FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Christina the Great Martyr of Tyre
Athenagorus the Apologist
Boris and Gleb, the Passion-bearers
Kaption & Himenaos the Martyrs
Theophilos the New Martyr of Zakynthos
Τῆς Ἁγίας Μεγαλομάρτυρος Χριστίνης. Ἀθηναγόρου τοῦ Ἀπολογητοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 10:5-12
BRETHREN, God was not pleased with most of the fathers; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. Do not be idolators as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance." We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 10:5-12
Ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν αὐτῶν εὐδόκησεν ὁ θεός· κατεστρώθησαν γὰρ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. Ταῦτα δὲ τύποι ἡμῶν ἐγενήθησαν, εἰς τὸ μὴ εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἐπιθυμητὰς κακῶν, καθὼς κἀκεῖνοι ἐπεθύμησαν. Μηδὲ εἰδωλολάτραι γίνεσθε, καθώς τινες αὐτῶν· ὥσπερ γέγραπται, Ἐκάθισεν ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ πιεῖν, καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν. Μηδὲ πορνεύωμεν, καθώς τινες αὐτῶν ἐπόρνευσαν, καὶ ἔπεσον ἐν μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ εἴκοσι τρεῖς χιλιάδες. Μηδὲ ἐκπειράζωμεν τὸν Χριστόν, καθὼς καί τινες αὐτῶν ἐπείρασαν, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ὄφεων ἀπώλοντο. Μηδὲ γογγύζετε, καθὼς καί τινες αὐτῶν ἐγόγγυσαν, καὶ ἀπώλοντο ὑπὸ τοῦ ὀλοθρευτοῦ. Ταῦτα δὲ πάντα τύποι συνέβαινον ἐκείνοις· ἐγράφη δὲ πρὸς νουθεσίαν ἡμῶν, εἰς οὓς τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων κατήντησεν. Ὥστε ὁ δοκῶν ἑστάναι, βλεπέτω μὴ πέσῃ.
The Reading is from Matthew 16:6-12
The Lord said to his disciples, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." And they discussed it among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread." But Jesus, aware of this, said. "O men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 16.6-12
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· ῾Ορᾶτε καὶ προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων. οἱ δὲ διελογίζοντο ἐν ἑαυτοῖς λέγοντες ὅτι ἄρτους οὐκ ἐλάβομεν. γνοὺς δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· τί διαλογίζεσθε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, ὀλιγόπιστοι, ὅτι ἄρτους οὐκ ἐλάβετε; οὔπω νοεῖτε, οὐδὲ μνημονεύετε τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους τῶν πεντακισχιλίων καὶ πόσους κοφίνους ἐλάβετε; οὐδὲ τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἄρτους τῶν τετρακισχιλίων καὶ πόσας σπυρίδας ἐλάβετε; πῶς οὐ νοεῖτε, ὅτι οὐ περὶ ἄρτου εἶπον ὑμῖν προσέχειν ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων; τότε συνῆκαν ὅτι οὐκ εἶπε προσέχειν ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τοῦ ἄρτου, ἀλλ᾿ ἀπὸ τῆς διδαχῆς τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΔ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μεγαλομάρτυρος Χριστίνης.
Τὴν Χριστίναν ἥνωσε Χριστῷ νυμφίῳ,
Νύμφην ἄμωμον, αἷμα τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Εἰκάδι βλῆτο τετάρτῃ Χριστῖνα ὀξέσι πέλταις.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Καπίτων, Ὑμέναιος καὶ Ἑρμογένης ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Christina was from Tyre in Syria, the daughter of a pagan named Urban. Enlightened in her heart to believe in Christ, she broke her father's idols, made of gold and silver, and distributed the pieces to the poor. When her father learned this, he punished her ruthlessly, then cast her into prison. The rulers subjected her to imprisonments, hunger, torments, the cutting off of her breasts and tongue, and finally impalement, in the year 200, during the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus.
