FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Translation of the Image of Our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Diomedes the Physician & Martyr of Tarsus
Timothy of Euripus, founder of the Monastery of Pentele
Nicodemus the New Martyr of Meteora
Gerasimos the New Ascetic of Cephalonia
Holy Monk Penteles
Afterfeast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy 3:13-16; 4:1-5
TIMOTHY, my son, those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion:
God was manifested in the flesh,
justified in the Spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
Πρὸς Τιμόθεον α' 3:13-16;4:1-5
Τέκνον Τιμόθεε, οἱ καλῶς διακονήσαντες βαθμὸν ἑαυτοῖς καλὸν περιποιοῦνται, καὶ πολλὴν παρρησίαν ἐν πίστει τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Ταῦτά σοι γράφω, ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ τάχιον· ἐὰν δὲ βραδύνω, ἵνα εἰδῇς πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀναστρέφεσθαι, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐκκλησία θεοῦ ζῶντος, στῦλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας. Καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον· θεὸς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήφθη ἐν δόξῃ. Τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ῥητῶς λέγει, ὅτι ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς ἀποστήσονταί τινες τῆς πίστεως, προσέχοντες πνεύμασιν πλάνοις καὶ διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων, ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων, κεκαυτηριασμένων τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν, κωλυόντων γαμεῖν, ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων, ἃ ὁ θεὸς ἔκτισεν εἰς μετάληψιν μετὰ εὐχαριστίας τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ ἐπεγνωκόσιν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. Ὅτι πᾶν κτίσμα θεοῦ καλόν, καὶ οὐδὲν ἀπόβλητον, μετὰ εὐχαριστίας λαμβανόμενον· ἁγιάζεται γὰρ διὰ λόγου θεοῦ καὶ ἐντεύξεως.
The Reading is from Luke 9:51-57, 10:22-24, 13:22
At that time, when the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
"All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Then turning to the disciples he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."
And he went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying towards Jerusalem.
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 9.51-57, 10.22
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ᾿Εγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ συμπληροῦσθαι τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς ἀναλήψεως αὐτοῦ καὶ αὐτὸς ἐστήριξε τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ τοῦ πορεύεσθαι εἰς ῾Ιερουσαλήμ, καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ. καὶ πορευθέντες εἰσῆλθον εἰς κώμην Σαμαρειτῶν, ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι αὐτῷ· καὶ οὐκ ἐδέξαντο αὐτόν, ὅτι τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἦν πορευόμενον εἰς ῾Ιερουσαλήμ. ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ᾿Ιάκωβος καὶ ᾿Ιωάννης εἶπον· Κύριε, θέλεις εἴπωμεν πῦρ καταβῆναι ἀπὸ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἀναλῶσαι αὐτούς, ὡς καὶ ᾿Ηλίας ἐποίησε; στραφεὶς δὲ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν· οὐκ οἴδατε ποίου πνεύματός ἐστε ὑμεῖς· ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθε ψυχὰς ἀνθρώπων ἀπολέσαι, ἀλλὰ σῶσαι. καὶ ἐπορεύθησαν εἰς ἑτέραν κώμην. καὶ στραφεὶς πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς εἶπε· πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου· καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τίς ἐστιν ὁ υἱός, εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ, καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ πατήρ, εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι. Καὶ στραφεὶς πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς κατ᾿ ἰδίαν εἶπε· μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ οἱ βλέποντες ἃ βλέπετε. λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ βασιλεῖς ἠθέλησαν ἰδεῖν ἃ ὑμεῖς βλέπετε, καὶ οὐκ εἶδον, καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε, καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν. Καὶ διεπορεύετο κατὰ πόλεις καὶ κώμας διδάσκων καὶ πορείαν ποιούμενος εἰς ῾Ιερουσαλήμ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Διομήδους.
Ἠθλησε καὶ ζῶν, καὶ θανὼν Διομήδης,
Προαιρέσει ζῶν, καὶ νεκρὸς τομῇ κάρας.
Ἕκτῃ καὶ δεκάτῃ νέκυς ἐτμήθη Διομήδους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Χαιρήμων ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Λήξει βίου σου χαῖρε, Χαιρήμων μάκαρ.
Ἀρχὴν γὰρ εἶδες τῆς ἀμοιβῆς τῶν πόνων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων τριακοντατριῶν μαρτύρων τῶν ἐκ Παλαιστίνης, ξίφει τελειωθέντων.
Στερρὸς στρατός τε καὶ συνασπισμὸς μέγας,
Ξίφει πεσών, στράτευμα δαιμόνων πρέπει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἀνάμνησις τῆς εἰσόδου τῆς ἀχειροτεύκτου Μορφῆς τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐκ τῆς Ἐδεσσηνῶν πόλεως, εἰς ταύτην τήν θεοφύλακτον καὶ Βασιλίδα τῶν πόλεων ἀνακομισθείσης.
Ἐν σινδόνι ζῶν ἐξεμάξω σὴν θέαν,
Ὁ νεκρὸς εἰσδὺς ἔσχατον τὴν σινδόνα.
Εἰς τὸ Κεράμιον
Ἀχειρότευκτον χειρότευκτος σὸν τύπον.
Φέρει κέραμος παντοτεῦκτα Χριστέ μου.
Ἤκουσταί μοι τὰ περὶ σοῦ καὶ τῶν σῶν ἰαμάτων, τῶν ἄνευ φαρμάκων ὑπὸ σοῦ γινομένων· ὡς γὰρ λόγος, τυφλοὺς ἀναβλέπειν ποιεῖς, χωλοὺς περιπατεῖν κατασκευάζεις, λεπροὺς καθαρίζεις, καὶ ἀκάθαρτα πνεύματα καὶ δαίμονας ἐλαύνεις, καί τους ἐν μακρονοσίᾳ βασανιζομένους θεραπεύεις, καὶ νεκροὺς ἐγείρεις, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα ἀκούσας περὶ σοῦ, κατὰ νοῦν ἐθέμην τὸ ἕτερον τῶν δύο, ἢ ὅτι Θεοῦ Υἱὸς εἶ, ποιῶν ταῦτα, ἢ Θεός. Διὰ τοῦτο τοίνυν γράψας ἐδεήθην σου σκυλῆναι καὶ ἐλθεῖν πρός με, ἵνα καὶ τὸ πάθος, ὃ ἔχω θεραπεύσῃς, καὶ μετ' ἐμοῦ ἐνταῦθα συνέσῃ· καὶ γὰρ ἤκουσα, ὅτι καὶ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι καταγογγύζουσί σου, καὶ βούλονται κακῶσαί σε. Πόλις δὲ σμικροτάτη μοι ἐστὶ καὶ σεμνή, ἥτις ἀρκέσει ἀμφοτέροις ἡμῖν τοῦ κατοικεῖν ἐν εἰρήνῃ.
