FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Clement the Hieromartyr & Bishop of Ancyra
Agathangelos the Martyr
Righteous Father Dionysius of Olympus
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Κλήμεντος, Ἐπισκόπου Ἀγκύρας, τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ἀγαθαγγέλου καί τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Διονυσίου τοῦ ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians 3:20-21; 4:1-3
Brethren, our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. And I ask you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Πρὸς Φιλιππησίους 3:20-21; 4:1-3
Ἀδελφοί, ἡμῶν γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα ἐν οὐρανοῖς ὑπάρχει, ἐξ οὗ καὶ σωτῆρα ἀπεκδεχόμεθα, κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν· ὃς μετασχηματίσει τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν, εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτὸ σύμμορφον τῷ σώματι τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ, κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ δύνασθαι αὐτὸν καὶ ὑποτάξαι ἑαὐτῷ τὰ πάντα. Ὥστε, ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοὶ καὶ ἐπιπόθητοι, χαρὰ καὶ στέφανός μου, οὕτως στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ, ἀγαπητοί. Εὐοδίαν παρακαλῶ, καὶ Συντύχην παρακαλῶ, τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν ἐν κυρίῳ. Ναὶ, ἐρωτῶ καί σε, σύζυγε γνήσιε, συλλαμβάνου αὐταῖς, αἵτινες ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ συνήθλησάν μοι, μετὰ καὶ Κλήμεντος, καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν συνεργῶν μου, ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα ἐν βίβλῳ ζωῆς.
The Reading is from Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-5
At that time, Jesus was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch it out," and his hand was restored.
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 2.23-28, 3.1-5
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐπορεύετο ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν τοῖς σάββασι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ ἤρξαντο οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας. καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον αὐτῷ· ἴδε τί ποιοῦσιν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστι. καὶ αὐτὸς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε τί ἐποίησε Δαυῒδ ὅτε χρείαν ἔσχε καὶ ἐπείνασεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ; πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιάθαρ ἀρχιερέως καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγεν, οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστι φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῦσι, καὶ ἔδωκε καὶ τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ οὖσι; καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· τὸ σάββατον διὰ τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐγένετο, οὐχ ὁ ἄνθρωπος διὰ τὸ σάββατον· ὥστε κύριός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ τοῦ σαββάτου. Καὶ εἰσῆλθε πάλιν εἰς τὴν συναγωγήν· καὶ ἦν ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπος ἐξηραμμένην ἔχων τὴν χεῖρα. καὶ παρετήρουν αὐτὸν εἰ τοῖς σάββασι θεραπεύσει αὐτόν, ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ. καὶ λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ ἐξηραμμένην ἔχοντι τὴν χεῖρα· ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον. καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἔξεστι τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθοποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι; ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι; οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων. καὶ περιβλεψάμενος αὐτοὺς μετ᾿ ὀργῆς, συλλυπούμενος ἐπὶ τῇ πωρώσει τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ· ἔκτεινον τὴν χεῖρά σου. καὶ ἐξέτεινε, καὶ ἀποκατεστάθη ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ὑγιὴς ὡς ἡ ἄλλη.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΓ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Κλήμεντος, Ἐπισκόπου. Ἀγκύρας, καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ἀγαθαγγέλου.
Ἀγαθαγγέλου καὶ Κλήμεντος αἱμάτων,
Τὸ τοῦ ξίφους δίψαιμον ἐπλήσθη στόμα.
Εἰκάδι δ’ ἐτμήθητε τρίτῃ, Ἀγαθάγγελε, Κλήμη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Εὐσεβίου.
Δεῦρο πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰς τὰ τερπνὰ τοῦ πόλου,
Εὐσεβίῳ λέγουσιν οἱ τερπνοὶ Νόες.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Μαϋσιμᾶ τοῦ Σύρου.
Γλώσσαις λαλῶν πρὶν Μαϋσιμᾶς τῶν Σύρων,
Γλώσσαις, λαλεῖ νῦν, Ἀγγέλων πρὸς Ἀγγέλους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Σαλαμάνου τοῦ ἡσυχαστοῦ.