Apolytikion in 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 Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Φωτοειδής περιστερα εγνωρίσθης, έχουσα πτέρυγας χρυσάς, καί πρός ύψος, τών ουρανών κατέπαυσας Χριστίνα σεμνή, όθεν σου τήν ένδοξον, εορτήν εκτελούμεν, πίστει προσκυνούντές σου, τών λειψάνων τήν θήκην, εξ ής πηγάζει πάσιν αληθώς, ίαμα θείον, ψυχής τε καί σώματος.
O dove of golden wings, thou shonest like lightning, and flewest up unto the height of the Heavens, august Christina; therefore we all celebrate thy glorious festival, as we faithfully rev'rence the worshipful shrine wherein thy pure relics are treasured, whence thou dost truly well forth unto all divine cures both for the body and for the soul.
The holy Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb, named Romanus and David in sacred Baptism, were the pious sons of the holy Great Prince Vladimir. In 1015 they were slain at the command of their brother Svyatopolk-Saint Boris, on July 24 on the Alta River, near Pereyaslavl, and Saint Gleb, on September 5 on the bank of the Smyadinya River, near Smolensk. Although both had understood their brother's designs against them, they refused to take up arms against him and bring civil war upon their land, preferring to fulfill the commandment, "Resist not evil" (Matt. 5:39). The holy relics of Saint Boris were then buried in Vyshgorod, to which the holy relics of his brother were transferred five years later. Miracles were worked through the holy relics of the meek and guileless brothers during the consecration in Vyshgorod of a church in their honor on this day in 1021.
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
O Righteous Passion-bearers and true fulfillers of the Gospel of Christ, Chaste Boris and guileless Gleb, ye did not oppose the onslaughts of your enemy, your brother, who though killing your bodies was unable to touch your souls. Let the evil lover of power mourn therefore, while ye rejoice with the angelic choirs; and as ye stand before the Holy Trinity, pray for the souls of them that honour your memory, that they may be pleasing to God: and by your intercessions, pray that all Orthodox people may be saved.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
On this day your memory hath shone forth, splendid with glory, O ye noble sufferers and Passion-bearers of Christ God. It hath called us to give glory to Christ our Saviour; wherefore those that draw nigh to the shrine of your relics, do ye swiftly heal as wise and divine physicians, O hallowed Boris and Gleb.
Όταν κάποτε ο Ιησούς Χριστός μιλούσε στους μαθητάς του για τις συνέπειες που θα είχεν η διδαχή του στον κόσμο και για τη στάση που θάπαιρνε η ειδωλολατρία απέναντι στους πιστούς, είπε και τα εξής, που κάνουν εντύπωση, όταν τα ακούμε από το στόμα του "πράου" και "ταπεινού" θείου Διδασκάλου· "ήλθον διχάσαι άνθρωπον κατα του πατρός αυτού και θυγατέρα κατά της μητρός αυτής... και εχθροί του ανθρώπου οι οικιακοί αυτού". Τα λόγια τούτα έρχονται στο νου μας, όταν διαβάζωμε τον βίο και την άθληση της αγίας Μάρτυρος Χριστίνας, της οπίας την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία. Ο φανατικός ειδωλολάτρης πατέρας της έγινε ο μεγαλύτερος εχθρός της, ο φοβερώτερος δήμιος και βασανιστής. Θάρρεψε πως με την ωμή και σκληρή βία θα κέρδισε τη νίκη στον πνευματικό πόλεμο, που είχε ανάψει η χριστιανική πίστη μέσα στο σπίτι του. Απατήθηκε οικτρά, όπως όλοι οι πολέμιοι της Εκκλησίας.
