FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Patrick the Hieromartyr & Bishop of Prusa and His Fellow Martyrs Acacius, Menander, and Polyaenus
Our Righteous Father Memnonus the Wonderworker
Theotima & Kyriake the Martyrs
Ἀπόδοσις τῆς Ἑορτῆς τῆς Σαμαρείτιδος.
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Πατρικίου, Ἐπισκόπου Προύσης, καί τῶν σύν αὐτῷ Ἀκακίου, Μενάνδρου καί Πολυαίνου.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Μέμνονος τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Acts of the Apostles 15:35-41
IN THOSE DAYS, Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Come, let us return and visit the brethren in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are." And Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων 15:35-41
Ἐν ταῖς ἡμεραῖς ἐκείναις, Παῦλος δὲ καὶ Βαρνάβας διέτριβον ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ, διδάσκοντες καὶ εὐαγγελιζόμενοι, μετὰ καὶ ἑτέρων πολλῶν, τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου. Μετὰ δέ τινας ἡμέρας εἶπεν Παῦλος πρὸς Βαρνάβαν, Ἐπιστρέψαντες δὴ ἐπισκεψώμεθα τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ἡμῶν κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν, ἐν αἷς κατηγγείλαμεν τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου, πῶς ἔχουσιν. Βαρνάβας δὲ ἐβουλεύσατοN συμπαραλαβεῖν τὸν Ἰωάννην, τὸν καλούμενον Μάρκον. Παῦλος δὲ ἠξίου, τὸν ἀποστάντα ἀπʼ αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Παμφυλίας, καὶ μὴ συνελθόντα αὐτοῖς εἰς τὸ ἔργον, μὴ συμπαραλαβεῖνN τοῦτον. Ἐγένετο οὖν παροξυσμός, ὥστε ἀποχωρισθῆναι αὐτοὺς ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων, τόν τε Βαρνάβαν παραλαβόντα τὸν Μάρκον ἐκπλεῦσαι εἰς Κύπρον· Παῦλος δὲ ἐπιλεξάμενος Σίλαν ἐξῆλθεν, παραδοθεὶς τῇ χάριτι τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπὸ τῶν ἀδελφῶν. Διήρχετο δὲ τὴν Συρίαν καὶ Κιλικίαν, ἐπιστηρίζων τὰς ἐκκλησίας.
The Reading is from John 10:27-38
The Lord said to the Jews who came to him, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?" The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, you are gods?' If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe my works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 10.27-38
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος πρὸς τοὺς ἐληλυθότας πρὸς αὐτὸν Ἰουδαίους· τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἐμὰ τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούει, κἀγὼ γινώσκω αὐτά, καὶ ἀκολουθοῦσί μοι, κἀγὼ ζωὴν αἰώνιον δίδωμι αὐτοῖς, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπόλωνται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, καὶ οὐχ ἁρπάσει τις αὐτὰ ἐκ τῆς χειρός μου. ὁ πατήρ μου, ὃς δέδωκέ μοι, μείζων πάντων ἐστί, καὶ οὐδεὶς δύναται ἁρπάζειν ἐκ τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ πατρός μου. ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν.
