Athenogenes the Holy Martyr of Heracleopolis
Julia the Virgin-martyr of Carthage
1,015 Martyrs in Pisidia
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Ἀθηνογένους, Ἐπισκόπου Πηδαχθόης.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 5:9-13; 6:1-11
BRETHREN, I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber - not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you. " When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 5:9-13;6:1-11
Ἀδελφοί, ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι πόρνοις· καὶ οὐ πάντως τοῖς πόρνοις τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἢ τοῖς πλεονέκταις, ἢ ἅρπαξιν, ἢ εἰδωλολάτραις· ἐπεὶ ὀφείλετε ἄρα ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐξελθεῖν. Νῦν δὲ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι, ἐάν τις ἀδελφὸς ὀνομαζόμενος ᾖ πόρνος, ἢ πλεονέκτης, ἢ εἰδωλολάτρης, ἢ λοίδορος, ἢ μέθυσος, ἢ ἅρπαξ· τῷ τοιούτῳ μηδὲ συνεσθίειν. Τί γάρ μοι καί τοὺς ἔξω κρίνειν; Οὐχὶ τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε; Τοὺς δὲ ἔξω ὁ θεὸς κρινεῖ. Καί ἐξαρεῖτε τὸν πονηρὸν ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν. Τολμᾷ τις ὑμῶν, πρᾶγμα ἔχων πρὸς τὸν ἕτερον, κρίνεσθαι ἐπὶ τῶν ἀδίκων, καὶ οὐχὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἁγίων; Οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἅγιοι τὸν κόσμον κρινοῦσιν; Καὶ εἰ ἐν ὑμῖν κρίνεται ὁ κόσμος, ἀνάξιοί ἐστε κριτηρίων ἐλαχίστων; Οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἀγγέλους κρινοῦμεν; Μήτι γε βιωτικά; Βιωτικὰ μὲν οὖν κριτήρια ἐὰν ἔχητε, τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, τούτους καθίζετε. Πρὸς ἐντροπὴν ὑμῖν λέγω. Οὕτως οὐκ ἔνι ἐν ὑμῖν σοφὸς οὐδὲ εἷς, ὃς δυνήσεται διακρῖναι ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ ἀδελφὸς μετὰ ἀδελφοῦ κρίνεται, καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ ἀπίστων; Ἤδη μὲν οὖν ὅλως ἥττημα ὑμῖν ἐστιν, ὅτι κρίματα ἔχετε μεθʼ ἑαυτῶν. Διὰ τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀδικεῖσθε; Διὰ τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀποστερεῖσθε; Ἀλλὰ ὑμεῖς ἀδικεῖτε καὶ ἀποστερεῖτε, καὶ ταῦτα ἀδελφούς. Ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι βασιλείαν θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν; Μὴ πλανᾶσθε· οὔτε πόρνοι, οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι, οὔτε μοιχοί, οὔτε μαλακοί, οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται, οὔτε πλεονέκται, οὔτε κλέπται, οὔτε μέθυσοι, οὐ λοίδοροι, οὐχ ἅρπαγες, βασιλείαν θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν. Καὶ ταῦτά τινες ἦτε· ἀλλὰ ἀπελούσασθε, ἀλλὰ ἡγιάσθητε, ἀλλʼ ἐδικαιώθητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, καὶ ἐν τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν.
The Reading is from Matthew 13:54-58
At that time, Jesus came to his own country, and taught the people in their synagogue so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 13.54-58
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν, ὥστε ἐκπλήττεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ λέγειν· πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις;οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός; οὐχὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ ᾿Ιάκωβος καὶ ᾿Ιωσῆς καὶ Σίμων καὶ ᾿Ιούδας;καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσι; πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα;καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· οὐκ ἔστι προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ.καὶ οὐκ ἐποίησεν ἐκεῖ δυνάμεις πολλὰς διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Ἀθηνογένους, Ἐπισκόπου Πηδαχθόης.
Ἀθηνογένης ἐκ ξίφους ἀνῃρέθη,
Ψευδῆ θέαιναν τὴν Ἀθηνᾶν οὐ σέβων.
Ἕκτῃ καὶ δεκάτῃ Ἀθηνογένη τάμε χαλκός.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Φαύστου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου μάρτυρος Ἀντιόχου, ἀδελφοῦ τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρος Πλάτωνος.