Ἡ Ἁγία Χριστίνα ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς
Ἡ Ἁγία Χριστίνα γεννήθηκε στὴν πόλη Τύρο καὶ ἦταν κόρη τοῦ στρατηγοῦ Οὐρβανοῦ. (200 μ.Χ.). Ὁ πατέρας καὶ ἡ μητέρα της ἦταν εἰδωλολάτρες, ἀλλὰ τὴν Χριστίνα ἔφερε στὸ χριστιανισμὸ μία εὐσεβὴς γυναῖκα. Ὅταν ἔμαθε αὐτὸ ὁ πατέρας της, ἐξοργισμένος τὴν ἔκλεισε σὲ κάποιο ἐξοχικὸ πύργο καὶ μὲ κάθε τρόπο προσπαθοῦσε νὰ τὴν μεταπείσει στὴν εἰδωλολατρία. Ὅμως ὅλες οἱ προσπάθειές του προσέκρουσαν πάνω στὸ ἀσάλευτο τεῖχος τῆς πίστεως τῆς Χριστίνας καὶ ἔπεφταν στὸ κενό. Τότε ἀπελπισμένος τὴν φυλάκισε, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἴδιο βράδυ ὁ ἴδιος πέθανε. Ἔπειτα τὴν ἀνέλαβε ὁ ἔπαρχος Δίων, ποὺ ἀφοῦ καὶ αὐτὸς δὲν κατόρθωσε νὰ δαμάσει τὴν πίστη τῆς Χριστίνας, τὴν βασάνισε σκληρὰ καὶ ἔσχισε τὶς σάρκες της μὲ μαχαίρια καὶ τροχούς. Τὸ Δίωνα διαδέχθηκε ὁ ἔπαρχος Ἰουλιανός, ποὺ καὶ αὐτὸς τὴν βασάνισε χειρότερα. Τὴν ἔριξε μέσα σὲ φαρμακερὰ καὶ θανατηφόρα θηρία, καὶ κατόπιν μέσα στὴ φωτιά. Ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ ὅλα αὐτὰ ἡ Χριστίνα ἔμεινε ἄθικτη καὶ μᾶς θυμίζει τὸ λόγο τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου: «οἱ διὰ πίστεως ... ἔφραξαν στόματα λεόντων, ἔσβεσαν δύναμιν πυρός, ἔφυγον στόματα μαχαίρας». Αὐτοί, δηλαδὴ οἱ Ἅγιοι, ἐπειδὴ εἶχαν μεγάλη πίστη, ἔφραξαν στόματα λιονταριῶν, ἔσβησαν τὴν δύναμη τῆς φωτιᾶς, διέφυγαν τὰ θανατηφόρα λεπίδια τῶν μαχαιριῶν. Βλέποντας αὐτὸ τὸ θαῦμα οἱ θεατές, χιλιάδες πίστεψαν στὸ Χριστό. Τελικὰ ἡ Χριστίνα πῆρε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου, ἀφοῦ τὴν φόνευσαν κτυπώντας την μὲ λόγχες στὴν καρδιὰ καὶ τὰ πλευρά.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Καπίτων
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ὑμέναιος
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἑρμογένης
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ τοῦ ξερίζωσαν ὅλα τὰ δόντια καὶ πέθανε ἀπὸ μόλυνση καὶ ἀκατάσχετη αἱμοῤῥαγία.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Σαλομπτῖνος ἐπίσκοπος Ἱεροσολύμων
Τὸν ἄγνωστο αὐτὸ Ἅγιο, ἀναφέρει τὸ Ἱεροσολυμιτικὸ Κανονάριο σελ. 100.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόφιλος ὁ Νεομάρτυρας
Ὁ Ἅγιος αὐτὸς καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ζάκυνθο καὶ ἦταν ὡραῖος καὶ ρωμαλέος στὸ σῶμα. Ἐργαζόμενος σὰν ναυτικὸς δὲν θέλησε νὰ ὑπηρετήσει σὲ τούρκικο πλοῖο. Ἐναντιούμενος στὴ θέληση τοῦ Τούρκου πλοιάρχου, συκοφαντήθηκε ἀπ᾿ αὐτόν, ὅτι δῆθεν εἶχε φορέσει τούρκικο κάλυμμα στὸ κεφάλι του. Ὁδηγήθηκε βίαια στὸν κριτή, ὅπου μὲ κολακεῖες καὶ φοβερισμοὺς προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ τὸν ἐξισλαμίσουν. Ὁμολογώντας μὲ θάῤῥος τὸν Χριστὸ ὁ Θεόφιλος, περιτμήθηκε μὲ τὴν βία ἀπὸ τοὺς Τούρκους, ποὺ θέλησαν νὰ τὸν στείλουν δῶρο στὸ παλάτι τοῦ Σουλτάνου. Ὁ Θεόφιλος ὅμως, ὅταν ἀκόμα ἦταν στὴ Χίο, ἀπόδρασε καὶ πῆγε στὴ Σάμο, ὅπου παρέμεινε γιὰ ἀρκετὸ χρονικὸ διάστημα. Ὅταν ἐπανῆλθε στὴ Χίο, οἱ Τοῦρκοι τὸν ἀναγνώρισαν καὶ ἀφοῦ τὸν συνέλαβαν τὸν ὁδήγησαν στὸν κριτή. Ὁ κριτής, βλέποντας τὸν Θεόφιλο νὰ ἐμμένει στὴν πίστη του τὸν καταδίκασε σὲ θάνατο διὰ πυρός. Ἀπτόητος ὁ γενναῖος αὐτὸς μάρτυρας τῆς πίστεως μας, ἔκανε τὸ σημεῖο τοῦ σταυροῦ καὶ εἶπε «στὰ χέρια σου Χριστέ μου παραδίδω τὴν ψυχή μου». Καὶ μπῆκε μόνος του στὴ φωτιά, ὅπου παρέδωσε στὸν ἀγωνοθέτη Θεὸ τὴν ἁγία ψυχή του στὶς 23 Ἰουλίου 1635. Τὰ ἐναπομείναντα ἀπὸ τὴν φωτιὰ λείψανά του, ἀγοράστηκαν ἀπὸ χριστιανοὺς καὶ ἐναποτέθηκαν μὲ τιμὲς στὸν ναὸ τοῦ Μεγαλομάρτυρα Γεωργίου στὴ Χίο. Μαρτύριο τοῦ Ἁγίου αὐτοῦ, συνέγραψε πρῶτα ὁ Γεώργιος Κορέσιος ὁ Χίος.