FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Forefeast of the Precious Cross
Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea
Eudocimus the Righteous of Cappadocia
Τοῦ Ἁγίου καί Δικαίου Εὐδοκίμου καί Προεόρτια τῆς Προόδου τοῦ Τιμίου καί Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ.
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ὁσιομάρτυρος Διονυσίου τοῦ Βατοπαιδινοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 12:12-26
BRETHREN, just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, "because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to he inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 12:12-26
Ἀδελφοί, καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα ἕν ἐστιν, καὶ μέλη ἔχει πολλά, πάντα δὲ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος τοῦ ἑνός, πολλὰ ὄντα, ἕν ἐστιν σῶμα· οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστός. Καὶ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι ἡμεῖς πάντες εἰς ἓν σῶμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, εἴτε Ἰουδαῖοι εἴτε Ἕλληνες, εἴτε δοῦλοι εἴτε ἐλεύθεροι· καὶ πάντες εἰς ἓν πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν. Καὶ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα οὐκ ἔστιν ἓν μέλος ἀλλὰ πολλά. Ἐὰν εἴπῃ ὁ πούς, Ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ χείρ, οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος· οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος; Καὶ ἐὰν εἴπῃ τὸ οὖς, Ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὀφθαλμός, οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος· οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος; Εἰ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα ὀφθαλμός, ποῦ ἡ ἀκοή; Εἰ ὅλον ἀκοή, ποῦ ἡ ὄσφρησις; Νυνὶ δὲ ὁ θεὸς ἔθετο τὰ μέλη ἓν ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ σώματι, καθὼς ἠθέλησεν. Εἰ δὲ ἦν τὰ πάντα ἓν μέλος, ποῦ τὸ σῶμα; Νῦν δὲ πολλὰ μὲν μέλη, ἓν δὲ σῶμα. Οὐ δύναται δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμὸς εἰπεῖν τῇ χειρί, Χρείαν σου οὐκ ἔχω· ἢ πάλιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῖς ποσίν, Χρείαν ὑμῶν οὐκ ἔχω. Ἀλλὰ πολλῷ μᾶλλον τὰ δοκοῦντα μέλη τοῦ σώματος ἀσθενέστερα ὑπάρχειν, ἀναγκαῖά ἐστιν· καὶ ἃ δοκοῦμεν ἀτιμότερα εἶναι τοῦ σώματος, τούτοις τιμὴν περισσοτέραν περιτίθεμεν· καὶ τὰ ἀσχήμονα ἡμῶν εὐσχημοσύνην περισσοτέραν ἔχει· τὰ δὲ εὐσχήμονα ἡμῶν οὐ χρείαν ἔχει· ἀλλʼ ὁ θεὸς συνεκέρασεν τὸ σῶμα, τῷ ὑστεροῦντι περισσοτέραν δοὺς τιμήν, ἵνα μὴ ᾖ σχίσματα ἐν τῷ σώματι, ἀλλὰ τὸ αὐτὸ ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων μεριμνῶσιν τὰ μέλη. Καὶ εἴτε πάσχει ἓν μέλος, συμπάσχει πάντα τὰ μέλη· εἴτε δοξάζεται ἓν μέλος, συγχαίρει πάντα τὰ μέλη.
The Reading is from Matthew 18:18-22;19:1-2; 13-15
The Lord said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."
Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 18.18-22,19.1-
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· ᾿Αμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅσα ἐὰν δήσητε ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἔσται δεδεμένα ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, καὶ ὅσα ἐὰν λύσητε ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἔσται λελυμένα ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ. Πάλιν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐὰν δύο ὑμῶν συμφωνήσωσιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς περὶ παντὸς πράγματος οὗ ἐὰν αἰτήσωνται, γενήσεται αὐτοῖς παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς. οὗ γάρ εἰσι δύο ἢ τρεῖς συνηγμένοι εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα, ἐκεῖ εἰμι ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν. Τότε προσελθὼν αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπε· Κύριε, ποσάκις ἁμαρτήσει εἰς ἐμὲ ὁ ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀφήσω αὐτῷ; ἕως ἑπτάκις; λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις, ἀλλ᾿ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά. Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τοὺς λόγους τούτους μετῆρεν ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς τὰ ὅρια τῆς ᾿Ιουδαίας πέραν τοῦ ᾿Ιορδάνου. καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοί, καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ. Τότε προσηνέχθη αὐτῷ παιδία, ἵνα ἐπιθῇ αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας καὶ προσεύξηται· οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐπετίμησαν αὐτοῖς. ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν· ἄφετε τὰ παιδία καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτὰ ἐλθεῖν πρός με· τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. καὶ ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῖς ἐπορεύθη ἐκεῖθεν.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΛΑ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου καὶ Δικαίου Εὐδοκίμου.
