Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August 13, 2012 - 11th Monday After Pentecost


Apodosis of the Transfiguration
Maximus the Confessor
Our Righteous Fathers Sergius, Stephanus, Castor and Palamonus
Dorotheus, Abba of Gaza


The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 2:3-15
BRETHREN, my joy is the joy of you all. For I wrote you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure - not to put it too severely - to you all. For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, for he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 2:3-15
Ἀδελφοί,ἡ ἐμὴ χαρὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἐστίν. Ἐκ γὰρ πολλῆς θλίψεως καὶ συνοχῆς καρδίας ἔγραψα ὑμῖν διὰ πολλῶν δακρύων, οὐχ ἵνα λυπηθῆτε, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἀγάπην ἵνα γνῶτε ἣν ἔχω περισσοτέρως εἰς ὑμᾶς. Εἰ δέ τις λελύπηκεν, οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπηκεν, ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ μέρους· ἵνα μὴ ἐπιβαρῶ πάντας ὑμᾶς. Ἱκανὸν τῷ τοιούτῳ ἡ ἐπιτιμία αὕτη ἡ ὑπὸ τῶν πλειόνων· ὥστε τοὐναντίον μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς χαρίσασθαι καὶ παρακαλέσαι, μήπως τῇ περισσοτέρᾳ λύπῃ καταποθῇ ὁ τοιοῦτος. Διὸ παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς κυρῶσαι εἰς αὐτὸν ἀγάπην. Εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ ἔγραψα, ἵνα γνῶ τὴν δοκιμὴν ὑμῶν, εἰ εἰς πάντα ὑπήκοοί ἐστε. ᾯ δέ τι χαρίζεσθε, καὶ ἐγώ· καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ εἴ τι κεχάρισμαι, ᾧ κεχάρισμαι, διʼ ὑμᾶς ἐν προσώπῳ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα μὴ πλεονεκτηθῶμεν ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ· οὐ γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὰ νοήματα ἀγνοοῦμεν. Ἐλθὼν δὲ εἰς τὴν Τρῳάδα εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ θύρας μοι ἀνεῳγμένης ἐν κυρίῳ, οὐκ ἔσχηκα ἄνεσιν τῷ πνεύματί μου, τῷ μὴ εὑρεῖν με Τίτον τὸν ἀδελφόν μου· ἀλλὰ ἀποταξάμενος αὐτοῖς ἐξῆλθον εἰς Μακεδονίαν. Τῷ δὲ θεῷ χάρις τῷ πάντοτε θριαμβεύοντι ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, καὶ τὴν ὀσμὴν τῆς γνώσεως αὐτοῦ φανεροῦντι διʼ ἡμῶν ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ. Ὅτι Χριστοῦ εὐωδία ἐσμὲν τῷ θεῷ ἐν τοῖς σῳζομένοις καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις.

The Reading is from Matthew 23:13-22
The Lord said to the Jews who had come to him, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, 'If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it."

Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 23.13-22
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος πρὸς τοὺς ἐληλυθότας πρὸς αὐτὸν Ἰουδαίους· ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι· διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρῖμα.Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι κλείετε τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων· ὑμεῖς γὰρ οὐκ εἰσέρχεσθε, οὐδὲ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἀφίετε εἰσελθεῖν.Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι περιάγετε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηρὰν ποιῆσαι ἕνα προσήλυτον, καὶ ὅταν γένηται, ποιεῖτε αὐτὸν υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν.Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, ὁδηγοὶ τυφλοί, οἱ λέγοντες· ὃς ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ ναῷ, οὐδέν ἐστιν, ὃς δ᾿ ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ χρυσῷ τοῦ ναοῦ, ὀφείλει.μωροὶ καὶ τυφλοί! τίς γὰρ μείζων ἐστίν, ὁ χρυσὸς ἢ ὁ ναὸς ὁ ἁγιάζων τὸν χρυσόν;καί· ὃς ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ, οὐδέν ἐστιν, ὃς δ᾿ ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ δώρῳ τῷ ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ, ὀφείλει.μωροὶ καὶ τυφλοί! τί γὰρ μεῖζον, τὸ δῶρον ἢ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ ἁγιάζον τὸ δῶρον;ὁ οὖν ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ·καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ ναῷ ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ κατοικήσαντι αὐτόν·καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ὀμνύει ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ


Τῇ ΙΓ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τῆς μεταθέσεως τοῦ λειψάνου τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Μαξίμου τοῦ Ὁμολογητοῦ.
Κινοῦσί σου Μάξιμε πιστοὶ τὴν κόνιν,
Δηλοῦντες, ὡς ζῇς, ἐξαμείβων καὶ τόπους.
Μαξίμου ἀμφὶ τρίτην νεκρὸν δεκάτην μεταθῆκαν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς ἀοιδίμου καὶ Παμμακαρίστου Βασιλίσσης καὶ κτιτορίσσης τῆς σεβασμίας μονῆς τοῦ Παντοκράτορος Σωτῆρος Χριστοῦ, Εἰρήνης, τῆς διὰ τοῦ Ἁγίου καὶ Ἀγγελικοῦ σχήματος μετονομασθείσης Ξένης Μοναχῆς.
Παντοκράτωρ δέδωκέ σοι Μονὴν ἄνω,
Ὡς κτιτορίσσῃ ἰδίας Μονῆς κάτω.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Apolytikion in the Grave Tone
Μετεμορθώθης εν τώ όρει Χριστέ ο Θεός, δείξας τοίς Μαθηταίς σου τήν δόξαν σου, καθώς ήδυναντο, Λάμψον καί ημίν τοίς αμαρτωλοίς, τό φώς σου τό αϊδιον, πρεσβείαις τής Θεοτόκου, φωτοδότα δόξα σοι.
You were transfigured on the Mount, Christ God revealing Your glory to Your disciples, insofar as they could comprehend. Illuminate us sinners also with Your everlasting light, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. Giver of light, glory to You.

The divine Maximus, who was from Constantinople, sprang from an illustrious family. He was a lover of wisdom and an eminent theologian. At first, he was the chief private secretary of the Emperor Heraclius and his grandson Constans. But when the Monothelite heresy became predominant in the royal court, out of hatred for this error the Saint departed for the Monastery at Chrysopolis (Scutari), of which he later became the abbot. When Constans tried to constrain him either to accept the Monothelite teaching, or to stop speaking and writing against it - neither of which the Saint accepted to do - his tongue was uprooted and his right hand was cut off, and he was sent into exile, where he reposed in 662. At the time only he and his few disciples were Orthodox in the East. See also January 21.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ορθοδοξίας Οδηγέ, ευσεβίας διδάσκαλε καί σεμνότητος, τής οικουμένης ο φωστήρ, αρχιερέων θεόπνευστον εγκαλλώπισμα, Μάξιμε σοφέ, ταίς διδαχαίς σου πάντας εφώτισας, λύρα τού Πνεύματος, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Maximos , you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Ορθοδοξίας Οδηγέ, ευσεβίας διδάσκαλε καί σεμνότητος, τής οικουμένης ο φωστήρ, αρχιερέων θεόπνευστον εγκαλλώπισμα, Μάξιμε σοφέ, ταίς διδαχαίς σου πάντας εφώτισας, λύρα τού Πνεύματος, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Divinely-inspired champion of the Church, sure and brilliant exponent of Orthodoxy, harp and instrument of piety, and divine and sacred adornment of monastics: cease not to intercede for us all.

Η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την ανακομιδή των ιερών λειψάνων του οσίου Πατρός Μαξίμου του Ομολογητού. Ο όσιος Μάξιμος είναι από τους γλυκύτερους συγγραφείς της Εκκλησίας. Στον πρόλογο ενός συγγράμματός του "Περί αγάπης", που τώγραψε επειδή το ζήτησε ο φίλος του πρεσβύτερος Ελπίδιος, γράφει το εξής πολύ χαρακτηριστικό· "...ουδέν μεν ίσως άξιον της σης προσδοκίας, της δε γε ημετέρας δυνάμεως ουκ έλαττον". Μεγάλη αλήθεια υπάρχει σε αυτά τα λόγια, που δεν θα πρέπη ποτέ να την ξεχνούμε, για νάχωμε πάντα ορθή γνώμη για την αξία της εργασίας μας, στην οποία μ'όλα ταύτα αφιερώνομε όλες τις δυνάμεις μας. Συμβαίνει το αντίθετο· θαυμάζομε την αξία των έργων μας, στα οποία δεν εδώσαμε την ψυχή μας και με το λιγώτερο κόπο θεωρούμε πως εξωφλήσαμε απέναντι στην προσδοκία των ανθρώπων. Οι Άγιοι βάζουν όλες τις δυνάμεις των σ'εκείνο που καταπιάνονται κι όταν το τελειώσουν, έχουν την γνώμη πως μικρά πράγματα κατώρθωσαν.

