Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 5, 2011 - 26th Monday After Pentecost (12th of Luke)

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Τοῦ Ὁσίου καί Θεοφόρου Πατρός ἡμῶν Σάββα τοῦ Ἡγιασμένου καί τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Διογένους.

Savas the Sanctified
Holy Martyr Diogenes
Philotheos the Righteous of Mount Athos
Nektarios the Bulgarian

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from Luke 6:17-23
At that time, Jesus stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven."

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 6.17-23
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἔστη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐπὶ τόπου πεδινοῦ, καὶ ὄχλος μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πλῆθος πολὺ τοῦ λαοῦ ἀπὸ πάσης τῆς ᾿Ιουδαίας καὶ ῾Ιερουσαλὴμ καὶ τῆς παραλίου Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος, οἳ ἦλθον ἀκοῦσαι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἰαθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν νόσων αὐτῶν,καὶ οἱ ὀχλούμενοι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων, καὶ ἐθεραπεύοντο·καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἐζήτει ἅπτεσθαι αὐτοῦ, ὅτι δύναμις παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐξήρχετο καὶ ἰᾶτο πάντας. Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγε· Mακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ. μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν, ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε. μακάριοι οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν, ὅτι γελάσετε. μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν μισήσωσιν ὑμᾶς οἱ ἄνθρωποι, καὶ ὅταν ἀφορίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ ὀνειδίσωσι καὶ ἐκβάλωσι τὸ ὄνομα ὑμῶν ὡς πονηρὸν ἕνεκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ σκιρτήσατε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ· κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.

The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2
Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Πρὸς Γαλάτας 5:22-26; 6:1-2
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἀγάπη, χαρά, εἰρήνη, μακροθυμία, χρηστότης, ἀγαθωσύνη, πίστις, πρᾳότης, ἐγκράτεια· κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος. Οἱ δὲ τοῦ χριστοῦ, τὴν σάρκα ἐσταύρωσαν σὺν τοῖς παθήμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις. Εἰ ζῶμεν πνεύματι, πνεύματι καὶ στοιχῶμεν. Μὴ γινώμεθα κενόδοξοι, ἀλλήλους προκαλούμενοι, ἀλλήλοις φθονοῦντες. Ἀδελφοί, ἐὰν καὶ προληφθῇ ἄνθρωπος ἔν τινι παραπτώματι, ὑμεῖς οἱ πνευματικοὶ καταρτίζετε τὸν τοιοῦτον ἐν πνεύματι πρᾳότητος, σκοπῶν σεαυτόν μὴ καὶ σὺ πειρασθῇς. Ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη βαστάζετε, καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρώσατε τὸν νόμον τοῦ χριστοῦ.

