FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
The Holy Seven Maccabees, Eleazar the Martyr
Procession of the Precious Cross
Timothy the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Priconissus
Ἀνάμνησις τῆς ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει τελουμένης τό πάλαι, Προόδου τοῦ Τιμίου καί Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ.
Τῶν Ἁγίων ἑπτά Παίδων τῶν Μακκαβαίων, τῆς μητρός αὐτῶν Σολομονῆς καί τοῦ διδασκάλου αὐτῶν Ἐλεαζάρου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:33-40; 12:1-2
BRETHREN, all the saints through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated - of whom the world was not worthy - wandering over deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfection of our faith.
Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 11:33-40; 12:1-2
Ἀδελφοί, οἱ Ἅγιοι πάντες διὰ πίστεως κατηγωνίσαντο βασιλείας, εἰργάσαντο δικαιοσύνην, ἐπέτυχον ἐπαγγελιῶν, ἔφραξαν στόματα λεόντων, ἔσβεσαν δύναμιν πυρός, ἔφυγον στόματα μαχαίρας, ἐνεδυναμώθησαν ἀπὸ ἀσθενείας, ἐγενήθησαν ἰσχυροὶ ἐν πολέμῳ, παρεμβολὰς ἔκλιναν ἀλλοτρίων. Ἔλαβον γυναῖκες ἐξ ἀναστάσεως τοὺς νεκροὺς αὐτῶν· ἄλλοι δὲ ἐτυμπανίσθησαν, οὐ προσδεξάμενοι τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, ἵνα κρείττονος ἀναστάσεως τύχωσιν· ἕτεροι δὲ ἐμπαιγμῶν καὶ μαστίγων πεῖραν ἔλαβον, ἔτι δὲ δεσμῶν καὶ φυλακῆς· ἐλιθάσθησαν, ἐπρίσθησαν, ἐπειράσθησαν, ἐν φόνῳ μαχαίρας ἀπέθανον· περιῆλθον ἐν μηλωταῖς, ἐν αἰγείοις δέρμασιν, ὑστερούμενοι, θλιβόμενοι, κακουχούμενοι - ὧν οὐκ ἦν ἄξιος ὁ κόσμος - ἐν ἐρημίαις πλανώμενοι καὶ ὄρεσιν καὶ σπηλαίοις καὶ ταῖς ὀπαῖς τῆς γῆς. Καὶ οὗτοι πάντες, μαρτυρηθέντες διὰ τῆς πίστεως, οὐκ ἐκομίσαντο τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν, τοῦ θεοῦ περὶ ἡμῶν κρεῖττόν τι προβλεψαμένου, ἵνα μὴ χωρὶς ἡμῶν τελειωθῶσιν. Τοιγαροῦν καὶ ἡμεῖς, τοσοῦτον ἔχοντες περικείμενον ἡμῖν νέφος μαρτύρων, ὄγκον ἀποθέμενοι πάντα καὶ τὴν εὐπερίστατον ἁμαρτίαν, διʼ ὑπομονῆς τρέχωμεν τὸν προκείμενον ἡμῖν ἀγῶνα, ἀφορῶντες εἰς τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτὴν Ἰησοῦν.
The Reading is from Matthew 10:16-22
The Lord said to his disciples, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 10.16-22
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· ᾿Ιδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων· γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί. Προσέχετε δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων· παραδώσουσι γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν μαστιγώσουσιν ὑμᾶς· καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας δὲ καὶ βασιλεῖς ἀχθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν. ὅταν δὲ παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς, μὴ μεριμνήσητε πῶς ἢ τί λαλήσετε· δοθήσεται γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ τί λαλήσετε. οὐ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ἐστε οἱ λαλοῦντες, ἀλλὰ τὸ Πνεῦμα τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν τὸ λαλοῦν ἐν ὑμῖν. Παραδώσει δὲ ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον, καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς· καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου· ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος, οὗτος σωθήσεται.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Α' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων ἑπτὰ μαρτύρων τῶν Μακκαβαίων, Ἀβείμ, Ἀντωνίου, Γουρία, Ἐλεαζάρου, Εὐσεβωνᾶ, Ἀχεὶμ καὶ Μαρκέλλου, καὶ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῶν Σολομονῆς, καὶ Ἐλεαζάρου τοῦ διδασκάλου αὐτῶν.
Πρῶτος πρὸ Χριστοῦ πῠρ στέγων Ἐλεάζαρ,
Ἀθλήσεως προὔθηκε τοῖς ἄλλοις ἴχνη.
Πρώταθλον ἄλλην καὶ πρὸ τῆς Θέκλης ἔχω,
Τὴν Σολομονήν, ἣν πρὸ Χριστοῦ πῦρ φλέγει.
Ἐξ ἑβδόμης πέμπουσι Παίδων ἑπτάδα,
Ἀρθρέμβολα, πῦρ, καὶ τροχοὶ πρὸς ὀγδόην.
