Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny of Brooklyn
Galaktion & his wife Episteme, the Martyrs of Emesa
Patrobos, Gaios, Hermas, Linos, & Philologos, Apostles of the 70
Άγιοι Γαλακτίων και Επιστήμη
Άγιοι Ερμάς, Πατρόβας, Λινός, Γάιος και Φιλόλογος, Απόστολοι από τους Εβδομήκοντα
Άγιοι Δομνίνος και οι συν αυτώ
Άγιοι Τιμόθεος, Θεόφιλος, Θεότιμος
Άγιος Δωρόθεος ο Πρεσβύτερος
Άγιοι Ευψύχιος και Καρτέριος
Όσιος Γρηγόριος ο Ομολογητής Πάπας Αλεξανδρείας
Άγιοι Κάστορας και Αγαθάγγελος
Άγιος Ιωνάς ο θαυματουργός Αρχιεπίσκοπος Νοβογορδίας
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 3:12-18
BRETHREN, since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 3:12-18
Ἀδελφοί, ἔχοντες οὖν τοιαύτην ἐλπίδα, πολλῇ παρρησίᾳ χρώμεθα· 13 καὶ οὐ καθάπερ Μωϋσῆς ἐτίθει κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τὸ πρόσωπον ἑαυτοῦ, πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀτενίσαι τοὺς υἱοὺς Ἰσραὴλ εἰς τὸ τέλος τοῦ καταργουμένου· 14 ἀλλʼ ἐπωρώθη τὰ νοήματα αὐτῶν· ἄχρι γὰρ τῆς σήμερον τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης μένει μὴ ἀνακαλυπτόμενον, ὅ τι ἐν χριστῷ καταργεῖται. 15 Ἀλλʼ ἕως σήμερον, ἡνίκα ἀναγινώσκεται Μωϋσῆς, κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτῶν κεῖται. 16 Ἡνίκα δʼ ἂν ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς κύριον, περιαιρεῖται τὸ κάλυμμα. 17 Ὁ δὲ κύριος τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν· οὗ δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα κυρίου, ἐκεῖ ἐλευθερία. 18 Ἡμεῖς δὲ πάντες, ἀνακεκαλυμμένῳ προσώπῳ τὴν δόξαν κυρίου κατοπτριζόμενοι, τὴν αὐτὴν εἰκόνα μεταμορφούμεθα ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαν, καθάπερ ἀπὸ κυρίου πνεύματος.
The Reading is from Luke 9:1-6
At that time, Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them." And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 9.1-6
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, Συγκαλεσάμενος δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια καὶ νόσους θεραπεύειν· καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἰᾶσθαι τοὺς ἀσθενοῦντας, καὶ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς· μηδὲν αἴρετε εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, μήτε ῥάβδους μήτε πήραν μήτε ἄρτον μήτε ἀργύριον μήτε ἀνὰ δύο χιτῶνας ἔχειν. καὶ εἰς ἣν ἂν οἰκίαν εἰσέλθητε, ἐκεῖ μένετε καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ἐξέρχεσθε. καὶ ὅσοι ἐὰν μὴ δέξωνται ὑμᾶς, ἐξερχόμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης καὶ τὸν κονιορτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν ἀποτινάξατε εἰς μαρτύριον ἐπ᾿ αὐτούς. ἐξερχόμενοι δὲ διήρχοντο κατὰ τὰς κώμας εὐαγγελιζόμενοι καὶ θεραπεύοντες πανταχοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Ε' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Γαλακτίωνος καὶ Ἐπιστήμης.
Ἀσυνδυάστους συζύγους κτείνει ξίφος,
Τὴν ψυχικὴν σύζευξιν ἠγαπηκότας.
Τμήθη Ἐπιστήμη Γαλακτίων τ' ἑνὶ πέμπτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων ἐκ τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα Ἑρμᾶ, Πατρόβα, Λίνου, Γαΐου καὶ Φιλολόγου.
Ἑρμᾶς, Πατρόβας καὶ Γάϊος τρεῖς ἅμα,
Ἀπόστολοι θνῄσκουσιν, οἷς τριὰς φίλη.