Ἡ Ἁγία Εὐδοκία ἡ βασίλισσα
Ἦταν κόρη τοῦ ἀθηναίου φιλοσόφου Λεοντίου καὶ γεννήθηκε τὸ 401 μ.Χ. Σπούδασε κατὰ τὸν καλύτερο τρόπο τὴν γραμματική, τὴ ρητορικὴ καὶ τὴ φιλοσοφία. Ὅταν πέθανε ὁ Λεόντιος, ἄφησε ὅλην τὴν περιουσία του στοὺς γιούς του, καὶ σ᾿ αὐτὴν ἄφησε μόνο 100 χρυσὰ νομίσματα. Ὅταν, λοιπόν, ἦλθε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη γιὰ νὰ διεκδικήσει τὰ κληρονομικά της δικαιώματα, παντρεύτηκε τὸν Θεοδόσιο τὸν Β´, μέσῳ τῆς ἀδελφῆς του Πουλχερίας, ποὺ εἶχε κατενθουσιαστεῖ ἀπὸ τὰ σπάνια χαρίσματα τῆς ἀθηναίας κόρης. Ἔτσι βαπτίστηκε χριστιανὴ καὶ πῆρε τὸ ὄνομα Εὐδοκία, ἀπὸ Ἀθηναΐδα ποὺ τὴν ἔλεγαν πρῶτα. Ἡ Εὐδοκία ἀπὸ τὴν φύση της γυναῖκα σεμνή, δὲν ἀνακατεύθηκε καθόλου μὲ τὶς βασιλικὲς ὑποθέσεις. Τὴν εἵλκυσε περισσότερο ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ Χριστοῦ, γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ἐπεδίωξε νὰ ἐπισκεφθεῖ τοὺς Ἁγίους Τόπους. Ὅταν ὁ σκοπός της πραγματοποιήθηκε, αἰσθάνθηκε τὴν ψυχή της νὰ φτερουγίζει στὸ θρόνο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἡ ἐπιστροφή της, ὅμως, στὴ Βασιλεύουσα, ἐπεφύλασσε ἐκπλήξεις. Οἱ σχέσεις της μὲ τὸν Θεοδόσιο ψυχράνθηκαν, λόγω συκοφαντιῶν. Γι᾿ αὐτό, μὲ τὴν ἄδειά του ἐπέστρεψε στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, ὅπου ἵδρυσε πολλὰ μοναστήρια. Καὶ μὲ προσευχή, μελέτη καὶ «ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ καὶ σεμνότητι», τελείωσε τὴν ζωή της.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Σέριδος ἡγούμενος τῆς Μονῆς στὴ Γάζα
Ὁ μεγάλος αὐτὸς ἀσκητής, ὑπῆρξε ἡγούμενος τοῦ μεγάλου κοινοβίου, ποὺ βρισκόταν κοντὰ στὴ Γάζα, ὅπου ἔλαμψαν μὲ τὴν πνευματική τους ἄσκηση ὁ Βαρσανούφιος μὲ τὸν μαθητή του Ἰωάννη, καθὼς καὶ ὁ μέγας ἀββᾶς Δωρόθεος. Ὁ Ὅσιος Σέριδος ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.

Οἱ Ὅσιοι Δωρόθεος καὶ Δοσίθεος ὁ ὑποτακτικός του
Ὁ Ὅσιος Δωρόθεος ἦταν ἀσκητὴς στὴν κοινοβιακὴ Μονὴ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Σέριδου, κοντὰ στὴ Γάζα. Μετὰ τὸ θάνατο τοῦ ἀββᾶ Ἰωάννη τοῦ προφήτη, ἔφυγε ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ καὶ ἵδρυσε δική του Μονή, ὅπου ἔζησε ἀσκητικὰ καὶ ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. Ὁ δὲ Ὅσιος Δοσίθεος ἦταν ὑποτακτικὸς τοῦ ἀββᾶ Δωροθέου. Ἀναδείχθηκε καὶ αὐτὸς στὴν ἀσκητικὴ πάλη καὶ ἀφοῦ ἔζησε κατὰ τὸ παράδειγμα τοῦ γέροντά του, ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.

Μνήμη τῆς ἀοιδίμου καὶ παμμακαρίστου βασιλίσσης καὶ κτητορίσσης τῆς σεβασμίας Μονῆς τοῦ Παντοκράτορος Σωτῆρος Χριστοῦ Εἰρήνης τῆς μετονομασθείσης Ξένης μοναχῆς
Ἔζησε τὸν 12ο αἰῶνα μ.Χ. καὶ ἦταν κόρη ὡραία καὶ ἐνάρετη. Αὐτὸ τὸ παρατήρησε ὁ βασιλιὰς Ἀλέξιος ὁ Κομνηνὸς καὶ τὴν πάντρεψε μὲ τὸ γιό του Ἰωάννη, τὸν ἐπονομαζόμενο Καλοϊωάννη λόγω τῶν πολλῶν του ἀρετῶν. Ἡ ἐνάρετη λοιπὸν βασίλισσα Εἰρήνη, ξόδευε μὲ ἁπλοχεριὰ σὲ φιλανθρωπικὰ ἔργα, μόνη μάλιστα πήγαινε σὲ φτωχικὲς καλύβες, γιὰ νὰ δώσει ὄχι μόνο χρήματα, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀνώτερη ἐνίσχυση καὶ παρηγοριὰ τῆς ἐλπίδας στὸ Χριστό. Ἐπίσης ἔκτισε γηροκομεῖα καὶ ξενῶνες, καὶ ἄφησε σ᾿ αὐτὰ μεγάλα χρηματικὰ ποσὰ γιὰ τὴν ἀσφαλῆ καὶ ἄνετη συντήρησή τους. Στὴ συνέχεια ὅμως, ἡ Εἰρήνη δοκίμασε μεγάλες θλίψεις. Ὁ ἄντρας της σὲ μία ἐκστρατεία του στὴ Συρία τὸ 1143, πέθανε. Ἀργότερα τὸ ἴδιο συνέβη καὶ μὲ τὰ δυὸ ἀπὸ τὰ τέσσερα παιδιά της. Τότε ἡ Εἰρήνη θέλησε νὰ βρεῖ ἀνακούφιση στὶς θλίψεις της μέσα στὴ μοναχικὴ ζωή. Ἀφοῦ λοιπὸν πῆρε καὶ τὴν συγκατάθεση τοῦ βασιλιᾶ γιοῦ της Μανουήλ, ἀποσύρθηκε στὴ μονὴ Παντοκράτορος, ὅπου καὶ ἔγινε μοναχή, μετονομασθεῖσα Ξένη. Ἐκεῖ τὴν βρῆκε ὁ θάνατος καὶ τὴν κήδευσαν μὲ μεγάλη ἁπλότητα, ὅπως ἡ ἴδια τὸ ἐπιθυμοῦσε. Διότι λίγο πρὶν πεθάνει ἔλεγε, ὅτι ἡ βασίλισσα Εἰρήνη εἶχε πεθάνει πρὸ πολλοῦ, καὶ δὲν ἔμενε πλέον παρὰ μόνο ἡ μοναχὴ Ξένη.