Οἱ ἅγιοι δεκαπεντακισχίλιοι μάρτυρες, οἱ ἐν Πισιδίᾳ ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ὁ ἅγιος μάρτυς Ἀθηνογένης διὰ πυρός, καὶ πολλαὶ μάρτυρες γυναῖκες, ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Saint was from Sebastia of Cappadocia and , according to the Synaxaristes, became Bishop of Pidachthoa. He and ten of his disciples were tortured and beheaded by the Governor of Philomarchus in the times of Diocletian. There is a second Martyr Athenogenes commemorated today, mentioned by Saint Basil in Chapter 29 of his treatise "On the Holy Spirit"; it is said that as this Athenogenes approached the fire, wherein he was to die a martyric death, he chanted the hymn O Joyous Light in praise of the Holy Trinity (see also Mar. 11).
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Καί τρόπων μέτοχος, καί θπόνων διάδοχος, τών Αποστόλων γενόμενος, τήν πράξιν εύρες Θεόπνευστε, εις θεωρίας επίβασιν, διά τούτο τόν λόγον τής αληθείας ορθοτομών, καί τή πίστει ενήθλησας μέχρις αίματος, Ιερομάρτυς Αθηνογένης, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Athenogenes. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ιεραρχήσας αμέμπτως τώ Κτίσαντι, μαρτυρικόν ολοκάρπωμα πέφηνας, σύν μαθηταίς ομού θυόμενος, οία ποιμήν σύν αμνοίς Αθηνόγενες, μεθ' ών θείας δόξης επέτυχες.
Having followed the Lord's teaching, as an eminent shepherd thou didst lay down thy life for Christ's sheep, O Hieromartyr Athenogenes. Wherefore, we praise thee and thy ten disciples who suffered with thee, guided by the fear of God and thy teaching; for the Lord hath crowned you as Saints with His life-giving right hand. Pray, then, to Him in behalf of us all.
Μεγαλόφωνο είναι το κήρυγμα της αρετής του διδασκάλου. Ο λόγος τότε βρίσκει απήχηση και καρποφορεί στους μαθητάς και ακροατάς, όταν συνοδεύεται ή, ακόμη καλύτερα, όταν ακολουθή στο παράδειγμα του διδασκάλου. Γι' ο Ιησούς είπε το "ος δ' αν ποιήση και διδάξη... ". Ποιά σημασία και πόση δύναμη έχει η αρετή του διδασκάλου στους μαθητάς του το διαπιστώνομε, όταν μελετούμε τον βίο του αγίου Ιερομάρτυρος Αθηνογένους και των δέκα μαθητών του, των οποίων την μνήμη σήμερα τιμά η Εκκλησία. Ήταν μεγάλη η αρετή και η ταπείνωση του Αθηνογένους, ώστε και στον επισκοπικό θρόνο τον ανέβασε και στον χαρακτήρα των δέκα μαθητών του ευεργετικά επέδρασε. Όταν τους κάλεσε ο Θεός, έσπευσαν μαζί, διδάσκαλος και μαθηταί, στο μαρτύριο. Όπου μιλεί η αρετή ο λόγος έχει δημιουργική δύναμη. Δεν είναι απλώς ήχος και φωνή· είναι θείος λόγος "ζων και εναργής".