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀθανάσιος ἀπὸ τὴν Κίο
Ἦταν πλούσιος καὶ εὐσεβὴς δημογέροντας στὴν Κίο τῆς Βιθυνίας. Ὁ Ἀθανάσιος, ἐπειδὴ ὑπεράσπιζε τοὺς συμπολῖτες του ἀπὸ τὴν βαρεία φορολογία τῶν Τούρκων, συκοφαντήθηκε ὅτι δῆθεν εἶπε, ὅτι θὰ γίνει μουσουλμάνος. Προσκλήθηκε ἀπὸ τὶς ἀρχὲς τῆς βασιλεύουσας καὶ πιέστηκε πολὺ νὰ προδώσει τὴν χριστιανική του πίστη, προκειμένου νὰ σωθεῖ. Ὁ Ἀθανάσιος ὅμως δὲν ἀρνήθηκε τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ μετὰ ἀπὸ σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια φυλακίστηκε. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ καὶ πάλι ἔμενε ἀμετακίνητος στὴν πίστη του, τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν στὶς 24 Ἰουλίου 1670 στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Βίο τοῦ Ἁγίου συνέγραψε ὁ Ἰωάννης Καρυοφύλλης.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Μπόρισος καὶ Γλίεβος, ποὺ διὰ τοῦ ἁγίου Βαπτίσματος μετονομάσθηκαν Ρωμανὸς καὶ Δαβὶδ (Ῥῶσοι)
Ὁ Ὅσιος Συμεὼν ὁ Νεοφανής, Θεσσαλονικεὺς
Γεννήθηκε στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη τὸ 1042 στὰ χρόνια της αὐτοκράτειρας Ζωῆς. Χειροτονήθηκε στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη καὶ ἀναχώρησε στὴ Θηβαΐδα τῆς Αἰγύπτου, ὅπου ἔζησε μέσα σὲ μία σπηλιὰ ἕως τὸ τέλος τῆς ζωῆς του.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀθηναγόρας ὁ Ἀθηναῖος, ὁ Ἀπολογητὴς
Χριστιανὸς φιλόσοφος καὶ ἀπολογητὴς τοῦ 2ου μ.Χ. αἰῶνα. Καταγόταν πιθανότατα ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀθήνα, ὅπου σπούδασε τὸν μέσο Πλατωνισμὸ καὶ τὴν Στωικὴ φιλοσοφία. Ἄκμασε στὰ χρόνια τῶν Ρωμαίων αὐτοκρατόρων Μάρκου Αὐρηλίου (161-180) καὶ Κομμόδου (180-192). Βασικὰ στοιχεῖα γιὰ τὸ πρόσωπο, τὴν μόρφωση καὶ τὸ ἔργο του ἀντλοῦμε ἀπὸ τὰ δυὸ ἔργα του, ποὺ διασώθηκαν σὲ κώδικα τοῦ 914, ὁ ὁποῖος ἐκπονήθηκε στὸ βιβλιογραφικὸ ἐργαστήριο τοῦ Ἀρέθα: Πρεσβεία περὶ Χριστιανῶν καὶ Περὶ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν. Ὁ Ἄθηναγορας ξεχωρίζει ἀπὸ τοὺς σύγχρονούς του ἀπολογητὲς γιὰ τὴν φιλολογικὴ ἀρτιότητα καὶ τὸ προσεγμένο ὕφος, ἐνῷ στὸν χῶρο τῆς θεολογίας προβάλλει τὴν ὀρθόδοξη τριαδολογικὴ διδασκαλία, τὴν θεοπνευστία τῶν Ἁγίων Γραφῶν καὶ τὴν αὐστηρὴ ἀσκητικὴ στάση στὸν ἠθικὸ βίο τῶν χριστιανῶν, γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ τὸ συγγραφικό του ἔργο κατέχει ἀξιόλογη θέση στὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴ γραμματεία τῶν πρώτων αἰώνων.
Martyr Christina of Tyre (200)
