Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Prefestive Day of the Procession of the Venerable and Life-creating Cross. The Holy and Righteous Eudocimus. (July 31)

Prefestive Day of the Procession of the Venerable and Life-creating Cross. 

The Holy and Righteous Eudocimus. 

Eudocimus was born in Cappadocia of devout parents, Basil and Eudocia. At the time of the Emperor Theophilus (829-842 A.D.), Eudocimus was a young officer in the army. Even as an officer, he exerted all effort to live according to the commandments of the Holy Gospel. Preserving his purity undefiled, he avoided conversing with any woman, except his mother; he was merciful toward the misfortunate and needy, conscientious in reading holy books and more conscientious in his prayers to God. He avoided vain gatherings and verbosity. "Among the throngs and worldly vanity, he was a lily among thorns and as gold in the fire." Because of his unusual good works, the emperor appointed him as the commander of Cappadocia. In this high position, Eudocimus strived to be just before God and before men. According to the Providence of God he died at an early age, in his thirty-third year. His relics were found to possess healing properties. An insane man touched his grave and immediately became whole; a child also touched his grave and was made whole. After eighteen months, his mother opened his coffin and found his body as though it were still alive, without any signs of decay or corruption. A wonderful aroma emitted from the body of the saint. His relics were later translated to Constantinople and buried in the new church of the Holy Theotokos which the parents of this righteous Eudocimus built.

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Holy Apostles Silas and Silvanus and Their Companions. (July 30)

The Holy Apostles Silas and Silvanus and Their Companions.

All were numbered among the Seventy Apostles. St. Silas was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas to settle the dispute between the faithful there regarding circumcision: namely, that it was not necessary to circumcise pagans when they convert to Christianity. "Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole Church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren" (Acts of theApostles 15:22). After that, Silas traveled with Paul throughout Asia and Macedonia and was appointed as the bishop in Corinth, where he peacefully died.

St. Silvanus assisted both of the Chief Apostles. "By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand" (1 Peter 5:12).

"For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea" (2Corinthians 1:19). As the bishop of Thessalonica, Silvanus labored much and suffered much until he finally exchanged this earthly life for the heavenly life.

St. Crescens was a companion of the Apostle Paul and after that the bishop in Galatia and a missionary in Gaul, where he died as a martyr for Christ during the reign of Trajan. "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia" ( 2 Timothy 4:10 ).

St. Epaenetus is mentioned by the Apostle Paul. He was the bishop in Carthage. "Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ" (Romans 16:5).

St. Andronicus, the bishop of Pannonia, is commemorated separately on May 17. "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me" (Romans 16:7).

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Holy Martyr Callinicus. (July 29)

The Holy Martyr Callinicus.

Callinicus was born in Cilicia. From his youth he was educated in Christian piety. Abandoning all, he went to preach the Holy Gospel. In Ancyra, a heathen Prince Sarcedos arrested him. When the prince threatened him with cruel tortures if he did not worship the idols, St. Callinicus answered him: "To me all pain for my God is most welcome as bread is to a hungry man." After cruel tortures and beatings, the prince placed iron shoes with nails protruding inside on his feet and ordered that he be driven into the city of Gangra for the prince was afraid to torture him anymore or to kill him in Ancyra for many, observing the heroic patience of this holy man, converted to the Faith of Christ. Along the way the soldiers became thirsty but there was no water. St. Callinicus prayed to God and brought forth water from a stone. When they arrived in the city of Gangra, the torturers threw St. Callinicus into a fiery furnace. The saint prayed to God saying: " I give thanks to you O Heavenly Father for making me worthy of this hour in which I die for Your Name." After that, he entered the fire. When the fire died down they found his body, whole and unharmed by the fire. He honorably suffered and was crowned with the wreath of eternal glory about the year 250 A.D.

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

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Holy Apostles and Deacons Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon and Parmenas. Our Blessed Mother Alphonsa Muttathupadathu of Kerala. (July 28)

The Holy Apostles and Deacons Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon and Parmenas. 

All four were numbered among the Seven Deacons and the Seventy Apostles. The remaining deacons were Stephen, Philip and Nicholas. Stephen, the first martyr, is commemorated separately on December 27 and Philip on October 11. Because of his heresy, Nicholas did not enter into the ranks of the saints. The first four do not have a separate day of celebration but are commemorated on this one day, July 28. Saint Prochorus was ordained by the Apostle Peter to be the bishop of Nicomedia. For a time he was in the service of St. John the Evangelist and, on the Island of Patmos, copied the Book of Revelation which he heard from the mouth of St. John. After that he returned to Nicomedia where he exerted much effort and labor to convert the people to the Faith. He died a martyr's death in Antioch where he was slain by unbelievers. Saint Nicanor suffered in Jerusalem the same day as St. Stephen the Arch-deacon and, soon after him, two thousand other Christians were slain by the wicked Jews. Saint Timon was a bishop in Arabia and suffered on the cross for Christ. Saint Paramenas died before the eyes of the apostles and was mourned and buried by them.

