FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Eugenia the Righteous Nun-martyr of Rome
Eve of the Nativity of Christ
Πρό τῆς Χριστοῦ Γεννήσεως.
Τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιομάρτυρος Εὐγενίας καί τῶν σύν αὐτῇ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 3:8-12
BRETHREN, the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "in you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them." Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for "the righteous shall live by faith"; but the law does not rest on faith, for "He who does them shall live by them."
Πρὸς Γαλάτας 3:8-12
Ἀδελφοί, προϊδοῦσα δὲ ἡ γραφὴ ὅτι ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῖ τὰ ἔθνη ὁ θεός, προευηγγελίσατο τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ὅτι Ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. Ὥστε οἱ ἐκ πίστεως εὐλογοῦνται σὺν τῷ πιστῷ Ἀβραάμ. Ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσίν, ὑπὸ κατάραν εἰσίν· γέγραπται γάρ, Ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου, τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά. Ὅτι δὲ ἐν νόμῳ οὐδεὶς δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, δῆλον· ὅτι Ὁ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται· ὁ δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, ἀλλʼ Ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ἄνθρωπος ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς.
The Reading is from Luke 13:19-29
The Lord said this parable, "The kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." And again he said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened." He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. And some one said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, 'I do not know where you come from.' Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!' There you will weep and gnash your teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 13.19-29
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τήν παραβολὴν ταύτην· Ὁμοία ἐστὶ κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔβαλεν εἰς κῆπον ἑαυτοῦ· καὶ ηὔξησε καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς δένδρον μέγα, καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατεσκήνωσεν ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ. Πάλιν εἶπε· τίνι ὁμοιώσω τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ; ὁμοία ἐστὶ ζύμῃ, ἣν λαβοῦσα γυνὴ ἔκρυψεν εἰς ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία, ἕως οὗ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον. Καὶ διεπορεύετο κατὰ πόλεις καὶ κώμας διδάσκων καὶ πορείαν ποιούμενος εἰς ῾Ιερουσαλήμ. εἶπε δέ τις αὐτῷ· Κύριε, εἰ ὀλίγοι οἱ σῳζόμενοι; ὁ δὲ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς· ἀγωνίζεσθε εἰσελθεῖν διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης· ὅτι πολλοί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ζητήσουσιν εἰσελθεῖν καὶ οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν. ἀφ᾿ οὗ ἂν ἐγερθῇ ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης καὶ ἀποκλείσῃ τὴν θύραν, καὶ ἄρξησθε ἔξω ἑστάναι καὶ κρούειν τὴν θύραν λέγοντες· Κύριε Κύριε, ἄνοιξον ἡμῖν· καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ἐρεῖ ὑμῖν, οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς πόθεν ἐστέ. τότε ἄρξεσθε λέγειν· ἐφάγομεν ἐνώπιόν σου καὶ ἐπίομεν, καὶ ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις ἡμῶν ἐδίδαξας· καὶ ἐρεῖ· λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς πόθεν ἐστέ· ἀπόστητε ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ πάντες οἱ ἐργάται τῆς ἀδικίας. ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων, ὅταν ὄψησθε ᾿Αβραὰμ καὶ ᾿Ισαὰκ καὶ ᾿Ιακὼβ καὶ πάντας τοὺς προφήτας ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὑμᾶς δὲ ἐκβαλλομένους ἔξω, καὶ ἥξουσιν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ δυσμῶν καὶ ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ νότου, καὶ ἀνακλιθήσονται ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΔ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιοπαρθενομάρτυρος Εὐγενίας καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῇ.
Στεφθεῖσα πρῶτον τοῖς πόνοις Εὐγενία,
Βαφὴν ἐβάψω δευσοποιὸν ἐκ ξίφους.
