FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Thursday of the 14th Week
Anastasia the Great Martyr
Chrysogonos, Theodota, Evodias, & Eutychianus, the Martyrs
The opening of the gates of the Great Church of God
Forefeast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Προεόρτια τῆς Χριστοῦ Γεννήσεως.
Τῆς Ἁγίας Μεγαλομάρτυρος Ἀναστασίας τῆς Φαρμακολυτρίας καί τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Χρυσογόνου καί Θεοδότης.
Τά Θυρανοίξια τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ Μεγάλης Ἐκκλησίας.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to Titus 1:5-14
TITUS, my son, appoint elders in every town as I directed you, if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of being profligate or insubordinate. For a bishop, as God's steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it. For there are many insubordinate men, empty talkers and deceivers especially the circumcision party; they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, instead of giving heed to Jewish myths or to commands of men who reject the truth.
Πρὸς Τίτον 1:5-14
Τέκνον Τίτε, καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην, εἴ τίς ἐστιν ἀνέγκλητος, μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ, τέκνα ἔχων πιστά, μὴ ἐν κατηγορίᾳ ἀσωτίας ἢ ἀνυπότακτα. Δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἐπίσκοσκοπον ἀνέγκλητον εἶναι ὡς Θεοῦ οἰκονόμον, μὴ αὐθάδη, μὴ ὀργίλον, μὴ πάροινον, μὴ πλήκτην, μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ, ἀλλὰ φιλόξενον, φιλάγαθον, σώφρονα, δίκαιον, ὅσιον, ἐγκρατῆ, ἀντεχόμενον τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν πιστοῦ λόγου, ἵνα δυνατὸς ᾖ καὶ παρακαλεῖν ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ καὶ τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας ἐλέγχειν. Εἰσὶ γὰρ πολλοὶ καὶ ἀνυπότακτοι, ματαιολόγοι καὶ φρεναπάται, μάλιστα οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς, οὓς δεῖ ἐπιστομίζειν, οἵτινες ὅλους οἴκους ἀνατρέπουσι διδάσκοντες ἃ μὴ δεῖ αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν. Εἶπέ τις ἐξ αὐτῶν ἴδιος αὐτῶν προφήτης· Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται, κακὰ θηρία, γαστέρες ἀργαί. Ἡ μαρτυρία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἀληθής. δι᾿ ἣν αἰτίαν ἔλεγχε αὐτοὺς ἀποτόμως, ἵνα ὑγιαίνωσιν ἐν τῇ πίστει, μὴ προσέχοντες ᾿Ιουδαικοῖς μύθοις καὶ ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων ἀποστρεφομένων τὴν ἀλήθειαν.
The Reading is from Mark 10:17-27
At that time, as Jesus was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.' " And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth." And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 10.17-27
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐκπορευομένου τοῦ Ἰησοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν προσδραμὼν εἷς καὶ γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν· διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ, τί ποιήσω ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω; ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός. τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας· μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, μὴ φονεύσῃς, μὴ κλέψῃς, μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα. ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· διδάσκαλε, ταῦτα πάντα ἐφυλαξάμην ἐκ νεότητός μου. ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ· εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι, ὕπαγε, ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι, ἄρας τὸν σταυρόν σου. ὁ δὲ στυγνάσας ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ ἀπῆλθε λυπούμενος· ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά. Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ· πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελεύσονται! οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ. ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτοῖς· τέκνα, πῶς δύσκολόν ἐστι τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐπὶ χρήμασιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν· εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστι κάμηλον διὰ τρυμαλιᾶς ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν. οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες πρὸς ἑαυτούς· καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι; ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς λέγει· παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ παρὰ Θεῷ· πάντα γὰρ δυνατά ἐστι παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΒ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας μεγαλομάρτυρος Ἀναστασίας, τῆς Φαρμακολυτρίας.
Ἀναστασία φάρμακον πιστοῖς μέγα,
Πᾶν φάρμακον λύουσα, καὶ κεκαυμένη.
Καύθη Ἀναστασία πυρὶ δευτέρᾳ εἰκάδι λαύρῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Χρυσογόνου.
