FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
James the Great Martyr of Persia
Nathaniel of Nitria & Pinouphrios of Egypt, the Righteous
James the Wonderworker, Bishop of Rostov
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μεγαλομάρτυρος Ἰακώβου τοῦ Πέρσου καί τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ναθαναήλ.
Τῶν Ὁσίων Πατέρων ἡμῶν Γρηγορίου τοῦ Σιναΐτου καί Γερασίμου τοῦ μαθητοῦ αὐτοῦ καί τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ἀρσενίου, τοῦ ἐν Ράξῳ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back, for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 16.1-8
Καὶ διαγενομένου τοῦ σαββάτου Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ τοῦ ᾿Ιακώβου καὶ Σαλώμη ἠγόρασαν ἀρώματα ἵνα ἐλθοῦσαι ἀλείψωσιν αὐτόν. καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῆς μιᾶς σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον, ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου. καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἑαυτάς· τίς ἀποκυλίσει ἡμῖν τὸν λίθον ἐκ τῆς θύρας τοῦ μνημείου; καὶ ἀναβλέψασαι θεωροῦσιν ὅτι ἀποκεκύλισται ὁ λίθος· ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα. καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς, περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν. ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς· μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε· ᾿Ιησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον· ἠγέρθη, οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε· ἴδε ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. ἀλλ᾿ ὑπάγετε εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ τῷ Πέτρῳ ὅτι προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν· ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε, καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν. καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου· εἶχε δὲ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις, καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπον· ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 2:14-22
BRETHREN, Christ is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Πρὸς Ἐφεσίους 2:14-22
Ἀδελφοί, Χριστός ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἕν, καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας, τήν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκί αὐτοῦ, τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν, καταργήσας· ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν ἑαὐτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον, ποιῶν εἰρήνην, καὶ ἀποκαταλλάξῃ τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ, ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν αὐτῷ· καὶ ἐλθὼν εὐηγγελίσατο εἰρήνην ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰν καὶ τοῖς ἐγγύς· ὅτι διʼ αὐτοῦ ἔχομεν τὴν προσαγωγὴν οἱ ἀμφότεροι ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα. Ἄρα οὖν οὐκέτι ἐστὲ ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι, ἀλλὰ συμπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων καὶ οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐποικοδομηθέντες ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν, ὄντος ἀκρογωνιαίου αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, ἐν ᾧ πᾶσα οἰκοδομὴ συναρμολογουμένη αὔξει εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον ἐν κυρίῳ, ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικοδομεῖσθε εἰς κατοικητήριον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν πνεύματι.
The Reading is from Luke 18:18-27
At that time, a ruler came to Jesus and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.' " And he said, "All these I have observed from my youth." And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 18.18-27
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἄρχων λέγων· διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω; εἶπε δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός. τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας· μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, μὴ φονεύσῃς, μὴ κλέψῃς, μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα σου. ὁ δὲ εἶπε· ταῦτα πάντα ἐφυλαξάμην ἐκ νεότητός μου. ἀκούσας δὲ ταῦτα ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει· πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι. ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας ταῦτα περίλυπος ἐγένετο· ἦν γὰρ πλούσιος σφόδρα. ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς περίλυπον γενόμενον εἶπε· πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰσελεύσονται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ! εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστι κάμηλον διὰ τρυμαλιᾶς ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν. εἶπον δὲ οἱ ἀκούσαντες· καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι; ὁ δὲ εἶπε· τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΖ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς ἀθλήσεως τοῦ Ἁγίου Μεγαλομάρτυρος Ἰακώβου τοῦ Πέρσου.
Τμηθεὶς μεληδόν, καὶ σφαγὴν Πέρσης φέρων,
«Ψυχὴ σεσώσθω, φροῦδά μοι μέλη» λέγει.
