FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Hilarion the Great
Our Righteous Father Christodoulus, the Wonderworker of Patmos
Martyrs Theodote and Socrates
John the New Martyr of Peleponnesos
Όσιος Ιλαρίων ο Μέγας
Όσιος Φιλόθεος ο Αγιορείτης
Αγία Θεοδότη και ο Άγιος Σωκράτης ο Πρεσβύτερος
Άγιοι Γάιος, Δάσιος και Ζωτικός
Άγιοι Ανδρέας, Στέφανος, Παύλος και Πέτρος
Άγιος Ευκράτης ο Οσιομάρτυρας
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-11
BRETHREN, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 9:6-11
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ σπείρων φειδομένως, φειδομένως καὶ θερίσει· καὶ ὁ σπείρων ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις, ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις καὶ θερίσει. Ἕκαστος καθὼς προαιρεῖται τῇ καρδίᾳ· μὴ ἐκ λύπης ἢ ἐξ ἀνάγκης· ἱλαρὸν γὰρ δότην ἀγαπᾷ ὁ θεός. Δυνατὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς πᾶσαν χάριν περισσεῦσαι εἰς ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἐν παντὶ πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν· καθὼς γέγραπται, Ἐσκόρπισεν, ἔδωκεν τοῖς πένησιν· ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. Ὁ δὲ ἐπιχορηγῶν σπέρμα τῷ σπείροντι, καὶ ἄρτον εἰς βρῶσιν χορηγήσαι, καὶ πληθύναι τὸν σπόρον ὑμῶν, καὶ αὐξήσαι τὰ γενήματα τῆς δικαιοσύνης ὑμῶν· ἐν παντὶ πλουτιζόμενοι εἰς πᾶσαν ἁπλότητα, ἥτις κατεργάζεται διʼ ἡμῶν εὐχαριστίαν τῷ θεῷ.
The Reading is from Luke 10:1-15
At that time, the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
'Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 10.1-15
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἀνέδειξεν ὁ Κύριος καὶ ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα, καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι. ἔλεγεν οὖν πρὸς αὐτούς· ὁ μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς, οἱ δὲ ἐργάται ὀλίγοι· δεήθητε οὖν τοῦ κυρίου τοῦ θερισμοῦ ὅπως ἐκβάλῃ ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν θερισμὸν αὐτοῦ. ὑπάγετε· ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς ἄρνας ἐν μέσῳ λύκων. μὴ βαστάζετε βαλλάντιον, μὴ πήραν, μηδὲ ὑποδήματα, καὶ μηδένα κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἀσπάσησθε. εἰς ἣν δ᾿ ἂν οἰκίαν εἰσέρχησθε, πρῶτον λέγετε· εἰρήνη τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ. καὶ ἐὰν ᾖ ἐκεῖ υἱὸς εἰρήνης, ἐπαναπαύσεται ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν· εἰ δὲ μήγε, ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς ἐπανακάμψει. ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ τῇ οἰκίᾳ μένετε ἐσθίοντες καὶ πίνοντες τὰ παρ᾿ αὐτῶν· ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ ἐστι· μὴ μεταβαίνετε ἐξ οἰκίας εἰς οἰκίαν. καὶ εἰς ἣν ἂν πόλιν εἰσέρχησθε καὶ δέχωνται ὑμᾶς, ἐσθίετε τὰ παρατιθέμενα ὑμῖν, καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς, καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς· ἤγγικεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ. εἰς ἣν δ᾿ ἂν πόλιν εἰσέρχησθε καὶ μὴ δέχωνται ὑμᾶς, ἐξελθόντες εἰς τὰς πλατείας αὐτῆς εἴπατε·καὶ τὸν κονιορτὸν τὸν κολληθέντα ἡμῖν ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως ὑμῶν εἰς τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν ἀπομασσόμεθα ὑμῖν· πλὴν τοῦτο γινώσκετε, ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ. λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι Σοδόμοις ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ. Oὐαί σοι, Χοραζίν, οὐαί σοι, Βηθσαϊδά· ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι ἐγένοντο αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν, πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι μετενόησαν. πλὴν Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ ὑμῖν. καὶ σύ, Καπερναούμ, ἡ ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθεῖσα, ἕως ᾅδου καταβιβασθήσῃ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΑ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἱλαρίωνος τοῦ μεγάλου.