Τὸν θεῖον Εὐδόκιμον, ᾧ βίος γέλως,
Τὸ θεῖον εὐδόκησεν ἐκστῆναι βίου.
Δέχνυται Εὐδόκιμον πρώτῃ τάφος ἐν τριακοστῇ.
Ὁ ἅγιος Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, ὁ κηδευτὴς τοῦ Δεσπότου Χριστοῦ, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Οἱ ἅγιοι δώδεκα μάρτυρες οἱ Ῥωμαῖοι ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ ἀνάμνησις τῶν Ἐγκαινίων τοῦ σεβασμίου οἴκου τῆς ὑπεραγίας Δεσποίνης ἡμῶν Θεοτόκου τοῦ ἐν Βλαχέρναις, ἔνθα ἀπόκειται ἡ Ἁγία Σορός.
Καὶ προεόρτια τοῦ τιμίου καὶ ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ, ἤτοι ἡ ἐξέλευσις αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ βασιλικοῦ Παλατίου εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
Οἴκου προελθών, Σταυρὸς τῶν Βασιλέων,
Οἴκοις ἑορτὰς προξενεῖ τοῖς ἐν πόλει.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Σώσον Κύριε τόν λαόν σου καί ευλόγησον τήν κληρονομίαν σου, νίκας τοίς Βασιλεύσι κατά βαρβάρων δωρούμενος καί τό σόν φυλάττων διά τού Σταυρού σου πολίτευμα.
Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance, granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries, and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Ως θεία λαμπάς, προέρχεται τοίς πέρασι, Χριστού ο Σταυρός, δι' ού ζωή δεδώρηται, προσέλθωμεν ούν άνθρωποι, καί ρυφθώμεν τούτου τή χάριτι, ο γάρ εν τούτω προσπαγείς, παρέχει τοίς πάσιν, ιλασμόν καί ζωήν.
With far-shining beams, the Cross of Christ doth go about throughout all the earth, bestowing life and grace on all. Let us draw nigh as to a saving beacon in the night of this world; for the Lord, Who was nailed thereto, through it doth bestow forgiveness on all men.
Saint Eudocimus was from Cappadocia, the son of pious and most illustrious parents, patricians in rank. He especially cultivated chastity and mercy, the one by never meeting the gaze of a woman, the other by cheerfully providing the needs of the poor. When he was made military commander of Cappadocia, he continued in his righteous ways, showing mercy and uprightness in all his dealings. Having so lived in piety, quietly and without ostentation, he was called from this life at the age of thirty-three, about the year 840, during the reign of the Iconoclast Theophilus. Not long after his burial, his grave became a fountain of unending miracles, as God revealed the virtue that Eudocimus had striven to hide; when his grave was later opened, his body was found incorrupt. His holy relics were translated to Constantinople.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Η σεπτή σου σήμερον, ημάς συνήθροισε μνήμη, εν τή θεία Λάρνακι, τών ιερών σου Λειψάνων, πάντες ούν οι προσιόντες καί προσκυνούντες, άπασαν, δαιμόνων βλάβην αποσοβούνται, καί ποικίλων νοσημάτων, λυτρούνται τάχος μάκαρ Ευδόκιμε.
Thine august memorial this day hath called us together at the sacred and divine shrine of thy ven'rable relics. Wherefore they that come and worship are all delivered from all harm caused by the demons' accursed malice, O Eudocimus most blessed, and they are rescued swiftly from every disease.
