FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Second Saturday in Lent
Kodratos the Martyr & his Companions
Anastasia of Alexandria
Β΄ ἑβδομάδος Νηστειῶν.
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Κοδράτου τοῦ ἐν Κορίνθῳ καί τῶν σύν αὐτῷ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 3:12-16
BRETHREN, take care lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end, while it is said, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses?
Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 3:12-16
Ἀδελφοί, βλέπετε, ἀδελφοί, μήποτε ἔσται ἔν τινι ὑμῶν καρδία πονηρὰ ἀπιστίας ἐν τῷ ἀποστῆναι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ζῶντος· ἀλλὰ παρακαλεῖτε ἑαυτοὺς καθʼ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν, ἄχρι οὗ τὸ σήμερον καλεῖται, ἵνα μὴ σκληρυνθῇ ἐξ ὑμῶν τις ἀπάτῃ τῆς ἁμαρτίας· μέτοχοι γὰρ γεγόναμεν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐάνπερ τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς ὑποστάσεως μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν κατάσχωμεν· ἐν τῷ λέγεσθαι, Σήμερον ἐὰν τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ ἀκούσητε, μὴ σκληρύνητε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν, ὡς ἐν τῷ παραπικρασμῷ. Τινὲς γὰρ ἀκούσαντες παρεπίκραναν, ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντες οἱ ἐξελθόντες ἐξ Αἰγύπτου διὰ Μωϋσέως.
The Reading is from Mark 1:35-44
At that time, Jesus rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to a priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 1.35-44
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἀπῆλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς ἔρημον τόπον, κἀκεῖ προσηύχετο.καὶ κατεδίωξαν αὐτὸν ὁ Σίμων καὶ οἱ μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ,καὶ εὑρόντες αὐτὸν λέγουσιν αὐτῷ ὅτι πάντες σε ζητοῦσι.καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἄγωμεν εἰς τὰς ἐχομένας κωμοπόλεις, ἵνα καὶ ἐκεῖ κηρύξω· εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ ἐξελήλυθα.καὶ ἦν κηρύσσων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν εἰς ὅλην τὴν Γαλιλαίαν καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλων. Καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτὸν λεπρὸς παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν καὶ γονυπετῶν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγων αὐτῷ ὅτι ἐὰν θέλῃς, δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς σπλαγχνισθείς, ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἥψατο αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· θέλω, καθαρίσθητι.καὶ εἰπόντος αὐτοῦ εὐθέως ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα, καὶ ἐκαθαρίσθη.καὶ ἐμβριμησάμενος αὐτῷ εὐθέως ἐξέβαλεν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ·ὅρα μηδενὶ μηδὲν εἴπῃς, ἀλλ᾿ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ καὶ προσένεγκε περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ σου ἃ προσέταξε Μωϋσῆς εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Ι' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Κοδράτου τοῦ ἐν Κορίνθῳ, καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ, Ἀνέκτου, Παύλου, Διονυσίου, Κυπριανοῦ καὶ Κρήσκεντος.
Τῶν δυσσεβῶν τὴν πίστιν ὕβρεσι πλύνας
Τμηθεὶς Κοδρᾶτε σῶν ἀφ' αἱμάτων πλύνῃ.
Γνωστοῖς Ἄνεκτον σὺν δυσὶ κτείνει ξίφος,
Οἷς οὐκ ἀνεκτὸν μὴ θανεῖν Θεοῦ χάριν.
Ὁρῶν καταθνῄσκοντα Κρήσκεντα ξίφει,
Σπεύδει σὺν αὐτῷ Κυπριανὸς τεθνάναι.
Ἀμφὶ δεκάτῃ Κοδρᾶτον ξίφος ἐγκατέπεφνε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀναστασίας τῆς Πατρικίας.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μαρκιανὸς ξύλοις θλασθεὶς τελειοῦται.
Ἐθαύμασαν βροτοὶ σε θλασθέντα ξύλοις,
Ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, Μαρκιανέ, καὶ νόες.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμὴν.
These Martyrs contested for piety's sake in Corinth during the reign of the Emperor Valerian (253-260).