Ἐν δάκρυσι πρὶν καὶ πόνοις σπείρας κάτω,
Ἱλαρίων θέριζε νῦν χαίρων ἄνω.
Ὕστατα Ἱλαρίων κοιμήσατο εἰκάδι πρώτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων, Γαΐου, Δασίου καὶ Ζωτικοῦ.
Εἰς ἁλμυρὸν θανόντες ἄνδρες τρεῖς ὕδωρ,
Γλυκὺν τρυφῆς πίνουσι χειμάρρουν ἄνω.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων νεοφανῶν Μαρτύρων, Ἀνδρέου, Στεφάνου, Παύλου, καὶ Πέτρου.
Τρεῖς ὁ Στέφανος σὺ στεφανίτας ἔχεις,
Τοὺς σοὶ συναθλήσαντας ἐξ ἑνὸς ξίφους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Θεοδότης, καὶ Σωκράτους Πρεσβυτέρου.
Τὴν Θεοδότην, ἐκ ξίφους τετμημένην,
Θεῷ δοτὴν ἔγνωμεν ἁγνὴν θυσίαν.
Ὁ Σωκράτης ἔσπευδεν ὀφθῆναι, Λόγε,
Τετμημένος σοι Σωκράτης στεφοκράτης.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Εὐκράτης ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Αἷμα τραχήλου τοῖς πρὶν ὄμβροις δακρύων,
Κιρνῶν, συνιστᾷς εὔκρατον κρᾶσιν Μάκαρ.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Hilarion the Great - This Saint was born at Tabatha, near Gaza in Palestine, of pagan parents. Sent as a young man to Alexandria to be educated, he learned the Christian Faith and was baptized. While in Egypt he heard the fame of Saint Anthony the Great, and upon meeting that truly great man, the Father of monks, Saint Hilarion determined to devote himself also to the ascetical life. He returned to Gaza, when, he gave himself over to extreme fasting and unceasing prayer. Because of the miracles which he soon began to work, he found himself compelled by his growing renown to leave Gaza, to escape from the throngs of people coming to ask his prayers. In his journeys he visited Egypt, and came again with longing to the place where Saint Anthony had lived; but he was not able to remain in any one place for long, since despite all his attempts to conceal himself, the light of the grace that was in him could not be hid. After passing through Egypt and Libya, and sailing to Sicily, he came at last to Cyprus, where he ended the course of his life at the age of eighty, in the year 372.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ταίς τών δακρύων σου ροαίς, τής ερήμου τό άγονον εγεώργησας, καί τοίς εκ βάθους στεναγμοίς, εις εκατόν τούς πόνους εκαρποφόρησας, καί γέγονας φωστήρ, τή οικουμένη λάμπων τοίς θαύμασι, Ιλαρίων Πατήρ ημών, Όσιε, Πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
With the streams of thy tears, thou didst cultivate the barrenness of the desert; and by thy sighings from the depths,thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labours; and thou becamest a luminary, shining with miracles upon the world, O Hilarion our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Ως φωστήρα άδυτον, τού νοητού σε Ηλίου, συvελθόvτες σήμεροv, ανευφημούμεν εν ύμvοις. Έλαμψας τοίς εν τώ σκότει τής αγνωσίας, άπαντας άναβιβάζων πρός θείοv ύψος, Ιλαρίων τούς βοώντας. Χαίροις ώ Πάτερ, τών Ασκητώv η κρηπίς.
As we gather on this day, we sing thy praise and acclaim thee as a never-setting light of the bright spiritual Daystar. Those whom ignorance benighted, thou didst illumine with thy beams; and thou dost raise unto the divine heights, O Hilarion, our Father, all them that cry out: Height of ascetics, Rejoice!
