FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Dimitrios the Myrrhbearer & Great Martyr of Thessaloniki
Commemoration of the Great Earthquake in Constantinople
Άγιος Δημήτριος ο Μυροβλύτης
Μνήμη Μεγάλου Σεισμού
Άγιοι Αρτεμίδωρος και Βασίλειος
Άγιος Ιωάσαφ ο νέος οσιομάρτυρας
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Luke 21:12-19
The Lord said to his disciples, "Beware of men who will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 21.12-19
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· Πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν καὶ διώξουσι, παραδιδόντες εἰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς, ἀγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνας ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου· ἀποβήσεται δὲ ὑμῖν εἰς μαρτύριον. θέσθε οὖν εἰς τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν μὴ προμελετᾶν ἀπολογηθῆναι· ἐγὼ γὰρ δώσω ὑμῖν στόμα καὶ σοφίαν, ᾗ οὐ δυνήσονται ἀντειπεῖν οὐδὲ ἀντιστῆναι πάντες οἱ ἀντικείμενοι ὑμῖν. παραδοθήσεσθε δὲ καὶ ὑπὸ γονέων καὶ συγγενῶν καὶ φίλων καὶ ἀδελφῶν, καὶ θανατώσουσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν, καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου· καὶ θρὶξ ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὑμῶν οὐ μὴ ἀπόληται· ἐν τῇ ὑπομονῇ ὑμῶν κτήσασθε τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to Timothy 2:1-10
TIMOTHY, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hardworking farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.
Πρὸς Τιμόθεον β' 2:1-10
Τέκνον Τιμόθεε, ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Καὶ ἃ ἤκουσας παρʼ ἐμοῦ διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων, ταῦτα παράθου πιστοῖς ἀνθρώποις, οἵτινες ἱκανοὶ ἔσονται καὶ ἑτέρους διδάξαι. Σὺ οὖν κακοπάθησον ὡς καλὸς στρατιώτης Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. Οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματείαις, ἵνα τῷ στρατολογήσαντι ἀρέσῃ. Ἐὰν δὲ καὶ ἀθλῇ τις, οὐ στεφανοῦται ἐὰν μὴ νομίμως ἀθλήσῃ. Τὸν κοπιῶντα γεωργὸν δεῖ πρῶτον τῶν καρπῶν μεταλαμβάνειν. Νόει ἃ λέγω· δῴη γάρ σοι ὁ κύριος σύνεσιν ἐν πᾶσιν. 8 Μνημόνευε Ἰησοῦν χριστὸν ἐγηγερμένον ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυίδ, κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου· ἐν ᾧ κακοπαθῶ μέχρι δεσμῶν, ὡς κακοῦργος· ἀλλʼ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται. Διὰ τοῦτο πάντα ὑπομένω διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ σωτηρίας τύχωσιν τῆς ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου.
The Reading is from John 15:17-27; 16:1-2
The Lord said to his disciples: "This I command you, to love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause.'
But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God."
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 15.17-27, 16.1
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· Ταῦτα ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν, ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους. Εἰ ὁ κόσμος ὑμᾶς μισεῖ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐμὲ πρῶτον ὑμῶν μεμίσηκεν. εἰ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἦτε, ὁ κόσμος ἂν τὸ ἴδιον ἐφίλει· ὅτι δὲ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου οὐκ ἐστέ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, διὰ τοῦτο μισεῖ ὑμᾶς ὁ κόσμος. μνημονεύετε τοῦ λόγου οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν· οὐκ ἔστι δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ. εἰ ἐμὲ ἐδίωξαν, καὶ ὑμᾶς διώξουσιν· εἰ τὸν λόγον μου ἐτήρησαν, καὶ τὸν ὑμέτερον τηρήσουσιν. ἀλλὰ ταῦτα πάντα ποιήσουσιν ὑμῖν διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδασι τὸν πέμψαντά με. εἰ μὴ ἦλθον καὶ ἐλάλησα αὐτοῖς, ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ εἶχον· νῦν δὲ πρόφασιν οὐκ ἔχουσι περὶ τῆς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν. ὁ ἐμὲ μισῶν καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου μισεῖ. εἰ τὰ ἔργα μὴ ἐποίησα ἐν αὐτοῖς ἃ οὐδεὶς ἄλλος πεποίηκεν, ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ εἶχον· νῦν δὲ καὶ ἑωράκασι καὶ μεμισήκασι καὶ ἐμὲ καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου. ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα πληρωθῇ ὁ λόγος ὁ γεγραμμένος ἐν τῷ νόμῳ αὐτῶν, ὅτι ἐμίσησάν με δωρεάν. ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ παράκλητος ὃν ἐγὼ πέμψω ὑμῖν παρὰ τοῦ πατρός, τὸ Πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας ὃ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται, ἐκεῖνος μαρτυρήσει περὶ ἐμοῦ· καὶ ὑμεῖς δὲ μαρτυρεῖτε, ὅτι ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἐστε.
Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν ἵνα μὴ σκανδαλισθῆτε. ἀποσυναγώγους ποιήσουσιν ὑμᾶς· ἀλλ᾽ ἔρχεται ὥρα ἵνα πᾶς ὁ ἀποκτείνας ὑμᾶς δόξῃ λατρείαν προσφέρειν τῷ Θεῷ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου καὶ Ἐνδόξου Μεγαλομάρτυρος Δημητρίου τοῦ Μυροβλύτου, καὶ θαυματουργοῦ.
Δημήτριον νύττουσι λόγχαι Χριστέ μου,
Ζηλοῦντα πλευρᾶς λογχονύκτου σῆς πάθος.
Εἰκοστῇ μελίαι Δημήτριον ἕκτῃ ἀνεῖλον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Ἀρτεμίδωρος καὶ Βασίλειος, ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ἀρτεμίδωρος, ᾧ τέλους ψῆφος ξίφος,
Σύναθλον εἶχε Βασίλειον πρὸς ξίφος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ἁγία Μάρτυς Λεπτῖνα κατὰ γῆς συρομένη, τελειοῦται.
Ἐν γῇ συρεῖσα χερσὶ δυσσεβοφρόνων,
Ἀφῆκεν εἰς γῆν Λεπτῖνα σαρκὸς πάχος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Γλύκων ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ξίφει προτείνας Μάρτυς αὐχένα Γλύκων,
Σπονδὴν γλυκεῖαν αἷμά σου Χριστῷ χέεις.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ φρικώδους σεισμοῦ.
Ἔσεισας, ἀλλ' ἔσωσας αὖθις γῆν Λόγε.
Τῆς σῆς γὰρ ὀργῆς οἶκτός ἐστι τὸ πλέον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἁγίου νέου Ὁσιομάρτυρος Ἰωάσαφ ξίφει τελειωθέντος ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει ἐν ἔτει αφλς' (1536)
Μίξας ἀσκήσει τὴν ἄθλησιν, παμμάκαρ
Τῆς σῆς γὰρ ὀργῆς οἶκτός ἐστι τὸ πλέον.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεὸς, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Dimitrios was a Thessalonian, a most pious son of pious and noble parents, and a teacher of the Faith of Christ. When Maximian first came to Thessalonica in 290, he raised the Saint to the rank of Duke of Thessaly. But when it was discovered that the Saint was a Christian, he was arrested and kept bound in a bath-house. While the games were under way in the city, Maximian was a spectator there. A certain friend of his, a barbarian who was a notable wrestler, Lyaeus by name, waxing haughty because of the height and strength of his body, boasted in the stadium and challenged the citizens to a contest with him. All that fought with him were defeated. Seeing this, a certain youth named Nestor, aquaintance of Dimitrios', came to the Saint in the bath-house and asked his blessing to fight Lyaeus single-handed. Receiving this blessing and sealing himself with the sign of the precious Cross, he presented himself in the stadium, and said, "O God of Dimitrios, help me!" and straightway he engaged Lyaeus in combat and smote him with a mortal blow to the heart, leaving the former boaster lifeless upon the earth. Maximian was sorely grieved over this, and when he learned who was the cause of this defeat, he commanded straightway and Dimitrios was pierced with lances while he was yet in the bath-house, As for Nestor, Maximian commanded that he be slain with his own sword.
Την μνήμη ενός μεγάλου Μάρτυρος γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία, του αγίου Δημητρίου, πολιούχου και προστάτου της Θεσσαλονίκης. Μαζί με τον άγιο Γεώργιο, ο άγιος Δημήτριος είναι ο πιο γνωστός και δημοφιλής Μάρτυς, το πιο ωραίο και πιο ιδανικό πρότυπο του χριστιανικού νέου. Στον τόπο του μαρτυρίου του χτίσθηκε ένας από τους πιο παληούς σήμερα κι ονομαστούς ναούς της χριστιανοσύνης, που ύστερ' από πολλές περιπέτειες και καταστροφές εξακολουθεί ακόμη, να στολίζη την πρωτεύουσα της Μακεδονίας. Η νίκη του αγίου Νέστορος στο στάδιο της Θεσσαλονίκης, με την προτροπή και την ενίσχυση του αγίου Δημητρίου, εσυμβόλιζε τον θρίαμβο του χριστιανισμού κατά του ειδωλατρικού κόσμου κι ακόμη την προστασία της πόλεως σε κάθε βαρβαρική επίθεση. Ωραιότατος είναι στη σημερινή γιορτή ο ύμνος του Ρωμανού· "Τοις των αιμάτων σου ρείθροις, Δημήτριε, την Εκκλησίαν Θεός επορφύρωσεν..."
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Μέγαν εύρατο εv τοίς κιvδύvοις, σέ υπέρμαχοv η οικουμένη, Αθλοφόρε τά έθνη τροπούμενον. Ως ούν Λυαίου καθείλες τήν έπαρσιν, εν τώ σταδίω θαρρύvας τόν Νέστορα, ούτως Άγιε, Μεγαλομάρτυς Δημήτριε, Χριστόν τόν Θεόν ικέτευε, δωρήσασθαι ημίν τό μέγα έλεος.
