Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 11, 2011 - 26th Sunday After Pentecost (12th of Luke)

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople
Luke the New Stylite of Chalcedon
Holy Martyrs Ascepsia and Aethal
Holy Martyrs Miracus and Barsabas
Leontios the Righteous of Monemvasia

Τῶν Ἁγίων Προπατόρων.
Τῶν Ὁσίων Πατέρων ἡμῶν Δανιήλ τοῦ Στυλίτου καί Λουκᾶ τοῦ Νέου Στυλίτου.
Τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ἀκεψεῆ καί Ἀειθαλᾶ καί τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Μείρακος καί Βαρσαβᾶ.
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἐνδόξου Βασιλέως Νικηφόρου, τοῦ Φωκᾶ.

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from Luke 24:1-12
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered in to the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home wondering at what had happened.

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 24.1-12
Καὶ τὸ μὲν σάββατον ἡσύχασαν κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν, Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ὄρθρου βαθέος ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα φέρουσαι ἃ ἡτοίμασαν ἀρώματα, καί τινες σὺν αὐταῖς. εὗρον δὲ τὸν λίθον ἀποκεκυλισμένον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι οὐχ εὗρον τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ διαπορεῖσθαι αὐτὰς περὶ τούτου καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνδρες δύο ἐπέστησαν αὐταῖς ἐν ἐσθήσεσιν ἀστραπτούσαις. ἐμφόβων δὲ γενομένων αὐτῶν καὶ κλινουσῶν τὸ πρόσωπον εἰς τὴν γῆν εἶπον πρὸς αὐτάς· τί ζητεῖτε τὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τῶν νεκρῶν; οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε, ἀλλ᾿ ἠγέρθη· μνήσθητε ὡς ἐλάλησεν ὑμῖν ἔτι ὢν ἐν τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ, λέγων ὅτι δεῖ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθῆναι εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ σταυρωθῆναι, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἀναστῆναι. καὶ ἐμνήσθησαν τῶν ῥημάτων αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὑποστρέψασαι ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου ἀπήγγειλαν ταῦτα πάντα τοῖς ἕνδεκα καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς λοιποῖς. ἦσαν δὲ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ Μαρία καὶ ᾿Ιωάννα καὶ Μαρία ᾿Ιακώβου καὶ οἱ λοιπαὶ σὺν αὐταῖς, αἳ ἔλεγον πρὸς τοὺς ἀποστόλους ταῦτα. καὶ ἐφάνησαν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν ὡσεὶ λῆρος τὰ ῥήματα αὐτῶν, καὶ ἠπίστουν αὐταῖς. ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἀναστὰς ἔδραμεν ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ παρακύψας βλέπει τὰ ὀθόνια κείμενα μόνα, καὶ ἀπῆλθε πρὸς ἑαυτόν, θαυμάζων τὸ γεγονός.

The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 3:4-11
BRETHREN, when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

Πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς 3:4-11
Ἀδελφοί, ὅταν ὁ χριστὸς φανερωθῇ, ἡ ζωὴ ἡμῶν, τότε καὶ ὑμεῖς σὺν αὐτῷ φανερωθήσεσθε ἐν δόξῃ. Νεκρώσατε οὖν τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, πορνείαν, ἀκαθαρσίαν, πάθος, ἐπιθυμίαν κακήν, καὶ τὴν πλεονεξίαν, ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρεία, διʼ ἃ ἔρχεται ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας· Ἐν οἷς καὶ ὑμεῖς περιεπατήσατέ ποτε, ὅτε ἐζῆτε ἐν αὐτοῖς. Νυνὶ δὲ ἀπόθεσθε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ πάντα, ὀργήν, θυμόν, κακίαν, βλασφημίαν, αἰσχρολογίαν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν· μὴ ψεύδεσθε εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἀπεκδυσάμενοι τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον σὺν ταῖς πράξεσιν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν νέον, τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν κατʼ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν· ὅπου οὐκ ἔνι Ἕλλην καὶ Ἰουδαῖος, περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία, βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος· ἀλλὰ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν χριστός.

The Reading is from Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 22:14
The Lord said this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for all is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.' And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and there is still room.' And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet. For many are called, but few are chosen.'"