Δίδωσι Χρυσόγονος αὐχένα ξίφει,
Ὁ πνεῦμα χρυσοῦς, χάλκεος δὲ τὸ σθένος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Θεοδότης καὶ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς.
Ἡ Θεοδότη πῦρ φέρει σὺν φιλτάτοις,
Φίλτρῳ Θεοῦ ζέουσα, καὶ πυρὸς πλέον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ζωΐλου.
Ζωὴν ῥέουσαν ἐκλιπὼν ὁ Ζωΐλος
Ζωὴν μένουσαν εὗρεν ἐν ζώντων τόπῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Τὰ θυρανοίξια τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ μεγάλης Ἐκκλησίας.
Αἴρουσιν ἄνδρες ἱεροὶ Χριστοῦ πύλας
Τοὺς Δαυῒδ ἡμῖν ἐκτυπούμενοι νόας.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Τὸ φωτοδρόμιον τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ Ἐκκλησίας.
Τρέχοντα φῶτα σήμερον Ναοῦ κύκλῳ,
Δηλοῦσι φωτὸς εἰς τὸ πᾶν θείου δρόμον.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ετοιμάζου Βηθλεέμ, ήνοικται πάσιν η Εδέμ, Ευτρεπίζου Εφραθά, ότι τό ξύλον τής ζωής, εν τώ Σπηλαίω εξήνθησεν εκ τής Παρθένου, Παράδεισος καί γάρ, η εκείνης γαστήρ, εδείχθη νοητός, εν ώ τό θείον φυτόν, εξ ού φαγόντες ζήσομεν, ουχί δέ ως ο Αδάμ τεθνηξόμεθα, Χριστός γεννάται, τήν πρίν πεσούσαν, αναστήσων εικόνα.
Be thou ready, Bethlehem, Eden hath opened unto all. Ephratha, prepare thyself, for now, behold, the Tree of life hath blossomed forth in the cave from the Holy Virgin. Her womb hath proved a true spiritual Paradise, wherein the divine and saving Tree is found, and as we eat thereof we shall all live, and shall not die as did Adam. For Christ is born now to raise the image that had fallen aforetime.
This Saint, who was from Rome, was a most comely, wealthy, and virtuous maiden, the daughter of Praepextatus and Fausta. It was her mother who instructed her in the Faith of Christ. The Saint was joined to a man named Publius Patricius, who was prodigal in life and impious in disposition, but she was widowed after a short time. Henceforth, she went about secretly to the dwellings of the poor and the prisons where the Martyrs of Christ were, and brought them whatever was needed for their daily subsistence. She washed their wounds and loosed them from their fetters, and consoled them in their anguish. Also, because the Saint, through her intercessions, has healed many from the ill effects of spells, potions, poisons, and other harmful substances, she has received the name "Deliverer from Potions." Since the fame of her deeds had spread about, she was arrested by Diocletian's minions, and after enduring many torments she was put to death by fire in the year 290.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Οἱ ἐν πειρασμοῖς, καὶ θλίψεσιν ὑπάρχοντες, πρὸς τὸν σὸν ναόν, προστρέχοντες λαμβάνουσι, τὰ σεπτὰ ἰάματα, τῆς ἐν σοὶ οἰκούσης θείας χάριτος, Ἀναστασία σὺ γὰρ ἀεί, τῶ κόσμω πηγάζεις τὰ ἰάματα.
When they that are found in trials and adversities flee unto thy church O Anastasia, they receive the august and wondrous gifts of divine grace which doth abide in thee; for at all times, O Saint of God, thou pourest forth streams of healings for the world.
