FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Basil the Confessor, Bishop of Parios
Anthoussa the Righteous of Constantinople
Akakios of Kapsokalyvia
Μεγάλη Πέμπτη: Ἐν ᾗ ἑορτάζομεν τόν Ἱερόν Νιπτῆρα, τόν Μυστικόν Δεῖπνον, τήν Ὑπερφυᾶ Προσευχήν καί τήν Προδοσίαν.
Τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρός ἡμῶν Βασιλείου, Ἐπισκόπου Παρίου.
Τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρός ἡμῶν Σεργίου Β΄ Πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 11:23-32
BRETHREN, I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 11:23-32
Ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ γὰρ παρέλαβον ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, ὃ καὶ παρέδωκα ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ κύριος Ἰησοῦς ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ᾗ παρεδίδοτο ἔλαβεν ἄρτον, καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασεν, καὶ εἶπεν, Λάβετε, φάγετε, Τοῦτό μού ἐστιν τὸ σῶμα τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν κλώμενον· τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. Ὡσαύτως καὶ τὸ ποτήριον, μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι, λέγων, Τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἡ καινὴ διαθήκη ἐστὶν ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ αἵματι· τοῦτο ποιεῖτε, ὁσάκις ἂν πίνητε, εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. Ὁσάκις γὰρ ἂν ἐσθίητε τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον, καὶ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο πίνητε, τὸν θάνατον τοῦ κυρίου καταγγέλλετε ἄχρι οὗ ἂν ἔλθῃ. Ὥστε ὃς ἂν ἐσθίῃ τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον ἢ πίνῃ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ κυρίου ἀναξίως τοῦ κυρίου, ἔνοχος ἔσται τοῦ σώματος καὶ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου. Δοκιμαζέτω δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἑαυτόν, καὶ οὕτως ἐκ τοῦ ἄρτου ἐσθιέτω, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ποτηρίου πινέτω. Ὁ γὰρ ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων ἀναξίως, κρίμα ἑαυτῷ ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει, μὴ διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα τοῦ κυρίου. Διὰ τοῦτο ἐν ὑμῖν πολλοὶ ἀσθενεῖς καὶ ἄρρωστοι, καὶ κοιμῶνται ἱκανοί. Εἰ γὰρ ἑαυτοὺς διεκρίνομεν, οὐκ ἂν ἐκρινόμεθα. Κρινόμενοι δέ, ὑπὸ κυρίου παιδευόμεθα, ἵνα μὴ σὺν τῷ κόσμῳ κατακριθῶμεν.
The Reading is from Matthew 26:1-20; John 13:3-17; Matthew 26:21-39; Luke 22:43-44; Matthew 26:40-75; 27:1-2
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified." Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult among the people." Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?" He said, "Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.'" And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.
When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand." Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you." For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "You are not all clean." When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so." Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night; for it is written, `I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee." Peter declared to him, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." Jesus said to him, "Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you." And so said all the disciples. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go yonder and pray." And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; and they bound him and led him away and delivered him to Pilate the governor.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 26:1-20;
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τοῖς ἑαὐτοῦ μαθηταῖς Οἴδατε ὅτι μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας τὸ πάσχα γίνεται, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς τὸ σταυρωθῆναι.τότε συνήχθησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως τοῦ λεγομένου Καϊάφα,καὶ συνεβουλεύσαντο ἵνα τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν δόλῳ κρατήσωσι καὶ ἀποκτείνωσιν.ἔλεγον δέ· μὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, ἵνα μὴ θόρυβος γένηται ἐν τῷ λαῷ.
Τοῦ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦ γενομένου ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐν οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ,προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ γυνὴ ἀλάβαστρον μύρου ἔχουσα βαρυτίμου, καὶ κατέχεεν ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου.ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἠγανάκτησαν λέγοντες· εἰς τί ἡ ἀπώλεια αὕτη;ἠδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο τὸ μύρον πραθῆναι πολλοῦ καὶ δοθῆναι τοῖς πτωχοῖς.γνοὺς δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· τί κόπους παρέχετε τῇ γυναικί; ἔργον γὰρ καλὸν εἰργάσατο εἰς ἐμέ.τοὺς πτωχοὺς γὰρ πάντοτε ἔχετε μεθ' ἑαυτῶν, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε.βαλοῦσα γὰρ αὕτη τὸ μύρον τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ σώματός μου, πρὸς τὸ ἐνταφιάσαι με ἐποίησεν.ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅπου ἐὰν κηρυχθῇ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦτο ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ, λαληθήσεται καὶ ὃ ἐποίησεν αὕτη εἰς μνημόσυνον αὐτῆς.
εἰδὼς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ὅτι πάντα δέδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ πατὴρ εἰς τὰς χεῖρας, καὶ ὅτι ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ἐξῆλθε καὶ πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν ὑπάγει, ἐγείρεται ἐκ τοῦ δείπνου καὶ τίθησι τὰ ἱμάτια, καὶ λαβὼν λέντιον διέζωσεν ἑαυτόν. εἶτα βάλλει ὕδωρ εἰς τὸν νιπτῆρα, καὶ ἤρξατο νίπτειν τοὺς πόδας τῶν μαθητῶν καὶ ἐκμάσσειν τῷ λεντίῳ ᾧ ἦν διεζωσμένος. ἔρχεται οὖν πρὸς Σίμωνα Πέτρον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ἐκεῖνος· Κύριε, σύ μου νίπτεις τοὺς πόδας; ἀπεκρίθη ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ, σὺ οὐκ οἶδας ἄρτι, γνώσῃ δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα. λέγει αὐτῷ Πέτρος· οὐ μὴ νίψῃς τοὺς πόδας μου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ἐὰν μὴ νίψω σε, οὐκ ἔχεις μέρος μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ. λέγει αὐτῷ Σίμων Πέτρος· Κύριε, μὴ τοὺς πόδας μου μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τὴν κεφαλήν. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ὁ λελουμένος οὐ χρείαν ἔχει ἢ τοὺς πόδας νίψασθαι, ἀλλ᾽ ἔστι καθαρὸς ὅλος· καὶ ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχὶ πάντες. ᾔδει γὰρ τὸν παραδιδόντα αὐτόν· διὰ τοῦτο εἶπεν· οὐχὶ πάντες καθαροί ἐστε.
῞Οτε οὖν ἔνιψε τοὺς πόδας αὐτῶν καὶ ἔλαβε τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ, ἀναπεσὼν πάλιν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· γινώσκετε τί πεποίηκα ὑμῖν; ὑμεῖς φωνεῖτέ με, ὁ Διδάσκαλος καὶ ὁ Κύριος, καὶ καλῶς λέγετε· εἰμὶ γάρ. εἰ οὖν ἐγὼ ἔνιψα ὑμῶν τοὺς πόδας, ὁ Κύριος καὶ ὁ Διδάσκαλος, καὶ ὑμεῖς ὀφείλετε ἀλλήλων νίπτειν τοὺς πόδας. ὑπόδειγμα γὰρ δέδωκα ὑμῖν, ἵνα καθὼς ἐγὼ ἐποίησα ὑμῖν, καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιῆτε· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐκ ἔστι δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ, οὐδὲ ἀπόστολος μείζων τοῦ πέμψαντος αὐτόν. εἰ ταῦτα οἴδατε, μακάριοί ἐστε ἐὰν ποιῆτε αὐτά.
Τότε πορευθεὶς εἷς τῶν δώδεκα, ὁ λεγόμενος ᾿Ιούδας ᾿Ισκαριώτης, πρὸς τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς εἶπε·τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι, καὶ ἐγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν; οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια.καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ.