Leavetaking of Transfiguration
St Maximos the Confessor (662)
He was from a noble family in Constantinople, and became the private secretary of the Emperor Heraclius and his grandson Constans. But when the Monothelite heresy (that Christ possesses one divine will, rather than a divine and a human will) took hold in the Imperial court, the Saint could not bear to be surrounded by this error and left the court for the Monastery at Chrysopolis, where in time he became the abbot. From the monastery he continued to speak and write in defense of Orthodox belief. The Emperor Constans ordered him either to accept Monothelite belief or to cease speaking against it, but St Maximos would do neither. For this, his tongue was torn out, his right hand was cut off, and he was sent into exile, where he reposed in 662. He is also commemorated on January 21; see that day for a slightly fuller account.

St Tikhon of Zadonsk (1783)
He is one of the best-loved Saints of the Russian people. He was born into a very poor family in Novgorod province and received the baptismal name of Timothy. He went to seminary in Novgorod, where he excelled, later teaching Greek and other subjects. He was tonsured a monk at the age of thirty-four, receiving the monastic name of Tikhon. As his ascesis and wisdom became known, he quickly became eminent in the Church and in 1761 was made a bishop. In 1763 he was consecrated Bishop of Voronezh. After serving as bishop for about seven years, he retired to the monastery of Zadonsk, where he spent the remainder of his life. He devoted his "retirement" to prayer and the writing of books, producing a huge collection of writings that have earned him the name "the Russian Chrysostom." He reposed in peace in 1783 at the age of fifty-nine. Many miracles were wrought by him after his death, and he was soon proclaimed a Saint by the people. When his body was exhumed in 1845 (over sixty years later) to make way for a new church in Zadonsk, his relics were found to be whole and incorrupt; even his vestments were free from decay. He was officially glorified in 1863; some three hundred thousand pilgrims attended his glorification.

Holy Martyr Hippolytus of Rome and 18 Martyrs with him (258)
He was the pagan jailkeeper who guarded St Laurence (see August 10); seeing his prisoner's holiness and the wonders wrought by him, Hippolytus was convinced of the truth of the Faith and became a Christian. When St Laurence baptized him, he was granted a vision of heaven and said 'I see innocent souls in great joy.' He took Laurence into his own home, and his entire household were baptized, nineteen in all.
  When St Laurence was martyred, Hippolytus retrieved his body by night and buried it. He was detected and brought before the Emperor Valerian on the third day after Laurence's death. Despite severe beatings he would not renounce his faith. The Emperor ordered that he be stripped and flayed but, standing naked before the emperor, Hippolytus said 'You have not stripped me, but have begun to clothe me.' Despite all torments, neither Hippolytus nor any of his household would deny Christ. All of his household were slain, one by one, before Hippolytus. Finally

Hippolytus himself was bound behind a wild horse and dragged to death. 
Our Holy Mother the Empress Irene (Xenia in Monasticism) (12th c.)
She was the pious wife of the Emperor John II Comnenus (reigned 1118-1143), but retired into monastic life. She founded the Monastery of the Pantokrator in Constantinople.

