FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
The Forefeast of the Presentation of the Theotokos into the Temple
Gregory the Righteous of Decapolis
Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople
Προεόρτια τῆς ἐν τῷ Ναῷ Εἰσόδου τῆς Ὑπερ-αγίας Θεοτόκου.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Γρηγορίου τοῦ Δεκαπολίτου.
Τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρός ἡμῶν Πρόκλου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Matthew 28:16-20
At that time, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. Amen."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 28.16-20
Οἱ δὲ ἕνδεκα μαθηταὶ ἐπορεύθησαν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν, εἰς τὸ ὄρος οὗ ἐτάξατο αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς. καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ, οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν. καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς. πορευθέντες μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ῾Αγίου Πνεύματος, διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος. ἀμήν.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 2:4-10
BRETHREN, God who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God: not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Πρὸς Ἐφεσίους 2:4-10
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ θεός, πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει, διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην αὐτοῦ ἣν ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς, καὶ ὄντας ἡμᾶς νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν συνεζωοποίησεν τῷ χριστῷ - χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι - καὶ συνήγειρεν, καὶ συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· ἵνα ἐνδείξηται ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις τὸν ὑπερβάλλοντα πλοῦτον τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν· θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται. Αὐτοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν ποίημα, κτισθέντες ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς, οἷς προητοίμασεν ὁ θεός, ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν.
The Reading is from Luke 12:16-21
The Lord said this parable: "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' And he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." As he said these things, he cried out: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 12.16-21
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τήν παραβολὴν ταύτην· Ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα· καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων· τί ποιήσω, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου; καὶ εἶπε· τοῦτο ποιήσω· καθελῶ μου τὰς ἀποθήκας καὶ μείζονας οἰκοδομήσω, καὶ συνάξω ἐκεῖ πάντα τὰ γενήματά μου καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου, καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου· ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά· ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου. εἶπε δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Θεός· ἄφρον, ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τὴν ψυχήν σου ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ· ἃ δὲ ἡτοίμασας τίνι ἔσται; οὕτως ὁ θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ, καὶ μὴ εἰς Θεὸν πλουτῶν.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Κ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Γρηγορίου τοῦ Δεκαπολίτου.
Χάραξ κύκλῳ σου, καὶ μετὰ ζωῆς τέλος,
Ἡ ζῶσα, Γρηγόριε, τοῦ Θεοῦ χάρις.
Εἰκάδι Γρηγόριος κεκλήσκετο εἰς πόλον εὐρύν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Πρόκλου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, ὃς ἐχρημάτισε μαθητὴς τοῦ μακαρίου Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου, καὶ τοῦ θρόνου διάδοχος.
Ἔχει σε, Πρόκλε, ἡ οὐράνιος νύσσα,
Χαίροντα ἔνδον καὶ σὲ σὺν Χρυσοστόμῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς ἀθλήσεως τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Δασίου, τοῦ ἐν Δορυστόλῳ.
Ἔμελλε καὶ Δάσιος ἀθλήσας ξίφει,
Ἀθλητικὸν στέφανον εὑρεῖν ἐκ ξίφους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Νιρσᾶ Ἐπισκόπου, καὶ Ἰωσὴφ μαθητοῦ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἑτέρων σὺν αὐτῷ τελειωθέντων ἐν Περσίδι.
Θνῄσκουσιν ἄμφω Νιρσᾶς, Ἰωσὴφ ἅμα,
Φόνῳ μαχαίρας, ὡς Ἀπόστολος λέγει.
Σὺν Ἰωάννῃ καὶ Σαβωρίῳ, λίθοις
Ἰσάκιον κτείνουσιν οἰκέται λίθων.
Τὸν Γεϊθαζὲτ καὶ συνάθλους τρεῖς ἅμα,
Λόγχαις κατακτείνουσιν ἐχθροὶ Τριάδος.
Θέκλαν, Βαουθᾶν, Δεναχίδα παρθένους.