Τῇ δὲ πρώτῃ τῶν ἀζύμων προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ λέγοντες αὐτῷ· ποῦ θέλεις ἑτοιμάσωμέν σοι φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα;ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· ὑπάγετε εἰς τὴν πόλιν πρὸς τὸν δεῖνα καὶ εἴπατε αὐτῷ· ὁ διδάσκαλος λέγει, ὁ καιρός μου ἐγγύς ἐστι· πρὸς σὲ ποιῶ τὸ πάσχα μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν μου.καὶ ἐποίησαν οἱ μαθηταὶ ὡς συνέταξεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς, καὶ ἡτοίμασαν τὸ πάσχα.᾿Οψίας δὲ γενομένης ἀνέκειτο μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα.
καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν εἶπεν· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν παραδώσει με.καὶ λυπούμενοι σφόδρα ἤρξαντο λέγειν αὐτῷ ἕκαστος αὐτῶν· μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι, Κύριε;ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· ὁ ἐμβάψας μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἐν τῷ τρυβλίῳ τὴν χεῖρα, οὗτός με παραδώσει.ὁ μὲν υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπάγει καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ· οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ δι᾿ οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται· καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος.ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ᾿Ιούδας ὁ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν εἶπε· μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι, ῥαββί; λέγει αὐτῷ, σὺ εἶπας.᾿Εσθιόντων δὲ αὐτῶν λαβὼν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τὸν ἄρτον καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασε καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς καὶ εἶπε· λάβετε φάγετε· τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ σῶμά μου·καὶ λαβὼν τὸ ποτήριον καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες·τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι τὸ αἷμά μου τὸ τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυνόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐ μὴ πίω ἀπ᾿ ἄρτι ἐκ τούτου τοῦ γεννήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ὅταν αὐτὸ πίνω μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν καινὸν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ πατρός μου.
Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν ἐλαιῶν.
Τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς·πάντες ὑμεῖς σκανδαλισθήσεσθε ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ταύτῃ· γέγραπται γάρ,
πατάξω τὸν ποιμένα,καὶ διασκορπισθήσονται τὰ πρόβατα τῆς ποίμνης·
μετὰ δὲ τὸ ἐγερθῆναί με προάξω ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν.ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· εἰ πάντες σκανδαλισθήσονται ἐν σοί, ἐγὼ δὲ οὐδέποτε σκανδαλισθήσομαι.ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ἀμὴν λέγω σοι ὅτι ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι τρὶς ἀπαρνήσῃ με.λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος· κἂν δέῃ με σὺν σοὶ ἀποθανεῖν, οὐ μή σε ἀπαρνήσομαι. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ πάντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἶπον.
Τότε ἔρχεται μετ᾿ αὐτῶν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἰς χωρίον λεγόμενον Γεθσημανῆ, καὶ λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς· καθίσατε αὐτοῦ ἕως οὗ ἀπελθὼν προσεύξωμαι ἐκεῖ.καὶ παραλαβὼν τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τοὺς δύο υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν.τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου ἕως θανάτου· μείνατε ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ.καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ προσευχόμενος καὶ λέγων· πάτερ μου, εἰ δυνατόν ἐστι, παρελθέτω ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο· πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω, ἀλλ᾿ ὡς σύ.
ὤφθη δὲ αὐτῷ ἄγγελος ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ ἐνισχύων αὐτόν. καὶ γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ ἐκτενέστερον προσηύχετο. ἐγένετο δὲ ὁ ἱδρὼς αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ θρόμβοι αἵματος καταβαίνοντες ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν.
καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ· οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ!γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν. τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον, ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής.πάλιν ἐκ δευτέρου ἀπελθὼν προσηύξατο λέγων· πάτερ μου, εἰ οὐ δύναται τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον παρελθεῖν ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸ πίω, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου.καὶ ἐλθὼν εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς πάλιν καθεύδοντας· ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ βεβαρημένοι.καὶ ἀφεὶς αὐτοὺς ἀπελθὼν πάλιν προσηύξατο ἐκ τρίτου τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον εἰπών·τότε ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· καθεύδετε τὸ λοιπὸν καὶ ἀναπαύεσθε! ἰδοὺ ἤγγικεν ἡ ὥρα καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς χεῖρας ἁμαρτωλῶν.ἐγείρεσθε ἄγωμεν· ἰδοὺ ἤγγικεν ὁ παραδιδούς με.
Καὶ ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἰδοὺ ᾿Ιούδας εἷς τῶν δώδεκα ἦλθε, καὶ μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ ὄχλος πολὺς μετὰ μαχαιρῶν καὶ ξύλων ἀπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων τοῦ λαοῦ.ὁ δὲ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς σημεῖον λέγων· ὃν ἂν φιλήσω, αὐτός ἐστι· κρατήσατε αὐτόν.καὶ εὐθέως προσελθὼν τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ εἶπε· χαῖρε, ῥαββί, καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν.ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἑταῖρε, ἐφ᾿ ᾧ πάρει. τότε προσελθόντες ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας ἐπὶ τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν καὶ ἐκράτησαν αὐτόν.καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς τῶν μετὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἀπέσπασε τὴν μάχαιραν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πατάξας τὸν δοῦλον τοῦ ἀρχιερέως ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον.τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ἀπόστρεψόν σου τὴν μάχαιραν εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς· πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἀποθανοῦνται.ἢ δοκεῖς ὅτι οὐ δύναμαι ἄρτι παρακαλέσαι τὸν πατέρα μου, καὶ παραστήσει μοι πλείους ἢ δώδεκα λεγεῶνας ἀγγέλων;πῶς οὖν πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ ὅτι οὕτω δεῖ γενέσθαι;᾿Εν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ εἶπεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τοῖς ὄχλοις· ὡς ἐπὶ λῃστὴν ἐξήλθετε μετὰ μαχαιρῶν καὶ ξύλων συλλαβεῖν με· καθ᾿ ἡμέραν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐκαθεζόμην διδάσκων ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, καὶ οὐκ ἐκρατήσατέ με.τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ τῶν προφητῶν. Τότε οἱ μαθηταὶ πάντες ἀφέντες αὐτὸν ἔφυγον.