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀθηνογένης ἐπίσκοπος Πηδαχθόης καὶ οἱ δέκα μαθητές του: Ριγῖνος, Μαξιμῖνος, Πατρόφιλος, [Ἀθηνογένης, Ἀντίοχος], Ἄμμων, Θεόφραστος, Κλεόνικος, Πέτρος καὶ Ἡσύχιος
Πατρίδα του ἦταν ἡ Σεβάστεια τῆς Καππαδοκίας. Ἡ μόρφωσή του, ἡ θερμὴ πίστη του, καθὼς καὶ ἡ γενναία φιλανθρωπική του δράση, τὸν ἀνέδειξαν ἐπίσκοπο Πηδαχθόης. Σὰν ἐπίσκοπος, ἦταν φωτεινὸ πνευματικὸ λυχνάρι γιὰ τὸ ποίμνιό του. Μάλιστα τόσο πολὺ ἤθελε νὰ συνεχιστεῖ τὸ ἔργο τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, ὥστε μὲ ἰδιαίτερη φροντίδα κατάρτισε ἰκανότατους βοηθούς του. Ἀλλὰ ὅταν ἔγινε ὁ διωγμὸς ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ, ὁ Ἄθηνογενής με δέκα μαθητές του συνελήφθη ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Φηλίμαρχο, καὶ ἀφοῦ ὅλοι ὁμολόγησαν τὸ Χριστὸ ἀποκεφαλίσθηκαν. Ἀξίζει δὲ νὰ ἀναφέρουμε, ὅτι στὸν Ἀθηνογένη ὀφείλουμε τὸ γνωστὸ κατανυκτικὸ ἑσπερινὸ ὕμνο, «Φῶς ἵλαρον ἁγίας δόξης, ἀθανάτου Πατρός, οὐρανίου, ἁγίου, μάκαρος, Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, ἐλθόντες ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλίου δύσιν, ἰδόντες φῶς ἑσπερινόν, ὑμνοῦμεν Πατέρα Υἱὸν καὶ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, Θεόν. Ἄξιόν σε ἐν πάσι καιροῖς ὑμνεῖσθαι φωναῖς αἰσίαις, Υἱὲ Θεοῦ, ζωὴν ὁ διδοὺς διὸ ὁ κόσμος σὲ δοξάζει». Ποὺ σημαίνει: «Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, σὺ ποὺ εἶσαι τὸ χαρούμενο φῶς τοῦ Ἀθανάτου, Οὐρανίου, Ἁγίου καὶ μακαρίου Πατρός, ἀφοῦ φθάσαμε στὴ δύση τοῦ ἥλιου καὶ εἴδαμε τὸ ἑσπερινὸ φῶς, ὑμνοῦμε τὸν Πατέρα, τὸν Υἱὸν καὶ τὸ Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα, δηλαδὴ τὸν Τριαδικὸ Θεό. Εἶναι ἄξιο νὰ σὲ ὑμνοῦμε σὲ κάθε ὥρα μὲ μελῳδικὲς φωνές, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐσὺ ποὺ δίνεις ζωή. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ ὁ κόσμος σὲ δοξάζει».
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φαῦστος
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια του ἄλλου ἀγρίου διώκτη τῶν χριστιανῶν, τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Δεκίου (249-251). Μέσα σὲ σκληρούς, διωγμούς, δημεύσεις, ἐξορίες, φυλακίσεις καὶ μαρτυρικοὺς θανάτους, ὁ Φαῦστος, ψυχὴ τολμηρὴ καὶ γενναία, παρουσιάστηκε κηρύττοντας τὸ Χριστό. Οἱ διῶκτες τὸν συνέλαβαν καὶ τὸν καταδίκασαν σὲ σταύρωση. Τὴ φρικτὴ αὐτὴ τιμωρία, ὑπέμεινε μὲ ἀξιοθαύμαστη καρτερία. Τὸ μαρτύριό του κράτησε πέντε μέρες, μετὰ εὐλογώντας καὶ εὐχαριστώντας τὸ Θεό, παρέδωσε τὸ πνεῦμα του.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀντίοχος, ἀδελφὸς τοῦ Ἁγίου Πλάτωνα καὶ ὁ Ἅγιος Κυριακὸς ὁ δήμιος
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Σεβάστεια τῆς Καππαδοκίας καὶ ἦταν γιατρός. Πήγαινε ἀπὸ πόλη σὲ πόλη καὶ ἀπὸ χωριὸ σὲ χωριὸ καὶ γιάτρευε τοὺς ἀσθενεῖς ὄχι μόνο κατὰ τὸ σῶμα ἀλλὰ καὶ κατὰ τὴν ψυχή. Τὸν συνέλαβε ὁ ἡγεμόνας Ἀδριανὸς καὶ τὸν ὑπέβαλε σὲ μία σειρὰ φρικτῶν βασανιστηρίων. Τὸν κρέμασε ἐπάνω σ᾿ ἕνα ξύλο καὶ τοῦ ξέσχισε τὰ πλευρά, κατόπιν τὸν ἄφησε μέσα στὴ φωτιά, ἔπειτα τὸν ἔριξε μέσα σ᾿ ἕνα καζάνι μὲ βραστὸ λάδι καὶ στὴ συνέχεια τὸν ἄφησε τροφὴ στ᾿ ἄγρια θηρία. Ἀπ᾿ ὅλα αὐτὰ ὅμως, ὁ Ἀντίοχος, μὲ τὴν θεία χάρη βγῆκε ἀβλαβὴς καὶ ὄχι μόνο. Ἀλλὰ μὲ τὴν προσευχή του συνέτριψε τὰ εἴδωλα καὶ ἔλαβε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου διὰ ἀποκεφαλισμοῦ. Ὁ δήμιος ὅμως, Κυριακός, ποὺ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε, εἶδε νὰ τρέχει ἀπὸ τὸν λαιμό του ἀντὶ γιὰ αἷμα, γάλα. Τότε καὶ αὐτὸς μὲ θάῤῥος ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ἀποκεφαλίστηκε ἐπὶ τόπου.
