FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Eudokia the Martyr of Heliopolis
Andonina the New Martyr
Τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιομάρτυρος Εὐδοκίας τῆς ἀπό Σαμαρειτῶν.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
Prokeimenon. Tone 4. Psalm 13.
When the Lord turns back the captivity of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.
Verse: The fool has said in his heart: There is no God.
The Reading is from the Prophecy of Isaias. 2:11-21
The Lord alone will be exalted in that day; for the day of the Lord of hosts will be upon every one that is proud and haughty, and upon the high and lofty; and they will be humbled. And upon every cedar of Lebanon, of the high and lofty, and upon every tree of oak of Basan, and upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, and upon every high tower, and upon every high wall, and upon every ship of the sea and upon every sight of ships of beauty. And every man shall be humbled and the height of men shall fall; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And they will hide all things made with hands, bringing them into the caves and clefts of the rocks, and into the caverns of 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. On that day a man will cast out his abominations, the silver and gold objects which they made to worship with vanities and bats; to enter the caverns of the solid rock and the clefts of the rocks and from the glory of his strength, when he arises to crush the earth.
Προκείμενον Ἦχος δ' Ψαλμὸς ιγ'
Ἐν τῷ ἐπιστρέψαι Κύριον τὴν αἰχμαλωσίαν τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ.
Στίχ. Εἶπεν ἄφρων ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ, οὐκ ἔστι Θεός.
Προφητείας Ἡσαΐου τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα (Κεφ. Β', 11-21)
Ὑψωθήσεται Κύριος μόνος ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ· ἡμέρα γὰρ Κυρίου Σαβαὼθ ἐπὶ πάντα ὑβριστὴν καὶ ὑπερήφανον, καὶ ἐπὶ πάντα ὑψηλὸν καὶ μετέωρον, καὶ ταπεινωθήσονται. Καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν κέδρον τοῦ Λιβάνου, τὴν ὑψηλὴν καὶ μετέωρον, καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶν δένδρον βαλάνου Βασάν, καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶν ὄρος ὑψηλόν, καὶ ἐπὶ πάντα πύργον ὑψηλόν, καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶν τεῖχος ὑψηλόν, καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶν, πλοῖον θαλάσσης, καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν θέαν κάλλους πλοίων. Καὶ ταπεινωθήσεται πᾶς ἄνθρωπος, καὶ πεσεῖται τὸ ὕψος τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ ὑψωθήσεται Κύριος μόνος ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ. Καὶ τὰ χειροποίητα πάντα κατακρύψουσιν, εἰσενέγκαντες εἰς τὰ σπήλαια, καὶ εἰς τὰς σχισμὰς τῶν πετρῶν, καὶ εἰς τὰς τρώγλας τῆς γῆς, ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ φόβου Κυρίου, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ, ὅταν ἀναστῇ θραῦσαι τὴν γῆν· τῇ γὰρ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἐκβαλεῖ ἄνθρωπος τὰ βδελύγματα αὐτοῦ, τὰ ἀργυρᾶ καὶ τὰ χρυσᾶ, ἃ ἐποίησαν ἑαυτόῖς, εἰς τὸ προσκυνεῖν τοῖς ματαίοις, καὶ ταῖς νυκτερίσι, τοῦ ἐλθεῖν εἰς τὰς τρώγλας τῆς στερεᾶς πέτρας, καὶ εἰς τὰς σχισμὰς τῶν πετρῶν, ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ φόβου Κυρίου, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ, ὅταν ἀναστῇ θραῦσαι τὴν γῆν.
Evening Prokeimenon. Tone 4. Psalm 15.
I will bless the Lord who has given me understanding.
Verse: Guard me, O Lord, for I have hoped in you.
The Reading is from Genesis. 2:4-19
This is the book of the genesis of heaven and earth, when it came to pass; in the day when the Lord [The LXX uses the word Kyrios, frequently without the definite article, as here, as a proper name, the equivalent of the divine name YHWH.] God made heaven and earth and every herb of the field, before it was on the earth, and every grass of the field, before sprang up; for God had not sent rain on the earth, and there was no man to work it. But a spring went up out of the earth and watered the face of the earth. And God fashioned man, dust from the earth, and breathed into his face a breath of life; and man became a living soul. And God planted Paradise [The word means ‘a garden’, but is taken by the Triodion as a proper name.] in Edem, to the East, and he placed there the man he had fashioned. And God again made every tree fair to behold and good to eat to spring out of the earth; and the tree of life in the midst of Paradise, and the tree of knowing what can be known of good and evil. While a river came from Edem to water Paradise; from there it divides into four heads; the name of one is Phison, this encircles all the land of Evilat, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; and there is carbuncle and the green stone. And the name of the second is Geon, this encircles the whole land of Ethiopia. And the third river is the Tigris, this is the one which flows out opposite the Assyrians. The fourth river is the Euphrates. And the Lord God took the man he had fashioned, and placed him in the Paradise of delight, to work it and guard it. And the Lord God commanded Adam, saying: From every tree in Paradise you may eat for food; but from the tree of knowing good and evil, you [This and the two following verbs are plural.] are not to eat from it; on the day you eat from it by death you will die. And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone; let us make a helper for him, corresponding to him. And God fashioned again from the earth all the flying creatures of heaven, and the wild beasts of the field; and he brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And every name that Adam called each living soul, that was its name.
Προκείμενον Ἦχος δ' Ψαλμὸς ιε'
Εὐλογήσω τὸν Κύριον, τὸν συνετίσαντά με.
Στίχ. Φυλαξόν με Κύριε, ὅτι ἐπὶ σοὶ ἤλπισα.