The Reading is from Matthew 11:27-30
The Lord said to his disciples, "All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 11.27-30
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου· καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ, οὐδὲ τὸν πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι.Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι, κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς.ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς καὶ μάθετε ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι πρᾷός εἰμι καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ, καὶ εὑρήσετε ἀνάπαυσιν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν·ὁ γὰρ ζυγός μου χρηστὸς καὶ τὸ φορτίον μου ἐλαφρόν ἐστιν.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ Ε' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Σάββα τοῦ Ἡγιασμένου.
Ψυχὴν ὄπισθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ κολλῶν πάλαι,
Ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ νῦν παρίσταται Σάββας.
Θεσπεσίοιο πόλου πέμπτῃ Σάββας ἐντὸς ἐσήχθη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρος Ἀναστασίου.
Ἀναστάσιον τιμῶ ὡς σεβόμενον,
Τὴν ἀνάστασιν τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ Θεοῦ μου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Διογένης, λιθοβοληθείς, τελειοῦται.
Χαίρων ὑπ' ἀνδρῶν ἐνδιδύσκεται πλάνων,
Χιτῶνα Μάρτυς λάϊνον Διογένης.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς, Ἀβέρκιος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ἔπαθλον Ἀβέρκιε σοὶ τομῆς μέγα.
Οὐ γὰρ κότινος, οὐρανὸς δὲ τὸ στέφος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Νόννος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Φυγόντα Νόννον ἀντικειμένου πέδην,
Πεδοῦσι νεκρὸν κείμενον ταῖς κειρίαις.
Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Νεκταρίου τοῦ ἐν τῷ κελλίῳ τοῦ Ἰάγαρι, κειμένῳ κατὰ τὰς Καρεὰς τοῦ Ἄθω, ἀσκήσαντος ἐν ἔτει 1470.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Φιλόθεος ὁ Καρεώτης, ὁ χρηματίσας πνευματικὸς Πατὴρ τοῦ ἀνωτέρω Νεκταρίου, ὁ καὶ προορατικοῦ χαρίσματος ἠξιωμένος, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ὅσιοι Μάρτυρες, οἱ ἐν τοῖς κελλίοις τοῦ Ἄθω κατοικοῦντες, οἱ τοὺς Λατινόφρονας ἐλέγξαντες, τὸν Βασιλέα, φημί, Μιχαὴλ καὶ τὸν Πατριάρχην Βέκκον, ὁ μὲν πρῶτος ἀγχόνῃ, οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Our Venerable, Godbearing Father Sabbas the Sanctified (533)
"This Saint was born in 439 in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Euthymius the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasius and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninety-four years, he reposed in 533. The Typicon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one." (Great Horologion)

St Cosmas the Protos of Mount Athos and his companions (~1274)
"Determined to impose the union of the Churches accepted under pressure at the Council of Lyon (1274) to secure Papal support for the Byzantine Empire Michael VIII Palaeologos sent troops to Mount Athos, the stronghold of Orthodoxy and centre of opposition to his policy, with orders to take sanguinary measures against monks who would not recognize the false union.
  "When the Emperor's soldiers reached Karyes, the capital of Athos, which was organized as a lavra in those days, they seized the Protos of Athos, who had been an example to all of what a steadfast monk should be. They put him to the sword together with many other fathers there, and in their fury ransacked and fired the Church and monastic buildings, leaving rack and ruin behind them. Emerging from the wild places and thick forests where they had taken refuge, the Orthodox monks buried the holy Martyrs at the entrance to the Church of the Protaton. Through the centuries, generations of monks piously lit the lamp each day above the 'tomb of the Protos'; but it was not until 5 December 1981 that his relics were solemnly taken from the earth, and that a service was held in his honour in the presence of a great crowd."

This Saint was born in 439 in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Euthymius, the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual Father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasius and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninety-four years, he reposed in 533. The Typicon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ταίς τών δακρύων σου ροαίς, τής ερήμου τό άγονον εγεώργησας, καί τοίς εκ βάθους στεναγμοίς, εις εκατόν τούς πόνους εκαρποφόρησας, καί γέγονας φωστήρ, τή οικουμένη λάμπων τοίς θαύμασι, Σάββα Πατήρ ημών, Όσιε, Πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
With the streams of thy tears, thou didst cultivate the barrenness of the desert; and by thy sighings from the depths,thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labours; and thou becamest a luminary, shining with miracles upon the world, O Savas our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ὡς ἀπὸ βρέφους τῶ Θεῷ θυσία ἄμωμος, προσενεχθεὶς δι' ἀρετῆς, Σάββα μακάριε, τῶ σὲ πρὶν γεννηθῆναι ἐπισταμένω, ἐχρημάτισας Ὁσίων ἐγκαλλώπισμα, πολιστὴς τε τῆς ἐρήμου ἀξιέπαινος, διὸ κράζω σοί, Χαίροις Πάτερ ἀοίδιμε.
O blessed Savas, thou wast offered from thine infancy through thy great virtue as a pure and spotless sacrifice unto God, Who ere thy birth, verily foreknew thee; wherefore thou wast an adornment of the righteous Saints, an all-praised founder of cities in the wilderness. Hence, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father of great renown.