Hieromartyr Athenogenes, bishop of Sebaste, and his ten disciples (311)
"In the time of Diocletian, a fierce persecutor of Christians called Philomarchus came to Sebaste. He arrested and killed many Christians in the town. When he saw Athenogenes and his disciples, he told the elder to sacrifice to the idols, that they should not perish as had the other Christians. Athenogenes replied: 'O Torturer, those whom you describe as having perished have not perished, but are in heaven and make merry with the angels!' There was a touching moment when a deer, which had been hand-fed by the compassionate Athenogenes, ran up to him and, seeing him in such straits, shed tears. Wild animals of the hills had more pity on the martyrs than did the pagans! After harsh torture, during which an angel of God comforted them, they were all beheaded, first the priests and fellow workers of Athenogenes and then Athenogenes himself, and went to their heavenly home in the year 311." (Prologue)
The Great Horologion adds "There is a second Martyr Athenogenes commemorated today, mentioned by St Basil... it is said that as this Athenogenes approached the fire, wherein he was to die a martyric death, he chanted the hymn O Joyous Light in praise of the Holy Trinity." This is one way that we know that the vesperal hymn Gladsome Light was in use before the time of St Basil the Great.
The PriestMartyr Athenogoras and his Ten Disciples suffered for Christ during the time of persecution against Christians in the city of Sebasteia. The governor Philomarkhos made a large festival in honour of the pagan gods and summoned the Sebasteia citizenry to offer sacrifice to the idols. But the inhabitants of Sebasteia, Christian in the majority, refused to participate in the impious celebration with its offering of sacrifice to idols. Soldiers were ordered to kill people, and many Christians then accepted a martyr's crown.
It came to the governor's attention, that Christianity was being widely spread about by the graced preaching of Bishop Athenogoras. Orders were issued to seek out the elder and arrest him. Saint Athenogoras and ten of his disciples lived not far from the city in a small monastery. But not finding the bishop there, the soldiers arrested his disciples. The governor gave orders to slap them into chains and throw them in prison.
Saint Athenogoras came then to Sebasteia and began reproaching the judge that those thrown into prison were guiltless. He was arrested. In prison, Saint Athenogoras encouraged his spiritual children for their impending deed. Led forth to trial, all the holy martyrs confessed themselves Christians and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. After undergoing fierce tortures, the disciples of the holy bishop were beheaded. And after the execution of the disciples, the executioners were ordered to put the elder to the test of torture. Strengthened by the Lord, Saint Athenogoras underwent the tortures with dignity. His only request was -- that he be executed in the monastery.
Taken to his own monastery, the saint in prayer gave thanks to God, and he rejoiced in the sufferings that he had undergone for Him. Saint Athenogoras besought of the Lord the forgiveness of sins of all those people, who should remember both him and his disciples.
The Lord granted the saint to hear His Voice before death, announcing the promise given to the penitent thief: "Today with Me thou shalt be in paradise". The priestmartyr himself bent his neck beneathe the sword.
The Holy Martyrs Paul, Aleutina and Chionea were from Egypt. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Maximian (305-313), they were taken to Palestine Caesarea. Without the slightest fear before the governor they confessed themselves followers of Christ. In the year 308 the sisters Aleutina and Chionea were burnt, and Paul was beheaded.
The Holy Martyr Antiochos, a native of Cappadocian Sebasteia, was the brother by birth of the holy Martyr Platon (Comm. 18 November), and he was a physician. The pagans learned that he was a Christian, and they brought him to trial and subjected him to fierce tortures. Thrown into boiling water, the saint remained unharmed, and given over for devouring by wild beasts -- he did not suffer with them, for the beasts lay peacefully at his feet. Through the prayers of the martyr many miracles were worked and the idolatrous statues crumbled into dust. The pagans beheaded the Martyr Antiochos. And seeing the guiltless suffering of the saint, Kyriakos, a participant in the execution, was converted to Christ. He confessed his faith in front of everyone and likewise was beheaded (IV). They buried the Martyrs aside each other.