Γενέσεως τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα (Κεφ. Β', 4-19)
Αὕτη ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως οὐρανοῦ τε καὶ γῆς, ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα, ᾗ ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ πᾶν χλωρὸν ἀγροῦ, πρὸ τοῦ γενέσθαι ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ πάντα χόρτον ἀγροῦ, πρὸ τοῦ ἀνατεῖλαι· οὐ γὰρ ἔβρεξεν ὁ Θεὸς ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ ἄνθρωπος οὐκ ἦν ἐργάζεσθαι αὐτήν. Πηγὴ δὲ ἀνέβαινεν ἐκ τῆς γῆς, καὶ ἐπότιζε πᾶν τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς. Καὶ ἔπλασεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον, χοῦν λαβὼν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς, καὶ ἐνεφύσησεν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ πνοὴν ζωῆς, καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν. Καὶ ἐφύτευσεν ὁ Θεὸς Παράδεισον ἐν Ἐδέμ, κατὰ ἀνατολάς, καὶ ἔθετο ἐκεῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον ὃν ἔπλασε. Καὶ ἐξανέτειλεν ὁ Θεὸς ἔτι ἐκ τῆς γῆς πᾶν ξύλον ὡραῖον εἰς ὅρασιν, καὶ καλὸν εἰς βρῶσιν, καὶ τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς, ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ Παραδείσου, καὶ τὸ ξύλον τοῦ εἰδέναι γνωστὸν καλοῦ καὶ πονηροῦ. Ποταμὸς δὲ ἐκεπορεύεται ἐξ Ἐδέμ, ποτίζειν τὸν Παράδεισον· ἐκεῖθεν ἀφορίζεται εἰς τέσσαρας ἀρχάς, ὄνομα τῷ ἑνί, Φισών· οὗτος ὁ κυκλῶν πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν Εὐϊλάτ, ἐκεῖ οὖν ἐστι τὸ χρυσίον. Τὸ δὲ χρυσίον τῆς γῆς ἐκείνης, καλόν, καὶ ἐκεῖ ἐστιν ὁ ἄνθραξ, καὶ ὁ λίθος ὁ πράσινος. Καὶ ὄνομα τῷ ποταμῷ τῷ δευτέρῳ, Γεών· οὗτος ὁ κυκλῶν πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν Αἰθιοπίας. Καὶ ὁ ποταμὸς ὁ τρίτος, Τίγρις, οὗτος ὁ πορευόμενος κατέναντι Ἀσσυρίων, ὁ δὲ ποταμὸς ὁ τέταρτος, Εὐφράτης. Καὶ ἔλαβε Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον, ὃν ἔπλασε, καὶ ἔθετο αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ Παραδείσῳ τῆς τρυφῆς, ἐργάζεσθαι αὐτὸν καὶ φυλάσσειν. Καὶ ἐνετείλατο Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς τῷ Ἀδάμ, λέγων· Ἀπὸ παντὸς ξύλου, τοῦ ἐν τῷ Παραδείσῳ, βρώσει φαγῇ, ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ ξύλου τοῦ γινώσκειν καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν, οὐ φάγεσθε ἀπ' αὐτοῦ· ᾗ δ' ἂν ἡμέρα φάγητε ἀπ' αὐτοῦ, θανάτῳ ἀποθανεῖσθε. Καὶ εἶπε Κύριος ὁ Θεός· οὐ καλὸν εἶναι τὸν ἄνθρωπον μόνον, ποιήσωμεν αὐτῷ βοηθὸν κατ' αὐτόν. Καὶ ἔπλασεν ὁ Θεὸς ἔτι ἐκ τῆς γῆς πάντα τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ τὰ θηρία τοῦ ἀγροῦ, καὶ ἤγαγεν αὐτὰ πρὸς τὸν Ἀδάμ, ἰδεῖν τί καλέσει αὐτά. Καὶ πᾶν, ὃ ἐὰν ἐκάλεσεν αὐτὸ Ἀδὰμ ψυχὴν ζῶσαν, τοῦτο ὄνομα αὐτῶν.
Prokeimenon. Tone 4. Psalm 16.
Guard me, O Lord, as the apple of your eye.
Verse: Listen, O Lord of my justice, attend to my supplication.
The Reading is from Proverbs. 3:1-19
My son, do not forget my laws, let your heart keep my words; for they will add to you length of life and years of life and peace. Do not let mercies and faith desert you; attach them to your neck, write them on the tables of your heart, and you will find grace; and take thought for what is good before the Lord and before men. Be trusting in God with your whole heart; do not be exalted in your own wisdom. In all your ways get to know her, that you may rightly direct your ways; and your foot not stumble. Do not be prudent in your own eyes; rather fear God and keep from every wickedness; then there will be healing for your body and treatment for your bones. Honour the Lord with your just labours and offer him the first of the fruits of your justice, that your stores may be filled to abundance with corn, that your presses may be bursting with wine. My son, do not treat lightly the Lord’s discipline, nor give up when you are rebuked by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves; scourges every child he receives. Blest the man who has found wisdom, every mortal who knows prudence. For it is better to trade for her than for treasures of gold and silver. She is more precious than valuable stones; nothing evil will withstand her; she is well known to all who draw near her, nothing precious is worthy of her, for length of life and years of life are in her right hand, while in her left are wealth and glory. Justice comes from her mouth; she carries law and mercy on her tongue. Her ways are good ways and all her paths are in peace. She is a tree of life to all who lay hold of her, and to those who lean hard upon her as upon the Lord she is safe.
Προκείμενον Ἦχος δ' Ψαλμὸς ις'
Φύλαξόν με Κύριε, ὡς κόρην ὀφθαλμοῦ.
Στίχ. Εἰσάκουσον, Κύριε, δικαιοσύνης μου.
Παροιμιῶν τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα (Κεφ. Γ', 1-19)
Υἱέ, ἐμῶν νόμων μὴ ἐπιλανθάνου, τὰ δὲ ῥήματά μου τηρείτω σῇ καρδίᾳ· μῆκος γὰρ βίου, καὶ ἔτη ζωῆς, καὶ εἰρήνην προσθήσουσί σοι. Ἐλεημοσύναι καὶ πίστεις μὴ ἐκλειπέτωσάν σοι· ἄφαψαι δὲ αὐτὰς ἐπὶ τῷ σῷ τραχήλῳ, γράψον αὐτὰς ἐπὶ πλακὸς καρδίας σου, καὶ εὑρήσεις χάριν. Καὶ προνοοῦ καλὰ ἐνώπιον Θεοῦ, καὶ ἀνθρώπων. Ἴσθι πεποιθὼς ἐπὶ Κύριον ἐν ὅλῃ καρδίᾳ· ἐπὶ δὲ σῇ σοφίᾳ μὴ ἐπαίρου. Ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ὁδοῖς σου γνώριζε αὐτήν, ἵνα ὀρθοτομῇ τὰς ὁδούς σου, ὁ δὲ πούς σου μὴ προσκόψῃ. Μὴ ἴσθι φρόνιμος παρὰ σεαυτῷ, φοβοῦ δὲ τὸν Κύριον, καὶ ἔκκλινον, ἀπὸ παντὸς κακοῦ· τότε ἴασις ἔσται τῷ σώματί σου, καὶ ἐπιμέλεια τοῖς ὀστέοις σου. Τίμα τὸν Κύριον ἀπὸ σῶν δικαίων πόνων, καὶ ἀπάρχου αὐτῷ ἀπὸ σῶν καρπῶν δικαιοσύνης, ἵνα πιμπλῶνται τὰ ταμεῖά σου πλησμονῆς σίτου, οἴνῳ δὲ οἱ ληνοί σου ἐκβλύζωσιν. Υἱέ, μὴ ὀλιγώρει παιδείας Κυρίου, μηδὲ ἐκλύου ὑπ' αὐτοῦ ἐλεγχόμενος. Ὃν γὰρ ἀγαπᾷ Κύριος, παιδεύει, μαστιγοῖ δὲ πάντα υἱόν, ὃν παραδέχεται. Μακάριος ἄνθρωπος, ὃς εὗρε σοφίαν, καὶ θνητὸς ὃς εἶδε φρόνησιν. Κρεῖσσον γὰρ αὐτὴν ἐμπορεύεσθαι, ἢ χρυσίου καὶ ἀργυρίου θησαυρούς. Τιμιωτέρα δέ ἐστι λίθων πολυτελῶν, οὐκ ἀντιτάσσεται αὐτῇ οὐδὲν πονηρόν, εὔγνωστός ἐστι πᾶσι τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτήν, πᾶν δὲ τίμιον οὐκ ἄξιον αὐτῆς ἐστι. Μῆκος γὰρ βίου, καὶ ἔτη ζωῆς ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτῆς, ἐν δὲ τῇ ἀριστερᾷ αὐτῆς πλοῦτος καὶ δόξα, ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτῆς ἐκπορεύεται δικαιοσύνη, νόμον δὲ καὶ ἔλαιον ἐπὶ γλώσσης φορεῖ. Αἱ ὁδοὶ αὐτῆς, ὁδοὶ καλαί, καὶ πᾶσαι αἱ τρίβοι αὐτῆς ἐν εἰρήνῃ. Ξύλον ζωῆς ἐστι πᾶσι τοῖς ἀντεχομένοις αὐτῆς, καὶ τοῖς ἐπερειδομένοις ἐπ αὐτήν, ὡς ἐπὶ Κύριον ἀσφαλής.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Α' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιομάρτυρος Εὐδοκίας τῆς ἀπὸ Σαμαρειτῶν.