Our Blessed Mother Alphonsa Muttathupadathu of Kerala. 

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

The Holy Great-Martyr Panteleimon. Memory of our Holy Father Clement, the Wonder-worker, Archbishop of Ohrid. (July 27)

The Holy Great-Martyr Panteleimon.

Pantaleon was born in Nicomedia of a Christian mother and a pagan father. His mother was called Eubula and his father Eustorgius. As a young man he studied the science of medicine. The priest, Hermolaus, invited Pantaleon to be with him and taught him the Faith of Christ and baptized him. Pantaleon miraculously cured a blind man whom the other doctors treated in vain; he cured him by the power of Christ and baptized him. Out of envy the doctors accused Pantaleon of being a Christian and he went before the Emperor Maximian to stand trial. "He stood before the earthly king in body but in thought he stood before the heavenly King." Before the emperor, he freely declared that he was a Christian and, before the eyes of the emperor, he healed a paralytic of a long-standing illness. This miracle drew many pagans to the Faith of Christ. The emperor subjected him to torture but the Lord appeared to him on several occasions and delivered him whole and unharmed. Saint Hermolaus with Hermippas and Thermocrates were then martyred. Sentenced to death, Saint Pantaleon knelt for prayer. At that moment the executioner struck him on the neck with a sword and the sword broke as though it were made of wax. The executioner was unable to execute him until the saint completed his prayer and until Pantaleon told him to behead him. His relics possessed the ability to heal. Pantaleon was executed under an olive tree which, after that, became all adorned with fruit. PANTA LEON means, "all merciful" "all compassionate." The All-merciful God received his righteous soul and glorified him among His great saints. This wonderful martyr suffered honorably for Christ in his youth, on July 27, 304 A.D. Saint Pantaleon is invoked in prayers at the time of the "Blessing of Waters" and in the blessing of the holy oils used in the "The Sacrament of Holy Unction," together with Saint Hermolaus and the other unmercenary saints and wonder-workers. A most beautiful church dedicated to this saint is located on Holy Mount Athos.

Memory of our Holy Father Clement, the Wonder-worker, Archbishop of Ohrid.

Clement was a disciple of Saints Methodius and Cyril. After the death of St. Methodius, Clement, under pressure by the Germans traveled from Moravia to the south. With Gorazd, Nahum, Sava, and Angelarius - together, they were called "The Numbers Five" - crossed the Danube river where they were guests of Emperor Boris Michael and following that came to the region of Ohrid. They first founded a monastery in Belica [Velitsa] where Clement's first episcopal see was located. Afterward, he settled in Ohrid and from there he developed his great arch-pastoral and illuminating work for the nearby and distant regions. In Ohrid, St. Clement erected a church to Saint Pantaleon. He had many disciples who copied books in the Slavonic script for the Slavic peoples. Saint Naum especially assisted him in this work. He worked miracles during his life and his relics manifeste a healing power until today. Following great labors and faithful service to God, he reposed peacefully in Ohrid in the year 916 A.D. His wonder-working relics repose in the former church dedicated to the Holy Birth-giver of God (The Theotokos) and later was renamed St. Clement.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Holy Priest-Martyr Hermolaus and His Companions. The Holy Venerable Martyr Paraskevia. Our Venerable Father Moses the Carpathian of the Monastery of the Caves. (July 26)

The Holy Priest-Martyr Hermolaus and His Companions. 

Hermolaus was a priest in Nicomedia during the reign of Emperor Maximian. He was among the two thousand martyrs whom the emperor condemned to be burned together with the church (December 28). Somehow Hermolaus, on that occasion, escaped death with two other priests, Hermippas and Thermocrates. Hermolaus baptized Saint Pantaleon with whom he was brought to trial, tortured and finally beheaded. Hermippas and Thermocrates suffered with them and all were crowned with the wreaths of victory and glory in the Kingdom of Christ. They honorably suffered about the year 304 A.D.

The Holy Venerable Martyr Paraskevia. 

Parasceva was born in Rome of Christian parents and from her youth was instructed in the Faith of Christ. With great fervence, St. Parasceva endeavored to fulfill all the commandments of God in her life. Believing strongly and living according to her faith, Parasceva directed others on the path [of salvation] with the help of the True Faith and pious living. When her parents died Parasceva distributed all of her property to the poor and was tonsured a nun. As a nun she preached the Faith of Christ with an even greater zeal, not hiding from anyone, even though at that time the Roman authorities bloodily persecuted the Faith of Christ. First the pernicious Jews accused St. Parasceva of preaching the prohibited Faith. She was brought to trial before Emperor Antoninus. All the flatteries of the emperor did not help in the least to cause her to waver in the Faith. They then subjected her to fiery torments and placed a red-hot helmet on her head. The Lord miraculously saved her and Parasceva was delivered and left Rome. She again traveled from city to city to convert the pagan people there to the True Faith. In two more cities she was brought before princes and judges and was tortured for her Lord, at the same time working great miracles and by the power of God quickly recuperated from her pains and wounds. The pagans, as always, ascribed her miracles to magic and her power of recovery to the mercy of their gods. St. Parasceva once said to the prince who tortured her: "It is not your gods, O prince, who healed me but my Christ the True God." Finally Prince Tarasius beheaded her. Thus this saint gloriously ended her fruitful life. Her relics were later translated to Constantinople. She suffered honorably for Christ in the second century.

