FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Xenophon & his Companions
Symeon the Elder of Mount Sinai
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ξενοφῶντος καί τῆς συνοδείας αὐτοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 1:21-24; 2:1-4
BRETHREN, it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
But I call God to witness against me - it was to spare you that I refrained from coming to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith; we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. For I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 1:21-24; 2:1-4
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ βεβαιῶν ἡμᾶς σὺν ὑμῖν εἰς Χριστόν, καὶ χρίσας ἡμᾶς, θεός, ὁ καὶ σφραγισάμενος ἡμᾶς, καὶ δοὺς τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν. Ἐγὼ δὲ μάρτυρα τὸν θεὸν ἐπικαλοῦμαι ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμὴν ψυχήν, ὅτι φειδόμενος ὑμῶν οὐκέτι ἦλθον εἰς Κόρινθον. Οὐχ ὅτι κυριεύομεν ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως, ἀλλὰ συνεργοί ἐσμεν τῆς χαρᾶς ὑμῶν· τῇ γὰρ πίστει ἑστήκατε. Ἔκρινα δὲ ἐμαυτῷ τοῦτο, τὸ μὴ πάλιν ἐν λύπῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλθεῖν. Εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς, καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ εὐφραίνων με, εἰ μὴ ὁ λυπούμενος ἐξ ἐμοῦ; Καὶ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν τοῦτο αὐτό, ἵνα μὴ ἐλθὼν λύπην ἔχω ἀφʼ ὧν ἔδει με χαίρειν, πεποιθὼς ἐπὶ πάντας ὑμᾶς, ὅτι ἡ ἐμὴ χαρὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἐστίν. Ἐκ γὰρ πολλῆς θλίψεως καὶ συνοχῆς καρδίας ἔγραψα ὑμῖν διὰ πολλῶν δακρύων, οὐχ ἵνα λυπηθῆτε, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἀγάπην ἵνα γνῶτε ἣν ἔχω περισσοτέρως εἰς ὑμᾶς.
The Reading is from Matthew 25:14-30
The Lord said this parable: "A man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." As he said these things he cried out: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 25.14-30
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τήν παραβολὴν ταύτην· Ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν ἐκάλεσε τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ᾧ μὲν ἔδωκε πέντε τάλαντα, ᾧ δὲ δύο, ᾧ δὲ ἕν, ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν δύναμιν, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν εὐθέως. πορευθεὶς δὲ ὁ τὰ πέντε τάλαντα λαβὼν εἰργάσατο ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐποίησεν ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα. ὡσαύτως καὶ ὁ τὰ δύο ἐκέρδησε καὶ αὐτὸς ἄλλα δύο. ὁ δὲ τὸ ἓν λαβὼν ἀπελθὼν ὤρυξεν ἐν τῇ γῇ καὶ ἀπέκρυψε τὸ ἀργύριον τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ. μετὰ δὲ χρόνον πολὺν ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων καὶ συναίρει μετ᾿ αὐτῶν λόγον. καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ τὰ πέντε τάλαντα λαβὼν προσήνεγκεν ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα λέγων· κύριε, πέντε τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας· ἴδε ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς. ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ· εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ! ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω· εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου. προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὰ δύο τάλαντα λαβὼν εἶπε· κύριε, δύο τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας· ἴδε ἄλλα δύο τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς. ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ· εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ! ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω· εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου. προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς εἶπε· κύριε· ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος, θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας· καὶ φοβηθεὶς ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ· ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν. ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· πονηρὲ δοῦλε καὶ ὀκνηρέ! ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα! ἔδει οὖν σε βαλεῖν τὸ ἀργύριόν μου τοῖς τραπεζίταις, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ. ἄρατε οὖν ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ τὸ τάλαντον καὶ δότε τῷ ἔχοντι τὰ δέκα τάλαντα. τῷ γὰρ ἔχοντι παντὶ δοθήσεται καὶ περισσευθήσεται, ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ μὴ ἔχοντος καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ. καὶ τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον ἐκβάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ξενοφῶντος καὶ τῆς συμβίου αὐτοῦ Μαρίας καὶ τῶν τέκνων αὐτοῦ Ἀρκαδίου καὶ Ἰωάννου.
Καὶ γῆν λιπόντας, τοὺς περὶ Ξενοφῶντα,
Ἁβρᾷ ξενίζω τοῦ λόγου πανδαισίᾳ.
Παισὶν ἅμ' ἠδ' ἀλόχῳ Ξενοφῶν θάνεν εἰκάδι ἕκτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ μεγάλου σεισμοῦ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Συμεών, τοῦ ἐπιλεγομένου Παλαιοῦ.
Τὸν χοῦν παλαιὲ Συμεὼν ἀπεξύσω,
Ἐχθροῦ παλαιοῦ λεπτύνας εἰς χοῦν κάραν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ἀνανίου πρεσβυτέρου καὶ Πέτρου δεσμοφύλακος καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτοῖς ἑπτὰ στρατιωτῶν.
