FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Andrew the General & Martyr & his 2,593 soldiers
Holy Martyrs Timothy, Agapius and Thecla
Theophanes the New Wonderworker of Macedonia
Afterfeast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from John 21:14-25
At that time, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."
Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" So, the word went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die; but Jesus did not say to him that he would not die. He said, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 21.14-25
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐφανερώθη ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ἐγερθεὶς ἐκ νεκρῶν. ῞Οτε οὖν ἠρίστησαν, λέγει τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρῳ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· Σίμων ᾿Ιωνᾶ, ἀγαπᾷς με πλεῖον τούτων; λέγει αὐτῷ· ναί, Κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε. λέγει αὐτῷ· βόσκε τὰ ἀρνία μου. λέγει αὐτῷ πάλιν δεύτερον· Σίμων ᾿Ιωνᾶ, ἀγαπᾷς με; λέγει αὐτῷ· ναί, Κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε. λέγει αὐτῷ· ποίμαινε τὰ πρόβατά μου. λέγει αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον· Σίμων ᾿Ιωνᾶ, φιλεῖς με; ἐλυπήθη ὁ Πέτρος ὅτι εἶπεν αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον, φιλεῖς με, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Κύριε, σὺ πάντα οἶδας, σὺ γινώσκεις ὅτι φιλῶ σε. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· βόσκε τὰ πρόβατά μου. ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ὅτε ἦς νεώτερος, ἐζώννυες σεαυτὸν καὶ περιεπάτεις ὅπου ἤθελες· ὅταν δὲ γηράσῃς, ἐκτενεῖς τὰς χεῖράς σου, καὶ ἄλλος σε ζώσει, καὶ οἴσει ὅπου οὐ θέλεις. τοῦτο δὲ εἶπε σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ δοξάσει τὸν Θεόν. καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν λέγει αὐτῷ· ἀκολούθει μοι. ἐπιστραφεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος βλέπει τὸν μαθητὴν ὃν ἠγάπα ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀκολουθοῦντα, ὃς καὶ ἀνέπεσεν ἐν τῷ δείπνῳ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπε· Κύριε, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παραδιδούς σε; τοῦτον ἰδὼν ὁ Πέτρος λέγει τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ· Κύριε, οὗτος δὲ τί; λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ἐὰν αὐτὸν θέλω μένειν ἕως ἔρχομαι, τί πρὸς σέ; σὺ ἀκολούθει μοι. ἐξῆλθεν οὖν ὁ λόγος οὗτος εἰς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ὅτι ὁ μαθητὴς ἐκεῖνος οὐκ ἀποθνήσκει· καὶ οὐκ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ὅτι οὐκ ἀποθνήσκει, ἀλλ᾽ ἐὰν αὐτὸν θέλω μένειν ἕως ἔρχομαι, τί πρὸς σέ; Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μαθητὴς ὁ μαρτυρῶν περὶ τούτων καὶ γράψας ταῦτα, καὶ οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθής ἐστιν ἡ μαρτυρία αὐτοῦ. ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἄλλα πολλὰ ὅσα ἐποίησεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς, ἅτινα ἐὰν γράφηται καθ᾽ ἕν, οὐδὲ αὐτὸν οἶμαι τὸν κόσμον χωρῆσαι τὰ γραφόμενα βιβλία. ἀμήν.