Οἱ δὲ κρατήσαντες τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν ἀπήγαγον πρὸς Καϊάφαν τὸν ἀρχιερέα, ὅπου οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι συνήχθησαν.ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἕως τῆς αὐλῆς τοῦ ἀρχιερέως, καὶ εἰσελθὼν ἔσω ἐκάθητο μετὰ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν ἰδεῖν τὸ τέλος.Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καὶ τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον ἐζήτουν ψευδομαρτυρίαν κατὰ τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ ὅπως θανατώσωσιν αὐτόν,καὶ οὐχ εὗρον· καὶ πολλῶν ψευδομαρτύρων προσελθόντων, οὐχ εὗρον. ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο ψευδομάρτυρεςεἶπον· οὗτος ἔφη, δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι αὐτόν.καὶ ἀναστὰς ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· οὐδὲν ἀποκρίνῃ; τί οὗτοί σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν;ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐσιώπα. καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἐξορκίζω σε κατὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος ἵνα ἡμῖν εἴπῃς εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ.λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· σὺ εἶπας· πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπ᾿ ἄρτι ὄψεσθε τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καθήμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.τότε ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς διέρρηξε τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ λέγων ὅτι ἐβλασφήμησε· τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων; ἴδε νῦν ἠκούσατε τὴν βλασφημίαν αὐτοῦ·τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπον· ἔνοχος θανάτου ἐστί.τότε ἐνέπτυσαν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκολάφισαν αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ ἐρράπισανλέγοντες· προφήτευσον ἡμῖν, Χριστέ, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε;
῾Ο δὲ Πέτρος ἔξω ἐκάθητο ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ· καὶ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ μία παιδίσκη λέγουσα· καὶ σὺ ἦσθα μετὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ τοῦ Γαλιλαίου.ὁ δὲ ἠρνήσατο ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν πάντων λέγων· οὐκ οἶδα τί λέγεις.ἐξελθόντα δὲ αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν πυλῶνα εἶδεν αὐτὸν ἄλλη καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἐκεῖ καὶ οὗτος ἦν μετὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου.καὶ πάλιν ἠρνήσατο μεθ᾿ ὅρκου ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον.μετὰ μικρὸν δὲ προσελθόντες οἱ ἑστῶτες εἶπον τῷ Πέτρῳ· ἀληθῶς καὶ σὺ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ· καὶ γὰρ ἡ λαλιά σου δῆλόν σε ποιεῖ.τότε ἤρξατο καταναθεματίζειν καὶ ὀμνύειν ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον. καὶ εὐθέως ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησε.καὶ ἐμνήσθη ὁ Πέτρος τοῦ ῥήματος ᾿Ιησοῦ εἰρηκότος αὐτῷ ὅτι πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι τρὶς ἀπαρνήσῃ με· καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἔξω ἔκλαυσε πικρῶς.
Πρωΐας δὲ γενομένης συμβούλιον ἔλαβον πάντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ κατὰ τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ ὥστε θανατῶσαι αὐτόν·καὶ δήσαντες αὐτὸν ἀπήγαγον καὶ παρέδωκαν αὐτὸν Ποντίῳ Πιλάτῳ τῷ ἡγεμόνι.
The Twelve Gospels of the Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Ευαγγελια Δωδεκα Των Αγιων Παθων Του Κυριου Ημων Ιησου Χριστου
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΒ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Βασιλείου, Ἔπισκόπου Παρίου τοῦ Ὁμολογητοῦ.
· Χαίρων τελεύτα, Βασίλειε τρισμάκαρ.
· Ἐκεῖ γὰρ ἥξεις, οὗ χαρᾶς πλησθῇς ὅσης.
· Δωδεκάτῃ Βασίλειε ταφήϊα δύσσαο νεκρός.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἐν ἔτει ἑξακισχιλιοστῷ τετρακοσιοστῷ πεντηκοστῷ, ἀνεκομίσθη ἡ τιμία Ζώνη τῆς ὑπεραγίας Δεσποίνης ἡμῶν Θεοτόκου ἀπὸ τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς Ζήλας ἐπὶ τὴν βασιλίδα τῶν πόλεων, ἐπὶ Κωνσταντίνου καὶ Ῥωμανοῦ, τῶν Πορφυρογεννήτων, μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα, ὕστερον μετετέθη ἐν τῇ ἁγίᾳ σορῷ τῶν Χαλκοπρατείων, κατὰ τήν τριακοστὴν πρώτην τοῦ Αὐγούστου μηνός.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀνθούσης, θυγατρὸς Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ Κοπρωνύμου.
· Ῥίζης δυσώδους καρπὸς εὐώδης μάλα,
· Ἀνθοῦσα σεμνὴ γῆς ἀπανθεῖ καὶ βίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Δήμη καὶ Πρωτίωνος.
· Πρῶτος κεφαλὴν Πρωτίων ἀφῃρέθη,
· Μεθ' οὗ κάραν προὔτεινε Δήμης δημίῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Ἀρτέμωνος.
· Εὗρε στεφάνους ἀρτίτμητος Ἀρτέμων
· Πρέποντας αὐτοῦ τῇ τετμημένῃ κάρᾳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων τριῶν Μαρτύρων Μηνᾶ, Δαυΐδ, καὶ Ἰωάννου.
· Δούλους Θεοῦ τρεῖς Ἀββάδας παθοκτόνους
· Τοξεύμασι κτείνουσιν ἀνθρωποκτόνοι.
Τῇ ἁγίᾳ καὶ μεγάλῃ Πέμπτῃ, οἱ τὰ πάντα καλῶς διαταξάμενοι θεῖοι Πατέρες, ἀλληλοδιαδόχως ἔκ τε τῶν θείων Ἀποστόλων, καὶ τῶν ἱερῶν Εὐαγγελίων, παραδεδώκασιν ἡμῖν τέσσαρά τινα ἑορτάζειν, τὸν ἱερὸν Νιπτῆρα, τὸν μυστικὸν Δεῖπνον (δηλαδὴ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν καθ' ἡμᾶς φρικτῶν Μυστηρίων), τὴν ὑπερφυᾶ Προσευχήν, καὶ τὴν Προδοσίαν αὐτήν.
Στίχοι εἰς τὸν Ἱερὸν Νιπτήρα
· Νίπτει Μαθητῶν ἑσπέρας Θεὸς πόδας,
· Οὗ ποῦς πατῶν ἦν εἰς Ἐδὲμ δείλης πάλαι.
Εἰς τὸν Μυστικον Δεῖπνον
· Διπλοῦς ὁ Δεῖπνος· Πάσχα γὰρ νόμου φέρει,
· Καὶ Πάσχα καινόν, Αἷμα. Σῶμα Δεσπότου.
Εἰς τὴν ὑπερφυᾶ Προσευχὴν
· Προσεύχῃ· καὶ φόβητρα, θρόμβοι αἱμάτων,
· Χριστέ, προσώπου, παραιτούμενος δῆθεν
· Θάνατον, ἐχθρὸν ἐν τούτοις φενακίζων.
Εἰς τὴν Προδοσίαν
· Τί δεῖ μαχαιρῶν, τί ξύλων λαοπλάνοι,
· Πρὸς τὸ θανεῖν πρόθυμον εἰς Κόσμου λύτρον.
Τῇ ἀφάτῳ σου εὐσπλαγχνίᾳ, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
On the evening of this day, which was the eve of the feast of unleavened bread (that is, the Passover), our Redeemer supped with His twelve disciples in the city. He blessed the bread and the wine, and gave us the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. He washed the feet of the disciples as an example of humility. He said openly that one of them was about to betray Him, and He pointed out the betrayer by revealing that it was he "that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish." And after Judas had straightway gone forth, Jesus gave the disciples His final and sublime instructions, which are contained in the first Gospel Reading of the Holy Passion (John 13:31-18:1 known as the Gospel of the Testament). After this the God-man went forth to the Mount of Olives, and there He began to be sorrowful and in anguish. He went off alone, and bending the knees He prayed fervently. From His great anguish, His sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. As soon as He had completed that anguished prayer, lo, Judas came with a multitude of soldiers and a great crowd; on greeting the Teacher guile fully with a kiss, he betrayed Him.
The Lord Jesus was then apprehended and taken prisoner to the high priests Annas and Caiaphas. The disciples were scattered, but Peter, who was more fervent than the others, followed Him even into the court of the high priest, but in the end denied thrice that he was His disciple.
