First Wednesday in Lent
Righteous John Cassian the Confessor
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν καί Ὁμολογητοῦ Κασσιανοῦ τοῦ Ῥωμαίου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
Prokeimenon. Tone 4. Psalm 9.
I will confess you, Lord, with my whole heart.
Verse: I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing to your name, O Most High.
The Reading is from the Prophecy of Isaias. 2:3-17
Thus says the Lord: From Sion a law will come forth, and a word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he will judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; and they will beat their swords into ploughs and their pikes into sickles, and nation will not take up sword against nation, and they shall in no way learn to war any more. And now, house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord; for he has abandoned his people, the house of Israel, because their country, like that of foreigners, has been filled as at the beginning with divinations; and many foreign children have been born to them. For their country has been filled with silver and gold, and there was no numbering their treasures; and the land has been filled with horses, and there was no numbering their chariots; and the land has been filled with abominations, the works of their hands, and they have worshipped what their fingers have made. And a man bowed down, and a man was humbled, and I will in no way pardon them. And now enter the rocks, and be hidden in the earth from the face of the fear of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength, when he arises to crush the earth. For the eyes of the Lord are exalted, but man is lowly; and the exaltation of men will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
Προκείμενον Ἦχος δ' Ψαλμὸς θ'
Ἐξομολογήσομαί σοι, Κύριε, ἐν ὅλῃ καρδίᾳ μου.
Στίχ. Εὐφρανθήσομαι, καὶ ἀγαλλιάσομαι ἐν σοί.
Προφητείας Ἡσαΐου τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα (Κεφ Β', 3-11)
Τάδε λέγει Κύριος· Ἐκ Σιὼν ἐξελεύσεται νόμος, καὶ λόγος Κυρίου ἐξ Ἱερουσαλήμ. Καὶ κρινεῖ ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ἐθνῶν, καὶ ἐλέγξει λαὸν πολύν, καὶ συγκόψουσι τάς μαχαίρας αὐτῶν εἰς ἄροτρα, καὶ τὰς ζιβήνας αὐτῶν εἰς δρέπανα, καὶ οὐ λήψεται ἔθνος ἐπὶ ἔθνος μάχαιραν, καὶ οὐ μάθωσιν ἔτι πολεμεῖν. Καὶ νῦν σύ, οἶκος τοῦ Ἰακώβ, δεῦτε, καὶ πορευθῶμεν ἐν τῷ φωτὶ Κυρίου· ἀνῆκε γὰρ τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ, τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Ἰακώβ, ὅτι ἐνεπλήσθη ἡ χώρα αὐτῶν, ὡς τὸ ἀπαρχῆς, κλυδωνισμῶν, ὡς ἡ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων, καὶ τέκνα πολλὰ ἀλλόφυλα ἐγεννήθη αὐτοῖς. Ἐνεπλήσθη γὰρ ἡ χώρα αὐτῶν ἀργυρίου καὶ χρυσίου, καὶ οὐκ ἦν ἀριθμὸς τῶν θησαυρῶν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐνεπλήσθη ἡ γῆ ἵππων, καὶ οὐκ ἦν ἀριθμὸς τῶν ἁρμάτων αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐνεπλήσθη ἡ γῆ βδελυγμάτων τῶν ἔργων τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν, καὶ προσεκύνησαν, οἷς ἐποίησαν οἱ δάκτυλοι αὐτῶν. Καὶ ἔκυψεν ἄνθρωπος, καὶ ἐταπεινώθη ἀνήρ, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀνοίσω αὐτούς. Καὶ νῦν εἰσέλθετε εἰς τὰς πέτρας, καὶ κρύπτεσθε εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ φόβου Κυρίου, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ, ὅταν ἀναστῇ θραῦσαι τὴν γῆν. Οἱ γὰρ ὀφθαλμοὶ Κυρίου, ὑψηλοί, ὁ δὲ ἄνθρωπος ταπεινός, καὶ ταπεινωθήσεται τὸ ὕψος τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ ὑψωθήσεται Κύριος μόνος ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ.
Prokeimenon of the Evening. Tone 5. Psalm 11.
Do you, Lord, guard us and keep us from this generation and for ever.
Verse: Save me, O Lord, for there is not one godly man left.
