FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Sunday after Epiphany
George the Chozebite
Domnica the Righteous of Constantinople
Atticus and Cyrus, Holy Patriarchs of Constantinople
Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
Emilianos the Confessor, Bishop of Cyzikos
Gregory of the Kiev Cave
ΜΕΤΑ ΤΑ ΦΩΤΑ.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Γεωργίου τοῦ Χοζεβίτου, τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρός ἡμῶν Δομνίκης.
Τῶν ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατέρων ἡμῶν Ἀττικοῦ καί Κύρου, Πατριαρχῶν Κωνσταντινουπόλεως.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from John 20:11-18
At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that He had said these things to her.
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 20.11-18
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, Μαρία δὲ εἱστήκει πρὸς τῷ μνημείῳ κλαίουσα ἔξω. ὡς οὖν ἔκλαιε, παρέκυψεν εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον καὶ θεωρεῖ δύο ἀγγέλους ἐν λευκοῖς καθεζομένους, ἕνα πρὸς τῇ κεφαλῇ καὶ ἕνα πρὸς τοῖς ποσίν, ὅπου ἔκειτο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ. καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῇ ἐκεῖνοι· γύναι, τί κλαίεις; λέγει αὐτοῖς· ὅτι ἦραν τὸν Κύριόν μου, καὶ οὐκ οἶδα ποῦ ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. καὶ ταῦτα εἰποῦσα ἐστράφη εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω, καὶ θεωρεῖ τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν ἑστῶτα, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει ὅτι ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐστι. λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· γύναι, τί κλαίεις; τίνα ζητεῖς; ἐκείνη δοκοῦσα ὅτι ὁ κηπουρός ἐστι, λέγει αὐτῷ· κύριε, εἰ σὺ ἐβάστασας αὐτόν, εἰπέ μοι ποῦ ἔθηκας αὐτόν, κἀγὼ αὐτὸν ἀρῶ. λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· Μαρία. στραφεῖσα ἐκείνη λέγει αὐτῷ· ῥαββουνί, ὃ λέγεται, διδάσκαλε. λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· μή μου ἅπτου· οὔπω γὰρ ἀναβέβηκα πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου· πορεύου δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφούς μου καὶ εἰπὲ αὐτοῖς· ἀναβαίνω πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν, καὶ Θεόν μου καὶ Θεὸν ὑμῶν. ἔρχεται Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἀπαγγέλλουσα τοῖς μαθηταῖς ὅτι ἑώρακε τὸν Κύριον, καὶ ταῦτα εἶπεν αὐτῇ.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 4:7-13
BRETHREN, grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." (in saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Πρὸς Ἐφεσίους 4:7-13
Ἀδελφοί, ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ χριστοῦ. Διὸ λέγει, Ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν, καὶ ἔδωκεν δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις. Τὸ δέ, Ἀνέβη, τί ἐστιν εἰ μὴ ὅτι καὶ κατέβη πρῶτον εἰς τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς; Ὁ καταβάς, αὐτός ἐστιν καὶ ὁ ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα. Καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους, πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων, εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ· μέχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ.
The Reading is from Matthew 4:12-17
At that time, Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 4.12-17
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ὅτι ᾿Ιωάννης παρεδόθη, ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν,καὶ καταλιπὼν τὴν Ναζαρὲτ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς Καπερναοὺμ τὴν παραθαλασσίαν ἐν ὁρίοις Ζαβουλὼν καὶ Νεφθαλείμ,ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ ῾Ησαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος· γῆ Ζαβουλὼν καὶ γῆ Νεφθαλείμ,ὁδὸν θαλάσσης, πέραν τοῦ ᾿Ιορδάνου,Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν,ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκότειεἶδε φῶς μέγα,καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτουφῶς ἀνέτειλεν αὐτοῖς. ᾿Απὸ τότε ἤρξατο ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν· μετανοεῖτε· ἤγγικε γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Η' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρὸς ἡμῶν Δομνίκης.
Λιποῦσα τὴν γῆν οὐρανόφρων Δομνίκα,
Εἰς οὐρανοὺς ἀνῆλθεν, ὥσπερ ἠγάπα.
Δομνίκαν ὀγδοάτῃ πότμου λάβε νὺξ ἐρεβεννή.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Γεωργίου τοῦ Χοζεβίτου.
Σὺν δάκρυσι σπείραντι τῷ Γεωργίῳ,
Καιρὸς θερίζειν ἐστὶ σὺν εὐθυμίᾳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ἰουλιανοῦ καὶ Βασιλίσσης καὶ τῶν σῦν αὐτοῖς Κελσίου καὶ Ἀντωνίου.
Ἰουλιανῷ πολλὰ καὶ Βασιλίσσῃ,
Ἔπαθλα κεῖνται, κειμένοις ἐκ τοῦ ξίφους.
Τέμνει κεφαλὴν τὸ ξίφος τὴν Κελσίου,
Καὶ σὺν κεφαλῇ τῇ δε τὴν Ἀντωνίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Καρτερίου.
Πάλαιε Καρτέριε πρὸς πῦρ καὶ δόρυ,
Τὸ καρτερὸν σου πρὸς πάλας δεικνὺς δύω.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἐν ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Κύρου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως. Τελεῖται δὲ ἡ αὐτοῦ Σύναξις ἐν τῇ σεβασμίᾳ Μονῇ τῆς Χώρας, καὶ ἐν τῇ Μεγάλῃ Ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ Κυριακῇ.