Μέγα ευτύχημα για τους ανθρώπους είναι νάχουν άρχοντας ευσεβείς, όχι μόνο εκκλησιαστικούς, αλλά και πολιτικούς. Ευεργέτημα σε έναν τόπο είναι ο ευσεβής πολιτικός άρχων. Γιατί κι αυτός είναι ποιμένας του λαού κι οι άνθρωποι περιμένουν από την εξουσία του και την δύναμή του να δουν καλό. Η πολιτική εξουσία στα χέρια των ανθρώπων δεν δίνεται από τον Θεό, για να την χαίρωνται αυτοί που την έχουν, μα για να εξυπηρετήται και να ποιμαίνεται ο λαός. Η θεία Γραφή και τους πολιτικούς άρχοντας τους θέλει κι αυτούς, όπως και τους εκκλησιαστικούς· "διακόνους του Θεού εις το αγαθόν". Είναι και αυτοί όργανα του Θεού, για να γίνεται το καλό στον κόσμο και να προάγεται ο βίος των ανθρώπων. Χαρά σε κείνες τις πολιτείες που έχουν τέτοιους άρχοντες, τιμίους, ευσυνειδήτους κι ευεργετικούς, σαν τον άγιο Ευδόκιμο, του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα τιμά την μνήμη – "Ευδοκίμου του φερωνύμως κατά Θεόν ευδοκιμήσαντος".
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐδόκιμος ὁ δίκαιος
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐδόκιμος γεννήθηκε στὴν Καππαδοκία, ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς. Ὁ πατέρας του ὀνομαζόταν Βασίλειος καὶ εἶχε τὸ ἀξίωμα τοῦ πατρικίου, ἡ δὲ μητέρα του, Εὐδοκία. Τὸ γιό τους Εὐδόκιμο ἀνέθρεψαν ὅσο γίνεται σύμφωνα μὲ τὶς ἐπιταγὲς τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Καὶ ὁ Εὐδόκιμος δὲν ἄργησε νὰ φέρει καρπούς. Ἀπὸ τὴν παιδική του ἀκόμα ἡλικία, μιμήθηκε τοὺς γονεῖς του στὴ φιλανθρωπία καὶ τὴν ἐλεημοσύνη, μοιράζοντας μὲ ἁπλοχεριὰ ὑλικὰ ἀγαθὰ γιὰ τὴν ἀνακούφιση κάθε εἴδους δυστυχισμένων, προπάντων δὲ ὀρφανῶν καὶ ἀπροστάτευτων ἀπόρων χηρῶν. Ὅταν ὁ Εὐδόκιμος μεγάλωσε, διορίσθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν αὐτοκράτορα Θεόφιλο (829) στρατοπεδάρχης στὴν Καππαδοκία καὶ ἔπειτα στὰ χορσιανὰ σύνορα. Καὶ στὴ θέση του αὐτή, ὁ Εὐδόκιμος ὑπῆρξε πάντοτε ταπεινόφρων, δίκαιος καὶ φιλάνθρωπος. Ἀλλὰ στὸ 33ο ἔτος τῆς ἡλικίας του πέθανε, καὶ ἡ εἴδηση αὐτὴ ἔφερε μεγάλη λύπη στὶς ἀναρίθμητες ψυχὲς ποὺ εἶχε εὐεργετήσει. Ὅμως ἡ δίκαια ψυχὴ τοῦ Εὐδοκίμου συναριθμήθηκε ἐκεῖ, ὅπου «οἱ δίκαιοι ἐκλάμψουσιν ὡς ὁ ἥλιος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτῶν· ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω». Δηλαδὴ ἐκεῖ, ὅπου οἱ δίκαιοι θὰ δοξαστοῦν καὶ θὰ λάμψουν σὰν τὸν ἥλιο, στὴ βασιλεία τοῦ οὐρανίου Πατέρα τους. Ὅποιος, λοιπόν, ἔχει αὐτιὰ καὶ ἀκούει μὲ ἐνδιαφέρον καὶ ἐγκολπώνεται τὴν ἀλήθεια, ἂς ἀκούει.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας
Κηδευτὴς τοῦ Δεσπότη Χριστοῦ. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. (Ματθ. κζ´ 57, 59).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι 12 Μάρτυρες οἱ Ρωμαῖοι
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.