The Reading is from Genesis. 1:24-31 & 2:1-3
God said: Let the earth bring forth living soul according to its kind, quadrupeds, reptiles, and wild beasts of the earth according to their kind; and it was so. And God made the wild beasts of the earth according to their kind, and the cattle according to their kind, and all the reptiles of the earth according to their kinds. And God saw that they were good. And God said: Let us make humanity according to our image and according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of heaven and the cattle and all the earth and all the reptiles which creep upon the earth. And God made humanity, according to the image of God he made it; male and female he made them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and have dominion over it; and rule the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of heaven and all the cattle and all the earth and all the reptiles which creep upon the earth. And God said: See, I have given you all seed-bearing grass, sowing seed, which is upon the whole earth; and every tree, which has in it fruit of seed-bearing seed, shall be food for you, and for all the wild beasts of the earth and for all the winged creatures of heaven, and for every reptile which creeps upon the earth, which has in itself a soul of life, and every green grass shall be food. And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made; and behold, they were very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. [2:1] And the heaven and the earth were accomplished, and all their array. And God accomplished on the sixth day the works which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from his works which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it; because on it he rested from all his works, which God had begun to make.
Προκείμενον Ἦχος πλ. α' Ψαλμὸς ια'
Σύ, Κύριε, φυλάξαις ἡμᾶς, καὶ διατηρήσαις ἡμᾶς.
Στίχ. Σῶσόν με, Κύριε, ὅτι ἐκλέλοιπεν ὅσιος.
Γενέσεως τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα (Κεφ. Α', 24 - Β', 3)
Εἶπεν ὁ Θεός· Ἐξαγαγέτω ἡ γῆ ψυχὴν ζῶσαν κατὰ γένος, τετράποδα, καὶ ἑρπετά, καὶ θηρία τῆς γῆς, κατὰ γένος, καὶ ἐγένετο οὕτω. Καὶ ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὰ θηρία τῆς γῆς, κατὰ γένος αὐτῶν, καὶ τὰ κτήνη, κατὰ γένος αὐτῶν, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἑρπετὰ τῆς γῆς, κατὰ γένος αὐτῶν. Καὶ εἶδεν ὁ Θεὸς ὅτι καλά. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Θεός· Ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον, κατ' εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν, καὶ καθ' ὁμοίωσιν, καὶ ἀρχέτωσαν τῶν ἰχθύων τῆς θαλάσσης, καὶ τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ τῶν κτηνῶν, καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς, καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν, τῶν ἑρπόντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Καὶ ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἀνθρωπον, κατ' εἰκόνα Θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν, ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς. Καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς ὁ Θεός, λέγων· Αὐξάνεσθε, καὶ πληθύνεσθε, καὶ πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν, καὶ κατακυριεύσατε αὐτῆς, καὶ ἄρχετε τῶν ἰχθύων τῆς θαλάσσης, καὶ τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ πάντων τῶν κτηνῶν, καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς, καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν, τῶν ἑρπόντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Θεός· ἰδοὺ δέδωκα ὑμῖν πάντα χόρτον σπόριμον σπεῖρον σπέρμα, ὃ ἐστιν ἐπάνω πάσης τῆς γῆς, καὶ πᾶν ξύλον, ὃ ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ καρπὸν σπέρματος σπορίμου, ὑμῖν ἔσται εἰς βρῶσιν, καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς θηρίοις τῆς γῆς, καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς πετεινοῖς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ παντὶ ἑρπετῷ ἕρποντι ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὃ ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ πνοὴν ζωῆς, καὶ πάντα χόρτον χλωρὸν εἰς βρῶσιν. Καὶ ἐγένετο οὕτω. Καὶ εἶδεν ὁ Θεὸς τὰ πάντα, ὅσα ἐποίησε. καὶ ἰδού, καλὰ λίαν. Καὶ ἐγένετο ἑσπέρα, καὶ ἐγένετο πρωΐ, ἡμέρα ἕκτη. Καὶ συνετελέσθησαν ὁ οὐρανός καὶ ἡ γῆ, καὶ πᾶς ὁ κόσμος αὐτῶν. Καὶ συνετέλεσεν ὁ Θεὸς ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἕκτῃ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ, ἃ ἐποίησε, καὶ κατέπαυσεν ὁ Θεὸς ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ, ὧν ἐποίησε. Καὶ εὐλόγησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὴν ἡμέραν τὴν ἑβδόμην, καὶ ἡγίασεν αὐτήν, ὅτι ἐν αὐτῇ κατέπαυσεν ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ, ὧν ἤρξατο ὁ Θεὸς ποιῆσαι.
Prokeimenon. Tone 6. Psalm 12.
Look upon me, listen to me, Lord, my God.
Verse: How long, Lord, will you forget me to the end?