Ὁ σὴν μελίζων σάρκα Κῦρος Χριστέ μου,
Σαρκὸς διαστάς, σῷ παρίσταται θρόνῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ ἅγιος Ἀττικός, Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ὅλην ὑπερβὰς τὴν ὕλην τοῦ σαρκίου,
Ἥκεις ὅλος νοῦς Ἀττικὲ πρὸς τοὺς Νόας.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ ἅγιος Προφήτης Σαμέας ὁ Ἐλαμίτης, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ἐν γῇ τὸ μέλλον οὐκ ἔτι χρᾷ Σαμέας,
Ἄνω γὰρ οὗτος ὁ προφητικὸς τρίπους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ ἅγιος Ἀγάθων ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ὡς ἠγαθύνθην Ἀγάθων τὴν Καρδίαν,
Εἰρηνικοῦ σοῦ καὶ μόνου μνησθεὶς τέλους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων τοῦ Χριστοῦ Μαρτύρων Θεοφίλου Διακόνου καὶ Ἐλαδίου λαϊκοῦ. Πῦρ ζεῦγος ἀνδρῶν ἐν μεταφρένοις φέρει, Ἐπισκιωθὲν τοῦ Θεοῦ μεταφρένοις.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Ἐν Ἰορδάνῃ βαπτιζομένου σου Κύριε, ἡ τῆς Τριάδος ἐφανερώθη προσκύνησις, τοῦ γὰρ Γεννήτορος ἡ φωνὴ προσεμαρτύρει σοί, ἀγαπητὸν σὲ Υἱὸν ὀνομάζουσα, καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐν εἴδει περιστεράς, ἐβεβαίου τοῦ λόγου τὸ ἀσφαλές. Ὁ ἐπιφανεῖς Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, καὶ τὸν κόσμον φωτίσας δόξα σοί.
When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; for the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and hast enlightened the world, glory be to Thee.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ἐπεφάνης σήμερον τὴ οἰκουμένη, καὶ τὸ φῶς σου Κύριε, ἐσημειώθη ἐφ' ἡμᾶς, ἓν ἐπιγνώσει ὑμνούντάς σε. Ἦλθες ἐφάνης τὸ Φῶς τὸ ἀπρόσιτον.
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."
Saint George lived about the beginning of the ninth century in Palestine, in a certain monastery called Hozeva, which lies in a great ravine between Jerusalem and Jericho.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
Γεωργήσας τόν λόγον Πάτερ τής χάριτος, δικαιοσύνης εδρέψω καρποφορίαν λαμπράν, ως τήν ένθεον ζωήν αιρετισάμενος, όθεν τής δόξης κοινωνός, ανεδείχθης τού Χριστού, Γεώργιε θεοφόρε, ώ καί πρεσβεύεις απαύστως, ελεηθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O George, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.
Saint Domnica was from Carthage. During the reign of the Emperor Theodosius the Great, she came with four other virgins to Constantinople, where she was baptized by Nectarius, the Patriarch of Constantinople. She remained in Constantinople and became known for her extreme asceticism, the miracles that she worked, and the grace of prophecy that adorned her. She lived until the days of the Emperors Leo and Zeno, reposing in peace about the year 474.
Στην προς Φιλιππησίους επιστολή ο άγιος Παύλος γράφει ότι "ημίν εχαρίσθη το υπερ Χριστού, ου μόνον το εις αυτόν πιστεύειν, αλλά και το υπερ αυτού πάσχειν". Τιμή λοιπόν και χάρη του Θεού είναι όχι μόνο να φθάση κανείς στην αληθινή πίστη "δια Ιησού Χριστού", μα και να πάσχη για χάρη του Χριστού. Το πάθος και το μαρτύριο είναι εύνοια και τιμή του Θεού προς τους αληθινούς πιστούς. Ο Χριστός δεν παράλειψε να πη στους μαθητάς του και στους Αποστόλους για τους διωγμούς και για τις θλίψεις των πιστών, τους οποίους μολοντούτο ονομάζει "μακαρίους" και τους χαιρετίζει με το "χαίρετε και αγαλλιάσθε...". Κι ο άγιος Μάρτυς Καρτέριος, του οποίου την μνήμη σήμερα τιμά η Εκκλησία, πριν από το μαρτύριό του άκουσε τον Χριστό να του λέη - είναι τα ίδια σχεδόν λόγια που είπεν ο Χριστός στον Ανανία για τον άγιο Παύλο "δεί γαρ σε πολλά παθείν υπερ του ονόματός μου. Εγώ δε έσομαι μετά σου...".