Ἐγκαίνια τοῦ Ναοῦ τῆς Θεοτόκου στὶς Βλαχέρναις καὶ Προεόρτια (παραμονὴ) Προόδου (ἐξόδου) Τιμίου Σταυροῦ
Ὁ Σ. Εὐστρατιάδης γιὰ τὸ γεγονὸς αὐτὸ γράφει τὰ ἑξῆς: «Κατὰ τὴν ἡμέραν ταύτην ἐξήγετο ἐκ τοῦ σκευοφυλακίου τῆς μεγάλης ἐκκλησίας ὁ τίμιος σταυρός, περιήγετο ἀνὰ τὴν πόλιν καὶ ἐξετίθετο εἰς διαφόρους ναοὺς πρὸς προσκύνησιν καὶ ἁγιασμὸν τῶν πιστῶν καὶ πάλιν ἀπετίθετο εἰς τὸ σκευοφυλάκιον. Εἰς τοὺς κώδικας τὰ τοῦ τιμίου σταυροῦ προεόρτια ἀναγράφονται καὶ ἄρχονται ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης Αὐγούστου, ἡ δὲ κατὰ τὴν προεόρτιον ταύτην ἀνάμνησιν ὑμνογραφία εἶναι πλούσια καὶ κεῖται ἀνέκδοτος εἰς πολλοὺς Κώδικας· καὶ ἵνα μόνον εἰς τοὺς κατ᾿ αὐτὴν συντεθέντας Κανόνας περιορισθῶ, σημειῶ Κανόνα τοῦ Θεοφάνους (ἐν τοῖς Κώδ. 368 φ. 3636,1568 φ. 3α Παρισίων καὶ Ω 147 Λαύρας), τοῦ Γεωργίου Νικομήδειας (ἐν τοῖς Κώδ. 1567 φ. 240 6,13φ 351 α Παρισίων καὶ Θ 32 φ. 344α, Δ 12 φ. 273α, 1135 φ. 333α καὶ Ω 147 φ. 368α Λαύρας), ἕτερον τοῦ αὐτοῦ Γεωργίου Νικομήδειας φέροντα ἀκροστιχίδα «Σταυρῷ γεγηθῶς ἐξάδω θεῖον μέλος Γεώργιος» (ἐν τῷ Παρισινῷ Κώδ. 13 φ. 352 6 καὶ τῷ τῆς Λαύρας Θ 33 φ. 5). Εἰς τοὺς αὐτοὺς δὲ Κώδικας καὶ ἄλλους Στιχηρὰ πολλά, Ἰδιόμελα, Καθίσματα κλπ».
Ἀνακομιδὴ Λειψάνων Ἁγίου Φιλίππου τοῦ Ἀποστόλου
Βλέπε βιογραφικό του σημείωμα στὶς 14 Νοεμβρίου. Τὸ Ἅγιο λείψανό του μετακομίστηκε ἀπὸ τὴν Ἱεράπολη στὴν Πάφο τῆς Κύπρου, καὶ συγκεκριμένα σ᾿ ἕνα χωριὸ κοντὰ σ᾿ αὐτή, Ἀρσινόη ἢ Ἀρσὸς λεγόμενο. Ἐκεῖ οἰκοδομήθηκε Ναὸς στὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Φιλίππου, ποὺ σῴζεται μέχρι σήμερα. Στὸ Ναὸ αὐτὸ κατέθεσαν τὸ ἅγιο λείψανο τοῦ Ἁγίου, ποὺ μέχρι καὶ σήμερα ἐπιτελεῖ θαύματα, σ᾿ ὅσους προσέρχονται μὲ πίστη.
