FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Marina the Great Martyr of Antioch
Veronika & Speratos the Martyrs
Τῆς Ἁγίας Μεγαλομάρτυρος Μαρίνης.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-5
BRETHREN, before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Πρὸς Γαλάτας 3:23-29; 4:1-5
Ἀδελφοί, πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν, ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα, συγκεκλεισμένοι εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. Ὥστε ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν εἰς Χριστόν, ἵνα ἐκ πίστεως δικαιωθῶμεν. Ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς πίστεως, οὐκέτι ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν ἐσμεν. Πάντες γὰρ υἱοὶ θεοῦ ἐστε διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε, Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε. Οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ, ἄρα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ σπέρμα ἐστέ, καὶ κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν κληρονόμοι. Λέγω δέ, ἐφʼ ὅσον χρόνον ὁ κληρονόμος νήπιός ἐστιν, οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλου, κύριος πάντων ὤν· ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ ἐπιτρόπους ἐστὶν καὶ οἰκονόμους, ἄχρι τῆς προθεσμίας τοῦ πατρός. Οὕτως καὶ ἡμεῖς, ὅτε ἦμεν νήπιοι, ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ἦμεν δεδουλωμένοι· ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός, γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον, ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον ἐξαγοράσῃ, ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν.
The Reading is from Mark 5:24-34
At that time, a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well." And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, "Who touched my garments?" And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 5.24-34
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἠκολούθει τῷ Ἰησοῦ ὄχλος πολύς, καὶ συνέθλιβον αὐτόν. Καὶ γυνή τις οὖσα ἐν ῥύσει αἵματος ἔτη δώδεκα, καὶ πολλὰ παθοῦσα ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἰατρῶν καὶ δαπανήσασα τὰ παρ᾿ ἑαυτῆς πάντα, καὶ μηδὲν ὠφεληθεῖσα, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εἰς τὸ χεῖρον ἐλθοῦσα, ἀκούσασα περὶ τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ, ἐλθοῦσα ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ὄπισθεν ἥψατο τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ· ἔλεγε γὰρ ἐν ἑαυτῇ ὅτι ἐὰν ἅψωμαι κἂν τῶν ἱματίων αὐτοῦ, σωθήσομαι. καὶ εὐθέως ἐξηράνθη ἡ πηγὴ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔγνω τῷ σώματι ὅτι ἴαται ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγος. καὶ εὐθέως ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐπιγνοὺς ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ δύναμιν ἐξελθοῦσαν, ἐπιστραφεὶς ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ἔλεγε· τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ· βλέπεις τὸν ὄχλον συνθλίβοντά σε, καὶ λέγεις τίς μου ἥψατο; καὶ περιεβλέπετο ἰδεῖν τὴν τοῦτο ποιήσασαν. ἡ δὲ γυνὴ φοβηθεῖσα καὶ τρέμουσα, εἰδυῖα ὃ γέγονεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτῇ, ἦλθε καὶ προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· θύγατερ, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέ σε· ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνην, καὶ ἴσθι ὑγιὴς ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγός σου.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΖ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μεγαλομάρτυρος Μαρίνης.
Χεὶρ δημίου τέμνει σε Μαρῖνα ξίφει,
Χεὶρ Κυρίου χάριτι θείᾳ δὲ στέφει.
Ἑβδομάτῃ δεκάτῃ Μαρῖνα δειροτομήθη.
