FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Xenia, Deaconess of Rome
Vavylas the Holy Martyr
Xenia of St. Petersburg, Fool-for-Christ
Τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρός ἡμῶν Ξένης.
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Βαβύλα.
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 22:35-46
At that time, a lawyer asked him a question, to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying "What do you think of Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet'? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 22.35-46
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐπηρώτησεν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν [νομικὸς] πειράζων αὐτόν,Διδάσκαλε, ποια είναι η πιο μεγάλη εντολή στο νόμο; Αυτός του απάντησε: Ν' αγαπάς τον Κύριο το Θεό σου μ' όλη την καρδιά σου, μ' όλη την ψυχή σου και μ' όλο το νου σου. Αυτή είναι η πρώτη και πιο μεγάλη εντολή.Δεύτερη, εξίσου σπουδαία με αυτήν: ν' αγαπάς τον πλησίον σου όπως τον εαυτό σου. Σ' αυτές τις δύο εντολές συνοψίζονται όλος ο νόμος και οι προφήτες. Εκεί που ήταν συγκεντρωμένοι οι Φαρισαίοι, τους ρώτησε ο Ιησούς: Τι νομίζετε για το Μεσσία; Ποιανού απόγονος είναι; Του Δαβίδ, του απαντούν. Τους λέει: Πώς τότε ο Δαβίδ, οδηγημένος από το Πνεύμα, τον ονομάζει "Κύριο"; Λέει: Ο Κύριος είπε στον Κύριό μου:κάθισε στα *δεξιά μουώσπου να υποτάξω τους εχθρούς σουκάτω απ' τα πόδια σου. Αν, λοιπόν, ο Δαβίδ τον ονομάζει "Κύριο", πώς είναι απόγονός του; Κανένας δεν μπορούσε να του απαντήσει, ούτε τολμούσε πια κανείς από κείνη τη μέρα να του θέσει ερωτήματα.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΔ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μητρὸς ἡμῶν Ξένης καὶ τῶν δύω αὐτῆς θεραπαινίδων.
Ἀποξενοῦται τοῦδε τοῦ βίου Ξένη,
Οὗ ζώσα καὶ πρίν, ὡς ἀληθῶς ἦν ξένη.
Θνῄσκουσιν ἄμφω τῆς Ξένης αἱ δουλίδες,
Οὐ τῶν ἐκείνης ἀρετῶν οὖσαι ξέναι.
Εἰκάδι οὐρανοῦ εἰς ξενίην Ξένη ἦλθε Τετάρτη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Παύλου Παυσιρίου καὶ Θεοδοτίωνος, τῶν αὐταδέλφων.
Παυσίριον καὶ Παῦλον ἄμφω συγγόνους,
Ποτάμιος ῥοῦς καὶ συνάθλους δεικνύει.
Ἰδοὺ τράχηλος ἐλθέτω δὴ τὸ ξίφος,
Θεὸν ποθῶν ἔκραζε Θεοδοτίων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Βαβύλα, τοῦ ἐν Σικελίᾳ, καὶ Τιμοθέου καὶ Ἀγαπίου τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Μακεδονίου.
Μονῶν ἀπείρων πατρικῆς σῆς οἰκίας,
Μακεδόνιος Χριστὲ λαμβάνει μίαν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ ἀνακομιδὴ τῶν λειψάνων τοῦ ἁγίου Ὁσιομάρτυρος Ἀναστασίου τοῦ Πέρσου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ἑρμογένους καὶ Μηνᾶ, καὶ τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Φίλωνος, Ἐπισκόπου γενομένου τοῦ Καλπασίου· καὶ Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Φιλίππου Πρεσβυτέρου, καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Βαρσίμου, καὶ τῶν δύω αὐτοῦ ἀδελφῶν.
Τοὺς τρεῖς Ἀδελφοὺς θεῖος εἷς συσχὼν πόθος,
Θεῖον ποθεῖν ἔπειθεν ἐκ ξίφους τέλος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Ἑλλάδιος ὁ Κομενταρήσιος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ὑπὸ ξίφος θεὶς Ἑλλάδιος αὐχένα,
Ἑλληνικῆς ἔπαρσιν ᾔσχυνε πλάνης.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Ζωσιμᾶς ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Τὶς τοὺς μακρούς σου Ζωσιμᾶ φράσει πόνους;
Καὶ τὶς θανόντος τῶν πόνων σου τὰ στέφη;
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Προφήτου, Προδρόμου καὶ Βαπτιστοῦ Ἰωάννου, πλησίον τοῦ τάφου.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Our righteous Mother Xenia of Rome was of a distinguished family. While her parents were preparing to wed her, she stole away secretly, taking two handmaids with her, and departed for Mylasa of Karia in Asia Minor, and there she completed her life in asceticism. She was ordained deaconess by Paul, her spiritual father, who became Bishop of Mylasa. Although she was originally named Eusebia, to conceal her identity, she took the name Xenia - which means "stranger" in Greek - because of her estrangement from her country.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Εν σοί Μήτερ ακριβώς διεσώθη τό κατ' εικόνα, λαβών γάρ τόν σταυρόν, ηκολούθησας τώ Χριστώ, καί πράττων εδίδασκες, υπεροράν μέν σαρκός, παρέρχεται γάρ επιμελείσθαι δέ ψυχής, πράγματος αθανάτου, διό καί μετά Αγγέλων συναγάλλεται, οσία Ξένη τό πνεύμά σου.
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Xenia, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Τὸ σὸν ξενότροπον Ξένη μνημόσυνον, ἐπιτελοῦντες οἱ πόθω τιμώντές σε, ὑμνοῦμεν Χριστὸν τὸν ἐν ἅπασι, σοὶ παρέχοντα ἰσχὺν τῶν ἰάσεων, ὃν πάντοτε δυσώπει, ὑπὲρ πάντων ἡμῶν.