Πέτρος σὺν ἑπτὰ τὴν θάλασσαν εἰσέδυ,
Οἷς Ἀνανίας ἡδέως συνεισέδυ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀμωνᾶς ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ζωῆς Ἀμωνᾶς νῆμα πληρώσας ἅπαν,
Ζωὴν ἐφεῦρεν, οὔποτε πληρουμένην.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Γαβριὴλ ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Σὺν τῷ Γαβριὴλ τῷ Νόων πρωτοστάτῃ,
Καὶ Γαβριὴλ ἵστησι Χριστὸς τὸν νέον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι δύω Μάρτυρες, οἱ ἐν Φρυγίᾳ, τυπτόμενοι τελειοῦνται.
Βάκλοις ἀθληταὶ τραυματισθέντες δύω,
Στεφθέντες εὗρον τὴν συνούλωσιν τάχει.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Saint, a wealthy nobleman of Constantinople, was filled with piety toward God. He had two sons, Arcadius and John, whom he sent to Beirut to study law. But they were shipwrecked during their voyage; barely saved, they forsook all things and departed for Palestine. Saint Xenophon and his wife Mary, ignorant of what had happened, went in search of their sons. On finding them in Jerusalem, dressed in the habit of monks, they also took up the monastic life. And thus, having completed their lives in holiness, they departed for the Lord about the beginning of the sixth century. Saint Xenophon and his sons reposed at Saint Sabbas Monastery, and Mary at the Monastery of Saint Theodosius.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ὁ Θεὸς τῶν Πατέρων ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιῶν ἀεὶ μεθ΄ ἡμῶν, κατὰ τὴν σὴν ἐπιείκειαν, μὴ ἀποστήσῃς τὸ ἔλεός σου ἀφ΄ ἡμῶν. Ἀλλὰ ταῖς αὐτῶν ἱκεσίαις, ἐν εἰρήνῃ κυβέρνησον τὴν ζωὴν ἡμῶν.
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ὁ Θεὸς τῶν Πατέρων ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιῶν ἀεὶ μεθ΄ ἡμῶν, κατὰ τὴν σὴν ἐπιείκειαν, μὴ ἀποστήσῃς τὸ ἔλεός σου ἀφ΄ ἡμῶν. Ἀλλὰ ταῖς αὐτῶν ἱκεσίαις, ἐν εἰρήνῃ κυβέρνησον τὴν ζωὴν ἡμῶν.
With thy yoke-mate and thy sons didst thou keep vigil in the courts of Christ thy Lord and thou didst cheerfully disperse thy wealth to paupers, O blessed one. Hence, ye have all now inherited joy divine.
Η Εκκλησία σήμερα τιμά την μνήμη του οσίου Ξενοφώντος και της οικογενείας του. Ο όσιος Ξενοφών, η σύζυγός του Μαρία και τα δυό του παιδιά Αρκάδιος και Ιωάννης είναι ένα παράδειγμα αγίας οικογενείας πολύ διδακτικό και μάλιστα στον καιρό μας. Άνθρωποι αφωσιωμένοι στον Θεό, με ευσέβεια και με στοργή των γονέων προς τα παιδιά και των παιδιών προς τους γονείς, είναι ο όσιος Ξενοφών και η οικογένειά του. Οι άγιοι του Θεού, όταν με την θεία ευλογία φτειάχνουν οικογένεια, ξέρουν πως το σπίτι, το κύτταρο του κοινωνικού βίου των ανθρώπων, γίνεται λίκνο της ζωής, εργαστήριο της αρετής, ναος του Θεού και "κατ' οίκον εκκλησία". Η σωφροσύνη και η αγιότης δεν είναι μόνο για τους μοναχούς κι όποιος έκαμε σπίτι πρέπει να ξέρη, λέγει ο Μέγας Βασίλειος, "ως απαιτηθήσεται λόγον σωφροσύνης και αγιασμού και της προς τους εν συζυγίαις και τεκνοτροφίαις αγίους ομοιώσεως".