Ἆθλος ξίφους ἔδειξεν ἀθλοπαρθένους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Εὐσταθίου, Θεσπεσίου καὶ Ἀνατολίου.
Κάρας τριῶν τέμνουσι νεκρῶν οἱ πλάνοι,
Ουδ' εἰς νεκροὺς δεικνὺντες οἶκτον· ὢ πλάνης.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Θεοκτίστου, ὃς καὶ Πατρίκιος καὶ Εὐνοῦχος ἦν ἐπὶ Θεοδώρας τῆς Αὐγούστης.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Χαράν προμνηστεύεται, σήμερον Άννα ημίν, τής λύπης αντίθετον, καρπόν βλαστήσασα, τήν μόνην Αειπάρθενον, ήν περ δή καί προσάγει, τάς ευχάς εκπληρούσα, σήμερον γηθομένη, τώ Ναώ τού Κυρίου, ως όντως ναόν τού Θεού Λόγου, καί Μητέρα αγνήν.
By blossoming forth the only Ever-virgin as fruit, today holy Anna doth betroth us all unto joy, instead of our former grief; on this day she doth fulfil her vows to the Most High, leading her with joy into the Lord's holy temple, who truly is the temple and pure Mother of God the Word.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ευφροσύνης σήμερον, η οικουμένη, επληρώθη άπασα, εν τή ευσήμω Εορτή, τής Θεοτόκου κραυγάζουσα, Αύτη υπάρχει, σκηνή επουράνιος.
The whole world is filled today with joy and gladness on the Theotokos's auspicious and resplendent feast, whereon with great voice it crieth out: The heavenly tabernacle is she in truth.
Saint Gregory who was from Irenopolis of the Decapolis of Asia Minor, was the son of Sergius and Mary. He became a monk as a young man, and after struggling for many years in virtue and prayer under obedience to a wise spiritual father, he was informed by revelation that it was the will of God for him to live, like the Patriarch Abraham, with no certain dwelling, moving from place to place. His journeyings took him to Ephesus, Constantinople, Corinth, Rome, Sicily, Thessalonica, and again to Constantinople, where, after many labours in defence of Orthodoxy against Iconoclasm, he reposed in peace in the first half of the ninth century. He had two disciples, one of whom was Saint Joseph the Hymnographer (see Apr. 3), who wrote the Menaion service for Saint Gregory, his father in Christ.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Η δυάς η ένθεος, τών θεοφόρων Πατέρων, βιοτής ορθότητι, καί τών δογμάτων τή αίγλη, φάναντες, δικαιοσύνης εν τώ στεφάνω, ώφθησαν τής Εκκλησίας νυμφαγωγία, ο Γρηγόριος καί Πρόκλος, ούς ευξημούντες Χριστόν δοξάσωμεν.
The Church knoweth thee to be a shining sun that enlight'neth all men with the rays of cures and with the beauty of virtue. Hence, O truly blessed Father, Christ's faithful servant, we all celebrate thy venerable memorial, O wise Gregory most righteous; and we now honour thy valiant struggles for Christ.
Saint Proclus lived during the reign of Saint Theodosius the Younger. A disciple and scribe of Saint John Chrysostom, he was ordained Bishop of Cyzicus about the year 426, but because the people there unlawfully elected another bishop before his arrival, he remained in Constantinople. In 429, Nestorius, who had been Archbishop of Constantinople for about a year, and had already begun his blasphemous teaching that it is wrong to call the holy Virgin "Theotokos," invited Bishop Proclus to give a sermon on one of the feasts of our Lady, which he did, openly defending in Nestorius' presence the name "Theotokos," that is, "Mother of God." Saint Proclus was elevated to the throne of Archbishop of Constantinople in 434. It was he who persuaded Emperor Theodosius the Younger and his holy sister Pulcheria to have the most sacred relics of his godly teacher Saint John Chrysostom brought back from Comana, and triumphantly received them upon their return to the imperial city (see Jan. 27 and Nov. 13). He reposed in peace in 447.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Η δυάς η ένθεος, τών θεοφόρων Πατέρων, βιοτής ορθότητι, καί τών δογμάτων τή αίγλη, φάναντες, δικαιοσύνης εν τώ στεφάνω, ώφθησαν τής Εκκλησίας νυμφαγωγία, ο Γρηγόριος καί Πρόκλος, ούς ευξημούντες Χριστόν δοξάσωμεν.
