Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011 - 22nd Monday After Pentecost (8th of Luke)

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:



33 Martyrs of Melitene

Lazarus the Wonderworker

Martyr Athenodorus

Alexander the Martyr of Thessaloniki



Άγιοι Τριάντα τρεις Μάρτυρες «οἱ ἐν Μελιτινῇ»

Όσιος Λάζαρος ο Θαυματουργός, ο Γαλλησιώτης

Άγιοι Μελάσιππος, Κασσίνη και Αντώνιος και Σαράντα Παίδες

Άγιοι Αύκτος, Ταυρίων και Θεσσαλονίκη

Άγιοι Ματρωνιανός και Αντώνιος

Άγιος Αθηνόδωρος



READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:



The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 2:13-20

BRETHREN, you who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, Christ made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?



Πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς 2:13-20

Ἀδελφοί, Χριστὸς ὑμᾶς νεκροὺς ὄντας ἐν τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν, συνεζωοποίησεν ὑμᾶς σὺν αὐτῷ, χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν πάντα τὰ παραπτώματα, ἐξαλείψας τὸ καθʼ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν, ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν· καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν ἐκ τοῦ μέσου, προσηλώσας αὐτὸ τῷ σταυρῷ· ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας, ἐδειγμάτισεν ἐν παρρησίᾳ, θριαμβεύσας αὐτοὺς ἐν αὐτῷ. Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει, ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων· ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα χριστοῦ. Μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβραβευέτω θέλων ἐν ταπεινοφροσύνῃ καὶ θρησκείᾳ τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἃ μὴ ἑώρακεν ἐμβατεύων, εἰκῆ φυσιούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐ κρατῶν τὴν κεφαλήν, ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα, διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν καὶ συνδέσμων ἐπιχορηγούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον, αὔξει τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ θεοῦ. Εἰ οὖν ἀπεθάνετε σὺν χριστῷ, ἀπὸ τῶν στοιχείων τοῦ κόσμου, τί ὡς ζῶντες ἐν κόσμῳ δογματίζεσθε;



The Reading is from Luke 12:13-15, 22-31

At that time, while Jesus was teaching one of the multitude said to him, "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" And he said to them, "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider. the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well."



Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 12.13-15, 22-3

Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, διδάσκοντας τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, εἶπε τις αὐτῷ ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου· Διδάσκαλε, εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου μερίσασθαι τὴν κληρονομίαν μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἄνθρωπε, τίς με κατέστησε δικαστὴν ἢ μεριστὴν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς; εἶπε δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς· ὁρᾶτε καὶ φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ πάσης πλεονεξίας· ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν τινὶ ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτοῦ. Εἶπε δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ· διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, μὴ μεριμνᾶτε τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν τί φάγητε, μηδὲ τῷ σώματι ὑμῶν τί ἐνδύσησθε. οὐχὶ ἡ ψυχὴ πλεῖόν ἐστι τῆς τροφῆς καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ἐνδύματος; κατανοήσατε τοὺς κόρακας, ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ θερίζουσιν, οἷς οὐκ ἔστι ταμεῖον οὐδὲ ἀποθήκη, καὶ ὁ Θεὸς τρέφει αὐτούς· πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμεῖς διαφέρετε τῶν πετεινῶν; τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα; εἰ οὖν οὔτε ἐλάχιστον δύνασθε, τί περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν μεριμνᾶτε; κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα πῶς αὐξάνει· οὐ κοπιᾷ οὐδὲ νήθει· λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων. εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ, σήμερον ὄντα καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον, ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσι, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς, ὀλιγόπιστοι; καὶ ὑμεῖς μὴ ζητεῖτε τί φάγητε καὶ τί πίητε, καὶ μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε·ταῦτα γὰρ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου ἐπιζητεῖ· ὑμῶν δὲ ὁ πατὴρ οἶδεν ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων· πλὴν ζητεῖτε τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.



READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:



Τῇ Ζ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων τριάκοντα τριῶν Μαρτύρων τῶν ἐν Μελιτινῇ, Ἱέρωνος καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν.

Ὢ πῶς, Ἱέρων οὐδὲν ἐξ εὐτολμίας

Ἄτολμον εἶδεν, οὐδ' ἀγενὲς πρὸς ξίφος!

Διὰ ξίφους ἀνεῖλον ἄνδρας τρὶς δέκα,

Ἄνδρες πονηροί, καὶ μίαν ξυνωρίδα.

Ουδ' ἔλαθ' ἑβδομάτῃ Ἱέρων ξίφει αὐχένα τμηθείς.