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 14.16-24, Matt
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τήν παραβολὴν ταύτην· Ἄνθρωπός τις ἐποίησε δεῖπνον μέγα καὶ ἐκάλεσε πολλούς· καὶ ἀπέστειλε τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ δείπνου εἰπεῖν τοῖς κεκλημένοις· ἔρχεσθε, ὅτι ἤδη ἕτοιμά ἐστι πάντα. καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς παραιτεῖσθαι πάντες. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα, καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθεῖν καὶ ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον. καὶ ἕτερος εἶπε· ζεύγη βοῶν ἠγόρασα πέντε, καὶ πορεύομαι δοκιμάσαι αὐτά· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον. καὶ ἕτερος εἶπε· γυναῖκα ἔγημα, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὐ δύναμαι ἐλθεῖν. καὶ παραγενόμενος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἀπήγγειλε τῷ κυρίῳ αὐτοῦ ταῦτα. τότε ὀργισθεὶς ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης εἶπε τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ· ἔξελθε ταχέως εἰς τὰς πλατείας καὶ ῥύμας τῆς πόλεως, καὶ τοὺς πτωχοὺς καὶ ἀναπήρους καὶ χωλοὺς καὶ τυφλοὺς εἰσάγαγε ὧδε. καὶ εἶπεν ὁ δοῦλος· κύριε, γέγονεν ὡς ἐπέταξας, καὶ ἔτι τόπος ἐστί. καὶ εἶπεν ὁ κύριος πρὸς τὸν δοῦλον· ἔξελθε εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς καὶ φραγμοὺς καὶ ἀνάγκασον εἰσελθεῖν, ἵνα γεμισθῇ ὁ οἶκος μου. λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων τῶν κεκλημένων γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου. Πολλοί γὰρ εἰσιν κλητοί, ὀλίγοι δέ ἐκλεκτοί.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμην ἐπιτελοῦμεν τῶν Ἁγίων καὶ μακαρίων Πατέρων, τῶν ἐν Νικαίᾳ συνελθόντων τὸ δεύτερον, ἐπὶ τῶν εὐσεβῶν καὶ φιλοχρίστων Βασιλέων, Κωνσταντίνου καὶ Εἰρήνης, κατὰ τῶν δυσσεβῶς καὶ ἀμαθῶς καὶ ἀπερισκέπτως τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰδωλολατρεῖν εἰπόντων, καὶ τὰς σεπτὰς καὶ Ἁγίας εἰκόνας καταβαλόντων.
Ὑπέρμαχοι σοὶ τοῖς λόγων ὅπλοις, Λόγε,
Ἐχθροὺς τροποῦνται τῶν σεβαστῶν εἰκόνων.
Τῇ ΙΑ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Δανιὴλ τοῦ Στυλίτου.
Καὶ γήϊνον πᾶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ γῆν ἐκκλίνων,
Οἰκεῖ Δανιὴλ πρὶν στῦλον, καὶ νῦν πόλον.
Ἑνδεκάτῃ Δανιὴλ στυλοβάμων εὕρατο τέρμα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Λουκᾶ, τοῦ νέου Στυλίτου.
Πρὸς ὕψος ἀνήνεγκε τὸν Λουκᾶν στῦλος,
Λουκᾶς δὲ τὸν νοῦν πρὸς Θεόν, πρὸς ὃν τρέχει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ , Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ἀκεψεῆ καὶ Ἀειθαλᾶ.
Ἀκεψεῆν βλέπων με πάσχοντα ξίφει,
Ἀειθαλᾶ, ζήλωσον, Ἐζήλωσά σε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ , Μνήμη Μείρακός τινος, καὶ διήγησις πάνυ ὠφέλιμος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ , Ἄθλησις τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Βαρσαβᾶ.
Θύσας Βαρσαβᾶ ζῆθι, λυτρωθεὶς ξίφους.
Ἄνω ποθῶ ζῆν· θᾶττον ἡκέτω ξίφος.
Τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Τερεντίου, Βικεντίου, Αἰμιλιανοῦ, καὶ Βεβαίας.
Τμηθέντες ἐμφαίνουσι τρεῖς τε καὶ μία
Θεοῦ Τρία πρόσωπα καὶ φύσιν μίαν.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.

This Saint was from the village of Marutha in the region of Samosata in Mesopotamia. He became a monk at the age of twelve. After visiting Saint Symeon the Stylite (see Sept. 1) and receiving his blessing, he was moved with zeal to follow his marvellous way of life. At the age of forty-two, guided by providence, he came to Anaplus in the environs of Constantinople, in the days of the holy Patriarch Anatolius (see July 3), who was also healed by Saint Daniel of very grave malady and sought to have him live near him. Upon coming to Anaplus, Saint Daniel first lived in the church of the Archangel Michael, but after some nine years, Saint Symeon the Stylite appeared to him in a vision, commanding him to imitate his own ascetical struggle upon a pillar. The remaining thirty-three years of his life he stood for varying periods on three pillars, one after another. He stood immovable in all weather, and once his disciples found him covered with ice after a winter storm. He was a counsellor of emperors; the pious emperor Leo the Great fervently loved him and brought his royal guests to meet him. It was at Saint Daniel's word that the holy relics of Saint Symeon the Stylite were brought to Constantinople from Antioch, and it was in his days that the Emperor Leo had the relics of the Three Holy Children brought from Babylon. Saint Daniel also defended the Church against the error of the Eutychians. Having lived through the reigns of the Emperors Leo, Zeno, and Basiliscus, he reposed in 490, at the age of eighty-four.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Υπομονής στύλος γέγονας, ζηλώσας τούς προπάτορας Όσιε, τόν Ιώβ εν τοίς πάθεσι, τόν Ιωσήφ εν τοίς πειρασμοίς, καί τήν τών Ασωμάτων πολιτείαν, υπάρχων εν σώματι, Δανιήλ Πατήρ ημών Όσιε, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thou becamest a pillar of patience and didst emulate the Forefathers, O righteous one: Job in his sufferings, Joseph in temptations, and the life of the bodiless while in the body, O Daniel, our righteous Father, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ώσπερ ἀστὴρ πολύφωτος, σὺ ἀναβὰς μακάριε, ἐπὶ τοῦ στύλου τὸν κόσμον ἐφώτισας, ἐν τοῖς ὁσίοις ἔργοις σου, καὶ τὸ σκότος τῆς πλανης, ἀπεδιώξας Πάτερ, διὸ δεόμεθα, καὶ νὺν ἐπίλαμψον, ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις τῶν δούλων σου, τὸ ἄδυτον φῶς τῆς γνώσεως.
With longing and zeal for things on high, O righteous one, thou leftest behind all things that are found here below, when thou builtest thy pillar as another Heaven whence thou didst flash with the light of wonders and signs. Do thou ever pray Christ that our souls be saved.