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 9:2-12
BRETHREN, you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 9:2-12
Ἀδελφοί, ἡ σφραγὶς τῆς ἐμῆς ἀποστολῆς ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν κυρίῳ. Ἡ ἐμὴ ἀπολογία τοῖς ἐμὲ ἀνακρίνουσιν αὕτη ἐστίν. Μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν φαγεῖν καὶ πιεῖν; Μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιάγειν, ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι, καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ Κηφᾶς; Ἢ μόνος ἐγὼ καὶ Βαρνάβας οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν τοῦ μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι; Τίς στρατεύεται ἰδίοις ὀψωνίοις ποτέ; Τίς φυτεύει ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ καρποῦ αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐσθίει; Ἢ τίς ποιμαίνει ποίμνην, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ γάλακτος τῆς ποίμνης οὐκ ἐσθίει; Μὴ κατὰ ἄνθρωπον ταῦτα λαλῶ; Ἢ οὐχὶ καὶ ὁ νόμος ταῦτα λέγει; Ἐν γὰρ τῷ Μωϋσέως νόμῳ γέγραπται, Οὐ φιμώσεις βοῦν ἀλοῶντα. Μὴ τῶν βοῶν μέλει τῷ θεῷ; Ἢ διʼ ἡμᾶς πάντως λέγει; Διʼ ἡμᾶς γὰρ ἐγράφη, ὅτι ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ὀφείλει ὁ ἀροτριῶν ἀροτριᾷν, καὶ ὁ ἀλοῶν τῆς ἐλπίδος αὐτοῦ μετέχειν ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι. Εἰ ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν τὰ πνευματικὰ ἐσπείραμεν, μέγα εἰ ἡμεῖς ὑμῶν τὰ σαρκικὰ θερίσομεν; Εἰ ἄλλοι τῆς ἐξουσίας ὑμῶν μετέχουσιν, οὐ μᾶλλον ἡμεῖς; Ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐχρησάμεθα τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ ταύτῃ, ἀλλὰ πάντα στέγομεν, ἵνα μὴ ἐγκοπήν τινα δῶμεν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
The Reading is from Matthew 18:23-35
The Lord said this parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailors, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 18.23-35
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τήν παραβολὴν ταύτην· Ὡμοιώθη ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ βασιλεῖ, ὃς ἠθέλησε συνᾶραι λόγον μετὰ τῶν δούλων αὐτοῦ. ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν προσηνέχθη αὐτῷ εἷς ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων. μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα εἶχε, καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι. πεσὼν οὖν ὁ δοῦλος προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων· κύριε, μακροθύμησον ἐπ᾿ ἐμοὶ καὶ πάντα σοι ἀποδώσω. σπλαγχνισθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἀπέλυσεν αὐτὸν καὶ τὸ δάνειον ἀφῆκεν αὐτῷ. ἐξελθὼν δὲ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος εὗρεν ἕνα τῶν συνδούλων αὐτοῦ, ὃς ὤφειλεν αὐτῷ ἑκατὸν δηνάρια, καὶ κρατήσας αὐτὸν ἔπνιγε λέγων· ἀπόδος μοι εἴ τι ὀφείλεις. πεσὼν οὖν ὁ σύνδουλος αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν λέγων· μακροθύμησον ἐπ᾿ ἐμοὶ καὶ ἀποδώσω σοι. ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἤθελεν, ἀλλὰ ἀπελθὼν ἔβαλεν αὐτὸν εἰς φυλακὴν ἕως οὗ ἀποδῷ τὸ ὀφειλόμενον. ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ σύνδουλοι αὐτοῦ τὰ γενόμενα ἐλυπήθησαν σφόδρα, καὶ ἐλθόντες διεσάφησαν τῷ κυρίῳ ἑαυτῶν πάντα τὰ γενόμενα. τότε προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ λέγει αὐτῷ· δοῦλε πονηρέ, πᾶσαν τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἐκείνην ἀφῆκά σοι, ἐπεὶ παρεκάλεσάς με. οὐκ ἔδει καὶ σὲ ἐλεῆσαι τὸν σύνδουλόν σου, ὡς καὶ ἐγώ σε ἠλέησα; καὶ ὀργισθεὶς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν τοῖς βασανισταῖς ἕως οὗ ἀποδῷ πᾶν τὸ ὀφειλόμενον αὐτῷ. Οὕτω καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ ἐπουράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Ιθ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου μεγαλομάρτυρος Ἀνδρέου τοῦ Στρατηλάτου, καί τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ τελειωθέντων δισχιλίων πεντακοσίων ἐνενήκοντα τριῶν.
Ἔστησε τμηθεὶς αἱμάτων λίμνας ὄχλος,
Σοὶ τῷ παραστήσαντι λίμνας ὑδάτων.
Ἐννεακαιδεκάτῃ τάμον Ἀνδρέου αὐχένα λαμπρόν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων μαρτύρων Τιμοθέου, Ἀγαπίου καὶ Θέκλης.
Πυρεῖον ἡ κάμινος, ἐν μέσῳ φέρον,
Ἄρωμα Τιμόθεον εὔοσμον μάλα.
Ἀγάπιος τὸ δῆγμα τοῦ θηρὸς φέρει,
Καὶ ψυχοδήκτης δάκνεται θὴρ τὴν καρδίαν.
Ἔμοιγε κλῆσις Θέκλα· πατρὶς Βιζύη.
Γάζης τόπος θέατρον, ἆθλον θὴρ δάκνων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων μαρτύρων Εὐτυχιανοῦ τοῦ στρατιώτου καὶ Στρατηγίου, διὰ πυρὸς τελειωθέντων.