Ἀνώνυμος Κρητικὸς Νεομάρτυς
Ὁ Νεομάρτυρας αὐτὸς ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Κρήτη καὶ γεννήθηκε ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς. Εἴκοσι χρονῶν βρέθηκε στὴ δούλεψη ἑνὸς Τούρκου στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου. Κάποια νύκτα, ὁ Τοῦρκος αὐτός, θέλησε νὰ ἐκμεταλλευτεῖ τὸν νεαρό. Τότε ὁ εὐσεβὴς νέος ἀρνήθηκε καὶ πάνω στὴν ἀπελπισία του μαχαίρωσε τὸν Τοῦρκο μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα αὐτὸς νὰ πεθάνει. Τὴν ἑπομένη μέρα οἱ φίλοι τοῦ σκοτωμένου Τούρκου, μόλις ἄκουσαν τὸ γεγονός, συνέλαβαν τὸν νεαρὸ χριστιανὸ καὶ τὸν πῆγαν στὸν δικαστή. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ δὲν ὑπῆρχε μαρτυρία σὲ βάρος του τὸν ἄφησαν ἐλεύθερο. Μετὰ δυὸ μέρες ὅμως, τὸν συνέλαβαν πάλι καὶ ἀφοῦ τὸν βασάνισαν σκληρά, ὁμολόγησε ὅλη τὴν ἀλήθεια. Τότε ὁ δικαστὴς τοῦ πρότεινε, γιὰ νὰ σώσει τὴν ζωή του, ν᾿ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ νὰ γίνει μουσουλμάνος. Ὁ Νεομάρτυρας ἀπέῤῥιψε τὴν πρόταση τοῦ δικαστῆ καὶ μὲ θάῤῥος ὁμολόγησε πὼς γεννήθηκε, εἶναι καὶ θέλει νὰ πεθάνει χριστιανός. Τότε μία ἀπὸ τὶς μέρες τοῦ Ἰουλίου τὸ 1811, τὸν θανάτωσαν μὲ ἀπαγχονισμό. Δυὸ μέρες ἔμεινε τὸ τίμιο λείψανό του στὴν κρεμάλα, κατόπιν τὸ κατέβασαν καὶ τὸ ἔχωσαν στὴν ἄμμο.
Forefeast of the Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of the Lord.
† Righteous Eudocimus of Cappadocia (9th c.)
"Saint Eudocimus was from Cappadocia, the son of pious and most illustrious parents, patricians in rank. He especially cultivated chastity and mercy, the one by never meeting the gaze of a woman, the other by cheerfully providing the needs of the poor. When he was made military commander of Cappadocia, he continued in his righteous ways, showing mercy and uprightness in all his dealings. Having so lived in piety, quietly and without ostentation, he was called from this life at the age of thirty-three, about the year 840, during the reign of the Iconoclast Theophilus. Not long after his burial, his grave became a fountain of unending miracles, as God revealed the virtue that Eudocimus had striven to hide; when his grave was later opened, his body was found incorrupt. His holy relics were translated to Constantinople." (Great Horologion)
Righteous Joseph of Arimathea (1st c.)
The "noble Joseph" was a secret follower of Christ and a wealthy member of the Jewish Sanhendrin (ruling council); it was he who provided Christ's tomb. When his faith became known he was driven from the Sanhendrin, from the synagogues, and from the Holy Land, and traveled through many lands, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. According to some accounts he eventually reached England, where he reposed in peace.
Righteous Eudokimos, a native of Cappadocia (Asia Minor), lived during the IX Century during the reign of emperor Theophilos (829-842). He was the son of the pious Christians Basil and Eudokia, an illustrious family and known to the emperor. The righteous life of Saint Eudokimos was totally guided towards pleasing God and service to neighbour. Having given a vow to remain unmarried and chaste, he avoided conversation with women and did not look at them; only with his own mother whom he extremely respected did he carry on edifying conversation. For his virtuous life the emperor appointed Saint Eudokimos as governor of the Kharsian district. Fulfilling his duty as a servant of God, Righteous Eudokimos governed the people justly and with kindness, he concerned himself over the misfortunate, and about orphans and widows, and he was a defender of the common people. His personal Christian exploits which he did in secret, were known only to God.
Eudokimos pleased God by his blameless life, and the Lord called him at age 33. Laying on his death-bed, Saint Eudokimos gave final instructions to place him in the grave in those clothes in which he would meet death. Then he sent everyone out of the room and besought the Lord in prayer, that no one would see his end, just as no one saw his secret efforts during life. His attendants buried him as he had instructed them. Right after the death of Righteous Eudokimos miracles happened at his grave, many sick people were healed, and the news about the miracles of healing spread about.
After 18 months the mother of Saint Eudokimos came to venerate the relics, from Constantinople, whither his parents had settled after the death of the saint. She gave orders to remove the stone, dig up the ground, open the grave, and everyone beheld the face of the saint, bright as though alive, altogether untouched by decay. Great fragrance came from him. They took up the coffin with the relics from the earth, and they changed the saint into new clothes. His mother wanted to take the relics of her son to Constantinople, but the Kharsian people would not clear a path for their holy one. But after a certain while the priest-monk Joseph, having lived and served at the grave of the saint, transported all the relics of Saint Eudokimos to Constantinople. There they were placed in a silver reliquary in the church of the MostHoly Mother of God, built by the parents of the saint.