Οἴχῃ χαμερποῦς καὶ χαμαιζήλου βίου,
Ὑψηλὲ πράξει καὶ λόγῳ Σαλαμάνη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι δύω Μάρτυρες οἱ ἐν τῷ Παρίῳ λάκκῳ ἐμβληθέντες τελειοῦνται.
Ἔνδον βόθρου χωροῦσι Μάρτυρες δύω,
Θείου πόθου βάλλοντος ἔξω τὸν φόβον.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Clement, who was from Ancyra in Galatia, was the son of an unbelieving father, but a believing mother whose name was Sophia. At first he lived as a monk, later he became the bishop of his city. He suffered so many things in confession of the Faith in Christ, that the time of his sufferings and struggles stretched out over a period of twenty-eight years. Finally he and Saint Agathangelos (who was from Rome) were beheaded together during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, in the year 296.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Κλῆμα ὁσιότητος, καὶ στέλεχος ἀθλήσεως, ἄνθος ἱερώτατον, καὶ καρπὸς ὡς θεόσδοτος, τοὶς πιστοὶς πανίερε, ἡδύτατος ἐβλάστησας, Ἀλλ' ὡς Μαρτύρων σύναθλος, καὶ ἱεραρχῶν σύνθρονος, πρέσβευε Χριστῷ τῶ Θεῷ, σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.
Thou didst blossom forth for the faithful, O most sacred Clement, as a branch of holiness, a staff of contest, a most sacred flower, and a sweet God-given fruit. But as a fellow-sufferer of martyrs and a fellow-prelate of hierarchs, intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Τῆς ἀμπέλου γέγονας, τίμιον κλῆμα, τοῦ Χριστοῦ πανεύφημε, Κλήμη πολύαθλος ὀφθείς, σὺν τοὶς συνάθλοις τε ἔκραζες, Χριστέ, Μαρτύρων φαιδρὸν ἀγαλλίαμα.
As an honored branch of Christ, Who is the True Vine, all-famed Clement, thou didst win thy many contests for the Faith, crying with them that had shared thy pains: Christ is the Martyrs' exceedingly radiant joy.
Ο άγιος Ιερομάρτυς Κλήμης, Επίσκοπος Αγκύρας και ο άγιος Μάρτυς Αγαθάγγελος, που μαζί εμαρτύρησαν και μαζί τους τιμά σήμερα η Εκκλησία είναι από κείνους τους ανθρώπους του Θεού, που δοκίμασαν κάθε είδος θλίψη και ταλαιπωρία, για χάρη της πίστεώς των - δίνοντας "την μαρτυρία Ιησού Χριστού". Πραγματικά δεν αξίζει όλος ο κόσμος, όσο τα μαρτύρια των Αγίων, καθώς το λέει ο Απόστολος· "ων ουκ ην άξιος ο κόσμος". Δεν υπάρχει πιο άγιο και πιο τίμιο από την χριστιανική πίστη, που είναι στεργιωμένη επάνω στην μαρτυρία χιλιάδων κι εκατομμυρίων ανθρώπων, μαρτυρία επισφραγισμένη με αίμα και με θάνατο, με τον βίαιο και σκληρό εκείνο θάνατο, που στην γλώσσα της Εκκλησίας ειδικά ονομάζεται μαρτύριο. Όλες αυτές οι θυσίες, οι αλγηδόνες και τα αίματα των Αγίων υποχρεώνουν εμάς να σεβώμαστε και να φυλάγωμε την πίστη μας. "...ο έχετε κρατήσατε άχρις ου αν ήξω", είναι γραμμένο στην Αποκάλυψη.