The Reading is from Proverbs. 2:1-22
My son, if you accept utterance of my commandment and hide it in yourself, your ear will obey wisdom and you will apply your heart to understanding; you will apply it to the instruction of your son. For is you call upon wisdom and give your voice to understanding, while you seek perception with a loud voice, and if you seek it like silver, and search it out like treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and you will find knowledge of God; because the Lord gives wisdom and from his face <come> knowledge and understanding. And he treasures up salvation for those who act uprightly; he will protect their path, to guard the ways of just deeds; and to protect the way of those who respect him. Then you will understand justice and judgement, and direct all good courses. For if wisdom comes into the mind, while perception seems to be good to your soul, good counsel will guard you; while holy thought will watch over you, that it may deliver you from a wicked way, and from a man who speaks nothing trustworthy. Alas for those who abandon straight ways to journey in ways of darkness; who are glad at wickednesses, and rejoice at wicked perversity! Whose paths are crooked and whose tracks are winding, to take you far from the straight way, and make you a stranger to just purpose. My son, let not wicked counsel, which has abandoned teaching from her youth, and forgotten God’s testament, take you; for she has set her house next death and her door-posts [This word means literally an ‘axle’ or ‘axis’, and hence metaphorically a ‘course’ or ‘path’. But in the plural it also means ‘door-jambs’, which is how it could be taken here. The MT has ‘paths’, but, like LXX, ‘house’ in the first half. Some modern editors alter this to ‘way’] with the earthborn next Hell. All those who journey by her will not return, nor will they take straight paths; for they are not taken by years of life [This curious reading seems to mean that the they will not enjoy a long life. The sentence appears to be a translation doublet of the previous half verse.]. For if they had journeyed on good paths, they would have found smooth paths of justice. They will be good builders of the land; but the innocent will be left behind in it; because the upright will inhabit the land and the holy will be left behind in it. The ways of the ungodly will perish from the land; while the transgressors will be destroyed from it.
Προκείμενον Ἦχος πλ. β' Ψαλμὸς ιβ'
Ἐπίβλεψον, εἰσάκουσόν μου, Κύριε ὁ Θεός μου.
Στίχ. Ἕως πότε, Κύριε, ἐπιλήσῃ μου εἰς τέλος;
Παροιμιῶν τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα (Κεφ. Β', 1-22)
Υἱέ, ἐὰν δεξάμενος ῥῆσιν ἐμῆς ἐντολῆς, κρύψῃς παρὰ σεαυτῷ, ἐπακούσεται σοφίας τὸ, οὖς σου, καὶ παραβαλεῖς καρδίαν σου εἰς σύνεσιν· παραβαλεῖς δὲ αὐτὴν εἰς νουθέτησιν τῷ υἱῷ σου. Ἐὰν γὰρ τὴν σοφίαν ἐπικαλέσῃ, καὶ τῇ συνέσει δῷς φωνήν σου, καὶ ἐὰν ζητήσῃς αὐτὴν ὡς ἀργύριον, καὶ ὡς θησαυρὸν ἐξερευνήσῃς αὐτήν, τότε συνήσεις φόβον Κυρίου, καὶ ἐπίγνωσιν Θεοῦ εὑρήσεις, ὅτι Κύριος δίδωσι σοφίαν, καὶ ἀπὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ γνῶσις καὶ σύνεσις. Καὶ θησαυρίζει τοῖς κατορθοῦσι σωτηρίαν, ὑπερασπιεῖ δὲ τὴν πορείαν αὐτῶν, τοῦ φυλάξασθαι ὁδοὺς δικαιωμάτων. καὶ ὁδὸν εὐλαβουμένων αὐτὸν διαφυλάξει. Τότε συνήσεις δικαιοσύνην καὶ κρῖμα, καὶ κατορθώσεις πάντας ἄξονας ἀγαθούς. Ἐὰν γὰρ ἔλθῃ ἡ σοφία εἰς σὴν διάνοιαν, ἡ δὲ αἴσθησις τῇ σῇ ψυχῇ καλὴ εἶναι δόξῃ, βουλὴ καλὴ φυλάξει σε· ἔννοια δὲ ὁσία τηρήσει σε, ἵνα ῥύσηταί σε ἀπὸ ὁδοῦ κακῆς, καὶ ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς λαλοῦντος μηδὲν πιστόν. Ὢ οἱ ἐγκαταλείποντες ὁδοὺς εὐθείας, τοῦ πορευθῆναι ἐν ὁδοῖς σκότους! Ὢ οἱ εὐφραινόμενοι ἐπὶ κακοῖς, καὶ χαίροντες ἐπὶ διαστροφῂ κακῂ! ὧν αἱ τρίβοι σκολιαί, καὶ καμπύλαι αἱ τροχιαὶ αὐτῶν, τοῦ μακράν σε ποιῆσαι ἀπὸ ὁδοῦ εὐθείας, καὶ ἀλλότριον τῆς δικαίας γνώμης. Υἱέ, μή σε καταλάβῃ βουλὴ κακή, ἡ ἀπολείπουσα διδασκαλίαν νεότητος, καὶ διαθήκην θείαν ἐπιλελησμένη· ἔθετο γὰρ παρὰ τῷ θανάτῳ τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς, καὶ παρὰ τῷ ᾍδῃ μετὰ τῶν γηγενῶν τοὺς ἄξονας, αὐτῆς. Πάντες οἱ πορευόμενοι ἐν αὐτῇ οὐκ ἀναστρέψουσιν, οὐδὲ μὴ καταλάβωσι τρίβους εὐθείας· οὐ γὰρ καταλαμβάνονται ὑπὸ ἐνιαυτῶν ζωῆς. Εἰ γὰρ ἐπορεύοντο τρίβους ἀγαθάς, εὕροσαν ἂν τρίβους τὰς τῶν δικαίων, λείας. Χρηστοὶ ἔσονται οἰκήτορες γῆς, ἄκακοι δὲ ὑπολειφθήσονται ἐν αὐτῇ, ὅτι εὐθεῖς κατασκηνώσουσι γῆν, καὶ ὅσιοι ὑπολειφθήσονται ἐν αὐτῇ. Ὁδοὶ ἀσεβῶν ἐκ γῆς ὀλοῦνται, οἱ δὲ παράνομοι ἐξολοθρευθήσονται ἀπ' αὐτῆς.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Κθ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ Ὁμολογητοῦ Κασσιανοῦ τοῦ Ῥωμαίου.
Ἔνθεν μεταστὰς Κασσιανὸς πρὸς νόας,
Θείας νοητῶς κασσίας ἀποπνέει.
Εἰκάδα ἀμφ᾽ ἐνάτην θάνε Κασσιανὸς μεγαθύμων.
Ταῖς αὐτοῦ ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεὸς ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Saint was born about the year 350, and was, according to some, from Rome, according to others, from Dacia Pontica (Dobrogea in present-day Romania). He was a learned man who had first served in the military. Later, he forsook this life and became a monk in Bethlehem with his friend and fellow-ascetic, Germanus of Dacia Pontica, whose memory is also celebrated today. Hearing the fame of the great Fathers of Scete, they went to Egypt about the year 390; their meetings with the famous monks of Scete are recorded in Saint John's Conferences. In the year 403 they went to Constantinople, where Cassian was ordained deacon by Saint John Chrysostom; after the exile of Saint Chrysostom, Saints Cassian and Germanus went to Rome with letters to Pope Innocent I in defence of the exiled Archbishop of Constantinople. There Saint Cassian was ordained priest, after which he went to Marseilles, where he established the famous monastery of Saint Victor. He reposed in peace about the year 433.
The last of his writings was On the Incarnation of the Lord, Against Nestorius, written in 430 at the request of Leo, the Archdeacon of Pope Celestine. In this work he was the first to show the spiritual kinship between Pelagianism, which taught that Christ was a mere man who without the help of God had avoided sin, and that it was possible for man to overcome sin by his own efforts; and Nestorianism, which taught that Christ was a mere man used as an instrument by the Son of God, but was not God become man; and indeed, when Nestorius first became Patriarch of Constantinople in 428, he made much show of persecuting the heretics, with the exception only of the Pelagians, whom he received into communion and interceded for them to the Emperor and to Pope Celestine.
The error opposed to Pelagianism but equally ruinous was Augustine's teaching that after the fall, man was so corrupt that he could do nothing for his own salvation, and that God simply predestined some men to salvation and others to damnation. Saint John Cassian refuted this blasphemy in the thirteenth of his Conferences, with Abbot Chairemon, which eloquently sets forth, at length and with many citations from the Holy Scriptures, the Orthodox teaching of the balance between the grace of God on one hand, and man's efforts on the other, necessary for our salvation.