Μακάριος εἶ, Αὔγαρε, πιστεύσας ἐν ἐμοὶ καὶ μὴ ἑωρακώς με· γέγραπται γὰρ περὶ ἐμοῦ, τοὺς ἑωρακότας μὴ πιστεύειν ἐν ἐμοί, ἵνα οἱ μὴ ἑωρακότες με, αὐτοὶ πιστεύσωσι καὶ ζήσωνται. Περὶ δὲ οὗ ἔγραψὰς μοι ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σέ, δέον ἐστὶ πάντα δι' ἃ ἀπεστάλην, πληρῶσαί με, καὶ μετὰ τὸ πληρῶσαι, ἀναληφθῆναι πρὸς τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με Πατέρα, καὶ ἐπειδὰν ἀναληφθῶ, ἀποστελῶ σοι ἕνα τῶν Μαθητῶν μου, ὀνόματι Θαδδαῖον, ὅστις καὶ τὸ πάθος σου θεραπευσει, καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον, σοί τε καὶ τοῖς σὺν σοί, καὶ εἰρήνην παρέξει, καὶ ποιήσει τῇ πόλει σου τὸ ἱκανόν, πρὸς τὸ μηδένα τῶν ἐχθρῶν κατισχῦσαι αὐτῆς.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἀνάμνησιν ποιούμεθα τῆς περὶ ἡμᾶς τοῦ Θεοῦ μεγίστης καὶ ἀνυπερβλήτου φιλανθρωπίας, ἣν ἐδείξατο τότε ἀποστρέψας μέτ' αἰσχύνης τοὺς ἀθέους Ἀγαρηνούς, μεσιτείᾳ τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Δεσποίνης ἡμῶν Θεοτόκου, καὶ ἀειπαρθένου Μαρίας.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ ἐν τῷ ναῷ τῆς Ζωοδόχου Πηγῆς ἐξάντλησις τοῦ ἁγιάσματος, καὶ αὖθις ἀνάδοσις.
Πηγὴ κενοῦται θαυματουργῶν ὑδάτων,
Πληρουμένη δέ, θαυματουργεῖ καὶ πλέον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη γίνεται τῆς καὶ μετὰ οἰκτιρμῶν ἐπενεχθείσης ἡμῖν ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς ἐκείνοις φοβερᾶς ἀπειλῆς τοῦ σεισμοῦ, οὗ παρ' ἐλπίδα ἐλυτρώσατο ἡμᾶς ὁ φιλάνθρωπος Θεός.
Στῆσον φόβῳ σῷ ἡμῶν τὰς διανοίας,
Τῇ σαλεύσει Δέσποτα, γῆς θεμελίων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Γερασίμου τοῦ νέου,
ἀσκητοῦ, τοῦ ἐν τῇ νήσῳ Κεφαλληνίᾳ.
Γέρα πρέπουσι Γερασίμῳ τῷ νέῳ,
Τῷ τοῖς γέρασι τῶν παλαιῶν στεφθέντι.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
When the fame of our Lord Jesus Christ came to Abgar, the ruler of Edessa, who was suffering from leprosy, Abgar sent a messenger named Ananias, through him asking the Savior to heal him of his disease, while bidding Ananias bring back a depiction of Him. When Ananias came to Jerusalem, and was unable to capture the likeness of our Lord, He, the Knower of hearts, asked for water, and having washed His immaculate and divine face, wiped it dry with a certain cloth, which He gave to Ananias to take to Abgar; the form of the Lord's face had been wondrously printed upon the cloth. As soon as Abgar received the cloth, which is called the Holy Napkin (Mandylion), he reverenced it with joy, and was healed of his leprosy; only his forehead remained afflicted. After the Lord's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, the Apostle Thaddaeus (see Aug. 21) came to Edessa, and when he had baptized Abgar and all his men, Abgar's remaining leprosy also was healed. Abgar had the holy image of our Savior fixed to a board and placed at the city gate, commanding that all who entered the city reverence it as they passed through. Abgar's grandson, however, returned to the worship of the idols, and the Bishop of Edessa learned of his intention to replace the Holy Napkin with an idol. Since the place where it stood above the city gate was a rounded hollow, he set a burning lamp before the Holy Napkin, put a tile facing it, then bricked up the place and smoothed it over, so that the holy icon made without hands was no longer to be seen, and the ungodly ruler gave no further thought to it.
With the passage of time, the hidden icon was forgotten, until the year 615, when Chosroes II, King of Persia, was assaulting the cities of Asia, and besieged Edessa. The Bishop of Edessa, Eulabius, instructed by a divine revelation, opened the sealed chamber above the city gate and found the Holy Napkin complete and incorrupt, the lamp burning, and the tile bearing upon itself an identical copy of the image that was on the Holy Napkin. The Persians had built a huge fire outside the city wall; when the Bishop approached with the Holy Napkin, a violent wind fell upon the fire, turning it back upon the Persians, who fled in defeat. The Holy Napkin remained in Edessa, even after the Arabs conquered it, until the year 944, when it was brought with honor and triumph to Constantinople in the reign of Romanus I, when Theophylact was Ecumenical Patriarch. The Holy Napkin was enshrined in the Church of the most holy Theotokos called the Pharos. This is the translation that is celebrated today.