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἱλαρίων ὁ Μέγας
Γεννήθηκε τὸ 333 μ.Χ., στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Μ. Κωνσταντίνου. Ἡ κωμόπολη στὴν ὁποία ἀνατράφηκε ὀνομαζόταν Θαβαθᾶ, πέντε μίλια μακριὰ ἀπὸ τὴν Γάζα. Οἱ γονεῖς του ἦταν πλούσιοι εἰδωλολάτρες. Στὴν ἐπιθυμία τους νὰ σπουδάσουν ὅσο γίνεται καλύτερα τὸ γιό τους, ἔστειλαν αὐτὸν στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Ἐκεῖ, ὁ Ἱλαρίων γνώρισε τὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη, τὴν ἀγάπησε καὶ βαπτίσθηκε χριστιανός. Ἔγινε μιμητὴς του Μ. Ἀντωνίου καὶ ἔμεινε ἀρκετὸ καιρὸ κοντά του. Ὅταν πέθαναν οἱ γονεῖς του, γύρισε στὴν πατρίδα του, διαμοίρασε στοὺς φτωχοὺς ὅλην του τὴν κληρονομιὰ καὶ πῆγε στὴν ἔρημο. Ἐκεῖ κάποτε συνάντησε λῃστές, μὲ τοὺς ὁποίους εἶχε τὸν ἑξῆς διδακτικὸ διάλογο: «Ἐὰν σὲ συναντοῦσαν κλέφτες, τὸν ῥώτησαν, τί θὰ ἔκανες;» Ἐκεῖνος ἀπάντησε: «Τί ἔχει νὰ φοβηθεῖ ὁ γυμνός;». Ἔπειτα τοῦ εἶπαν: «Ἀλλ᾿ ἂν σὲ σκότωναν;» ὁ Ἱλαρίων ἀπάντησε: «Τόσο τὸ καλύτερο. Ὁ σωματικὸς θάνατος κλείνει τὴν νύκτα τῆς παρούσας ζωῆς καὶ εἰσάγει στὴν ἀνατολὴ τῆς μέλλουσας ζωῆς». Οἱ ἀπαντήσεις τοῦ Ἱλαρίωνα εἶχαν σὰν ἀποτέλεσμα τὴ μετάνοια τῶν λῃστῶν. Ὁ Ἱλαρίων ἔλαβε ἀπὸ τὸ Θεὸ καὶ τὸ χάρισμα νὰ κάνει θαύματα. Ἀφοῦ περιόδευσε σὲ πολλοὺς τόπους καὶ χῶρες, παρέδωσε στὸ Θεὸ τὴν ψυχή του, ὀγδόντα χρονῶν.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Γάιος, Δάσιος καὶ Ζωτικός
Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ βρίσκονταν στὴ Νικομήδεια καὶ ἀπὸ θεῖο ζῆλο ἐμπνεόμενοι, πῆγαν καὶ γκρέμισαν τὰ εἴδωλα τῶν Ἑλλήνων μέσα στοὺς ναούς. Ἔπειτα φανερώθηκαν μόνοι τους καὶ ὑπέστησαν φοβερὰ βασανιστήρια. Τοὺς κρέμασαν ἐπάνω σὲ ξύλα καὶ ἔτριψαν τὶς σάρκες τους μὲ πανιὰ ὑφασμένα ἀπὸ τρίχες κατσίκας. Ἔπειτα, ἀφοῦ ἔδεσαν πέτρες στὸ λαιμό τους, τοὺς ἔριξαν στὴ θάλασσα καὶ ἔτσι ὅλοι ἔλαβαν μαρτυρικὸ τέλος.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Φιλόθεος ποὺ ἀσκήτευσε στὸν Ἄθω
Γεννήθηκε κατὰ τὸν 14ο αἰῶνα στὴ Χρυσούπολη τῆς Μακεδονίας (κοντὰ στὴν Καβάλα), οἱ δὲ γονεῖς του ἦταν ἀπὸ κάποια ἐπαρχία τῆς Μ. Ἀσίας καὶ συγκεκριμένα ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη Ἐλάτεια. Γιὰ τὸ φόβο τῶν Ἀγαρηνῶν ἦλθαν στὴν Χρυσούπολη, ὅπου πέθανε ὁ πατέρας, ἀφοῦ ἔκανε δυὸ παιδιά. Τὰ παιδιὰ αὐτὰ τὰ ἅρπαξαν οἱ Τοῦρκοι καὶ ὁ πόνος τῆς μάνας τους Εὐδοκίας ἦταν μεγάλος καὶ γιὰ νὰ τὸν