Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 31, 2012 - 13th Friday After Pentecost

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

The Placing of the Honorable Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos
Cyprian the Hieromartyr & Bishop of Carthage
Gennadius Scholarus, Patriarch of Constantinople
Aristides the Philosophe

Ἡ κατάθεσις τῆς τιμίας Ζώνης τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου ἐν τῷ ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει σεβασμίῳ οἴκῳ αὐτῆς τῷ ὄντι ἐν τοῖς Χαλκοπρατείοις.

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 9:1-7
BRETHREN, the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.

Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 9:1-7
Ἀδελφοί, εἶχεν ἡ πρώτη σκηνὴ δικαιώματα λατρείας, τό τε ἅγιον κοσμικόν. Σκηνὴ γὰρ κατεσκευάσθη ἡ πρώτη, ἐν ᾗ ἥ τε λυχνία καὶ ἡ τράπεζα καὶ ἡ πρόθεσις τῶν ἄρτων, ἥτις λέγεται ἅγια. Μετὰ δὲ τὸ δεύτερον καταπέτασμα σκηνὴ ἡ λεγομένη ἅγια ἁγίων, χρυσοῦν ἔχουσα θυμιατήριον, καὶ τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς διαθήκης περικεκαλυμμένην πάντοθεν χρυσίῳ, ἐν ᾗ στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα, καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος Ἀαρὼν ἡ βλαστήσασα, καὶ αἱ πλάκες τῆς διαθήκης· ὑπεράνω δὲ αὐτῆς Χερουβὶμ δόξης κατασκιάζοντα τὸ ἱλαστήριον· περὶ ὧν οὐκ ἔστιν νῦν λέγειν κατὰ μέρος. Τούτων δὲ οὕτως κατεσκευασμένων, εἰς μὲν τὴν πρώτην σκηνὴν διὰ παντὸς εἰσίασιν οἱ ἱερεῖς, τὰς λατρείας ἐπιτελοῦντες· εἰς δὲ τὴν δευτέραν ἅπαξ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ μόνος ὁ ἀρχιερεύς, οὐ χωρὶς αἵματος, ὃ προσφέρει ὑπὲρ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ ἀγνοημάτων·

The Reading is from Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28
At that time, Jesus entered a village; and a woman called Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve you alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!" But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 10.38-42, 11.2
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, εἰσῆλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς κώμην τινά· γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς. καὶ τῇδε ἦν ἀδελφὴ καλουμένη Μαρία, ἣ καὶ παρακαθίσασα παρὰ τοὺς πόδας τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ ἤκουε τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ. ἡ δὲ Μάρθα περιεσπᾶτο περὶ πολλὴν διακονίαν· ἐπιστᾶσα δὲ εἶπε· Κύριε, οὐ μέλει σοι ὅτι ἡ ἀδελφή μου μόνην με κατέλιπε διακονεῖν; εἰπὲ οὖν αὐτῇ ἵνα μοι συναντιλάβηται.ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· Μάρθα Μάρθα, μεριμνᾷς καὶ τυρβάζῃ περὶ πολλά· ἑνὸς δέ ἐστι χρεία· Μαρία δὲ τὴν ἀγαθὴν μερίδα ἐξελέξατο, ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται ἀπ᾿ αὐτῆς. ᾿Εγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ λέγειν αὐτὸν ταῦτα ἐπάρασά τις γυνὴ φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου εἶπεν αὐτῷ· μακαρία ἡ κοιλία ἡ βαστάσασά σε καὶ μαστοὶ οὓς ἐθήλασας.αὐτὸς δὲ εἶπε· μενοῦνγε μακάριοι οἱ ἀκούοντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ φυλάσσοντες αὐτόν.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ ΛΑ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, ἀνάμνησις τῆς ἐν τῇ Ἁγίᾳ σορῷ καταθέσεως τῆς τιμίας Ζώνης τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου, ἐν τῷ σεβασμίῳ αὐτῆς οἴκῳ, τῷ ὄντι ἐν τοῖς Χαλκοπρατείοις, ἀνακομισθείσης ἀπὸ τῆς Ἐπισκοπῆς Ζήλας, ἐπὶ Ἰουστινιανοῦ τοῦ Βασιλέως. Ἔτι δὲ καὶ τοῦ γεγονότος θαύματος, διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῆς Τιμίας Ζώνης εἰς τὴν βασιλίδα Ζωήν, τὴν σύζυγον Λέοντος τοῦ Βασιλέως.
Χρυσῆν κορωνίδ' οἷα, σεμνὴ Παρθένε,
Τῷ τοῦ χρόνου τίθημι σὴν Ζώνην τέλει.
Θέντο σορῷ Ζώνην πρώτῃ Πανάγνου Τριακοστῇ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς ἀνακαινίσεως τοῦ ναοῦ τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου ἐν τῷ Νεωρίῳ.
Ταῖς τῆς ἀχράντου Μητρός σου πρεσβείαις, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Although the historical accounts differ somewhat, the Deposition that is celebrated today took place most likely during the reign of Emperor Arcadius (395-408), when the precious Cincture of the Mother of God was brought from Zela of Cappadocia to Constantinople, and placed in the Church of the Theotokos in the section of Chalcopratia.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Θεοτόκε Αειπάρθενε, τών ανθρώπων η σκέπη, Εσθήτα καί Zώνην τού αχράντου σου σώματος, κραταιάν τή πόλει σου περιβολήν εδωρήσω, τώ ασπόρω τόκω σου άφθαρτα διαμείναντα, επί σοί γάρ καί φύσις καινοτομείται καί χρόνος, διό δυσωπούμέν σε, ειρήνην τή πολιτεία σου δώρησαι, καί ταίς ψυχαίς ημών τό μέγα έλεος.
O Ever-Virgin Theotokos, shelter of mankind, thou hast bestowed upon thy people a mighty investure, even thine immaculate body's raiment and sash, which by thy seedless childbirth have remained incorrupt; for in thee nature and time are made new. Wherefore, we implore thee to grant peace to the world, and great mercy to our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Τήν θεοδόχον γαστέρα σου Θεοτόκε, περιλαβούσα η Zώνη σου η τιμία, κράτος τή πόλει σου απροσμάχητον, καί θησαυρός υπάρχει, τών αγαθών ανέκλειπτος, η μόνη τεκούσα αειπάρθενος.
Thy precious sash, O Theotokos, which encompassed thy God-receiving womb, is an invincible force for thy flock, and an unfailing treasury of every good, O only Ever-virgin Mother.

Saint Cyprian was born of pagan parents in Carthage of Roman Africa about the year 190. An eloquent teacher of rhetoric, he was converted and baptized late in life, and his conversion from a proud man of learning to a humble servant of Christ was complete; he sold his great possessions and gave them to the poor, and because of his zeal and virtue, was ordained presbyter in 247, then Bishop of Carthage in 248. He was especially steadfast in defending the sanctity and uniqueness of the Baptism of the Church of Christ against the confusion of those who would allow some validity to the ministrations of heretics; his writings continue to guide the Church even in our own day. Having survived the persecution of Decius about the year 250, he was beheaded in confession of the Faith during the persecution of Valerian in 258, on September 14; that day being the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, his feast is kept today.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Guide of Orthodoxy, teacher of piety and holiness, luminary of Carthage, God-inspired adornment of confessors, O wise Cyprian, by thy teachings thou has enlightened all, O harp of the Spirit. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the First Tone
We honour thee, O Cyprian, as a true shepherd * who with thy sacred words and divinely-wise doctrines * hast shown us the bound'ry-stones marking out the one Church of Christ. * Even unto death didst thou bear witness with courage; * wherefore, we extol thee as a hierarch and Martyr. * Entreat that we all be saved.

Η σημερινή ημέρα είναι η τελευταία του εκκλησιαστικού χρόνου. Και κλείνει σήμερα ο κύκλος του εκκλησιαστικού έτους με μια διπλή γιορτή της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου και την μνήμη των τριακοσίων εξηνταέξη Μαρτύρων, που θανατώθηκαν στη Νικομήδεια. Και της Παναγίας η διπλή γιορτή και των Μαρτύρων η μνήμη δεν είναι δίχως κάποια σημασία για την τελευταία ημέρα του χρόνου. Με την Παναγία μορφή της Θεοτόκου, που κάθε ημέρα ζητούμε την μεσιτεία της, στις προσευχή μας, επισφραγίζομε τον κύκλο των ημερών ενός χρόνου στη ζωή μας. και με την γιορτή των αγίων Μαρτύρων, που αντιστοιχούν ο καθένας και σε μια ημέρα, είναι σαν να γιορτάζουμε αντιπροσωπευτικά σήμερα όλες τις ημέρες του έτους. Οι Άγιοι του Θεού πρεσβεύουν για μας που διαπλέομε το πέλαγος της ζωής και πρώτη η Θεοτόκος, προς την οποία ο κάθε χριστιανός ψάλλει· "Παναγία Θεοτόκε, τον χρόνο της ζωής μου μη εγκαταλίπης με".