Τέτλαθι Εὐγενίη ξίφος εἰκάδι ἀμφὶ τετάρτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Ἡ Ἁγία Μάρτυς Βασίλλα, ἡ συμμαρτυρήσασα τῇ Ἁγίᾳ Εὐγενίᾳ, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Τὶς ἂν παραδράμῃ σε τμηθεῖσαν ξίφει,
Μάρτυς Βασίλλα, πίστεως θείας βάσις;
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Φίλιππος, ὁ πατὴρ τῆς Ἁγίας Εὐγενίας, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Μάχαιραν ὄντως δίστομον κατὰ πλάνης,
Κτείνει Φίλιππον τῆς μαχαίρας τὸ στόμα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι, Πρωτᾶς καὶ Ὑάκινθος, οἱ εὐνοῦχοι καὶ συνασκηταὶ τῆς Ἁγίας Εὐγενίας, ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Τμηθέντες, Ὑάκινθε καὶ Πρωτᾶ ξίφει,
Κληροῦσθε πρῶτα Μαρτύρων Θεοῦ γέρα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Νικολάου μοναχοῦ, τοῦ ἀπὸ στρατιωτῶν, καὶ διήγησις ὠφέλιμος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Ἀχαϊκὸς ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Πᾶν Ἀχαϊκὸς ἐκβαλὼν ψυχῆς ἄχος,
Ὅλῃ χαρᾷ δέδωκε τὴν κάραν ξίφει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀντίοχος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ἀντιόχῳ βδέλυγμα τύρβαι τοῦ βίου,
Καὶ βίος ἅπας, ὃν παρῆλθεν ἡδέως.
Οἱ Ὅσιοι Βιτιμίων καὶ Ἀφροδίσιος, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦνται.
Ὁ ἅγιος νεομάρτυς Ἀχμὲτ ὁ μαρτυρήσας ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει κατὰ τὸ 1682, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ἀπεγράφετο ποτέ, σὺν τῶ πρεσβύτη Ἰωσήφ, ὡς ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυϊδ, ἐν Βηθλεὲμ ἡ Μαριάμ, κυοφοροῦσα τὴν ἄσπορον κυοφορίαν, Ἐπέστη δὲ καιρὸς ὁ τῆς Γεννήσεως, καὶ τόπος ἣν οὐδεὶς τῶ καταλύματι, ἀλλ' ὡς τερπνὸν παλάτιον τὸ Σπήλαιον, τὴ Βασιλίδι ἐδείκνυτο, Χριστὸς γεννᾶται τὴν πρὶν πεσοῦσαν, ἀναστήσων εἰκόνα.
As the fruit of David's seed, Mary was registered of old with the Elder Joseph in the little town of Bethlehem, when she conceived with a seedless and pure conception. Behold, the time was come that she should bear her Child, but no place was found within the inn for them; yet the cave proved a delightful palace for the pure Lady and Queen of all. For Christ is born now to raise the image that had fallen aforetime.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Ἡ Παρθένος σήμερον, τὸν προαιώνιον Λόγον, ἐν Σπηλαίῳ ἔρχεται, ἀποτεκεῖν ἀπορρήτως, Χόρευε ἡ οἰκουμένη ἀκουτισθεῖσα, δόξασον μετὰ Ἀγγέλων καὶ τῶν Ποιμένων, βουληθέντα ἐποφθῆναι, παιδίον νέον, τὸν πρὸ αἰώνων Θεόν
On this day the Virgin cometh to a cave to give birth to God the Word ineffable, Who was before all the ages. Dance for joy, O earth, on hearing the gladsome tidings; with the Angels and the shepherds now glorify Him Who is willing to be gazed on as a young Child Who before the ages is God.
This Martyr was the daughter of most distinguished and noble parents named Philip and Claudia. Philip, a Prefect of Rome, moved to Alexandria with his family. In Alexandria, Eugenia had the occasion to learn the Christian Faith, in particular when she encountered the Epistles of Saint Paul, the reading of which filled her with compunction and showed her clearly the vanity of the world. Secretly taking two of her servants, Protas and Hyacinth, she departed from Alexandria by night. Disguised as a man, she called herself Eugene while pretending to be a eunuch, and departed with her servants and took up the monastic life in a monastery of men. Her parents mourned for her, but could not find her. After Saint Eugenia had laboured for some time in the monastic life, a certain woman named Melanthia, thinking Eugenia to be a monk, conceived lust and constrained Eugenia to comply with her desire; when Eugenia refused, Melanthia slandered Eugenia to the Prefect as having done insult to her honour. Eugenia was brought before the Prefect, her own father Philip, and revealed to him both that she was innocent of the accusations, and that she was his own daughter. Through this, Philip became a Christian; he was afterwards beheaded at Alexandria. Eugenia was taken back to Rome with Protas and Hyacinth. All three of them ended their life in martyrdom in the years of Commodus, who reigned from 180 to 192.
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Θείου Πνεύματος, τή υμνωδία, φώς προσέλαβες θεογνωσίας, Ευγενία Χριστού καλλιπάρθενε, καί εν Οσίων χορεία εκλάμψασα, αθλητικώς τόν εχθρόν εθριάμβευσας. Μάρτυς ένδοξε, Χριστόν τόν Θεόν ικέτευε, δωφήσασθαι ημίν τό μέγα έλεος.
Being mystically moved by the Spirit, thou didst sing God's praise, thereby receiving the clear light of divine knowledge in thy heart; and shining bright as the sun with a righteous life, thou overcamest the devil in martyrdom. O Eugenia, thou most glorious Martyr of the Lord, entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Τήν τού κόσμου πρόσκαιρον, φυγούσα δόξαν, τόν Χριστόν επόθησας, τό ευγενές σου τής ψυχής, αδιαλώβητον σώζουσα, Μάρτυς θεόφρον, Ευγενία πανευφημε.
Fleeing from the fleeting world's temporal glory, thou didst greatly long for Christ, and didst preserve wholly unhurt the high nobility of thy soul, O godly Martyr, all-lauded Eugenia.
"Έδει μεν ημάς ευχαριστείν και φέρειν/ ύβρεις γέλωρας και κακώσεις σωμάτων/ αλλ' ίνα μη το σχήμα τυγχάνη γέλως/ εγώ γυνή την φύσιν, ειμί...". Έτσι το έμμετρο Συναξάριο θέλει ν' άρχισε την απολογία της στον δικαστή και πατέρα της, αγνώριστη μέσα στο σχήμα του μοναχού, η αγία Ευγενία, της οποίας η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Θάπρεπε, λέει, εμείς οι μοναχοί να υποφέρωμε αδιαμαρτύρητα και ύβρεις και περιγελάσματα και σωματικά βάσανα, μα για να μην γελιοποιήται το μοναχικό σχήμα, ιδού λοιπόν εγώ σας φανερώνω πως είμαι γυναίκα... Σαν άτομα πρέπει να το θεωρούμε ύψιστο βαθμό ηθικής τελειώσεώς μας, όταν μπορούμε να σηκώσουμε δημοσία καταισχύνη. Μα όταν έχωμε σχήμα και αξίωμα εκκλησιαστικό είναι ανάγκη, όταν μας συκοφαντούν, να απολογούμεθα και να αμυνώμεθα για να μην εκτίθεται η Εκκλησία. Δυστυχώς, πολλές φορές, οι άνθρωποι δεν μπορούν να ξεχωρίσουν ανάμεσα στα πρόσωπα και τους θεσμούς.
Ἡ Ἁγία Εὐγενία ἡ Ὁσιοπαρθενομάρτυς καὶ Παραμονὴ Χριστουγέννων (Νηστεία ἐκ πάντων)
Ἔζησε στὸ δεύτερο μισὸ τοῦ 3ου αἰῶνα μ.Χ. Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη καὶ οἱ γονεῖς της ὀνομαζόταν Φίλιππος καὶ Κλαυδία. Ἐπίσης, εἶχε καὶ δυὸ ἄλλα ἀδέλφια, τὸν Ἀβίτα καὶ τὸ Σέργιο. Ὁ πατέρας της διορίστηκε ἔπαρχος στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια καὶ πῆγε ἐκεῖ μὲ ὅλη του τὴν οἰκογένεια. Ἐκεῖ ἡ Εὐγενία σπούδασε κατὰ τὸν καλύτερο δυνατὸ τρόπο καὶ ἔμαθε ἄριστα τὴν ἑλληνικὴ καὶ ρωμαϊκὴ φιλολογία. Ὅταν τελείωσε τὶς σπουδές της, ψάχνοντας γιὰ περισσότερη γνώση πῆρε στὰ χέρια της ἀπὸ μία χριστιανὴ κόρη τὶς ἐπιστολὲς τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου. Ὅταν τὶς διάβασε, ἐντυπωσιάσθηκε πολύ. Ἐκεῖ μέσα δὲν ὑπῆρχαν θεωρίες καὶ φιλοσοφικὲς δοξασίες. Οἱ γραμμές τους ἐνέπνεαν ζωὴ καὶ ἐλπίδα. Ἐκείνη τὴν περίοδο, οἱ γονεῖς της ἤθελαν νὰ τὴν δώσουν σύζυγο σὲ κάποιο Ῥωμαῖο ἀξιωματοῦχο, τὸν Ἀκυλίνα. Τότε ἡ Εὐγενία, ἀρνούμενη νὰ δεχθεῖ αὐτὴ τὴν πρόταση τῶν γονέων της, κάποια νύχτα ντύθηκε ἀνδρικὰ καὶ ἔφυγε σὲ ἄλλη πόλη. Ἐκεῖ κατηχήθηκε, βαπτίσθηκε χριστιανὴ καὶ ἔλαβε συγχρόνως τὸ μοναχικὸ σχῆμα. Μετὰ ἀπὸ χρόνια, ἐπέστρεψε στὸ σπίτι της καὶ ἡ ἀναγνώριση ἀπὸ τοὺς γονεῖς της ἔγινε μέσα σὲ δάκρυα καὶ ἀνέκφραστη χαρά. Δὲν πέρασε πολὺς καιρὸς καὶ ὅλοι στὸ σπίτι τῆς Εὐγενίας δέχθηκαν τὸ χριστιανισμό. Ἀπὸ μῖσος τότε οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες τραυμάτισαν θανάσιμα τὸν πατέρα της. Καὶ ὅταν ἡ Εὐγενία ἐπέστρεψε στὴ Ῥώμη, ἐπειδὴ δὲ θυσίαζε στὰ εἴδωλα, τὴν ἀποκεφάλισαν, τερματίζοντας ἔτσι ἔνδοξα «τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς πίστεως» μαζὶ μὲ τὴν ἐπίγεια ζωή της.