Εἰκάδι Πέρσης ἑβδομάτῃ σφάγη ἐκμελεϊσθείς.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Πινούφριος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ὁ Πινούφριος ἀρετῶν πολλαῖς χρόαις
Ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἔλαμψεν ὡς ἶρις νέα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Ναθαναὴλ ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
«Ἀφεῖσα κόσμον, πρὸς Θεὸν ψυχὴ τρέχε»,
Ναθαναὴλ ἔκραζε μέλλων ἐκπνέειν.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Saint was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth; he was the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the King's friendship and flatteries. When his mother and his wife learned of this, they declared to him by letter that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words and coming to himself, the Saint wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. Therefore, becoming exceedingly wroth, the King - this was Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438), Isdiger's son and successor - condemned him to a most bitter death, the likes of which not even a brute beast was ever condemned to: that is, his body was dismembered at every joint of his arms and legs. And so, when he had been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous Martyr was finally beheaded, in the year 421.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Τὰς ἀλγηδόνας τῶν Ἁγίων, ἃς ὑπὲρ σοῦ ἔπαθον, δυσωπήθητι, Κύριε, καὶ πάσας ἡμῶν τὰς ὀδύνας, ἴασαι φιλάνθρωπε, δεόμεθα.
Be Thou entreated for the sake of the sufferings of Thy Saints which they endured for Thee, O Lord, and do Thou heal all our pains, we pray, O Friend of man.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Πεισθείς τή καλή, συζύγω καρτερόψυχε, καί τό φοβερόν, κριτήριον φοβούμενος, τών Περσών τό φρόνημα, καί τόν φοβον Ιάκωβε κατέπτυσας, καί ανεδείχθης Μάρτυς θαυμαστός, τό σώμα ως κλήμα τεμνόμενος.
O stout-hearted James, persuaded by thy noble wife, and fearing the dread tribunal, thou didst scorn all fear of the Persians with their profane decrees, and thou wast shown forth to be a most wondrous martyr of Christ, when all of thy body was pruned like a vine.
Στα ιερά Ευαγγέλια έχομε την άρνηση του Πέτρου και την έπειτα μετάνοιά του, που με πικρά δάκρυα έκλαψε για το παράπτωμά του. Και όχι μόνο ο Απόστολος του Χριστού "εξελθών έξω έκλαυσε πικρώς", αλλά και με το αίμα του τελευταία ξέπλυνε την άρνησή του. Αλλά και στην ιστορία των αγίων Μαρτύρων της Εκκλησίας έχομε παρόμοιο παράδειγμα με τον άγιο Ιάκωβο τον Πέρση, του οποίο σήμερα η Εκκλησία τιμά την μνήμη. Όχι μονάχα μετανόησε και έκλαψε, γιατί αρνήθηκε τον Χριστό, μα και το αίμα του έδωκε στο τέλος για το Σωτήρα. Το μαρτύριό του είναι φοβερό και να το διαβάζη κανείς. Εκόπηκαν κομμάτια - κομμάτια από κάθε κλείδωση τα χέρια και τα πόδια του αγίου Μάρτυρος και τελευταία έπεσε και η κεφαλή του. Ο άγιος Μάρτυς Γόρδιος είπεν όταν μαρτυρούσε: "οία ζημιούμαι, μη δυνάμενος πολλάκις υπέρ Χριστού αποθανείν!". Μα ο άγιος Ιάκωβος με τέτοιο φοβερό μαρτύριο απέθανεν "πολλάκις".