Then our divine Teacher was brought before the lawless Sanhedrin and was interrogated concerning His disciples and His teaching. The high priest adjured Him before God that He tell them whether He was truly the Christ. And having spoken the truth, He was judged guilty of death, supposedly as one who had blasphemed. Then they spat in His face, beat Him, smote Him with the palms of their hands, and mocked Him in every way, throughout the whole night until the morning.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ὅτε οἱ ἔνδοξοι Μαθηταί, ἐν τῷ νιπτῆρι τοῦ Δείπνου ἐφωτίζοντο, τότε Ἰούδας ὁ δυσσεβής, φιλαργυρίαν νοσήσας ἐσκοτίζετο, καὶ ἀνόμοις κριταῖς, σὲ τὸν δίκαιον Κριτὴν παραδίδωσι. Βλέπε χρημάτων ἐραστά, τὸν διὰ ταῦτα ἀγχόνῃ χρησάμενον, φεῦγε ἀκόρεστον ψυχὴν τὴν Διδασκάλῳ τοιαῦτα τολμήσασαν. Ὁ περὶ πάντας ἀγαθός, Κύριε δόξα σοι.
When the glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of the feet, then Judas the ungodly one was stricken and darkened with the love of silver. And unto the lawless judges did he deliver Thee, the righteous Judge. O thou lover of money, behold thou him that for the sake thereof did hang himself; flee from that insatiable soul that dared such things against the Master. O Thou Who art good unto all, Lord, glory be to Thee.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Τὸν ἄρτον λαβών, εἰς χεῖρας ὁ προδότης, κρυφίως αὐτάς, ἐκτείνει καὶ λαμβάνει, τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ πλάσαντος, ταῖς οἰκείαις χερσὶ τὸν ἄνθρωπον, καὶ ἀδιόρθωτος ἔμεινεν, Ἰούδας ὁ δοῦλος καὶ δόλιος.
Taking the Bread into his hands, the betrayer stretcheth them forth secretly and receiveth the price of Him that, with His own hands, fashioned man. And Judas, the servant and deceiver, remained incorrigible.
This Saint lived during the time of the Iconoclasts, and because of his exceptional and virtuous life became Bishop of Parium. He suffered many hardships, afflictions, and persecutions from the heretics his whole life long, and finally reposed in peace.
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 Βασίλειε, 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 Basil, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
"Ου τόπω, αλλά τρόπω την μοναδικήν πολιτείαν ορίζομεν", γράφει ο Μέγας Βασίλειος. Κι αληθινά δεν είναι ο τόπος, μα ο τρόπος που κάνει τον μοναχό. Γιατί και τούτο είναι αληθινό, πως ο διάβολος δεν πειράζει τους ανθρώπους μόνο στην πόλη, μα και στην έρημο και μάλιστα καμμιά φορά περισσότερο εκεί. Γι αυτό μπορεί κανείς και στην πόλη νάναι μοναχός - "κοσμοκαλόγερος" - αφού καλογερική δεν είναι το σχήμα μόνο, μα κι ο τρόπος, η εσωτερική διάθεση, η υπακοή, η ακτημοσύνη και τάλλα της μοναχικής πολιτείας. Η οσία Ανθούσα, την οποίαν τιμά σήμερα η Εκκλησία, ήταν κόρη βασιλέως, εγεννήθη κι έζησε μέσα στο βασιλικό παλάτι αληθινή μοναχή και εις τίποτε δεν την εμπόδισε ο θόρυβος της κοσμικής ζωής και η βασιλική λαμπρότης του τόπου. Μερικοί τώρα που φεύγουν στα μοναστήρια ένα κατορθώνουν, να μεταφέρουν εκεί τον θόρυβο του κόσμου και να μεταβάλουν σε "τουριστικά" κέντρα τους τόπους της προσευχής και της πνευματικής ασκήσεως.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Βασίλειος ὁ Ὁμολογητὴς ἐπίσκοπος Παρίου
Ἀπτόητος πρόμαχος τῆς τιμητικῆς προσκύνησης τῶν εἰκόνων ὁ Βασίλειος, ἀποδοκίμασε μὲ ὅλες του τὶς δυνάμεις τοὺς ἐπιζήμιους - γιὰ τὴν Ἐκκλησία - εἰκονομάχους αὐτοκράτορες. Ἡ μεγάλη θεολογική του κατάρτιση σὲ συνδυασμὸ μὲ τὴν ἐνάρετη ζωή του τὸν ἀνέδειξαν ἐπίσκοπο τῆς πόλης Παρίου στὶς ἀκτὲς τῆς Προποντίδας. Ἡ στάση του ὅμως αὐτὴ ἔναντι τῶν εἰκονομάχων αὐτοκρατόρων ἔγινε αἰτία νὰ διωχθεῖ σκληρά. Ὑπέστη πολλὰ δεινὰ καὶ πέρασε «ἐν λιμῷ καὶ δίψει, ἐν νηστείαις πολλάκις, ἐν ψύχει καὶ γυμνότητι», δηλαδή, μὲ πείνα καὶ δίψα, μὲ νηστεῖες πολλὲς φορές, μὲ κρύο καὶ γυμνότητα. Ἀλλὰ ὁ Βασίλειος, ὅπου καὶ ἂν τὸν ἐξόριζαν οἱ αὐτοκράτορες, ποτὲ δὲν ἔχανε τὴν εὐκαιρία νὰ ὑπερασπίζει τὴν Ὀρθοδοξία. Τέλος, τὸν ἀξίωσε ὁ Θεὸς νὰ δεῖ τὸ θρίαμβο τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας καὶ συγχρόνως τὸ ναυάγιο τῆς εἰκονομαχίας. Ὅταν ἐπέστρεψε στὴν ἐπισκοπή του, τὸν ὑποδέχθηκαν μὲ μεγάλες τιμὲς καὶ ἐκεῖ παρέδωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ πνεῦμα του στὸν Κύριο.
