesus Christ was born as an ordinary man, and afterwards because of sanctity of life the he was conjoined with the Divinity, and abode in Him. With this blasphemous teaching of Nestorius the enemy of the race of man the devil attempted to undermine the Christian faith on these points: that the Praeternal God the Word, the Son of God, actually was incarnated in the flesh from the All-Pure Birthgiver of God, having therein become Man, He thereby redeemed by His suffering and death the human race from slavery to sin and death, and by His glorious resurrection He trampled down Hades and death and opened to believers in Him, and those striving to live in accord with His commandments, the path to the Kingdom of Heaven.
     A long while prior to the convening of the OEcumeical Council, Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, repeatedly tried to reason with the heretic Nestorius. Saint Cyril in his letters explained the mistakes of judgement by Nestorius, but Nestorius stubbornly continued with his pseudo-teachings. Saint Cyril wrote about the danger of the rising heresy to Celestine, the Pope of Rome, and to other Orthodox bishops, who also attempted to reason with Nestorius. When it became clear, that Nestorius would continue with his pseudo-teachings and that they were becoming widespread, the Orthodox bishops appealed to the emperor Theodosius the Younger for permission to convene an OEcumenical Council. The Council was convened on the Day of the MostHoly Trinity,  7 June 431. At the Council arrived 200 bishops. Nestorius also arrived in Ephesus, but despite the fact that the fathers of the Council three times suggested that he attend the sessions there, he did not appear. Then the fathers began to sort out matters concerning the heresy in the absence of the heretic. The sessions of the Council continued from 22 June to 31 August. At the Ephesus Council were present such famed fathers of the Church, as the Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Juvenal of Jerusalem, Memnon of Ephesus (Saint Celestine, Pope of Rome, was unable to attend because of illness, but he sent papal legates). The Third OEcumenical Council condemned the heresy of Nestorius and confirmed the Orthodox teaching on these matters: that it is necessary to confess the Lord Jesus Christ as One Person (Hypostasis) and of two natures – the Divine and the Human, and that the All-Pure Mother of the Lord be acclaimed as Ever-Virgin and in truth the Birthgiver of God. In the guidance of the Church the holy fathers issued 8 rule-canons, and the "Twelve Anathemas against Nestorius" by Saint Cyril of Alexandria.

Martyr Severian of Sebaste (320)
Commemorated on September 9/September 22

The Holy Martyr Severian (+ 320) suffered for Christ in Armenian Sebasteia under a governor named Licius during a time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Licinius. Even prior to his martyr's deed, Saint Severian had shown sincere compassion for 40 Christian soldiers, suffering for confessing the Name of Christ. He visited the captives in prison, raised their spirits, and appealed to their valour and stoic strength. These martyrs met their suffering end at Lake Sebasteia (Comm. 9 March). Half a year later Severian was likewise brought to trial for confessing the Christian faith and he was subjected to cruel tortures. Deeply devoted to the Will of God, Saint Severian during the time of torment called out to the Lord, imploring of Him the strength to bear the suffering and to go through his deed of martyrdom to the end. After intense torture, and unbroken in his faith, the holy martyr was suspended with a stone about the neck head downwards upon the city wall and thus he died. His body was carried by Sebasteia Christians to his home, whither thronged the local inhabitants to take their leave of him and to ask for his holy prayers. Amidst all this there arose a dead man, a servant of Saint Severian as yet unburied, who took up his death-cot and came to go along the final path of his master. He continued to live yet another 15 years even, never leaving the place of burial of the holy martyr.

Venerable Theophanes the Confessor and Faster of Mt. Diabenos (299)
Commemorated on September 9/September 22

The Monk Theophanes, Confessor and Faster, was born into a family of pagans. In his youth Theophanes came to believe in Christ, was baptised and secretly left his pagan parents to go to Mount Dabis to an hermit-elder, who had asceticised there over the course of 75 years. The ascetic taught the lad the reading of the Scriptural books and the rules of monastic life. Five years later the elder died, and Saint Theophanes spent the next 58 years in his cave in solitude. Then he came down from the mountain and began to preach the faith in Christ amongst the pagans and he converted many to Christianity. By order of the Roman emperors Carlus (282-283) and his sons Numerian and Carlinus (283‑284), Saint Theophanes was seized and subjected to torture. The holy confessor bravely endured his sufferings and was released alive. Having returned to the mountain, Saint Theophanes lived there yet another 17 years and peacefully died (c. year 300).

Blessed Nicetas the Hidden of Constantinople (12th c.)
Commemorated on September 9/September 22

 Blessed Nikita lived at Constantinople and occupied the position of "khartularium" ("letter-writer"). They call him "secretive" because, living in the world amidst the bustle of the city, with secret exploits of faith he reached spiritual perfection and was a great saint of God. His saintly life was revealed through unusual circumstances. Two friends, a certain priest and the deacon Sozontos, had quarreled. The priest died, and the deacon grieved that they had not been able to be reconciled. He told about the tormenting sin on his conscience to an experienced ascetic-elder. This one gave him a letter and ordered him to give it to the first person, whom Sozontos would meet at midnight at the temple of Hagia Sophia, the Wisdom of God. Saint Nikita the Khartularian appeared before him. Having read the letter, he began weeping and said, that it makes him responsible for this, and that it exceeds his strength, but with the prayers of the elder who had sent Sozontos, he would strive to accomplish this. Making a prostration before the church doors, Saint Nikita said: "Lord, open to us the doors of Thine mercy", – and the doors of the temple flew open by themselves. Leaving the deacon at the thresh-hold, Saint Nikita began to pray, and Sozontos beheld, how he shone with a strange light. Afterwards they went from the church, and the doors again closed. Approaching the church of the Blakhernae Mother of God, Saint Nikita again began praying and again the doors opened in front of them. In the church there shone a light, and from the altar there came out two rows of priests, among whom deacon Sozontos recognised his dead friend. Saint Nikita quietly said: "Father presbyter, chat with thine brother, and cease the enmity which ye have between ye". Immediately the priest and deacon Sozontos greeted each other. They hugged with love and were reconciled. The priest went back, and the doors closed by themselves. Blessed Nikita said to the deacon: "Brother Sozontos, save thine soul both for thyself and for my benefit. To the father that did send thee, say, that the purity of his holy prayers and his trust on God made possible the return of the dead". After these words Blessed Nikita became invisible for Sozontos. Having returned to his spiritual father the elder, the deacon with tears gave him thanks, that through his prayers, the great secret saint of God Nikita the Khartularian had done away with the sin from both the living and the dead.

Martyrs Menodora, Metrodora, and Nymphodora at Nicomedia (305).
Commemorated on September 10/September 23

     The Holy Virgins Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora (305-311), were sisters by birth, and they were from Bithynia (Asia Minor). Distinguished for their especial piety, the Christian sisters wanted to preserve their virginity and avoid worldly association. They chose for themselves a solitary place in the wilderness and spent their lives in deeds of fasting and prayer. Reports about the holy life of the virgins soon spread about, since through their prayers healings of the sick began to occur. The Bithynia region was governed at that time by a governor named Frontonus, who gave orders to arrest the sisters and bring them before him. At first he tried to persuade them to renounce Christ, promising great honours and rewards. But the holy sisters steadfastly confessed their faith before him, rejecting all the suggestions of the governor, and declaring to him, that they did not value temporal earthly blessings, and that they were prepared to die for their Heavenly Bridegroom. Going into a rage, the governor took out his wrath on the eldest of them – Saint Menodora. The saint bravely endured the torments and finally, she cried out: "Lord Jesus Christ, joy of my heart, my hope, in peace receive Thou my soul!" And with these words she gave up her spirit to God.
     Four days later they brought to the court the younger sisters Metrodora and Nymphodora. They put before them the battered body of their elder sister to frighten them. The virgins wept over her, but they likewise remained steadfast. Then they subjected Saint Metrodora to torture. She died, crying out with her last breath to her beloved Lord Jesus Christ. Then they turned to the third sister Nymphodora. Before her lay the bruised bodies of her elder sisters. Frontonus hoped that this spectacle would intimidate the young virgin. Under pretense that he was charmed by her youth and beauty, he began amiably to urge her to worship the pagan gods, promising great rewards and honours. Saint Nymphodora rebuffed his words, and shared the fate of her older sisters. She was tortured to death with blows from iron rods.
     The bodies of the holy martyrs were to be burnt on a bon-fire, but a strong rain extinguished the blazing fire, and lightning felled Frontonus and his servant. Christians took up the bodies of the holy sisters and reverently buried them at the so-called Warm Springs at Pythias (Bithynia). Part of the relics of the holy martyrs are preserved at Athos in the Pokrov-Protection cathedral of the Russian Panteleimon monastery, and the hand of Saint Metrodora is situated on the Holy Mountain in the monastery of the Pantocrator.