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰάκωβος ὁ Πέρσης, ὁ Μεγαλομάρτυρας
Ἔζησε τὸν 4ο μ.Χ. αἰῶνα, ὅταν βασιλιὰς ἦταν ὁ Ἀρκάδιος. Κατοικοῦσε στὴν περσικὴ πόλη Βηθλαβὰ καὶ ἀνῆκε σὲ γένος ἐπίσημο. Ὁ Ἰάκωβος ἦταν πολὺ φίλος με τὸ βασιλιὰ τῶν Περσῶν Ἰσδιγέργη. Ἡ φιλία αὐτὴ ὅμως, δυστυχῶς, τὸν πίεσε καὶ ἀρνήθηκε τὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη ποὺ εἶχε. Τὸ γεγονὸς αὐτὸ λύπησε πολὺ τὴ μητέρα του καὶ τὴ σύζυγό του, ποὺ τοῦ δήλωσαν ὅτι μετὰ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ δὲν ἤθελαν οὔτε κἂν νὰ τὸν γνωρίζουν. Ἡ στάση αὐτὴ τῶν ἀγαπημένων του προσώπων ἄνοιξε τὰ μάτια τοῦ Ἰακώβου, συναισθάνθηκε τὸ μεγάλο του ὀλίσθημα καὶ ἔχυσε δάκρυα μετανοίας πικρά, ἀλλὰ σωτήρια. Λυπήθηκε πολύ, ἀλλὰ μία λύπη γιὰ τὴν ὁποία ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος λέει: «Νῦν χαίρω, οὐχ ὅτι ἐλυπήθητε, ἀλλ᾿ ὅτι ἐλυπήθητε εἰς μετάνοιαν ἐλυπήθητε γὰρ κατὰ Θεόν». Τώρα, δηλαδὴ χαίρομαι, ὄχι γιατὶ λυπηθήκατε, ἀλλὰ διότι ἡ λύπη ποὺ δοκιμάσατε σᾶς ὁδήγησε στὴ μετάνοια. Διότι λυπηθήκατε ὅπως θέλει ὁ Θεός. Κατόπιν ὁ Ἰάκωβος μὲ θάῤῥος πῆγε στὸ βασιλιά, καταδίκασε τὴν πρώτη του ἐνέργεια καὶ τοῦ δήλωσε ὅτι ὁμολογεῖ καὶ πάλι τὸ Χριστό. Ἔκπληκτος ὁ βασιλιάς, ἀφοῦ δὲν μπόρεσε πάλι νὰ τὸν μεταστρέψει, ἔκοψε σὲ τεμάχια τὰ πόδια καὶ τὰ χέρια του, καὶ στὸ τέλος τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε (τὸ 421 μ.Χ. στὴ Βηθλαβά).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Πινούφριος
Μέγας ἀσκητὴς στὴν Αἰγυπτιακὴ ἔρημο, ἱερέας καὶ ἡγούμενος κοινοβίου κοντὰ στὴν πόλη Πανεφῶ. Ἐπειδὴ δὲν ἤθελε τιμές, ἐγκατέλειψε τὴν Μονή του καὶ μὲ λαϊκὴ ἐνδυμασία κατέφυγε στὴ Μονὴ Ταβεννησιωτῶν καὶ ὑπηρετοῦσε ὅπως ὁ τελευταῖος ὑπηρέτης. Μετὰ τρία χρόνια ὅμως, τὸν γνώρισε κάποιος μαθητής του καὶ ἐπανῆλθε στὴ Μονή του. Ἀλλὰ καὶ πάλι γιὰ τοὺς ἴδιους λόγους τὴν ἐγκατέλειψε καὶ πῆγε στὴν Παλαιστίνη καὶ ἔπειτα ξαναγύρισε στὴ Μονή του, ὅπου μὲ πλήρη ταπεινοφροσύνη ἀφοῦ ἔζησε ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. Λόγοι τοῦ ὁσίου αὐτοῦ, σῴζονται στὸν Εὐεργετινό.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ναθαναήλ
Ἀσκητὴς μὲ τὸν ὁποῖο ἀσχολεῖται ὁ Παλλάδιος στὸ Λαυσαϊκό, ἀφηγούμενος τὰ παράδοξα τῆς ζωῆς του. Ἔζησε 37 χρόνια μέσα στὸ κελί του, χωρὶς νὰ βγεῖ καθόλου, παρὰ τὶς παγίδες τοῦ δαίμονα νὰ τὸν ἀποσπάσει ἀπὸ τὴν καλύβα του. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.