"Ασκητικών αγωνισμάτων των ευώδες κειμήλιον" ονομάζει η Εκκλησία τον όσιο Σάββα τον ηγιασμένο, του οποίου σήμερα τιμά και γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Ο Όσιος είν' από κείνους, για τους οποίους η θεία Γραφή λέει ότι ζουν στον αιώνα και ο μισθός του κόπου των είναι στα χέρια του Θεού. Είν' από τους Οσίους που κατά τον υμνογράφο ο βίος τους είναι σαν μία κλίμαξ που ανεβάζει τους ανθρώπους με το παράδειγμα της αγιότητος στους ουρανούς. Κι ακόμη είναι ο "επί γης Άγγελος και εν ουρανοίς άνθρωπος του Θεού". Στην ιστορία του ασκητισμού ο άγιος Σάββας δημιούργησε δική του εποχή και το όνομά του έμεινε σφραγίδα σ' ένα από τα σπουδαιότερα μοναστικά κέντρα. Η λαύρα του αγίου Σάββα στα Ιεροσόλυμα με τη δική της τάξη και το δικό της τυπικό είναι μέχρι σήμερα μια μακρινή απήχηση της ενδόξου εποχής του ασκητισμού, στην οποία έζησε ο όσιος, αρχηγός κι οργανωτής του μοναχικού βίου σε κείνα τα μέρη.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Σάββας ὁ Ἡγιασμένος
Ὁ θεοκίνητος Παῦλος συμβουλεύει τοὺς ἀγωνιζόμενους χριστιανούς: «Εἰδέναι ἕκαστος ὑμῶν τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σκεῦος κτάσθαι ἐν ἁγιασμῷ καὶ τιμῇ». Πρέπει δηλαδὴ νὰ γνωρίζει ὁ καθένας ἀπὸ σᾶς, νὰ συγκρατεῖ στὴν κυριαρχία καὶ κατοχή του τὸ σῶμα του καὶ νὰ τὸ διατηρεῖ πάντοτε ἁγιασμένο καὶ τιμημένο. Μέσα σ᾿ αὐτὰ τὰ πλαίσια ἀγωνίστηκε καὶ ὁ Ὅσιος Σάββας ὁ ἡγιασμένος.Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Ἰουστινιανοῦ (527 μ.Χ.). Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὸ χωριὸ Μουταλάσκη τῆς Καππαδοκίας καὶ ἦταν γιὸς εὐσεβῶν γονέων, τοῦ Ἰωάννη καὶ τῆς Σοφίας. Ἀπὸ μικρὸς εἶχε μοναχικὲς τάσεις καὶ μπῆκε στὸ μοναστήρι τῶν Φλαβιανῶν. Ἦταν τόσο ἐγκρατής, ὥστε γιὰ λόγους ἀσκήσεως ὁρισμένα συνηθισμένα τρόφιμα δὲν τὰ ἔβαλε ποτὲ στὸ στόμα του. Σὲ ἡλικία 16 χρονῶν πῆγε στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Μεγάλου Εὐθυμίου. Αὐτός, λόγω τοῦ νεαροῦ τῆς ἡλικίας τοῦ Σάββα, τὸν ἔστειλε στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Θεοκτίστου. Ἐκεῖ, ὁ Σάββας προόδευσε ἀκόμα περισσότερο στὴν ἀσκητικὴ ζωὴ καὶ ἔγινε πατέρας καὶ ποιμένας πολλῶν μοναχῶν τῆς ἐρήμου. Προσείλκυσε μὲ τὴ ζωή του πλήθη μοναχῶν στὴν περίφημη κτισθεῖσα ἀπὸ αὐτὸν Λαύρα. Γιὰ τὴν ἁγιότητα τῆς ζωῆς του καὶ γιὰ τὴν μεγάλη του φήμη, εἶχε σταλεῖ ἀπὸ τὸν Πατριάρχη Ἱεροσολύμων δυὸ φορὲς πρεσβευτὴς στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, πρὸς τὸ βασιλιὰ Ἀναστάσιο καὶ ἔπειτα πρὸς τὸν Ἰουστινιανό. Πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ σὲ ἡλικία 94 χρονῶν.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀναστάσιος
Μέσα στὴ φωτιὰ τῶν διωγμῶν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῶν πρώτων χρόνων, ὁ ἅγιος Ἀναστάσιος ἀφιερώθηκε στὴν ὑπηρεσία τῶν μαρτύρων τῆς πίστης. Τοὺς ἐπισκεπτόταν στὶς φυλακές, τοὺς ἔφερνε τροφὲς καὶ περιποιεῖτο τὰ τραύματά τους. Ἐπίσης τοὺς παρακολουθοῦσε καὶ τοὺς ἐμψύχωνε κατὰ τὴν δίκη, τὰ μαρτύρια καὶ τὴν θανατικὴ ἐκτέλεση, προσευχόμενος γι᾿ αὐτοὺς καὶ τοὺς παρακαλοῦσε νὰ εὔχονται ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸ Θεό, ὥστε νὰ τὸν ἀξιώσει ἴδιο μ᾿ αὐτοὺς τέλος. μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν πόθο θερμαινόμενος, παρουσιάστηκε κάποια μέρα μὲ τὴν θέλησή του καὶ δήλωσε στὸν δικαστή, ποὺ εἶχε διατάξει νὰ βασανιστοῦν μερικοὶ χριστιανοί, ὅτι μάταια κοπιάζει μὲ τέτοια μέσα νὰ καταπνίξει τὸ ἔργο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἡ εἰδωλολατρικὴ λύσσα τότε, στράφηκε σ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν ἴδιο. Βασανίστηκε ἀνελέητα καὶ ἀποκεφαλίστηκε. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ μανία τῶν ἀπίστων δὲν ἀρκέστηκε σ᾿ αὐτό. Ἀφοῦ ἔβαλαν τὸ λείψανό του σὲ μία βάρκα, ἔδεσαν σ᾿ αὐτὸ μία βαριὰ πέτρα καὶ τὸ ἔριξαν στὸ πιὸ βαθὺ μέρος τῆς θάλασσας. Καὶ ἡ θάλασσα μὲν δέχτηκε τὸ σῶμα, ὁ δὲ Θεὸς παρέλαβε τὴν πιστὴ καὶ ἁγία ψυχή του.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Νεκτάριος ὁ Ἀθωνίτης
Πατρίδα του ἦταν τὸ Μοναστήρι τῆς Μακεδονίας καὶ γεννήθηκε τὸ 1406. Σὲ κάποια ἐπιδρομὴ τῶν Ἀγαρηνῶν, γιὰ νὰ ἀποφύγουν οἱ γονεῖς του τὴν σύλληψη, κατέφυγαν σὲ κάποιο βουνό. Κατόπιν ὁ πατέρας τοῦ Νεκταρίου, μὲ τὴν συγκατάθεση τῆς γυναίκας του, πῆρε τὰ δυὸ ἀγόρια του καὶ ἔγινε μοναχὸς μὲ τὸ ὄνομα Παχώμιος, στὸ μοναστήρι τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀναργύρων, ποὺ βρισκόταν στοὺς πρόποδες τοῦ βουνοῦ ποὺ εἶχαν κρυφτεῖ. Κατόπιν ὅμως, κάποιος μοναχὸς Διονύσιος Ἰάγαρις, ποὺ ἀνῆκε στὸ κελὶ τῶν Ἀρχαγγέλων, κοντὰ στὶς Καρυὲς τοῦ Ἁγίου Ὄρους, πῆρε τὸν Νικόλαο - αὐτὸ ἦταν τὸ βαπτιστικό του ὄνομα - καὶ τὸν πῆγε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος. Ἐκεῖ ἔγινε μοναχὸς μὲ τὸν ὄνομα Νεκτάριος (1470) καὶ προσκολλήθηκε στὸν Πνευματικὸ Γέροντα Φιλόθεο, ποὺ εἶχε διορατικὸ χάρισμα. Ἀπὸ τότε ὁ Νεκτάριος ἀρχίζει μία ἀξιοζήλευτη ἀσκητικὴ ζωή, ποὺ οἱ σπάνιες ἀρετές του ἔγιναν γνωστὲς σ᾿ ὅλο τὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος. Ὁ σατανᾶς πολλὲς φορὲς θέλησε καὶ μέσῳ τῶν συνασκητῶν του, νὰ τὸν ῥίξει στὴν ἁμαρτία, ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Νεκτάριος μὲ τὴν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μεγάλη του ταπεινοφροσύνη, κατόρθωνε καὶ ἀντιμετώπιζε τὶς δοκιμασίες αὐτές. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ στὶς 5 Δεκεμβρίου τοῦ 1500.