Ἡ Ἁγία Βάσιλα
Στοὺς Συναξαριστὲς σημειώνεται μόνο, ὅτι συμμαρτύρησε μὲ τὴν Ἁγία Εὐγενία καὶ θανατώθηκε διὰ ἀποκεφαλισμοῦ. Ὁ Σ. Εὐστρατιάδης ὅμως, νομίζει ὅτι ἡ Ἁγία αὐτὴ εἶναι ἡ μητέρα τῆς Ἁγίας Εὐγενίας, διότι μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτὴ ἀναφέρεται καὶ ἡ μνήμη τοῦ πατέρα τῆς Ἁγίας Εὐγενίας, Φιλίππου, καθὼς καὶ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν της, Πρωτᾶ καὶ Ὑακίνθου, ποὺ ὅλοι μαζὶ μαρτύρησαν στὴν Ῥώμη ἐπὶ Κομόδου (180-192 μ.Χ.). Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Γαλανὸς στοὺς «Βίους τῶν Ἁγίων» ἀναφέρει ὅτι τὴν Βάσιλα προσήλκυσε στὸ χριστιανισμὸ ἡ Ἁγία Εὐγενία στὴ Ῥώμη. Ὁ μνηστῆρας ὅμως τῆς Ἁγίας Βασίλας, Πομπήιος, ἦταν εἰδωλολάτρης καὶ κατέδωσε στὶς ἀρχὲς τὴν Ἁγ. Βάσιλα καὶ τὴν Ἁγία Εὐγενία, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα, ἡ μὲν πρώτη νὰ ἀποκεφαλιστεῖ, ἡ δὲ δεύτερη ἀφοῦ πρῶτα ῥίχτηκε στὸν ποταμὸ Τίβερη καὶ διασώθηκε, κατόπιν νὰ ἀποκεφαλιστεῖ καὶ αὐτή.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φίλιππος
Ἦταν πατέρας τῆς Ἁγίας Εὐγενίας καὶ μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ θανατώθηκε μὲ μαχαῖρι.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Πρωτᾶς καὶ Ὑάκινθος
Ἦταν ὑπηρέτες καὶ ἀργότερα συνασκητὲς τῆς Ἁγίας Εὐγενίας, οἱ ὁποῖοι μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους στὴ Ῥώμη.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Νικόλαος «ὁ ἀπὸ στρατιωτῶν»
Αὐτὸς ὁ Ἅγιος ἦταν στρατιώτης καὶ πῆρε μέρος στὸν πόλεμο κατὰ τῶν Βουλγάρων, ἐπὶ Νικηφόρου τοῦ Λογοθέτου (802-811). Σὲ μία ὁδοιπορία διανυκτέρευσε σὲ ἕνα ξενοδοχεῖο. Τὴ νύχτα ὅμως, ἡ κόρη τοῦ ξενοδόχου τοῦ ἐπιτέθηκε μὲ ἁμαρτωλὲς προθέσεις. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Νικόλαος συγκρατήθηκε καὶ δὲν μόλυνε τὸ σῶμα του ἀπὸ τὴν αἰσχρὴ πράξη, στὴν ὁποία τὸν καλοῦσε καὶ τὸν ἐρέθιζε ἡ πονηρὴ κόρη. Τότε ἀξιώθηκε νυκτερινῆς ὀπτασίας, ποὺ ἐπιβράβευσε τὴν ἁγνότητά του. Ὅταν ἐπέστρεψε ἀπὸ τὸν πόλεμο σῶος καὶ ἀβλαβῆς, ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ κάποια Μονή, ὅπου ἔγινε μοναχός. Καὶ ἀφοὺ ἔζησε ζωὴ ὁσία, πέθανε εἰρηνικά.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀντίοχος
Ὁ Ἅγιος Νικόδημος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης ὑποθέτει, ὅτι ὁ Ὅσιος αὐτὸς εἶναι ὁ λεγόμενος Πάνδεκτος (δηλαδὴ ὁ συγγραφέας τῆς Πανδέκτου), ποὺ ἔζησε στὰ μέσα τοῦ 7ου αἰῶνα, καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Γαλατία καὶ ἦταν μοναχὸς στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Σάββα στὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα. Αὐτὸς μάλιστα περιέγραψε καὶ τὴν ἅλωση τῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἀπὸ τοὺς Ἄραβες καὶ θρήνησε τὸ φόνο τῶν μοναχῶν τῆς Λαύρας ἀπὸ τοὺς ἐπιδρομεῖς. Γιὰ τὸν Ἀντίοχο καλὴ μελέτη ἔγραψε ὁ ἀρχιμ. Κάλλιστος (1910) καὶ ὁ Ἰ. Φωκυλίδης στὸ ἔργο του «Ἡ Ἱερὰ Λαύρα Σάββα τοῦ ἡγιασμένου».