Blessed Pulcheria, the Empress of Greece (453)
Commemorated on September 10/September 23

The Nobleborn Empress Pulcheria, daughter of the Greek-Byzantine emperor Arcadius (395-408), was co-regent and adviser of her brother Theodosius the Younger (408-450). Having received a broad and well-rounded education, she distinguished herself by her wisdom and piety, firmly adhering to the Orthodox teaching of faith. Through her efforts the church of the MostHoly Mother of God at Blakhernae was built, and likewise other churches and monasteries. With her assist, the Third OEcumenical Council was convened in the year 431 at Ephesus, to deal with the heresy of Nestorius.
     Through the intrigues of enemies and also Eudocia, the wife of the emperor Theodosius the Younger, Saint Pulcheria was stripped of rule. She withdrew into seclusion, where she lived a pious life. But without her things became disorderly, and after a certain while, upon the urgent request of her brother the emperor she returned, and the unrest provoked by emerging heresies was quelled. After the death of Theodosius the Younger, Marcian (450-457) was chosen emperor. Saint Pulcheria again wanted to withdraw into her seclusion, but both the emperor and officials besought her not to forsake the rule, and instead become the spouse of the emperor Marcian. For the common good she consented to become the wife of Marcian on the condition, that she be permitted to preserve her virginity within the marriage. In such manner the imperial spouses lived in purity, like brother and sister.
     Through the efforts of Saint Pulcheria, the Fourth OEcumenical Council was convened in the year 451 at Chalcedon, to deal with the heresies of Dioskoros and Eutykhios.
     Throughout the course of all her life Saint Pulcheria defended the Orthodox teaching of faith against the various heresies that emerged. Having distributed off her substance to the poor and to the Church, she died peacefully at age 54 in the year 453.

Synaxis of the Holy Apostles Apelles, Lucius, and Clement of the Seventy
Commemorated on September 10/September 23

The Holy Disciple Apellias (or Apelles) from amidst the Seventy Disciples was a bishop in the city of Smyrna (on the Eastern coast of the Aegean Sea). The holy Apostle Paul makes mention of him in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 10).

Venerable Theodora of Alexandria (490)
Commemorated on September 11/September 24

The Nun Theodora of Alexandria and her husband lived in Alexandria. Love and harmony ruled in their family, and this was hateful to the enemy of salvation. Goaded on by the devil, a certain rich man was captivated by the youthful beauty of Theodora and began with all his abilities to lead her into adultery, but for a long time he was unsuccessful. Then he bribed a woman of loose morals, who led the unassuming Theodora astray by saying, that a sin committed in the night God would not account to guilt. Theodora betrayed her husband, but soon came to her senses and realising the seriousness of her downfall, she became furious with herself, incessantly slapping herself on the face and tearing at her hair. Her conscience gave her no peace, and Theodora set out to a reknown hegumeness and told her about her transgression. The hegumeness, beholding the repentance of the young woman, roused in her the faith in Divine forgiveness and reminded her of the Gospel passage about the sinful woman, who with her tears washed the feet of Christ and received from Him forgiveness of her sins. In hope on the mercy of God, Theodora said: "I do believe my God and from hence shall not commit suchlike sin, and I wilt strive to expiate my deed". At that moment Saint Theodora resolved to go off to a monastery, so as to purify herself by deed and by prayer. In secret she left her home, and having attired herself in men's garb, she set off to a men's monastery, since she feared that her husband would manage to find her in a women's monastery. The hegumen of the monastery would not even give blessing to allow her into the courtyard, in testing the resolve of the new-comer. The Nun Theodora spent the night at the gates. In the morning, having fallen down at the knees of the hegumen, she said her name was Theodore from Alexandria and entreated him to let her remain at the monastery for repentance and monastic deeds. Seeing the sincere intent of the new-comer, the hegumen consented.
     Even the experienced monks were amazed at the all-night prayers on bended-knee, the humility, the endurance and self-denial of Theodora. The saint asceticised at the monastery for eight years. Her body, once defiled by adultery, became a visible vessel of the grace of God and a receptacle of the Holy Spirit. One time the saint was sent to Alexandria for the buying of bread. Having given blessing for the journey, the hegumen indicated that in case of a stopover along the way, to stay over at the Enata monastery along the way. At the guest-house of the Enata monastery was then staying the daughter of its hegumen, who had come to visit with her father. Allured by the comeliness of the young monk, she tried to seduce the Monk Theodore into the sin of fornication, not knowing that before her was a woman. Being refused, she committed sin with another guest and became pregnant. Meanwhile the saint having bought the bread returned to the home monastery.
     After a certain while the father of the shameless girl, realising that a transgression had occurred, began to question his daughter as to who it was that had seduced her. The girl indicated that it was the Monk Theodore. The father at once reported it to the head of the monastery at which Saint Theodora asceticised. The hegumen summoned the saint and told about the accusation. The saint firmly replied: "As God is my witness, I did not do this", and the hegumen, knowing the purity and holiness of life of Theodore, did not believe the accusation. When the girl gave birth, the Enata monks brought the infant to the monastery wherein lived the ascetic, and began to reproach its monks for an unchaste life. But this time even the hegumen believed the slanderous accusation and became angry at the innocent Theodore. They entrusted the infant into the care of the saint and dishonourably threw her out of the monastery. The saint humbly submitted to this new trial, seeing in it the expiation of her former sin. She settled with the child not far from the monastery in an hut. Shepherds out of pity gave her milk for the infant, and the saint herself ate only wild vegetables. Over the course of seven years, bearing her misfortune, the holy ascetic spent in banishment. Finally, at the request of the monks, the hegumen allowed her to return to the monastery together with the child, and in seclusion she spent two years instructing the child. The hegumen of the monastery received a revelation from God that the sin of the Monk Theodore was forgiven. The grace of God dwelt upon the Monk Theodore, and soon all the monks began to witness to the signs, worked through the prayers of the saint. One time in this locale during a time of drought all the water-wells dried up. The hegumen said to the brethren, that only Theodore would be able to reverse the misfortune. Having summoned the saint, the hegumen bid her to bring forth water, and the water in the well afterwards did not dry up. The humble Theodore said, that the miracle was worked through the prayer and faith of the hegumen.
     Before her death, the Nun Theodora secluded herself in her cell with the child and in last-wishes bid him to love God, and she asked the compliance of the hegumen and the brethren, to preserve tranquility, to be meek and without malice, to shun obscenity and silliness, to love non-covetousness, and to keep in mind their community life. After this, standing at prayer, for a final time she asked of the Lord forgiveness of her sins. The child also prayed together with her. Soon the words of prayer gave way to death on the lips of the ascetic, and she peacefully expired to an higher world (+ c. 474-491).
     The Lord revealed to the hegumen the spiritual accomplishment of the saint and about her concealed secret. The hegumen, in order to remove any disrepute from the deceased, – in the presence of the hegumen and brethren of the Enata monastery, told about his vision and for proof uncovered the bosom of the saint. The Enata hegumen and brethren shrank back in terror at their great transgression, and having fallen down at the body of the saint, with tears they asked forgiveness of the Nun Theodora. News about the Nun Theodora reached her former husband. He took monastic tonsure at this selfsame monastery where his wife had been. And the child, raised by the nun, likewise followed in the footsteps of his foster-mother. Afterwards he became hegumen of this very monastery.
     [Trans. Note: One might find highly implausible a beardless monk dwelling in a monastery for so long a period of time unquestioned. But perhaps eunuch-castrates were still common at this time, and as such losing also the capacity to grow beards. The matter of cross-dressing in men's monastic attire is a literary gendre occuring also in the lives of other women saints, usually only for the purposes of concealment and for but a short time. But as the "Redaction" account introducing the Russian original of our text indicates, the Saint-Lives reflect a broad spectrum of historical sources compiled with differing intended purposes, often other than the "modern" penchant for strict recording of historical facts. Which is to say, the account may have been embellished to in entertaining edify both the common man and woman, as well as the sophisticated. Certainly many a Saint-Vita contains an account of a virtually unhurtable and well-nigh unkillable martyr, – so that one is left to wonder that the persecution of Christians by the pagans of old, who in the torturing sometimes themselves dropped down dead, – should have taken so very long, to end. But beneathe any of these embellishments is an actual historical person, who witnessed to Christ our Lord. And to write the miraculous off as mere fable, – is foolish. The spiritual task herein is one of discernment between embellishment and fact].

