FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Samuel the Prophet
Holy Martyr Luke of Bouleutos
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 Second Letter to the Corinthians 5:10-15
BRETHREN, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who pride themselves on a man's position and not on his heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 5:10-15
Ἀδελφοί, πάντας ἡμᾶς φανερωθῆναι δεῖ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα κομίσηται ἕκαστος τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος, πρὸς ἃ ἔπραξεν, εἴτε ἀγαθόν, εἴτε κακόν. Εἰδότες οὖν τὸν φόβον τοῦ κυρίου ἀνθρώπους πείθομεν, θεῷ δὲ πεφανερώμεθα· ἐλπίζω δὲ καὶ ἐν ταῖς συνειδήσεσιν ὑμῶν πεφανερῶσθαι. Οὐ γὰρ πάλιν ἑαυτοὺς συνιστάνομεν ὑμῖν, ἀλλὰ ἀφορμὴν διδόντες ὑμῖν καυχήματος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, ἵνα ἔχητε πρὸς τοὺς ἐν προσώπῳ καυχωμένους καὶ οὐ καρδίᾳ. Εἴτε γὰρ ἐξέστημεν, θεῷ· εἴτε σωφρονοῦμεν, ὑμῖν. Ἡ γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς, κρίναντας τοῦτο, ὅτι εἰ εἷς ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν, ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον· καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες μηκέτι ἑαυτοῖς ζῶσιν, ἀλλὰ τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι.
The Reading is from Mark 1:9-15
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." The Spirit immediately drove Him out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 1.9-15
Ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἦλθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη ὑπὸ ᾿Ιωάννου εἰς τὸν ᾿Ιορδάνην.καὶ εὐθέως ἀναβαίνων ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος εἶδε σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν·καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν· σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ ηὐδόκησα. Καὶ εὐθέως τὸ Πνεῦμα αὐτὸν ἐκβάλλει εἰς τὴν ἔρημον·καὶ ἦν ἐκεῖ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἡμέρας τεσσαράκοντα πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ σατανᾶ, καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων, καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ. Μετὰ δὲ τὸ παραδοθῆναι ᾿Ιωάννην ἦλθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦκαὶ λέγων ὅτι πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ· μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Κ´ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου καὶ ἐνδόξου Προφήτου Σαμουήλ.
Μύσας τελευτῇ καὶ Σαμουὴλ ὁ βλέπων,
Τὸ ζῶν ἀεὶ φῶς καὶ τελευτήσας βλέπει.
Βῆ δ' ὁρόων μέλλοντα Σαμουὴλ εἰκάδι ἔνθεν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων τριάκοντα ἑπτὰ μαρτύρων, τῶν ἐν Βιζύῃ τῆς Θράκης μαρτυρησάντων.
Τρεῖς ἐνδέουσι πρὸς τὸ τοὺς κεκαυμένους.
Χάριν Τριὰς σοῦ, τετράκις τελεῖν δέκα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων μαρτύρων Σεβήρου καὶ Μέμνονος Κεντυρίωνος.
Ξίφει παθῶν Σεβῆρος εὗρεν ἀξίως,
Ἐπαθλα λαμπρὰ τοῦ διὰ ξίφους πάθους.
Ἐχει τὸ πῦρ σε πρὸς βραχὺν Μέμνον χρόνον,
Μένει δὲ σε στέφανος ἐς ἀεὶ μένων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας μάρτυρος Φωτεινῆς, ἔξω τῆς πόρτης τῶν Βλαχερνῶν, καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου μάρτυρος Λουκίου τοῦ Βουλευτοῦ.
Βουλὰς ὅλας παρῆλθες τὰς Ἀχιτόφελ,
Βουλῇ μιᾷ Λούκιος ἀθλήσας ξίφει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων μαρτύρων Ἡλιοδώρου καὶ Δοσαῖ (ἢ Δοσᾶ ἢ Σοδᾶ).
