Makarios the Great of Egypt
Mark, Bishop of Ephesus
Arsenios, Metropolitan of Kerkyra
Makarios of Alexandria
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Μακαρίου τοῦ Αἰγυπτίου καί Μάρκου, Ἐπισκόπου Ἐφέσου τοῦ Εὐγενικοῦ.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Μακαρίου, Ἱεροδιακόνου τοῦ Καλογερᾶ, τοῦ Πατμίου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
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 22:2-14
The Lord said this parable, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 22.2-14
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τήν παραβολὴν ταύτην· Η βασιλεία των ουρανών μοιάζει μ' ένα βασιλιά, που έκανε το γάμο του γιου του. Έστειλε τους δούλους του να φωνάξουν τους καλεσμένους στο γάμο, εκείνοι όμως δεν ήθελαν να έρθουν. Έστειλε ξανά άλλους δούλους λέγοντάς τους: "να πείτε στους καλεσμένους: έχω ετοιμάσει το γεύμα, έχω σφάξει τους ταύρους και τα θρεφτάρια, κι όλα είναι έτοιμα· ελάτε στο γάμο". Οι καλεσμένοι όμως αδιαφόρησαν και πήγαν άλλος στο χωράφι του κι άλλος στο εμπόριό του. Οι υπόλοιποι έπιασαν τους δούλους του, τους κακοποίησαν και τους σκότωσαν. Όταν το άκουσε ο βασιλιάς εκείνος, θύμωσε· έστειλε το στρατό του κι αφάνισε εκείνους τους φονιάδες και πυρπόλησε την πόλη τους. Τότε λέει στους δούλους του: "το τραπέζι του γάμου είναι έτοιμο, μα οι καλεσμένοι δε φάνηκαν άξιοι.Πηγαίνετε, λοιπόν, στα σταυροδρόμια κι όσους βρείτε καλέστε τους στους γάμους". Βγήκαν τότε οι δούλοι στους δρόμους και μάζεψαν όλους όσους βρήκαν, κακούς και καλούς. Η αίθουσα του γάμου γέμισε από συνδαιτυμόνες. Μπήκε κι ο βασιλιάς για να δει τους συνδαιτυμόνες, κι εκεί είδε κάποιον που δεν ήταν ντυμένος με τη γαμήλια φορεσιά. "Φίλε", του λέει, "πώς μπήκες εδώ χωρίς το κατάλληλο ντύσιμο;" Εκείνος έχασε τη λαλιά του. Τότε ο βασιλιάς είπε στους υπηρέτες: "δέστε του τα πόδια και τα χέρια και πάρτε τον και βγάλτε τον έξω στο σκοτάδι"· εκεί θα κλαίει και θα τρίζει τα δόντια του. Γιατί πολλοί είναι οι καλεσμένοι, λίγοι όμως οι εκλεκτοί.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΘ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὅσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Μακαρίου τοῦ Αἰγυπτίου καὶ ἀναχωρητοῦ, καὶ τοῦ Ὁσίου Μακαρίου τοῦ Ἀλεξανδρέως.
Θανοῦσα θείων ἡ δυὰς Μακαρίων,
Ζωῆς μετέσχε τῆς μακαριωτάτης.
Γῆν μακάρων λάχον ἐννεακαιδεκάτῃ Μακάριοι.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Εὐφρασίας.
Ψεύδει σοφῷ φυγοῦσα σαρκὸς τὴν ὕβριν,
Ἀθλεῖς ἀληθῶς ἐκ ξίφους Εὐφρασία.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ εἰς τὸν Ναὸν τῶν ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων Ἀνακομιδὴ τοῦ Λειψάνου τοῦ ἐν ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Γρηγορίου τοῦ θεολόγου.
Ἔχει νεκρὸν σὸν ἡ καλὴ μετοικία,
Καλῶ γάρ, ὡς σύ, τοὺς Ἀποστόλους Πάτερ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, τελεῖται ἡ ἀνάμνησις τοῦ ἐν Νικαίᾳ μεγίστου θαύματος, ὅτε ὁ Μέγας Βασίλειος διὰ προσευχῆς ἀνέῳξε τὰς πύλας τῆς Καθολικῆς Ἐκκλησίας καὶ παρέθετο αὐτὴν τοῖς Ὀρθοδόξοις.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Makarios the Great was from the Thebaid of Egypt, a disciple, as some say, of Saint Anthony the Great. He was born about 331 and struggled in asceticism in the desert at Scete. Although young, he was called "the child elder" because of his great wisdom and austere manner of life. He was ordained presbyter and reposed in 391, at the age of sixty. There are fifty homilies ascribed to him.
It is said of Saint Makarios that he became as a God upon earth, for even as God protects the whole world, so did he cover the faults he saw as if he did not see them. Once he came back to his cell to find a thief taking his things and loading them on a camel. Makarios's non-possessiveness was so great that he helped the thief load the camel. When the camel refused to rise, Makarios returned to his cell and brought a small hoe, said that the camel wanted the hoe also, loaded it on, and kicked the camel telling it to get up. The camel obeyed Makarios's command, but soon lay down again, and would not move until everything had been returned to Makarios. His contemporary, Saint Makarios of Alexandria, was so called because he came from Alexandria and was therefore of that Greek-speaking colony; while Saint Makarios the Great is also called "of Egypt," that is, he belonged to the ancient race native to Egypt, the Copts.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Τής ερήμου πολίτης, καί εν σώματι Άγγελος, καί θαυματουργός ανεδείχθης, θεοφόρε Πατήρ ημών Μακάριε, νηστεία, αγρυπνία, προσευχή, ουράνια χαρίσματα λαβών, θεραπεύεις τούς νοσούντας, καί τάς ψυχάς τών πίστει προστρεχόντων σοι, Δόξα τώ δεδωκότι σοι ισχύν, δόξα τώ σέ στεφανώσαντι, δόξα τώ ενεργούντι διά σού πάσιν ιάματα.
Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Makarios, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ἐν τῷ οἴκω Κύριος, τῆς ἐγκρατείας, ἀληθῶς σὲ ἔθετο, ὡς πὲρ ἀστέρα ἀπλανῆ, φωταγωγοῦντα τὰ πέρατα, Πάτερ Πατέρων, Μακάριε Ὅσιε.
The Lord God established thee, O great ascetic, in the house of abstinence, like an unerring star that lit the farthest regions with guiding light, Father of Fathers, O righteous Makarios.
The great teacher and invincible defender of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, Saint Mark, was the offspring and scion of the imperial city, Constantinople. Reared by most pious parents, and instructed in secular and spiritual wisdom, he became preeminent in both. Saint Mark lived as an ascetic on the Prince's Islands and later in the monastery of Saint George Magana in Constantinople. He passed through all the degrees of the priesthood, and was finally advanced to the dignity of Archbishop and the lofty throne of the Metropolis of Ephesus. At the insistence of Emperor John Paleologos, the Saint was sent to the council of the Latins in Florence, to unite the churches that had been divided for so many years. He astounded the papal teachers with the divine wisdom of his words, and was the only one who did not sign the blasphemous decree of that false council. Because of this, the Holy Church of Christ has ever honored this great man as a benefactor, teacher, sole defender, and invincible champion of the Apostolic Confession. He reposed in 1443.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Πανοπλίαν άμαχον, ενδεδυμένος θεόφρον, τήν οφρύν κατέσπασας, τής Δυτικής ανταρσίας, όργανον, τού Παρακλήτου γεγενημένος, πρόμαχος, Ορθοδοξίας προβεβλημένος, διά τούτό σοι βοώμεν, χαίροις ώ Μάρκε, Ορθοδόξων καύχημα.