Menologion 3.0
Sainted Tikhon of Zadonsk, Bishop of Voronezh (in the world Timofei), was born in the year 1724 in the village of Korotska in Novgorod diocese, into the family of the cantor Savelii Kirillov. (A new family name -- Sokolov, was given him afterwards by the head of the Novgorod seminary). After the death of his father in early childhood he lived in such poverty, that his mother was just barely able to make ends meet and she gave him over for raising to a neighbour, a coachman, since there was nothing wherewith to feed the family. Eating only black bread and even that in great moderation, the boy worked for a rich gardener to dig the vegetable beds. As a thirteen year old lad, he was sent to a clergy school near the Novgorod archbishop's home, and in 1740 he was accepted under a state grant set up for the Novgorod seminary. The youth excelled at his studies and upon finishing seminary in 1754 he became a teacher at it, at first in Greek language, and later in rhetoric and philosophy. In the year 1758 he accepted monastic tonsure with the name Tikhon. And in that same year they appointed him to the position of prefect of the seminary. In 1759 they transferred him to Tver', with an elevation to the dignity of archimandrite of the Zheltikov monastery. Later they appointed him rector of the Tver' seminary and at the same time head of the Otrocha monastery. On 13 May 1761 he was ordained bishop of Keksgol'ma and Ladoga (i.e. a vicar bishop of the Novgorod diocese). His ordination was providential. They had proposed that the young archimandrite should transfer to the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra, but at Peterburg during the selection of a Novogorod vicar-bishop, at Pascha, from 8 castings of lots his name came up thrice.
And on this same day the Tver' bishop, Athanasii, without realising it, mentioned him at the Cherubimic hymn commemorations as bishop.
In 1763 Saint Tikhon was transferred to the Voronezh cathedra-seat. Over the course of the four and an half years that he directed the Voronezh diocese, Saint Tikhon provided it constant edification both by his life and by his numerous pastoral guidances and soul-saving books. He wrote down for pastors a whole series of works: "About the Seven Holy Sacramental-Mysteries", "A Supplement to the Priestly Office", "Concerning the Sacrament of Repentance", "An Instruction Concerning the Making of Marriage". The saint considered it especially essential, that each clergy-server have a New Testament, and that it should be read daily. In his "Circular Letter" he called on pastors to make the sacraments with reverence, and with thought on God and love towards brother. (The "Guidances concerning the Proper Duties of Every Christian" was repeatedly republished in Moscow and Peterburg already during the XVIII Century). At Voronezh the saint eradicated an ancient pagan custom -- the celebration in honour of Yarilo [originally a solar springtime pagan god connected with the fertility of grain and cattle]. In the outlying districts where military units of the Don Cossacks were dispersed, he formed a missionary commission to restore sectarians to the Orthodox Church. In 1765, Saint Tikhon transformed the Voronezh Slavic-Latin school into a clergy seminary, and having invited experienced instructors from Kiev and Khar'khov, he worked out for it the teaching courses. He exerted much attention and effort to build up both the churches and the school, and to guide and make pastors understand and be persuaded of the need for education. In administering the vast diocese, the saint was unflagging in his efforts, and he often spent nights without sleep. In 1767 he was compelled because of poor health to give up the running of the diocese and withdraw for rest to the Tolshevsk monastery, at a distance 40 versts from Voronezh. In 1769 the saint transferred over to the Bogoroditsk monastery in the city of Zadonsk. Having settled into this monastery, Saint Tikhon became a great teacher of the Christian life. With deep wisdom he set forth the ideal of true monasticism -- in his "Rule of Monastic Living" and his "Guidances to Turn from the Vanity of the World", and in his own life he fulfilled this ideal. He kept strictly to the directives of the Church, zealously (almost daily) he visited the temple of God, often he himself sang and read in the choir, and with time, out of humility he altogether left off participating and making services and instead but merely stood in the altar, reverently making the sign of the cross over himself. His beloved cell task was in reading the Lives of the Saints and the works of the holy fathers. The Psalter he knew by heart and on journeys he usually read or sang psalms. The saint underwent much tribulation, being devastated over the need of leaving his flock. Having recovered his health, he gave thought to returning to the Novgorod diocese, whither metropolitan Gavriil had invited him to head the Iversk Vallaisk monastery. But when his cell-attendant mentioned about this to the starets-elder Aaron, that one declared: "Art thou mad? The Mother of God doth not direct him to move away from here". The cell-attendant conveyed this to His Grace. "If that be so, -- said the saint, -- I shall not move away from here", -- and he tore up the invitation. Sometimes he journeyed off to the village of Lipovka, where he himself made Divine-services at the Bekhteev house. The saint journeyed also to the Tolshevsk monastery, which he loved for its solitude.
The fruition of all his spiritual life was the works, which the saint wrote while in retirement: "The Spiritual Treasury, Gathered from the World" (1770), and likewise -- "About True Christianity" (1776).
The saint lived in very simple circumstances: he slept on straw, covered by a sheepskin coat. His humility got to be so great, that to the mockery which frequently came his way, the saint did not pay any attention, giving the appearance that he did not hear it, and he was wont to say afterwards: "It thus pleases God, that servants make mockery over me -- and this becometh me because of my sins". He often said in like circumstances: "Forgiveness is better than revenge".
One time a fool named Kamenev struck the saint on the cheek with the words: "Be not so haughty", -- and the saint, having received this with gratitude, daily fed the fool.
All his life the saint "in troubles, and sorrows, and insults hast thou joyfully endured, mindful that there cannot be the crown without the victory, nor victory without effort, nor effort without struggle, nor struggle without enemies" (Song 6 of the Canon).
Strict towards himself, the saint was indulgent towards others. One time on the Friday before the feast of Palm Sunday he entered the cell of his friend the schema-monk Mitrophan, and he saw him at table together with Kozma Ignat'evich, of whom he was also fond. On the table was fish. His friends became upset. But the blessed saint said: "Sit down, for I know ye, and love is higher than fasting". And to further quiet them, he closed his ears to the matter. He especially loved the common folk, he consoled them in their grievous lot, interceding with the landowners, and moving them to compassion. All his pension and gifts from admirers he gave away to the poor.
By his deeds of self-denial and love of soul, the saint advanced in contemplation of Heaven and foresight of the future. In 1778, in a vivid dream he had suchlike a vision: the Mother of God stood in the clouds and around Her were the Apostles Peter and Paul; the saint himself on bended knees besought the All-Pure Virgin to continue showing mercy unto the world. The Apostle Paul loudly exclaimed: "When speak they peace together in affirmation, then wilt befall them unexpected universal destruction". The saint fell asleep in trembling and in tears. In the following year he again saw the Mother of God in the air and around Her several personages; the saint fell down on his knees, and around him at his knees fell four vestments of white attire. The saint besought the All-Pure Virgin for someone in particular, that they not be taken away from him (who this person was and for what the prayer, the saint told not his cell-attendant), and She answered: "Sobeit at thine request". Saint Tikhon predicted much about the fate of Russia, and in particular he spoke about the victory of Russia in the Fatherland War of 1812. More than once did they see the saint in spiritual rapture, with a transformed and luminous face, but he forbade them to speak about this. For three years before his end he each day prayed: "Tell me, O Lord, of my end". And a quiet voice in the morning dawn exclaimed: "On a Sunday". In that same year he saw in a dream a beautiful ray of light and upon it wondrous palaces and he wanted to go inside the doors, but they said to him: "Three years hence thou canst enter herein, but now work on". After this the saint secluded himself in his cell and admitted only but a few friends. For his death the saint readied both clothing and grave: he often came to weep over his grave, standing hidden from people in a closet. A year and three months before his death in a vivid dream it occurred to the saint, that he was standing in the monastery chapel-church and a priest acquaintance was carrying from the altar to the royal doors an image of the Divine Infant beneathe a veil. The saint approached and gave kiss to the Infant at the right cheek, and he felt himself stricken on the left. Awakening, the saint sensed a numbness in his left cheek, his left leg, and a trembling in his left hand. He accepted this illness with joy. Shortly before his death, the saint saw in a dream an high and twisting ladder and he heard a command to climb up upon it. "I, -- as he related to his close friend Kozma, -- at first was afraid because of weakness. But when I started to go up, the people standing around the ladder, it seemed, helped me to go higher and higher to the very clouds". "The ladder, -- he explained to Kozma, -- is the pathway to the Heavenly Kingdom; helpful to thee -- are those things which be useful guidances to thee and of remembrance to thee". The saint said with tears: "I myself do think this: the feeling that the end is nigh". During the time of his illness he frequently communed the Holy Mysteries.
Saint Tikhon died, as revealed to him, on Sunday 13 August 1783, at 59 years of age. The glorification of the saint likewise was done on a Sunday -- 13 August 1861.