᾿Εβάστασαν οὖν πάλιν λίθους οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι ἵνα λιθάσωσιν αὐτόν. ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· πολλὰ καλὰ ἔργα ἔδειξα ὑμῖν ἐκ τοῦ πατρός μου· διὰ ποῖον αὐτῶν ἔργον λιθάζετέ με;ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι λέγοντες· περὶ καλοῦ ἔργου οὐ λιθάζομέν σε, ἀλλὰ περὶ βλασφημίας, καὶ ὅτι σὺ ἄνθρωπος ὢν ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν Θεόν. ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· οὐκ ἔστι γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν, ἐγὼ εἶπα, θεοί ἐστε; εἰ ἐκείνους εἶπε θεούς, πρὸς οὓς ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ οὐ δύναται λυθῆναι ἡ γραφή, ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασε καὶ ἀπέστειλεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον, ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι βλασφημεῖς, ὅτι εἶπον, υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰμι; εἰ οὐ ποιῶ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πατρός μου, μὴ πιστεύετέ μοι· εἰ δὲ ποιῶ, κἂν ἐμοὶ μὴ πιστεύητε, τοῖς ἔργοις πιστεύσατε, ἵνα γνῶτε καὶ πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἐν ἐμοὶ ὁ πατὴρ κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Ιθ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Πατρικίου, Ἐπισκόπου Προύσης καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ, Ἀκακίου, Μενάνδρου καὶ Πολυαίνου,
Ἐφεῦρε Πατρίκιος ἐκτμηθεὶς κλέος,
Ὑπὲρ κλέος πᾶν γηΐνων πατρικίων.
Ἐννεακαιδεκάτῃ τάμε Πατρίκιον ξίφος ὀξὺ
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Μέμνονος τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ.
Μνήμη τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρος Ἀκολούθου.
Ἡ ἁγία νέα μάρτυς Κυριακὴ πυρὶ τελειοῦται.
Ἡ ἁγία μάρτυς Θεοτίμη ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Patrick was Bishop of Prusa, a city in Bithynia (the present-day Brusa or Bursa). Because of his Christian Faith, he was brought before Julius (or Julian) the Consul, who in his attempts to persuade Patrick to worship as he himself did, declared that thanks was owed to the gods for providing the hot springs welling up from the earth for the benefit of men. Saint Patrick answered that thanks for this was owed to our Lord Jesus Christ, and explained that when He, Who is God, created the earth, He made it with both fire and water, and the fire under the earth heats the water which wells up, producing hot springs; he then explained that there is another fire, which awaits the ungodly. Because of this, he was cast into the hot springs, but it was the soldiers who cast him in, and not he, who were harmed by the hot water. After this Saint Patrick was beheaded with the presbyters Acacius, Menander, and Polyaenus. Most likely, this was during the reign of Diocletian (284-305).
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
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 Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Since the Church hath thy body as a sacred gem of Jesus Christ, she now rejoiceth thereat, O blest Patrick, and with joy she crieth unto thee: Through thy prayers, O wise Father, all the world is preserved in peace and tranquillity, and it is kept unharmed and unconquered by any heresy.