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ξενοφῶν μετὰ τῆς συμβίας του Μαρίας καὶ τῶν τέκνων τους Ἀρκαδίου καὶ Ἰωάννη
Ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰδικὰ γιὰ τοὺς πλουσίους παραγγέλλει: «Τοῖς πλουσίοις ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰώνι παράγγελλε μὴ ὑψηλοφρονεῖν, μηδὲ ἠλπικέναι ἐπὶ πλούτου ἀδηλότητι, ἀλλ᾿ ἐν τῷ Θεῷ τῷ ζῶντι, τῷ παρέχοντι ἡμῖν πάντα πλουσίως εἰς ἀπόλαυσιν». Πές, δηλαδή, στοὺς πλουσίους, σ᾿ αὐτὴ τὴν πρόσκαιρη ζωὴ νὰ μὴν ὑψηλοφρονοῦν, οὔτε νὰ ἔχουν στηριγμένες τὶς ἐλπίδες τους στὸν ἀβέβαιο ὑλικὸ πλοῦτο, ἀλλὰ νὰ ἐλπίζουν στὸ ζωντανὸ Θεό, ποὺ ὅλα μᾶς τὰ δίνει πλούσια γιὰ νὰ τὰ ἀπολαμβάνουμε. Αὐτὴ τὴν παραγγελία, ὁ Ὅσιος Ξενοφῶν μὲ τὴν γυναῖκα του Μαρία καὶ τὰ παιδιὰ τοὺς Ἀρκάδιο καὶ Ἰωάννη, ποὺ ἦταν πολὺ πλούσια οἰκογένεια στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη τὴν ἐποχὴ τοῦ Ἰουστινιανοῦ (518-527-565 μ.Χ.), θὰ δοῦμε ὅτι τὴν διαφυλάττουν μέχρι τέλους. Τί κάνουν; Ὅ,τι καὶ πάλι παραγγέλλει γιὰ τοὺς πλουσίους ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ: «Ἀγαθοεργεῖν, πλουτεῖν ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς, εὐμεταδότους εἶναι, κοινωνικούς». Δηλαδή, νὰ ἀγαθοεργοῦν, νὰ γίνονται πλούσιοι σὲ καλὰ ἔργα, νὰ εἶναι πρόθυμοι νὰ δίνουν καὶ σὲ ἄλλους ἀπὸ τὰ ἀγαθά τους, νὰ εἶναι ἁπλοὶ καὶ καταδεκτικοί. Πράγματι, ἡ πόρτα τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος ἦταν πάντα ἀνοικτὴ στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ ὅλη ἡ οἰκογένεια ἐργαζόταν μὲ γνήσιο πνεῦμα χριστιανικῆς φιλανθρωπίας. Οἱ ἴδιοι ἀναζητοῦσαν τοὺς πάσχοντες καὶ ἔτρεχαν νὰ περιθάλψουν καὶ νὰ παρηγορήσουν ὀρφανά. Μεγάλα δὲ ποσὰ ἀφιέρωναν γιὰ τὴν ἀπελευθέρωση αἰχμαλώτων. Προκειμένου ὅμως νὰ μορφώσουν περισσότερο τὰ παιδιά τους, τὰ ἔστειλαν στὴ Βηρυττὸ γιὰ νὰ διδαχθοῦν νομικά. Ἀλλὰ καθ᾿ ὁδὸν ναυάγησαν καὶ ἀφοῦ διασώθηκαν πῆγαν στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, ὅπου ἔγιναν μοναχοί. Ὅταν οἱ γονεῖς τους ἔμαθαν γιὰ τὰ γεγονότα ποὺ συνέβησαν στὰ παιδιά τους, δόξασαν τὸν Θεὸ καί, ἀφοῦ διαμοίρασαν τὰ ὑπάρχοντά τους στοὺς φτωχούς, ἔφυγαν καὶ αὐτοί. Ὁ μὲν Ξενοφῶν στὴν ἔρημο σὰν μοναχὸς ἀσκητής, ἡ δὲ γυναῖκα του Μαρία, σὰν μοναχὴ σὲ γυναικεία μονή. Ἔζησαν ὁσιακὰ καὶ ἀφοῦ ἔκαναν θαύματα, ἀπεβίωσαν εἰρηνικὰ πρὸς Κύριον.
Μνήμη τοῦ Μεγάλου Σεισμοῦ
Εἰς τοὺς τελευταίους χρόνους τῆς βασιλείας Θεοδοσίου τοῦ Μικροῦ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ Κυριακὴ ὥρα δευτέρα, ἔγινε σεισμὸς εἰς τὴν Κωνσταντινούπολιν τόσον μέγας, ὥστε ἐκρημνίσθησαν τὰ τείχη αὐτῆς καὶ πολλὰ μέρη καὶ πολλοὶ οἰκίαι τῆς πόλεως, ἐξαιρέτως ὅμως ἀπὸ τὸ ἔμβασμα, τὸ καλούμενον Τρωαδίσιον, ἕως τὸ χάλκινον Τετράπυλον. Ἐσυνέχισε δὲ ὁ τοιοῦτος σεισμὸς μῆνας τρεῖς. Τότε ὁ βασιλεὺς ποιῶν λιτανείαν, μεθ᾿ ὅλου του λαοῦ, ἔλεγε ταῦτα δακρύων πρὸς τὸν Θεόν: «Ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς, Κύριε, τῆς δίκαιας σοῦ ὀργῆς καὶ δὸς συγχώρησιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν. Ἐπειδὴ διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν ἐσάλευσας τὴν γῆν καὶ συνετάραξας αὐτήν, ἵνα σὲ δοξάζωμεν τὸν μόνον ἀγαθὸν Θεὸν ἡμῶν καὶ φιλάνθρωπον».