Saint Benedict of Nursia, in Chapter 73 of his Rule, ranks Saint Cassian's Institutes and Conferences first among the writings of the monastic fathers, and commands that they be read in his monasteries; indeed, the Rule of Saint Benedict is greatly indebted to the Institutes of Saint John Cassian. Saint John Climacus also praises him highly in section 105 of Step 4 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, on Obedience.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Εν σοί Πάτερ ακριβώς διεσώθη τό κατ' εικόνα, λαβών γάρ τόν σταυρόν, ηκολούθησας τώ Χριστώ καί πράττων εδίδασκες, υπεροράν μέν σαρκός, παρέρχεται γάρ, επιμελείσθαι δέ ψυχής πράγματος αθανάτου. Διό καί μετά Αγγέλων συναγάλλεται, Όσιε Κασσιανέ τό πνεύμά σου.
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous John Cassian, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.
Kontakion in the First Tone
Thy words breathe forth the sweetness of heavenly cassia, dispelling the foul odour of passion and pleasures; but with the sweet fragrance of thy discretion and temperance, they make known the spiritual ascents in the Spirit, leading men on high, O righteous Father John Cassian, divinely-sent guide of monks.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Κασσιανὸς ὁ Ῥωμαῖος
Ῥωμαῖος στὴν καταγωγή, μὲ γονεῖς πλούσιους καὶ ἐπιφανεῖς. Ἡ μεγάλη του εὐφυΐα, ἡ φιλομάθεια καὶ ἡ ἐπιμέλειά του, ἦταν ἀπὸ τοὺς βασικοὺς παράγοντες, ὥστε ὁ Κασσιανὸς νὰ διακριθεῖ στὶς σπουδές του καὶ νὰ γίνει ἄριστος ἐπιστήμων. μαζὶ μὲ τὴν διανοητικὴ αὐτὴ προκοπή του, καλλιέργησε καὶ τὴν ζωὴ τῆς χριστιανικῆς ἁγιότητας, μὲ πολὺ ζῆλο καὶ προσεκτικὴ ἀκρίβεια. Ὅπως ἡ ἐπιστήμη του ὑπῆρξε φωτεινή, ἔτσι σταθερὴ στάθηκε καὶ ἡ πίστη του. Τὸ πιὸ ἐντυπωσιακό, ὅμως, εἶναι ὅτι ὁ Κασσιανὸς διὰ τῆς θείας χάριτος ἐπιβλήθηκε στοὺς ἐνθουσιασμοὺς τῆς νεότητας. Διατηρήθηκε ἐγκρατὴς καὶ σώφρων καὶ πέτυχε τὸ ὡραιότερο τῶν στεμμάτων, τὴν ἁγνότητα, ποὺ τὴν διατήρησε καὶ κατὰ τὴν στρατιωτική του ζωή. Ἔτσι ἐφάρμοσε κατὰ πάντα τὴν θεόπνευστη προσταγὴ τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου, «σεαυτὸν ἁγνὸν τηρεῖ». Δηλαδή, διατήρησε τὸν ἑαυτό σου καθαρὸ ἀπὸ τὶς δικές σου, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπὸ τὶς ξένες ἁμαρτίες. Ἀργότερα ὁ Κασσιανός, μὲ τὸ στέμμα αὐτὸ τῆς ἁγνότητας, ἄφησε τὸ στρατιωτικὸ στάδιο καὶ ἔβαλε τὸ ῥάσο τῆς μοναχικῆς πολιτείας, ὅπου διέπρεψε σὰν πνευματικὸς πατέρας. Ποθῶντας ὅμως νὰ γνωρίσει βαθύτερα τὴν ἀκρίβεια τῆς μοναχικῆς ζωῆς, περιῆλθε ὅλα τὰ μεγάλα κέντρα τοῦ ἀσκητισμοῦ, τὴν Αἴγυπτο, τὴν Θηβαΐδα, τὴν Νιτρία, Ἀσία, Καππαδοκία, καὶ τὸν Πόντο, ἀπ᾿ ὅπου πῆρε πολλή ὠφέλεια. Ὁ Κασσιανὸς ἐπίσης, ἔγραψε τὰ γνωστὰ ἀπὸ τὴν Φιλοκαλία κεφάλαια «περὶ τῶν ὀκτὼ λογισμῶν», ποὺ τόσο πολὺ διαβάζονταν καὶ διαβάζονται ἀπὸ τοὺς ἀσκητές. Ἔτσι μὲ λόγια καὶ ἔργα ἀφοῦ ἔλαμψε, εἰρηνικὰ πρὸς τὸν Κύριο ἐξεδήμησε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Γεώργιος ἐπίσκοπος Δεφέλτου ὁ Ὁμολογητής
Εἶναι ἄγνωστος στοὺς Συναξαριστές. Ἀναφέρεται στὸν Λαυριωτικὸ Κώδικα Ε 152 φ. 367α, ὅτι ὑπῆρξε ἀγωνιζόμενος Ὁμολογητὴς ἐναντίον τῶν Μονοθελητῶν καὶ ὑπέμεινε θλίψεις ἀπὸ τοὺς Σκύθες, ἀφοῦ στήριξε τὸν λαό του στὸ δόγμα τῶν Πατέρων τῆς Ὀρθόδοξης Ἐκκλησίας.