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Οι Μάρτυρές σου, Κύριε, εν τή αθλήσει αυτών, στεφάνους εκομίσαντο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, σχόντες γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλον, έθραυσαν καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση. Αυτών ταίς ικεσίαις, Χριστέ ο Θεός, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Στον βίο και την άσκηση της οσίας Αναστασίας της Πατρικίας, της οποίας η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη, εφαρμόζεται εκείνο που γράφει ο απόστολος Παύλος σε μια του επιστολή· "μη δίδοτε τόπον τω διαβόλω". Η οσία Αναστασία, όταν κατάλαβε πως την φθονούσε η Θεοδώρα η σύζυγος του Αυτοκράτορα Ιουστινιανού, είπε στον εαυτό της· "Αναστασία, σώσε την ψυχή σου κι απάλλαξε και την βασίλισσα από τη ζυλοτυπία κι αντί για τις τιμές που έχεις στα ανάκτορα θα κερδίσης την ουράνιο βασιλεία". Έζησε στην έρημο εικοσιοχτώ χρόνια και αντάλλαξε την κοσμική κίνηση των βασιλικών ανακτόρων με την προσευχή, τη νηστεία και την μελέτη του θείου νόμου. Όταν μπορέσης να νοιώσης τον αιώνιο προορισμό σου, τότε ανοίγονται τα μάτια σου και βλέπεις την αξία των εγκοσμίων, που ποτέ δεν φθάνει την αξία της ψυχής. "Τι δώσει αντάλλαγμα της ψυχής αυτού;"
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κοδρᾶτος, Ἀνεκτός, Παῦλος, Διονύσιος, Κυπριανὸς καὶ Κρήσκης
Μαρτύρησαν στὴν Κόρινθο στὸ διωγμὸ κατὰ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, στὰ χρόνια του αὐτοκράτορα Δεκίου (249-251). Ἦταν ὅλοι φίλοι καὶ βρίσκονταν στὸ ἄνθος τῆς ἡλικίας τους. Διδάσκονταν δὲ τὴν εἰς Χριστὸν πίστιν ὑπὸ τοῦ Κοδράτου. Ὁ ἔπαρχος Ἰάσων προσπάθησε μὲ κάθε τρόπο νὰ τοὺς πείσει νὰ ἀρνηθοῦν τὴν χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Προσπάθησε νὰ τοὺς δελεάσει μὲ ὅλες τὶς κοσμικὲς γλυκύτητες ποὺ ἔδινε ἡ εἰδωλολατρικὴ ἐλευθερία -γιὰ τὴν σάρκα - στὴ νεότητα. Δείχνοντας σ᾿ αὐτοὺς τὶς ὡραῖες ἀκτὲς τοῦ Κορινθιακοῦ κόλπου καὶ τὰ γαλανὰ νερά του, ποὺ μύρωναν τὶς καλλονὲς τῆς ἄνοιξης, τοὺς ἐξόρκιζε νὰ θυσιάσουν στὰ εἴδωλα γιὰ νὰ σώσουν τὴν ζωή τους. Ἐκεῖνοι, ὅμως, ἀποκρίνονται ὅτι ἡ αἰώνια καὶ ἀπαράμιλλη Ἄνοιξη εἶναι κοντὰ στὸν Κύριό τους καὶ Θεό τους. Καὶ πιστοὶ στὴν ὁμολογία τους, ἐπισφράγισαν αὐτὴ μὲ τὴν θυσία τοῦ αἵματος, ποὺ ἔχυσαν ὅλοι οἱ φίλοι μαζί. Ἔτσι, γιὰ πάντα ἔγιναν καὶ φίλοι Θεοῦ. Διότι ὁ Κύριός μας λέει: «ὑμεῖς φίλοι μου ἔστε, ἐὰν ποιῆτε ὅσα ἐγὼ ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν». Δηλαδή, σεῖς εἶστε φίλοι μου, καὶ θὰ ἐξακολουθεῖτε νὰ εἶστε φίλοι μου, ἂν πράττετε ὅσα ἐγώ σας παραγγέλλω.
