FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
The Holy Martyr Agathonicus
Holy Martyr Anthuse
Athanasios the Hieromartyr & Bishop of Tarsus
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 6:11-16
BRETHREN, our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return-I speak as to children-widen your hearts also.
Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, as God said.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 6:11-16
Ἀδελφοί, τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν ἀνέῳγεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, Κορίνθιοι, ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν πεπλάτυνται. Οὐ στενοχωρεῖσθε ἐν ἡμῖν, στενοχωρεῖσθε δὲ ἐν τοῖς σπλάγχνοις ὑμῶν. Τὴν δὲ αὐτὴν ἀντιμισθίαν - ὡς τέκνοις λέγω - πλατύνθητε καὶ ὑμεῖς. Μὴ γίνεσθε ἑτεροζυγοῦντες ἀπίστοις· τίς γὰρ μετοχὴ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀνομίᾳ; Τίς δὲ κοινωνία φωτὶ πρὸς σκότος; Τίς δὲ συμφώνησις Χριστῷ πρὸς Βελίαρ; Ἢ τίς μερὶς πιστῷ μετὰ ἀπίστου; Τίς δὲ συγκατάθεσις ναῷ θεοῦ μετὰ εἰδώλων; Ὑμεῖς γὰρ ναὸς θεοῦ ἐστε ζῶντος, καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ θεός.
The Reading is from Mark 1:23-28
At that time, there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 1.23-28
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἄνθρωπος τις ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ, καὶ ἀνέκραξελέγων· ἔα, τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, ᾿Ιησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς; οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ.καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς λέγων· φιμώθητι καὶ ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ.καὶ σπαράξαν αὐτὸν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον καὶ κράξαν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ἐξῆλθεν ἐξ αὐτοῦ.καὶ ἐθαμβήθησαν πάντες, ὥστε συζητεῖν πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς λέγοντας· τί ἐστι τοῦτο; τίς ἡ διδαχὴ ἡ καινὴ αὕτη, ὅτι κατ᾿ ἐξουσίαν καὶ τοῖς πνεύμασι τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις ἐπιτάσσει, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ;καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἡ ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εὐθὺς εἰς ὅλην τὴν περίχωρον τῆς Γαλιλαίας.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΒ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ἀγαθονίκου καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ, Ζωτικοῦ Ζήνωνος, Θεοπρεπίου, Ἀκινδύνου καὶ Σεβηριανοῦ.
Ἀγαθονίκου κλῆσις ἀψευδεστάτη,
Χρηστὴν βοῶσα τοῦδε νίκην ἐκ ξίφους.
Τρεῖς καρτεροῦντες μηχανήματος βίαν,
Τὰς μηχανὰς λύουσι τοῦ παμμηχάνου.
Ἐν μάρτυσι τμηθεῖσιν αὐχένα ξίφει,
Σεβηριανὸς τάττεται τμηθεὶς ξίφει.
Ἰδοὺ παρ᾽ ἡμῖν καὶ Κυρηναῖος νέος,
Οὐκ ἀγγαρευθείς, ἀλλ' ἑκὼν Σταυρὸν φέρων.
Ἔκτανε δευτερίῃ ξίφος εἰκάδι Ἀγαθόνικον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας μάρτυρος Ἀνθούσης καὶ Ἀθανασίου Ἐπισκόπου, τοῦ βαπτίσαντος αὐτήν, καὶ Χαρησίμου καὶ Νεοφύτου τῶν οἰκετῶν αὐτῆς.
Ἀνθῆσαν ἐκ γῆς τῆς Σελευκείας ῥόδον,
Ἀνθοῦσαν ἐδρέψαντο χεῖρες Ἀγγέλων.
Ἀθανάσιος κἂν τεθνήξωμαι ξίφει,
Τοῖς ζῶσι Χριστοῦ ζῶν τετάξομαι φίλοις.
Δοῦλοι δύο τμηθέντες, εὗρον οἱ δύο
Τὴν εὐγένειαν, ἣν ἀπώλεσαν πάλαι.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι μάρτυρες Εἰρηναῖος, Ὤρ καὶ Ὄροψις ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ξίφει τριὰς τμηθεῖσα, τριστάτας πλάνης,
Βυθῷ καλύπτει τῶν ἑαυτῆς αἱμάτων.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
The Martyr Agathonicus, because he converted pagans to Christ, was seized in Nicomedia, violently beaten, haled about in bonds, and beheaded in Selyvria, during the reign of Maximian, in the year 298.