Κατάθεσις Τιμίας ζώνης τῆς Θεοτόκου
Ἡ ἀνακομιδὴ τῆς τίμιας Ζώνης τῆς Θεοτόκου, ἄλλοι λένε ὅτι ἔγινε ἀπὸ τὸ βασιλιὰ Ἀρκάδιο καὶ ἄλλοι ἀπὸ τὸ γιό του Θεοδόσιο τὸν Β´. Ἡ μεταφορὰ ἔγινε ἀπὸ τὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ τὴν τοποθέτησαν σὲ μία χρυσὴ θήκη, ποὺ ὀνομάσθηκε ἁγία Σωρός. Ὅταν πέρασαν 410 χρόνια, ὁ βασιλιὰς Λέων ὁ Σοφὸς ἄνοιξε τὴν ἁγία αὐτὴ Σωρὸ γιὰ τὴν βασίλισσα σύζυγό του Ζωή, ποὺ τὴν διακατεῖχε πνεῦμα ἀκάθαρτο. Ὅταν λοιπὸν ἄνοιξε τὴν ἁγία Σωρό, βρῆκε τὴν τίμια Ζώνη τῆς Θεοτόκου νὰ ἀκτινοβολεῖ ὑπερφυσικά. Καὶ εἶχε μία χρυσὴ βοῦλα, ποὺ φανέρωνε τὸ χρόνο καὶ τὴν ἡμέρα ποὺ μεταφέρθηκε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ἀφοῦ λοιπὸν τὴν προσκύνησαν, ὁ Πατριάρχης ἅπλωσε τὴν τιμία Ζώνη ἐπάνω στὴ βασίλισσα, καὶ ἀμέσως αὐτὴ ἐλευθερώθηκε ἀπὸ τὸ δαιμόνιο. Ὁπότε ὅλοι δόξασαν τὸ Σωτῆρα Χριστὸ καὶ εὐχαρίστησαν τὴν πανάχραντη Μητέρα Του, ἡ ὁποία εἶναι γιὰ τοὺς πιστοὺς φρουρός, φύλαξ, προστάτις, καταφυγή, βοηθός, σκέπη, σὲ κάθε καιρὸ καὶ τόπο, ἡμέρα καὶ νύκτα.

Ἀνακαίνιση Ναοῦ τῆς Θεοτόκου ἐν τῷ Νεωρίῳ
Ὁ ἀνακαινισθεὶς ναὸς τῆς Θεοτόκου στὸ Νεώριο, ἦταν κτῆμα τοῦ πατρικίου Ἀντωνίου, ποὺ βρισκόταν μέσα στὴν αὐλὴ τοῦ σπιτιοῦ του. Κατὰ τὴν ἀναπαλαίωση ὁ ναὸς ἔλαβε θαυματουργικὴ χάρη καὶ ἔκανε πολλὰ θαύματα σὲ πολλοὺς ποὺ προσέρχονταν σ᾿ αὐτὸν μὲ πίστη. Ὅταν πέθανε ὁ πατρίκιος Ἀντώνιος, ὁ ναὸς ἐγκαταλείφθηκε καὶ ἐρήμωσε. Ὅταν δὲ ὁ βασιλιὰς Ρωμανὸς Α´ Λεκαπηνὸς ἑτοιμαζόταν νὰ τὸν γκρεμίσει, ὁ ἐπιστάτης τῆς κατεδαφίσεως τοῦ ναοῦ ἐμποδίστηκε μὲ ὀπτασία τῆς Θεοτόκου. Τότε ἀποφασίστηκε νὰ ἀνακαινισθεῖ ὁ ναὸς καὶ μὲ χρυσόβουλο ἐξασφαλίστηκε ἐτήσια χορήγηση γιὰ τὴν συντήρησή του.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι τέσσερις Μάρτυρες ἀπὸ τὴν Πέργη τῆς Παμφυλίας
Μαρτύρησαν, ἀφοῦ τοὺς ἀνάγκασαν νὰ τρέξουν μέσα στὴ φωτιά.

The Placing of the Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos (395-408? 886- 912?)
At the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, her sash came into the possession of the Apostle Thomas and after various transfers came to Cappadocia. It was later taken from there to Constantinople, where it was kept in a sealed casket in the Church of the Theotokos at Blachernae, at the time of the Emperor Arcadius (395-408). The casket was not opened until the reign of the Emperor Leo the Wise (886-912), when the Empress Zoe, who was ill, had a vision in which she was told to have the sash placed upon her. The Emperor obtained the blessing of the Patriarch, the sash was placed upon the Empress, and she was immediately healed. Some accounts say that today's feast celebrates the bringing of the sash to Constantinople; others that it commemorates the miraculous healing of the Empress.

Hieromartyr Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (258)
He was born around 190 to pagan parents in North Africa. Before baptism he was distinguished in Carthage as a teacher of philosophy and rhetoric. He came to faith in Christ and was baptized at a young age; as soon as he became a Christian he abandoned his prestigious teacher's position, sold his many possessions and gave all his wealth to the poor. He was ordained presbyter in 247, Bishop of Carthage in 248. He was known for his gentleness and paternal care for his flock, combined with firm opposition to heretics. His extensive writings still guide the Church today.
  For his confession of Christ, he was beheaded under the Emperor Valerian on September 14; since that is the date of the Exaltation of the Cross, his feast is kept today. At the time of his execution he left twenty-five gold pieces (a huge sum) for the executioner who beheaded him.

St Gennadius, Patriarch of Constantinople (471)
He was known for his gentleness and his ascetical way of life. He would not ordain any man who did not know the Psalter by heart. He presided at a local council in which simony in the Church was anathematized. In his own lifetime he worked miracles, and he was told the time of his death in a vision. The famous monastery of Studion was built in his time, with his blessing. He reposed in peace.

Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne (651)
Around AD 635, Saint Oswald (5 August), King of Northumbria, appealed to the monks of the Monastery of Ionia to send missionaries to his mostly-pagan kingdom. (An earlier mission had ended with the death of St Edwin in 633).) The fathers of the monastery chose St Aidan and consecrated him bishop. He founded a monastery (and his episcopal seat) on the island of Lindisfarne, and undertook missionary journeys, always on foot, throughout the kingdom, with King Oswald often accompanying him and serving as his interpreter. He lived in great poverty, using all the gifts he received as alms for the poor or to buy back captives and slaves. He was the spiritual father of St Hilda (17 Nov.), and founded the first women’s monasteries in Northumbria. He reposed in peace in 651, and was buried at Lindisfarne.
Note: Northumbria was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now northeastern England and southern Scotland.

Menologion 3.0
The Placing of the Venerable Belt of the MostHoly Mother of God in the Constantinople Blakhernae Church was during the reign of the emperor Arcadius (395-408). Before this the holy relict, entrusted to the Apostle Thomas by the Mother of God Herself, was after Her Dormition thereafter kept at Jerusalem by pious Christians. After many years, during the reign of emperor Leo the Wise (886-911), from the Belt of the Mother of God was accomplished a miraculous healing of his spouse Zoa, suffering from an unclean spirit.
The empress had a vision, that she would be healed of her infirmity when the Belt of the Mother of God would be placed upon her. The emperor turned with his petition to the Patriarch. The Patriarch removed the seal and opened the vessel in which the relict was kept: the Belt of the Mother of God appeared completely whole and undamaged by time. The Patriarch placed the Belt on the sick empress, and she immediately was freed from her infirmity. They served a solemn thanksgiving molieben to the MostHoly Mother of God, and the venerable Belt they placed back into the vessel and resealed the seal.
In commemoration of the miraculous occurrence and the twofold Placing of the venerable Belt, the feast of the Placing of the Venerable Belt of the MostHoly Mother of God was established. Parts of the holy Belt are in the Athos Batopedia monastery, in Trier monastery and in Gruzia (Georgia).