Ὁ Ὅσιος Συμεὼν ὁ Παλαιὸς
Τὴ βιογραφία του ἔγραψε ὁ Κύρου Θεοδώρητος (βλ. Φιλόθεος Ἱστορία ἀριθμ. 6). Ὁ Ὅσιος Συμεὼν λοιπόν, ἀπὸ τὴν παιδική του ἡλικία εἶχε ἔφεση πρὸς τὴν ἄσκηση καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸ ἀποσύρθηκε στὸ ὄρος Ἄμανον καὶ ζοῦσε μέσα σὲ μία σπηλιά. Ἡ ζωή του ἐκεῖ ἦταν πολὺ ἀσκητικὴ καὶ δὲν ἔτρωγε οὔτε κὰν λίγο ψωμί. Τρεφόταν μὲ χορτάρια τῆς ἐρήμου. Ἀπὸ τὴν ἔρημο πῆγε στὸ ὄρος Σινᾶ, γιὰ νὰ προσκυνήσει τοὺς τόπους ὅπου κατέβηκε ὁ Θεός. Ἐκεῖ κλείστηκε σὲ μία σπηλιά, ὅπου κρύφτηκε ὁ Μωϋσῆς, καὶ ἔμεινε μπρούμυτα ἑπτὰ μέρες, νηστικὸς καὶ προσευχόμενος. Σηκώθηκε μόνο ὅταν ἄκουσε φωνὴ νὰ τοῦ λέει νὰ σηκωθεῖ καὶ νὰ φάει τρία μῆλα, ποὺ ἦλθαν μπροστά του μὲ θαυματουργικὸ τρόπο. Ὅταν ἐπέστρεψε στὸ Σινᾶ, ἔκτισε δυὸ μοναστήρια καὶ ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀνανίας ὁ Πρεσβύτερος, Πέτρος ὁ δεσμοφύλακας καὶ οἱ μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτοὺς Ἑπτὰ Στρατιῶται
Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ ἦταν στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ Μαξίμου ἡγεμόνα τῆς Φοινίκης (295 μ.Χ.). Ὅταν λοιπὸν συνελήφθη ὁ Ἱερέας Ἀνανίας, καὶ ἐπειδὴ ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ γκρέμισε διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς τὰ εἴδωλα, ὁ Μάξιμος διέταξε καὶ τὸν μαστίγωσαν ἀνελέητα καὶ ἔκαψαν τὶς πλευρές του μὲ πυρωμένα σουβλιά. Ἔπειτα ἐπάνω στὰ κομμένα μέλη του, ἔριξαν ξύδι καὶ ἁλάτι. Μετὰ ἀπὸ αὐτὰ τὸν ἔβαλαν στὴ φυλακή, ὅπου, διὰ θαύματος, μέρες ὁλόκληρες, τρεφόταν ἀπὸ τὸν Θεό. Τὸ θαῦμα αὐτὸ εἵλκυσε στὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὸν δεσμοφύλακα Πέτρο καὶ ἄλλους ἑπτὰ στρατιῶτες, τοὺς ὁποίους, μαζὶ μὲ τὸν Ἀνανία, ὁ ἡγεμόνας ἔπνιξε στὴ θάλασσα. Ἔτσι ὅλοι μαζὶ πῆραν ἀπὸ τὸν στεφανοδότη Κύριο, τὰ στεφάνια τῆς ἀθλήσεως.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀμμωνᾶς
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια του Μεγάλου Ἀντωνίου, ὁ ὁποῖος ἔτρεφε μεγάλη ὑπόληψη πρὸς αὐτόν. Σπάνια ἄνθρωπος ἔγινε τόσο κύριος τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ, ὥστε νὰ εἶναι ἀνώτερος ἀπὸ τὶς βρισιές, εὐλογῶντας μάλιστα καὶ εὐεργετῶντας τοὺς ὑβριστές του. Ἰδιαίτερη ἐπίσης προσπάθεια κατέβαλε ὁ Ἅγιος γιὰ τὸ φωτισμὸ καὶ τὴν ἐπιστροφὴ στὴν ἀρετή, δυστυχισμένων γυναικῶν, ποὺ εἶχαν βγεῖ ἀπὸ τὸ δρόμο τῆς τιμῆς. Ἐνῷ ὁ κόσμος τὸν κακολογοῦσε, αὐτὸς συμβούλευε καὶ παρακαλοῦσε. Καὶ πετύχαινε. Πολλὲς παράτησαν τὴν ἁμαρτία καὶ ἦλθαν μέσῳ αὐτοῦ στὴν εὐσέβεια καὶ τὴν σωφροσύνη. Ἐπίσης ἐδῶ ἀναφέρεται στὸ Λαυσαϊκὸ καὶ ἕνας ἄλλος Ὅσιος Ἀμμωνᾶς, ποὺ ἦταν ἱερέας.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γαβριήλ
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ξενοφῶν
Κτίτωρ ὁμώνυμης Μονῆς Ἁγίου Ὄρους.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Δύο Μάρτυρες οἱ ἐν Φρυγίᾳ
«Βάκλοις τυπτόμενοι ἐτελειώθησαν».