On this day, thy ven'rable departure from us, O wise Proclus blest of God, is celebrated fittingly with joy by her that in very truth is the most honoured of cities in all the world.
Η συνάντηση με τον θάνατο είναι στον άνθρωπο φοβερή. Αν και δεν μπορούμε να γνωρίζουμε ποιά είναι τα συναισθήματα του ανθρώπου την ώρα που πεθαίνει, όμως πολλές φορές τα καταλαβαίνομε από τον τρόπο, με τον οποίον πεθαίνει. Ο τρόπος λοιπόν, με τον οποίον εκουσίως αποθνήσκουν οι Μάρτυρες της πίστεως μας δίνει να καταλάβωμε και για τα συναισθήματά τους κατά την ώρα του θανάτου. Οι Μάρτυρες της πίστεως συναντώνται με τον θάνατο και δεν αισθάνονται την φοβερότητά του. Την ημερα του θανάτου των την βλέπουν "γενέθλιον ημέραν". Ο άγιος Μάρτυς Δάσιος, του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη, όταν ήλθε η ώρα ν' αποθάνη προσφερόμενος θυσία, κατά ειδωλολατρικό έθιμο, στον Θεό Κρόνο, του είπαν: "κάμε κάθε σου επιθυμία". Εκείνος σκέφθηκε λίγο και είπε: "Αφού μέλλω να αποθάνω, καλύτερα να αποθάνω για τον Χριστό". Κι απέθανε βασανιζόμενος και χαίρων.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Δεκαπολίτης
Ἔζησε τὸν 9ο αἰῶνα μ.Χ. καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Εἰρηνόπολη τῆς Δεκαπόλεως. Τὴ χριστιανικὴ ἀνατροφή του ὄφειλε πρῶτα στὴ μητέρα του Μαρία, ἡ ὁποία, μὲ τὴν ζωντανή της πίστη στὸ Χριστό, ἀνέθρεψε τὸ γιό της σύμφωνα μὲ τὶς ἐπιταγὲς τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ὁ Γρηγόριος ἔγινε μοναχὸς καὶ ἀγωνιζόταν ἔντονα γιὰ ἠθικὴ τελειοποίηση. Ἐκεῖνο ποὺ ἰδιαίτερα τὸν διέκρινε ἦταν ἡ καλλιέργεια τῆς ἐγκράτειας στὸν ἑαυτό του. Τὴ θεωροῦσε ἀπαραίτητη γιὰ τὴν καθαρότητα τοῦ νοῦ καὶ τὴν ἠθικὴ κυριαρχία στὴ σάρκα. Καὶ σὲ ὅσους τὸν ῥωτοῦσαν γιατί δίνει ἱδιαίτερη βαρύτητα σ᾿ αὐτὴ τὴν ἀρετή, ἀπαντοῦσε μὲ τὸν αἰώνιο λόγο τῆς ἁγίας Γραφῆς: «Πᾷς ὁ ἀγωνιζόμενος πάντα ἐγκρατεύεται, ἐκεῖνοι μὲν οὖν ἵνα φθαρτὸν στέφανον λάβωσιν, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἄφθαρτον». Καθένας, δηλαδή, ποὺ ἀγωνίζεται, ἐγκρατεύεται σὲ ὅλα, ἀκόμα καὶ στὴν τροφὴ καὶ στὸ ποτό. Καὶ ἐκεῖνοι μέν, οἱ ἀθλητὲς τοῦ κόσμου, ἀγωνίζονται καὶ ἐγκρατεύονται γιὰ νὰ πάρουν στεφάνι ποὺ φθείρεται. Ἐμεῖς ὅμως, oι ἀθλητὲς τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἀγωνιζόμαστε γιὰ ἄφθαρτο στεφάνι. Ὁ Γρηγόριος ὅμως δὲν ἀρκέσθηκε μόνο στὴ μοναχικὴ ζωή. Μετεῖχε ἀπὸ κοντὰ στοὺς σκληροὺς ἀγῶνες κατὰ τῶν εἰκονομάχων βασιλέων. Ἔκανε πολλὰ ταξίδια καὶ τελικὰ ἐγκαταστάθηκε στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη, στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Μηνᾷ. Ἐπιδόθηκε σὲ συγγραφὲς καὶ πέθανε ἀπὸ βαρειὰ ἀῤῥώστια στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη (τὸ 816 μ.