Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fr. Davide, Blessed Nicholas Konrad, Blessed Vladimir Pryjma, & Blessed Andrew Ishchak (June 26)

Our Venerable Father David of Thessalonica. 

David was born in Thessalonica. At first, he lived a life of asceticism in the proximity of Thessalonica in a hut built beneath an almond tree. Later, he continued his asceticism in Thessaly. So much did he purify himself by fasting, prayer and all-night vigils that he was made worthy to receive great grace from God. Once he took live coals in his hand, placed incense on the coals and censed the emperor without any injury to his hand. Seeing this, the emperor bowed down to the ground before him. He amazed many people by his numerous miracles. He died peacefully and took up habitation in eternal blessedness in the year 540 A.D.

The Passing of the Blessed Martyr the Priest Nicholas Konrad 


The Blessed Martyr the Cantor Vladimir Pryjma (1941). 


The Passing of the Blessed Martyr the Priest Andrew Ishchak (1941).

Andrew Ishchak was born on September 20, 1887 in Mykolayiv, in the Lviv District. He gained his Theological education at the universities in Lviv and Innsbruck. In 1914, he received his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Innsbruck and was ordained. Beginning in 1928, he taught at the Lviv Theological Academy. He was able to combine his professorial duties with his pastoral work in the village of Sykhiv, near Lviv. It was there that he met his death on 26 June 1941, thus becoming a martyr for the faith at the hands of soldiers of the retreating Soviet Army.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Holy Venerable Martyr Febronia (June 25)

The Holy Venerable Martyr Febronia

Febronia was the daughter of Prosphorus, a senator from Rome. In order to avoid marriage with a mortal man, Febronia betrothed herself to Christ and was tonsured a nun in the east, in the country of Assyria, in a convent where her aunt Bryaena was abbess. Lysimachus, the son of a nobleman, desired to wed Febronia but since Emperor Diocletian suspected him to be a secret Christian, he sent Lysimachus to the east with his uncle Silenus to apprehend and kill Christians. Silenus was as cruel as a beast and exterminated Christians everywhere without mercy. Lysimachus, on the contrary, spared the Christians wherever he could and hid them from his beast-like uncle. Making Palmyra a wasteland of Christians, Silenus came to the town of Nisibis close to which was a convent with fifty ascetics among whom was Febronia. Even though she was only twenty years old, Febronia was respected in the convent and in the town because of her great meekness, wisdom and restraint. In this convent the rule of the former abbess Blessed Platonida was adhered to in that every Friday be spent only in prayer and the reading of the sacred books without any other type of work. Bryaena had designated Febronia to read the sacred books to the sisters hidden behind a curtain so that no one would be distracted and captivated by the beauty of her face. Hearing about Febronia, Silenus ordered that Febronia be brought to him. But, when the holy virgin refused to deny Christ and to agree to enter into marriage with a mortal man, Silenus ordered her to be whipped, and after that to knock out her teeth, cut off her hands, breasts then legs and finally to slay her with a sword. However, a horrible punishment from God befell the torturer the same day. A rage entered into him and he was overcome by a deadly horror. In this horror he struck his head against a marble pillar and fell dead. Lysimachus ordered that Febronia's body be gathered and brought to the convent where it was honorably buried and he, with many other soldiers, were baptized. Many healings have occurred from the relics of St. Febronia and she appeared on the day of her feast and stood in her usual place among the sisters and all the sisters looked upon her with fear and rejoicing. St. Febronia suffered and took up habitation in eternal blessedness in the year 310 A.D. In the year 363 A.D., her relics were translated to Constantinople.

Respectably Taken From the:
"The Prologue of Ohrid"
by St. Nikolai of Zica, Serbia(Velimirovic)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Birth of the Holy Prophet & Forerunner John The Baptist (June 24)

Birth of the Holy Prophet & Forerunner John The Baptist 

Today we commemorate THE NATIVITY OF THE HOLY PROPHET, FORERUNNER, AND BAPTIST JOHN who while still in the womb of his mother, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He exulted in joy at the coming of the salvation of humanity. His own birth foretold the Lord Christ. Such great grace shone forth in him, that the Lord himself said concerning him that no one born of woman was greater than John the Baptist.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Holy Martyr Agrippina (June 23)

The Holy Martyr Agrippina

Saint Agrippina was born and educated in Rome. From her childhood she trained herself to live an evangelical life, driving away the stench of passions from her heart and filling her heart with the sweet-smelling fragrance of purity, of virginity and chastity. She was betrothed to Christ the Lord and, as the Bride of Christ, suffered during the reign of Emperor Valerian. She endured flogging with rods until her bones were crushed. An angel of God appeared to her and strengthened her. While being tortured, St. Agrippina gave up her soul to God. Her companions, Bassa, Paula and Agathonice, translated her relics to the island of Sicily and honorably buried them there. A church was later built there in St. Agrippina's honor. Countless miracles were wrought from her relics. By the power of her relics, even the Hagarians were turned away from the town where her relics reposed. St. Agrippina rested in the year 275 A.D. and was crowned with glory.

Respectably Taken From the:
"The Prologue of Ohrid"
by St. Nikolai of Zica, Serbia(Velimirovic)

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Holy Martyr Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata (June 22)

The Holy Martyr Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata

Eusebius did great things to expose Arianism. When the throne of Antioch became vacant, Meletius was elected patriarch at the insistence of Eusebius. Meletius was a great beacon of the Church who, after his death, was found worthy of great praise by St. John Chrysostom. However, the Arians quickly banished Meletius from Antioch. When Constantine's pernicious son Constantius died another much worse than he was crowned, Julian the Apostate. During the time of Julian's persecution of Christians, St. Eusebius removed his clerical attire and donned a soldier's uniform so that, under the guise of a soldier, he visited the persecuted Church throughout Syria, Phoenicia and Palestine strengthening the Orthodox Faith everywhere and installing the necessary priests and deacons and other clergy and, in some places, bishops. Following the stormy death of Julian, St. Eusebius counseled Meletius to convene a Council in Antioch in 361 A.D. at which twenty-seven hierarchs were present and the Arian heresy was condemned once more and the Faith of Orthodoxy was proclaimed in the same manner as it was expressed at the First Ecumenical Council [Nicea 325 A.D]. Along with Meletius and Eusebius, St. Pelagius of Laodicea the famous ascetic and chaste one, made a great impact at the Council of Antioch. This Council was held during the reign of the pious Emperor Jovian. However, Emperor Jovian soon died and the wicked Valens was crowned and again the persecution of Orthodoxy ensued. St. Meletius was exiled to Armenia, Eusebius exiled to Thrace and Pelagius exiled to Arabia. After Valens, Gratian was crowned emperor and it was he who granted freedom to the Church and recalled the exiled hierarchs to their former sees. Thus, they returned: Meletius to Antioch, Eusebius to Samosata and Pelagius to Laodicea. At this time, many dioceses and many parishes were widowed and Eusebius zealously hurried to find and to give to the people canonical shepherds. When he came to the town of Doliche to enthrone the newly elected bishop Marinus and to denounce the heresy of Arius, which was strong in this town, a fanatical heretic hurled a ceramic tile at Eusebius' head and mortally wounded him. This great zealot, saint and martyr of Orthodoxy died to live eternally in the blessedness of Paradise. He suffered in the year 379 A.D.

Respectably Taken From the:
"The Prologue of Ohrid"
by St. Nikolai of Zica, Serbia(Velimirovic)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dear Brothers & Sisters

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I am creating this post in order to inform you that I will be unable to update the Eastern Saint of the Day until late Thursday or Friday due to my attendance and assistance at The 2012 Orientale Lumen Conference at The Washington Retreat House. I sincerely apologize for this.

God Bless,

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Holy Martyr Leontius (June 18)

The Holy Martyr Leontius.

Leontius was a Roman commander in Tripoli in Phoenicia during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. He was born in Hellas [Greece] "of great physical stature, powerful, strong and brave in battles." Hadrian, the imperial deputy, sent a military detachment to arrest Leontius, for Hadrian was a fierce adversary and persecutor of Christians. Hypatius, the senior officer of this detachment, became ill enroute with a bitter fever because of which the detachment had to slow down their march. One night an angel of God appeared to Hypatius and said to him: "If you want to be well, cry out three times toward heaven with all your soldiers: 'O God of Leontius help me!' "

Hypatius informed his companions of his vision and all in unison cried out as the angel instructed and immediately Hypatius became well. This miracle astonished all but especially Theodulus. Hypatius and Theodulus then went ahead of the other soldiers to seek Commander Leontius. Leontius received them graciously and served them. When he expounded his faith in Christ to them, their hearts burned with love for Christ and, at that moment, a bright cloud descended upon Hypatius and Theodulus and dew from a cloud descended upon them. That was the Holy Spirit of God Himself baptizing these converted souls and St. Leontius, at that moment, spoke these words: "In the name of the All-holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit." The evil Hadrian, learning that Hypatius and Theodulus became Christians, ordered that they be scourged without mercy and following that to be beheaded with an axe. And so, these two spiritual children of Leontius died.

Then Hadrian prescribed cruel tortures for Leontius but Leontius remained unwavering in his holy faith. His entire body was covered with wounds but he diligently prayed to God not to abandon him. In the midst of the cruelest torments, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, encouraged and comforted him. Finally, they knocked the martyr Leontius to the ground and beat him until he gave up his soul to God. The sufferings of St. Leontius was personally witnessed by Kir Notarius who recorded all that he saw on lead tablets and placed them in the martyr's grave. St. Leontius suffered honorably in the year 73 A.D.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ishmael. Father Hypatius (June 17)

The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ishmael. 

Manuel, Sabel and Ishmael were brothers born in Persia of a pagan father and a Christian mother. They were educated in the spirit of Christianity and were baptized. As Christians they were high-ranking officials at the court of King Alamundar. They were sent to Emperor Julian the Apostate to conduct negotiations and to confirm peace between the Persian and Graeco-Roman empires. The apostate emperor arranged some sort of blasphemous celebration in honor of the idols in Chalcedon. At this celebration, the emperor, with his noblemen, offered sacrifices to the idols. The Persian emissaries absented themselves from this celebration. The emperor summoned them and ordered that they also take part in the celebration and to offer sacrifices to the gods. They declared that they were foreign citizens and that they came as emissaries of the Persian king for the sake of establishing peace between the two empires and not for anything else; that they are Christians and that they consider it unworthy to worship dead idols and to offer them sacrifices. The emperor became enraged and cast them into prison. The next day, he brought them out and again began to dispute with them about faith, but the holy brothers were adamant and unwavering. They were then bound naked to trees, beaten and scraped with an iron brush. During the entire time of torturing they prayed to God with thanksgiving for their tortures: "O sweet Jesus these torments are sweet for the sake of Your love!" An angel of God appeared to them, comforted them and removed every pain from them. Contrary to all international relations, the wicked Emperor Julian finally pronounced judgment that the three brothers be beheaded. When they were beheaded, there was a great earthquake; the earth split and received the bodies of the holy martyrs so that the pagans could not burn their bodies as ordered by the emperor. After that the earth gave up the bodies of these martyrs so that Christians could find them and honorably bury them. Many miracles occurred over their relics which, when many pagans saw, they converted to the Christian Faith. When the Persian king, upon hearing how Julian inhumanely gave his emissaries over to death, he prepared an army against him. Convinced of victory, Julian set out against the Persian Empire but he was overwhelmingly defeated and perished in shame to the joy and ridicule of the entire world.

Our Venerable Father Hypatius, Hegumen of the Rufenianos Monastery 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our Holy Father and Wonderworker Tychon, Bishop of Amathis (June 16)

Our Holy Father and Wonderworker Tychon, Bishop of Amathis

Saint Tikhon was a miracle-worker. Following the death of Blessed Mnemonius, Tikhon was unanimously elected a bishop and consecrated by the renowned Epiphanius for the Diocese of Amathus. His purity of life and zeal for Orthodoxy recommended him for this office. There were still pagans on Cyprus at that time. With apostolic zeal St. Tikhon undertook to convert the unbelievers into believers. In that, he had great success. After lengthy labor in the vineyard of the Lord, Tikhon took up habitation in blessed eternity about the year 425 A.D. He was called a miracle-worker because of the many miracles he worked during his life. Tikhon's father was a baker. When his father left him alone in the store, he would distribute bread free of charge to the poor. Once, his father reproached him for this. Tikhon prayed to God and their granary was so filled with wheat that the door could not be opened without difficulty. Again, at another time, he planted withered branches of a vine and the vine became green and, in due time, brought forth fruit.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Holy Prophet Amos. The Venerable Jerome, Priest of Stridon. (June 15)

The Holy Prophet Amos. 

Amos was born in the village of Thecua near Bethlehem. He was of simple origin and life. Amos was a swine herdsman for a wealthy man of Jerusalem. But God Who does not look at who is who by his outward appearances but rather by the purity of his heart, and Who took both Moses and David from their sheep, and appointed them as leaders of the people, chose this Amos as one of His prophets. He rebuked King Uzziah and his pagan priests for idolatry and dissuaded the people from worshipping the golden calves in Bethel, teaching them to worship the One Living God. When the chief pagan priest persecuted Amos, he prophesied that the Assyrians will conquer Israel, that they will slay the king and the sons of Amaziah and that the Assyrian soldiers will defile Amaziah's wife before his eyes because he led the people into adultery with idols. All of this materialized. The son of a pagan priest struck the prophet on the forehead with his staff so forcefully that Amos fell. Barely alive, Amos was brought to his village of Thecua where he surrendered his holy soul to God. Amos lived in the eighth century before Christ.

The Venerable Jerome, Priest of Stridon.

Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at Bethlehem, 30 September, 420. He went to Rome, probably about 360, where he was baptized, and became interested in ecclesiastical matters. From Rome he went to Trier, famous for its schools, and there began his theological studies. Later he went to Aquileia, and towards 373 he set out on a journey to the East. He settled first in Antioch, where he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, one of the first exegetes of that time and not yet separated from the Church. From 374-9 Jerome led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. Ordained priest at Antioch, he went to Constantinople (380-81), where a friendship sprang up between him and St. Gregory of Nazianzus. From 382 to August 385 he made another sojourn in Rome, not far from Pope Damasus. When the latter died (11 December, 384) his position became a very difficult one. His harsh criticisms had made him bitter enemies, who tried to ruin him. After a few months he was compelled to leave Rome. By way of Antioch and Alexandria he reached Bethlehem, in 386. He settled there in a monastery near a convent founded by two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who followed him to Palestine. Henceforth he led a life of asceticism and study; but even then he was troubled by controversies which will be mentioned later, one with Rufinus and the other with the Pelagians. St. Jerome owes his place in the history of exegetical studies chiefly to his revisions and translations of the Bible.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Holy Prophet Elisha. Our Holy Father Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople. (June 14)

The Holy Prophet Elisha. 

Elisha lived nine hundred years before Christ. When the Lord willed to take the aged Prophet Elijah to Himself, He revealed to him that He had designated Elisha, the son of Shaphat of the tribe of Reuben from the town of Abel-Meholah, as his successor in the prophetic service. Elijah informed Elisha of God's will and draped him with his mantle and implored from God the two-fold grace of prophecy for him. Elisha immediately departed his home and family and followed Elijah. When the Lord took Elijah in a fiery chariot, Elisha remained to continue the prophetic service with yet a greater power than Elijah.

By his purity and zeal, Elisha was equal to the greatest prophets and, by the miraculous power that was given to him by God, Elisha exceeded them all. He parted the waters of the Jordan as Moses once parted the Red Sea; the bitter waters in Jericho he made drinkable; he brought forth water into the excavated trenches during the war with the Moabites; he multiplied the oil in the pots of the poor widow; he resurrected the dead son of the Shunammite woman; he fed a hundred people with twenty small loaves of bread; he healed Commander Naaman of leprosy; he invoked leprosy upon his servant Gehazi because of his greed; he blinded the entire Syrian army and also forced another army to flee; he foretold many events to the people as well as to individuals. Elisha died at a very old age.

Our Holy Father Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople. 

Methodius was born in the town of Syracuse in Sicily. After the completion of his secular studies, he was tonsured a monk and began to live a life of asceticism in a monastery. Patriarch Nicephorus took him into his service. During the reign of the iconoclastic emperors, he became widely known as a superb defender of the veneration of icons. For this, the wicked Emperor Theophilus exiled him to an island with two common criminals where he languished in a damp prison for seven years without light and without sufficient food as though in a grave. During the time of the pious Empress Theodora and her son Michael, Methodius was freed and was chosen as patriarch (according to an earlier prophecy of St. Joannicius the Great). The first week of the Great Fast [Lenten Season] Methodius solemnly carried the icons into the church and wrote a Canon in honor of icons. Unable to outwit him, the vile heretics hired a woman who declared that the patriarch had an impure relationship with her. The whole of Constantinople was horrified at this slander. Nevertheless, not knowing how he could otherwise prove his innocence, the patriarch overcame his embarrassment, removed his clothes and stood naked before the court which he himself had requested, and showed his withered body, debilitated from fasting. The court was clearly convinced that the patriarch had been slandered. Hearing of this, the people rejoiced and the heretics were shamed. Then, the woman admitted that she was persuaded and paid to bring this slander against the saint of God. Thus, those who thought to bring shame upon Methodius unintentionally increased his fame. This great confessor of the Faith died peacefully in the year 846 A.D. and took up habitation in the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Holy Martyr Aquilina. Our Holy Father Triphyllus, Bishop of Leucosia (June 13)

The Holy Martyr Aquilina

Aquilina was born in the Palestinian town of Byblus of honorable Christian parents. At age seven, little Aquilina was already completely versed in the true Christian life and at age ten she was so filled with divine understanding and the grace of the Holy Spirit that she, with great power and zealousness, preached Christ to her female companions. When Diocletian's persecution began, someone accused Aquilina before Volusian, the imperial deputy, who was more like a beast than a man. At first, Volusian ordered that Aquilina be flogged and after that, a red hot rod be pierced through her ears and brain. Until the last moment, the virgin Aquilina freely and openly confessed Christ the Lord and when her brain and blood began to flow from her head, she fell as though dead. The deputy, thinking Aquilina was indeed dead, ordered her body to be carried outside the city and thrown upon a dung heap for the dogs to consume. But, an angel of God appeared to her at night and said to her: "Arise, and be whole!" And the virgin arose and was whole and for a long time she offered up praise of thanksgiving to God imploring Him not to deprive her to fulfill her martyr's mortification. A voice from heaven was heard: "Go, it will be to you as you pray" and Aquilina set out for the town. The gates of the town opened on their own accord before her and she entered like a spirit into the palace of the deputy and appeared before his bed. The deputy was seized with unspeakable fear, seeing the virgin alive whom he thought was dead. The following day, according to his command, the executioners led Aquilina out to behead her. Before her beheading, the virgin Aquilina prayed to God on her knees and gave up her soul. The executioner beheaded her lifeless head. Her relics gave healing to many of the sick. Aquilina was twelve years old when she suffered for the Lord: suffered and crowned with the martyr's wreath in the year 293 A.D.

Our Holy Father Triphyllus, Bishop of Leucosia 

Triphyllius was a disciple of St. Spiridon and later his worker on the island of Cyprus. He was a merciful man, pure in thought and chaste throughout his life, "a living fountain of tears" and a great ascetic. He governed Christ's flock well and dying, received the wreath among the great hierarchs in the heavens. He died peacefully in the year 370 A.D.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas (June 11)

The Holy Apostles Bartholomew

Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Great Apostles. In all probability, it appears that Bartholomew and Nathaniel are one and the same person. He was a companion of the Apostle Philip and Philip's sister, the virgin Mariamna and, for some time, a companion of St. John the Theologian. Bartholomew preached the Gospel first throughout Asia and, after that, in India and finally in Armenia where he died a martyr's death. In Hierapolis, these holy apostles by prayer, caused the death of a large serpent which the heathens kept in their temple and worshipped. In this same city and, by prayer, they restored sight to Stachius who was blind for forty years. It was here that a mob rose up against them and they crucified Philip and Bartholomew (Bartholomew was crucified upside down). At this time, an earthquake occurred in which the evil judges and may people perished. Feeling that this was a punishment from God, many ran to remove the apostles from the crosses but Philip was already dead while Bartholomew was still alive. After this, Bartholomew went to India where he preached and translated the Gospel of St. Matthew into the Indian language. Following this, he entered Armenia where he cured the daughter of the king from insanity. But the envious brother of King Astyages seized God's apostle, crucified him on a cross, skinned him and finally beheaded him in Armenian Albanopolis [Derbend]. Christians honorably buried his body in a lead sarcophagus. Because many miracles occurred over his relics, the pagans took the sarcophagus and tossed it into the sea. But the water carried the sarcophagus to the Island of Lipara where Bishop Agathon, through a revelation in a dream, met and buried it in the church. St. Bartholomew, attired in a white garment, appeared in church to Venerable Joseph, the Hymnographer, blessed him with the Gospel that he may be able to sing spiritual hymns saying: "Let heavenly waters of wisdom flow from your tongue!" He also appeared to Emperor Anastasius (491-518 A.D.) and told him that he would protect the newly established town of Dara. Later, the relics of this great apostle were translated to Benevento and then to Rome. Great and awesome miracles have occurred over these relics.

The Holy Apostles  Barnabas

Barnabas was one of the Seventy Apostles. He was born in Cyprus of wealthy parents from the tribe of Levi and studied together with Saul under Gamaliel. At first, he was called Joseph but the apostles then called him Barnabas, Son of Consolation, because he was exceptionally capable of comforting the souls of the people. After Saul's conversion, Barnabas was the first to introduce Saul to the apostles and after that, with Paul [Saul] and Mark he preached the Gospel in Antioch and throughout other places. In all probability, he was the first to preach in Rome and Milan. He suffered on the island of Cyprus at the hands of the Jews and was buried by Mark beyond the western gate of the town of Salamis with the Gospel of St. Matthew on his chest which he, by his own hand, had copied. His grave remained unknown for several hundred years and since many received healing from sickness on this spot, this place was called: "the place of health." At the time of Emperor Zeno and the Chalcedon Council [451 A.D.], the apostle appeared to Archbishop Anthemius of Cyprus on three successive nights in a dream and revealed to him the location of Barnabas' grave. That appearance of the apostle occurred exactly at the time when Peter, the power-hungry Patriarch of Antioch, sought that the church in Cyprus be under the jurisdiction of the throne of Antioch. After the appearance and discovery of the miraculous relics of the holy Apostle Barnabas, it was established that the church in Cyprus, as an Apostolic Church, should always be independent. Thus, the autocephaly of the Church in Cyprus was established.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Holy Martyr Timothy, Bishop of Prusa (June 10)

The Holy Martyr Timothy, Bishop of Prusa 

Because of Timothy's great spiritual purity, God granted him the gift of working miracles and he cured all diseases and afflictions of the people. During the reign of the wicked Emperor Julian, who denied Christ, Saint Timothy was cast into prison. Even in prison the faithful visited him in order to listen to the wise instruction of their arch-shepherd. Learning of this, Julian ordered and the executioner beheaded Timothy in prison in the year 362 A.D. His soul departed into Paradise and his relics remained miracle-working to help the people and to manifest the power of God.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Our Holy Father Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria (June 9)

Our Holy Father Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria 

Cyril was of noble birth and a close relative of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, after whose death he was consecrated as patriarch. During his lifetime, he led three bitter struggles: with the Novatian heretics, with the heretic Nestor and with the Jews in Alexandria. The Novatianists had their origin in Rome and were named after Novatian the presbyter and leader of the heresy. They took pride in their virtues, walked about dressed in white garments, forbade a second marriage, held that prayers should not be said for those who committed a mortal sin, nor to receive back into the Church those who, at one time, had fallen away from the Church even though they bitterly repented. Cyril defeated them and drove them out of Alexandria together with their bishop. The struggle with the Jews was more difficult and bloodier. Since Alexander the Great founded that city, the Jews from the beginning, became strong in Alexandria. Their hatred toward Christians was vicious and insane. They killed Christians by treachery, by poisoning and by crucifying them on a cross. After a long and difficult struggle, Cyril succeeded with Emperor Theodosius the Younger to drive the Jews out of Alexandria. However, his struggle against Nestor, the Patriarch of Constantinople, was resolved at the Third Ecumenical Council [Ephesus 431 A.D]. Cyril himself presided at this Council and, at the same time, represented Celestine the Pope of Rome at his request who was unable to attend the Council because of old age. Nestorius was condemned, anathematized and was banished by the emperor to the eastern boundary of the empire where he died a horrible death (for worms consumed his tongue by which he had blasphemed the Birth-giver of God calling her the Birth-giver of Christ). After the completion of this struggle, Cyril lived in peace and zealously tended Christ's flock. He presented himself to the Lord in the year 444 A.D. It is said that he composed the prayer: "Rejoice, O Virgin Birth-giver of God, Mary full of grace!" [The Hail Mary].

Friday, June 8, 2012

Translation of the Relics of the Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (June 8)

Translation of the Relics of the Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit 

The Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit 

The Holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (Tyro) was a soldier in the city of Alasium of the Pontine district (northeast province of Asia Minor, stretching along the coast of the Euxine, i.e. the Black Sea), under the command of a certain Brincus. They commanded him to offer sacrifice to idols. St Theodore firmly confessed his faith in Christ the Savior in a loud voice. The commander gave him several days to think it over, during which time St Theodore prayed.

They charged him with setting a pagan temple on fire, and threw him into prison to be starved to death. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him there, comforting and encouraging him. Brought to the governor, St Theodore boldly and fearlessly confessed his faith, for which he was subjected to new torments and condemned to burning. The martyr Theodore climbed onto the fire without hesitation, and with prayer and gave up his holy soul to God.

This occurred in about the year 306 under the Roman emperor Galerius (305-311). Unharmed by the fire, the body of St Theodore was buried in the city of Euchaita, not far from Amasium. His relics were afterwards transferred to Constantinople, to a church dedicated to him. His head is in Italy, in the city of Gaeto.

Later on, fifty years after the death of St Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), wanting to commit an outrage upon the Christians, commanded the city-commander of Constantinople during the first week of Great Lent to sprinkle all the food provisions in the marketplaces with the blood offered to idols. St Theodore appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva).

We pray to St Theodore for the recovery of stolen articles.   

Thursday, June 7, 2012

St. Theodotus, Bishop of Ancyra & Sts. Cyriaca, Valeria and Maria (June 7)

The Holy Martyr Theodotus, Bishop of Ancyra. 

File:Teodot Ankirski.jpgTheodotus Of Ancyra, (died c. 446), theologian, bishop of Ancyra, and a leading advocate of doctrine in the discussion of the nature and Person of Christ at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Theodotus was a determined opponent of Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, whose views had led to the summoning of the council and whom Theodotus had earlier supported. Now standing beside Cyril of Alexandria, Nestorius’ chief opponent, Theodotus affirmed the two-fold nature united in Christ’s Person. Nestorius was condemned, and Theodotus served as a member of the delegation sent by the council to explain its decrees to the Nestorian-leaning emperor Theodosius II. The Nestorian party denounced Theodotus in 432 at its own Synod of Tarsus.

Theodotus’ writings include an explanation of the Nicene Creed in which he asserted that Nestorius’ views had already been condemned by the first Council of Nicaea in 325. Two sermons on Christmas and one on the “Feast of the Lights” (in honour of the Virgin Mary) are significant witnesses to the existence of these ritual celebrations in the early 5th century. A lost work in six books refuting Nestorius was referred to at the second Council of Nicaea in 787.

The Holy Martyrs Cyriaca, Valeria and Maria. 

All three of these female martyrs were from Caesarea in Palestine. When a persecution of Christians began, they withdrew from the city to a hut and there they prayed unceasingly to God, fasting and weeping that the Faith of Christ might be spread throughout the entire world and that the persecution of the Church cease. As a result of slander, they were brought to trial, tortured and in their torments were put to death in the year 304 A.D. Thus, these glorious virgins were crowned with the wreaths of martyrdom

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

St. Bessarion the Wonder-worker & St. Hilarion the Younger

Our Venerable Father Bessarion the Wonder-worker.

Bessarion was born and educated in Egypt. He dedicated himself to the spiritual life at an early age and "did not stain his spiritual garment in which he was clothed at baptism." He visited St. Gerasimus by the Jordan and learned from St. Isidore of Pelusium. He subdued his body through extreme fasting and vigils but he concealed his life of mortification from men as much as possible. At one time, he stood for forty days at prayer, neither eating nor sleeping. He wore one garment both in summer and winter. He possessed the great gift of miracle-working. He did not have a permanent dwelling place but lived in the mountains and forests until a ripe old age. He healed the sick and worked many other miracles for the benefit of the people and to the glory of God. He died peacefully in the year 466 A.D.

Our Venerable Father and Confessor Hilarion the Younger, Hegumen of the Dalmatian Monastery.

Hilarion was the abbot of the Dalmatus monastery in Constantinople. He was a disciple of Gregory of Decapolis and an imitator of the life of Hilarion the Great whose name he took. Hilarion was powerful in prayer, persevering and courageous in suffering. He suffered much for the sake of icons at the time of the evil iconoclastic emperors, Leo the Armenian and others. Later, the Emperor Leo was slain by his own soldiers in the same church and on the same spot where he first ridiculed holy icons and from which he removed the first icon. St. Hilarion was then released from prison but only for a short time. Again, he was tortured and detained in prison until the reign of the right-believing Empress Theodora. Hilarion was clairvoyant and a discerner. He saw the angels of God as they were taking the soul of St. Theodore the Studite to heaven. Pleasing God, he fell asleep and entered the Kingdom of God in the year 845 A.D. in his seventieth year.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sts. Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre & Cosmas, an Armenian Priest (June 5)

The Holy Martyr Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre. 

Dorotheus was Bishop of Tyre from the time of Diocletian to the time of Julian the Apostate under whom he was tortured and suffered for the Orthodox Faith. He lived on earth one hundred seven years and, pleasing God, he took up habitation in life eternal in the year 361 A.D. Dorotheus was a very educated man and wrote many instructive works in Greek and Latin. Especially famous is his Greek-Latin Syntagma.

The Holy Martyr Cosmas, an Armenian Priest.

(No reliable source found)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Holy Martyr Lucillian and His Companions (June 3)

The Holy Martyr Lucillian and His Companions 

Lucillian grew old as a pagan priest and, as a graying elder, recognized the truth of Christianity and was baptized. His conversion to Christianity provoked great anxiety among the heathens in Nicomedia and he was brought to trial. Because he did not want to deny his new Faith Lucillian was violently beaten and, completely bruised, was thrown into prison. In prison he met four young men: Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius who, because of their faith in Christ, were also imprisoned. The elder greatly rejoiced in the young men and they in him and together spent all their time in pious conversations, prayers and the chanting of psalms. When they were led out of prison they were tortured by various means and finally sent to Byzantium where the soldiers beheaded Claudius, Hypatius, Paul, Dionysius and Lucillian was crucified by the Jews. The nefarious Jews pierced Lucillian's entire body with nails. A virgin named Paula openly took the martyr's bodies and honorably buried them. For this, she was accused and, after having been tortured, was beheaded receiving two wreaths from the Lord: the wreath of virginity and the wreath of martyrdom. Their martyrdom occurred during the reign of Emperor Aurelian between the years 270-275 A.D.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Our Venerable Father Nicephor the Confessor

Our Venerable Father Nicephor the Confessor 

Nicephorus was a nobleman of Constantinople. His father Theodore, a high- ranking official of the imperial court, was wealthy and pious. Nicephorus served at the court for several years in the same profession as his father. Seeing all the vanity of the world, he withdrew to the shores of the Bosphorus and founded a monastery. The monastery was quickly filled with monks and he governed it but was not willing to receive the monastic tonsure under the pretext that he was not worthy, even though, in all things he served as a model to all. Before that, he participated in the Seventh Ecumenical Council [Nicea, 783 A.D.] as a layman at the wishes of the emperor and the patriarch and the Council benefited greatly by his superior knowledge of Sacred Scripture. When Patriarch Tarasius died, Nicephorus was elected patriarch against his will. Immediately following his election in the year 806 A.D., he received the monastic tonsure and in succession all other ecclesiastical ranks. He was enthroned as patriarch in the Church of the Divine Wisdom of God [Hagia Sophia]. This took place during the reign of Emperor Nicephorus who immediately, after that, went to war against the Bulgarians and was slain. His son, Stauracius, reigned only two months and died. After him, the good Emperor Michael, surnamed Rangabe, ruled but he reigned for only two years until he was overthrown by Leo the Armenian and banished into exile. When Leo was crowned, the patriarch sent him a book of the Orthodox Confession of Faith to sign (according to the custom of all Byzantine emperors which was considered an oath that they will uphold and defend the True Faith). The emperor did not sign it but rather postponed it until after the coronation. When the patriarch crowned him, Leo refused to sign the book and quickly proved himself to be a heretic; an iconoclast. The patriarch attempted to advise him and to restore him to the True Faith, but in vain. The emperor forcibly banished Nicephorus into exile to the island of Proconnesus where he remained for thirteen years enduring every kind of misery and privation and entered eternity in the year 827 A.D. As patriarch he governed the Church of Christ for nine years.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Holy Martyr Justin and His Companions (June 1)

The Holy Martyr Justin and His Companions.

Justin was born of Greek parents in the Samaritan town of Shechem, later called Nablus one hundred-five years after Christ. He zealously sought wisdom among philosophers, at first with the Stoics and after that with the Peripatetics, the Pythagorians and finally with the Platonists. Even though Plato's philosophy did not satisfy him, nevertheless, he adhered to it the longest time not having anything else that would attract him more. By God's Providence an honorable elder encountered Justin who confused him concerning the philosophy of Plato and persuaded him that men cannot know the truth about God unless God reveals it and God revealed the truth about Himself in the books of Holy Scripture. Justin began to read Holy Scripture and became a thoroughly convinced Christian. However, he did not want to be baptized nor to be called a Christian until he was personally convinced of the falseness of all those accusations which the pagans raised against the Christians. Coming to Rome in a philosopher's dolman [cape], he quickly achieved great respect there as well as many followers. He was present at the martyrdom of St. Ptolemy and St. Lucian. Witnessing the tortures of innocent Christians, Justin wrote an Apologia (Defense) of Christians and Christian teachings and presented it to the Emperor Antoninus and to the Senate. The emperor read the Apologia with care and ordered the persecution of Christians to cease. Justin took a copy of the emperor's decree and, with it, journeyed to Asia where, with the help of this decree, saved many persecuted Christians. After that he again returned to Rome. When a persecution began under Emperor Marcus Aurelius, he wrote another Apologia and sent it to the emperor. A disreputable philosopher Crescens, a Cynic, out of envy accused him of being a Christian because Justin had always overcome him in all debates and Justin found himself in prison. Desiring the death of Justin and fearing that he [Justin] would somehow justify himself before the court, Crescens seized the opportunity and somehow poisoned Justin in prison. So ended the earthly life of this great defender of the Christian Faith who took up habitation in blessed eternity in the year 166 A.D.