The Martyr Hyppolitus was a chief prison guard at Rome under the emperors Decius and Valerian (249-259). He was converted to Christ by the Martyr Lawrence (Comm. 10 August), and he gave burial to the martyr's body.
They reported about this to the emperor, who had Saint Hyppolitus arrested and, in mockery, asked: "Art thou then into sorcery, to have stolen away the body of Lawrence?" The saint confessed himself a Christian. They began to beat at him fiercely with canes. In answer they heard only the repeated words: "I am a Christian". The emperor gave orders to clothe Saint Hyppolitus in his soldier's attire and said: "Be mindful of thy calling and be our friend, offer sacrifice to the gods together with us, just as before". But the martyr answered: "I am a soldier of Christ, my Saviour, and I do desire to die for Him". They then confiscated all his property, and whipped his foster-mother, the Martyress Concordia, with olive switches, and they beheaded all his household before the very eyes of Saint Hyppolitus. The saint himself they tied to wild horses, which dragged him over the stones to his death. This occurred on 13 August 258, the third day after the martyr's death of Archdeacon Lawrence, just as he had predicted it to Saint Hyppolitus.
By night presbyter Justin gave burial to all the martyrs at the place of execution. But the body of Saint Concordia had been thrown into an unclean place at Rome. After a certain while two Christians, the Martyrs Ireneius and Avundius, learned from a certain soldier where the body of the martyress had been thrown, and they buried it alongside Saint Hyppolitus. For this, on 26 August they were drowned, just as had been the martyress. Christians by night took up the bodies of the martyrs and buried them by the relics of the holy Archdeacon Lawrence.

The Minsk Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God was brought by holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir from Korsun and installed within the Kiev Desytin-Tithe church (the commemoration of the consecration of the church in the year 996 -- is under 12 May). In the year 1500, during the time of the taking of Kiev by khan Mengli-Gyr, a certain Tatar stripped from the icon its cover and adornments, and threw it into the Dneipr River. After a certain while it was found floating in the River Svislocha. Brought to shore and surrounded with an extraordinary light, the icon was solemnly taken to the church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God, situated in the holdings of the Minsk appanage princes. This occurred on 13 August 1500.