Χ.).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πρόκλος ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Μαθητὴς τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου. Ὑπῆρξε ἄξιος μαθητὴς τοῦ μεγάλου διδασκάλου τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας, Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου. Ὁ Πατριάρχης Ἀττικὸς (406-425) τὸν ἔκανε διάκονο καὶ κατόπιν πρεσβύτερο. Ἐπειδὴ διακρινόταν γιὰ τὴν παιδεία, τὴν ἀρετὴ καὶ τὴν διδακτική του ἱκανότητα, ἀγαπήθηκε θερμὰ ἀπ᾿ ὅλους τοὺς θαυμαστὲς τοῦ ἀξέχαστου διδασκάλου του καὶ ὑποστηριζόταν ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς γιὰ τὸν Πατριαρχικὸ θρόνο τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ ἀντίδραση τοῦ διεφθαρμένου κατεστημένου ναυάγισε τὴν ὑποψηφιότητά του. Ἀργότερα ὁ Πατρ. Σισίνιος, τὸ ἔτος 425, χειροτόνησε τὸν Πρόκλο ἐπίσκοπο Κυζίκου. Λόγω ὅμως τῶν ἀνωμαλιῶν τῆς ἐπαρχίας, τὴν ἐπισκοπὴ κατέλαβε κάποιος Δαλμάτιος. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Πρόκλος, χωρὶς νὰ στεναχωρηθεῖ, ἐξακολούθησε τὸ κήρυγμα τοῦ θείου λόγου στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ὅταν πέθανε ὁ Πατριάρχης Μαξιμιανὸς (434) καὶ αὐτοκράτορας ἦταν ὁ Θεοδόσιος ὁ Β´, στὸ θρόνο ἀνέβηκε πανηγυρικὰ ὁ Πρόκλος καὶ μάλιστα πρὶν ἀκόμα θάψουν τὸν Μαξιμιανό. Ἡ πρώτη φροντίδα τοῦ Πρόκλου ἦταν ἡ ἀνακομιδὴ τοῦ ἱεροῦ λειψάνου τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου ἀπὸ τὰ Κόμανα στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ἐπίσης, ἐπὶ τοῦ Πατριάρχου αὐτοῦ καθιερώθηκε καὶ ὁ τρισάγιος ὕμνος στὶς ἐκκλησίες. Πατριάρχευσε δώδεκα χρόνια καὶ τρεῖς μῆνες. Πέθανε τό 447.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Δάσιος ποὺ μαρτύρησε στὸ Δορύστολο
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Διοκλητιανοῦ στὰ τέλη τοῦ 3ου αἰῶνα μετὰ Χριστὸν (298) καὶ μαρτύρησε στὴν πόλη Δορύστολο, ποὺ βρίσκεται κοντὰ στὸν Ἴστρο (Δούναβη) ποταμό. Ὁ Δάσιος ἀνῆκε στὶς στρατιωτικὲς τάξεις καὶ τὸν διέκρινε θερμότατη πίστη στὸ Χριστό. Καταγγέλθηκε γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ δὲν δέχτηκε καμία δελεαστικὴ ὑπόσχεση οὔτε φοβήθηκε καμιὰ ἀπειλή. Μετὰ ἀπὸ διαταγὴ τοῦ διοικητῆ του, βασανίστηκε σκληρά. Στὸ τέλος τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Νιρσᾶς ὁ Ἐπίσκοπος, Ἰωσὴφ ὁ μαθητής του καὶ Ἐπίσκοπος καὶ ἄλλοι Μάρτυρες ποὺ μαρτύρησαν στὴν Περσία
