FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Sunday of the Holy Cross
Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem
Trophimos & Eukarpion, Monk-martyrs of Nicomedea
Γ΄ ΝΗΣΤΕΙΩΝ (ΤΗΣ ΣΤΑΥΡΟΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΗΣΕΩΣ).
Τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρός ἡμῶν Κυρίλλου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἱεροσολύμων.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from John 20:1-10
At that time, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 20.1-10
Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἔρχεται πρωῒ σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ βλέπει τὸν λίθον ἠρμένον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου. τρέχει οὖν καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς Σίμωνα Πέτρον καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄλλον μαθητὴν ὃν ἐφίλει ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἦραν τὸν Κύριον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου, καὶ οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. ἐξῆλθεν οὖν ὁ Πέτρος καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς καὶ ἤρχοντο εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον. ἔτρεχον δὲ οἱ δύο ὁμοῦ· καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς προέδραμε τάχιον τοῦ Πέτρου καὶ ἦλθε πρῶτος εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ παρακύψας βλέπει κείμενα τὰ ὀθόνια, οὐ μέντοι εἰσῆλθεν. ἔρχεται οὖν Σίμων Πέτρος ἀκολουθῶν αὐτῷ, καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον καὶ θεωρεῖ τὰ ὀθόνια κείμενα, καὶ τὸ σουδάριον, ὃ ἦν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ, οὐ μετὰ τῶν ὀθονίων κείμενον, ἀλλὰ χωρὶς ἐντετυλιγμένον εἰς ἕνα τόπον. τότε οὖν εἰσῆλθε καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς ὁ ἐλθὼν πρῶτος εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ εἶδε καὶ ἐπίστευσεν· οὐδέπω γὰρ ᾔδεισαν τὴν γραφὴν ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῆναι. ἀπῆλθον οὖν πάλιν πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς οἱ μαθηταί.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6
BRETHREN, since we have a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek."
Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 4:14-16; 5:1-6
Ἀδελφοί, ἔχοντες οὖν ἀρχιερέα μέγαν, διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς, Ἰησοῦν τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, κρατῶμεν τῆς ὁμολογίας. Οὐ γὰρ ἔχομεν ἀρχιερέα μὴ δυνάμενον συμπαθῆσαι ταῖς ἀσθενείαις ἡμῶν, πεπειραμένον δὲ κατὰ πάντα καθʼ ὁμοιότητα, χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας. Προσερχώμεθα οὖν μετὰ παρρησίας τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς χάριτος, ἵνα λάβωμεν ἔλεον, καὶ χάριν εὕρωμεν εἰς εὔκαιρον βοήθειαν. Πᾶς γὰρ ἀρχιερεύς, ἐξ ἀνθρώπων λαμβανόμενος, ὑπὲρ ἀνθρώπων καθίσταται τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ἵνα προσφέρῃ δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίας ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν· μετριοπαθεῖν δυνάμενος τοῖς ἀγνοοῦσιν καὶ πλανωμένοις, ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτὸς περίκειται ἀσθένειαν· καὶ διὰ ταύτην ὀφείλει, καθὼς περὶ τοῦ λαοῦ, οὕτως καὶ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ, προσφέρειν ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν. Καὶ οὐχ ἑαυτῷ τις λαμβάνει τὴν τιμήν, ἀλλὰ καλούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, καθάπερ καὶ Ἀαρών. Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς οὐχ ἑαυτὸν ἐδόξασεν γενηθῆναι ἀρχιερέα, ἀλλʼ ὁ λαλήσας πρὸς αὐτόν, Υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε. Καθὼς καὶ ἐν ἑτέρῳ λέγει, Σὺ ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισεδέκ.
The Reading is from Mark 8:34-38; 9:1
The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 8.34-38, 9.1
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος· Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν, ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι. ὃς γὰρ ἂν θέλῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ σῶσαι, ἀπολέσει αὐτήν· ὃς δ᾿ ἂν ἀπολέσῃ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ψυχὴν ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, οὗτος σώσει αὐτήν. τί γὰρ ὠφελήσει ἄνθρωπον ἐὰν κερδήσῃ τὸν κόσμον ὅλον, καὶ ζημιωθῇ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ; ἢ τί δώσει ἄνθρωπος ἀντάλλαγμα τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ; ὃς γὰρ ἐὰν ἐπαισχυνθῇ με καὶ τοὺς ἐμοὺς λόγους ἐν τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ μοιχαλίδι καὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπαισχυνθήσεται αὐτὸν ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἐν τῇ δόξῃ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων τῶν ἁγίων. Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἰσί τινες τῶν ὧδε ἑστηκότων, οἵτινες οὐ μὴ γεύσωνται θανάτου ἕως ἂν ἴδωσι τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐληλυθυῖαν ἐν δυνάμει.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΗ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Κυρίλλου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἱεροσολύμων.