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Τήν άχραντον Εικόνα σου, προσκυνούμεν αγαθέ, αιτούμενοι συγχώρησιν τών πταισμάτων ημών, Χριστέ ο Θεός, βουλήσει γάρ ηυδόκησας σαρκί, ανελθείν εν τώ Σταυρώ, ίνα ρύση ούς έπλασας, εκ τής δουλείας τού εχθρού, όθεν ευχαρίστως βοώμέν σοι, Χαράς επλήρωσας τά πάντα, ο Σωτήρ ημών, παραγενόμενος εις τό σώσαι τόν κόσμον.
We worship Thine immaculate icon, O Good One, asking the forgiveness of our failings, O Christ our God; for of Thine own will wast Thou well-pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, that Thou mightest deliver from slavery to the enemy those whom Thou hadst fashioned. Wherefore, we cry to Thee thankfully: Thou didst fill all things with joy, O our Saviour, when Thou camest to save the world.
The holy Martyr Diomedes was from Tarsus in Cilicia, a physician who treated bodies with his healing art and souls with his piety. In the days of the Emperor Diocletian, about the year 288, Diomedes left Tarsus and came to Nicaea, where he benefited many both as a physician and as a preacher of the Faith. He was accused to Diocletian, who sent men to fetch him. When they arrived, although finding that he had already given up his soul to the Lord, they cut off his head to take it to the Emperor, and because of their inhumanity were stricken with blindness. When Diocletian saw the Saint's head, he commanded them to take it back and put it on the body in its place; when they had done so, they received their sight again. Saint Diomedes is one of the Holy Unmercenaries.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Εν τή Γεννήσει τήν παρθενίαν εφύλαξας, έν τή Κοιμήσει τόν κόσμον ού κατέλιπες Θεοτόκε, Μετέστης πρός τήν ζωήν, μήτηρ υπάρχουσα τής ζωής, καί ταίς πρεσβείαις ταίς σαίς λυτρουμένη, εκ θανάτου τάς ψυχάς ημών.
In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions.
"Δικαίων ψυχαί εν χειρί Θεού και ου μη άψηται αυτών βάσανος". Έτσι είναι γραμμένο για την προστασία του Θεού προς τους δικαίους και ευσεβείς ανθρώπους. Το ίδιο πράγμα ο Κύριος Ιησούς Χριστός το είπε με άλλα λόγια· "μη φοβηθήτε από των αποκτεννόντων το σώμα, την δε ψυχήν μη δυναμένων αποκτείναι...". Πραγματικά, στην εξουσία της βίας των τυράννων είναι το σώμα των Αγίων· η ψυχή των, η συνείδησή των, όλος ο κόσμος που συγκροτεί την πνευματική και ηθική προσωπικότητά των είναι στα χέρια του Θεού. Όμως πολλές φορές και την φυσική ζωή των Αγίων προστάτεψε και προστατεύει ο Θεός· είτε τους φυλάγει σώους και αβλαβείς στον κίνδυνο είτε τους παίρνει και δεν τους αφήνει στην κακή την ώρα. Το δεύτερο τούτο συνέβη και με τον Άγιο Μάρτυρα Διομήδη, του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα τιμά την μνήμη. Οι απεσταλμένοι του τυράννου, όταν πήγαν να τον συλλάβουν, τον βρήκαν νεκρό.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Διομήδης
Γεννήθηκε στὴν Ταρσὸ τῆς Κιλικίας καὶ σπούδασε τὴν ἰατρικὴ ἐπιστήμη. Ἡ ἐπιστημονική του γνώση δὲν τὸν ἔκανε ὑπερήφανο, ἀλλὰ διατήρησε τὴν εὐσέβεια, στὴν ὁποία τὸν ἀνέθρεψαν οἱ γονεῖς του. Καὶ ὅπως ὁ Κύριος, ὁ Ἰατρὸς τῶν σωμάτων καὶ τῶν ψυχῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, «ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ τοὺς χρείαν ἔχοντας θεραπείας ἰάσατο», μιλοῦσε δηλαδὴ σ᾿ αὐτοὺς γιὰ τὴν βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ γιάτρευε ἐκείνους ποὺ εἶχαν ἀνάγκη θεραπείας, ἔτσι καὶ ὁ Διομήδης, μιμούμενος τὸν Κύριό του καὶ Θεό του, ἐξασκοῦσε ἀφιλοκερδῶς καὶ φιλάνθρωπα τὸ ἰατρικό του ἐπάγγελμα. Συγχρόνως, ὅμως, μὲ τὴν θεραπεία τῶν σωμάτων, ὁ Διομήδης κήρυττε μὲ θέρμη στοὺς ἀσθενεῖς καὶ τὴν σωτηριώδη ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου καὶ βοήθησε πολλὲς ψυχὲς νὰ ὁδηγηθοῦν στὸ Σωτῆρα Χριστό. Ὁ θεῖος ζῆλος ἔφερε τὸ Διομήδη μέχρι τὴν Νίκαια τῆς Βιθυνίας, ὅπου καὶ ἐκεῖ θεράπευε ἀσθενεῖς, καὶ τὴν πίστη δίδασκε καὶ καλλιεργοῦσε. Ὅταν ὅμως ἄρχισε ὁ διωγμὸς τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ἡ θεοκίνητη δραστηριότητα τοῦ Διομήδη καταγγέλθηκε στὸν αὐτοκράτορα. Τότε αὐτὸς διέταξε νὰ συλλάβουν τὸ Διομήδη. Ἀλλὰ πρὶν συλληφθεῖ, ὁ Θεὸς τὸν κάλεσε κοντά Του καὶ οἱ ἀπεσταλμένοι στρατιῶτες τὸν βρῆκαν νεκρό. Καὶ ὅμως, ἔτσι νεκρὸ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Χαιρήμων
Ἀσκητὴς τῆς ἐρήμου. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὴν ὥρα ποὺ ἐργαζόταν.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀλκιβιάδης
Μαρτύρησε διὰ πυρός.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι 33 Μάρτυρες ἀπὸ τὴν Παλαιστίνη
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.
«Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ ἀνάμνησις τῆς εἰσόδου τῆς ἀχειροτεύκτου μορφῆς τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (δηλαδὴ τὸ ἅγιο Μανδήλιο) ἐκ τῆς Ἐδεσσηνῶν πόλεως, εἰς ταύτην τὴν θεοφύλακτον Βασιλίδα (Κωνσταντινούπολη) ἀνακομισθείσης»
Ὁ Σ. Εὐστρατιάδης, γιὰ τὴν περίπτωση αὐτή, γράφει τὰ ἑξῆς στὸ Ἁγιολόγιό του: «Ἡ τῆς ἀχειροποίητου εἰκόνος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀνακομιδὴ ἐκ τῆς Ἐδέσσης, ἔνθα ἐφυλάττετο μετὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς τοῦ Αὐγάρου, ἐγένετο ἐπὶ τῆς βασιλείας Ρωμανοῦ τοῦ Λεκαπηνοῦ τὸ 944 καὶ κατετέθη εἰς τὸν ἐν Βλαχέρναις ναὸν τῆς Θεοτόκου, ἐξ οὗ μετετέθη εἰς τὸν ἐν Φόρῳ ναὸν τῆς Θεοτόκου, κατὰ δὲ τὸ 967 Νικηφόρος ὁ Φωκᾶς μετεκόμισεν ἐξ Ἐδέσσης καὶ τὴν κέραμον, ἐφ᾿ ἣς ἀπετυπώθη ὡσαύτως ἡ εἰκὼν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, διὰ τὸ εἶναι ταύτην πλησίον τῆς ἀχειροποίητου εἰκόνος ἐν Ἐδέσσῃ ἐν τῷ αὔτῳ τόπω. Τὴν περὶ τῆς εἰκόνος παράδοσιν διέσωσεν ὁ Ἱστορικὸς Εὐσέβιος (Ἐκκλ. Ἱστ. βιβλ. Α´, κεφ. ιγ´). Ἡ εἴκων ἀπεστάλη ὑπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου πρὸς τὸν τοπάρχην Ἐδέσσης Αὔγαρον διὰ τοῦ ἀποστόλου Ἀνανίου μετ᾿ ἐπιστολῆς τοῦ Κυρίου πρὸς τὸν Αὔγαρον εἰς ἀπάντησιν προηγουμένης ἐπιστολῆς τοῦ τοπάρχου (ἴδ. ταύτας ἐν τοῖς Μηναίοις καὶ τοῖς Συναξαρισταῖς)».
«Ἡ ἐν τῷ Ναῷ τῆς Ζωοδόχου Πηγῆς ἐξάντλησις τοῦ ἁγιασμοῦ καὶ αὖθις ἀνάδοσις»
«Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ συνέφθασε καὶ ἡ μνήμη τῆς μετ᾿ οἰκτιρμῶν ἐπενεχθείσης ἡμῖν ἐν τοῖς πάλαι χρόνοις φοβερᾶς ἀπειλῆς τοῦ σεισμοῦ, ἣς παρ᾿ ἐλπίδα πᾶσαν ἐλυτρώσατο ἡμᾶς ὁ πανοικτίρμων Θεός»
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μακάριος Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος
Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναφέρεται στὸ Ἱεροσολυμιτικὸ Κανονάριο (σελ. 103), χωρὶς νὰ δηλώνεται ἡ ἀρχιεπισκοπή του. Ἴσως νὰ ἦταν κάποιος ἀπὸ τοὺς Ἀρχιεπισκόπους τοῦ Ἱεροσολυμιτικοῦ θρόνου.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Νεῖλος ὁ Ἐρικούσιος
Γεννήθηκε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ ἦταν γιὸς τοῦ Ἰωάννου Λασκάρεως, ἀδελφοῦ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Θεοδώρου Λασκάρεως, ποὺ βασίλευσε στὴ Νίκαια τὸ 1204. Ὁ Ὅσιος Νεῖλος ἀπὸ τὸν διωγμὸ τῶν Λατίνων, κατέφυγε στὰ παράλια του Πόντου στὴ Μονὴ Ἀκοίμητων, ὅπου ἡγούμενος ἦταν ὁ Ὅσιος Μάρκελλος, ὁ ὁποῖος τὸν χειροτόνησε Μοναχὸ μὲ τὸ ὄνομα Νεῖλος, ἀπὸ Νικόλαος, ποὺ ἦταν τὸ ἀρχικό του. Μετὰ ἀπὸ χρόνια, τὸ 1261, ὁ Νεῖλος ἐπανῆλθε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, πῆρε χρήματα ἀπὸ τὴν μητέρα του καὶ ἔφυγε στὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα, ὅπου ἔμεινε ἕξι χρόνια. Κατόπιν ἐπανῆλθε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη γιὰ νὰ ἐξοριστεῖ ἀπὸ τὸν λατινόφρονα αὐτοκράτορα Μιχαὴλ Α´ τὸν Παλαιολόγο στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος. Ἐκεῖ, στὴ Μονὴ Ἰβήρων ἔμεινε 10 χρόνια. Ἔπειτα, κλήθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν Ἀνδρόνικο Παλαιολόγο καὶ ἀφοῦ ἔλαβε χρήματα ἀπὸ τὴν ἀδελφή του, ταξίδεψε σὲ πολλοὺς τόπους τῆς Μεσογείου. Κατέληξε σ᾿ ἕνα ἐρημονῆσι, τὴν Ἐρικούσα, ἀπ᾿ ὅπου πῆρε καὶ τὴν ἐπωνυμία Ἐρικούσιος. Τὸ νησὶ αὐτὸ ἦταν κοντὰ στὴν Κέρκυρα καὶ ἀσκήτευσε ἐκεῖ 10 χρόνια. Κατόπιν πέρασε στὴν Ἤπειρο, ὅπου στὴ Θεσπρωτία ἔκτισε τὴν Μονὴ Ἱερομερίου. Ἐκεῖ, μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλοὺς ἀσκητικοὺς ἀγῶνες, ἔφθασε σὲ βαθιὰ γεράματα καὶ ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Νικόδημος ὁ Μοναχός, ὁ ἐκ Μετεώρων
Ὁ νέος ὁσιομάρτυρας Νικόδημος, ἀπὸ τὰ Μετέωρα, μαρτύρησε γιὰ τὴν εὐσέβειά του στὶς 16 Αὐγούστου 1551. Ἄγνωστο ποῦ καὶ ὑπὸ ποιὲς συνθῆκες.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γεράσιμος ὁ νέος ἀσκητής, ποὺ ἀσκήτευσε στὴ νῆσο Κεφαλληνία