Righteous Eudokimos is considered in the Russian Church to be one of the special protectors and intercessors before God of the family hearth.
The Holy Martyress Julitta lived at Caesarea Cappadocia during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). A certain pagan pilfered all her property, and when Julitta turned for relief to the courts, her antagonist reported to the judge that she was a Christian. the judge demanded the saint to renounce Christ, for which he promised to restore justice and return to her the unlawfully taken property. Saint Julitta resolutely refused the deceitful conditions, and for this she was burnt in a bon-fire in the year 304 (or 305). Sainted Basil the Great devoted his Praiseworthy Discourse to Saint Julitta 70 years after her death as a martyr.
Righteous Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a member of the Sanhedrin he did not participate in the "counsel and deed" of the Jews in passing a death sentence for Jesus Christ. After the Crucifixion and Death of the Saviour he made bold to go to Pilate and demand of him the Body of the Lord, to Which he gave burial with the help of Righteous Nicodemus, who was likewise a secret disciple of the Lord. They took down from the Cross the Body of the Saviour, wrapped it in a winding-cloth or plaschanitsa, and placed it in a new-hewn tomb, in which no one earlier had been buried (this tomb Saint Joseph had prepared previously for himself) -- in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the presence of the Mother of God and the holy Myrh-Bearing Women. Having rolled an heavy stone before the entrance of the tomb, they then departed (Jn. 19: 37-42; Mt. 27: 57-61; Mk. 15: 43-47; Lk. 24: 50-56).
Saint Joseph died peacefully in Anglium (England).
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. SAINT EUDOCIMUS
Eudocimus was born in Cappadocia of devout parents, Basil and Eudocia. At the time of the Emperor Theophilus (829-842 A.D.), Eudocimus was a young officer in the army. Even as an officer, he exerted all effort to live according to the commandments of the Holy Gospel. Preserving his purity undefiled, he avoided conversing with any woman, except his mother; he was merciful toward the misfortunate and needy, conscientious in reading holy books and more conscientious in his prayers to God. He avoided vain gatherings and verbosity. "Among the throngs and worldly vanity, he was a lily among thorns and as gold in the fire." Because of his unusual good works, the emperor appointed him as the commander of Cappadocia. In this high position, Eudocimus strived to be just before God and before men. According to the Providence of God he died at an early age, in his thirty-third year. His relics were found to possess healing properties. An insane man touched his grave and immediately became whole; a child also touched his grave and was made whole. After eighteen months, his mother opened his coffin and found his body as though it were still alive, without any signs of decay or corruption. A wonderful aroma emitted from the body of the saint. His relics were later translated to Constantinople and buried in the new church of the Holy Theotokos which the parents of this righteous Eudocimus built.
2. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR JULITA
Julita was from Caesarea in Cappadocia. She had a dispute with her neighbor over some property. The neighbor went to the judge and reported that Julita was a Christian which, at that time, meant the same thing as being outside the protection of the state. St. Julita gladly denied her property rather than her faith. But even after that, the evil pagans did not leave her in peace but tortured her and finally burned her alive in the year 303 A.D. Thus, this follower of Christ sacrificed her estate and her body for the sake of the eternal salvation of her soul.
3. SAINT JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA
The noble Joseph, a wealthy man and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, was secretly a follower of Christ. "Now when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, Joseph by name, who was himself a disciple of Jesus" (St. Matthew 27:57). "Now after these things Joseph of Arimathea, because he was a disciple of Jesus (although for fear of the Jews a secret one), besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus" (St. John 19:38). Together with Nicodemus, Joseph removed the body of Christ from the cross and placed it in his sepulchre. Because of this, he was shackled by the Jews and thrown into prison. But the resurrected Lord appeared to him and convinced him of His resurrection. After that, the Jews released him from prison and banished him from the fatherland. He went throughout the world to preach the Holy Gospel of Christ, and that "good news" he brought to England where he reposed in the Lord.