Ταῖς τῶν ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This most holy man, a Prophet of God from childhood, was the last judge of the Israelite people, and anointed the first two Kings of Israel. He was born in the twelfth century before Christ, in the city of Armathaim Sipha, from the tribe of Levi, the son of Elkanah and Hannah (Anna). He was the fruit of prayer, for his mother, being barren, conceived him only after she had supplicated the Lord with many tears; wherefore she called him Samuel, that is, "heard by God." As soon as Hannah had weaned him, she brought him to the city of Silom (Shiloh), where the Ark was kept, and she consecrated him, though yet a babe, to the service of God, giving thanks to Him with the hymn found in the Third Ode of the Psalter: "My heart hath been established in the Lord . . ." Samuel remained in Silom under the protection of Eli the priest. He served in the Tabernacle of God, and through his most venerable way of life became well-pleasing to God and man (I Kings 2: 26). While yet a child, sleeping in the tabernacle near the Ark of God, he heard the voice of God calling his name, and foretelling the downfall of Eli; for although Eli's two sons, Ophni and Phineas, were most lawless, and despisers of God, Eli did not correct them. Even after Samuel had told Eli of the divine warning, Eli did not properly chastise his sons, and afterwards, through various misfortunes, his whole house was blotted out in one day.
After these things came to pass, Samuel was chosen to be the protector of the people, and he judged them with holiness and righteousness. He became for them an example of all goodness, and their compassionate intercessor before God: "Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; yea, I will serve the Lord, and show you the good and the right way" (ibid. 12:23). When he asked them -- having God as witness -- if he ever wronged anyone, or took anyone's possessions, or any gift, even so much as a sandal, they answered with one voice: "Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, nor afflicted us, neither hast thou taken anything from anyone's hand" (ibid. 12:4). When Samuel was old, the people asked him for a king, but he was displeased with this, knowing that God Himself was their King. But when they persisted, the Lord commanded him to anoint them a king, saying, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me from reigning over them" (ibid. 8:7); so Samuel anointed Saul. But Saul transgressed the command of God repeatedly, so Samuel anointed David. Yet, since Samuel was a man of God, full of tender mercy, when the Lord told him that He had rejected Saul, Samuel wept for him the whole night long (ibid. 15:11); and later, since he continued to grieve, the Lord said to him, "How long wilt thou mourn for Saul?" (ibid. 16:1). Having lived blamelessly some ninety-eight years, and become an example to all of a God-pleasing life, he reposed in the eleventh century before Christ. Many ascribe to him the authorship of the Books of judges, and of Ruth, and of the first twenty-four chapters of the First Book of Kings (I Samuel).
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Τού Προφήτου σου Σαμουήλ τήν μνήμην, Κύριε, εορτάζοντες, δι' αυτού σε δυσωπούμεν, Σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Samuel, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ωσπερ υιός θεαίτητος, δώρον Θεώ προσήνεξαι, προφητικής εκ παιδός αξιούμενος, εκφαντορίας κρείττονος, διά τούτο Κυρίω, τά εν Νόμω προσενέγκας καρπώματα, Σαμουήλ εδοξάσθης, ώς μήστης τής θείας χάριτος.
Thy hallowed mother dedicated thee unto the Lord even before she had conceived thee; and when thou wast born thou didst serve Him from thine infancy like an Angel. And, O Prophet of the Most High, for thy fervent faith, thou wast granted to foretell things that should come to pass. Hence, we cry to thee: Rejoice, O ven'rable Samuel.
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.
Ο Προφήτης Σαμουήλ, του οποίου Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη, είναι ο άνθρωπος που γεννήθηκε με την ευλογία του Θεού, μεγάλωσε κι ανατράφηκε κάτω από τη σκέπη του Θεού, κι έζησε ως τα βαθειά γηρατειά του σύμφωνα με το νόμο του Θεού. Είν' ο Προφήτης, που γεννήθηκεν ύστερ' από θερμή προσευχή της μητέρας του κι εκείνος που έχρισε τους δύο πρώτους βασιλείς του Ισραήλ, τον Σαούλ και τον Δαβίδ. Εκείνο που μας κάνει βαθειά εντύπωση και φέρνει σε πολλούς ιερές αναμνήσεις από τα παιδικά τους χρόνια, τότε που υπηρετούσαν στην Εκκλησία κοντά στον ιερέα, είναι ακριβώς ότι ο Προφήτης Σαμουήλ εμεγάλωσε μέσα στο Ναό, υπηρετώντας τον ιερέα του Θεού. Εκεί, παιδί ακόμη, άκουσε την φωνή του Θεού, που τον καλούσε και ωδηγημένος από τον ιερέα έδωκε την απάντηση, που φανερώνει την υπακοή στην κλήση του Θεού· "Λάλει, Κύριε, ότι ακούει ο δούλός σου".