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γεράσιμος ἀπεβίωσε τὴν 15η Αὐγούστου τοῦ ἔτους 1579, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ τὴν ἡμέρα αὐτὴ πανηγυρίζεται ἡ μνήμη τῆς Κοιμήσεως τῆς Θεοτόκου, τελεῖται ἡ γιορτή του τὴν 20η Ὀκτωβρίου, τότε ποὺ ἔγινε ἡ ἀνακομιδὴ τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ λειψάνου του. Τὴν ἡμέρα αὐτὴ ὅμως, ἀναγράφηκε ἡ μνήμη τῆς κοιμήσεώς του καὶ γίνεται στὴν Κεφαλονιὰ μεγάλο πανηγύρι (βλέπε βιογραφικό του σημείωμα τὴν 20η Ὀκτωβρίου).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Σταμάτιος ἀπὸ τὸν Βόλο
Ὁ ἅγιος αὐτὸς νεομάρτυρας, καταγόταν ἀπὸ ἕνα χωριὸ τοῦ Βόλου, Ἅγιος Γεώργιος ὀνομαζόμενο, τῆς ἐπαρχίας Δημητριάδος. Ἦλθε κάποτε σὰν πρεσβευτὴς τῶν συγχωριανῶν του στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, προκειμένου νὰ παραπονεθεῖ γιὰ τὶς ἀδικίες κάποιου ἀγὰ σὲ βάρος τῶν συμπατριωτῶν του, κατὰ τὴν εἴσπραξη τῶν φόρων. Ἐκεῖ ὅμως, ἀντὶ νὰ δικαιώσουν τὴν παρουσία του, τὸν συνέλαβαν καὶ τὸν πίεζαν νὰ δεχτεῖ τὴν μουσουλμανικὴ θρησκεία. Ὁ Σταμάτιος, ἀφοῦ ἀπέρριψε ὅλες τὶς κολακεῖες, τὶς ὑποσχέσεις καὶ τοὺς φοβερισμοὺς τῶν Τούρκων, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε στὶς 16 Αὐγούστου 1680 ἡμέρα Δευτέρα, μπροστὰ στὸ παλάτι, στὴν Ἁγία Σοφία. Μαρτύριο τοῦ Ἁγίου, ποὺ συνέγραψε ὁ μοναχὸς Ἰάκωβος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης τὸ 1680, βρίσκεται στὸν ὑπ᾿ ἀριθμ. 805 Κώδικα τῆς Μονῆς Βατοπεδίου, φ. 12α-14.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀπόστολος ὁ Νέος
Γεννήθηκε στὸν Ἅγιο Λαυρέντιο τοῦ Πηλίου τὸ 1667. Ὁ πατέρας του ὀνομαζόταν Κώστας Σταματίου καὶ ἡ μητέρα του Μέλω. Σὲ ἡλικία 15 χρονῶν ἔμεινε ὀρφανὸς καὶ τὸ 1682 πῆγε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, ὅπου ἐργαζόταν σ᾿ ἕνα καπηλειό. Ὁ Ἀπόστολος, ἐπειδὴ ἦταν καὶ τουρκομαθής, ἀνέλαβε τὴν ὑποστήριξη τῶν ἀγρίως φορολογουμένων συμπατριωτῶν του, καὶ ἀπέδωσε αὐτοπροσώπως ἀναφορά τους στὸν ἀρχιευνοῦχο. Κατὰ τὴν ἐπίδοση αὐτή, ἀνέπτυξε καὶ προφορικὰ μὲ μεγάλη παρρησία τὰ δίκαια παράπονα τῶν συμπατριωτῶν του. Λόγω αὐτῆς τῆς παρρησίας, φυλακίστηκε καὶ μὲ ψεύτικες κατηγορίες καταδικάστηκε σὲ θάνατο. Ἔτσι δέχτηκε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου, ἀποκεφαλισθεὶς στὶς 16 Αὐγούστου 1686 στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, ὅταν ἦταν 19 χρονῶν.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Σεραφείμ, Δωρόθεος, Ἰάκωβος, Δημήτριος, Βασίλειος καὶ Σαράντης - εὕρεσις τῶν τιμίων λειψάνων τους
Γι᾿ αὐτοὺς δὲν ἀναφέρουν τίποτα οἱ Συναξαριστές. Ἀκολουθία τους συνέταξε ὁ π. Γεράσιμος Μικραγιαννανίτης. Ὑπάρχει ὅμως παλιὸ χειρόγραφο, ποὺ φυλάσσεται στὸν φερώνυμο Ναὸ τῶν Ἁγίων στὰ Μέγαρα Ἀττικῆς, ποὺ μᾶς πληροφορεῖ ὅτι ἡ εὕρεσις τῶν τιμίων λειψάνων τους ἔγινε τὸ ἔτος 1798 σὲ τοποθεσίες τῆς πόλεως τῶν Μεγάρων, μετὰ ἀπὸ ἐμφάνισή τους σὲ ὄνειρο ἑνὸς ἐννιάχρονου παιδιοῦ, ποὺ ὀνομαζόταν Παΐσιος.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Τιμόθεος ἐπίσκοπος Εὐρίπου κτίτορας τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μονῆς Πεντέλης
Γεννήθηκε στὸ χωριὸ Κάλαμος Ἀττικῆς τὸ ἔτος 1510. Ὁ πατέρας του ἦταν ἱερέας καὶ τοῦ δίδαξε τὰ πρῶτα χριστιανικὰ γράμματα. Ἀπὸ παιδὶ ὁ Τιμόθεος διακρινόταν γιὰ τὸ ἁγνὸ ἦθος του καὶ τὴν εὐλάβειά του στὰ θεῖα. Σπούδασε τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα στὴν Ἀθήνα μὲ τὴν βοήθεια τοῦ τότε ἐπισκόπου Ὠρωποῦ. Μετὰ τὶς σπουδές του, ἐπέστρεψε στὸν Ὠρωπό, κοντὰ στὸν προστάτη του Ἐπίσκοπο, ὁ ὁποῖος τὸν χειροτόνησε Διάκονο καὶ κατόπιν ἱερέα. Μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τοῦ ἐπισκόπου αὐτοῦ, τὴν θέση του ἀνέλαβε ὁ Τιμόθεος. Τόσο ὅμως μεγάλο ἦταν τὸ πνευματικὸ ἔργο τοῦ Τιμοθέου στὸν λαὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὥστε ἀργότερα ἐκλέχτηκε Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Εὐρίπου (Χαλκίδος). Οἱ δυσκολίες ὅμως τῆς ἐποχῆς ἐκείνης, ἀνάγκασαν τὸν Τιμόθεο νὰ καταφύγει τὸ 1575 στὴν ἰδιαίτερη πατρίδα του, τὸν Κάλαμο Ἀττικῆς. Ἐκεῖ, ἀναχώρησε στὸ ὄρος τῆς Πεντέλης, ὅπου τὸ 1578 ἔκτισε τὴν Ἱερὰ Μονὴ Κοιμήσεως τῆς Θεοτόκου, καὶ ἀργότερα πῆρε τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Ὁσίου αὐτοῦ Πατρός. Τὸ 1590 πῆγε στὸ νησὶ Κέα (Τζιά), ὅπου στὶς 16 Αὐγούστου παρέδωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ πνεῦμα του. Ἡ ἁγία του κάρα σῴζεται μέχρι σήμερα στὴν Ἱερὰ Μονὴ Πεντέλης.