A Great champion hath the whole world found thee to be when in grave perils; for thou dost put to flight the heathen, O victorious one. As thou didst humble Lyaeus's arrogance and gaveth boldness to Nestor in the stadium, thus, O holy Great Martyr Demetrius, do thou entreat Christ God that we be granted great mercy.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Τοίς τώv ιαμάτωv σου ρείθροις Δημήτριε, τήv Εκλησίαν Θεός επορφύρωσεv, ο δούς σοι τό κράτος αήττητοv, καί περιέπωv τήν πόλιv σου άτρωτοv, αυής γάρ υπάρχεις τό στήριγμα.
God, who gave you invincible power and with care kept your city invulnerable, royally clothed the Church in purple with the streams of your blood, for you are her strength, O Dimitrios.
The great earthquake commemorated here took place in 740, during the reign of Leo the Isaurian, the first of the Iconoclast emperors.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ο επιβλέπον επί τήν γήν, καί πειών αυτήν τρέμειν, ρύσαι ημάς, τήςφοβεράς τού σεισμού απειλής, Χριστέ ό Θεός ημών, καί κατάπεμψον ημίν, πλούσια τά ελέη σου, πρεσβείαις τής Θεοτόκου, μόνε Φιλάνθρωπε.
O Thou Who lookest on the earth and makest it tremble, deliver us from the fearful menace of earthquake, O Christ our God, and by the intercessions of the Theotokos, send down upon us Thy mercies in abundance and save us.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ως ευσπλαγχνίας άβυσσος, καί θησαυρός χρηστότητος, επί τόν φόβον σου στήριξον, Κύριε, τών ευσεβών τό πλήρωμα, καί εκλύτρωσαι Σώτερ, εκ τής σεισμού φοβεράς συγκλονήσεως, τούς πίστει αφορώντας, τοίς οικτιρμοίς σου Φιλάνθρωπε.
Deliver us all from earthquakes, O Lord, and from wounds unbearable on account of our sins, and spare Thy people whom Thou hast purchased with Thy Blood, O master; and deliver not Thy city to destruction by terrible earthquakes, for we know none other God besides Thee. And to those who chant do Thou respond: I am with you, and no one shall prevail against you.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Δημήτριος ὁ Μεγαλομάρτυρας καὶ Μυροβλύτης
Ὁ Μεγαλομάρτυς Δημήτριος, γόνος τῆς ἔνδοξης πόλης Θεσσαλονίκης, ἦταν στρατιωτικὸς στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ (284-305). Γενναῖος καὶ ἀτρόμητος στρατιώτης τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ κήρυκας τῆς χριστιανικῆς πίστης, εἶναι παράδειγμα χριστιανοῦ μάρτυρος. Θὰ λέγαμε ὅτι ὑπῆρξε ὁ πρῶτος κατηχητὴς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας. Διότι χωρὶς τὸν παραμικρὸ φόβο κατηχοῦσε τοὺς νέους τῆς πόλης, ἐμπνέοντος σ᾿ αὐτοὺς τὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Ἡ δραστηριότητα τοῦ Δημητρίου καταγγέλθηκε στὸ Διοκλητιανό, ὁ ὁποῖος τὸν κάλεσε στὰ ἀνάκτορα. Ὁ Δημήτριος δήλωσε στὸ Διοκλητιανὸ ὅτι πράγματι εἶναι χριστιανός, διότι μόνο ἡ θρησκεία τοῦ Χριστοῦ παρέχει ἠθικὴ λύτρωση καὶ αἰώνια ζωή. Τότε ὁ Διοκλητιανὸς διέταξε καὶ τὸν ἔκλεισαν στὴ φυλακή. Ἀλλὰ τὶς ἡμέρες ἐκεῖνες γίνονταν στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη ἀγῶνες. Οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες, ἐκμεταλλευόμενοι τὴν δύναμη κάποιου Λυαίου, προκαλοῦσαν τοὺς χριστιανοὺς νὰ τὸν ἀντιμετωπίσουν. Τότε ἕνας νεαρὸς χριστιανός, ὁ Νέστωρ, ἀφοῦ πῆρε τὴν εὐχὴ τοῦ Δημητρίου μέσα ἀπὸ τὴν φυλακή, μπῆκε στὸ στάδιο καὶ νίκησε τὸ σωματώδη Λυαῖο. Ὁ Διοκλητιανὸς ὅταν ἔμαθε τὴν αἰτία τῆς ἥττας τοῦ Λυαίου ἔστειλε στρατιῶτες στὴ φυλακὴ καὶ μὲ τὴν λόγχη σκότωσαν τὸ Δημήτριο καὶ τὸ Νέστορα. Ἡ δὲ μητέρα Ἐκκλησία περιβάλλεται «ὡς πορφύραν καὶ βύσσον τὰ αἵματα τῶν μαρτύρων της», διότι αὐτὰ τὰ τέκνα της ἀποτελοῦν τὸ καύχημά της.