Ἡ Ὁσία Δομνίκη
Στὴν Καρθαγένη τῆς Ἀφρικῆς, ἐκεῖ ὅπου ὁ ἥλιος ῥίχνει τὶς πιὸ καυτὲς ἀκτῖνες του καὶ ἡ ἀσιτία δέρνει ἀλύπητα ἀκόμα καὶ σήμερα μεγάλο τμῆμα τοῦ πληθυσμοῦ, γεννήθηκε ἡ Ἅγια Δομνίκη. Ὅταν ἔφτασε σὲ νεαρὴ ἡλικία, γιὰ προσωπικοὺς λόγους ἔρχεται στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, τὸ 384, μαζὶ μὲ ἄλλες σαράντα συνομήλικες. Τότε αὐτοκράτορας ἦταν ὁ Μέγας Θεοδόσιος καὶ Πατριάρχης ὁ Νεκτάριος. Μόλις γνωρίζει τὴν Δομνίκη ὁ Πατριάρχης, διακρίνει τὶς ἁγνές της προθέσεις καὶ ἀμέσως τὴν βαπτίζει καὶ μετὰ τὴν κάνει μοναχή. Στὴ χριστιανικὴ μοναχικὴ ζωὴ διακρίνεται νωρὶς ἡ Ἁγία γιὰ τὴν πίστη της, τὸ ζῆλο, τὴν ἀφοσίωσή της στὴ φιλανθρωπία καί, προπάντων, γιὰ τὴν ἁγνότητα τῆς ψυχῆς της, ἀποδεικνύοντας καὶ αὐτὴ μὲ τὴν ζωή της τὰ λόγια τοῦ Κυρίου μας στοὺς μαθητές Του καί, κατ᾿ ἐπέκταση, σὲ ὅσους Τὸν ἀκολουθοῦν: «Σεῖς τώρα εἶσθε καθαροί. Καὶ σᾶς ἔχει καθαρίσει ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας, ποὺ σᾶς ἔχω πεῖ καὶ διδάξει». Ἡ ἠθικὴ καθαρότητα τῆς Ἁγίας Δομνίκης, συνδυασμένη μὲ τὴν ἀξιοθαύμαστη ταπεινοφροσύνη της, εἶχε τέτοια ἀπήχηση στὴ συνείδηση τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας, ὥστε νὰ τὴν κατατάξει στὸ χορὸ τῶν Ἁγίων της.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γεώργιος ὁ Χοζεβίτης
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γεώργιος γεννήθηκε σ᾿ ἕνα χωριὸ τῆς Κύπρου ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς. Εἶχε καὶ ἕνα μεγαλύτερο ἀδελφὸ ποὺ τὸν ἔλεγαν Ἡρακλείδη. Αὐτὸς λοιπόν, ὅταν ἀκόμα ζοῦσαν οἱ γονεῖς τους, πῆγε στοὺς ἁγίους τόπους γιὰ νὰ προσκυνήσει. Ἀφοῦ προσκύνησε, κατόπιν πῆγε στὴ Λαύρα τοῦ Καλαμῶνος καὶ ἐκεῖ ἔγινε μοναχός. Ὁ δὲ Γεώργιος παρέμεινε κοντὰ στοὺς γονεῖς του. Ἀργότερα πέθαναν οἱ γονεῖς του καὶ ὁ Γεώργιος ἔμεινε ὀρφανός. Τότε τὸν παρέλαβε μαζὶ μὲ τὴν κληρονομιά του ὁ θεῖος του, ποὺ εἶχε μία μοναχοκόρη καὶ ἤθελε νὰ τὸν κάνει γαμπρό του. Ὁ Γεώργιος ὅμως δὲν ἤθελε νὰ παντρευτεῖ καὶ ἔφυγε στὸν ἄλλο του θεῖο, ποὺ ἦταν ἡγούμενος σ᾿ ἕνα Μοναστήρι. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ ὁ προηγούμενος θεῖος του πίεζε τὸν ἀδελφό του ἡγούμενο ν᾿ ἀφήσει τὸν Γεώργιο νὰ φύγει ἀπὸ τὸ μοναστήρι, ὁ Γεώργιος ἔφυγε κι ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ καὶ πῆγε στὸν ἀδελφό του Ἡρακλείδη στὴ Λαύρα τοῦ Καλαμῶνος. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ ἦταν νεαρὸς τὸν ὁδήγησε στὴ Μονὴ τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου, τὴν λεγόμενη Χοζεβᾶ. Ἐκεῖ πλέον ὁ Γεώργιος ἀφοῦ ἔγινε μοναχός, ἔζησε αὐστηρὰ ἀσκητικὴ μοναχικὴ ζωή. Ἡ φήμη τῆς ἀρετῆς του ἦταν μεγάλη καὶ τὰ ἅγια ἔργα του δίδαξαν πολλούς. Τελικά, εἰρηνικὰ παρέδωσε τὴν ἁγία του ψυχὴ στὸν Θεό.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἰουλιανός, Βασίλισσα, Κέλσιος καὶ Ἀντώνιος
Μαρτύρησαν στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ 4ου αἰῶνα ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ Μαρκιανοῦ διοικητῆ Αἰγύπτου (290). Ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀντινούπολη τῆς Μέσης Αἰγύπτου. Ὁ γάμος του μὲ τὴν Βασίλισσα (ἔτσι ὀνομαζόταν ἡ γυναῖκα του) δὲν τοὺς ἔδωσε παιδί. Ἀλλὰ παιδιά τους θεωροῦσαν τὰ φτωχὰ καὶ τὰ ὀρφανά. Ὅταν τὸ 303 κηρύχτηκε διωγμὸς κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς καὶ ἡ Βασίλισσα γιὰ νὰ ἀποφύγουν τὴν εἰδωλολατρικὴ βία, πῆγαν, ὁ μὲν σὲ ἀνδρικὸ μοναστήρι, ἡ δὲ σὲ γυναικεῖο. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ σκληρὴ δίωξη ἀπὸ τὸν εἰδωλολάτρη διοικητὴ τῆς Αἰγύπτου Μαρκιανό, ἔφτασε μέχρι αὐτὰ τὰ μοναστήρια. Τότε ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς συνελήφθη καὶ ἰδιαίτερα αὐτὸς βασανίστηκε σκληρά. Ὁ γιὸς ὅμως τοῦ Μαρκιανοῦ, Κέλσιος, ποὺ σεβόταν τοὺς χριστιανούς, εἶπε στὸν πατέρα του νὰ πάψει τὰ σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια. Ἐκεῖνος ἀρνήθηκε. Καὶ ὁ Κέλσιος τότε ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστό, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ τὸν θανατώσει ὁ ἴδιος ὁ πατέρας του. Λίγο ἀργότερα, μετὰ ἀπὸ ἀπάνθρωπα βασανιστήρια, παρέδιδαν στὸν στεφανοδότη Χριστὸ τὶς ψυχὲς τοὺς ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς καὶ ἡ σύζυγός του Βασίλισσα. Μαζί τους δὲ καὶ ἕνας ἱερέας ὀνόματι Ἀντώνιος, καθὼς καὶ κάποιος ἀπὸ τοὺς Δήμιους, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοὶ ἄνδρες. Ἐπίσης καὶ κάποιος ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστὰς Ἀναστάσιος καὶ 20 Στρατιῶτες. Ἡ μνήμη ὅλων τῶν πιὸ πάνω Ἁγίων, ἄγνωστο γιατί, ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 21η Ἰουνίου.