Clad, O godly-minded one, with an invincible armor, thou didst dash to pieces the pride of the Western rebellion; thou wast brought forth as the champion of Orthodoxy, as the Comforter's own instrument and pure vessel. For this cause, to thee we cry out: Rejoice, O Mark, thou boast of the Orthodox flock.
Saint Arsenios, who had Palestine as his homeland, was born in 876, the son of devout parents. From childhood he was consecrated to God and assumed the monastic habit. He studied in Seleucia, where he also received the dignity of the priesthood. After he had moved from thence to Constantinople, he was appointed Metropolitan of Corfu. He adorned the throne there by his virtue and instruction. When advanced in age, he returned to Constantinople and appeased the unjust rage of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus against the leaders of Corfu. Finally, during his journey back to his see, he fell ill at Corinth and reposed in the Lord about the middle of the tenth century.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Thou wast manifested as a righteous hierarch who hadst served the Most High God like a true Angel on the earth; and now, O Father Arsenios, do thou beseech Him with fervor to save our souls.
Δύο μεγάλους μοναχούς και ασκητάς γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία, τον άγιο Μακάριο τον Αλεξανδρινό και τον άγιο Μακάριο τον Αιγύπτιο. Σύγχρονοι σχεδόν και οι δυό, είναι από τους οσίους εκείνους, των οποίων η θερμή αγάπη κι η αφοσίωση στον Χριστό και το πνεύμα της στερήσεως και της σταυρώσεως είναι πράγματα άγνωστα κι ακατανόητα στο σύγχρονο κόσμο. Κι όμως πάντα, στις ωφελιμοκρατικές αντιλήψεις των ανθρώπων, στο πνεύμα του πεζού υλισμού και της άθεης δραστηριότητος, αντίβαρο κι αντίρροπη δύναμη θα είναι η απάρνηση του κόσμου και η άσκηση των οσίων της ερήμου. Τα λόγια του αγίου Αντωνίου, που είναι κανών των Οσίων, εκφράζουν ένα άγιο ιδανικό και σύμφωνο προς τον ανθρώπινο προορισμό. "Σπουδάσατε δε μάλλον και υμείς αεί συνάπτειν εαυτούς, προηγουμένως μεν τω Κυρίω, έπειτα δε τοις αγίοις· ίνα μετά θάνατον υμάς εις τας αιωνίους σκηνάς, ως φίλους γνωρίμους δέξωνται...".
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μακάριος ὁ Αἰγύπτιος
Ἦταν ἀναχωρητὴς Αἰγύπτιος ἀσκητικότατος. Πέρασε τὰ χρόνια τῆς ζωῆς του μέσα στὴν ἔρημο, σ᾿ ἕνα στενότατο κελλί, μὲ πολλὴ ἐγκράτεια καὶ προσευχή. Γιὰ τὰ ἀσκητικά του παλαίσματα, ὁ Μακάριος, ὀνομάστηκε μέγας καὶ ἡ φήμη του ἦταν διαδεδομένη σχεδὸν σ᾿ ὅλα τὰ ἀσκητήρια της Αἰγύπτου. Ὅταν μαζευόταν πολὺ πλῆθος κοντά του, γιὰ νὰ πάρει τὴν συμβουλή του καὶ ν᾿ ἀκούσει ἀπ᾿ τὸ στόμα του ῥήματα ζωῆς αἰωνίου, αὐτὸς ἐξαφανιζόταν μέσῳ ὑπόγειας σύραγγας ποὺ ἕνα μέρος αὐτῆς ἔσκαψε ὁ ἴδιος με τὰ χέρια του σὲ μία σπηλιά. Ὁ δὲ Παλλάδιος, διηγεῖται γιὰ τὸν ὅσιο Μακάριο, πολλὰ φοβερὰ καὶ ἐξαίσια κατορθώματα, νῖκες κατὰ τῶν δαιμόνων καὶ ἀναστάσεις νεκρῶν. Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια του Μεγάλου Θεοδοσίου (373) καὶ πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ 90 χρονῶν.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μακάριος ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς
Ἀσκητὴς καὶ αὐτὸς καὶ πρεσβύτερος τῶν λεγομένων Κελλιῶν. Πέρασε τὴν ζωή του στὴν Αἰγυπτιακὴ ἔρημο μὲ ἄκρα ἡσυχία, στερήσεις πολλὲς καὶ κακουχίες. Ἔζησε πολεμῶντας κατὰ τῶν δαιμόνων (σχετικῶς γράφει ὁ Παλλάδιος στὸ Λαυσαϊκό) καὶ πέθανε εἰρηνικά. (Πιθανὸν νὰ εἶναι τὸ ἴδιο πρόσωπο μὲ τὸν πιὸ πάνω Μακάριο, διότι οἱ βιογραφίες τους εἶναι σχεδὸν ταυτόσημες).
Ἡ Ἁγία Εὐφρασία
Πατρίδα της ἦταν ἡ Νικομήδεια καὶ ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Μαξιμιανοῦ (290). Ἡ οἰκογένειά της διακρινόταν γιὰ τὸ ἐπίσημο τοῦ γένους της, ἡ ἴδια δὲ ἡ Εὐφρασία, ἔλαμπε ἀπὸ μεγάλη σωφροσύνη καὶ εὐσέβεια. Καταγγέλθηκε ὅτι πίστευε στὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ὁ ἔπαρχος τὴν συνέλαβε καὶ τὴν παρέδωσε σ᾿ ἕνα ἀγροῖκο βάρβαρο, γιὰ νὰ τὴν ἀτιμάσει. Ἡ Εὐφρασία ὅμως, ἄλλαξε τὴν σὲ βάρος της κατάσταση, ὑπέρ της. Εἶπε δηλαδὴ σ᾿ ἐκεῖνον τὸν βάρβαρο, ὅτι ἂν τὴν ἄφηνε ἀπείρακτη, θὰ τοῦ γνώριζε κάποιο φάρμακο, ποὺ θὰ τὸν προφύλαγε στὶς μάχες ἀπὸ κάθε πληγὴ καὶ αὐτοῦ ἀκόμα τοῦ ξίφους. Καὶ πρόσθεσε: «ἂν θέλεις νὰ πεισθεὶς γιὰ τὴν ἀλήθεια τῶν λόγων μου, κτύπα δυνατὰ μὲ τὸ ξίφος σου τὸν λαιμό μου καὶ θὰ δεῖς ὅτι δὲν θὰ μὲ βλάψει». Ὁ βάρβαρος δοκίμασε. Τὸ κεφάλι τῆς Ἁγίας κόπηκε καὶ ἔπεσε κάτω αἱμόφυρτο, Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ τιμή της σώθηκε καὶ ἡ ἁγνὴ παρθένος πῆρε τὸ βασιλικὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Ἡ Ἀνακομιδὴ τοῦ Λειψάνου τοῦ Ἁγίου Γρηγορίου τοῦ Θεολόγου
Ἡ ἀνακομιδὴ τοῦ τιμίου αὐτοῦ λειψάνου ἔγινε ἀπὸ τὸν Κωνσταντῖνο τὸν Πορφυρογέννητο, ποὺ τὸ κατέθεσε στὸν ναὸ τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων. Τὴν ἱερὴ κάρα τοῦ Ἁγίου Γρηγορίου θησαυρίζει ἡ Ἱερὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Βατοπεδίου στὸ ἍγιονὌρος.