Καῦσαν ἑνὶ πρώτη Σολομώνην, ἑπτά τε υἷας.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων ἐννέα μαρτύρων, τῶν ἐν Πέργῃ τῆς Παμφυλίας ἀθλησάντων, Λεοντίνου, Ἄττου, Ἀλεξάνδρου, Κινδέου, Μνησιθέου, Κυριακοῦ, Μηναίου, Κατούνου, καὶ Εὐκλέου.
Ἐκ Παμφυλίας ἐννὰς ἐτμήθη ξίφει,
Μίαν φυλὴν ζητοῦσα, τὴν τῶν Μαρτύρων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Πάπας ὁ Νέος, εἰς σάκκον βληθείς, καὶ θίβῃ ἐγκλεισθείς, καὶ εἰς θάλασσαν ῥιφθείς, τελειοῦται.
Σάκκος Πάπαν ἔκρυψε, καὶ σάκκον θίβη,
Καὶ τὴν θίβην ῥοῦς, καὶ Πάπας Θεοῦ πέλας.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἁγιος Μάρτυς Ἐλεάζαρος, πυρὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν φλεχθείς, τελειοῦται.
Καυτηριασθεὶς Ἐλεάζαρος κάραν,
Ψυχοβλαβῶν ἀπῆλθε κρείττων ῥευμάτων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἁγιος Μάρτυς Κήρυκος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Τοῦ δημίου φήσαντος· Οὐ τμηθῇς θύων.
Κλίνας κάραν Κήρυκος, εἶπεν· Οὐ θύω.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Θεόδωρος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Τῷ Θεοδώρῳ θεῖος ἐνσκήπτει πόθος,
Τυχεῖν ποθεινῶν δωρεῶν διὰ ξίφους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Πολύευκτος, ἐν κοπρίᾳ χωσθείς, τελειοῦται.
Ἰὼβ καθέδραν, φημὶ δὴ τὴν κοπρίαν,
Ὁ Πολύευκτος εἶχεν εἰς τιμωρίαν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Μήνου, Μηναίου, καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἐν τῷ Βιγλεντίῳ, πλησίον τοῦ χαλκοῦ Τετραπύλου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Τιμοθέου, Ἐπισκόπου Προκοννήσου (Προικοννήσου), τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ.
Τὸν Τιμόθεον, τὸν Προκοννήσου θύτην,
Τιμᾷ Θεὸς πρίν, νῦν τε θαυματουργίαις.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
The names of the Holy Maccabees are Abim, Anthony, Guria, Eleazar, Eusebona, Achim, and Marcellus. They were Jews by race and exact keepers of the Laws of the Fathers. They lived during the reign of Antiochus, who was surnamed Epiphanes ("Illustrious"), the King of Syria and an implacable enemy of the Jews. Having subjugated their whole nation and done many evil things to them, not sparing to assail the most sacred matters of their Faith, he constrained them, among other things, to partake of swine's flesh, which was forbidden by the Law. Then these pious youths, on being apprehended together with their mother and their teacher, were constrained to set at nought the Law, and were subjected to unspeakable tortures: wrackings, the breaking of their bones, the flaying of their flesh, fire, dismemberment, and such things as only a tyrant's mind and a bestial soul is able to contrive. But when they had endured all things courageously and showed in deed that the mind is sovereign over the passions and is able to conquer them if it so desires, they gloriously ended their lives in torments, surrendering their life for the sake of the observance of the divine Law. The first to die was their teacher Eleazar, then all the brethren in the order of their age. As for their wondrous mother Solomone, "filled with a courageous spirit, and stirring up her womanish thoughts with a manly wrath" (II Macc. 7:21), she was present at her children's triumph over the tyrant, strengthening them in their struggle for the sake of their Faith, and enduring stout-heartedly their sufferings for the sake of their hope in the Lord. After her last and youngest son had been perfected in martyrdom, when she was about to be seized to be put to death, she cast herself into the fire that they might not touch her, and was thus deemed worthy of a blessed end together with her sons, in the year 168 before Christ.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Σοφίας Θεού, οι στύλοι οι επτάριθμοι, καί θείου φωτός, οι λύχνοιοι επτάφωτοι, Μακκαβαίοι πάνσοφοι, πρό Μαρτύρων μέγιστοι Μάρτυρες, σύν αυτοίς τώ πάντων Θεώ, αιτείσθε σωθήναι τούς υμνούντας υμάς.
The Wisdom of God's own seven pillars are ye all, a seven-branched lamp that shineth with the Light Divine, ye Great Martyrs that were before the Martyrs, O all-wise Maccabees, with them pray ye the God of all that we who now sing your praises may be saved.
Because of the many diseases that occur in the month of August, the custom prevailed of old in Constantinople to carry the precious Wood of the Cross in procession throughout the city for its sanctification and its deliverance from illnesses. It was brought forth from the imperial treasury on the last day of July and placed upon the Holy Table of the Great Church of the Holy Wisdom; and beginning today, until the Dormition of the Theotokos, it was carried in procession throughout the city and was set forth for veneration before the people.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Σώσον Κύριε τόν λαόν σου καί ευλόγησον τήν κληρονομίαν σου, νίκας τοίς Βασιλεύσι κατά βαρβάρων δωρούμενος καί τό σόν φυλάττων διά τού Σταυρού σου πολίτευμα.
Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance, granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries, and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ο υψωθείς εν τώ Σταυρώ εκουσίως, τή επωνύμω σου καινή πολιτεία, τούς οικτιρμούς σου δώρησαι, Χριστέ ο Θεός, Εύφρανον εν τή δυνάμει σου, τούς πιστούς Βασιλείς ημών, νίκας χορηγών αυτοίς, κατά τών πολεμίων, τήν συμμαχίαν έχοιεν τήν σήν, όπλον ειρήνης, αήττητον τρόπαιον.
Lifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.
Μεγάλη δύναμη στους λαούς είναι στις εθνικές τους συμφορές να μένουν προσηλωμένοι στις παραδόσεις των. Οι εθνικές και θρησκευτικές παραδόσεις των λαών είναι η μεγάλη δύναμη που τους κρατάει ζωντανούς στην ιστορία. Το διαπιστώνουμε αυτό στην επιβίωση των μεγάλων και ιστορικών λαών, όπως είναι οι Εβραίοι και οι Έλληνες. Και η ιστορία των Εβραίων, όπως και των Ελλήνων, έχει να επιδείξη μεγάλα κατορθώματα ηρώων, που η ανδρεία τους και η θυσία τους οφείλεται ακριβώς στο σεβασμό και την προσήλωση στις παραδόσεις της φυλής των. Οι άγιοι επτά Μακκαβαίοι παίδες, η μητέρα τους Σολομονή κι ο διδάσκαλός τους ενενηντάχρονος Ελεάζαρος, είναι από τα ένδοξα θύματα της ιστορίας των Εβραίων, που έδωκαν τη ζωή τους για να μην προδώσουν τους νόμους της πατρίδος και της πίστεώς των. "Γλυκός είναι ο θάνατος για την πάτριο ευσέβεια", έλεγαν και παράδιναν ένας - ένας με τη σειρά το σώμα τους στο μαρτύριο.
Ἡ Πρόοδος τοῦ Τιμίου καὶ ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ
Δηλαδὴ ἡ ἔξοδος τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ ἀπὸ τὸ παλάτι (ἢ κατ᾿ ἄλλους ἀπὸ τὸ σκευοφυλάκιο τῆς μεγάλης ἐκκλησίας) στὴν Πόλη. Βλέπε σχετικῶς καὶ προεόρτια τὴν 31η Ἰουλίου. Ὅμως, ὁ Πατμιακὸς Κώδικας 266 ἀναγράφει ὅτι κατὰ τὴν 1η Αὐγούστου στὴ Μεγάλη ἐκκλησία ἐτελεῖτο «ἡ Βάπτισις τῶν τιμίων Ξύλων».
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἑπτὰ Μακκαβαῖοι, Ἀβεὶμ (ἢ Ἄβιβος), Ἀντώνιος (ἢ Ἀντωνῖνος), Γουρίας, Ἐλεάζαρος, Εὐσεβώνας, Ἀχείμ, Μάρκελλος (ἢ Σάμωνας, ἢ Εὔλαλος ἢ Μᾶρκος), ἡ μητέρα τους Σολομονὴ καὶ ὁ διδάσκαλός τους Ἐλεάζαρος
«Αὐτοκράτωρ ἐστὶ τῶν παθῶν ὁ εὐσεβὴς λογισμός». Ὁ εὐσεβὴς λογισμὸς εἶναι κυρίαρχος καὶ ἐξουσιαστὴς ἐπὶ τῶν παθῶν. Αὐτὸ μὲ περίσσια ἀνδρεία ἀπέδειξαν οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ Μακκαβαῖοι μὲ τὴν στάση τους ἀπέναντι στὸ βασιλιὰ τῆς Συρίας Ἀντίοχο, ὅταν αὐτὸς τοὺς ἔταξε δόξες, τιμὲς καὶ ἐπίγειες ἀπολαύσεις, ἂν αὐτοὶ καταπατοῦσαν τὸ Μωσαϊκὸ νόμο καὶ ἔτρωγαν ἀπὸ τὰ ἀπαγορευμένα φαγητὰ ποὺ τοὺς πρόσφερε. Προηγήθηκε ὁ ἐνενηκονταετὴς διδάσκαλός τους, Ἐλεάζαρος, ποὺ ἐφάρμοσε στὸ ἔπακρο τὸ νόμο ποὺ τοὺς δίδασκε, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα ὁ Ἀντίοχος νὰ τὸν ρίξει στὴ φωτιά. Ἐμπνεόμενα ἀπὸ τὴν θυσία τοῦ γέροντα διδασκάλου τους, τὰ ἑπτὰ ἀδέλφια κράτησαν τὴν ἴδια γενναία στάση ἀπέναντι στὸ βασιλιά, ὅταν τοὺς κάλεσε μπροστά του. Στὴν ἀρχὴ ὁ Ἀντίοχος προσπάθησε νὰ τοὺς κολακεύσει μὲ διάφορα ἐγκώμια γιὰ τὴν νιότη τους. Τοὺς εἶπε ὅτι ἂν ἔτρωγαν ἀπὸ τὰ εἰδωλόθυτα ποὺ τοὺς πρόσφερε, θὰ ἀπολάμβαναν μεγάλες τιμές, καὶ φυσικὰ θὰ τοὺς ἔσῳζε ἀπὸ τὸ θάνατο. Τότε οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἀπάντησαν στὸν Ἀντίοχο: «χαλεπώτερον γὰρ αὐτοῦ τοῦ θανάτου νομίζομεν εἶναι σου τὸν ἐπὶ τὴν παρανόμῳ σωτηρία ἡμῶν ἔλεον». Δηλαδή, εἶναι περισσότερο ἐπιβλαβὴς καὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸ θάνατο, νομίζουμε, ἡ συμπάθειά σου γιὰ τὴν παράνομη σωτηρία μας. Ἐξοργισμένος τότε ὁ Ἀντίοχος, μὲ τροχούς, φωτιὰ καὶ ἀκόντια, ἕναν-ἕναν τοὺς σκότωσε ὅλους. Ὅταν εἶδε αὐτὸ ἡ μητέρα τους Σολομονή, ρίχτηκε μόνη της στὴ φωτιὰ καὶ ἔτσι ὅλοι μαζὶ πῆραν τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἐννέα Μάρτυρες ποὺ μαρτύρησαν στὴν Πέργη τῆς Παμφυλίας, Λεόντιος, Ἄττος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Κινδέος, Μνησίθεος, Κυριακός, Μηναῖος, Κατοῦνος καὶ Εὔκλεος (ἢ Εὔκλης)
Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοί, μαρτύρησαν στὴν Πέργη τῆς Παμφυλίας, ποὺ βρίσκεται κοντὰ στὶς ὄχθες τοῦ Κέστρου ποταμοῦ. Τὰ ὀνόματά τους ἦταν τὰ ἑξῆς: Ἄττος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Εὔκλεος, Κατοῦνος, Κινδέος, Κυριακός, Λεόντιος, Μνησίθεος καὶ Μηναῖος. Ὅλοι στὸ ἐπάγγελμα ἦταν γεωργοί, ἐκτὸς ἀπὸ τὸν Μηναῖο ποὺ ἦταν μαραγκός. Κατὰ τοὺς διωγμοὺς ἐναντίον τῶν χριστιανῶν ποὺ ἔκανε ὁ Διοκλητιανός, στὴν Παμφυλία συνέβαινε νὰ εἶναι ἔπαρχος κάποιος Φλαβιανὸς (300 μ.Χ.), ποὺ ἐφάρμοζε μὲ σκληρότητα τὰ αὐτοκρατορικὰ διατάγματα. Τότε, ἀπὸ τοὺς πιὸ θαρραλέους πιστούς, ποὺ μόνοι τους φανέρωσαν τὴν χριστιανική τους ἰδιότητα μπροστὰ στὸν ἔπαρχο, ἦταν καὶ οἱ ἐννέα αὐτοὶ Ἅγιοι. Ἀφοῦ ἔκαναν τὸ σημεῖο τοῦ σταυροῦ καὶ κοινώνησαν τῶν ἀχράντων μυστηρίων, ὅρμησαν ὅλοι μαζὶ στὴ φλόγα τοῦ κινδύνου. Παρουσιάστηκαν στὸν Φλαβιανό, ὁμολόγησαν τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ τὸν παρακάλεσαν νὰ πάψει ἐπιτέλους νὰ κακοποιεῖ τοὺς χριστιανούς. Ἐξοργισμένος ὁ Φλαβιανός, διέταξε νὰ τοὺς σύρουν στὸ ναὸ τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος γιὰ νὰ θυσιάσουν στοὺς θεούς. Ἐκεῖνοι, ὄχι μόνο ἀρνήθηκαν νὰ θυσιάσουν, ἀλλὰ μὲ τὴν προσευχή τους συνέτριψαν καὶ μερικὰ ἀπὸ τὰ εἴδωλα τοῦ ναοῦ. Ὁ ἔπαρχος γεμάτος μανία, ἀφοῦ ξέσκισε τὶς σάρκες τους μὲ σιδερένια νύχια καὶ ἔκαψε τὶς πληγές τους μὲ ἀναμμένες λαμπάδες, τοὺς φυλάκισε. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ καὶ οἱ ἐννέα ἐπέμεναν νὰ ὁμολογοῦν τὸν Χριστό, τελικά τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πάπας ὁ νέος
«Εἰς σάκκον βληθείς, καὶ θίβῃ ἐγκλεισθείς, καὶ εἰς θάλασσαν ριφθείς, τελειοῦται».