Our Venerable, Godbearing Father Sabbas the Sanctified (533)
"This Saint was born in 439 in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Euthymius the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasius and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninety-four years, he reposed in 533. The Typicon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one." (Great Horologion)
St Cosmas the Protos of Mount Athos and his companions (~1274)
"Determined to impose the union of the Churches accepted under pressure at the Council of Lyon (1274) to secure Papal support for the Byzantine Empire Michael VIII Palaeologos sent troops to Mount Athos, the stronghold of Orthodoxy and centre of opposition to his policy, with orders to take sanguinary measures against monks who would not recognize the false union.
  "When the Emperor's soldiers reached Karyes, the capital of Athos, which was organized as a lavra in those days, they seized the Protos of Athos, who had been an example to all of what a steadfast monk should be. They put him to the sword together with many other fathers there, and in their fury ransacked and fired the Church and monastic buildings, leaving rack and ruin behind them. Emerging from the wild places and thick forests where they had taken refuge, the Orthodox monks buried the holy Martyrs at the entrance to the Church of the Protaton. Through the centuries, generations of monks piously lit the lamp each day above the 'tomb of the Protos'; but it was not until 5 December 1981 that his relics were solemnly taken from the earth, and that a service was held in his honour in the presence of a great crowd."

The Monk Sava the Sanctified was born in the V Century at Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, named John and Sophia. His father was a military-commander. Journeying off to Alexandria on service related matters, his wife went with him, but their five year old son they left in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the monastery of Saint Flavian situated nearby. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became well studied in Holy Scripture. And in vain then did his parents urge Saint Sava to return to the world and enter into marriage.
At 17 years of age he accepted monastic tonsure and so prospered in fasting and prayer, that he was bestown the gift of wonderworking. Having spent ten years at the monastery of Saint Flavian, the monk set off to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of the Monk Euthymios the Great (Comm. 20 January). But the Monk Euthymios sent off Saint Sava to abba Theoktistos, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict common-life monastic rule. The Monk Sava dwelt at this monastery as an obedient until age 30.
After the death of the monastic-elder Theoktistos, his successor gave blessing to the Monk Sava to seclude himself within a cave: on Saturdays however the monk left his hermitage and came to the monastery, where he participated in Divine-services and partook of food. And after a certain while they gave permission to the monk not to leave his hermitage at all, and Saint Sava asceticised within the cave over the course of 5 years.
The Monk Euthymios attentively oversaw the life of the young monk, and seeing how he had matured spiritually, he began to take him along with him to the Ruv wilderness (at the Dead Sea).They went out on 14 January and remained there until Palm Sunday. The Monk Euthymios called Saint Sava a child-elder and took care to encourage in him growth in the utmost monastic virtues.
When the Monk Euthymios expired to the Lord (+ 473), Saint Sava withdrew from the Laura-monastery and resettled in a cave near the monastery of the Monk Gerasimos of Jordan (+ 475, Comm. 4 March). After several years disciples began to gather to the Monk Sava -- all searching for monastic life. There thus arose the Great Laura-monastery. Through a command from above (in a pillar of fire) the monks built a church in the cave.
The Monk Sava founded several more monasteries. Many a miracle was manifest through the prayers of the Monk Sava: amidst the Laura spouted forth a spring of water, during a time of drought it rained in abundance, and there likewise occurred healings of the sick and the demoniac. The Monk Sava composed the first monastic-rule of church services, the so-called "Jerusalem Rule", accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. The saint reposed peacefully to God in the year 532.