The PriestMartyr Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, was born in about the year 200 in the city of Carthage (Northern Africa), where all his life and work took place. Thasius Cyprianus was the son of a rich pagan senator, and received a fine secular education becoming a splendid orator, teacher of rhetoric and philosophy in the school of Carthage. He often appeared in the courts to plea and defend the deeds of his townsmen. Cyprian afterwards recollected, that for a long while "he remained in a deep dark myst..., far from the light of Truth". His fortune -- received from his parents and from his vocational activity, he expended on sumptuous banquets, but they were not able to quench in him the thirst for truth. Having become curious about Christianity, he became acquainted with the writings of the Apologist presbyter Tertullian (born about the year 160). The sainted-bishop later wrote, that it then seemed impossible for him because of his habits to attain to the regeneration promised by the Saviour.
From such a burdened and undecided state of mind he was helped out by his friend and guide -- the presbyter Cecilius. At 46 years of age the studious pagan was received into the Christian community as a catechumen. And before accepting Baptism, he distributed his property to the poor and moved into the house of the presbyter Cecilius. Strengthened by the power of the regenerative grace of God -- received by him in Baptism, Sainted Cyprian wrote in a letter to his friend Donatus: "When the surge of regeneration cleansed the impurity of my former life, a light -- steady and bright, shone down from Heaven into my heart. When the second birth by the Heavenly Spirit transformed me into a new man, then in a miraculous manner I was strengthened against doubt, mysteries were revealed, and darkness was made light... and I learned, that my having lived in the flesh for sin belonged to the earthly, but now was begun a Divine living by the Holy Spirit. In God and from God is all our strength; from Him is our might. Through Him we, living upon the earth, have the hint of a condition of future bliss". Exemplarily a year after his Baptism the saint was ordained to the priesthood, and when bishop Donatus of Carthage died, all unanimously chose Saint Cyprian as bishop. He gave his consent, having complied with his guide's request, and was ordained bishop of Carthage in about the year 248.
The saint first of all concerned himself about the welfare of the Church and the eradication of vices amidst the clergy and flock. The saintly life of the archpastor evoked in everyone a desire to imitate his piety, humility and wisdom. The fruitful activity of Saint Cyprian became reknown beyond the bounds of his diocese. Bishops from other sees often turned to him for advice, as how to deal with this or that other matter. A persecution by the emperor Decius (249-251) -- revealed to the saint in a dream vision, forced him to go into hiding. His life was necessary to his flock for the strengthening of faith and courage among the persecuted. Before his departure from his diocese, the saint distributed the church treasury among all the clergy for the rendering of help to the needy, and in addition he dispatched further funds.
He kept in constant touch with the Carthaginian Christians through his epistles, and he wrote letters to presbyters, confessors and martyrs. Some Christians, broken by torture, offered sacrifice to the pagan gods. These lapsed Christians appealed to the confessors, asking to give them what is called a letter of reconciliation, i.e. an interceding certificate about accepting them back into the Church. Sainted Cyprian wrote to all the Carthaginian Christians a general missive, in which he indicated that those lapsed during a time of persecution might be admitted into the Church, but this needed to be preceded by an investigation of the circumstances under which the falling-away came about. An examination was necessary of the sincerity of contrition of the lapsed. To admit them was possible only after a Church penance and with the permission of the bishop. Some of the lapsed insistently demanded their immediate re-admittance into the Church and by this caused unrest in the whole community. Saint Cyprian wrote the bishops of other dioceses asking their opinion, and from all he received full approval of his directives.
During the time of his absence the saint authorised four clergy to examine the lives of persons preparing for ordination to the priesthood and the deaconate. This met resistance from the layman Felicissimus and the presbyter Novatus, roused to indignation against their bishop. Saint Cyprian excommunicated Felicissimus and six of his accomplices. In his letter to the flock, the saint touchingly admonished all not to separate themselves from the unity of the Church, to be subject to the lawful commands of the bishop and to await his return. This letter held the majority of Carthaginian Christians in fidelity to the Church.
In a short while Saint Cyprian returned to his flock. The insubordination of Felicissimus was put to an end at a Local Council in the year 251. This Council rendered a judgement about the possibility of receiving the lapsed back into the Church after a church penance and it affirmed the excommunication of Felicissimus.
During this time there occurred a new schism, put forward by the Roman presbyter Novatian, and joined by the Carthaginian presbyter Novatus -- a former adherent of Felicissimus. Novatian asserted that the lapsed during time of persecution could not be admitted back, even if they repented of their sin. Besides this, Novatian with the help of Novatus convinced three Italian bishops during the lifetime of the lawful Roman bishop Celerinus to place another bishop on the Roman cathedra. Against such iniquity, Saint Cyprian wrote a series of circular missives to the African bishops, and afterwards a whole book, "On the Unity of the Church".
When the discord in the Carthage church began to quiet down, a new calamity began -- a pestilential plague flared up. Hundreds of people fled from the city -- leaving the sick without help, and the dead without burial. Saint Cyprian, providing an example by his firmness and his courage, himself tended the sick and buried the dead, not only Christians but pagans also. The pestilential plague was accompanied by drought and famine. An horde of barbarian Numidians, taking advantage of the misfortune, fell upon the inhabitants taking many into captivity. Saint Cyprian moved many rich Carthaginians to offer up means for feeding the starving and ransoming captives.
When a new persecution against Christians spread under the emperor Valerian (253-259), the Carthaginian proconsul Paternus ordered the saint to offer sacrifice to idols. He steadfastly refused both to do this and to name names and abodes of the presbyters of the Carthage Church. The sent off the saint to the locale of Corubisum. Deacon Pontus voluntarily followed his bishop into exile. On the day when the saint arrived at the place of exile he had a dream vision, predicting for him a quick martyr's end. Situated in exile, Saint Cyprian wrote many letters and books. Wanting to suffer at Carthage, he himself returned there. Taken before the court, he was set at liberty until the following year. Nearly all the Christians of Carthage came to take their leave of their bishop and receive his blessing. At the trial Saint Cyprian calmly and firmly refused to offer sacrifice to idols and was sentenced to beheading with a sword. Hearing the sentence, Saint Cyprian said: "Thanks be to God!" and all the people with one voice cried out: "And we want to die with him!" Coming to the place of execution, the saint again gave his blessing to all and arranged to give 25 gold coins to the executioner. He himself then covered over his eyes, and gave his hands to be bound to the presbyter and archdeacon standing near him and lowered his head. Christians with lamentation put their shawls and veils by him so as to gather up the priestly blood. The martyr's death occurred in the year 258. The body of the saint was taken by night and given burial in a private crypt of the procurator Macrovius Candidianus.
Afterwards, during the time of king Charles the Great (i.e. Charlemagne, 771-814), his holy relics were transferred to France.
Sainted Cyprian of Carthage left the Church a precious legacy: his writings and 80 letters. The works of Saint Cyprian were accepted by the Church as a model of Orthodox confession and read at OEcumenical Councils (III Ephesus and IV Chalcedon). In the writings of Saint Cyprian is stated the Orthodox teaching about the Church -- having its foundation upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and proclaimed and built by the Apostles. The inner unity is expressed in an unity of faith and love, and the outer unity is actualised by the hierarchy and sacraments of the Church. In the Church Christ comprises all the fulness of life and salvation. Those having separated themselves from the unity of the Church do not have in themself true life. Christian love is shewn as the bond holding together the Church. "Love, -- is the foundation of all the virtues, and it continues with us eternally in the Heavenly Kingdom".

Sainted Gennadios, Patriarch of Tsargrad, was placed on the throne of the Constantinople Church in the year 458, during the reign of the holy nobleborn emperor Leo the Great (457-474). His life is known about from the book "Spiritual Meadows" in which were inscribed tales of the monks of Salamis monastery (near Alexandria), -- the Monks Sophronios and John. These monks were clergy of the Constantinople Church under Patriarch Gennadios. Sainted Gennadios was distinguished for his mildness, tolerance, purity and abstinence. About his power of prayer one might judge from the following instance: in the church of the holy Martyr Eleutherios at Constantinople was a disreputable clergyman Charisimos, spending his life in idleness, impurity and even occupying himself with theft and sorcery. For a long time Saint Gennadios admonished him with gentleness and patience, but Charisimos did not change his conduct. The patriarch resorted to strictness and gave orders to give the disreputable cleric several blows for comprehension. But even after the punishment he did not straighten out. Patriarch Gennadios then entrusted his emissary in his name to turn to the holy Martyr Eleutherios (Comm. 4 August) in whose church Charisimos served. Entering the temple, the emissary of the patriarch came before the altar, stretched out his hand to the grave of the martyr and said: "Holy Martyr Eleutherios! Patriarch Gennadios announces to thee through me a sinner, that the cleric Charisimos, serving in thy temple, doth do much iniquity and create great scandal; wherefore do thou either improve him or cut him off from the Church". On the following morning Charisimos was found dead. Another instance, displaying the great strength of prayer of Saint Gennadios, occurred with one of the portrait painters who dared to paint an image of Christ, giving the Saviour the features of the pagan god Zeus. The hand of the painter, having done such blasphemy, immediately withered. The repentant painter was brought in the church and confessed all his sins to the patriarch. Saint Gennadios prayed over the sinner, and the hand of the painter was healed.
To settle iniquitous actions and false teachings arising in the Church, Saint Gennadios summoned a Local Council at which were condemned the Eutykhian heresy and which interdicted simony (the buying of the dignity of ordination). The saint concerned himself that a person wishing to accept the priestly dignity would be quite knowledgeable in Holy Scripture and know the Psalter by heart.
During the time of the patriarchate of Saint Gennadios, there was built a temple in honour of Saint John the Precursor. Then a certain senator Studius having come from Rome founded a monastery, which afterwards became known as the "Studite". The church steward under the holy Patriarch Gennadios was the Monk Marcian (Comm. 10 January). The patriarch also ordained to the priesthood the Monk Daniel the Stylite (Comm. 11 December). Saint Gennadios was the author of dialogues and commentaries on the Prophet Daniel (the works have not survived). There is known also his Circular Missive against Simony", affirmed by a Council of the year 459. Sainted Gennadios governed the Constantinople Church for 13 years. He died peacefully in the year 471.
Once during the time of night prayer it was made known to the saint that a powerful enemy would fall upon his flock. He incessantly offered up prayer for the peace of the Church, that the Lord would preserve it invincible against the gates of Hades.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. THE FEAST OF THE GIRDLE OF THE HOLY BIRTH-GIVER OF GOD
After her Dormition [Falling-asleep], the Holy Theotokos gave her girdle [sash] to the Apostle Thomas. That girdle was later brought to Constantinople and kept in a sealed reliquary in the church of the Mother of God at Blachernae, the royal foundation [Zaduzbina] of Empress Pulcheria. This reliquary was never opened until the time of Emperor Leo the Wise (886-912 A.D.). Leo's wife, the Empress Zoe, became mentally ill and, according to a mysterious vision, she desired that the girdle of the Holy Theotokos be placed on her. The emperor implored the patriarch and the reliquary was opened and the girdle was removed and placed on the ailing empress. The empress was immediately healed. This feast was instituted in commemoration of this miracle. One part of the girdle is to be found in Zugdid, Georgia. That is to say: the daughter of Emperor Romanus was healed with the aid of this girdle and later when her father married her to the Georgian Emperor Abuchaz, she took a part of that girdle with her. By order of the Russian Emperor Alexander I, a special church was built in Mingrelia in Zugdid where that part of the miracle-working garment of the Holy Theotokos is kept.