Holy Great Martyr James the Persian (421)
"This Saint was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth; he was the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the King's friendship and flatteries. When his mother and his wife learned of this, they declared to him by letter that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words and coming to himself, the Saint wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. Therefore, becoming exceedingly wroth, the King — this was Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438), Isdiger's son and successor — condemned him to a most bitter death, the likes of which not even a brute beast was ever condemned to: that is, his body was dismembered at every joint of his arms and legs. And so, when he had been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous Martyr was finally beheaded, in the year 421." (Great Horologion)
Repose of Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore) (1992) (Nov. 14 OC)
Though he has not been glorified by the Church, Fr Lazarus was a pioneer and exemplar of Orthodoxy in the West.
He was born in England in 1902. In his early manhood he moved to western Canada, where he worked as a farm laborer for several years. While working in Alberta, he sensed a call to become a missionary and went to an English missionary college for five years.
Sad to say, our sources are unclear about how he came to the Orthodox faith from this unlikely beginning. But in 1934 he spent seven weeks on Mt Athos, then lived as a monk in Yugoslavia. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Theophan (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), then sent to Palestine to serve the Russian Mission in Jerusalem.
In 1948, the new State of Israel gave the Mission's property to the Soviet Union and the mission was left dispossessed. Fr Lazarus served as priest to the Russian Convent in Aïn Karim and Transjordan, then was sent to India in 1952, where he helped in Orthodox missionary work for twenty years. Several of his books and translations, such as his biography/study of St Seraphim of Sarov, were written while he lived in India. While there, he met Mother Gavrilia of Greece, whose beautiful biography Ascetic of Love includes good descriptions of him during his life in India. Though very strict in his Orthodoxy, he was flexible in externals: in India he wore a white rather than a black cassock, because black clothing had offensive connotations to the Indian people.
In 1972 Fr Lazarus was called to Greece, then in 1974 to Australia, where he served for nine years. In 1983 he moved to California in answer to call from Fr Peter Gillquist to assist members of the former 'Evangelical Orthodox Church' in their move to Orthodoxy. In 1989 he moved to Alaska, where he continued this work. He reposed in Eagle River, Alaska in 1992. Following is sn excerpt from an account of his last days by members of his community in Eagle River:
"Father always signed his name with TWA, "Traveling With Angels". A few days before his death, after battling cancer many years, faithfully using the Jesus Prayer as the medicine for his affliction, the Archangel Michael appeared to help him. His final journey homeward had begun, TWA... 'the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.' (2 Timothy 4: 6-8)."
The Holy GreatMartyr James the Persian (the Hewn-Apart) was born in the IV Century into a pious Christian family, both wealthy and illustrious. His wife was also a Christian, and the spouses raised their children in piety, inspiring in them a love for prayer and the Holy Scripture. James occupied an high position at the court of the Persian emperor Izdegerd (399-420) and his successor Barakhranes (420-438). But on one of the military campaigns James, seduced by the emperor's beneficence, became afraid to acknowledge himself a Christian, and so together with the emperor he offered sacrifice to idols. Learning of this, the mother and wife of James in deep distress wrote him a letter, in which they scolded him and urged him to repent. Receiving the letter, James realised the gravity of his sin, and setting before himself the horror of being cut off not only from his family, but also from God Himself, he began loudly to weep and implore the Lord for forgiveness. His fellow-soldiers, hearing him pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, reported about this to the emperor. Under interrogation and taking courage in spirit, Saint James bravely confessed his faith in the One True God. No amount of urgings by the emperor could shake him into renouncing Christ. The emperor then gave orders to deliver the saint over to a death by martyrdom. They placed the martyr on a chopping-block and they alternately cut off his fingers and his toes, and then his hands and his feet. During the prolonged torture Saint James incessantly offered up prayer of thanks to the Lord, that He had granted him the possibility through the terrible torments to be redeemed of the sins committed. Flowing with blood the martyr was then beheaded.
Sainted Iakov (James), Bishop of Rostov, according to a local tradition, received monastic tonsure at Kopyrsk monastery on the River Ukhtoma, 80 kilometers from Rostov. For a long time he was hegumen of this monastery, and in the year 1385 he was made Bishop of Rostov when Pimen was Metropolitan and Dimitrii Donskoy was GreatPrince.