Μεταφορὰ τῆς Τιμίας Ζώνης τῆς Θεοτόκου
Ἡ μετακόμιση ἔγινε ἀπὸ τὴν ἐπισκοπὴ Ζήλα (στὴν Καππαδοκία) στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη τὸ ἔτος 942, ὅταν βασιλεῖς ἦταν οἱ Κωνσταντῖνος καὶ Ῥωμανὸς οἱ Προφυρογέννητοι. Κατόπιν ἐναποτέθηκε στὴν ἁγία σορὸ τῶν Χαλκοπρατείων στὶς 12 Ἀπριλίου.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Δήμης καὶ Πρωτίων
Στοὺς συναξαριστὲς ἡ μνήμη τους ἀναφέρεται χωρὶς ὑπόμνημα. Στὸ Λαυριωτικὸ ὅμως Κώδικα 70 ἡ μνήμη τους ἀναφέρεται στὶς 19 Μαρτίου, καὶ ὑπάρχουν κάποια βιογραφικὰ στοιχεῖα, ὄχι ὅμως ὁλοκληρωμένα. Οἱ ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ λοιπόν, ὑπῆρξαν στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Μαξιμιανοῦ (286-305) καὶ παρουσιάστηκαν αὐθόρμητα στὸν ἡγεμόνα τῆς χώρας τους καὶ ὁμολόγησαν μὲ θάῤῥος τὸν Χριστό. Ὁ ἡγεμόνας τότε τοὺς γύμνωσε καὶ ἀφοῦ τοὺς ἔδεσε μὲ ἁλυσίδες, τοὺς μαστίγωσε ἀνελέητα μὲ μαστίγια ἀπὸ νεῦρα βοδιῶν καὶ τοὺς χτύπησε μὲ ἀκανθωτὰ ῥαβδιὰ τόσο, ποὺ πετάχτηκαν τὰ σπλάχνα τους ἀπὸ τὴν κοιλιά. Ἔτσι μισοπεθαμένους τους ἔριξε γιὰ 30 μέρες μέσα στὴ φυλακή, χωρὶς νερὸ καὶ ψωμί. Ἀλλὰ ἄγγελος Κυρίου τοὺς ἐπισκέφθηκε, ἴασε τὶς πληγές τους καὶ τοὺς ἔδωσε μπόλικο νερὸ καὶ φαγητό. Ὅταν ὁ ἡγεμόνας τοὺς κάλεσε μπροστά του καὶ τοὺς εἶδε ὑγιεῖς, ἀντὶ νὰ συνέλθει ἀπὸ τὸ θαῦμα, ῥώτησε τοὺς μάρτυρες μὲ ὀργὴ ἂν ἐπιμένουν στὴ χριστιανική τους πίστη. Αὐτοὶ μὲ μία φωνὴ ἀπάντησαν: «Χριστιανοί ἐσμεν». Τότε αὐτὸς διέταξε καὶ τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισαν καὶ ἔτσι ἔλαβαν τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀρτέμων Ἱερομάρτυρας
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Ἡ Ὁσία Ἀνθοῦσα θυγατέρα Κων/νου τοῦ Κοπρωνύμου
Ἦταν θυγατέρα τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ Κοπρωνύμου. Γεννήθηκε μέσα στὴν ἀνακτορικὴ δόξα καὶ λαμπρότητα, ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὴ ζήτησε ἀλλοῦ τὴν εὐχαρίστηση καὶ παρηγοριὰ τῆς ψυχῆς της. Μάταια ὁ βασιλιὰς πατέρας της (741-775) θέλησε νὰ τὴν παντρέψει μὲ νέο ποὺ εἶχε ὅλα τὰ πλεονεκτήματα τοῦ γένους, τοῦ κάλλους καὶ τοῦ πλούτου. Αὐτὴ ἔφερε στὴν καρδιά της βαθειὰ τὴν θλίψη, ὅτι ὁ πατέρας της ἦταν ἐχθρὸς τῶν εἰκόνων καὶ δὲν ἤθελε σύζυγο ποὺ εἶχε τὰ ἴδια φρονήματα μ᾿ αὐτόν. Παρέμεινε λοιπὸν ἄγαμη καὶ χρησιμοποιοῦσε τὸν καιρό της σὲ ἔργα ἐλέους καὶ φιλανθρωπίας. Μετὰ τὸ θάνατο τοῦ πατέρα της, μοίρασε τὰ ὑπάρχοντά της σὲ φτωχούς, φιλανθρωπικὰ ἱδρύματα καὶ ναούς. Ἡ ἴδια ἔγινε μοναχὴ ἀπὸ τὸν Πατριάρχη Ταράσιο. Στὸ μοναστήρι ἡ ζωή της ἦταν ἀσκητική, γεμάτη ταπεινοφροσύνη καὶ ἀγάπη. Σὲ ἡλικία 52 ἐτῶν ἔφυγε ἀπὸ τὸν κόσμο αὐτό, σ᾿ ὅλα ἄξια τοῦ ἀμάραντου στεφάνου τῆς αἰώνιας βασιλείας, ἡ παρθένος ἡ σεμνή, ποὺ καταφρόνησε τὶς ψεύτικες λάμψεις καὶ τὶς ἀπατηλὲς τιμὲς τῶν πρόσκαιρων βασιλειῶν τῆς γῆς.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μηνᾶς, Δαβὶδ καὶ Ἰωάννης Ἀββᾶδες καὶ Ὁσιομάρτυρες
Μαρτύρησαν ἀφοῦ ἐκτελέστηκαν τοξευόμενοι.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Σέργιος Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναφέρεται ἀπὸ τὸν Γεδεὼν στὸ Βυζαντινὸ Ἑορτολόγιο σελ. 91 καὶ τὸ ἔχει πάρει ἀπὸ χειρόγραφο Εὐαγγέλιο (τοῦ Ἁγιοταφίτικου μετοχίου 426), ὅπου καὶ μόνο ἐκεῖ σημειώνεται. Ὅπως φαίνεται, γινόταν τὸ μνημόσυνό του στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ συγκεκριμένα στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Μανουήλ, τῆς ὁποίας ἔκανε ἡγούμενος, διότι πουθενὰ ἀλλοῦ δὲν ἀναφέρεται στοὺς Συναξαριστὲς ἡ μνήμη του. Ὁ Σέργιος λοιπόν, καταγόταν ἀπὸ ἐπίσημη οἰκογένεια. Ἦταν ἀνεψιὸς τοῦ Πατριάρχη Φωτίου, ἐνάρετος καὶ πολὺ μορφωμένος. Τὸ 999 καὶ σὲ ἡλικία σχετικῶς μεγάλη, κλήθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν αὐτοκράτορα Βασίλειο τὸν Β´ (976-1025) στὸν Πατριαρχικὸ θρόνο, σὲ διαδοχὴ τοῦ Σισινίου τοῦ Β´. Κυβέρνησε τὸν πατριαρχικὸ θρόνο θεοφιλῶς γιὰ 20 χρόνια καὶ ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ 1019.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Νεόφυτος ὁ ἔγκλειστος ποὺ ἀσκήτευσε στὴν Κύπρο
Ἀπὸ τοὺς Συναξαριστὲς ἀγνοεῖται ἡ μνήμη του. Αὐτὸς ἦταν Κύπριος, ποὺ γεννήθηκε στὰ Λεύκαρα (ἐπαρχία Ἀμαθοῦντος) τὸ 1134. Λόγω τοῦ μεγάλου ἀσκητικοῦ του ἀγῶνα, ἀναδείχτηκε ἕνας ἀπὸ τοὺς μεγαλύτερους ἀσκητὲς τῆς Κύπρου. Ἔκτισε τὴν διάσημη Ἐγκλείστρα, ποὺ σῴζεται μέχρι σήμερα, ὅπου πέρασε ὅλη του τὴν ζωὴ μὲ νηστεία, προσευχὴ καὶ μελέτη. Ἐπίσης ἀναδείχτηκε γλαφυρὸς συγγραφέας καὶ πέθανε εἰρηνικά. Τὸν ἔθαψαν μέσα στὴ σπηλιὰ τῆς Ἐγκλείστρας. (Ἡ μνήμη του περιττῶς ἐπαναλαμβάνεται, ἀπὸ ὁρισμένους Συναξαριστές, ὡς μάρτυρας καὶ τὴν 28η Σεπτεμβρίου).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀκάκιος ὁ Νέος, ὁ Καυσοκαλυβίτης
Ὁ Ὅσιος αὐτὸς γεννήθηκε στὸ χωριὸ Γόλιτσα τῆς ἐπαρχίας Φαναρίου (Ἀγράφων) στὰ τέλη τοῦ 17ου αἰῶνα. Προσῆλθε πρῶτα στὴ μονὴ τῆς Σουρβίας (κοντὰ στὴ Μακρινίτσα Βόλου), ὅπου ἐκάρη μοναχός, μετονομασθεὶς σὲ Ἀκάκιο ἀπὸ Ἀναστάσιο ποὺ ἦταν τὸ κοσμικό του ὄνομα. Ἀσκήτευσε στὴ σκήτη τοῦ Καυσοκαλυβίου τοῦ Ἁγίου Ὄρους, ὅπως ἀναφέρεται στὴ βιογραφία του, ποὺ συνέγραψε ὁ μαθητής του παπα-Ἰωνᾶς. Διέπρεψε στὶς ἀρετὲς καὶ ἔγινε σύμβουλος καὶ διδάσκαλος πολλῶν μαρτύρων τῆς πίστης μας. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ στὶς 12 Ἀπριλίου 1730.
St Isaac the Syrian, abbot of Spoleto, Italy (~550)
This is not the famed Isaac of Syria (commemorated Jan 28) who wrote the Ascetical Homilies, but a monk who settled in Spoleto and was famed for his holy, solitary life, his miracles, and his discernment. The people of Spoleto sought to honor him with money and other gifts, but he refused everything and withdrew to a cell in the forest. Soon a large monastery grew up there as others joined him in his life of prayer.