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.
Kontakion in the First Tone
Τήν κλήσιν αγαθήν, κεκτημένος θεόφρον, ανδρών τών πονηρών, απεστράφης τό σέβας, μή πτήξας κολάσεων, είδος πάν, Αγαθόνικε, όθεν γέγονας, τών αγαθών κληρονόμος, καί απείληφας, σύν τοίς συνάθλοις αξίως, τόν άφθαρτον στέφανον.
O man of godly mind, as the namesake of goodness, thou utterly didst hate that which wicked men worshipped; and no pains could frighten thee, O divine Agathonicus. Wherefore, thou becamest a good heir of all good things, worthily receiving with thy brave fellow athletes the crown incorruptible.
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.
Σε μία του Επιστολή ο Απόστολος Παύλος λέει τούτα τα πολύ γνωστά λόγια· "ουκ ένι δούλος ουδέ ελεύθερος" Δηλαδή· ενώπιον του Χριστού δεν υπάρχει δούλος ούτε ελέυθερος, δεν έχει σημασία αν είναι κανείς δούλος ή ελεύθερος. Οι χριστιανοί, και οι δούλοι και οι ελεύθεροι, ανήκουν σε μια καινούργια τάξη, που καταργεί όλες τις κοινωνικές διακρίσεις και τάξεις. Οι χριστιανοί είναι αδελφοί. Γιαυτό πάλι σε μια του Επιστολή ο Απόστολος Παύλος γράφει για ένα δούλο, που έγινε χριστιανός, προς τον κύριό του, που κι εκείνος ήταν χριστιανός· Σε παρακαλώ για το τέκνο μου τον Ονήσιμο· να τον δεχτής όχι πια σαν δούλο, "αλλ' υπέρ δούλον, αδελφόν αγαπητόν...". Στην ιστορία των αγίων Μαρτύρων έχομε πολλούς κυρίους και δούλους, που αδελφωμένοι επορεύθηκαν μαζί στο μαρτύριο, όπως είναι η αγία Ανθούσα, οι άγιοι Χαρίσιμος και Νεόφυτος οι δούλοι της και ο άγιος επίσκοπος Αθανάσιος, των οποίων η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει και τιμά σήμερα την μνήμη.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀγαθόνικος καὶ οἱ μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτὸν Ζωτικός, Ζήνων, Θεοπρέπιος, Ἀκίνδυνος, Σεβηριανός καὶ Πρίγκηπας (στὸ ἀξίωμα)
Ὁ μάρτυρας Ἀγαθόνικος ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Νικομήδεια, καὶ τὸν συνέλαβε ὁ κόμης Εὐτόλμιος, ὁ ὁποῖος, ὅταν ἐπέστρεφε ἀπὸ τὴν περιοδεία του στὸν Πόντο, ὅπου εἶχε πάει γιὰ νὰ καταδιώξει χριστιανούς, στὴν Κάρπη βρῆκε τὸν Ζωτικό, ποὺ τὸν θανάτωσε μαζὶ μὲ τοὺς μαθητές του. Ἐκεῖ ἔμαθε ὅτι ὁ πρίγκιπας τῆς πόλης ἔγινε χριστιανὸς ἀπὸ κάποιον Ἀγαθόνικο. Τότε, συνέλαβε τὸν πρίγκιπα καὶ τὸν Ἀγαθόνικο, καὶ ἀφοῦ τοὺς τιμώρησε μαζὶ μὲ ἄλλους χριστιανούς, κατόπιν ὅλους μαζὶ τοὺς ὁδήγησε στὸ βασιλιά, ποὺ βρισκόταν στὴ Θρᾴκη. Ἀλλὰ στὸ δρόμο, κοντὰ σὲ ἕνα χωριὸ ὀνομαζόμενο Ποταμός, σκότωσε τοὺς Ζήνωνα, Θεοπρέπιο, Ἀκίνδυνο καὶ Σεβηριανό. Διότι ἀπὸ τὶς πολλὲς πληγὲς ποὺ εἶχαν στὰ πόδια τους, δὲν μποροῦσαν πλέον νὰ βαδίσουν. Ὅταν ἔφθασε στὸ χωριὸ Ἄμμους κοντὰ στὴ Σιλυβρία, μὲ βασιλικὴ διαταγὴ ἀποκεφάλισε, ἔτσι ὅπως τοὺς εἶχε δεμένους, τὸν Ἀγαθόνικο, τὸν πρίγκιπα καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους χριστιανούς. Ἔτσι, ὅλοι ἀκολούθησαν τὸ παράδειγμα τοῦ ἐσφαγμένου Ἀρνίου, τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἄξια θὰ συναριθμηθοῦν μ᾿ αὐτοὺς ποὺ θὰ εἶναι «γεγραμμένοι ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου». Δηλαδή, μ᾿ αὐτοὺς ποὺ θὰ εἶναι γραμμένοι στὸ βιβλίο τῆς αἰώνιας ζωῆς τοῦ Ἀρνίου, δηλαδὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Ἡ Ὁσία Ἀνθοῦσα καὶ Ἀθανάσιος ὁ ἱερομάρτυρας ποὺ βάπτισε αὐτήν, καὶ οἱ δυὸ ὑπηρέτες της Χαρίσιμος καὶ Νεόφυτος
Ἡ Ὁσία Ἀνθοῦσα ὑπῆρξε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Οὐαλεριανοῦ (253-259) καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Σελεύκεια τῆς Συρίας. Ἦταν κόρη πλούσιων εἰδωλολατρῶν γονέων, τοῦ Ἀντωνίνου καὶ τῆς Μαρτυρίας (Μαρίας). Ἐπιθυμώντας νὰ δεῖ τὸν διδάσκοντα ἐπίσκοπο Ἀθανάσιο στὴν Ταρσὸ τῆς Κιλικίας, ἔπεισε τὴν μητέρα της νὰ μεταβεῖ ἐκεῖ μαζὶ μὲ δυὸ ὑπηρέτες της, τὸν Χαρίσιμο καὶ τὸν Νεόφυτο, μὲ τὴν πρόφαση ὅτι θὰ δεῖ τὴν τροφό της. Ὅταν βρῆκε τὸν Ἀθανάσιο, βαπτίσθηκε ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν καὶ ἐκάρη μοναχή. Κατόπιν ἀποσύρθηκε στὴν ἔρημο καὶ ἐκεῖ, ἀφοῦ γιὰ 23 ὁλόκληρα χρόνια ἔζησε ἀσκητικά, ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. Ὁ δὲ ἅγιος Ἀθανάσιος, ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν Οὐαλεριανὸ καὶ ἐπειδὴ δὲν δέχτηκε νὰ θυσιάσει στὰ εἴδωλα, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε. Τὸ ἴδιο καὶ οἱ ὑπηρέτες τῆς Ἀνθούσας, Χαρίσιμος καὶ Νεόφυτος, ὁμολόγησαν μὲ θάρρος τὸν Χριστὸ μπροστὰ στὸν βασιλιὰ καὶ ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Εἰρηναῖος, Ὢρ καὶ Ὄροψις
Ὁ Εἰρηναῖος διέπρεπε μεταξὺ τῶν ἱερέων τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Δὲν στήριζε μόνο μὲ τὴν διδασκαλία του καὶ τὸ παράδειγμά του τοὺς πιστούς, ἀλλὰ ἅπλωνε τὰ πνευματικά του δίχτυα καὶ στοὺς ἄπιστους καὶ πολλοὺς ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἔφερνε στὴν κιβωτὸ τῆς σωτηρίας, δηλαδὴ στὴν Ἐκκλησία τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Γιὰ τὴν δραστηριότητά του αὐτή, συνελήφθη καὶ ὑπέστη φρικτὰ μαρτύρια. Οἱ δυὸ ἄλλοι ὅμως, ὁ Ὢρ καὶ Ὄροψις, εἶχαν τὸ θάρρος καὶ ἔκαναν δριμύτατη παρατήρηση στὸν ἔπαρχο, ποὺ ἦταν θεατὴς τῶν βασανιστηρίων. Τότε καὶ αὐτοὶ εἶχαν τὴν ἴδια τύχη. Βασανίστηκαν μαζὶ μὲ τὸν ἱερέα, καὶ οἱ τρεῖς κατόπιν ρίχτηκαν μέσα στὴ φωτιά. Ἀλλὰ ξαφνικά, ραγδαία βροχὴ ἔσβησε τὴν φωτιὰ καὶ οἱ τρεῖς μάρτυρες βγῆκαν ἀνέγγιχτοι ἀπὸ τὸ καμίνι. Πανικόβλητος τότε ὁ ἔπαρχος ἔδωσε διαταγὴ καὶ τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισαν.