She was from Tyre in Syria, the daughter of a pagan named Urban. She is a miraculous example of one brought to faith in Christ without any human intervention. When she was about eleven years old, her father, seeing her great beauty and wanting to protect her from men until she was grown, made her live alone on the top floor of a fine house, with slaves, all worldly comforts, and gold and silver idols. Passing the time by looking out the window, Christina came by her meditations on the beauty and order of nature to believe in the one, living God. An Angel of the Lord then came to her, who marked her with the sign of the Cross and instructed her in the truth of the Gospel. The newly-enlightened Christina smashed all the idols in her room, so infuriating her father that he sent her to be tortured and beheaded for her faith. Her father, though in good health and in the prime of life, died that night. Christina was subjected to horrible tortures and mutilations, and finally died by the sword, her faith unshaken.
Holy Martyrs and Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb of Russia, in holy baptism Romanus and David (1015)
Pious sons of Prince Vladimir, enlightener of Russia, they were named Romanus and David in Baptism. When Prince Vladimir died, his kingdom was divided among his sons (prior to baptism, he had children by several wives). But Prince Svyatopolk, not content with his share, resolved to have his brothers murdered in order to take their territories. Both brothers knew of the plan, but resolved not to take up arms against their brother, to avoid civil war and to fulfil the commandment "Resist not evil." Their bodies remained incorrupt and fragrant in death. They are buried in Vyshgorod.
Saints Boris and Gleb are also commemorated on July 24,
Note: Since every Orthodox Christian should be baptized with the name of a known Orthodox Saint, how do we get new Saints' names over the years? We see the process at work with St Vladimir and his sons Boris and Gleb. At baptism they received new Christian names, but when they were glorified, their (originally) pagan names were sanctified. Since then, countless Russians and others have been named Vladimir, Boris or Gleb at baptism.
The Martyress Christina lived during the III Century. She was born into a rich family, and her father was governor of Tyre. By the age of 11 the girl was exceptionally beautiful, and many wanted to be married to her. Christina's father, however, envisioned that his daughter should become a pagan-priestess. To this end he situated her in a special dwelling, where he had set up many gold and silver idols, and he commanded his daughter to burn incense before them. Two servants attended to Christina.
In her solitude Christina began to ponder over the thought, -- who had created this beautiful world? From her room she was delighted by the stars of the heavens and she constantly came back to the thought about the One Maker of all the world. She was convinced, that the voiceless and soul-less idols standing in her room could not create anything, since they themselves were created by human hands. She began to pray to the One God with tears, beseeching Him to reveal Himself. Her soul blazed with love for the Unknown God, and she intensified her prayer all the more, and combining with it fasting.