Our Venerable Father Moses the Carpathian of the Monastery of the Caves.

He was at the court of the young Russian Prince Boris. When the godless Svyatopolk murdered Boris, Moses escaped and fled to Kiev. A little later he was taken to Poland as a slave by the Polish King Boleslav and there was sold for a thousand gold coins to a young and depraved widow, the wife of one of Boleslav's commanders who was slain. This wicked woman tempted Moses to commit adultery but Moses would not be tempted for he vowed to live chastely before the Lord. She then suggested marriage to him but he rejected that also. Moses secretly received the monastic tonsure from an Athonite monk and he appeared before the lady in the monastic habit. She bound him, ordered that he be flogged and to have his private organ severed. This unsuccessful seduction by this shameful woman lasted for five years - five years of pain and torture! However, King Boleslav was slain unexpectedly in an uprising during which this woman was also killed. Then Moses was free to go to Kiev where, at the monastery of St. Anthony, he devoted his life to prayer and silence. Completely conquering the shameful vice in himself, Moses assisted many to also be saved from it. His holy relics helped many (St. John, the much suffering July 8). After ten years of silence in the Monastery of the Caves, St. Moses found rest on July 26, 1043 A.D. and took up habitation in the eternal virginal Kingdom of Christ.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dormition of St. Ann, Mother of the Mother of God. Memory of the Holy Women Olympias and Euphraxia. Commemoration of the Fifth Ecumenical Council. (July 25)

Dormition of St. Ann, Mother of the Mother of God. 

Today is the commemoration of the falling asleep of St. Anna but her principal feast is celebrated on September 9, on which date is written her service and her hagiography. Anna was from the tribe of Levi and the daughter of Matthan, the priest. After a long and God-pleasing life she died in extreme old age.

Memory of the Holy Women Olympias and Euphraxia. 


Olympias was born in Constantinople of very distinguished parents. Her father, Anysius Secundus, was a senator and her mother was the daughter of the famous nobleman Eulavius who is mentioned in the hagiography of St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker. When Olympias reached maturity, she was betrothed to a nobleman who died before the marriage took place. The emperor and the other relatives pressured Olympias to marry another, but in vain. However, she refused them this and devoted herself to a god-pleasing life, giving from her inherited estate great offerings to the churches and alms to the needy. She served as a deaconess in the Church, at first during the time of Patriarch Nectarius and, after his death, during the time of St. John Chrysostom. When Chrysostom was exiled, he counseled Olympias to remain in the church and to serve as before regardless who the patriarch after him would be. Immediately after the banishment of this great saint, someone started a fire in the Great Church [The Church of the Divine Wisdom Hagia Sophia] and the fire consumed many prominent buildings in the capital. The enemies of Chrysostom accused this holy woman of initiating this malicious fire. Olympias was banished from Constantinople to Nicomedia where she died in the year 410 A.D., requesting in her testament that her body be placed in a box and cast into the sea and wherever the water tosses it up, there she is to be buried. The coffin was cast ashore in the city of Vrochthoi, where there existed a church dedicated to the Apostle Thomas. From her relics, great healing miracles appeared throughout the centuries. The exiled Chrysostom wrote beautiful letters to the exiled Olympias which, even today, serve as a great comfort to all those who suffer for the sake of God's justice. Among other things, Chrysostom writes to Olympias: "Now I am very elated not only because you were relieved from infirmity, but more so, that you are nobly enduring all difficulties referring to them as trivialities which is characteristic of a soul full of power and abounding in the rich fruits of courage. For you not only courageously are enduring misfortune rather you do not even notice it when it comes and without exertion, without labor and disturbance not even talking about it to others but rejoicing and triumphing over it. That serves as the greatest wisdom" (Letter VI).

Eupraxia was the daughter of Antigonus, a nobleman of Constantinople and a relative of Emperor Theodosius the Great. Her mother, a young widow, with Eupraxia settled in Egypt and visited the monasteries there distributing alms and praying to God. By her fervent desire, the seven-year-old Eupraxia was tonsured a nun. The older she got the more she imposed upon herself the heavy burden of mortification. At one time, she fasted for forty days. She reposed in 413 A.D, in her thirtieth year. She possessed the great grace of God and healed the most difficult illnesses.