Translation of the Image Not-Made-By-Hands of our Lord Jesus Christ from Edessa to Constantinople (944)
The Third "Feast of the Savior" in August
While the Lord was preaching in Palestine, his fame reached a king Avgar of Edessa, who suffered from leprosy. Avgar sent a messenger named Ananias to ask whether the Lord could heal his illness. The king also charged Ananias, if he was unable to bring back Jesus Himself, to bring back a likeness of Him. When Ananias found Jesus, the Lord told him that he could not come to Edessa since the time of His passion was at hand. But he took a cloth and washed His face, miraculously leaving a perfect image of His face on the cloth. Ananias brought the holy image back to the king, who reverently kissed it. Immediately his leprosy was healed, save for a small lesion that remained on his forehead. Later the Apostle Thaddeus came to Edessa, preaching the gospel, and Avgar and his household were baptized, at which time his remaining leprosy vanished. The king had the holy likeness mounted on wood and displayed above the city gate for all to revere. But Avgar's grandson returned to idolatry, and the Bishop of Edessa had the image hidden in the city wall to prevent it from being defiled. Many years later, when the Persian king Chosroes besieged Edessa, the Bishop Eulabius was told in a vision to find the sealed chamber, whose location had been forgotten. The holy icon was found, completely incorrupt, and by its power the Persian army was driven off. In the year 944 the image was brought to Constantinople and enshrined in the Church of the Theotokos called the Pharos. This is the event commemorated today.
Martyr Diomedes the Physician of Tarsus in Cilicia (298)
He is one of the Holy Unmercenary Physicians, a physician who practiced in Tarsus during the reign of Diocletian. Around 288 he came to Nicaea, where he healed many bodies by his medical arts and many souls through his preaching of the Gospel of Christ. The Emperor Diocletian sent men to arrest him, but when they arrived they found that he had already reposed. They cut off his head to take it back to the Emperor, and for this abomination were all struck blind. When Diocletian saw St Diomedes' head, he ordered the men to return it to the body from which they had taken it. As soon as they had done so, their sight was restored.
The Transfer from Edessa to Constantinople of the Not-Made-by-Hand Image of our Lord Jesus Christ occurred in the year 944. Tradition relates, that during the time of the preaching of the Saviour, Abgar rules in Edessa. He was stricken all over his body with leprosy. Reports about the great miracles, worked by the Lord, spread throughout Syria (Mt. 4: 24)and reached even Abgar. Without having seen the Saviour, Abgar believed in Him as the Son of God and wrote a letter with a request to come and heal him. He sent with this letter to Palestine his own portrait-painter Ananias, having commissioned him to make a depiction of the Divine Teacher. Ananias arrived in Jerusalem and caught glimpse of the Lord, surrounded by people. He was not able to get close to Him because of the large throng of people, listening to the preaching of the Saviour. Then he stood on an high-up rock and attempted from afar to render the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, but this for him turned out in no wise successful. The Saviour Himself caught sight of him, called to him by name and gave over to him for Abgar a short letter in which, having praised the faith of this ruler, He promised to send His disciple for both healing from leprosy and guidance for salvation. Then the Lord asked that there be brought Him water and a cloth (linen, or washcloth). He washed His Face, drying it with the cloth, and upon it was imprinted His Divine Countenance. Ananias took the cloth and the letter of the Saviour to Edessa. With reverence Abgar took the holy thing and he received healing; only a small part of traces of the terrible affliction remained upon his face until the arrival of the disciple promised by the Lord. He was the Disciple from the Seventy Saint Thaddeus (Comm. 21 August), who preached the Gospel and baptised the believer Abgar and all the people of Edessa. Having inscribed upon the Image Not-Made-by-Hand the words "O Christ God, let no one hoping on Thee be ashamed thereof", Abgar adorned it and placed it in a niche over the city gates.
For many years the inhabitants kept a pious custom to bow down before the Image Not-Made-by-Hand, when they went forth from the gates. But one of the great-grandsons of Abgar, later ruling Edessa, fell into idolatry. He decided to take down the Image from the city wall. In a vision the Lord ordered the Edessa bishop to hide His image. The bishop, coming by night with his clergy, lit a lampada before it and walled it over with a pottery-board and bricks. Many years passed, and the people forgot about it. But in the year 545, when the Persian emperor Chosroes I besieged Edessa and the position of the city seemed hopeless, the MostHoly Mother of God appeared to Eulabios and ordered him to secure the Image from the walled-in niche, and it would save the city from the enemy. Having opened the niche, the bishop found the Not-Made-by-Hand Image: in front of it was burning the lampada, and upon the pottery-board, closing in the niche, was the imaged likeness. After the making of church procession with the Image Not-Made-by-Hand along the city walls, the Persian army withdrew.