Ὁ ὅσιος Θεοφάνης ὁ νέος καὶ θαυματουργός, ὁ ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῆς κατὰ Μακεδονίαν Ναούσης ἀσκήσας, οὗ καὶ τὸ λείψανον ἐν τῇ Ναούσῃ ἤδη ἐστίν, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Εὐτυχιανὸς καίεται, κρίνας μέγα
Τὴν καῦσιν εὐτύχημα, μικρὸν τὸ πάθος.
Ὁ Στρατήγιος, Χριστὸν ὡς ὅπλον φέρων,
Κατεστρατήγει καὶ πυρᾶς διηρμένης.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
During the reign of Maximian, about the year 289, Antiochus the Commander-in-Chief of the Roman forces sent Andrew with many other soldiers against the Persians, who had overrun the borders of the Roman dominion. Saint Andrew persuaded his men to call upon the Name of Christ, and when they had defeated the Persians with unexpected triumph, his soldiers believed in Christ with him. Antiochus, learning of this, had them brought before him. When they confessed Christ to be God, he had Andrew spread out upon a bed of iron heated fiery hot, and had the hands of his fellow soldiers nailed to blocks of wood. Antiochus then commanded some thousand soldiers to chase the Saints beyond the borders of the empire. Through the instructions of Saint Andrew, these soldiers also believed in Christ. At the command of Antiochus, they were all beheaded in the mountain passes of the Taurus mountains of Cilicia.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Οι Μάρτυρές σου, Κύριε, εν τή αθλήσει αυτών, στεφάνους εκομίσαντο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, σχόντες γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλον, έθραυσαν καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση. Αυτών ταίς ικεσίαις, Χριστέ ο Θεός, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
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.
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.
Μεγάλη αξία έχει πάντα το παράδειγμα του αρχηγού και μάλιστα στον πόλεμο. Με το παράδειγμά του ο στρατηγός, με την ανδρεία και την ευψυχίατου, κερδίζει των στρατιωτών και συμπολεμιστών του την εμπιστοσύνη. Κι είναι ακριβώς η περίπτωση που χωρίς αυτή την εμπιστοσύνη δεν γίνεται τίποτε, γιατί στον πόλεμο και στην μάχη μόνο ψυχικές και ηθικές δυνάμεις χειρίζονται και κινούν τα όπλα. Κι ακόμα τον πόλεμο και την μάχη κανένας δεν τα παίρνει για πανηγύρι, παρά μονάχα όταν εμψυχώνεται από το παράδειγμα του καλού αρχηγού. Αλλά δεν πρόκειται βέβαια μόνο για πολέμους και μάχες του κόσμου, μα πολύ περισσότερο για πολέμους πνευματικούς, στους οποίους δεν παίζεται η τύχη μιας μάχης, αλλά το αιώνιο μέλλον του ανθρώπου. Σε μια μάχη κοσμική και πνευματική μαζί ο άγιος Ανδρέας ο στρατηλάτης, που τον γιορτάζει η Εκκλησία σήμερα, έγινε αρχηγός και νικητής επί κεφαλής δυόμισυ χιλιάδων στρατιωτών Μαρτύρων.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀνδρέας ὁ Στρατηλάτης καὶ οἱ 2593 Μάρτυρες, ποὺ μαρτύρησαν μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτόν
Οἱ στρατιῶτες ἦταν κυριευμένοι ἀπὸ φόβο, λόγω του ὅτι ὁ ἐχθρὸς ἦταν πολυάριθμος καὶ εἶχε πολλὲς νῖκες στὸ ἐνεργητικό του. Ἡ ἀρχηγία τοῦ μικροῦ σώματος στρατιωτῶν εἶχε ἀνατεθεῖ ἀπὸ τὸν ἀρχιστράτηγο Ἀντίοχο σὲ ἕνα γενναῖο χριστιανὸ ἀξιωματικό, τὸν Ἀνδρέα. Βεβαίωσε λοιπὸν ὁ Ἀνδρέας τοὺς στρατιῶτες του πὼς ὁ θρίαμβος τῆς νίκης θὰ εἶναι μὲ τὸ μέρος τους, ἂν ὅλοι με πραγματικὴ πίστη ἐπικαλεσθοῦν τὸν παντοδύναμο Θεὸ τῶν χριστιανῶν. Διότι ὅλα τὰ κατορθώματα τῶν χριστιανῶν ἐπιτυγχάνονται «σὺν τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ», μὲ τὴν δύναμη, δηλαδή, τοῦ Κυρίου μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Πράγματι, τὰ λόγια τοῦ Ἀνδρέα ἀνύψωσαν τὸ ἠθικὸ τῶν στρατιωτῶν, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ συντρίψουν τὸ πολυπληθὲς στράτευμα τοῦ ἐχθροῦ. Ὁ Ἀντίοχος ἐπαίνεσε δημόσια τὸ κατόρθωμα αὐτό, ἀλλὰ ὅταν ἔμαθε ὅτι οἱ στρατιῶτες εἱλκύσθησαν ἀπὸ τὸν Ἀνδρέα στὸ χριστιανισμό, ἔστειλε 1000 στρατιῶτες νὰ τοὺς ἀφοπλίσουν καὶ νὰ τοὺς στείλουν στὰ σπίτια τους. Ὁ Ἀνδρέας, ὅμως, μετὰ ἀπὸ συζήτηση εἵλκυσε κι αὐτοὺς στὸ χριστιανισμό. Ἐξοργισμένος τότε ὁ Ἀντίοχος, ἔστειλε εἰδικὸ σῶμα μὲ ἔμπιστους ἀξιωματικοὺς καὶ σκότωσε ὅλους τοὺς χριστιανοὺς στρατιῶτες. Ἦταν στὸν ἀριθμὸ 2593.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Τιμόθεος, Ἀγάπιος καὶ Θέκλα
Μαρτύρησαν καὶ οἱ τρεῖς στὴ Γάζα, ποὺ ἦταν ἀρχαία πόλη τῆς Χαναάν. Ἀπὸ τὰ ἀποστολικὰ χρόνια ἱδρύθηκε ἐκεῖ χριστιανικὴ ἐκκλησία, ποὺ εἶχε συνεχῆ πόλεμο ἀπὸ τὴν εἰδωλολατρεία. Ἡ ἐκκλησία αὐτὴ συνεχῶς αὐξανόταν σὲ δύναμη καὶ οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες κατὰ καιροὺς ἐξεγείρονταν κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν βιαιότεροι. Σὲ μία τέτοια λοιπὸν ἐξέγερση, συνελήφθη μὲ διαταγὴ τοῦ ἔπαρχου Οὐρβανοῦ καὶ ὁ Τιμόθεος. Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Παλαιστίνη, καὶ ἦταν χριστιανὸς εὐσεβέστατος μὲ πολὺ ζῆλο ἐργαζόμενος γιὰ τὴν διάδοση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Κέρδισε δὲ τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου, ἀφοῦ τὸν ἔριξαν στὴ φωτιὰ μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ ἄλλα βασανιστήρια. Τὸν ἴδιο καιρό, μαρτύρησαν καὶ ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀγάπιος καθὼς καὶ ἡ παρθένος Θέκλα, ποὺ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Βιζύη καὶ ἐργαζόταν καὶ αὐτὴ μεταξὺ τοῦ γυναικείου κόσμου, γιὰ τὴν διάδοση τῆς χριστιανικῆς πίστης. Καὶ οἱ δυό τους βασανίστηκαν σκληρὰ καὶ γιὰ πολὺ χρόνο. Τελικὰ πέθαναν ἔνδοξα, ἀφοῦ οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες τοὺς ἔριξαν γιὰ τροφὴ στὰ ἄγρια θηρία.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Εὐτυχιανὸς ὁ στρατιώτης καὶ Στρατήγιος
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ πυρός.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Θεοφάνης ὁ νέος καὶ θαυματουργός
Γεννήθηκε στὰ Ἰωάννινα, στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ 16ου αἰῶνα. Πῆγε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, ὅπου στὴ Μονὴ Δοχειαρίου ἐκάρη μοναχὸς καὶ ἀργότερα, λόγω τῆς ὁσιακῆς ζωῆς του, ἐξελέγη ἡγούμενος τῆς ἐν λόγῳ Μονῆς. Μετὰ ἀπὸ μία περιπέτεια μὲ τὸν ἀνεψιό του, κατέληξε σ᾿ ἕνα ὄρος τῆς Νάουσας τῆς Μακεδονίας, ὅπου ἔκτισε Μονὴ καὶ ναὸ στὸ ὄνομα τῶν Ἀρχαγγέλων. Ἡ ζωή του ὑπῆρξε πραγματικὰ ἁγία καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸ μετὰ τὸν θάνατό του, ἡ σεβάσμια κάρα του, ποὺ μεταφέρθηκε στὴ Μονὴ τῆς Νάουσας, ἔγινε ἀφορμὴ πολλῶν θαυμάτων.