Μνήμη τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων Σπεράτου καὶ Βηρονίκης.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Martyr lived during the reign of Claudius II (268-270). She was from Pisidia of Cilicia and was the only daughter of a certain priest of the idols. On being orphaned by her mother, she was handed over to a certain woman who instructed her in the Faith of Christ. When she was fifteen years old, she was apprehended by the ruler of Olmbrius, and when asked her name, homeland, and faith, she answered: "My name is Marina; I am the offspring of the Pisidia; I call upon the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ." Because of this she endured bonds, imprisonment, and many whippings, and was finally beheaded in the year 270. Saint Marina is especially invoked for deliverance from demonic possession.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Η αμνάς σου Ιησού, κράζει μεγάλη τή φωνή Σέ νυμφίε μου ποθώ, καί σέ ζητούσα αθλώ, καί συσταυρούμαι, καί συνθάπτομαι τώ βαπτισμώ σου, καί πάσχω διά σέ, ως βασιλεύσω συν σοί, καί θνήσκω υπέρ σού, ίνα καί ζήσω εν σοί αλλ' ως θυσίαν άμωμον, προσδέχου τήν μετά πόθου τυθείσάν σοι, Αυτής πρεσβείαις, ως ελεήμων σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
O Glorious Marina, once betrothed to the Logos, you relinquished all worldly concerns and brilliantly gave struggle as a virginal beauty. You soundly trounced the invisible enemy who appeared to you, O Champion, and you are now the world's wellspring of healing grace.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Παρθενίας κάλλεσι, πεποικιλμένη παρθένε, μαρτυρίου στίγμασι, στεφανωθείσα Mαρίνα, αίμασιν αθλητικοίς τε ρεραντισμένη, θαύμασι καταλαμφθείσα τών ιαμάτων, ευσεβώς Μάρτυς εδέξω, βραβεία νίκης τής σής αθλήσεως.
Adorned with the beauty of Purity, O Virgin; crowned with the stigmata of martyrdom; stained with the blood of your struggles; and brilliantly radiant with healing wonders, piously, O Marina, you received the trophy of victory for your struggles.
"Το του Κυρίου Ιησού Χριστού επικαλούμαι όνομα". Είναι τα λόγια της αγίας μάρτυρος Μαρίνης, της οποίας η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη, ενώπιον του ηγεμόνος. Υπάρχει, αλήθεια, ένα όνομα στον κόσμο, που είν' επάνω απ' όλα τα ονόματα, μπροστά στο οποίο γονατίζει κάθε εξουσία επίγειος και επουράνιος, το όνομα του Ιησού. Έτσι ακριβώς είναι γραμμένο στην Καινή Διαθήκη για το όνομα αυτό· "... ο Θεός αυτόν υπερύψωσε και εχαρίσατο αυτώ όνομα το υπερ παν όνομα, ίνα εν τω ονόματι Ιησού παν γόνυ κάμψη επουρανίων και επιγείων και καταχθονίων και πάσα γλώσσα εξομολογήσηται ότι Κύριος Ιησούς Χριστός εις δόξαν Θεού Πατρός". Με όλους τους διωγμούς και τα μαρτύρια και τον πόλεμο της ωργανωμένης αθείας, το όνομα του Ιησού ομολογείται· αυτό επικαλούνται οι Μάρτυρες, αυτό είναι η ελπίδα και η προσδοκία της σωτηρίας του κόσμου. Το όνομα Ιησούς είναι το "υπερ παν όνομα".
Ἡ Ἁγία Μαρίνα
Γεννήθηκε στὴν Ἀντιόχεια τῆς Πισιδίας, στὰ χρόνια τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Κλαυδίου τοῦ Β´, τὸ 270 μ.Χ. Λίγες μέρες μετὰ τὴν γέννησή της, ἡ μητέρα της πέθανε, καὶ ὁ πατέρας της Αἰδέσιος, ποὺ ἦταν Ἱερέας τῶν εἰδώλων, τὴν ἀνέθεσε σὲ μία χριστιανὴ γυναῖκα, ἀπὸ τὴν ὁποία ἡ Μαρίνα διδάχθηκε τὸ Χριστό. Ὅταν ἔγινε 15 χρονῶν, ἀποκαλύπτει στὸν πατέρα της ὅτι εἶναι χριστιανή. Ἔκπληκτος αὐτὸς ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ ποὺ ἄκουσε, μὲ μῖσος τὴν διέγραψε ἀπὸ παιδί του. Μετὰ ἀπὸ καιρό, ἔμαθε γιὰ τὴν Μαρίνα καὶ ὁ ἔπαρχος Ὀλύμβριος, ποὺ διέταξε νὰ τὴν συλλάβουν γιὰ ἀνάκριση. Ὅταν τὴν εἶδε μπροστά του, θαύμασε τὴν ὀμορφιά της καὶ προσπάθησε νὰ τὴν πείσει μὲ κάθε τρόπο νὰ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστὸ καὶ νὰ γίνει σύζυγός του. Μάταια, ὅμως. Ἡ Μαρίνα σὲ κάθε προσπάθεια τοῦ Ὀλυμβρίου ἀντέτασσε τὴν φράση: «Εἶμαι χριστιανή». Τότε ὁ σκληρὸς ἔπαρχος διέταξε νὰ τὴν ξαπλώσουν στὴ γῆ, καὶ τὴν καταξέσχισε ἄσπλαχνα μὲ ραβδιὰ τόσο, ὥστε ἡ γῆ ἔγινε κόκκινη ἀπὸ τὸ αἷμα ποὺ ἔτρεξε. Ἔπειτα, ἐνῷ αἱμοῤῥαγοῦσε, τὴν κρέμασε γιὰ πολλὴ ὥρα καὶ μετὰ τὴν φυλάκισε. Ὅταν γιὰ δεύτερη φορὰ τὴν ἐξέτασε καὶ διαπίστωσε ὅτι ἡ πίστη τῆς Μαρίνας ἦταν ἀμετακίνητη στὸ Χριστό, τὴν ἔκαψε μὲ ἀναμμένες λαμπάδες. Ἀλλὰ οἱ πληγές της μὲ θαῦμα ἔκλεισαν, καὶ αὐτὸ εἶχε σὰν ἀποτέλεσμα πολλοὶ παρευρισκόμενοι νὰ γίνουν χριστιανοί. Μπροστὰ σ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν κίνδυνο ὁ ἔπαρχος τελικὰ ἀποκεφάλισε τὴν Μαρίνα, ποὺ ἔτσι πῆρε «τὸν ἁμαράντινον τῆς δόξης στέφανον», δηλαδὴ τὸ ἄφθαρτο στεφάνι τῆς αἰώνιας δόξας.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Σπεράτος καὶ Βερονίκη (ἢ Βηρονίκη)
Μάρτυρες, ποὺ δὲν ἀναφέρεται κανένα βιογραφικό τους στοιχεῖο.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐφράσιος ἐπίσκοπος Ἴωνοπολεως
Οἱ Ὅσιοι Κύριλλος, Μεθόδιος, Κλήμης, Σάββας, Ἀγγελάριος, Γοράσδων καὶ Ναούμ
Τοὺς γνωστοὺς αὐτοὺς Ἱεραποστόλους τῶν Σλάβων, ποὺ τὴν μνήμη τους συναντᾶμε μεμονωμένα, αὐθαίρετα δημιούργησε κοινὴ γιορτὴ ὁ ἱερομόναχος Γρηγόριος Μοσχοπολίτης, συνέταξε μάλιστα καὶ κοινὴ Ἀκολουθία γι᾿ αὐτούς.
Great-martyr Marina (Margaret) of Antioch in Pisidia (270)
She was born in Antioch of Pisidia to pagan parents; her father was a pagan priest. When she was about twelve years old her mother died, and she was given into the care of a woman who told her of the Gospel of Christ. She was immediately filled with love for Christ and consecrated her life to His service. Her father, hearing of this, was furious and disowned her. When she was fifteen years old, she was brought before the governor Olymbrius, who first desired to marry her and, when she refused, ordered her to make sacrifice to the idols. She refused and proclaimed herself a Christian. For this she was harshly tortured, imprisoned, and finally beheaded. While she was in prison she was tormented by demons, but drove them away by her prayers. For this reason she is especially invoked for deliverance from demonic possession. One of her hands is preserved at Vatopedi Monastery on the Holy Mountain, and some of her relics are preserved at an Albanian Monastery dedicated to her.
The Holy GreatMartyress Marina was born in Asia Minor, in the city of Antioch, into the family of a pagan priest. In infancy she lost her mother, and her father gave her over into the care of a nursemaid, who raised Marina in the Orthodox faith. Upon learning that his daughter had become a Christian, the father angrily disowned her. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), Saint Marina at fifteen years of age was arrested and locked up in prison. With firm trust in the will of God and His help, the young prisoner prepared for her impending fate. The governor Olymbrios, charmed with the beautiful girl, tried to persuade her to renounce the Christian faith and become his wife. But the saint, unswayed, refused his false offers. The vexed governor gave the holy martyress over to torture. Having beaten her fiercely, they fastened the saint with nails to a board and tore at her body with tridents. The governor himself, unable to bear the horror of these tortures, hid his face in his hands. But the holy martyress remained unyielding. Thrown for the night into prison, she was granted Heavenly aid and healed of her wounds. Tied to a tree, they scorched the martyress with fire. Barely alive, the martyress prayed: "Lord, Thou hast granted me to go through fire for Thine Name, grant me also to go through the water of holy Baptism".