Ἅγιος Κλήμης ἐπίσκοπος Ἀγκύρας καὶ ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀγαθάγγελος
Ὁ πατέρας τοῦ Κλήμη ἦταν εἰδωλολάτρης. Πέθανε, ὅμως, νωρὶς καὶ ἡ ἀνατροφὴ τοῦ Κλήμη ἔγινε μὲ ὅλη τὴν χριστιανικὴ ἐπιμέλεια, ἀπὸ τὴν εὐσεβέστατη μητέρα του. Ὅταν μεγάλωσε, ἡ παιδεία του, ἡ φιλανθρωπία του καὶ οἱ ἄλλες φημισμένες ἀρετές του τὸν ἀνέδειξαν ἐπίσκοπο τῆς πατρίδας του Ἀγκύρας. Τὸ μεγάλο ἀξίωμα δὲν τὸν ἔκανε νὰ πέσει στὴ μεγάλη παγίδα τῆς ἀλαζονείας, Ἀντίθετα, ἀνέπτυξε περισσότερο τὴν ἐνεργητικότητά του, γιὰ νὰ ἀνταποκριθεῖ στὶς πνευματικὲς καὶ ὑλικὲς ἀνάγκες τοῦ ποιμνίου του. Ἐκεῖνο, ὅμως, ποὺ πρέπει νὰ προσέξουμε ἰδιαίτερα στὸν ἐπίσκοπο Κλήμη, εἶναι ὅτι φρόντιζε πατρικὰ γιὰ τὰ ὀρφανὰ καὶ τοὺς φτωχούς. Παρηγοροῦσε τοὺς πάσχοντες, μὲ ἰδιαίτερη προσοχὴ ἔπαιρνε στὴν Ἐκκλησία παιδιὰ ἐγκαταλελειμμένα καὶ ἔκθετα, φροντίζοντας ὄχι μόνο γιὰ τὴν συντήρησή τους, ἀλλὰ καὶ γιὰ τὴν κατήχηση καὶ βάπτισή τους. Ὅλα αὐτά μας δίνουν τὸ δικαίωμα νὰ ποῦμε ὅτι ἡ πίστη του ἦταν ζωντανή, μὲ ἔργα. Διότι «ἡ πίστις, ἐὰν μὴ ἔργα ἔχει, νεκρά ἐστι καθ᾿ ἑαυτήν».Ἡ πίστη, δηλαδή, ἂν δὲν ἔχει σὰν καρπὸ ἔργα ἀρετῆς, εἶναι ἀπὸ τὴν ῥίζα της νεκρή. Ὁ Θεός, ὅμως, θέλησε νὰ δοκιμάσει τὸν Κλήμη καὶ ἀπὸ τὸ καμίνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου. Ἐπὶ βασιλείας Διοκλητιανοῦ, λοιπόν, βασανίζεται φρικτὰ καὶ τὰ ὑπομένει ὅλα καρτερικότατα, μέχρι ποὺ τὸν ἀποκεφαλίζουν, ἐπισφραγίζοντας, ἔτσι, μὲ τὸ μαρτύριο τὴν μεγάλη καὶ ζωντανή του πίστη. Ὁ δὲ Ἀγαθάγγελος καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη καὶ ἔγινε χριστιανὸς ἀπὸ τὸν ἅγιο Κλήμεντα, τὸν ὁποῖο ἀκολούθησε. Συμμερίστηκε μάλιστα τὶς περιπέτειές του καὶ τὰ βασανιστήριά του, καὶ πέθανε μαζί του μὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Εὐσέβιος
Ἦταν κλεισμένος μέσα σ᾿ ἕνα κελὶ πολὺ μικρὸ καὶ σκοτεινό, ἐπειδὴ δὲν εἶχε κανένα παράθυρο, καὶ ἐκεῖ σκληραγωγοῦσε μὲ διάφορες ἀσκήσεις τὸ σῶμα του. Ὕστερα ἀπὸ συνεχῆ παρακίνηση ἑνὸς πνευματικοῦ του ἀδελφοῦ, τοῦ Ἀμμιανοῦ, πῆγε σὲ μοναστήρι γιὰ νὰ δεχτεῖ τὴν προστασία καὶ τὴν ἡγουμενία τῶν ἀδελφῶν. Ἐκεῖ ζοῦσε μὲ πραότητα, ταπεινοφροσύνη καὶ πολλὴ ἄσκηση. Ἔτρωγε κάθε τρεῖς ἢ τέσσερις ἡμέρες. Εἶχε σιδερένια ζώνη στὴ μέση του καὶ βαρεῖα ἁλυσίδα στὸ λαιμό του. Ὅταν κάποιος τὸν κατηγόρησε γι᾿ αὐτό, ὁ Εὐσέβιος ἀπάντησε: «Τὸ κάνω αὐτὸ γιὰ νὰ ἀποφύγω τὶς παγίδες τοῦ διαβόλου, ποὺ προσπαθεῖ νὰ μὲ στερήσει ἀπὸ μεγάλα πράγματα. Δηλαδὴ τὶς ἀρετές, τὴν σωφροσύνη καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνη. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ λοιπὸν καὶ ἐγώ, ἔστησα πόλεμο ἐναντίον του μ᾿ αὐτὰ τὰ μικρὰ κακοπαθήματα, διότι ἂν μὲ νικήσει δὲν θὰ ὑπερηφανευθεῖ πολύ, ἂν ὅμως νικηθεῖ ἀπὸ μένα, θὰ εἶναι γιὰ γέλια, ἐπειδὴ οὔτε στὰ μικρὰ μπόρεσε νὰ μὲ νικήσει». Ἔτσι λοιπὸν θεάρεστα ἀφοῦ ἔζησε ὁ Ὅσιος Εὐσέβιος, παρέδωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὴν ψυχή του στὸν Κύριο.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μαϋσιμᾶς ὁ Σύρος.