ἐλαφρύνει, κλείστηκε σὲ γυναικεῖο μοναστήρι. Κάποτε ὅμως, σὲ μία πανήγυρη ἑνὸς ἀνδρικοῦ μοναστηριοῦ συνάντησε τὰ δυὸ παιδιά της καὶ μὲ μεγάλη συγκίνηση ἄκουσε τὴν ἱστορία τῆς σωτηρίας τῶν παιδιῶν της, ἀπὸ τὰ χείλη τοῦ ἡγουμένου. Ὁ Θεόφιλος ἔτσι ἦταν τὸ πρῶτο του ὄνομα, ἔδειξε μεγάλη προθυμία στὸ μοναστήρι αὐτὸ καὶ ἐκάρη μοναχὸς μὲ τὸ ὄνομα Φιλόθεος. Κατόπιν πῆγε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, ὅπου οἱ ἀσκητικοί του ἀγῶνες ἔγιναν παράδειγμα σὲ πολλοὺς ἀδελφούς. Πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ σὲ ἡλικία 84 χρονῶν, ἀφοῦ μόρφωσε πνευματικὰ στὸν τόπο ἐκεῖνο πολλοὺς μοναχούς.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀνδρέας, Στέφανος, Παῦλος καὶ Πέτρος
Στοὺς Συναξαριστὲς ὀνομάζονται νεοφανεῖς Ἅγιοι καὶ μαρτύρησαν ἐπὶ Κων/νου τοῦ Κοπρωνύμου. Ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἀνδρέας ἦταν μοναχὸς ἀπὸ τὴν Κρήτη καὶ ἀφοῦ ἔλεγξε τὸν Κοπρώνυμο ἀποκεφαλίστηκε καὶ τάφηκε «ἐν τῇ Κρίσει» (17 Ὀκτωβρίου). Οἱ δὲ ὑπόλοιποι τρεῖς, μᾶλλον μοναχοὶ καὶ αὐτοί, ἀφοῦ ὑπερασπίστηκαν μὲ σθένος τοὺς ὀρθόδοξους ἱεροὺς κανόνες, ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν ἀπὸ τὸν Κοπρώνυμο.
Ἡ Ἁγία Θεοδότη καὶ ὁ Ἅγιος Σωκράτης ὁ Πρεσβύτερος
Ἔζησαν τὸν 3ο αἰῶνα μ.Χ., ὅταν βασιλιὰς ἦταν ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Σεβῆρος, καὶ μαρτύρησαν στὴν Ἄγκυρα. Ἡ Θεοδότη, ἀπὸ εὐγενικὴ οἰκογένεια, ἦταν θαῤῥαλέα στὴν πίστη καὶ ὅπου καὶ ἂν βρισκόταν μιλοῦσε γιὰ τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο καὶ προσπαθοῦσε νὰ αὐξάνει τὸν ἀριθμὸ τῶν ἀφοσιωμένων στὴ λατρεία τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὁ πρεσβύτερος Σωκράτης ἦταν ἱερέας ἀπὸ ἐκείνους, ποὺ δὲν λειτουργοῦν μόνο, ἀλλὰ καὶ φωτίζουν καὶ οἰκοδομοῦν, στὴν ἀνάγκη μάλιστα εἶναι ἕτοιμοι νὰ θυσιαστοῦν γιὰ τὴν πίστη καὶ τὸ ποίμνιό τους. Στὴν ἐργασία του αὐτὴ ὁ Σωκράτης εἶχε πολύτιμο βοηθὸ τὴν εὐσεβὴ Θεοδότη, πού, μὲ τὴν διδασκαλία της, προπαρασκεύαζε εἰδωλολάτρισσες γυναῖκες στὴ γνώση τῶν ἀληθειῶν τῆς πίστης, καὶ στὴν ἀποδοχὴ τοῦ ἁγίου βαπτίσματος. Ἔτσι λοιπόν, καταγγέλθηκαν καὶ οἱ δυὸ γιὰ τὶς ἐνέργειές τους αὐτές, συνελήφθησαν καὶ μὲ ἀπειλὲς καὶ μαρτύρια τοὺς ἐξανάγκαζαν νὰ θυσιάσουν στὰ εἴδωλα. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ γυναῖκα καὶ ὁ ἱερέας ἀπέκρουσαν μὲ ἀγανάκτηση τὴν ἀσεβὴ πρόταση καὶ σφράγισαν τὴν ὁμολογία τῆς πίστης τους μὲ τὸ αἷμα τους, ἀφοῦ ὑπέστησαν θάνατο μὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐκράτης (ἢ Εὔκρατος) ὁ Ὁσιομάρτυρας