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Σόσσιος καὶ Θεόκλειος
Ἄγνωστοι στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικόδημου. Ἀναφέρονται στὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα 1621, μὲ λίγα βιογραφικὰ στοιχεῖα. Μαρτύρησαν ἐπὶ Μαξιμιανοῦ (286-305) καὶ Μαγνεντίου. Συνελήφθησαν σὰν χριστιανοὶ ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Βαῦδο (ποὺ ἦταν ἡγεμόνας τῆς Ἀδριανουπόλεως τῆς Μακεδονίας) καὶ ἐπειδὴ δὲν πείστηκαν ν᾿ ἀρνηθοῦν τὸν Χριστό, βασανίστηκαν ἀνελέητα μὲ τὸν πιὸ φρικτὸ τρόπο. Τόσα πολλὰ εἶναι τὰ βασανιστήριά τους, ποὺ εἶναι ἀδύνατο νὰ ἀπαριθμηθοῦν καὶ ἀπορεῖ κανεὶς πὼς κατόρθωσαν νὰ ἐπιζήσουν. Τελικά τους ἀποκεφάλισαν καὶ ἔτσι ἔλαβαν τὰ ἄφθαρτα στεφάνια τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Κάστουλος
Ἄγνωστος στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικόδημου καὶ τὰ ἔντυπα Μηναῖα. Ἀναφέρεται στὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα 1621 μὲ σύντομο βιογραφικὸ ὑπόμνημα. Σύμφωνα λοιπὸν μ᾿ αὐτό, ὁ Ἅγιος αὐτὸς μαρτύρησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Λικινίου (307-323), στὸν ὁποῖο καταγγέλθηκε σὰν χριστιανός. Ἀφοῦ τὸν συνέλαβαν, τὸν κρέμασαν καὶ τοῦ ἔγδαραν τὸ δέρμα. Κατόπιν τὸν παρέδωσαν στὸν ἡγεμόνα Ζηλικίνθιο καὶ ἐπειδὴ δὲν κατάφερε κι᾿ αὐτὸς νὰ ἀλλαξοπιστήσει τὸν μάρτυρα, τὸν βασάνισε σκληρὰ καὶ στὸ τέλος τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀγάπιος ὁ νεώτερος
Ὁ Ἀγάπιος ὁ νεώτερος, κατὰ κόσμον Ἀντώνιος Ἀντωνόπουλος, γνωστὸς καὶ ὡς Ἀγάπιος Παπαντωνόπουλος (Δημητσάνα, 1753-1812). Φοίτησε στὴ σχολὴ τῆς γενέτειράς του, ὅπου εἶχε διδασκάλους τὸν Ἀγάπιο Λεονάρδο καὶ τὸν Γεράσιμο Γοῦνα. Ὅταν μὲ τὰ Ὀρλοφικὰ ἡ σχολὴ ἔκλεισε, ὁ Ἀγάπιος ἀκολούθησε τὸν Γεράσιμο Γοῦνα στὴ Σμύρνη, ὅπου συνέχισε τὶς σπουδές του στὴ φημισμένη σχολὴ τῆς πόλης μὲ σχολάρχη τὸν Ἱερόθεο Δενδρινό. Στὴ Σμύρνη πῆρε καὶ τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ μοναχοῦ. Ἀργότερα ἀκολούθησε τὸν Γεράσιμο Γοῦνα στὴ Χίο καὶ τελικὰ ἐπέστρεψε στὴ γενέτειρά του Δημητσάνα, ὅπου τὸν Αὔγουστο τοῦ 1781 ἀνέλαβε τὴν διεύθυνση τῆς παλιᾶς σχολῆς του. Τὴ φήμη της ἡ σχολὴ τῆς Δημητσάνας τὴν ὀφείλει κατὰ κύριο λόγο στὸν Ἀγάπιο τὸν νεώτερο, ὁ ὁποῖος ἐπὶ 32 ὁλόκληρα χρόνια ἄσκησε τὰ καθήκοντα τοῦ σχολάρχη μὲ μοναδικὴ εὐσυνειδησία, ἐργατικότητα καὶ ἐντιμότητα. Ἕνα ἄλλο χαρακτηριστικό του Ἀγάπιου, ποὺ μᾶς ἀποκαλύπτεται στὴν ἀλληλογραφία του, εἶναι ἡ ἁπλότητα καὶ λιτότητα τῆς ζωῆς του: «... ζῶμεν δημητσανίτικα», γράφει στὸν Ἄνθιμο Καράκαλλο, ποὺ ἔνθερμα ὑποστήριζε τὸ ἔργο τῆς σχολῆς, «πότε μὲ μολόχες, πότε μὲ τζικνίδες, πότε μὲ ἁβρονιές, πότε μὲ ἀριάνι, πότε μὲ μοναχὸ ψωμί». Συγγραφικὸ ἔργο τοῦ Ἀγάπιου δὲν ἔχουμε. Ἡ διδασκαλία του ὅμως, ἦταν ὁ σπόρος ἀπὸ τὸν ὁποῖο βλάστησαν πολλοὶ ἔξοχοι διδάσκαλοι καὶ κληρικοὶ τῆς ἐποχῆς.