The Holy Martyress Julia was born in Carthagena into a Christian family. While still a maiden she fell into captivity to the Persians. They carried her off to Syria and sold her into slavery. Fulfilling the Christian commandments, Saint Julia faithfully served her master, and she preserved herself in purity, kept the fasts and prayed much to God.
No amount of urging by her pagan master could sway her to idol-worship.
On time the master set off with merchandise for Gaul and took Saint Julia with him. Along the way the ship stooped over at the island of Corsica, and the master decided to take part in a pagan festivity, but Julia remained on the ship. The Corsicans plied the merchant and his companions with wine, and when they had fallen into a drunken sleep, they took Julia from the ship. Saint Julia was not afraid to acknowledge that she was a Christian, and the savage pagans crucified her on a cross.
An Angel of the Lord reported about the death of the holy martyress to the monks of a monastery, situated on a nearby island. The monks took the body of the saint and buried it in a church in their monastery.
In about the year 763 the relics of the holy Martyress Julia were transferred to a women's monastery in the city of Breschia (historians give conflicting years of the death of the saint: as either the V or VII Century).
The Fourth OEcumenical Council, at which 630 bishops participated, was convened in the year 451 in the city of Chalcedon under the emperor Marcian (450-457). Still back in the time of the emperor Theodosius II (408-450), the bishop of Dorileuseia Eusebios in 408 reported to a Council held at Constantinople under the holy Patriarch Flavian (Comm. 18 February), concerning a personage of one of the monasteries of the capital, the archimandrite Eutykhios, who in his undaunted zeal against the soul-destroying heresy of the Nestorius -- went to the opposite extreme and began to assert, that within Jesus Christ the human nature under the hypostatic union was completely absorbed by the Divine nature, in consequence of which it lost everything characteristic of human nature, except but for the visible form; wherein, such that after the union in Jesus Christ there remained only one nature (the Divine), which in visible bodily form lived upon the earth, suffered, died, and was resurrected.
The Constantinople Council condemned this new false-teaching. But the heretic Eutykhios had patronage at court, and was in close connection with the heretic Dioskoros, the successor to Sainted Cyril (Comm. 18 January) upon the patriarchal cathedra-seat at Alexandria. Eutykhios turned to the emperor with a complaint against the injustice of the condemnation against him, and he demanded the judgement of an OEcumenical Council against his opponents, whom he accused of Nestorianism. Wanting to restore peace in the Church, Theodosius had decided to convene a Fourth OEcumenical Council in the year 449 at Ephesus. But this Council became branded in the chronicles of the Church as the "Robbers Council". Dioskoros, appointed by the emperor to preside as president of the Council, ran it like a dictator, making use of threats and outright coercion. Eutykhios was exonerated, and Saint Flavian condemned. But in the year 450 the emperor Theodosius died. The new emperor Marcian raised up onto the throne with him the sister of Theodosius, Pulcheria.
Restoring peace to the Church was a matter of prime importance. An OEcumenical Council was convened in the year 451 at Chalcedon. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Saint Anatolios (Comm. 3 July) presided over the Council. Dioskoros at the first session was deprived of his place among those present, and at the third session he was condemned with all his partisans. The Sessions of the Council were 16 in all. The Chalcedon holy fathers pronounced anathemas against the heresy of Eutykhios. On the basis of Letters Saint Cyril of Alexandria and Pope Saint Leo the Great, the fathers of the Council resolved: "Following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach to confess as one and the same the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect in Divinity and perfect in humanity, truly God, truly man, of Whom is a reasoned soul and a body, One in Essence with the Father through Divinity and that Same-One one-in-essence with us through humanity, in all things like unto us except for sin, begotten before the ages from the Father in Divinity, but in these latter days born for us and our salvation from Mary the Virgin Mother of God in humanity. This self-same Christ, Son and Lord, the Only-Begotten, is in two natures perceived without mingling, without change, without division, without separation [Greek: "asugkhutos, atreptos, adiairetos, akhoristos"; Slavic: "neslitno, neizmenno, nerazdel'no, nerazluchno"], such that by conjoining there be not infringement of the distinctions of the two natures, and by which is preserved the uniqueness of each nature conjoined in one Person and One Hypostasis, -- not split nor separated into two persons, but rather the One and Self-same Son, the Only-Begotten, the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, as in antiquity the prophets taught of Him and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us, and as the Creed-Symbol of the fathers has passed down to us".