One time Christina had the visitation of an Angel, which instructed her in the true faith in Christ, the Saviour of the world. The Angel called her a bride of Christ and announced to her about her future act of suffering. The holy virgin smashed all the idols standing in her room and cast them out the window. In visiting his daughter Christina's father, Urban, asked her where all the idols had disappeared. Christina was silent. Then, having summoned the servants, Urban learned the truth from them. In a rage the father began to slap his daughter on the face. The holy virgin at first remained quiet, but then she revealed to her father about her faith in the One True God, and that by her own hands she had destroyed the idols. Urban then gave orders to kill all the servants in attendance upon his daughter, and he gave Christina a fierce beating and threw her in prison. Having learned about what had happened, the mother of Saint Christina came in tears, imploring her to renounce Christ and to return to her ancestral beliefs. But Christina remained unyielding. On another day Urban brought his daughter to trial and urged her to offer worship to the gods, to ask forgiveness for her misdeeds, but he saw instead her firm and steadfast confession of faith in Christ.
The torturers tied her to an iron wheel, beneathe which they set a fire. The body of the martyress, turning round on the wheel, was scorched from all sides. They then threw her in prison.
An Angel of God appeared at night, healing her from her wounds and strengthening her with food. Her father, in the morning seeing her unharmed, gave orders to drown her in the sea. But an Angel sustained the saint while the stone sank down, and Christina miraculously came out from the water and re-appeared before her father. In terror, the torturer imputed this to the doings of sorcery and he decided to execute her in the morning. But by night he himself suddenly died. Another governor, Dion, was sent in his place. He summoned the holy martyress and likewise tried to persuade her to renounce Christ, but seeing her unyielding firmness, he again subjected her to cruel tortures. The holy martyress was for a long while in prison. People began to throng to her, and she converted them to the true faith in Christ. Thus about 300 were converted.
In place of Dion, a new governor Julian arrived and anew set about the torture of the saint. After various tortures, Julian gave orders to throw her into a red-hot furnace and lock her in it. After five days they opened the furnace and found the martyress alive and unharmed. Seeing this miracle take place, many believed in Christ the Saviour, and the torturers executed Saint Christina with a sword.
The Holy Martyrs Nobleborn Princes Boris and Gleb, in Holy Baptism -- Roman and David (+ 1015): The account about them is located under 2 May.
The Child SchemaMonk Bogolep was the son of a Moscow nobleman Yakov Lukich Umakov and his wife Ekatarina. He was born in 1660 at Moscow. During Baptism they gave the new-born the name Boris, in honour of the holy nobleborn Prince PassionBearer ("Strastoterpets") Boris (Comm. 24 July).
Umakov was appointed voevoda (military-commander) in the city of Chernyi Yar, situated 250 versts from Astrakhan. He was known for his integrity. Boris from infancy displayed unusual traits. On Wednesdays and Fridays he would not suckle the milk from his mother's breasts; when the bells pealed at the church, he began to cry and at once became quiet, when they brought him into the church. When they did not take the infant to church, he cried all day and ate nothing.
In 1662 a deadly pestilence spread about in Russia. The child fell ill -- the pestilence afflicted him in the legs. He became lame, but continued to walk to church. The parents prayed about the health of their son and they tried everything in their power, that he would be healed. But no sooner had the one illness gone, than upon his face there appeared another, called scales.
One time during his illness the child saw a wandering monk, who visited at their home. The angelic garb so impressed the child, that he began to implore his parents to dew him suchlike garb and permit him to take monastic tonsure. Amidst this the holy lad proclaimed: "Lo, ye wilt see for yourselves, when ye tonsure and grant me the angelic garb, I shall be well". The parents consented. The child was invested in the schema with the name Bogolep (the Russian version of the Greek name Theoprepios, meaning -- "in the semblance of God"). On the next day the holy schema-monk was completely healthy, his face was clear and there remained not a trace of the illness. But on the third day there was a new illness, he was feverish, and it mortally struck down the lad. He died on 1 August 1667 and was buried at the left wall of the wooden Chernoyarsk church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ. (This church was erected, following a great conflagration in Chernyi Yar, in the year 1652 on 24 July, the day of memory of Saint Boris). Over the grave of the lad was built a chapel.