In defending a woman condemned to execution, the saint, following on the example of the Saviour, bid cast at her the first stone, whomsoever considered themself without sin, and he then sent forth the woman to repentance. The prince and the Rostov boyar-nobles, disgruntled over the bishop's judgement, threw Saint Iakov out of Rostov. Leaving the city, the saint proceeded on to Lake Nero, spread on the water his hierarch's mantle, and having signed himself with the Sign of the Cross, he sailed off on it as though on a boat, guided by the grace of God. Having gone off one and an half versts from the city, Saint Iakov emerged on shore at the place of his future monastery. The prince and the people, repenting their actions, besought forgiveness of the saint. The gentle bishop forgave them, but he did not return back again.
On the shore of Lake Nero he made himself a cell and built a small church in honour of the Zachatie-Conception by Righteous Anna of the MostHoly Mother of God, marking the beginning of the Zachat'evsk Iakovlevsk monastery. Saint Iakov died there on 27 November 1392.
The opinion has circulated, that Saint Iakov contended against the Iconoclast heresy of a certain fellow named Markian, who appeared in Rostov towards the end of the XIV Century. The more ancient of the vitae of the saint make no mention of this, and even the great hagiographer Sainted Dimitri of Rostov was unaware of it. More recent hagiographers were wont to take into account the service to Saint Iakov of Rostov. But the service itself, preserved in copies from the XVI-XVII Centuries, was compiled by way of borrowings from the service on 6 February to Saint Bukolos (+ c. 100), who struggled against the I Century heretic Marcian, and from the service to Saint Stephen of Surozh (VIII, Comm. 15 December), who contended against the emperor Constantine Kopronymos (741-775).
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Holy Martyr James the Persian
James was born of Christian parents in the Persian city of Elapa (or Vilat), brought up in the Christian Faith and married to a Christian woman. The Persian King Yezdegeherd took a liking to James for his talents and skillfulness, and made him a noble at his court. Flattered by the king, James was deluded and began offering sacrifices to the idols that the king worshiped. His mother and wife learned of this, and wrote him a letter of reproach in which they grieved over him as an apostate and one who was spiritually dead. Yet, at the end of the letter, they begged him to repent and return to Christ. Moved by this letter, James repented bitterly, and courageously confessed his faith in Christ the Lord to the king. Angered, the king condemned him to death by a special torture: his entire body was to be cut up, piece by piece, until he breathed his last. The executioners fulfilled this command of the wicked king to the letter, and cut off James's fingers, then his toes, his legs and arms, his shoulders, and finally his head. During every cutting, the repentant martyr gave thanks to God. A sweet-smelling fragrance, as of a cypress, emanated from the wounds. Thus, this wonderful man repented of his sin and presented his soul to Christ his God in the Kingdom of Heaven. James suffered in about the year 400. His head is to be found in Rome and a part of his relics in Portugal, where he is commemorated on May 22.
2. The Seventeen Venerable Martyrs of India
They were Christian monks who suffered at the hands of the Indian King Abenner. Enraged at Elder Barlaam because he baptized his son, Ioasaph, King Abenner sent men in pursuit of him. The pursuers did not capture Barlaam, but captured seventeen other monks and brought them to the king. The king condemned them to death and his men plucked out their eyes, severed their tongues, broke their arms and legs, and then beheaded them. Even so, the Christian Faith in the Kingdom of India was strengthened all the more by the blood of these knights of Christ.
3. The Venerable Romanus the Wonderworker
Romanus lived a life of asceticism in the vicinity of Antioch. He never kindled a fire or lit a candle in his cell. He reposed peacefully, and was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his death. He intercedes for barren women when they offer prayer to him.
4. The Venerable Pinuphrius
Pinuphrius was a contemporary of St. John Cassian (February 29) and a great Egyptian ascetic. He lived in the fourth century and carried out his life of asceticism in various places, always fleeing the praise of men. He had many disciples, who strove to imitate the lofty example of their teacher.
5. The Venerable Nathaniel
Nathaniel was a Nitrian monk. He prayed to God both day and night, and was enlightened by the contemplation of divine matters. He neither left his cell nor even crossed the threshold for a full thirty-eight years. He entered into rest in the Lord in the second half of the sixth century.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Martyr James the Persian
The Creator does not lose repentant souls:
He loves a true penitent the most.