Ὁ Προφήτης Σαμουήλ
Γεννήθηκε στὴν Ἀρμαθαίμ Σιφᾶ στὸ ὄρος Ἐφραίμ, ἀπὸ τὴν φυλὴ τοῦ Λευΐ. Ἦταν γιὸς τοῦ Ἐλκανὰ καὶ τῆς Ἄννας, ἡ ὁποία ἦταν στεῖρα καὶ διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς ὁ Θεὸς τῆς χάρισε παιδί, τὸ Σαμουήλ, ποὺ τὸν ἀφιέρωσε στὸ Θεὸ γιὰ νὰ ἐκφράσει τὴν εὐγνωμοσύνη της. Ὁ Σαμουὴλ ὅταν μεγάλωσε, ὑπηρέτησε τὸν Κύριο καὶ ἔγινε μέγας προφήτης καὶ κριτὴς τοῦ λάου δικαιότατος. Αὐτὸς ἔχρισε βασιλεῖς, τὸ Σαοὺλ καὶ τὸ Δαυίδ, προφήτευσε 40 χρόνια καὶ πέθανε σὲ βαθειὰ γεράματα. Ἂς ἀναφέρουμε, ὅμως, μερικοὺς οἰκοδομητικοὺς λόγους του, ποὺ ἐξεφώνησε στὸ λαὸ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, ἀλλὰ ἰσχύουν καὶ γιὰ τοὺς λαοὺς κάθε ἐποχῆς. Λέει λοιπόν: «Ἐὰν φοβηθεῖτε τὸν Κύριον καὶ δουλεύσητε αὐτῷ καὶ ἀκούσητε τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ μὴ ἐρίσητε τῷ στόματι Κυρίου καὶ ἦτε καὶ ὑμεῖς καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς ὁ βασιλεύων ἐφ᾿ ὑμῶν ὀπίσω Κυρίου πορευόμενοι ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀκούσητε τῆς φωνῆς Κυρίου... ἔσται χεὶρ Κυρίου ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν βασιλέα ὑμῶν». Δηλαδή, ἂν φοβᾶστε καὶ ὑπολογίζετε τὸν Κύριο, καὶ Τὸν λατρεύετε καὶ ὑπακούετε στὰ προστάγματά Του, καὶ δὲν ἀντιδράσετε πρὸς αὐτὰ ποὺ σᾶς παραγγέλλει ὁ Κύριος, καὶ ἀκολουθεῖτε σταθερὰ καὶ σεῖς καὶ ὁ κυβερνήτης ποὺ σᾶς κυβερνᾷ τὸ δρόμο ποὺ σᾶς ὑποδεικνύει ὁ Κύριος, σᾶς λέγω ὅλα θὰ πηγαίνουν καλά. Θὰ ἔχετε τὴν εὐλογία τοῦ Κυρίου. Ἂν ὅμως δὲν ὑπακούσετε στὰ προστάγματα τοῦ Κυρίου, τότε θὰ πέσει ἐπάνω σὲ σᾶς καὶ τὸν κυβερνήτη σας, βαρὺ τὸ χέρι τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ θὰ τιμωρηθεῖτε.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι 37 (κατ᾿ ἄλλους 40) Μάρτυρες ποὺ μαρτύρησαν στὴ Βιζύη τῆς Θρᾴκης
Ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς τοὺς Ἁγίους, ἄλλοι μὲν ἦταν ἀπὸ τὸ Βυζάντιο, ἄλλοι δὲ ἀπὸ τὴν Φιλιππούπολη. Συνελήφθησαν στὴ Βιζύη τῆς Θρᾴκης ἀπὸ τὸν ἔπαρχο Ἀπελλιανό, καὶ ἐπειδὴ ὁμολόγησαν μὲ θάρρος τὴν ἀληθινὴ πίστη τους στὸν Χριστό, στὴν ἀρχὴ τοὺς ἔκοψαν τὰ πόδια καὶ τὰ χέρια καὶ ἔπειτα τοὺς ἔκαψαν ζωντανοὺς μέσα σὲ ἀναμμένο καμίνι. Ὁ δὲ Παρισινὸς Κώδικας 