In the year 630 Arabs seized hold of Edessa, but they did not hinder the reverencing of the Image Not-Made-by-Hand, the fame of which had spread throughout all the East. In the year 944 the emperor Constantine Porphyrigenitos (912-959) wanted to transfer the Image to the then capital of Orthodoxy and he paid a ransom for it to the emir-ruler of the city. With great reverence the Not-Made-by-Hand Image of the Saviour and that letter, which He had written to Abgar, were transported by clergy to Constantinople. On 16 August the Image of the Saviour was placed in the Tharossa church of the MostHoly Mother of God. About what happened later with the Not-Made-by-Hand Image there exist several traditions. According to one, -- crusaders ran off with it during the time of their rule at Constantinople (1204-1261), but the ship, on which the sacred thing was taken, perished in the waters of the Sea of Marmora. According to another tradition, the Image Not-Made-by-Hand was transported around 1362 to Genoa, where it is preserved in a monastery in honour of the Apostle Bartholomew. It is known, that the Image Not-Made-by-Hand repeatedly gave from itself exact imprints. One of these, named "On Ceramic", was imprinted when Ananias hid the image in a wall on his way to Edessa; another, imprinted on a cloak, wound up in Gruzia (Georgia). Possibly, the variance of traditions about the original Image Not-Made-by-Hand derives from the existence of several exact imprints.
During the time of the Iconoclast heresy the defenders of Icon-Veneration (Ikonodoules), having their blood spilt for holy icons, sang the tropar to the Not-Made-by-Hand Image. In proof of the veracity of Icon-Veneration, Pope Gregory II (715-731) dispatched a letter to the Eastern emperor, in which he pointed out the healing of king Abgar and the sojourn of the Not-Made-by-Hand Image at Edessa as a commonly known fact. The Image Not-Made-by-Hand was put on the standards of the Russian army, defending them from the enemy. In the Russian Orthodox Church it is a pious custom for a believer, before entering the temple, to read together with other prayers the tropar of the Not-Made-by-Hand Image of the Saviour.
According to the Prologue there are known 4 Not-Made-by-Hand Images of the Saviour: 1) at Edessa, of king Abgar -- 16 August; 2) the Kamulian, -- Sainted Gregory of Nyssa (Comm. 10 January) wrote about its discovery, while according to the Monk Nikodemos of the Holy Mount (+ 1809, Comm. 1 July), the Kamulian image appeared in the year 392, but it had in appearance an image of the Mother of God -- 9 August; 3) in the time of emperor Tiberius (578-582), Saint Mary Syncletika (Comm. 11 August) received healing from this; 4) on ceramic tiles -- 16 August.
The feast in honour of the Transfer of the Image Not-Made-by-Hand, made together with the After-Feast of the Dormition, they call the third-above Saviour Image, the "Saviour on Linen Cloth". The particular reverence of this feast in the Russian Orthodox Church is also expressed in iconography -- the icon of the Not-Made-by-Hand Image was one of the most widely distributed.
The Martyr Diomedes was born in Cilician Tarsus, and by profession he was a physician, but by belief a Christian, and he treated not only ills not only of body but also of soul. He enlightened many pagans with belief in Christ, and baptised them. The Church venerates him as an healer and summons his name during the making of the Sacrament of Oil-Anointing the Sick.
Saint Diomedes traveled much, converting people to the true faith. When he arrived in the city of Nicea, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) sent soldiers to arrest him. Along the way from Nicea to Nicomedia, he got down from the cart so as to pray, and he died. As proof of carrying out their orders, the soldiers cut off his head, but became blinded. Diocletian gave orders to take away the head back to the body. When the soldiers fulfilled the order, their sight was restored and they believed in Christ.
The Monk Cherimon asceticised in Egypt in the Skete wilderness-monastery, either at the end of the IV Century or the beginning years of the V Century. His name is remembered in the "Lausiaca" of Palladios and in the alphabetic Paterikon. His cave stood at a distance of 40 stadia from church and 12 stadia from a spring of water. The saint died at handicraft at more than 100 years of age. The Monk Cherimon is remembered likewise by the Monk Theodore the Studite (+ 11 November 826) within the Lenten Triodion -- in the Service for Cheesefare Saturday, in the 6th Ode of the Matins canon.
The MonkMartyr Nikodemos of Meteoreia asceticised in Thessaly, and suffered in the year 1551.
The Martyr Stamatios was a native of the city of Boleia (Thessaly). They slandered him as having accepted Islam, but he bravely confessed himself a Christian and was beheaded by the sword at Constantinople in 1680.
The Monk Joakim of Osogovsk was one of four great hermits of Bulgaria, having inspired by his ascetic efforts hundreds and thousands of people to Christian asceticism. He lived in the XI Century, unknown by anyone, in a cave on the Osogovsk heights. Just before his death he chanced to encounter two hunters, whom he blessed for a successful hunt. The demise of the monk followed, as he revealed in a posthumous vision, "during a great darkness (i.e. an eclipse) eight years previous", i.e. approximately in the year 1115. A monastery was afterwards built on the place of his ascetic deeds.
The Theodorovsk (Feodorovsk) Kostroma Icon of the Mother of God -- the account about it is located under 14 March.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE ICON OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, "NOT MADE WITH HANDS"
At the time when our Lord preached the Good News and healed every illness and infirmity of men, there lived in the city of Edessa on the shore of the Euphrates Prince Abgar who was completely infected with leprosy. He heard of Christ, the Healer of every pain and disease and sent an artist, Ananias, to Palestine with a letter to Christ in which he begged the Lord to come to Edessa and to cure him of leprosy. In the event that the Lord was unable to come, the prince ordered Ananias to portray His likeness and to bring it to him, believing that this likeness would be able to restore his health. The Lord answered that He was unable to come, for the time of His passion was approaching took a towel, wiped His face and, on the towel, His All-pure face was perfectly pictured. The Lord gave this towel to Ananias with the message that the prince will be healed by it, but not entirely, and later on, He would send him a messenger who would erase the remainder of his disease. Receiving the towel, Prince Abgar kissed it and the leprosy completely fell from his body but a little of it remained on his face. Later, the Apostle Thaddaeus, preaching the Gospel, came to Abgar and secretly healed and baptized him. The prince then destroyed the idols which stood before the gates of the city and above the gates he placed the towel with the likeness of Christ attached to wood, framed in a gold frame and adorned with pearls. Also, the prince wrote beneath the icon on the gates: "O Christ God, no one will be ashamed who hopes in You." Later, one of Abgar's great grandsons restored idolatry and the bishop of Edessa came by night and walled up that icon over the gates. Centuries have passed since then. During the reign of Emperor Justinian, the Persian King Chozroes attacked Edessa and the city was in great hardship. It happened that Eulabius, the Bishop of Edessa, had a vision of the All-Holy Theotokos who revealed to him the mystery of the sealed wall and the forgotten icon. The icon was discovered and, by its power, the Persian army was defeated.