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἐλεάζαρος
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφού του ἔκαψαν τὸ κεφάλι.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Κήρυκος
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ἀποκεφαλισμοῦ.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόδωρος
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πολύεκτος
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ τὸν ἔχωσαν μέσα σὲ κοπριά.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μηνὴς (ἢ Μηνός) καὶ Μηναῖος καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἐν τῷ Βιγλεντίῳ, πλησίον τοῦ χαλκοῦ Τετραπύλου
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἐλέσα, ἡ Ὁσιομάρτυς ποὺ μαρτύρησε στὰ Κύθηρα
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Πελοπόννησο καὶ ἦταν κόρη ἑνὸς πλούσιου Ἕλληνα, ποὺ ὀνομαζόταν Ἑλλάδιος. Ἡ δὲ μητέρα της Εὐγενία, ἦταν στεῖρα ἀλλὰ θεοσεβὴς χριστιανή. Ἔτσι διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς ἀπόκτησε θαυματουργικὰ τὴν Ἐλέσα, ποὺ ἀνέθρεψε σύμφωνα μὲ τὶς ἐπιταγὲς τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου καὶ κάτω ἀπὸ τὶς δυσκολίες τοῦ εἰδωλολάτρη ἄντρα της. Σὲ ἡλικία 14 χρονῶν ἡ Ἐλέσα ἔμεινε ὀρφανὴ ἀπὸ μητέρα καὶ ἔτσι ἔμεινε αὐτὴ κυρία τοῦ πλούσιου σπιτιοῦ τοῦ πατέρα της. Ἀμέτρητες τότε οἱ εὐεργεσίες καὶ οἱ ἐλεημοσύνες ποὺ ἔκανε στοὺς στερημένους καὶ πάσχοντες συνανθρώπους της. Κάποτε ὅμως ὁ πατέρας της τὴν παρακίνησε νὰ παντρευτεῖ κάποιον ἀπὸ τοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες ἄρχοντες, αὐτὴ ὅμως ἀρνήθηκε διότι ἡ κλήση της ἦταν ἄλλη, αὐτὴ τῆς ἀγγελικῆς πολιτείας. Ἔτσι ὅταν κάποτε ὁ πατέρας της ἔφυγε γιὰ κάποιο ταξίδι, ἡ Ἐλέσα μοίρασε ὅλα της τὰ ὑπάρχοντα στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ μὲ τὶς πιὸ πιστὲς δοῦλες της, διέφυγε στὰ Κύθηρα. Ἐκεῖ διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς, ἔκανε πολλὰ θαύματα. Ὅταν ὅμως ὁ πατέρας της ἐπέστρεψε ἀπὸ τὸ ταξίδι καὶ ἔμαθε τὰ γεγονότα, θύμωσε πολὺ καὶ ἀφοῦ ἀνακάλυψε ποὺ βρισκόταν ἡ Ἐλέσα, ἀναχώρησε γιὰ νὰ τὴν φέρει πίσω. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ γνώμη τῆς Ἔλεσας ἦταν ἀντίθετη αὐτῆς τοῦ εἰδωλολάτρη πατέρα. Τότε αὐτός, ἀφοῦ ἀνελέητα τὴν βασάνισε, τελικὰ τὴν ἀποκεφάλισε καὶ ἔτσι πανάξια ἔλαβε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου. (Ἡ μνήμη τῆς συγκεκριμένης Ἁγίας δὲν ἀναφέρεται πουθενὰ στοὺς Συναξαριστές, τὴν βρίσκουμε σὰν μάρτυρα μόνο στὰ Κύθηρα).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Τιμόθεος ὁ Θαυματουργὸς Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Προκοννήσου (Προικοννήσου)
Ἔζησε στὰ μέσα του 6ου αἰῶνα, ἐπὶ βασιλέων Ἰουστίνου τοῦ Θρακὸς καὶ τοῦ ἀνεψιοῦ του Ἰουστινιανοῦ τοῦ Μεγάλου. Λόγω τῆς μεγάλης του ἀρετῆς, ἔγινε ἐπίσκοπος Προκοννήσου ἢ Προικοννήσου, καὶ ποὺ σήμερα λέγεται Μαρμαρᾶς. Τὰ ποιμαντικά του καθήκοντα ἐξάσκησε ἄριστα διὰ τῆς πραότητάς του καὶ διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς. Κάποτε μάλιστα θεράπευσε καὶ τὴν κόρη τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Ἰουστινιανοῦ ἀπὸ δαιμόνιο. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὴν 1η Αὐγούστου. Ἀργότερα ἡ βασίλισσα Θεοδώρα, πρὸς ἔνδειξη εὐγνωμοσύνης στὸν Ἅγιο, ἔκτισε Μονὴ στὸ ὄνομά του, ἐκεῖ ὅπου βρέθηκε τὸ ἅγιο λείψανό του. Ἐκεῖ κοντὰ μάλιστα, βρέθηκε καὶ πηγὴ ἁγιάσματος.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ethelwald (Ἀγγλοσάξωνας)
Λεπτομέρειες γιὰ τὴν ζωὴ αὐτού του ἁγίου της ὀρθοδοξίας, μπορεῖ νὰ βρεῖ ὁ ἀναγνώστης στὸ βιβλίο «Οἱ Ἅγιοι τῶν Βρεττανικῶν Νήσων», τοῦ Χριστόφορου Κων. Κομμοδάτου, ἐπισκόπου Τελμησσοῦ, Ἀθήναι 1985.
Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord (1164)
First of the three "Feasts of the Saviour" in August. Beginning of the Dormition Fast.
The Procession was established in the time of the Emperor Manuel Paleologos. In Constantinople, the wood of the Cross was brought forth from the Imperial Treasury on July 31 and placed on the altar of the Great Church, where it remained until the Dormition feast, being carried in procession every day for the people's veneration.
Holy Seven Maccabees, their mother Solomonia, and their teacher Eleazar (168 BC)
The story of the Maccabees, and their heroic struggle to free the Hebrew nation from the godless rule of Antiochus Epiphanes, is told in the Old Testament books of the Maccabees. (If your Bible does not contain these books, get one that does!) The wicked king once commanded all the Jews to eat pork, in violation of the Law of Moses. The seven pious youths, together with their teacher Eleazar and their mother Solomonia, were arrested and, when all of them refused to transgress the Law, were subjected to the cruelest tortures. Eleazar died first, by burning, then each of the youths, from the eldest to the youngest. All stood firm in their faith until the end. When Solomonia saw her youngest son, a mere boy, seized for burning, she threw herself into the fire, commending her soul to God. This was in the year 168 BC.
St Nicholas, enlightener of Japan (1912)
Born in Russia in 1836, he became one of the great Orthodox missionaries of modern times. As a boy, he resolved to become a missionary in the far East. With the counsel and blessing of Bishop Innocent of Siberia and Alaska, he went to Japan in 1861 and joined a small Russian mission there. Though the mission's official purpose was to minister to the Russian consular community, the consul-general who invited Hieromonk Nikolai hoped to bring the light of the Orthodox Faith to the Japanese people as well. Realizing that he could only hope to convert the Japanese people if they understood one another well, Fr Nikolai immersed himself in the study of Japanese thought, culture and language. Over the course of his life he translated most of the Bible and most of the Orthodox services into Japanese, and became a fluent speaker of the language. He encountered much resistance: Preaching of Christian doctrine was officially banned in Japan, and a Samurai once approached him with the words "Foreigners must die!" It was this same Samurai who later became his first Japanese priest. In 1880 he was elevated to Bishop of Japan. During the Russo-Japanese war he remained in Japan and labored successfully to overcome nationalist strife that might have harmed or destroyed the Church in Japan. He encouraged all his Japanese faithful to pray for the Japanese armed forces, though he explained that as a Russian he could not do so, and excluded himself from all public services for the duration of the war. He send Russian-speaking Japanese priests to the prison camps to minister to Russian prisoners of war. At the time of his repose in 1912, after forty-eight years in Japan, St Nikolai left a Cathedral, eight churches, more than 400 chapels and meeting houses, 34 priests, 8 deacons, 115 lay catechists, and 34,110 Orthodox faithful. The Church of Japan is now an autonomous Orthodox Church under the care of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Procession (Carrying-forth) of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord: In the Greek Chasoslov (Orologion) of 1897 is explained thus the derivation of this feast: "By reason of the sicknesses, often everywhere occurring in August, from of old customarily it was done at Constantinople to carry out the Venerable Wood of the Cross along the roads and streets for the sanctifying of places and for the driving away of sicknesses. On the eve (31 July), carrying it out from the imperial treasury, they placed it upon the holy table of the Great Church (in honour of Saint Sophia -- the Wisdom of God). From this feastday up to the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, making litia throughout all the city, they then placed it forth for all the people to venerate. This also is the Issuing-forth of the Venerable Cross".
In the Russian Church this feast is combined also with a remembrance of the Baptism of Rus', on 1 August 988. In the "Account about the making of services in the holy catholic and apostolic great church of the Uspenie-Dormition", compiled in 1627 by order of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus' Philaret, there is provided suchlike an explanation of the feast: "And on the day of the procession of the Venerable Cross there occurs a church-procession for the sanctification of water and for the enlightenment of the people, throughout all the towns and places".
Knowledge of the day of the actual Baptism of Rus' was preserved in the Chronicles of the XVI Century: "The Baptism of Great-prince Vladimir of Kiev and all Rus' was on August 1".
In the practice now of the Russian Church, the service of the Lesser Sanctification of Water on 1 August is done either before or after Liturgy. Together with the Blessing of Waters, there is made a Blessing of Honey (i.e. first-honey for the Saviour: "Saviour of the Water", "Saviour Moisture" [apparently in place of the vinegar and gall offered Him on the Cross?]). And from this day the newly harvested honey is blessed and tasted.
The Feast to the All-Merciful Saviour and the MostHoly Mother of God was established on the occasion of portents from icons of the Saviour, the MostHoly Mother of God and the Venerable Cross during the time of a battle of holy Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky (1157-1174) with the Volga Bulgars in 1164.