The "Passion" ("Strastna") Icon of the Mother of God received its name from this, that around the face of the Mother of God are depicted two Angels with the implements of the suffering of the Lord. About the icon's glorification the following is known: a certain pious woman, Ekaterina, after entering into marriage began being subjected to seizures and madness: having lost her senses she ran off into the forest and more than once attempted suicide. In a moment of clarity she prayed to the Mother of God and gave a vow, that in case of healing she would enter a monastery. And after recovering her health she remembered about the vow only after a long time; afraid and mentally afflicted she took to her bed. Three times the MostHoly Mother of God appeared to her, commanding the sick woman to go to Nizhni-Novgorod and to buy from the iconographer Grigorii Her icon for prayer. Having done this, Ekaterina received healing, and from that time onwards miracles have occurred from this icon. The celebration of this icon is made on 13 August, on the occasion of its transfer in 1641 from the village of Palitsa to Moscow; at the place of its meeting at the Tver' gates there was built a church, and later in 1654, the Strastna monastery. A second celebration of the icon is on the 6th Sunday after Pascha, on the Sunday of the Blind Man, in memory of miracles which occurred on this day. Glorified also have been the Strastna-Passion icons of the Mother of God in the Moscow church of the Conception of Saint Anna, and also in the village of Enkaeva in Tambov diocese.

Upon the "Seven-Arrow" ("Semistrel'na") Icon of the Mother of God is depicted a piercing by seven arrows. For a long time the icon was situated at the bell-tower stairway entrance of a church in honour of the Apostle John the Theologian (near Vologda). Turned face downwards, they mistook the icon for an ordinary board along which they walked, until a cripple in the city of Kadnikova had a vision; that he would receive healing after a prayer before this icon. They served a molieben before the discovered icon, after which the sick one became well. The icon was especially glorified in 1830 during the time of a cholera epidemic at Vologda.


Hippolytus was a military leader and the overseer of the prisons in Rome. He was born and raised a pagan. When St. Lawrence the archdeacon was thrown into prison, Hippolytus was ordered by the emperor to especially watch over this prisoner. Hippolytus saw with his own eyes how Lawrence restored the sight of the blind man Lucillus and how Lawrence cured many others who were sick and he [Hippolytus] believed in Christ. When Lawrence baptized him, Hippolytus had a heavenly vision and said: "I saw innocent souls in great happiness, i.e., in the heavens." He then took Lawrence into his own home and Lawrence baptized all the members, who with the old governess Concordia, numbered nineteen. When Lawrence was slain for Christ, Hippolytus took the body of the martyr at night, wrapped it in a winding sheet and honorably buried it. However, this somehow came to the ears of Emperor Decius and on the third day following the death of Lawrence, Hippolytus was arrested, brought before the emperor and refusing to deny the True Faith, he was stuck on the mouth with stones. After that, the emperor ordered Hippolytus to be stripped naked and flogged. Naked before the emperor, he said: "You have not stripped me but rather you have begun to clothe me!" Then they stretched him out on the ground and beat him mercilessly but Hippolytus only cried out: "I am a Christian." The emperor upon hearing that all of Hippolytus' household are Christians, he ordered that they all be brought in. The aged Concordia said: "We desire more to die honorably with our master in the Faith of Christ than to live dishonorably with you, who are unclean." Concordia was the first to be slain and, after her, the remaining eighteen were slain, all before the eyes of Hippolytus. Finally, they tied Hippolytus to a wild horse and dragged him here and there until the martyr gave up his soul to God.

Tikhon was born in a simple peasant family in the village of Korotsk in the providence of Novgorod in the year 1724 A.D. He received the monastic tonsure at age thirty-four and because of his mortifications and great spiritual wisdom, soon received greater and greater service until finally he was consecrated as the Bishop of Voronezh. His episcopacy lasted for almost five years and, because of frail health, he withdrew and took up residence in the monastery of Zadonsk. He died peacefully in the year 1783 A.D. in Zadonsk where his miracle-working relics now repose. He was a great ascetic of the Russian Church, rare shepherd, intercessor and an author of the most beautiful spiritual works. By his wisdom, holiness and asceticism, Tikhon can be equated among the great fathers of the Orthodox Church of ancient times. Because of the many witnessed miracles over his relics, he was proclaimed a saint, at first, by the people and after that by the official church in the year 1861 A.D.

Irene was the wife of Emperor John Comnenus II, 1118-1143 A.D., called Calojohn (Caloyan), John the Good. In addition to her monastic mortifications and many good works, Irene is also famous because she built the Monastery of the Almighty [the Pantocrator] one of the most glorious and most beautiful monasteries in Constantinople. Later on, St. Stephen of Decani lived a life of asceticism in this monastery.


Seridus was renowned as the founder of the famous community near Gaza in Palestine. Such glorious fathers as: St. Barsanuphius, John, Abba Dorotheus, Dositheus and others lived a life of asceticism in this community. St. Seridus died in the sixth century and took up habitation in the eternal joy of his Lord.