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ θαυματουργοῦ Λαζάρου, τοῦ ἐν τῷ Γαλησίῳ ὄρει ἀσκήσαντος.

Ἑτοίμασον τὸν κόλπον, Ἀβραὰμ Πάτερ,

Οὐχ ὑστεροῦντι Λαζάρῳ σοῦ Λαζάρου.

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Μελασίππου, Κασίνης, καὶ Ἀντωνίου.

Οὐ σάρκες ἦσαν, ἀλλ' ἄσαρκός τις φύσις.

Ὁ Μελάσιππος πρὸς ξέσεις καὶ Κασίνη.

Στὰς Ἀντώνιε, τὴν τομὴν χαίρων δέχου,

Καὶ δέξεταί σε τῆς χαρᾶς θεῖος τόπος.

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Αὔκτου, Ταυρίωνος, καὶ Θεσσαλονίκης.

Ἐφεῦρον Αὖκτος, Ταυρίων εὐκτὸν τέλος,

Ξίφει τμηθέντες, οἷα ταῦροι Κυρίου.

Φυγὴν κατακριθεῖσα πατρῴου πέδου,

Πέδον χλόης ᾤκησε Θεσσαλονίκη.

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ἀθηνοδώρου.

Ἐκ γῆς καλοῦσιν Ἀθηνόδωρον Νόες,

Πρὸς τὰς νοητὰς δωρεὰς τοῦ Κυρίου.

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ ἐκ Θεσσαλονίκης, ξίφει τελειοῦται.

Τῆς Θετταλῶν γῆς Ἀλέξανδρος φὺς κλάδος,

Ἀθλήσεως ἥπλωσεν ἐκτμηθεὶς κλάδους.

Ταῖς τῶν ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεὸς ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.



These holy Martyrs confessed during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian in the year 290. Of them, Saint Hieron was from Tyana in Cappadocia, a husbandman, of great bodily strength and high nobility of soul. As he was at work digging in his field, certain soldiers came to impress him into military service. He, however, not wishing to keep company with the impious, refused, and with his wooden tool alone drove away the armed soldiers, who fled in fear because of his strength. Later, however, he went of his own free will, and confessed Christ before the governor. His right hand was cut off, and he was imprisoned with thirty-two others, whom he strengthened in the Faith of Christ. Together they were all beheaded outside the city of Melitene in Armenia.



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 Fourth Tone

Χορός Μαρτύρων τηλαυγής καί φωσφόρος, εξανατείλας νοητώς κατεφαίδρυνε, τήν Εκκλησίαν σήμερον θαυμάτων βολαίς, όθεν εορτάζοντες, τήν σεπτήν αυτών μνήμην, αιτούμέν σε Σωτήρ ημών, Ταίς αυτών ικεσίαις, εκ τών κινδύνων λύτρωσαι ημάς, ώς ελεήμων Θεός καί φιλάνθρωπος.

The choir of Martyrs, shining far and light-bearing, hath dawned today and with the bright shafts of wonders hath made the Church resplendent with noetic light; wherefore, as we celebrate their most solemn remembrance, O our Saviour, we entreat that through their intercessions Thou rescue us from dangers of all kinds, as the most merciful God and the Friend of man.



Our righteous Father Lazarus was born in 967 in Magnesia of Asia Minor, and passed through various regions of the East, visiting monasteries. He was tonsured a monk, and then ordained priest, at the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine. In 1005 he returned to his homeland, and beginning in the year 1012, he built the monasteries that are on Mount Galesion. He raised up a pillar, on which he lived as a stylite for many years, enduring unspeakable hardships for the love of Christ, and reposed in the Lord in deep old age in the year 1053, during the reign of Constantine Monomachus (1042-1055).



Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Ταῖς ἐπαγρύπνοις προσευχαῖς, ἐν ὀχετοῖς δακρύων τὸν στῦλον κατέβρεχες· καὶ τοῖς ἐκ βάθων στεναγμοῖς, εἰς ἑκατὸν τοὺς πόνους ἐκαρποφόρησας· καὶ γέγονας ποιμήν, τοῖς προσιοῦσι νέμων συγχώρησιν, Ὅσιε Πατὴρ ἡμῶν Λάζαρε· πρέσβευε Χριστῷ τῷ Θεῷ σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.

In thy vigilant prayers, thou didst drench thy pillar with streams of tears; by thy sightings from the depths, thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labours; and thou becamest a shepherd, granting forgiveness to them that came to thee, O our righteous Father Lazarus. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.



Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Τοὺς ὑπὲρ φύσιν σου Σοφὲ πόνους καὶ σκάμματα, αὐτοὶ οἱ Ἄγγελοι ἰδόντες κατεπλάγησαν, δι᾽ ὧν εἴληφας θεόθεν καὶ τοὺς στεφάνους, Ἀλλ᾽ ὣς ἔχων παῤῥησίαν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον, ἐκ παντοίων ἡμᾶς σῷζε περιστάσεων, ἵνα κράζωμεν, Χαίροις Πάτερ Ποιμὴν ἡμῶν.

With great joy, the Church of Christ doth glorify thee on this day with psalmic hymns as a great light unto us all; hence never cease thou to intercede with Christ to grant the forgiveness of sins to all.



Το περιστατικό της διαθήκης του οσίου Λαζάρου, που ασκήτεχε στο Γαλλήσιον όρος και του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη, μας φέρνει στο νου τα λόγια του Προφήτου Ησαΐα προς τον βασιλέα Εζεκία· "Έντειλαι τω οίκω σου, αποθνήσεις συ και ου ζήση". Και μας θυμίζει ακόμη το καθήκον που έχουν όλοι, προ πάντων όμως όσοι ετάχθησαν ηγούμενοι του λαού, να προετοιμάζωνται για την έξοδό τους από τον βίο, γιατί πολλά δυσάρεστα συμβαίνουν, όταν φεύγουν χωρίς ν' αφήσουν τις τελευταίες τους θελήσεις. Όλοι οι άνθρωποι, φεύγοντας από τούτο τον βίο, κάτι έχουν να πουν σε κείνους που μένουν, σαν για να ζητήσουν συχώρεση σαν για ν΄ αφήσουν κάποια εντολή, μα περισσότερο οι ηγούμενοι του λαού. Όποιος αδιαφορεί ή αναβάλλει να εκπληρώση αυτό το καθήκον, έρχεται ξαφνικά ή ώρα της εξόδου και φεύγει ανέτοιμος και πληρώνει έτσι πολύ ακριβά την αδιαφορία και την αμέλειά του. Δυστυχώς καμμιά φορά την πληρώνει και η Εκκλησία.



St Hieron and his thirty-three Companions, martyred at Melitene (290)

Hieron was a farmer from Tyana in Cappadocia, known for his great bodily strength as well as purity of soul. Hearing of his prowess, imperial soldiers came to draft him into the army. Knowing that he would be required to make sacrifice to the idols, Hieron drove them off with only a wooden stave, then hid in the wilderness. Later, however, he went to the Governor voluntarily and openly confessed his faith in Christ. For this his right hand was cut off and he was imprisoned with thirty-two other believers. As they awaited their end, Hieron strengthened the others in the Faith. All were beheaded together outside Melitene in Armenia.



Saint Willibrord, first Bishop of Utrecht and Apostle of Holland (739)

He was born in Northubria in England around 638. At the age of seven he was sent to the monastery at Ripon for education under St Wilfrid (April 24), the abbot. At the age of twenty he traveled to Ireland to live among the holy monks of that land; he spent twelve years there as the spiritual child of St Egbert (also April 24). In 690 St Egbert sent Willibrord as head of a company of twelve monks to take the Gospel to the pagan lands around Frisia. The holy missionary first went to Rome to receive the blessing of Pope Sergius, then with his fellow-monks preached the Gospel throughout Holland and Zealand. In 695 Pope Sergius consecrated Willibrord Archbishop of Utrecht, instructing him to organize the Church throughout that area. As Archbishop, Willibrord continued to labor tirelessly for the spread of the Gospel in those pagan lands; his missionary travels took him as far as Denmark. He reposed in peace in 739 at Echternach Monastery (located in present-day in Luxembourg), having served for forty-four years as a bishop and for most of his life as a monastic. His tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage.



Οἱ Ἅγιοι 33 Μάρτυρες «οἱ ἐν Μελιτινῇ», Ἱέρων, Νίκανδρος, Ἡσύχιος, Βάραχος (ἢ Βαράχιος), Μαξιμιανός, Καλλίνικος, Ξαντικός (ἢ Ξανθίας), Ἀθανάσιος, Θεόδωρος, Δουκίτιος, Εὐγένιος, Θεόφιλος, Οὐαλέριος, Θεόδοτος, Καλλίμαχος, Ἱλάριος, Γιγάντιος, Λογγῖνος, Θεμέλιος, Εὐτύχιος, Διόδοτος, Καστρίκιος, Θεαγένης, Μάμας, Νίκων, Θεόδουλος, Βοστρύκιος (ἢ Οὐστρίχιος), Ουΐκτωρ, Δωρόθεος, Κλαυδιανός, Ἐπιφάνιος, Ἀνίκητος καὶ ἄλλος Ἰέρων

Ὁ πρῶτος ἀπ᾿ αὐτούς, ὁ Ἱέρων, ἦταν ἀπὸ τὰ Τύανα τῆς Καππαδοκίας. Ὁ πατέρας του πέθανε γρήγορα καὶ τὴν ἀνατροφή του, καθὼς καὶ τῶν δυὸ ἀδελφῶν του, Ματρωνιανοῦ καὶ Ἀντωνίου, ἀνέλαβε ἐξ ὁλοκλήρου ἡ μητέρα τους Στρατονίκη. Παρ᾿ ὅλο ποὺ ὁ Ἱέρων πῆρε ἀρκετὴ μόρφωση, ἀσχολήθηκε μὲ τὸ γεωργικὸ ἐπάγγελμα. Οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες τέτοιες ἐνασχολήσεις τὶς θεωροῦσαν ὑποτιμητικές. Ἀλλὰ οἱ χριστιανοὶ ἤξεραν ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς δὲν ἀπαξίωσε τὸν ἱδρῶτα τοῦ ταπεινοῦ ἐργάτη. Καὶ ὅτι κάθε τίμια ἐργασία εἶναι ἀρετὴ καὶ μόνο ἡ ἀργία, ποὺ φέρνει τὴν ἁμαρτία, ἀποτελεῖ γιὰ τὸν ἄνθρωπο στίγμα. Ἄλλωστε, ὁ θεόπνευστος λόγος τῆς ἁγίας Γραφῆς περιγράφοντας τὴ ζωὴ τῶν Ἀποστόλων καὶ κατ᾿ ἐπέκτασιν, ὅλων τῶν χριστιανῶν, λέει: «κοπιῶμεν ἐργαζόμενοι ταῖς ἰδίοις χερσί». Κοπιάζουμε, δηλαδή, ἐργαζόμενοι μὲ τὰ ἴδια μας τὰ χέρια. Ὅταν ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ ἄρχισε ὁ διωγμὸς κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ὁ ἔπαρχος Ἀγρικόλας συνέλαβε τὸν Ἱέρωνα. Τὸν συνέλαβε μὲ τὴν κατηγορία ὅτι τὶς Κυριακὲς καὶ τὶς ἄλλες γιορτὲς περιφερόταν καὶ κήρυττε τὸ Χριστὸ στοὺς ἐργάτες, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ ἀποσπάσει πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τὴν εἰδωλολατρία. Μαζί του συνελήφθησαν οἱ δυὸ ἀδελφοί του καὶ τριάντα ἀκόμα συνεργάτες του στὴ διακονία τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ἀφοῦ φυλακίστηκαν καὶ φρικτὰ βασανίστηκαν, τελικὰ ὁ ἔπαρχος Ἀγρικόλας τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισε ἔξω ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη Μελιτινή.



Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ματρωνιανός καὶ Ἀντώνιος

Ἦταν ἀδέλφια τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρα Ἰέρωνα - τοῦ πρώτου ἀπὸ τοὺς 33 μάρτυρες ἐν Μελιτινῇ - καὶ μαρτύρησαν καὶ αὐτοὶ διὰ ἀποκεφαλισμοῦ στὴν πόλη Μελιτινή.



Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μελάσιππος, Κασσίνα καὶ Ἀντώνιος καὶ 40 παιδομάρτυρες

Ἦταν μία οἰκογένεια, ποὺ οἱ Μελάσιππος καὶ Κασσίνα ἦταν σύζυγοι καὶ ὁ Ἀντώνιος γιός τους. Κατάγονταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἄγκυρα καὶ μαρτύρησαν σ᾿ αὐτή, ὅταν βασιλιὰς ἦταν ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς ὁ Παραβάτης (361). Καὶ τὸν μὲν Ἀντώνιο ἔριξαν στὴ φυλακή, τοὺς δὲ Μελάσιππο καὶ Κασσίνα, ἀφοῦ τοὺς κρέμασαν, ἔγδαραν τὸ δέρμα τους καὶ τὶς πληγές τους ἔκαψαν μὲ φωτιά. Στὴ συνέχεια τὸ ἴδιο ἔκαναν καὶ στὸν Ἀντώνιο, ἐπειδὴ αὐτὸς ἔφτυσε κατὰ πρόσωπο τὸν ἀποστάτη τοῦ Χριστιανισμοῦ, αὐτοκράτορα Ἰουλιανὸ καὶ μακάρισε τοὺς γονεῖς του, ποὺ παρέδωσαν τὶς ψυχές τους στὸν Θεό, πάνω στὸ βασανιστικὸ ξύλο. Ἔπειτα ἀπὸ πολλὰ βασανιστήρια, ποὺ ὑπέστη ὁ Ἀντώνιος, στάλθηκε στὸν δούκα Ἀγριππίνο. Αὐτὸς τὸν ἔβαλε μέσα σ᾿ ἕνα καζάνι μὲ βραστὸ νερὸ καὶ κατόπιν τὸν ἔριξε στὰ ἄγρια θηρία. Ἀπ᾿ ὅλα αὐτὰ ὁ Ἀντώνιος, μὲ θαυματουργικὸ τρόπο, βγῆκε ζωντανὸς καὶ εἵλκυσε στὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ 40 νεαρὰ παιδιά, ποὺ ἀμέσως ἀποκεφάλισαν οἱ ὑπηρέτες τοῦ βασιλιᾶ. Ἔπειτα ἅπλωσαν τὸν Ἅγιο ἐπάνω σὲ πυρακτωμένο μεταλλικὸ κρεβάτι καὶ τὸν ἔδειραν ἀλύπητα μὲ χοντρὰ ῥαβδιά. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως καὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὰ βγῆκε μὲ τὴν θεία χάρη ἀβλαβής, στὸ τέλος τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν καὶ ἔτσι πῆρε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.