Ἀνάμνηση θαύματος Μεγάλου Βασιλείου
Αὐτὴ τὴν μέρα γίνεται ἡ ἀνάμνηση τοῦ μεγάλου θαύματος στὴ Νίκαια, ὅταν ὁ Μέγας Βασίλειος μὲ τὴν προσευχή του ἄνοιξε τὶς πόρτες τῆς Καθολικῆς Ἐκκλησίας καὶ τὴν ἔδωσε στοὺς Ὀρθοδόξους.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀρσένιος Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κερκύρας
Ὑπῆρξε στὰ χρόνια του αὐτοκράτορα Βασιλείου τοῦ Μακεδόνα (867-886), στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ὁ πατέρας του ἦταν καὶ αὐτὸς ἀπὸ τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, ἡ δὲ μητέρα του ἀπὸ τὴν Βηθανία. Σὲ μικρὴ ἡλικία οἱ γονεῖς του τὸν ἀφιέρωσαν σ᾿ ἕνα τῶν ἐκεῖ μοναστηριῶν, ὅπου διδασκόταν τὴν μοναχικὴ ζωὴ καὶ 12 χρονῶν ἐκάρη μοναχός. Ἀργότερα ἔφυγε ἀπὸ τὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ πῆγε στὴ Σελεύκεια, ὅπου χειροτονήθηκε πρεσβύτερος. Ἀπὸ τὴν Σελεύκεια ἐπανῆλθε στὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ πῆγε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, ὅπου ἐπὶ Πατριάρχου Τρύφωνος (928-931) πῆρε Ἱερατικὴ θέση. Ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦ διαδόχου του Τρύφωνα, Θεοφύλακτου (933-956) ἐκλέχτηκε ἐπίσκοπος Κερκύρας γιὰ τὴν πολὺ ἐνάρετη ζωή του. Σὰν ποιμενάρχης διακρίθηκε γιὰ τὴν εὐαγγελική του δράση καὶ ἀφοσιώθηκε ὁλοκληρωτικὰ στὶς ἀνάγκες τοῦ ποιμνίου του. Κάποτε ὅμως, ὁ Κωνσταντῖνος Πορφυρογέννητος (911 -959), ἄγνωστο γιὰ ποιὸ λόγο, ζήτησε νὰ παρουσιαστοῦν στὴ βασιλεύουσα οἱ Κερκυραῖοι πρόκριτοι. Ὁ γέροντας, πλέον Ἀρσένιος, ἀνέλαβε νὰ διευθετήσει τὰ πράγματα καὶ πῆγε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Στὴν ἐπιστροφὴ ὅμως, πέθανε στὸ δρόμο κοντὰ στὴν Κόρινθο. Ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ μετακομίστηκε στὴν Κέρκυρα καὶ τὸ Ἱερό του λείψανο ἔκανε, μὲ τὴν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ, πολλὰ θαύματα.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μελέτιος ὁ Γαλασιώτης ὁ Ὁμολογητής
Μαρία ὀνομαζόταν ἡ μητέρα του καὶ Γεώργιος ὁ πατέρας του, ποὺ ἦταν ἀξιωματικός. Καταγόταν ἀπὸ μία κωμόπολη τῆς Μαύρης Θάλασσας. Τὸ ἀρχικό του ὄνομα ἦταν Μιχαὴλ καὶ ὁ εὐσεβὴς πόθος του τὸν ἔφερε στοὺς ἁγίους Τόπους, ἀπ᾿ ὅπου βάδισε πεζὸς στὸ θεοβάδιστο Ὄρος Σινᾶ, καὶ κατατάχθηκε στὸ ἐκεῖ μοναχικὸ τάγμα. Ἀργότερα πῆγε στὴν Αἴγυπτο, ἀπὸ κεῖ στὴ Δαμασκὸ γιὰ νὰ καταλήξει στὴ Μονὴ Ὁσίου Λαζάρου, ποὺ ἦταν στὸ ὄρος Γαλάσιο, καὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ πῆρε τὸ ἐπώνυμο Γαλασιώτης. Τὸ 1261 ἦλθε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ δίδασκε μαζὶ μὲ τὸν συμμοναστή του Γαλακτίωνα στοὺς χριστιανούς, νὰ εἶναι ἀκλόνητοι στὴν Ὀρθοδοξία καὶ πὼς νὰ ἐξασφαλίζουν τὴν ψυχική τους σωτηρία. Ὁ Μιχαὴλ Παλαιολόγος τοὺς ἐξόρισε στὴ Σκῦρο τὸ 1275, ἀλλὰ μετὰ μερικὰ χρόνια ἐπέστρεψαν στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ὁ τότε λατινόφρων πατριάρχης Ἰωσὴφ Βέκκης, εἶπε στὸν Μελέτιο νὰ γίνει ἱερέας, ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὸς δὲν δέχτηκε ἀπὸ ἕναν πολέμιο τῆς Ἐκκλησίας νὰ γίνει ἱερέας. Τελικὰ πέθανε τὸ 1283 σὲ ἡλικία 77 ἐτῶν. Τάφηκε στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ ἁγίου καὶ δικαίου Λαζάρου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μᾶρκος ὁ Εὐγενικός
«Μᾶρκος οὐχ ὑπέγραψε, λοιπὸν ἐποιήσαμεν οὐδέν». Ὁ Μᾶρκος δὲν ὑπέγραψε, λοιπὸν δὲν κάναμε τίποτα. Μία παροιμιώδης φράση τοῦ Πάπα Ῥώμης, ὅταν ὁ Μᾶρκος ὁ Εὐγενικὸς δὲν ἔβαλε τὴν ὑπογραφή του στὸ πρωτόκολλο γιὰ τὴν ἕνωση τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν, ἐνῷ εἶχαν ὑπογράψει ὅλοι οἱ ἄλλοι ὀρθόδοξοι ἐπίσκοποι. Ὁ ὑπέρμαχος αὐτὸς τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας γεννήθηκε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη τὸ 1392. Γονεῖς εἶχε τὸν διάκονο Γεώργιο καὶ τὴν Μαρία, ποὺ ἦταν κόρη κάποιου γιατροῦ Λουκᾶ ὀνομαζομένου. Ὁ Μᾶρκος εἶχε πολλὰ χαρίσματα καὶ ἀναδείχθηκε ἔξοχος στὶς θεολογικὲς καὶ ἄλλες σπουδές. Δίδασκε στὸ φροντιστήριο τοῦ πατέρα του, καὶ ἀργότερα, μετὰ τὸν θάνατο αὐτοῦ, τὸν διαδέχθηκε στὸ διδασκαλικὸ ἐπάγγελμα. Διακρίθηκε σὰν δάσκαλος τῆς ῥητορικῆς καί, στὸ 25ο ἔτος τῆς ἡλικίας του, ἀποφάσισε νὰ γίνει μοναχὸς καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸ ἔφυγε σὲ μία Μονὴ στοὺς Πριγκηπόνησους. Ἐκεῖ ἐτάχθη ὑπὸ τὴν πνευματικὴ ἐπιστασία ἐναρέτου μοναχοῦ, τοῦ Συμεών, ὁ ὁποῖος τὸν ἔκειρε μοναχὸ καὶ τὸν μετονόμασε ἀπὸ Μανουήλ, ποὺ ἦταν τὸ πρῶτο