Ο Άγιος Δημήτριος γεννήθηκε περί το 280 - 284 μ.Χ. και μαρτύρησε επί των αυτοκρατόρων Διοκλητιανού και Μαξιμιανού το 303 μ.Χ. ή το 305 μ.Χ. ή (το πιο πιθανό) το 306 μ.Χ.
Ο Δημήτριος ήταν γόνος αριστοκρατικής οικογένειας στη Θεσσαλονίκη. Σύντομα ανελίχθηκε στις βαθμίδες του Ρωμαϊκού στρατού με αποτέλεσμα σε ηλικία 22 ετών να φέρει το βαθμό του χιλιάρχου. Ως αξιωματικός του ρωμαϊκού στρατού κάτω από τη διοίκηση του Τετράρχη (και έπειτα αυτοκράτορα) Γαλερίου Μαξιμιανού, όταν αυτοκράτορας ήταν ο Διοκλητιανός, έγινε χριστιανός και φυλακίστηκε στην Θεσσαλονίκη το 303 μ.Χ., διότι αγνόησε το διάταγμα του αυτοκράτορα Διοκλητιανού «περί αρνήσεως του χριστιανισμού». Μάλιστα λίγο νωρίτερα είχε ιδρύσει κύκλο νέων προς μελέτη της Αγίας Γραφής.
Στη φυλακή ήταν και ένας νεαρός χριστιανός ο Νέστορας (βλέπε 27 Οκτωβρίου), ο οποίος θα αντιμετώπιζε σε μονομαχία τον φοβερό μονομάχο της εποχής Λυαίο. Ο νεαρός χριστιανός πριν τη μονομαχία επισκέφθηκε τον Δημήτριο και ζήτησε τη βοήθειά του. Ο Άγιος Δημήτριος του έδωσε την ευχή του και το αποτέλεσμα ήταν ο Νέστορας να νικήσει το Λυαίο και να προκαλέσει την οργή του αυτοκράτορα. Διατάχθηκε τότε να θανατωθούν και οι δύο, Νέστορας και Δημήτριος.
Οι συγγραφείς εγκωμίων του Αγίου Δημητρίου, Ευστάθιος Θεσσαλονίκης, Γρηγόριος ο Παλαμάς και Δημήτριος Χρυσολωράς, αναφέρουν ότι το σώμα του Αγίου ετάφη στον τόπο του μαρτυρίου, ο δε τάφος μετεβλήθη σε βαθύ φρέαρ που ανέβλυζε μύρο, εξ ου και η προσωνυμία του Μυροβλήτου.
Στις βυζαντινές εικόνες αλλά και στη σύγχρονη αγιογραφία ο Άγιος Δημήτριος παρουσιάζεται αρκετές φορές ως καβαλάρης με κόκκινο άλογο (σε αντιδιαστολή του λευκού αλόγου του Αγίου Γεωργίου) να πατά τον άπιστο Λυαίο.
Σήμερα ο Άγιος Δημήτριος τιμάται ως πολιούχος Άγιος της Θεσσαλονίκης.
Ένα από τα πολλά θαύματα του Αγίου είναι και το εξής. Το 1823 μ.Χ. οι Τούρκοι που ήταν αμπαρωμένοι στην Ακρόπολη της Αθήνας ετοίμαζαν τα πυρομαχικά τους για να χτυπήσουν με τα κανόνια τους, τους Έλληνες που βρισκόντουσαν στον ναό του Αγίου Δημητρίου, μα ο Άγιος Δημήτριος έκανε το θαύμα του για να σωθούν οι Χριστιανοί και η πυρίτιδα έσκασε στα χέρια των Τούρκων καταστρέφοντας και τμήμα του μνημείου του Παρθενώνα. Για να θυμούνται αυτό το θαύμα, ο ναός λέγεται από τότε Άγιος Δημήτριος Λουμπαρδιάρης, από την λουμπάρδα δηλαδή το κανόνι των Τούρκων που καταστράφηκε.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀρτεμίδωρος καὶ Βασίλειος
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.
Ἡ Ἁγία Λεπτίνα
Μαρτύρησε συρόμενη στὴ γῆ μέχρι θανάτου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Γλύκων
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Μνήμη τοῦ Μεγάλου Σεισμοῦ
Πρόκειται γιὰ τὸν μεγάλο σεισμό, ποὺ ἔγινε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, τὸ ἔτος 740 ἐπὶ βασιλείας Λέοντα τοῦ Ἰσαύρου. Τότε πολλὰ οἰκοδομήματα τῆς πόλης ἔπεσαν καὶ πολλοὶ ἄνθρωποι καταπλακώθηκαν στὰ ἐρείπια τους.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάσαφ ὁ νέος ὁσιομάρτυρας
Ὁ Ἰωάσαφ ὑπῆρξε μαθητὴς καὶ μιμητὴς τοῦ Πατριάρχη Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νήφωνα (1486-89, 1497-98). Ἀσκούμενος στὶς ἀρετὲς καὶ ἀφοῦ ἔφτασε σὲ τέλεια ἀγάπη, τὸν κατέλαβε ὁ πόθος νὰ δώσει τὴ ζωή του γιὰ τὴν πίστη του στὸν Χριστό. Μετὰ τὴν κοίμηση τοῦ δασκάλου τοῦ ὁσίου Νήφωνα, ἦλθε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, ὅπου παρουσιάστηκε στὸ κριτήριο τῶν Τούρκων. Ἐκεῖ κήρυξε μὲ θάῤῥος μπροστά τους τὸν Τριαδικὸ Θεὸ καὶ τὸ μυστήριο τῆς ἐνσάρκωσης τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἀμέσως τότε συνελήφθη καὶ ἀφοῦ τὸν βασάνισαν σκληρά, τελικὰ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν στὶς 26 Ὀκτωβρίου 1536.