Ἡ Ἁγία Γυναῖκα
Ἡ Ἁγία αὐτὴ ἦταν σύζυγος τοῦ ἡγεμόνα ποὺ θανάτωσε τὸν Ἅγιο Ἰουλιανὸ καὶ μητέρα τοῦ Ἁγίου Κελσίου. Πίστεψε στὸν Χριστὸ ἀπὸ τὰ θαύματα ποὺ ἔγιναν κατὰ τὴν διάρκεια τῶν μαρτυρίων καὶ στὴ συνέχεια ἀποκεφαλίστηκε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Καρτέριος ἱερομάρτυρας
Μαρτύρησε καὶ αὐτὸς στὸ διωγμὸ τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ κατὰ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἦταν Ἱερέας στὴν Καισαρεία τῆς Καππαδοκίας καὶ ἔσπειρε τὸν καλὸ σπόρο στὴν πόλη.Ὅταν οἱ ναοὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ κλείστηκαν, αὐτὸς ἔκανε θεία λειτουργία σ᾿ ἕνα μυστικὸ εὐκτήριο οἶκο. Καταγγέλθηκε, ἀρνήθηκε τὴν ἀναγνώριση τῶν διαταγμάτων τοῦ διωγμοῦ καὶ ἔμεινε σταθερὸς στὴν ὁμολογία τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὁ διοικητὴς Οὐρβανὸς (298) διέταξε τὴν φυλάκισή του. Ὅταν ξαναδήλωσε τὴν πίστη του, μαστιγώθηκε σκληρά. Κατόπιν ξερίζωσαν τὰ νύχια ἀπὸ τὰ χέρια καὶ τὰ πόδια του καὶ ἔπειτα ἄνοιξαν τὰ πλευρά του μὲ σιδερένια νύχια, καὶ τὶς πληγὲς ἔκαψαν μὲ ἀναμμένες λαμπάδες ἀπὸ ῥητίνη. Ἀλλὰ ὁ Καρτέριος ὑπέμεινε νικηφόρα, ἐφαρμόζοντας τὸ λόγο τοῦ ἀπ. Παύλου: «τὶς ὑμᾶς χωρίσει ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ; θλῖψις ἢ κίνδυνος ἢ μάχαιρα;» (Ῥωμ. η´ 35). Καὶ ἔτσι πῆρε τὸ ἀμάραντο στεφάνι τῆς αἰώνιας δόξας.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Θεόφιλος ὁ Διάκονος καὶ Ἑλλάδιος ὁ λαϊκός
Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ Μάρτυρες ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Λιβύη. Συνελήφθησαν διότι ὁμολογοῦσαν τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ὁδηγήθηκαν στὸν ἀνθύπατο καὶ ἄρχοντα τῆς Λιβύης. Ἐπειδὴ ἐπέμεναν στὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τοὺς καταξέσχισαν καὶ ἔτσι παρέδωσαν οἱ Ἅγιοι τὶς ψυχές τους στὰ χέρια τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἀνέβηκαν νικηφόροι στὰ οὐράνια.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀγάθων
Ἀπὸ τοὺς λόγιους καὶ πολύπειρους ἀσκητὲς τῆς ἐρήμου, ποὺ σοφὰ ἀποφθέγματά του βρίσκονται στὸ Γεροντικό. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀγάθων εἶναι ἐκεῖνος περὶ τοῦ ὁποίου γράφεται ἐν τῷ Γεροντικῷ, ὅτι ἀκούοντες τινές, ὅτι ἔχει μεγάλην διάκρισιν, ἠθέλησαν νὰ τὸν δοκιμάσωσιν ἂν ὀργίζηται, ὅθεν εἶπον εἰς αὐτόν: «Σὺ εἶσαι ὁ Ἀγάθων; ἄκουομεν ὅτι εἶσαι πόρνος καὶ ὑπερήφανος». Ὁ δὲ Ὅσιος εἶπε: «Ναί, οὕτως ἔχει ἡ ἀλήθεια». Πάλιν εἶπον: «Σὺ εἶσαι ὁ Ἀγάθων, ὁ φλύαρος καὶ κατάλαλος;». Ὁ Ὅσιος ἀπεκρίθη: «Ναί, ἐγὼ εἶμαι». Οἱ δὲ πάλιν εἶπον: «Σὺ εἶσαι ὁ Ἀγάθων ὁ αἱρετικός;». Ὁ Ὅσιος ἀπεκρίθη «Δὲν εἶμαι αἱρετικός». Ἐκεῖνοι δὲ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες: «Διατὶ τὰς μὲν ἄλλας ὕβρεις ἐδέχθης, ταύτην ὅμως δὲν ἐβάστασας;». Ἀπεκρίθη ὁ γέρων: «Ἐκείνας μὲν ἐδέχθην, διότι εἶναι ὄφελος εἰς τὴν ψυχήν μου, τὸ δὲ αἱρετικὸς εἶναι χωρισμὸς ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τοῦτο δὲν τὸ ἐδέχθην». Οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες ἔθαυμασαν τὴν διάκρισίν του καὶ ἀπῆλθον ὠφεληθέντες.