In the two final Sessions of the Council, 30 Canon-rules were promulgated concerning ecclesial hierarchies and disciplines. Beyond this, the Council affirmed the decrees not only of the three preceding OEcumenical Councils, but also of the Local Councils of: Ancyra, Neocaesarea, Gangra, Antioch and Laodiceia, which had occurred during the IV Century.
The Chirsk (Pskovsk) Icon of the Mother of God was initially situated in the Chirsk village church of Pskov diocese, from whence its name "Chirsk". On 16 July 1420, during the time of Great-prince Vasilii Dimitrievich, the archbishop of Novgorod and Pskov Simeon and the Pskov prince Feodor Aleksandrovich were present in Pskov during a time of a deadly pestilence: tears trickled down from the eyes of the Chirsk Icon of the Mother of God. This was reported to authorities in the city of Pskov. Clergy-servers transported the wonderworking icon to Pskov. A church procession was made in meeting the icon. They placed the icon in the cathedral church of the Holy Trinity.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR ATHENOGENES, BISHOP OF SEBASTE IN ARMENIA
Athenogenes lived in a monastery near the town of Sebaste with ten of his disciples. During the reign of Diocletian, Philomarchus, a cruel persecutor of Christians, came to Sebaste. He arrested and murdered many Christians in the town. When he saw Athenogenes and his disciples, he told the elder to offer a sacrifice to the idols so as not to be slain as were the other Christians. Athenogenes replied to him: "O persecutor, those whom you mention as being slain are not slain (dead) but rather are in the heavens and rejoice with the angels." It was a touching sight to see a female deer, whom the merciful Athenogenes fed with his own hand, run up to him and seeing him in misery began to shed tears. Even the wild beasts of the mountain had greater pity toward the martyrs of Christ than the heathens! After cruel tortures, during which an angel of God comforted the martyrs, they were all beheaded; at first the priests and all co-laborers of Athenogenes and after that, Athenogenes himself. All were received into the heavenly fatherland in the year 311 A.D.
2. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR JULIA THE VIRGIN
Julia was born in Carthage of distinguished lineage. When the Persians captured Carthage many people were taken into slavery. Saint Julia was captured, enslaved and fell into the hands of a merchant in Syria. That merchant was a pagan. Seeing that Julia was a Christian, he counseled her on many occasions to deny Christ and become one in faith with him but Julia could never agree to this. Since Julia was faithful and trustworthy in service, the merchant left her in peace and did not speak to her about faith again. On one occasion, the merchant loaded the boat with goods and took Julia along with him and sailed to distant lands on business. When they arrived at Corsica, there was a pagan feast and the merchant joined in this blasphemous offering of sacrifice but Julia remained aboard the boat weeping because so many men lived in foolish error and did not know the truth. Somehow the pagans found out about her, removed her from the boat, even though her master objected to this, and then began to brutally torture her. They severed her breasts and threw them on a rock and, after that, they crucified her on a cross, upon which St. Julia gave up her soul to God. Her death was revealed by an angel of God to the monks on the nearby island of Margarita or Gorgona and the monks came and honorably buried the body of the martyr. Many miracles appeared at the grave of St. Julia throughout the centuries and from the other world she herself appeared to some. She suffered honorably in the sixth century. After many years, the faithful wanted to erect a new church in another place in honor of St. Julia because the old church had become too small and dilapidated. Therefore, they gathered building material on a new site: stone, bricks, sand and all else that is required. It so happened that at night, on the eve of the day when they intended to lay the foundation, all of this material was moved to the site of the old church by an invisible hand. In confusion, the men again carried the materials to the new site but the same thing happened again: the material was removed to the old site alongside the old church. The night watchman saw a young maiden "all aglow" on white oxen, carrying the material to the old church. From this everyone understood that St. Julia did not wish that her church be built in another place, so they demolished the old church and on that same site built a new one.
3. THE HOLY 15,000 MARTYRS
These fifteen thousand martyrs were beheaded for the Faith of Christ in Persia.