Καθείς, Ἰησοῦς γνώσεως θείας λίνον,
Ζωγρεῖ σε, Λῖνε, καὶ μεθιστᾷ τοῦ βίου.
Φιλόλογος φιλῶν σὲ τὸν Θεὸν Λόγον,
Πληροῖ λόγους σούς, καὶ θανὼν σύνεστί σοι.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Δομνῖνος πυρὶ τελειοῦται.
Ἀνασκοπῶν πῦρ τῆς γεέννης Δομνῖνος,
Τὸ τῇ δε πῦρ ἔφριττεν οὔμενουν ὅλως.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Τιμόθεος, Θεόφιλος καὶ Θεότιμος, πυγμαῖς τελειοῦνται.
Τὸν Τιμόθεον, καὶ συναθλητὰς δύω
Κτείνουσι πυγμαί, καὶ Θεὸς τιμᾷ Λόγος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Δωρόθεος, θηρίοις ἐκδοθείς, τελειοῦται.
Ὁ Δωρόθεος ἐκδοθεὶς τοῖς θηρίοις,
Δῶρον προσήχθη τῷ Θεῷ προσδεκτέον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ ἅγιοι Εὐψύχιος καὶ Καρτέριος,τὰ αἰδοῖα τμηθέντες, τελειοῦνται.
Αἰδοῖα Καρτέριος ἐκτετμημένος,
Σὺν Εὐψυχίῳ καρτεροψύχως φέρει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Σιλβανός, εἰς μέταλλα βληθείς, τελειοῦται.
Ἐν τοῖς μετάλλοις Σιλβανὸς βεβλημένος,
Λείπει μέταλλα καὶ μεταλλάττει βίον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Πάμφιλος, ξεσθεὶς καὶ φυλακισθεὶς τελειοῦται.
Φρουρᾷ δαμασθείς, καὶ πρὸ τῆς φρουρᾶς ξέσει,
Διπλοῦν λάβοι Πάμφιλος εἰκότως στέφος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Γρηγορίου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἀλεξανδρείας, τοῦ Ὁμολογητοῦ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀγαθάγγελος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Χριστάγγελός τις ψῆφος Ἀγαθαγγέλῳ
Ἡ τῆς τελευτῆς ψῆφος ἦν ἐκ τοῦ ξίφους.
Μνήμη τοῦ ἐν ἁγίοις πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰωνᾶ, ἀρχιεπισκόπου Νοβογοροδίας Ῥώσσου τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Galaktion was from Emesa, the son of Cleitophon and Leucippe, pagans who had been instructed in piety by a certain Christian named Onuphrius and received holy Baptism. Saint Episteme, born of unbelieving parents, was baptized before she was wedded to Galaktion. After their marriage they remained in virginity and lived in separate monastic houses. Betrayed as Christians, they suffered martyrdom during the reign of Decius, about the year 250.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Οι Μάρτυρές σου, Κύριε, εν τή αθλήσει αυτών, στεφάνους εκομίσαντο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, σχόντες γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλον, έθραυσαν καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση. Αυτών ταίς ικεσίαις, Χριστέ ο Θεός, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Μαρτύρων Χριστού, τοίς δήμοις ηριθμήθητε, αγώσι στερροίς, φαιδρώς αγωνισάμενοι, Γαλακτίων ένδοξε, σύν συζύγω σεπτή καί συνάθλω σου, Επιστήμη, τώ μόνω Θεώ, πρεσβεύοντες άμφω υπέρ πάντων ημών.
The Martyrs of Christ, received you in their companies, who through mighty trials contested most resplendently; O renowned Galaktion and thy hallowed spouse and co-sufferer, Episteme, ye both entreat the one God and Lord in behalf of us all.