Hearing the word "water", the governor gave orders to drown the saint in a large barrel. The martyress besought the Lord, that this manner of execution should become for her holy Baptism. When they plunged her into the water, there suddenly shone a light, and a snow-white dove came down from Heaven, bearing in its beak a golden crown. The fetters put upon Saint Marina of themselves came apart. The martyress stood up in the fount of Baptism glorifying the Holy Trinity -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Saint Marina emerged from the fount completely healed, without any trace of burns. Amazed at this miracle, the people glorified the True God, and many came to believe. This brought the governor into a rage, and he gave orders to kill anyone, who might confess the Name of Christ. There then perished 15,000 Christians, and the holy Martyress Marina was beheaded. The sufferings of the GreatMartyress Marina were described by an eye-witness of the event, named Theotimos.
Up until the taking of Constantinople by Western crusaders in the year 1204, the relics of the GreatMartyress Marina were situated in the Panteponteia monastery. According to other sources, they were located in Antioch until the year 908 and from there transferred to Italy. Her venerable hand was transferred to Athos, to the Batopedeia monastery.
The Monk Irinarkh of Solovetsk accepted tonsure at the Solovetsk monastery, and in his monastic life he zealously imitated the Monks Zosima (Comm. 17 April) and Savvatii (Comm. 27 September). In 1614, after the death of the hegumen Antonii, Irinarkh became his successor. During these times the Solovetsk monastery held tremendous significance in the defense of Northern Russia from the Swedes and the Danes. The new hegumen did much to fortify the monastery. Under the Monk Irinarkh there was constructed a stone wall with turrets, deep ditches dug, and with stones spread out. Concerned about the external dangers to the monastery, the monk also devoted much attention to fortifying it inwardly and spiritually. Very humble and meek, constantly immersed in thought on God, he was zealous for supporting in the monks a true monastic spirit. Under the spiritual guidance of the Monk Irinarkh at the Solovetsk monastery there matured many a worthy ascetic. With the blessing of the hegumen and under his assist, the Monk Eleazar (Comm. 13 January), a friend and co-ascetic of the Monk Irinarkh, founded a skete monastery on Anzersk Island.
In an imperial grammota-document to the Solovetsk monastery in the year 1621, the monks were bidden "to live according to the rules of the holy fathers... and in full obedience to their hegumen (Irinarkh) and the elders".
The last two years of the life of the monk were spent in the exploit of silent prayer.
The saint died on 17 July 1628.
The Monk Leonid of Ust'nedumsk lived in the Poshekhonsk district of the Vologda outskirts, and he was a farmer by occupation. At age fifty, he saw in a dream the Mother of God, Who directed him to go to the River Dvina to the Morzhevsk Nikolaev wilderness-monastery, to take there the Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God, and at the River Luza and Mount Turin build a church. The Monk Leonid decided not to follow the advice of this vision, thinking it but simply a dream. He went off to the Kozheezersk monastery, accepting monasticism there and spending about three years at work and monastic efforts. From there the monk transferred to the Solovetsk monastery and toiled there in the bakery. The miraculous dream-vision was repeated. The Monk Leonid thereupon set off to the Morzhevsk wilderness-monastery, and after a year he told the monastery-head Kornilii (1599-1623) about the command of the Mother of God. Having received from the monastery-head both a blessing and the Hodegetria icon, the monk reached the River Luza near the Turin Mount, 80 versts from the city of Ustiug, and he built himself an hut from brushwood. But some not so good people compelled him to resettle up along the river, in a marshy wilderness spot. At 30 versts from the city of Lal'sk the elder constructed a cell and set about the building of a monastery. For drawing down the marshes, the ascetic dug out three canals, in length about 2 kilometers, -- from the River Luza to Chernoe Ozero ("Black Lake"), and from Chernoe Ozero to Svyatoe Ozero ("Holy Lake"), and from there to the to the Chernaya-Black Rivulet. During this time of heavy work he was bitten by poisonous vipers. Consigning himself to the will of God, the Monk Leonid decided not to take any sort of measures of treatment nor did he think of the consequences -- and he remained healthy. In gratitude to the Lord for His mercy, he called the canal the "Nedumaya Reka" ("Unplanned River"), and his monastery -- the "Ust'nedumsk" (the "Nedumaya-mouth") monastery.