Commemoration of the Fifth Ecumenical Council.

This Council was convened in Constantinople during the reign of Emperor Justinian the Great in the year 553 A.D. All the heresies of the Monophysites were condemned at this Council as well as the heretical writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus and Origen (his teaching against the resurrection of the dead).

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Holy Great Martyr Christine. The Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb, baptized Roman and David. (July 24)

The Holy Great Martyr Christine. 

Christina was born in the city of Tyre the daughter of Urban, the imperial deputy, an idol worshipper. The reason her parents gave her the name of Christina is unknown but it concealed the mystery of her future following of Christ. Until age eleven, she knew nothing of Christ. When she reached the age of eleven her father, in order to conceal her from the world because of her extraordinary beauty until she fully matured, designated the highest floor of a tall tower for her to live. All the comforts of life were afforded her; slaves were given to serve her, gold and silver idols were placed in her quarters so that she may offer daily sacrifices to them. However, in this idolatrous environment, it was difficult for the soul of young Christina. Looking out through the window each day at the sun and all the beauty of the world then, again at night, at the miraculous cluster of shining stars, Christina, through her own natural understanding came to the firm belief in the One Living God. The merciful God, seeing her longing for the truth, sent His angel who traced the sign of the cross upon Christina and called her the bride of Christ and completely instructed her in godly understanding. Christina then smashed all the idols in her quarters and provoked wild fury in her father. Her father brought her to trial and handed her over to be tortured and, after that, threw her into the dungeon with the intention to behead her the next day. That night Urban, completely healthy, parted from his soul and went to the grave before his daughter. After that two imperial deputies, Dion and Julian, continued to torture this holy virgin. Christina's courageous endurance and her miracles, which she worked by the power of God, converted many pagans of Tyre to Christianity. During the torturing of Christina, Dion suddenly fell dead in the midst of the people. Dion's successor, Julian, severed the breasts and tongue of Christina. The martyr took her tongue and threw it into Julian's face and he was instantly blinded. Finally her suffering for Christ ended by death beneath the sharp sword and her life continues in the immortal kingdom of the angels. Christina honorably suffered in the third century.

The Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb, baptized Roman and David.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Holy Martyrs Trophimus and Theophilus and Their Companions. The Holy Martyrs Appolinaris and Vitalis, Bishops of Ravenna. Repose of Our Holy Father Basil (Hopko), Bishop of Midila. Our Holy Father Sharbel (Joseph) Makhluf (July 23)

The Holy Martyrs Trophimus and Theophilus and Their Companions. 

They all suffered in Lycia during the reign of Emperor Dioceletian. Because they would not, in any way, deny Christ nor offer sacrifices to the idols, they were subjected to various tortures: they were beaten with stones; they were scrapped with sharp irons; their knees were broken; and finally, so tortured, they were more dead than alive and were thrown into the fire. The power of God preserved them and they remained unharmed. They were then taken out and beheaded. The Lord glorified them both on earth and in His heavenly kingdom. They suffered honorably in Lycia in the year 308 A.D.

The Holy Martyrs Appolinaris and Vitalis, Bishops of Ravenna. 

Apollinarius was a disciple of the Apostle Peter and was born in the city of Antioch. St. Peter took Apollinarius with him from Antioch to Rome and, in Rome, consecrated him as the bishop of Ravenna. Arriving in Ravenna, Apollinarius entered the home of the soldier Ireneaus, whose son he healed of blindness and through that converted his entire household to the Faith of Christ. He also cured the wife of the military commander of Ravenna of a terrible malady and baptized his entire household. At the wish of the military commander, Apollinarius remained in his home. There they constructed a small domestic chapel. Apollinarius remained there for twelve years preaching the Good News and baptizing unbelievers. On many occasions he was cruelly tortured by the pagan elders but the all-powerful right hand of the Lord sustained and saved him. Finally, he was sentenced to exile in Illyria in the Balkans. The boat upon which Apollinarius traveled was shipwrecked in a storm and sunk and of all the passengers aboard only St. Apollinarius, along with two soldiers and three of his clerics, was saved. Being miraculously saved, the soldiers believed in the power of Apollinarius' God and were baptized. Apollinarius then went to preach the Holy Gospel throughout all the Balkans descending as far as the Danube river. After this, he set out for Thrace where, under great pressure, he also spread the Gospel of the Lord. After three years of labor in the Balkans he was again banished to Italy. He arrived in Ravenna where all the faithful exceedingly rejoiced at his return. Hearing about this, the pagan elder wrote to Emperor Vespasian about Apollinarius as being a magician and asked him whether they should give him over to death as an enemy of their gods. The emperor replied that they should not kill him but only ask him to offer sacrifice to the gods or to banish him from the city for, says the emperor: "It is not dignified to seek revenge against anyone for the gods, for they themselves can avenge against their own enemies if they are angered". In spite of this order from the emperor the pagans attacked Apollinarius and pierced him with knives. This servant of God died of severe wounds and was received into the Kingdom of God. The relics of St. Apollinarius repose in the church dedicated to him in Ravenna, Italy.