Martyr Andrew Strateletes and 2,593 soldiers with him in Cilicia (~289)
"He was an officer, a tribune, in the Roman army in the time of the Emperor Maximian. A Syrian by birth, he served in his native land. When the Persians attacked the imperial Roman army, this Andrew was entrusted with the command in the battle against the enemy — whence his title: commander, strateletes. A secret Christian, although as yet unbaptised, Andrew commended himself to the living God, and, taking only the cream of the army, went to war. Before the battle, he told his soldiers that, if they all called upon the aid of the one, true God, Christ the Lord, their enemies would become as dust scattered before them. All the soldiers, fired with enthusiasm by Andrew and his faith, invoked Christ's aid and attacked. The Persian army was utterly routed. When the victorious Andrew returned to Antioch, some jealous men denounced him as a Christian and the imperial governor summoned him for trial. Andrew openly proclaimed his steadfast faith in Christ. After harsh torture, the governor threw Andrew into prison and wrote to the Emperor in Rome. Knowing Andrew's popularity among the people and in the army, the Emperor ordered the governor to set Andrew free, but to seek another occasion and another excuse (not his faith) to kill him. By God's revelation, Andrew came to know of this imperial command, and, taking his faithful soldiers (2,593 in all) with him, went off to Tarsus in Cilicia, where they were all baptised by the bishop, Peter. Persecuted here also by imperial might, Andrew and his companions withdrew deep into the Armenian mountain of Tavros. There in a ravine, while they were at prayer, the Roman army came upon them and beheaded them all. Not one of them would recant, all being determined on death by martyrdom for Christ. On the spot where a stream of the martyrs' blood flowed down, a spring of healing water sprang forth, healing from every disease. The bishop, Peter, came secretly with his people and buried the martyrs' bodies in that same place. They all suffered with honour at the end of the third century and were crowned with wreaths of eternal glory, entering into the Kingdom of Christ our God." (Prologue)
The Martyr Andrew (Andreios) Stratelates was a military commander in the Roman armies during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). They loved him in the Roman armies because of his bravery, invincibility and sense of fairness. When a large Persian army invaded the Syrian territories, the governor Antiochus entrusted Saint Andrew with the command of the Roman army, giving him the title of "Stratelates" ("Commander-General"). Saint Andrew chose for himself a not large detachment of brave soldiers and proceeded against the adversary. His soldiers were pagans. Saint Andrew himself had still not accepted Baptism, but he believed in Jesus Christ. Before the conflict he persuaded the soldiers, that the pagan gods -- were demons and unable to render help in battle. He proclaimed to them Jesus Christ, the omnipotent God of Heaven and earth, giving help to all believing in Him. The soldiers went into battle, calling on the help of the Saviour. The not large detachment set to flight the numerous host of the Persians. Saint Andrew returned from the campaign in glory, having gained a total victory. But the jealous reported on him to the governor Antiochus, that he -- was a Christian, converting to his faith the soldiers under his command. Saint Andrew was summoned to trial, and there he declared his faith in Christ. For this they subjected him to torture. He reclined himself upon a bed of white-hot copper, but as soon as he recoursed to help from the Lord, the bed became cool. They crucified his soldiers on trees, but not one of them renounced Christ. Having locked the saints away in prison, Antiochus dispatched the report of charges on to the emperor, being undecided on whether to impose the death sentence upon the acclaimed victor. The emperor knew, how the army loved Saint Andrew, and fearing a mutiny, he gave orders to free the martyrs, and secretly he ordered that each under some pretext be executed separately.
Having been set free, Saint Andrew together with his fellow soldiers went on to the city of Tarsus. There the local bishop Peter and bishop Nonos of Beroeia baptised them. Then the soldiers proceeded on to the vicinity of Taxanata. Antiochus wrote a letter to the governor of the Cilicia region Seleukos, that under the excuse of deserting their military standards he should overtake the company of Saint Andrew and kill them. Seleukos came upon the martyrs in the passes of Mount Tauros, where they were evidently soon to suffer. Saint Andrew, calling the soldiers his brothers and children, urged them not to fear death. He prayed for all who would honour their memory, and besought the Lord to send a curative spring on the place where their blood would be shed. At the time of this prayer the steadfast martyrs were beheaded with swords (+ c. 302). During this time a spring of water issued forth from the ground. Bishops Peter and Nonos, with their clergy secretly following the company of Saint Andrew, buried their bodies. One of the clergy, suffering for a long time from an evil spirit, drank from the spring of water and at once he was healed. Reports about this spread amongst the local people and they started to come to the spring, and through the prayers of Saint Andrew and the 2593 Martyrs suffering with him, they received gracious help from God.