Θείος και ιερώτατος είναι ο θεσμός του γάμου, αμίαντος και αγιώτατος δεσμός είναι η συζυγία. Τόσο, που η Αγία Γραφή παραβάλλει τη συνάφεια και τον δεσμό αυτό με την μυστική σχέση του Χριστού προς την Εκκλησία και ονομάζει τον Χριστό νυμφίο και την Εκκλησία νύμφη. Όλη την ωραιότητα του θεσμού του γάμου και την αγνότητα των συζυγικών σχέσεων την βλέπομε στους βίους των Αγίων της Εκκλησίας, όπως είναι οι άγιοι Μάρτυρες Γαλακτίων και Επιστήμη, τους οποίους γιορτάζουμε σήμερα. Δεν τους ένωσαν μόνο τα στέφανα του γάμου σε έναν βίο, που τον αγίαζε και τον μύρωνε η πνευματική αγάπη, μα και οι στέφανοι του μαρτυρίου. Μαζί στεφανωμένοι, ενωμένοι κι αχώριστοι, αγνοί και άγιοι, πέρασαν τη θύρα του θανάτου και μπήκαν στην αίθουσα του βασιλικού γάμου και στη συζυγική παστάδα της αιωνίου ζωής. Αχώριστοι και στον βίο και στον θάνατο και στην αιώνια ζωή.
Holy Martyrs Galaction and Episteme (~250)
A pagan couple, Cleitophon and Leucippe, who lived in Emesa in the reign of the Emperor Decius, were grieved that they were unable to have children. One day a monk named Onuphrius came to their door seeking alms to give to the poor, and seeing Leucippe's downcast face, asked her what was wrong. When she replied that she was barren, Onuphrius told her that this was by God's providence, to prevent their child from being given over to idolatry, and that if they accepted Christ she would bear a child. Leucippe was baptized into the Faith and bore a son not long after, which in turn brought her husband to faith in Christ. The son was named Galaction in baptism.
Years later, Galaction's father, now widowed, decided that Galaction should marry a pagan maiden named Episteme. Galaction married out of obedience, but would not approach Episteme's bed since she was a pagan. In time, he convinced her of the truth of the Faith and baptised her himself. Not long after she was told in a dream of the glory that awaits those who consecrate themselves wholly to God. When she told her husband of the dream, they both resolved to remain in virginity, settling in separate monastic communities near to one another.
In one of the Emperor's persecutions of Christians, Galaction was seized by imperial soldiers and taken away to be killed. Episteme, told in a vision of his arrest, asked the blessing of her abbess to join him in martyrdom. Receiving it, she hurried to Galaction's place of imprisonment, boldly announced her faith in Christ, and after many tortures and humiliations husband and wife were beheaded together.
Holy Apostles Patrobas, Hermas, Linus, Gaius and Philologus
They are numbered among the Seventy Disciples of the Lord.
Saint Hermas and Saint Patrobolus are both mentioned by St Paul in Romans 16:4. Saint Hermas became Bishop of Philippi. Some believe him to be the author of The Shepherd, which was so cherished by the early Church that is included in some early versions of the New Testament. Saint Patrobolus became Bishop of Pozzuoli in Italy.
Saint Linus (mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21) was ordained by St Peter as first Bishop of Rome. He was martyred, perhaps in AD 76.
Saint Gaius (mentioned in Romans 16:23, where we learn that St Paul stayed with him in Corinth), succeeded St Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus.
Saint Philologus (mentioned in Romans 16:15), was made Bishop of Sinope in Pontus by the Apostle Andrew.
Our Holy Father Gregory the Confessor, Patriarch of Alexandria (early 9th c.)