Ὁ Ὅσιος Κλήμης, ὁ ἐν τῷ Ὄρει Σαγματίῳ ἀσκήσας
Ἄσκησε στὸ ὄρος Σαγματᾶ τῆς Βοιωτίας. Τὸν ἀσκητὴ αὐτὸν ἀγνοοῦν οἱ Συναξαριστὲς καὶ τὰ Μηναῖα. Ἡ μνήμη του, μαζὶ μὲ τὴν ἀκολουθία του, βρίσκεται στοὺς Λαυριωτικοὺς Κώδικες Ε 152 φ. 334α καὶ Π 2 φ82β. Στὴν ἀκολουθία του ὑμνολογεῖται ὡς πνευματοφόρος ἐπὶ στύλου ὑψηλοῦ ἀναβὰς καὶ ἀσκητικώτατος φανείς, ὡς στῦλος τῶν μοναζόντων ἀκλινής, ὡς μοναστῶν τὸ στήριγμα, ἔργα φωτὸς διαπραξάμενος. (Νομίζω ὅμως, ὅτι ἐδῶ περιττῶς ἀναφέρεται ἡ μνήμη του ἀπὸ ὁρισμένους Συναξαριστές, διότι οἱ περισσότερες ἁγιολογικὲς πηγές, ἀναφέρουν τὴ μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου αὐτοῦ τὴν 27η Ἰανουαρίου).
Our Holy Father Xenophon, his wife Mary and their sons Arcadius and John (6th c.)
Xenophon was a wealthy senator in Constantinople during the reign of Justinian. He and his wife Mary had two sons, Arcadius and John, to whom they gave every advantage of education. When they were of age, Xenophon sent them both to study law in Berytus (Beirut). But the ship on which they set out was wrecked in a storm, and the two brothers were cast ashore, alive but separated, neither knowing whether the other had survived.
Both brothers gave thanks to God for their salvation and, newly conscious of the vanity of earthly things, both became monks: John in Tyre and Arcadius in Jerusalem. Two years later, having heard no news from his sons, Xenophon made inquiries and found that they had never arrived at Beirut, and that they had seemingly perished in a shipwreck. Giving thanks to God, who gives and takes away, both Xenophon and his wife Mary put on coarse garments and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, they met the spiritual father of Arcadius, who told them that both their sons were alive and that they would soon see them.
By God's providence, John and Arcadius met one another at Golgotha and, joyfully reunited, spent some time serving Arcadius' holy Elder. Two days later Xenophon and Mary, visiting the Elder, spent time with their two sons but did not recognize them until the Elder revealed their identity. The parents wept for joy and decided immediately to take up the monastic life themselves. Giving away their considerable wealth, the two entered monasteries in the Holy Land. Both parents and sons went far in the life of prayer, being granted the power to work miracles and foreknow future events.
St Ammonas of Egypt, disciple of St Anthony the Great (350)
"Saint Ammonas was a disciple of Saint Antony the Great and became his successor at the head of the hermits of the outer mountain of Pispir, after having spent fourteen years at Scetis in ceaseless prayer to the Lord to be granted victory over anger. He was afterwards consecrated bishop, probably by Saint Athanasius the Great. He possessed impassibility to the extent of being as though ignorant of the existence of evil, and incapable of passing judgment on anyone.
"One day some people came to ask him to settle a difference among them. The Saint responded by pretending to be insane, and answered a woman who treated him as a madman: 'You don't realize how much trouble I've given myself in the desert to acquire this madness and I have lost it today because of you!' On another occasion when he was taken to visit a brother with a bad reputation, he sat on the barrel where his concubine was hiding while his accusers searched his cell in vain. Then, taking his leave of the unfortunate man, he simply said: 'Brother, have a care for yourself!'
"When he was asked which deeds of ascesis are most pleasing to God, he replied: 'Just sit in your cell and eat a little every day, always keeping the prayer of the Publican in your heart (Luke 18:13), and you can be saved.' He also said that the fear of God begets moans and tears and these cause joy to arise in the soul, filling it with divine strength to do what is pleasing to God, and that this power from on high establishes us in the company of the Angels. Raised thus from height to height as we humbly pray to be delivered from sin, we shall (he said) receive as if of itself, revelation of the mysteries of God." (Synaxarion)
Our Holy Mother Paula of Rome (404)
She was born in 347 to a noble family in Rome, and at age sixteen married Toxotius, a prominent nobleman. Though her husband was a pagan, he was devoted to her and gave her freedom to keep a Christian home and rear her children as Christians. They were blessed with five children. When she was thirty-two her husband died suddenly, and Paula resolved to turn her large house in Rome into a monastery. Later she traveled to the Holy Land with her spiritual father St Jerome (June 15). In Bethlehem she established two monasteries, one for women (where she dwelt) and one for St Jerome and his companions. Every day the nuns chanted the entire Psalter, which they were required to learn by heart. Paula was exceptionally austere in her fasting and lavish in her almsgiving, often giving away to the poor even the goods needed by her community for subsistence. She aided her spiritual father and brother Jerome in his controversies with Origen's followers: St Jerome himself was hot-tempered, and St Paula often exhorted him to confront his enemies with patience and humility.