Οἱ γραμματικές του γνώσεις ἦταν μέτριες. Διακρίθηκε ὅμως, γιὰ τὴν πολὺ ἐνάρετη ζωή του. Ἡ ἐξωτερική του ἐμφάνιση ἦταν μᾶλλον ἄσχημη. Καὶ ὅμως, ἐνῷ ὁ ἴδιος ντυνόταν μὲ παλιὰ φορέματα, τὰ φιλάνθρωπα ἔργα του ἦταν πλούσια καὶ ἀμέτρητα. Τὸ κελλί του ἔμενε πάντοτε ἀνοικτὸ γιὰ τοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ τοὺς ξένους, ἐφοδιαζόμενος δὲ μὲ σιτάρι καὶ λάδι, μοίραζε σ᾿ ὅσους ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς εἶχαν ἀνάγκη. Ὅταν κάποτε πληροφορήθηκε ὅτι ὁ ἄρχοντας τῆς κωμοπόλεώς τους καταπίεζε τοὺς γεωργούς, δὲν δίστασε νὰ παρουσιασθεῖ μπροστὰ στὸν ὑπερήφανο καὶ λαμπροφορεμένο ἐκεῖνο ἐγωιστὴ μὲ τὰ φτωχικά του ῥοῦχα, καὶ νὰ τοῦ δώσει μαθήματα δικαιοσύνης καὶ εὐγενείας. Ἔτσι μὲ τέτοιες ἅγιες ἀσχολίες τελείωσε τὴν θεοφιλὴ ζωή του. (Ἡ μνήμη του ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ στὶς 13 Φεβρουαρίου σὰν Μαϊουμᾶς).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Σαλαμανής ὁ Ἡσυχαστής
Φίλος της ἐρημικῆς ζωῆς, ἔστησε τὸ κελλί του πέραν τοῦ ποταμοῦ Εὐφράτη στὸ χωριὸ Καπερσανά. Ὁ ἐκεῖ ἐπίσκοπος, πληροφορήθηκε γιὰ τὴν ἀρετή του καὶ πῆγε ὁ ἴδιος καὶ τὸν συνάντησε, γιὰ νὰ τὸν πείσει νὰ δεχτεῖ τὴν ἱεροσύνη. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Ὅσιος ἀρνήθηκε καὶ ἀρκέστηκε στὴν ἥσυχη προσευχὴ καὶ μελέτη του καὶ στὰ καλά, ποὺ ἔκανε παρηγορῶντας καὶ ὁδηγῶντας διάφορες ψυχές, ποὺ προσέρχονταν σ᾿ αὐτόν.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀχόλιος ἢ Ἀσχολίας ἐπίσκοπος Θεσσαλονίκης
Ὁ Ἅγιος αὐτὸς ἔδρασε τὰ ἔτη 360-383 καὶ ἦταν γνωστὸς γιὰ τὶς ἀρετές του. Ἐβάπτισε τὸν αὐτοκράτορα Θεοδόσιο, ὁ ὁποῖος ἐξαιτίας του ἐξέδωσε τὸ 380 τὸ περίφημο διάταγμα (Edictum) τῆς Θεσσαλονίκης. Ἔλαβε μέρος στὴ Β´ Οἰκουμενικὴ Σύνοδο. Ὁ Μέγας Βασίλειος τὸν ἀποκαλεῖ φωστῆρα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀρχιερατείας του ἡ Θεσσαλονίκη ἦταν κέντρο τῆς χριστιανοσύνης.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Δύο Μάρτυρες οἱ ἐν τῷ Παρίῳ
Μαρτύρησαν ἀφοῦ τοὺς ἔριξαν μέσα σ᾿ ἕνα λάκκο, στὴν πόλη Πάριον. Αὐτὴ ἦταν πόλη παραθαλάσσια με λιμάνι, μεταξὺ Κυζίκου καὶ Λαμψάκου, πού, κατὰ τὸν Μελέτιο, κτίστηκε ἀπὸ τοὺς κατοίκους τοῦ νησιοῦ Πάρος, ὁπότε ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ὀνομάστηκε Πάριον.