Ὅλοι ἔλαβαν τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου στὴν Περσία. Ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ὁ Νιρσᾶς ἦταν Ἐπίσκοπος, γέροντας σχεδὸν 80 χρονῶν. Ὁ δὲ μαθητής του καὶ Ἐπίσκοπος Ἰωσήφ, ἔφτασε τὰ 89 χρόνια. Μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἦταν καὶ ἄλλοι Ἐπίσκοποι, Ἱερεῖς, λαϊκοί, γυναῖκες παρθένες καὶ ἀσκήτριες. Αὐτοὶ λοιπόν, κατὰ τῶν διωγμὸ ἐναντίον τῶν χριστιανῶν, ποὺ κίνησε ὁ βασιλιὰς Σαπὼρ ὁ Β´, βασανίστηκαν ἀπὸ τοὺς Πέρσες μὲ διάφορα σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως δὲν ἀρνήθηκαν τὴν πίστη τους, ὅλοι ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Εὐστάθιος, Θεσπέσιος καὶ Ἀνατόλιος
Ἔζησαν στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Μαξιμιανοῦ τὸ ἔτος 300 μ.Χ. Αὐτοὶ ἦταν ἀδέλφια μεταξύ τους καὶ πατρίδα εἶχαν τὴν Γάγγρα τῆς Μ. Ἀσίας. Οἱ γονεῖς τους ἦταν εἰδωλολάτρες καὶ ὀνομαζόταν Φιλόθεος καὶ Εὐσεβία. Ἀπὸ τοὺς τρεῖς, ὁ μὲν Εὐστάθιος ἀσχολεῖτο μὲ τὰ γράμματα, οἱ δὲ δυὸ ἄλλοι ἀδελφοὶ μὲ τὸ ἐπάγγελμα τοῦ πατέρα τους (πώληση φορεμάτων). Στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη τοὺς ἔφερε ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἀντιοχείας Λουκιανός, ἀφοῦ εἶχε συναντήσει τὸν Φιλόθεο καὶ τὸν Ἀνατόλιο σ᾿ ἕνα ταξίδι στὴν Ἀνατολή. Τοὺς κατήχησε καὶ ὅταν ἔφτασαν στὴ Νικομήδεια βαπτίστηκαν ἀπὸ τὸν ἐπίσκοπο Νικομήδειας Ἄνθιμο, ὁ ὁποῖος τὸν μὲν Φιλόθεο χειροτόνησε πρεσβύτερο, τὸ δὲ Εὐστάθιο διάκονο. Μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τῶν γονέων τους, καταγγέλθηκαν στὸν Μαξιμιανὸ καὶ ἀφοῦ ὑπέστησαν φρικτὰ βασανιστήρια, τελικὰ ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν.
Our Holy Father Gregory of Decapolis (842)
He was born in Irenopolis, one of the "Ten Cities" of Asia Minor. Though his parents wanted him to marry, he entered monastic life as a young man, and struggled for many years, living in reclusion under the guidance of a wise spiritual father. One day, while in prayer, he was carried away to Paradise and experienced the blessedness that the redeemed will know at the general Resurrection. The vision seemed to him only to last for an hour, but he learned from his disciple that he had been in ecstasy for four days.
Aware that the Enemy can appear as an angel of light, and that we should be suspicious of seeming revelations, he sought the counsel of his Abbot, who reassured him, and told him to give thanks to God by continuing in his ascetic labors.