Celebrating the memorial of thy life which thou didst live as a stranger, O Xenia, and honoring thee with love, we praise Christ Who gave thee the power to grant healings to all. Ever pray to Him for us all.
Our righteous Mother Xenia of Petersburg was born about the year 1730. She was married to a Colonel named Andrew; when she was twenty-six years old, her husband died suddenly, having been drinking with his friends. Left a childless widow, Xenia gave away all that she had, and vanished from Saint Petersburg for eight years; it is believed that she spent this time in a hermitage, learning the spiritual life. When she returned to Saint Petersburg, she wore her husband's military clothing, and would answer only to the name Andrew, that is, the name of her late husband. She took up the life of a homeless wanderer, and was abused by many as insane; she bore this with great patience, crucifying the carnal mind through the mockery she endured, and praying for her husband's soul. She was given great gifts of prayer and prophecy, and often foretold things to come; in 1796 she foretold the death of Empress Catherine II. Having lived forty-five years after her husband's death, she reposed in peace at the age of seventy-one, about the year 1800. Her grave became such a source of miracles, and so many came to take soil from it as a blessing, that it was often necessary to replace the soil; when a stone slab was placed over her grave, this too disappeared over time, piece by piece. Saint Xenia is especially invoked for help in finding employment, lodging, or a spouse.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In thee, O wandering stranger, Christ the Lord hath given us an ardent intercessor for our kind. For having received in thy life sufferings and grief and served God and men with love, thou didst acquire great boldness. Wherefore, we fervently hasten to thee in temptations and grief, crying out from the depths of our hearts: Put not our hope to shame, O Blessed Xenia.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Having been as a wandering stranger on earth, sighing for the Heavenly homeland, thou wast known as a fool by the senseless and unbelieving, but as most wise and holy by the faithful, and wast crowned by God with glory and honor, O Xenia, manly-minded and divinely wise. Wherefore, we cry to thee: Rejoice, for after earthly wandering thou hast come to dwell in the Father's house.
Η οσία Ξένη, της οποίας η Εκκλησία σήμερα τιμά την μνήμη, επάνω στην ώρα του γάμου της, παράτησε και το νυμφίο και τη χαρά του κόσμου, αντί για το Νυμφίο Χριστό και την πνευματική χαρά του αγάμου και αγνού βίου. Η πράξη αυτή όσο περισσότερο είναι ακατανόητη, τόσο και πιο πολλά διδάσκει. Πολλοί από το πλήθος εκείνο που έρχονται σε γάμο δεν έχουν ξεκαθαρισμένες αντιλήψεις και πίστη για το τι θα πη έγγαμος βίος. Και πολλοί από τους λίγους εκείνους που γίνονται μοναχοί δεν ξέρουν τι είναι και πως δικαιώνεται στη ζωή η αγαμία. Ταιριάζει εδώ να θυμηθούμε τα λόγια του Μεγάλου Βασιλείου. Προς τους εγγάμους· "Μη τοίνυν αναπέσης, ω ούτος, ο προς κοινωνίαν γυναικός προηρημένος, ως επ' εξουσίας έχων τον κόσμον περιβαλέσθαι". Και προς τους μοναχούς· "...προληφθέντα δε δια της οικείας ομολογίας, φυλάσσειν προσήκει εαυτόν τω Θεώ, καθάπερ τι των ιερών αναθημάτων".
Ἡ Ὁσία Ξένη
Ὀνομαζόταν Εὐσεβία, καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη καὶ ἦταν «φεμινίστρια» τῆς ἐποχῆς της, μὲ τὴν ὑγιή, βέβαια, ἔννοια τῆς λέξης. Πίστευε πὼς ἡ γυναῖκα εἶχε δικαίωμα καὶ καθῆκον νὰ μὴ δέχεται σύζυγο ποὺ θὰ τῆς ἦταν καθημερινὸ ἐμπόδιο στὴν κατὰ Χριστὸν ζωή. Καὶ ὅπως εἶπε ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος: «Μὴ γίνεσθε ἐτεροζυγοῦντες ἀπίστοις». Δηλαδή, μὴ μπαίνετε στὸν ἴδιο ζυγὸ (γάμο) μὲ ἀνθρώπους ποὺ δὲν ἔχουν πίστη στὸ Θεό. Διότι «τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο μέγα ἐστίν, ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω εἰς Χριστὸν καὶ εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν», ποὺ σημαίνει, τὸ μυστήριο αὐτὸ τοῦ γάμου εἶναι μεγάλης σημασίας. Καὶ τὸ λέω αὐτό, ἀναφερόμενος στὴν πνευματικὴ ἕνωση τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Οἱ γονεῖς, ὅμως, τῆς ὁσίας, εἶχαν διαφορετικὴ γνώμη καὶ ἤθελαν νὰ τὴν παντρέψουν στανικῶς, μὲ ὅποιον αὐτοὶ ἤθελαν. Τότε ἐκείνη κρυφὰ φεύγει γιὰ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Μετονομάζεται Ξένη καὶ γιὰ νὰ χαθοῦν τὰ ἴχνη της, πηγαίνει στὸ νησὶ Κῶς. Καὶ ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ, στὰ Μύλασσα τῆς Καριᾶς. Ἐκεῖ, ἐγκαταστάθηκε μὲ τὶς δυὸ ὑπηρέτριες ποὺ τὴν εἶχαν συνοδεύσει σὲ ἡσυχαστικὰ κελιά. Κοντὰ ἐκεῖ, ἔκτισε μικρὸ ναὸ στὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Ἁγίου πρωτομάρτυρα Στεφάνου. Ἀφοῦ ἦλθαν κοντά της καὶ μερικὲς ἄλλες μοναχές, ἔκαναν μία ἐξαίρετη χριστιανικὴ ἀδελφότητα. Ἡ παιδεία της, ἡ εὐγένειά της καὶ ἡ θερμή της πίστη γρήγορα ἔφθασαν παντοῦ. Καθημερινὰ ἔτρεχαν κοντά της γυναῖκες, γιὰ νὰ πάρουν συμβουλὲς καὶ νὰ ζητήσουν τὶς προσευχές της. Ἔτσι, μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο ἡ Ὁσία τὶς εἵλκυε στὸ Χριστὸ καὶ τὶς ὁδηγοῦσε στὸ δρόμο τῆς σωτηρίας.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Παῦλος, Παύστριος καὶ Θεοδοτίων οἱ αὐτάδελφοι
Ἔζησαν ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ κατάγονταν ἀπὸ τὴν Κλεοπατρίδα τῆς Αἰγύπτου, τὸ τωρινὸ Σουέζ. Οἱ δυὸ πρῶτοι ἀκολούθησαν τὴν ἁγία ἐρημικὴ ζωή. Ὅταν ὅμως ἄναψε ὁ διωγμὸς ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ, συνελήφθησαν ἀπὸ τὸν ἔπαρχο Ἀρειανὸ καὶ καταδικάστηκαν σὲ θάνατο. Ὁ τρίτος ἀδελφός, ὁ Θεοδοτίων, εἶχε πάρει ἄλλο δρόμο. Παρασύρθηκε ἀπὸ κακοὺς φίλους καὶ ἔγινε λῃστής. Ὅταν ὅμως ἔμαθε τὴν τύχη τῶν δυὸ μεγαλύτερων ἀδελφῶν του, πῆγε νὰ δεῖ τὸ τέλος τους. Τότε ἡ καρδιὰ του μαλάκωσε, συγκινήθηκε, μετάνιωσε καὶ ὁμολόγησε τὸν ἑαυτό του χριστιανό, ἐπιπλήττοντας θαῤῥαλέα τὸν τύραννο. Ἐκεῖνος ἐξαγριωμένος διέταξε νὰ τὸν βασανίσουν ἀνελέητα. Κατόπιν τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν. Τοὺς δυὸ μεγαλύτερους ἀδελφούς του, τοὺς ἔριξαν στὰ νερὰ καὶ τοὺς ἔπνιξαν. Ἔτσι καὶ τὰ τρία ἀδέλφια μαζί, πῆραν τὸ ἀμάραντο στεφάνι τῆς αἰώνιας δόξας.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Βαβύλας ὁ ἐν Σικελίᾳ καὶ Ἀγάπιος καὶ Τιμόθεος οἱ μαθητές του
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἱερομάρτυς Βαβύλας καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Θεούπολη (τὴν Ἀντιόχεια πιθανῶς), καὶ πῆρε ἀπὸ τοὺς γονεῖς του τὴν ἀνάλογη χριστιανικὴ ἀνατροφή. Μετὰ τὸ θάνατό τους, διαμοίρασε τὰ πλούτη του στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ τὰ ὀρφανά, καὶ ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ ἡσυχαστήριο μὲ δυὸ μαθητές του, τὸν Ἀγάπιο καὶ τὸν Τιμόθεο. Ἐκεῖ, συμπλήρωσε τὶς μελέτες του, καὶ κατάρτησε καλά τους μαθητές του στὴν ἀρετὴ καὶ τὴν πίστη. Μετὰ ἀπὸ ἔντονη παράκληση καὶ πίεση, χειροτονήθηκε Ἱερέας, μὲ πλήρη συναίσθηση τῶν μεγάλων καὶ Ἱερῶν ὑποχρεώσεών του. Μετὰ ἀπὸ καιρὸ ταξίδεψε στὴ Ῥώμη καὶ κατόπιν στὴ Σικελία, ἐργαζόμενος πάντα ὑπὲρ τῆς χριστιανικῆς θρησκείας. Ἀλλὰ ὁ ἐκεῖ διοικητής, ἀφοῦ μάταια προσπάθησε νὰ ἀποσπάσει αὐτὸν καὶ τοὺς μαθητές του ἀπὸ τὴν χριστιανικὴ ὁμολογία, τοὺς ὑπέβαλε σὲ σειρὰ σκληρῶν βασανιστηρίων. Ὅταν δὲ καὶ αὐτὰ ἀποδείχτηκαν ἀδύνατα νὰ κάμψουν τὴν σταθερότητα τῶν Ἁγίων, τοὺς κατέσφαξε μὲ μαχαίρια καὶ τὰ σώματά τους ἔριξε στὴ φωτιά. Τὰ λείψανά τους, ὅμως, διαφυλάχτηκαν ἀβλαβῆ, καὶ χριστιανοὶ εὐσεβεῖς τὰ παρέλαβαν καὶ τὰ ἔθαψαν μὲ ὅλη τὴν χριστιανικὴ τιμή.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μακεδόνιος
Πέρασε τὴν ζωή του στὰ ἐρημικὰ ἀναχωρητήρια της Φοινίκης, τῆς Συρίας καὶ τῆς Κιλικίας. Περίφημος γιὰ τὴν ἐγκράτεια καὶ τὴν ἀρετή του, ἔβλεπε πολλὲς φορὲς νὰ ἔρχονται σ᾿ αὐτὸν ἄνδρες μεγάλων ἀξιωμάτων, ποὺ ὠφελοῦνταν πολὺ ἀπὸ τὴν συνομιλία του. Ἀλλὰ καὶ στὶς πόλεις κατέβαινε, ὅταν ἦταν ἀνάγκη νὰ πάρουν ἐνίσχυση οἱ χριστιανοὶ στὶς γενικὲς δοκιμασίες τους. Εἶναι γνωστὸ τὸ γεγονός, ὅτι οἱ κάτοικοι τῆς Ἀντιόχειας συνέτριψαν τοὺς βασιλικοὺς ἀνδριάντες ἐπὶ Μεγάλου Θεοδοσίου καὶ ἡ πόλη περίμενε μὲ τρομερὴ ἀγωνία τὴν ἀπόφαση τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα, στὸν ὁποῖο πῆγε σὰν ἱκέτης ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Φλαβιανός. Ὁ Χρυσόστομος, ἱερέας τότε, ἔβγαζε τοὺς περίφημους παρηγορητικοὺς λόγους του, πλήθη δὲ ἐρημιτῶν κατέβηκαν γιὰ νὰ δώσουν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἠθικὴ ἐνίσχυση καὶ παρηγοριά. Μεταξὺ δὲ αὐτῶν ἦταν καὶ ὁ Μακεδόνιος, ποὺ πολὺ συνετέλεσε στὴν ἐνθάῤῥυνση τῶν φοβισμένων κατοίκων. Τὸν κόσμο αὐτὸ ἄφησε ὁ Μακεδόνιος 70 χρονῶν. Ὁ δὲ θάνατός του θρηνήθηκε ἀπὸ πολλούς.