With the blessing of the Rostov Metropolitan Philaret (afterwards the All-Russia Patriarch, 1619-1633), the Monk Leonid in 1608 was ordained priest-monk. In the newly-erected church in honour of the Vvedenie-Entrance into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God, Priest-monk Leonid installed the Hodegetria icon, as commanded him by the Mother of God. By his not so easy efforts on the frontier, called the "Luzsk Permtsa", which means "the pocket-land of the wild Permians", God's saint merited rightful veneration as one of the first enlighteners of these remote lands.
The monk had many a struggle with the severe and inhospitable forces of nature. Although his canal-system had drained the marsh, in times of floodings the River Luza overflowed the wilderness-monastery. Towards the end of his life the tireless toiler undertook construction on a point of land at Chernoe-Black Lake. At the new locale was likewise erected a church, consecrated in 1652. The Monk Leonid died at age 100, on 17 July 1654. He was buried at the monastery Vvedenie-Entrance church -- where for a long time they preserved his coarse and heavy hair-shirt -- a reminder of the ascetic toils of the holy saint.
They have a tropar to the Monk Leonid, and his holy icons are in churches at the places of his toilings.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR MARINA
Marina was born in Pisidian, Antioch of pagan parents. At the age of twelve Marina learned about the Lord Jesus Christ; how He became incarnate of the All-Pure Virgin, how He worked many miracles, how He suffered death on the Cross and gloriously resurrected. Her young heart became inflamed with love for the Lord and she vowed that she would never marry and further desired in her soul to suffer for Christ and to be baptized in the blood of martyrdom. Her father hated her because of her faith and did not consider her as his daughter. The imperial deputy Olymbrius, learning from Marina that she was a Christian, first wished that she would become his wife. When Marina rejected that he ordered her to bow down before the idols and to that St. Marina replied: "I will not bow down nor offer sacrifice to the breathless and dead idols who do not recognize themselves nor do they know that we honor or dishonor them. I will not give them that honor which belongs only to my Creator." Then Olymbrius subjected Marina to harsh torture and threw her into prison completely covered with wounds and blood. While in prison Marina prayed to God and, after prayer, the devil appeared to her under the guise of a horrible serpent which entwined itself around her head. When she made the sign of the cross the serpent burst and vanished. Then she was engulfed with a heavenly light and it seemed to her that the walls of the prison vanished together with the roof and a radiant and towering cross appeared and atop the cross a white dove, from which a voice came saying: "Rejoice Marina, rational [discerning] dove of Christ, daughter of Zion in the highest, for your day of rejoicing has arrived." Marina was healed from all her wounds and pains by the power of God. The demented judge tortured her the following day, both in fire and in water, but Marina endured all as though she were in another body. Finally he condemned her to be beheaded. Before her death the Lord Jesus appeared to her with angels. She was beheaded during the reign of Diocletian but in soul and power she remained alive in the heavens and on earth. A hand of St. Marina reposes in the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mt. Athos. However, atop Mt. Langa in Albania overlooking Lake Ohrid, there is a monastery dedicated to St. Marina with a portion of her miraculous relics. Countless miracles have occurred and still occur in this monastery, whose witnesses are not only Christians but many Muslims as well. So much did the Turks have respect for this holy place that they never dared disturb either this holy place or the property of this monastery. At one time a Turk was the guardian of the monastery.