This much-loved shepherd of the Church at Alexandria was unanimously elected to the Patriarchate by the Bishops and people of that city. Though meek and humble, he was a fierce defender of holy Orthodoxy, which was then under attack by the Emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). For his fearless defense of the holy Icons, Gregory was arrested at the Emperor's orders and brought in chains to Constantinople. Brought before Leo, the holy Patriarch told him clearly that he was a heretic and an enemy of the Church. The enraged Emperor had Gregory scourged, then sent into exile, where he reposed three years later.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Γαλακτίων καὶ Ἐπιστήμη
Ἔζησαν τὸν 3ο αἰῶνα μ.Χ., ὅταν αὐτοκράτορας ἦταν ὁ Δέκιος. Οἱ γονεῖς του Γαλακτίωνα - Κλειτοφῶν καὶ Λευκίππη - ἦταν πρῶτα εἰδωλολάτρες. Κάποιος, ὅμως, ἱερομόναχος, ποὺ ὀνομαζόταν Οὐνούφριος, τοὺς προσείλκυσε στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Ἀπὸ τότε διέθεταν τὰ πλούτη τους σὲ κάθε ἀγαθοεργία. Τὸ δὲ γιό τους Γαλακτίωνα ἀνέθρεψαν «ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ Κυρίου». Δηλαδή, μὲ παιδαγωγία καὶ νουθεσία, σύμφωνη μὲ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Κυρίου. Καὶ ἡ παιδαγωγία αὐτὴ δὲν ἄργησε νὰ φέρει τοὺς θαυμαστοὺς καρπούς της. Ὁ Γαλακτίων ὅταν μεγάλωσε, νυμφεύθηκε μία ὡραία κόρη, τὴν Ἐπιστήμη, τὴν ὁποία ὁ ἴδιος εἵλκυσε στὸ Χριστό. Ἡ ζωή τους κυλοῦσε ἀφιερωμένη στὴν ὑπηρεσία τοῦ λόγου τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ στὴ διακονία τοῦ πλησίον, ὥσπου ξέσπασε ὁ διωγμὸς τοῦ Δεκίου. Τότε, ὁ μὲν Γαλακτίων πῆγε σὲ μοναστήρι τοῦ ὄρους Σινᾶ, ἡ δὲ Ἐπιστήμη σὲ γυναικεῖο κοινόβιο. Ἀλλὰ ἡ λαίλαπα τοῦ διωγμοῦ ἔφθασε καὶ στὰ μέρη ἐκεῖνα, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ συλληφθεῖ ὁ Γαλακτίων. Ὅταν πληροφορήθηκε αὐτὸ ἡ Ἐπιστήμη, ἔτρεξε καὶ παρακάλεσε τοὺς διῶκτες νὰ συλλάβουν καὶ αὐτὴν πρὸς ἐνίσχυση τοῦ συζύγου της. Ὁ ἄρχοντας Οὖρσος, μὴ μπορῶντας νὰ τοὺς πείσει νὰ ἀλλαξοπιστήσουν, τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισε (250 μ.Χ.).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἑρμᾶς, Πατρόβας, Λίνος, Γάιος καὶ Φιλόλογος, Ἀπόστολοι ἀπὸ τοὺς 70
Πραγματικοὶ ποιμένες ὅλοι, τοῦ λογικοῦ ποιμνίου τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας. Τὸν Ἑρμᾶ ἀναφέρει ὁ ἀπόστολος Παῦλος στὴν πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολή του, καθὼς καὶ τοὺς Πατρόβα, Γάιο καὶ Φιλόλογο. Ἐνῷ τὸν Λίνο ἀναφέρει στὴ δεύτερη πρὸς Τιμόθεον ἐπιστολή του. Ὁ Ἑρμᾶς ὁρίστηκε ἐπίσκοπος στοὺς Φιλίππους τῆς Μακεδονίας, καὶ σ᾿ αὐτὸν ἀποδίδουν ὁ Ὠριγένης, ὁ Εὐσέβειος, ὁ Ἱερώνυμος καὶ ἄλλοι, τὸ γνωστὸ συγγραφικὸ ἔργο μὲ τὸν τίτλο ὁ «ποιμήν». Τὸ ἔργο αὐτὸ δείχνει τὸ βάραθρο, στὸ ὁποῖο φέρει ἡ ἁμαρτία καὶ διεγείρει ἔντονα τὸ αἴσθημα τῆς μετάνοιας καὶ τῆς μετὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰρήνης. Μέχρι κάποιο χρονικὸ διάστημα μποροῦσε νὰ τὸ ἀναγνώσει κανεὶς μόνο στὴ Λατινικὴ μετάφρασή του. Κατὰ τὸν 19ο