Hieromartyr Clement of Ancyra, and Martyr Agathangelus (296)
He was from Ancyra in Galatia, son of a pagan father and a Christian mother named Euphrosyne. His mother prophesied on her deathbed that he would suffer great torments for Christ over many years. After her death he was adopted and reared by a pious woman named Sophia. From the age of twelve, he began to fast and pray like the monks, so that he was soon ordained a deacon, and became Bishop of Ancyra at the age of twenty. His piety and zeal for the faith attracted the attention of the Imperial Governor of the region, who had him arrested. Thus began Clement's twenty-eight years of almost continuous suffering for the Faith. When he stood firm despite many tortures, he was sent to the Emperor Diocletian in Rome. The Emperor showed him a table set with costly vessels on one side, and another decked with instruments of torture on the other, and bade Clement to make his choice. The Saint replied: "These precious vessels remind how much more glorious must be the eternal good things of Paradise; and these instruments of torture remind me of the everlasting punishments of hell that await those who deny the Lord."
The Saint was viciously tortured, then transported to Nicomedia, where a converted pagan named Agathangelus ('good angel') became his companion. For many years they endured unspeakable torments alternating with long imprisonments, but nothing would move them to deny the precious Faith of Christ. After twenty-eight years of suffering, Agathangelus was beheaded; but Clement was briefly paroled and allowed to celebrate the services of Theophany and to give the holy Communion to his fellow-Christians. A few days later, as he was again celebrating the Divine Liturgy, some pagan soldiers burst into the church and beheaded him at the altar.
The PriestMartyr Clement was born in the Galatian city of Ancyra in the year 258, from a pagan father and a Christian mother. In infancy he lost his father, and at twelve years of age also his mother, who predicted for him a martyr's death for belief in Christ. A woman adopting him named Sophia raised him in the fear of God. During the time of a terrible famine in Galatia several pagans cast out their own children, not having the wherewithal to feed them, and Sophia gathered up also these hapless ones, she fed and clothed them, and Saint Clement assisted her in this. He taught the children and prepared them for Holy Baptism. Many of them died as martyrs for the faith in Christ.
For his virtuous life Saint Clement was made a reader, and later a deacon, and at age eighteen he received the dignity of presbyter, and at age twenty he was ordained bishop of Ancyra. Soon afterwards there flared up the persecution against Christians under Diocletian (284-305). Bishop Clement was arrested under denunciation and had also to answer for himself. The governor of Galatia, Dometian, tried to sway the saint to the worship of the pagan gods, but Saint Clement firmly confessed his faith and valiantly endured all the tortures, which the cruel official subjected him to. They suspended him on a tree, and tore at his body such that the bare bones could be seen, they struck him fiercely with clubs and stones, and they turned him about on a wheel and burned at him with a low fire. The Lord preserved His sufferer and healed his lacerated body. Then Dometian dispatched the saint to Rome to the emperor Diocletian himself, with a report that Bishop Clement had been fiercely tortured, but had proven unyielding. Diocletian, seeing the martyr completely healthy, did not believe the report and subjected him to still yet crueler tortures, and then had him locked up in prison.
Many of the pagans, seeing the bravery of the saint and the miraculous healing of his wounds, believed in Christ. People flocked to Saint Clement in prison for guidance, healing and Baptism, such that the prison was literally transformed into a church.Many of these people, when reported about, were executed by the emperor. Diocletian, struck by the amazing endurance of Saint Clement, sent him off to Nicomedia to his co-emperor Maximian.