Ἡ Ὁσία Ἀναστασία, ἡ Πατρικία
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ εὐγενεῖς καὶ πλούσιους γονεῖς καὶ ἦταν μία ἀπὸ τὶς πιὸ θεοφοβούμενες κόρες τοῦ Βυζαντίου, στὰ χρόνια του Ἰουστινιανοῦ τοῦ μεγάλου (527-565). Ὑπῆρξε ἡ πρώτη ἀκόλουθος τῆς Βασίλισσας Θεοδώρας, καὶ ὁ Ἰουστινιανὸς γιὰ τὴν ὑπέροχη ἀξία της, τῆς ἔδωσε τὸν τίτλο τῆς πατρικίας. Οἱ ἀρετές της ὅμως, προκάλεσαν τὸ φθόνο τῆς βασίλισσας. Ἡ Ἀναστασία, προκειμένου νὰ σβήσει κάθε ἀφορμὴ τοῦ φθόνου, πῆρε μέρος τῆς περιουσίας της καὶ κατέφυγε στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Ἐκεῖ ἔκτισε Μονή, ποὺ ὀνομάστηκε Μονὴ τῆς Πατρικίας, καὶ ζοῦσε ζωὴ ἀσκητική. Ἀλλ᾿ ὅταν ἔμαθε ὅτι τὴν ἀναζητεῖ ὁ Ἰουστινιανός, ἄφησε τὴν μονὴ καὶ πῆγε στὴ Σκήτη τοῦ ἀββᾶ Δανιήλ, στὸν ὁποῖο καὶ διηγήθηκε τὰ συμβαίνοντα. Αὐτὸς ἀφοῦ τὴν ἕντυσε ἀνδρικὰ καὶ τὴν μετονόμασε Ἀναστάσιο, τὴν τοποθέτησε σ᾿ ἕνα σπήλαιο δίπλα στὴ Σκήτη καὶ δυὸ μοναχοὶ τῆς ἔφερναν αὐτὸ ποὺ χρειαζόταν. Συνάμα δὲ τῆς εἶπε νὰ μὴ βγεῖ ποτὲ ἀπὸ τὸ σπήλαιο, οὔτε νὰ δεχθεῖ κανένα. Ἐκεῖ ἔμεινε κλεισμένη 28 χρόνια. Ὅταν προαισθάνθηκε τὸ τέλος της, προσκάλεσε τὸν ἀββᾶ Δανιὴλ καί, ἀφοῦ κοινώνησε τῶν ἀχράντων μυστηρίων, παρέδωσε τὴν δίκαια ψυχή της.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μαρκιανός
Μαρτύρησε ἀφοῦ τοῦ ἔσπασαν τὰ σωματικά του μέρη μὲ ξύλα.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μιχαὴλ ὁ Μαυρουδῆς
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὸ χωριὸ Γρανίτσα τῶν Χ. Λ. Ἀγράφων. Ὁ πατέρας του ὀνομαζόταν Δημήτριος καὶ ἡ μητέρα του Στατῆρα. Ἦταν καὶ οἱ δυὸ θεοσεβεῖς καὶ φιλακόλουθοι. Ἀπὸ μικρὸ ἀνέτρεφαν τὸν Μιχαὴλ μὲ σεμνότητα καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνη. Μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τοῦ πατέρα του, πῆγε στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη καὶ ἔκανε τὸ ἐπάγγελμα τοῦ ἀρτοπώλη, μὲ ζωὴ φιλελεήμονα καὶ χριστιανική. Κάποια μέρα προσπάθησε, στὸ ἀρτοπωλεῖο του, νὰ κατηχήσει στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη ἕνα τουρκόπουλο, τὸ ὁποῖο κατάγγειλε τὸν Μιχαὴλ στὶς ἀρχὲς καὶ ὁδηγήθηκε βίαια στὸ κριτήριο. Ἀνακρινόμενος ἐκεῖ, προσπάθησε μὲ μακρὰ θεολογικὴ εὐθύτητα στὰ θρησκευτικὰ ζητήματα, νὰ προσηλυτίσει τοὺς δικαστές. Γιὰ τὸ θάῤῥος του αὐτό, ρίχτηκε στὴ φυλακή, ὅπου ὁ Μητροπολίτης Θεοφάνης ἢ Μητροφάνης τὸν ἐνίσχυσε πρὸς τὸ μαρτύριο. Ὅταν καὶ πάλι ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν κριτή, ὁμολόγησε σταθερὰ καὶ μὲ πολλὴ δύναμη τὴν χριστιανική του πίστη. Ἀπὸ τὴν ὁμολογία του συγκινήθηκε ἀκόμα καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Τοῦρκος κριτής. Τελικὰ καταδικάστηκε σὲ θάνατο καὶ τὸν ἔκαψαν ζωντανὸ στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη στὶς 21 Μαρτίου 1547. Τὸ μαρτύριο τοῦ Ἁγίου, μεταξὺ ἄλλων, ἀναφέρεται καὶ στὸν ὑπ᾿ ἀριθ. 727 Κώδικα τοῦ XVIII αἰῶνα στὴ Μονὴ Ξενοφῶντος Ἁγίου Ὄρους, καὶ στὸν ὑπ᾿ ἀριθ. 2142(129) Κώδικα τοῦ XVIII αἰῶνα τῆς Μονῆς Ἐσφιγμένου. Τὸ Μ. Εὐχολόγιο ἀναφέρει τὴν μνήμη του 10 Μαρτίου 1544.
Martyrs Codratus (Quadratus) and those with him (258)