Τα λόγια του Αποστόλου Παύλου για τις γυναίκες, που διακονούν σε έργα της Εκκλησίας βρίσκουν εφαρμογή στον βίο της αγίας μεγαλομάρτυρος Αναστασίας, της οποίας η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη. "...ει εξενοδόχησεν, ει αγίων πόδας ένιψεν, ει θλιβομένοις επήρκεσεν, ει παντί έργω αγαθώ επηκολούθησε", λέει ο Απόστολος, ορίζοντας τις προϋποθέσεις, που εξασφαλίζουν θέση στις χήρες χριστιανές στην διακονία της Εκκλησίας. Η αγία Αναστασία, και πριν να χηρέψη κι όταν χήρεψε, τέτοιο έργο είχε τάξει στη ζωή της. Να περιποιείται κρυφά τους μάρτυρας στη φυλακή και να ενταφιάζη τα ιερά τους λείψανα, μετά το μαρτύριό τους. Γι' αυτές τις υπηρεσίες της αξιώθηκε όχι μόνο στην τάξη των χηρών να καταλεχθή, μα και στην χορεία των αγίων Μαρτύρων να συγκαταριθμηθεί. "Επί ολίγα ης πιστός, επί πολλών σε καταστήσω" είπεν ο Κύριος. Στην εκουσιότητα του μαρτυρίου δεν φθάνει κανείς χωρίς άσκηση και προετοιμασία.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἀναστασία ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς (ἢ Φαρμακολύτρια)
Ὁ πατέρας της ἦταν Ῥωμαῖος πατρίκιος, Πραιτεξτάτος ὀνομαζόμενος καὶ ἡ μητέρα της Φαῦστα. Ἡ Ἀναστασία διακρινόταν γιὰ τὴν ὀμορφιὰ τοῦ σώματος, τὴν μόρφωση, τὸ ἄμεμπτο ἦθος καὶ τὴν σωφροσύνη της. Σὲ μικρὴ ἡλικία, παντρεύτηκε ἕνα Ῥωμαῖο ἄρχοντα, τὸν Ποπλίονα. Αὐτὸς ἦταν φανατικὸς εἰδωλολάτρης καὶ μισοῦσε θανάσιμα τοὺς χριστιανούς. Ἡ Ἀναστασία, ὅμως, ὄχι. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ δὲν ἄργησε νὰ δεχθεῖ τὸ ἅγιο Βάπτισμα καὶ νὰ γίνει χριστιανή. Ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ στάση της δὲν ἦταν παθητική. Ἔβαζε φτωχὰ ῥοῦχα καὶ πήγαινε στὶς φυλακές, ὅπου ἔδινε τροφὲς καὶ χρήματα στοὺς φυλακισμένους χριστιανοὺς μάρτυρες. Ὅταν ἔμαθε αὐτὸ ὁ σύζυγός της, ἐξοργισμένος τῆς εἶπε ὅτι, ἂν δὲν ἀλλάξει τὸ χριστιανικό της φρόνημα, θὰ γίνει ὁ χειρότερος ἐχθρός της. Ἡ Ἀναστασία, χωρὶς νὰ ταραχθεῖ, ἀπάντησε στὸ σύζυγό της ὅτι αὐτὰ ποὺ λέει δὲν τὴν ἐκπλήσσουν, οὔτε τὴν φοβίζουν. Διότι ὁ ἴδιος ὁ Κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, ἐνημέρωσε τοὺς ἀγωνιζόμενους πιστούς Του ὅτι: «Ἐχθροί του ἀνθρώπου οἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ». Δηλαδή, ἐχθροί του πιστοῦ ἀνθρώπου θὰ εἶναι οἱ ἄνθρωποι τοῦ σπιτιοῦ του, ποὺ δὲ θὰ δεχθοῦν τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο, τὸ ὁποῖο φέρνει τὴν ἀληθινὴ καὶ οὐράνια εἰρήνη. Τότε ὁ Ποπλίων χωρὶς δισταγμὸ τὴν κατήγγειλε στὸ Διοκλητιανό. Αὐτὸς τὴν φυλάκισε καὶ κατόπιν τὴν ἐξόρισε σὲ ἕνα νησί, ὅπου ὑπέστη μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο μέσα στὴ φωτιά.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Χρυσόγονος