Στους αγίους συζύγους και Μάρτυρας Χρύσανθο και Δαρεία, των οποίων την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία, πραγματοποιήθηκε εκείνο που γράφει ο Απόστολος Παύλος· "Ει τις αδελφός γυναίκα έχει άπιστον και αυτή συνευδοκεί οικείν μετ' αυτού, μη αφιέτω αυτήν... ηγίασται γαρ η γυνή η άπιστος εν τω ανδρί". Ο Χρύσανθος δέχθηκε για σύζυγό του την Δαρεία, μια ωραία ειδωλολάτρισσα, που οι γονείς του ήλπιζαν να τον τραβήξη από τον Χριστιανισμό, κι αντί να ξαναγίνη αυτός ειδωλολάτρης έγινε εκείνη χριστιανή. Τώρα όμως συμβαίνει να'χουν τόσο ελαφρή γνώμη πολλοί χριστιανοί για τον γάμο, που για τιποτένια πράγματα ζητούν διαζύγιο και χαλούν το σπίτι τους. Οι άγιοι του Θεού, κι όταν τύχαινε να'χουν διαφορετική πίστη δεν χώριζαν· η αμοιβαία μεταξύ τους αγάπη κι ο σεβασμός τους έφερναν στο τέλος νάχουν την ίδια πίστη και να πορεύωνται μαζί στο μαρτύριο και στον θάνατο
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Πατρίκιος ἐπίσκοπος Προῦσας Ἀκάκιος, Μένανδρος καὶ Πολύαινος
Οἱ ἄριστες θεολογικές του γνώσεις, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ θερμή του πίστη, ἀνέδειξαν τὸν Πατρίκιο ἐπίσκοπο Προύσσης. Ἡ θέση αὐτὴ γιὰ τὸν Πατρίκιο ὑπῆρξε πνευματικὸ φρούριο γιὰ τὴν ὑπεράσπιση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου καὶ ὁρμητήριο γιὰ τὴν πάταξη τῆς εἰδωλολατρικῆς πλάνης. Στὴν ἀποστολική του αὐτὴ ἐργασία δὲ θέλησε νὰ εἶναι μόνος. Εἶχε μαζί του καὶ τρεῖς πρόθυμους συνεργάτες, τὸν Ἀκάκιο, τὸ Μένανδρο καὶ τὸν Πολύαινο. Μαζί τους ὁ Πατρίκιος ἔφερε στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη πολλοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες. Αὐτό, ὅμως, καταγγέλθηκε στὸν ἄρχοντα Ἰουλιανὸ τὸν Ὑπατικό, καὶ ἀμέσως συνελήφθησαν. Ὁ ἄρχοντας μὲ φιλοσοφικὲς συζητήσεις προσπάθησε νὰ πείσει τὸν Πατρίκιο ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς δὲν εἶναι Θεός. Ὁ Πατρίκιος, μὲ τὴν ῥητορικὴ δεινότητα καὶ τὴν ἄριστη θεολογικὴ κατάρτιση ποὺ διέθετε, ἀνέτρεψε τὸ ἕνα μετὰ τὸ ἄλλο τὰ ἐπιχειρήματα τοῦ Ἰουλιανοῦ. Αὐτός, βλέποντας τὴν ἰδεολογικὴ συντριβή του ἀπὸ τὸ χριστιανὸ διδάσκαλο, διέταξε καὶ ἀποκεφάλισαν τὸν Πατρίκιο μὲ τοὺς τρεῖς συνεργάτες του. Ἔτσι ὁ Πατρίκιος, ἐκτὸς ἀπὸ «ἀπόστολος καὶ διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν», ἔγινε καὶ μάρτυρας τῆς ἁγίας πίστεως μας.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μέμνων ὁ Θαυματουργός
Βλέπε βιογραφία του στὶς 28 Ἀπριλίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀκόλουθος
Ἡ καταγωγή του ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Θηβαΐδα τῆς Αἰγύπτου, καὶ ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Γαλερίου Μαξιμιανοῦ. Ὀνομαζόταν Ἀκόλουθος καὶ ἀκολουθοῦσε μὲ τὸν πιστότερο τρόπο στὰ ἴχνη τοῦ ἀρχηγοῦ καὶ τελειωτὴ τῆς πίστεως μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἐξασκοῦσε τὶς εὐαγγελικὲς ἀρετὲς μὲ τὸν ἀκριβέστερο τρόπο καὶ κήρυττε τὸ θεῖο λόγο μπροστὰ στοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως δὲν δέχτηκε ν᾿ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστό, οὔτε νὰ πάψει τὸ κήρυγμα τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, πῆρε τὸ μαρτυρικὸ στεφάνι, ἀφοῦ κάηκε μὲ διαταγὴ τοῦ αὐτοκρατορικοῦ ἐπάρχου τῆς Θηβαΐδας.
Ἡ Ἁγία Κυριακή
Μαρτύρησε διὰ πυρός.