Κάποιος έγραψε κάπου το εξής πολύ σωστό. "Όλοι οι Άγιοι είναι αξιοθαύμαστοι, όχι όμως και αξιομίμητοι...". Πολλοί από αυτούς, και μάλιστα οι Όσιοι, ανέλαβαν και εκτέλεσαν παράδοξα, που όλα είναι βέβαια εμπνευσμένα από αληθινή αρετή. Δεν είναι όμως για όλους, γι' αυτό τα τέτοια έργα όχι μόνο αξιομίμητα δεν είναι, αλλά κι όλοι δεν είναι άξιοι να τα μιμηθούν. Ένα τέτοιο έργο αξιοθαύμαστο, αλλ' όχι και αξιομίμητο είναι το κατόρθωμα των στυλιτών. Πολλοί Όσιοι πέρασαν ζωή ολόκληρη επάνω σ' ένα στύλο, εκτεθειμένοι στον καύσωνα του καλοκαιριού και στον παγετό του χειμώνα. Ένας από αυτούς είναι ο άγιος Δανιήλ ο Στυλίτης, του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Δεν πρέπει, γιατί και δεν μπορούμε, να τον μιμηθούμε. Αξίζει, όμως να τον θαυμάζουμε για την καρτερία του και πολλά να διδασκώμαστε από την αυταπάρνησή του. Ο Σταυρός έχει δική του αξία, έξω από κάθε κοινωνική ωφελιμότητα.