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Κῦρος Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Ἡ πατριαρχεία του διήρκησε ἀπὸ τὸ 705 μέχρι τὸ 711. Τὰ χρόνια ἐκεῖνα τάραζαν τὴν Ἐκκλησία καὶ τὸ Κράτος οἱ αἱρέσεις τοῦ Μονοφυσιτισμοῦ καὶ τοῦ Μονοθελητισμοῦ, παρόλο ποὺ εἶχαν καταδικασθεῖ ἀπὸ τὴν Δ´ καὶ ΣΤ´ Οἰκουμενικὴ Σύνοδο. Οἱ ὀπαδοὶ τῶν αἱρέσεων αὐτῶν ἦταν πάρα πολλοὶ στὴ Συρία, τὴν Αἴγυπτο, τὴ Μεσοποταμία, τὴν Ἀρμενία, τὴν Περσία, καὶ βοήθησαν τοὺς Ἄραβες στὴν κατάκτηση τῶν χωρῶν αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν ἀπόσπασή τους ἀπὸ τὸ Βυζάντιο. Ἐνῷ ὅμως ἡ ἀνάκτηση τους ἦταν ἀδύνατη, ὑπῆρχε μερίδα - κυρίως αἱρετικῶν ἀνθρώπων, ποὺ ἐπέμενε ὅτι ἦταν δυνατὸ νὰ ἀνακτηθοῦν οἱ χῶρες ἐκεῖνες, ἐὰν τὸ Βυζάντιο καταργοῦσε τὶς δυσμενεῖς γιὰ Μονοφυσῖτες καὶ Μονοθελητὲς ἀποφάσεις τῆς Δ´ καὶ ΣΤ´ Οἰκουμενικῆς Συνόδου. Πρᾶγμα ποὺ δυστυχῶς συνέβη ἀπὸ τὸν αὐτοκράτορα Φιλιππικό. Ὁ Πατριάρχης Κῦρος ἀντιστάθηκε σθεναρὰ στὴ διαταγὴ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα αὐτὸς νὰ τὸν ἐκθρονήσει καὶ νὰ τὸν κλείσει στὴ Μονὴ τῆς Χώρας. Ἐκεῖ ὁ Κῦρος πέρασε τὰ τελευταῖα χρόνια της ζωῆς του, μὲ ἥσυχη τὴν συνείδηση ὅτι περιφρόνησε τὴν ἀπειλὴ τοῦ ἀσεβοῦς αὐτοκράτορα, δέχθηκε τὸ διωγμό του καὶ ἦταν ἕτοιμος νὰ δεχθεῖ καὶ τὸ θάνατο.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀττικὸς Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Γεννήθηκε στὴ Σεβάστεια τῆς Ἀρμενίας, ὅπου καὶ ἐκπαιδεύτηκε. Ὅταν πῆγε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, ἔγινε κληρικὸς τῆς ἐκεῖ Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς. Ἡ μόρφωσή του ἦταν μέτρια, πολλὴ ὅμως ἦταν ἡ φιλοτιμία καὶ ὁ κόπος του στὸ νὰ μελετᾷ γιὰ νὰ μπορεῖ νὰ κηρύττει. Στὴ ζωή του ἦταν ἀσκητικὸς ἀλλὰ συγχρόνως καὶ κοινωνικὸς τύπος. Στὴν Ἀρχιεπισκοπὴ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως διαδέχτηκε τὸν ἀποθανόντα - κατὰ τὸ μήνα Ὀκτώβριο τοῦ 405 - Ἀρσάκιο. Ἡ ἐκλογή του ἔγινε στὰ τέλη τοῦ 405 ἢ ἀρχὲς τοῦ 406. Ἐπὶ τῆς πατριαρχείας του ἔγιναν τὰ ἑξῆς: Τὸ 415 ἔγιναν τὰ ἐγκαίνια τοῦ - πυρποληθέντος τὸ 404 - ναοῦ τῆς Ἁγίας Σοφίας. Τὸ 421 βάπτισε τὴν περίφημη Ἀθηναΐδα, κόρη τοῦ Ἀθηναίου σοφιστῆ Λεοντίου, ἀφοῦ τὴν μετονόμασε σὲ Εὐδοκία καὶ κατόπιν εὐλόγησε τοὺς γάμους της μὲ τὸν αὐτοκράτορα Θεοδόσιο τὸν Β´. Ὑπῆρξε μεγάλος εὐεργέτης τῶν φτωχῶν. Ἐργάστηκε ἐναντίον τῶν δεισιδαιμονιῶν. Μὲ τὴν μετριοπάθεια καὶ τὴν ἀγαθότητά του κέρδισε πολλοὺς σχισματικοὺς καὶ αἱρετικούς. Τὸ 422 ἔγραψε στὰ Δίπτυχα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τὸν ἅγιο Ἰωάννη τὸν Χρυσόστομο. Ὁ Ἀττικὸς πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ 425· πατριάρχευσε 20 χρόνια.
Ὁ Προφήτης Σαμέας ὁ Ἐλαμίτης
Ἕνας ἀπὸ τοὺς προφῆτες ποὺ τὸ βιβλίο του χάθηκε, ὅπως μαθαίνουμε ἀπὸ τὸ Β´ Παραλειπομένων (κβ´ 15): «καὶ λόγοι Ῥοβοὰμ οἱ πρῶτοι οὐκ ἰδοὺ γεγραμμένοι ἐν τοῖς λόγοις Σαμέου τοῦ προφήτου;». Αὐτὸς ἐπίσης ἐμπόδισε τὸν Ῥοβοάμ, γιὸ τοῦ Σολομῶντα, νὰ κινήσει πόλεμο κατὰ τῶν δώδεκα φυλῶν γιὰ τὴν προστασία τους (Γ´ Βασιλ. κεφ. ιβ´).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Θεόδωρος κτήτορας καὶ ἡγούμενος τῆς Μονῆς Χώρας
Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναγράφεται στὸ Βυζαντινὸ Ἑορτολόγιο τοῦ Γεδεῶν σελ. 55.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μακάριος ὁ Μακρής, ἡγούμενος τῆς Μονῆς Παντοκράτορα Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Θεσσαλονίκη καὶ ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Μανουὴλ τοῦ Παλαιολόγου. Ἦταν Ἑβραῖος καὶ ἔγινε χριστιανὸς μὲ πολλὴ ἀρετή, σύνεση καὶ εὐφράδεια λόγου. Νέος στὴν ἡλικία πῆγε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, ὅπου ἔκαρη μοναχὸς στὴ Μονὴ Βατοπεδίου. Ἀργότερα πῆγε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ ἔγινε ἡγούμενος τῆς Μονῆς Παντοκράτορα καὶ πνευματικὸς τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα, ποὺ τοῦ ἔδωσε τὸ ἀξίωμα τοῦ μεγάλου Πρωτοσύγκελλου. Ἀπεβίωσε στὴ Χάλκη ἀπὸ μία θανατηφόρα ἀῤῥώστια στὶς 7 Ἰανουαρίου 1431 μ.Χ. Ἀκολουθία του βρίσκεται σὲ κάποιο Κώδικα τοῦ Καιροῦ, ποὺ δημοσίευσε ὁ Κεραμεύς.