St John Cassian the Roman (435)
The Synaxarion calls him "Our Father Cassian, chosen by God to bring the illumination of Eastern monasticism to the West". He was born in Scythia of noble parents, and was well educated in secular things. But, thirsting for perfection, he left all behind and travelled with his friend Germanus to the Holy Land, where he became a monk in Bethlehem. After becoming established in the monastic life for several years, St John felt a desire for greater perfection, and sought out the Fathers of the Egyptian Desert. He spent seven years in the Desert, learning from such Fathers as Moses, Serapion, Theonas, Isaac and Paphnutius. Through long struggles in his cell, St John developed from personal experience a divinely-inspired doctrine of spiritual combat. Many say that it was he who first listed the eight basic passions: gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, sadness, acedia, vainglory and pride.
In time, struggles in the Alexandrian Church made life so difficult for the Egyptian monks that St John (still accompanied by his friend Germanus), sought refuge in Constantinople, where they came under the care and protection of St John Chrysostom. When the holy Archbishop was exiled, St John once again fled, this time to Rome, where he came under the protection of Pope Innocent I. This proved to be providential for the Western Church, for it was St John who brought the treasures of Desert spirituality to the monasteries of the West. He founded the monastery of St Victor in Marseilles, then, at the request of his bishop, wrote the Cenobitic Institutions, in which he adapted the austere practices of the Egyptian Fathers to the conditions of life in Gaul. He went on to write his famous Conferences, which became the main channel by which the wisdom of the desert East was passed to the monastics of the West. Saint Benedict developed much of his Rule (which at one time governed most monasteries in the Latin world) from St John's Institutions,, and ordered that the Conferences be read in all monasteries.
Saint John reposed in peace in 435, and has been venerated by the monks of the West as their Father and one of their wisest teachers. His relics are still venerated at the Abbey of St Victor in Marseilles.
St John's writings were soon attacked by extreme Augustinians and, as Augustinianism became the official doctrine of the Latin Church, his veneration fell out of favor in the West. Outside the Orthodox Church, his commemoration is now limited to the diocese of Marseilles.
Our Holy Father Barsanuphius (457)
He was born a pagan in the Holy Land. As a young man he saw the truth of Christ, was baptized at the age of eighteen and immediately became a monk, given the name of John. Such was his reputation for virtue that in time he became Archbishop of Damascus. But, spurning worldly distinction and desiring only a solitary life of prayer, he secretly left Damascus and travelled to the Nitrian desert. He entered a monastery as the monk Barsanuphius, telling no one of his past. He joyfully accepted the obedience of water-carrier for the monastery, and lived out his life in humility, becoming a model of monastic life for his brethren. Only at his death was it revealed to the monks that their humble and obedient brother Barsanuphius had been an Archbishop. He reposed in peace in 457.
The Monk John Cassian the Roman, as to the place of birth and the language in which he wrote -- belonged to the West, but the spiritual native-land of the saint was always the Orthodox East. John accepted monasticism at a Bethlehem monastery, situated at a place not far from where the Saviour was born. After a two-year stay at the monastery, in the year 390 the monk with his spiritual brother Germanus journeyed over the course of seven years through the Thebaid and Skete wilderness monasteries, drawing upon the spiritual experience of innumerable ascetics. Having returned in 397 for a brief while to Bethlehem, the spiritual brothers asceticised for three years in complete solitude, but then they set out to Constantinople, where they attended to Sainted John Chrysostom.
The Monk Cassion was ordained to the dignity of presbyter in his own native land. At Massilia (Marseilles) in Gallia (Gaul, now France) he first established there two coenobitic (life-in-common) monasteries, a men's and a women's, on the order of monastic-rules of Eastern monasticism. At the request of Bishop Castor of Aptia Julia (in Gallia Narbonensis), the Monk Cassian in the years 417-419 wrote 12 books entitled "De Institutis Coenobiorum" ("On the Directives of Coenobitic Life") from the Palestinian and Egyptian monks and including 10 conversations with the desert fathers, so as to provide his fellow countrymen examples of life-in-common (cenobitic) monasteries and acquaint them with the spirit of the asceticism of the Orthodox East. In the first book of "De Institutis Coenobiorum" the talk concerns the external appearance of the monastic; in the second -- concerning the order of the night psalms and prayers; in the third -- concerning the order of the daytime prayers and psalms; in the fourth -- concerning the order of renunciation from the world; in the eight remaining books -- concerning eight chief sins.