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους. (Ἴσως νὰ πρόκειται γιὰ τὸν πιὸ πάνω ἅγιο Σωκράτη κατὰ τὴν ἀντιγραφή, ἀπὸ λάθος, νὰ ἔγινε Εὔκρατης).
The Monk Ilarion the Great was born in the year 291 in the Palestinian village of Tabath. He was sent for study to Alexandria, where he became acquainted with Christianity and accepted holy Baptism. Hearing an account of the angelic life of the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January), Ilarion set out to him, in order to study that which is pleasing to God. Ilarion soon returned to his native-land. His parents had already died. Having distributed his familial inheritance to the poor, Ilarion set out into the wilderness surrounding he city of Maium. The monk struggled intensely with impure thoughts, vexations of the mind and the burning of the flesh, defeating them with heavy toil, fasting and fervent prayer. The devil sought to terrorise the saint with phantoms and apparitions. During times of prayer Saint Ilarion heard children crying, women wailing, and the growling of lions and other wild beasts. The monk perceived that it was the demons causing these terrors, in order to drive him away from the wilderness, and therefore he overcame his fear with the help of fervent prayer.
One time robbers fell upon the Monk Ilarion, and he by the power of his words persuaded them to forsake the life of crime.
Soon all Palestine learned about the holy ascetic. The Lord vouchsafed to the Monk Ilarion the power to cast out unclean spirits. With this graced gift he loosed the bounds of many of the afflicted. The sick came for healing, and the monk cured them free of charge, saying, that the grace of God is not for sale. By means of smell the saint learned with which passion this or that man was afflicted. And they came to the Monk Ilarion wanting to save their soul under his guidance. With the blessing of the Monk Ilarion, monasteries began to spring up throughout all of Palestine. Going from one monastery to another, he set in them a strict ascetic manner of life. About seven years before his death (+ 371-372) the Monk Ilarion resettled to Cyprus, where he asceticised in a solitary place, until the Lord summoned him to Himself.
