Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28, 2012 - Second Tuesday of Lent

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Basil the Confessor
Kyranna the New Martyr of Thessaloniki

Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν καί Ὁμολογητοῦ Βασιλείου, συνασκητοῦ τοῦ Ἁγίου Προκοπίου τοῦ Δεκαπολίτου.

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:


Prokeimenon. Tone 4. Psalm 5.
Attend to the voice of my supplication.
Verse: Give ear to my words, O Lord; understand my cry.
The Reading is from the Prophecy of Isaias.
1:19-31 & 2:1-3
Thus says the Lord: If you are willing and will listen to me, you eat the good things of the land; but if you are not willing, and will not listen to me, a sword devours you; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken this. How has faithful Sion, full of judgement, become a harlot city; in which justice once slept, but now murderers. You silver is worthless; your merchants mix wine with water; your rulers disobey, companions of thieves, loving bribes, running after reward, not judging for orphans, not giving judgement for widows. Because of this, thus says the Lord, the Master of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: Woe to the strong in Jerusalem! For my wrath will not cease among my opponents; and I will execute judgement on my foes, and I will bring my hand upon you, and I will refine you into something pure; but the disobedient I will destroy, and remove all the lawless from you, and I will humble all the proud. And I will establish your judges as before, and your counsellors as from the beginning; and after this you shall be called a city of justice, mother city, faithful Sion; for with judgement will her captivity be saved, and with mercy. And the lawless will be crushed, and sinners as well, and those who have deserted the Lord will be utterly consumed. Therefore they will be shamed by their idols, which they wished for; and disgraced for their groves, which they desired. For they shall be a terebinth which has lost its leaves, and as a garden which has no water. And their strength will be a piece of tow and their works sparks of fire; and the lawless shall be burnt up, and sinners as well, and there shall be no one to quench the fire. [2:1] The word which came from the Lord to Isaias, son of Amos, concerning Judea and Jerusalem: That in the last day the mountain of the Lord will be manifest, and the house of the Lord on the peaks of the mountains; and it will be exalted high above the hills, and all the nations will come to it, and many nations will journey and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will proclaim his way to us; and we shall walk in it.

Προκείμενον Ἦχος δ' Ψαλμὸς ε'
Πρόσχες τῇ φωνῇ τῆς δεήσεώς μου.
Στίχ. Τὰ ῥήματά μου ἐνώτισαι Κύριε.
Προφητείας Ἡσαΐου τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα
(Κεφ. Α', 19-31 Β', 13)
Τάδε λέγει Κύριος· Ἐὰν θέλητε καὶ εἰσακούσητέ μου, τὰ ἀγαθὰ τῆς γῆς φάγεσθε, ἐὰν δὲ μὴ θέλητε, μηδὲ εἰσακούσητέ μου, μάχαιρα ὑμᾶς κατέδεται· τὸ γὰρ στόμα Κυρίου ἐλάλησε ταῦτα. Πῶς ἐγένετο πόρνη πόλις πιστὴ Σιών, πλήρης κρίσεως; ἐν ᾗ δικαιοσύνη ἐκοιμήθη ἐν αὐτῇ, νῦν δὲ φονευταί. Τὸ ἀργύριον ὑμῶν ἀδόκιμον· οἱ κάπηλοί σου σμίγουσι τὸν οἶνον ὕδατι· οἱ ἄρχοντές σου ἀπειθοῦσι, κοινωνοὶ κλεπτῶν, ἀγαπῶντες δῶρα, διώκοντες ἀνταπόδομα, ὀρφανοὺς οὐ κρίνοντες, καὶ κρίσει χηρῶν οὐ προσέχοντες. Διὰ τοῦτο, τάδε λέγει Κύριος, ὁ Δεσπότης Σαβαώθ, ὁ Δυνάστης τοῦ Ἰσραήλ· οὐαὶ τοῖς ἰσχύουσιν ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ! οὐ παύσεται γάρ μου ὁ θυμός ἐν τοῖς ὑπεναντίοις, καὶ κρίσιν ἐκ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μου ποιήσω, καὶ ἐπάξω τὴν χεῖρά μου ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ πυρώσω σε εἰς καθαρόν, τοὺς δὲ ἀπειθοῦντας ἀπολέσω, καὶ ἀφελῶ πάντας ἀνόμους ἀπὸ σοῦ, καὶ πάντας ὑπερηφάνους ταπεινώσω. Καὶ ἐπιστήσω τοὺς κριτάς σου, ὡς τὸ πρότερον, καὶ συμβούλους σου, ὡς τὸ ἀπ' ἀρχῆς, καὶ μετὰ τούς ταῦτα κληθήσῃ πόλις δικαιοσύνης, μητρόπολις πιστὴ Σιών· μετὰ γὰρ κρίματος σωθήσεται ἡ αἰχμαλωσία αὐτῆς, καὶ μετὰ ἐλεημοσύνης. Καὶ συντριβήσονται οἱ ἄνομοι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἅμα, καὶ οἱ ἐγκαταλιπόντες τὸν Κύριον συντελεσθήσονται. Διότι νῦν αἰσχυνθήσονται ἐν τοῖς εἰδώλοις αὐτῶν, ἃ αὐτοὶ ἠβούλοντο, καὶ αἰσχυνθήσονται ἐν τοῖς γλυπτοῖς αὐτῶν, ἐφ' οἷς αὐτοὶ ἐπεποίθησαν, καὶ αἰσχυνθήσονται ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν, ἐφ οἷς αὐτοὶ ἐβουλεύσαντο. Ἔσται γάρ, ὡς τερέβινθος, ἀποβεβληκυῖα τὰ φύλλα αὐτῆς· καὶ ὡς παράδεισος, ὕδωρ μὴ ἔχων. Καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἰσχὺς αὐτῶν, ὡς καλάμη στυππείου, καὶ ἡ ἐργασία αὐτῶν, σπινθῆρες πυρός, καὶ κατακαυθήσονται οἱ ἄνομοι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἅμα, καὶ οὐκ ἔσται ὁ σβέσων, ὁ λόγος ὁ γενόμενος πρὸς Ἡσαΐαν υἱον Ἀμώς, περὶ Ἰουδαίας, καὶ περὶ Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ὅτι ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις ἐμφανὲς τὸ ὄρος Κυρίου, καὶ ὁ οἶκος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπ' ἄκρων τῶν ὀρέων, καὶ ὑψωθήσεται ὑπεράνω τῶν βουνῶν, καὶ ἥξουσιν ἐπ' αὐτῷ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. Καὶ πορεύσονται λαοὶ πολλοί, καὶ ἐροῦσι· Δεῦτε, ἀναβῶμεν εἰς τὸ ὄρος Κυρίου, καὶ εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ Ἰακώβ, καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ἡμῖν τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πορευσώμεθα ἐν αὐτῇ.