Sainted Gurii, Archbishop of Kazan, (in the world named Grigorii Grigor'evich Rugotin), was the first archbishop of the Kazan diocese, established in 1555. He was born in the town of Radonezh outside Moscow into the family of a courtier. His parents were not wealthy, and so from his early years he had to serve prince Ivan Pen'kov as steward of his estates. From the time of his youth, Grigorii was pious, humble and gentle. He did not wish to enter into marriage. But slandered before the prince of improprieties with his wife, Grigorii was locked up in an underground dungeon. This undermined his health, but it also intensified and deepened his religious sensitivity. In prison, the prisoner wrote a small booklet for teaching children to read and write. The proceeds from his alphabet-book he gave off to the needy.
Released from prison, Grigorii accepted tonsure with the name Gurii at the Iosifo-Volokolamsk monastery, known for its strict monastic rule. In 1543 he was chosen by the brethren as hegumen of this monastery and he administered it for almost 9 years, and then he resigned as hegumen and lived for two years as a simple monk. Before becoming bishop, Saint Gurii for one year directed the Trinity Selizharov monastery in Tver diocese. He was chosen by lot to the Kazan cathedra-seat. Assisted by Saint Varsonophii (+ 1576, Comm. 11 April)Saint Gurii collaborated much in missionary activity. In his eight years as bishop there, four monasteries were organised, and the Blagoveschensk-Annunciation cathedral church and ten more city churches were built.
In 1561 the saint fell grievously ill. On feastdays they carried him into the church, and here he either sat or lay, not having the strength to walk or even stand. Shortly before his death (+ 5 December 1563)he accepted the great schema under Saint Varsonophii, and he was buried in the Spaso-Preobrazhensk (Saviour Transfiguration) monastery. On 4 October 1595, the incorrupt relics of Sainted-hierarchs Gurii and Varsonophii were uncovered. The Kazan metropolitan, Sainted Ermogen (the future Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus', + 1613, Comm 12 May), was present at this uncovering of relics, and he described this event in the lives of these saints. On 20 June 1613, the relics of Sainted Gurii were transferred from the Saviour-Transfiguration monastery to the Annunciation cathedral church. At present the relics rest at a cemetery church named for the holy Nobleborn Princes Theodore (Feodor) of Muromsk and his sons David and Konstantin, situated in the city of Kazan.

The Monastics Karion and his son Zachariah: The Monk Karion lived in one of the Egyptian skete-monasteries during the IV Century. He left behind in the world his wife and two children. When a famine chanced to strike Egypt, the wife of the Monk Karion brought the children to the skete-monastery and complained of the poverty and difficulties of life. The saint took his son, but the daughter remained with the mother. He raised his son Saint Zachariah at the skete, and everyone knew that this was his son. But when the lad grew up, the monastery brethren began to grumble. The father and the son thereupon went off into the Thebaid. But there also came the grumbling monks. Then Saint Zachariah went into a fetid lake, immersing himself in the water up to his nostrils and he stayed in it for an hour. His face and his body was covered with welts, like a leper literally, such that even his own father hardly recognised him. But when the Monk Zachariah partook Communion, the holy Presbyter Isidor had a revelation about him and said: ""Child, on Sunday last thou didst commune like a man, but now it be like an angel". After the death of his father, the Monk Zachariah began to asceticise together with the Monk Moses the Black (Comm. 28 August). "What mustneeds I do, to be saved?" -- asked the Monk Moses. Hearing this, the Monk Zachariah fell to his knees and said: "Thou askest this of me, father?" "Believe me, my child, Zachariah, -- the Monk Moses continued, -- I saw, how the Holy Spirit did come down upon thee, and only because of this I asked thee". The Monk Zachariah thereupon took from his head the kukol'-covering, he set it at his feet, and having set it aright, he said: "If a man be not tonsured thus, he cannot be a monk". Before his end the Monk Moses asked him: "What seest thou, brother?" "Should this not be better left unsaid, father?" -- answered the Monk Zachariah. "Yes, child, be silent", -- agreed the Monk Moses the Black. When the soul of the Monk Zachariah parted from its body, holy Abba Isidor, lifting his gaze towards the heavens, said: "Happy art thou, Zachariah my child, for unto thee art opened the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven". The Monk Zachariah died towards the end of the IV Century and was buried at a skete-monastery.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. The Venerable Sava the Sanctified