Εἴσελθε, κέρδος ἐκ ταλάντων προσφέρων,
Εἰς τὴν χαράν, Κύριλλε, τοῦ σοῦ Κυρίου.
Ὀγδοάτῃ δεκάτῃ θάνατος μέλας εἷλε Κύριλλον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Μύριοι Μάρτυρες, τοὺς αὐχένας τμηθέντες, τελειοῦνται.
Τμηθέντες Ἄνδρες Μύριοι τοὺς αὐχένας,.
Ἀπῆλθον ἔνθα μυριόμματοι Νόες.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Τροφίμου, Εὐκαρπίωνος καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτοῖς.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
With the help of God, we have almost reached the middle of the course of the Fast, where our strength has been worn down through abstinence, and the full difficulty of the labour set before us becomes apparent. Therefore our holy Mother, the Church of Christ, now brings to our help the all-holy Cross, the joy of the world, the strength of the faithful, the staff of the just, and the hope of sinners, so that by venerating it reverently, we might receive strength and grace to complete the divine struggle of the Fast.
Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Grave Tone
Κατέλυσας τῷ Σταυρῷ σου τὸν θάνατον, ἠνέῳξας τῷ Λῃστῇ τὸν Παράδεισον, τῶν Μυροφόρων τὸν θρῆνον μετέβαλες, καὶ τοῖς σοῖς Ἀποστόλοις κηρύττειν ἐπέταξας, ὅτι ἀνέστης Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, παρέχων τῷ κόσμῳ τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.
By means of Your Cross, O Lord, You abolished death. * To the robber You opened Paradise. * The lamentation of the myrrhbearing women You transformed, * and You gave Your Apostles the order to proclaim to all * that You had risen, O Christ our God, * and granted the world Your great mercy.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Σώσον Κύριε τόν λαόν σου καί ευλόγησον τήν κληρονομίαν σου, νίκας τοίς Βασιλεύσι κατά βαρβάρων δωρούμενος καί τό σόν φυλάττων διά τού Σταυρού σου πολίτευμα.
Save, O Lord, Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the faithful victory over adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.
Seasonal Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Τῇ ὑπερμάχῳ Στρατηγῷ τὰ νικητήρια, Ὡς λυτρωθεῖσα τῶν δεινῶν εὐχαριστήρια, Ἀναγράφω σοι ἡ Πόλις σου Θεοτόκε. Ἀλλ᾿ ὡς ἔχουσα τὸ κράτος ἀπροσμάχητον, Ἐκ παντοίων με κινδύνων ἐλευθέρωσον, Ἵνα κράζω σοι· Χαῖρε, Νύμφη ἀνύμφευτε.
To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I, your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering. In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I may call out to you: "Hail, unwedded bride!"
Resurrectional Kontakion in the Grave Tone
Ουκέτι τό κράτος τού θανάτου, ισχύσει κατέχειν τούς βροτούς, Χριστός γάρ κατήλθε συντρίβων, καί λύων τάς δυνάμεις αυτού, δεσμείται ο Άδης, Προφήται συμφώνως αγάλλονται. Επέστη λέγοντες Σωτήρ, τοίς εν πίστει, εξέρχεσθε οι πιστοί εις τήν ανάσασιν.
No longer will death's dominion have power to detain mortal men. For Christ went down and smashed and destroyed its powers. Now Hades is bound, and the Prophets in unison exult and declare: The Savior has appeared to those with faith. Come out, you faithful, to the Resurrection.
This Saint was born in 315, and succeeded Maximus as Archbishop of Jerusalem in 350. He was zealous for the Orthodox Faith, and was a defender of the poor. He was exiled three times by the Arian Emperors Constantius and Valens. But after their death, he was recalled to his throne; he reposed in peace in 386. Of his writings, the most prominent are his catechetical lectures, which are considered the most ancient systematic summary of Christian teaching. Before Saint Cyril, there had been two dioceses, one of Jerusalem, and one of Holy Sion; under Saint Cyril, they were united into one bishopric. See also May 7.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Κανόνα πίστεως καί εικόνα πραότητος, εγκρατείας Διδάσκαλον, ανέδειξέ σε τή ποίμνη σου, η τών πραγμάτων αλήθεια, διά τούτο εκτήσω τή ταπεινώσει τά υψηλά, τή πτωχεία τά πλούσια, Πάτερ Ιεράρχα Κύριλλε, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Cyril, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the First Tone
Thy speech inspired of God hath enlightened thy people to honour the One God, undivided in essence, yet known and distinguished in His Three Persons, the Trinity. Wherefore, with great joy we keep thy holy remembrance, and we have thee as our intercessor, wise Cyril, to pray unto God for us.