Prokeimenon of the Evening. Tone 5. Psalm 7.
Lord, my God, I have hoped in you.
Verse: Save me from all those who persecute me.
The Reading is from Genesis.
1:14-23
God said: Let there be lamps in the firmament of heaven to give light on the earth, and to make a separation between the day and the night; and let them exist for signs and for seasons and for days and for years; and let them exist to give light in the firmament of heaven, so as to shine on the earth; and it was so. And God made the two great lamps, the great lamp to rule the day, and the lesser lamp to rule the night and the stars. And God placed them in the firmament of heaven so as to shine on the earth, and to rule the day and the night, and to make a separation between the light and the darkness; and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. And god said: Let the waters bring forth reptiles of living souls, and winged creatures flying over the earth, under the firmament of heaven; and it was so. And God made the great whales, and every soul of living reptiles, which the waters brought forth according to their kind, and every winged flying creature according to its kind. And God saw that they were good; and God blessed them and said: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the winged creatures be multiplied upon the earth. And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Προκείμενον Ἦχος δ' Ψαλμὸς ε'
Πρόσχες τῇ φωνῇ τῆς δεήσεώς μου.
Στίχ. Τὰ ῥήματά μου ἐνώτισαι Κύριε.
Προφητείας Ἡσαΐου τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα
(Κεφ. Α', 19-31 Β', 13)
Τάδε λέγει Κύριος· Ἐὰν θέλητε καὶ εἰσακούσητέ μου, τὰ ἀγαθὰ τῆς γῆς φάγεσθε, ἐὰν δὲ μὴ θέλητε, μηδὲ εἰσακούσητέ μου, μάχαιρα ὑμᾶς κατέδεται· τὸ γὰρ στόμα Κυρίου ἐλάλησε ταῦτα. Πῶς ἐγένετο πόρνη πόλις πιστὴ Σιών, πλήρης κρίσεως; ἐν ᾗ δικαιοσύνη ἐκοιμήθη ἐν αὐτῇ, νῦν δὲ φονευταί. Τὸ ἀργύριον ὑμῶν ἀδόκιμον· οἱ κάπηλοί σου σμίγουσι τὸν οἶνον ὕδατι· οἱ ἄρχοντές σου ἀπειθοῦσι, κοινωνοὶ κλεπτῶν, ἀγαπῶντες δῶρα, διώκοντες ἀνταπόδομα, ὀρφανοὺς οὐ κρίνοντες, καὶ κρίσει χηρῶν οὐ προσέχοντες. Διὰ τοῦτο, τάδε λέγει Κύριος, ὁ Δεσπότης Σαβαώθ, ὁ Δυνάστης τοῦ Ἰσραήλ· οὐαὶ τοῖς ἰσχύουσιν ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ! οὐ παύσεται γάρ μου ὁ θυμός ἐν τοῖς ὑπεναντίοις, καὶ κρίσιν ἐκ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μου ποιήσω, καὶ ἐπάξω τὴν χεῖρά μου ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ πυρώσω σε εἰς καθαρόν, τοὺς δὲ ἀπειθοῦντας ἀπολέσω, καὶ ἀφελῶ πάντας ἀνόμους ἀπὸ σοῦ, καὶ πάντας ὑπερηφάνους ταπεινώσω. Καὶ ἐπιστήσω τοὺς κριτάς σου, ὡς τὸ πρότερον, καὶ συμβούλους σου, ὡς τὸ ἀπ' ἀρχῆς, καὶ μετὰ τούς ταῦτα κληθήσῃ πόλις δικαιοσύνης, μητρόπολις πιστὴ Σιών· μετὰ γὰρ κρίματος σωθήσεται ἡ αἰχμαλωσία αὐτῆς, καὶ μετὰ ἐλεημοσύνης. Καὶ συντριβήσονται οἱ ἄνομοι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἅμα, καὶ οἱ ἐγκαταλιπόντες τὸν Κύριον συντελεσθήσονται. Διότι νῦν αἰσχυνθήσονται ἐν τοῖς εἰδώλοις αὐτῶν, ἃ αὐτοὶ ἠβούλοντο, καὶ αἰσχυνθήσονται ἐν τοῖς γλυπτοῖς αὐτῶν, ἐφ' οἷς αὐτοὶ ἐπεποίθησαν, καὶ αἰσχυνθήσονται ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν, ἐφ οἷς αὐτοὶ ἐβουλεύσαντο. Ἔσται γάρ, ὡς τερέβινθος, ἀποβεβληκυῖα τὰ φύλλα αὐτῆς· καὶ ὡς παράδεισος, ὕδωρ μὴ ἔχων. Καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἰσχὺς αὐτῶν, ὡς καλάμη στυππείου, καὶ ἡ ἐργασία αὐτῶν, σπινθῆρες πυρός, καὶ κατακαυθήσονται οἱ ἄνομοι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἅμα, καὶ οὐκ ἔσται ὁ σβέσων, ὁ λόγος ὁ γενόμενος πρὸς Ἡσαΐαν υἱον Ἀμώς, περὶ Ἰουδαίας, καὶ περὶ Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ὅτι ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις ἐμφανὲς τὸ ὄρος Κυρίου, καὶ ὁ οἶκος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπ' ἄκρων τῶν ὀρέων, καὶ ὑψωθήσεται ὑπεράνω τῶν βουνῶν, καὶ ἥξουσιν ἐπ' αὐτῷ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. Καὶ πορεύσονται λαοὶ πολλοί, καὶ ἐροῦσι· Δεῦτε, ἀναβῶμεν εἰς τὸ ὄρος Κυρίου, καὶ εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ Ἰακώβ, καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ἡμῖν τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πορευσώμεθα ἐν αὐτῇ.

Prokeimenon. Tone 5. Psalm 8.
Lord, our Lord, how wondrous is your name in all the earth!
Verse: For your majesty is exalted above the heavens.
The Reading is from Proverbs.
1:20-33
Wisdom is praised in the streets, in the squares brings boldness. On the tops of the walls she is proclaimed, in the gates of the mighty she takes her seat; at the gates of the city she boldly declares: For as long as the innocent hold to justice, they will not be shamed; while the foolish, being ones who desire conceit, becoming ungodly, have hated perception, and have become subject to reproofs. See, I shall bring forth for you the utterance of my breath, while I shall teach you my word. Since I was calling and you did not obey, and I spoke at length and you paid no attention; but you made my counsels of no effect, you paid no attention to my reproofs; therefore I too shall laugh at your destruction; I shall rejoice when annihilation comes upon you, and disturbance arrives suddenly for you, while overthrow will come like a tempest, and when trouble and siege comes to us; or when annihilation comes to you; for it shall be, when you call upon me, that I shall not listen to you; the wicked will seek me, and not find me. For they hated wisdom, while they did not choose the word of the Lord, nor did they wish to attend to my counsels; but they derided my reproofs. Therefore they eat the fruits of their own way, and will be filled with their own ungodliness. For in return for their wronging infants, they will be slain, and examination will destroy the ungodly. While one who hears me will dwell in hope and will be still, with no fear of any evil.