1587, ἀναφέρει καὶ κατάλογο ὀνομάτων τους ὡς ἑξῆς: Σευῆρος, Ὠρίωνας, Ἀντιλῖνος, Μολίας, Εὐδαίμονας, Σιλουανός, Σαβίνος, Εὐστάθιος, Στράτωνας καὶ Βόσβας ἀπὸ τὸ Βυζάντιο, ἀπὸ δὲ τὴν Φιλιππούπολη Τιμόθεος, Παλμᾶτος, Μεστός, Νίκωνας, Δίφιλος, Δομετιανός, Μάξιμος, Νεόφυτος, Βίκτωρας, Ρίνος, Σατορνίνος, Ἐπαφρόδιτος, Κερκᾶς, Γάιος, Ζωτικός, Κρονίονας, Ἀνθανάς, Εὖρος, Ζωΐλος, Τύραννος, Ἀγαθός, Πανσθένης, Ἀχιλλέας, Πανθήριος, Χρύσανθος, Ἀθηνόδωρος, Παντολέοντας, Θεοσεβής, Γενέθλιος καὶ Μέμνονας. Στὸ δὲ Πατμιακὸ Κώδικα 266, ἀναφέρονται τὴν 24η Αὐγούστου καὶ στὸ σύνολό τους 33 καὶ μὲ κάποιες διαφορὲς στὰ ὀνόματά τους, σὲ σχέση μὲ τὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα. «Τῇ αὑτῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἄθλησις τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων Σεβήρου καὶ Μέμνονος τῶν ἐν Θρᾴκῃ μαρτυρησάντων, ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα εἰσὶ ταῦτα: Ρίων, Ἀνειτυλλιανός, Σαβῖνος, Εὐστάθιος, Στρατίων, Βόσβας, οὗτοι εἰσι Βυζάντιοι. Τιμόθεος δὲ καὶ Παλμάτιος, Μεστός, Νίκων, Δίφιλος, Δομέτιος, Μάξιμος, Νεόφυτος, Βίκτωρ, Βίνος, Σατορνῖνος, Ἐπαφροδίτης, Κέρκος, Γάιος, Ζωΐλος, Τύραννος, Ἀγαθός, Παρθένος, Ἀχιλλεύς, Πανθήριος, Χρύσανθος, Ἀθηνόδωρος, Παντολέων, Θεόσεβρος, Γενέθλιος, Ὧρος, οὗτοι Θράκες ὑπῆρχον ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ Μαξιμιανοῦ τῶν βασιλέων».
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Σεβῆρος καὶ Μέμνων ὁ Κεντυρίων
Ὁ Σεβῆρος ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Σίδη τῆς Παμφυλίας, γιὸς τοῦ Θρακιώτη Πετρωνίου καὶ τῆς Μυγδονίας. Αὐτὸς λοιπόν, ὅταν ἦλθε στὴ Φιλιππούπολη καὶ εἶδε τοὺς παραπάνω 37 Ἁγίους Μάρτυρες νὰ ἀγωνίζονται γενναῖα γιὰ τὸν Χριστό, μὲ θάρρος ὁμολόγησε καὶ αὐτὸς τὸν ἕνα καὶ ἀληθινὸ Θεό. Ἀμέσως τότε ξέσχισαν τὶς σάρκες του μὲ σιδερένια πυρακτωμένα νύχια, κατόπιν τὸν πριόνισαν, ἔπειτα τοῦ φόρεσαν σιδερένια πυρακτωμένη ζώνη καὶ στὸ τέλος τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν. Παρόμοια βασανιστήρια ὑπέστη καὶ ὁ Μέμνων, ποὺ καὶ αὐτὸς μὲ τόλμη ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστό. Τελικὰ αὐτόν, τὸν ἔκαψαν ζωντανὸ μέσα σὲ ἀναμμένο καμίνι.