Once, two nearly naked men came begging clothing from Isaac. He told a monk to go to a hollow tree some distance away, and to bring back what he found there. The monk returned with some clothing, and gave it to the beggars. They were shamed to find that it was their own clothing, which they had hidden in the tree.
A man gave two beehives to the monastery. A monk hid one of them and brought the other to the abbot. Isaac said to him, 'Be careful when you go back to the beehive that you hid: it has been taken over by poisonous snakes. Be careful that they do not bite you.'
St Basil the Confessor, bishop of Parium (~760)
In the dark days of iconoclasm, this holy bishop refused to sign the imperial order condemning the veneration of icons, and for this was cruelly persecuted in many ways by the heretics for the remainder of his life; all the while he remained 'firm as a diamond in his Orthodoxy.' (Prologue)
Our Holy Mother Athanasia (860)
"Born on the island of Aegina of rich and eminent parents, she gave her goods to the poor and went off to a monastery, where she heaped greater and greater asceticism on herself. She took food only once a day, and that only bread and water, and in the Great Fast only once every two days. Only at Christmas and Easter did she taste flesh and oil. Although she was abbess of the monastery, she was the servant of all the other sisters and was ashamed that any should wait on her. She was made worthy of the great gift of wonderworking, both during her lifetime and after her death." (Prologue)
The Monk Basil the Confessor, Bishop of Para, lived during the VIII Century. He was chosen to the bishop's chair by the inhabitants of Para, who venerated the saint as a true pastor of the flock of Christ.
When the Iconoclast heresy broke out, Saint Basil resolutely came out on the side of icon veneration and refused to sign the directives for their abolition (the "Iniquitous Scroll" of the Council of 754 which had convened under the emperor Constantine V Copronymos (741-775). The saint shunned any contact with the heretics and did not permit them into his diocese. For his zeal he suffered much persecution, hunger and deprivation.
To the very end of his life Saint Basil was faithful to the Orthodox confession.
The Nun Athanasia was hegumeness of a monastery on the island of Aegina. She was born into a pious Christian family of parents named Nikita and Marina. Already at seven years of age the maiden studied the Psalter, which she read constantly and with feeling. Once, during the time of work at the weaver's loom, Saint Athanasia saw coming down to her from above a shining star, which touched her bosom and lightened all her being, and then disappeared. From that moment the maiden was illumined in soul and she firmly resolved to enter a monastery.
When Saint Athanasia reached age 16, her parents entreated her to marry. The maiden consented, but lived in wedlock all of only 16 days: her husband was taken into the army and there died.
Left a widow, Saint Athanasia decided to fulfill her old wish. But at this time was promulgated a decree of the emperor Michael the Stammerer (820-829), in accord with which young widows were to enter into marriage with young soldiers. Saint Athanasia married again. In marriage she led a pious and virtuous life: she toiled in the house, helped the sick and those in need, and took in wanderers. On Sundays and feastdays she invited over family and acquaintances and read the Holy Scripture to them. Under her influence, her husband went off to a monastery and gave his wife permission to take monastic vows.
The saint gave away her property, accepted monasticism and together with some devout women she withdrew into a solitary place. After a certain while the sisters besought the Nun Athanasia to become hegumen of the small community. The saint looked upon her being hegumeness as an especial service to God and her sisters. She gave example by meekness and humility. All infractions of the sisters were asked about with love, without anger.
Although Saint Athanasia had the title of hegumeness, she accounted herself least among the sisters and always had in mind the commandment of the Saviour: "Whoso amongst you would be first, let them be servant to all" (Mt. 20: 27). The saint never permitted the sisters to wait upon her, even though it be to pour water over her hands.
The Nun Athanasia wore an hair-shirt, and over it her clothes were of coarse sheep's wool. She slept little, and the better part of the night she prayed. By day she toiled together with the sisters. She partook of food only in the evening, which consisted of morsels of bread and water. Butter, cheese and fish she permitted herself only on the Nativity of Christ and Holy Pascha. During lent she ate once or twice a day only some moist greens. The Nun Athanasia spent four years at this monastery.
On the island of Aegina lived a certain monk-elder, Matthew, who earlier had been an hegumen. He took upon himself a great exploit: each night he read through the Psalter, together with reading also prayers. The saint slept sitting and only very little. During the singing of the Psalms, reading prayers or offering the Bloodless Sacrifice the monk could not refrain from tears. He wore only a coarse hair-shirt and by great temperance and exertions he became completely withered of body. He had an especial love for Saint John the Theologian, and one time during the making of the Divine liturgy he was vouchsafed to see this apostle, standing at the altar-table. The monk with his mantle healed a paralytic, by the sign of the cross he corrected the face of a man distorted by the working of the devil, he cast out demons and worked many other miracles. The Monk Matthew gave blessing to Saint Athanasia to go with her sisters to a still more remote place. She built a monastery on a desolate hill of the island near an ancient church of the FirstMartyr Stephen.
The Nun Athanasia was granted of God the gift of healing. After she healed a man afflicted with a malady of the eyes, a throng of people began to flock to her, to receive healing from infirmities of both soul and body. From the abundant gifts brought to the monastery, the nun built at the monastery three churches: one in the name of the MostHoly Mother of God, another in the name of the holy Prophet John the Forerunner, and the third in the name of Sainted Nicholas the Wonderworker.
The spreading celebrity distressed the saint, and she took the two sisters closest to her in spirit (Maria and Eupraxia) and withdrew in secret to Constantinople. There, as a simple monastic, the nun entered one of the women's monasteries, where she dwelt for 7 years.
But her holy life again attracted attention. The sisters of the Aegina monastery learned whither their hegumeness had gone, and they set off to her imploring her to return. Submitting to the Will of God, the nun returned to the monastery founded by her. Soon after this she was granted a vision of two radiant men, bestowing upon her a document with the words: "Here is thine freedom, take and rejoice".
The twelve days before her death the Nun Athanasia spent at unceasing prayer. On the eve of the feast of the Dormition (Uspenie) of the MostHoly Mother of God she summoned the sisters and said, that she was able to read the Psalter only up to the twelfth psalm. The saint asked them to continue reading the Psalter for her in church. The sisters went to church and there fulfilled her request, and then they came to take their farewell from the saint. She blessed them and besought them to solemnly and joyfully make the feast of the Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God, and also to give a meal for the poor and destitute, and after Divine liturgy to give burial to her body. With these words the Nun Athanasia expired to the Lord (+ 14 August 860).
On the fortieth day, after Divine liturgy two devout sisters were granted to see, how Saint Athanasia appeared before the royal doors. Two radiant men adorned her head with a crown beset with crosses, they entrusted to her a gleaming staff and led her through the royal doors into the altar.
Before her death, Saint Athanasia gave orders to feed the poor in her memory through the 40 days. The sisters, however, did not fulfill her request and they set out the memorial meal for only 9 days. The saint appeared to certain of the sisters and said: "In vain ye fulfilled not my last wish -- the forty day commemoration of the dead in church and the feeding of the poor would have been much help for sinful souls, and from righteous souls would have been sent down Heavenly mercy upon those making remembrance". With this she thrust her staff into the ground and became invisible. The staff left behind sprouted the next day and became a live tree. A year after the death of the saint, they led to the grave a demoniac woman. When they dug up the ground, they then perceived a fragrance and took out the coffin. Having touched it, the demoniac was immediately healed. Then they opened the lid of the coffin and beheld the undecayed body of the nun, from which flowed myrh. The Nun Athanasia was as though asleep, her face shone brightly, all her body was preserved incorrupt and soft, and even her hands were supple. The priests decided to place the body of the saint in church. When they transferred the body into a new coffin, the nuns took hold the hair-shirt from her holy remains and wanted to dress her in silken clothes, but the hands of the Nun Athanasia were so firmly clasped to her bosom, that the nuns could not dress her in the silken garb. Thus even in death the saint displayed her love for poverty. Thereupon one of the sisters, having bent down on her knees, began to pray to the saint, saying: "Our lady, as undeniably thou didst hearken to us when thou lived with us, so now also be graciously pleased to hearken to us and be dressed in these clothes, our humble gift offered unto thee". The Nun Athanasia, as though alive, lifted and extended her hands into the clothing.