In the conversations of the fathers Saint Cassian as a guide within asceticism speaks about the purpose of life, about spiritual discernment, about the degrees of renunciation from the world, about the passions of the flesh and spirit, about the eight sins, about the hardship of the righteous, and about prayer.
In the years following, the Monk Cassian described another fourteen (or else twenty-four) "Conversations of the Fathers" (the "Collationes Patrum"): about the perfection of love, about purity, about the help of God, about the comprehending of Scripture, about the gifts of God, about friendship, about the use of language, about the four levels of monasticism, about solitary hermetic life and coenobitic life-in-common, about repentance, about fasting, about nightly meditations, about spiritual mortification -- this last given the explanatory title "I want not to, yet this I do".
In the year 431 Saint John Cassian wrote his final work, the "Against Nestorius" ("De incarnationem Domini contra Nestorium" -- literally "On the Incarnation of the Lord, against Nestorius"). In it he gathered together against the heresy the opinions of censure of many Eastern and Western teachers. In his works the Monk Cassian grounded himself in the spiritual experience of the ascetics, meriting the admiration of Blessed Augustine (Comm. 15 June), that "grace far least of all is defensible by pompous words and loquacious contention, by dialectic syllogisms and the eloquence of a Cicero". In the words of the Monk John of the Ladder (Climaticus or Lestvichnik; Comm. 30 March), "great Cassian discerns loftily and quite excellently". Saint John Cassian the Roman reposed peacefully in the year 435.
The Monk John, called Barsonophios, was a native of Palestine. At 18 years of age he accepted holy Baptism, and soon also monastic vows. Because of his ascetic life, the Monk John was ordained bishop of the city of Damascus. Once, in his love for the solitary life, the Monk John left off being bishop and secretly withdrew to Alexandria, calling himself Barsonophios. Then he went off into the Nitreian wilderness, arrived at a monastery and besought the hegumen to accept him into the monastery, so as to serve the elders. He conscientiously fulfilled this obedience by day, and nights he spent in prayer.
After a certain while Saint Theodore of Nitreia saw the monk, and knew of him that he was a bishop. Saint John then again concealed himself and withdrew into Egypt, where he asceticised until the end of his days (V).
The Holy Martyr Theoktyrist (Theostyriktos), Hegumen of the Pelikiote monastery, suffered for icon veneration under the impious emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775). Together with him, subjected to tortures were Saint Stephen the New (Comm. 28 November) and other pious monks. Saint Theoktyrist was burnt with boiling tar.
The holy martyr is known as a spiritual writer and the author of a canon to the Mother of God "Sustaint in Many Misfortunes".
The Monk Leo, Cappadocian Monastic: He fulfilled the commandment about love for neighbour, by suggesting to the Saracens who had taken captive three sickly monks, that they replace the infirm captives with himself, since he was healthy and capable of work. During a time of journeying in the desert the Monk Leo weakened and was not able to go further. He was beheaded with the sword, having given up his soul "for his neighbour".
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE VENERABLE JOHN CASSIAN
John, this great spiritual man, was born in Rome of renowned parents. In his youth he studied all the secular sciences, especially philosophy and astronomy. After that, he devoted himself completely to the study of Holy Scripture. Striving from good to better and desiring even higher levels of perfection, Cassian traveled from Rome to Constantinople to personally hear and see St. John Chrysostom. Chrysostom instructed him and ordained him a deacon. Benefiting much from the wise Chrysostom, Cassian traveled farther east, to learn even more and become more perfected. He remained in Egypt, the longest time in Nitria, among the famous spiritual athletes from whom he learned the art of every virtue. He finally returned to the west and settled in the town of Marseilles [French Seaport]. Here he established two monastic communities: one for men and one for women. At the request of the monks, Cassian wrote many essays which are especially beneficial for the lovers of the spiritual life: "Eight Books on the struggle against the eight principle passions" [Institutes of the Monastic Life and Conferences on the Egyptian Monks]. Of great importance is his essay against the heretic Nestorius. This essay was written at the request of Archdeacon Leo. He served our Lord faithfully and enriched many with his wisdom and took up habitation in eternal life in the year 435 A.D. The relics of St. Cassian repose in Marseilles [France] even today.
2. THE VENERABLE BARSANUPHIUS
Barsanuphius was born a pagan in Palestine and was baptized in his eighteenth year and immediately was tonsured a monk taking the name of John. When he became known for of his virtuous life, Barsanuphius was elected archbishop of Damascus. He did not remain long at this position. Yearning for the reclusive, ascetically spiritual life, he secretly left Damascus and went to the wilderness of Nitria. Here, he presented himself as the monk Barsanuphius and immediately, was assigned, as an obedience, to be a water-carrier for the monastery. The former archbishop accepts this obedience with joy. With his wise reflections, meekness and diligence, Barsanuphius soon became a model example to all the monks. Only before his death was it revealed to the monks who this Barsanuphius was. Thus this saint, by his example, served as a reproach to the proud and power-loving and as a comfort to the humble and meek. He died peacefully and took up habitation with the Lord in the year 457 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT CASSIAN ON PASSIONS
Cassian numbered eight terrible passions
And still the ninth - impure thoughts.
In food and drink, Gluttony the first,
To the spirit and body, Promiscuity the second,
Avarice, shackles which tie one to the metal,
Anger, of man's heart the frost which freezes and constricts.
Melancholy, which erodes the soul; the insatiable worm,
Slothfulness, drowsiness to a soul, which spins [weaves] death,
Vanity, a serpent; a many headed serpent,
It is everywhere and nowhere, the grass conceals it,
Pride, a double-edged sword that cuts and hems,
Both the young and old mercilessly destroys,
And the ones vigorous, and arrogant [proud] because of strength,
And the spiritual elders, to themselves, dear.
Of all these passions, our defense God is
By the prayers of the holy Saint Cassian.
St. John Cassian writes of the struggle with the spirit of lust in this manner: "Struggle with the spirit of lust is a bitter struggle; longer than other struggles; a daily struggle victoriously accomplished completely only by a small number of people. This struggle begins with the first mature growth and does not cease until all other passions are defeated. In this struggle, a two-fold weapon is necessary. For the achievement of this perfect and pure chastity bodily fasting alone is not sufficient (although fasting, before everything else is necessary): along with this, meekness of the spirit and unremitting prayer is necessary against this most impure spirit [lust]. After that, continual study of Holy Scripture together with prudent mental exercises and after that physical labor and handiworks, all of which keeps the heart from lusting and restores it to itself and, above all, profound and true humility without which victory over any passion can never be achieved. Victory over this passion [lust] is conditioned with the perfect purification of the heart from which, according to the words of the Lord, flows the poison of this sickness [lust]. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (St. Matthew 15:19). One must have stable humility and patience in the heart as well as careful protection of oneself from anger and other passions during the course of the day. For in as much as the fire of anger enters in us, afterward so much easier, does the ember of passions penetrate us. It is interesting that even many other great spiritual fathers bring into causal tie the passion of anger and the passion of lustful desire from which follows, that the most angry ones are the most lustful ones.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as the vigilant Watchman over His Church: "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (St. Matthew 28:20).
1. How He watches over the entire created world and especially His Church acquired by His Blood;
2. How He watches over every baptized soul as a gardener over His planting;
3. How He through serenity and through tempest, leads His Church, leading her [The Church] to ultimate victory;
4. How He watches even over my life, that it grow and that it may be built in His eternal kingdom.
About the living presence of Christ
"I am with You always, even to the end of the ages" (St. Matthew 28:20).
Here is consolation above consolations!
Here is consolation for those whom the tempest breaks! Let them only remember: There Christ is beside them and let them not be afraid. He is the Helmsman.
Here is consolation for those who are sick! Let them know that Christ is there beside their bed and let them not despair. He is the Physician.
Here is consolation for those who grow old! Let them not lose sight that Christ travels with them through time to all eternity, into eternal youth and let them be at peace.
Here is consolation for those who are tormented by men! Let them not think that they are abandoned, for Christ is with them in all suffering; at judgment and in prison and let them rejoice. He is the Judge.
Here is consolation for those who are disturbed by evil spirits! Let them remember that Christ is the conqueror over evil spirits, He is on their side and let them be strengthened. He is the Victor.
Here is consolation for all who seek the light of justice and truth! Let them believe that Christ is closer to their soul than their eyes and let them adhere to His leadership. He is Light.
O, my brethren, in truth, Christ is constantly with us as light is constantly with the eyes, which see. But O, our sorrow if the eyes of our soul are closed and, in vain does the light labor to encounter the pupil of our vision! O, our sorrow and grief when we are not with Christ!
He goes out to meet us. Are we going out to meet Him? He wants to be with us. Do we want to be with Him? If we want consolation, we must be with Him all days to the end of our time.
O Lord, our only consolation, do not leave us!