Our Holy Father Sharbel (Joseph) Makhluf.

St. Sharbel was a Lebanese monk, born in a small mountain village and ordained in 1858. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he spent the last twenty-three years of his life as a hermit. Despite temptations to wealth and comfort, Saint Sharbel taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the way he lived his life. This optional memorial is new to the USA liturgical calendar and was inscribed on July 24, 2004.

Repose of Our Holy Father Basil (Hopko), Bishop of Midila. 

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

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mary Magdalene, Equal to the Apostles. Translation of the Relics of the Holy Bishop-Martyr Phocas (July 22)

The Holy Myrrh-bearer Mary Magdalene, Equal to the Apostles. 

Mary Magdalene was one of the myrrh-bearing women and "equal to the apostles". She was born in the town of Magdala along the shore of Lake Gennesaret and was from the tribe of Issachar. She was tormented by seven evil spirits from which the Lord Jesus freed her and made her whole. She was a faithful follower and servant of the Lord during His earthly life. Mary Magdalene stood beneath the Cross on Golgotha and grieved bitterly and mourned with the All-Holy Birth-giver of God. After the death of the Lord she visited His sepulchre three times. When the Lord resurrected she saw Him on two occasions: once alone and the other time with the other myrrh-bearing women. She traveled to Rome and appeared before Tiberias Caesar and presenting him with a red colored egg, greeted him with the words: "Christ is Risen!" At the same time, she accused Pilate before Caesar for his unjust condemnation of the Lord Jesus. Caesar accepted her accusation and transferred Pilate from Jerusalem to Gaul where, this unjust judge, in disfavor with the emperor, died of a dread disease. After that, Mary Magdalene returned from Rome to Ephesus to St. John the Theologian whom she assisted in the work of preaching the Gospel. With great love toward the resurrected Lord, and with great zeal, she proclaimed the Holy Gospel to the world as a true apostle of Christ. She died peacefully in Ephesus and, according to tradition, was buried in the same cave in which seven youths were miraculously put to sleep for hundreds of years and, after that, were brought to life and then died (August 4). The relics of St. Mary Magdalene were later transferred to Constantinople. There is a Russian Orthodox convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene near the Garden of Gethsemane.

Translation of the Relics of the Holy Bishop-Martyr Phocas.

On this day we commemorate the translation of the relics of St. Phocas from Pontus to Constantinople about the year 404 A.D. The primary feast of this saint is celebrated on September 22 and on that day a brief hagiography of his life and his sufferings is recorded. Today, one miracle of this saint is commemorated. The Arabs captured a man named Pontinus. The Arabs shackled him, bound his hands to his back and left him to die. Lying on his stomach on the ground, and not being able to move, Pontinus cried out: "O Holy Martyr Phocas have mercy on me and save me!" Saying this he fell asleep and, in a dream, saw Saint Phocas approaching him, touched him by the hand and said: "The Lord Jesus Christ forgives you!" When the man awoke, he found himself loosed from all bonds and free. He arose and departed for his home and took St. Phocas as the patron saint of his household.

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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our Venerable Father Simeon, Fool for Christ, and His Fellow Ascetic John. The Holy Prophet Ezekiel (July 21)

Our Venerable Father Simeon, Fool for Christ, and His Fellow Ascetic John. 

These two young men left their homes and relatives: Simeon, his aged mother and John, his young wife. Both received the monastic tonsure at the hands of the Abbot Nicon in the Monastery of St. Gerasimus and withdrew into the wilderness where they lived an austere life of asceticism for many years. Through rigorous asceticism, they mortified their bodies so much that they resembled two withered trees. One day Simeon said to John that, according to God's command, he must depart from the wilderness and go among the people and there serve God. John gave him this counsel: "Guard our heart against all that you will see in the world. Whatever you touch with your hand, do not allow it to touch your heart. Whatever you eat with your mouth, let not your heart be satisfied. When your feet begin to walk, let there be peace within you. And whatever you do outwardly, let not your mind remain disturbed. Pray to God for me, that He does not separate us, one from the other, in the future life." St. Simeon accepted the counsel of his companion, kissed him and, after that, departed the wilderness and went among the people as a "fool for Christ," to teach men and to convert them to the Faith of Christ. He pretended insanity before men but his heart was the temple of the Holy Spirit and, in that temple, was unceasing prayer. He possessed abundant grace from God and was able to discern all the inner secrets of men, both near and far, healing men from evil spirits and other ailments. Dancing in the streets as one insane, he approached men and whispered their sins in their ears and called them to repentance. He even appeared to sinners in dreams, rebuked them for their sins and called them to repentance. Thus it was with Bali, a pagan actor, who openly mocked Christian shrines and to whom St. Simeon appeared in a dream, rebuked and warned him so that he repented and became a model Christian. A young fornicator went out of his mind because of sexual promiscuity. Seeing this insane young man, St. Simeon struck him across the face with his hand and said: "Do not commit fornication." At that moment the unclean demon departed from the young man and he became well.