αἰῶνα ὅμως, βρέθηκε καὶ τὸ ἑλληνικὸ πρωτότυπο. Ὁ Πατρόβας πρόσφερε σπουδαῖες ὑπηρεσίες στὴν πίστη, σὰν ἐπίσκοπος Ποτιόλων στὴν Ἰταλία. Ὁ Λίνος ἀναδείχτηκε πρῶτος ἐπίσκοπος Ῥώμης καὶ ποίμανε τὴν ἐκεῖ ἐκκλησία μὲ πρόνοια καὶ τόλμη, καὶ μαρτύρησε μὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό. Ἦταν ἐπίσκοπος ἕντεκα χρόνια καὶ τρεῖς μῆνες. Ὁ Γάιος ποίμανε στὴν Ἔφεσο μετὰ τὸν Τιμόθεο, καὶ ὁ Φιλόλογος ὁρίστηκε ἀπὸ τὸν ἀπόστολο Ἀνδρέα ἐπίσκοπος Σινώπης.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Δομνῖνος, Τιμόθεος, Θεόφιλος, Θεότιμος, Δωρόθεος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος, Εὐψύχιος, Καρτέριος, Σιλβανός, Πάμφιλος, Φιλόθεος, Νέαρχος, καὶ ἄλλοι Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες ἄνδρες καὶ γυναῖκες
Ὁ Δομνίνος καὶ οἱ μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτὸν μαρτυρήσαντες Ἅγιοι, ὄχι οἱ ἐπώνυμοι ποὺ ἀναφέρονται πιὸ πάνω, ἔζησαν στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Μαξιμιανοῦ καὶ ὅταν ἄρχοντας τῆς Παλαιστίνης ἦταν ὁ Ούρβανός (298). Πρῶτος μαρτύρησε ὁ Δομνίνος, ποὺ μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ βασανιστήρια τὸν ἔκαψαν ζωντανό. Τοὺς δὲ Τιμόθεο, Θεότιμο, Θεόφιλο, ποὺ ἦταν νέοι στὴν ἡλικία καὶ εὐπαρουσίαστοι, τοὺς γρονθοκόπησαν μέχρι θανάτου. Τὸν Δωρόθεο, ποὺ ἦταν σεμνὸς ἱερέας, παρέδωσαν γιὰ τροφὴ στὰ ἄγρια θηρία. Τοὺς δὲ Καρτέριο καὶ Εὐψύχιο, ποὺ ἦταν τέλειοι ἄνδρες σωματικὰ καὶ πνευματικά, ἔκοψαν τὰ γεννητικά τους ὄργανα, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ πεθάνουν μαρτυρικὰ ἀπὸ ἀκατάσχετη αἱμοῤῥαγία. Τὸν Σιλβανὸ καταδίκασαν νὰ βασανίζεται μέσα σὲ μέταλλα, μέχρι ποὺ πέθανε, στὴν τοποθεσία Φανό. Ὁ δὲ Πάμφιλος, στολισμένος μὲ πολλὲς ἀρετές, πέθανε μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ βασανιστήρια μέσα στὴ φυλακή, μαζὶ μὲ ἄλλους ὁμολογητὲς τῆς χριστιανικῆς πίστης. Ἐπίσης, μὲ τοὺς προαναφερθέντες Ἁγίους, μαρτύρησαν καὶ ἀρκετὲς χριστιανὲς παρθένες κόρες.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Ὁμολογητὴς Πάπας Ἀλεξανδρείας
Ἔζησε τὸν 9ο αἰῶνα στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Λέοντα τοῦ Ε´. Κατὰ τὸν διωγμό, ποὺ αὐτὸς ἔκανε κατὰ τῶν εἰκόνων, ὁ Ἀλεξανδρείας Γρηγόριος, βάζοντας τὸ καθῆκον του πρὸς τὸν Θεὸ πάνω ἀπὸ τὶς ἀσεβεῖς διαταγὲς τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα, ὑπεράσπιζε τὸ Ὀρθόδοξο φρόνημα καὶ ματαίωνε τὴν ἐφαρμογὴ τῆς βασιλικῆς θέλησης. Ὁ Λέων ὁ Ε´, στὴν ἀρχὴ μὲ γράμματα, ἀπείλησε τὸν θαῤῥαλέο Πατριάρχη. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως μάθαινε, ὅτι δὲν λαμβάνονταν ὑπ᾿ ὄψιν οἱ ἀπειλὲς καὶ οἱ προσταγές του, ἔφερε τὸν γενναῖο πρόμαχο τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μὲ τὴν βία στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ἐκεῖ τὸν ἐπετίμησε μπροστὰ στὴ Σύγκλητο. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ δὲν πέτυχε τὸ ἀποτέλεσμα τῆς ἀρεσκείας του, τὸν καταδίκασε σὲ ἐξορία, κατὰ τὴν διάρκεια τῆς ὁποίας, ὁ Γρηγόριος παρέδωσε τὴν πιστὴ καὶ ἀθλητικὴ ψυχή του.