του ὄνομα, σὲ Μᾶρκο. Κατόπιν ἀπὸ τὰ νησιὰ αὐτὰ ἔφυγε καὶ πῆγε στὴ Μονὴ τῶν Μαγκάνων, ὅπου χειροτονήθηκε Ἱερέας. Ἀφοῦ ἔγινε κληρικός, τὸ 1436 ἐκλέγεται Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἐφέσου. Τότε, ὁ βασιλεὺς Ἰωάννης ὁ Παλαιολόγος, μπροστὰ στὸν τουρκικὸ κίνδυνο καὶ μὲ τὴν ἰδέα ὅτι θὰ μποροῦσε νὰ τὸν βοηθήσει ὁ Πάπας, πηγαίνει στὴ Φεῤῥάρα τῆς Ἰταλίας γιὰ νὰ συζητήσει τὴν ἕνωση τῶν δυὸ Ἐκκλησιῶν. Στὴν τελικὴ Σύνοδο, ποὺ γίνεται στὴ Φλωρεντία τὸ 1439, βλέπουμε, δυστυχῶς, τοὺς ὀρθοδόξους Ἀρχιερεῖς, ἰδιαίτερα γιὰ τὸ «πρωτεῖο» τοῦ Πάπα, νὰ ὑπογράφουν ὅλοι. Ἐδῶ, ἀκριβῶς στὴν πιὸ κρίσιμη στιγμὴ τῆς ὀρθόδοξης χριστιανικῆς Ἱστορίας, σηκώνει τὸ πνευματικό του ἀνάστημα ὁ Ἐπίσκοπος Ἐφέσου Μᾶρκος ὁ Εὐγενικὸς καὶ λέει «Ὄχι. Καλύτερα σκλαβωμένα σώματα στοὺς Τούρκους, παρὰ σκλαβωμένο πνεῦμα στὸν αἱρετικὸ Πάπα». Κατόρθωσε, ἔτσι, νὰ κρατήσει ψηλὰ τὴν σημαία τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας καὶ νὰ διδάξει σ᾿ ὅλους μας πὼς τὴν ὀρθόδοξη παράδοσή μας δὲν πρέπει νὰ συμβιβάζουμε καὶ νὰ προδίδουμε, χάριν ἐφήμερων καὶ ἰδιοτελῶν σκοπῶν. Κατόπιν αὐτοῦ ὁ Ἅγιος Μᾶρκος ὑπέστη ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ποὺ κυβερνοῦσαν πολλὲς ἐξορίες, καταδιώξεις καὶ ταπεινώσεις, ἀλλ᾿ ἔμεινε ἀδιάσειστος. Ἀῤῥώστησε, γιὰ περίπου 14 μέρες καὶ πέθανε στὶς 23 Ἰουνίου (ὅπου κανονικὰ πρέπει νὰ γιορτάζεται καὶ ἡ κυρίως μνήμη του, σύμφωνα μὲ τὸν Σ. Εὐστρατιάδη) τοῦ ἔτους 1444, σὲ ἡλικία 52 ἐτῶν. Τάφηκε στὴ Μονὴ Ἁγ. Γεωργίου τῶν Μαγκάνων.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Κοσμᾶς ὁ Χρυσοστόματος
Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναφέρεται στὸ Τυπικό της Κυπριακῆς Μονῆς τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου, ποὺ σῴζεται στὴν ἐθνικὴ Βιβλιοθήκη τῶν Παρισίων ὑπ᾿ ἀριθμ. 402 Coislin φ. 101. Στὸ Τυπικὸ λοιπὸν αὐτό, σημειώνεται ἡ μνήμη τοῦ ὡς ἑξῆς: «Ἰστέον ὅτι κατὰ ταύτην τὴν ἡμέραν ἐπιτελοῦμεν μνημόσυνα τοῦ ὁσίου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Κοσμᾶ τοῦ Χρυσοστόματος, ὡσαύτως καὶ τὰ μνημόσυνα τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου καὶ καθηγουμένου κὺρ Νικηφόρου». Σύμφωνα λοιπόν, μ᾿ αὐτά, ὁ ὅσιος Κοσμᾶς ἦταν μοναχὸς τῆς Κυπριακῆς Μονῆς τοῦ Ἁγίου Χρυσοστόμου, ἀπ᾿ ὅπου πῆρε καὶ τὴν ἐπωνυμία Χρυσοστόματος, καὶ ἀφοῦ ἔζησε ζωὴ ὁσία καὶ ἀσκητικὴ ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ καὶ γιορτάζεται στὴ Μονή του.
Our Holy Father Macarius (Makarios)the Great (~390)
He was born around 300 in Egypt and in his youth was a camel driver. While still living in his village, he withdrew to a small cell to devote himself exclusively to ascesis and prayer. When the people there wanted to make him a priest, he fled to another village. There a young woman who was discovered to be pregnant falsely accused Macarius of being the father. Macarius was seized, reviled and beaten, but made no effort to defend himself; instead he took on more work in order to provide for the mother and her child. When his innocence was finally discovered, the townspeople came to ask his forgiveness; but he fled to the desert of Sketis (now called Wadi Natrun). He was then thirty years old, and for the rest of his life he dwelt in the desert.
His humility and detachment from earthly things were so great that once, when he discovered a thief stealing his few possessions, he helped the man load them onto his camel, even pointing out to him the few things he had missed. Once a demon spoke to him thus: "Everything you do, I do too: you fast, but I never eat; you keep vigil, but I never sleep; you only exceed me in one way: your humility. Because of this I am helpless against you." The Saint said that the demons could be put in two categories: those who arouse passions such as anger, lust and greed; and others, much more dreadful, who deceive us by spiritual illusion, blasphemy and heresy.
Saint Macarius soon became known throughout Egypt, and many visitors came to his isolated home. He welcomed all with joy, judging no one and providing hospitality for all. His compassion extended to all, and he prayed even for the damned. Once he found the skull of a pagan priest, which addressed him, saying, "Each time you have pity on us who are in torment, immersed in fire and darkness, we receive a measure of comfort and are allowed to see the faces of our fellow sufferers."