Venerable Paphnutius the Confessor, bishop in the Egyptian Thebaid (4th c.)
Commemorated on September 11/September 24

"A bishop of the Egyptian Thebaid, he suffered greatly for the Orthodox faith: heretics put out one of his eyes and broke his left leg. He took part in the First Ecumenical Council, refuting the Arian heresy with great power. The Emperor Constantine valued him greatly and often kissed him on the missing eye, lost for the truth of Orthodoxy. At the council, he stood in opposition to the western representatives, who proposed that secular priests be completely forbidden to marry. He was chaste throughout the whole of his life." (Prologue)

Venerable Euphrosynus the Cook of Alexandria (9th c.)
Commemorated on September 11/September 24

The Monk Euphrosynos – was from one of the Palestinian monasteries, and he did his obedience working in the kitchen as a cook. Toiling away for the brethren, the Monk Euphrosynos did not absent himself from thought about God, but rather dwelt in prayer and fasting. He remembered always, that obedience – is the first duty of a monk, and therefore humbly he was obedient to the elder brethren. The patience of the saint was amazing: they often reproached him, but he made no complaint and unperturbedly endured every unpleasantness. The Monk Euphrosynos pleased the Lord by his inner virtue concealed from people, and the Lord Himself revealed to the monastic brethren the spiritual heights of their unassuming fellow-monk. One of the monastery presbyters in prayer asked the Lord to show him the blessings, prepared for the righteous in the age to come. The priest beheld in a dream, what is situated in paradise and he contemplated with fear and with joy its inexplicable beauty. He also espied there a monk of his monastery, – the cook Euphrosynos. Amazed at this encounter, the presbyter asked Euphrosynos, how he came to be there. The saint answered him, that he was in paradise through the great mercy of God. The priest again asked, whether Euphrosynos would be able to give him something from amongst the surrounding beauty. The Monk Euphrosynos suggested to the priest to take whatsoever he wished, and so the priest pointed to three luscious apples, growing in the paradise garden. The monk picked the three apples, wrapped them in a kerchief, and gave them to his companion. Having awakened in the early morning, the priest thought the vision a typical dream, but suddenly he noticed next to him the kerchief with the fruit of paradise wrapped in it, and emitting a wondrous fragrance. The priest, having found the Monk Euphrosynos in church, asked him under oath, where he was the night before. The saint answered, that he was there where also the priest was. Then the monk said, that the Lord, in fulfilling the prayer of the priest, had shown him paradise and had bestown the fruit of paradise through him, " the lowly and unworthy servant of God, Euphrosynos". At the finish of the morning the priest related everything to the monastery brethren, pointing out the spiritual loftiness of Euphrosynos in pleasing God, and he pointed to the fragrant paradaisical fruit. Deeply affected by what they heard, the monks went to the kitchen, in order to pay respect to the Monk Euphrosynos, but they did not find him there: fleeing human glory, the monk had left the monastery. The place where he concealed himself remained unknown, but the monks always remembered that their monastic brother the Monk Euphrosynos had come upon paradise, and that they in being saved, through the mercy of God would meet him there. The apples of paradise they reverently saved and distributed pieces of for blessing and for healing.

Martyr Ia of Persia and 9,000 Martyrs with her (363)
Commemorated on September 11/September 24

The Holy Martyress Ia was taken into captivity together with 9,000 Christians by the Persian emperor Sapor II and led off to the Persian city of Bisada. The chief of the Persian sorcerers demanded the saint to renounce Christ, but she remained unyielding and was given over for torture. They then threw her into prison and after repeated torture they beheaded her.

Martyrs Diodorus, Didymus, and Diomedes of Laodicea (4th c.)
Commemorated on September 11/September 24
They were born in Laodicea, Syria where they zealously spread the Christian faith among pagans. After severe tortures for confessing Christ they died as a result of scourging.

Hieromartyr Autonomus, bishop in Italy (313)
Commemorated on September 12/September 25

The PriestMartyr Autonomus was a bishop in Italy. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), Saint Autonomus left his own country and resettled in Bithynia, in the locality of Soreia with the wandering‑lover Cornelius. Saint Autonomus did his apostolic duty with zeal and converted to Christ so many pagans, that a large Church was formed, for which he consecrated a temple in the name of the Archangel Michael. For this church, the saint at first ordained Cornelius as deacon, and then presbyter. Preaching about Christ, Saint Autonomus visited also Likaonia and Isauria.
     The emperor Diocletian gave orders to arrest Saint Autonomus, but the saint withdrew to Claudiopolis on the Black Sea. In returning to Soreia, he had Presbyter Cornelius ordained bishop. Saint Autonomus then set out to Asia, and when he had returned from there, he began to preach in the vicinity of Limna, nearby Soreia. One time, the newly-converted destroyed a pagan temple. The pagans decided to take revenge on the Christians. Seizing their chance, the pagans rushed upon the church of the Archangel Michael when Saint Autonomus was serving Divine Liturgy there, and after torturing Saint Autonomus they killed him, reddening the altar of the church with his martyr's blood. The deaconess Maria extracted the body of the holy martyr from beneathe a pile of stones and gave it burial.
     During the reign of Saint Constantine the Great a church was built over the place of burial of the saint. In about the year 430 a certain priest had the decaying church pulled down. And not knowing that beneathe the church had been buried the body of the martyr, he rebuilt the church in a new spot. But after another 60 years the relics of the saint were found undecayed, and a church was then built in the name of the PriestMartyr Autonomus.

St. Coronatus, bishop of Iconium (3rd c.)
Commemorated on September 12/September 25

 The PriestMartyr Cornutus, Bishop of Nicomedia (Iconium), suffered for Christ in the persecution by Decius and Valerian in the III Century. The governor of Iconium, Perennius, forced Christians through his interrogations and persecution to hide themselves away in places of concealment. Saint Cornutus came voluntarily before Perennius. The torturers tightly bound the legs of the bishop with thin cords and led him through the city. The priest-martyr underwent excruciating sufferings, and from the wounds on his legs, being cut by the cords, blood flowed. After terrible tortures Bishop Cornutus was beheaded.

Martyr Julian of Galatia, and forty martyrs with him (4th c.)
Commemorated on September 12/September 25

The Holy Martyr Julian lived during the IV Century not far from the ancient city of Ancyra. A report was made to the governor of the Galatian district that in a certain cave was hidden the Presbyter Julian with 40 others of the same persuasion, and that he was celebrating Divine-services there. They arrested Saint Julian and demanded that he hand over the remaining Christians who were well hidden, but he refused.
     The pagans ordered the holy presbyter to offer sacrifice to their gods, but to this also he would not consent. Then they stripped him and placed him on a red-hot iron grate. The martyr signed himself with the sign of the Cross, and an Angel of the Lord cooled the flame. Saint Julian remained unharmed. To the question of the governor, who he was and how he had quenched the fire, the martyr said: "I – am a servant of God". The torturers brought forth an old woman, the mother of the saint, and they threatened her that if she did not persuade her son to offer sacrifice to idols, then they would give her over to torture. The brave woman answered, that if against her will they defiled the body, this would not make her guilty before God, but on the contrary, it would constitute an act of martyrdom. The humiliated torturers sent away the old woman, but Saint Julian they condemned to death by execution. In his pre-death prayer the saint gave fervent thanks to God and besought that he should be given strength to endure the sufferings. Saint Julian asked likewise an especial grace from God: that people, who take ground from the place of his burial, should be granted forgiveness of sins and deliverance from passions, and that upon their fields there not descend harmful insects nor birds. Turning himself towards God with the words: "Lord, in peace accept my spirit!" – the martyr bent his neck beneathe the sword. There sounded a Voice, summoning the martyr to the Heavenly Kingdom. This Voice was heard also by those Christians, who had hidden themselves in the cave. Emboldened, they come forth to the place of the sufferings of Saint Julian, but they found him already dead. They unanimously confessed themselves Christians, and they were arrested and brought to the governor, who ordered them beheaded.