Ἦταν ἄνθρωπος θεοσεβὴς καὶ διδάσκαλος τῆς ἁγίας Ἀναστασίας τῆς Φαρμακολυτρίας. Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη καὶ ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Διοκλητιανοῦ (290). Ἐπειδὴ τότε κινήθηκε διωγμὸς κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ἔπιασαν καὶ τὸν Χρυσόγονο καὶ τὸν φυλάκισαν. Ὅταν ὁ Διοκλητιανὸς βρισκόταν στὴ Νίκαια, ἔμαθε ὅτι στὴ Ῥώμη ἦταν πολὺ πλῆθος χριστιανῶν φυλακισμένο, ποὺ ἂν καὶ βασανίστηκε σκληρὰ δὲν ἀρνήθηκε τὴν πίστη του, ἐπειδὴ εἶχε παρακινητὴ στὸ μαρτύριο τὸν θεῖο Χρυσόγονο. Τότε ὁ Διοκλητιανὸς διέταξε νὰ θανατωθοῦν ὅλοι οἱ χριστιανοὶ ποὺ δὲν θὰ ἀρνηθοῦν τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ τὸν Χρυσόγονο νὰ τὸν φέρουν δεμένο μπροστά του. Ὅταν λοιπὸν ὁ Χρυσόγονος παρουσιάστηκε στὸν βασιλιά, τὸ φρόνημά του δὲν κάμφθηκε οὔτε ἀπὸ κολακεῖες, οὔτε ἀπὸ φοβέρες. Ἀντίθετα μάλιστα, μὲ θάῤῥος διακήρυξε ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς εἶναι ὁ μόνος ἀληθινὸς Θεὸς καὶ ὅτι οἱ Θεοὶ εἶναι πλάνη τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ φθορὰ τῶν ψυχῶν καὶ ἀπώλεια. Ὅταν ἄκουσε αὐτὰ ὁ τύραννος, διέταξε νὰ τὸν φέρουν σὲ ἔρημο τόπο καὶ νὰ τὸν ἀποκεφαλίσουν. Ἔτσι ὁ μακάριος Χρυσόγονος, πῆρε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου ἀπὸ τὸν Κύριο.
Ἡ Ἁγία Θεοδότη καὶ τὰ τρία παιδιά της
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Διοκλητιανοῦ (284-304) καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Βιθυνία. Στὴ Νίκαια γνώρισε τὴν Ἁγία Ἀναστασία τὴν Φαρμακολύτρια, μαζὶ μὲ τὸν δάσκαλό της Χρυσόγονο καὶ ὅλοι μαζὶ ἐπισκέπτονταν στὶς φυλακὲς τοὺς μάρτυρες χριστιανοὺς καὶ τοὺς συμπαραστέκονταν ποικιλοτρόπως. Ὅταν τὸ ἔμαθε αὐτὸ ὁ Διοκλητιανός, θέλησε νὰ δώσει τὴν Θεοδότη γιὰ γυναῖκα στὸν ἄρχοντα Λευκάδιο (ἢ Λευκάτιο), μὲ σκοπὸ νὰ τὴν ἑλκύσει στὴν εἰδωλολατρία. Αὐτὴ ὅμως ἀρνήθηκε καὶ παραδόθηκε στὸν ἄρχοντα Βιθυνίας ὑπατικὸ Νικήτιο, ὁ ὁποῖος τὴν ἔριξε μαζὶ μὲ τὰ τρία παιδιά της στὴ φωτιά, ὅπου βρῆκαν μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ζωΐλος
Ὑπέστη μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ, ὅταν μαζὶ μὲ τὶς ἅγιες γυναῖκες Ἀγάπη, Εἰρήνη καὶ Χιονία, περισυνέλεξε ἀπὸ τὰ νερὰ τῆς λίμνης τὸ λείψανο τοῦ Ἁγίου Χρυσογόνου (μνήμη τοῦ ὁποίου προαναφέραμε). (Ἐδῶ, ὁρισμένα Συναξάρια ἀναφέρουν μαζὶ καὶ τὴν μνήμη κάποιου Ἁγίου Εὐτυχιανοῦ).
Holy Great Martyr Anastasia the Widow, the Deliverer from Potions (290)
She was born in Rome to a wealthy and prominent family. Though her father Pretexatus was a pagan, her mother Fausta instructed her in the things of God. Her father married her against her will to Publius, a prodigal and impious man lacking in Christian or pagan virtue. Anastasia was in the custom of dressing herself as a poor working woman and going out by night to visit and comfort the many Christians in prison (this was the time of Diocletian's persecution). When Publius discovered this, he was furious that his wife was demeaning herself by consorting with the despised Christians, and had his wife locked in the house with so little food that she came close to death by starvation. She was able to get a letter to her spiritual father Chrysogonus, who was also in prison, and their correspondence helped to sustain her through her ordeal. After three months her husband died in a shipwreck and she regained her freedom. Immediately she redoubled her work for the suffering Christians and their families, devoting all her time and wealth to their comfort and care.