Τὴ μετὰ τὰ Θεοφάνεια πρώτη Κυριακή: Μνήμην ἐπιτελοῦμεν ἐν τῇ περιοχῇ τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μητροπόλεως Ἐδέσσης καὶ Πέλλης, τῶν ἁγίων Παρθενομαρτύρων Νεολλίνας, Δομνίνας καὶ Παρθένας της Ἐδεσσαἰας (1373/5).
Our Venerable Mother Domnica (Domnina) (~474)
She was born in Rome and reared in the love of Christ. She secretly left her parents' house and traveled by ship to Alexandria, where she found lodging with four virtuous pagan maidens. By her example and counsel these four were in time led to abandon idolatry and embrace Domnica's faith. The five then sailed to Constantinople, where it is said that the Patriarch Nectarius (October 11) was notified of their coming by an angel and met them at the dock. The Patriarch baptized the four maidens himself, giving them the names Dorothea, Evanthia, Nonna and Timothea, then settle them and Domnica in a monastery.
Soon the fame of Domnica's pure life, wise teaching, and wondrous healings spread throughout the city, and even the Emperor Theodosius, with the Empress and his court, came to see her. Soon the crowds made it impossible for her and her sisters to live the heavenly life for which they had entered the monastery; so they relocated the monastery to a remote, demon-haunted location where executions had once commonly been performed, since everyone avoided the area. Here a new monastery was built by order of the Emperor, and the sisters found peace.
Saint Domnica's fame continued, and she became not only a healer but an oracle for the city of Constantinople, prophesying the death of the Emperor Theodosius and the unrest which followed it. She reposed in peace, having first entrusted the care of the monastery to Dorothea. At the moment of her death, the whole monastery was shaken, and those present saw Saint Domnica dressed as a bride, being borne heavenward escorted by a company of white-clad monks and nuns.
Saint Atticus, Patriarch of Constantinople (425)
Born in Sebaste in Armenia, he was reared by monks who held to the heresy of Macedonius, which denied the uncreated divinity of the Holy Spirit; but when he came of age he rejected this error and embraced the Orthodox faith. He settled in Constantinople and became a priest in the Great Church. Though he had little formal education, his amazing memory, his zeal for Christ, and his powerful sermons recommended him to all, and he was elected Patriarch in 406, during the reign of the Emperor Arcadius. He served as shepherd to the Church for twenty years, ruling always with wisdom and moderation. Though he was unbending in upholding the Faith exactly, he took a conciliatory, persuasive approach to heretics and schismatics; in this way he was able to restore many to the Church rather than driving them away. His best-known single act is his restoration of the name of St John Chrysostom to the diptychs. Saint John had been unjustly denied commemoration in the Patriarchate since his exile, which had led to a schism; restoration of his commemoration not only corrected a grave injustice but healed a schism. Saint Atticus also presided over the rededication of the Agia Sophia, which had been burned in 404 in the rioting that followed St John Chrysostom's exile. He reposed in peace in 425.
Saint Severinus (482)
St. Severinus came to the borderland of present-day Gemany and Austria from the east — possibly the Egyptian desert — to care for the Roman Christians who were endangered by invading barbarians during the collapse of the Roman Empire. He remained there until the end of his life. While he was there he advised both common people and kings to put eternal life first, and taught them to be generous to one another and to lead a true Christian life. He built a monastery and protected from harm those who gathered around him. As he foretold, the monks and other Christians who had followed him escaped to saftety in Italy, taking St. Severinus' incorrupt relics with them. His relics are still honored in Frattamaggiore, Italy (near Naples).
—from the 2006 Saint Herman Calendar
The Monk Gregory Khozebites was born on the island of Crete. At the death of his parents he set off to Palestine to venerate at the holy places. Here he entered into the Khuzebite monastic community, situated between the River Jordan and Jerusalem, and he later became head of this monastery. The Monk George presented the monks example in fasting, vigil and physical efforts. Having lived upon the earth as though incorporeal, he died peacefully (VII).
The Nun Domnica came from Carthage to Constantinople during the time of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great. Here she accepted Baptism from Patriarch Nektarios and entered a women's monastery. By means of strict and prolonged ascetic effort she attained to high spiritual perfection. The saint healed the sick, demonstrated power over the natural elements, and predicted the future. By her miracles the saint moved inhabitants of the capital towards concerns about life eternal and the soul. Adorned by virtues, the saint expired from life a spotless virgin in her old age (+ 474).
The Monk Gregory was tonsured into monasticism at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery during the time of the Monk Theodosii (+ 1074, Comm. 3 May). The saint devoted much time to the reading of books, which were his sole possession. The monk had the ability to bring thieves to their senses. Several times robbers broke in on him in his cell or in the garden, but the saint mildly reasoned with them; the thieves became repentant, straightened themselves out and from that time they began to lead honest lives.