2. THE VENERABLE LEONID USTNEDUM
From his youth this Russian saint lived a spiritual life of asceticism in several monasteries in Solovetz, Mirozh as well as elsewhere. Finally, he founded his own monastery along the Luza River in the province of Vologda. He lived a strict life of mortification until his soul was filled with the light of grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. As a beacon, Leonid attracted many to the ascetical life of mortification. He is called Ustnedum, because at one time when he was bitten by a poisonous serpent, he did not want either to think or to talk about it and he remained alive. Pleasing God in all things, Leonid died peacefully on July 17, 1653 A.D. His relics repose in his monastery.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY MARTYR MARINA
Saint Marina, to the Lord prayed,
And with warm tears, she strengthened her prayers;
Lord Jesus, my God and my Savior,
Everyone who in You hope, You help.
Be near me, near to my soul,
When the unbelievers begin my body to destroy,
Be near me, O Strength of martyrs,
That, without fear and screams, I endure pains.
Before the hungry wolves, as sheep I stand,
As a lonely bird before many hunters,
As a miserable fish snared by the net
But, the Lord of salvation, to You I gaze!
My body, as a cheap sack, let them tear apart,
O Christ, You will I not deny;
Then all decaying pleasures, with You sufferings I like,
Only to Your authority, O Savior I bow down
Conqueror of death, the devil and Hades,
These victories now, through me repeat!
For all, Lord and Savior, to You thanks,
That You help everyone who hopes in You.
Until Christ becomes all for the soul completely all which generally has a certain permanent and unchanging value, until then, man cannot enter into suffering for Christ. How could St. Marina the fifteen-year-old girl enter into suffering for Christ? For to her, Christ was all completely all! How could Saint Julitta have rejoiced upon seeing her three year old son Cyriacus dead for the Faith of Christ? Again, for her, Christ was all completely all. Behold, how St. Tikhon of Zadonsk speaks in detail of how Christ is all to man in the form of a conversation between Christ and man:
"Do you desire good for yourself?
Every good is in Me.
Do you desire blessedness?
Every blessedness is in Me.
Do you desire beauty?
What is more beautiful than Me?
Do you desire nobleness?
What is more noble than the Son of God and the Holy Virgin?
Do you desire height?
What is higher than the Kingdom of Heaven?
Do you desire riches?
In Me are all riches.
Do you desire wisdom?
I am the Wisdom of God.
Do you desire friendship?
Who is a kinder friend than I Who lay down My life for all?
Do you desire help?
Who can help except Me?
Do you seek joy?
Who will rejoice outside of Me?
Do you seek comfort in misery?
Who will comfort you outside of Me?
Do you seek peace?
I am the peace of the soul.
Do you seek life?
In Me is the source of life.
Do you seek light?
'I am the Light of the world' " (St. John 8:12).
To contemplate the miraculous brass serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21):
1. How all the people would have died from the bite of the serpents, until Moses raised the brass serpent on a pole;
2. How all, who were bitten by a serpent, as soon as they gazed upon the brass serpent were made whole;
3. How the brass serpent pre-figures Christ on the Cross.
About the need to repeat and repeat
"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth" (2 Peter 1:12).
The plower sows in the field. Does not the plower repeat the same task every second? How would he, therefore, plow the field if not plowing from morning to dusk deepening furrow after furrow?
The traveler walks the road. Does not the traveler repeat the same task every second with the same effort? How else would he have traveled the road and reached his destination?
The carpenter prepares the boards in his workshop. Does not the carpenter repeat the same task with every board, with the same labor? How else would he be able to prepare the ordered amount of prepared boards?
Brethren, is not all of our beneficial works comprised of strands and strands of repetition? Therefore, let not the preacher of the truth become slothful and let him not say: "I told them so and I will not repeat it!" Let not the hearer of the truth become proud and let him not say: "I heard it once and I do not need to hear it again!"
O preacher of the truth, do not be afraid to repeat and to repeat: that through repetition you teach and by repetition you remind. Without repetition even the field is not plowed, nor the path traveled, nor the framework [rafters] of the house prepared. And you [preacher of the truth] are to plow, to lead and to prepare.
O hearer of the truth, do not become proud and do not say that you heard the truth once. Truth is food for the soul. You have eaten bread today, yesterday and the day before yesterday and for months and years past. And again you will eat it, so that your body would be healthy. Nourish also the soul. Nourish it with the truth, the same truth, yesterday, today and tomorrow and until death so that your soul may be healthy, strong and radiant.
O Lord Jesus, nourish us every day and every hour with Your truth which is Yourself O Jesus, sweet nourishment!
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.