Κυριακὴ τῶν Ἁγίων Προπατόρων
Οἱ Πατέρες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ὅρισαν τὴν Κυριακὴ πρὶν τὴν Κυριακὴ πρὸ τῆς γεννήσεως τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὴν μνήμη τῶν Προπατόρων Του, (δηλαδὴ τῶν κατὰ σάρκα προγόνων Του), ὅπως εἶναι ὁ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ οἱ ὑπόλοιποι, ἀπὸ τοὺς ὁποίους προῆλθε ὁ Κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Δανιὴλ ὁ Στυλίτης
Γεννήθηκε τὸ 410 μ.Χ., στὸ χωριὸ Μαρουθὰ τῆς περιφερείας Σαμοσάτων. Οἱ εὐσεβεῖς γονεῖς τοῦ ὀνομαζόταν Ἠλίας καὶ Μάρθα. Ὁ Δανιὴλ γεννήθηκε ἐνῷ ἡ μητέρα του ἦταν στεῖρα. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ οἱ γονεῖς του ὑποσχέθηκαν νὰ τὸν ἀφιερώσουν στὴν ὑπηρεσία τοῦ Θεοῦ. Τὸν ἀνέθρεψαν μὲ πολλὴ ἐπιμέλεια, καὶ οἱ κόποι τους δὲν πῆγαν χαμένοι. Ὁ Δανιὴλ ἀπέδωσε καρπούς. Νεαρὸς ἀκόμα, πήγαινε στὶς γειτονικὲς πόλεις καὶ ἐξηγοῦσε τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο. Ἔπειτα πῆγε σὲ κοινόβια Μονή, ὅπου ἐπιδόθηκε σὲ εὐσεβεῖς ἀσκήσεις, θεολογικὲς μελέτες καὶ καλλιέργεια τῆς ταπεινοφροσύνης. Κάποτε, σ᾿ ἕνα ταξίδι μὲ τὸν ἡγούμενο τῆς Μονῆς, συνάντησε τὸ Συμεὼν τὸ Στυλίτη καὶ πῆρε τὴν εὐλογία του. Ὅταν πέθανε ὁ ἡγούμενος τῆς Μονῆς, ὁ Δανιὴλ ξαναπῆγε στὸ Συμεὼν καὶ ζήτησε τὴν συμβουλή του ποῦ νὰ πάει. Ὁ Συμεὼν τὸν συμβούλευσε νὰ πάει στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, πρᾶγμα ποὺ ὁ Δανιὴλ ἔπραξε. Ἐκεῖ ἐγκαταστάθηκε στὸν περίβολο τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ ἀρχιστρατήγου Μιχαὴλ στὴν Προποντίδα. Μετὰ ἀπὸ λίγο καιρό, εἶδε σὲ ὅραμα τὸ Συμεὼν νὰ τὸν καλεῖ. Ὁ Δανιήλ, ἑρμηνεύοντας αὐτὸ τὸ ὅραμα, ἔκτισε ὑψηλὸ στῦλο καὶ ἐγκαταστάθηκε πάνω σ᾿ αὐτόν. Σκοπὸς τῆς ἐγκατάστασής του πάνω στὸ στῦλο ἦταν ὁ ἀγώνας γιὰ τὴν ἐξάλειψη τῶν παθῶν καὶ ἡ ἀπόκτηση περισσότερων ἀρετῶν. Ἔλαβε τὸ προορατικὸ χάρισμα, ἔκανε πολλὰ θαύματα καὶ ἦταν σημαντικὴ ἡ συμμετοχή του στὴ Σύνοδο τῆς Χαλκηδόνας. Πέθανε 80 χρονῶν, πλήρης «καρπῶν δικαιοσύνης τῶν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ». Δηλαδὴ γεμάτος ἀπὸ καρπούς, ποὺ παράγει ἡ ἀρετὴ καὶ ποὺ κατορθώνονται διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Λουκᾶς ὁ Νέος Στυλίτης
Ἔζησε στὰ μέσα τοῦ 10ου αἰῶνα μ.Χ. καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Μικρὰ Ἀσία. Οἱ γονεῖς του, Χριστοφόρος καὶ Καλή, τὸν ἀνέθρεψαν σύμφωνα μὲ τὶς ἐπιταγὲς τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ὑπηρέτησε σὰ στρατιώτης καὶ ὄχι μόνο διατήρησε τὴν ἁγνότητά του, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπηρέαζε πρὸς τὸ καλὸ νεαροὺς συστρατιῶτες του, ποὺ εἶχαν ῥοπὴ στὴ διαφθορά. Ἀργότερα ὁ Λουκᾶς ἔγινε ἱερέας καὶ ἀφιερώθηκε στὸ φωτισμὸ τῶν ψυχῶν τῆς ἐνορίας του. Κατόπιν ἀνέβηκε ἀσκούμενος στὸν Ὄλυμπο, ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ ἔπειτα στὴ Χαλκηδόνα, ὅπου ἔστησε τὴν καλύβα του πάνω σ᾿ ἕνα στῦλο. Ἀπὸ τὸ νέο του ἀσκητικὸ ὁρμητήριο πήγαινε σὲ διάφορα μέρη καὶ κήρυττε τὸν λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἔκανε πολλὰ θαύματα. Πάνω στὸν στῦλο αὐτὸ ὁ Λουκᾶς πέρασε 45 ὁλόκληρα χρόνια καὶ ἀπεβίωσε μὲ θαυμαστὴ πνευματικὴ λαμπρότητα.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀειθαλᾶς καὶ Ἀκεψέης
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη Ἀρβὴλ τῆς Περσίας καὶ ὁ μὲν Ἀειθαλᾶς ἦταν ἐπίσκοπος ὁ δὲ Ἀκεψέης διάκονος. Ἡ θερμὴ καὶ ζωντανὴ πίστη τους, τοὺς ὠθοῦσε νὰ κηρύττουν καθημερινὰ τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο καὶ νὰ ἑλκύουν ψυχὲς στὸν Σωτῆρα Χριστό. Καταγγέλθηκαν στὸν Πέρση βασιλιὰ καὶ ἀφοῦ ἔμειναν ἀκλόνητοι στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη, μετὰ ἀπὸ φρικτὰ βασανιστήρια, ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν. (Ἄλλες Συναξαριακὲς πηγὲς ἀναφέρουν ὅτι ὁ Ἀειθαλᾶς ἦταν πρῶτα ἱερεὺς εἰδώλων καὶ κατηχήθηκε στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη ἀπὸ τὸν ἐπίσκοπο κάποιας πόλεως, ποὺ ἦλθε καὶ θεραπεύτηκε ἀπὸ αἱμοῤῥαγία).