'In a time of persecution of Christians, many of the faithful fled to the mountains and caves. The mother of this Codratus did so. She was pregnant at that time, and gave birth to Codratus in a forest, dying almost at once. He was kept safe and fed by the providence of God and his guardian angel. Codratus grew up in solitude with nature. He who gave manna from heaven to the Israelites in the wilderness released a sweet dew from a cloud onto the mouth of the child Codratus. when he was twelve years old, he went down to the town, and there some good people took a fancy to him and educated him. He studied medicine and then began to heal the sick, using both natural medicines and, more importantly, the spiritual power and prayer which had been with him from childhood. When a new persecution arose under Decius, Codratus was taken for trial and thrown into prison. Five of his friends stood beside him and confessed the name of Christ. They were: Cyprian, Dionysius, Anectus, Paul and Crescens. They were all dragged through the streets and struck with sticks and stones by the unbelievers, especially by the children, until they arrived at the scaffold. Here the martyrs prayed to God and were beheaded with the sword. A spring of water gushed out onto the earth at the spot, which to this day is called by Codratus' name and commemorates the heroic death for Christ of the holy six. They suffered with honour for the truth in Corinth in the year 250, in the time of the Emperor Decius and his governor Jason.' (Prologue)
Our Holy Mother Anastasia (563)
She was a noble lady at the Imperial court under the Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora. But when she was widowed she left Constantinople and all her privileges behind and fled to the Egyptian desert. There Abba Daniel tonsured her and, at her request, presented her to the brethren as the eunuch Anastasius, so that she might avoid discovery by imperial investigators. She closed herself in a small cell, where she spent twenty-eight years in prayer and askesis. Shortly before her death, her elder Daniel saw her face shining like the sun.
The Holy Martyr Codratus and those with him: During a time of persecution against christians (in III Cent.) a certain pious woman by the name of Ruthyna fled from Corinth to a mountain, for safety from her pursuers. There she gave to a son Codratus, and soon after birth she died. By the Providence of God the infant remained alive and was nourished in miraculous manner: a cloud drew down over him, feeding him with sweet dew. The childhood and youthful years of Saint Codratus were spent in the wilderness. Having grown up, he chanced upon christians, who enlightened him with the light of the true faith. Codratus studied at grammar, and later learned the physician's art and attained great success at it. But most of all Codratus loved the wilderness solitude and he spent a great part of his time in the hills, given over to prayer and meditation upon God. Many years passed. In the wilderness frequently there came to the saint his friends and followers to hear his instruction. Among them were Cyprian, Dionysios, Anectus, Paul, Crescentus and many others.