Soon, he was told by revelation that he was to go forth into the world, living without an earthly home, to uphold the Orthodox faith, which was then under attack by the Iconoclasts. He traveled through Ephesus, Constantinople, Corinth, Rome, Sicily, Thessalonica, and Constantinople again, laboring in defense of the Faith and working many miracles. Usually he would stay with poor people who welcomed him into their houses, though it was forbidden by law to receive an Orthodox monk (that is, one who defended the Icons). In his last few years, afflicted by illness, he settled in Constantinople, where he reposed in peace in 832, just before the end of iconoclasm and the restoration of Orthodoxy. Since 1490, his incorrupt relics have dwelt at the Monastery of Bistritsa in Romania, where they continue to be a source of miracles for the many pilgrims who come to venerate them.
Our Holy Father Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople (447)
He was a disciple and scribe of St John Chrysostom. About the year 426 he was ordained Bishop of Cyzicus, but was unable to take up his see because another had been unlawfully elected in his place, so he remained in Constantinople. Around 428, Nestorius was made Patriarch of Constantinople, and almost immediately began teaching his blasphemous doctrine that the holy Virgin could not be called Theotokos, "God-bearer," but only Christotokos, "Christ-bearer." Proclus resisted this teaching forcefully, once giving a sermon in the presence of the heretical Patriarch, defending the Orthodox teaching concerning the Theotokos. Proclus was elevated to the throne of Patriarch of Constantinople in 434, after Nestorius had been deposed and the Orthodox teaching clearly proclaimed in an Ecumenical Council. It was Proclus who persuaded the Emperor Theodosius the Younger to have the holy relics of his teacher St John Chrysostom returned to Constantinople, and who received them on their triumphal return to the city. He reposed in peace in 447.
The Monk Gregory Dekapolites was born in the city of Isaurian Dekapolis in the VIII Century. From the time of his childhood he was fond of the temple of God and church services. He read constantly with reverence in the Holy Scripture. In order to avoid the marriage which his parents had intended for him, he secretly left home. He spent all his life wandering: he was in Constantinople, Rome, Corinth, and he pursued asceticism for a certain while on Olympos. The Monk Gregory preached everywhere the Word of God, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times were oppressing, torturing and imprisoning. Through his ascetic effort and prayer, Saint Gregory acquired the graced gifts of prophecy and wonderworking. Having attained to purity of heart, he was granted to hear Angelic singing in praise of the Holy Trinity. To better contend against the Iconoclast heresy, Saint Gregory left the monastery of Saint Minos where he had asceticised for a long while, and he set off again to Constantinople. At the capital, a grievous illness undermined his strength, and he expired to the Lord in the year 816.
Sainted Proklos, Archbishop of Constantinople, from his early years devoted all his time to prayer and the study of Holy Scripture. The Lord granted him the great good fortune to be a student of Saint John Chrysostom (+ 407, Comm. 13 November), who at first ordained him to the dignity of deacon, and then to the dignity of presbyter. Saint Proklos was a witness of the appearance of the Apostle Paul to Saint John Chrysostom. Saint Proklos received from his teacher a profound comprehension of Holy Scripture, and learned in polished form to elucidate thought.
After the exile and death of Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Proklos was ordained by the holy Patriarch of Constantinople Sisinios (426-427) to the dignity of bishop of the city of Kyzikos, but under the influence of Nestorian heretics he was expelled by his flock there. Saint Proklos then returned to the capital and preached the Word of God in the churches of Constantinople, strengthening listeners in the Orthodox faith and denouncing the impiety of the heretics. Upon the death of the Patriarch Saint Sisinios, Saint Proklos was elevated to archbishop. Having thus been made Patriarch of Constantinople, he guided the Church over the course of twelve years (434-447). By the efforts of Saint Proklos, the relics of Saint John Chrysostom were transferred from Comana to Constantinople during the time of the holy emperor Saint Theodosius II (408-450).