Saint Macarius became a disciple of St Anthony the Great, and in his turn became the spiritual Father of many who came to live near him in the desert. He is considered the founder of the ancient and venerable monastic community at Sketis. At the age of forty he was ordained a priest at the urging of St Anthony, so that he and his brethren would not have to walk the forty miles of desert to Nitria to go to church.
Knowing that he was soon to die, he visited his disciples one last time, saying to them with tears in his eyes, "Let us weep, brethren, so that our eyes flow ceaselessly with tears, before we go to where our tears will scald our bodies." Soon thereafter he reposed. His relics now rest in the Coptic monastery that bears his name. The collection of fifty Spiritual Homilies attributed to St Macarius is a treasury of Orthodox spirituality.
Our Holy Father Mark Eugenikos, Metropolitan of Ephesus and Confessor of the Orthodox Faith (1443)
This holy defender of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church labored in the final days of the Byzantine Empire, when, pressed on all sides by the Turks, the Emperor in desperation sought union with (or rather submission to) the Papacy in hopes of obtaining aid from the West. It was St Mark who stood almost alone to prevent such a disaster to the Faith.
He was born in Constantinople in 1392 to devout parents. He received a thorough education and seemed destined for a secular career, but at the age of twenty- six he abandoned all worldly claims and became a monk in a small monastery in Nicomedia. Soon the Turkish threat forced him to return to Constantinople, where, continuing in the monastic life, he wrote a number of treatises on prayer and the dogmas of the Church. In time he was ordained priest, then, at the insistence of the Emperor John VIII Paleologos was made Metropolitan of Ephesus. The Emperor also prevailed on him to join the delegation which traveled to the Council of Florence to consider the reunion of the Orthodox Church and the churches under the Papacy. (Saint Mark went as exarch of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria, who were unable to attend.)
The Greek delegation included the Emperor and the Patriarch of Constantinople. All, including Metropolitan Mark, began with great hopes that a true union in faith might result from the Council, but as the sessions proceeded, it soon became clear that Pope Eugenius and his theologians were interested only in securing submission of the Eastern Church to the Papacy and its theology. The Metropolitan spoke forcefully against various Latin dogmas such as the filioque and Purgatory, but the Greek delegation, desperate for western aid, bowed to expediency and agreed to sign a document of Union which would have denied the Orthodox Faith itself. Saint Mark was the only member of the delegation who refused to sign. When the Pope heard of this, he said "The bishop of Ephesus has not signed, so we have achieved nothing!"
When the delegation returned to Constantinople, the signers of the false Union were received with universal condemnation by the people, while Metropolitan Mark was hailed as a hero. The churches headed by Unionists were soon almost empty, while the people flocked to the churches headed by those loyal to Orthodoxy. Saint Mark left the City to avoid concelebrating with the Unionist Patriarch. He was exiled by the Emperor to Lemnos, but was freed in 1442. He continued to oppose the Union until his repose in 1444. In 1452 the Union was officially proclaimed in Constantinople, but the hoped-for Western aid was not forthcoming, and the City fell to the Turks in 1453.
he Monk Makarios the Great of Egypt was born in the village of Ptinapor in Lower Egypt. At the wish of his parents he entered into marriage, but was soon a widower. Having buried his wife, Makarios told himself: "Take heed, Makarios, and have care for thy soul, wherefore it becometh thee to forsake earthly life". The Lord rewarded the saint with a long life, but from that time the mindfulness of death was constantly with him, impelling him to ascetic deeds of prayer and penitence. He began to visit the church of God more frequently and to be more deeply absorbed in Holy scripture, but he did not depart from his aged parents -- thus fulfilling the commandment about the honouring of parents. Until his parents end the Monk Makarios ("Makarios" -- from the Greek means "blessed") used his remaining substance to help his parents and he began to pray fervently, that the Lord might shew him a preceptor on the way to salvation. The Lord sent him such a guide in the person of an experienced monk-elder, living in the wilderness not far from the village. The elder took to the youth with love, guided him in the spiritual science of watchfulness, fasting and prayer, and taught him the handicraft of weaving baskets. Having built a separate cell not far from his own, the elder settled his student in it.
The local bishop arrived one day at Ptinapor and, knowing about the virtuous life of the monk, made him into the clergy against his will. But Blessed Makarios was overwhelmed by this disturbance of his silence, and therefore went secretly to another place. The enemy of salvation began a tenacious struggle with the ascetic, trying to terrify him, shaking his cell and suggesting sinful thoughts. Blessed Makarios shook off the attacks of the devil, defending himself with prayer and the sign of the cross. Evil people made up a slander against the saint, accusing him in the seduction of a maiden from a nearby village. They dragged him out of his cell, and jeered at him. The Monk Makarios endured the temptation with great humility. The money that he got for his baskets he sent off without a murmur for the welfare of the maiden. The innocence of Blessed Makarios was revealed when the maiden, being worried for many days, was not able to give birth. She then confessed in her sufferings that she had slandered the hermit, and she pointed out the real author of the sin. When her parents found out the truth, they were astonished and intended to go to the monk with remorse. But the Monk Makarios, shunning the vexation of people, fled that place by night and settled on a Nitrian mountain in the Pharan wilderness. Thus human wickedness contributed to the prospering of the righteous. Having dwelt in the wilderness for three years, he went to Saint Anthony the Great, the father of Egyptian monasticism, about whom he had heard that he was still alive in the world, and he longed with a desire to see him. The Monk Abba Anthony received him with love, and Makarios became his devoted student and follower. The Monk Makarios lived with him for a long time and then, on the advice of the saintly abba, he went off to the Skete wilderness-monastery (in the northwest part of Egypt). He so shone forth there by his ascetic deeds that he came to be called "a young-elder", insofar as having scarcely reached thirty years of age, he distinguished himself as an experienced and mature monk.
The Monk Makarios survived many demonic attacks against him: once he was carrying palm branches from the wilderness for weaving baskets, and a devil met him on the way and wanted to strike him with a sickle, but he was not able to do this and said: "Makarios, I suffer from thee great anguish because I am not able to vanquish thee; thine armour, by which thou art defended from me, is this -- thy humility". When the saint reached age 40, he was ordained to the dignity of priest and made the head (abba) of the monks living at the Skete wilderness. During these years the Monk Makarios often visited with Anthony the Great, receiving guidance from him in spiritual conversations. Blessed Makarios was deemed worthy to be present at the death of the holy abba and he received his staff in succession, together with which he received twice the spiritual power of Anthony the Great -- in the same way, as did once the prophet Elisha receive from the prophet Elias twice the grace with the mantle coming down from heaven.
The Monk Makarios accomplished many healings: people thronged to him from various places for help and for advice, asking his holy prayers. All this unsettled the quietude of the saint. He therefore dug out under his cell a deep cave and betook himself there for prayer and Divine meditation. The Monk Makarios attained to such daring in walking before God, that through his prayer the Lord resuscitated the dead. In spite of such lofty attainment of God-likeness, he continued to preserve his unusual humility. One time the holy abba caught a thief, putting his things on a donkey standing nearby the cell. Not giving the appearance that he was the owner of these things, the monk began quietly to help tie up the load. Having removed himself from the world, the monk told himself: "We bring nothing at all into this world; clearly, it is not possible to take anything out from hence. Bless the Lord in all things!".