2. SAINT GENNADIUS, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Gennadius succeeded St. Anatolius as patriarch. He was a contemporary of St. Marcian (January 10) and St. Daniel the Stylite (December 11). During his time, the glorious Studite monastery was founded and named after the Roman Senator Studius, who came to Constantinople and with the blessing of Gennadius built the church of St. John the Forerunner and along side, it the monastery. Gennadius was very gentle and restrained. He would not ordain anyone who did not know the entire Psalter by heart. He presided at a local council in Constantinople at which simony in the Church was anathematized. He worked miracles and, in a vision, learned of his death. Gennadius governed the Church for thirteen years and peacefully presented himself to the Lord in the year 471 A.D.

3. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR CYPRIAN
Cyprian was born of unbelieving parents and himself was educated in polytheism.
He became famous in Carthage as a teacher of philosophy and rhetoric. He was married but when he became a Christian, he ceased to live with his wife and dedicated himself to laborious study of Holy Scripture day and night and perfected his character. Because of his unusual virtues, he was chosen as a presbyter and soon after that as a bishop. As much as he was merciful toward Christians, so was he firm toward Christians. He wrote many works of instruction guided by the Holy Spirit. Especially, vehemently wrote against idolatry, Judaism and the Novatian heresy. Beautiful and sweet is his work concerning virginity, as well as of martyrdom and about charity, about patience, the Lord's Prayer and so forth. He suffered and died at the time of Valerian and Galian in the year 258 A.D. Before his death, he prayed to God, blessed the people and left twenty-five gold coins to be given to the executioner who would behead him. The unattainable greatness and generosity of a true Christian!

4. SAINT JOHN, METROPOLITAN OF KIEV
John was a Bulgarian by birth. He came to Kiev in the year 1080 A.D. and immediately attained such esteem that he was soon elevated to the throne of the Metropolitan See. John governed the Church for eight years. He wrote an epistle to Pope Clement in which he reprimanded him because of the innovations, which the Roman Church introduced. He died peacefully in the year 1089 A.D.

HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY PRIESTLY-MARTYR CYPRIAN
Adornment of the Church, pride of Carthage,
Before and after the death of Cyprian the priest,
In word and deed, the faithful, he instructed
The pure and chaste ones, especially praising:
Chastity, says he, is the sanctity of the organs,
From the chains of passions, it is freedom
And the source of purity; the adornment of morality.
The dignity of the body and the cord of modesty,
The peace of a home, chastity is the crown of harmony,
Chastity is silence, the absence of anxiety.
When from the body, the spirit of man withdraws,
And into the realm of its own, it enters,
And of the inner world, perceives the luxury,
Then, the body to interfere, it does not allow
With insane passions, with various desires,
From worries deprived with empty luxury,
Luxury to us, an adorned woman does not proclaim
Rather an impure soul and its sinfulness.
O golden freedom, from desires of vanity,
Precious treasure of only a saint!
Chastity is freedom, chastity is silence,
From the Son of God both are gifts.
O Son of God O Good Lord
Grant us the glory of chastity and freedom.

REFLECTION
Christians do not believe in kismet, fate or destiny. Even if God determines the chief lines of our life, He, according to our prayers and merits, can change them. Thus, He prolonged King Hezekiah's life for fifteen years: "Go and say to Hezekiah, thus said the Lord, the God of David Your father, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears: behold I will add unto your days fifteen years" (Isaiah 38:5), and to the Venerable Dius (July 19) he likewise prolonged his life for fifteen years. God extended the life of St. Basil the Great, according to the prayer of the saint for one day until he baptized the Jew, Joseph, his physician. But, as God can, by prayer, prolong life, so He can shorten it because of sin. Emperor Anastasius adhered to the Severian heresy, so called the Acephalites (the headless ones), who spread the foolishness that the Church does not need bishops and priests but rather that everyone unto himself is a bishop and a priest and that everyone has the right, in his own way, to interpret Holy Scripture and to teach others as he understands and believes. In vain did St. John the Patriarch counsel the emperor to return to the truth of Orthodoxy, and not only did the emperor not accept the counsel but rather ill-treated the patriarch in various ways and contemplated to have him banished. One night, the emperor saw in a dream an awesome man on an exalted throne, who held a book in his hand. This man opened the book, found the name of Emperor Anastasius and said: "I have wanted to permit you to live for a while longer but, because of your heresy, behold, I am erasing fourteen years from your life." And he erased something from the book. Terrified, the emperor jumped up from his dream and related his dream to his followers. After a few days, thunder struck the emperor's place and killed Emperor Anastasius.

CONTEMPLATION
To contemplate the rejoicing of David in the Lord (2 Samuel 6 2 Kings 6):
1. How David transferred the Ark of the Covenant from Baal of Judah to Jerusalem and how, out of joy, he danced before the Ark;
2. How Michal, his wife, sneered at David because of his dancing before the Ark, not being ashamed the women;
3. How God punished Michal for that inappropriate sneer so that Michal had no offspring until her death.

HOMILY
About the power and the mission of Christ, as Isaiah prophesied
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance to our God" (Isaiah 61: 1-2).
This great and programmed prophecy, the Lord Jesus read at the beginning of His saving work before the Jews in Nazareth and having read this, He sat down and said: "Today is this scripture fulfilled" (St. Luke 4: 16-21). One of the darkest prophecies for the Jewish scribes and priests, He read, closed the book and said: "Today is this scripture fulfilled." None of the Jews dared to touch this prophecy for no one knew to whom this prophecy pertains. Seven centuries have passed since this prophecy was spoken and written and no one knew to whom it pertains. And when that one [Christ] came, upon whom this prophecy pertains, He read it and applied it to Himself. Thus our great Lord justified His prophet and presented Himself to the world.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me." Why does He speak so when He is equal to the Spirit as He is to the Father? As St. Chyrsostom interprets, it is for the sake of witnessing to the people. He does not say the grace of the Spirit [is upon Me], for the grace of the Spirit is upon the faithful people but the Spirit Himself is upon Him as was manifested on the Jordan river. The Spirit is the witness of the Son and the Son was never without the Spirit for one moment. The Lord Jesus often mentions the Father and the Holy Spirit first out of infinite love, toward the Father and the Spirit and love always ascribes its own to others and second for the sake of instruction to proud men that they do not emphasize themselves but rather to give honor to others, equal to themselves.
Everything else that is said in this wonderful prophecy, the Lord fulfilled by His miraculous works, word for word. He came primarily to proclaim the mercy of God to men but at the same time, to proclaim the Dread Judgment to those who would despise and reject that mercy.
This is the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amos, the prophet of God, the true prophet.
Brethren, let us venerate Isaiah whose God-inspired mouth foretold the Savior and our salvation and let us worship without ceasing our wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We worship You our Lord and Savior and we give You thanks for Your All-wise plan for our salvation.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 30, 2012 - 13th Thursday After Pentecost

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Apodosis of the Feast of the Forerunner
Alexander, John & Paul, New Patriarchs of Constantinople
Phantinos the Righteous of Calabria
16 Monk-martyrs of Thebes
6 Martyrs of Melitene
The Synaxis of the Holy Hierarchs of Serbia
The Holy New Martyrs of Serbia

Ἀπόδοσις τῆς Ἑορτῆς τῆς ἀποτομῆς τῆς τιμίας Κεφαλῆς τοῦ Προφήτου, Προδρόμου καί Βαπτιστοῦ Ἰωάννου.
Τῶν ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατέρων ἡμῶν Ἀλεξάνδρου, Ἰωάννου καί Παύλου τοῦ Νέου, Πατριαρχῶν Κωνσταντινουπόλεως.

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 10:7-18
BRETHREN, if any one is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that as he is Christ's, so are we. For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I shall not be put to shame. I would not seem to be frightening you with letters. For they say,"His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account." Let such people understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. Not that we venture to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another, and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond limit, but will keep to the limits God has apportioned us, to reach even to you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you; we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. We do not boast beyond limit, in other men's labors; but our hope is that you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's field. "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord." For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends.

Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 10:7-18
Ἀδελφοί, εἴ τις πέποιθεν ἑαυτῷ Χριστοῦ εἶναι, τοῦτο λογιζέσθω πάλιν ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, ὅτι καθὼς αὐτὸς Χριστοῦ, οὕτως καὶ ἡμεῖς Χριστοῦ. Ἐάν τε γὰρ καὶ περισσότερόν τι καυχήσωμαι περὶ τῆς ἐξουσίας ἡμῶν - ἧς ἔδωκεν ὁ κύριος ἡμῖν εἰς οἰκοδομήν, καὶ οὐκ εἰς καθαίρεσιν ὑμῶν - οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσομαι· ἵνα μὴ δόξω ὡς ἂν ἐκφοβεῖν ὑμᾶς διὰ τῶν ἐπιστολῶν. Ὅτι, Αἱ μὲν ἐπιστολαί, φησίν, βαρεῖαι καὶ ἰσχυραί· ἡ δὲ παρουσία τοῦ σώματος ἀσθενής, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἐξουθενημένος. Τοῦτο λογιζέσθω ὁ τοιοῦτος, ὅτι οἷοί ἐσμεν τῷ λόγῳ διʼ ἐπιστολῶν ἀπόντες, τοιοῦτοι καὶ παρόντες τῷ ἔργῳ. Οὐ γὰρ τολμῶμεν ἐγκρῖναι ἢ συγκρῖναι ἑαυτούς τισιν τῶν ἑαυτοὺς συνιστανόντων· ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἑαυτοὺς μετροῦντες, καὶ συγκρίνοντες ἑαυτοὺς ἑαυτοῖς, οὐ συνιοῦσιν. Ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐχὶ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχησόμεθα, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος οὗ ἐμέρισεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεός, μέτρου, ἐφικέσθαι ἄχρι καὶ ὑμῶν. Οὐ γὰρ ὡς μὴ ἐφικνούμενοι εἰς ὑμᾶς ὑπερεκτείνομεν ἑαυτούς· ἄχρι γὰρ καὶ ὑμῶν ἐφθάσαμεν ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ· οὐκ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχώμενοι, ἐν ἀλλοτρίοις κόποις, ἐλπίδα δὲ ἔχοντες, αὐξανομένης τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν, ἐν ὑμῖν μεγαλυνθῆναι κατὰ τὸν κανόνα ἡμῶν εἰς περισσείαν, εἰς τὰ ὑπερέκεινα ὑμῶν εὐαγγελίσασθαι, οὐκ ἐν ἀλλοτρίῳ κανόνι εἰς τὰ ἕτοιμα καυχήσασθαι. Ὁ δὲ καυχώμενος, ἐν κυρίῳ καυχάσθω. Οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἑαυτὸν συνιστῶν, ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν δόκιμος, ἀλλʼ ὃν ὁ κύριος συνίστησιν.
The Reading is from Mark 3:28-35
The Lord said, "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit." And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you." And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 3.28-35
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος· ᾿Αμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πάντα ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὰ ἁμαρτήματα καὶ αἱ βλασφημίαι ὅσας ἐὰν βλασφημήσωσιν. ὃς δ᾿ ἂν βλασφημήσῃ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ῞Αγιον, οὐκ ἔχει ἄφεσιν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, ἀλλ᾿ ἔνοχός ἐστιν αἰωνίου κρίσεως· ὅτι ἔλεγον, πνεῦμα ἀκάθαρτον ἔχει. ῎Ερχονται οὖν ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔξω ἑστῶτες ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτὸν φωνοῦντες αὐτόν. καὶ ἐκάθητο περὶ αὐτὸν ὄχλος· εἶπον δὲ αὐτῷ· ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἔξω ζητοῦσί σε. καὶ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς λέγων· τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου ἢ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου; καὶ περιβλεψάμενος κύκλῳ τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν καθημένους λέγει· ἴδε ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου· ὃς γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, οὗτος ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀδελφή μου καὶ μήτηρ ἐστί.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ Λ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Πατριαρχῶν Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, Ἀλεξάνδρου, Ἰωάννου καὶ Παύλου τοῦ νέου.
Σχοίνους διαδρὰς Ἀλέξανδρε σαρκίου,
Σχοίνισμα κλήρου χρηματίζεις Κυρίου.
Σκυθρωπὰ τὰ πρόσωπα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας,
Στέρησιν οὐ φέροντα τὴν Ἰωάννου.
Δρόμους ὁ Παῦλος ἐκλιπὼν τοὺς τοῦ βίου,
Εὕρηκε παῦλαν τῶν πόνον τῶν τοῦ βίου.
Τριττὺς τῇ Τριάδι τριακοστῇ νῦν πάρα ἔστη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ θαυματουργοῦ Φαντίνου.
Καὶ γῆν ὑπελθὼν θαυματουργὸς Φαντῖνος,
Ἄνωθεν ἡμῖν μάννα θαυμάτων βρύει.
Φαντῖνος βιότου ἀνεχάζετο ἐν τριακοστῇ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων δεκαὲξ μαρτύρων τῶν Θηβαίων.
Ἐρεῖς ἀριθμοῦ τυγχάνειν ἕξ καὶ δέκα
Τμηθέντας ἄνδρας ἀρτιάκις ἀρτίου
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ οἱ ἅγιοι ἓξ Μάρτυρες οἱ ἐν Μελιτηνῇ, ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ βληθέντες τελειοῦνται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεὸς ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Μνήμη δικαίου μέτ' ἐγκωμίων, σοὶ δὲ ἀρκέσει ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Κυρίου Πρόδρομε, ἀνεδείχθης γὰρ ὄντως καὶ Προφητῶν σεβασμιώτερος, ὅτι καὶ ἐν ῥείθροις βαπτίσαι κατηξιώθης τὸν κηρυττόμενον. Ὅθεν τῆς ἀληθείας ὑπεραθλήσας, χαίρων εὐηγγελίσω καὶ τοὶς ἐν ἅδῃ, Θεὸν φανερωθέντα ἐν σαρκί, τὸν αἴροντα τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου, καὶ παρέχοντα ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.
The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the First Tone
Η τού Προδρόμου ένδοξος απoτομή, οικονομία γέγονέ τις θεϊκή, ίνα καί τοίς εν' Άδη τού Σωτήρος κηρύξη τήν έλευσιν, θρηνείτω ούν Ηρωδιάς, άνομον φόνον αιτήσασα, ου νόμον γάρ τόν τού Θεού, ού ζώντα αιώνα ηγάπησεν, αλλ' επίπλαστον πρόσκαιρον.
The glorious beheading of the Forerunner was a certain divine dispensation, that the coming of the Saviour might also be preached to those in Hades. Let Herodias lament, then, that she demanded a wicked murder; for she loved not the Law of God, nor eternal life, but one false and fleeting.

Saint Alexander was sent to the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea as the delegate of Saint Metrophanes, Bishop of Constantinople (see June 4), to whose throne he succeeded in the year 325. When Arius had deceitfully professed allegiance to the Council of Nicaea, Saint Alexander, knowing his guile, refused to receive him into communion; Arius' powerful partisans threatened that they would use force to bring Arius into the communion of the Church the following day. Saint Alexander prayed fervently that God might spare the Church; and as Arius was in a privy place relieving nature, his bowels gushed forth with an effusion of blood, and the arch-heresiarch died the death of Judas. Saint Alexander was Bishop from 325 until 337, when he was succeeded by Saint Paul the Confessor, who died a martyr's death at the hands of the Arians (see Nov. 6). The Saint John commemorated here appears to be the one who was Patriarch during the years 562-577, surnamed Scholasticus, who is also commemorated on February 21. He was from Antioch, where he had been a lawyer (scholasticus); he was made presbyter, then was sent to Constantinople as representative (apocrisiarius) of the Patriarch of Antioch, and was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople by the Emperor Justinian. Saint Paul was Bishop of Constantinople during the years 687 - 693, in the reign of Emperor Justinian II, and presided over the Quinisext Council in 692.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ὁ Θεὸς τῶν Πατέρων ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιῶν ἀεὶ μεθ΄ ἡμῶν, κατὰ τὴν σὴν ἐπιείκειαν, μὴ ἀποστήσῃς τὸ ἔλεός σου ἀφ΄ ἡμῶν. Ἀλλὰ ταῖς αὐτῶν ἱκεσίαις, ἐν εἰρήνῃ κυβέρνησον τὴν ζωὴν ἡμῶν.
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Aflame with love for Christ, ye took His yoke upon yourselves; and since ye emulated well His life upon the earth, ye were also made partakers of His great glory. Now, O Fathers Alexander the divinely-wise, wondrous John, and glorious Paul, ye stand before His throne; wherefore, fervently intercede with Him to save our souls.