On the ship along the way, the saint was joined by his disciple Agathangelos, who had avoided being executed with the other confessors, and who now wanted to suffer and die for Christ together with Bishop Clement.
The emperor Maximian in turn sent off Saint Clement and Agathangelos to the governor Agrippina, who subjected them to such inhuman torments, that even among the pagan on-lookers there was felt a sense of pity for the martyrs and they began to pelt the torturers with stones.
Having been set free, the saints healed an inhabitant of the city with a laying on of hands and they baptised and instructed people, thronging to them in multitudes. Arrested again on orders of Maximian, they were sent off home to the city of Ancyra, where the Ancyra prince Cyrenius had them put to torture, and then dispatched them off to the city of Amasia to the official Dometius, known for his especial cruelty.
In Amasia the martyrs were thrown into molten lime, they spent a whole day in it and remained unharmed. They flayed their skin, beat them with iron rods, they set them on red-hot beds and poured sulfur. All this failed to harm the saints, and they were sent off to Tarsis for new tortures. In the wilderness along the way Saint Clement in prayer had a revelation, that he would suffer another 28 years for the Name of Christ. And then having endured a multitude of tortures, the saints were locked up in prison.
After the death of Maximian, Saint Agathangelos was beheaded with the sword. Ancyra Christians set free Saint Clement from prison and they took him to a cave church. There, after celebrating Liturgy, the saint announced to the faithful the soon impending end of the persecution and his own approaching demise. The holy martyr soon actually was killed by soldiers from the city, who stormed the church. They beheaded the saint during the time of his offering the Bloodless Sacrifice (+ c. 312).
The Monk Gennadii of Kostroma and Liubimograd, in the world Grigorii, was born in the city of Mogilev into a rich family. He early displayed love for the church, and his frequent visits to monasteries evoked the dismay of his parents. Grigorii himself was himself however firmly resolved to devote himself to God, and having changed over into tattered clothing, he secretly left his parental home and journeyed to Moscow. Having visited the Moscow holy places, he did not however here find it suitable in spirit and so set out to the Novgorod region. The destiny of the future ascetic was decided by an encounter with the Monk Alexander Svirsky (Comm. 30 August). With his blessing, Grigorii set off to the Vologda forest to the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk (Comm. 19 May), and was monasticised by him with the name Gennadii. Together with Saint Kornilii, Gennadii moved on to the Kostroma forest. Here, on the shores of Lake Sura, in about the year 1529, there emerged the monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, afterwards called "the Gennadiev monastery". Having become hegumen, the Monk Gennadii did not slacken his monastic efforts, and together with the brethren he went out to the monastery tasks: he chopped wood, carried firewood, made candles and baked prosphora. A beloved concern of the monk was the writing of icons, with he adorned his new monastery. He wore heavy chains constantly.
For his holy life the Monk Gennadii received from the Lord the gift of perspicacity and wonderworking. Journeying on monastic affairs to Moscow, at the house of the boyar-noble Roman Yur'evich Zakhar'in, the saint predicted to his daughter Anastasia, that she would become tsaritsa. And actually, tsar Ivan the Terrible chose her for himself as spouse.
The Life of the Monk Gennadii was written by his disciple, the heguman Aleksei, between the years 1584-1587. In it was inserted the spiritual last-testament, dictated by the Monk Gennadii himself. In it he commands to observe the monastery ustav (rule) and to toil constantly, to be at peace with everyone, and to preserve the books collected at the monastery, while striving to understand their meaning. The monk appealed: "Strive towards the light, and shun the darkness".
The Monk Gennadii died on 23 January 1565; on 19 August 1646 occurred his churchly glorification.
The Transfer of the Relics of Sainted Theoktist, Archbishop of Novgorod (1786). The account about him is located under 23 December.
The Monk Mausima the Syrian lived in Syria, near the city of Cyr or Cyrtha. For the salvation of soul he took upon himself voluntary poverty and devoted his life to the service of neighbour. The doors of his hut were always open to anyone who had need of him. In his hut there constantly stood two vessels: one with bread, and the other with oil. Anyone needing it came to him and received the food from his hand. These vessels never became empty. The monk died at the end of the IV Century.