Sainted Pitirim, Bishop of Velikoperm (GreatPerm), was chosen and consecrated to the Perm cathedra-seat after the suffering and death of Sainted Gerasim of Perm (+ post 1441, Comm. 24 January). Before becoming bishop, Saint Pitirim in the dignity of archimandrite was head of the Chudov monastery. He later became known as compiler of the Canon to Sainted Alexei, Metropolitan of Moscow (Comm. 12 February), and he gathered the account of his vita-life. As bishop, Saint Pitirim first of all occupied himself with establishing friendly relations between the Zyryani and Voguli peoples. He circulated admonitory letters and messages, seeking to defend the Zyryani from pillage. The Voguli leader Asyka however, taking advantage of princely dissentions and the remoteness of the bishop from the capital, plundered Christian settlements and killed defenseless people. Novgorod landowners held lands at the Rivers Vyg and Dvina, suffering death with the constant pillaging, and in the year 1445 they marched out against the Voguli and took Asyka captive. The crafty pagan swore friendship in relation to Perm and vowed to harass Christians no longer. Set free, Asyka waited for a convenient moment to attack Ust'-Vym with the aim of killing Saint Pitirim, to whom he attributed his defeat by the Novgorodians. During this time Saint Pitirim was twice in Moscow: in 1447 for the compiling of a circular missive to prince Dimitrii Shemyaka, having broken a treaty oath (they presuppose, that the compiler of the grammota was Saint Pitirim), and again in the year 1448 for the consecration of Saint Jona, Metropolitan of Moscow (Comm. 31 March). Taking advantage of Saint Pitirim's absence, Asyka again made an attack on a Zyryani settlement near the Pechora, robbing and killing the inhabitants. Not only the Zyryani, but also the Voguli living their nomadic life near the Pechora tributary, had become convinced of the truth of the preachings of Saint Pitirim, and they had begun to accept Baptism. Embittered by this, Asyka committed a new crime. On 19 August 1456 he murdered Saint Pitirim, when he was out blessing the waters at the point of land formed by the confluence of the Rivers Vaga and Vychegda. The body of the saint remained for 40 days in a grave at the place of death (since they awaited an answer to the sad news of his death), and in spite of it being an hot period, decay did not touch him. The saint was buried in the Ust'-Vym cathedral church of the Annunciation next to his predecessor Saint Gerasim. The memory of his repose was entered into an ustav already in the year 1522. And in the year 1607 there was established the memory in common (29 January) of the three GreatPerm Sainted-Hierarchs: Gerasim, Pitirim and Jona, having succeeded one another at the Ust'-Vym cathedral.
The Martyrs Timothy, Agapios and Thekla suffered martyrdom in the year 304. The Martyr Timothy was a native of the city of Caesarea Palestine. He studied the Holy Scripture, and having received a special gift of eloquence, he became a teacher of the Christian faith. During the time of persecution against Christians under the co-emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305), the martyr was brought to trial by the governor Urban. Saint Timothy fearlessly declared himself a Christian and uttered an account about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for mankind and about His coming into the world for their salvation. The martyr was subjected to cruel torture, and when they saw that he remained down, they killed him.
And in this same town and year suffered the Martyrs Agapios and Thekla -- they were thrown to wild beasts for devouring and in such suffering they received their heavenly crowns.
The Monk Theophanes the New, a native of the city of Ianina, lived during the XV Century. He accepted monastic tonsure in early youth on Holy Mount Athos at the Dokhiar monastery. He was afterwards chosen hegumen of this monastery because of his lofty virtuousness. In saving his own nephew from the Turks, who by force had taken Constantinople and there established the Moslem religion, Saint Theophanes with the help of God set free the youth, hid him in his own monastery and gave him blessing for monastic tonsure. The brethren, fearing revenge on the part of the Turks, began grumbling against the saint, and he, not wanting to be the cause of discord and dissensions, he humbly withdrew with his nephew from the Dokhiar monastery, quit the Holy Mountain and went off to Beroeia. There, in the skete monastery of Saint John the Forerunner, Saint Theophanes built a church in honour of the MostHoly Mother of God. And as monks began to gather, he gave them a common-life monastic rule. When the monastery flourished, the saint withdrew to a new place at Nausa, where he made a church in honour of the holy Archangels and founded there also a monastery. To the very end of his days Saint Theophanes did not forsake guiding the monks of both monasteries, both regarding him as their father in common. In a revelation foreseeing his own end and giving his flock a final farewell, the saint died in extreme old age at the Beroeia monastery. Even during life the Lord had glorified his humble saint: saving people from destruction, he quelled a tempest by prayer, and converted sea water into drinking water. And the saint even after death never has forsaken people with his graced help.