Οι Άγιοι Μελάσιππος, Κασσίνη και Αντώνιος ήταν από την πόλη Άγκυρα της Μικράς Ασίας και έζησαν κατά τους χρόνους του αυτοκράτορα Ιουλιανού του Παραβάτη (361 μ.Χ.).

Ο Αντώνιος ήταν γιος του Μελασίππου και της Κασσίνης. Όντως σωστοί χριστιανοί, ανάθρεψαν τον γιο τους με μεγάλη επιμέλεια και τον ανέδειξαν σε άξιο μέλος της κοινωνίας και δόκιμο εργάτη του Ευαγγελίου. Όταν ο δούκας Αγριππίνος πληροφορήθηκε τη χριστιανική πίστη τους, πρόσταξε τη σύλληψή τους. Τους μεν γονείς προσπάθησε να τους νικήσει λέγοντάς τους ότι από αυτούς εξαρτάται η ζωή του παιδιού τους. και ότι αν απαρνιόντουσαν τον Κύριο θα χάριζε τη ζωή στον γιο τους. Τον δε Αντώνιο τον πίεζε ψυχολογικά, λέγοντάς του ότι μπορεί να σώσει τους γονείς του. Εκείνοι όμως δεν φοβήθηκαν τον μαρτυρικό θάνατο και η καρδιά τους ήταν έτοιμη να πάει στον Κύριο. Ο δούκας Αγριππίνας θύμωσε ακούγοντας τους να εξυμνούν τον Ιησού, παρόλο τις απειλές του και διέταξε τον βασανισμό τους.

Τον Μελάσσιπο και την Κασσίνη τους θανάτωσε κρεμασμένους πάνω σε ξύλο. Τον δε Αντώνιο τον βασάνισαν φρικτά και μετά τον έβαλαν μέσα σε αναμμένο κλίβανο. Όμως με τη βοήθεια της Θείας Χάρης, ο Άγιος έμεινε αβλαβής. Βλέποντας το θαύμα αυτό 40 νεαρά παιδιά ήλθαν στην πίστη του Χριστού, που αμέσως αποκεφάλισαν οι υπηρέτες του βασιλιά. Έπειτα έριξαν τον Άγιο σε πυρακτωμένη κάμινο, πάλι όμως χάρη στη Θεία επέμβαση έμεινε άφλεκτος. Ύστερα από το θαύμα αυτό πολλοί προσχώρησαν στην πίστη του Χριστού. Τελικά οι δήμιοι τον αποκεφάλισαν και έτσι ο Άγιος Αντώνιος ετελειώθη και κοσμήθηκε από τον Κύριο, όπως οι γονείς του, τον αμάραντο στέφανο του μαρτυρίου.