By order of the persecutor of christians -- the impious emperor Decius (249-251), the military commander Jason arrived at Corinth. Saint Codratus was arrested together with his comrades and thrown into prison. At the interrogations, Jason turned most frequently of all to Codratus as the eldest by age. The saint bravely defended his faith in Christ the Saviour. Then they began the torture. Saint Codratus, despite inhuman suffering, found in himself the strength to encourage others, urging them not to be terrified and to stand firmly for the faith. Not having gained renunciation from any of them, Jason gave orders to throw the martyrs for rending apart by wild beasts. But the beasts did not touch them. They tied the saints by their feet to chariots and dragged them through the city, and many of the crowd threw stones at them. Finally they condemned the martyrs to beheading by the sword. At the place of execution the martyrs requested for themselves a certain while for prayer, and then one after the other began to walk towards the executioner, bending their necks beneathe the upheld sword.
The remaining disciples of Saint Codratus likewise suffered for Christ: Dionysios (the other one) was stabbed in the night; Victorinus, Victor and Nicephoros were crushed alive in a large stone press; for Claudius they chopped off the hands and the feet; Diodoros was thrown into a bonfire prepared for him; Serapion was decapitated; Papias and Leonides they drowned in the sea. Imitating the menfolk, many holy women also went voluntarily to sufferings for Christ.
The Holy Martyrs Kodratos of Nicomedia, Satorinos, Ruphynos and others suffered during the time of persecution by the emperor Decius (249-251) and his successor Valerian (253-259).
Saint Kodratos was descended from an illustrious family. Possessing considerable wealth, the saint did not spare means for the help of brother christians, languishing in prison for the faith.
When the envoy of the impious Decius -- the pro-consul Perennius -- arrived in Nicomedia, Saint Kodratos came then voluntarily before him, so as to strengthen the courage of the imprisoned brethren by his self-sacrificing decision. At first Perennius attempted to lure Kodratos from Christ, promising him reward and honours. Then, seeing the futility of his attempts, he cast the saint into prison and gave orders to put his back on small nails and to lay on him a large stone.
Setting out for Nicea, the pro-consul commanded to bring after him all the imprisoned christians, in which number also was Saint Kodratos. Upon arrival in the city, Saint Kodratos implored that they would lead them to the pagan temple. Just as they untied his hands and feet, he turned to the idols and began to overturn and destroy them. By order of the pro-consul, they gave Kodratos over to torture. Enduring terrible torments, the saint held firm in spirit and by his act encouraged the other martyrs, whose wounds they seared with burning candles.
At the time of the suffering of the martyrs there shone suddenly a brilliant cloud, but the pagans found themselves in total darkness. In the ensuing silence was heard the quiet singing of Angels glorifying God. Many of those present there confessed themselves christians. Perennius, having ascribed the miracle to an act of sorcery, gave orders to take out to prison the newly chosen of God.
From Nicea the martyrs set out behind the pro-consul to Apameia, then to Caesarea, Apollonia and the Hellespont, where they tortured them in all sorts of ways, striving for renunciations.
They tied Saint Kodratos into a sack, filled with poisonous serpents, and threw it for the night into a deep pit. On the following morning everyone in astonishment saw the martyr whole and unharmed. When they began to beat him mercilessly, two noblemen -- Satorinos and Ruphynos -- were moved with pity for the martyr. This was observed, and Satorinos and Ruphynos were beheaded.
Perennius subjected the martyr to yet more fierce and refined tortures, but was not able to break his spirit. The saint lost his strength and was hardly able to move. For the last time the pro-consul urged the martyr to abjure Christ. Marshalling his strength, the saint firmly replied: "Since childhood I do acknowledge the one only God -- Christ, and any other I know not". The pro-consul gave orders to light up the bonfire, make red-hot the iron grate and throw on it the martyr. Having blessed himself with the sign of the cross, Saint Kodratos let himself down upon the red-hot couch, and having lain upon it as upon a soft bed, he came out unharmed from the flames. In frustrated spite the pro-consul gave orders to behead the Saint Kodratos.
The Holy Martyr Michael (Maurudisos) of Soluneia was by occupation a bread merchant. For his refusal to accept Islam he was burned by the Turks in the year 1544.