The Monk Philotheos of Athos was a native of Elateia. Fearing the Turks, his parents moved away to Chrysopolis in Macedonia, where soon his father died. The child Philotheos together with his brother, snatched by the Turks and thrown into prison, were delivered in a miraculous manner by the Mother of God Herself. She appeared to the children in the image of their mother and led them to the monastery of the MostHoly Mother of God in the city of Neapolis in Asia Minor. At this monastery the brothers accepted monastic tonsure and progressing through the obediences assigned by the hegumen they attained the position of ecclesiarchs (church key-holders). Meanwhile the mother of Philotheos, Eudocia, through mysterious guidance of Divine Providence, had herself settled into a women's monastery in this selfsame city, and for many years knew absolutely nothing about the fate of her children. During the time of a temple feastday, being together with several other nuns at the men's monastery, Eudocia recognised her sons. To her question as to how they chanced to be there, they answered: "Thou thyself best dost know, for did not thou, in freeing us from the Turks, lead us hither?" And thus Eudocia became convinced of the graced intercession of the Mother of God, in prayers to Whom she alone had found consolation. At this joyous encounter of the mother and children gathered round all the brethren, and having learned about the miraculous event, all glorified the Lord. Upon the repose of his mother, the Monk Philotheos set off to the Holy Mountain, where at first he entered in with the brethren of the Dionysiatikos monastery, and then withdrew into complete solitude. Devoting himself to deeds of prayer, the Monk Philotheos attained high spiritual perfection and was vouchsafed the gift of perspicacity. At the age of eighty-four the monk peacefully expired to the Lord, having bid his students not to bury his body, but rather to cast it dishonourably into the forest for devouring by beasts and birds. His students fulfilled the wish of their monastic elder, but the Lord glorified he relics of the saint with a wondrous radiance, after which his relics were returned to the monastery.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Venerable Hilarion the Great
Like a rose growing among thorns, this great saint was born of pagan parents in the village of Tabatha near Gaza in Palestine. His parents sent him to study in Alexandria, where the gifted youngster quickly assimilated both secular learning and spiritual wisdom. Coming to know the Lord Christ, he was baptized, and desired to dedicate himself completely to the service of the Lord. With this desire in his heart, Hilarion visited St. Anthony in the desert and became his disciple. Then he returned to his homeland and lived a life of asceticism near Maiuma, at Gaza. Demons tried to terrify him in various ways, but by prayer to God and the sign of the Cross he always overcame them and drove them away. Many lovers of the spiritual life gathered around him. Hilarion became for Palestine what St. Anthony was for Egypt. A divine teacher, a strict ascetic and a wonderful miracle-worker, Hilarion was revered not only by Christians but also by pagans. However, fearing the praise of men and tearfully lamenting, ``Woe is me, I have received my reward on earth!'' he fled from place to place, to hide from men and remain alone with his soul and with God. Thus, he traveled and lived in Egypt, Sicily, Dalmatia and finally in Cyprus, where his life of great labor came to an end in about the year 372, at the age of eighty. The miracle-working relics of St. Hilarion were translated to Palestine by his disciple Hesychius, and were placed in the monastery founded by him.
2. Saint Hilarion, Bishop of Meglin
He was born of eminent and devout parents. His childless mother had long prayed to God that He grant her a child, and in accordance with her prayer, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to her and comforted her with the words: ``Do not grieve, you will give birth to a son and he will turn many to the light of truth.'' When Hilarion was three years old, the hymn, ``Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!'' was constantly on his lips. He was well-educated, was tonsured a monk at age eighteen, and founded a monastery based on the Rule of St. Pachomius. In 1134, he was consecrated Bishop of Meglin by Eustathius, Archbishop of Trnovo. St. Hilarion led a great, nearly lifelong struggle against the Bogomils and the Armenian heretics. However, by his spiritual learning and unequaled sanctity he put them all to shame, and drew many of them to Orthodoxy. He reposed peacefully, and took up his abode in the Kingdom of His Lord in the year 1164.
3. The Venerable Philotheus
He was born in Crysopolis in Macedonia. The Turks took him from his mother, a widow, and threw him and one of his brothers into prison. The Most-holy Theotokos miraculously saved them from prison and brought them to a monastery at Neapolis in Asia Minor. Later, their mother found both of her sons as monks, and she herself was tonsured a nun. Philotheus went to Mount Athos, where he lived a life of asceticism in the Monastery of Dionysiou, and later in the desert. He was a wondrous ascetic and a great conqueror of demonic powers. He reposed peacefully at the age of eighty-four. He willed that he not be buried, but that his body be thrown into the forest for the birds and wild beasts. Later, a fisherman saw a great light in the forest on a cold night and went to warm himself, thinking it was a fire. However, the light was not from a fire, but was emanating from the wonderworking relics of St. Philotheus.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Venerable Hilarion the Great
Holy Hilarion, like a brilliant comet,
Fleeing from men, traveled half the world.