Commemoration of the Founding of the Church of the Resurrection (The Holy Sepulchre) at Jerusalem (335)
Commemorated on September 13/September 26

 The Commemoration of the Renewal of the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem celebrates the solemnity on the occasion of the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, built by the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great and his mother Equal-to-the-Apostles the empress Helen. This feastday is still called among the people by its unique title "having reputation from the Resurrection" ("Voskresenie slovuschee") and it means that it reputes to or pertains to the Resurrection, in distinction from the Feast of the Luminous Resurrection of Christ, and refers particularly to the consecration of the Church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ.
     The history of the construction of this temple is thus. After the voluntary Passion and Death on the Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the holy place of His suffering was long trampled on by pagans. When the Roman emperor Titus in the year 70 conquered Jerusalem, he razed the city and destroyed the Temple of Solomon on Mount Moriah, leaving there not a stone upon a stone, as even the Saviour had foretold about in conversation with the disciples (Mt. 13: 1-2). Later on the zealous pagan emperor Adrian (117-138) built on the place of the Jerusalem destroyed by Titus a new city, which was named after his name – Aelia Adriani (Aelia Capitolina) and made it forbidden to call the city by its former name. The Holy Sepulchre of the Lord he gave orders to cover over with ground and stones and on that spot to set up an idol; and on Golgotha where the Saviour was crucified, in 119 he constructed a pagan-temple dedicated to the goddess Venus. In front of the statues they offered sacrifice to demons and performed pagan rites, accompanied by wanton acts. In Bethlehem, at the place the Saviour was born of the AllPure Virgin, the impious emperor set up an idol of Adonis. He did all this intentionally, so that people would forget completely about Christ the Saviour and that they would no more remember the places where He lived, taught, suffered and arose in glory.
     When there began the reign of Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great (306‑337), the first of the Roman emperors to recognise the Christian religion, he together with his pious mother the empress Helen decided to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and on the place of the suffering and Resurrection of the Lord to erect a new temple, to purify from the foul pagan cults the places connected with memory of the Saviour, and again to consecrate them. The nobleborn empress Helen journeyed to Jerusalem with a large quantity of gold, and Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great wrote a letter to Patriarch Makarios I (313-323), in which he requested him to assist in every possible way for the task of the renewal of the Christian holy places. Having arrived in Jerusalem, the holy empress Helen destroyed all the idolous pagan temples and had the desecrated places re-consecrated. She was ardent with the desire to find the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and she gave orders to dig up the place, where stood the temple of Venus. There they discovered the covered over Sepulchre of the Lord and the place of the Skull, not far from where they found three crosses and nails. In order to determine, upon which of the three crosses lay the Saviour, Patriarch Makarios gave orders to touch alternately against a dead person, whom they happened to be carrying by towards a place of burial. Just as the Cross of Christ touched the dead person, he immediately came alive. With the greatest of joy the nobleborn empress Helen and Patriarch Makarios raised up high the Life-Creating Cross and displayed it to all the people standing about.
     The holy empress quickly set about the construction of a large church, which enclosed in its walls the place of the Crucifixion of the Saviour – Golgotha, and the Sepulchre of the Lord, located a not large distance from each other, and as the holy Apostle and Evangelist John wrote about this: "At that place, where He was crucified, was a garden and in the garden a new tomb, in which still no one had been put; there they did place Jesus because of the Jewish Friday, since that the tomb was nearby" (Jn. 19: 41-42). The Church of the Resurrection was 10 years in building, and the holy empress Helen did not survive to the completion of construction. Having returned to Constantinople, she reposed in the year 327. After the time of her arrival in Jerusalem the holy empress built churches in Bethlehem, on the Mount of Olives, at Gethsemane and in many other places, connected with the life of the Saviour and events in the New Testament.
     The completion of construction of the New Testament temple of the Resurrection of Christ, called "Martyrion", in memory of the sufferings of the Cross of the Saviour, co‑incided with the passage of the First Council of Tyre, and with it the thirty year reign of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great. Wherefore at the assemblage of 13 September 335 the consecration of the temple was particularly solemn. At the consecration of the church participated hierarchy of the Christian Churches from many lands: Bythnia, Thrace, Cilicia, Cappadocia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Arabia, Palestine and Egypt. To the solemnity of the renewal were invited only the fathers that concluded the Tyre Council. On this day was consecrated all the city of Jerusalem. The commemoration of this remarkable event by the fathers of the Church was established as 13 September.

Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion (1st c.)
Commemorated on September 13/September 26

The PriestMartyr Cornelius the Centurion: Soon after the sufferings on the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and after His Ascension into Heaven, there settled at Caesarea in Palestine a centurion by the name of Cornelius, who earlier had lived in Thracian Italy. Although he was a pagan, he distinguished himself by deep piety and good deeds, as the holy Evangelist Luke testifies about him (Acts 10: 1). The Lord did not disdain his virtuous life and led him to the understanding of truth through the enlightening light of faith in Christ.
     One time Cornelius was at prayer in his home. An Angel of God appeared to him and said, that his prayer had been heard and accepted by God, and commanded him to send people to Joppa to Simon, called Peter. Cornelius immediately fulfilled the command. While those dispatched were on their way to Joppa, the Apostle Peter was at prayer, during which time he had a vision: thrice were lowered down vessels in visage of great plenitude, filled with meats and fowl. From Heaven he heard a voice, commanding him to eat of everything. At the refusal of the apostle there followed a reply: "What God hath purified, regard not as unclean" (Acts 10: 15).
     By means of this vision the Lord commanded the Apostle Peter to go at preaching the Word of God to the pagans. When the Apostle Peter in the company of those sent to meet him arrived at the house of Cornelius, he was received with great joy and respect by the host together with his kinsmen and comrades. Cornelius on his knees bowed down to the apostle and requested to be taught the way of salvation. The apostle began to preach about the earthly life of Jesus Christ, about the miracles and signs worked by the Saviour, about His sufferings, the teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven, the death on the Cross, the Resurrection and Ascent into Heaven. By grace under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Cornelius believed in Christ and was baptised together with all his kinsfolk. He was the first pagan to receive Baptism.
     He retired from the world and went preaching the Gospel together with the Apostle Peter, who made him a bishop. When the Apostle Peter, together with his helpers Saints Timothy and Cornelius, was in the city of Ephesus, he learned of a particularly vigorous idol-worship in the city of Skepsis. Lots were drawn as to whom that would go there, falling upon Saint Cornelius. In the city lived a prince by the name of Demetrios, learned in the ancient Greek philosophy, hating Christianity and venerating the pagan gods, in particular Apollo and Theos/Deus (Zeus). Learning about the arrival of Saint Cornelius in the city, he immediately summoned him and asked him the reason for his coming. Saint Cornelius answered, that he came to free him from the darkness of ignorance and lead him to knowledge of the True Light. The prince, not comprehending the meaning of what was said, became angry and demanded him to answer each of his questions. When Saint Cornelius explained, that he serves the Lord and that the reason for his coming consists in an announcement of the Truth, the prince became enraged and demanded from Cornelius an offering of sacrifice to the idols. The saint asked to be shewn the gods. When he entered the pagan temple, Cornelius turned towards the East and bending down on his knees, he uttered a prayer to the Lord. There began an earthquake, and the temple of Zeus and the idols situated in it were destroyed. All the populace, seeing what had happened, were terrified. The prince was even more vexed and began to take counsel together with those approaching him, about how to destroy Cornelius. They bound the saint and took him to prison for the night. At this point one of his servants informed the prince the grievous news that his wife and child had perished beneathe the rubble of the destroyed temple. But a certain while later one of the pagan-priests, by the name of Barbates, reported that he heard the voice of the wife and son somewhere in the ruins and that they were praising the God of the Christians. The pagan-priest asked to free the imprisoned one, as gratitude for the miracle worked by Saint Cornelius, in that the wife and son of the prince remained alive. The joyous prince in the company of those about him hastened to the prison, declaring that he believed in Christ and asking him to lead out his wife and son from somewhere in the ruins of the temple. Saint Cornelius set off to the destroyed idol-temple, and through prayer the suffering were freed. After this the prince Demetrios, and all his kinsmen and comrades accepted holy Baptism. Saint Cornelius lived for a long time in this city, converted to Christ all the pagan inhabitants, and made Eunomios a presbyter for service to the Lord. Saint Cornelius died in old age and was buried not far from the pagan temple destroyed by him.