Holy Virgin and Martyr Eugenia and her companions (~190)
"This Martyr was the daughter of most distinguished and noble parents named Philip and Claudia. Philip, a Prefect of Rome, moved to Alexandria with his family. In Alexandria, Eugenia had the occasion to learn the Christian Faith, in particular when she encountered the Epistles of Saint Paul, the reading of which filled her with compunction and showed her clearly the vanity of the world. Secretly taking two of her servants, Protas and Hyacinth, she departed from Alexandria by night. Disguised as a man, she called herself Eugene [Eugenios -ed.] while pretending to be a eunuch, and departed with her servants and took up the monastic life in a monastery of men. Her parents mourned for her, but could not find her. After Saint Eugenia had laboured for some time in the monastic life, a certain woman named Melanthia, thinking Eugene to be a monk, conceived lust and constrained Eugenia to comply with her desire; when Eugenia refused, Melanthia slandered Eugenia to the Prefect as having done insult to her honour. Eugenia was brought before the Prefect, her own father Philip, and revealed to him both that she was innocent of the accusations, and that she was his own daughter. Through this, Philip became a Christian; he was afterwards beheaded at Alexandria. Eugenia was taken back to Rome with Protas and Hyacinth. All three of them ended their life in martyrdom in the years of Commodus, who reigned from 180 to 192." (Great Horologion)
The Monastic-Martyress Eugenia, by birth a Roman, lived at Alexandria, where her father, Philip, was sent by the emperor Commodus (180-192) in the capacity of governor of Egypt. Eugenia received a fine upbringing and was noted for her good disposition and beauty. Many an illustrious youth sought her hand, but she did not wish to enter into marriage. And having become acquainted with the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, she yearned with all her soul to become a Christian and so in secret from her parents, in the company of her two servants Protus and Hyacinthus, attired in men's garb, she set out to a men's monastery. There together with her servants and companions she accepted holy Baptism from bishop Elias, who learned about her in a vision, and he gave blessing for her to pursue asceticism at the monastery as the monk Eugene.