Προκείμενον Ἦχος πλ. α' Ψαλμὸς η'
Κύριε ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν, ὡς θαυμαστὸν τὸ ὄνομά σου!
Στίχ. Ὅτι ἐπήρθη ἡ μεγαλοπρέπειά σου ὑπεράνω τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Παροιμιῶν τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα
(Κεφ Α', 20-33)
Σοφία ἐν ἐξόδοις ὑμνεῖται, ἐν δὲ πλατείαις παρρησίαν ἄγει. Ἐπ' ἄκρων τειχέων κηρύσσεται, ἐπὶ δὲ πύλαις δυναστῶν παρεδρεύει, ἐπὶ δὲ πύλαις πόλεως θαρροῦσι λέγει. Ὅσον ἂν χρόνον ἄκακοι ἔχωνται τῆς δικαιοσύνης οὐ καταισχυνθήσονται, οἱ δὲ ἄφρονες, τῆς ὕβρεως ὄντες ἐπιθυμηταί, ἀσεβεῖς γενόμενοι, ἐμίσησαν αἴσθησιν, καὶ ὑπεύθυνοι ἐγένοντο ἐλέγχοις. Ἰδού, προήσομαι ὑμῖν ἐμῆς βουλῆς ῥῆσιν, διδάξω δὲ τὸν ἐμὸν λόγον ὑμᾶς. Ἐπειδὴ ἐκάλουν, καὶ οὐχ ὑπηκούσατε, καὶ ἐξέτεινα λόγους, καὶ οὐ προσείχετε, ἀλλὰ ἀκύρους ἐποιεῖτε ἐμᾶς βουλάς, τοῖς δὲ ἐμοῖς ἐλέγχοις οὐ προσείχετε, τοιγαροῦν κᾀγὼ τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ ἀπωλείᾳ ἐπιγελάσομαι· ἐπι χαροῦμαι δέ, ἡνίκα ἂν ἔρχηται ὑμῖν ὄλεθρος. Καὶ ὡς ἂν ἀφίκηται ὑμῖν θόρυβος ἄφνω, ἡ δὲ καταστροφὴ ὁμοίως καταιγίδι παρῇ, ἢ ὅταν ἔρχηται ἡμῖν θλῖψις καὶ πολιορκία· ἔσται γάρ, ὅταν ἐπικαλέσησθέ με, ἐγὼ δὲ οὐκ εἰσακούσομαι ὑμῶν, ζητήσουσί με κακοί, καὶ οὐχ εὑρήσουσι. Ἐμίσησαν γὰρ σοφίαν, τὸν δὲ φόβον Κυρίου οὐ προείλοντο, οὐδὲ ἤθελον προσέχειν βουλαῖς, ἐμυκτήριζον δὲ ἐμοὺς ἐλέγχους. Τοιγαροῦν ἔδονται τῆς ἑαυτῶν ὁδοῦ τοὺς καρπούς, καὶ τῆς αὐτῶν ἀτιμίας πλησθήσονται, καὶ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας. Ἀνθ' ὧν γὰρ ἠδίκουν νηπίους, φονευθήσονται, καὶ ἐξετασμὸς ὀλέσει ἀσεβεῖς. Ὁ δὲ ἐμοῦ ἀκούων, κατασκηνώσει ἐπ' ἐλπίδι, καὶ ἡσυχάσει ἀφόβως ἀπὸ παντὸς κακοῦ.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ ΚΗ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ ὁμολογητοῦ Βασιλείου, συνασκητοῦ τοῦ Ἁγίου Προκοπίου.
Ὁ Βασίλειος Χριστὸν ἐν ψυχῇ φέρων,
Ψυχὴν σκιᾶς τίθησι τῆς αὐτοῦ χάριν.
Κρύψαν ὑπὸ χθόνα εἰκόνα ὀγδοάτῃ Βασίλειον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Προτερίου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἀλεξανδρείας.
Ὁ Προτέριος σφάττεται τοῖς καλάμοις,
Ὀξυγράφου κάλαμος ὢν κατὰ πλάνης.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Νέστορος.
Οὐκ εἶχεν εἶδος, οὐδὲ κάλλος ἐν ξύλῳ,
Νέστωρ ἁπλωθείς, τὸ προφητικὸν φάναι.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Γυναικῶν Κύρας καὶ Μαράνας.
Καταξιοῦνται Μαράνα τε καὶ Κύρα,
Σαρκὸς μαρασμῷ, κυριεύειν τοῦ πόλου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι ἓξ Μάρτυρες, οἱ ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ξίφει θανεῖν ἔγραψαν ἓξ Αἰγυπτίους,
οἱ τοῦ χρόνου γράψαντες ἄθλους καὶ βίους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀπόστολοι Νυμφᾶς καὶ Εὔβουλος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦνται.
Χριστοῦ φυτεία Χρισταπόστολοι δύο,
Χριστῷ σύνεισιν Εὔβουλος Νυμφᾶς ἅμα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Βάρσος, Ἐπίσκοπος Δαμασκοῦ, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Πανήγυριν ῥέοντος ἐκλιπὼν βίου,
Σύνεστι Βάρσος Ἀγγέλων πανηγύρει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Ἀβίρκιος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Χριστοῦ λατρευτῆς αὐχένα τμηθεὶς ξίφει,
Θεῶν λατρευτὰς Ἀβίρκιος αἰσχύνει.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Saints Prokopios and Basil, fellow ascetics, lived about the middle of the eighth century, during the reign of Leo the Isaurian (717-741), from whom they suffered many things for the sake of the veneration of the holy icons. They ended their lives in the ascetical discipline.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ταίς τών δακρύων σου ροαίς, τής ερήμου τό άγονον εγεώργησας, καί τοίς εκ βάθους στεναγμοίς, εις εκατόν τούς πόνους εκαρποφόρησας, καί γέγονας φωστήρ, τή οικουμένη λάμπων τοίς θαύμασι, Βασίλειε Πατήρ ημών, Όσιε, Πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
With the streams of thy tears, thou didst cultivate the barrenness of the desert; and by thy sighings from the depths,thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labours; and thou becamest a luminary, shining with miracles upon the world, O Basil our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Εξ ύψους λαβών, τήν θείαν αποκάλυψιν, εξήλθες σοφέ, εκ μέσου τών θορύβων, καί μονάσας οσίως, τών θαυμάτων είληφας τήν ενέργειαν, καί τάς νόσους ιάσθαι τή χάριτι, Βασίλειε παμμάκαρ Ιερώτατε.
Thou tookest thyself away from worldly turbulence, since thou hadst received God's revelation from on high; and for living righteously as a monk, thou didst receive might from grace to heal ills and work miracles, O all-blessed Basil, wise in sacred things.