The Monk Salaman the Silent was a native of the city of Kapersan, near the River Euphrates. Having found at the bank of the river a solitary cave, he became an hermit within it and spent there a life of silence and prayerful deeds.
And in learning of his lofty life, the bishop of Kapersan wanted to ordain him presbyter, but the man of silence did not answer him even a single word. The ascetic also in other instances of life did not cease his effort of silence, conversing only with the Lord alone. The Orthodox Church venerates him as the first saint to have taken upon himself the deed of silence, which he continued to his very end (+ c. 400).
Sainted Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nolanum, was descended from an aristocratic and rich family of the city of Bordeaux (France). By virtue of his extensive education and upbringing, the twenty year old youth was selected to become a Roman senator, later he became consul and finally, governor of the region of Campagna in Italy. At twenty-five years of age he together with his spouse was converted to Christ and was baptised. After this he completely changed his manner of life: he disposed of all his property and distributed the money at hand to the needy, for which he had to endure the scorn of his friends and servants.
Not having children of their own, the pious couple adopted poor orphans and raised them in the fear of God. In his searchings for a secluded life, Saint Paulinus went off to the Spanish city of Barcelona.
News about his ascetic life spread about, and in the year 393 they besought him to accept the dignity of presbyter. Soon he left Spain and went on to the city of Nola (in Latin "Nolanum") in Italy, where he was chosen bishop.
When Vandal barbarians invaded Italy and carried off many people to Africa in captivity, holy Bishop Paulinus then made use of church funds to ransom the captives. However, not having sufficient means to ransom the son of a certain poor widow, he himself went voluntarily into slavery in place of him. In the attire of a slave, Saint Paulinus began to serve the Vandal prince.
Soon his secret was revealed, and he not only himself received his freedom, but he obtained it for all the captives, and together with them returned home. His love for mankind and compassion for all the poor and needy comprises a distinctive feature of his character. Saint Paulinus is known both as a builder of churches and as a Christian poet. He died at 78 years of age on 22 June 431. There remains from him several hymns and writings, containing various moral discourses imbued with deep piety. His relics are situated in Rome, in the church of the holy Apostle Bartholomew.
The Sixth OEcumenical Council was convened by the emperor Constantine Pogonatos (668-685) at Constantinople in the year 681 concerning the Monothelite heresy. At it were present 171 holy fathers, who affirmed the confession of faith concerning the two wills in Jesus Christ -- the Divine and the human. Continuing the work, this Council was followed by another Council in the year 691 in the imperial palaces, called the Council of Trullo. At this Council was made an examination of practical matters as to their canonical propriety, and 102 rule-canons were established.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR CLEMENT, BISHOP OF ANCYRA
Clement was born in the year 258 A.D. in the city of Ancyra of a pagan father and a Christian mother. His devout mother Euphrosyne prophesised that her son would die a martyr's death and then she departed this world when Clement was twelve years old. Her friend Sophia took Clement to her home as a son and assisted in rearing him in the Christian spirit. Clement was so famous because of his virtuous living that he was elected bishop of Ancyra at the age of twenty. In his young years, he attained the wisdom of a mature adult, and by great restraint he tamed and conquered his body. Clement fed on bread and vegetables only and did not eat anything butchered or bloody. During the reign of Diocletian, he was tortured so horribly "as no one ever, since the beginning of the world." He spent twenty-eight years in difficulties and in dungeons. Eleven different torturers tormented and tortured him. At one time, when they struck him in the face, spat upon him and broke his teeth, he cried out to Domentian, his torturer: "You do me great honor, O Domentian, for you are not torturing me, because even the mouth of my Lord Jesus Christ was also beaten and struck in the face and behold, I , the unworthy, now became worthy of that!" When Clement was brought to Rome before Emperor Diocletian, the emperor placed various weapons on one side for torture and on the other side gifts, such as decorations [medals], clothing and money; all that the emperor could bestow, and then he told Clement to choose. The martyr of Christ glanced with scorn at all the emperor's gifts and chose the instruments of torture. Clement was indescribably tortured: piece by piece they removed the flesh from his body so that the white bones showed beneath the flesh. Finally, he was beheaded by a soldier in Ancyra while, as bishop, he was celebrating the Divine Liturgy in church in the year 312 A.D. The miracles of St. Clement are without number.