During the time of Saint Proklos as patriarch the empire suffered destructive earthquakes, lasting for several months. At Bithynia, in the Hellespont, and in Phrygia cities were devastated, rivers disappeared from the face of the earth, and in previously dry places there occurred terrible flooding. The people of Constantinople together with the patriarch and emperor at the head came out from the city and made moliebens for the ceasing of the calamities, unprecedented in force. During the time of one molieben a boy from the crowd was snatched up into the air by an unseen force and carried off to such an height, that he was no longer to be seen by human sight. Then, whole and unharmed, the lad was lowered upon the ground and he reported, how that up Above he heard and he saw, how the Angels in glorifying God did sing: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal". All the people began to sing this Trisagion Prayer, -- adding to it the refrain. "Have mercy on us!" -- and the earthquakes stopped. The Orthodox Church sings still this prayer at Divine-services to this very day.
The Constantinople flock esteemed their Patriarch for his ascetic life, for his concern about the downtrodden, and for his preaching. Many works of the saint have survived down to the present day. Best known are his discourses against the Nestorians, two tracts of the Saint in praise of the Mother of God, and four tracts on the Nativity of Christ, -- setting forth the Orthodox teaching about the Incarnation of the Son of God. The activity of the holy Patriarch in establishing decorum in all the church affairs gained him universal esteem. Surrounded by love and respect, Saint Proklos expired to the Lord in his declining years (+ 446-447).
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Venerable Gregory of Decapolis
Gregory was born in Isaurian Decapolis of prominent and devout parents, Sergius and Mary. After he had completed his schooling, his parents desired that he marry, but he fled to the wilderness and was tonsured a monk. He lived in various places: Byzantium, Rome and on Mount Olympus. Wherever he was, he amazed men by his asceticism and miracles. At times a heavenly light illumined him and angels of God appeared to him. He gazed upon the beauty of the angels and listened to their sweet chanting. He lived a long and God-pleasing life and died peacefully in the ninth century in Constantinople, his soul taking up its abode in the joy of his Lord.
2. Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople
Proclus was a disciple of St. John Chrysostom. In the year 426 he was consecrated Bishop of Cyzicus, and in 435 was chosen Patriarch of Constantinople. He governed the Church of God as a prudent hierarch. During his tenure, two significant events occurred. The first was the translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom from Comana to Constantinople, at the desire of both the emperor and the patriarch. Emperor Theodosius the Younger was then reigning with his sister, Pulcheria. The second event was the great earthquake in Constantinople and the surrounding countryside. Many of the largest and most beautiful buildings were destroyed by this terrible earthquake. Then the patriarch, with the emperor, many of the clergy, nobles and people, came out in a procession of supplication. As they were praying to God, a child was miraculously lifted high in the air, until he was out of sight. Then he returned and was lowered gently to the ground. Asked where he had been, the child replied that he had been lifted up to heaven among the angels and that he had heard the angels sing: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!" Upon hearing this, all the people in the procession began to sing it and the earthquake ceased immediately. From that time on, this beautiful hymn was adopted by the Church. The child soon reposed, and was interred in the Church of St. Irene. In all, St. Proclus served as a hierarch for twenty years and reposed peacefully in the Lord in the year 446.
3. The Holy Martyrs Eustathius, Thespesius and Anatolius
Eustathius, Thespesius and Anatolius were blood brothers from Nicomedia. Their parents, Philotheus and Eusebia, were pagans who received the true Faith from St. Anthimus, Bishop of Nicomedia, as did their sons. Philotheus was ordained a presbyter. When he and his wife reposed, a terrible persecution of Christians was perpetrated under the evil Emperor Maximian, and Philotheus's three sons were brought to trial. Accused, interrogated and tortured in various ways, they were finally condemned to death. Angels appeared to them many times in prison and gave them manna to eat, filling their young hearts with strength, courage and endurance. When they were led to the place of execution, two friends, Palladius and Acacius, approached them and spoke with them. While they were still speaking, the holy martyrs gave up their souls to God. The soldiers then severed their lifeless heads and took them to show to the judge. They suffered for Christ the Lord in about the year 313, and took up their habitation in the Immortal Kingdom of Christ.