James denied Christ the Living God
For the sake of the godless emperor, his flatterer.
His mother reproached him as did his wife:
``All the riches of the earth are as transient as foam.''
James repented, and bitterly repented,
Then openly spoke about what he had kept secret:
``A Christian I was, and again I am a Christian:
Foolish and weak are your idols!''
This James said, as he stood before the emperor;
This he said openly and remained true to it.
The emperor took all his imperial gifts from him,
And clothed the wondrous James with torture.
James was reddened with wounds and blood,
And like eagles on a carcass, men attacked him!
They dismembered the body of Christ's hero,
And cut St. James into bits.
Now James prays before God in Paradise
That all Christians overcome all attacks.
When the executioners severed the thumb of St. James's right hand, he said: ``Even a vine is pruned in this manner, so that in time a young branch may grow.'' At the severing of his second finger, he said: ``Receive also, O Lord, the second branch of Thy sowing.'' At the severing of his third finger, he said: ``I bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.'' At the severing of his fourth finger, he said: ``O Thou who acceptest the praise of the four beasts [symbols of the four evangelists], accept the suffering of the fourth finger.'' At the severing of the fifth finger, he said: ``May my rejoicing be fulfilled as that of the five wise virgins at the wedding feast.'' During the severing of the sixth finger, he said: ``Thanks be to Thee, O Lord, Who at the sixth hour stretched out Thy most pure arms on the Cross, that Thou hast made me worthy to offer Thee my sixth finger.'' At the severing of the seventh finger, he said: ``Like David who praised Thee seven times daily, I praise Thee through the seventh finger severed for Thy sake.'' At the severing of the eighth finger, he said: ``On the eighth day Thou Thyself, O Lord, wast circumcised.'' At the severing of the ninth finger, he said: ``At the ninth hour, Thou didst commend Thy spirit into the hands of Thy Father, O my Christ, and I offer Thee thanks during the suffering of my ninth finger.'' At the severing of the tenth finger, he said: ``On a ten-stringed harp I sing to Thee, O God, and thank Thee that Thou hast made me worthy to endure the severing of the ten fingers of my two hands, for the Ten Commandments written on two tablets.'' Oh, what wonderful faith and love! Oh, the noble soul of this knight of Christ!
Contemplate the wonderful Paradise of God (Genesis 2):
1. How most beautiful was Paradise, both within and without;
2. How all living things in Paradise were unconditionally submissive to man and man to God;
3. How most beautiful were the first man and woman in Paradise, conscious of God's presence and of God's authority.
on the perfect man
… Till we all come in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
The unity of the Faith, brethren, and the knowledge of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ the Savior, unites two men into one man, a thousand people into one man, and many millions of people into one man. The unity of Faith in Christ the Lord, and the true Orthodox knowledge of Christ the Lord, unites men more strongly than blood, more strongly than language, more strongly than all external circumstances and material bonds. When many souls think as one and the same, will as one and the same, and desire as one and the same, then these many souls are as one soul, one great and mighty soul. Physical differences in this case mean little, and are hardly to be taken into consideration. Thus, the same souls are built up into a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. The parts of the perfect whole are themselves perfect. Every Christian soul is a part of the perfect man. Christ is the Perfect Man of Whom the Church is the Mystical Body. He fills everyone who believes in Him with Himself, according to the measure of the stature of each. He is the fullness beyond all fullness, the living fount that flows and fills every worthy space. Inasmuch as a man empties himself of everything that is not of Christ, Christ will enter into him and fill him accordingly.
O my brethren, deep humility is needed in addition to strong faith, so that the Living Water may be poured into us. Even in nature, we see that water easily irrigates the lowlands. So, the more lowly our humiliation is before the Lord Jesus, the more willingly He pours Himself into us, irrigates us with His life-giving Self, and fills us as His vessel with the fullness of His immortality.
O Lord Jesus, Thou fullness of life, wisdom, beauty and sweetness, help us to humble ourselves before Thy Divine Majesty, that we may be made worthy of Thy visitation.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.