The Donskoi Icon of the Mother of God was written by Theophan the Greek. On the day of the Kulikovo Battle (8 September 1380, the Feast of the Birth of the MostHoly Mother of God), the Icon was amidst the Russian army, giving it help, but after the victory it was passed on by the Don Cossacks as a gift to their commander, Greatprince Dimitrii Donskoy (1363-1389), who then transferred it to Moscow. The Icon at first came to be at the Kremlin Uspensky Sobor (Dormition Cathedral), and later at the Blagoveschenie-Annuniciation Cathedral (the Icon is now in the Tretyakov State Gallery). In commemoration of the victory on the banks of the River Don it was given the name of the Donskoi Icon.
In the year 1591 the Crimean khan Nuradin and his brother Murat-Girei invaded Russia with a numerous army, and advancing on Moscow, they positioned themselves on the Vorob'ev hills. For the guarding from enemies, around Moscow there was made a church procession with the Donskoi Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God. On the day of battle it was situated in the military chapel amidst the soldiers ranks and set the Tatars to flight. In thanksgiving to the MostHoly Mother of God for Her mercy, manifest through the Donskoi Icon, in 1592 at the very place where it stood amidst the soldiers was founded the Donskoi monastery, into which was put the wonderworking icon and feastday established under 19 August. By established custom, in the small cathedral in honour of the Donskoi Icon of the Mother of God, once every four years His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia performs the rite of the boiling of holy chrism.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYR ANDREW, STRATELATES [THE TRIBUNE THE COMMANDER]
Andrew was an officer, a tribune, in the Roman army during the reign of Emperor Maximian. He was a Syrian by birth and served in Syria. When the Persians menaced the Roman Empire with there military, Andrew was entrusted with the army to battle against the enemy. During this occasion, Andrew was promoted as a commander - Stratelates. Secretly a Christian, even though he was not baptized, Andrew trusted in the living God and, of the many soldiers, he chose only the best and entered into battle. He said to his soldiers before the battle that if they would call upon the help of the one, true God, Christ the Lord, their enemies will scatter as dust before them. Truly, all the soldiers filled with enthusiasm at Andrew and his faith invoked Christ for assistance and made an assault. The Persian army was utterly destroyed. When the victorious Andrew returned to Antioch some, who were envious, accused Andrew of being a Christian and the imperial deputy summoned him to court. Andrew openly confessed his unwavering faith in Christ. After bitter tortures, the deputy threw Andrew into prison and wrote to the emperor in Rome. Knowing Andrew's respect among the people and in the army, the emperor ordered the deputy to free Andrew to freedom and to seek another opportunity and another reason (not his faith) and then to kill him. Through God's revelation, Andrew learned of the emperor's command and, taking with him his faithful soldiers, 2593 in number, departed with them to Tarsus in Cilicia and there, all were baptized by Bishop Peter. Persecuted even there by the imperial authorities, Andrew with his detachment withdrew farther into the Armenian mountain Tavros. Here, in a ravine while they were at prayer, the Roman army caught up with them and all to the last one were beheaded. Not one of them even wanted to defend themselves but all were desirous of a martyr's death for Christ. On this spot, where a stream of the martyr's blood flowed, a spring of healing water erupted which cured many from every disease. Bishop Peter came secretly with his people and, on the same spot, honorably buried the bodies of the martyrs. Dying honorably, they were all crowned with the wreath of glory and took up habitation in the Kingdom of Christ our Lord.
2. THE VENERABLE THEOPHANES
Theophanes was born in Ioannia and, as a young man, left all and went to Mt. Athos where he was tonsured a monk in the community of Dochiariu. He was an example to all the monks in fasting, prayer, all-night vigils and depriving himself of all that was unnecessary. In time, and because of this, he was elected as abbot. Later, because of some misunderstanding with the monks, he left Mt. Athos and, with his nephew, went to Berea [Beroea] in Macedonia where he established a monastery in honor of the All-holy Theotokos. When this monastery blossomed with the spiritual life, Theophanes entrusted his nephew to govern it and he went to Naousa where he established another monastery in honor of the Holy Archangels. Theophanes died peacefully in the fifteenth century. His miracle-working relics, even now, repose in Naousa and manifest the great power of God.
3. THE HOLY MARTYRS TIMOTHY, AGAPIUS AND THECLA
All three were martyred for Christ during the reign of the wicked Emperor Diocletian. Timothy was burned alive and Agapius and Thecla were thrown before wild beasts.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY MARTYR ANDREW, STRATELATES [THE TRIBUNE]
The nature's song in the midst of Mt. Tavros
Echoed without a loud human response.