Ἡ Σαμαρεῖτις οὐχ ὕδωρ Εὐδοκία,
Ἀλλ' αἷμα, Σῶτερ, ἐκ τραχήλου σοι φέρει.
Μαρτίου ἀμφὶ πρώτῃ ἡ Εὐδοκία ξίφος ἔτλη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Δομνίνης, καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῇ.
Τῶν ἀρετῶν φέρουσα φόρτους Δομνῖνα,
Θεῷ προσῆλθεν ἔμπορος πανολβία.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Ἀντωνίνης.
Θάλαμος ἡ θάλασσα νυμφικὸς γίνῃ,
Ἀντωνῖναν κρύπτουσα νύμφην Κυρίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρκελλος καὶ Ἀντώνιος, πυρὶ τελειοῦνται.
Χώνη τις ἡ κάμινος Ἀθληταῖς δύο,
Οἳ χρυσίου λάμπουσιν ἐν ταύτῃ πλέον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Σίλβεστρος καὶ Σωφρόνιος ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Οὐ καρτερῶν Σίλβεστρε θρησκεύειν πλάνην,
Σὺν Σωφρονίῳ τὴν τομὴν ἐκαρτέρεις.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Νεστοριανὸς ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Εἰς τοὐπίσω τράχηλον ἐξειλκυσμένος,
Νεστοριανὸς τὴν σφαγὴν πρόσω φέρει.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Saint, who was from Heliopolis of Phoenicia (Baalbek in present-day Lebanon), was an idolater and led a licentious life. Being beautiful beyond telling, she had many lovers, and had acquired great riches. Yet brought to repentance by a monk named Germanus, and baptized by Bishop Theodotus, she distributed to the poor all her ill-gotten gains, and entered a convent, giving herself up completely to the life of asceticism. Her former lovers, enraged at her conversion, her refusal to return to her old ways, and the withering away of her beauty through the severe mortifications she practiced, betrayed her as a Christian to Vincent the Governor, and she was beheaded, according to some, under Trajan, who reigned from 98 to 117, according to others, under Hadrian, who reigned from 117 to 138.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ἐν σοί Μῆτερ ἀκριβῶς διεσώθη τό κατ᾽ εἰκόνα· λαβοῦσα γάρ τόν σταυρόν, ἠκολούθησας τῷ Χριστῷ, καί πράττουσα ἐδίδασκες, ὑπερορᾷν μέν σαρκός, παρέρχεται γάρ· ἐπιμελεῖσθαι δέ ψυχῆς, πράγματος ἀθανάτoυ· διό καί μετά Ἀγγέλων συναγάλλεται, Ὁσία Εὐδοκία τό πνεῦμά σου.
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Eudokia, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ὁ εὐδοκήσας ἐκ βυθοῦ ἀπωλείας, πρός εὐσεβείας τόν ἀκρότατον ὅρον, ἀναγαγεῖν σε ἔνδοξε ὡς λίθον ἐκλεκτόν, οὗτος καί τόν βίον σου, τῇ ἀθλήσει λαμπρύνας, χάριν ἰαμάτων σοι, Εὐδοκία παρέχει· ὃν ἐκδυσώπει σῴζεσθαι ἡμᾶς, Ὁσιομάρτυς, Ἀγγέλων ἐφάμιλλε.
When thou wast brought up from the mire of transgression, like a most precious stone whose brightness is darkened, repentance made thee shine again with godliness; and when thou hadst reached the height of ascetical striving. Christ made thee illustrious with the glory of contest, and hath bestowed on thee His grace to heal, O wise Eudokia, thou rival of angel-kind.
Μεγάλη και θαυμαστή είναι η ανακαινιστική δύναμη της θείας χάριτος και πολλά και καθημερινά είναι τα παραδείγματα ανθρώπων αμαρτωλών, που μπήκαν στον δρόμο της αγιότητος, όπως η αγία Ευδοκία, της οποίας η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Αυτό είναι τό έργο του Χριστού μέσα στην Εκκλησία του· ανακαινίζει τον κόσμο, ξαναγεννά τους ανθρώπους, και φτειάχνει αγίους. Μέσα στις δυο χιλιάδες χρόνια της Εκκλησίας ξαναγεννήθηκε ο αρχαίος κόσμος κι ό,τι σήμερα υπάρχει και λέγεται πνευματικός πολιτισμός είναι έργο της Εκκλησίας. Ακόμη κι ό,τι φωνάζουν στον κόσμο οι εχθροί του Χριστιανισμού σαν νέο και δικό τους είναι κακή αντιγραφή της διδασκαλίας και του έργου της Εκκλησίας. Δεν μπορεί να ήταν μάταιο το έργο του Χριστού, ο λόγος και το πάθος του. "Εν τη Αναστάσει" πραγματοποιείται πάντα ο λόγος του Αποστόλου· "ιδου γέγονε καινά τα πάντα".