Sainted Jona, Archbishop of Novgorod, in the world named John (Ioann), was early on left orphaned and then adopted by a certain pious widow living in Novgorod. She raised the child and sent him off to school. Blessed Michael Klopsky, one time chancing to meet John on the street, foretold that he would become archbishop of Novgorod. John received tonsure at the Otensk wilderness-monastery, 50 versts distant from the city, and he became hegumen of this monastery. It was from here that the Novgorod people chose him as their archbishop in 1458, after the death of Sainted Evphymii. Saint Jona enjoyed great influence at Moscow, and during his time as hierarch the Moscow princes did not infringe upon the independence of Novgorod. The Moscow Metropolitan Saint Jona (1449-1461) was a friend of the Novgorod Archbishop Saint Jona, and desired to see him become his successor. Archbishop Jona built for the first time in the Novgorod lands -- a church in honour of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (in 1463). Concerning himself over reviving traditions of the old days in the Novgorod Church, he summoned to Novgorod the reknown compiler of Saints' Lives -- Pakhomii the Logothete, who wrote on the basis of local sources both services and vitae of the best known Novgorod Saints.
And to this time period belongs also the beginnings of the founding of the Solovetsk monastery. Saint Jona rendered much help and assistance in the organising of the monastery. To the Monk Zosima he gave a special land-grant letter of blessing (in conjunction with the secular authorities of Novgorod), by which was bestown over the whole of Solovetsk Island under the land-holdings of the new monastery.
The saint, after his many toils, and sensing the approach of his end, wrote a spiritual last-instruction to bury his body at the Otensk monastery. On 5 November 1470, having communed the Holy Mysteries, the saint expired to the Lord.
There has survived to the present day a Letter of Saint Jona to metropolitan Theodosii, written in the year 1464. The life of the saint was written in the form of a short account in the year 1472 (included in the work, "Memorials of Old Russian Literature", and likewise in the "Veliki Chet'i-Minei" ("Great Reading Menaion") of Metropolitan Makarii, under 5 November). In 1553, after the uncovering of the relics of Archbishop Jona, an account was compiled about this event, from the pen of the monk Zinovii of Otensk. A special work about the miracles of the saint is to be met with in manuscripts of the XVII Century.
The Holy Martyrs Galaktion and Epistimia: A rich and distinguished couple named Klitophon and Leukippia lived in the city of Phoenician Emesa, and for a long time they were childless. The spouses gave over much gold to the pagan priests, but still they remained childless.
The city of Emesa in the III Century was governed by a Syrian named Secundus, put there by the Roman Caesars. He was a merciless and zealous persecutor of Christians, and to intimidate them he gave orders to display out on the streets the instruments of refined torture. The slightest suspicion of belonging to "the sect of the Galileian" (as thus Christians were called by the pagans), sufficed to get a man arrested and handed over for torture. In spite of this, many Christians voluntarily gave themselves over into the hands of the executioners, in their desire to suffer for Christ.
A certain old man, by the name of Onuphrios, concealing beneathe his beggar's rags his monastic and priestly dignity, walked from house to house in Emesa, begging alms. Everywhere where he saw the possibility to turn people away from the pagan error, there he preached about Christ. One time he came to the magnificent house of Leukippia. In accepting alms from her he sensed, that the woman was in sorrow, and he asked what was the cause of this sadness. She told the elder about her familial misfortune. In consoling her, Onuphrios began to tell her about the One True God, about His almightiness and mercy, and that He always grants the prayer of those turning to Him with faith. Hope filled the soul of Leukippia. She believed and accepted Holy Baptism. Soon after this in a dream it was revealed to her, that she would give birth to a son, who would be a true follower of Christ. At first Leukippia concealed from her husband her delight, but after the infant was born, she revealed the secret to her husband and persuaded him likewise to be baptised.
They named the baby Galaktion. His parents raised him in the Christian faith and provided him a fine education. He could make for himself an illustrious career, but Galaktion sought rather for an immaculate and monastic life -- in solitude and prayer.