This is the first of three feastdays of the All-Merciful Saviour, celebrated in August. The second -- is the Transfiguration (Preobrazhenie, Metamorphosis) of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Comm. 6 August). The third -- is the Transfer from Edessa to Constantinople of the Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the Lord Jesus Christ (Comm. 16 August, during the Afterfeast of the Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God). These three feasts, as it were, connect together the Dormition-Uspenie Fast.
The Seven Holy Maccabean Martyrs: Habim, Antonin, Guriah, Eleazar, Eusebon, Hadim (Halim) and Marcellus, their mother Solomonia and their teacher Eleazar suffered in the year 166 before the Birth of Christ under the impious Syrian emperor Antiochos Epiphanos. Adhering to an Hellenistic cult, Antiochos Epiphanos introduced pagan customs at Jerusalem and throughout all Judea. He desecrated the Temple of the Lord, putting there in a statue of the pagan god Zeus, and forcing the Jews to worship it. Many of them then fell away from the True God. But there were also those, who were deeply sorrowed by the downfall of the people of God and who continued to believe in the coming arrival of the Saviour. A ninety year old elder -- the law-teacher Eleazar, was brought to trial for his adherence to the Mosaic Law, and he steadfastly underwent tortures and died at Jerusalem. Bravery was likewise shown by the disciples of Saint Eleazar -- the Seven Maccabean Brothers and their mother Solomonia. They were brought to trial in Antioch by the emperor Antiochos Epiphanos. They fearlessly acknowledged themselves as followers of the True God, and refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. The eldest of the lads, having been first to answer the emperor in the name of all seven brothers, was given over to fierce tortures in sight of his remaining brothers and their mother. The next five brothers one after the other underwent these tortures. There remained the seventh brother, the very youngest. Antiochos suggested to Saint Solomonia to urge the lad into renunciation, so that at least this final son would remain for her. But the brave mother encouraged him also in the confession of the True God. The lad resolutely ignored the entreaty of the emperor and likewise firmly underwent the tortures, just like his older brothers. After the death of all her seven children, Saint Solomonia, standing over their bodies, raised up her hands in prayer to God and died. The Martyrs Act of the holy Seven Maccabean Brothers inspired Judas Maccabee, and he led the revolt against Antiochos Epiphanos with the help of God gaining the victory, and then purifying the Jerusalem Temple of idols. All these events are related in the Book of Second Maccabees, which is included within the Bible. Sermons of laudation to the holy Maccabean Martyrs were offered by various fathers of the Church -- Sainted Cyprian of Carthage, Sainted Ambrose of Mediolanum (Milan), Sainted Gregory Nazianzus and Sainted John Chrysostomos.
The Martyrs Leontios, Attios, Alexander, Cyndeos, Minsythias, Kyriakos, Mineon, Catunos and Eukleos lived in the Pamphlygonian city of Pergium during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). All of them were baptised in childhood. Saint Mineon was a carpenter, and the rest -- farmers. During the time of the fierce persecution against Christians, the saints with one accord sought to undertake the deed of martyrdom for Christ. They destroyed a temple of the pagan god Artemis. For this they were given over for harsh torture and then thrown in the circus for devouring by wild beasts. But, tamed down by the prayer of the martyrs, the beasts would not touch them. The onlookers grew tumultuous and began loudly to shout: "Great is the God of the Christians". A terrible thunderstorm ensued. Upon the earth simultaneously fell both hail and fire. From heaven was heard a voice, summoning the martyrs to the Heavenly Kingdom. Upon hearing this voice the martyrs came forth with great joy, and laying their necks beneathe the sword, they received the crowns of martyrdom.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE SEVEN MACCABEES, THEIR MOTHER SOLOMONIA AND ELEAZAR THE PRIEST
They all suffered for the purity of the faith of Israel under King Antiochus, called by some "Epiphanos," the "enlightened one" and by others "Epimanis" the "insane one." Because of the great sins in Jerusalem and especially the vying over priestly authority and crimes committed during the occasion of this struggle, God permitted a great calamity on the Holy City. After that, Antiochus wanted by any means to impose upon the Jews the idolatry of the Hellenes in place of their faith in the one living God and he did everything toward this goal. Assisting Antiochus in his intention were some treacherous high priests and other elders of Jerusalem. On one occasion, King Antiochus himself came to Jerusalem and ordered that all Jews eat the meat of swine, contrary to the Law of Moses, for eating pork was an apparent sign that one has disowned the faith of Israel. The elder Eleazar, a priest and one of the seventy translators of the Old Testament into the Greek language [the Septuagint] would not partake of pork. Because of that, Eleazar was tortured and burned. Returning to Antioch, the king took with him the seven sons called the Maccabees and their mother Solomonia. The seven Maccabean brothers were called: Avim, Antonius, Eleazar, Gurius, Eusebon, Achim and Marcellus. Before the eyes of their mother, the wicked king tortured the sons, one by one, ripping the skin from their faces and, afterward, casting them into the fire. They all bravely endured torture and death but they did not disown their faith. Finally, when the mother saw her last son, the three-year old in the fire, she leaped into the flames and was consumed in the fire rendering her soul to God. They all suffered honorably for the faith in the one living God about one hundred eighty years before Christ.