Σύναξις τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου «ἐν τῷ Πυρσῷ τῆς Εὐρυτανίας»
Πρόκειται γιὰ τὴν εἰκόνα τῆς Παναγίας τῆς Προυσιώτισσας, ποὺ βρίσκεται στὸ Μοναστήρι τοῦ Προυσοῦ. Τὴ θαυματουργὴ αὐτὴ εἰκόνα τῆς Θεοτόκου λέγεται ὅτι τὴν ζωγράφισε ὁ Εὐαγγελιστὴς Λουκᾶς καὶ ἦλθε ἀπὸ τὴν Προῦσα τῆς Μ. Ἀσίας (σύμφωνα μὲ τὸ χειρόγραφο 3 τοῦ κώδικα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μονῆς Προυσιωτίσσης). Τὴν ἔφερε ἀπὸ τὴν Προῦσα κάποιος εὐγενὴς νέος στὰ χρόνια τῆς εἰκονομαχίας (829) ἐπὶ εἰκονομάχου βασιλέως Θεοφίλου. Στὸ δρόμο ὅμως γιὰ τὴν Ἑλλάδα τὴν ἔχασε καὶ ἡ εἰκόνα ἀποκαλύφθηκε θαυματουργικὰ σ᾿ ἕνα τσοπανόπουλο, μὲ μία στήλη φωτὸς σὰν πυρσὸς - γι᾿ αὐτὸ πῆρε καὶ τὴν ἐπωνυμία Πυρσὸς - στὸ μέρος ὅπου ἦταν κρυμμένη. Ὁ νέος, ποὺ εἶχε ἐγκατασταθεῖ στὴν Πάτρα, ὅταν τὸ ἔμαθε θέλησε νὰ τὴν πάρει. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ εἰκόνα θαυματουργικὰ γύρισε καὶ πάλι στὸ ἄγριο μέρος τῆς Εὐρυτανίας, ὅπου ἀποκαλύφθηκε στοὺς ντόπιους βοσκούς. Τότε ὁ νέος, μαζὶ μ᾿ ἕναν ὑπηρέτη του, πῆγαν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐκεῖ, ὅπου ἔγιναν μοναχοὶ μετανομασθέντες Διονύσιος καὶ Τιμόθεος ἀντίστοιχα. Στὸ Μοναστήρι λοιπὸν αὐτό, γίνεται μέχρι καὶ σήμερα μεγάλο πανηγύρι καὶ πλῆθος κόσμου συρρέει γιὰ νὰ προσκυνήσει τὴν θαυματουργὴ αὐτὴ εἰκόνα τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἀριάδνη ἡ Βασίλισσα
Ἄγνωστη στοὺς Συναξαριστές, ἀναφέρεται στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Delehaye κατὰ τὸν Κώδ. τοῦ Ὀξονίου Τ. ΙΙΙ. 16 καὶ τὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδ. 1617 (στὶς 23 Αὐγούστου).
Martyr Agathonicus of Nicomedia and his companions (4th c.)
He lived in Nicomedia, where he turned many pagans from their idolatry to faith in Christ. For this he and several companions were seized, beaten, bound, and taken to Byzantium. On the way, several of Agathonicus' companions died from their harsh treatment. The survivors, including Agathonicus himself, were taken to Selyvria in Thrace, where they were tortured before the Emperor himself, then beheaded.
Holy Martyr Eulalia of Barcelona (303)
She was born of Christian parents in Barcelona, and dedicated herself to a life of holiness, taking Christ as her bridegroom. When the persecutor Dacian came to Barcelona, Eulalia secretly left her parents' house by night and came before Dacian, denouncing him in front of many witnesses as a murderer of the innocent, and publicly confessing her faith in Christ. The wicked Dacian had her stripped and beaten, then tied to a tree in the form of a cross, and ordered that her flesh be burned with torches. When her torturer mockingly asked 'Where is your Christ to save you?' she answered 'He is here with me; you cannot see Him because of your impurity.' When the holy Eulalia died at last under torture, the people saw a white dove fly from her mouth. An unseasonable snowstorm then covered her naked body like a white garment.