When Galaktion turned age 24, his father resolved to marry him off and they found him a bride, a beautiful and illustrious girl by the name of Epistimia. The son did not oppose the will of his father; however, through the will of God, the nuptials were for a certain while postponed. Visiting often with his betrothed, Galaktion gradually revealed about his faith to her, and he converted her to Christ and he himself secretly baptised her. Together with Epistimia he baptised also one of her servants, Eutolmios. The newly-illumined decided, on the initiative of Galaktion, to devote themselves to a monastic life. Quitting the city, they hid themselves away on Mount Publion, where there were two monasteries, one for men and the other for women. The new monastics had to take with them all the necessities for physical toil, since the inhabitants of both monasteries were both old and infirm. For several years the monastics asceticised at work, fasting and prayer. But one time Epistimia had a vision in her sleep: Galaktion and she stood in a wondrous palace before the Resplendent King, and the King bestowed on them golden crowns. This was a presentiment of their impending martyr's end.
The existence of the monasteries became known to the pagans, and a military detachment was sent off to apprehend their inhabitants. But the monks and the nuns succeeded in hiding themselves away in the hills. Galaktion however had no desire to flee and so he remained in his cell, reading Holy Scripture. When Epistimia saw that the soldiers were leading away Galaktion in chains, she began to implore the hegumeness to permit her to go also, since she wanted to accept torture for Christ together with her fiancee-teacher. The hegumeness with tears blessed Epistimia to do so.
The saints endured terrible torments, whilst supplicating and glorifying Christ. By order of the judge they were quartered asunder.
Eutolmios, the former servant of Epistimia, and who had become her brother in Christ and co-ascetic in monastic deeds, secretly gave reverent burial to the bodies of the holy martyrs. He later wrote in eulogy of their lives, for both his contemporaries and posterity.
The Disciples from the Seventy: Patrobus, Hermas, Linus, Caius and Philologos (I) preached the Gospel in diverse cities, each enduring various hardships in their service as bishops. Saint Patrobus (Rom. 16: 14) was bishop of Neopolis (now Naples) and Puteola in Italy. The Disciple Hermas was bishop in the city of Philippoplis he died a martyr). Linus (2 Tim. 4: 21) was a successor to the Apostle Peter at Rome. Saint Caius (Rom. 16: 23), after the Disciple Timothy, was bishop of Ephesus. The Apostle Andrew ordained Saint Philologos (Rom. 16: 15) as bishop of the city of Sinope (in the Black Sea region)
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Venerable Martyrs Galaction and Episteme
Both Galaction and Episteme were born in the city of Edessa, in Phoenicia. Galaction's mother was barren until she was baptized. After her baptism, she converted her husband [Cleitophon] to the true Faith, baptized her son Galaction, and raised him in the Christian Faith. When Galaction was old enough to marry, his good mother, Leucippa, entered into rest, and his father betrothed him to a pagan-born maiden named Episteme. By no means did Galaction want to enter into marriage, and convinced Episteme to be baptized, then to be tonsured a nun at the same time that he became a monk. Both of them withdrew to Mount Publion-Galaction to a monastery and Episteme to a convent. They proved to be shining lights in their monasteries. They were first in labor, first in prayer, first in humility and obedience, and first in love. They neither left their monasteries nor did they see one another until just before their death. A fierce persecution began and both of them were brought before the tribunal. When the pagans mercilessly whipped Galaction, Episteme wept. Then they whipped her. After that, they cut off their hands, their feet and then their heads. Their friend Eutolius took their bodies and honorably buried them. Eutolius had been a slave of Episteme's parents, and then a monk with Galaction. He also wrote the life of these wonderful martyrs of Christ who suffered and received their wreaths in heaven in the year 253.
2. The Holy Apostles Patrobas, Hermes, Linus, Gaius and Philologus
They were of the Seventy. Patrobas was Bishop of Neapolis, Hermes of Philipopolis (Romans 16:14), Linus of Rome (II Timothy 4:21), Gaius of Ephesus (Roman 16:23), and Philologus of Synope (Romans 16:15). All of them fulfilled the Law of Christ with love and took up their abode in the Kingdom of Christ.