One day Diocletian declared that all Christians in his prisons should be slain, and his command was carried out in one night. The next day Anastasia came to visit her beloved companions and, learning that all were dead, fell sobbing by the gate, no longer caring to conceal her Christian faith from anyone. Almost immediately she was arrested and brought before the authorities, who subjected her to every form of abuse. One prefect offered to marry her if she would bow to the idols, but to have her tortured to death if she would not. When she was unmoved, he attempted to rape her, but was struck blind and died miserably. She then briefly escaped to Nicaea and found refuge with the pious St Theodota, but was seized again along with Theodota and her children. After further trials and torments Anastasia, Theodota and her children, and others who had been converted to Christ through Anastasia's example, were executed.
Saint Anastasia's relics were taken to Rome, where a church was built in her honor. The relics were later translated to Constantinople and placed in another church bearing her name, where they worked many miracles. Because she has healed many through her prayers from the effects of poisons and potions, she is called Pharmocolytria, "Deliverer from Potions."
The GreatMartyr Anastasia the Alleviatrix-of-Captives (Uzoreshitel'nitsa), a Roman by birth, suffered for Christ during the time of the persecution against Christians under Diocletian. Her father was a pagan, her mother -- secretly a Christian. The teacher of Saint Anastasia in her youth was an educated and pious Christian named Chrisogenes. After the death of her mother, her father gave Saint Anastasia in marriage to a pagan named Pomplius, but under the pretext of a contrived illness, she preserved her virginity.
Clothing herself in the garb of a beggar, and accompanied by only one servant, she visited the prisons: she fed, doctored and often ransomed captives that were suffering for their faith in Christ. When her servant told Pomplius about everything, he subjected his wife to a beating and locked her up at home. Saint Anastasia then began secretly to correspond with Chrisogenes, who bid the saint to be patient, to conform all thoughts to the Cross of Christ and prepare herself to serve the Lord; he foretold also the impending perishing of Pomplius in the sea. And after a certain while Pomplius did indeed drown, having set out with a delegation to Persia. After the death of her husband, Saint Anastasia began generously to distribute her property to the poor and suffering.
A report was made to Diocletian that the Christians, who filled the prisons of Rome, stoically endured the tortures. He thereupon gave orders in a single night to kill them all, and for Chrisogenes to be dispatched to him at Aquileia. Saint Anastasia followed her teacher at a distance.
The emperor personally interrogated Chrisogenes, but being unable to incline him to a renunciation of faith, the emperor then gave command for him to be beheaded and thrown into the sea. The body and severed head of the holy martyr were carried by the waves to shore. There by a Divine prompting they were found by a certain presbyter named Zoilus who, having put them within a coffin, concealed them at his home. Chrisogenes appeared to Zoilus and informed him that martyrdom was near for Agapia, Chiona and Irene -- youthful Christians living not far away, and bid him to send Saint Anastasia to them. For Zoilus himself, Chrisogenes foretold a quick and peaceful death. Chrisogenes likewise in a vision guided Saint Anastasia's path to Zoilus. Having come to the presbyter, she prayed at the relics of Saint Chrisogenes, and afterwards she spiritually strengthened the three maidens before their tortures. When these three martyrs gave up their souls to the Lord, she herself buried them.
Having carried out the bequest of her teacher, the saint began her wanders. And having gained proficiency in the medical arts of the time, she zealously cared for captives far and wide. Through her exploits, Saint Anastasia earned for herself the name Aleviatrix-of-Captives (Uzoreshitel'nitsa), since by her many efforts she delivered from agony of long-time suffering many a confessor of the Name of Christ.