Martyrs Macrobius and Gordian at Tomi in Romania (320)
Commemorated on September 13/September 26

The Holy Martyrs Gordian, Macrobius, Elias, Zotikos, Lucian and Valerian suffered at the beginning of the IV Century at Paphlagonia (Asia Minor) under the emperor Licinius (307-324). Saint Gordian was a native of Cappadocia, and Macrobius – of Paphlagonia. They were handsome youths serving under the imperial court and they enjoyed the particular favour of the emperor. For their firm confession of faith in Christ they were sent to Skythia, where they met Zotikos, Lucian and Elias, likewise courageous confessors of the Name of Christ. First suffered Saints Gordian and Macrobius. After this in the city of Tomak in Skythia were tortured and then beheaded Saints Elias, Zotikos, Lucian and Valerian.

Great-martyr Ketevan, queen of Kakhetia (1624) (Georgia).
Commemorated on September 13/September 26

 The Holy GreatMartyr Ketvana was descended from the imperial Bagration lineage and was a great-grandchild of the emperor Constantine of Kartalin (1469-1505). Having become the spouse of David, successor to the emperor Alexander II of Khaketin (1577-1605), she herself governed the empire. The deep piety of the empress was manifest in a particular attention to the needs of the Gruzian (Georgian) Church, – in the building of churches, shelters and vagrants homes. After the death of her husband Saint Ketvana settled into solitude.
     The brother of her husband, Constantine (called Okayan), accepted Mahometanism and on the instructions of the shah Abbas I sent assassins to his dying father, the emperor Alexander II, and his brother George. Having committed the crime, Constantine gave orders to place the bodies of the murdered on camels and take them to the empress Ketvana. Horrified at the wicked deed, the empress bewailed the innocent sufferers and buried them at the Alaverdsk cathedral. The impious one, however, enroached upon her honourable widowhood and demanded her hand, threatening force in case of refusal.
     The empress Ketvana gathered the people of Kakhetin and marched against Constantine, defeating the impious apostate. He met an inglorious death together with many in the Persian army. Under the wise rule of the empress Ketvana, peace and justice were re-established in Kakhetia. Shah Abbas I returned her son Teimuraz, who although he had lived several years in court in the guise of an hostage, preserved his Orthodox faith in purity. Afterwards the shah Abbas, threatening Gruzia with destruction, coerced the Kakhetin feudal authorities into handing over illustrious hostages. In that number voluntarily was the empress Ketvana. Wanting to avert disaster for the Gruzian nation and Holy Church, she arrived in Ispahan. Shah Abbas urged the nobleborn empress to accept Mahometanism, but he received decisive refusal. Thereupon the empress Ketvana was thrown into prison, where she spent ten years, filled with the sufferings of martyrdom. Neither vileness from Persian courtiers, nor cunning offers by the shah to elevate her to empress of the Persian realm, nor offers to her of great treasure, nor the implorings and entreaties of the courtiers and Persian nobles, – nothing was able to budge her, not even to uttering a single blasphemous word against Christ, nothing was able to move the sufferer for Christ. They tortured her with red-hot tongs hung cross-wise in wood. On the head of the holy martyress they touched a red-hot iron kettle. The dense smoke from her burning hair and head rose upwards, and the blessed martyress gave up her soul to God on 13 September 1624.
     Three bright pillars, having come down upon the body of Saint Ketvana, signified her spiritual victory. The relics of the holy empress were taken to Rome, to the cathedral of the holy Apostle Peter, by monks of the Augustinian order who had been witnesses to her deed of confessor. Part of the relics (the venerable head and right hand of the martyress) was given by the Augustinian monks to emperor Teimuraz I and placed beneathe the altar-table (prestol') of the Alaverdi cathedral of the holy GreatMartyr George in Kakhetia. The Catholikos-Patriarch Zakharia (1613-1630) enumerated the great-martyress to the rank of the saints and established her memory on 13 September.

St. Hierotheus of Kalamata, monk of Iveron Monastery, Mt. Athos (1745)
Commemorated on September 13/September 26

The Monk Hierotheos was born in 1686 in Greece. Desiring to comprehend Divine wisdom as it is in the sciences and likewise as it is in monastic life, the pious youth, displaying great ability and diligence, studied Latin and Greek philosophy. After the death of his parents, and wanting to continue his education, Saint Hierotheos first of all visited Holy Mount Athos, which was famous for its many male teachers. At first he was the student of a certain hermit near the cell of Saint Artemias (Comm. 20 October), and then he joined the brethren of the Iveria monastery, where he took monastic vows. On matters of the monastery Saint Hierotheos soon journeyed to Constantinople, and from there to Valachia, where the Lord directed him to continue his interrupted education. Having been instructed by a certain Cypriot monk, Saint Hierotheos by his good manners merited the favour of the Sofia metropolitan Avksentii and was ordained deacon. Having completed his education in Venice, Saint Hierotheos returned to the Holy Mountain. He settled near the Iveria monastery in the Khaga wilderness. On the testimony of his contemporaries, he led a very strict hermit's life; with the constant Jesus Prayer the monk discovered deep love for neighbour and joy-creating weeping. On the intercession of the hegumen of the Iversk monastery Saint Hierotheos was vouchsafed the priestly dignity by the metropolitan of Neocaesarea James, living there in retirement.
     At the request of the inhabitants of Skopelo, having been bereft of priest-server, the self-denying ascetic forsook his solitude. During the course of 8 years together with his Athos disciples – the priestmonk Meletios and the monks Joasaph and Simeon, he made Divine-services and preached much. Foreseeing his own impending end, the Monk Hierotheos with three disciples withdrew to the island of Yura, where usually were sent those banished for life. There after a short illness he expired to the Lord in the year 1745. His disciples buried him on that island, and after three years his venerable head was transferred to the Iveria monastery. By prayers to the saint were healed many sick and those contending with bodily suffering.

The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross
Commemorated on September 14/September 27