Ἡ Ἁγία Εὐδοκία ἡ ἀπὸ Σαμαρειτῶν, Ὁσιομάρτυς
Ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἠλιούπολη τῆς Συρίας καὶ ἔζησε ἐπὶ Τραϊανοῦ (98-117 μ.Χ.). Περνοῦσε τὴν ζωή της μέσα στὴν πορνεία καὶ τὶς ἀκολασίες. Ἡ ἐκθαμβωτικὴ καλλονή της εἵλκυε πολλοὺς ἐραστὲς καὶ ἔτσι συγκέντρωσε πολὺ πλοῦτο. Τὸ θεῖο ἔλεος ὅμως εὐδοκεῖ, ὥστε καὶ οἱ ψυχὲς ποὺ παρεκτράπησαν ἠθικὰ νὰ μὴ χάνουν ὁλότελα τὴν ἠθικὴ συναίσθηση, ἀλλὰ νὰ μένει κάτι ἀπὸ τὸν ἠθικὸ πόθο. Ἔτσι καὶ ἡ Εὐδοκία. Μετὰ ἀπὸ μία ἀρρώστια της, εἴτε ἀπὸ κορεσμό, εἴτε ἀπὸ ἐγωισμὸ πρὸς τοὺς φίλους της, διότι τὴν περίοδο ποὺ ἦταν ἄρρωστη τὴν εἶχαν ἐγκαταλείψει, δὲ συνέχισε τὴν προηγούμενη ζωή της. Ἐγκατέλειψε τὴν πόλη καὶ ἐπέστρεψε μετὰ ἀπὸ ἕνα χρόνο. Θέλησε νὰ μείνει ἄγνωστη καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸ ἐγκαταστάθηκε στὰ τελευταῖα σπίτια τῆς πόλης. Ἐκεῖ, γνωρίζει μὲ θαυματουργικὸ τρόπο τοὺς χριστιανοὺς τῆς τοπικῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἀναπαύεται τόσο πολὺ ἀπὸ τὴν διδασκαλία τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου (καὶ νουθεσιῶν κάποιου μοναχοῦ ὀνόματι Γερμανοῦ), ποὺ ἀμέσως βαπτίζεται χριστιανὴ (ἀπὸ τὸν ἐπίσκοπο Θεόδοτο) καὶ μὲ τὴν μετάνοιά της καθαρίζεται ἀπὸ τὰ ἔκτροπα τῆς προηγούμενης ζωῆς. Ἀπὸ τότε ἀλλάζει ζωή. Δίνει τὴν περιουσία της στὰ ὀρφανὰ καὶ τοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ γίνεται πιστὴ ἐργάτης τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Καὶ μάλιστα μέχρι μαρτυρικοῦ θανάτου. Ἔτσι ἡ Ἁγία Εὐδοκία ἔρχεται νὰ μᾶς θυμίσει τὰ αἰώνια λόγια του Κυρίου μας: ὅτι «οἱ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι προάγουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ». Οἱ τελῶνες, δηλαδή, καὶ οἱ πόρνες, ποὺ στὴν ἀρχὴ ἔδειξαν ἀπείθεια στὸ Νόμο τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ μετὰ μετενόησαν καὶ πίστεψαν ἔμπρακτα σ᾿ Αὐτόν, θὰ προλάβουν στὴ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐσᾶς, ποὺ μόνο στὰ λόγια πιστεύετε στὸ Θεό, ἐνῷ στὴν πράξη εἶστε ἄπιστοι.
Ἡ Ὁσία Δομνίνα ἡ Νέα
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη Κῦρο τῆς Συρίας καὶ ἔζησε κατὰ τὸ πρῶτο μισὸ τοῦ 5ου αἰῶνα. Οἱ γονεῖς της, εὐσεβεῖς καὶ πλούσιοι, τὴν εἶχαν ἀναθρέψει χριστιανικότατα, καὶ τῆς παρεῖχαν τὰ μέσα γιὰ ἐλεημοσύνες καὶ ἄλλα καλὰ ἔργα. Ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Θεοδώρητος, βλέποντας τὴν τόσο ζωντανὴ εὐσέβειά της, τὴν ἐκτιμοῦσε πολὺ καὶ τὴν χρησιμοποιοῦσε σὰν παράδειγμα στὶς πλούσιες νέες, ποὺ νόμιζαν, ὅτι μποροῦσαν νὰ συμβιβάσουν τὴν χριστιανοσύνη τους μὲ τὶς κοσμικὲς ἐπιδείξεις καὶ ματαιότητες. Καί, ὅσες φορὲς ἔβλεπε κόρη, ποὺ ποθοῦσε νὰ ἀκολουθήσει τὸν Εὐαγγελικὸ δρόμο, τῆς συνιστοῦσε νὰ συναναστρέφεται τὴν Δομνίνα. Ἡ δὲ Δομνίνα, καθοδηγοῦσε μὲ πολλή ἀδελφικὴ στοργὴ καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνη, προσπαθώντας νὰ μὴ φαίνεται, ὅτι ὑπερτερεῖ, πολλὲς φορὲς μάλιστα κάνοντας τὴν μικρότερη. Κατὰ τὰ δειλινά, ἡ Δομνίνα συνήθιζε νὰ πηγαίνει στὴ γειτονική της ἐκκλησία, ὅπου ἔκανε δεήσεις μέσα στὴ σιγὴ τοῦ ναοῦ. Ἔτσι, μὲ τέτοιες ἅγιες ἀσχολίες, τελείωσε ἡ Δομνίνα τὴν ζωή της καὶ πῆγε στὰ ἀθάνατα σκηνώματα, ποὺ ἀποτέλεσαν τὸ διαρκῆ καὶ διακαῆ πόθο της σ᾿ ὅλη τὴν διάρκεια τῆς ἐπίγειας ζωῆς της.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἀντωνίνα
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια του αὐτοκράτορα Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Νίκαια τῆς Βιθυνίας. Θερμὴ χριστιανή, ἐργαζόταν γιὰ τὴν ἐξάπλωση τῆς πίστης μεταξὺ τῶν γυναικῶν τῆς εἰδωλολατρείας. Καταγγέλθηκε καὶ ὁμολόγησε ἀμέσως τὴν θεάρεστη δραστηριότητά της. Τότε τὴν ὑποχρέωσαν νὰ θυσιάσει στὰ εἴδωλα, ἀλλὰ ἡ Ἀντωνίνα ἀρνήθηκε σθεναρὰ καὶ μάλιστα συνηγόρησε μπροστὰ στὸν ἔπαρχο ὑπὲρ τῆς χριστιανικῆς θρησκείας. Μετὰ ἀπὸ βασανιστήρια, τὴν ἔριξαν σὲ σκοτεινὴ ἀπομόνωση μὲ τὴν ἐλπίδα ὅτι θὰ καμφεῖ τὸ φρόνημά της. Ὅταν τὴν ἔβγαλαν ἀπὸ τὴν φυλακή, ἡ Ἀντωνίνα ἀντέταξε τὴν ἴδια ἄρνηση στὶς προτροπὲς καὶ τὶς ἀπειλὲς τοῦ κριτῆ ν᾿ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸν Χριστό. Τότε τὴν ἔβαλαν μέσα σ᾿ ἕνα σακὶ καὶ τὴν ἔριξαν μέσα στὴ λίμνη τῆς Νίκαιας, παίρνοντας ἔτσι τὸ ἀθάνατο στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου. (Ἡ μνήμη της ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 12η Ἰουνίου).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Σίλβεστρος Πατριάρχης
Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναφέρεται στὸ Ἱεροσολυμιτικὸ Κανονάριο σελ. 36 ὡς ἑξῆς: «Ἐν τὴν Ἀναστάσει, τοῦ ἁγίου πατριάρχου Σιλβέστρου». Ἡ πανήγυρή του γινόταν στὸν ναὸ τῆς Ἀναστάσεως, ἀλλὰ ἄγνωστο ποιᾶς πόλης Πατριάρχης ἦταν ὁ Σίλβεστρος, ποὺ τὴν μνήμη του γιορτάζει ἡ ἐκκλησία τῶν Ἱεροσολύμων.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀγάπιος καὶ ὁ Ὅσιος Εὐδόκιμος