Η μνήμη του αγίου Προτερίου Πατριάρχου Αλεξανδρείας, τον οποίον η Εκκλησία μας γιορτάζει σήμερα, μας δίνει αφορμή να σκεφθούμε επάνω στο θέμα του θρησκευτικού φανατισμού. Εν ονόματι της θρησκείας οι άνθρωποι φανατίζονται και τυφλώνονται και διαπράττουν φοβερά εγκλήματα. Δυστυχώς τέτοια εγκλήματα δεν λείπουν και στην ιστορία του Χριστιανισμού και στην αρχαία και στη νεώτερη εποχή. Οι εχθροί της πίστεως στα εγκλήματα αυτά βρίσκουν ευκαιρία να κατηγορήσουν τον Χριστιανισμό, σαν και να ευθύνεται ο Χριστός και το Ευαγγέλιο για τα πάθη των ανθρώπων. Δυστυχώς πάντα υπάρχουν άνθρωποι, που χρησιμοποιούν τις ιερώτερες αλήθειες για σημαία της κακίας τους και εν ονόματι του Χριστού διώκουν και σφάζουν ιερείς, όπως τον άγιο Προτέριο. Το είπεν ο Χριστός και είναι γραμμένο στο Ευαγγέλιο, ότι "έρχεται ώρα ίνα πας ο αποκτείνας υμάς δόξη λατρείαν προσφέρειν τω Θεώ".

Ὁ Ὅσιος Βασίλειος ὁ Ὁμολογητὴς συναθλητὴς τοῦ Ἁγίου Προκοπίου τοῦ Δεκαπολίτου
«Δι᾿ ὑπομονῆς τρέχωμεν τὸν Προκείμενον ἡμῖν ἀγῶνα». Ἂς τρέχουμε μὲ ὑπομονὴ τὸν ἀγῶνα ποὺ προβάλλει μπροστά μας. Μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο ἀγωνίστηκε καὶ ὁ Ὅσιος Βασίλειος ἐνάντια στοὺς εἰκονομάχους, ἐπὶ Λέοντος Γ´ τοῦ Ἰσαύρου. Ὑπῆρξε μαθητὴς καὶ συναθλητὴς τοῦ Ἁγίου Προκοπίου τοῦ Δεκαπολίτου (+ 27 Φεβρουαρίου) σὲ ποιὰ μονὴ ὅμως, μᾶς εἶναι ἄγνωστο. Καταδιώχθηκε γιὰ τὴν ἄκαμπτη ἀντίστασή του καὶ τὴν θαῤῥαλέα συνηγορία του ὑπὲρ τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας. Βασανίστηκε ποικιλοτρόπως καὶ φυλακίστηκε. Μετὰ τὸ θάνατο τοῦ Λέοντα Γ´, τοῦ δόθηκε ἡ ἐλευθερία του. Τότε ἐπιδόθηκε στὴ διδασκαλία τῆς πίστης, μὲ ὅλη τὴν θέρμη τῆς φιλοχρίστου ψυχῆς του. Ἀθλητὴς τοῦ ἀσκητηρίου του, κατάρτιζε πάντοτε πνευματικότερα τὸν ἑαυτό του. Μέγας ἀγωνιστὴς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, στρατευόταν συνεχῶς γιὰ τὴν ἐνίσχυση τῆς ὀρθόδοξης ἀλήθειας, γιὰ τὴν διαφώτιση τῶν αἱρετικῶν, γιὰ τὴν στερέωση τῶν πιστῶν καὶ γιὰ τὴν μετάνοια τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν. Ὁ θάνατος τὸν πῆρε ἀπὸ τὸ πολύμοχθο αὐτὸ στάδιο, γιὰ νὰ τὸν μεταφέρει στὴ δόξα καὶ τὴν μακαριότητα τῶν δικαίων καὶ στεφανηφόρων ψυχῶν.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Προτέριος, ἱερομάρτυρας Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀλεξανδρείας
Ἦταν ἀρχιπρεσβύτερος καὶ πατριαρχικὸς ἐπίτροπος στὴν Ἐκκλησία τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας, τὸ ἔτος 450, στὰ χρόνια τῶν βασιλέων Μαρκιανοῦ καὶ Πουλχερίας. Ὅταν ἔγινε ἡ Δ´ Οἰκουμενικὴ Σύνοδος στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη (451), συμμετεῖχε σ᾿ αὐτὴ καὶ ὁ Προτέριος, καὶ μὲ τόλμη ἀγωνίστηκε κατὰ τῆς πλάνης τῶν μονοφυσιτῶν. Ἡ Σύνοδος αὐτὴ καταδίκασε τὸν μονοφυσίτη Πατριάρχη Ἀλεξανδρείας Διόσκορο καὶ στὸ θρόνο ἀνέβασε τὸν Προτέριο (452-457). Οἱ μονοφυσῖτες, ὅμως, κατόρθωσαν νὰ δημιουργήσουν ταραχὲς στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Μὲ ἐπικεφαλῆς κάποιον μονοφυσίτη ἱερέα Ἀλεξανδρείας Τιμόθεο τὸν Αἴλουρο, ὁ ὁποῖος κατάφερε νὰ ξεγελάσει ἀκόμα καὶ τοὺς μοναχοὺς καὶ νὰ τοὺς πάρει μὲ τὸ μέρος του, ὁ μανιασμένος ὄχλος ἀνακήρυξε Πατριάρχη αὐτὸν τὸν ἱερέα. Ὁ Προτέριος γιὰ νὰ σωθεῖ ἀπὸ τὴν λύσσα τῶν αἱρετικῶν, κρύφτηκε μέσα σὲ μία μεγάλη κολυμβήθρα τοῦ ναοῦ. Οἱ αἱρετικοὶ ὅμως τὸν ἀνακάλυψαν καὶ μέσα ἐκεῖ τὸν ἔσφαξαν. Καὶ ὅλα αὐτὰ ἔγιναν τὴν Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάδα, καὶ ὁ Τιμόθεος ὁ Αἴλουρος τελοῦσε τὶς ἀκολουθίες τῶν Παθῶν μὲ ματωμένα χέρια. Ἀργότερα ὁ Τιμόθεος αὐτὸς καταδικάσθηκε συνοδικὰ καὶ ἐξορίστηκε στὴ Γάγγρα. Ὁ δὲ Προτέριος ἀνακηρύχθηκε μέγας Ἅγιος της Ὀρθόδοξης Ἐκκλησίας. (Ὁρισμένοι Συναξαριστὲς περιττῶς ἀναφέρουν τὴν μνήμη του καὶ τὴν 23η Φεβρουαρίου).

Ὁ Ὅσιος Βάρσος ἐπίσκοπος Δαμασκοῦ
Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀβρίκιος (ἢ Ἀβέρκιος)
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Νέστωρ
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Πέργη τῆς Παμφυλίας καὶ διέδιδε θερμὰ τὴν χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Τόσο δὲ τολμηρὸς ἦταν στὸ ἔργο του, ποὺ ἐξακολουθοῦσε ἄφοβα νὰ τὸ πράττει καὶ μετὰ τὰ διατάγματα τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Διοκλητιανοῦ κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν. Ὁ Διοικητὴς τῆς Πέργης Εἰρήναρχος, τὸν συνέλαβε καὶ τὸν ἔστειλε στὸν ἔπαρχο τῆς Παμφυλίας Πόπλιο. Αὐτὸς μάταια προσπάθησε νὰ τὸν παρασύρει στὴν ἄρνηση τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὅταν δὲ ἔχασε κάθε ἐλπίδα, διέταξε τὴν σταύρωσή του. Ὁ Νέστωρ ὑπέστη τὸ μαρτύριό του μὲ πολλὴ καρτερία. Καὶ ἀπὸ τὸ σταυρό, ἐνῷ οἱ πόνοι τὸν κατακεντοῦσαν, αὐτὸς ὑμνοῦσε τὸ Χριστό. (Τὸν Νέστορα αὐτὸν ὁ Πατμιακὸς Κώδικας 266 καλεῖ ἐπίσκοπο).