Ἡ Ἁγία Θεοτίμη
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἰωάννης, Κόνων, Ἱερεμίας, Μᾶρκος, Κύριλλος, Θεόκτιστος, Βαρνάβας, Μάξιμος, Θεόγνωστος, Ἰωσήφ, Γεννάδιος, Γεράσιμος καὶ Γερμανὸς οἱ Ὁσιομάρτυρες καὶ Ὁμολογητὲς τῆς Μονῆς Καντάρας Κύπρου
Οἱ Μακάριοι αὐτοὶ Πατέρες καὶ τῆς Ἀλήθειας Ὁμολογητές, ἔλαμπαν μὲ τὴν ζωή τους στὸ νησὶ τῆς Κύπρου τὸν 13ο αἰῶνα, στὴ Μονὴ Καντάρας. Κάποτε ὅμως κατέλαβαν τὸ νησὶ οἱ Λατῖνοι, οἱ ὁποῖοι ὁδήγησαν τοὺς Πατέρες αὐτοὺς στὸ δικαστήριο, ὅπου μὲ κολακεῖες καὶ ἀπειλές, προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ τοὺς ἀλλάξουν τὸ φρόνημα. Οἱ Ἅγιοι ὅμως αὐτοὶ ἔμειναν σταθεροὶ στὴν Ὀρθόδοξη Ὁμολογία καὶ τὸ δήλωσαν μὲ θάῤῥος μπροστὰ στοὺς κακόδοξους Λατίνους (παπικούς). Τότε τοὺς ἔριξαν γιὰ τρία χρόνια δέσμιους στὴ φυλακὴ καὶ τοὺς βασάνισαν σκληρά. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως δὲν κατάφεραν τίποτα, τοὺς ἔκαψαν ζωντανοὺς τὴν 19η Μάιου 1231.
Hieromartyr Patrick, bishop of Prusa, and three priests with him (3rd c?)
'Saint Patrick was Bishop of Prusa, a city in Bythinia (the present-day Brusa or Bursa). Because of his Christian faith, he was brought before Julius (of Julian) the Consul, who in his attempts to persuade Patrick to worship as he himself did, declared that thanks was owed to the gods for providing the hot springs welling up from the earth for the benefit of men. Saint Patrick answered that thanks for this was owed to our Lord Jesus Christ, and explained that when He, Who is God, created the earth, He made it with both fire and water, and the fire under the earth heats the water which wells up, producing hot springs; he then explained that there is another fire, which awaits the ungodly. Because of this, he was cast into the hot springs, but it was the soldiers who cast him in, and not he, who were harmed by the hot water. After this St Patrick was beheaded with the presbyters Acacius, Menander, and Polyaenus. Most likely this was during the reign of Diocletian (284-305).' (Great Horologion)
Saint Patrikios lived during the I Century and was bishop of the city of Prussa in Bythnia (Asia Minor). He openly and boldly preached the teachings of Christ the Saviour and denounced the error of the pagans. For this he was taken together with the three presbyters -- Akakios, Menander and Polienos, and led for interrogation to the governor of the city, Julius. At the time Julius was on journey for treatment at an hot-springs, and he gave orders to bring along after him also the Christian bishop with the presbyters, bound in iron chains. Having washed in the hot-springs, Julius offered sacrifice to his gods and, summoning Saint Patrikios and the other prisoners, he demanded them to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, threatening punishments in case of refusal.
Saint Patrikios replied to this: "I am a Christian and I worship the One True God, Jesus Christ, Who hath created the heavens and the earth and these warm springs for the benefit of all mankind". On the command of Julius they threw the saint into the hot spring, and with firm faith the martyr prayed for help: "Lord, Jesus Christ, help me, Thy servant", -- and he remained unharmed.
In a rage of impotence Julius gave orders to cut off the head of Saint Patrikios and his three presbyters.
The end for the martyrs occurred in about the year 100 after the Birth of Christ.