Holy, Glorious and Great Martyr Demetrius the Outpourer of Myrrh (306)
He was a native of Thessalonica, born of noble parents. His wisdom and distinction in battle earned him rapid advancement in the service of the Empire: in time he was appointed commander of all the Roman forces in Thessaly, and Proconsul of Hellas. Despite these worldly honors, Demetrius put his Christian faith before all, and by his words and example brought many pagans to faith in Christ.
When the Emperor Maximian, a persecutor of Christians, came to Thessalonica he appointed games and public sacrifices to celebrate his recent victory over the Scythians. Some jealous pagans used the visit to denounce Demetrius to the Emperor. Maximian had Demetrius cast into a fetid cell in the basement of some nearby baths. Maximian had brought with him a huge barbarian of tremendous strength named Lyaios, who fought many men in the arena and defeated them all, to the entertainment of the Emperor and the crowds. A young Christian named Nestor determined to show the people that the only true strength is in Christ: he visited Demetrius in his cell and asked for his blessing to challenge Lyaios to combat. The Martyr made the sign of the Cross over Nestor and sent him to the arena with his blessing. Nestor, a young boy, cried out before the Emperor 'God of Demetrius, help me!' and quickly killed the mighty Lyaios, to the astonishment of the crowd. The infuriated Emperor had Nestor slain with his own sword, and sent soldiers to Demetrius' cell, where they killed him with their spears. Demetrius' servant, a believer named Lupus, retrieved the body of Demetrius and buried it with honor. He kept the Saint's ring and blood-stained tunic, and through them worked several miracles and healings. When the Emperor heard of this, he had Lupus, too, beheaded.
As a sign of the grace that rested on the holy Demetrius, a fragrant myrrh flowed copiously from the Martyr's body after his death, healing many of the sick. For many centuries, St Demetrius has been a patron Saint of Thessalonica.
The Holy GreatMartyr Demetrios of Soluneia was the son of a Roman proconsul in Thessalonika (the present day Salonika, which in the Slavonic is termed Solun', [anglicised as Soluneia]). Three centuries had then already elapsed, and Roman paganism, -- spiritually shattered and defeated by the multitude of martyrs and confessors of the Crucified Saviour, -- intensified its persecutions. Both the father and mother of saint Demetrios were clandestine Christians. In a secret house-church at the home of the proconsul, the child was baptised and raised in the Christian faith. When the father died, and the child had reached the age of maturity, the emperor Galerius Maximian -- having ascended the throne in the year 305 -- summoned him, and confident in his education and military-administrative abilities, appointed him to the position of his father as proconsul of the Thessalonika district. The chief task expected of this young commander consisted in the defence of the city from barbarians, and in the extermination of Christianity. It is interesting, that among the barbarians threatening the Romans our ancestral Slavs occupied an important place, in particular by intentionally settling upon the Thessalonikan peninsula. There exists even the opinion that the parents of Saint Demetrios were of Slavic descent. In regard to Christians the will of the emperor was expressed simply: "Put to death anyone who calls on the name of the Crucified". The emperor did not suspect in appointing Demetrios, how wide a swath of confessors acts he had opened up for the clandestine ascetic.
Accepting the appointment, Demetrios returned to Thessalonika and in front of everyone immediately confessed and glorified our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of persecuting and executing Christians, he openly began to teach the inhabitants of the city the Christian faith and to extirpate pagan customs and idol-worship. The compiler of his life, Metaphrastes, says that in his teaching zeal he became for Thessalonika "a second Apostle Paul", particularly since "the Apostle to the Gentiles" once founded at this city the first community of believers (1 Thes., 2 Thes.). The Lord also destined Saint Demetrios to follow the holy Apostle Paul to a death by martyrdom.
When Maximian learned, that the proconsul newly appointed by him -- was a Christian, and that he had converted to Christianity many Roman subjects who were influenced by his example -- the rage of the emperor know no bounds. Returning from a campaign in the Black Sea region, the emperor decided to lead his army through Thessalonika, filled with the desire to make a massacre of the Soluneia Christians.
Learning of this, Saint Demetrios opportunely ordered his faithful servant Luppos to distribute his wealth to the poor with the words: "Give away the earthly riches amongst them, for we shalt seek for ourselves heavenly riches". And he gave himself over to prayer and fasting, preparing himself for the accepting of a martyr's crown.