Numerous miracles of healing through the prayers of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep appear to be the basis of establishing the feastday to him on his name-day in common ("tezoimenitstvo") with the holy nobleborn Prince Boris -- 24 July.
The life of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep was compiled under a vow by the Chernoyarsk merchant Savva Tatarinov during the years 1731-1732.
Icons of the saint, with the tropar and kondak to him, were widely dispersed throughout the Astrakhan region.
In 1750 on the place of the wooden church was built a stone church with a side-altar in honour of the holy Martyr John the Warrior. The grave of the holy schema-monk was enclosed in this side-altar. The bank of the river, at which the church of the Resurrection of Christ was situated, was constantly eroding. By the mid XIX Century the structure of the church was threatened, and they removed all the holy things from it. But for a long time the Chernoyarsk people did not remove the chief holy thing -- the grave of the holy schema-monk. Finally, in 1851 when the water had already approached 2 arshin [4 ft. 8 in.], the people recoursed to the MostHoly Synod with a request to transfer the holy remains of the Schema-Monk Bogolep, and they received permission for this. The small child's coffin was laid bare, but just when the city head took it into his hands, it slid out from his hands and together with the crumbled earth it disappeared into the waters of the Volga.
This disappearance just at the opening of the grave was accepted as happening at the Will of God, since the holy lad had repeatedly appeared to many either in sleep, or awake while walking along the river bank or coming down the hill. Amidst this he gave the consolation, that spiritually he would be present with believers.
The simple life, but full of the mysteries of God, of the holy Schema-Monk Bogolep manifests the power of the words of the Saviour concerning children: "Let the children come unto Me and hinder them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Truly I tell ye: whoso cometh not to the Kingdom of God as a little child, shalt not enter therein. And, having hugged them, He raised His hands over them and He blessed them" (Mk. 10: 14-16).
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR CHRISTINA
Christina was born in the city of Tyre the daughter of Urban, the imperial deputy, an idol worshipper. The reason her parents gave her the name of Christina is unknown but it concealed the mystery of her future following of Christ. Until age eleven, she knew nothing of Christ. When she reached the age of eleven her father, in order to conceal her from the world because of her extraordinary beauty until she fully matured, designated the highest floor of a tall tower for her to live. All the comforts of life were afforded her; slaves were given to serve her, gold and silver idols were placed in her quarters so that she may offer daily sacrifices to them. However, in this idolatrous environment, it was difficult for the soul of young Christina. Looking out through the window each day at the sun and all the beauty of the world then, again at night, at the miraculous cluster of shining stars, Christina, through her own natural understanding came to the firm belief in the One Living God. The merciful God, seeing her longing for the truth, sent His angel who traced the sign of the cross upon Christina and called her the bride of Christ and completely instructed her in godly understanding. Christina then smashed all the idols in her quarters and provoked wild fury in her father. Her father brought her to trial and handed her over to be tortured and, after that, threw her into the dungeon with the intention to behead her the next day. That night Urban, completely healthy, parted from his soul and went to the grave before his daughter. After that two imperial deputies, Dion and Julian, continued to torture this holy virgin. Christina's courageous endurance and her miracles, which she worked by the power of God, converted many pagans of Tyre to Christianity. During the torturing of Christina, Dion suddenly fell dead in the midst of the people. Dion's successor, Julian, severed the breasts and tongue of Christina. The martyr took her tongue and threw it into Julian's face and he was instantly blinded. Finally her suffering for Christ ended by death beneath the sharp sword and her life continues in the immortal kingdom of the angels. Christina honorably suffered in the third century.
2. THE VENERABLE POLYCARP, ABBOT OF THE MONASTERY OF THE CAVES IN KIEV
Polycarp possessed "love toward God and his fellow men, joy because of an untainted conscience, peace because of victory over all passions, patience in time of temptation and misfortune, goodness in submission toward all, benevolence toward the poor, undoubting faith in fulfilling the commandments, truth in fulfilling his vows, meekness in not knowing anger, restraint and so forth." So well did he govern the Lavra of the Caves in Kiev that, after his death, a worthy successor among the monks could not be found (for those who were worthy did not want to accept the rank of abbot out of humility), so that the brethren were compelled to take Basil, a secular priest, as their abbot. St. Polycarp reposed in the Lord in the year 1182 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Glorious martyr, the virgin Christina,
Of the Son of God, chosen bride,
Had in her father, the worst enemy
By him, was she torn apart by iron.