The Synaxis of the Holy Hierarchs of Serbia: The Saints commemorated on this day are: Sabbas, First Archbishop and enlightener of Serbia (see Jan. 14); Arsenius, his successor, a great hierarch and wonderworker; Sabbas II, son of Saint Stephen, the first-crowned King of Serbia; Nicodemus, About of Hilandar, later Archbishop of Serbia; Joannicius, Archbishop, later Patriarch from 1346 to 1349; Patriarch Ephraim, an ascetic, who crowned Prince Lazarus, and later left the patriarchate to live in solitude; Spyridon, Ephraim's successor, who reposed in 1388; Macarius, who printed many church books in Serbia and abroad, was very zealous in renovating and adoring churches, and reposed in 1574; Gabriel, Archbishop, who took part in the Church Council of Moscow during the patriarchate of Nicon, for which the Turks accused him of treason and hanged him in Prusa in the year 1656. Also commemorated are Eustathius, James, Daniel, Sabbas III, Gregory, Cyril (Patriarch), John, Maximus, and Nicon. Many of them labored in asceticism on the Holy Mountain, and all were "good and faithful servants, good labourers in the vineyard of the Lord".

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Our first Hierarchs and God-bearing Fathers, as enlighteners of Serbia, her holy chief shepherds and patriarchs, true guardians of the apostolic traditions, unshakeable pillars and teachers of Orthodoxy, entreat Christ, the Master of all, for the peace of the world and great mercy for our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Ye that sat on the episcopal throne lived most piously and guided your people unto the knowledge of God, thereby becoming well pleasing unto Him. Hence, ye were glorified by Him with incorruption and miracles, as initiates of the grace of God.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), the Ustashi government of Roman Catholic Croatia, in alliance with the Nazi government of Germany, and with the approval and support of the papal hierarchy, undertook an unspeakably bitter persecution of the Orthodox Serbian people with the aim either of converting them to papism, or driving them away, or killing them. The Orthodox Serbs who would not accept papism were put into extermination camps; some were tortured inhumanly by knifing; some were found with their eyes put out, their noses and ears cut off, and fires having been lighted upon their chests; whole villages were slaughtered, the children being impaled on stakes; unborn babes were slain in their mothers' wombs; many perished in camps from hunger and sickness; many thousands were herded like beasts and burned in their churches, which were destroyed with their monasteries and homes. Over 700,000 Serbian Orthodox Christians suffered cruel martyrdom during this period, including many of the clergy and defenceless women and children.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
The scarlet of your blood, shed for Christ's sake, O Martyrs, * doth ornament the Church like fine linen and purple. * The crimson seed of the Faith is again sown with gen'rous hand. * Lo, the rushings of this river make glad God's City, * and her enemies are thereby drowned in confusion. * O Serbia, exult with joy!

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Like a firmament of stars * brilliant with glory * did these holy Martyrs shine * amidst a nation most perverse. * Let us beseech them with fervour now * that they preserve us in Orthodox piety.

Σήμερα η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει την μνήμη του Αγίου Αλεξάνδρου Πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως. Ο άγιος Αλέξανδρος ήταν από τους ανθρώπους εκείνους, που δεν προικίσθηκαν με μεγάλη ικανότητα λόγου, που διδάσκουν όμως εύγλωττα με τον άγιο βίο και το παράδειγμά τους. Το άριστο είναι νάχη κανείς και λόγο και βίο, καθώς είχαν όλοι οι μεγάλοι Πατέρες της Εκκλησίας, μα αν είναι να λείπη ένα από τα δύο, συμφέρει να λείπη ο λόγος και να μένη ο άγιος βίος. Γιατί ακριβώς, όσο μεγαλύτερη ικανότητα λόγου έχει κανείς, χωρίς νάχη και αγιότητα βίου, τόσο μεγαλύτερο κακό γίνεται στην Εκκλησία. Οι άνθρωποι τότε ακούνε τα λόγια και θυμούνται τα έργα και χάνουν κάθε εμπιστοσύνη προς τα πρόσωπα και μαζί με αυτά δυστυχώς και προς την Εκκλησία. Δεν τους είν' εύκολο και δεν μπορούν οι άνθρωποι να ξεχωρίσουν ανάμεσα στα πρόσωπα και τους θεσμούς· ανάμεσα στους λειτουργούς και την Εκκλησία.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀλέξανδρος Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Ἦταν, ὅπως λέγουν, «ἀποστολικοῖς χαρίσμασι λαμπρυνόμενος». Σὰν πρεσβύτερος ἀκόμα, διακρινόταν γιὰ τὴν μεγάλη του εὐσέβεια, τὴν ἀρετὴ καὶ τὴν ἀγαθότητά του. Στὴν Α´ Οἰκουμενικὴ σύνοδο, ποὺ ἔγινε στὴ Νίκαια τῆς Βιθυνίας, ὁ τότε Πατριάρχης τὸν ἐξέλεξε ἀντιπρόσωπό του. Καὶ ὅταν στὴ Σύνοδο αὐτὴ καταδικάστηκε ὁ Ἄρειος, ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος, ἂν καὶ γέροντας 70 χρονῶν, δέχθηκε νὰ περιοδεύσει στὴ Θρᾴκη, Μακεδονία, Θεσσαλία καὶ στὴν ὑπόλοιπη Ἑλλάδα, γιὰ νὰ διδάξει καὶ νὰ γνωστοποιήσει τὰ ὀρθὰ δόγματα τῶν ἀποφάσεων τῆς Συνόδου τῆς Νίκαιας. Ἀλλὰ ἐνῷ βρισκόταν στὴν περιοδεία αὐτή, ὁ πατριάρχης Μητροφάνης ἀπεβίωσε. Ὅρισε ὅμως διάδοχό του τὸν Ἀλέξανδρο, διότι, παρὰ τὸ γῆρας του, εἶχε τὰ κατάλληλα ἐφόδια γιὰ τὴν διακυβέρνηση τῆς ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς τῆς πρωτεύουσας. Πράγματι, σὰν Πατριάρχης ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος ἀνταποκρίθηκε σωστὰ στὶς δύσκολες περιστάσεις τῶν καιρῶν. Τότε ὁ Ἄρειος εἶχε ἐξαπατήσει τὸ βασιλιὰ Κωνσταντῖνο ὅτι δῆθεν πιστεύει ὀρθά. Καὶ ὁ βασιλιὰς διέταξε τὸν Ἀλέξανδρο νὰ ἀφήσει τὸν Ἄρειο νὰ μετέχει τῆς Θείας Κοινωνίας. Ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος, λυπημένος, προσευχήθηκε στὸ Θεὸ καὶ ζήτησε τὴν βοήθειά Του. Ἡ δέηση τοῦ Ἱεράρχη εἰσακούσθηκε. Καὶ τὸ πρωὶ ποὺ ὁ Ἄρειος μὲ πομπὴ θὰ πήγαινε στὴν ἐκκλησία, βρέθηκε τὸ σῶμα του σχισμένο καὶ σκωληκόβρωτο! Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀλέξανδρος ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ 340 μ.Χ.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Πρόκειται μᾶλλον γιὰ τὸν Ἰωάννη τὸν ὀνομαζόμενο Ξιφιλίνο, ποὺ διαδέχτηκε τὸν Πατριάρχη Κωνσταντῖνο τὸν Γ´. Γεννήθηκε τὸ 1006 στὴν Τραπεζοῦντα καὶ διακρίθηκε γιὰ τὴν μεγάλη του παιδεία καὶ τὰ μεγάλα πολιτικὰ ἀξιώματα ποὺ εἶχε καταλάβει. Κατόπιν ὅμως ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ κάποια μονὴ τῆς Βιθυνίας, ὅπου μόνασε 10 χρόνια. Ἀπὸ κεῖ προσκλήθηκε γιὰ νὰ καταλάβει τὸν πατριαρχικὸ θρόνο. Χειροτονήθηκε ἱερέας, καὶ μετὰ μία ἑβδομάδα -τὴν 1η Ἰανουαρίου 1064- ἐπίσκοπος. Ὁ Ἰωάννης λειτουργοῦσε καὶ κήρυττε κάθε μέρα στοὺς ναοὺς τῆς πρωτεύουσας, ἐπισκεύασε τὶς εἰκόνες τῆς ἁγίας Σοφίας, καὶ μοίραζε δωρεὰν ψωμὶ καὶ σιτάρι στοὺς φτωχούς. Πέθανε τὸ 1075, καὶ νὰ πὼς τὸν περιγράφει ἕνας ἀπὸ τοὺς συγχρόνους του: «ἀνεφάνη ἀνὴρ πρώτον μὲν καθαρώτατος καὶ ἁγνότατος καὶ πρὸ παντὸς ρύπου σωματικοῦ καθάπαξ ἀπεχόμενος. Ἔπειτα δὲ τὰ εἰς καταφρόνησιν χρημάτων καὶ ἀκτημοσύνην τελείαν καὶ τὴν πρὸς τοὺς πένητας φιλανθρωπίαν καὶ μετάδοσιν κατ᾿ οὐδὲν ἐλάττων τοῦ περιβόητου ἐκείνου Ἐλεήμονος, καὶ ταῖς ἄλλοις δὲ ἀρεταῖς πάσαις συλλήβδην εἰπεῖν ἀφθόνως κοσμούμενος, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ λόγῳ πολύς, καὶ παιδεύσεως πάσης μετειληχῶς καὶ νομομαθείς ἐξαίρετος».