When the emperor came into the city, he summoned Demetrios, who boldly confessed himself a Christian and denounced the falsehood and futility of Roman polytheism. Maximian gave orders to lock up the confessor in prison, and an Angel came to him in confinement, comforting and encouraging him for the act. The emperor meanwhile concerned himself with a foul gladiators spectacle, esteeming as his beloved champion a German by the name of Leo, who made a challenge for a Christian to struggle with him on the platform over the spears of the victorious soldiers. A brave youth from the Soluneia Christians, Nestor by name, went to the prison to his advisor Demetrios and requested to be given the blessing for single-combat with the barbarian. With the blessing of Demetrios and through his prayers, Nestor prevailed over the fierce German and hurled him from the dais-platform onto the spears of the soldiers, just as the murderous pagan would have done with the Christian. The enraged commander gave orders to immediately execute the holy Martyr Nestor (Comm. 27 October) and dispatched a guard to the prison -- to run through with spears the one who had blessed this deed, Saint Demetrios.
At dawn on 26 October 306 soldiers appeared in the underground prison of the holy saint and ran him through with spears. His faithful servant, Saint Luppos, gathered up on a towel the bless of Saint Demetrios, and he took from his finger the imperial ring, -- a symbol of his high status, and likewise dipped it also in the blood. With the ring and other holy things sanctified by the blood of Saint Demetrios, Saint Luppos began to heal the infirm. The emperor gave orders to arrest and kill him.
The body of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios was cast out for devouring by wild animals, but the Soluneia Christians took it and secretly committed it to earth. During the reign of holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine (306-337), a church was erected over the grave of Saint Demetrios. An hundred years later, during the construction of a majestic new church on the old spot, the incorrupt relics of the holy martyr were uncovered. From the time of the VII Century beneathe the crypt of the GreatMartyr Demetrios was found a miraculous flowing of fragrant myrh, in regard to which the GreatMartyr Demetrios receives the church title "Myrh-flowing". Several times those venerating the Soluneia wonderworker made attempts at a transfer of his holy relics, or part of them, to Constantinople. But invariably Saint Demetrios secretly made apparent his will to remain the protector and defender of the people of Thessalonika.
Advancing towards the city, pagan Slavs were repeatedly turned by the apparition of a threatening radiant youth, going the round of the walls and inspiring terror in the enemy soldiers. It is therefore perhaps why the name of Saint Demetrios is particularly venerated among the Slavic nations after their enlightenment by the light of the Gospel truth. On the other hand, Greeks regard Saint Demetrios in terms of being a Slavic saint merely an arbitrary preference.
The very first pages of the Russian Primary Chronicle, as foreordained by God, is bound up with the name of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios of Soluneia. Oleg the Wise threatened the Greeks at Constantinople (907), as the Chronicle relates: "The Greeks became terrified and said: this is not Oleg, but rather Saint Demetrios sent upon us from God". Russian soldiers always believed that they were under the special protection of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios. Moreover, in the old Russian barracks the GreatMartyr Demetrios was always depicted as Russian by descent -- thus this image fused with the soul of the Russian nation.
Church veneration of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios in Russia began with the time shortly after the Baptism of Rus'. Towards the beginning of the decade of the 70's of the XI Century belongs the founding of the Dimitriev monastery at Kiev, known afterwards as the Mikhailov-Zlatoverkh monastery. The monastery was built by the son of Yaroslav the Wise, -- GreatPrince Izyaslav, baptised Dimitrii (+ 1078). The mosaic icon of Saint Demetrios of Soluneia from the cathedral of the Dimitriev monastery has been preserved up to the present day, and is located in the State Tret'yakov gallery. In the years 1194-1197 the GreatPrince of Vladimir, Vsevolod III Bol'shoe Gnezdo (Great-Nest), -- baptised Dimitrii, "built at his court a beautiful church of the holy martyr Dimitrii, and adorned it wondrously with icons and writing" (i.e. frescoes). The Dimitriev cathedral also reveals for the present the embellishment of ancient Vladimir. The wonderworking icon of Saint Demetrios of Soluneia from the cathedral iconostas is located even now in Moscow, at the Tret'yakov gallery. It was written upon a plank of wood from the grave of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios, brought in 1197 from Soluneia to Vladimir. One of the most precious depictions of the saint -- a fresco on a column of the Vladimir Uspenie cathedral, is from the brush of the Sainted Iconographer Andrei Rublev.
The veneration of Saint Demetrios continued also in the family of Saint Alexander Nevsky (Comm. 23 November). Saint Alexander named his eldest son in honour of the holy greatmartyr. And his younger son, holy Nobleborn Prince Daniel of Moscow (+ 1303, Comm. 4 March), raised up at Moscow a temple in the name of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios in the 1280's, which was the first stone church in the Moscow Kremlin. Later on in 1326, under Ivan Kalita, it was taken down and in its place was erected the Uspenie (Dormition) cathedral.