The Monk Kornilli of Komel'sk was descended from the boyar (noble) family Kriukov. His brother Lukian served at the court of the Moscow GreatPrince. When Lukian, getting up in years, decided to set off to the monastery of the Monk Kirill of Beloezersk, there also followed after him Kornilii, who from a young age yearned after the solitary life. Having taken vows, the young Kornilii began his monastic exploits with a difficult obedience -- he wore heavy chains in the bakery, and in his spare time of rest he occupied himself with the copying of church books. Because of his love for solitude, the Monk Kornilii later left the Beloezersk monastery, and he visited Rostov. At Novgorod Sainted Gennadii (Comm. 4 December) attempted to hold on to him, but the ascetic settled in a desolate spot not far from Novgorod. When people began to visit here also, yearning for the monastic life, he moved on to the Tver' Savvatiev wilderness monastery, and later in the year 1497, he settled in the Komel'sk forest, not far from Vologda, where he built himself a cell. To this place of the ascetic activity of the Monk Kornilii monks began to gather, and in 1501 he built a wooden church there in honour of the Entry into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God. And in that year Metropolitan Simon ordained him priest-monk. In 1512, when the number of brethren had grown, the monk constructed a stone church and he wrote down for the brethren an Ustav (Rule), compiled on the basis of the Ustavs of the Monks Joseph of Volotsk and Nil of Sorsk. This was the third Ustav, written by Russian saints for monastics. The Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk distinguished himself with liberality towards the unfortunate, and during a time of famine he constructed an orphanage for children on the monastery courtyard. For his love towards the poor and orphaned, the Monk Kornilii was many times granted graced vision of the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January), for whom he had a especial reverence, and he raised up a church at his monastery in honour of the great ascetic. The strictness of life of the saint provoked some of the brethren to grumbling, and the Monk Kornilii was compelled to leave the monastery and he settled at Lake Sursk, 70 versts from his monastery. At times also he pursued asceticism at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Interceding for the monks of the Korniliev monastery, GreatPrince Vasilii Ivanovich urged the monk to return to his own monastery. The ascetic gave in, and having returned to his own monastery, he transferred its guidance to his disciple Lavrentii and secluded himself in his cell.
During the time of a Tatar incursion against the Vologda region the Monk Kornilii, in protecting the brethren, set out with them to the Beloezersk outskirts. The monk died at age 82 on 19 May 1537. Many disciples of the Monk Kornilii were also glorified by sanctity of life: the Monks Gennadii of Liubimograd (Comm. 23 January), Kirill of Novoezersk (Comm. 4 February), Irodion of Iloezersk (Comm. 28 September), Adrian of Poshekhonsk (Comm. 5 March), Lavrentii and Kassian of Komel'sk (Comm. 16 May).
The all-church celebration to the Monk Kornilii (19 May) was established on 25 January 1600 by Patriarch Job and a council of bishops. The Life of the Monk was compiled by his disciple Nathanael in the year 1589. There exists a service and a praise to the Saint, and the Ustav written by the Monk Kornilii has been preserved.
The Monk Kornilii of Paleostrov and Olonetsk, born at Pskov, was the founder of monastic life on Pali island in Lake Onega at the end of the XIV Century. Despite the desolation of the island, brethren soon gathered to him, -- for whom he built a church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God and a refectory church in honour of the holy Prophet Ilias. The monk spent the final years of his life in a cave half a verst from the monastery, in unceasing prayer. The ascetic added to his effort by the wearing of heavy chains. The blessed repose of the monk occurred about the year 1420, and his remains were transferred to the monastery temple by his disciple, the Monk Avraam of Paleostrov (Comm. 21 August), who likewise was glorified by an ascetic life and later was buried alongside his spiritual guide in the Paleostrov monastery.
The Monk Sergei of Shukhtomsk, in the world Stefan, was born at Kazan. It is known that for three years he walked about the holy places of Palestine and Greece, studying the monastic life. He returned then to Novgorod, from whence he went to the Solovetsk monastery. In 1603 he accepted the monastic schema from archimandrite Isaia, who afterwards wrote the icon of the Monk Sergei of Shukhtomsk. Having accepted the schema, the monk imposed strict ascetic activity upon himself, going day and night without sleep kneeling in prayer. For his holy life the Lord bestowed upon the saint gifts of wonderworking and prophecy. The Monk Sergei of Shukhtomsk reposed on 19 May 1609.