Ὁ Ἅγιος Παῦλος ὁ νέος, Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Γιὰ τὸν Πατριάρχη Παῦλο δὲν ἔχουμε σαφεῖς καὶ συγκεκριμένες πληροφορίες. Μερικοὶ νομίζουν ὅτι πρόκειται γιὰ τὸν Παῦλο τὸν Γ´. Αὐτὸς πατριάρχευσε τὸ 686-693. Προήδρευσε τῆς Πανθέκτης λεγομένης Συνόδου. Ἄλλοι νομίζουν, ὅτι πρόκειται γιὰ τὸν Πατριάρχη Παῦλο τὸν Δ´. Αὐτὸς καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Κύπρο καὶ ἔλαμψε, κατὰ τὸν Θεοφάνη, στὰ λόγια καὶ στὰ ἔργα. Ἀνέβηκε στὸν θρόνο τὸ 770 παραιτήθηκε δὲ στὰ τέλη Αὐγούστου τοῦ 784 καὶ ἀποσύρθηκε στὴ Μονὴ Φλώρου, ὅπου ἔζησε σὰν ἁπλὸς μοναχὸς μόνο δυὸ ἢ τρεῖς μῆνες ἀπὸ τὴν παραίτησή του. Ἀνῆκε στοὺς ζηλωτὲς τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας καὶ διακρίθηκε γιὰ τὶς ἐλεημοσύνες του. (Ἡ μνήμη του - σὲ ὁρισμένους Συναξαριστὲς - περιττῶς ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 2α Σεπτεμβρίου).

Ὁ Ὅσιος Φαντῖνος ὁ θαυματουργός
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Καλαβρία τῆς Ἰταλίας. Ὁ πατέρας του ὀνομαζόταν Γεώργιος, ἡ δὲ μητέρα του Βρυαίνη. Ἀπὸ μικρὸς ἀφοσιώθηκε στὴν ὑπηρεσία τῆς πίστης καὶ ἦταν τόσο ἐνάρετος καὶ μορφωμένος, ὥστε νὰ τὸν παρακολουθοῦν καὶ πολλοὶ μαθητές, ποὺ τοὺς δίδασκε τὴν ἔμπρακτη εὐσέβεια. Σὲ ἡλικία 60 χρονῶν, ἀφοῦ πῆρε δυὸ ἀπὸ τοὺς μαθητές του, τὸν Βιτάλιο καὶ τὸν Νικηφόρο, πῆγε στὴν Πελοπόννησο, ὅπου ἐγκαταστάθηκε γιὰ λίγο καιρὸ στὴν Κόρινθο καὶ ἔφερε πολλὲς ψυχὲς στὴ Σωτηρία. Κατόπιν ἐπισκέφθηκε τὴν Ἀθήνα, ὅπου προσκύνησε στὸν ναὸ τῆς Θεοτόκου. Ἔπειτα πῆγε στὴ Λάρισα καὶ ἀπὸ κεῖ στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη. Ἐδῶ ἔμεινε ὀκτὼ ὁλόκληρα χρόνια ὑπηρετώντας τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο καὶ ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ ὑπέργηρος (974).

Οἱ Ἅγιοι ἕξι Μάρτυρες ποὺ μαρτύρησαν στὴ Μελιτινή
Μαρτύρησαν, ἀφού τους ἔπνιξαν μέσα στὴ θάλασσα.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Σαρματᾶς
Ἀσκητὴς τῆς ἐρήμου. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.

Ἡ Ὁσία Βρυαίνη
Ἴσως εἶναι αὐτὴ ἡ μητέρα τοῦ Ὁσίου Φαντίνου. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι 16 Μάρτυρες οἱ Θηβαῖοι
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.

Ὁ Ἅγιος ἱεράρχης Εὐλάλιος
Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. Ἴσως νὰ εἶναι Κύπριος.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Φήλιξ, Φουρτουνᾶτος, Σεπτιμῖνος καὶ Ἰανουάριος
Καὶ οἱ τέσσερις διακρίθηκαν γιὰ τὸν ἀγῶνα τους ἐναντίον τῆς ἀπιστίας. Συνελήφθησαν καὶ ἀνακρίθηκαν γιὰ ἀρκετὸ χρονικὸ διάστημα. Ὁ ἔπαρχος γιὰ νὰ τοὺς ἀλλαξοπιστήσει, ἔφερε ἐθνικοὺς φιλοσόφους, ποὺ προσπάθησαν μπροστά τους νὰ ἀποδείξουν ὅτι ὁ Χριστιανισμὸς εἶναι μωρία. Ἀλλ᾿ οἱ ἄξιοι ὑπηρέτες τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἀνέτρεπαν ἕνα πρὸς ἕνα ὅλα τὰ ἀμαθῆ καὶ σοφιστικὰ ἐπιχειρήματα καὶ ἐνέμειναν στὴν ὁμολογία τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Τότε ὑπεβλήθησαν σὲ φρικτὰ βασανιστήρια καὶ στὸ τέλος τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισαν.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Φύλαξ
Ἄγνωστος στοὺς Συναξαριστές. Ἀναφέρεται στὸν Ἱεροσολυμιτικὸ Κώδικα 1096 φ. 123 ὡς ἑξῆς: «Μνήμη τῶν ὁσίων πατριαρχῶν Ἀλεξάνδρου, Ἰωάννου καὶ Παύλου τοῦ νέου καὶ τοῦ ὁσίου Φύλακος» (βλ. Δημητριεύσκη, τυπικὰ Β´ σελ. 55).

Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀλέξανδρος ἡγεμόνας τῆς Ρωσίας
Ὑπῆρξε ἄρχοντας Βλαδημηρίας καὶ Νεαπόλεως τῆς Ρωσίας καὶ ἔγινε μοναχὸς μὲ τὸ ὄνομα Ἀλέξιος. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ 1263. Ἀκολουθία τοῦ Ὁσίου αὐτοῦ συνέταξε ὁ Κωνσταντῖνος Οἰκονόμος.

Synaxis of Serbian Hierarchs
On this day are commemorated seventeen holy Serbian hierarchs, beginning with St Sava (Sabbas), first Archbishop of Serbia and Equal to the Apostles. They are:
St Sava, first Archbishop of Serbia, Equal to the Apostles
Arsenius, his successor
Sava II, son of King Stephen the First-Crowned
Nicodemus, who lived on the Holy Mountain, was abbot of Hilandar Monastery there and Archbishop of Serbia
Joannicius, patriarch from 1346-1349
Ephraim, chosen as patriarch against his will in 1376. He crowned Prince Lazar, then renounced the patriarchal throne and retired into solitude
Spiridon, his successor (+1388)
Macarius, a great restorer of old churches and monasteries; printed many Church books (+1574)
Gabriel, a nobleman by birth. the Prologue says that he 'took part in the Moscow Council under Patriarch Nikhon, because of which he was tortured by the Turks for treason and hanged in 1656.'
In addition, Eustace, Jacob, Danilo, Sava III, Gregory, John, Maxim and Nikhon.
The vital connection between the Serbian church and the Holy Mountain is obvious here; many of these hierarchs lived and struggled on Mt Athos.

Sts Alexander (340), John (595), and Paul the New (784), patriarchs of Constantinople
St Alexander took part in the First Ecumenical Council as delegate of Patriarch Metrophanes, who was too frail to attend; and succeeded Metrophanes on the Patriarchal throne. By his prayer to God that the Church might be spared the schemings of Arius, Arius was struck dead.
  St John is, by one account, St John the Faster (Sept. 2), who reposed in 595; by another, St John Scholasticus (Feb. 21), who reposed in 577.
  St Paul was Patriarch for five years, then renounced the Patriarchal throne to take the Great Schema.