2. THE PROCESSION OF THE HONORABLE CROSS
This feast was instituted by a mutual agreement of the Greeks and Russians at the time of the Greek Emperor Manuel and the Russian Prince Andrew in commemoration of the simultaneous victories of the Russians over the Bulgarians and the Greeks over the Saracens. In both of these battles, crosses were carried by the armies from which heavenly rays shone. It was therefore instituted that, on August 1, the Cross be carried first to the middle of the Church of the Divine Wisdom [Hagia Sophia] and after that, along the streets for the people to venerate as a commemoration of the miraculous help of the Cross in previous battles. This was not an ordinary cross but the true Honorable Cross which was kept in the church of the imperial court. On July 31, the Honorable Cross was carried from the imperial court to the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God and from there it was carried along the streets for the consecration of the earth and the air. Finally, on August 14, it was again returned to the church of the imperial palace.
3. THE NINE HOLY MARTYRS
The names of these martyrs were: Leontius, Attus, Alexander, Cindeus, Mnesitheus, Cyriacus, Menaeus, Catunus and Eucleus. Leontius was a carpenter and the others were farmers. Because of their bold confession of the Faith of Christ and because of their destruction of the temple of Artemis, they were cruelly tortured and beheaded in Perga of Pamphylia during the reign of Diocletian and became heirs of the Kingdom of Christ.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HONORABLE CROSS OF CHRIST
The Honorable Cross of Christ
Before it, all honorably prostrate,
By the power of the Cross of Christ
From temptation, we are redeemed.
The Holy Cross is mightier than the demons
And from every earthly king,
From sickness, the Cross saves
And from the assaults of barbarians.
Prince Andrew, by the power of the Cross
Enslaved lands, saved,
King Manuel, by the power of the Cross
The Saracens, gloriously destroyed.
From the armies of pagans,
From the tyrannical conquerors,
From all evils demonstrated that
The power of the Cross is mightier.
A weak man usually protects himself by hypocrisy and the strong man protects himself by tyranny. That no man can defend his life before God either by hypocrisy or by tyranny is clearly shown to us by the example of the holy elder Eleazar and King Antiochus. When the tyrannical king brought Eleazar to trial and compelled him to eat pork if he desired to save his life, Eleazar adamantly rejected that. Then some of Eleazar friends handed him a piece of other meat, not swine's meat, begging him to eat that in the presence of the king and the people in order to safeguard both his life and his conscience. The elder refused this offer saying to his friends: "Hypocrisy is not becoming to me an old man to the scandal of many young people." The elder Eleazar was slain in the body but he saved his soul. The punishment of God came upon the tyrannical King Antiochus while he was still living. A dreadful disease from within overcame him and his body swarmed with worms and the stench from his body spread afar. In his despair, the king remembered the shedding of the innocent blood of thousands and thousands of human beings who, by his order, were unmercifully murdered and, frightened of God, he began to confess the one God whom, before that, he persecuted by persecuting His faithful ones. However, heavenly mercy did not manifest itself on him.
To contemplate the punishment of God upon Israel (Judges 10):
1. How the Israelites committed that which was evil before the Lord, worshipping the Syrian, Sidonian and Moabite idols and others;
2. How the Lord handed them over in bondage to the Philistines who, for eighteen years, trampled upon them and crushed them;
3. How dreadful is the Lord toward apostates from the yrue Faith.
About prophetic visions
"The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amos" (Isaiah 1:1).
He who has understanding can know the one and true God. He, who is without understanding, let him listen to the one who understands and the one who understands and the other [who listens] will be saved. It is possible to clearly know God from created nature and still more clearly, from the inspired men of God and most clearly from the Lord Christ. The inspired men of God before Christ were the prophets. Among the first was Isaiah, the son of Amos. The Spirit of God opened his sight and he saw that which other men did not see. That is why he called his message to his people "a vision" [or apparition]. How the prophets saw the heavenly mysteries and the mysteries of future events cannot be described: that can only be experienced by those to whom God gives that gift.
The visions of the holy prophets are true, for those words and those heavenly appearances from these visions, have actually been confirmed later on. They are true because they served for the good of men, turning them from evil to good. Furthermore, they are true because the prophets fearlessly declared them without regard of the suffering which befell them and even without regard for the bitter death which many of them suffered.
What did Isaiah receive from the world and from men for his visions? Riches or honor or an exalted calling? The Jews sawed him in half! This is the riches, this is the honor and this is the glory of the prophet to suffer for the truth of God!
Therefore, let us listen to the prophets of God for they are the paths that lead to the city of the Great King; they are the rays of the Sun of Righteousness Christ which on a distant sphere illumines men with the heavenly light, pointing out the Sun to them.
O Lord Christ, Who revealed Yourself through the prophets and prepared the way for Your descent into our valley, help us. Help us to recognize Your light and Your providence in Your holy prophets.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.