The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord:         The pagan Roman emperors tried to completely eradicate from human memory the holy places where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and was resurrected for mankind. The Emperor Adrian (117-138) gave orders to cover over the ground of Golgotha and the Sepulchre of the Lord, and upon the hill fashioned there to set up a pagan temple of the pagan goddess Venus and a statue of Jupiter. Pagans gathered on this place and offered sacrifice to idols there. Eventually after 300 years, by Divine Providence, the great Christian sacred remains – the Sepulchre of the Lord and the Life-Creating Cross were again discovered and opened for veneration. This occurred under the Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) after his victory in the year 312 over Maxentius, ruler of the Western part of the Roman empire, and over Licinius, ruler of its Eastern part, becoming in the year 323 the sole-powerful ruler of the vast Roman empire. In 313 he had issued the so-called Edict of Milan, by which the Christian religion was legalised and the persecutions against Christians in the Western half of the empire were stopped. The ruler Licinius, although he had signed the Milan Edict to oblige Constantine, still fanatically continued the persecutions against Christians. Only after his conclusive defeat did the 313 Edict about toleration extend also to the Eastern part of the empire. The Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine, having with the assistance of God gained victory over his enemies in three wars, had seen in the heavens the Sign of God – the Cross and written beneathe: "By this thou shalt conquer".
     Ardently desiring to find the Cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine sent to Jerusalem his mother, the pious Empress Helen (Comm. 21 May), having provided her with a letter to the Jerusalem patriarch Makarios. Although the holy empress Helen was already in her declining years, she set about completing the task with enthusiasm. The empress gave orders to destroy the pagan temple and idol-statues overshadowing Jerusalem. Searching for the Life-Creating Cross, she made inquiry of Christians and Jews, but for a long time her searchings remained unsuccessful. Finally, they directed her to a certain elderly hebrew by the name of Jude who stated, that the Cross was buried there, where stands the pagan-temple of Venus. They demolished the pagan-temple and, having made a prayer, they began to excavate the ground. Soon there was detected the Sepulchre of the Lord and not far away from it three crosses, a plank with inscription having been done by order of Pilate, and four nails, which had pierced the Body of the Lord. In order to discern on which of the three crosses the Saviour was crucified, Patriarch Makarios alternately touched the crosses to a corpse. When the Cross of the Lord was placed to it, the dead one came alive. Having beheld the rising-up, everyone was convinced that the Life-Creating Cross was found. Christians, having come in an innumerable throng to make veneration to the Holy Cross, besought Saint Makarios to elevate, to exalt the Cross, so that all even afar off, might reverently contemplate it. Then the Patriarch and other spiritual chief personages raised up high the Holy Cross, and the people, saying "Lord have mercy", reverently made poklon/prostration before the Venerable Wood. This solemn event occurred in the year 326. During the discovery of the Life-Creating Cross there occurred also another miracle: a grievously sick woman, beneathe the shadow of the Holy Cross, was healed instantly. The starets/elder Jude and other Jews there believed in Christ and accepted Holy Baptism. Jude received the name Kuriakos (ie. lit. "of the Lord") and afterwards was ordained Bishop of Jerusalem. During the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363) he accepted a martyr's death for Christ (Comm. of Priest-Martyr Kuriakos is 28 October). The holy empress Helen journeyed round the holy places connected with the earthly life of the Saviour – the reason for more than 80 churches – raised up at Bethlehem the place of the Birth of Christ, and on the Mount of Olives from whence the Lord ascended to Heaven, and at Gethsemane where the Saviour prayed before His sufferings and where the Mother of God was buried after the falling-asleep. Saint Helen took with her to Constantinople part of the Life-Creating Wood and nails. The Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine gave orders to raise up at Jerusalem a majestic and spacious church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ, including in itself also the Sepulchre of the Lord, and Golgotha. The temple was constructed in about 10 years. Saint Helen did not survive until the dedication of the temple; she died in the year 327. The church was consecrated on    13 September 335. On the following day, 14 September, the festal celebration of the Exaltation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross was established.
     On this day is remembered also another event connected to the Cross of the Lord, – its return back to Jerusalem from Persia after a 14 year captivity. During the reign of the Byzantine emperor Phokas (602-610) the Persian emperor Khozroes II in a war against the Greeks defeated the Greek army, plundered Jerusalem and led off into captivity both the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord and the Holy Patriarch Zacharios (609-633). The Cross remained in Persia for 14 years and only under the emperor Herakles (610-641), who with the help of God defeated Khozroes and concluded peace with his successor and son Syroes – was the Cross of the Lord returned to Christians from captivity. With great solemnity the Life-creating Cross was transferred to Jerusalem. Emperor Herakles in imperial crown and porphyry(purple) carried the Cross of Christ into the temple of the Resurrection. Alongside the emperor went Patriarch Zacharios. At the gates, by which they ascended onto Golgotha, the emperor suddenly stopped and was not able to proceed further. The Holy Patriarch explained to the emperor that an Angel of the Lord blocked his way, since He That bore the Cross onto Golgotha for the expiation of the world from sin, made His Way of the Cross in the guise of Extreme Humilation. Then Herakles, removing the crown and porphyry, donned plain garb and without further hindrance carried the Cross of Christ into the church.
     In a sermon on the Exaltation of the Cross, Saint Andrew of Crete (Comm. 4 July) says: "The Cross is exalted, and everything true gathers together, the Cross is exalted, and the city makes solemn, and the people celebrate the feast".

St. Placilla the Empress (400), wife of Theodosius the Great
Commemorated on September 14/September 27

She was the wife of the Emperor Theodosius the Great, and the mother of two Emperors, Arcadius and Honorius. Despite her lofty station, she devoted herself to visiting the poor and to caring personally for the sick. She often worked in the kitchens of various hospices in Constantinople, taking on tasks unexpected of anyone of patrician rank, let alone the Empress herself. To fulfil these missions, she often traveled unescorted through the poorest parts of the City. When others tried to caution or dissuade her, she answered that this was her way of giving thanks for all that God had given her. "Throughout her life, Saint Placilla served God in chastity, meekness, charity and prayer, and departed in peace to eternal life in 386 (or 385), having brought to those who encountered her a pledge of the Resurrection and of endless joy." (Synaxarion)

New Martyr Macarius of Thessalonica (Mt. Athos) (1527), disciple of St. Niphon, patriarch of Constantinople
Commemorated on September 14/September 27

"A disciple of Patriarch Niphon at the time that the latter was labouring in the asceticism of silence at Vatopedi, Macarius longed for martyrdom for the sake of Christ, and begged St Niphon's blessing to seek it. The discerning Patriarch, perceiving that this was God's will, blessed him for the way of martyrdom. Macarius went to Salonica and, in the midst of a crowd of Turks, began to speak of Christ as the one, true God. The Turks seized him and threw him into prison. When he was brought to trial, Macarius cried out to the Turks: 'Oh, that you would come to know the truth and be baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!' The Turks beheaded him in 1527. At that moment, Niphon saw this in his spirit at Vatopedi, and told a monk of Macarius's death by martyrdom, saying: 'Know, my child, that your brother Macarius has today died a martyr, and is borne to heaven, triumphing and rejoicing in the Lord. May we be worthy of blessing by his prayers!' (From the Athonite Patrology)." (Prologue)

Great-martyr Nicetas the Goth (372)
Commemorated on September 15/September 28

The Holy GreatMartyr Nikita was a Goth (a Germanic tribe). He was born and lived on the banks of the Danube River, and suffered for Christ in the year 372. The Christian faith was then already widely spread throughout the territory of the Goths. Saint Nikita believed in Christ and accepted Baptism from the Gothic bishop Theophilus, a participant in the First OEcumenical Council. Pagan Goths began to oppose the spread of Christianity, which resulted in internecine strife.
     After the victory of Fritigern, – heading a Christian army and inflicting defeat on the pagan Athanarik, the Christian faith began to spread increasingly among the Goths. Bishop Wulfil, the successor to Bishop Theophilus, created a Gothic alphabet and translated into the Gothic language many priestly books. Saint Nikita worked intensely among his fellow Goths at spreading Christianity. By his personal example and inspired words he brought many pagans to the Christian faith. However, Athanarik after his defeat again contrived to gather his own forces, return to his own country and reestablish his former power. Having remained a pagan, he continued to hate Christians and persecute them. Saint Nikita, having undergone many tortures, was thrown into a fire, where he died in the year 372. The friend of Saint Nikita, a Christian named Marianus, by night retrieved the body of the martyr, – unharmed by the fire and illumined by a miraculous light, and gave it over to burial in Cilicia. Afterwards it was transferred to Constantinople. Part of the relics of the GreatMartyr Nikita were later transferred to the monastery of Vysokie Dechany in Serbia.

Venerable Philotheus the Presbyter of Asia Minor (10th c.)
Commemorated on September 15/September 28

The Holy Presbyter and Wonderworker Philotheios lived in the X Century in the village of Mrauino (or Murav'evo) located in Bythnia in Asia Minor. He was married and had children. Philotheios accepted the dignity of priesthood and from that time he devoted himself to deeds of prayer and fasting, and works of charity. Because of his holy life the Monk Philotheios received from God the gift of wonderworking. The ascetic continually fed the hungry and helped the needy. The Monk Philotheios died peacefully. From his relics flowed myrh.