When she was fifty-six years old, she felt her death approaching, and heard Christ say to her 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone' (Song of Songs 2:10-11). To this she replied 'The time of harvest has come. I shall truly see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living,' and gave up her soul joyfully. Her funeral was attended by throngs of monks, nuns and poor people, all of whom revered her as their mother and benefactress.
The Monk Xenophontes, his spouse Maria and their sons Arkadios and John, were noted citizens of Constantinople and lived in the V Century. Despite riches and position, they distinguished themselves by their simplicity of soul and goodness of heart. Wishing to give their sons John and Arkadios a more complete education, they sent them off to the Phoenician city of Beirut. Through Divine Providence the ship on which both brothers sailed became ship-wrecked. The brothers were pitched by the waves onto shore at different places. Aggrieved at being separated, the brothers dedicated themselves to God and accepted monasticism. For a long time the parents received no news about their children and presumed them to have perished. Xenophontes, however, now already quite old, maintained firm hope in the Lord and consoled his wife Maria, telling her not to sorrow but to believe that their children were watched over by the Lord. After several years the spouses made pilgrimage to the Holy places and at Jerusalem they met their sons, pursuing asceticsm at different monasteries. The joyful parents gave thanks to the Lord for providently re-uniting the whole family. For the remainder of their lives, the monastics Xenophontes and Maria dedicated themselves to God and accepted monasticism. The Monks Arkadios and John, having taken leave of their parents, went out into the wilderness, where after long ascetic toil they were glorified by gifts of wonderworking and perspicacity. The monastic elders Xenophontes and Maria, having pursued asceticism in silence and strict fasting, also received of God the gift of wonderworking.
Monk Ksenofont of Robeiki: the account about him is located under 28 June.
The Holy Martyrs Ananias the Presbyter, Peter the Prison Guard, and with them 7 Soldiers, suffered in Phoenicia in the year 295. During the time of persecution against christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), Saint Ananias was brought before Maximus the governor of Phoenicia, for confessing faith in Christ and refusal to worship idols. They beat him with hammers, burnt at him with fire, and on his scorched body they sprinkled salt. After his terrible sufferings, an idolatrous temple and the idols standing in it were destroyed through the prayers of the holy martyr. They locked up the holy martyr in prison. Stationed as witnesses to the tortures of holy presbyter Ananias and guarding him, were Peter and 7 other soldiers who came to believe in Christ. For this they were drowned in the sea after lengthy torture. For their act of martyrdom they, together with the holy martyr Ananias, received from Christ crowns of glory.
The Monk Simeon the Old was called this in distinction from the Monk Simeon the Stylite (Comm. 1 September). He practised asceticism in Syria in the V Century, and in his childhood years went out into the Syrian wilderness and settled in a cave in complete solitude. Constant prayer, inner meditation and thought about God were his constant occupation. The ascetic ate only the grass which grew about his cave. When people began to come to him to receive guidance, he in wishing to preserve his silence left his cave and settled on one of the mountains of the Aman range. But here also his ascetic solitude was disturbed by a throng of visitors. The Monk Simeon then withdrew onto Mount Sinai, where formerly the Prophet Moses (Comm. 4 September) received revelation from God. By Divine Providence, after a short stay on Sinai the holy ascetic returned to Aman and founded two monasteries: one at the top of the mountain, the other at its base. Being head of these monasteries, the Monk Simeon spiritually guided the monks, warning them about the wiles of the enemy of humankind, and he taught them to struggle against temptations. He inspired and encouraged them in ascetic deeds, rousing them to meditate about salvation. Because of the holiness of his life the Monk Simeon received of God the gift of grace-abundant wonderworking. After the many toils of his ascetic life the Monk Simeon expired to God in about the year 390.
The Transfer of the Relics of the Monk Theodore, Hegumen of the Studite Monastery, from Akritian Chersonessus to Constantinople occurred in the year 845. The account about the monk Theodore the Studite is located under 11 November.
Sainted Joseph, ArchBishop of Soluneia / Thessalonika, was brother of the Monk Theodore the Studite, and together with him pursued asceticism under the guidance of the Monk Platon (Comm. 5 April) at the Sakudion Monastery. Because of his ascetic life, the monk Joseph was unanimously chosen archbishop of the city of Soluneia. Together with his brother he came out against the unlawful marriage of the emperor Constantine (780-797), for which after torture he was condemned to confinement on a wild island. The emperor Michael Rangabes (811-813) freed Saint Joseph from imprisonment. Under the emperor Leo V the Armenian (813-820) the sainted hierarch again suffered together with his brother the monk Theodore for their veneration of holy icons. In prison they subjected him to torture, but he remained steadfast in his faith. The iconoclast emperor demanded him to sign the iconoclast confession of faith; for his refusal they threw him into another more fetid prison. Under the emperor Michael the Stammerer (820-829) Saint Joseph was set free, together with other monks that had suffered for their veneration of icons. He spent his final years at the Studite Monastery, where he died in 830. Sainted Joseph, ArchBishop of Soluneia, is reknown as a spiritual melodist. He compiled three odes and stikhera of the Lenten Triodion, a canon of repentance for the Sunday of Prodigal Son and other church-song. He wrote several sermons for feastdays, of which the best known is the Sermon on the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross of the Lord.