Ὁ Ἅγιος Μείραξ
Ἡ ζωή του ὅμοια μὲ αὐτὴ τοῦ Ἀσώτου τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ὁ ἅγιος Μείραξ γεννήθηκε στὸ Τενεσὴ τῆς Αἰγύπτου καὶ ἀνατράφηκε ἀπὸ τοὺς γονεῖς του μὲ χριστιανικὴ εὐσέβεια. Ἀλλὰ τὰ θέλγητρα τῆς νεότητας τὸν παρέσυραν στὴν ἀσωτία καὶ ἀκόμα πιὸ χειρότερα οἱ γνωριμίες του μὲ Ἀγαρηνούς, τὸν ἔκαναν νὰ ἀλλαξοπιστήσει. Οἱ γονεῖς του τὸ ἔμαθαν καὶ ἔκλαψαν πικρά. Ἀλλὰ δὲν ἀπελπίστηκαν καὶ στήριξαν τὴν ἐλπίδα τους στὸν Θεὸ προσευχόμενοι. Καὶ ὁ Θεὸς ἔκανε τὸ ἔλεός του, χάριν τῶν εὐσεβῶν γονέων. Ὁ ἀρνησίθρησκος γιὸς μπούχτισε τὴ ζωὴ τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Καὶ ὅπως ὁ φοίνικας προβάλλει μέσα ἀπὸ τὶς φλόγες, ἔτσι καὶ ἡ προηγούμενη πίστη τοῦ Μείρακα, πρόβαλλε μέσα ἀπὸ τὰ ἐρείπια τῆς ψυχῆς του. Ἦλθε μετάνοια στὴν καρδιά του, καὶ κάποια μέρα ἐμφανίστηκε στοὺς γονεῖς του, ἔπεσε στὰ πόδια τους, ζήτησε συγνώμη καὶ ἐξέφρασε τὴν ἐπιθυμία νὰ ἐπανέλθει στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Ἐκεῖνοι τὸν δέχτηκαν μὲ χαρά, τὸν φίλησαν καὶ δόξασαν τὸ Θεό. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ Μείρακα δὲν ἀρκέστηκε σ᾿ αὐτὴν τὴν ἀποκατάσταση. Πῆγε λοιπὸν στὸν Ἀμηρᾶ, ἔκανε τὸ σημεῖο τοῦ σταυροῦ καὶ φώναζε ὅτι ἐπανῆλθε στὴν ἀληθινὴ πίστη. Ὁ Ἀμηρᾶς ἔδωσε διαταγὴ καὶ τὸν μαστίγωσαν σκληρὰ μὲ βούνευρα, μέχρι ποὺ σχίστηκαν οἱ σάρκες του. Κατόπιν τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν καὶ τὸ μὲν κεφάλι του τὸ ἀγόρασαν οἱ χριστιανοὶ καὶ τὸν ἔθαψαν μὲ τιμή, τὸ δὲ σῶμα του, οἱ Ἀγαρηνοὶ τὸ ἔβαλαν μέσα σὲ μία βάρκα καὶ τὸ ἔριξαν στὴ θάλασσα.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Λεόντιος ποὺ μόνασε στὴν Ἀχαΐα
Γεννήθηκε στὴν Μονεμβασία τῆς Πελοποννήσου ἀπὸ τὸν Ἀνδρέα καὶ τὴν Θεοδώρα.Ὁ πατέρας του ἦταν ἀρκετὰ πλούσιος καὶ ἐπίσημος ἄνδρας. Ὁ βασιλιὰς Ἀνδρόνικος Β´, ὁ Παλαιολόγος (1283-1328) ἀνέθεσε σ᾿ αὐτὸν σπουδαία θέση στὴν κεντρικὴ διοίκηση τοῦ Μοριᾶ. Ὁ Λέων λοιπόν, ἔτσι ὀνομαζόταν πρίν, ἔτυχε μεγάλης φροντίδας ἀπὸ τοὺς γονεῖς του καὶ σπούδασε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη ξένες γλῶσσες, φιλοσοφία καὶ θεολογία. Ὅταν πέθανε ὁ πατέρας του, ἐπέστρεψε στὴ Μονεμβασία καὶ φρόντισε τὴν μητέρα του. Κατόπιν ἡ μητέρα του ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ μοναστήρι καὶ ὁ Λέων μὲ τὴν εὐχή της παντρεύτηκε. Ὑπῆρξε πρότυπο συζύγου, οἰκογενειάρχη καὶ κοινωνικοῦ εὐεργέτη. Ἔπειτα ὅμως ἦλθαν καὶ οἱ μεγάλες δοκιμασίες. Πέθανε ἡ γυναῖκα του, κατόπιν τὰ παιδιά του καὶ ἔτσι ὁ ἴδιος ἀποφάσισε νὰ γίνει μοναχός. Ἔγινε λοιπὸν μοναχὸς μὲ τὸ ὄνομα Λεόντιος καὶ πῆγε κοντὰ σ᾿ ἕνα ἔμπειρο ἀσκητή, τὸν Μενίδη, ὅπου ἔμεινε κοντά του γιὰ ἀρκετὸ χρονικὸ διάστημα. Στὴ συνέχεια πῆγε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, ὅπου ἔλαβε ἀρκετὰ μεγάλη ἀσκητικὴ ἐμπειρία καὶ ἐπέστρεψε πάλι στὴν Πελοπόννησο.Ἐκεῖ διάλεξε τόπο διαμονῆς του τὸ βουνὸ ποὺ βρίσκεται κοντὰ στὸ Αἴγιο καὶ ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ πήγαινε σὲ πόλεις τῆς Ἀχαΐας καὶ κήρυττε τὸν Θεῖο λόγο. Κοντά του πῆγαν καὶ ἄλλοι ζηλωτὲς τῆς ἀγγελικῆς ζωῆς, ποὺ ἀργότερα, πολλοὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς διέπρεψαν στὸν ἱερὸ κλῆρο.Ὁ Λεόντιος ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ καὶ ἡ φήμη τῆς ἀρετῆς του παρέμεινε καὶ μετὰ τὸν θάνατό του. Οἱ δὲ ἀδελφοὶ Παλαιολόγοι, Θωμᾶς καὶ Θεόδωρος, πρὸς τιμὴν τοῦ ὁσίου, ἔκτισαν Μονὴ στὸν τόπο τῆς ἀσκήσεώς του, στὸ ὄνομα τοῦ ἀρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ.