The Holy Martyr Caluf the Egyptian lived during the III Century, and was from the city of Thebes. For his confession of faith in Christ he was arrested and taken before the governor of the city, by whose order they suspended him head downwards with an heavy stone and they beat him cruelly. The sufferer incessantly repeated: "I endure everything because of faith in the blessedness of future life". They then untied him and began to urge him to offer sacrifice to idols, but the saint did not consent. Finally, he was thrown into a fire and there accepted a martyr's death. This occurred in the year 303. The holy martyr Caluf suffered during the persecution by the emperor Maximian Hercules, co-regent of Diocletian (284-305).
The Monk John, Bishop of the Goths, lived during the VIII Century. The future saint was born amidst the fervent prayer of his parents, and from an early age he pursued asceticism within monasticism. The monk made pilgrimage to Jerusalem and during the course of three years he made the rounds of all the holy places, and then returned to his native country. During this period the emperor Constantine Kopronymos the Iconoclast (741-775) banished the Gothic bishop, and the Gothic christians fervently besought Saint john to become their bishop. Saint John journeyed to Iveria (Gruzia / Georgia), -- safely intact from the spread of the Iconoclast heresy, where hands of ordination were put upon him. Upon his return to the Goths he was compelled soon to depart from them and, hidden away from the pursuing Khazars, he settled at Amastrideia, where he dwelt for four years. Hearing about the death of the Khazar kagan (ruler), the saint said: "After 40 days I shall go to be judged with him before Christ the Saviour". Indeed, after 40 days the saint died, and this occurred at the time when he returned to his people with preaching, in the year 790. The body of the saint was conveyed to the Parthenit monastery, situated in the Crimea at the foot of Mount Ayu-Dag, where formerly the saint lived in a large church built by him in the name of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The memory of Sainted John, Bishop of the Goths, is celebrated also on 26 June.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY PRIESTLY-MARTYR PATRICK [PATRICIOS], BISHOP OF BRUSSA ALONG WITH THREE PRESBYTERS: ACACIUS, MENANDER AND POLYENUS
They suffered for the Faith of Christ during the reign of Julian the Apostate in Asian Brussa. Junius, the imperial deputy, brought these saints to a hot spring and asked Patrick: "Who created these curative waters if not our gods Aesculapius and others whom we worship?" St. Patrick replied: "Your gods are demons and these waters, as everything else, were created by Christ the Lord, our God." Then the deputy asked: "And will your Christ save you if I toss you into this boiling water?" The saint replied: "If He wants. He is able to preserve me whole and unharmed, even though I desire that in these waters I become separated from this temporary life to live with Christ eternally; but let His Holy will be done on me, without which not even a hair does not fall from the head of men!" Hearing this, the deputy ordered that Patrick be tossed into the boiling water. Drops of boiling water splashed on all sides and bitterly scalded many of those present but the saint of God, on whose lips were continually in prayer, remained unharmed as though he were standing in cold water. Seeing this, the deputy became enraged out of embarrassment and ordered Patrick and his remaining three presbyters be beheaded with an ax. Then the innocent followers of Christ recited their prayers and placed their heads under the ax of the executioner. When they were beheaded, their joyful souls ascended into the illuminating kingdom of Christ to reign forever.
2. SAINT JOHN, BISHOP OF THE GOTHS
John was a bishop in Georgia but when the Kahn of the Tartars in Georgia began to torture Christians, he left for four years to live among the Goths in Bessarabia. The diocese of the Goths was established during the reign of Constantine the Great. Learning of the death of the Kahn, John returned to his duties in Georgia and guided his flock zealously and devoutly. Before his death, he said: "In about forty days, I go to be judged with the Kahn," i.e., through death, John goes to the throne of God. And so it happened, on the fortieth day he died and went to the Lord. He died peacefully in the eighth century.