Οἱ Ὁσίες Μαράνα ἢ Μαριάννα καὶ Κύρα
Πατρίδα τους ἦταν ἡ Βέῤῥοια (τωρινὸ Χαλέπιο) τῆς Συρίας καὶ ἔζησαν στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ 5ου αἰῶνα μ.Χ. Ἡ καταγωγή τους ἦταν ἐπίσημη καὶ εὐγενική, ἀνάλογη δὲ καὶ ἡ μόρφωσή τους. Αὐτὲς ὅμως καταφρόνησαν τὴν λαμπρότητα καὶ τὰ ἄλλα θέλγητρα τῆς ζωῆς, καὶ ἔκτισαν ἕνα περιτείχισμα ἔξω ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη ὅπου ἐκεῖ μέσα με αὐστηρὴ ἄσκηση προόδευαν στὶς ἀρετὲς τοῦ Νυμφίου Χριστοῦ. Ἡ Ὁσία ζωή τους προσείλκυσε καὶ τὶς ὑπηρέτριές τους. Ἐκεῖ μέσα πέρασαν ἀπομονωμένες 42 χρόνια. Ἔπειτα ἐπισκέφθηκαν τοὺς Ἁγίους Τόπους, κατόπιν τὸ ναὸ τῆς Ἁγίας Θέκλας στὴν Ἰσαυρία καὶ ἐπέστρεψαν πολὺ ὠφελημένες στὸ ἐρημητήριό τους. Ἔτσι μὲ τὴν ἐνάρετη πολιτεία τους ἀφοῦ στόλισαν τὸ γένος τῶν γυναικῶν, καὶ ἔγιναν παράδειγμα ἀρετῆς καὶ ἄσκησης στὶς ἄλλες γυναῖκες, παρέδωσαν τὸ πνεῦμα τους στὸν Νυμφίο Χριστό.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι ἕξι Μάρτυρες ἀπὸ τὴν Αἴγυπτο
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Νυμφᾶς καὶ Εὔβουλος οἱ Ἀπόστολοι
Γι᾿ αὐτοὺς ἀναφέρει ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος στὶς Ἐπιστολές του, Κολ. δ´ 15 καὶ Β´ Τιμ. δ´ 21. Καὶ οἱ δυὸ ἀπεβίωσαν εἰρηνικά.

Ἡ Ἁγία Κυράννα (ἢ Κυρήνη) ἡ Νεομάρτυς
Ἡ ἁγία αὐτὴ νύμφη τοῦ Χριστοῦ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὸ χωριὸ Ἀθυσσώκα τῆς Θεσσαλονίκης ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς χριστιανούς. Ἦταν πολὺ ὄμορφη καὶ ἡ ζωή της ἦταν ἐνάρετη καὶ φρόνιμη. Κάποιος γενίτσαρος ποὺ ἦλθε στὸ χωριὸ τῆς Κυράννας νὰ εἰσπράξει φόρους, τὴν εἶδε, τὴν θαύμασε καὶ ἀποφάσισε νὰ τὴν ἐξισλαμίσει καὶ νὰ τὴν παντρευτεῖ. Παρὰ τὶς ὑποσχέσεις καὶ τὴν ἐπιμονὴ τοῦ γενίτσαρου, ἡ παρθένος αὐτή, ποὺ εἶχε ἀκέραιο τὸ χριστιανικό της φρόνημα, παρέμεινε ἀνένδοτη καὶ δὲν ὑπέκυψε στὶς προτάσεις τοῦ ἀπίστου. Ὁπότε ὁ γενίτσαρος αὐτός, μὲ τὴν βοήθεια τῶν συντρόφων του, τὴν ἅρπαξε καὶ τὴν πῆγε στὸν κριτὴ τῆς Θεσ/νίκης, ψευδομαρτυρῶντας ἐναντίον της, ὅτι δῆθεν τοῦ ὑποσχέθηκε ν᾿ ἀλλάξει τὴν πίστη της καὶ νὰ τὸν παντρευτεῖ. Ἡ Κυράννα μὲ σεμνότητα καὶ χωρὶς φόβο εἶπε, ὅτι εἶναι χριστιανὴ καὶ Νυμφίο της ἔχει τὸν Χριστό, τὸν ὁποῖο ποθεῖ ἀπὸ τὴν νεότητά της καὶ εἶναι ἕτοιμη γιὰ τὴν ἀγάπη της πρὸς Αὐτὸν νὰ χύσει καὶ τὸ αἷμα της. Οἱ Τοῦρκοι, μπροστὰ στὴν ἀμετάθετη γνώμη τῆς Κυράννας, τὴν ἔριξαν στὴ φυλακή, ὅπου ἀνελέητα καὶ ἄσπλαχνα τὴν ἔδερναν γιὰ πολλὲς μέρες. Αὐτή, ὅμως, ἀκράδαντα ὁμολογοῦσε τὸν Χριστό. Τότε τὰ βασανιστήρια συνεχίστηκαν, μέχρι ποὺ ἡ Ἁγία παρέδωσε τὸ πνεῦμα της στὶς 28 Φεβρουαρίου 1751. Ἀσματικὴ ἀκολουθία της, συνέγραψε ὁ Χριστοφόρος Προδρομίτης.

Blessed Nicholas of Pskov, fool for Christ (1576)
"A rare fearlessness is a characteristic of fools for Christ. Blessed Nicholas ran through the streets of Pskov, pretending madness, rebuking people for their secret sins and foretelling what would happen to them. When Tsar Ivan the Terrible entered Pskov, the whole town was in fear and dread of the terrible Tsar... The Tsar, learning about this blessed man, who and what he was, visited him in his tiny room. [Ivan was a great lover of external piety.] It was the first week of the Great Fast. Hearing that the Tsar was coming to visit him, Nicholas found a piece of raw meat and, when the Tsar entered his cell, Nicholas bowed and offered the meat to the Tsar. 'Eat, little Ivan, eat!' The terrible Tsar answered him furiously: 'I am a Christian, and do not eat meat in the Fast.' Then the man of God retorted, 'You do that and worse; you feed on men's flesh and blood, forgetting not only the Fast but God as well.' This lecture entered deeply into the heart of Tsar Ivan, and he immediately left Pskov in shame, having intended to wreak great slaughter there." (Prologue)

Holy New Martyr Kyranna (1751)
This pious and beautiful maiden lived in a village near Thessalonica. One day a Janissary, come to collect taxes, laid eyes on her and was struck by lust. When she refused his advances, the wicked official brought her before the judge in Thessalonica and, using other soldiers as false witnesses, said that she had agreed to marry him and to convert to Islam. To all these claims Kyranna replied, 'I am a Christian, and I have no bridegroom but Christ, to whom I have offered my maidenhood as a dowry. Him I love and for Him I am ready to shed my blood! That is my answer; expect no other from me.' Having said this, she 'enclosed herself in silence' (Synaxarion) and would testify no more. She was cast into prison, where she was tormented and finally beaten to death by her jailer. When she died, a divine Light surrounded her and illumined the entire prison. When news of the miracle spread, the shamed Turkish officials handed over her body to Christians, who laid it to rest outside the city.