Our Venerable Father Daniel the Stylite (490)
He was from Samosata in Mesopotamia, and became a monk at the age of twelve. As a young monk he visited St Symeon the Stylite (September 1) to receive his blessing. Years later he moved to the neighborhood of Constantinople at the request of the holy Patriarch Anatolius (July 3), whom he had healed of a deadly ailment through his prayers. For a time Daniel lived in the church of the Archangel Michael at Anaplus, but nine years later St Symeon the Stylite appeared to him in a vision and told him to imitate Symeon's ascesis of living on a pillar. For the remaining thirty-three years of his life the Saint did just that. He stood immovably in prayer regardless of the weather: once after a storm his disciples found him standing covered with ice. He was much loved by several Emperors (including Leo the Great), who sought him out for counsel. He reposed at the age of eighty-four, having lived through the reigns of three Emperors.

Saint Nikon the Dry of the Kiev Caves (1101)
He was a monk in Kiev, taken into slavery by a band of Polovtsi (Turkic raiders who were troubling the country at that time) along with the holy Martyr Eustratius (March 28). He humbly refused to be ransomed by his family and therefore suffered a harsh captivity for three years. Despite this, he prayed constantly for his captors, worked miracles for their sake, and once healed their leader from a deadly illness. One day St Eustratius appeared to him in a vision and told him that he would be set free in three days. When he told his captives, they severed the tendons of his knees and ankles and kept him under guard. But at the appointed time he was miraculously transported to Kiev, where he suddenly appeared in church among his astonished brethren. The Saint did not want his chains removed until his Abbot said "Brother, if the Lord wanted to see you in these chains, he would not have delivered you from captivity!" He was so withered from his hardships that he became known as Nikon the Dry. Later, the captor whom he had healed came to the Monastery of the Caves and became a disciple of his former slave.

Our Venerable Father Luke the New Stylite (979)
He was an Anatolian, and in his youth served in the Byzantine army in the war against the Bulgar Tsar Symeon. After the war, he left the army to become a monk, and was in time ordained to the priesthood. For a time he served as an army chaplain, living even more austerely than he had as a monk and distributing all his possessions to soldiers in need.
He entered the Monastery of St Zacharias on Mount Olympus in Bithynia, where he was appointed steward. Here his ascetical labors reached new levels. He kept a large stone in his mouth so that he would be unable to speak, and spent each night in a tree. When his exploits threatened to attract admiration, Luke fled to his homeland and lived for a few years in an isolated cave. Then, following in the footsteps of Symeon the Elder (September 1), Symeon the Younger (May 24), Daniel (today) and Alypius (November 26), he began to live as a stylite, dwelling on a tall pillar near Constantinople. Here he became a powerful intercessor for those who flocked to him for healing or counsel, and countless miracles were worked through his prayers.
Saint Luke lived on his pillar for more than forty years without interruption, and fell asleep in peace, aged more than one hundred. He was buried in the Monastery of St Bassian.

MENOLOGION, © 1997-2009 by Thomas G. (Michael) Purcell
The Monk Daniel the Pillar-Dweller was born in the village of Bythar, near the city of Samosata in Mesopotamia. His mother Martha was childless for a long while and in her prayers gave a vow, that if she had a child, she would dedicate him to the Lord. Her prayers were heard, and Martha soon gave birth to a son, who until he was 5 years of age was without a name. The parents of the boy desired, that since he was born through the good-will of God, he should likewise receive from God his name. They took their son to a monastery located nearby and approached the hegumen. The hegumen gave orders to take down one of the Divine-service books, and at random having unrolled it, found in it the mention of the Prophet Daniel (Comm. 17 December). Thus did the lad receive his name. The parents asked that the lad might remain at the monastery, but the hegumen would not accept him, since he was still but a small boy. At 12 years of age, saying nothing to no one, the lad left home for the monastery.
His parents were happy when they learned where their son was, and they went to the monastery. Seeing that he was still going about in his worldly clothes, they besought that the hegumen should attire him in the Angelic garb. And on that Sunday the hegumen fulfilled their request, but permitted them often to visit their son. The brethren of the monastery were astonished at the efforts of the monk.
One time on a visit to the monastery came Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller (comm. 1 September), who foretold to the young monk, that he too would undertake the feat of pillar-dwelling. The Monk Daniel continued on with his ascetic life in seclusion. When in a vision the place of a new exploit was revealed to him, he withdrew into the Thracian wilderness together with two students, where they set up a pillar, upon which the Monk Daniel dwelt for 33 years. People thronged to the pillar, those who were misfortunate and those who were sick, and all received from the Monk Daniel help and healing. Byzantine emperors likewise besought the prayers of the holy ascetic. And from the numerous predictions of the monk, the most notable was about a strong conflagration in Constantinople. The Monk Daniel possessed also the gift of gracious words. He guided many onto the path of correcting their lives. The monk reposed in his 80th year.