One time the Monk Makarios was walking along the way and, seeing a skull lying upon the ground, he asked it: "Who art thou?" The skull answered: "I was a chief-priest of the pagans. When thou, Abba, dost pray for those situated in hell, we do receive some mitigation". The monk asked: "What are these torments?" "We are sitting in a great fire, -- answered the skull, -- and we do not see one another. When thou prayest, we begin to see each other somewhat, and this affords us some comfort". Having heard such words, the monk began weeping and asked: "Are there yet more fiercesome torments?" The skull answered: "Down below us are located those, which did know the Name of God, but spurned Him and kept not His commandments. They endure yet more grievous torments".
Once during prayer Blessed Makarios heard a voice: "Makarios, thou hast reached such attainment as have two women living in the city". The humble ascetic, taking up his staff, went to the city, found the house where the women lived, and knocked. The women received him with joy, and the monk said: "Because of you I have come from a far wilderness, and I want to know about your good deeds; tell about them, keeping nothing secret". The women answered with surprise: "We live with our own husbands, and we have not such virtues". But the saint continued to insist, and the women then told him: "We entered into marriage with two brothers by birth. After all this time of life in common we have told each other not one evil thing nor insulting word, and never do we quarrel between ourselves. We asked our husbands to release us into a women's monastery, but they were not agreeable, and we gave a vow not to utter one worldly word until death". The holy ascetic glorified God and said: "In truth the Lord does not seek virgins nor married women, and neither monks nor worldly persons, but doth value the free intent of the person within the arbitrariness of his free will to offer thanks to the Holy Spirit, which acts and which rules the life of each person, yearning to be saved".
During the years of the reign of the emperor Valens -- an Arian heretic (364-378), the Monk Makarios the Great together with the Monk Makarios of Alexandria was subjected to persecution by the adherents of the Arian bishop Luke. They seized both elders and, imprisoning them on a ship, transported them onto a wild island where there lived pagans. By the prayers of the saints there, the daughter of a pagan priest received healing, at which the pagan priest and all the inhabitants of the island accepted holy Baptism. Learning about what had happened, the Arian bishop became ashamed and permitted the elders to return to their own monasteries.
The meekness and humility of the monk transformed human souls. "An harmful word, -- said Abba Makarios, -- and it makes good things bad, but a good word makes bad things good". On the questioning of the monks, how to pray properly, the monk answered: "For prayer it does not require many words, it is needful only to say: "Lord, as Thou desirest and as Thou knowest, have mercy on me". If an enemy should fall upon thee, it is needful but to utter: "Lord, have mercy!" The Lord knoweth that which is useful for us, and doth grant us mercy". When the brethren asked: "In what manner ought a monk to comport himself?", the monk answered: "Forgive me, I am a poor monk, but I beheld monks being saved in the remote wilderness. I asked them, how might I make myself a monk. They answered: "If a man doth not withdraw himself from everything which is situated in the world, it is not possible to be a monk". At this point I answered: "I am weak and not able to be such as ye". The monks therewith answered: "If thou art not able to be such as we, then sit in thy cell and dwell in contrition about thy sins"."
The Monk Makarios gave advice to a certain monk: "Flee from people and thou shalt be saved". That one asked: "What does it mean to flee from people?" The monk answered: "Sit in thy cell and dwell in contrition about thy sins". The Monk Makarios said also: "If thou wishest to be saved, be as one who is dead, who is not given over to anger when insulted, and not puffed up when praised". And further: "If for thyself, slander -- is like praise, poverty -- like riches, deficiency -- like abundance, thou shalt not perish. Since it is not possible, that in piety believers and ascetic seekers should fall into unclean passions and demonic seductions".
The prayer of the Monk Makarios saved many in perilous circumstances of life, and preserved them from harm and temptation. His benevolence was so great, that they said about him: "Just as God covereth the world, so also doth Abba Makarios cover offenses which he, having seen, is as though he had not seen, and having heard, as though he had not heard".
The monk lived until age 97. Shortly before his end there appeared to him the Monks Anthony and Pakhomios, bringing the joyful message about his transition into a blessed Heavenly monastery. Having given admonition to his disciples and having given them blessing, the Monk Makarios asked forgiveness from all and bid farewell with the words: "Into Thy hands, Lord, I commend my spirit".
Holy abba Makarios spent sixty years in the wilderness, being dead to the world. The monk spent most of the time in conversation with God, being often in a state of spiritual rapture. But he never ceased to weep, to repent and to work. The abba rendered his rich ascetic experience into profound theological works. Fifty discourses and seven ascetic tracts form the precious legacy of spiritual wisdom of the Monk Makarios the Great.
His idea, that the highest blessedness and purpose of man -- the unity of the soul with God -- is a primary principle in the works of the Monk Makarios. Recounting the means by which to attain to mystical union, the monk relies upon the experience of both the great teachers of Egyptian monasticism and upon his own experience. The way to God and the experience of the holy ascetics of Communality with God is revealed to each believer's heart. Therefore Holy Church also includes within the general use of vespers and matins the ascetic prayers of the Monk Makarios the Great.
Earthly life, according to the teachings of the Monk Makarios, possesses with all its works only a relative significance: to prepare the soul, to make it capable for the perception of the Heavenly Kingdom, to establish in the soul an affinity with the Heavenly fatherland. "The soul -- for those truly believing in Christ -- it is necessary to transpose and to transform from out of the present degraded condition into another condition, a good condition: and from out of the present perishing nature into another, Divine nature, and to be remade anew -- by means of the power of the Holy Spirit". To attain this is possible, if "we truly believe and we truly love God and have penetrated into all His holy commands". If the soul, betrothed to Christ on holy Baptism, does not itself co-operate in its gifts of the grace of the Holy Spirit, then it is subjected to "an excommunication from life", as is shewn by a lack of attaining blessedness and incapacity to union with Christ. In the teaching of the Monk Makarios, the question about the unity of Divine Love and Divine Truth is experientially decided. The inner action of the Christian determines the extent of the perception by him of this unity. Each of us acquires salvation through grace and the Divine gift of the Holy Spirit, but to attain a perfect measure of virtue -- which is necessary for the soul's assimilation of this Divine gift, is possible only "by faith and by love with the strengthening of free will". Thus, "as much by grace, as much also by truth" does the Christian inherit eternal life. Salvation is a Divine-human action: we attain complete spiritual success "not by Divine power and grace alone, but also by the accomplishing of the proper labours"; from the other side -- it is not alone within "the measure of freedom and purity" that we arrive at the proper solicitude, it is not without "the co-operation of the hand of God above". The participation of man determines the actual condition of his soul, thus self-determining him to good or evil. "If a soul still in the world does not possess in itself the sanctity of the Spirit for great faith and for prayer, and does not strive for the oneness of Divine communion, then it is unfit for the heavenly kingdom".
The miracles and visions of Blessed Makarios are recorded in a book by the Presbyter Ruphinos, and his Life was compiled by the Monk Serapion, bishop of Tmuntis (Lower Egypt), one of the reknown workers of the Church in the IV Century.
The Monk Makarii, Faster of Pechersk, in the Nearer Caves (XII), and the Monk Makarii, Deacon of Pechersk, in the Farther Caves (XIII-XIV), were both deacons. Their memory is placed under 19 January because of their name in common with the Monk Makarios of Egypt. About the Monk Makarii from the Farther Caves is known, that he was distinguished by his lack of covetousness, that he possessed great fervour for the temple of God and he continuously exerted himself in the reading of Holy Scripture and in fasting. According to tradition, he was frequently ill in childhood, and his parents gave a vow to God to offer their son to the Pechersk monastery, if he were made healthy. By his mildness and humility he earned the love of the brethren, who taught him to read and to write. For his piety of life he was raised to the dignity of deacon, and during his life he possessed a gift of wonderworking. Apart from this commemoration, the Monk Makarii from the Nearer Caves is also celebrated on 28 September, and the Monk Makarii from the Farther Caves on 28 August. The general commemoration is with all the Pechersk wonderworkers -- on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
Blessed Feodor of Novgorod was the son of pious parents, rich and noted citizens of Novgorod. Having been raised in strict christian piety, and having reached the age of maturity, he took on himself the ascetic deed of Fool-for-Christ's-sake: all his possessions he gave away to the poor, and he himself to the end of his life dwelt in extreme poverty, not even having shelter over his head, nor warm clothes freezing days. Having discovered a mutual enmity of the Novgorod citizens of the Torgov quarter with the inhabitants of the Sophia quarter, blessed Feodor pretended to be feuding with Blessed Nikolai Kochanov (+1392; Comm. 27 July) who was pursuing asceticism on the opposite Sophia side. When blessed Feodor happened to cross over the Volkhov Bridge to the Sophia side, then blessed Nikolai pushed him over to the Torgov side; thus also did Feodor, when Nikolai was chanced upon on the Torgov side. The blessed ones, spiritually in agreement with each other, by their factitious appearance reminded the Novgorod people of their own internecine strife, which often ended in bloody skirmishes.
The blessed one possessed the gift of perspicacity and, having warned: "Take care of bread", he predicted an impending famine. At another time with the words: "This will be bare -- it will be fine for sowing turnips" he predicted a fire devastating the streets of the Torgov quarter. Blessed Feofor foresaw his own end and said to the Novgorod people: "Farewell, I go afar".
The Novgorod citizenry saw in him while still alive a saint pleasing to God and regarded him highly. After his death in the year 1392 the blessed one was buried at his request in the Torgov quarter, at Lubyanitsa in the church of the holy GreatMartyr George, at the porch where the saint usually loved to pass the time in unceasing prayer. Over his relics was built a chapel.
The Monk Sava of Storozhevsk and Zvenigorod. The account about him is located under 3 December.
The Monk Macarius the Roman, of Novgorod. The account about him is located under 15 August.
The Holy Martyress Euphrasia the Virgin was born at Nikomedia into an illustrious family. She was a christian and noted for her beauty. During the time of the Maximian persecution against christians, the governor of the city tried to compel Euphrasia to offer sacrifice to idols; when she refused, he gave orders for her to be beaten, and then given over to a soldier for desecration. The saint prayed tearfully to the Lord that He would preserve her virginity, and God heard her prayer. Saint Euphrasia suggested to the soldier that he help her find an herb, which would protect him from enemy weapons and death. But this herb, she explained, held its power only when received from a virgin and not from a woman. The soldier believed Saint Euphrasia and went with her into the garden. The holy virgin gathered the herb, which lay underfoot, and suggested to the soldier that he try its power on her. She placed the herb to her neck and ordered the soldier to strike forcefully with his sword. Thus her prayer was answered, and the wise virgin offered her soul to God, having preserved her pure virginity (+ 303).
The Monk Makarios of Alexandria was a contemporary and friend of the Monk Makarios of Egypt (Comm. 19 January). He was born in the year 295, and until the age of 40 he was occupied in trade; afterwards, he accepted holy Baptism and withdrew into the wilderness. After several years of ascetic life he was elevated to the dignity of presbyter and made head of a monastery -- called "the Cells" -- in the Egyptian wilderness between the city of Nitra and the Skete, at which monk-hermits pursued asceticism in silence, each separately in his own cell.
Saint Makarios of Alexandria, like Makarios of Egypt, was a great ascetic and monastic head, and he accomplished many miracles. Learning about some particular ascetic feat of this or that monk, he attempted to imitate him in that ascetic deed. Thus, having heard that a certain monk used only one pound of bread in a day, he started to eat only so much and even less. Wishing to shorten his sleep, he stayed for 20 whole days under the open sky, enduring heat by day and cold by night. One time Saint Makarios picked a bunch of grapes. He very much wanted to eat them, but he conquered this desire in himself and gave the grapes to a still weaker monk. That one, wanting to preserve his abstinence, gave the grapes to another, and that one -- to a third and so forth. At the very end the bunch of grapes returned to the Monk Makarios. The ascetic was astonished at the abstention of his disciples and gave thanks to God. One time a proud thought came over the saint -- to go to Rome to heal the sick. Struggling with the temptation, the saint filled up a sack of sand, loaded it on himself and went for a long walk into the wilderness, and until he exhausted his body the proud thought did not leave him.
By his ascetic life, fasting, and renunciation of things earthly, the Monk Makarios acquired the gifts of wonderworking and of seeing the inner thoughts of people, and he was granted many miraculous visions. Thus, it was granted the monk to see how one of the ascetics of the holy monastery -- the Monk Mark -- was communicated the Holy Mysteries from the hands of Angels, and how careless brethren received during the time of partaking in place of the Body of Christ burning coals from those of the nether regions. Saint Makarios was glorified by many miracles of healing the sick and casting out devils. Saint Makarios of Alexandria died in about 394-395 at age 100. He wrote "Discourse about the Origin of the Soul" included in the text of the sequenced Psalter.
Saint Arsenios, ArchBishop of Kerkira, (Island of Korfu), was a native of Palestine and lived in the VIII Century. He led a strict ascetic life, and was an highly educated man and reknown spiritual writer. He was glorified by wisdom and by the constant defending of his flock from the unrighteous wrath of the emperor Constantine Porphyrigenitos (780-797). He composed: the Kanon on Anointing with Oil, a Panegyric on the Apostle Andrew, and a Discourse on the Suffering of the GreatMartyress Barbara.
Saint Mark Eugenikes, ArchBishop of Ephesus, was a reknown defender of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence. Nothing was able to sway him towards Uniatism. Secretly slipping away from Florence, Saint Mark zealously urged the inhabitants of Constantinople to repudiate the dishonourable concordat. He died in the year 1457.
The Monk Anthony, Pillar-Dweller of Martkops, -- one of the thirteen Cappadocian holy fathers, the founders of Gruzian / Georgian monasticism (the account about them is located under 7 May), arrived in Gruzia in the VI Century. According to tradition, he brought to Gruzia the first copy on "tile" from the Edessa original of the Saviour Image Not-made-by-hand. He settled on a solitary mountain, called in his honour Martkops -- which means "solitary", and there founded a monastery and constructed a church in honour of the Saviour Image Not-made-by-hand. For the last 15 years of his life the monk Anthony pursued asceticism upon a pillar, wherefore he received the name Pillar-Dweller of the Iversk Church. (This pillar, destroyed by time, was still preserved in the last century, and the monastery founded by the Monk Anthony existed until the middle of the XVIII Century).