Ἡ Ἁγία Φωτεινὴ «ἔξω τῆς θύρας τῶν Βλαχερνῶν»
Μᾶλλον πρόκειται περὶ ἐγκαινίων ναοῦ τῆς Ἁγίας Φωτεινῆς στὴν τοποθεσία αὐτή.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Λούκιος ὁ βουλευτής
Φόρεσε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου στὰ χρόνια τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Διοκλητιανοῦ (299 μ.Χ.). Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Κυρήνη τῆς Λιβύης, καὶ ἦταν ἕνας ἀπὸ τοὺς βουλευτές της. Ἂν καὶ εἰδωλολάτρης, ἀκολουθοῦσε τὸ νόμο τῆς συνείδησης καὶ διακρινόταν γιὰ τὴν ἐπιεικῆ καὶ φιλάνθρωπη συμπεριφορά του. Ὅταν λοιπὸν ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Κυρήνης Ἱερομάρτυρας Θεόδωρος -ποὺ γιορτάζουμε τὴν 4η Ἰουλίου- φανέρωσε στὸ μαρτύριό του τοὺς θαυμάσιους θησαυροὺς τῆς χριστιανικώτατης ψυχῆς του, ὁ Λούκιος ἑλκύστηκε καὶ δέχτηκε τὸ ἅγιο βάπτισμα. Ἀφοῦ ἄναψε μέσα τοῦ ἡ χριστιανικὴ φλόγα, μπόρεσε νὰ φέρει στὴν ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου καὶ τὸν ἔπαρχο Διγνιανό. Καὶ οἱ δυὸ κατόπιν πῆγαν στὴν Κύπρο, ὅπου ἐργάστηκαν γιὰ τὴν διάδοση τῆς πίστης. Ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκεῖ ὁ διωγμὸς κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν ἦταν στὸ ἀποκορύφωμά του. Ἐκεῖ λοιπὸν καὶ ὁ Λούκιος, ἀφοῦ συνελήφθη, πῆρε τὸ μαρτυρικὸ στεφάνι μὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἡλιόδωρος καὶ Δοσά (ἢ Δοσαὶ ἢ Σοδᾶς)
Ἔζησαν ἐπὶ βασιλείας Σαβωρίου, ποὺ ἦταν βασιλιὰς τῶν Περσῶν. Αὐτὸς λοιπόν, μὲ τὰ στρατεύματά του, κατέλαβε μία πόλη τῶν Ρωμαίων καὶ ἄρχισε νὰ γκρεμίζει τοὺς ναοὺς τῶν χριστιανῶν καὶ νὰ καίει τὶς ἅγιες εἰκόνες. Τότε ὁ Ἠλιόδωρος, ποὺ τότε ἦταν 95 χρονῶν, μαζὶ μὲ τὸν Δοσά, παρουσιάστηκαν στὸν ἀσεβῆ βασιλιὰ καὶ τοῦ ἔκαναν δριμύτατες παρατηρήσεις, ὁμολογώντας συγχρόνως τὸν Χριστὸ Θεὸ ἀληθινό. Τότε ὁ Σαβὼρ τοὺς βασάνισε σκληρὰ καὶ ἀνελέητα. Ἀφοῦ ἔκοψε τὶς μύτες τους, τελικά τους θανάτωσε καίγοντας τὰ κεφάλια τους.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ρηγῖνος καὶ Ὀρέστης «οἱ ἐν Κύπρῳ»
Ἄγνωστοι στοὺς Συναξαριστές. Ἡ μνήμη τους γινόταν στὴν Κύπρο, ὅπου ὑπέστησαν μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο ἀπὸ τοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες. Κατάγονταν ἀπὸ τὴν Χαλκηδόνα (μᾶλλον Καρχηδόνα), ὅπου συνελήφθησαν ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα καὶ διότι ἦταν χριστιανοὶ φυλακίστηκαν. Ὅταν ἐλευθερώθηκαν κατέφυγαν στὴν Κύπρο, ὅπου, κοντὰ στὴ Λεμεσό, μαρτύρησαν γιὰ τὴν χριστιανική τους πίστη. Οἱ πληροφορίες αὐτὲς σύμφωνα μὲ τὴν Ἀκολουθία τους, ποὺ ἐκδόθηκε στὴ Λεμεσὸ τὸ 1902 (βλ. καὶ Delehaye, Les Saints de Chypre, σελ. 271).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεοχάρης ὁ Νεαπολίτης, ἀπὸ τὴν Μικρὰ Ἀσία
Τὸ ἔτος 1740, ἐπὶ Σουλτάνου Ἀχμὲτ καὶ Ἰμπραὴμ Πασᾶ γενικοῦ διοικητῆ τῆς Μ. Ἀσίας, ἐκδόθηκε διάταγμα συγκέντρωσης τῶν ἀγοριῶν τῶν χριστιανῶν σὲ στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης. Μέσα σ᾿ αὐτὰ βρέθηκε καὶ ὁ ὀρφανὸς Θεοχάρης. Κάποια μέρα ὅμως, ὁ δικαστὴς τῆς Νεαπόλεως (Νέβσεχηρ) Καππαδοκίας, εἶδε τὸν Θεοχάρη μέσα στὸ στρατόπεδο, τοῦ ἄρεσε καὶ τὸν πῆρε στὸ σπίτι του νὰ περιποιεῖται τὰ ζῷα του. Ἡ εὐσέβεια καὶ ἡ ὀμορφιὰ τοῦ Θεοχάρη, ἔκαναν τὸν δικαστὴ νὰ τοῦ προτείνει νὰ γίνει γαμπρός του, ἀφοῦ ὅμως γίνει πρῶτα μωαμεθανός. Ὁ Θεοχάρης μὲ θάρρος ἀπάντησε: «Ἀφέντη μου, ἐγὼ γεννήθηκα χριστιανός, καὶ δὲν μπορῶ νὰ ἀρνηθῶ τὴν πίστη