The Monk Nikon the Lean, the son of rich and illustrious parents, gave up everything for Christ and accepted monasticism at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. In the year 1096, during the incursions of khan Bonyak, he together with other monks was taken into captivity. Expecting a rich ransom, the captor treated the Monk Nikon harshly. When the saint was refused ransom, the master began to torment him with hunger, and left him exposed in the heat of Summer and the cold of Winter. But the monk gave thanks to God for everything and once said to his tormentor, that the Lord, through the prayers of the Monks Antonii and Theodosii (Feodosii) would return him to his monastery, as the Monk Evstratii (+ 1097, Comm. 28 March) had predicted while appearing to him. The captor cut the leg-tendons of the Monk Nikon and set a strong guard over him. But on the third day at the sixth hour suddenly the holy captive became invisible, at the moment the guard hear the words: "Praise the Lord from the Heavens". And thus he was transported to the Divine Liturgy at the Uspensk church. The brethren surrounded him and began to ask how he got there. The Monk Nikon wanted to conceal the miracle. But the brethren implored him to tell the truth. The Monk Nikon wanted to continue his ascetic deeds in his fetters from captivity, but the hegumen said: "If the Lord had wanted that thou shouldst remain bound, He would not have delivered thee from captivity". After a long while the former master of the Monk Nikon came to the Kievo-Pechersk monastery and recognised his former captive, withered up from hunger and wounds. He came to believed, accepted Baptism, and having taken monastic tonsure, he himself became an obedient (novice) under the Monk Nikon. The Monk Nikon died at the beginning of the XII Century and was buried in the Nearer Caves. His memory is celebrated also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The Holy Martyr Mirax was born into a Christian family that lived in the city of Tennes (Egypt) during the VII Century. He was raised in piety, but yielded to demonic temptation and renounced the Holy Cross, going over to the ruler of Egypt named Amir, and taking up sword in hand he entered into the service of the Arabs. His parents, grieving over the terrible downfall of their son, prayed for him incessantly. And then the grace of God illumined the heart of the prodigal. He deeply repented and returned home. His parents counselled him to openly declare about his fall into darkness and his repentance. Saint Mirax obeyed them. The ruler condemned him to tortures, after which the saint was beheaded and cast into the sea (this occurred not earlier than the year 640).

The Holy Martyrs Akepsios and Haifal hailed from Persia. Akepsios was a pagan priest in the city of Arbel. Having received healing through the prayers of a Christian bishop, he was converted to the faith in Christ and boldly confessed it. For this they threw Saint Akepsios into prison. Soon imprisoned with him was Saint Haifal, a deacon of the Arbel Church. They brought the martyrs before the ruler, where they again confessed their faith and were beheaded.

The Monk Luke the New Pillar-Dweller was a soldier under the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrigenitos (912-959). During the time of a war with Bulgaria (917), Saint Luke through the Providence of God remained unharmed. After this he accepted monasticism, and having succeeded in his efforts, was elevated to the dignity of presbyter. Striving though towards an higher degree of perfection, the monk put chains upon himself and went up upon a pillar. After three years standing aloft, through a Divine inspiration, he went to Mount Olympos, and then to Constantinople, and finally to Chalcedon, where likewise he chose a pillar, upon which he was aloft for 45 years, , manifest ing a gift of wonderworking. He died in about the year 980.


THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. The Venerable Daniel the Stylite
Daniel was born in the village of Bethara near the city of Samosata in Mesopotamia of Christian parents, Elias and Martha. Through her tearful prayers, his barren mother received him from God, and as an only son he was dedicated to God from early childhood. Daniel embraced the monastic rank at the age of twelve, visited Simeon the Stylite, and was blessed by him. Desirous of solitude, Daniel left the monastery and withdrew to an abandoned pagan temple on the shore of the Black Sea. There he endured countless assaults from demons, but he conquered them all by perseverance, prayer and the sign of the Cross. Afterward he climbed up on a pillar. There he remained until his death, enduring both heat and cold, and attacks from both men and demons. Many disciples gathered around his pillar, and he directed them to eternal life by his example and his words. God rewarded His faithful servant with abundant grace while in this life, and he performed many miracles beneficial to men and prophesied future events. People from all parts crowded beneath his pillar, seeking help and counsel from the saint of God. Emperors and patriarchs as well as ordinary people came to him. Emperor Leo the Great brought his foreign guests, princes and nobles, and showed them St. Daniel on the pillar, saying to them: "Behold, the wonder in my kingdom!" Daniel foretold the day of his own death, instructed his disciples as a father to his sons, and took leave of them. At the time of his death, his disciples beheld angels, prophets, apostles and martyrs above his pillar. Having lived for eighty years, this holy angelic man entered into rest and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ in the year 489.

2. The Venerable Luke the Stylite
Luke lived in Constantinople at the time of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. As a soldier, he participated in the war against the Bulgarians, in which he witnessed the death of many thousands of people, and from that war he emerged alive and unharmed. Seeing the finger of God in his deliverance, Luke scorned the vanity of the world and withdrew to a pillar near Chalcedon. There he lived a life of asceticism for forty-five years, cleansing his soul of all sinful desires and thoughts. Pleasing God, he entered into rest sometime between the years 970 and 980 and took up his habitation in a better life.