Οἱ Ἅγιοι Αὖκτος, Ταυρίων καὶ Θεσσαλονίκη

Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ μαρτύρησαν στὴν Ἀμφίπολη τῆς Μακεδονίας, ποὺ βρισκόταν κοντὰ στὴν Καβάλα. Ἡ Θεσσαλονίκη ἦταν κόρη ἑνὸς ἱερέα τῶν εἰδώλων, ποὺ ὀνομαζόταν Κλέων καὶ ἦταν ἀρκετὰ πλούσιος. Ὅταν ἔμαθε ὅτι ἡ κόρη του ἔγινε χριστιανή, θερμὰ τὴν παρακάλεσε νὰ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸν Χριστό, πρᾶγμα ποὺ δὲν κατόρθωσε. Τότε τὴν γύμνωσαν καὶ τὴν μαστίγωσαν μὲ μαστίγια ἀπὸ ὠμὰ δέρματα, τέσσερις ἄνδρες. Ἔπειτα ἔσπασαν τὰ πλευρά της καὶ ἀφοῦ πῆραν τὴν περιουσία της τὴν ἐξόρισαν, ὅπου ὁμολογῶντας τὸν Χριστὸ ἀπεβίωσε. Οἱ δὲ Αὖκτος καὶ Ταυρίων, ἀφοῦ κατηγόρησαν τὸν ὠμὸ βασανιστὴ καὶ φονιὰ τῆς Θεσσαλονίκης, καταγγέλθηκαν στὸν ὑπατικὸ Θορύβιο. Αὐτὸς διέταξε τὸν λιθοβολισμό τους καὶ κατόπιν μία σειρὰ φρικτῶν βασανιστηρίων. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως οἱ Ἅγιοι μὲ θαυματουργικὸ τρόπο βγῆκαν ἀπ᾿ ὅλα αὐτὰ σῶοι καὶ ἀβλαβεῖς, διατάχθηκε ὁ ἀποκεφαλισμός τους καὶ ἔτσι ἔλαβαν τὰ ἔνδοξα στεφάνια τοῦ μαρτυρίου.



Ὁ Ὅσιος Λάζαρος ὁ Θαυματουργός, ὁ Γαλλησιώτης

Ὁ Ὅσιος Λάζαρος ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Μικρὰ Ἀσία. Γεννήθηκε τὸν 11ο αἰῶνα σ᾿ ἕνα χωριὸ κοντὰ στὴ Μαγνησία (πρὸς τὸν Νέανδρο Ποταμό), ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς τὸν Νικήτα καὶ τὴν Εἰρήνη. Ὅταν ἀκόμα ἦταν ἕξι χρονῶν, ἐπιδόθηκε στὸν πνευματικὸ στίβο μέσα στὸ μοναστήρι τῶν Ὀρόβων. Ἐκεῖ ἔμεινε ἐπὶ πέντε χρόνια διδασκόμενος. Ὅμως, ἀπὸ θεῖο ζῆλο κινούμενος, θέλησε νὰ προσκυνήσει τοὺς ἁγίους τόπους. Ἔτσι ἔφυγε κρυφὰ ἀπὸ τὴν Μονὴ καὶ πῆγε στὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα. Μετὰ τὴν προσκύνηση τῶν ἐκεῖ ἱερῶν, ἐπισκέφθηκε τὴν μονὴ τοῦ ἁγίου Σάββα, ὅπου κοινοβίασε ἀφοῦ ἔγινε μοναχὸς καὶ κατόπιν ἱερέας. Κατὰ τὴν ἐπανάσταση τῶν Ἀράβων, ποὺ βεβήλωναν τὰ ἱερά, ἀναγκάστηκε καὶ ἔφυγε στὴν Ἔφεσο, σ᾿ ἕνα ἔρημο ὄρος ἀντίκρυ τῆς πόλης, ποὺ ὀνομαζόταν Γαλλήσιο. Ἐκεῖ, στὴν ἀρχὴ μόνος ζοῦσε σ᾿ ἕνα κελί, ἀλλ᾿ ἀργότερα μαζεύτηκαν γύρω του καὶ ἄλλοι μοναχοί. Ὁ δὲ Μονομάχος Κωνσταντῖνος (1042-1054), ἐξόριστος τότε στὴ Μυτιλήνη, ἄκουσε γιὰ τὴν ἁγιότητα τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ ἔκτισε ὡραιότατο ναὸ τῆς Ἀναστάσεως στὸ Γαλλήσιο ὄρος, καὶ τὸν προίκισε μὲ πολλὰ ἱερὰ κειμήλια. Ὁ δὲ Ὅσιος Λάζαρος, ἀνήγειρε κοντὰ στὸ ναὸ στύλο, ὅπου ἐγκαταστάθηκε στὴν κορυφή του καὶ ἀσκήτευε χειμῶνα - καλοκαῖρι, ἐκτεθειμένος σὲ καύσωνες καὶ παγωνιές. Ὁ Θεὸς ἐπίσης, ἔδωσε στὸν ὅσιο Λάζαρο καὶ τὸ χάρισμα νὰ θαυματουργεῖ. Ἔτσι αὐστηρὰ ἀσκητικὰ ἀφοῦ ἔζησε τὴ ζωή του, πέθανε μὲ ἁγιότητα σὲ βαθιὰ γεράματα (1054).