The holy relics of the Nun Athanasia were put into a constructed crypt and became a source of graced healings.
The PriestMonk Zenon, Bishop of Verona, was born a Greek and came from Syria. In his early years he accepted monasticism and toiled over the study of Holy Scripture. Wandering through the monasteries, the saint came to the city of Verona and settled there. The people chose him bishop of the city.
The emperors who then ruled, Constantius (353-361) and Valens (364-378), were advocates of the Arian heresy, which had been condemned at the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea in the year 325. Under their patronage the Arians began a persecution against the Orthodox. Saint Zenon bravely endured all the oppression from the heretics. In his sermons and missives he firmly asserted the Orthodox teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ as the Only-Begotten Son of God, Born of the Father before all ages. Saint Zenon wrote 16 lengthy and 77 short discourses and directives. He died in about the year 360.
Sainted Gregory Dialogus (Comm. 12 March) speaks of a miracle, worked in the year 558 on the day of memory of Saint Zenon. Springtime in Italy, it was heavily flooded. The River Tiber overflowed its banks and inundated the surrounding area; the River Atesis flowing past Verona also flooded. The water reached the church built in the name of the PriestMartyr Zenon, and came up to the very windows of the church. The doors of the temple were open, but the water did not rush into it, but stopped at the wall, not harming the church.
The Monk Isaac the Syrian lived during the mid-VI Century. He arrived in the Italian city of Spoleto from Syria. The monk asked permission of the church wardens to remain in the temple and he prayed in it for all of two and an half days. One of the church wardens began to reproach the monk with hypocrisy and struck him on the cheek. The punishment of God then befell the church warden. The devil threw him down at the feet of the saint and cried out: "Isaac, cast me out!" Just as the monk bent over the man, the unclean spirit fled.
News about the occurrence quickly spread throughout the city. People began to throng to the monk, offering him help and the means for building a monastery. But the humble monk refused all this. He left the city and settled in a desolate place, where he built himself a small cell. Around the ascetic gathered disciples, and thus was formed a monastery. When his disciples inquired of the elder, why he had shunned the gifts, he answered: "A monk in acquiring possessions is no longer a monk".
The Monk Isaac was endowed with the gift of perspicacity. About this Sainted Gregory Dialogus (Comm. 12 March) relates in his "Conversations about the Lives and Miracles of the Italian Fathers". One time the Monk Isaac bid the monks to leave behind their spades in the garden for the night, and in the morning he asked them to prepare food for the workers. It seems that robbers, as many as there were spades left behind, had come to rob the monastery. The power of God forced them to change their evil intent. They took in hand the spades and began ardently to work, such that at the arrival of the monks all the ground had been dug up. The monk greeted the toilers and invited them to refresh themselves with food. Then he gave them an admonition to quit their thievery, and gave them permission always to come openly and make use of the fruits of the monastery garden.
Another time there came to the monk wanderers, attired in rags, and they besought clothing of the saint. He bid them to wait a bit, and sent a monk into the forest, where in the hollow of a tree the wanderers had hidden their fine clothes, wanting to deceive the holy hegumen. The monk dispatched brought back the clothes, and the Monk Isaac gave them to the wanderers. Seeing, that their fraud was uncovered, the moochers fell into great distress and shame.
It happened likewise, that a certain man sent the monk his servant with two baskets of food. The servant hid one of these baskets along the way. The monk took the offered basket and quietly said: "I accept the gifts, but thou however ought not to touch the basket hidden by thee -- into it has creeped a snake, and if thou reach out thy hand, it wilt bite thee". Thus wisely and without malice the saint unmasked the sins of people, desiring salvation for all.
The Monk Isaac died in the year 550. This saint mustneeds be distinguished from another ascetic, the Monk Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah, who lived during the VII Century (Comm. 28 January).
The MonkMartyrs Minas, David and John asceticised in Palestine. They received a martyr's death in the VII Century from the Arabs, who shot them through with arrows (+ post 636, when Jerusalem was captured by the Arabs).
The Nun Anthusa was daughter of the Iconoclast emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775) from his first wife from among the Khazars. She and her brother, the future emperor Leo the Khazar (775-780), were twins born on 25 January 750. The empress suffered very much with their birth. Constantine Copronymos summoned from prison the Hegumeness Anthusa (Comm. 27 July) and besought her prayers. The Nun Anthusa foretold the birth of twins and their fate. The daughter, born with the prediction of the Nun Anthusa, was named in her honour. When she grew up, the emperor began to urge her to marry. But Saint Anthusa from the time of her youth yearned for monasticism and would not agree to his suggestions. After the death of her father, she used all her personal property for the aid of the poor and the orphaned. The pious empress Irene (780-802), spouse of Leo the Khazar, regarded Saint Anthusa with love and esteem and invited her to be a co-regent. But Saint Anthusa did not wish for worldly honours. Being at court, she put on clothes corresponding to her position as an imperial daughter, but beneathe it she wore an hair-shirt.
Saint Anthusa took monastic vows from the holy Patriarch Tarasios (784-806). She founded at Constantinople the Omonea monastery, known for its strict rule (ustav). The Nun Anthusa was herself an example of humility -- she herself did hard work, she cleaned the church and carried water; during mealtime she never sat at table but instead served the sisters. She kept strict watch, that no one left the monastery without especial need. The humble and gentle ascetic lived to age 52, and died peacefully in the year 801.
Sainted Sergios, Patriarch of Constantinople, a monk from the monastery of Saint Manuel, directed the Church from 999 to 1019.
The Monk Akakios the New took monastic vows at the Holy Trinity monastery of Saint Dionysios of Olympos (Comm. 24 January) at Zagorakhos. Having gone off to Holy Mount Athos, the monk on the advice of his father-confessor, Father Galaktion, settled in the skete monastery of Saint Maximos the Hut-Burner ("Kausokalibites", Comm. 13 January), who repeatedly appeared to the ascetic. The exploits of the Monk Akakios were extremely severe: in place of bread he ate dry grass, broken up by pounding with a piece of marble. To the question of how much a monk ought to sleep, he answered, that for a true monk half an hour even was sufficient. And he himself in spite of age and illness gave example of this.
About the humility of the monk there is the following instance. One time, when the Monk Akakios had come on Sunday to the skete church, the arch-hegumen Neogrites handed him his own cane and said: "Father, take the staff, and we wilt lead the gathered brethren". Having kissed the hand of the arch-hegumen, the Monk Akakios accepted the staff without any contradiction. But, in order to humble his mind, he from that time not only never took the lead staff in his hand, but also refrained from the particular staff usual for old age.
For his exalted exploits the Monk Akakios was granted the gifts of unceasing mental prayer and Divine revelations. He expired to the Lord on 12 April 1730, being almost an hundred years old.
The Muromsk Icon of the Mother of God was transferred to Murom from Kiev by the enlightener of this remote region, the holy Nobleborn prince Constantine (+ 1129, Comm. 21 May).