Menologion 3.0
The Monk Basil the Confessor was a monastic and suffered during the reign of the iconoclast emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741). When a persecution started against those that venerated holy icons, Saint Basil together with his companion the Monk Prokopios (Comm. 27 February) was subjected to much torture and locked up in prison. here both martyrs languished for a long while, until the death of the impious emperor. When the holy Confessors Basil and Prokopios were set free together with other venerators of holy icons, they continued with their monastic efforts, instructing many in the Orthodox faith and the virtuous life. The Monk Basil died peacefully in the year 750.

Sainted Meletii, Archbishop of Khar'kov and Akhtyrsk (in the world Mikhail Ivanovich Leontovich), was born 6 November 1784 in the village of Stara Stanzhara in the Poltava district.
In 1808 Mikhail Leontovich successfully completed the Ekaterinoslav religious Seminary. As the best student, he was sent on by the Ekterinoslav archbishop Platon to Peterburg, to the Alexandro-Nevsky Spiritual Academy [in Russia, "spiritual academy" is higher level of religious training beyond "seminary"]. Finishing the spiritual academy in 1814 with the degree of "magister" ["teacher"], he was appointed adjunct-professor of Greek language.
On 11 March 1817 they appointed Mikhail Leontovich to the office of secretary of the Academy Building committee.
On 30 July 1817 they transferred him to the Kiev religious Seminary, to serve in the office of inspector, as well as professor of Church history and Greek language. When the Kiev Spiritual Academy opened on 28 September 1819, Mikhail Leontovich became its first inspector.
On 11 February 1820, on the eve of the day of memory of Sainted Meletios of Antioch, in the cathedral church of the Kievo-Bratsk monastery, he was tonsured into monasticism with the name Meletii. The tonsure was made by the Kiev metropolitan Evgenii (Bolkhovitnikov). On 22 February 1820 the Monk Meletii was ordained by metropolitan Evgenii to the dignity of deacon, and on 25 February -- to priestmonk.
On 9 August 1821 Priest-monk Meletii was appointed rector of the Mogilevsk religious Seminary and head of the Kuteinsk Orshansk monastery with elevation to the dignity of archimandrite. In August 1823 they transferred him to the office of rector of the Pskov religious Seminary, and on 24 January 1824 Archimandrite Meletii was appointed rector of the Kiev Spiritual Academy.
In October 1826 the Holy Synod followed with a decision to appoint Archimandrite Meletii as bishop of Chigirinsk, a vicar of the Kiev diocese and head of the Zlatoverkh Mikhailovsk monastery. On 19 October 1826 was his appointment as bishop, and on 21 October 1826 was made the archpastoral consecration at the Kiev Sophia cathedral.
With a fatherly love the saint concerned himself about young foster-children, raising them in a spirit of devotedness to the Church of Christ. The saint had particular concern for the needy, and widows and orphans. He often visited the imprisoned and provided them the consolation of Divine-services in the prison-churches. The saint also was no little concerned about the spiritual nourishment of the brethren of the Mikhailovsk monastery. With edifying discourse and personal example he inspired in the monks of the monastery a spirit of true asceticism. Saint Meletii said: "Humility -- is the guarding sword, with which to pass over earth and hades, to reach Heaven".
In April 1828 Sainted Meletii received appointment to the Perm cathedral.
Strict towards himself, the saint was strict also towards others. To prepare chosen candidates for the accepting of the dignity, Saint Meletii himself wrote for them the so-called "Ordinant's Catechism". In August 1831 Saint Meletii was transferred to the Irkutsk cathedra-seat, with elevation to the dignity of archbishop.
The saint devoted great attention to the enlightenment of the lesser nations of Russia with the light of the Gospel teaching. The saint founded churches in the north of Kamchatka, in the northeast parts of the Irkutsk diocese and along the Aldan River, on the tract from Yakutsk to Okhotsk. He often reviewed his extensive diocese, going to the shores of the Okhotsk and Arctic Seas, to the boundary lines of North America, where there then laboured the reknown Apostle of Siberia -- the Priest Ioann Veniaminov, later known as the Apostle to America Sainted Innocent (Innokentii, Comm. 23 September and 31 March). Journeying through Siberia and along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Saint Meletii frequently interacted with the native peoples who professed Lamaism. The saint with gentleness urged them to leave behind their errors and he explained the Gospel truths to these pagan peoples: the Tungus, the Buryats, the Kamchadali, and also the inhabitants of the Kurile and Aleutian Islands.
With his untiring efforts the health of the saint began to deteriorate, and they transferred him in 1835 to the Slobodsk-Ukrainsk cathedra-seat (afterwards the cathedra of Khar'kov and Akhtyrsk).
And here Sainted Meletii devoted great attention to the institutions of spiritual learning, and much concerned himself about the life and education of the clergy.
He raised questions about the restoration of those monasteries and spiritual schools, which the empress Catherine II had closed up. The saint also allotted great attention to the struggle with the schismatics.
On 2 July 1839 Saint Meletii led the solemnity in the city of Akhtyrk with the 10 year anniversary of the appearance of the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, named the Akhtyrsk.
The blessed end of the saint occurred on the night of 29 February 1840. After Communion, with the words "Now lettest Thou Thy Servant depart in peace", the saint signed himself with the sign of the cross and, having turned to everyone with the words "Forgive me", -- he expired to the Lord.
On 4 March 1840 Saint Meletii was consigned to the earth by the Kursk bishop Iliodor within a burial crypt beneathe the Church of the Cross at the Pokrov monastery.
From the first days after his death believing people firmly trusted on the intercession of Saint Meletii before God, and they received the help of grace: healing in sicknesses, comfort in sorrows and deliverance from difficult circumstances. Believers in Khar'kov put especial trust in Saint Meletii during the terrible days of the "Great War for the Fatherland" (World War II). With miraculous advice the saint predicted the impending deliverance of the city from the enemy.
In 1948, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexei, the coffin with the relics of Saint Meletii was transferred to the Annunciation cathedral church, where they remain to the present day, manifesting spiritual recourse and prayerful comfort for believers.
On the day of affirmation in 1977 by His Holiness Patriarch Pimen and the Holy Synod of a service with an akathist to sainted Meletii, Khar'kov believers hastened to the cathedral on a Wednesday evening, there to ask the prayerful intercession of the saint for the welfare of Holy Church, for peace and for the prosperity of their Fatherland.