One time, when the monk went to the Dneipr River for water, young fellows marching off on a campaign with prince Rostislav, caught sight of the elder and began rudely to laugh and mock at him. The saint answered them: "Children, it becometh ye to be contrite and ask for my prayers, since over you is already decided the judgement of God. All ye together with your prince will find death in the water". By orders of the enraged prince Rostislav, the monk was bound hand and foot and with a stone about his neck he was drowned in the Dneipr. But his prediction came true. Rostislav did not return from the campaign. In that same year of 1093 the twenty year old prince drowned in view of his brother, Vladimir Monomakh, trying to save himself in flight from the Polovetsians.
Several sources identify Saint Gregory with the Monk Gregory, a compiler of canons commemorating holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir, the Monk Theodosii, and the holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb. But the Monk Gregory, compiler of canons, lived later and died in about the year 1120. The Monk Gregory the Wonderworker died in 1093 and was buried in the Nearer Caves. His memory is made also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
The Monk Gregory, Hermit of Pechersk, lived during the XIV Century. In the "Accounts of the Lives of the Saints, Reposed in the Cave of the Monk Theodosii", it says, that uncooked grass served as the food of the Monk Gregory all his life. He gave this grass to those coming to him, and the sick were healed. His memory is also 28 August and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
The PriestMartyr Isidor was priest of the Nikol'sk church in the city of Yur'ev (Derpto, at present Taru in Estonia). According to the terms of a treaty concluded in 1463 between the Moscow Greatprince Ivan III and the Livonian knights, the latter were obligated to extend to the Orthodox at Derpto every protection. But the Livonian knights broke the treaty and began to try forcing the Orthodox into the Unia. Presbyter Isidor bravely stood forth in defense of Orthodoxy. He preferred to accept a martyr's crown rather than submit to the Catholics. Blessed Isidor together with 72 of his parishioners were drowned in the ice-hole, cut open on the feast of Theophany after the blessing of waters in the River Amovzha (or Emaiyga, now Emajogi). In Spring, during a time of flooding, the undecayed bodies of the holy martyrs, and among them the fully-vested body of the PriestMartyr Isidor, were found by Russian merchants journeying along the River bank. They buried the saints around the Nikol'sk church.
The Monk Paisii of Uglich: the account is situated under 6 June.
The Holy Martyr Julian was born in the Egyptian city of Antinoe, and to satisfy his parents he entered into marriage with the nobleborn and rich maiden, Basilissa. In marriage the spouses remained virginal. Upon the death of their parents they built two monasteries: a men's and a women's, and they themselves accepted monasticism and headed these monasteries. In the year 313, during the reign of Diocletian, Saint Julian suffered cruelly for his faith in Christ. But by his bravery he converted Celsius, the son of his torturer the hegemon Marcian, and also that one's wife, Marionilla. Having resurrected a dead pagan, the saint converted him also. The converts received Baptism from Presbyter Anthony. In Baptism the pagan was given the name Anastasias (i.e. "Resurrected"). After imprisonment they all accept a martyr's crown, won through beheading by the sword. With them also were numbered 20 soldiers and 7 youths.
The Monk Ilias the Egyptian, having accepted monasticism, pursued asceticism for 75 years on a desolate mountain in a stone cave, and he died in the IV Century at age 110.
The Martyr Abo of Tbilela (Tbilisi), an Arab by descent, lived during the VIII Century in Baghdad and was a preparer of fragrant ointments. At 17-18 he found himself in Tbilisi, having followed the ruler of Kartla (Eastern Gruzia), Nerses. Nerses, having been slandered before the caliph, had spent three years at Baghdad imprisoned; but having been set free by a new caliph, he took Abo with him. In Tbilisi Abo learned the Gruzian (Georgian) language. By his virtues he gained the love and respect of the people. Abo began to study the Holy Scripture and quite frequently to visit the temples of God. Persevering in fasting and prayer, he sought the proper moment, to accept holy Baptism. During this time the ruler of Kartla, Nerses, was again denounced before the caliph and summoned to Baghdad. Nerses, wanting to flee retribution, journeyed north to Khazaria. In his retinue of 300 men was also Abo. In Khazaria he accepted holy Baptism. After several more months of following Nerses, Abo found himself at Abkhazia. He led there a strict ascetic life, constantly meditating upon the Holy Scripture, and he prayed long at church services. The pious life of Saint Abo became known both to the ruler and the bishop of Abkhazia. They often invited Saint Abo for spiritual conversation, marvelling at his deep faith and knowledge. But in wishing to shun earthly glory, and impressed by the exploit of the Monk Anthony the Great, Saint Abo devoted himself to quietude, and only after three months, on the day of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ did he break his silence, glorifying and preaching the Resurrection of the Saviour.
Nerses soon decided to return to Tbilisi, and Abo fearlessly followed him, although the ruler of Abkhazia besought him to remain, fearing for his fate. At Tbilisi, situated then under the power of the Mahometans, Saint Abo openly confessed Christ the Saviour, and by this he drew down upon himself the vindictive wrath of the Persians. Saint Abo was locked up in prison, and then brought to trial. They tried to get him to return to Mahometanism at first by persuasion and by promises of all sorts of riches and honours. But when they saw, that Abo remained unyielding, they again threw him in prison. On the 9th day of imprisonment an Angel of the Lord revealed to Saint Abo about the impending day of his martyr's death.
At the third hour of the feast of Theophany Saint Abo received the Holy Mysteries and was soon led away by the guards for execution. Hoping by means of fear to compel a recanting from Christ, they three times struck at Saint Abo with the blunt side of the sword. The martyr however remained steadfast. He then died through the cutting off of his venerable head on that day, a Friday, 6 January 786.