The hut of a peasant, a saint nurtured,
Him, the Orthodox Church, with the spirit imbued:
Tikhon, the hierarch, as a star shone
And spiritual mysteries, to the world related:
Read Holy Scripture, God, it conceals,
It conceals God, and God it reveals.
The books of the entire world, do not tell more
About God, about you than what the Scripture writes.
Behold, without God, one can not know God
It is in vain to inquire about God, outside of God.
God gives Himself to us, as much as He fits in our mind
Into an egg, one can not pour the sea.
How to save the soul, Holy Scripture teaches
From sin and death and damnation eternal.
He who is drowning, about water, does not ask,
Neither what is it? Nor how? Nor from where does it flow?
Rather, about his salvation only, is concerned
And a secure rock, fearfully seeks.
And the sea of life, stormily agitates
The wise one on this sea, for himself, salvation seeks.
What is this life? Of what is it made?
When death comes upon us, is that so important to know?
On the earth, knowledge and possessions remain,
To the grave, the body and the clothing is given over
The soul, only the soul can still be saved,
Endeavor and pray: help me O God!

"Give thanks to the Lord but do not forget His great men, the poor and the needy, for they can accomplish much with God the Lord." These are the words of the illustrious Russian ascetic of the nineteenth century, Father Nazariah, the abbot of Valamo [Valaam]Monastery. He spoke these words to the wife of a high-ranking official in Petrograd [St. Petersburg] who fell into disfavor with the Tsar because of certain serious accusations. The accused official became ill from worry and lay in bed. Hearing that Father Nazariah arrived in Petrograd, the wife of this official hurriedly sought him out and related the misfortune which had befallen them and implored him to pray to the Lord for her husband. "Do you have any copper or silver coins in change?" Father Nazariah asked her. The woman brought the coins and gave them to him. And so, Father Nazariah left. The same evening Nazariah again returned and gladdened the wife with this news: "Glory to God, all those close to the Tsar [God, the King] have promised to pray for you." Naturally, the wife thought of Tsar Alexander Pavlovitch and his courtiers, while the spiritual father was thinking about the beggars on the streets to whom he had distributed the coins and sent them to pray to God for the husband of this woman. And suredly the news arrived that the emperor ordered that the matter concerning this official be taken up again and reviewed. And, it was just what the official wanted. When the woman began to thank Father Nazariah, he said: "Give thanks to the Lord but do not forget His great men, the poor and the needy, for they can accomplish much with God the Lord."

To contemplate the wondrous might of prophesying (1 Samuel 10 1 Kings 10):
1. How Samuel prophesied to Saul all that will happen to him one day;
2. How the Spirit of God came upon Saul and he also prophesied.

About the chief prophesy of the Prophet Isaiah
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).
This glorious prophecy concerning the birth of the Lord by a virgin was spoken by Isaiah, the prophet who saw God, at the moment of the greatest despair which befell Jerusalem. The multitudinous army of Syrians and Ephriams had surrounded the city, around the very walls of the city. King Ahaz, with neither an army nor weapons and the inhabitants of Jerusalem were in mortal fear. "The heart of the king [Ahaz] and the heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind" (Isaiah 7:2). In that final hour of the king's despair, Isaiah came before the king and by command of God said to him: "Fear not neither be fainthearted" (Isaiah 7:4). Then Isaiah prophesied that the enemies would not take Jerusalem. Seeing that King Ahaz did not believe him, Isaiah told the king to ask for a sign, a miracle, be it from heaven or from earth. However, the unbelieving king did not want to ask but remained obstinate in his doubt. The prophet then said that God would give them a sign, even though they did not seek it. This sign refers to distant times and concerns the universal salvation of the mankind. "A virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel" which is to say: "God is with us." Why did not the prophet immediately give a sign so that the king would believe? Because, that prophecy about the salvation of Jerusalem, in the hour when the king thought that all had fallen, was sufficient enough to show both the power of God and the unbelief of the king. Why did the prophet, at that very moment and under such circumstances, foretell the prophecy of the birth of the Savior? Because mankind, at the time of the coming of the Savior, will be in the same kind of despair, pressured by and surrounded by the powers of the demons, as was Jerusalem at that moment. Did the prophet explicitly say Virgin and not a Woman? Naturally, he mentioned a Virgin. For if the prophesy were spoken of a woman, what kind of miracle would it be; what kind of sign? Are not all men born of women? All the weight of emphasis is on the word "Virgin."
Thus, the All-seeing God knows how to tie in the near with the distant and that, by fulfilling one prophecy in the present, He confirms a second prophecy in the future. "Emmanuel God is with us" - He saved Jerusalem then as an invisible God. "Emmanuel God is with us" He will save mankind in similar dangers later on as the Incarnate God, as God-Man, born of the All-Pure Virgin and the Holy Spirit.
O Lord, Who gave power to the prophets to see the truth as it comes from afar, give us the power to embrace that truth which has already come.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.