3. THE HOLY PRINCE JOHN [IVAN] VOLOGDA
John was a miracle-worker, god-fearing and virtuous from his youth. He was cast into prison by his uncle, Prince John [Ivan] Vasilevitch, along with his brother Dimitri where they remained for thirty-two years. Before his death, John was tonsured a monk and received the name Ignatius.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE SAINTLY PRINCES IVAN [JOHN] AND DIMITRI OF VOLOGDA
In the dark dungeon, Prince Ivan languishes
With his brother Dimitri, and his brother he counsels:
O brother, sorrow not; with sorrow, yourself do not weary,
A dungeon is to the faithful, what a royal court is,
Nor, about our uncle, speak ill,
That, without fault, into dungeon he cast us.
Without God's will, is it possible that it could be
In the darkness to enslave two of God's creatures?
If only about himself, our uncle cares,
About us, to save our souls, God cares.
The unreasonable, only his benefit seeks,
Even the despised, God eases with gifts.
Of the dungeon, the merciful God is not afraid -
Prefers to be with captives, than with the proud to stand.
Do not be angry my brother, uncle, do not reproach,
Between us, only God the truth knows.
The uncle by one path, and us with another path saves.
Worship God, to God be glory!
The great hierarchs, the pillars of the Orthodox Church, knew how to blend meekness and resoluteness into their character. Meekness toward the righteous and penitents and resoluteness toward the unrepentant criminals. One Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, the Tsar Ivan the Terrible approached Metropolitan Philip to receive the metropolitan's blessing. The metropolitan pretended not to see the Tsar and gazed at the icon of the Savior. The Tsar's adjutant approached the metropolitan and said to him: "Your Eminence, the Ruler is before you, bless him." The metropolitan looked at the Tsar and said: "O Tsar, fear the judgment of God. Here, we offer up the Unbloody Sacrifice to God and outside the sanctuary, the blood of Christians is being spilled. How many innocent suffer? You are lofty on the throne but, nevertheless, you are a man." The enraged Tsar reminded the metropolitan to keep silent, but the metropolitan said to him: "Where is my faith, if I remain silent?" When the Tsar began to threaten the metropolitan he quietly replied: "I am a visitor and guest on earth and am ready to suffer for the truth!" After a period of time, the evil Tsar strangled the metropolitan but did not strangle the saint.
To contemplate God the Holy Spirit as the Inspirer of wisdom and truth:
1. How He inspired with wisdom and truth the prophets, evangelists and apostles who wrote the Holy Scriptures by His inspiration and guidance;
2. How He inspired with wisdom and truth the Holy Fathers who interpreted Holy Scriptures by His inspiration and guidance.
About the holy men of God
"Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).
This is witnessed by the Apostle Peter who himself was a holy man of God, a rock of faith and a knight of the Cross. As a holy man of God he, by his own personal experience, explains how the holy men of God spoke and what they said and he says: "They spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." However, they did not speak according to their own reasoning nor according to their own memory nor according to their own speculation nor according to their own eloquence but rather they spoke from the Spirit and according to the Holy Spirit. The wisdom of God flowed through them and the truth of God was revealed through them. Holy Scripture was not written with "the false pen of the scribes" (Jeremiah 8:8), but was written by the servants and the chosen ones of the Holy Spirit of God. Neither was Holy Scripture written by men whose writing was a vocation, but rather it was written by the saints of God, directed and compelled by the Spirit of God. Often, not even wanting and, at times even protesting, they had to write as the Holy Prophet Jeremiah witnesses saying: "I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name. But His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay" (Jeremiah 20:9).
O my brethren, Sacred Scripture is not of men but of God; it is not of the earth but rather from heaven; neither is it from the body but from the Spirit; yes, from the Holy Spirit of God. Inspired by the wisdom and truth of the Holy Spirit, these holy men of God wrote: Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles, Fathers, Teachers, Hierarchs and Shepherds.
O God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth, inspire us by Your Life-creating breath, that we may recognize Wisdom and Truth and by Your help to fulfill them.