Blessed Nikolai of Pskov for more than three decades assumed the exploit of holy fool. And quite a long while before death he acquired the gifts of grace of the Holy Spirit and was granted the gift of wonderworking and of prophecy. The Pskov people of his time called him Mikula (Mikola, Nikola) Sallos, which in translation from the Greek means "blessed, fool", and even during his lifetime they revered him as a saint, even calling him Mikula the Holy.
In February the year 1570, after a devastating campaign with an army of the Oprichniki against Novgorod, tsar Ivan the Terrible moved against Pskov, suspecting treason and preparing it a like fate of Novgorod. As the Pskov chronicler relates, "the tsar was come... with great fierceness, like a roaring lion, as though to tear apart innocent people and to shed much blood".
All the city prayed for the averting of the tsar's wrath. Hearing the peal of the bell for matins throughout all of Pskov, the tsar was reading the inscription on the wonderworking Liubyatovsk (at Liubatov stood the tsar's army) Umilenie-Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God (Comm. 19 March). "Be kind of heart, -- said he to his soldiers, -- lay down the swords upon the stones, and let the killings cease".
All the inhabitants of Pskov came out upon the streets, and each family was on their knees at the gate of their house, bearing bread and salt for the meeting of the tsar. On one of the streets Blessed Nikolai ran out towards the tsar, astride a stick as though galloping an horse, and cried out to the tsar: "Ivanushko, Ivanushko, eat the bread-salt, and not Christian blood".
The tsar gave orders to catch the holy fool, but he disappeared.
Having forbidden the killings, Ivan the Terrible still intended to punish the city. The tsar heard the molieben at the Trinity cathedral, he venerated the relics of holy nobleborn Prince Vsevolod-Gabriel (Comm. 11 February), and he desired to receive the blessing of Blessed Nikolai.
When the tsar arrived at the cell of the saint, that one said: "Hush, come in, (wouldst thou have nothing, traveller), to have a drink of water from us, there is no reason thou shouldst shun it". The holy fool offered the tsar for a bite a piece of raw meat. "I be a Christian and do not eat meat during Lent", -- said Ivan to him. "Thou drinkest human blood", -- the saint answered him, instructing the tsar "by many terrible sayings", that he should cease the killings and not plunder the holy churches of God. But Ivan did not heed him and gave orders to take the bell from the Trinity cathedral, and then, in accord with the prophecy of the saint, the finest horse of the tsar collapsed.
The prayer and the lecture of the saint awakened the conscience of the tsar. Frightened by the coming to pass of the prophecy and denounced in his wicked deeds, Ivan the Terrible ordered a stop to the plunder and fled from the city. The Oprichniki, witnessing this, wrote: "The mighty tyrant... departed beaten and shamed, driven off as though by an enemy. Thus did a worthless beggar terrify and drive off the tsar with his multitude of a thousand soldiers".
Blessed Nikolai died on 28 February 1576 and was buried in the Trinity cathedral of the city saved by him. Such honours were granted only to the Pskov princes, and later on, archpastors.
The local veneration of the saint began all of 5 years after his death. In the year 1581, during a siege of Pskov by the soldiers of the Polish king Stefan Bathory, to the blacksmith Dorofei appeared the Mother of God together with a gathering of Pskov saints praying for the city, among whom also was Blessed Nikolai (the account about the Pskovo-Pokrovsk Icon of the Mother of God is located under 1 October).
And still now also at the Trinity cathedral do they venerate the relics of Blessed Nikolai of Pskov, who "of the flesh of folly wast, ... being manifest a citizen of Mount Jerusalem, ... having transformed the tsar's might and fierce mind to mercy".

The PriestMartyr Proterias, Patriarch of Alexandria, and those suffering with him: During the time of the patriarchal tenure of Dioskoros (444-451), who was an adherent of the Monophysite false-teaching of Eutykhios, -- at Alexandria there lived the presbyter Proterias, who fearlessly denounced the heretics and confessed the Orthodox faith. In the year 451 at the Fourth OEcumenical Council at Chalcedon, the heresy of Eutykhios was condemned and the definition established, by which Christ is confessed to be Perfect God and Perfect Man, existing in these two natures "unconfusedly" and "indivisibly" [and "immutably" and "inseparably"]. The heretic Dioskoros was deposed and exiled, and upon the Alexandria patriarchal throne was elevated Proterias, distinguished for his strict and virtuous life.
However, many supporters of Dioskoros remained in Alexandria, and rebelling against the choice of Proterias, they rioted and burned the soldiers, sent out to pacify them. The pious emperor Marcian (450-457) deprived the Alexandrians of all the privileges they were accustomed to, and dispatched new and re-inforced detachments of soldiers. The inhabitants of the city then quieted down and besought Patriarch Proterias to intercede before the emperor to restore them their former privileges. The kindly saint consented and readily gained the request.
After the death of Marcian the heretics again raised their heads. Presbyter Timothy, himself striving for the patriarchal dignity, and taking advantage of the absence of the governor of the city, came forth at the head of the rioters. Saint Proterias decided to leave Alexandria, but that night he saw in a dream the holy Prophet Isaiah, who said to him: "Return to the city, and there I shalt await thee". The saint realised that this -- was a premonition about his martyr's end. He returned to Alexandria and concealed himself in a baptistry.
The rioting heretics broke into this refuge and killed the patriarch and six men who were with him. It did not even stop them, that this occurred during the Canon of Pascha -- on Holy Saturday. In their raging they went so far, that they tied a rope to the body of the murdered patriarch, and they dragged it on the street, struck at and lacerated it, and finally they burnt it, and scattered the ashes to the wind (+ 457).
The Orthodox reported about this to the holy Emperor Leo (457-474) and Saint Anatolios, Patriarch of Constantinople (449-458). An army arrived at Alexandria, the rebellion was crushed, and Timothy brought to trial and exiled.
Regarding the death of the PriestMartyr Proterias, four Thracian bishops of his time wrote: "We do consider His Holiness Proterias in the ranks and choir of the Saints, and we beseech God to be compassionate and merciful to us through his prayers".

The PriestMartyr Nestor, Bishop of Magiddisum, during a time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Decius (249-251), was arrested in his home while at prayer. He was informed about the suffering awaiting him by a peculiar revelation -- the sight of a lamb, readied for killing. The governor of the city of Magiddisum sent him for trial to Pergium. On the way there Saint Nestor was strengthened in spirit -- he heard a Voice from Heaven, after which there occurred an earthquake. After cruel tortures at Pergium the priestmartyr was crucified on a cross.

The Nuns Marina and Kyra, sisters by birth, lived during the IV Century in the city of Beria (or Beroea) in Asia Minor. Their parents were illustrious and rich, but the sisters upon reaching mature age left home and departed the city. Having parcelled off a small plot of land, the holy virgins sealed up the entrance to their refuge with stones and clay, leaving merely a narrow opening, through which food was passed through to them, and they lived under the open sky. On their bodies they wore heavy iron chains and patiently they endured hunger: during the course of three years they accepted food one time in 40 days. Their former servants came to them, wanting to join their ascetic life. The saints situated them in a separate cottage hut not far from their enclosure and they guided them, exhorting them to deeds of prayer and fasting. The life of the holy ascetics Marina and Kyra was well known to Blessed Theodorit, Bishop of Cyr: he alone, out of respect for his hierarchical dignity, did the holy virgins allow into their dwelling. Blessed Theodorit conversed with them and persuaded them not to overburden themselves with the bearing of chains, which were so heavy that Kyra being weak in body was always stooped under their weight and unable to straighten up. Thus did they pursue asceticism over the course of 40 years. They disturbed their solitude only to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to pray at the Sepulchre of the Lord. During the time of travel they partook of no food until they prayed at the Holy Places, and returning back they likewise partook of nothing. Such an exploit they did yet another time, when they journeyed to the grave of the First-Martyress Equal-to-the-Apostles Thekla at Isauria. The Nuns Marina and Kyra died in about the year 450.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR PROTERIUS
This saint was a presbyter in Alexandria at the same time when Dioscorus the heretic was patriarch of Alexandria. Dioscorus was one of the leaders of the Monophysite heresy, which taught that there was one nature in Christ [Human] and not two natures [Human and Divine]. Marcian and Plucheria also reigned at that time as emperor and empress. This holy and devout man Proterius stood up against Dioscorus for which he endured many miseries. Then the Fourth Ecumenical Council [Chalcedon, 451 A.D.] was convened at which the Monophysite heresy was condemned, Dioscorus removed from the patriarchal throne and banished into exile. Proterius, this true-believing man, was elected in his place. He governed the Church with zeal and love; a true follower of Christ. However, the followers of Dioscorus did not cease to create a disturbance in Alexandria. At the time of one such bloody disturbance, Proterius left the city with the intention of staying away temporarily. Along the way, the Prophet Isaiah appeared to him in a vision and said: "Return to the city, I am waiting to take you." Proterius returned to Alexandria and entered the church. Upon hearing about this, the enraged heretics rushed into the church, seized the patriarch and stabbed him throughout with knives. Six other Christians were also slain with Proterius. Thus, Proterius this wonderful shepherd of Christ's flock, received the martyr's wreath for the truth of Orthodoxy in the year 457 A.D.

2. SAINT BASIL THE CONFESSOR
Basil was a companion and co-suffer with St. Procopius Decapolit. Basil faithfully followed his teacher Procopius both in peaceful times and in time of persecution. He suffered many hardships from the iconoclasts and when the iconoclasts were defeated, Basil according to God's Providence, returned together with Procopius to his monastery where in fasting and prayer he lived a long life of asceticism. He died peacefully in the year 747 A.D.

3. THE PRIEST-MARTYR NESTOR
Nestor was the bishop of Magydos in Pamphylia. He was distinguished by his great meekness. During the reign of Decius, he was brought to trial and cruelly tortured for Christ. Before his death, he saw in a vision, a sacrificial lamb, which he interpreted as a sign of his impending sacrifice. He was tortured by the Eparch [governor] Publius and in the end was crucified in Perga, the capital of the province, in the year 250 A.D.

4. BLESSED NICHOLAS, FOOL FOR CHRIST FROM PSKOV
.Nicholas lived as a "fool for Christ" in the town of Pskov during the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible and died on February 28, 1576 A.D.

HYMN OF PRAISE
TWO NATURES
Two natures, the Lord united,
That He does not separate them anymore:
Human and Divine,
That He does not separate them anymore:
God and Man - One Person
In both respects; undiminished
The God-Man and Savior,
That which is separated - the Unifier,
Interpreter of the eternal mysteries,
Founder of the kingdom of the saints,
To man, God came closer,
Time uplifted, eternity descended
Of the Holy Trinity, Christ the trumpet
Of the Two Natures, Christ the mystery:
The true God became man,
Remained up and descends down,
Neither did He fall or stumble,
But in flesh wrapped Himself.
That is holy, pure love,
Love eternal, eternally the same:
A giant He raised, with His small finger,
And incomprehensible to the mind, it is.

REFLECTION
"Fools for Christ" were distinguished by rare fearlessness. Blessed Nicholas ran throughout the streets of Pskov pretending insanity rebuking the people for their hidden, sins and prophesying that which will befall them. When Ivan the Terrible entered Pskov, the entire town was in fear and terror of the Terrible Tsar. As a welcome to the Tsar, bread and salt was placed in front of every home but the people did not appear. When the mayor of the town presented the Tsar with bread and salt on a tray before the church, the Tsar pushed the tray away and the bread and salt fell to the ground. At that time, Blessed Nicholas appeared before the Tsar in a long shirt tied with a rope, hopping around on a cane as a child and then cried out: "Ivanuska, Ivanuska, eat bread and salt and not human blood." The soldiers rushed out to catch him but he fled and hid. The Tsar learning about this Blessed Nicholas, who and what he is, visited him in his scant living quarters. It was the first week of the Honorable Fast [The First Week of Lent]. Upon hearing that the Tsar was coming to visit him, Nicholas found a piece of raw meat and when the Tsar entered his living quarters, he bowed and offered the meat to the Tsar. "Eat Ivanusha, eat!" Angrily, the Terrible Tsar replied: "I am a Christian and I do not eat meat during the Fast Season." Then the man of God quickly responded to him: "But you do even worse: you feed on men's flesh and blood, forgetting not only Lent but also God!" This lesson entered profoundly into the heart of Tsar Ivan and he, ashamed, immediately departed Pskov where he had intended to perpetrate a great massacre.

CONTEMPLATION
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Bread of Life: "I am the Bread of Life" (St. John 6:48).
1. As the Bread by which the soul is nourished and lives;
2. As the Bread by which the mind is nourished and enlightened;
3. As the Bread by which the heart is nourished and enobled.

HOMILY
About the nourishment of the soul
"I am the Bread ofLife " (St. John 6:48).
Thus spoke the Lord Jesus to the hungry generation of man. This word was realized throughout the centuries to the numerous followers of Christ who received the Lord as the nourishment of their souls. A desperate young man who was close to suicide confessed to a spiritual father. The spiritual father listened to him carefully and said to him: "My son, you are to blame for your misfortune. Your soul is starved to death. Throughout your entire life, you learned only how to nourish your body but you never thought that the soul requires nourishment; greater and more often than that which the body needs. Your soul is at the point of death from hunger. My son, partake of and drink Christ [Holy Communion]. Only that can restore your soul from death. Daily and continually partake and drink of Christ. He is the Life-creating Bread of our souls." The young man listened to the elder and returned to life.
Brethren, let us nourish our soul with Christ so that our soul may be alive and healthy. Let us continually nourish our mind with Christ's thoughts so that our mind might be enlightened and clear. Let us continually nourish our heart with the love of Christ so that our heart might be full and joyful. Let us continually nourish our will with the commandments of Christ and the example of Christ so that our will, every minute, might perform good deeds. Let Christ's thoughts be our thoughts and Christ's love our love and Christ's good will our good will. Let us continually nourish our souls with Christ the Lord; with our soul let us continually partake of Him and drink Him! There is no more nourishing Bread than He; there is no sweeter drink than He. In Holy Communion, He gives Himself completely to us: Body and Blood. But, Holy Communion is a warning that our souls must continually be nourished by Him; continually partake of Him and drink of Him just as we continually breathe. O, our God and Sweet Lord, stir our souls that they be continually nourished by You and remain alive. You are our Bread of Life.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.