τοῦ Σωτῆρα μου καὶ τῶν πατέρων μου». Ὁ Ὀθωμανὸς δικαστής, θεώρησε τὴν ἀπάντηση προσβλητικὴ καὶ τὸν ἀπείλησε μὲ βασανιστήρια. Τότε ὁ Θεοχάρης ἔτρεξε στὸν Ναὸ τοῦ Ἁγίου Γεωργίου καὶ μετάλαβε τῶν ἀχράντων Μυστηρίων. Ὅταν τοῦ ἔκανε καὶ πάλι πρόταση γάμου μὲ τὴν κόρη του ὁ δικαστής, ὁ Θεοχάρης σταθερὰ ἀρνήθηκε. Τότε μετὰ ἀπὸ σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια, τὸν ὁδήγησαν ἔξω ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη τῆς Νεαπόλεως, ὅπου τὸν λιθοβόλησαν καὶ κατόπιν τὸν ἀπαγχόνισαν, μεσημέρι στὶς 20 Αὐγούστου 1740. Τὸ 1923 τὰ λείψανα τοῦ Ἁγίου Θεοχάρη ἦλθαν στὴν Θεσσαλονίκη καὶ τοποθετήθηκαν στὸν Ναὸ τῆς ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης, ὅπου καὶ σήμερα βρίσκονται.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀβράμιος Ἀρχιμανδρίτης Σμολένσκης ὁ Θαυματουργὸς (Ρῶσος)
Ἅγιος Ἱερόθεος Α´ Ἐπίσκοπος Οὐγγαρίας, Ἅγιος Στέφανος Α´ Βασιλεὺς Οὐγγαρίας
Ἡ διακήρυξις τῆς ἁγιότητάς τους ἔγινε τὸ καλοκαῖρι τοῦ 2000 ἀπὸ τὸ Οἰκουμενικὸ Πατριαρχεῖο.
Holy Prophet Samuel (11th c. BC)
He was the last of the Judges of Israel, and was appointed by God to anoint the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. Read the Old Testament book 1 Samuel for his story. Many believe that he is the author of the books of Judges, Ruth and the first 24 chapters of I Samuel.
Hieromartyr Philip, Bishop of Heraklion, and those with him (2nd c.)
He served in Thrace in the time of Diocletian's persecutions. When the pagans were about to burn a Christian church, he came forward and said to them: 'Do you think that God is shut within walls? He lives in men's hearts.' The church was burned and all its clergy were taken to Jedrene where, after long imprisonment and torture, they were drowned in the river Maritsa. The holy bishop Philip, His Priest Severus, His Deacon Hermes, and thirty-eight other Christians all received the martyr's crown.
The Prophet Samuel was the 15th and last of the Judges of Israel, living more than 1146 years before the Birth of Christ. He was descended from the Tribe of Levi, and was the son of Elkanah from Ramathaim-Zophima of Mount Ephraim. He was born, having been besought of the Lord through the prayers of his mother Anna (wherefore he received the name Samuel, which means "besought"), and even before birth he was dedicated to God. When the boy reached age 3, his mother went with him to Shiloh and in accord with her vow gave him over to the tabernacle in care of the high-priest Eli, who at this time was a judge over the Israelite nation. The prophet grew in the fear of God, and already at 12 years of age he had the revelation, that God would punish all the house of the high-priest Eli, because he did not restrain the impiety of his sons.
The prophecy was fulfilled when the Philistines, having slain in battle 30,000 Israelites (among them were also the sons of the high-priest, Hophni and Phinees), gaining victory and capturing the Ark of the Covenant with God. Hearing of this, the high-priest Eli fell from his seat backwards at the gate, and breaking his back, he died. The wife of Phinees, upon hearing what had happened in this very hour, gave birth to a son (Ichabod) and died with the words: "The glory is gone out from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken away" (1 Sam. [1 Kings] 4: 22).