The Nun Anastasia lived in Constantinople and was descended from an aristocratic family. The pious patrician was for many the image of virtue and she enjoyed the great esteem of the emperor Justinian (527-565). Having early been widowed, Anastasia decided to leave the world and save her soul far off from the bustle of the capital. She secretly abandoned Constantinople and set off to Alexandria. She founded a small monastery not far from the city and devoted herself wholly to God.
Several years later the emperor Justinian was widowed and decided to seek out Anastasia so as to marry her. Having learned of this, blessed Anastasia immediately set out to a remote skete monastery to abba Daniel (Comm. 18 March) for help. In order to safeguard Anastasia, the elder dressed her in a man's monastic garb and called her the eunuch Anastasias. Having settled her in one of the very remote caves, the elder gave her a rule of prayer and ordered her never to leave the cave and receive no one. Only one monk knew this place: he had the obedience once a week to bring to the cave a small portion of bread and a pitcher of water, leaving it at the entrance. The nun Anastasia dwelt in suchlike seclusion for twenty-eight years. Everyone reckoned that in the cave it was the eunuch Anastasias that pursued asceticism.
The Lord revealed to her the day of her death. Having learned of immanence of death, she wrote on a potsherd several words for abba Daniel and placed it at the entrance to the cave. The starets (elder) came quickly and brought everything necessary for her burial. He found the holy ascetic still alive, and he confessed and communed her with the Holy Mysteries. At the request of the abba, blessed Anastasia blessed him and the monk accompanying him. With the words: "Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit", -- the saint quietly died (+ c. 567-568).
When the grave was prepared, the starets gave his disciple a riasa and ordered him to dress the deceased brother. Putting on the riasa, the monk realised that before him was a woman, but he did not dare to say anything. When however they returned to the monastery, having buried the nun, the disciple asked the abba whether he knew the supposed brother -- was a woman, and the elder related to the young monk the history of Saint Anastasia. Later on the narratives of the abba were written down and received wide acclaim.
The relics of the nun Anastasia were transferred in the year 1200 to Constantinople, and put not far from the temple of Saint Sophia.
The Monk George, brother of the Monk John of the Ladder (Comm. 30 March), pursued asceticism in the wilderness of Arselo.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYR CODRATUS OF CORINTH AND OTHERS WITH HIM
During the time of the persecution of Christians, many of the faithful fled to the mountains and into the caves. So did the mother of Codratus. She was pregnant at the time and gave birth to Codratus in the forest and died shortly thereafter. Codratus was cared for by, fed by and guided by Divine Providence and by his Guardian Angel. Codratus grew up in nature and in solitude. He, who gave manna from heaven to the Israelites in the wilderness, dropped from the clouds a sweet dew on the mouth of the child Codratus. When he was twelve years old, he entered into town and there some benevolent men took a liking to him and provided him with an education. He studied medicine and healed the sick, as much with natural cures and even more by the power of the spirit and prayer, which he was accustomed to since his childhood. When a new persecution arose again under Decius, Codratus was brought to trial and cast into prison. Five companions joined him and confessed the name of Christ. They were Cyprian, Dionysius, Anectus, Paul and Crescens. They were all dragged through the streets by the pagans, especially by their children. They were beaten with rods and stoned until they were eventually dragged to the scaffold. There, the martyrs prayed to God and were beheaded. On this spot a source of watergushed out of the ground which is still called Codratus even today and is a reminder of the heroic deaths of these six holy innocents for Christ. They honorably suffered for the truth in the year 250 A.D. in Corinth during the reign of Emperor Decius and his governor, Jason.
2. THE HOLY MARTYR CODRATUS OF NICOMEDIA
He was a wealthy nobleman and at the same time a staunch baptized Christian. During time of persecution when Valerian imprisoned many Christians, Codratus bribed the jailers and entered the prison bringing with him various foodstuffs for those in captivity and strengthened them in their faith. When they were brought before the judge who questioned them about their names, their homeland, and their rank, they remained silent. Then Codratus suddenly appeared behind them and cried out with a loud voice, "By name, we are Christians; servants of Jesus Christ the Lord, by title and by birth; and our city and homeland is heaven." After this declaration, he was also arrested and after prolonged and cruel torture was beheaded with the others.