The Martyrs Agathonikes, Zotikos, Theoprepios (in Slavonic: Bogolep), Akyndinos, Severian, Zinon and others accepted death for Christ during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). The Martyr Agathonikes was descended from the illustrious lineage of the Hypasians, and he lived at Nicomedia. Having become well versed in Holy Scripture, he converted many pagans to Christ, in which number was also the most eminent member of the Senate (its "princeps" or leader). Comitus Evtolmius was sent to the Pontine (lower Black Sea) region, where he crucified the followers of the Christian Zotikos, all who had refused to offer sacrifice to idols, but Zotikos himself he took with him. In Nicomedia Evtolmius arrested the Martyr Agathonikes (together with the princeps), and also Theoprepios, Akyndinos and Severian. After tortures, Evtolmius ordered that the martyrs be taken to Thrace for trial by the emperor. But along the way, in the vicinity of Potama, he put to death the Martyrs Zotikos, Theoprepios and Akyndinos -- who were unable to proceed further behind the chariot of the governor because of wounds received during the time of torture. The Martyr Severian was put to death at Chalcedon, and the Martyr Agathonikes together with others was beheaded with the sword by order of the emperor, in Selymbria.
The relics of the Martyr Agathonikes within a church named for him was seen at Constantinople in the year 1200 by the Russian pilgrim Antonii. And in the XIV Century Philotheos, the archbishop of Selymbria, devoted a discourse of laudation to the Martyr Agathonikes.
The PriestMartyr Athanasias, bishop of the Cilician city of Tarsus, who baptised the Nun Anthysa, was beheaded by the sword under the emperor Aurelian (270-275). The Nun Anthysa, a native of the city of Seleucia (in Syria), was the daughter of illustrious pagans. Learning of the teachings of Christ, she under pretense of visiting her benefactress instead journeyed off to Tarsus to Saint Athanasias and received Baptism from him. Her parents were enraged at their daughter for becoming a Christian. But she then -- having received monastic tonsure from Saint Athanasias -- settled in the wilderness, where she spent 23 years at ascetic deeds and died at the end of the III Century. The Martyrs Charisimos and Neophytes, who had been baptised together with the Nun Anthysa, were her servants and they too accepted death for Christ.
The Martyress Eulalia lived in Spain, near the city of Barcionum (at present now -- Barcelona), and she was raised by her parents in piety and the Christian faith. Already at 14 years of age the maiden spent a solitary life in the parental home, occupied with several of her own age in prayer, the reading of Holy Scripture, and handicrafts. During the time of a persecution against Christians, -- that under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305), there arrived in the city of Barcionum the governor Dacian to rid it of Christians. Hearing about this, the maiden by night secretly left her home and by morning had made her way into the city. Pushing her way through the throng of people, the girl made a bold denunciation of the judge, for forcing people to renounce the True God to instead offer sacrifice to devils. Dacian gave orders to viciously beat the girl with canes, but she steadfastly endured the torment and told the judge, that the Lord would deliver her from the feelings of pain. They suspended the martyress from a tree and tore at her skin with iron claws, and they then burnt at her wounds with torches. During the time of torment Dacian asked the saint: "Where then is thy God, Whom thou hast called upon?" She answered, that the Lord was alongside her, but that Dacian in his impurity would not be able to see Him. During the time of the saint's prayer: "Behold, God wilt help me, and the Lord be defender of my soul" (Ps. 53 : 4) -- the flames of the torches turned back upon the torturers, who fell to the ground. The Martyress Eulalia began to pray, that the Lord would take her to Heaven to Himself, and with this prayer she died. People beheld a white dove, flying up from her mouth to Heaven. The body of the saint was buried by night by Christians. The parents of the martyress, having come upon her during her sufferings, wept but were also gladdened, that their daughter would be numbered amidst the ranks of the saints. When they took Saint Eulalia from the tree, one of the Christians, by the name of Felix, said with tears of joy: "Lady Eulalia, thou art the first of us to win the martyr's crown!" The Martyr Felix himself soon accepted death for Christ (his memory is also on this day, 22 August).