Saint Constantine urged the pagans to accept Christianity, but they were stubborn and decided to murder the prince. Having learned of this, the saint came out to the conspirators with the Icon of the Mother of God. The grace, issuing forth from Her Countenance, touched the hearts of the pagans. They changed their minds and themselves began to ask that Baptism be made over them.
With this icon Sainted Vasilii of Ryazan (Comm. 3 July) sailed on his mantle from Muron to Ryazan.
The Belynich Icon of the Mother of God initially was situated in one of the Orthodox churches of the Mogilevsk district. After the emergence of the Unia (1596) the icon passed over to the Catholics and was set up in a church of the Belynich Catholic monastery, founded in 1622-1624 by the hetman of Great Lithuania, Lev Sapega, on the banks of the River Druta, 45 versts from Mogilev. The icon was venerated both by Catholics and by Orthodox. In 1832 the monastery was dissolved, and the Catholic church became a parish church.
In 1876 it was given over to the Orthodox with a restoral of the monastery. On 12 April of that year in this temple was made a first Divine liturgy at the altar-table consecrated by an Orthodox bishop, in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. The Belynich Icon of the Mother of God is something regarded holy in-common through the Christian world.
On this day is remembered the Transfer of the Venerable Belt (Poyas) of the Mother of God from Zila to Tsar'grad in the year 942.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. VENERABLE ISAAC THE SYRIAN II
Isaac the Syrian I, is commemorated on January 28. St. Gregory the Dialogues writes about this Isaac II. He came to Italy at the time of the Goths and entered a church to pray in the city of Spoleto. He implored the verger to allow him to remain locked in the church overnight. And so, he spent the entire night in prayer, remaining in the same place. The same thing happened the next day and even the second night. The verger called him a hypocrite and struck him with his fist. Instantly, the verger went insane. Seeing that the verger was bitterly tormented, Isaac leaned over him and the evil spirit departed from him and the verger was restored to health. Upon hearing of this incident, the entire populace of the city thronged around this amazing foreigner. They offered him money and property, but he declined all and accepted nothing and withdrew into the forest where he built a cell for himself, which was rapidly transformed into a large monastery. Isaac was known for working miracles and especially for his special "gift of discernment." On one occasion, he ordered the brethren to carry all the hoes into the vineyard and to leave them there. The next day Isaac, along with the brethren, went out into the vineyard and brought along lunch. The brethren were puzzled. Who was this lunch for, since there were no laborers? Upon arriving at the vineyard, there were as many men digging as there were hoes. This is what happened: these men came as thieves to steal the hoes, but by the power of God, they were detained to dig all night. On another occasion, two partly-clad men came to Isaac and sought clothes from him. Isaac sent a monk to a hollow tree along the road to retrieve what he would find there. The monk departed, found some clothing and brought it to the monastery. The abbot took these clothes and gave them to the beggars. The beggars were extremely ashamed when they recognized their own clothes which they had hidden in this tree. Once, a man sent two beehives to the monastery. The monk hid one along the way and the other he brought to the monastery and turned it over to the abbot. The saint said to him: "Be careful upon your return. For in the beehive that you left along the way, a poisonous snake had slithered into it. Be careful, therefore, that it does not bite you."
2. SAINT BASIL THE CONFESSOR
At the time of the Iconoclastic controversy, this devout man was bishop in the town of Parius in Asia Minor. He refused to sign an imperial document against the veneration of icons. For that, Basil was greatly persecuted and severely tortured. He remained as firm as a diamond in His Orthodoxy. He died at the beginning of the eighth century and was translated to the Lord.
3. THE VENERABLE ACACIUS
Acacius was from the village of Gollitsa in Epirus. He was a great Athonite ascetic, spiritual father and possessed the "gift of discernment." Acacius had many heavenly visions. He gave his blessings to several monks who chose the mortification of martyrdom. Acacius died in his ninety-eighth year in the year 1730 A.D.
4. THE VENERABLE ATHANASIA
Athanasia was born on the island of Aeginia of wealthy and benevolent parents. She distributed her wealth to the poor and retreated to a convent. There she took upon herself greater and more difficult mortifications. Athanasia took food only once a day and that, only bread and water. During the Honorable Fast [Lenten Season], she ate once every other day. She tasted oil and fish only on the Feasts of the Nativity and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even thought she was the abbess of this convent, Athanasia was a servant to the other sisters and shied away from having anyone serve her. Athanasia was made worthy of the great gift of working miracles, both, during her life and after death. She died in the Lord in the year 860 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Athanasia, most beautiful soul,
On earth, shone like a bright star,
By the spirit, bodily weakness overcame,
While still young, fell in love with God;
Through fasting and vigils, her body she withered,
Only to attain salvation for her soul;
Property much, to the poor she distributed,
All of herself, to the will of God, she gave.
A vision she saw in the church, holy:
A heavenly light, the darkness penetrated,
And a voice to her came: Athanasia,
Meekness and humbleness; that is pleasing to God,
In this, practice above all else
While your heart beats and your spirit breathes.
Athanasia, that counsel she fulfilled -
And, all pride in herself she crushed,
Her will to God, she totally gave,
Obedient to God, as the blazing sun.
Love, with Love, the Lord returned
And with Grace, He rewarded her labors.
And when her time on earth was over
He granted her life, immortal and paradiscal.
The wicked Emperor Constantine Copronymos had a virtuous daughter, the maiden, Anthusa: "A beautiful branch on a wicked tree." Despite all the pressure placed on her by her father to marry, Anthusa remained adamant, for she was firmly attached with a sincere love for Christ the Lord. When her father died, Anthusa distributed her entire estate to the poor, entered a convent and was tonsured a nun. How much for astonishment are the many noble men who left the vanity of this world and followed the narrow path of Christ; twice as much for astonishment are the many women who despised both, youth and riches and the transitory attractions of this world for the love of Christ. Our Lord Himself said: " It would be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (St. Matthew 19:23). Difficult yes, but not impossible. For him, who despises himself, it is easy to despise the riches of the entire world.
To contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How He enters through closed doors among His disciples and gives them peace;
2. How His glorified body does not have any material obstacles to appear wherever He wants.
About the city which is being built
"For here, we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14).
Brethren, where are the great cities of Babylon and Nineveh? Today, only lizards lay in the dust of their towers. Memphis and Thebes, were they not the pride of the pharaohs and the princes of mankind? Today, it is difficult to establish the exact place where these two cities were located.
However, let us leave these cities of stones and bricks. Let us look at the cities of blood, flesh and bones. Men fashion the city of their bodies more slowly and more painstakingly than they fashion fortresses and cathedrals. Men spend about eighty to a hundred years to fashion the cities of their bodies and, in the end, see that their effort is in vain. That which took them decades to fashion with care and constant fear, collapses into the dust of the grave in the twinkling of an eye. Whose bodily city is not toppled over and turned into dust? Not anyones.
But, let us leave the cities of the body. Let us look at the cities of fortune which men have built from generation to generation. The materials of which these cities were built are: good times, pleasure, property, authority, honor and glory. Where are these cities? As a cob-web they spin around man in an instant and as a cob web they break and vanish, making the fortunate more unfortunate than the unfortunate.
Truly, we have no city here that will remain.
This is why we seek the city which is to come. This is the city built of Spirit, Life and Truth. This is the city whose one and only architect is the Lord Jesus Christ. This city is called the Kingdom of Heaven, Eternal Life, the dwelling place of the angels, the haven of saints and refuge of martyrs. In this city, there is no dualism of either good or evil but, everything is a harmony of good. Everything that is built in this city is built to last forever. Every brick in this city remains without end and termination. The bricks are living angels and men. In this city the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ sits on the throne and reigns.
O resurrected Lord, redeem us from beneath the ruins of time and lead us mercifully into Your eternal city of Heaven.