By her ascetic feats Saint Eugenia acquired the gift of healing. One time a rich young woman named Melania turned to her for help. Seeing what before her seemed a young monk, this woman burned with an impure passion, and upon being spurned, she contrived a slander about a forcible attempt. Saint Eugenia came to trial before the governor of Egypt, i.e. her father, and she was forced to reveal her secret. Her parents were exuberant, finding before them one over whom they had long grieved. After a certain while they all accepted holy Baptism. But Philip, upon the denunciation of pagans, was displaced from the post of governor. The Alexandrian Christians chose him as their bishop. The new governor, fearing the wrath of the people, did not dare openly to execute Philip, but instead dispatched assassins. During the time of solitary prayer of Saint Philip, they inflicted wounds upon him, from which he died three days later as a martyr.
Having thus become widowed, Saint Claudia and her daughter and servants set out to her estates, situated near Rome. There Eugenia continued with monastic life. She brought many young women to Christ, and Claudia built a wanderers hostel and aided the widowed. After the course of several peaceful years, the emperor Galienus (260-268) began anew the persecution against Christians, and many of them found refuge with Saints Claudia and Eugenia. During these times a young Roman girl, named Vacilla, orphaned and of imperial lineage, heard about the Christians and Saint Eugenia, and wanting to meet the saint she wrote her a letter. In answer, Saint Eugenia sent her friends and co-ascetics, Protus and Hyacinthus, who enlightened Vacilla, and she accepted holy Baptism. The servant of Vacilla then told her fiancee Pompei, that his fiancee had become a Christian, and Pompei made complaint to the emperor against the Christians for preaching celibacy. Summoned to answer, Vacilla refused to enter into marriage with Pompei, and for this they killed her with a sword. They dragged Saints Protus and Hyacinthus into an idolous temple for making them sacrifice, but just as they entered therein, the idol fell down and was shattered. The holy Martyrs Protus and Hyacinthus were beheaded. They likewise by force brought Saint Eugenia to the temple of Diana, but she did not even enter it, when all the pagan temple with its idol collapsed. They threw the holy martyress into the Tiber with a stone about her neck, but the stone plunged downwards and she remained unharmed. She remained unharmed also in fire. Then they cast her into a pit, where she remained for 10 days. During this time the Saviour Himself appeared to her and announced, that she would enter into the Heavenly Kingdom on the day of the Nativity of Christ. When this radiant feastday was come in the year 262, the executioner killed the holy martyress with a sword. Saint Claudia soon also received a martyr's crown. Saint Eugenia had told her beforehand about her day of death.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Venerable Martyr Eugenia and others with her
Eugenia was the daughter of Philip the Eparch of all Egypt and was born in Rome. At that time the Christians had been driven out of Alexandria and lived outside the city. The virgin Eugenia visited the Christians and accepted their Faith with her whole heart. Fleeing from her parents with two of her faithful eunuchs, she was baptized by Bishop Elias. Disguised in men's clothing, she entered a men's monastery where she received the monastic habit. So much did she cleanse her heart by voluntary asceticism that she received from God the grace of healing the sick. Thus, she healed a wealthy woman, Melanthia. After this, however, Melanthia wanted to lure Eugenia into bodily sin, not suspecting that Eugenia was a woman. Since she was adamantly rejected by Eugenia, out of revenge this evil woman went to the eparch and slandered Eugenia in the same manner as Potiphar's wife had once slandered the chaste Joseph. The eparch ordered that all the monks be bound and cast into prison together with Eugenia. But when St. Eugenia was brought before the tribunal, she revealed herself to her father as his daughter. The overjoyed Philip was then baptized with his entire household, and he was chosen as Bishop of Alexandria. Hearing of this, the Roman emperor sent a wicked commander, Terentius, who came to Alexandria and secretly had Philip killed. St. Eugenia moved to Rome with her mother and brothers. In Rome she fearlessly and zealously converted pagans, especially maidens, to the true Faith, and thus she converted a beautiful maiden Basilla to the Faith. Shortly afterward, Basilla was beheaded for Christ as Eugenia had foretold to her. Then both eunuchs, Protus and Hyacinth, were beheaded. Finally, a martyr's end came to St. Eugenia, whose presence had caused the collapse and destruction of the Temple of Diana. The torturers threw her first into water and then into fire, but God saved her. The Lord Jesus Himself appeared to her in prison and told her that she would suffer on the day of His Nativity. And so it was. She was beheaded by the sword on December 25, 262, in Rome. After her death, St. Eugenia appeared in great glory to her mother and comforted her.