4. THE HOLY MARTYR ATHENOGENES
Athenogenes was the author of the hymn sung at Vespers: "O Gladsome Light" - "Svete Tihi" Fos Ilaron." He died for Christ by fire and was made worthy of eternal glory in the Kingdom of God.
5. THE COMMEMORATION OF THE SIX ECUMENICAL COUNCILS
This common commemoration of the first Six Ecumenical Councils is held on the Sunday between the 13th and the 19th of July.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY MARTYR JULIA THE VIRGIN
The martyr Julia,
For her, Christ was crucified,
The power of Christ, she invokes,
The power of the Honorable Tree.
Blood poured from six wounds,
With blood, stained the earth,
For, in Christ she believed,
Her faith, she did not conceal.
Nor did Christ conceal her,
To the entire world, proclaimed her,
And in the Kingdom Immortal
In heaven, glorified her
When Julia expired
Her spirit, pure and holy,
From her mouth, a white dove
To the heights soared
When men saw this
All in fear, cried out:
"Woe to the evil judges"
That righteous blood, they shed!
The Ecumenical Councils are the greatest battles of Orthodoxy with heretics. Under today's date, the Church jointly commemorates the first Six Ecumenical Councils:
1. The First Ecumenical Council in Nicea, 325 A.D. with 318 holy fathers participating. This Council is commemorated separately on May 29 and on the Seventh Sunday after Easter. This Council refuted the heresy of Arius against the Son of God.
2. The Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, 381 A.D. with 150 holy fathers attending. This Council is commemorated separately on May 22. This Council refuted the heresy of Macedonius against God, the Holy Spirit.
3. The Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus, 431 A.D. with 200 holy fathers participating. This Council is commemorated separately on September 9. This Council refuted the heresy of Nestorius against the Mother of God.
4. The Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon, 451 A.D. with 630 holy fathers participating. This Council is commemorated separately on July 16. This Council refuted the Monophysite heresy.
5. The Fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, 553 A.D. with 160 holy fathers participating. This Council is commemorated separately on July 25. This Council refuted the heresy of Origen.
6. The Sixth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, 691 A.D. with 170 holy fathers participating. This Council is commemorated separately on January 23. This Council refuted the Monothelite heresy.
7. The Seventh Ecumenical Council which was convened in 878 A.D. with 367 holy fathers participating. This Council is not commemorated at this time but is commemorated separately on October 11. This Council refuted the heresy of Iconoclasm.
At these Councils, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, all these heresies were condemned and the Faith of Orthodoxy was defined and confirmed for all time.
To contemplate the miraculous bring forth of water from the rock in Kadesh (Numbers 20):
1. How Moses, at God's command struck the rock with his rod but without faith and, how through the will of God, water flowed;
2. How God punished Moses and Aaron because of their lack of faith, and He did not permit them to enter into the Promised Land;
3. How this, shows that even a great righteous one as was Moses, is prone to sin that no mortal should be carried away by his virtues.
About the participation of the faithful in God's nature
"That by these you might be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).
Brethren, how can mortal man have a part in God's nature? How can eternity be a companion of time and glory with unglory, the incorruptible with the corruptible, the pure with the impure? They cannot without particular conditions and these conditions the Apostle Peter mentions: one condition on the part of God and the other on the part of men. As a condition on God's part, the apostle mentions: "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). As a condition on the part of man: "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). God has fulfilled His condition and gave us His power. "Through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). Now it is man's turn to fulfill his condition, i.e., to know Christ the Lord is to escape from the bodily desires of this world. The Lord Christ first opened heaven and all the treasures of heaven and then He called mankind to draw near and to receive those treasures. How did He invite them? Did He invite them only by words? In words, but not only words but also "called us to glory and virtue"; glory, i.e., by His glorious resurrection; virtue, i.e., by His miraculous service and suffering. By this He invited us to receive the exceeding great promises that, by them, we may partake in God's nature. But in order that we may know Christ and to hear His invitation, we must first escape from all physical desires of this world. If we do not escape, then we will remain blind before Him, before His glory and virtue and deaf to His invitation!
O brethren, how enormous is the mercy of God toward us! According to this great mercy, God offers to us mortals adoption by the Immortal One and to us sinners to be built up into the glorified Body of the Lord Jesus. But, only under one condition, which is neither a great yoke nor a heavy cross.
O Lord Jesus, the Fulfillment of all promises and the Source of all good, heal us from our blindness and deafness and grant us power to escape the physical desires of this world.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.