Ἀνακομιδὴ Λειψάνων Ἁγίου Ἀναστασίου τοῦ Πέρσου
Ἡ ἀνακομιδὴ τῶν λειψάνων τοῦ Ἁγίου ὁσιομάρτυρα Ἀναστασίου τοῦ Πέρσου, ἔγινε δέκα χρόνια μετὰ τὸ μαρτυρικό του τέλος. Κατὰ τοὺς Συναξαριστές, κάποιος ἐπίσκοπος Ῥωμαῖος πῆγε στὴν Περσία καὶ μετακόμισε αὐτὰ στὴν Καισάρεια τῆς Παλαιστίνης, τὴν δὲ κάρα του μετέφερε στὴ Ῥώμη.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἑρμογένης καὶ Μᾶμας
Ποῦ καὶ πὼς μαρτύρησαν δὲν γνωρίζουμε. Ἴσως νὰ εἶναι αὐτοὶ ποὺ γιορτάζουν τὴν 10η Δεκεμβρίου, Μηνᾷς ὁ Καλλικέλαδος καὶ Ἑρμογένης.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Φίλων ἐπίσκοπος Καλπασίου (Καρπασίας)
Τὸν Φίλωνα, ἁπλὸ ἀκόμα διάκονο, ἐκτίμησε πολὺ ὁ ἅγιος Ἐπιφάνιος καὶ τὸν ἀνέδειξε ἐπίσκοπο Καλπασίου στὴν Κύπρο τὸ 401. Κατὰ δὲ τὸν Σουίδα, ὁ ἐπίσκοπος αὐτὸς ἔγραψε ὑπομνήματα στὴν Πεντάτευχο καὶ στὸ Ἆσμα Ἀσμάτων.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Φιλιππικός ὁ πρεσβύτερος
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βάρσιμος καὶ τὰ Δύο του ἀδέρφια
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ζωσιμᾶς
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ζωσιμᾶς, ἄλλος ἀπὸ τὸν ἀββᾶ Ζωσιμᾶ ποὺ βρῆκε τὴν Ὁσία Μαρία τὴν Αἰγυπτία καὶ γιορτάζει στὶς 4 Ἀπριλίου, διακρίθηκε γιὰ τὴν λαμπρὴ μέθοδο ποὺ εἶχε ἐφαρμόσει στὸν ἑαυτό του ἐναντίον τοῦ θυμοῦ καὶ δίδαξε κατόπιν καὶ στοὺς ἄλλους. Ἡ μέθοδος αὐτὴ ἦταν νὰ μένει σὲ ἀπόλυτη σιωπή, ὅταν θύμωνε. Ἔτσι ὁ θυμὸς ἔσβηνε ἀπὸ ἀτροφία, χωρὶς νὰ βγάλει φλόγες, καὶ ἡ ὀργὴ κόπαζε εὔκολα, ὅπως ἡσυχάζει ἀμέσως ἡ θάλασσα, ἀπὸ τὴν ὁποία πέρασε ἄνεμος στιγμιαῖος.
Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου Προδρόμου πλησίον τοῦ Ταύρου
Ἴσως τῶν ἐγκαινίων τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ Προδρόμου κοντὰ στὸν Ταῦρο.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φιλήμων ἐπίσκοπος Καρπάθου
Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναφέρεται στὸν Πατμιακὸ Κώδικα 266, χωρὶς βιογραφικὸ ὑπόμνημα.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Νεόφυτος ὁ Ἔγκλειστος
Αὐτὸς ἦταν Κύπριος καὶ γεννήθηκε στὴ Λευκάρα τῆς ἐπαρχίας Ἀμαθοῦντος τὸ 1134. Μὲ τὴν μεγάλη του ἀσκητικὴ ζωή, ἀναδείχτηκε ἕνας ἀπὸ τοὺς πιὸ μεγάλους ἀσκητὲς τῆς Κύπρου. Ἔκτισε μάλιστα τὴν διάσημη Ἐγκλείστρα, ποὺ σῴζεται μέχρι σήμερα, στὴν ὁποία μέσα πέρασε ὅλη σχεδὸν τὴν ζωή του μὲ προσευχὴ καὶ μελέτη. Ἐπίσης, ἀναδείχτηκε γλαφυρὸς συγγραφέας καὶ ἀσκητὴς ὅσιος. Πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ καὶ τάφηκε στὴ σπηλιὰ τῆς Ἐγκλείστρας. (Ἡ μνήμη του ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 12η Ἀπριλίου).
Ἐγκαίνια τῆς Μεγάλης Ἐκκλησίας στή Θεσσαλονίκη
Δημητριεύσκη, Τυπικὸν Α, 158. Δὲν βρίσκουμε ἄλλο στοιχεῖο γιὰ τὴν περίπτωση αὐτή.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἑλλάδιος ὁ Κομενταρήσιος
Ἡ μνήμη του βρίσκεται στὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα 1578 καὶ στὶς παλιὲς ἐκδόσεις τῶν Μηναίων. Ἴσως νὰ εἶναι ὁ ἴδιος με αὐτὸν τῆς 18ης Ἰανουαρίου.
Ἡ Ἁγία Χρυσοπλόκη
Τὴν μάρτυρα αὐτὴ ἀγνοεῖ ὁ Ἅγιος Νικόδημος στὸν Συναξαριστή του. Ἡ μνήμη της ἀναφέρεται στὸν Πατμιακὸ Κώδικα 266 μαζὶ μὲ αὐτὴ τῆς Θεοδούλης (βλ. 18 Ἰανουαρίου). Ἀλλὰ στὶς 24 Ἰανουαρίου, τὴν ἡμέρα αὐτὴ δηλαδή, ἀναφέρεται στὸν Κώδικα αὐτὸν καὶ ἡ μνήμη Ἑρμογένους καὶ Φιλήμονος ἐπισκόπου Καρπάθου, γιὰ τοὺς ὁποίους καμιὰ ἀναφορὰ δὲν γίνεται ἀπὸ τὸν Ἅγιο Νικόδημο στὸν Συναξαριστή του.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Φιλόθεος, ἱδρυτὴς Μονῆς Φιλόθεου Ἁγίου Ὄρους καὶ οἱ Ὅσιοι Θεοδόσιος, Διονύσιος, Συμεών, Δομέτιος, Δαμιανὸς καὶ Κοσμᾶς (ὁ Αἰτωλός)
Ὑπῆρξε ὁ πρῶτος Ἱδρυτὴς τῆς Μονῆς Φιλόθεου στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος καὶ ἔζησε στὰ τέλη τοῦ 10ου αἰῶνα. Τὴ μνήμη του γιορτάζουν οἱ μοναχοὶ τῆς ἐν λόγῳ Μονῆς, μαζὶ μὲ τοὺς ἄλλους ὁσίους ποὺ ἔλαμψαν πνευματικὰ σ᾿ αὐτή, ὅπως μαρτυρεῖ ἡ χειρόγραφη Ἀκολουθία, ποὺ σῴζεται στὴ Μονή. Καὶ ἔχει ὡς ἑξῆς: «Ἀκολουθία τῶν ὁσίων καὶ θεοφόρων Πατέρων Φιλόθεου πρωτίστου δομήτορος τῆς ἱερᾶς ταύτης ἐπωνύμου αὐτοῦ Μονῆς. Θεοδοσίου ἡγουμένου ταύτης καὶ μητροπολίτου Τραπεζοῦντος. Διονυσίου καὶ Συμεῶνος ἤγησαντων αὐτῆς. Δομετίου τοῦ ἡσυχαστοῦ καὶ σημειοφόρου. Διαμιανοῦ μαθητοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ ὁσιομάρτυρος. Καὶ Κοσμᾶ τοῦ Ἰσαποστόλου καὶ ἱερομάρτυρος, ἐφόρων, προστατῶν καὶ συνασκητῶν τῆς Ἱερᾶς ταύτης Μονῆς». Ἡ μνήμη δὲ ὅλων αὐτῶν εἶναι ἄγνωστη στοὺς Συναξαριστές.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Διονύσιος ὁ ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ
Ὁ Ὅσιος Διονύσιος γεννήθηκε στὸ χωριὸ Πλατίνα τῆς Θεσσαλικῆς ἐπαρχίας Φαναρίου, καὶ ἀνατράφηκε ἀπὸ παιδὶ μὲ εὐσέβεια ἀπὸ τοὺς γονεῖς του, Νικόλαο καὶ Θεοδώρα. Τὴ νεανική του ἡλικία πέρασε μὲ σωφροσύνη καὶ καθαρότητα, ἀγωνιζόμενος νὰ ἐπαναφέρει στὸ δρόμο τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅσους νέους ἔβλεπε νὰ παρασύρονται ἀπὸ τὰ ῥεύματα τῶν παθῶν. Μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τῶν γονέων του πῆγε στὰ μοναστήρια τῶν Μετεώρων καὶ ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, ὅπου χειροτονήθηκε διάκονος καὶ κατόπιν πρεσβύτερος. Ἔπειτα ἐπισκέφθηκε τὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ ὁ ἐκεῖ Πατριάρχης, ἐκτιμῶντας τὴν μεγάλη του ἀρετή, θέλησε νὰ τὸν κάνει διάδοχό του. Ὁ Ὅσιος ὅμως ἐπέστρεψε στὸ ἡσυχαστήριό του, στὸν Ἄθω. Ὕστερα ἀπὸ καιρὸ οἱ κάτοικοι τῆς Βεροίας θέλησαν νὰ τὸν κάνουν Μητροπολίτη τους. Ἐκεῖνος, ἀποφασισμένος νὰ μὴ δεχτεῖ ποτὲ ἀρχιερατικὸ ἀξίωμα, ἔφυγε καὶ ἔμενε στὸν Ὄλυμπο, ὅπου ἔκτισε ναὸ στὸ ὄνομα τοῦ προφήτη Ἠλία. Ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ χάριζε πλούσια τὴν ἀγάπη καὶ τὴν ἐλεημοσύνη του στοὺς κατοίκους τῶν γύρω περιοχῶν, καὶ ἔτσι ἅγια τελείωσε τὴν ζωή του.
Our Holy Mother Xenia of Petersburg, fool for Christ (~1800)
She was born about 1730, and as a young woman married an army colonel named Andrei, a handsome and dashing man fond of worldly living. When she was twenty-six years old, her husband died suddenly after drinking with his friends, leaving Xenia a childless widow. Soon afterward, she gave away all her possessions and disappeared from St Petersburg for eight years; it is believed that she spent the time in a hermitage, or even a monastery, learning the ways of the spiritual life. When she returned to St Petersburg, she appeared to have lost her reason: she dressed in her husband's army overcoat, and would only answer to his name. She lived without a home, wandering the streets of the city, mocked and abused by many. She accepted alms from charitable people, but immediately gave them away to the poor: her only food came from meals that she sometimes accepted from those she knew. At night she withdrew to a field outside the city where she knelt in prayer until morning.