2. The Venerable Nicholas the Commander
Some think this great saint was a Slav of Balkan ancestry. At the time of Emperor Nicephorus, Nicholas was a commander and had authority over a division of the army that went to war against the Bulgarians. Along the way, Nicholas spent the night in an inn, where he experienced a great temptation and had a strange dream. This dream fully came to pass in the war, where the Greeks were utterly defeated by the Bulgarians in the year 811. Nicholas was spared, and out of gratitude for God's providence he left his military rank and became a monk. He lived a long life of asceticism and became so perfect that he became a great clairvoyant and God-pleaser. He died peacefully in the ninth century and took up his habitation in the Blessed Kingdom of Christ the Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Venerable Martyr Eugenia
Eugenia, a glorious maiden, recognized God
And dedicated herself completely to His service.
She sacrificed this temporary life for the eternal and endless one;
To Christ the Eternal she betrothed her heart.
With patience she conquered the vice of evil
And gained the wondrous grace of God.
With the angels in heaven she now rejoices;
With the saints she gloriously celebrates the eternal feast.
Eugenia, beautiful virgin, God sanctified you.
Remember us sinners before God even now.
Victory over temptation is victory over death. This is shown by a wondrous experience of St. Nicholas the Commander. When this commander went off with King Nicephorus's army against the Bulgarians, it happened that he spent the night in a wayside inn. The innkeeper had a daughter, a young girl, who, attracted by the imperial commander's outward beauty, began to entice him into sin. Nicholas refused her once, saying to her that this was enticing him into a satanic act. Nevertheless, the shameless girl came a second and a third time to the commander's room and again tempted him to an impure act. The commander refused both the second and third propositions even more decisively, counseling her to preserve her virginity and not to give her body and soul over to the devil. Finally, he said to her that he was a soldier and was going to war, and that it was unworthy and dangerous for a soldier to soil himself with such a misdeed, which would anger God and lead him to certain death. Thus, this God-loving man conquered temptation. The following day, he moved farther on with the army. The next night, he saw the following vision: He was standing in a spacious field and saw near him a powerful man sitting with his right leg crossed over his left. Before them stood two armies in the field, one facing the other, the Greeks and the Bulgarian s. This powerful man told him to watch carefully what was about to happen. Nicholas looked and saw the following: As long as the powerful man kept his right leg crossed over the left, the Greek army overcame the Bulgarian army, and when he changed his position and placed his left leg over the right leg, the Bulgarians charged and ferociously cut down the Greeks. Then this powerful man brought the commander closer to the slaughtered Greek army. The entire field was covered with corpses, body beside body. Only in the middle of these corpses was there an empty space, large enough for the body of a man. Then the man said to Nicholas: ``This place was appointed for your body, but since you defeated the devil's temptations three times last night, you saved your body and soul from death.'' That which Nicholas saw in his dream, he saw precisely in reality at the time of the battle. The entire Greek army perished on the battlefield, but Nicholas returned home alive, not to the barracks anymore, but to a monastery.
Contemplate the assembly of the forefathers, prophets and righteous ones in the heavens:
1. How, before Christ, they fulfilled God's law;
2. How they foretold Christ the Lord both in word and in the image of their lives;
3. How they now rejoice in the Kingdom of Christ.
on the righteous Joseph
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man … did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him (Matthew 1:19, 24).
One must fear God more than men, and one must obey God more than men. This is the lesson from the life of the Righteous Joseph, the kinsman and guardian of the Holy Virgin Mary. He lived at the time of the juncture between the Law and grace, and was faithful to the Law until grace appeared; then, when the new grace of God appeared, he became faithful to grace. Obedient to the letter of the Law, he wanted to put the Holy Virgin away when she conceived the Savior of the world in her most pure body. But when an angel of God announced to him that Mary had conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20), he abandoned his intention and did not put her away, but did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him. He did not reason for himself, but obeyed the will of God. Therefore, God made him worthy of great glory, both on earth and in heaven. Quietly and secretly he served God, and God glorified him openly. Not only was he made worthy of the Kingdom of God but also his sons and daughters were. What father would want anything more than that his son would be an apostle of Christ? And Joseph had two sons who were apostles. Thus, God glorifies those who fear Him and obey Him.
O great Lord, God of the righteous Joseph, help us sinners also to love Thy righteousness and to fear only Thee.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.