Until one day, the mountain shook,
Some new echo, through her was carried;
And the mountain, its eternal echo halted
In order to hear the new, which it had not in ages, heard.
There, the end of the brave detachment of Andrew was,
There, the wolves, the innocent lambs slaughtered;
Andrew, from the Persians, the Empire of Rome saved,
And now, against Andrew, the Roman army roar,
With two-thousand companions, Andrew to the earth knelt,
To his companions, good advice he spoke:
Now is the pleasant hour, now is the day of salvation,
From the earthly life, our separation.
On our knees humbly before God, let us kneel,
And for much good, let us warmly give thanks,
And mostly brethren, for a martyr's death
Without anger and shouting against the murderous hand.
Thus, Andrew spoke. To their knees they fell,
Two-thousand men, began to pray;
Of the bitter pursuers, swords flashing
Atop the mountain, choirs of angels shone,
The doors of Paradise, in heaven opened
For Andrew holy, the glorious Stratelates
And his army, who evil overcame
And for their Christ, shed honorable blood.
When an unexpected misfortune happens to us who are innocent, we should not immediately grieve but rather we should try to see in this the Providence of God, Who, through that misfortune, is preparing something new and beneficial for us. One day, unexpected news came to Blessed Theophanes, the abbot of Dochiariu, that the Turks had seized his sister's son, forced him to embrace Islam and took him to Constantinople. Theophanes immediately traveled to Constantinople and, with the help of God, succeeded to find his nephew and to secretly bring him out of Constantinople and brought him to his monastery on Mt. Athos. There, he again, received his nephew into the Christian Faith and, after that, also tonsured him a monk. However, the brethren began to complain against their abbot and his nephew for fear of the Turks, for they were afraid that the Turks would find out and come and destroy the monastery. Not knowing what to do, St. Theophanes took his nephew and, with him, secretly withdrew not only from Dochiariu but also from the Holy Mountain and came to Berea. The later activities of Theophanes in Berea and in Naousa proved how much that misfortune was beneficial to the Church. That which Theophanes could never succeed to achieve on the Holy Mountain, he achieved in these other places to which he had fled from that misfortune. Namely: he founded two new monasteries, where, in time, many monks were saved and where countless men found comfort for themselves. In addition to this, his holy relics among the Christian people became a source of healing for the strengthening of faith among many unbelievers and those of little faith. Thus, God wisely directs the destiny of men through unexpected misfortunes, which momentarily seem to men that they are going to their final destruction.
To contemplate the wondrous Providence of God in the life of David (1 Samuel 16 1 Kings 16):
1. How the Spirit of God withdrew from Saul because of Saul's sin;
2. How an evil spirit assaulted Saul so that he sought a harpist in order to comfort him;
3. How the servants of the king precisely found David and brought him to the king so as to calm him with the harp.
About the power of the Lord and the weakness of idols
"Behold, the Lord rideth upon a light cloud and shall come into Egypt: And the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence" (Isaiah 19:1).
Fleeing from King Herod, the Pharaoh of Jerusalem, the Lord came to Egypt. The true Israel is not reckoned according to the place but rather according to the spirit and deeds. At the time of the birth of the Lord, greater evil [Herod] reigned in Jerusalem than ever reigned in the Egypt of the Pharaohs as it often happens when believers fall away from the Faith, they become worse than the unbelievers who never knew the true Faith. Such is the case in our days with the rulers in Russia who apostatized from Christ. At that time, Egypt was a kinder and more hospitable place for the Savior of the world than was Jerusalem. Compare the words of the prophet with the words of the angel in a dream to the Righteous Joseph: "Arise, and take the young Child and His mother and flee into Egypt" (St Matthew 2:13) and immediately you will be convinced that the words of Isaiah do not refer to anyone other than Christ the Lord. You will be convinced of this even more when you hear the words of the other prophet who speaks: "Out of Egypt I called My son" (Hosea 11: 1).
What does "a light cloud" upon which He [the Lord] will come to Egypt signify? This signifies the body of the Lord in which He will clothe His divinity, for the body of man is as a dense cloud in which the soul resides. Therefore, that is the prophetic vision of the Incarnate Lord. Some interpreters also think that "a light cloud" signifies the Most-pure Mother of God who, by long fasting and prayer and other mortifications made her body as light as a cloud. Especially "light was that cloud" the body of the Birth-giver of God because of the absence of passions, which burden the human body.
O, All-merciful Lord, Who desires salvation for all mankind and does not look to see who is a Jew and who is an Egyptian, save and have mercy on us for we continuously hope in Your Name.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.