Η διδασκαλία των ιερών ποιμένων και η κατήχηση των πιστών είναι το πρώτο και κύριο έργο της Εκκλησίας. Η Εκκλησία είναι εξουσία και δύναμη πνευματική και δεν χρησιμοποιεί άλλα μέσα για να επιδράση ευεργετικά στους ανθρώπους κι άλλα όπλα για να πολεμήση τους εχθρούς της εκτός από το λόγο. Όποιοι γελάστηκαν και χρησιμοποίησαν υλικά και εγκόσμια όπλα εζημίωσαν την Εκκλησία. Γι' αυτό και σήμερα γίνεται κάθε προσπάθεια για να διαδοθή η αλήθεια με το κήρυγμα και την κατήχηση και με χρησιμοποίηση συγχρόνων τεχνικών μέσων, του Τύπου, του Ραδιοφώνου και ό,τινος άλλου. Ένας από τους ιερούς Πατέρας και Διδασκάλους της Εκκλησίας, που εργάστηκε πολύ στο έργο της κατηχήσεως των πιστών είναι ο άγιος Κύριλλος Πατριάρχης Ιεροσολύμων, του οποίου σήμερα επιτελούμε την μνήμη. Το έργο του αγίου Κυρίλλου "Κατηχήσεις" είναι πλήρες και άρτιο σύστημα χριστιανικής διδασκαλίας.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Κύριλλος Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἱεροσολύμων
Ὁ Κύριλλος ἀποτελεῖ μία ἀπὸ τὶς λαμπρότερες φυσιογνωμίες τῶν Πατέρων καὶ Διδασκάλων τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας. Γεννήθηκε στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, περίπου τὸ 312-315. Τὸ 334 ἔγινε διάκονος καὶ τὸν ἑπόμενο χρόνο ὁ Μάξιμος, ἐπίσκοπος Ἱεροσολύμων, τὸν χειροτόνησε πρεσβύτερο. Ὁ Κύριλλος ἀπὸ τότε διαπρέπει γιὰ τὶς θεολογικές του γνώσεις καὶ τὸν ὀρθόδοξο ζῆλο του. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ τοῦ ἀνατίθεται στὴν ἐπισκοπὴ Ἱεροσολύμων νὰ κηρύττει τὸ θεῖο λόγο καὶ νὰ διδάσκει τοὺς κατηχουμένους. Τὸ 351 ὁ Μάξιμος πεθαίνει καὶ τότε ὁ Θεὸς ἀξιώνει τὸν Κύριλλο νὰ χειροτονηθεῖ ἐπίσκοπος Ἱεροσολύμων. Αὐτός, ὅμως, δὲν ἀναπαύεται στὶς δάφνες του, ἀλλὰ πολλαπλασιάζει τοὺς κόπους του γιὰ τὴν Ἐκκλησία. Καὶ ἀναδεικνύεται ποιμὴν καὶ διδάσκαλος «πρὸς καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομήν του σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ», δηλαδή, μὲ σκοπὸ νὰ καταρτίζονται οἱ χριστιανοὶ καὶ νὰ ἐπιτελεῖται ἔργο διακονίας, ποὺ οἰκοδομεῖ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὁ Κύριλλος τρεῖς φορὲς ἐξορίσθηκε (τὸ 357, 360 καὶ 367) γιὰ τὸ ὀρθόδοξο φρόνημά του καὶ ὑπέστη πολλὲς κακοπάθειες (ἀπὸ τοὺς ἀρειανίζοντες αὐτοκράτορες Κωνστάντιο καὶ Οὐάλη). Τὸ 386 πεθαίνει, ἀφήνοντας πίσω του μία ἀκμάζουσα Ἐκκλησία Ἱεροσολύμων, καθὼς ἐπίσης, πολλὰ θεολογικὰ συγγράμματα, ποὺ τὸ κυριότερο εἶναι οἱ 23 λεγόμενες Κατηχήσεις.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Τρόφιμος καὶ Εὐκαρπίων
Ἦταν στρατιῶτες καὶ οἱ δυὸ στὴ Νικομήδεια καὶ ἔζησαν στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ. Εἰδωλολάτρες στὴν ἀρχή, ἐδίωκαν σκληρὰ τοὺς χριστιανούς, συνέπρατταν μάλιστα στὶς φυλακίσεις καὶ τοὺς βασανισμούς τους. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Χριστὸς ἔκανε τὸ θαῦμα του καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν διωκτῶν αὐτῶν. Ἡ χάρη Του ἄνοιξε τὰ μάτια τους καὶ τοὺς ἔφερε στὴν πίστη Του. Ἔνθερμοι δὲ τώρα χριστιανοὶ καὶ κήρυκες τοῦ Λυτρωτῆ τους, διαλαλοῦσαν ἐλεύθερα τὸ ὄνομά Του καὶ προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ πολλαπλασιάζουν τὶς φάλαγγες τῶν ὀπαδῶν Του. Ὅταν καταγγέλθηκαν στὴ Νικομήδεια, ἔμειναν σταθεροὶ στὴν ὁμολογία τους καὶ καταδικάστηκαν σὲ θάνατο. Στὴν ἀρχὴ ἔσχισαν τὶς σάρκες τους μὲ σιδερένια ὄργανα, καὶ κατόπιν τοὺς θανάτωσαν ἀφοῦ τοὺς ἔριξαν μέσα σὲ ἀναμμένο καμίνι.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι μύριοι (10.000) Μάρτυρες
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους, Ἴσως στὴ Νικομήδεια.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀνανίας ὁ Θαυματουργός
Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναγράφεται στὸ Λαυριωτικὸ Κώδικα 70. Ἀπὸ μικρὸ παιδὶ ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀνανίας ἀφιέρωσε τὴν ζωή του στὸν ἀσκητικὸ μοναχισμὸ καὶ λόγω τῆς μεγάλης του ἀρετῆς ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἀξίωσε νὰ θαυτουργῇ. Ὁ συγκεκριμένος Κώδικας γράφει ὅτι μὲ τὴν προσευχή του νέκρωσε ἕναν δράκοντα, ἐπίσης ἀνέστησε νεκρὸ ἄνθρωπο, ἔβγαλε πολλὰ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ δαιμονισμένους καὶ ἀφοῦ προεῖδε καὶ τὸν θάνατό του, ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Edward (Ἄγγλος)
Λεπτομέρειες γιὰ τὴν ζωὴ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἁγίου τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας, μπορεῖ νὰ βρεῖ ὁ ἀναγνώστης στὸ βιβλίο «Οἱ Ἅγιοι τῶν Βρεττανικῶν Νήσων», τοῦ Χριστόφορου Κων. Κομμοδάτου, ἐπισκόπου Τελμησσοῦ, Ἀθῆναι 1985.
St Cyril, archbishop of Jerusalem (386)
He was born in Jerusalem in 315, ordained to the priesthood in 346, and succeeded Maximus as Archbishop of Jerusalem in 350. He was exiled three times by the Arian Emperors Constantius and Valens for his unwavering defense of the Faith. Restored by the Emperor Theodosius, he did not return to the throne, but lived for eight years in peace before reposing in 386.
He was known to all his people as a tireless defender of the poor, and as a great ascetic. He was gentle and humble in his bearing, pale and gaunt from fasting. He struggled throughout his time against the Arian heresy, which had become very strong, claiming the allegiance even of the Emperors. In addition, he lived through the reign of Julian the Apostate, who tried by many means to weaken and undermine the Church and the Christian Faith.
Of St Cyril's many writings, the best-known are his Catecheses, considered the oldest systematic summary of Christian teaching.
St Ananias (Aninus) the Wonderworker (?)
"Born in Chalcedon, he was little of stature, like Zaccheus, but great in spirit and faith. He denied himself to the world at the age of fifteen and settled near the River Euphrates in a little hut, where he atoned for his sins, and prayed to God, at first with his teacher Mayum and then, after Mayum's death, alone. By the power of his prayers he filled an empty well with water, healed the sick of various pains and tamed wild beasts. There was a tamed lion with him as his servant. He had insight into distant happenings. When robbers attacked a stylite, Pionius, at some distance from him, and beat him up to such an extent that he decided to come down from his pillar and go to complain to the judges, St Aninus saw his intention in his soul and sent him a letter by means of his lion, telling him to set aside his intention, to forgive his assaulters and to continue in his asceticism. He was inexpressibly generous. The bishop of Neo-Caesarea made a gift to him of a donkey, to ease his carrying of water from the river, but he gave this donkey to some poor man who had complained to him of his poverty. The bishop gave him a second donkey, but he gave that away. Then the bishop gave him a third donkey, not for his own but only to serve as a water-carrier, to be kept and returned. At the time of his death, he saw Moses, Aaron and Or coming to him and calling: 'Aninus, the Lord is calling you. Get up and come with us.' This he revealed to his disciples, and gave his spirit to the Lord whom he had served so faithfully. He was 110 years old when he finished his earthly course." (Prologue)
Saint Nikolai (Velimirovic), Bishop of Ochrid and Zica, Serbia (1956)
He has been called 'The New Chrysostom' for his many grace-filled sermons and writings.
He was born in 1880 in the Serbian village of Lelich. After attending the Seminary of St Sava in Belgrade, he obtained doctoral degrees from both the University of Berne and Oxford University. In 1919, Archimandrite Nikolai was made Bishop of Zica.
In 1941 Bishop Nikolai was arrested by the Nazis and, after three years' imprisonment in Ljubostir Vojlovici Monastery, was sent to the infamous Dachau concentration camp along with the Serbian Patriarch Gavrilo. He both witnessed and personally underwent many tortures there until the camp was liberated by the US army in 1945.
After the war he fled Communist-controlled Yugoslavia and emigrated to the United States, where he taught at St Sava's Seminary, St Vladimir Seminary and St Tikhon seminary. It was at St Tikhon Seminary that he reposed in 1956. His relics rested for awhile at St Sava's Seminary in Libertyville IL, then were returned to Serbia, where they now reside.
Throughout his adult life, the holy monk and bishop poured forth a steady stream of beautiful homilies and theological and spiritual writings. He is the author of the Prologue from Ochrid, a Slavic Synaxarion. The luminous homilies included therein, one for each day of the year, give a good sample of his inspired writing.
Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem, was born in Jerusalem in the year 315 and was raised in strict Christian piety. Having reached the age of maturity, he became a monk, and in the year 346 he became a presbyter. In the year 350, upon the death of archbishop Maximos, he succeeded him upon the Jerusalem cathedra-seat.
In the dignity of Patriarch of Jerusalem, Saint Cyril zealously fought against the heresies of Arius and Macedonias. In doing so, he brought upon himself the animosity of the Arianising bishops, who sought to have him deposed and banished from Jerusalem.
In the year 351 at Jerusalem, on the feastday of Pentecost at the 3rd hour of the day, there occurred a miraculous portent: the Holy Cross appeared in the heavens, shining with a radiant light. It stretched forth from Golgotha over the Mount of Olives. Saint Cyril reported about this portent to the Arian emperor Constantius (351-363), hoping to convert him to Orthodoxy.
The heretic Akakios -- deposed by the Council of Sardica, was formerly the metropolitan of Caesarea, and in collaboration with the emperor he resolved to have Saint Cyril removed. An intense famine struck Jerusalem, and Saint Cyril went through all his own wealth on acts of charity. But since the famine did not abate, the saint began to pawn off church items, buying on the money in exchange wheat for the starving. The enemies of the saint mongered about a scandalous rumour, that they had apparently seen a woman in the city dancing around in clergy garb. And taking advantage of this rumour, the heretics by force threw out the saint.
The saint found shelter with bishop Siluan in Tarsus. After this, a Local Council gathered at Seleucia, at which there were about 150 bishops, and among them Saint Cyril. The heretical metropolitan Akakios did not want to allow him to take a seat, but the Council would not consent to this. Akakios thereupon quit the Council and in front of the emperor and the Arian patriarch Eudoxios he denounced both the Council and Saint Cyril. The emperor had the saint imprisoned.
When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) ascended the throne, seemingly out of piety he repealed all the decrees of Constantius, directed against the Orthodox. Saint Cyril returned to his own flock. But after a certain while, when Julian had become secure upon the throne, he openly apostacised and renounced Christ. He permitted the Jews to start rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple that had been destroyed by the Romans, and he even provided them a portion of the means for the building from state monies. Saint Cyril predicted, that the words of the Saviour about the destruction of the Temple down to its very stones (Lk. 21: 6) would undoubtedly transpire, and the blasphemous intent of Julian would come to naught. And thus one time there occurred such a powerful earthquake, that even the solidly set foundation of the ancient Solomon Temple shifted in its place, and what had been erected anew fell down and shattered in dust. When the Jews nevertheless started construction anew, a fire came down from the heavens and destroyed the tools of the workmen. Great terror seized everyone. And on the following night there appeared on the garb of the Jews the Sign of the Cross, which they by no means could extirpate.
After this Heavenly confirmation of the prediction of Saint Cyril, they banished him again, and the cathedra-seat was occupied by Saint Kyriakos. But Saint Kyriakos soon suffered a martyr's death (+ 363, Comm. 28 October).
After the emperor Julian perished in 363, Saint Cyril returned to his cathedra-seat, but during the reign of the emperor Valens (364-378) he was sent into exile for a third time. It was only under the holy emperor Saint Theodosius the Great (379-395) that he finally returned to his archpastoral activity. In the year 381 Saint Cyril participated in the Second OEcumenical Council, which condemned the heresy of Macedonias and affirmed the Nicea-Constantinople Credal-Symbol of Faith.
Of the works of Saint Cyril, particularly known are 23 Instructions (18 are Catechetical for those preparing to accept Holy Baptism, and 5 are for the newly-baptised) and 2 Discourses on Gospel themes: "About the Paralytic" and "Concerning the Transformation of Water into Wine at Cana".
At the basis of the Catechetical Instructions is a detailed explanation of the Symbol of Faith. The saint suggests that the Christian should inscribe the Symbol of Faith upon "the tablets of the heart". "The articles of the faith, -- teaches Saint Cyril, -- were compiled not through human cleverness, but has therein gathered everything most important from all the entire Scripture, and as such it is compiled into a single teaching of faith. Just as the mustard seed within its small kernel has within it contained all its plethora of branches, thus precisely also does the faith in its several declarations combine all the pious teachings of the Old and the New Testaments".
Saint Cyril died in the year 386.
The Holy Martyrs Trophymos and Eukarpios were soldiers at Nicomedia during the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). They distinguished themselves by their great ferocity in carrying out all the decrees of the emperor. One time, when these soldiers had caught up with some Christians, they suddenly saw a large fiery cloud which had come down from the sky, thickening in form nigh close to them. From out of the cloud came forth the Voice: "Why are ye so zealous in threatening My servants? Be not deluded: no one by their own powers can suppress those believing in Me, but better it is to join unto them and discover yourselves the Heavenly Kingdom". The soldiers in fright fell to the ground, not daring to lift up their eyes, and only said each to the other: "Truly it is the great God, manifest now unto us. We would do well to become His servants". The Lord then spake saying: "Rise up, repent, for unto ye is forgiveness of your sins". Having gotten up, they beheld within the cloud the image of a Radiant Man and a great multitude standing about Him. The astonished soldiers with one voice cried out: "Receive us, for our sins be inexpressibly wicked. No other is there a God besides Thee, the Creator and One True God, and we are not yet conjoined with Thine servants". But just as they spoke this, the cloud receded and rose up to the sky. Spiritually reborn after this miracle, the soldiers released all the incarcerated Christians from the prisons. For this Saints Trophymos and Eukarpios were handed over to terrible torments: they suspended the saints and tore at their bodies with iron hooks. They in prayer gave thanks unto God, in firm belief that the Lord would forgive them their former grievous sins. And when there was lighted up a bon-fire, the holy martyrs went willingly into the fire and there gave up their souls to God.
The Monk Aninos the Monastic was born at Chalcedon into a Christian family. After the death of his parents, he withdrew at age fifteen into a monastery, where he received monastic tonsure. In search of complete quietude he went off into the depths of the wilderness, where the River Euphrates separates Syria from Persia. There he came upon an elder named Maium and settled together with him. Both ascetics led a very strict life. During the whole Forty-Day Great Lent they ate nothing, taking delight and joy instead in spiritual nourishment.
Saint Aninos every day carried drinking water from afar. One time he returned with full water pitchers earlier than usual, since an Angel had filled the vessels with water. the elder Maium realised, that his student had attained to high spiritual accomplishment, and he in turn besought Saint Aninos to become his guide, but that one out of humility refused. Afterwards the elder re-settled into a monastery, and Saint Aninos remained alone in the wilderness.
By constant exertions the saint conquered the passions within himself, and he was granted gifts of healing and perspicacity. Even the wild beasts became docile and served him. Wherever the saint went, two lions followed after him, one of which he had healed of an hurt on the paw. Accounts about the saint spread throughout all the surrounding area, and the sick and those afflicted by evil spirits began to come to him, seeking healing. Several students likewise gathered around the saint. One time, in his seventeenth year as an ascetic, several men had come to the saint and asked for something to quench their thirst. Trusting on the power of God, the monk sent one of his disciples to a dried-up well. By a miracle of God this well filled up to its very top, and this water remained for many days. When the water ended, the monk did not dare to ask a miracle for himself, and by night he himself began to carry water from the Euphrates. The Neocaesarea bishop Patrikios repeatedly visited the monk and ordained him presbyter, although the humble ascetic was resolved not to accept the priestly dignity. And having learned, that the saint himself carried water from afar off, bishop Patrikios twice gave him donkeys, but the monk each time gave them away to the poor and continued to carry the water himself. Then the bishop gave orders to dig out a large well, which from time to time they filled, bringing donkeys from the city.
Saint Aninos discerned the desire of a certain pillar-dweller monk, asceticising afar off from him, to come down off his pillar and make a complaint in court against a robber, who had hurt him with a stone. Saint Aninos wrote a letter to the pillar-dweller, advising him not to carry out his intent. The letter of the monk was conveyed to the pillar-dweller by a trusty lion, and it brought him to his senses.
A certain pious woman, having fallen ill, set out to the Monk Aninos to ask prayers of him. Along the way a robber chanced upon her. Not finding any money on the woman, he decided to commit an act of violence and force her into sin. The woman called on the help of the monk and cried out: "Saint Aninos, help me!" Terror suddenly overcame the robber, and he let go the woman. Having continued on to the monk, the woman told him about everything and received healing. And the robber in repentance likewise came to the monk, accepted Baptism and tonsure as a monk. The spear, which he thrust into the ground, back when he had intended to commit his act of violence, grew up into a mighty oak.
At the extreme old age of 110 the saint foretold the time of his end, and he directed his successor as hegumen to gather the brethren.
Before his death Saint Aninos conversed with the holy Prophets Moses, Aaron and Or [or Hur: vide Ex. 24: 14], and with the words: "Lord, receive my soul", the saint expired to the Lord.
The 10,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia were beheaded after false denunciations against Christians were made at the instigation of the court.
The Monk Daniel asceticised in Egypt in the VI Century. At the instigation of the devil they accused him of profligacy, and he endured without complaint all the unjust abuse, taking comfort in the words of the Lord: "Blessed are ye, when men shalt revile you... and shalt say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake" (Mt. 5: 11). The saint was the teacher of the Monk Anastasias the Patrician (Comm. 10 March).
The Monk Kirill (Cyril) of Astrakhan was archimandrite of the Trinity monastery in Astrakhan. He had been sent as hegumen to the newly-built monastery in the year 1568. The monk constructed at the monastery temples in honour of the MostHoly Trinity, the Entry of the MostHoly Mother of God into the Temple, and Saint Nicholas. He zealously concerned himself with the enlightening of the Astrakhan region, and by his meekness and piety he gained the respect of even the Mahometans, -- who called him the Kara-Daud (the Black David) in distinction from the holy Prophet King David. The monk died in about the year 1576. The icon of the saint was written in 1676 through a vow of Emel'yan Paphent'ev, whom the Monk Kirill had saved when he was drowning in the Volga. The Vita (Life of the saint was compiled in the year 1790, and a tropar and kondak to him is known. The Church established the feastday in memory of the Monk Kirill under 18 March [probably on the basis of his name-in-common with Saint Cyril of Jerusalem].
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. SAINT CYRIL, ARCHBISHOP OF JERUSALEM
Cyril was born in Jerusalem during the reign of Constantine the Great and died during the reign of Theodosius the Great [315-386 A.D.] He was ordained a priest in 346 A.D. and succeeded to the throne of Blessed Maximus, Patriarch of Jerusalem in 350 A.D. On three occasions he was dethroned and banished into exile until finally, during the reign of Theodosius, he was restored and lived peacefully for eight years and then gave up his soul to the Lord. He underwent two difficult struggles: one, against the Arians, who became powerful under Constantius, the son of Constantine, and the other during the reign of Julian the Apostate [this turncoat] and with the Jews. At the time of the dominance of the Arians and on the Day of Pentecost, a sign of the cross, brighter than the sun, appeared which stretched over Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives and lasted for several hours from the ninth hour in the morning. Concerning this phenomenon, seen by all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a report was written to Emperor Constantius which served much in establishing Orthodoxy against the heretics. During the time of the Apostate, still another sign occurred. In order to humiliate the Christians Julian persuaded the Jews to restore the Temple of Solomon. Cyril prayed to God that this not happen. There was a terrible earthquake which destroyed all that had been newly built. Then the Jews began restoration anew. Again, there was an earthquake which destroyed not only the newly constructed portion but overturned and scattered the old stones beneath the ground which supported the Temple. And so the words of the Lord came true that "there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down" (St. Matthew 13:2 - St. Luke 2:6). Among the many writings of this holy father is his Catechetical Discourses, a first class work preserved to the present which confirms the faith and practice of Orthodoxy. This saint was a unique arch-pastor and a great ascetic. He was meek and humble, exhausted from fasting, and pallid. After a life of many labors and noble struggles for the Orthodox Faith, Cyril peacefully died and took up habitation in the eternal court of the Lord.
2. ANINUS, THE WONDER-WORKER
Aninus was born in Chalcedon. He was of short stature as was Zacchaeus of old but great in spirit and faith. He withdrew from the world in his fifteenth year and settled in a hut near the Euphrates river where he prayed to God and atoned for his sins, at first with his teacher Mayum and, after his death, alone. Through the power of his prayers, he replenished a dry well with water, healed the sick of various maladies and tamed wild beasts. A trained lion accompanied him and was at his service at all times. He discerned the future. When Pionius, a stylite,was attacked and badly beaten by robbers some distance away from Aninus, Pionius decided to descend from the pillar and proceed to complain to the judges. St. Aninus "discerned the soul" of this stylite and his intention. He sent a letter to Pionius, by his lion, counseling him to abandon his intention, to forgive his assailants and to continue in his asceticism. His charity was inexpressible. The bishop of Neo-Caesarea presented him with a donkey in order to ease the burden of carrying water from the river, but he gave the donkey to a needy man who had complained to him about his poverty. The bishop presented him with another donkey and he gave that one away. Finally, the bishop gave him a third donkey, not only to serve as a water-carrier but one that Aninus was to care for and to return. Before his death Aninus saw Moses, Aaron and Or [Egyptian Ascetic] approaching him, and they called out to him, "Aninus, the Lord is calling you, arise and come with us." He revealed this to his disciples and gave up his soul to the Lord, Whom he faithfully served. He was one-hundred ten years old when his earthly life was ended.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT CYRIL OF JERUSALEM
A large sanctuary light glows before the Altar,
And a small sanctuary light with a smaller flame,
But one and the other gives off the same light
And before the same God, they shine with a glow.
Both, great saints and lesser saints
With the same flame of Christ set on fire.
Among the great saints, a large sanctuary lamp,
Holy Church numbers Saint Cyril.
The Faith, he explained and confirmed,
Whatever he said in words, he confirmed by his life.
His word was of the Holy Spirit,
And his life, a reflection of the flame of heaven.
Arius he shamed and Julian he crushed,
And to many ailing souls he was a balm.
From word to word, he believed Christ
Therefore his word resounds as gold;
And continues today, the weak and those of little faith,
He encourages and makes joyful the right-believers in Christ.
That is why the Church glorifies and honors Cyril,
Throughout the centuries, the name of Cyril echoes.
There are many vindictive people who think that time brought greatness to Christ, and how, in the early centuries of Christianity, the Lord was not thought of as highly as He was thought of in later times. Nothing is easier than to squelch this untruth. Here is the way St. Cyril of Jerusalem writes about the Lord Christ, "This is He Who is and He Who was, [He Is] consubstantial with the Father, [He Is] the Only-Begotten, [He Is] equally enthroned, [He Is] equal in power, [He Is] Almighty, [He Is] without beginning, [He Is] uncreated, [He Is] unchangeable, [He Is] indescribable, [He Is] invisible, [He Is] inexpressible, [He Is] incomprehensible, [He Is] immeasurable, [He Is] unfathomable, [He Is] uncircumscribed. He is the "brightness of His [Father's] Glory" (Hebrews 1:13). He is the Creator [Author] of the substance of all things created. He is the Light of Light, shining from the bosom of the Father. He is God of gods "that such is God, Our God forever and ever" (Psalm 48:15),and God of God who gives us knowledge of Himself. He is the Fountain of Life "For with you is the Fountain of our life" (Psalm 36:9), flowing from the Father's Fountain of life. He is the River of God; "There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God" (Psalm 46:4), "The river of God is full of water" (Psalm 65:9) Who comes forth from the infinity of God but is not separated from Him. He is the Treasury of the Father's good gifts and endless blessings. He is the Living Water that gives life to the world. "But whoever drinks the water I shall give you will never thirst; the water I shall give you will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (St. John 4:14). He is the uncreated light that is begotten but not separated from the First Sun. He is God the Word [Logos]; "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (St. John 1:1), Who with one word [He] brought forth all things from non-existence into being. "All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be" (St. John 1:3). This is He Who created us in the image of God and has now made Himself man in our image, but at the same time God. Even today, after sixteen centuries since this Confession of Faith was written, the Orthodox Church adheres to this same Faith, word for word and letter for letter.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus mocked on the cross:
1. How they write this scorn above his head, "King of the Jews" St. Matthew 27:37 - St. Mark 15-27 - St. Luke 23:38);
2. How those passing by scorned Him, shaking their heads and reviling Him;
3. How even the thief on the cross reviles Him;
4. How even throughout the centuries the persecutors of the Christians scorn Him.
About the King who does not wish to defend Himself with an army
"Do you think that I cannot call uponMy Father and He will not provide Me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels" (St. Matthew 26:53).
Thus spoke the Lord to the disciple who drew the sword to defend his Teacher in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is obvious from these words that the Lord could have defended Himself, if He wanted to, not only from Judas and his company of guards, but also from Pilate and the leaders of the Jews. For the might of one angel is greater than the greatest army of men, much less the might of twelve legions of angels.
The Lord did not want to seek this help from the Father. In His prayer in Gethsemane, He said to His Father, "Let Your will be done" (St. Matthew 26:42). With that, He immediately knew the Will of the Father and that it was necessary that He be given over to suffering. He was in agreement with the Will of His Father and set out on the path of suffering. It was necessary to allow the background to be portrayed gloomier in order that the resurrection would be brighter. It was necessary to allow evil to compete as much as it could so that, afterwards, it would explode and disintegrate into nothing. It was necessary to allow evil to cry aloud so that, soon after, it would become speechless before the miraculous resurrection. It was necessary that all the wicked deeds of men against God be manifested so that they would be able to see and appraise the love and mercy of God toward mankind. The angels of God were not sent to defend Christ from the Jews; rather, the angels of God were sent, after three days, to announce the holy resurrection of Christ.
O Lord, All-Powerful and All-Merciful, have mercy on us and save us!