The unknown village of Mutalaska, in the province of Cappadocia, became famous through this great luminary of the Orthodox Church. Sava was born there of his parents John and Sophia. At the age of eight, he left the home of his parents and was tonsured a monk in a nearby monastic community called Flavian's. After ten years, he moved to the monasteries of Palestine and remained longest in the Monastery of St. Euthymius the Great (January 20) and Theoctistus. The clairvoyant Euthymius prophesied of Sava that he would become a famous monk and a teacher of monks and that he would establish a lavra greater than all the lavras of that time. After the death of Euthymius, Sava withdrew to the desert, where he lived for five years as a hermit in a cave shown to him by an angel of God. Afterward, when he had been perfected in the monastic life, he began by divine providence to gather around him many who were desirous of the spiritual life. Soon, such a large number gathered that Sava had to build a church and many cells. Some Armenians also came to him, and for them he provided a cave where they would be able to celebrate services in the Armenian language. When his father died, his aged mother Sophia came to him, and he tonsured her a nun. He gave her a cell located at a distance from his monastery, where she lived a life of asceticism until her death. This holy father endured many assaults from all sides: from those who were close to him, from heretics, and from demons. But he triumphed over them all: those close to him, by kindness and indulgence; the heretics, by his unwavering confession of the Orthodox Faith; the demons, by the sign of the Cross and calling upon God for help. He had a particularly great struggle with demons on Mount Castellium, where he established his second monastery. In all, Sava established seven monasteries. He and Theodosius the Great, his neighbor, are considered to be the greatest lights and pillars of Orthodoxy in the East. They corrected emperors and patriarchs in matters of the Faith, and to everyone they served as an example of saintly humility and the miraculous power of God. After a toilsome and very fruitful life, St. Sava entered into rest in the year 532, at the age of ninety-four. Among his many wondrous and good works, let it at least be mentioned that he was the first to compile the Order of Services for use in monasteries, now known as the Jerusalem Typicon.

2. The Venerable Martyrs of Karyes

They suffered at the hands of the Papists at the time of the Union of Lyons [1274], which was the work of Emperor Michael Palaeologus (1260-1281) and the pope. The Protos of the Holy Mountain was hanged, and the others were beheaded. (For details about this, see October 10.)

3. The Venerable Nectarius of Bitola

Nectarius was born in Bitola and lived a life of asceticism in the Monastery of the Holy Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian, together with his father, Pachomius, who was also tonsured. After that he went to Karyes, where he continued his asceticism in the Cell of the Holy Archangels under the guidance of Elders Philotheus and Dionysius. After conquering human envy, demonic assaults and difficult illnesses, he entered into rest in the Kingdom of Christ on December 5, 1500. His incorrupt and fragrant relics rest in this same cell.

4. The Venerable Karion and Zacharias

Karion and Zacharias were father and son, and both were great Egyptian ascetics. Karion left his wife and two children and set off to become a monk. As a child, the young Zacharias was taken into the monastery, and in his ascetic labors he surpassed both his father and many other notable ascetics. When they asked Zacharias, "Who is a true monk?" he replied: "He who constantly applies himself to the fulfilling of God's commandments."

HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Sava the Sanctified
Venerable Sava, chief of monks,
Spiritual commander of Christ's heroes,
Was glorified by fasting, vigils and meekness,
By prayer and faith and blessed mercy.
You taught the monks to not be concerned with bread;
You entrusted yourself to heaven, with labor and prayer.
You sought neither precedence nor rank of any kind.
Most rarely did you taste of oil and wine.
You kept all the services at the appointed time.
"Let the service be a joy and not a heavy burden,"
St. Sava told the monks,
And he showed this to all by his example.
Like a wise gardener, he enclosed the garden,
And carefully planted many young men.
The young men grew and brought forth fruit:
A regiment of monks, to the glory of Sava.
Fifteen hundred years have passed,
Yet Sava's spiritual garden still blooms:
One thousand monks, a hundred thousand,
Have been raised up by Sava's community up to now.
St. Sava, glorious recluse,
O God-pleaser, pray for us also.