One time she made the acquaintance of the pious young widow Theodotia and found in her a faithful helper. Both soon suffered persecution. They arrested Saint Anastasia when she was in Illyria. This occurred just after all the Christian captives there had been murdered in a single night by order of Diocletian. Saint Anastasia had come to one of the prisons, and finding no one there, she began to weep loudly. The jailers realised that she was a Christian and led her off to the governor of the district, who tried to persuade the saint to recant Christ by threatening torture.He then handed her over to the Capitolian pagan-priest Ulpian. The cunning pagan offered Saint Anastasia the choice between luxury and riches, or grievous sufferings. He set before her on the one side gold, precious stones and clothing, but on the other side -- fearsome tools of torture. The pagan guile was put to shame by the bride of Christ -- Saint Anastasia refused the riches and chose the tools of torture. But the Lord prolonged the course of the earthly deeds of the saint. Charmed by the beauty of Anastasia, the pagan-priest decided to profane her purity, but during his first yearnings to touch her he suddenly became blind. Losing his wits under this affliction, he dashed to run off to a pagan temple to appeal to the idols for help, but along the way he fell down and died. Saint Anastasia was set free and together with Theodotia she again devoted herself to the care of imprisoned Christians. Before long, Saint Theodotia and her three sons accepted a martyr's death. Her eldest son, Evodus, stood bravely before the judge and without protest endured beatings. After lengthy torture, they threw all of them into a red-hot oven.
Saint Anastasia was caught again and condemned to death by starvation. She stayed in prison without food for 60 days. Saint Theodotia appeared to the martyr every night and gave her courage. Having seen that hunger caused Saint Anastasia no harm whatsoever, the judge sentenced her to drowning together with condemned criminals. Among these people also was Eutykhian, condemned for his Christian faith.
When the ship went out into the open sea, the soldiers bored holes in it and transferred themselves into a boat. Saint Theodotia appeared to the captives and commanded the ship to shore. Having come to dry land and being saved by the miracle, the 120 men believed in Christ and were baptised by Saints Anastasia and Eutykhian. All were soon captured and given over to a martyr's death. They stretched Saint Anastasia between four posts cross-shaped over a red-hot bon-fire. A certain pious woman Apollinaria buried in a garden her body, unharmed by the fire. In the V Century the relics of Saint Anastasia were transferred to Constantinople, where a church in her name was built. They later transferred the head and an hand of the GreatMartyress to the monastery of Saint Anastasia Uzoreshitel'nitsa (Alleviatrix-of-Captives), located near holy Mount Athos.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Holy Martyr Juliana and 630 Martyrs with her
This glorious virgin and martyr was born in Nicomedia of pagan parents. Hearing the Gospel preached, she turned to Christ with all her heart and began to live in exact observance of the Lord's commandments. Eleusius, a senator, was her betrothed. In order to turn him away, Juliana told him that she would marry him only if he became the eparch of that city. She suggested this to him, thinking that this young man would never attain such a high position. Nevertheless, Eleusius tried and, by flattery and bribery, attained the post of Eparch of Nicomedia. Juliana then revealed to him that she was a Christian and could not enter into marriage with him until he embraced her Faith, saying: ``What does it benefit us to be united physically but divided spiritually?'' Embittered by this, Eleusius denounced her to her father. The enraged father scorned her, beat her, and then handed her over to the eparch for torture. The eparch ordered that they severely beat her, then she was cast into prison, all wounded and bloody. However, the Lord healed her in prison, and she appeared before the eparch completely well. He then threw her into a glowing furnace but the fire did not burn her. Seeing this miracle, many believed in Christ God. Five hundred men and one hundred and thirty women were converted. The eparch condemned them all to death and ordered them all to be beheaded. Thus their souls entered Paradise. Then the wicked judge condemned holy Juliana to be beheaded. With a joyful spirit, Juliana went out to the place of execution, prayed to God on her knees, and placed her head on the block. Her head was severed and her soul went to the Kingdom of Christ's eternal light in the year 304. God's punishment quickly befell Eleusius: as he was sailing on the sea, his ship broke up and he fell into the water. He did not find death in the water, but swam to an island, where dogs tore him to pieces and devoured him.
2. Saint Peter the Wonderworker, Metropolitan of Russia
Peter was born in the province of Volhynia and embraced the monastic life at the age of twelve. He was a wonderful ascetic and iconographer. He founded a monastery on the river Rata and became its abbot. Against his will, he was appointed Metropolitan of Kiev and consecrated in Constantinople by Patriarch Athanasius. As metropolitan, he endured much at the hands of the envious and the heretics. He governed the Church for eighteen years as a good and zealous shepherd. During his lifetime he built a crypt for himself in the Church of the Dormition, where his holy and miracle-working relics repose even today. He entered into rest in the year 1326 and went to his true homeland.