Daughter, the gods, if you do not acknowledge,
My daughter, will I not call you any longer.
Thus, the father said to the daughter: And to that the daughter replied:
For that, with you will I never be angry
The servant of Christ I am and you the servant of Satan.
Neither father nor friend in you do I see.
Daughter do not call me, happy that makes me,
The Lord is my father. My sweetness He is.
Infuriated beast the servants, the father ordered,
Her flesh to scrap that he her bones see!
From the tender body, the flesh fell,
All wound next to wound, nowhere flesh intact,
The holy martyr, a hand full of flesh grabbed
And in the middle of the profane face, struck the father:
O odious Urban, my flesh here it is,
Here beast, eat flesh of your own child!
That night, from his body Urban departed
And in Hades with the devil he united his soul.
Christina suffered and her blood shed,
Heroically she resisted against the world of enemies
Virgin Christina, martyr wonderful,
With the glory of the Son of God, glorified herself.
The Faith of Christ mostly sanctifies and illumines the souls of men when the preachers of the Faith shine in their own lives. Blessed Polycarp, the abbot of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev, was so completely illumined with the Faith of Christ, both in words and in deeds and in his entire being. Because of this, he had an unusual influence not only on ordinary people but also on princes and noblemen. Listening and seeing this godly man the Prince of Kiev, Rostislav Mstislavitch, became so illumined with the Faith of Christ and thus became so subdued and gentle, that he became a model of life in his immediate surroundings and to his entire people. During the Great Lenten Fast Season, Prince Rostislav received Holy Communion every Sunday and, in all places, sought out those who were in need and those less fortunate and helped them. In the end, he resolved to embrace the monastic order and spoke to Saint Polycarp about this: "Holy father, princely rule in this world cannot be without sin and it has already embittered me and has rendered me incapable." Polycarp answered him: "If you desire this monastic state from your heart, then let it be God's will." Once while in Smolensk, the prince became ill and close to death and ordered that he be quickly taken to Kiev, so that before his death he may receive the monastic tonsure. However he died before his wish was fulfilled.
To contemplate the miraculous victory of the Israelites over the Haians (Joshua 8):
1. How the Haians pursued the Israelites and almost defeated them;
2. How, according to the command of God, Joshua raised the banner in the air and held it upraised, until the Haians were defeated;
3. How I should also in time of danger lift up my heart to God as a banner and with the cross and prayer in my heart walk to victory.
About the holy apostolic warning
"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error" (2 Peter 2:18).
The holy apostle knows men better than the learned scribes for he is a saint and an apostle. A saint and an apostle penetrate deeply into the heart of man. About whom does the apostle speak? He speaks about the "impure, impudent and the self-willed", whom he earlier called "wells without water and clouds and mist" (2 Peter 2:17). The "impure, impudent and self-willed" are men of many and high sounding [high falutin] words. They speak proud and false words to men. By these proud and false words, they both conceal and reveal their hearts concealing it for the uneducated and for those who do not understand and revealing it for those who are steadfast in the Faith and enlightened by Grace.
When the impure speak of their purity, by that they are declaring their impurity; when the impudent defends his character, by that he reveals his impudence; when the self-willed interprets the will of God, by that he shows his self-will. Whoever attentively follows his words can sense the stench of their bodily desires. The inattentive and uneducated cannot sense this stench but believe and are deluded. Those "who have just begun to escape" from the illusion of the body, the world and the devil are ensnared by proud and false words, as a fish in an invisible net. The fish does not know that it is in a net, until the net is pulled out on the hot sand. Then it knows but then it is too late. O may it not be too late for those pitiful souls of mankind who are ensnared in the net of proud and false words! Brethren know that every teacher who, by his teaching, condones bodily desires and who yields to sinners in bodily desires, is false.
Lord Jesus, Holy and All Pure, send Your Holy Angels to defend all beginners and fledgings in Your Faith from proud and false lips.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.