Slowly, the people of the city noticed signs of a holiness that underlay her seemingly deranged life: she showed a gift of prophecy, and her very presence almost always proved to be a blessing. The Synaxarion says "The blessing of God seemed to accompany her wherever she went: when she entered a shop the day's takings would be noticeably greater; when a cabman gave her a lift he would get plenty of custom; when she embraced a sick child it would soon get better. So compassion, before long, gave way to veneration, and people generally came to regard her as the true guardian angel of the city."
Forty-five years after her husband's death, St Xenia reposed in peace at the age of seventy-one, sometime around 1800. Her tomb immediately became a place of pilgrimage: so many people took soil from the gravesite as a blessing that new soil had to be supplied regularly; finally a stone slab was placed over the grave, but this too was gradually chipped away by the faithful. Miracles, healings and appearances of St Xenia occur to this day, to those who visit her tomb or who simply ask her intercessions. Her prayers are invoked especially for help in finding employment, a home, or a spouse (all of which she renounced in her own life). A pious custom is to offer a Panachida / Trisagion Service for the repose of her husband Andrei, for whom she prayed fervently throughout her life.
Saint Xenia was first officially glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia in 1978; then by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1988.
Our Venerable Mother Xenia of Rome, with her two maidservants (5th c.)
She was the daughter of a noble Christian family in Rome, and was named Eusebia in Baptism. Though she desired to offer up her virginity to Christ, her parents arranged a marriage for her against her wishes. On her wedding night, she secretly fled the city, accompanied by two slaves, and took ship for Alexandria. When she reached the island of Kos, she changed her name to Xenia ('Stranger'), and prayed to God that, as he had sent the Apostle Paul to St Thecla (see September 24), he would send her a true guide on the path to salvation. Soon a holy Elder named Paul found her and made her his spiritual child. He took her and her two companions to Mylassa in Caria (where he later became Bishop), and established them in a monastery there. For many years they lived the 'angelic life' very fully, and Xenia reposed in peace at an advanced age. At her funeral, a luminous cross appeared in the sky over the procession, following the burial party and disappearing only when the Saint's body was buried.
Our Holy Father Macedonian (ca. 430)
He lived in asceticism in the wild hills outside Antioch. For forty-five years he had no tent or house of any kind, but wandered from place to place, living in caves or in clefts. In his old age, his disciples finally prevailed on him to build a small hut. Altogether he spent seventy years living in solitary ascesis.
Once a hunter met the recluse and asked him what he did in the mountains. The Saint answered 'Like you, I have come to the mountain to hunt. I am hunting for God, whom I long to see. I ardently desire to catch Him and will never tire of so excellent a chase!'
Once the people of Antioch rioted and tore down a pair of statues of the Emperor Theodosius and his wife. Two generals came from Constantinople, planning to inflict a bloody punishment on the people. Saint Macedonian, learning of this, came to the city and sought out the generals, asking them to take a message to the Emperor: that he, being human and subject to weakness like all men, should not be immoderately angry with other men; and that he should not, in return for the destruction of lifeless images, destroy those who are the very image of God.
During his lifetime Saint Macedonian was granted the gifts of spiritual insight and wonderworking, by which he worked many miracles of healing for the people of Antioch and its surroundings. He reposed in peace around 430, and was buried with honor in Antioch.
The Nun Xenia (V), in the world Eusebia, was the only daughter of an eminent Roman senator. From her youth she yearned for God. In order to evade the marriage set up for her, she secretly left from her parental home together with two servants devoted to her and they set sail upon a ship. Through the Providence of God meeting up with the head of the monastery of the holy Apostle Andrew, which was situated in the city of Milassa, in Caesarea, she besought him to take her with her companions to Milassa. Having changed her name, she called herself Xenia [which in Greek means "stranger" or foreigner"]. At Milassa she bought land, built a church in the name of Saint Stephen and founded a woman's monastery. Soon after this the bishop of Milassa, Paul, consecrated Xenia a deaconess, as fully worthy of that calling through virtuous life. The saint rendered aid to all: for the destitute she was a benefactress, for the grief-stricken -- a comforter, for sinners -- a guide. She possessed deep humility, accounting herself worst and most sinful of all. In her ascetic deeds she was guided by the counsels of the Palestinian ascetic, the Monk Euthymios. By her lofty life Saint Xenia attracted many a soul to salvation. The death of the holy virgin, during a time of prayer, was marked by the Lord with the appearance over the monastery in the heavens of an apparition in the form of a luminous crown with a radiant cross amidst it, which accompanied the body of the saint when it was carried into the city to the people, and it stayed until the moment of burial. Many of the sick, having touched to the remains of the saint, received healing.
Sainted Gerasim, Bishop of Velikopermsk (GreatPerm) and Ust'vymsk, was the third bishop of the newly-enlightened Zyryani people, and he was a worthy successor to Sainted Stephen, the Enlightener of Perm. Having been elevated onto the Perm cathedra-seat sometime after the year 1416, he was a participant in Church Sobor-Councils: in that of the year 1438 condemning the Unia and metropolitan Isidor, and in that of the year 1441, which defined the selection of the metropolitan of All Rus' by means of a Sobor of Russian pastors. The saint unrelentingly concerned himself about his newly-established flock, which suffered raids from Novgorodians, and in particular from the pagan Vogulians -- where he fearlessly showed up in their camps urging them to cease the pillaging of villages of the defenseless Perm Christians. During the time of one of his journeys through the Perm land in 1441, he was murdered (according to tradition, strangled with his omophor) by a Vogul servant. He was buried in the cathedral church of the first bishops of Perm, -- later becoming the Annunciation church in the village of Ust'Vyma, situated northeast of the city of Yarensk, at the River Vychegda. The celebration of his memory was established in 1607. On 29 January is made a general commemoration to the three Perm Sainted-Hierarchs: Gerasim, Pitirim and Jona.