At the end of his earthly life, the Monk Anthony was buried in the church built by him; at his tomb there thronged a crowd of believers, and miracles of healing occurred. His memory is celebrated by the Georgian-Gruzian Church on 19 January, and on the day of 16 August is the temple feast of the Anchiskhat Church in Tbilisi, wherein is preserved the wonderworking icon of Saviour Image Not-made-by-hand, brought by the monk.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. VENERABLE MACARIUS THE GREAT
Macarius was an Egyptian and one of the younger contemporaries of Anthony the Great. His father was a priest. Out of obedience to his parents, Macarius married. However, his wife died shortly thereafter and he withdrew into the wilderness where he spent sixty years in labor and struggle, both internally and externally for the Kingdom of Heaven. When they asked him: "Why is he so thin when he eats and when he does not eat?" He responded: "From the fear of God." So much did he succeed in cleansing his mind of evil thoughts and his heart of evil desires that God bestowed upon him the abundant gift of miracle-working so that he even raised the dead from the graves. His humility amazed both men and demons. A demon once said to him: "There is only one thing in which I am unable to overpower you. It is not in fasting; for I do not eat anything. It is not in vigils; for I never sleep." "But, what is it?" asked Macarius. "Your humility" answered the demon. Macarius often spoke to Paphnutius, his disciple: "Do not judge anyone and you will be saved." Macarius lived to be ninety-seven years old. Nine days before his death, St. Anthony and St. Pachomius appeared to him from the other world and informed him that he would die within nine days, which happened. Also, before his death, Macarius had a vision in which a cherubim revealed to him the blessed heavenly world, commended his effort and his virtue and said to him that he was sent to take his soul into the Kingdom of Heaven. He died in the year 390 A.D.
2. VENERABLE MARCARIUS OF ALEXANDRIA
Macarius was born in Alexandria and, at first, was a fruit vendor. He was baptized at age forty and as soon as he was baptized, he immediately withdrew to lead a life of asceticism. At first, he, together with Macarius the Great, was a disciple of St. Anthony. After that, he became the abbot of the Monastery called the Cells, located between Nitria and Skete. He was somewhat younger than Macarius the Great and also lived longer. He lived to be more than a hundred years old. Tormented by demonic temptations, especially the temptation of vanity, he humbled himself by the most rigorous labors and ceaseless prayer, uplifting his mind constantly toward God. Once, a brother saw him fill a basket with sand, carry it uphill and empty it. Astonished, the brother asked him, "What are you doing?" Macarius answered, "I am tormenting my tormentor," i.e. the devil. He died in the year 393 A.D.
3. SAINT ARSENIUS, BISHOP OF CORFU
Arsenius augmented and structured the Rite of the Sacrament of Holy Unction [Anointing with Oil] to its present form. He died in the year 959 A.D. His relics repose in the cathedral church in Corfu.
4. SAINT MARK, ARCHBISHOP OF EPHESUS
Mark was famous for his courageous defense of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence (1439 A.D.) in spite of the emperor and the pope. He died peacefully in the year 1452 A.D. On his death bed, Mark implored Gregory, his disciple, and later the glorious Patriarch Genadius, to be careful of the snares of the West and to defend Orthodoxy.
5. BLESSED THEODORE, "FOOL FOR CHRIST" FROM NOVGOROD
Prior to his death, Theodore ran up and down the streets shouting to everyone: "Farewell, I am traveling far away!" He died in the year 1392 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT MACARIUS THE GREAT
In Egypt, in the desert
Great loved reigned
Among the simple monks,
As in the kingdom of the saints.
Saint Macarius was
as a cherubim among them.
In every good deed
An example to the monks was he.
Macarius became ill;
For him, a monk went out to seek strawberries,
He went forth, he found, and he brought them
To soothe his elder's pain.
To partake of them, Macarius did not want,
He said, "There is a brother more ill.
Bring it to him; this gift is
more needed to that brother."
The second ailing brother cried and,
To the gift-bearer, said: "Forgive me!
But my neighbor is more needy
Of this charity than I."
The gift-bearer, the gift he took away
And, to that neighbor, gave it,
This one gave it to a third,
And that one to a fourth; all in order,
From cell to cell,
And from brother to brother,
Until the last one with the strawberries
To Macarius, at the door!
"Behold, father, you are ill!"
Macarius began to weep,
Seeing this wonderful brotherly love -
Neither did he want to eat.
He spilled them over the hot sand,
And, to God he gave thanks,
That the dead, arid desert,
Because of love, became Paradise.
The more a brother loves his brother
Than he loves himself:
"O Lord, the gift is this,
The gift of love, the gift from You!"
Examples of the meek in enduring assaults such as we find in the Holy Fathers are simply amazing. Returning once from the path to his cell, Macarius the Great saw a certain thief removing his belongings from his cell and loading them onto a donkey. Macarius did not say anything to him but rather began to assist him to comfortably load all the things on the donkey, saying to himself, "For we brought nothing into the world" (I Timothy 6:7). Another elder, when the thieves stole everything from his cell, looked around, noticed that they did not take a bundle with money which lay hidden somewhere, and immediately took this bundle, called out to the thieves and gave that to them also. Again, a third elder came across thieves as they were robbing his cell and cried out to them: "Hurry, hurry before the brothers come that they may not prevent me to fulfill the commandments of Christ." "From the one who takes what is yours, do not demand it back" (St. Luke 6:30).
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Salt of the earth:
1. As the Salt which gives flavor to this life in general;
2. As the Salt which preserves mankind from decay, who would, otherwise, be totally decayed from one end of its history to the other;
3. As the Salt of my own life.
About victory over the world
"In the world you willhave trouble, but takecourage, I have conqueredthe world" (St. John 16:33).
The Only One and the Unique One, the Conqueror of the World, with these words, teaches His followers not to be afraid of the world.
Indeed, the world appears very strong; however, is not the One Who created the world, stronger than the world?
The world is very frightening for him who does not know that God rules the world and that He has the authority to hold it in existence as long as He wills and to return it into non-existence whenever He wills. But, to him who knows that, the world is not frightening.
Compared to Christ the Lord, this world is as a fabric woven of weakness itself; while in Christ the Lord, there is not a single weakness. To him who does not know that, the world is frightening and he who knows that, has no fear of the world.
The world has loaned us a body and because of that it wants to acquire our soul. How can the world overpower us if we stand as soldiers of the Conqueror of the world?
The Conqueror of the World gives us weapons for the battle. By His example, He teaches us how to fight it, reveals the hidden enemy, shows us the path of attack and retreat, holds us with His hand, protects us under His wing, feeds us by His Life-giving Body and more, He encourages us by shouting: "Take courage!" Brethren, what then can the world do when its defeat is sealed with the victory of Christ?
O Lord, the Conqueror of the World and our victorious commander, be close to us always that we may not become frightened and direct us, that we may always be close to You in heart, mind and soul.