Martyr Porphyrius the Mime of Caesaria (361)
Commemorated on September 15/September 28

The Holy Martyr Porphyrios suffered during the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363). Porphyrios was an actor and on the emperor's birthday he was performing a role at the theater, whereby he was supposed to mock at the mystery of holy Baptism. But when Porphyrios during the course of the play immersed himself in water and uttered: "Baptised is the servant of God Porphyrios, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", – then, under the inspiration of Divine grace received by him at these words, he emerged from the water confessing himself a Christian. Julian thereupon ordered him to be tortured and after the torments to be beheaded. This happened in the city of Ephesus in the year 361.

Martyrs Theodotus, Asclepiodotus, and Maximus of Adrianopolis (305-311)
Commemorated on September 15/September 28

The Holy Martyrs Maximos, Askliada (Asklipiodota), and Theodotos suffered at the beginning of the IV Century under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). Eminent citizens of the city of Marcianopolis, Maximos and Askliada led a pious Christian life. By their example they brought many to faith in Christ and to holy Baptism. During the time of the persecution the governor of Thrace, Tiris, went the rounds of the city subject to him and persecuted those believing in Christ. He summoned before him Maximos and Askliada and demanded they recant from the Christian faith. But seeing the firm faith of the martyrs, he commanded that they be cruelly beaten. Then a certain pious man, by the name of Theodotos, began to reproach the governor for his inhumanity and cruelty. They seized him also, and hanging him on a tree, they subjected him to torture with iron hooks. After this they threw the three martyrs into prison. Tiris traveled further for two weeks more and took the holy martyrs along with him. In the city of Adrianopolis he subjected them to still greater tortures, commanding that their bodies be scorched with white-hot plates. Amidst the agony of suffering was a comforting Voice from Heaven, strengthening them in endurance. After several days of torture they threw the martyrs to wild beasts in the circus for devouring, but the she-bear released upon Saints Maximos and Theodotos instead began to cuddle up to them. They tied Saint Askliada to a bull, but he became as though rooted on the spot, not budging. Tiris in a rage set out farther and, before reaching the city of Philippopolis, in the village of Saltis he again began to urge the martyrs to renounce Christ. Finally, he ordered them to be beheaded. After a while he was punished by the wrath of God: a bolt of lightning struck him when he was sitting upon the judgement seat.

Sts. Bessarion I and Bessarion II (1540), metropolitans of Larissa
Commemorated on September 15/September 28

Sainted Bessarion, Archbishop of Larissa, lived during the XVI Century and founded the Dusika monastery in Thessaly.

New Martyr John of Crete (1811)
Commemorated on September 15/September 28

The NewMartyr John of Crete suffered in the year 1811 under the Turks at New Ephesus.

St. Joseph, abbot, of Alaverdi in Georgia (570)
Commemorated on September 15/September 28

 Sainted Joseph, Bishop of Alaverdi, – was one of the Thirteen Holy Syrian (Cappadocian) Fathers, the establishers of Georgian Monasticism (the accounts concerning them is located under 7 May). He, as a "blossom of longed-for virginity", from his early years chose the monastic vocation. Having arrived in Gruzia (Georgia) with his teacher Saint John Zedazni (Comm. 7 May), Saint Joseph settled in Kakhetia in the unpopulated and barren Alaverdian steppes. Here he began his ascetic exploits. His spiritual strength was so great that even wild beasts did not touch him, and the steppe deer came to him and nourished him with their milk.
     One of the Kakhetian nobles during an hunt found himself on the Alaverdian steppes and was so astonished, seeing Saint Joseph standing at prayer, that he remained with him.
     Reports about this personage becoming a monk and about the holy life of the Monk Joseph spread throughout Kakhetia. People fervent for piety and the ascetic life began to throng to the Alaverdian steppe to Saint Joseph. A monastery thus arose, and a church in honour of the GreatMartyr George was built.
     Chosen to lead the monastery, Saint Joseph with fatherly love concerned himself about the brethren of the monastery, and about the spiritual enlightenment of Kakhetia. Pagan superstitions were still not eradicated, and Saint Joseph – with cross in hand, often left the monastic solitude for preaching the Word of God.
     Beholding the saintly and immaculate life of the monk Joseph and his sincere desire to serve them, the Kakhetian people willingly and joyfully accepted the Gospel teaching, and abandoned their unbelief and pagan customs.
     Saint Joseph composed a catechism (lost in the XVI Century) by which he taught the flock entrusted to him. Nearing the end of his life of lofty service, Saint Joseph secluded himself in a tight cell for complete silence.
     In the year 570 occurred his peaceful and blessed end. Sainted Joseph was buried in the church of the holy GreatMartyr George in Alaverdi.
     In the IX Century in place of the former church was erected the great Alaverdi cathedral in which, on the left side of the Altar at the north wall, – under a grave-cover rests the body of Sainted Joseph.

Great-martyr Euphemia the All-praised, of Chalcedon (304).
Commemorated on September 16/September 29

The Holy GreatMartyress Euphemia the All-Praiseworthy was the daughter of  Christians – the senator Philophronos and Theodosia. She suffered for Christ in about the year 304 in the city of Chalcedon, located on the banks of the Bosphorus opposite Constantinople.
     The Chalcedon governor Priscus circulated an order to all the inhabitants of Chalcedon and its surroundings to appear at a pagan feast for worship and to offer sacrifice to an idol of Ares (Mars), threatening grave torments for whomever failed to appear. During the time of this impious feast 49 Christians had hidden away at one house, where they secretly made Divine-services to the True God. The young maiden Euphemia was also among those praying there. Soon the hide-out of the Christians was discovered, and they were brought before Priscus to answer for themselves. Over the course of 19 days the martyrs were subjected to various tortures and torments, but none of them wavered in their faith nor consented to offer sacrifice to the idol. The governor, beside himself with rage and not knowing still any further means of forcing the Christians into renunciation, sent them for trial to the emperor Diocletian, but he separated from them the youngest – the maiden Euphemia, hoping that she, alone by herself, would not hold out.
     Saint Euphemia, separated from her brethren in faith, fervently prayed the Lord Jesus Christ, that He Himself would strengthen her in the impending ordeal. Priscus at first urged the saint to recant, promising her earthly blessings, but then he gave the order to torture her. The martyress was tied to a wheel with sharp knives, which in turning cut at the body. The saint prayed loudly. And here it happened, that the wheel stopped by itself and would not move even with all the efforts of the executioners. An Angel of the Lord, having come down from Heaven, removed Euphemia from the wheel and healed her of her wounds, and with gladness the saint gave thanks unto the Lord.
     Not perceiving the miracle that had occurred, the torturer ordered the soldiers Victor and Sosthenes to take the saint to a red-hot oven. But the soldiers, seeing amidst the flames two fearsome Angels, refused to carry out the order of the governor and became themselves believers in the God, Whom Euphemia worshipped. Boldly proclaiming that they too were Christians, Victor and Sosthenes bravely went to suffering. They were given over for devouring by wild beasts. During the time of execution they cried out for mercy to God, that the Lord should receive them into the Heavenly Kingdom. An heavenly Voice answered their cries, and they expired unto life eternal. The beasts however did not even touch their bodies.
     Saint Euphemia, cast by other soldiers into the fire, remained unharmed. And with the help of God she emerged unharmed after many another torture and torment. Ascribing this to sorcery, the governor gave orders to dig out a new pit, and filling it with knives he had it covered over with ground and grass, so that the martyress would not know about the preparation for her execution; but here also Saint Euphemia remained safe, easily passing over the pit. Finally, they sentenced her to be devoured by wild beasts at the circus. Before execution the saint began to implore, that the Lord deem her worthy to die a violent death. But none of the beasts, set loose at her in the arena, attacked her. Finally, one of the she-bears struck her a small wound on the leg, from which came blood, and the holy GreatMartyr Euphemia instantly died. During this time there occurred an earthquake, and both the guards and the spectators ran in terror, so that the parents of the saint were able to take up her body and reverently bury it not far from Chalcedon.
     A majestic church was afterwards erected over the grave of the GreatMartyr Euphemia. At this temple took place the sessions of the Fourth OEcumenical Council in the year 451, during the time of which in miraculous manner the holy GreatMartyress Euphemia confirmed the Orthodox confession, and setting limits to the Monophysite heresy, the details of which are related under the day of the commemoration of this miracle, 11 July.
     With the taking of Chalcedon by the Persians in the year 617, the relics of the holy GreatMartyress Euphemia were transferred to Constantinople (in about the year 620). During the period of the Iconoclast heresy the reliquary with the relics of Saint Euphemia appears to have been thrown into the sea. Pious sailors pulled them out. They were afterwards taken to the Island of Lemnos, and in the year 796 they were returned to Constantinople.