The Holy Prophet Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was the son of a priest from the town of Sarir. He was taken to Babylon into captivity with King Jeoiachim along with many other Israelites. Living in captivity, Ezekiel prophesied for twenty-seven years. He was a contemporary of the Prophet Jeremiah. While Jeremiah taught and prophesied in Jerusalem, so Ezekiel taught and prophesied in Babylon. The prophecies of Jeremiah were known in Babylon and the prophecies of Ezekiel were known in Jerusalem. Both of these holy men agreed in the prophecies of each other. Both were mistreated and tortured by the unbelieving Jewish people. St. Ezekiel had frightening and unimaginable visions. By the river Chebar, Ezekiel saw the heavens open, "a great cloud and a fire infolding itself and a brightness was about it" (Ezekiel 1:4) and four wild creatures like molten copper [burnished brass]. One creature had the face of a man, the second the face of a lion, the third the face of a calf [ox], the fourth the face of an eagle [Ezekiel 1:10]. The face of the man signifies the Lord Incarnate as a man, the face of the lion, His divinity, the face of the calf, His sacrifice and the face of an eagle, His resurrection and ascension. At another time he was shown the vision of the resurrection of the dead. The prophet saw a valley full of dry dead bones and when the Spirit of God descended upon them, they came to life and rose to their feet [Ezekiel 37:1-10]. He also saw the most terrible destruction of Jerusalem when the wrath of God mowed down all, except those who were earlier marked with the Greek symbol called Tau [Ezekiel 9: 1-7]. This mark is like our letter T which is also the sign also of the Cross. The evil of the Jews did not even spare this holy man. Infuriated at him because he rebuked them, the Jews tied him to the tails of horses and ripped him in two. He was buried in the same sepulchre with Shem, the Son of Noah.

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

Friday, July 20, 2012



Saint Elijah, one who saw God, a miracle-worker and a zealot for faith in God, was born of the tribe of Aaron from the town Tishba for which he was called the Tishbite. When St. Elijah was born, his father Savah saw an angel of God hovering around the child, wrapping the child in fire and giving him a flame to eat. That was a foreshadowing of Elijah's fiery character and his God-given fiery power. He spent his entire youth in godly thoughts and prayers withdrawing frequently into the wilderness to contemplate and to pray in solitude. At that time the Jewish kingdom was divided into two unequal parts: the kingdom of Judah consisting of only two tribes, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin with their capital in Jerusalem and the kingdom of Israel consisting of the remaining ten tribes with their capital in Samaria. The first kingdom was governed by the descendants of Solomon and the second kingdom was governed by the descendants of Jeroboam, the servants of Solomon. The greatest confrontation that the prophet Elijah had was with the Israelite King Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. For they, Ahab and Jezebel, worshipped idols and were turning the people away from serving the One and Living God. Before this, however, Jezebel, a Syrian, persuaded her husband to erect a temple to the Syrian god Baal and ordered many priests to the service of this false god. Through great miracles Elijah displayed the power and authority of God: he closed up the heavens, so that there was not any rain for three years and six months; he lowered a fire from heaven and burned the sacrifice to his God which the pagan priests of Baal were unable to do; he brought down rain from heaven by his prayer; miraculously multiplied flour and oil in the home of the widow in Zerepath, and resurrected her son; he prophesied to Ahab that the dogs will lick up his blood and to Jezebel that the dogs will consume her flesh, all of which happened as well as many other miracles did he perform and prophesy. On Mount Horeb, he spoke with God and heard the voice of God in the calm of a gentle breeze. Before his death he took Elisha and designated him as his successor in the prophetic calling; by his mantle he divided the waters of the Jordan river; finally he was taken up into the heavens in a fiery chariot by flaming horses. He appeared on Mount Tabor to our Lord Jesus Christ together with Moses. Before the end of the world St. Elijah will appear again to put an end to the power of the anti-Christ (Revelation, Chapter 11).

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Holy Hyacinth. The Holy Emilian & The Venerable Martyr Tarsykia Matskiv (July 18)

The Holy Martyr Hyacinth of Amastris. 