4. Saint Isaac, Archbishop of Armenia
Isaac was born in Constantinople when his father was an envoy of the Armenian king to the Byzantine court. Isaac was the tenth Archbishop of Armenia, and in that calling, governed the Church for fifty years. His episcopacy was distinguished, among other things, by the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the Armenian language. He was told in a vision that the Armenians would eventually fall away from the pure Faith of Orthodoxy. This eminent hierarch entered peacefully into rest in the year 440 and reposed in the Lord.
5. The Three Holy Virgins
All three were Persians. At the time of King Sapor, these three virgins were persecuted as Christians, and were finally cut to pieces with knives. Three fig trees grew out of their graves that healed all manner of pains and illnesses.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople
Glorious disciple of a glorious teacher,
O most-wise Proclus, servant of the Savior,
You strengthened the Faith and destroyed heresy,
For which the Holy Church praises you,
And the Church magnifies its giant,
Who, by glorifying God, glorified himself.
As a skilled helmsman, you guided the Church,
Beheld miracles and glorified God.
Clairvoyant of spirit, with a mind filled with grace,
You resonated with the Spirit like a finely tuned string.
Taught by the Spirit, you instructed the emperor
To transport the relics of the golden-mouthed Patriarch,
And with the emperor and the people you openly beheld
Glorious miracles manifest from the relics.
Now, in Paradise eternal, pray for us,
That the faithful endure in the Faith to the end!
No mortal has interpreted the Epistles of the Apostle Paul with greater love and depth than St. John Chrysostom. Had St. Paul himself interpreted them, he could not have interpreted them better. Behold, history tells us that it was Paul himself who interpreted them through the mind and the pen of Chrysostom. When St. Proclus was a novice under Chrysostom, during the time that he was patriarch, it was his duty to announce visitors. A certain nobleman was slandered before Emperor Arcadius and the emperor had expelled him from the court. This nobleman came to implore Chrysostom to intercede with the emperor on his behalf. Proclus went to announce him to the patriarch but, looking through the partly opened door, saw a man bent over the patriarch, whispering something in his ear while the patriarch wrote. This continued until dawn. Meanwhile, Proclus told the nobleman to come back the next evening, while he himself remained in amazement, wondering who the man with the patriarch was, and how he managed to enter the patriarch's chamber unannounced. The second night the same thing happened again, and Proclus was in still greater amazement. The third night the same thing happened again, and Proclus was in the greatest amazement. When Chrysostom asked him if the nobleman had come by, he replied that he had already been waiting for three nights, but that he couldn't announce him because of the elderly, balding stranger who had been whispering in the patriarch's ear for three nights. The astonished Chrysostom said that he did not remember anyone entering to see him during the previous three nights. He asked his novice what the stranger looked like, and Proclus pointed to the icon of the Holy Apostle Paul, saying that the man was like him. Therefore, it was the Apostle Paul himself who was directing the mind and pen of his greatest interpreter.
Contemplate the wondrous creation of the world (Genesis 1):
1. How the Holy Trinity took counsel together about the creation of man;
2. How God created man in His own image.
on behavior in accordance with one's calling
… that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering (Ephesians 4:1-2).
Be not proud, be not angry, be not faint-hearted; for these are unworthy of a Christian calling. This calling is so elevated and wonderful that it is difficult for a man to safeguard himself from pride; yet it is difficult to keep oneself above faint-heartedness when dangers and losses occur. Against these three unhealthy states, the Apostle emphasizes three healthy states: against pride, lowliness; against anger, meekness; against faint-heartedness, longsuffering. It must be said that these three virtues-lowliness, meekness and longsuffering-do not express in full measure the loftiness of the Christian calling. But then, nothing in this world can fully express the height of the Christian calling. The preciousness and richness of this calling cannot be seen here on earth: it is like a closed chest that a man carries through this world, but only opens it and avails himself of its riches in the other world. Only someone who could raise himself to the highest heavens and see Christ the Lord in glory with the angels and the saints could assess the loftiness of the Christian calling; for there is the victorious assembly of all God's chosen ones from earth who were made worthy of this exceedingly high honor.
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Thy name is the name most dear to us.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.