The Monk Bogolep was a disciple of the Monk Paisii of Uglich (+ 1504, Comm. 6 June). In the world Saint Bogolep was a baker of bread, and then too in the monastery he bore this as his obedience. A wonderworking icon of the Protection ("Pokrov") of the MostHoly Mother of God appeared to him, when the monk went early in the morning for water to the Volga. He beheld the icon -- from whence it came unknown -- which stood at the riverbank and gleamed with an Heavenly Light. Forgetting about the water, the Monk Bogolep quickly ran back to the monastery and told everything to the Monk Paisii. The Monks Adrian, Vassian, Bogolep and Paisii in company with all the monastery brethren carried the icon to the monastery. The Monk Bogolep had the dignity of priest-monk. Before death he became a schema-monk. His memory is made on 22 August, the day of memory of the same-named Martyr Theoprepios (which in Russian translation is "Bogolep" meaning "God-worthy").
The Gruzinian (Georgian) Icon of the mother of God: In 1622 the Persian shah Abbas conquered Gruzia. Many Christian holy things were plundered and many such were sold to the Russian merchants that were in Persia. Thus, the Gruzinian Icon of the Mother of God came the way of a certain merchant named Stefan, who piously kept it. During this time in Yaroslavl' the merchant Georgii Lytkin -- on whose trade-business Stefan was in Persia -- received in a dream a revelation about the holy article found by Stefan, and he was commanded to send it off to the Chernogorsk monastery in the Arkhangelsk diocese, founded in 1603. When Stefan returned home in 1629 and showed the icon to Georgii Lytkin, who remembered about his vision and he set off to the Dvina outskirts to the Chernogorsk monastery (called such since it was built on an hilly and somber place, and from of old had been named "Black Mount" ("Chernaya Gora"), but afterwards the monastery was changed in name to "Pretty Hill" ("Krasnaya Gora"). The icon was glorified there by miracles. In 1654 during the time of a pestilential plague the icon was transferred to Moscow, and those praying before it escaped the deadly plague. The many copies of the icon testifies to its deep veneration. In 1658, with the blessing of Patriarch Nikon, there was established an annual feastday of the Gruzinian Icon of the Mother of God. The service was compiled in 1698 under the supervision of Feodor Polikarpov of the Moscow printing-office.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYRS AGATHONICUS, ZOTICUS AND OTHERS WITH THEM
St. Agathonicus was a citizen of Nicomedia and a Christian by faith. With great zeal he converted the Hellenes from idolatry and instructed them in the true Faith. By order of Emperor Maximian, the emperor's deputy cruelly persecuted the Christians. During the persecution, the deputy captured St. Zoticus in a place called Carpe, crucified his disciples and brought Zoticus to Nicomedia where he also captured and bound St. Agathonicus, Princeps, Theoprepius, (Bogoljepa), Acindynus, Severianus, Zeno and many others. Securely bound, they were all taken to Byzantium. However, along the way, Saints Zoticus, Theoprepius and Acindynus died of their many wounds and exhaustion. They killed Severianus near Chalcedon and, Agathonicus with the others were taken to Thrace to the town of Silybria where, after torture before the emperor himself, they were beheaded and entered into eternal life and into the joy of their Lord.
2. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR EULALIA
During the time of a terrible persecution against Christians in Spain, there lived a virgin Eulalia, born of Christian parents in the town of Barcelona. Completely dedicated to Christ as her Bridegroom, completely immersed in Holy Scripture, Eulalia ceaselessly disciplined herself in voluntary mortification of the body and spirit. When the torturer Dacian who mercilessly killed the Christians throughout Spain and then came to Barcelona, Eulalia slipped away from her parents at night, came before the torturer and in the presence of many people rebuked him for slaughtering innocent people, along with this ridiculing the lifeless idols and openly confessing her faith in Christ the living Lord. The enraged Dacian ordered that Eulalia be disrobed and beaten with rods. But the holy virgin expressed that she did not feel the pains of the tortures for her Christ. The torturer then bound her to a piece of wood in the form of a cross and ordered that her body be burned with torches. Then the torturer asked her: "Where is your Christ now to save you?" Eulalia answered: "He is here with me but you are unable to see Him because of your impurity." In great pain did Eulalia give up her soul to God. When she died, the people saw a white dove emerge from her mouth. At that moment, snow unexpectedly fell and covered the naked body of the martyr as a white garment. The third day, St. Felix came and sadly wept before Eulalia's hanging body and on the lifeless face of the saint there appeared a smile. Her parents came and, together with other Christians, honorably buried the body of this holy virgin. Eulalia suffered and died for her Lord and entered into eternal joy at the beginning of the fourth century.
3. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR ANTHUSA AND OTHERS WITH HER
Anthusa was the daughter of wealthy but pagan parents from Seleucia in Syria. Learning about Christ, Anthusa believed in Him with all her heart and secretly went to Bishop Athanasius who baptized her. At the time of her baptism, angels of God appeared to her. After that, Anthusa set out for the wilderness to live a life of asceticism for she was afraid to return to her parents. Anthusa lived a life of asceticism in the wilderness for twenty-three years. While praying to God, she gave up her soul kneeling on a stone under which, according to her last testament, she wished to be buried. Bishop Athanasius and two of Anthusa's servants, Charismus and Neophytus, were slain after that because of their faith in Christ at the time of Emperor Valerian about the year 257 A.D. They all died honorably and were crowned with wreaths.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR EULALIA
God's white dove,
And martyr of Christ,
Eulalia, torture desires,
That by torture, to whiten the spirit.
What is the body? A potter's weak clay,
When, from it, the soul breaks forth,
To its own dust, dust returns,
The soul, to the angelic world.
Eulalia bears Christ.
Without sighing, tortures she endures,
Tortures endures, prays to God,
The torturer, to withstand.
And, the dove withstood,
And the martyr conquered.
Her body wounded,
By white snow is covered,
The soul a dove from within her, flies,
To her Creator, it flies,
On her lifeless face,
By white snow covered,
Behold, the smile of the victor,
Behold, the smile of the avenger!
With a smile, she found
And a new life proclaimed.
By the prayers of Eulalia
That God also have mercy on us!
When a man once truly repents, he need not think any more about the sins he committed so that he will not sin again. St. Anthony counsels: "Be careful that your mind not be defiled with the remembrance of former sins and that the remembrance of those sins not be renewed in you." Again, in another place, St. Anthony says: "Do not establish your previously committed sins in your soul by thinking about them so that they not be repeated in you. Be assured that they are forgiven you from the time that you gave yourself to God and repentance. In that, do not doubt." It is said of St. Ammon that he attained such perfection that from much goodness he was not aware that evil exists anymore. When they asked him what is that "narrow and difficult [sorrowful] path" (St. Matthew 7:14), he replied: "That it is the restraining of one's thoughts and severing of one's desires in order to fulfill the will of God." Whoever restrains sinful thoughts, does not think of his own sins or the sins of others neither of anything corruptible nor of anything earthly. The mind of such a man is continually in heaven where there is no evil. Thus, in him, sin gradually ceases to be, even in his thoughts.
To contemplate the wondrous help of God to David (1 Samuel 19 1 Kings 19):
1. How David played the harp before Saul;
2. How an evil spirit attacked Saul and Saul hurled a spear at David in order to kill him;
3. How Saul, even from the closest distance, did not hit David.
About the prophecy of the miracles of Christ
"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35: 5-6).
Come, brethren, let us be amazed at the power of our living God Who opened the eyes of mortal men to see in the greatest distance of time that which will come to pass. And still to see in the minutest details as though this prophet [Isaiah] himself was an apostle of Christ, walked with the Lord, witnessed the miracles of miracles, how he gives sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the lame to walk and to the dumb, voice and speech. When John the Baptist in prison sent his disciples to ask Christ: "Are You He who is to come or do we look for another?" (St. Matthew 11:3), the Lord Christ answered them in the words of His prophet Isaiah: "Go and show John again those things which you do hear and see: The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up "
(St. Matthew 11: 4-5). Look and see how wonderful the Lord planned our salvation! That which was prophesied about Him through His Prophet Isaiah, that is what He fulfilled. At one time, the Prophet Isaiah spoke His words inspired by the Holy Spirit and now He [Jesus Christ] speaks the words of His prophet. At one time, the prophet quoted Him and now He [Jesus Christ] quotes the prophet. To show by this that when He speaks His words or when He speaks the words of the prophet, He always speaks only His words. To show that even then it was He who spoke and not the prophet and that it is now He who speaks and not anyone else and to justify His prophet as His faithful servant so that no one would be able to say that the prophet spoke falsely. Thus, the prophets served to the glory of Christ the Lord and Christ the Lord glorified His prophets, His true servants.
O Lord Jesus, glorified by Your servants and the Glorifier of Your servants, help us also so that by word, deed and thoughts we may be able to serve the majestic glory of Your Name.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.