The Martyr John of Kazan suffered for Christ in the city of Kazan on 24 January 1529. During the reign of greatprince Vasilii Ivanovich the Tatars swooped down upon Nizhni Novgorod. Many of the inhabitants were taken into captivity and led off to Kazan. Among their number was also the fearless John. At the dividing up of the captives he was given over to the khan's kinsman Alei-Shnura. By day John honestly served his master, but at nights he prayed, going without sleep, patiently enduring insults and abuse. The master resolved to force his involuntary captive to worship Mahomet, but John firmly declared, that he confessed Jesus Christ as the Lord God. In winter the Tatars led him to a Russian graveyard, mortally wounded him with swords and threw him still tied up into the snow. Stumbling in the night, Saint John reached the door of some Russians living in Kazan, where he asked them to summon a priest, and having communed the Holy Mysteries and praying the night, in the morning he died.
The Holy Martyrs Babyla of Sicily and his two Disciples Timothy and Agapius lived during the III Century on the outskirts of Rome. Saint Babyla was born in the city of Reupolium into a rich family, and he was raised by his parents in the Christian faith. While still in his youth he abandoned the world, secretly going from the house of his parents to a mountain, where he spent all his time in fasting, prayer and silence. Together with him asceticised his two disciples: Timothy and Agapius. Fleeing a persecution by the pagans, he set off with his disciples to the island of Sicily, where they converted many of the unbelieving to Christ. The governor of the island, angered by the enlightening activity of Saint Babyla, gave orders to arrest him together with his disciples, and he then gave them over to fierce tortures. The saints patiently endured the sufferings, and all three died from the sword. Their bodies were thrown into a fire, but the flames did not harm the warriors of Christ. They were buried on the island of Sicily by local Christians.
The Monk Macedonias, a Syrian Hermit, lived during the end-IV early-V Centuries. At the start of his ascetic path he led the life of a wanderer, roving through the cities of Phoenicia, Cilicia and Syria for 25 years, and then he found a shelter in a deep ditch and lived under the open sky in the Syrian wilderness, shunning human glory. A multitude of people came out to him, seeking spiritual help and guidance. Only in his old age did he accede to the requests of people to live in a narrow cell built for him. Throughout his continuous life Saint Macedonias ate only barley, ground up and mixed with water, for which he was called "Kritophagos" ("Barley-Eater") (Grk. ΄η κριθη' -- "barley" and φα'γομαι -- to eat). Only when he sensed the decline of his powers did he begin to use soft bread. For his ascetic life he was granted of God the gift to cast out demons and to heal the sick. The monk died in about the year 420, having reached his 70th year of age.
The Monk Dionysios (XVI Century) was born into a family of poor parents in the village of Platina. The infancy of the monk was marked by a sign: over his crib shone the Cross. Fond of reading the Divine books and of prayer from the time of his youth, Saint Dionysios upon the death of his parents decided to accept monasticism and with this aim he set out for Holy Mount Athos. There he settled with a pious elder, the priest Seraphim, and under his guidance he began to lead an ascetic life, in particular keeping strict fast. Thus during Passion Week, having gone off into the forest, he ate only chestnuts. Soon they ordained him to deacon, and then to presbyter.
The lofty life of the monk became known about, and many a monk began to come to him, to hear from him words of edification. The monk also directed onto the path of salvation many a lawless person, among which was a robber, wanting to rob the cell of the saint and was moved by the kindly and wise discourse into profound penitence. The brethren of the Philotheion monastery, having lost their hegumen, besought Saint Dionysios to be their head. Among the brethren, however, insufficient were found choosing him, and dissensions arose. Valuing most of all peace and love, the Monk Dionysios put aside the calling of hegumen and withdrew to Berroeia, and then to Mount Olympos. Here the zealous for monasticism began to flock to him. Dionysios built cells for them and also a church and together with them spent the time in fasting and prayer. Having attained the spiritual heights, he worked many miracles. Many a time, through the prayers of the monk, the Lord punished iniquitous people that oppressed the monks of Olympos or broke the commandments of Christ, -- and thus were destroyed by severe drought and by hail the holdings of a Turk, who had expelled the monks and wrecked their monastery; by cattle disease and by sickness also was punished an herdsman, who had oppressed the monastery; a maiden from one of the villages for her impudence was subjected to an assault of the devil. Yet they all, likewise through the prayers of the saint, received healing and deliverance from misfortune, having been led to penitence through the saint's lack of malice.
The monk compiled a rule for monastic life, himself giving example of monastic activity. On Olympos he built a church, and later also a monastery in the name of the Prophet of God, Elias (Elijah). He bequeathed to the brethren a final testament about monastic life based on the Ustav (Monastic Rule) of the Holy Mountain of Athos.
The monk died in old age, and was buried on Olympos, in the church portico of the monastery founded by him.
The Holy Martyrs Paul, Pausyrios and Theodotion were brothers by birth. They suffered in the III Century in Egypt under Diocletian (284-305).
Sainted Philonos, Bishop of Kolpasteia (island of Crete): He died peacefully in the V Century. To him they attribute a commentary on the Pentateuch of Moses, and an Excursus on the "Song of Songs".