REFLECTION
A man may be great in some skill, as a statesman or a military leader, but no one among men is greater than a man who is great in faith, hope and love. How great St. Sava the Sanctified was in faith and hope in God is best shown by the following incident: One day, the steward of the monastery came to Sava and informed him that the following Saturday and Sunday he would be unable to strike the semantron, according to tradition, to summon the brethren to the communal service and meal because there was not a trace of flour in the monastery nor anything at all to eat or drink. For this same reason, even the Divine Liturgy was not possible. The saint replied without hesitation: "I shall not cancel the Divine Liturgy because of the lack of flour; faithful is He Who commanded us not to be concerned about bodily things, and mighty is He to feed us in time of hunger." And he placed all his hope in God. In this extremity, he was prepared to send some of the ecclesiastical vessels or vestments to be sold in the city so that neither the divine services nor the brother's customary meal would be omitted. However, before Saturday some men, moved by divine providence, brought thirty mules laden with wheat, wine and oil to the monastery. "What do you say now, Brother?" Sava asked the steward. "Shall we not strike the semantron and assemble the fathers?" The steward was ashamed because of his lack of faith and begged the abbot for forgiveness. Sava's biographer describes this saint as "severe with demons but mild toward men." Once, some monks rebelled against St. Sava, and for this they were driven from the monastery by order of Patriarch Elias. They built themselves huts by the river Thekoa, where they endured privation in all things. Hearing that they were starving, St. Sava loaded mules with flour and brought it to them personally. Seeing that they had no church, he built one for them. At first, the monks received him with hatred, but afterward they responded to his love with love and repented of their former misdeeds toward him.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the sinful fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3):
1. How the All-gracious God called out to sinful Adam, Where art thou?
2. How God showed Himself to be the Good Shepherd, Who, even in Paradise, called out for His lost sheep;
3. How, even now, God calls out to every sinner, Where art thou? (desiring by these words to reproach him and to warn him).

HOMILY
on the absence of evil in God's works
And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1).
Brethren, the first revelation about this world that Holy Scripture communicates to us is that the world proceeded from good and not from evil, from God and not from some power contrary to God and not from some imagined primordial mixture of good and evil. The second revelation, brethren, about this world is that everything that the good God created is good. The light is good; the firmament of heaven is good; the land is good; the sea is good; the grass, the vegetation and the fruitful trees are good; the heavenly lights- the sun, moon and stars-are good; the living creatures in the water and the birds in the air are good; all living beings according to their kind are good; the cattle, the small animals and the beasts of the earth are good. Finally, man-the master, under the lordship of God, over all created things-is also good. And God saw that it was good. The appraiser of the value of this world is not and cannot be someone who views this world superficially and partially, but can only be He who views all of creation together and each part individually, He who knows their number, name, composition and essence incomparably better than all men on earth. And God saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:31). But, nevertheless, there have been men who have slandered the work of God, saying that this world is evil in its essence, that each individual creation is evil, and that matter, from which all earthly beings are formed, is evil. However, evil is found in sin, and sin is from the evil spirit; therefore, evil dwells in the spirit of evil and not in matter. This spirit, fallen from God, is the sower of evil in the world, from whence come the tares in God's wheat. The spirit of evil strives to use both the human spirit and material things in general as his weapons of evil. He is also the one who instills in the human mind the thought that the whole created world is evil and that matter, from which creation was formed, is fundamentally evil. He slanders God's works in order to conceal his own works; he accuses God in order not to be accused. O my brethren, let us guard ourselves from the cunning of the evil spirit. Let us guard ourselves in particular from the evil thoughts that he sows in our minds.
O Lord Jesus Christ, our true Enlightener and Savior, into Thy hands we give over our minds and our hearts. Do Thou illumine us with Thy true light.
 To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.