The body of Saint Abo was smeared with naphtha and set afire at the rock-cleft edge of that place, where later was built the Tbilisi Metekhsk church. "The Lord did send to this place a star, shining like unto a lampada, which stood in the air until the third hour of the night and moreso... and itself did illumine all Tiflis". The bones of Saint Abo were thrown over a bridge into the River Kura. On the next day, 7 January, they were glorified by a wondrous pillar of light coming out of the water, about which testified the contemporary of Saint Abo, John Sabanisdze, who compiled his life.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYRS JULIAN AND BASILISSA
Julian and Basilissa were of noble and wealthy parents. United in marriage, they vowed to live chastely as brother and sister. They distributed all of their property to the poor and both were tonsured. Julian founded a monastery and Basilissa founded a convent. Julian had about ten-thousand monks and Basilissa about a thousand nuns. When a terrible persecution began under Diocletian, Basilissa implored God that none of her nuns would become frightened of the tortures and would not fall away from the Orthodox Faith. The Lord heard the prayers of His worthy handmaiden and, in the course of six months, received unto Himself all the nuns, one by one and finally their abbess Basilissa. Before her death, Basilissa had a vision of her sisters [nuns] from the other world. To her, all of them appeared to her radiant and joyful as angels of God and beckoned their spiritual mother to come to them as soon as possible. Unlike Basilissa's convent, Julian's monastery was set ablaze by the persecutors and Julian was inhumanly tortured and died from the most difficult sufferings. During his tortures, the Lord watched over him and strengthened him so that he heroically endured, preserved his Faith and glorified the Name of Christ. Beheaded along with Julian were Celsus and Maronilla, the son and wife of the tormentor Marcian, who witnessing Julian's heroism in suffering and torture, were themselves converted to the Faith of Christ. Also beheaded were twenty Roman soldiers; seven brothers from that town; the presbyter Anthony; and a certain Anastasius, whom Julian at the time of his torture, resurrected from the dead by prayer. All suffered honorably for Christ and became citizens of the heavenly kingdom about the year 313 A.D.
2. VENERABLE GEORGE THE CHOZIBITE
George lived an ascetical life in the seventh century in Choziba Monastery in Jericho on the road from Jerusalem, the monastery where the Venerable John Chozibite first led an ascetical life.
3. SAINT DOMNICA
During the reign of Emperor Theodosius, Domnica, unbaptized, came from Carthage to Constantinople with four other pagan maidens. Patriarch Macarius baptized them and gave his blessing to them to live as nuns. With great zeal, St. Domnica gave herself up to a life of asceticism and in that zeal did not waver until her death in extreme old age. She died in the Lord about 474 A.D. She was so enlightened by the Holy Spirit that she was able to discern events in the future and through prayer to work miracles.
4. SAINT GREGORY, BISHOP OF OHRID
Gregory was a devout teacher and shepherd of Christ's flock. He died in the year 1012 A.D. In one of the inscriptions in the Church of St. Sophia in Ohrid, he is referred to as "Gregory, the all-wise."
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINTS JULIAN AND BASILISSA
Bound by marriage, more bound with Christ,
A spiritual union, a union more lasting.
In the Book of the Living, their names the Spirit wrote:
"Brother Julian and Sister Basilissa."
Forsook all and after Christ they followed,
And when the hour chimes, their lives they gave up
For the love of God, the love of the Triune sun,
Glory, they despised, all the glory of the world;
Themselves, they glorified with the love of God;
And a wonderful example to us, they left.
The treasure of the Church, adornment and honor:
The wonder-working blood of these martyrs, wondrous.
On one of the stones in the Church of St. Sophia, the following words were engraved: "Wash your sins, not only your face." Whoever entered this glorious church read this inscription and remembered that the Christian Faith requires of him moral purity: purity of the soul, purity of the heart and purity of the mind. Just as in the heart of man is concentrated the complete spiritual man, this is what the Lord also said, "Blessed are the pure of heart" (St. Matthew 5:8). Total external cleanliness does not help at all in gaining the kingdom of heaven. Oh, if only we would invest as much effort in washing ourselves from sins as we invest daily in washing our faces, then God would truly be seen in our hearts as though in a mirror!
To contemplate the three temptations by which Satan tempted the Lord Jesus:
1. Gluttony: The temptation with bread;
2. Vainglory: Lifting Him above the Temple;
3. Avarice: Offering Him the possession of the entire world.
About the needed caution for those who think that they are secure
"Therefore, whoever thinkshe is standing secure should take care not to fall" (I Corinthians 10:12).
The apostle who gives such advice knew human nature perfectly and all its weakness. Day after day, this experience is confirmed: that as soon as man straightens up from the mud of sin, he then sways and falls again. As soon as he is cured of the sin of avarice, he falls into the vice of vainglory. Or, as soon as he extends his hand to help a poor man, pride then topples him to the other side. Or, as soon as he becomes accustomed to prayer, he then opens wide his mouth to degrade those who are not yet accustomed to prayer. Or, as soon as he felt that the Spirit of God is directing him to the path of salvation, he then immediately sets himself up as a teacher to the entire world until unfortunately by that he completely drives away the Spirit from within himself.
When the Lord foretold to His disciples that they would all deny Him and flee, then Peter confident in his stability cried out: "Though all may have their faith in You shaken, mine will never be" (St. Matthew 26:33). Discerning his very heart only and seeing him already fallen into self-conceit and pride, the Lord responded to him, "This very night before the cock crows, you will deny Me three times" (St. Matthew 26:34). And when such a fall happened to the apostle in the immediate proximity of the Lord, why would it not happen to us? This is why, brethren, when we rise and turn from a certain sin and stand erect, we should ascribe this to the power and mercy of God and not to ourselves and we should be very vigilant to protect ourselves and to implore God that we, again, do not fall, be it to one side or the other side, but walk on the upright path of the Lord.
O All-seeing Lord, help us to stand straight before You by the Spirit, and when we become erect, uphold us that we do not fall anymore.