The PriestMartyr Philippikos the Presbyter and the Martyress Barsima with Two Brothers were beheaded for their confession of faith in Christ.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE VENERABLE FEMALE XENIA [KSENIA]
Xenia was born in Rome, the only daughter of a prominent senator. Drawn by love for Christ, she refused to enter into marriage as her parents wished, but rather, to avoid this, she secretly fled from her home with two of her slaves and arrived at the Island of Cos to a place called Mylassa. There she founded a convent for virgins where she lived an ascetical life until her death. Even though she was a frail woman, she possessed a steadfast endurance in fasting, prayer and all-night vigils. She often stood all night in prayer; she was dressed more poorly than all the other sisters; and the bread which she ate, she often sprinkled with ashes from the censer [thurible]. At the time of her death (450 A.D.), a wonderful sign appeared over the virgin's convent: a wreath of stars with a cross in the center, brighter than the sun. Many, who were sick, received healing from her relics. Her female slaves [tonsured nuns] continued in the example of their abbess and when they died, and according to their wishes, were buried at the feet of Blessed Xenia [Ksenia].
2. THE HOLY-PRIEST MARTYR BABYLAS
Babylas was a priest in Sicily. He suffered for Christ with two of his disciples in the third century.
3. THE VENERABLE MACEDONIUS
Macedonius was a Syrian hermit. Only in his old age did he feed on baked bread, but before that he ate only grains of barley softened with water. He ended his earthy life in the year 418 A.D.
4. VENERABLE PHILON, BISHOP OF CYPRUS
When St. Epiphanius was summoned to Rome to assist the sister of the Emperor Honorius by his prayer, he consecrated Philon a bishop. Philon exegeted the Pentateuch and the Song of Songs. He died peacefully in the fifth century.
5. THE VENERABLE DIONYSIUS OF OLYMPUS
Dionysius was a miracle-worker. He lived an ascetical life on Mt. Olympus. He was tonsured a monk on Mt. Athos [The Holy Mountain] where he was the abbot of the Monastery Philotheou. Toward the end of his life, he withdrew into solitude on Mt. Olympus where he died in the sixteenth century.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT XENIA [KSENIA]
The virgin Xenia, as well as Agnes
Or the all-glorious Thecla or Anastasia,
Did not want to be tied to a physical man
But found a Bridegroom in the Immortal Christ.
With all her soul, she loved His beauty
And mercy and tenderness and radiant purity.
And even the senator's house and wealth, she left
When the Sun of Righteousness shown in her soul.
Soul! Soul ! Soul! is the true bride;
And the body is miserable like the transient grass.
And the bride [her soul] Xenia began to adorn
And by many prayers to wash and nourish it
That the bride [her soul], to be a heavenly apparition,
Pleasant and worthy of the Heavenly Bridegroom.
The labors of Holy Xenia were pleasing to the Bridegroom,
And many wondrous gifts, upon her, He bestowed.
When her pure soul, the flesh, overcame,
Peaceful as a king over a vanquished city,
With the wreath of immortality, the Lord crowned her,
Into the mansion of eternal joy, led her.
There, where the angels hymn the Creator in song,
There, the Lord receives His bride.
In our day, you usually hear these words from parents: "We want to secure the life of our child." That is why they work very hard to amass wealth, often unjustly, to educate their child in the calling [vocation] which brings the greatest physical security and material benefit. This is done by so-called Christians! They do this because their concept of a real life and the real security of life is erroneous. See, how a true Christian mother prepares her son for a real life. At the time of her death, Blessed Euphrosyne spoke to her son Clement of Ancyra: "Do me the honor, O my son, and bravely stand up for Christ and confess Him strongly and without hesitation! I hope, in my heart, that the crown of martyrdom will blossom on you in my honor and for the salvation of many. Do not be afraid of threats, nor swords, nor pains, nor wounds, nor fire. Let nothing separate you from Christ, but look up to heaven and from there await your great, eternal and rich reward from God. Fear God's majesty; be afraid of
His awesome judgment, tremble at His all-seeing Eye, for all those who deny Him will receive the punishment of unquenchable fire and eternally vigilant worm. Let this be my reward from you, my sweet son, for my pain in child-bearing and effort surrounding your education that I may be called a mother of a martyr. The blood that you received from me, do not spare but shed it that, from that, I can also receive honor. Submit your body to torture that I, too, may rejoice at that before our Lord as though I myself had suffered for Him."
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as Teacher:
1. As a Teacher Who teaches how man should think in order to be saved;
2. As a Teacher Who teaches how man should talk in order to be saved;
3. As a Teacher Who teaches how a man should act in order to be saved.
About the most all-discerning Prophet [Jesus]
"Why do you harbor evilthoughts in yourhearts" (St. Matthew 9:4).
When our Lord deigned to direct a rebuke to the Pharisees and Scribes, at that time, they had not killed anyone, nor had they deceived anyone, nor had they looted anyone and, not only that, at that time, they had not even offended anyone by their words. Why then, did our Lord admonish them when they had not committed any sin neither in works nor in words? Why? Because, at that time, their thoughts were evil.
An evil thought is sin! That is the great news which Christ brought into the world. In truth, an evil thought is the sinful source of all sin because, before a man says something or does something sinful, he thinks sinfully. Thought is the causative sin. All other sins are only subsequent sins. Whoever wishes to annihilate those evil actions must uproot those evil thoughts first. Whoever desires to stem the flow of water must first dry up the source. Therefore, let no one justify himself: I am not a sinner, for I have not killed anyone nor looted from anyone nor profaned anyone nor lied to anyone! Behold, we are full of deadly looting, profaning and deceiving thoughts! If we have not committed sin by our own deeds, that is simply a matter of the mercy of God and external circumstances. But, if God had yielded and if the circumstances were favorable, we would have committed all those sins that we had thought. The serpent is not only venomous when it bites but also when it does not bite, because it carries the venom in itself.
Therefore, not only is thought a sin, but also it is the source of sin: the beginning of sin and the seed and root of sin. That is why the All-seeing and All-knowing Lord rebuked those who had evil thoughts. "Why do you harbor evil thoughts in your hearts."
O Lord, All-seeing and All-knowing, help us to cleanse our hearts and minds from evil thoughts so that our words and deeds may be pure.