3. THE VENERABLE MOTHER ANASTASIA
Anastasia was a patrician and lady of the imperial palace of Emperor Justinian. After she was widowed and when she perceived that Empress Theodora could not tolerate her, she immediately slipped out of Constantinople and turned up in the wilderness of Egypt. The renown spiritual father Abba Daniel tonsured her a nun and presented her as the monk Anastasius the eunuch according to her wishes so that, as a woman under the guise of a man, she could easily be protected and hidden from the pursuit of the emperor. Anastasia then closed herself off in a narrow cell where she spent twenty-eight years and died there in the year 563 A.D. Before her death, the Elder Daniel saw her face glow like the sun.
HYMN OF PRAISE
One time, a glorious patrician Venerable Anastasia,
Money, flattery, abandoned she all,
To Christ, her entire life she directed;
Christ, her bread; Christ, her water;
Christ, her joy and freedom,
Christ, the restorer of her soul,
Christ, the bridge over death.
Anastasia became shriveled,
The spirit through her withered face shines;
The spirit raises her higher to God,
With the spirit of God, she breathes,
Until illuminated, she became,
By Grace enlightened,
By the power of God strengthened
And among the Living inscribed.
All she forgave, all she loved,
And for the entire world, she prays,
Like an angel, she was indeed,
Wholly fixed on Christ;
By the power of God, more powerful was she
And by riches, more wealthy
Than the Empress Theodora
Amidst the opulence of the imperial court.
When the forty-two Greek commanders from Ammoria were in Agaha's prison [refer to March 6], certain Muslim sages came to counsel them to embrace the faith of Mohammed and thereby receive their freedom. These sages stressed to theseChristian commanders the two advantages of Islam over Christianity: First: Mohammed is a more recent prophet than Christ and, Second: the Muslims were victorious on all sides over Christianity by which God clearly points out the truth of their religion. To the first point, the commanders replied, "If two men are debating over a field, and one has many witnesses that the field is his and the other does not have any witnesses except his own personal statement, what do you think? Whose field is it?" To this the Agha's men replied, "By all means, the field is his who had many witnesses." To that, the commanders replied, "By yourselves you have judged in favor of Christ and against Mohammed for Christ had with Him the witnesses of all the Prophets and Apostles, but Mohammed alone witnesses to himself." To the second point, the commanders replied, "If you would gauge the truth of a faith by victories in wars, then this would mean that all the idolatrous nations, who from time to time have conquered the world, such as the Persians, Greeks, Romans and others, possessed the true faith. This, even you Muslims would never acknowledge. And because you have been victorious over the Christians now, this does not mean that your faith is better; rather, that our sins are greater and because of this, God punishes us, through you."
To contemplate the Lord Jesus at judgment before Caiaphas:
1. How the elders of the Jews searched everywhere for false witnesses;
2. How the witnesses testified to the contrary;
3. How our Lord listened to all the slanders and remained silent and without anger.
About revealed secrets
"Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed nor secret that will not be made known" (St. Matthew 10:26).
There is one eye, brethren, which never sleeps. That is the eye of God. There are more eyes in the heavens, brethren, than there are stars in the firmament of heaven. They are the eyes of the angels. No veil nor any wall nor darkness can conceal any kind of secret on earth from these eyes. Everything is revealed and open before the All-Seeing God and His Holy Angels. The man who believes that all the works of man can be hidden becomes a criminal. Thus thought the elders of the Jews who arranged and plotted in secrecy their evil plot against Christ the Lord. Secretly they persecuted Him; secretly they judged Him in the darkness of night; and secretly they bribed and paid false witnesses. And, as did Judas, they secretly condemned Him. Where are their secrets today? All have become revealed and open before the entire world. It is easier for man to hide from the air than from the sight of God. All the secrets of mankind, both, the good and evil, are revealed before God. A countless number of those secrets God reveals to the entire world according to His Providence. Those who can understand this truth, that God sees all and knows all, carefully guard themselves from evil thoughts in the secret of their hearts and especially from evil deeds. Whenever your heart entices you to do evil, O man, call to mind these words which are not of man but of God, "Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed nor secret that will not be made known." And you, whatever good you do in secret, do not become faint-hearted. All of your good is written in the heavens and will be revealed in its time.
O, All-Seeing Lord, help us and save us.