4. SAINT JOHN THE EXARCH
John was a distinguished Bulgarian priest and theologian during the time of Emperor Simeon (892-896 A.D.). He translated the "Six Days" by Basil and the "Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" by John Damascene into Slavonic. He died peacefully in the Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA
Joseph a noble and rich man,
Of Christ the Crucified, (he) did not scandalize,
But when the sun darkened and the earth shook,
He to Pilate went and brought him news
That the Lord died, the Life-giving Lord,
The secret disciple thus became public.
When the public one hid, the secret became public,
Thus Joseph the wise, in a day became famous.
And together with Nicodemus, the body of Christ
In his garden in a new tomb placed it.
The Jewish spies heard, reported it,
The righteous Joseph in chains they placed.
In the darkened dungeon, Joseph languished
While his Lord in Hades glowed.
Joseph pondered his remembrance of Christ,
Mentioning his miraculous works,
Miracles and words and prophecies many,
Before Him, he stood in the presence of God,
And now darkness everywhere from without and within,
Dark days, nights, evenings and mornings
After a glowing flash, than the sun, more radiant,
O desperate darkness, darker than Hades!
But behold suddenly in the dungeon dawned:
The Resurrected One appeared to the shackled servant.
O Joseph brave and noble
Neither of the Resurrected One did you scandalize.
About the dead Christ, you to Pilate informed
And recognized and glorified the Resurrected One.
Let the land of Britain honorably glorify you,
You, for her, planted the first seed of salvation.
Ascetics in the wilderness labor to sever their will and to live according to the will of God. Some erroneously think that the hermit lives completely in isolation. Not one hermit thinks thusly. He lives in the company of God, angels of God and the departed saints who have found repose in the Lord. Wherever the mind of man is, there also is the life of the man. The mind of the hermit is among the greatest, the most pure and in the most numerous company in which one man can possibly be. One time, Abba Mark remarked to St. Arsenius the hermit: "For what reason do you flee from our company and of conversation with us?" Arsenius replied: "God knows that I love you all but I cannot be both, together with God and with man. In heaven, thousands and thousands of thousands have but one will and, with men, there are many and various wills. That is why I cannot leave God and be with men."
To contemplate the punishment of God which befell Abimelech and the Shechemites (Judges 9):
1. How Abimelech with the help of the Shechemites slew seventy of his brethren;
2. How Abimelech himself, after that, slew the Shechemites and plowed under the city, sowing it with salt;
3. How Abimelech, after many victories, was killed by a woman who, from a tower, cast a piece of a millstone on his head;
4. How the curse of Jotham, the son of Gideon, came upon the Shechemites and Abimelech.
About the last awaiting
"Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14).
Brethren, what is our last awaiting? In the night we await the day and in the day we await the night and again the day and again the night. But this awaiting is not our last awaiting. Brethren, what is our last awaiting? In joy we tremble waiting for sorrow and in sorrow we wait with hope for joy and again sorrow, and again joy. But not even these awaitings are our last awaitings. Brethren, our last awaiting is the awaiting of the Judgment of God. When the judgment of God comes, the Dreadful Day "which burns like a furnace" (Malachi 4:1), then we welcome all that we deserve; a day for some, without change into night, and night for others, without change into day; joy for some without change to sorrow and sorrow for others without change to joy. Brethren, that is the last awaiting of the human race, whether he knows it or does not know it, whether he thinks about it or does not think about it.
But, you faithful should know this and you should think about this. Let this knowledge be the zenith of all your knowledge and let this thought direct all your other thoughts. In the knowledge and contemplation of this, include that which is even most important, include your diligence "that you may be found of Him in peace without spot and blameless" (or still more correctly translated: pure and blameless). Be diligent to be pure in mind and in heart, correct in your conscience and in peace with God. Only in that way will the last awaiting not frighten you with unexpectancy, nor will it hurl you into the night without day or into sorrow without joy. As everything else in the life of the Lord Jesus was a surprise for man, thus will be His Second Coming unexpected, in power and in glory. Unexpected was His birth by the All-holy Virgin, unexpected was His poverty, unexpected also was His miracle-working and every word and humiliation and voluntary death, the resurrection, the ascension, the Church and the spreading of His Faith. Unexpected will be His Second Coming, unexpectation more frightful than all other unexpectations.
O Lord, O righteous Judge, how will we meet You, unclad in purity and blameless even in peace? Help us, help us that however much as possible we may prepare for the dreadful encounter with You.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.