3. The Venerable Nicon the Dry
As a monk in the Monastery of the Kiev Caves, he was enslaved by the Tartars. He lived for three years in captivity: shackled, tortured and mocked. When his kinsmen brought the money to ransom him from his master, he refused, saying: "If the Lord had wanted me to be free, He would not have delivered me into the hands of these lawless men." Once he told his master that Christ would free him in three days. The Tartar thought that this meant that his slave was going to escape, so he severed his tendons below the knees. However, on the third day, Nicon was indeed instantly carried to Kiev by an invisible hand. After a period of time, the Tartar came to Kiev and recognized Nicon, his former slave. He repented and was baptized. The former master became the servant and disciple of his former slave. Nicon was called "the Dry" because of the great austerity of his bodily fasting, and he was a great clairvoyant and miracle-worker. He entered peacefully into rest in the Lord on December 11, 1101.

4. The Holy Martyr Mirax
Mirax was an Egyptian. Deceived by a Moslem Emir, he embraced Islam. He later repented and entered a mosque with a cross. There he declared himself a Christian, calling upon the Moslems to forsake their falsehood and to accept the truth. He was tortured and beheaded in about the year 640.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Venerable Daniel the Stylite
When holy Daniel desired to die
He taught his disciples thus:
"My dear children, the fruit of my labor,
Affix your heart to the Living God,
Contemplate in spirit the Heavenly Father.
Glorify the wondrous Creator with praise.
Let humility be the first of your virtues;
The humble in heaven are God's noblemen.
Then show obedience, such as befits the humble.
These are two adornments of every true believer.
The humble and the obedient keep hospitality:
Be hospitable and magnanimous.
These are three virtues, and still more I will say:
Fasting, vigils, poverty-the path to eternal happiness.
Here are six candles in the earthly darkness,
And the seventh is love, the greatest of all."
Thus the saint spoke, and imparted his blessings,
Then rendered his holy soul to the Lord.
O holy Daniel, inhabitant of heaven,
Implore Christ for the needs of us sinners.

REFLECTION
The Lord preserveth all them that love him (Psalm 145:20). The lives of the saints confirm this as clearly as the sun. Certain envious priests complained to Patriarch Anatolius about St. Daniel, slandering him and saying that he was a magician. In essence, they were envious of the exceedingly young ascetic, who surpassed them in all the virtues and attracted many people to himself by his way of life. The patriarch summoned Daniel and examined him regarding his faith and his way of life. When Daniel told him everything, the patriarch rose from his seat, embraced him, praised him, and dismissed him in peace. Several days later, Patriarch Anatolius became ill, summoned Daniel and asked him to pray to God for his recovery. Daniel prayed to God, and the patriarch was immediately restored to health. Since the patriarch wanted to reward Daniel somehow, the young saint begged him to forgive his slanderers as his reward. To this the patriarch replied: "How can I not forgive them when they are the authors of so much good, namely, that I now know you and have received healing through you?" Truly, the Lord preserves all who love Him, and He turns to their good the evil that men conceive against them.
While St. Nicon the Dry was a slave among the Tartars, his master became sick and was at the point of death. Seeing that he would soon die, he ordered his sons to crucify Nicon at the head of his grave after his death. St. Nicon, discerning the future, saw that his cruel master would be baptized and prayed to God for his restoration to health. Contrary to all expectations, the Tartar recovered. Thus, by prayer, Nicon saved himself from physical death and his master from spiritual death.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the covenant that God made with the righteous Noah (Genesis 9):
1. How God blessed Noah and his sons after the flood;
2. How He promised that there would never again be a universal flood;
3. How He established the rainbow as a sign of that covenant.

HOMILY
on Lot
And Lot … said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly (Genesis 19:7).
Lot, a righteous man among the unrighteous, lived in Sodom with his wife and two daughters. The faithful Abraham asked God: Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? (Genesis 18:23). God answered the faithful Abraham that not only would He not destroy the righteous, but if there were to be found ten righteous in that city, he would spare the entire city because of those ten. However, only one righteous man was found in Sodom-Lot-and he was a stranger. Just as before the flood there was only one righteous man in the world, Noah, so before the destruction of Sodom there was only one righteous man in that city, Lot. Lot was similar to his uncle Abraham in every virtue, notably in his obedience to God and his hospitality. The Sodomites hated him as a stranger and even more as a righteous man. Brethren, do not so wickedly, Lot exhorted them. He called the corrupt people his brethren in order to calm them and to remind them not to commit evil, in order to save them. But his brotherly words provoked them to even greater wrath. Lot was found worthy to have the angels of God visit him and deliver him from that corrupt city whose sins cried out to God. And the reprobates attacked the home of Lot to defile the sanctity of hospitality. Brethren, do not so wickedly, Lot implored them. But why would these brutes listen to a man if they did not fear God? That is why the angels of God punished them with blindness: And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great (Genesis 19:11). Then the angels led Lot from the city of the unrighteous and let loose a storm of brimstone and fire upon the city. Thus, the evil city perished, and the one righteous man in the city was saved. Better is one righteous man than a thousand sinners (Sirach 16:3).
O righteous God, Who never abandonest the righteous man, correct our unrighteousness and save us.
 To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.