2. THE SIXTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL [CONSTANTINOPLE, 680 A.D.]
The first session was held in Constantinople in the first half of the year 681 A.D., and the second session was held in the second half of the year 691 A.D. This Council condemned the Monothelite heresy, which erroneously taught that in Christ there was only one divine will and not a human will. Along with this, the Council passed several canons concerning the order and discipline of the clergy.
3. SAINT PAULINUS THE MERCIFUL
At first, Paulinus was a Roman senator and afterwards, a bishop in Nola. He followed the example of his friend St. Ambrose and received baptism. Following his baptism, Paulinus withdrew to Spain and into the Pyrenees mountains where he lived a life of asceticism. But as no lighted lamp can be hidden, so also St. Paulinus was discovered and elected as Bishop of Nola. He was a good and merciful shepherd. He died peacefully in the year 431 A.D. His relics repose in the Church of St. Bartholomew in Rome.
HYMN OF PRAISE
TO THE CREATOR
With my soul, I bow before You, O Infinite Creator,
When I speak Your Name, I belittle You,
And, with my every thought, I belittle You with mine -
What is the mind able to think before the open sea of Your spaciousness?
What can the tongue say, when it must remain silent
Before Your awesome mountains and chasms?
Before Your immeasurable height and width,
Before Your straight places, slopes, depths and distance
And closeness, O God; O yes, even closeness!
And still, more miraculous, Your humble lowliness!
You, as a man, lowered Yourself into our lowliness,
Lowered and constrained Yourself into a mortal valley,
That You raise the valley to the heavenly firmament,
And worn-out creation to turn into new.
Of all the characteristics, Your lowliness
Halts my thought, You bind my lips!
What can I think, what can I say
About the hungry, thirsty and crucified God?
What can I say to You, the richest One,
That, because of me, You became the poorest One?
Let the tongue keep silent; let the tears speak;
Save, with Your mercy, what Your thought created.
Compassion has always been a characteristic of a true shepherd of Christ's flock. St. John Chrysostom in his glorious homilies did not emphasize or underscore anything more strongly than compassion. St. John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria, wept every day when the opportunity was not given to him to show compassion to someone. St. Paulinus deserved to be called the Merciful, for in truth, he was compassionate in the full Christian sense of that word. Once, when the Vandals looted Nola, they seized many men into slavery. A certain widow whose only son the Vandal Prince Rig had taken into slavery, came to her bishop and, weeping, sought money from him to pay the ransom for her son. Not possessing anything, Bishop Paulinus dressed in the clothes of a simple man and asked the widow to take him before the prince and to exchange him for her son. The prince released the widow's son and took Paulinus with him to Africa where Paulinus served as the prince's gardener until, by God's Providence, he was freed and returned to Nola with the other slaves.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as Healer:
1. As a Healer of bodily infirmities;
2. As an Exorcist of evil spirits from the insane;
3. As a Healer of the human spirit and mind by the light of divine teaching;
4. As my own Healer of all pains and evils.
About the angelic state of the saints
"But those who are deemedworthy to attain the comingage - they can no longerdie, for they are likeangels" (St. Luke 20:35-36).
Thus speaks He Who knows, He Who saw and He Who cannot be deceived. Brethren, what have we to doubt anymore? This testimony is clearer than a summer's noon, harder than diamonds and more precious that all the riches of this world; and this is the testimony: Those who are "deemed worthy" of that world and resurrection "can no longer die" but are immortal as angels of God.
What are the angels like? Those same angels who appeared at the time of Abraham and assisted men are the same ones [angels] who, today, appear and assist men. They are not dead but alive; they have not grown old, but they are young. They are the same ones [angels] who beheld Adam in Paradise and who will behold the Final Resurrection and the Judgment and the Kingdom of the Saints.
The righteous are similar to angels. The apostles, prophets, saints and martyrs live even today and will live always and "no longer can they die." Hundreds and thousands of years pass but they cannot die nor age anymore, rather "they are like angels."
That the righteous will be crowned with immortality, that the Lord testified to us in the above words and showed this by His own resurrection and proved through His glorified saints.
O, my brethren, let us awaken and labor to become worthy to obtain that blessed world!
O, resurrected and immortal Lord, help us to become worthy of Your immortal kingdom in which You reign with Your angels and Your saints throughout the ages of ages!
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.