But such a star hides in vain:
Its own light reveals it to the world.
Hilarion wished to escape earthly glory,
But from glory the saint could not flee.
Where God did not proclaim him, the demons did,
Being terrified by the saint, who cast them out.
Wherever he settled, Hilarion the Wonderful
Worked miracles and healed the sick,
Conquered his weakness and passions.
A conqueror of the world, he subdued the demons.
He hid in caves, yet was proclaimed by all.
He shunned all, but was glorified by all.
The Lord glorifies His glorifiers,
And crowns victorious runners with wreaths.
When the race of earthly life passes,
The wreaths of everlasting life are given.
The aged Hilarion, ever young in spirit,
Now takes delight in the Lord face to face.
Even now his prayers wage war for us,
That in His compassion the Lord would have mercy on us.
The All-seeing eye of God watches over all men and, in a wondrous manner, guides the faithful to salvation. That which seems to the faithful a great loss can show itself over time to be a great gain. The case of St. Philotheus and his brother, who were lost to their mother, is similar to the case of St. Xenophont (January 26), and the case of St. Eustathius and his wife and sons (September 20). When St. Philotheus and his brother were sitting in a Turkish prison in Macedonia, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to them in the form of their mother and said, ``Arise, my dear children, and follow me!'' and suddenly the young men found themselves in a monastery in the town of Neapolis in Asia Minor. When the young men related to the abbot what had happened to them, he understood that this was from God, and he received the young men and tonsured them. A long time passed after this. Their mother grieved for them but overcame her loss. Finally, she decided to enter a convent and dedicate herself to God. God's providence brought her near the monastery where her sons were. Once, during the patronal celebration of this monastery she came with the other nuns for the celebration. She saw her sons in church but did not recognize them. Just then, one of the brothers called the other by his secular name. The mother's heart was touched by that name, which was dear to her, and she looked carefully into their faces. Then she recognized them and they recognized her. Their joy was exceedingly great, and they gave heartfelt thanks to God. Believing Christians should not despair over even the greatest loss.
Contemplate the wondrous healing of the blind Saul by Ananias (Acts 9):
1. How Ananias placed his hands on Saul, mentioning the name of the Lord Jesus;
2. How the blindness departed from Saul like scales falling from his eyes, and he saw and was baptized, and became Paul.
on the God-inspired heart and tongue
My heart will pour forth good words; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).
Behold the inspiration of the Spirit of God! The prophet wants to speak of Christ the Lord and his heart swells with power and wisdom. That is why the prophet does not say: ``My heart will speak or will pronounce good words, but rather will pour forth as though a part of his own heart rushes out like a torrent of water from an overflowing well. A torrent of water is narrow underground, but when it reaches the opening of the spring, it bursts out in a large stream. Such is the heart of the prophet when he wants to speak of Christ. Such is the power of grace confined in the heart of man. If it does not manifest itself in powerful words or if it does not manifest itself in miraculous works, it will shine within man and work wonders. But when it comes out in words, the tongue of the prophet will become as a reed, as a pen of a ready writer. For such a man does not struggle to formulate his thoughts, nor does he struggle to clothe his thoughts in the garment of words, but grace itself pours out thoughts and words, already prepared, through his tongue. Where does such a power in man come from? From God the Holy Spirit. Why does such a power exist? The prophet wants to speak to the King about Himself: I speak of things which I have made touching the King (Psalm 45:1). Actions and words here are identical, as it often happens in Holy Scripture. Where the Spirit speaks, He also acts; and where He acts, He also speaks. One speaks most powerfully through action. The prophet takes from Christ the King, and gives to Christ the King. He speaks enthusiastically of love for the Savior of the world; he speaks from a heart burning with the zeal of divine love. From the distance of time, he sees the Incarnate Son of God, and his heart dances with joy like a weary night-traveler when he sees the beautiful dawn in the east!
O Lord God, the Holy Spirit, do not deny us Thy holy and powerful grace, that we may be cleansed from sins and made worthy of the Kingdom of Christ.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen