FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Eutropios, Kleonikos, Vasiliskos, Zenos, & Zoilis the Martyrs
Theodoretos the Holy Martyr of Antioch
Α΄ ἑβδομάδος Νηστειῶν.
Μνήμη τοῦ διά τῶν κολλύβων θαύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου καί ἐνδόξου Μεγαλομάρτυρος Θεοδώρου τοῦ Τήρωνος.
Τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Εὐτροπίου, Κλεονίκου καί Βασιλίσκου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to Timothy 2:1-10
TIMOTHY, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hardworking farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.
Πρὸς Τιμόθεον β' 2:1-10
Τέκνον Τιμόθεε, ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Καὶ ἃ ἤκουσας παρʼ ἐμοῦ διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων, ταῦτα παράθου πιστοῖς ἀνθρώποις, οἵτινες ἱκανοὶ ἔσονται καὶ ἑτέρους διδάξαι. Σὺ οὖν κακοπάθησον ὡς καλὸς στρατιώτης Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματείαις, ἵνα τῷ στρατολογήσαντι ἀρέσῃ. Ἐὰν δὲ καὶ ἀθλῇ τις, οὐ στεφανοῦται ἐὰν μὴ νομίμως ἀθλήσῃ. Τὸν κοπιῶντα γεωργὸν δεῖ πρῶτον τῶν καρπῶν μεταλαμβάνειν. Νόει ἃ λέγω· δῴη γάρ σοι ὁ κύριος σύνεσιν ἐν πᾶσιν. 8 Μνημόνευε Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐγηγερμένον ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυίδ, κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου· ἐν ᾧ κακοπαθῶ μέχρι δεσμῶν, ὡς κακοῦργος· ἀλλʼ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται. Διὰ τοῦτο πάντα ὑπομένω διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ σωτηρίας τύχωσιν τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου.
The Reading is from Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-5
At that time, Jesus was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch it out," and his hand was restored.
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 2.23-28, 3.1-5
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐπορεύετο ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν τοῖς σάββασι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ ἤρξαντο οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας. καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον αὐτῷ· ἴδε τί ποιοῦσιν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστι. καὶ αὐτὸς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε τί ἐποίησε Δαυῒδ ὅτε χρείαν ἔσχε καὶ ἐπείνασεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ; πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιάθαρ ἀρχιερέως καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγεν, οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστι φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῦσι, καὶ ἔδωκε καὶ τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ οὖσι; καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· τὸ σάββατον διὰ τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐγένετο, οὐχ ὁ ἄνθρωπος διὰ τὸ σάββατον· ὥστε κύριός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ τοῦ σαββάτου. Καὶ εἰσῆλθε πάλιν εἰς τὴν συναγωγήν· καὶ ἦν ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπος ἐξηραμμένην ἔχων τὴν χεῖρα. καὶ παρετήρουν αὐτὸν εἰ τοῖς σάββασι θεραπεύσει αὐτόν, ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ. καὶ λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ ἐξηραμμένην ἔχοντι τὴν χεῖρα· ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον. καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἔξεστι τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθοποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι; ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι; οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων. καὶ περιβλεψάμενος αὐτοὺς μετ᾿ ὀργῆς, συλλυπούμενος ἐπὶ τῇ πωρώσει τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ· ἔκτεινον τὴν χεῖρά σου. καὶ ἐξέτεινε, καὶ ἀποκατεστάθη ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ὑγιὴς ὡς ἡ ἄλλη.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Γ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων, Εὐτροπίου, Κλεονίκου καὶ Βασιλίσκου.
Ὁ χρηστὸς ἡμῖν Εὐτρόπιος τοὺς τρόπους,
Ἐφεῦρε Χριστὸν καὶ τέλους διὰ ξίφους.
Καὶ Κλεόνικος εὐκλεᾶ νίκην ἔχει,
Σταυρῷ κρεμασθείς, ὡς Χριστός μου πάλαι.
Εἱρκτὴν τὸ σῶμα καὶ πρὸ τῆς εἱρκτῆς ἔχων,
Εἱρκτῶν λυτροῦται Βασιλίσκος ἐκ δύο.
Ἐν ξύλῳ Εὐτρόπιος σταυροῖο τρίτῃ προσεπήχθη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Θεοδωρήτου, Πρεσβυτέρου Ἀντιοχείας.
Χωρεῖν ἔχει που τῆς Ἐδὲμ τὸ χωρίον,
Καὶ τὸν Θεοδώρητον ἔνδον τὸν μέγαν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Ζήνων καὶ Ζώϊλος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦνται.
Ζωῆς λύσις Ζήνωνι καὶ τῷ Ζωΐλω
Ζωῆς ὑπῆρξε κρείττονος παραιτία.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ὁσία Πιαμοῦν ἡ παρθένος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Κροσσωτὰ χρυσᾶ Πιαμοῦν μελαμφόρος,
Τὰς ἀρετὰς ἄπεισιν ἠμφιεσμένη.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
These saints lived during the reign of king Diocletian in 296.They came from Amasia, the famous city in Cappadocia at the Black Sea. They were relatives and fellow-soldiers with St. Theodore of Tyre. Having been accused to governor Asclepiodotes, they were strongly beaten. St. Eutropios received wounds on his mouth, because he insulted the governor. However, although the soldiers who were hitting them were paralysed and tired, the saints were cured, because the Lord and holy martyr Theodore of Tyre had appeared to them. When they saw this miracle, many unbelievers believed in Christ and were beheaded. When the governor saw these things, he changed behaviour and tried to move St. Kleonikos from Christ's faith with flatteries. He gave him presents and promised to give him more but not only wasn't the saint's mind changed but he even got angry and ridiculed both the governor's lack of understanding as well as the idols' weakness. So, while the governor and the rest of the Greeks were offering sacrifices to their gods, St. Kleonikos prayed and toppled Diana's idol down.
When the idolaters saw this, they burnt with anger, boiled tar and asphalt in three boilers and poured them on the three Christian martyrs' backs. However, the martyrs were preserved unharmed but the servants who were pouring the mix were completely burnt. After this Sts. Eutropios and Kleonikos were crucified, received the crown of martyrdom and went to eternal life. St. Vasiliskoson the other hand was thrown to prison, where he died after he had spent quite some time there.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Οἱ Μάρτυρές σου Κύριε, ἐν τῇ ἀθλήσει αὐτῶν, τὸ στέφος ἐκομίσαντο τῆς ἀφθαρσίας, ἐκ σοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν· σχόντες γὰρ τὴν ἰσχύν σου, τοὺς τυράννους καθεῖλον· ἔθραυσαν καὶ δαιμόνων τὰ ἀνίσχυρα θράση. Αὐτῶν ταῖς ἱκεσίαις Χριστέ ὁ Θεός, σῶσον τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.
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.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ἁρμονίᾳ πίστεως συνδεδεμένοι, τοῦ ἐχθροῦ διέλυσαν, τάς παρατάξεις ἐμφανῶς, σύν Εὐτροπίῳ Κλεόνικος, καί Βασιλίσκος γενναίως ἀθλήσαντες.
Since divine Eutropios and Vasiliskos and the famed Kleonikos were bound in unity of faith, they cut asunder the foe's arrays when they contended courageously for the Lord.
Σήμερα η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει την μνήμη του αγίου Ιερομάρτυρος Θεοδωρήτου, πρεσβυτέρου Αντιοχείας. Το μαρτύριο του αγίου Θεοδωρήτου συνδέεται με την αντίθεη και μάταιη ενέργεια του Αυτοκράτορα Ιουλιανού του παραβάτη να διώξη τον Χριστιανισμό και να επαναφέρη την ειδωλολατρία. Ο Ιουλιανός, αν είν' ο πρώτος μετα την επικράτηση και τη νίκη του Χριστιανισμού που θέλησε να επαναφέρη την ειδωλολατρία, δεν είναι κι ο τελευταίος. Μέχρι τις ημέρες μας, πολλοί εμιμήθηκαν το αντίθεο παράδειγμα του Ιουλιανού και πολλών αθώων το αίμα, σαν του αγίου Θεοδωρήτου, έβαψε την γη. Μα όλων τούτων ο αγώνας εναντίον του Θεού αποδείχθηκε μάταιος κι όλοι απέθαναν με τα ίδια λόγια του παραβάτη· "Νενίκηκας, Χριστέ!". Για όλους τους διώκτας μπορούν να επαναληφθούν τα λόγια του ιερού Χρυσοστόμου· "Πόσοι επολέμησαν την Εκκλησίαν και οι πολεμήσαντες απώλοντο!...".
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Εὐτρόπιος, Κλεόνικος καὶ Βασιλίσκος
Ἡ καταγωγὴ αὐτῶν τῶν τριῶν πνευματικῶν βλασταριῶν ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀμάσεια τοῦ Πόντου (ὁρισμένοι συναξαριστὲς ἀναφέρουν ὅτι ἦταν καὶ συγγενεῖς τοῦ Ἁγίου Θεοδώρου τοῦ Τήρωνος). Ὅταν ὁ Διοκλητιανὸς ἐξαπέλυσε ἄγριο διωγμὸ κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ὁ ἔπαρχος Ἀσκληπιοδότης ἀμέσως τοὺς συνέλαβε καὶ τοὺς ἀνέκρινε ἂν πράγματι ἦταν χριστιανοί. Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς, χωρὶς κανένα δισταγμό, ὁμολόγησαν Χριστὸν Ἐσταυρωμένον. Ἀμέσως, ὁ ἔπαρχος διέταξε νὰ τοὺς βασανίσουν ἀνελέητα. Τὰ βασανιστήρια δὲν ἐπηρέασαν καθόλου τὸ θάῤῥος καὶ τὴν συνείδησή τους. Ἐνῷ τοὺς ἔδερναν καὶ τοὺς ἔκαιγαν ἀλύπητα, αὐτοὶ ζητοῦσαν τὴν βοήθεια τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ Τὸν ὑμνοῦσαν. Ἔτσι, οἱ μὲν Εὐτρόπιος καὶ Κλεόνικος πέθαναν μὲ σταυρικὸ θάνατο, ὁ δὲ Βασιλίσκος, ἀφοῦ φυλακίστηκε, πέθανε μετὰ ἀπὸ μύριες στερήσεις καὶ κακουχίες, χωρὶς νὰ καμφθεῖ τὸ φρόνημά του καθόλου. Παρέμεινε μέχρι τελευταίας πνοῆς πιστὸς στὸ Χριστό. Μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τεκμηρίωσαν τὰ θεόπνευστα λόγια τοῦ Ἰωάννη στὴν Ἀποκάλυψη, ὅτι «οὐκ ἤγαπησαν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτῶν ἄχρι θανάτου». Γιὰ τὴν μαρτυρία δηλαδὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, οἱ ἄνθρωποι αὐτοὶ δὲν ἀγάπησαν τὴν ζωή τους, ἀλλὰ τὴν περιφρόνησαν μέχρι θανάτου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεοδώρητος ἱερομάρτυρας, πρεσβύτερος Ἀντιοχείας
Ἦταν τὰ θλιβερὰ χρόνια τοῦ Ἰουλιανοῦ τοῦ παραβάτη, ποὺ ὁ ἀσεβὴς αὐτὸς αὐτοκράτορας ἐξεδίωκε τὴν Ἐκκλησία, προσπαθώντας ν᾿ ἀναστηλώσει τὴν εἰδωλολατρία. Οἱ διωγμοὶ αὐτοὶ βέβαια, ἐπεκτάθηκαν καὶ στὴν Ἀντιόχεια τὴν Μεγάλη. Πολλοὶ ὅμως ἀπὸ τοὺς κληρικούς της, ἔμειναν ἀκλόνητοι στὴν παράταξή τους, προστατεύοντας καὶ ἐνθαῤῥύνοντας τὸ ποίμνιο μὲ τὴν παρουσία τους. Μεταξὺ τῶν ἡρῴων αὐτῶν ἦταν καὶ ὁ Θεοδώρητος. Συνελήφθη λοιπὸν ἀπὸ τὸν ἔπαρχο τῆς πόλης (Ἰουλιανὸ ὀνομαζόμενο, ποὺ κατὰ τὸν Σ. Εὐστρατιάδη ἦταν θεῖος τοῦ Ἰουλιανοῦ τοῦ Παραβάτη), ἀλλὰ διατήρησε ὅλη τὴν ἀκεραιότητα τοῦ θάῤῥους του. Ὁ ἔπαρχος στὴν ἀρχὴ τὸν περιποιήθηκε. Καὶ τόνισε τὴν μεγάλη ἀξία τοῦ Θεοδωρήτου, τὴν εὐφυΐα καὶ τὴν παιδεία του. Κατέληξε δὲ προτρέποντας τὸν Θεοδώρητο νὰ ἀπαρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστό, καὶ νὰ προσέλθει στὴ θρησκεία τῶν εἰδώλων. Ὁ Θεοδώρητος τὸν ἄκουσε μὲ ὑπομονή, καὶ κατόπιν μεταξὺ ἄλλων εἶπε στὸν ἔπαρχο: «Πῶς νὰ προδώσω τὴν ἀλήθειαν, πῶς νὰ λιποτακτήσω ἀπὸ τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ζωῆς, πῶς νὰ ἀφήσω τὴν χριστιανικὴν ἐλπίδα, τὴν χύνουσαν τόσον φῶς καὶ τόσην παρηγοριὰν εἰς τοὺς ζοφώδεις ὁρίζοντας τοῦ βίου, πῶς νὰ φανῶ τόσον ἀχάριστος πρὸς τὸν Χριστόν μου, ὁ ὁποῖος ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ ἔχυσε τὸ αἷμα του; Εἶμαι καὶ θὰ μείνω χριστιανός». Ὁ ἔπαρχος, ἐξεπλάγη μὲν ἀπὸ τὸ θάῤῥος του, διέταξε ὅμως καὶ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν.
Οἱ Ὅσιοι Ζήνων καὶ Ζωΐλος
Ἡ Ὁσία Πιαμοῦν ἡ Παρθένος
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Αἴγυπτο καὶ ἔζησε τὸν 4ο αἰῶνα μ.Χ. Νωρὶς στερήθηκε τὸν πατέρα της, ἀλλὰ ἡ μητέρα της τὴν ἀνέθρεψε καὶ τὴν πότισε μὲ τὰ νάματα τῆς χριστιανικῆς εὐσέβειας. Μητέρα καὶ κόρη δόθηκαν μὲ ὅλη τους τὴν καρδιὰ σὲ ἔργα εὐσπλαχνίας καὶ φιλαδελφίας. Μὲ τὸ μικρὸ τοὺς εἰσόδημα καὶ μὲ κόπους τῶν χεριῶν τους, παρηγοροῦσαν ἀσθενεῖς καὶ θλιβομένους. Ἐπίσης στήριζαν τὴν κλονισμένη πίστη τῶν γυναικῶν καὶ ἡ διαγωγή τους ἐνέπνεε ἀγάπη καὶ σεβασμό. Ὅταν πέθανε ἡ μητέρα της, ἡ Πιαμοῦν αὔξησε τοὺς κόπους της στὶς ὑπηρεσίες τῶν εὐαγγελικῶν ἀγαθῶν. Ἡ ἁγιότητά της εἶχε φθάσει καὶ σὲ ἄλλες πόλεις. Κάποτε μάλιστα, κατάφερε μόνη της νὰ σώσει τὴν γενέτειρα πόλη της ἀπὸ τοὺς ἐχθρούς, ὅταν δήλωσε σ᾿ αὐτοὺς τὸ ὄνομά της. Στὸ ἄκουσμα ἐκεῖνοι θυμήθηκαν τὸν Θεὸ καὶ ἀποχώρησαν εἰρηνικά. Ἡ Ἁγία πέθανε μέσα σὲ ἄπειρες εὐλογίες καὶ γενικὸ ἦταν τὸ πένθος τὴν ἡμέρα τῆς κηδείας της.
Holy Martyrs Eutropius, Cleonicus and Basiliscus (308)
They were fellow-soldiers and kinsmen of St Theodore the Tyro (Feb. 17). When St Theodore received his martyrdom, they were kept in prison because the governor of Amasia was unwilling to execute them. But a new and crueler governor, Asclepiodotus, took his place and ordered the three soldiers of Christ to be brought to him. At first, the governor used flattery and bribery to attempt to turn the three from Christ. He invited Eutropius to dine with him, but Eutropius refused, quoting the Psalm 'Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsels of the ungodly.' He then offered them a huge amount of silver, which they likewise refused, telling the governor that Judas lost his soul for silver. The governor then turned to torture, subjecting the three to extreme torments. At last, he condemned Eutropius and Cleonicus to crucifixion, for which they joyfully gave thanks that they had been found worthy to die the same death as Christ. Basiliscus was held in prison awhile longer in hopes that the deaths of his companions would weaken his resolve; but when he remained steadfast in the Faith, he was beheaded, on May 22 (on which he is also commemorated) in 308.
An Unknown Girl in Alexandria (?)
"She was from a wealthy house, having a good father who suffered much and had a difficult death, and an evil mother who had an easy life, died in peace and was buried with honour. In uncertainty whether to live by the example of her father or her mother, this maiden had a vision, in which the state of her father and of her mother were shown to her. She saw her father in the Kingdom of God, and her mother in darkness and torment. This determined her to devote her whole life to God, and, like her father, follow the commandments of God without regard to any opposition or misfortune that she might have to endure. And she followed the commandments of God to the end, with His help, and was made worthy of the Kingdom of heaven, in which she was reunited with her beloved father." (Prologue)
The Holy Martyrs Eutropios, Kleonikos and Basiliskos suffered in the city of Pontine Amasia (Asia Minor) in about the year 308.
The brothers Eutropios and Kleonikos, and Basiliskos the nephew of the GreatMartyr Theodore of Tyre (Comm. 17 February), were comrades. After the martyr's death of Saint Theodore, they wound up in prison and by their preaching brought to the Christian faith many of the pagans located in prison with them.
When he tortured Saint Theodore, Publius perished shamefully, struck down by Divine wrath. Asclepiodotos was chosen governor of Pontine Amasia, and did not bend from the fierceness of his predecessor. Knowing the comrades of the martyr Theodore of Tyre were still all in prison, the governor commanded that they be brought to him. Saints Eutropios, Kleonikos and Basiliskos thus firmly confessed their faith in Christ in front of this new governor. They were mercilessly beaten, such that their bodies became entirely bruised. At the time of torture Saint Eutropios prayed loudly to the Saviour: "Grant us, O Lord, to endure the making of these wounds for the sake of the crown of martyrdom, and come in help to us, like as Thou camest to Thy servant Theodore". In answer to this prayer of the saint, there appeared to the martyrs the Lord Himself with Angels and together with them the holy GreatMartyr Theodore of Tyre, saying to them: "Behold, the Saviour is come in help to you, that ye may know about life eternal".
Soldiers and many of the people standing nearby were also granted to behold the Saviour. They began to urge Asclepiodotos to halt the tortures. Seeing, that the people were distraught and ready to believe in the True God, the governor commanded the martyrs to be taken away. The governor then invited Saint Eutropios to him at supper and urged him to publicly offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, yet remain a Christian in soul.
But Eutropios refused this offer.
On the following day they brought the martyrs to a pagan temple, so as to compel them by force to offer sacrifice. Eutropios thereupon began to entreat the Saviour: "Lord, be with us, and destroy the raging of the pagans. Grant, that on this place be offered a Christian Bloodless Sacrifice unto Thee, the True God". These last words of prayer had only just been spoken, when there began an earthquake, the walls of the temple began to collapse, and with them was smashed also the statue of the goddess Artemis. Everyone fled from the temple so as not to be crushed amidst the rubble. Amidst the noise of the earthquake was heard a voice from on high: "Your prayer is heard, and on this place shalt be built an house for Christian prayer".
When the earthquake ended, the governor Asclepiodotos, barely just recovered from fright, gave orders to drive high wooden stakes into the ground, tie the martyrs to them and pour boiling tar over them. The saints began to pray to God, and Eutropios cried out turning to the torturers: "May the Lord turn your deed against you!" And the tar began to flow aside the bodies of the martyrs, like water with marble, scorching the torturers. Those seeing this fled in terror, but the governor in his bitterness gave orders to rend their bodies with iron hooks and to sting their wounds with mustard, mixed with salt and vinegar. The saints endured these torments with remarkable firmness.
The following night before execution the saints spent their time at prayer, and again the Lord appeared to them and strengthened them.
On the morning of 3 March, Saints Eutropios and Kleonikos were crucified, but Basiliskos was left in prison.
They executed Saint Basiliskos on 22 May in the city of Komana. They beheaded him, and threw his body into a river. But christians found his remains and buried them in a ploughed field. Later at Komana was built a church in the name of Saint Basiliskos.
An account about the life of the holy martyr is located under 22 May.
The Monastic Piama pursued asceticism not far from Alexandria. The saint lived in the home of her mother, as in an hermitage: she partook of food at the end of the day, and after prayer she spun flax. Saint Piama was vouchsafed to receive the gift of insight. When the people of a nearby more populous village, bedazzled with greed, were ready to destroy the small village of the holy maiden, in order to divert water only to their own fields at the time of the overflowing of the Nile, Saint Piama discerned in spirit about this wicked intent and explained it to the village elders. The startled elders fell on their knees to the saint, imploring her to go to the neighbouring people and dissuade them from their evil purpose. The monastic Piama did not go for a meeting, since for a long time she shunned contact with people. The saint spent all night at prayer, and in the morning the people of the neighbouring habitation, having armed themselves and set off for the village of the holy maiden, suddenly stopped still and were not able to proceed further. The Lord revealed to the impious, that the prayer of Saint Piama held them back. The people came to their senses and repented of their wicked intent. They sent messengers to the village with a request for peace and said: "Thanks be to God, Who through the prayers of the maiden Piama hath delivered us". The saint expired peacefully to the Lord in the year 337.
The Volokolamsk Icon of the Mother of God -- is a copy of the Vladimir Icon of the Moscow Uspenie cathedral. The icon was brought from Zvenigorod to the Uspenie monastery of the Monk Joseph of Volotsk on 2 March 1572, during the 2nd week of Great Lent and was solemnly met by hegumen Leonid (1563-1566; 1568-1573) together with all the monastic brethren.
It is distinguished by its particular depiction on the margins of Sainted Kyprian (right) and Sainted Gerontii (left), metropolitans of Moscow.
With the name of Metropolitan Kyprian is associated the first arrival of the ancient Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God from Byzantium to Moscow in the year 1395, and under Metropolitan Gerontii in 1480 the Vladimir Icon came finally to Moscow.
In the year 1588 the Volokolamsk Icon was dedicated atop the gate in the church at the south gates of the Josepho-Volotsky monastery in honour of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God (Comm. 26 August).
At the end of the XVII Century, when a church of the same name was built in Moscow at Staraya Basmanna, the atop the gate church of Joseph of Volotsk was re-dedicated in the name of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The Volokolamsk Icon was transferred to its proper place on the iconostas of the new cathedral Uspensky church of the Josepho-Volotsky monastery.
In its useage at the Josepho-Volotsky monastery, this icon in 1578 was accounted as wonderworking.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYRS, EUTROPIUS, CLEONICUS AND BASILLISCUS
They were companions of St. Theodore Tiro. When the righteous Theodore gloriously died, they remained behind in prison, and for a long time they were not sentenced due to a change in the emperor's deputy in the city of Amasea. When the new governor arrived, more inhuman than his predecessor, he ordered that these three be brought before him. All three were youths. Eutropius and Cleonicus wereblood brothers, and Basilliscus was a kinsman of St. Theodore. All three were like blood brothers in brotherly love. As such, they said before the governor, "As the Holy Trinity is undivided, so also are we by our faith undivided and in love inseparable." In vain was all the flattery on the part of the governor and in vain were his attempts to bribe Eutropius. First of all, the deputy invited Eutropius to dine with him. Eutropius refused, quoting from the Psalms, "Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked" (Psalm 1:1). After that, the deputy offered him a large amount of money, one hundred-fifty litres of silver, which Eutropius also refused and reminded the governor that because of silver, Judas lost his soul. After all attempts at interrogation and torture, the first two were sentenced to be crucified, and Basilliscus was sentenced to be beheaded. And so it was, two brothers crucified on two crosses for which they gave thanks to Christ that He made them worthy of the same death by which He Himself died. The third, Basilliscus, was beheaded. They all entered the Kingdom of Joy where St. Theodore, their commander, awaited them and who before them was glorified by Christ the Lord and Victor. They suffered honorably in the year 308 A.D.
2. SAINT PIAMA THE EGYPTIAN
For the sake of Christ, Piama did not wish to marry; she dedicated herself to a life of asceticism in the home of her mother. She ate very little food, and that, every other day. She spent most of her time in prayer and contemplation. Piama possessed the "Gift of Discernment." She died peacefully, wedding her soul to the Lord about the year 377 A.D.
3. THE UNKNOWN MAIDEN
Coming from a wealthy home in Alexandria, she had a good father who suffered much and came to an evil end, and an evil mother who lived well, died peacefully and was buried with honors. Perplexed as to whether she should live according to the example of her father or her mother, this maiden had a vision which revealed to her the conditions of her mother and her father in the other world. She saw her father in the Kingdom of God and her mother in darkness and in torment. This vision helped themaiden to decide that she would dedicate her whole life to God and, like her father, would adhere to the commandments of God, without considering all the adversities and the misfortunes which she would have to endure. She was faithful to the will of God to the end and, with the help of God, was made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven where she was reunited with her God-loving father.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINTS EUTROPIUS, CLEONICUS AND BASILLISCUS
The mind composed and uplifted to God the Most High,
The heart enflamed with love toward Him,
Does not care about pains nor about the body, worry,
Over such as these, only the Lord rules.
The mind fixed on Christ, that is most important.
This, during his torments, Saint Eutropius recognized
And Cleonicus his brother and beloved Basilliscus,
All three in the fire as though in the morning dew, were.
A mind fixed on Christ, about tortures does not care,
If pain persists, so also does prayer persist,
About pain, it does not think, but prayer, it weaves;
He who fears God does not fear pain.
Two blood brothers raised on the Cross:
Their bodies convulse, but the spirit does not stir,
Both glorify God Who glorified them;
Such an honorable death, to them, He gave.
The garment of the flesh is rent and removed
And the spirit races toward heaven; the spirit, than the body, is stronger;
Receive O God, they cry out, our spirit in the heights,
To You be enteral glory, O Son of God!
Humanly speaking, Christ, by His obedience, elevated Himself to primacy in the Church, in the world and in the history of mankind. No one can be a good leader who has not completed the school of obedience. Adam forfeited the authority and dominion over the living creatures and the elements of nature at the very moment when he showed himself disobedient to God. The Abba Moses said, "Obedience begats obedience; if someone listens to God, God also listens to him." It is obvious then, that God listens to man more than man listens to God, especially when one takes into consideration how often and in how many ways man sins daily against the commandments of God. It is a fact that the Eternal God listens to us, corruptible as we are, more than we listen to Him. This should fill all of us with shame who still have a conscience. When St. Eutropius was being tortured, along with his two companions, he prayed to God, "Come to us in assistance as You came to Your servant Theodore Tiro." Suddenly, the ground shook and the obedient Lord appeared with His angels along with St. Theodore. The Lord said to the sufferers, "During the time of your torture, I stood before your faces and observed your patience. I will write your names in the Book of Life."
To contemplate the Lord Jesus at the Mystical Supper:
1. How He chose bread and wine, two ordinary elements of nourishment, and through them instituted His visible and invisible bond with the Church until the end;
2. How the Mystical Supper was preserved until today and how it will be preserved until the end of time as the Mystery of Communion;
3. How everyday, and almost every hour, somewhere in the world, a priest, consecrates the bread and wine and receives it as the Body and Blood of Christ. What a wonderful vision that is! [The Consecration of the bread and wine and receiving it as the Holy Body and Precious Blood of Christ]
About love for your neighbor
"Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessaryfor your benefit" (Philippians 1:24).
Inflamed with the love of God, the Apostle Paul acknowledged, in his Epistle to the Philippians, that for him death is a gain because his life is Christ's. Paul's love for Christ draws him toward death so that he may stand by Christ as soon as possible,and his love for the faithful again compels him to remain in the flesh. However, there are not two loves which attract the apostle and pulls him in two directions, but one and the same love which opens before him two treasures of wealth. One treasure is the blessed world in heaven, and the other treasure is the souls of the faithful on earth. That heavenly treasure is increased by this wealth from earth; this treasure overflows into the other. To go to heaven, the apostle is drawn by love and reward; to remain on earth, he is drawn by love and duty. When mortal man, my brethren, discovers that it is more important to remain in the flesh out of love for his brethren, what kind of miracle is it then that the eternal God knew, before the apostle, that it was more important to be in the flesh for the salvation of mankind than out of the flesh in the spiritual kingdom? Does not this confession of Paul before the Philippians explain to us with complete clarity the reasons for the Incarnation of the Son of God? There, in the heavens, is the true Kingdom of Christ and the true life of Christ without the mingling of sin and death. But the love of the Son of God toward men deemed it necessary to remain in the flesh on earth among men. Truly, we need to be thankful to the Apostle Paul that he, in explaining himself to us, explained the mystery of Christ's coming and His dwelling in the flesh.
O Lord, wonderful are You in Your saints.