Venerable Dorotheus, hermit of Egypt (4th c.)
Commemorated on September 16/September 29

The Monk Dorotheios, Egyptian Wilderness-Dweller, a native of the Thebaid region in Egypt, asceticised for 60 years in the Skete wilderness, on the Western side of the River Nile. Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis  and author of the reknown "Lausiaca", had in his youthful years been a student of  the Monk Dorotheios, and thus has passed along memories of him. The Monk Dorotheios led a austere and ascetic manner of life. After finishing his prayers, he went off into the noonday heat to gather up stones along the seashore and build cells for the other hermits. By night the saint wove baskets, in exchange for which he received the necessities of sustenance. Food for the Monk Dorotheios consisted of bread and the meagre grass in the wilderness. Once a day he partook of food and drank a little water. The monk did not lie down to sleep, and only but dozed off sometimes at work or after eating. One time the Monk Dorotheios sent off his student to go fetch water, but that one returned saying that he saw a snake in the well and that the water in the well was now poisoned. The Monk Dorotheios went then himself to the well, took up a ladle of water, and making the sign of the Cross over it he drank of it, saying: "Where there is the Cross, there the demonic powers do altogether no harm". The Monk Dorotheios peacefully died up in age.

Repose of St. Cyprian, metropolitan of Kiev (1406)
Commemorated on September 16/September 29

Sainted Kiprian, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, was by origin a Serb, and asceticised at Athos. By his pious life and education he came to the attention of the Constantinople Patriarch Philotheos (1354-1355, 1362-1376), who in 1375 ordained Kiprian as Metropolitan of Kiev and Lithuania. At the Constantinople Council it was decided, to avoid a fragmentation of the Russian metropolia, that "upon the death of Sainted Alexei, he should become the Metropolitan of All Rus'". At Moscow Saint Kiprian endured many a sorrow from the great-prince, and therefore initially he lived either in Lithuania or at Constantinople. Only in the year 1390, during the time of Great-prince Vasilii Dimitrievich, was he accepted as primate at Moscow. Saint Kiprian concerned himself over the correction of the Divine-service books. There are preserved autographic manuscripts of certain Slavonic translations by the saint, witnessing to his great scientific work. And by his pastoral epistles he encouraged the faith of the Church. His activity in the translation of liturgical literature is widely known.



Martyr Ludmilla (927), grandmother of St. Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs
Commemorated on September 16/September 29

The Holy Martyress Liudmila, a Czech (Bohemian) princess, was married to the Czech prince Borivoy. Both spouses received holy Baptism from Saint Methodios, Archbishop of Moravia and Enlightener of the Slavs (Comm. 11 May). As Christians, they showed concerned for the enlightening of their subjects with the light of the true faith, they built churches and invited priests therein to make Divine-services. Prince Borivoy died early at age 36. Saint Liudmila as a widow led an austere pious life and continued to be concerned for the Church during the reign of her son Bratislav, which lasted for 33 years. Bratislav was married to Dragomira, from whom he had a son Vyacheslav. After the death of Bratislav, 18 year old Vyacheslav came on the throne. Taking advantage of the inexperience and youth of her son, Dragomira began to propagate pagan manners and customs in the country. Saint Liudmila of course opposed this. Dragomira came to hate her mother-in-law and tried to destroy her. When Saint Liudmila moved away to the city of Techin, Dragomira sent there two boyars in secret to murder her. At the time Saint Liudmila was praying, and the two assassins entered the house, carrying out Dragomira's orders. The relics of the holy Martyress Liudmila was buried in Techin in the city wall. From her grave there occurred numerous healings. Prince Vyacheslav transferred the body of Saint Liudmila to the city of Prague and placed it in the church of Saint George.



Martyrs Sophia and her three daughters: Faith (Vera), Hope (Nadezhda), and Love (Lyubov), at Rome (137) Commemorated on September 17/September 30
     The Holy Martyresses Vera (Faith), Nadezhda (Hope) and Liubov' (Love) were born in Italy. Their mother, Saint Sophia (Wisdom), was a pious Christian widow. Having named her daughters with the names of the three Christian virtues, Saint Sophia raised them up in love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Sophia and her daughters did not hide their faith in Christ and they openly confessed it before everyone. The official Antiochus made denunciation about them to the emperor Adrian (117-138), who ordered that they be brought to Rome. Realising that they would be taken before the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He should send them the strength not to fear impending torture and death. When the holy virgins with their mother came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composture: it seemed that they had been called out to some happy festivity, rather than to torture. Summoning the sisters in turn, Adrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls (Vera was 12, Nadezhda was 10 and Liubov' was 9) remained unyielding. Then the emperor gave orders to fiercely torture them: they burned at the holy virgins over an iron grating, they threw them into a red-hot oven and then into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord by His Unseen Power preserved them. The youngest one, Liubov', they tied to a wheel and beat at her with canes, until her body was covered all over with bloody welts. And undergoing unreported torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the faith. They subjected Saint Sophia to another and grievous torture: the mother was forced to look upon the suffering of her daughters. But she displayed adamant courage and during this whole while she urged the girls to endure the torments in the Name of the Heavenly Bridegroom. All three maidens with joy met their martyr's end. They were beheaded. In order to intensify the inner suffering of Saint Sophia, the emperor decided to let her take up the bodies of her daughters. She placed their remains in coffins and reverently conveyed them on a wagon beyond the city and buried them on an high place. Saint Sophia sat there for three days not leaving the graves of her daughters, and finally she gave up her soul to the Lord. Believers buried her body there also. the relics of the holy martyresses since the year 777 rest at El'zasa, in the church of Esho.

Martyr Theodota at Nicaea (230) and Agathoklea
Commemorated on September 17/September 30

     The Holy Martyress Theodotia, a native of Cappadocia, suffered in the city of Nicea during the reign of the emperor Alexander Severus (222-235). At this time the governor of Cappadocia was a certain fellow named Symblicius. They reported to him, that a rich woman named Theodotia was confessing Christ. The governor summoned Theodotia and for a long time urged her to recant from the true faith. Seeing the uselessness of his attempts, he gave Theodotia over to torture: they suspended her and began to tear at her with iron hooks, but she as it were did not sense any suffering. Then they put her in chains and led her away to a prison cell. After 8 days, when they led the saint out for new tortures, there remained on her on faint traces of the tortures already endured. The governor was amazed and asked her: "Who art thou?" The saint answered: "Thine mind is darkened, but if thou were sober, thou would then have recognised, that I am Theodotia". Symblicius commanded the martyress to be cast into a red-hot furnace. Flames shot out from the furnace and scorched those standing nearby, while those remaining unharmed shut the furnace and scattered in fright. After a certain while pagan priests came and opened the furnace so as to scatter the ashes of the martyress, but they too were burned by the flames; those remaining unhurt saw Saint Theodotia unharmed: she stood amidst the flames betwixt two youths in white raiment and was glorifying the Lord. This apparition so terrified the pagans, that they fell down as though dead. Later they again returned the saint to prison.
     The invincibility of the martyress gave Symblicius no peace. Having made a journey to Byzantium, on the return trip he stopped over at Ancyra and tried to get the better of Theodotia. He gave orders to throw her all at once onto red-hot iron, but again the martyress remained unharmed. Then Symblicius gave orders that the saint be taken to Nicea. There, in a pagan temple he wanted by force to compel her to offer sacrifice to the idols, but through the prayer of the saint the idols fell and were shattered. The governor in a rage gave orders to stretch the martyress and saw her through, but here also the power of God preserved the saint: the saw caused Theodotia no harm, and the servants became exhausted. Finally, they beheaded the saint. The bishop of Nicea Sophronios buried her body.