Ὁ Ὅσιος αὐτὸς ἦταν στὴ Σκήτη τοῦ Κολιτζοῦ τῆς περιοχῆς Βατοπαιδίου. Ὅμως, σὲ μία ἐπιδρομή τοης οἱ Ἀγαρηνοὶ πειρατὲς τὸν αἰχμαλώτισαν καὶ τὸν πούλησαν σὰν δοῦλο σ᾿ ἕναν ἄλλο Ἀγαρηνό. Αὐτὸς τὸν εἶχε δεμένο μὲ ἁλυσίδες, γιὰ τὸν φόβο μὴν ἀποδράσει, καὶ τὸν χρησιμοποιοῦσε στὶς πιὸ σκληρὲς καὶ βαριὲς ἐργασίες. Διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς καὶ κατὰ τὴν στιγμὴ ποὺ βρισκόταν στὴ φυλακή, ἡ Ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκος τὸν ἐλευθέρωσε. Τότε ὁ Ὅσιος ἀμέσως γύρισε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, στὸν Γέροντά του. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Γέροντας, μόλις τὸν εἶδε, τοῦ ἔκανε παρατήρηση διότι ἔφυγε κρυφὰ χωρὶς τὴν ἔγκριση τοῦ κυρίου του, καὶ τοῦ εἶπε ἀμέσως νὰ γυρίσει πίσω. Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀγάπιος ἔκανε ὑπακοὴ καὶ ἐπέστρεψε στὸν Ἀγαρηνὸ κύριό του. Ἡ ἐνέργειά του αὐτὴ συγκίνησε τὸν Ἀγαρηνό, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ δυὸ γιοί του, μαζὶ μὲ τὸν ὅσιο Ἀγάπιο, νὰ ἔλθουν στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος καὶ νὰ γίνουν μοναχοί. Γιὰ δὲ τὸν ὅσιο Εὐδόκιμο, βλέπε βιογραφικό του σημείωμα τὴν 5η Ὀκτωβρίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Παρασκευὰς ὁ Τραπεζούντιος, νεομάρτυρας
Ὁ Ἅγιος αὐτὸς νεομάρτυρας δὲν ἀναφέρεται ἀπὸ τοὺς Συναξαριστές. Ἦταν ἀπὸ τοὺς προύχοντες τῆς Τραπεζοῦντας καὶ μαρτύρησε τὴν 1η Μαρτίου 1659 μὲ ἀπαγχονισμό. Τὸ σῶμα του παρέλαβαν οἱ χριστιανοὶ καὶ τὸ ἔθαψαν στὸν ναὸ τοῦ ἁγίου Γρηγορίου τοῦ Νύσσης. Κατόπιν ἀνακομίσθηκε στὴ Μονὴ Θεοσκεπάστου τῆς Τραπεζοῦντας.
Martyr Eudocia of Heliopolis (2nd c.)
Eudocia was from Heliopolis of Phoenicia (now Baalbek in Lebanon). A surpassingly beautiful pagan, she led a licentious life and became wealthy from the gifts of her many lovers. One day an elderly monk, Germanus, came to Heliopolis and stayed with a Christian whose house adjoined Eudocia's. At night, he began to read aloud from the Psalter and a book on the Last Judgment. From next-door, Eudocia heard him. Her heart was reached, and she stood attentively all night, listening to every word in fear and contrition. The next day she begged Germanus to visit her, and he explained the saving Christian faith to her. Finally, Eudocia asked the local bishop to baptise her. She freed her servants, gave all her wealth to the poor, and entered a monastery.
"Her former lovers, enraged at her conversion, her refusal to return to her old ways, and the withering away of her beauty through the severe mortifications she practiced, betrayed her as a Christian to Vincent the Governor, and she was beheaded"(Great Horologion). According to some,this was under Trajan (98-117); according to others, under Hadrian (117-138).
The Prologue gives a somewhat different account: that after entering the monastery, Eudocia was permitted to pursue the monastic life in peace — with such devotion that, thirteen months after she entered the monastery, she was chosen as abbess. She lived for fifty-six years in the monastery, and was granted the gift of raising the dead. In her old age, a persecution of Christians arose, and Eudocia was beheaded along with many others. "Here is a wonderful example of how a vessel of uncleanness can be purified, sanctified and filled with a precious, heavenly fragrance by the grace of the Holy Spirit" (Prologue).
The Holy Monastic Martyress Eudocia was a Samaritan, a native of the city of Iliopolis in Phoenician Lebanon. Her pagan impiety took her off the good path, and for a long time she led a sinful life. Her soul was deadened and her heart hardened.
One time at midnight Eudocia awoke and heard from beyond the wall in the other half of the house, where there lived a Christian, the singing of a molieben and reading of Holy Scripture, in which it spoke about the eternal bliss prepared for the righteous, and about the punishment awaiting sinners. The grace of God touched the heart of Eudocia, and she realised, that these results of her sin lay grievously upon her soul.
In the morning Eudocia hastened to call on the man, whose rule of prayer she heard by night. This was the elder named Germanos, returning from pilgrimage along the holy places to his own monastery. Eudocia listened for a long time to the guidance of the elder, and her soul as it were came alive and she was filled with joy and love for Christ. She besought the elder Germanos to come to her after several days, during which she secluded herself within the house and gave herself over in repentance to fasting and prayer.
The elder Germanos summoned a presbyter, and after the testing of being a catechumen Eudocia received holy Baptism from the bishop of Iliopolis, Theodotos. Having given away all her wealth to the poor, she withdrew into a monastery and took upon herself very strict acts of penitence. The Lord granted forgiveness to the penitent sinner and endowed her with graced spiritual gifts.
One time, when she was already head of the monastery, the young pagan Philostrates appeared at the monastery. Aflame with impious passion, he under the guise of a monk came into the monastery and began to urge the Nun Eudocia to return to Iliopolis, and begin anew her former life. "May God in revenge stop thee", -- angrily answered Eudocia, and the impostor-monk fell down dead. Fearing that in this she had served as an accomplice to murder, the sisters intensified their prayer and besought the Lord to reveal to them His will.
The Lord Himself appeared to Saint Eudocia in a dream vision and said: "Rise up, Eudocia, and get down on the knees and pray, and thy tempter wilt arise". And through the prayer of Eudocia, Philostrates revived. Having been restored to life, the pagan besought the nun to forgive him. And having accepted holy Baptism, he withdrew into Iliopolis. And from that time he never forgot the mercy of God shown him, and he started onto the way of repentance.
A certain while passed, when another situation occurred. Inhabitants of Iliopolis reported to the governor named Aurelian, that in accepting Christianity Eudocia allegedly had concealed her wealth at the monastery. Aurelian sent a detachment of soldiers to confiscate these supposed treasures. But over the course of three days the soldiers tired in vain to get close to the walls of the monastery: an invisible power of God guarded it. Aurelian again sent soldiers to the monastery, this time under the lead of his own son. But on the very first day of the journey the son of Aurelian badly injured his leg and soon died. Then Philostrates counseled Aurelian to write to the Nun Eudocia, imploring her to revive the youth. And the Lord, by His infinite mercy, and through the prayers of Saint Eudocia, restored the youth to life. Having witnessed this great miracle, Aurelian and his close associates believed in Christ and were baptised.
When persecutions against Christians intensified, they arrested the Nun Eudocia and brought her for torture to the governor Diogenes. The military-commander Diodoros torturing her received news about the sudden death of his wife Firminia. In despair he rushed to Saint Eudocia with a plea to pray for his departed wife. The monastic-martyress, filled with great faith, turned to God with prayer and besought of Him the return of Firminia to life. Becoming convinced as eye-witnesses to the power and grace of the Lord, Diodoros and Diogenes believed in Christ and after a certain while were baptised together with their families. The Nun Eudocia lived for awhile at the house of Diodoros and enlightened the newly-illumined Christians.
One time the only son of a certain widow, working in the garden, was bitten by a snake and died. The mother bitterly bewailed her dead son. Having learned of her grief, Saint Eudocia said to Diodoros: "The time is at hand for thee to show faith in the Almighty God, Who heareth the prayers of penitent sinners and by His mercy doth grant them forgiveness".
Diodoros was distressed, not considering himself worthy of such boldness before the Lord, but he obeyed Saint Eudocia. He prayed and by the Name of Christ he commanded the dead one to rise, and before the eyes of everyone present the youth revived.
The Nun Eudocia returned to her monastery, in which she pursued asceticism for 56 years.
After the death of Diogenes the new governor was Vicentius, a fierce persecutor of Christians. Having learned of the fearless confessor of the Christian faith, he gave orders to execute her. The holy nun-martyress was beheaded on 1 March (c. 160-170).
The Monk Martyrii of Zelenetsk, in the world Mina, hailed form the city of Velikie Luki. His parents, Kozma and Stefanida, died when he was but ten years old. He was raised by his spiritual father, a priest of the city's Annunciation church, and the lad all more and more became attached in soul to God.
Having become a widower, his guardian accepted monasticism with the name Bogolep at the Velikoluksk Trinity-Sergeev monastery. Mina often visited with him at the monastery, and later on he himself accepted monastic vows there taking the name Martyrii. For seven years teacher and student toiled for the Lord unrelentingly in a single cell, encouraging each other in deeds of work and prayer. The Monk Martyrii bore the obediences of "kellarios" (food-cellarer), treasurer, and "ponomar" (or "ponomonarion", -- church-candler and altar-helper).
It was at this time that the Mother of God first shew Her especial solicitude for the Monk Martyrii. At mid-day he dozed off on a bell-tower and beheld on a fiery column an image of the Hodegetria MostHoly Mother of God. The monk with trembling gave kiss to it, still hot from the fiery column, and having awakened, he still sensed this heat on his forehead.
On the spiritual advise of the Monk Martyrii, the grievously ill monk Avramii went in veneration to the wonderworking Tikhvinsk Icon of the Mother of God, and he received healing. The Monk Martyrii was filled with intense faith in the intercession of the Mother of God. He began to pray the Heavenly Queen, that She would show whither he might shelter himself for going through the ascetic feat of complete silence, for which his soul did yearn. The monk secretly withdrew into a desolate place situated 60 versts from Velikie Luki. As the monk himself writes in his jottings, "in this wilderness I received great frights from demons, but I prayed God, and the demons were shamed". In a letter to the starets Bogolep, the monk besought blessing for wilderness life, but the spiritual father advised him to return to the monastic common-life, where he would be of use to the brethren. Not daring to be disobedient and not knowing, how to proceed, Saint Martyrii set out to Smolensk for veneration to the wonderworking Hodegetria (Way-Guide) Icon of the Mother of God and to the Wonderworker Avraamii (Abraham, Comm. 21 August). At Smolensk there appeared to the saint in a dream-vision the Monks Avraami and Ephrem, and they reassured him with the saying, that by the Lord it would be allotted him to live in the wilderness, "where God would bless and the MostHoly Mother of God would guide".
The monk thereupon set out to the Tikhvinsk monastery hoping, that there the Mother of God would resolve his dilemma. And actually, the monk Avramii, who in gratitude to the Mother of God for his healing remained at this monastery, told Saint Martyrii about a secret place, over which for him there was a vision of the radiant Cross of the Lord. Having received this time the blessing of the elder, the Monk Martyrii took with him two small, equally sized icons -- the one of the Life-Originating Trinity and the other of the Tikhvinsk MostHoly Mother of God; he set out to the wilderness place, named Zelena (Green), since it rose up as a beautiful green island amidst a forested swamp.
Harsh and with much sickness was the life of the monk in the wilderness, but neither cold, nor deprivation, nor wild beasts, nor the wiles of the enemy were able to shake his resolve to undergo the temptation to the end. He set up an oratory place for prayer of thanks and glorification of the Lord and the MostHoly Mother of God, in which again he was granted to see in sleep an image of the Mother of God, this time -- sailing on the sea. To the right of the icon appeared the Archangel Gabriel and summoned the monk to kiss the image. After his trembling the Monk Martyrii went into the water, and the icon began to sink in the sea. The monk then cried out, and a wave carried him from the image to shore.
The wilderness was sanctified by the life of the hermit, and at it there began to arrive many, not only for instruction by the word and example of the monk, but also for settling down there together with him. The increased brotherhood of students prompted the monk to build a church in the Name of the Life-Originating Trinity, wherein he set his own prayer icons. In witness to the grace of God resting upon the monastery of the Monk Martyrii, the Monk Gurii was vouchsafed to see over the cross atop the church -- the Cross radiant in the heavens.
Thus occurred the beginning of the Trinity Zelenetsk monastery -- "the Martyriev Green wilderness-monastery". The Lord blessed the labour of the monk, and the grace of God shone visibly upon him himself. There spread afar the fame of his perspicacity and gift of healing. Many eminent people of Novgorod began to send gifts to the monastery. On the means provided by the pious boyar-noble Feodor Syrkov an heated church was built, consecrated in honour of the Annunciation of the MostHoly Mother of God in memory of the first church at Velikie Luki, from whence the lad had begun his path to God.
From the Mother of God the monk continued to receive gracious invigoration. One time in an exquisite dream the Mother of God Herself appeared to him in his cell, at the icon-shelf whereupon stood the icons. "I glanced, not looking away, upon Her holy face, upon the eyes, filled with tears, ready to trickle upon Her all-pure face. I awoke from the dream and was in fright. Lighting a candle from the lampada, so as to look -- did the MostPure Virgin indeed sit at the place, where I saw Her in the dream. I went up to the image of the Hodegetria and was convinced, that in truth the Mother of God in that image appeared to me, as She is depicted on my icon", -- reminisced the monk.
Soon after this (about the year 1570) the Monk Martyrii was ordained priest at Novgorod by the archbishop (Alexander or Leonid). It is known, that in 1582 he was already hegumen.
Later on the Lord granted the Zelena wilderness-monastery still greater charitable bestowal of wealth. In 1595 at Tver' Saint Martyrii healed the dying son of the former Kasimovsk ruler Simeon Bekbulatovich, praying in front of his own icons of the Life-Originating Trinity and the Tikhvinsk Mother of God, and then placing the image of the MostHoly Mother of God upon the chest of the sick one. By way of gratitude from Simeon there was built a church in honour of the Tikhvinsk Icon of the Mother of God and of Sainted John Chrysostom -- the Heavenly patron-saint of the healed ruler's son John.
In 1595 tsar Feodor Ioannovich gave the monastery a grant of endowment, in furtherment of the monastery founded by the monk.
Having reached extreme old age and preparing for death, the Monk Martyrii dug out a grave for himself, set in it a coffin fashioned by his own hands, and there much wept. Sensing his imminent departure, the monk convened the brethren and besought his children in the Lord to have steadfast hope in the MostHoly Life-Originating Trinity and to trust implicitly on the Mother of God, as he himself had always trusted on Her. Having communed the Holy Mysteries of Christ, he gave the brethren blessing with the words: "Peace to all the Orthodox", -- and in spiritual happiness he reposed in the Lord on 1 March 1603.
The monk was buried in the grave dug out by him near the church of the Mother of God, and later on his holy relics rested beneathe a crypt in the church of the MostHoly Trinity, beneathe the under-temple in honour of Saint John the Theologian. A former monk of the Zelenetsk monastery, later on Metropolitan of Kazan and Novgorod Kornilii (+ 1698), compiled a service and wrote down the life of the Monk Martyrii, making use of personal notes and the testament of the monk.
The memory of the Monk Martryrii of Zelenetsk and Velikoluksk is celebrated also on 11 November.
The Holy Martyrs Nestor and Tribimios were native to the Asia Minor district of Pamphylia. During a time of persecution by the impious emperor Decius (249-251) they fearlessly preached about Christ. When the saints were brought before the pagan court, the governor gave orders to lay out afront them all sorts of instruments of torture, to frighten them and impel them to renounce the Christian faith. The saints answered to all the threats, that no one could separate them from Christ. The angered judge gave orders to torture them with the instruments of torture. They scourged the holy martyrs with dried ox thongs, suspended them from a tree and flayed at their bodies, but Saints Nestor and Tribimios did not cease to glorify the Lord and, when they were beheaded, they inherited the Heavenly Kingdom.
The Holy Martyress Antonina suffered at Nicea during a time of persecution under the emperor Maximian (284-305). After fierce tortures, Saint Antonina was thrown into prison. But in no way could Maximian compel the saint to renounce Christ and offer sacrifice to idols. Angels of God appeared to the holy martyress and the executioners took fright. And even when they placed the martyress in Christ on a red-hot cot, Saint Antonina by the power of God remained unharmed. Finally, after long torture they tied the saint into a sack and sunk it in a lake. And soon thereafter she was glorified in the rank of the saints.
The Nun Domnina of Syria was a disciple of Saint Maron (Comm. 14 February). In her mother's garden the nun built herself an hut, covered it with straw, and asceticised in it, taking as food only lentils soaked in water. Each morning and evening the nun went to church, covered in a veil so that no one ever saw her face. The voice of the nun, in the words of her biographer Blessed Theodorit, was "resonant and expressive, and her words always accompanied by tears". The holy ascetic peacefully expired to the Lord in about the years 450-460.
The Monk Agapios, a novice-obedient of an elder of silence at the former Batopedeia skete-monastery Kalitsa, was taken into captivity by Turks that had landed on the shore of Athos, and from there taken him to Magnezia and there he worked in chains for 12 years. But he did not lose hope for freedom and fervently he prayed to the Mother of God. One time the Heavenly Mediatrix manifested Her Mercy to the patient sufferer -- in sleep She ordered him "without fear to go to his elder". It turned out, that in reality he had become free of his bounds. Without hindrance the Monk Agapios departed from his master and returned to Holy Mount Athos. But his demanding guide, testing the humility of the novice, in having been liberated so miraculously, and wanting still more to intensify within him faith in the almighty Providence of God, counseled him to return and serve the Turks until such time, as God Himself would have the master in a state of mind to set free the captive. Saint Agapios returned without complaint into servitude. Struck by such humility in a Christian and by his great faith, the master with joy not only set free the Monk Agapios, but also he himself with two of his sons departed with him to the Holy Mountain, and there he was baptised and accepted monasticism and asceticised until his very end.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE VENERABLE MARTYR EUDOCIA
The venerable martyr Eudocia lived in the Phoenician city of Heliopolis during the reign of Trajan. Eudocia was a great debaucher at first. After that she was a penitent, ascetic, and finally a martyr. Through her debauchery she amassed a great fortune. The change in her life came about inadvertently through God's Providence and a certain elder, the monk Herman. Coming into the city on assignment, he resided at the home of a Christian whose house was adjacent to that of Eudocia. In the evening and according to monastic tradition, he began to recite the Psalter and to read a chapter on the dreadful judgment. Eudocia heard him and attentively eavesdropped on his words to the end. Fear and terror overcame her, and she remained awake until dawn. At daybreak, she sent her servant to beseech the monk to come to her. Herman came and a lengthy conversation took place between them about faith and salvation in general. As a result of the conversation, Eudocia petitioned the local bishop to baptize her. Following her baptism, Eudocia bequeathed her entire estate to the Church to be distributed among the poor. She dismissed her servants and slaves and withdrew to a convent. Thus, Eudocia resolved to dedicate herself to the monastic life, obedience, patience, long vigils, prayer and fasting. After thirteen months, Eudocia was elected abbess. Eudocia lived in the convent for fifty-six years and was found worthy before God. He endowed her with much grace so that she raised even the dead. When the persecution of Christians began under Prince Vincent, St. Eudocia was beheaded. Eudocia is a glorious example of how a vessel of impurity can be purified, sanctified and filled with the Grace of the Holy Spirit, the precious odor of heaven.
2. THE VENERABLE AGAPIUS
He was a novice under the spiritual direction of a priest in the Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos. Captured by pirates, Agapius was sold as a slave in Magnesia. After twelve years, he was miraculously freed through the help of the All-Holy Mother of God and returned to Vatopedi. He baptized his former master and became his spiritual father. Agapius continued the remainder of his life in asceticism in Vatopedi and died peacefully in the Lord.
3. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR, ANTONINA
Antonina was born in Nicaea. Because of her faith in Christ, she was arrested and brutally tortured. Finally, she was sewn in a sack and drowned in a lake in the year 302 A.D. God saved her soul and continuously glorified her among the angels in heaven and among the faithful on earth.
HYMN OF PRAISE
At one time, a woman filled with sin,
And finally, a meek penitent,
Eudocia prayed to God,
All the while kneeling, shedding tears.
This enkindled the rage of Satan,
And enraged, to the heavens he cried out:
O Michael, heavenly commander,
Justice you speak, injustice you do to me,
My sheepfold you intend to empty completely,
And from me, to seize the last sheep.
Why do you take this sinful woman?
Her sins are greater than mine!
For some minor disobedience,
To Hades I fell and, into eternal torments.
Her sins are as the stagnant sea
Encompassing everything that comes near her.
Thus, malice spites at good,
To every penitent it bodes evil,
While Michael, the guardian of the penitent,
With angels approach Eudocia
And takes her under his protection,
By his breath, he dispelled the demons.
At that moment from heaven a song echoed:
The mercy of God so willed,
That every penitent be embraced,
That every penitent be forgiven,
Repentance--for all mankind, salvation,
That is both God's mercy and will--
God's will--Satan's evil will.
Faithfulness and obedience to the will of God is necessary to adorn the life of every Christian. As is seen in the life of St. Agapius, God glorifies the faithful and the obedient. When he was a young man, this saint was captured by pirates, was taken to Asia and was sold to a certain Arab. For twelve years Agapius remained quietly and obediently a slave of this Arab. For twelve years he prayed to the All-Holy Mother of God to help him gain his freedom from bondage. One night, the Virgin Mother of God appeared to him and said, "Arise and go without fear to Mt. Athos to your elder." Agapius arose and came to his elder on Mt. Athos, the Holy Mountain. When the elder saw Agapius, he was saddened, thinking that Agapius had fled from his master.He said to him, "My child Agapius, you have deceived your master, but you can never deceive God. On the day of the dreadful judgment, you will have to render an answer for that money with which your master purchased you to serve him. Therefore, you must return and faithfully serve your master." Agapius, faithful and obedient to the will of God, returned immediately to Asia, reported to his master, and informed him about everything that had happened. The Arab, learning all of this, was amazed and was overcome with the charity of Christians. He desired to see Agapius' s elder. The Arab arrived at the Holy Mountain, accompanied by his two sons. Here, he and his two sons were baptized. All three of them were tonsured as monks. They remained there until their deaths, practicing the strict life of asceticism, at first, under the guidance of Agapius' s spiritual father, and afterwards, by Agapius himself. Thus, the one-time cruel masters became the obedient disciples of their former slave, faithful to the will of the God of the obedient Agapius.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus at the Mystical Supper:
1. How He washes the feet of His disciples. By this act He especially teaches humility and love for one another;
2. How Peter, one of the most faithful, was ashamed and refused to allow our Lord to wash his feet;
3. How Judas, unbeliever and traitor, was unashamed and did not refuse our Lord to wash his feet;
4. How even today, the faithful receive countless benefits from God with embarrassment and shame, and the unfaithful also receive the same but without embarrassment and without shame, and yet with grumbling against God.
About knowing and doing
"If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it" (St. John 13:17).
The most important aspect of this scripture text of our Lord, brethren, is thatthe Lord does not mitigate knowing, but stresses doing. He does not say to the apostles, "Blessed are you when you know this." Some pagan teachers who viewed salvation only in terms of knowledge spoke in this manner. However, our Lord says, "Blessed are you if you do it." The knowledge of salvation was given to us by the Lord Jesus Himself, and no one is able to attain that knowledge through his own efforts.
Some of the ancient Greek philosophers said that mankind cannot come to the knowledge of the truth, nor can be saved, until God Himself comes to earth. Our Lord came among men and revealed this knowledge to them. Whosoever receives this knowledge also accepts the obligation to fulfill it. O, how much easier will it be at the judgment for those who never received this knowledge at all, and consequently, did not fulfill it, than for those who received this knowledge and neglected to fulfill it.
O, how much easier it will be at the judgment for unlearned pagans than for the learned Christians.
Our Lord alone showed Himself not only as a Knower, but also as a Doer. His perfect knowledge complimented His perfect doing. Before the eyes of His disciples, He personally fulfilled all of His own commandments. He gave them this commandment and completed this act of humility and love when He washed the feet of His disciples. He then commanded that they should do this to one another. Our Lord did not dwell among men to soil men, but to wash them. He never soiled anyone, but cleansed all who wished to be cleansed. What kind of shame is it for many of us who labor much to wash ourselves and labor twice as much to soil others? O, my brethren, we muddy our own blood brothers. Even Christ weeps when He sees how we, with the mud of slander, soil those whom He has washed with His own blood. O Lord forgive us! We sin everyday against our own brothers. Make our brothers, O Lord, whom we have soiled, brighter than we in Your kingdom. You are just and You see all.