Upon the death of Eli, Samuel became the judge of the nation of Israel. The Ark of God was returned by the Philistines on their own initiative, and after their returning to God, the Israelites returned to all the cities, which the Philistines had taken. Having gotten up in years, the Prophet Samuel made his sons -- Joel and Abiah -- judges over Israel, but they followed not in the integrity and righteous judgement of their father, since they were motivated by greed. Then the elders of Israel, wanting that the nation of God should be "like other nations" (1 Sam. [1 Kings] 8: 20), demanded of the Prophet Samuel that a king be established for them. The Prophet Samuel saw in this a deep downfall of the people, which until this time God Himself had governed, announcing His will through His chosen saints. Resigning the position of judge, the Prophet Samuel asked the people, whether they consent in his continued governance, but no one stepped forward for him. After denunciation of the first king, Saul, for his disobedience to God, the Prophet Samuel anointed as king Saint David, to whom he had offered asylum, saving him from the pursuit of king Saul. The Prophet Samuel died in extreme old age. His life is recorded in the Bible (1 Sam. [1 Kings]; Sirach 46: 13-20). In the year 406 A.D. the relics of the Prophet Samuel were transferred from Judea to Constantinople.
The Martyrs Sevirus, Memnon and 37 Martyrs suffered in Thracian Philippopolis under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). For his steadfast and fearless confession of faith, they tore at Saint Sevirus with iron hooks. Then they put red-hot rings on the fingers of his hand and girded him with a red-hot iron belt. After these tortures they blinded the martyr. When the governor learned, that the Martyr Sevirus had converted to Christ the centurion Memnon, he gave orders to subject Memnon to tortures. They tore and cut from the back of the Martyr Memnon three strips of skin. Together with him there suffered another 37 martyrs. For all of them, they cut off their hands and feet and threw them into a fiery oven (304).
The Martyr Lucius, a senator, for confessing faith in Christ was beheaded by the sword on the island of Crete in the year 310.
The Martyrs Iliodoros and Dosos (or Dos) suffered for Christ in Persia under the emperor Sapor II, in the year 380.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY PROPHET SAMUEL
Samuel was the fifteenth and last judge of Israel. He lived eleven hundred years before Christ. Samuel was born of the tribe of Levi of the parents Elkanah and Hannah in a place called Ramatha or Arimathea where the noble Joseph was born [Joseph of Arimathea]. The barren Hannah besought Samuel from God through weeping and dedicated him to God when he was three years of age. Living in Shiloh near the Ark of the Covenant, Samuel, in his twelfth year, had a true revelation from God concerning the punishments which were pending before the house of the high priest Eli because of the immorality of his sons Hophni and Phineas. That revelation soon materialized: the Philistines defeated the Israelites, slew both of Eli's sons and captured the Ark of the Covenant. When the messenger informed Eli of this tragedy, he fell dead to the ground and expired in the ninety-eighth year of his life. The same thing occurred to his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phineas. From then on and for twenty years the Israelites were the slaves of the Philistines. After this period of time, God sent Samuel to the people to preach repentance if they wished to be saved from their enemies. The people repented and rejected the foreign idols that they served and recognized Samuel as a prophet, priest and judge. Then Samuel set out with an army against the Philistines and with God's help confused and defeated them and liberated the land and the people. After that, Samuel peacefully judged his people until old age. Seeing him in old age, the people asked him to install a king for them in his place. In vain Samuel tried to turn the people away from this, saying to them that God is their only King but the people stood by their demands. Even though this demand was not pleasing to God, God commanded Samuel to annoint Saul, the son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, as their king. Saul reigned for a short time only and God rejected Saul because of his impudence and disobedience and then commanded Samuel to annoint Jesse's son David as king in Saul's place. Before his death, Samuel gathered the entire people and bid them farewell. When Samuel died all of Israel mourned for him and they buried him honorably in his house at Ramatha.
2. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR PHILIP, BISHOP OF HERAKLION, WITH SEVERUS, THE PRESBYTER, AND HERMES, THE DEACON
According to all probability, it appears that they were Slavs. They served God in Thrace and there were first handed over to tortures for Christ. When the pagans rushed to set fire to a Christian church, the brave Philip said to their elder: "Do you think that God is enclosed in these walls? He lives in our hearts." The church was destroyed, all the books burned and these priests were taken to Jedrene where, after imprisonment and tortures, were thrown half burned into the Maritsa river. Thirty-eight more Christians also died with them as martyrs. It is thought that they suffered and died during the reign of Diocletian.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY PROPHET SAMUEL
Samuel the righteous, servant of the Living God,
Of his people, beloved judge,
He respected God; God above all,
The will of God, for him, was a commandment,
By the will of God, the will of the people he corrected
And for the people's sins, before God repented.
Priest and prophet and a righteous judge,
In three ways, Samuel glorified God.
With his every word, with his every deed,
Through labor and prayer and sacrifices and food
With his entire being, God he served,
To the rulers of the world, this example he offered:
For his people, no one is going to do good,
One who from the law of God departs
Who, to himself and to the people listen and not God,
Into the depth of the bottomless abyss will fall.
As Saul fell and others with him
All accomplices of the sin of the people.
Only a slave of God can a ruler be
And benefit his people eternally
This Samuel teaches in deeds and in words,
Throughout the many centuries, this teaching echoes.
Repent before death closes the door of your life and opens the door of judgement. Repent before death and since you do not know the hour of death, repent today, even now, and cease to repeat your sin. Thus, St. Ephrem the Syrian prays:
Before the wheel of time stops in my life, have mercy on me;
Before the wind of death blows and diseases, the heralds of death,
appear on my body, have mercy on me;
Before the majestic sun in the heights becomes darkened for me,
Have mercy on me; and may Your light shine for me from on high
and disperse the dreadful darkness of my mind;
Before the earth returns to earth and becomes decay and before
the destruction of all the features of its beauty, have mercy;
Before my sins deceive me at the judgment and shame me before
The Judge, have mercy O Lord, filled with gentleness;
Before the hosts come forth, preceding the Son of the King to
assemble our miserable race before the throne of the Judge, have mercy,
Before the voice of the trumpet sounds before Your coming, spare
Your servants and have mercy, O Lord our Jesus;
Before You lock Your door before me, O Son of God, and before
I become food for the unquenchable fires of Gehenna, have mercy on me."
To contemplate the wondrous victory of David over Goliath (1 Samuel 17 1 Kings 17):
1. How Goliath, frightful in body, armor and weapon defied the entire army of Israel;
2. How David, with hope in God, came with a slingshot and stones and slew Goliath;
3. How David was victorious for he believed "the battle is the Lord's" (1 Samuel 17:47 1 Kings 17:47), a battle of believers against unbelievers.
About Egypt's conversion to the Lord
"And the Lord shall be known to Egypt and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yes, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord and perform it" (Isaiah 19:21).
O how changeable is the heart of man! But, of all of his changes, one is more shameful than the most shameful and that is: when a believer becomes an unbeliever. Of all his changes, one is more glorious than the most glorious and that is: when the unbeliever converts and becomes a believer. The first change occurred with the Israelites who killed Christ and the other occurred with the Egyptians who believed in Christ. At one time, Egypt was the greatest persecutor of those who believed in the one, living God, for at one time, the Egyptians had many lifeless gods, idols and things that they worshipped, fables and soothsayers by which they were deceived. But behold what the prophet fortells! What a wonderful vision! The Egyptians will recognize the one and the living Lord at the time when the Lord appears in the flesh among mankind. Idols will be destroyed, the temples of the demons and animals will be overthrown and the altar of oblation of the Living and one God will be established and raised up. The Bloodless Sacrifice will be offered in place of the bloody sacrifice and the rational in place of the irrational. Hundreds and thousands of monks will take upon themselves the vows of poverty, obedience, fasting, and prayer out of love for the Lord. The greatest ascetics will appear in this once darkened Egypt; the bravest martyrs for Christ the Lord; the most enlightened minds; the most discerning miracle-workers. O, what a wonderful vision! And how wonderful is the realization of that vision! St. Chrysostom writes: "Neither the sun, with its multitude of stars, is not as glowing as much as the wilderness of Egypt with all of its monks." All was realized in truth, that was foreseen and foretold by Isaiah, the son of Amos, the discerning and true prophet.
O compassionate Lord who showed mercy on Egypt, the one time persecutor of Your faithful, and illumined it with the light of truth, illumine us also and strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit and by the example of the great Christians of Egypt.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.