The memory of Saint Demetrios of Soluneia from of old was bound up in Rus' with the military, patriotism and the defense of the Fatherland. The saint is depicted on icons in the guise of a soldier in plumed armour, with a spear and sword in hand. On a scroll (in later depictions) is written also a prayer, with which Saint Demetrios turned to God about the salvation of the people of Soluneia: "Lord, let not the city nor the people perish. If Thou do save the city and the people -- with them I shalt be saved, if they perish -- I too perish with them".
In the spiritual experience of the Russian Church, veneration of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios of Soluneia is closely bound up with the memory of the defense the Native-Land and Church by the GreatPrince of Moscow, Dimitrii Donskoi (+ 1389). "An Account of the Life and Repose Great Prince Dimitrii Ivanovich, Tsar of Russia", written in the year 1393, already regards the GreatPrince as a saint, as also do other old Russian histories. GreatPrince Dimitrii was a spiritual son and pupil of the Sainted Metropolitan of Moscow Alexei (+ 1378, Comm. 12 February), and a disciple and associating also with other great figures of prayer in the Russian Land: -- the Monk Sergei Radonezh (+ 1392, Comm. 25 September, Dimitrii of Prilutsk (+ 1392, Comm. 11 February), Sainted Theodore of Rostov (+ 1394, Comm. 28 November). GreatPrince Dimitrii "about the churches of God he worried much, and the territory of the Russian land he held by his bravery: many the enemy risen against us he conquered, and his glorious city Moscow he protected with wondrous walls". From the time of the building of the white-walled Kremlin (1366) by GreatPrince Dimitrii, Moscow was called "Belokamenna" ("White-Stoned"). "The land of Russia prospered during the years of his reign", -- testifies the "Account".
By the prayers of his Heavenly patron the holy warrior Demetrios of Soluneia, GreatPrince Dimitrii gained besides his brilliant military victories also the preordained further prominence of Russia: he repelled the onslaught against Russia by the Lithuanian armies of Ol'gerd (1368, 1373), he routed at the River Vozha the Tatar army of Begich (1378), and he smashed the military might of all the Golden Horde at the Battle of Kulikovo Pole (Kulikovo Field) (8 September 1380, on the day of celebration of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God), set between the Rivers Don and Nepryadva. The Kulikovo Battle, for which the nation calls him Dimitrii Donskoi, became the first all-Russian national deed, rallying round Moscow the spiritual power of the Russian nation. To this auspicious event of Russian history is dedicated the "Zadonschina", an inspiring historic poem, written by the priest Sophronii of Ryazem (1381).
Prince Dimitrii Donskoi was greatly devoted to the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios. In 1380, on the eve of the Kulikovo Battle, he solemnly transferred from Vladimir to Moscow the most holy effect of the Vladimir Dimitriev cathedral -- the icon of the GreatMartyr Demetrios of Soluneia, written on the plank from the grave of the saint. At the Moscow Uspenie Cathedral was built a chapel in the name of the GreatMartyr Demetrios. In memory of the soldiers, fallen in the Kulikovo Battle, was established for all-church remembrance the Demetrios Parental-Ancestors Saturday. The first time this panikhida was held was at the Trinity-Sergiev monastery on 20 October 1380 by the Monk Sergei, Hegumen of Radonezh, in the presence of GreatPrince Dimitrii Donskoi. From that time it is served annually with a solemn remembrance of the heroes of the Kulikovo Battle, in which number are the Schema-monks Alexander (Peresvet) and Andrei (Oslyab).
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Holy Great-martyr Demetrius
This glorious and wonderworking saint was born in Thessalonica of noble and devout parents. Implored of God by childless parents, Demetrius was their only son, and so was raised and educated with great care. Demetrius's father was a commander in Thessalonica. When his father died, Emperor Maximian appointed Demetrius as commander in his place. As he appointed him, Maximian, an opponent of Christ, particularly recommended that he persecute and exterminate the Christians in Thessalonica. Demetrius not only disobeyed the emperor but openly confessed and preached the Lord Jesus Christ in the city of Thessalonica. When the emperor heard of this he became furious with Demetrius. Then, when he was returning from battle against the Sarmatians, Maximian stopped at Thessalonica to investigate the matter. The emperor summoned Demetrius and questioned him about his faith. Demetrius openly acknowledged his Christian Faith to the emperor and also denounced the emperor's idolatry. Maximian cast Demetrius into prison. Knowing what was awaiting him, Demetrius gave all his goods to his faithful servant Lupus to distribute to the poor, and joyfully awaited his imminent suffering for Christ the Lord. An angel of God appeared to him in prison, saying: ``Peace be to you, O sufferer of Christ; be brave and be strong!'' After several days, the emperor sent soldiers to the prison to kill Demetrius. The soldiers found the saint of God at prayer and ran him through with lances. Christians secretly took his body and honorably buried it. Healing myrrh flowed from the body of the martyr of Christ, curing many of the sick. Soon, a small church was built over his relics.