Today we commemorate the holy martyr Hyacinth of Amastris in Paphlagonia, who died in prison after much suffering, under the prefect Castritus. (4th Century)

The Holy Martyr Emilian 

During the reign of Julian the Apostate, in the Thracian town of Dorostolon, lived a young man, Emilian, a servant of the mayor of the town. When the apostate emperor began to destroy Christianity throughout the realm of the Roman Empire by fire and sword and, when the emperor's representative came to Dorostolon to kill the Christians, he did not find a single one. Rejoicing at this, he sponsored a great banquet for the citizens of Dorostolon and ordered sacrifices to be offered to the idols and rejoicing ensued throughout the entire town, day and night. That night, St. Emilian entered the pagan temples, markets and the streets of the town and smashed all of the idols with a sledgehammer. The next day there was terror in the city. Everyone sought the destroyer of their gods. A peasant was passing by the temple that morning and was seized. Emilian, seeing that an innocent man would suffer, said to himself: "If I conceal my works, what benefit would I receive from that which I did? Before God, will I not be found as the murderer of this innocent man?" Therefore, he appeared before the emperor's legate and admitted all. The enraged legate asked Emilian, who had prompted you to do this? The martyr of Christ replied: "God and my soul ordered me to destroy those lifeless pillars which you call gods." The judge then ordered that Emilian be flogged and, after flogging and other tortures, ordered him to be buried alive. Thus ended the earthly life of St. Emilian and he was received into the heavenly life on July 18, 362 A.D.

The Passing of the Venerable Martyr Tarsykia Matskiv (1944). 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Martyr Euphemia & The Passing of Olga. (July 11)

The Holy Martyr the Illustrious Euphemia. 

Saint Euphemia is commemorated on September 16, the day on which she was martyred. On this day, however, is commemorated the miracle surrounding her honorable relics, which was manifested at the time of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon. This Council was convened during the reign of Emperor Marcian and the Empress Pulcheria in the year 451 A.D., after the death of Emperor Theodosius the Younger. The reason for summoning this Council was the heresy of Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria and Eutyches, an Archimandrite from Constantinople, who spread the false teaching that in Christ the Lord there were not two natures, divine and human, but only one, a divine nature. At this Council Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, played the most prominent roles. Because a conclusion could not be reached through debates and testimonies from either side, Patriarch Anatolius motioned that the Orthodox and the heretics write down their confessions of faith and then place them in the sarcophagus where the relics of St. Euphemia reposed. They all agreed to this. Therefore, the two confessions of faith were written and placed on the bosom of the great female martyr. The sarcophagus was closed, sealed with the emperor's seal and military guards were appointed. All of them spent three days in prayer and fasting. When they opened the sarcophagus on the fourth day, they saw the Orthodox confession of faith in the right hand of the saint and the heretical confession of faith under her feet. Thus the dispute, through the power of God, was decided in favor of Orthodoxy. During the reign of Emperor Heraclius, the relics of St. Euphemia were translated from Chalcedon to Constantinople to the church dedicated to her near the Hippodrome. The iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian ordered that these relics be tossed into the sea but, in a miraculous manner, the sarcophagus was translated to the island of Lemnos and placed in the church of the great female martyr Glyceria. Then, during the reign of the Empress Irene, the sarcophagus with the relics of St. Euphemia was again returned to Constantinople to its former place. Blood flowed from these relics from time to time which helped those who were ill or in misery.

The Passing of Olga, Princess of Kiev, baptized Helen

Helena, was a great Russian princess who, before her baptism, was called Olga. Olga was the wife of Prince Igor. Patriarch Polyeuctus baptized her in Constantinople. She was very zealous for the Orthodox Faith in Russia. She entered into eternal rest in the year 969 A.D.

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Holy 45, Father Anthony & The three Maronite Franciscan brothers. (July 10)

The Holy 45 Martyrs in Nicopolis in Armenia. 

During the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius, who ruled the eastern half of the Byzantine Empire, there was a great persecution of Christians. In Armenian Nicopolis, St. Leontius, with several of his friends, appeared before Lysius, the representative of Emperor Licinius and declared that they were Christians. "And where is your Christ?" Lysius asked. "Was He not crucified and did He not die?" To that St. Leontius replied: "Since you know that our Christ died, know also that He resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven." After a lengthy discussion about the Faith, Lysius scourged them and threw them into prison and gave them neither food nor drink. Vlassina, a benevolent Christian woman brought them water and handed it to them through the window of the prison. An angel of God appeared to comfort and encourage them. When the time came for sentencing, two jailers and many others appeared before Lysius as converted Christians, totaling forty-five in number. The judge sentenced all of them to death but in this manner: first, that their arms and feet be severed with an axe and then they be thrown into the fire. This horrible two-fold punishment was carried out and the souls of the holy martyrs took flight to their Lord entering into eternal life. They honorably suffered and inherited the Kingdom in the year 319 A.D.

Our Venerable Father Anthony of the Kiev Lavra. 