3. Saint Jonah, Archbishop of Novgorod
Jonah was born in Novgorod and was orphaned early. A certain God-fearing widow took him and educated him. Seeing him as a child, Michael, the fool-for-Christ of Klops said to him prophetically: ``Ivanushka, study diligently, for you will become archbishop in Novgorod the Great.'' And indeed, following the death of Archbishop Euthymius, Jonah was chosen and consecrated in his place. Jonah was devout and merciful to a rare degree for a mortal man. He built churches and monasteries and cared for his flock as a true good shepherd. He was offered the throne of Moscow as Metropolitan but declined, excusing himself because of his age. He entered into rest peacefully on November 5, 1570, and settled in the joyful heavenly habitations. One hundred years following his death there was a great fire in Novgorod. The relics of this saint did not burn in the furious flames, but on the contrary, from then on manifested healing power and emitted a wonderful fragrance.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Venerable Martyrs Galaction and Episteme
Galaction, and Episteme with him,
Abandoned the world of passing smoke,
Crucified the passions of the body,
And ascended to heaven in spirit.
Their hearts remembered Christ with every beat,
And were crucified with love for Him.
Then the tormentors arrived.
Galaction went to his torture,
And Episteme hurried after:
``Slower, Brother,'' she said, ``do not hurry!
I was baptized by your hand,
Now take me with you to torture!
Even though I am unworthy, Brother,
I am willing to die for my Christ.''
Galaction, and Episteme with him,
Proclaimed Christ to the unbelievers,
And in bitter tortures they breathed their last.
They gave their souls to Christ:
Now they live with angels in Paradise-
Galaction and Episteme.
Physical love, in comparison to spiritual love, is less than a shadow is to solid substance. Brotherhood and sisterhood of the blood and body is nothing compared to the brotherhood and sisterhood of the spirit. Galaction's father betrothed him to the maiden Episteme. Galaction baptized Episteme and, after that, both received the monastic tonsure. Their physical love was replaced by spiritual love, a love as strong as death. So great was Galaction's spiritual love for Episteme that he never desired to see her with his physical eyes. Neither physical contact nor closeness are necessary for spiritual love. So great was Episteme's spiritual love for Galaction that when she heard that he had been taken for torture she ran after him, begging him not to reject her, but to receive her as a fellow sufferer, as he was her spiritual father and brother. When the merciless torturers flogged holy Galaction's naked body, holy Episteme wept. However, when the torturers cut off their hands and feet for Christ, both rejoiced and glorified God. So great was the power of their love for our Lord Jesus Christ, and so great was the spiritual love with which they loved each other. Truly, physical love is like a colorful butterfly that quickly passes, but spiritual love is enduring.
on the elevation of man through the Risen Christ
… Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come and hath put all things under His feet (Ephesians 1:21-22).
Behold, the heights to which God exalts the being of man! Here, Christ's Divine Nature is not the subject, but rather His human nature. This is not about the eternal Word of God, but rather about the man Jesus, whom God raised from the dead and exalted-not only above this whole visible and mortal world, but also above the invisible and immortal, far above all the orders of angels and the heavenly powers; far above all the known and unknown wondrous hierarchies of heaven; far above every created being, known and unknown; and far above every name in the material and the spiritual worlds. My brethren, do you see how our All-glorious Creator fulfilled the promise He gave to Adam when he banished him from Paradise, and repeated more clearly to Abraham, and repeated still more clearly through the prophets and David? Do you see how the Lord of Sabaoth began to glorify the human race by glorifying the man Jesus, the Son of God, in Whom was incarnate the divinity of God? As the first in glory, God first glorified Him, and then, in order, all those who are numbered with Him, and who by the grace of the Holy Spirit are named and written in the Book of Life for eternal glory. It is not without cause that the Church sings to the Mother of God: ``More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim.'' Where the Risen Lord is exalted, His Most-holy Mother is also exalted, as are also His holy apostles, in accordance with His words to His heavenly Father: Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am (John 17:24).
Such is the boundless consequence of God's descent to earth. Such are the ineffable fruits of His sufferings.
O Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, equal only to Thy Father and the Holy Spirit; help us to extricate ourselves from the depth of putrid sin and sensual foolishness before the end.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.