An Illyrian nobleman, Leontius, was afflicted with an incurable illness. He hastened, with prayer, to the relics of St. Demetrius and was completely healed. In thanksgiving, Leontius erected a much larger church on the site of the old church. The saint appeared to him on two occasions. When Emperor Justinian wanted to translate the relics of the saint from Thessalonica to Constantinople, flaming sparks sprang from the tomb and a voice was heard: ``Stop, and do not touch!'' And thus, the relics of St. Demetrius have remained for all time in Thessalonica. As the protector of Thessalonica, St. Demetrius has appeared many times, and on many occasions has saved Thessalonica from great calamity. His miracles are without number. The Russians considered St. Demetrius to be the protector of Siberia, which was conquered and annexed to Russia on October 26, 1581.
2. The Venerable Martyr Ioasaph
Ioasaph was a disciple of St. Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople, and labored in asceticism on the Holy Mountain. He had so great a love for Christ that all of his ascetic works seemed inadequate, and from love he desired to suffer for his Lord. For that reason he went to Constantinople, where he openly confessed to the Turks his faith in the Holy Trinity and the Son of God. The enraged Turks beheaded him on October 26, 1536.
3. The Commemoration of the Great Earthquake of Constantinople
In the year 740, during the reign of Emperor Leo the Isaurian, there was a terrifying and prolonged earthquake in Constantinople. The people considered this a punishment from God for their sins, and prayed with great repentance to the Most-holy Theotokos and St. Demetrius, until God showed mercy and the earthquake ceased.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Great-martyr Demetrius
Thessalonica glorifies its wonderful saint-
St. Demetrius, servant of the Most-high God.
Demetrius, the commander,
Servant of the Creator and Lord.
St. Paul bedewed Thessalonica with tears,
Demetrius watered it with his blood.
Demetrius, the commander,
Servant of the Creator and Lord.
The tears of the apostle and the blood of the martyr
Are the glory, salvation and pride of Thessalonica.
Demetrius, the commander,
Servant of the Creator and Lord.
Let us also glorify Christ's soldier,
The myrrh-gushing saint and courageous martyr.
Demetrius, the commander,
Servant of the Creator and Lord.
A miracle of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica: Demetrius was a commander of Thessalonica during his life and remained so after his repose. People have felt his presence in Thessalonica, especially in times of great calamities. He protects the city, wards off misfortunes, repels invaders, and helps all who invoke his name. Here is a wonderful example of his unusual aid to people in need. Once, the barbarians attacked Thessalonica and were unable to overtake it. Infuriated at this, they pillaged the countryside and bound and carried off two beautiful maidens whom they gave as a gift to their prince. These maidens knew how to embroider well. When the prince saw their handiwork, he said to them: ``I hear that there is a great god in your land, Demetrius, and that he works great miracles. Embroider his face on this linen.'' The maidens told him that St. Demetrius was not a god but rather God's servant and the helper of Christians. At first, they refused to embroider the face of the saint, but when the prince threatened them with death, they carried out the command and completed the task by St. Demetrius's Day. On the eve of the feast, they looked at their embroidery and wept sorrowfully, as they had to spend the feast day in slavery and had to give that embroidered image of their beloved saint to an impious barbarian. Both maidens prayed to St. Demetrius to forgive them. Then St. Demetrius appeared to them and took them both away, as an angel had once taken the Prophet Habakkuk. He brought them to Thessalonica and set them in his church. A solemn all-night vigil was being celebrated, and many people were there. When they learned of the miraculous rescue of these Christian maidens, all glorified God and St. Demetrius, His great servant and commander.
on the heart ready for God
My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready (Psalm 57:7).
Brethren, blessed is he who is able to speak like this to his Lord! Blessed is he whose heart is completely ready to follow the will of God. The readiness of the heart of man lies in this: to joyfully follow the will of God and not be confused by one's own thoughts and desires. At first, the repentant King David had followed his own sinful thoughts and desires, and was like a boat on a stormy sea. However, when he realized that the storm was going to drown him, he turned to God with great repentance and tears, and turned the boat of his life entirely over to God. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready! he cried out with great peace of soul, for he knew that he had given his boat into the hands of the Most-skilled Helmsman. The storm still raged and the winds and waves still assaulted him, but he was not afraid, convinced that nothing could smash his boat, and that his boat would sail safely to a calm harbor. A ``ready heart'' means a heart cleansed of pride and humbled before the majestic power and wisdom of God. A ``ready heart'' means a heart emptied of all worldly desires and illusions, and filled with nothing but aspirations toward God and love for God. A ``ready heart'' means a heart that is healed of all restlessness, cares and fears, and is quieted and encouraged by the presence of God's grace. I will sing and give praise in my glory (Psalm 57:7), continues the Psalmist. This shows that his heart is truly ready-he is not proud of his royal glory but ascribes it to God. He humbled himself before God as nothing, and now his sole pleasure is to magnify and glorify God. His personal glory only gives him a reason for glorifying His All-glorious God.
O my brethren, let us endeavor that our hearts be ready soon before God: ready to hear the word of God, ready to follow the will of God, ready to glorify the Living God.
O Lord God, our immortal Creator, help us to ready our hearts, that they may be vessels of Thy life-giving grace.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.