The Holy Martyr Hieron was born in the city of Tiana in great Cappadocia. Raised by a pious mother, he was a kindly and good Christian. 
The co-ruling emperors Diocletian and Maximian (284-305) sent to Cappadocia a large military detachment headed by Lyzias to eradicate the wide-spread Christianity there, and also, to conscript into the imperial army healthy and strong soldiers. Amidst the many others, Lyzias gave orders also to draft into military service Hieron, who was distinguished by his great physical strength and dexterity. But Hieron refused to serve emperors who would persecute Christians. When they attempted to grab hold of him by force and bring him to Lyzias, he took hold a beam of wood, and sent scattering the soldiers who had been sent to bring him. He then hid himself away in a cave, together with eighteen others of like mind. Lyzias would not risk losing his soldiers assaulting the cave even by storming it. Upon the advice of Kyriakos, one of the friends of Hieron, Lyzias lifted the siege of the cave and withdrew his detachment. Then Kyriakos, having reassured Hieron, persuaded him not to offer resistance to the authorities; and he together with the other new conscripts amidst accompanying soldiers were dispatched to the nearby city of Meletina. Soon Hieron had a vision in his sleep, in which was foretold him his imminent martyr's end. Lyzias proposed to the soldiers gathered at Meletina that they offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Hieron and behind him another 32 soldiers refused to do this, and openly they confessed their faith in Christ. Then the persecutor gave orders to beat the martyrs, and to cut off the hand of Hieron. After cruel tortures they threw the barely alive martyrs into prison, and in the morning they beheaded them. 
A certain rich and illustrious Christian by the name of Chrysanthos ransomed the head of Hieron from Lyzias. And when the persecutions finally ceased, he built a church on the place where they executed the holy martyrs, and he placed the venerable head therein. The bodies of all the executed saints were secretly buried by Christians. During the reign of the emperor Justinian later on, amidst the construction of a church in the name of Saint Irene, the venerable relics were uncovered undecayed.


The Monk Lazaros of Galiseia was born in Lydia, in the city of Magnesium. As a youth educated and loving God, Lazaros became a monk at the monastery of Saint Sava, the founder of great ascetic piety in Palestine. The monk spent ten years within the walls of the monastery, winning the love and respect of the brethren for his intense monastic effort. 
Ordained presbyter by the Jerusalem Patriarch, the Monk Lazaros returned to his native country and settled not far from Ephesus, on desolate Mount Galiseia. Here he was granted a wondrous vision: a fiery pillar, rising up to the heavens, was encircled by Angels, singing: "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered". On the place where this vision appeared to the saint, he built a church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ and took upon himself the feat of pillar-dwelling. Monks soon began to flock to the great ascetic, thirsting for wise spiritual nourishment by the Divinely-inspired word and blessed example of the saint. Thus arose a monastery.
Having received a revelation about his impeding end, the monk related this to the brethren, but through the tearful prayers of all, the Lord prolonged the earthly life of Saint Lazaros for another 15 years. 
The Monk Lazaros died at 72 years of age, in the year 1053. The brethren buried the body of the saint at the pillar, upon which he had pursued asceticism. The saint was glorified by many miracles after his death.


THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:



1. The Holy Martyr Hieron and his companions

Hieron was born in Tyana in Cappadocia of a good and devout mother, Stratonika, who was blind. Hieron was a very zealous Christian and served his blind mother with great filial love. For two reasons he did not wish to join the army, and he resisted and drove off those who had been sent to take him. Hieron was loath to leave his helpless mother, and it was grievous for him even to consider that, as a soldier, he would be compelled to offer sacrifices to idols. Finally, Hieron was arrested along with other Christians, and they were all taken before the eparch of the town of Melitene. While they were still on the road, a man clad in a brilliant white garment appeared to Hieron one night and said: ``Behold, Hieron, I proclaim salvation to you: you shall not wage war for an earthly king, but for the Heavenly King you will complete your struggle, and you shall soon come to Him to receive honor and glory.'' At this, Hieron's heart was filled with inexpressible joy. In Melitene they were all thrown into prison and Hieron, with great zeal, strengthened all the prisoners in the Faith, urging that not even one of them fall away, but that all willingly offer their bodies to torture and death for Christ. All but one confessed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The exception was Hieron's kinsman Victor, who fell away from the Faith. The tormentors cut one of Hieron's hands off, then flogged and tortured him in various ways until they beheaded him and the others. Going to the place of execution, these thirty-three martyrs chanted the Psalm: Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord (Psalms 118:1). Here we will name the honorable martyrs whose names are written with his in the Book of Life: Hesychius, Nicander, Athanasius, Mamas, Barachius, Callinicus, Theogenes, Nikon, Longinus, Theodore, Valerius, Xanthius, Theodulus, Callimachus, Eugenius, Theodochus, Ostrichius, Epiphanius, Maximian, Ducitius, Claudian, Theophilus, Gigantius, Dorotheus, Theodotus, Castrichius, Anicletus, Themilius, Eutychius, Hilarion, Diodotus and Amonitus. A man named Chrysanthus purchased Hieron's severed head and honorably buried it, later building a church over it in the saint's name. The martyr's severed hand was brought to his blind mother. St. Hieron, with his companions, suffered in the year 298 and entered the glory of Christ.