Anthony was the founder and father of monasticism in Russia. He was born in the small town of Chernigov and, at an early age, left his home and went to Athos, the Holy Mountain, where he was tonsured a monk and lived a life of asceticism in the Monastery Esfigmenou. In obedience to a heavenly appearance, the abbot sent Anthony to Russia to establish monasticism. Anthony chose a cave near Kiev. When those who were desirous of a monastic life gathered around him, he then appointed Theodosius as abbot and he remained in the cave as a Silentary. By the blessing of God, the monastery increased and became the parent-monastery of Russian monasticism. Anthony endured much evil both from men and demons but he conquered all by his humbleness. He possessed the great gift of discerning thoughts and the future and healed the sick. He presented himself to the Lord in the year 1073 A.D. at the age of ninety, leaving his spiritual nursery to bring beneficial fruits to the Orthodox people of Russia throughout the ages.

The three Maronite Franciscan brothers, Francis, Abd-el-Mooti and Raphael Massabki, and eight others with them, killed in Damascus in 1860.

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

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Holy Martyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina (July 9)

The Holy Martyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina

This saint was born in Antioch during the time when the Lord Jesus Christ walked as a man among men on earth. Hearing about the miracles of Christ, the parents of Pancratius desired to see the Lord, the miracle-worker. Together with Pancratius, they traveled to Jerusalem where they saw Jesus, heard His words and witnessed His miracles. It was in Jerusalem that Pancratius became acquainted with the Apostle Peter. After the Ascension of the Lord, both parents and Pancratius were baptized in Antioch. Pancratius withdrew to a cave in Pontus where the Apostle Peter found him and in agreement with the Apostle Paul he was appointed as the Bishop of Taormina in Sicily. In Taormina, St. Pancratius worked many miracles, destroyed the idols, baptized the unbaptized, strengthened the baptized and governed well the Church of God. A heathen commander by the name of Aquilinus heard that the entire city of Taormina became Christian and set out with an entire army against this city in order to destroy it. St. Pancratius encouraged the faithful not to be afraid and he, alone, with the clergy went outside the city carrying in his hands the invincible weapon, the Honorable Cross. When the army approached the city, darkness befell them and the soldiers were overcome with great fear. A great confusion then began among them and the attackers turned against one another and pierced and slaughtered each other with their swords. Thus Pancratius, the chosen one of God, saved the city and his flock by the power of his prayer before the Lord. In the end, Pancratius was stoned to death by envious and evil heathens and found rest in the Lord. His holy relics repose in Rome.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Holy Great Martyr Procopius (July 8)

The Holy Great Martyr Procopius

Procopius was born in Jerusalem of a father who was a Christian and a mother who was a pagan. At first, his name was Neanias. Following the death of his father, the mother raised her son completely in the spirit of Roman idolatry. When Neanias matured, Emperor Diocletian saw him and, at once, took a liking to him and brought him to his palace for military service. When this nefarious emperor began to persecute Christians, he ordered Neanias to go to Alexandria with a garrison of soldiers and there to exterminate the Christians. But, on the road, something happened to Neanias similar to that which happened to Saul [Paul]. In the third hour of the night there was a strong earthquake and, at that moment, the Lord appeared to him and a voice was heard: "Neanias, where are you going and against whom are you rising up?" In great fear, Neanias asked: "Who are You Lord? I am unable to recognize You." At that moment, a glowing cross as if of crystal appeared in the air and from the cross there came a voice saying: "I am Jesus, the crucified Son of God." And further, the Lord said to him: "By this sign that you saw, conquer your enemies and My peace will be with you." That experience completely turned him around and changed the life of Commander Neanias. He issued an order to make the same kind of cross which he saw and instead of going against the Christians he, with his soldiers, turned against the Agarians who were attacking Jerusalem. He entered Jerusalem as a victor and declared to his mother that he is a Christian. Being brought before the court, Neanias removed his commander's belt and sword and tossed them before the judge thereby showing that he is only a soldier of Christ the King. After great tortures he was cast into prison where the Lord Christ, again, appeared to him, baptized him and gave him the name Procopius. One day twelve women appeared before his prison window and said to him: "We too are the servants of Christ." Accused of this they were thrown into the same prison where St. Procopius taught them the Faith of Christ and particularly about how they will receive the martyr's wreath. For that reason in the marriage ritual of the betrothed, St. Procopius is mentioned along with the God-crowned Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena. After this, those twelve women were brutally tortured. Witnessing their suffering and bravery, the mother of Procopius also believed in Christ and all thirteen were slain. When St. Procopius was led to the scaffold, he raised his hands toward the east and prayed to God for all the poor and misfortunate, orphans and widows and especially for the Holy Church that it may grow and spread and that Orthodoxy shine to the end of time. And to Procopius there was a reply from heaven that his prayers were heard after which he joyfully laid his head under the sword and went to his Lord in eternal joy. St. Procopius honorably suffered in Caesarea in Palestine and was crowned with the glorious wreath of immortality on July 8, 303 A.D.

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