3. The Holy Martyr Themistocles
As a shepherd, the young Themistocles tended sheep in a field near the city of Myra in Lycia. At that time the persecutors of Christians were pursuing St. Dioscorides, and they came upon Themistocles in the field. They asked him if he saw the one being pursued and if he knew where he was hiding. Themistocles, although he knew, refused to say, but instead declared himself a Christian. He was tortured and beheaded at the time of Decius in the year 251.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Mother of Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Russia
The glorious mother of Peter the Saint,
When she was pregnant with Peter,
Dreamed a dream, and saw in that dream
That, in her hands, she held a lamb:
With slender horns, a lamb all white.
Between the lamb's horns was a most beautiful tree,
nd on the tree were fragrant flowers,
And fragrant fruits around the flowers.
The tree's branches were adorned with candles,
Glowing candles like shining stars,
Redolent with a heavenly scent.
The dream of the mother was wonderfully realized:
The meek lamb prefigured Peter,
he horns-Peter's bravery,
The beautiful tree-the soul of the saint,
The multicolored flowers-his multitude of virtues,
The fruits-his works of mercy,
The glowing candles-his faith and prayer.
That which was revealed in an image to the mother
Was shown in truth in Peter.
Whoever climbs to the Kingdom of Christ must encounter obstacles, and these obstacles are numerous and varied. Especially dangerous are the evils of the demons. Therefore, every man zealous for the spiritual life must be especially cautious and not accept every shining vision from the other world as a divine revelation. That even the devil is able to appear as an angel of light is shown in the life of the Holy Martyr Juliana. When this holy virgin lay in prison, the devil appeared to her in angelic light, and he counseled her to offer sacrifice to the idols so as to end her tortures. The frightened Juliana asked: ``Who are you?'' The devil replied: ``I am an angel of God! God is greatly concerned about you. Therefore, He sent me with the message that you should submit to the eparch, so that your body will not be destroyed by pain; the Lord is gracious and will forgive you because of the weakness of your wounded body.'' The martyr was horrified at these words. Confused, she fell down in tears in prayer to God, asking Him to reveal who had spoken with her. Then a voice from heaven came to her: ``Be brave, Juliana, I am with you; I give you authority and power over him who came to you, and from him alone will you discover who he is.'' And the devil was bound and forced to acknowledge that he was the same one who had deceived Eve in Paradise, who had told Cain to murder Abel, Herod to slaughter the children of Bethlehem, the Jews to stone Stephen, Nero to crucify Peter upside down and to behead Paul, and so forth. Thus, this holy virgin, girded with the power of God, did not allow herself to be deluded by the evil spirit, but she defeated him by her vigilant and ardent prayers to God.
Contemplate David's repentance:
1. How King David did not sin while he was a shepherd and a simple subject;
2. How, as king, he sinned against God;
3. How he immediately recognized his sin, confessed it and repented bitterly.
on Elias the Prophet
As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years but according to my word (I Kings 17:1).
These words are terrible sounding to every mortal ear, for a man spoke them, a man subject to like passions as we are (James 5:17). You ask yourselves, brethren, how can a mortal man shut up the heavens and stop the rain? But ask yourselves: how can a mortal man open the heavens and bring down rain upon the parched ground? We know that even now God opens the heavens and gives rain at the prayers of men: And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22), says our Savior. As Moses, by living faith and prayer, worked awesome miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness, as Joshua the son of Nun held back the course of the sun, so also God's prophet Elias shut and opened the heavens, brought down fire from heaven, and worked other mighty and awesome miracles all through faith and prayer. God gave Elias the power to work such miracles, for Elias was zealous for the glory of God and not for his own glory: I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts (I Kings 19:14). This man of God sought nothing for himself but sought everything for God. God was everything to him: all glory, all strength, all good. Therefore, God crowned him with immortal glory, awesome might, and treasure which does not decay and which moths do not corrupt. God did not permit Elias to die but took him to heaven as he did Enoch. St. Elias had a soul as pure as the morning dew, a body as chaste as a child's, and a heart and mind as blameless as that of an angel of God. Therefore, he was and remains a vessel of God's power. He worked wonders then and works them today.
O Living Lord, the God of Thy Prophet Elias, Who hast adopted us through baptism by Thy holy grace: enkindle also in us the faith and zeal of Thy holy prophet.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.