2. The Holy Martyr Thessalonica with Auctus and Taurion

This maiden was the daughter of a pagan priest, Cleon, a rich and arrogant man. Because of her faith in Christ, her father drove her from the house and city. Two honorable citizens, Auctus and Taurion, reproached Cleon for his inhuman treatment of his daughter, and he in turn denounced them as Christians. They were bitterly tortured and beheaded for Christ. Thessalonica was then tortured and slain as well. They suffered in the Macedonian city of Amphipolis near present day Kavala. Thus, these martyrs were made worthy of the Immortal Kingdom by their honorable suffering.



3. The Venerable Lazarus of Galesius

A pillar of light appeared above the house where he was born. Lazarus left his village of Magnesia and went to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage to the holy places. There, he was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. After ten years, he settled on Mount Galesius and lived a life of asceticism on a pillar as a stylite. Lazarus was a miracle-worker both during his life and after death. Emperor Constantine Monomachus had great respect for him. Attaining old age, St. Lazarus entered into eternity toward the end of the eleventh century.



HYMN OF PRAISE

The Holy Martyr Hieron and his companions

Prisons are peculiar palaces!

In prison, St. Hieron spoke:

``O my brethren, thirty companions,

Hold to God's word,

To God's word and His law.

Behold, from time immemorial, the serpent has risen up,

Seeking to ensnare you with a glance,

So that, one by one, you would follow it to hell.

Do not succumb, brethren, true believers,

Oh, hearken to humble Hieron!

Whatever the serpent promises you

Is as fleeting as the green grass.

Courageously endure your sufferings:

Do not trade the eternal for the temporal;

Today or tomorrow, death will arrive,

Then all must go to the judgment of God.

Blessed is he who is not ashamed

When he sees his Judge before him.

Even more so is he who can show the Judge

The blood he has shed for Him,

And the wounds he bears for His name.

Such a one will reign eternally with Him.''



REFLECTION

There are decisive moments in life upon which a man's eternal life or eternal death depend. We do not know when this decisive moment will come for us-perhaps today-and because of this we must be unceasingly vigilant. Victor, a kinsman of St. Hieron, was arrested with him. On the day before their torture, Victor, in terror of the impending tortures, went to the prison warden and begged him to take his name off the list of the condemned and release him, promising to give him his land. The warden removed his name and released him. However, upon returning home, Victor died of natural causes in the same moment that St. Hieron and his companions died in torments for Christ. Thus Victor vainly missed the decisive moment: he lost his land, his friends and both his earthly and heavenly life. In that same decisive moment, Hieron gained all. No one vied for Victor's body, while many vied for Hieron's body. When Christians sought the head of Hieron from the eparch, he asked as much gold for it as it weighed. Chrysanthus, a wealthy and devout man, paid that much gold for the martyr's honorable head. Anthony and Matronian hid one of St. Hieron's severed hands and brought it to Hieron's mother, the blind Stratonika. She took her son's hand and wept bitterly: ``O my beloved son, I gave birth to you whole, and now I have only one part of you!''



HOMILY

on the dark paths of mankind before and apart from Christ

in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).

This is all one and the same path-the path to destruction. According to the course of this world means inclination toward sinfulness; according to the prince of the power of the air means according to the will of those chiefs of the demons who inhabit the air; in the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience means that in the same way that the opponents and adversaries of God now live, all men lived before the advent of Christ, including those to whom the Apostle writes the epistle. What is this power of the air, brethren? This is the order of evil spirits who exist in constant movement in the air. They make the air lethal and they impede the souls of the departed as they make their way to heaven. They deceive the spirit of man to work every evil; they tempt it with every sin. Yet, they do not command the spirit to sin, for they lack the power to do that; they can only tempt and corrupt. They acted more strongly and directly on the pagans than on the Israelites. They fell upon the pagans as a swarm of flies on a carcass, but the Israelites they watched from a distance, corrupting and tempting them more subtlely. They stood at a distance from Israel because of the name of God, which was preserved and spoken among the Israelites. The Lord Jesus Christ scattered them all and plucked out their poisonous stings, so that they remained only as empty phantoms, as miserable, inconstant shadows that vanish instantly at the mention of the name of Christ or at the tracing of the sign of Christ's Cross.

O Lord Jesus, our Commander and Deliverer, help us to live in Thy freedom.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.