2. THE HOLY MARTYR DIOMEDES [DIOMIDIUS]
Diomedes was of prominent birth and a physician from Tarsus. Healing the people, Diomedes taught them about the Faith of Christ. Emperor Diocletian ordered him beheaded in Nicaea in the year 298 A.D. Those who beheaded him and brought his head to the emperor were blinded and when they returned the head to the body and prayed, they were made whole again.
3. THE VENERABLE JOACHIM OSOGOVSK
Joachim lived a life of asceticism in the second half of the eleventh century on the Osogovsk mountain in a cave at a place called Sarandopor. Later, in this place, another ascetic, Theodore from the Field of Sheep, to whom St. Joachim appeared in a dream, built a church. Throughout the centuries, many miracles occurred over the relics of the Venerable Joachim and still do today.
4. THE HOLY MARTYR STAMATIUS
Stamatius was a peasant born in Volos in Thessaly. When an inhuman Agha [Aga] collected the royal tribute from the people and greatly mistreated them, Stamatius departed for Constantinople with several of his companions to complain to the Vizir [Vizier]. By his sharp criticisms of the Agha, Stamatius offended the sultan's noblemen and they arrested him. At first, they wanted to convert him to Islam by flattery, promising him riches, glory and honor. But the martyr cried out: "My riches, glory and honor; that is my Christ." Then the Turks tortured him and finally, before the Church of the Divine Wisdom [Hagia Sophia], Stamatius was beheaded in the year 1680 A.D. That is how this soldier of Christ was crowned with the martyr's wreath.
HYMN OF PRAISE
A gentle God, Who reveals mysteries,
Wonderful mysteries, never before dreamed of,
Once by the lake, You proclaimed
That many pagan peoples
From throughout the east, to the west
With Abraham to sit at the table,
And the unbelieving sons of the Jews
To utter darkness, will be expelled
Because of their hardened heart.
The mystery You spoke and the mystery came about:
The Jews in Your face gazed,
Behind Your back, death, were preparing.
And from distant regions, Prince Abgar,
A leprous body and a wretched soul
From a false faith of paganism,
Heard of You from mouth to mouth,
Heard of Your words and miracles,
Heard of You and, in You, believed
Of Your All-pure face, saw the likeness
With tears, kissed the likeness
In both body and soul, became whole
His soul in Paradise, took up abode
With Abraham to rejoice eternally.
The Orthodox Church surpasses all other Christian groups in the richness of her Tradition. The Protestants want only to adhere to Holy Scripture. But, not even Holy Scripture can be interpreted without Tradition. The Apostle Paul himself commands: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle" (2 Thessalonians 2:15). The tradition of Prince Abgar, without doubt, is of Apostolic Tradition even though the apostles do not mention him in their writings. The Apostle Thaddaeus, did not write anything at all and, according to Protestant thinking, did not say anything and neither did he teach the faithful. According to what then was he an apostle of Christ? St. John Damascene [Damaskin] mentions the tradition of Prince Abgar in his defense of the veneration of icons. How wonderful and touching is the letter of Abgar to Christ. And since he previously wrote that he heard of His miraculous power, that He cures the sick and since he implored Him to come and to heal him, Abgar further writes: "I also hear that the Jews hate You and that they are preparing some evil against You. I have a city, not large, but beautiful and bountiful in every good: come to me and live with me in my city, which is sufficient for the both of us for every need." Thus wrote a heathen prince while the princes of Jerusalem were preparing death for the Lord, the Lover of Mankind.
To contemplate God's wondrous help to Jonathan, the son of Saul (1 Samuel 13-14 1 Kings 13-14):
1. How the Philistines rose up against the Jews and the army of the Philistines was: "as the sand which is on the sea shore" (1 Samuel 13:5 - 1 Kings 13:5);
2. How Jonathan with his young man that bore his armor [armorbearer], attacked the Philistines, trusting in God and how he confused and defeated them;
3. How even we should know the truthfulness of Jonathan's words: "It may be the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few" (1 Samuel 14:6 1 Kings 14:6).
About the divine branch from the root of Jesse
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1).
With such clear prophesies about Christ the Lord, why did not the Jews believe in Him as the Messiah? Because of their insane pride and because of their insane crimes against holy and righteous men. Who is that rod from the stem of Jesse other than the Lord Christ? Jesse was the father of King David and the Messiah was expected from the lineage of David. He appeared from the lineage of David and from Bethlehem, the city of David. The "rod out of the stem of Jesse" signifies the physical descent of the Lord through the Virgin Mary, a descendant of Jesse and David, and the "branch out of his roots" Jesse's roots signifies the revealed righteousness in Him which was trampled down by the many kings from the house of David. Trampled down righteousness is like a dry tree stump. But from the root of such a tree stump, a green branch sometimes sprouts. The Lord Jesus will be such a self-sprouting branch. From His mother, He will be of the lineage of David, by righteousness from the lineage of David but by His Divine Conception, He will be of the Holy Spirit. In eternity from the Father without a mother, in time from a mother without a father. In eternity, the concept of becoming man [incarnation] remained hidden under the covering of Divinity; in time, His Divinity therefore remained hidden under the covering of humanity. Pilate gazed in vain at this "rod from the stem of Jesse" and cried out: "Behold the Man!" (St. John 19:5), the same as when one looks at a wire conveying electrical current among many ordinary wires and cries out: "Behold the wire!" Neither does he recognize electrical current in a wire nor did that one [Pilate] recognize God in man.
O Lord Jesus, Man-kind loving God-man, make us to love God and save us.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.