Holy NobleBorn David III the Restorer, Emperor of Iveria and Abkhazia (1089-1125; by other accounts 1084-1125; in the contemporary writings of David IV the Builder), -- influenced the working of government, culture and church in Gruzia / Georgia. He was educated by his priest -- the monk Arsenii of Ikaltoi (+ 1127, Comm. 6 February), reknown for his theological and encyclopaeic learning.
The Gruzian nation gave Holy Tsar David the title "Restorer" (Vozobnovitel') for his great efforts to renew Gruzia for his great effort in the restoration of Gruzia and the re-invigoration of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Gruzia, mercilessly devastated by the Turks and suffering from internal strife, was united under the sceptre of David the Restorer into a strong centralised state. The Georgian Church, whose flourishing the tsar considered to be a guarantee for the security and unity of the state, became an object of his particular care. Saint David was distinguished for his deep piety -- he sacredly honoured the church canons and by his power kept and affirmed them. Through the initiative of Saint the Restorer, a Church Council was convened in the year 1103 at Ruisa, the decrees of which contributed to the strengthening of the canonical life of the Church and affirming church piety.
An highly educated man, Saint David patronised a diversity of sciences. He founded the scholarly academies at Gelatia and Ikaltoi. During the reign of Saint David the Restorer, tens of churches and monasteries were built in Gruzia, and he built new cities and renewed old ones. The pious tsar displayed great concern for the well-being and prosperity of Georgian monasteries in Palestine and on Sinai, in Antioch and on Holy Mount Athos. When Saint David decided to erect a church in the name of the GreatMartyr George, to whose patronage he constantly resorted in his wars for liberation, Saint George appeared to him then in a vision and showed him the place for raising up the temple.
Thinking of peace-making as fulfillment of the Lord's commandment (Mt. 5: 9), Tsar David reconciled the Kipchak khan Atrak with the Ossetian people and brought peace into the Dar'yal' Valley.
In 1123, shortly before his death, the pious tsar liberated Armenia from Turkish dominion. He ordered churches to again be reconsecrated, having been transformed by the Turks into mosques. According to tradition, when the tsar entered into one of the churches to the grave of his grandmother -- the spouse of the Armenian emperor Gagik I, and said: "Rejoice, tsaritsa! God hath delivered thy church from the Hagarites", suddenly a voice was heard: "Thanks be to God!" The concern of Tsar David about reunion with the Armenian Church resulted in the convocation of a Church Council in the city of Ano, at which a part of the Armenian monophysite bishops swayed towards an acceptance of Orthodoxy (but in its entirety the Sobor did not arrive at the desired results). The patriotic efforts of Saint David did not hinder him from accomplishing spiritual efforts. From his early years the saint had the foundation of wisdom -- the fear of God (Proverbs 1: 7), inspiring him to good deeds and aims. A beloved preoccupation of saint David was the reading of Holy Scripture. The "Penitential Kanon" composed by him testifies to his profound spirituality, and consists of nine sorrowful and moving odes.
Sensing the approach of death, holy Tsar David composed a spiritual testimony in which, having transferred the ruling of the country to his son Dimitrii, he wrote: "Now doth the Divine Providence of the Righteous God call me away, and it summon to the destined kingdom... All that I have accomplished is by the power of the Venerable LifeCreating Wood of the Cross and to it I do account its Sign bringing me bliss". Having been communed the Holy Mysteries, "with praise on his lips he offered up his soul to the Lord in his 53rd year of life, on Saturday 24 January 1125". The tsar was buried at Gelatia Monastery, under the entrance to the church at the gate. Some while later his relics, having been glorified by signs of Divine mercy, were transferred beneathe the altar-table of the cathedral church. At the end of the XIII Century holy tsar David III the Restorer was beatified, and a service then was composed to him. His commemoration is celebrated on 26 January.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE VENERABLE XENOPHONT AND MARIA AND THEIR SONS JOHN AND ARCADIUS
They were prominent and wealthy citizens of Constantinople. Xenophont and his wife Maria lived a God-pleasing life and dedicated all their attention to the Christian upbringing of their sons. When their sons reached majority, they were sent to study in Beirut; but it so happened that a storm capsized their boat. By the Providence of God, John and Arcadius were somehow saved. They were tossed ashore by the waves but in two different places so that each thought the other was drowned. Out of grief for each other, they both became monks in two different monasteries. After two years, their grieving parents came to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage to pay homage before the holy shrines. There, with the help of the "discernment" of a spiritual father, first the brothers met and, after that, the parents with their children. Out of gratitude to God, Xenophont and Maria distributed their entire estate to the poor and both of them were tonsured. The history of these four souls is touching and it shows how the Lord wonderfully guides the fate of those who believe in Him; how He permits pain and sorrow upon them that they may, later on, be strengthened in faith, in order to lead them into still greater joy. They lived and died in the Lord in the fifth century.
2. VENERABLE SIMEON THE OLD ONE [VETNI]
Simeon was a companion and friend of St. Paladius. From his early youth until his death, Simeon lived a life of asceticism in a cave. He established two monasteries and died in the Lord in the year 390 A.D. He is called the Old One or Vetni to distinguish him from Simeon the Stylite who, lived an ascetical life much later.
3. SAINT DAVID, EMPEROR OF THE GEORGIANS (1089-1130 A.D.)
David renewed and strengthened the State of Georgia. As a great zealot for the Christian Faith, he built many new churches and restored the old ones throughout Georgia. David is considered as the regenerator of the Orthodox Faith in Georgia.
HYMN OF PRAISE
In this strange world, we are exiled,
In a dungeon with royal sons, slaves
Wayward children in sorrow seek their father
The strange world calls them to satiate them with sweetness.
Where will the spirits of the heroes be appeased
In a strange world, whose every sweetness is death?
In a strange world, which breathes death and smells of death,
That which is written in the morning is erased at night.
And the exiled crown prince sighs for the kingdom,
For the immortal kingdom, high above the firmament,
Where the Father rules and nothing is strange,
Where nothing is known about death neither moldy smell.
O, all-amazing world, a frightening cage!
Whoever is bound to Christ, breaks your ties,
And becomes free of everything and everyone,
That one neither goes with you nor flees from you,
But prepares worthily to depart from you
Into the arms of the Father, into the kingdom of freedom.
The greatest treasure of any realm is the saintly and good men who live in it. Compared to this wealth, all other wealth is as nothing. Devout Christian emperors considered holy men in their realms as the greatest of God's blessing. The holy Emperor Constantine the Great spoke: "I give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ that in my days there exist three divine lights: Blessed Abba Anthony, Abba Elenius and Abba Euchius." Before the battle of Kulikovo, crucial for the Russians, the devout Prince Dimitri of Don, with his chief assistants and dukes, went to the forest of Radonez to seek out the Venerable Sergius and implored his intercession before God. Even though the prince prepared his army for a liberating war against the Tartars, somehow, he placed greater hope in the prayers of one holy man than in a vast army and many weapons.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as Prophet:
1. As a Prophet Who clearly prophesied to individuals (as to: Peter, John and Judas and the other apostles) that which will happen to them in the future;
2. As a Prophet Who clearly prophesied the future of Jerusalem and other cities, the Jewish people and the Church of God;
3. As a Prophet Who clearly prophesied the end of the world and His Second Coming.
About the confusion of those darkened by sin
"Who is this Who evenforgives sins" (St. Luke 7:49).
Thus asked the unrepentant sinners: "Who is this [Jesus Christ]?" This is He Who mostly feels the sting of human sin; upon Whom all the sins of mankind fall as blows. This is He Who, at one time in Paradise, looked upon man as sinless. This is He Who created man without sin, and This is He Who Himself is without sin from always and forever.
Only He can forgive who can also seek revenge. The strong man seeks revenge by reprisal. The weak man seeks revenge by hatred. If you are able to return the delivered blow and you do not do it, does not mean that you forgave until you uproot the root of anger from your heart. Great is the One Lord Who can also seek revenge and forgive. Great is He in His justice for He will seek revenge on the unrepentant sinner. Great is He in His mercy for He will forgive the penitent sinner.
Oh, if only men would know the power of the forgiveness of sins! Behold, when the sins of the blind man were forgiven, he saw. When the sins of the deaf man were forgiven, he heard. When the sins of the hunchbacked woman were forgiven, she stood erect. When the sins of the woman with the issue of blood were forgiven, she also was healed. When the sins of the man afflicted by insanity were forgiven, he became sane. When the sins of the man possessed with demons were forgiven, he was freed. When the sins of the prostitute were forgiven, she too was cleansed. When the sins of the dead man were forgiven, he also became alive!
Oh, how terrible is the chain of sins! How heavy are the chains of many sins! These chains are not loosened by sinful hands. But when the hands of the All-Pure Lord touches them, they, of their own accord, become loosened and fall apart. When the voice of the Pure One reaches them, they fall apart. And, from the glance of the Pure One, they fall apart. Yes, even from the thoughts of the Pure One, they fall apart - these terrible chains of sins.
"Who is this Who even forgives sins?" O sinners, this is the All-Pure Lord and because of purity, Almighty.
O, Lord, All-Pure and Almighty free us from the chains of sins.