Menologion 3.0
Saints Alexander, John and Paul, Constantinople Patriarchs, lived at different times, but each of them happened to clash with the activities of heretics who sought to distort the teachings of the Church. Saint Alexander (325-340) was a "chor-bishop" (vicar bishop) during the period of the first patriarch of Constantinople, Sainted Mitrophanes (315-325), and because of the patriarch's extreme age substituted for him at the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea against the Arians (325). Upon his death, Saint Mitrophanes had instructed in his will to elect his vicar to the Constantinople throne. During these times His Holiness Patriarch Alexander had to contend with the Arians and with pagans. Once in a dispute with a pagan philosopher the saint said to him: "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to be quiet!", and the pagan suddenly became voiceless. When he gestured with signs of acknowledgement of his errors and affirmation of the correctness of the Christian teaching, then his speech returned to him and he believed in Christ together with many other pagan-philosophers.
The heretic Arius was punished through the prayer of Saint Alexander. The heretic deceitfully agreed to enter into communion with the Orthodox, and the emperor Saint Constantine set a day for receiving Arius. All night long Saint Alexander prayed, imploring the Lord not to permit the heretic to be received into communion with the Church. In the morning, when Arius triumphantly went to the church, surrounded by imperial counselors and soldiers, he was stricken with illness on the Constantine Square, -- his belly exploded and the innards fell out.
His Holiness Patriarch Alexander, having toiled much, died in the year 340 at the age of 98. Sainted Gregory the Theologian (or Nazianzen, Comm. 25 January) made mention about him afterwards in words of praise to the people of Constantinople.
Sainted John the Faster (582-595) is in particular remembered by the Church on 2 September (the account about him is located under this heading).
Sainted Paul, by birth a Cypriot, became Patriarch of Constantinople (780-784) during the reign of the Iconoclast-emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780), and was a virtuous and pious but timid man. Viewing the martyrdom, which the Orthodox endured for holy icons, the saint concealed his Orthodoxy and associated with the iconoclasts. After the death of the emperor Leo, he wanted to restore icon-veneration but was not able to accomplish since, since the iconoclasts were still quite powerful. The saint realised, that it was not in his powers to guide the flock, and so he left the patriarchal throne and went secretly to the monastery of Saint Florus, where he took the schema. He repented his silence and association with the iconoclasts and talked of the necessity for convening the Eighth OEcumenical Council to condemn the Iconoclast heresy. Upon his advice, there was chosen to the patriarchal throne Saint Tarasios (784-806), at that time a prominent imperial counselor. The saint died a schema-monk in the year 804.

The Monk Alexander of Svirsk was born on 15 July 1448, on the day of memory of the Prophet Amos, and at Baptism was named in honour of him. Dwelling all his life far off from historical events, the Monk Alexander -- a beacon light of monasticism in the deep forests of the Russian North -- worked a different and spiritual history and was bestown extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit.
His parents, Stefan and Vassa (Vasilisa) were peasants of the nigh-close to Lake Ladoga village of Mandera, at the bank of the River Oyata, a tributary of the River Svira. They had two children, who were already grown and lived away from their parents. But Stefan and Vassa wanted still to have another son. They prayed fervently and heard a voice from above: "Rejoice, good wedded, ye shall bear a son, in whose birth God wilt give comfort to His Church".
Amos grew up a special lad. He was always obedient and gentle, he shunned games, jokes and foul-talk, he wore poor clothes and so weakened himself with fasting, that it caused his mother anxiety. Upon coming of age he once met Valaamsk monks who had come to the Oyata for the purchase of necessities and concerning other economic needs. Valaam at this time had already the reputation as a monastery of deep piety and strict ascetic life. Having spoken with them, the youth became interested by their account about the skete (with two or three together) and about the monastic hermit life. Knowing that his parents wanted to marry him off, the youth at age 19 went secretly to Valaam. Under the guise of being a companion, an Angel of God appeared to him, showing the way to the island.
Amos lived for seven years at the monastery as a novice, leading an austere life. He spent his days at work, and his nights -- in vigilance and prayer. Sometimes bare of chest, all covered by mosquitoes and gnats, he prayed in the forest to the morning song of the birds.
In the year 1474 Amos took monastic vows with the name Alexander. After some several years his parents eventually learned from Karelians arriving in Mandera, whither their son had disappeared. Through the example of their son, even the parents soon went to the monastery and took vows with the names Sergei and Varvara (Barbara). After their death the Monk Alexander, with the blessing of the hegumen of the monastery, settled on a solitary monastery island, where in the crevice of a cliff he built a cell and continued his spiritual exploits.
The fame of his exploits spread far. Then in 1485 the Monk Alexander departed from Valaam and, upon a command from above, chose a place in the forest on the shore of a beautiful lake, which afterwards was named Holy (Svyata). Here the monk built himself an hut and in solitude he dwelt for seven years, eating only that which he gathered in the forest (Afterwards at this place, -- Lake Svyata, 36 versts from the future city of Olonets and 6 versts from the River Svira, the Monk Alexander founded the monastery of the Life-Originating Trinity, and 130 sazhen (i.e. 910 feet) off from it, at Lake Roschina, he built himself a "withdrawing place", -- on the spot where the Alexandro-Svirsk monastery later emerged). During this time the saint experienced fierce sufferings from hunger, frost, sickness and demonic temptations. But the Lord continually sustained the spiritual and bodily strength of the righteous one. Once when suffering with terrible infirmities, the monk not only was not able to get up from the ground, but also even was unable to lift his head, he just lay there and sang psalms. And hereupon there appeared to him a glorious man. Placing his hand on the pained spot, he signed the saint with the sign of the cross and healed him.
In 1493 while hunting for deer, the adjoining land-owner Andrei Zavalishin happened to come upon the hut of the monk. Andrei spoke to him about a light, seen earlier at this place, and he entreated the monk to tell him about his life. From that point Andrei started often to visit with the Monk Alexander, and finally through the monk's guidance, he himself departed for Valaam, where he took vows with the name Adrian, founding later on the Ondrusovsk monastery, and glorifying himself with a saintly life (Comm. 26 August and 17 May, + 1549).
Andrei Zavalishin was not able to keep quiet about the ascetic, in spite of the promise given to him. News about the righteous one began to spread widely, and monks started to gather about him. The monk thereupon withdrew himself from all the brethren and built himself a "withdrawing spot" a distance of 130 sazhen from the common dwelling. The he encountered a multitude of temptations. The demons took on beastly shapes, they hissed like snakes, urging the monk to flee. But the prayer of the saint, as it were a fiery flame, scorched and dispersed the devils.
In 1508, the 23th year of the monk's dwelling at this secluded spot, there appeared to him the Life-Originating Trinity. The monk was praying at night at his "withdrawing spot". Suddenly an intense light shone, and the monk beheld approaching him Three Men, robed in radiant white garb. Hallowed by Heavenly Glory, They did shine in a pure brightness greater than the sun. Each of Them held in Their hand a staff. The monk fell down in terror, and having come to his senses, prostrated himself on the ground. Taking him up by the hand, the Men said: "Trust thou, blessed one, and fear not". The monk received orders to construct a church and to build up a monastery. He again fell to his knees, crying out about his own unworthiness, but the Lord raised him up and ordered him to fulfill the commands. The monk asked, in whose name the church ought to be. The Lord thereupon said: "Beloved, as thou beholdest Those speaking with thee in Three Persons, so also construct thou the church in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity One-in-Essence. I leave thee peace and My peace I give thee". And immediately the Monk Alexander beheld the Lord with out-stretched wings, going as though along the ground, and He became invisible. In the history of the Russian Orthodox Church this Divine Descent is acknowledged as unique. After this vision the monk began to think, where to build the church. Once during a time of prayer to God, he heard a voice from above. Having gazed up to the heights, he saw an Angel of God in mantle and klobuk, such as the Monk Pakhomios had seen. The Angel, standing in the air with out-stretched wings and up-raised hands, proclaimed: "One is Holy, One is the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Glory of God the Father, Amen". And then he turned to the monk: Alexander, upon this spot construct the church in the Name of the Lord Who hath appeared to thee in Three Persons, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity Undivided". And having thrice made the cross over the place, the Angel became invisible.
In that same year was built a wooden church of the Life-Originating Trinity (in 1526 was built here a stone church). And at the same time as the building of the church, the brethren began to urge the monk to accept the priesthood. For a long time he refused, considering himself unworthy. Then the brethren began to implore Saint Serapion, Archbishop of Novgorod (+ 1516, Comm. 16 March), that he convince the monk to accept the dignity. And so in that very year the monk journeyed to Novgorod and received ordination from the holy archbishop. Soon afterwards the brethren also besought the monk to accept being hegumen.
Having become hegumen, the monk became even more humble than before. His clothes were all in tatters, and he slept on the bare ground. He himself prepared food, kneaded dough and baked bread. One time there was not sufficient firewood and the steward asked the hegumen to dispatch after firewood any of the monks that were idle. "I am idle", -- said the monk, and he began to chop firewood. Another time likewise he began to carry water. And by night when all were asleep, the monk was often grinding away with hand-stones for making more bread. By night the monk made the round of the cells and if he heard anywhere vain conversations, he lightly tapped on the door and departed, but in the morning he admonished the brother, imposing a penance on the culprit.
Towards the end of his life the Monk Alexander decided to build a stone church of the Pokrov (Protection) of the MostHoly Mother of God. One time in the evening, after doing an akathist to the MostHoly Mother of God, the monk settled down to rest in the cell and suddenly said to the cell-attendant Afanasii: "Child, be sober and alert, because in this hour will be a wondrous and astounding visit". There followed a voice, like thunder: "Behold cometh the Lord and His Birth-Giver". The monk hastened to the entrance to the cell, and a great light illumined it, spreading over all the monastery brighter than the rays of the sun. Gazing, the monk beheld over the foundation of the Pokrov church sitting at the altar place, as it were an empress upon a throne, the All-Pure Mother of God. She held the Infant-Christ in Her arms, and a multitude of the angelic rank, shining with an indescribable brightness, stood before Her. The monk fell down, unable to bear the great light. The Mother of God said: "Rise up, thou chosen one of My Son and God. For I have come here to visit thee, My dear one, and to look upon the foundation of My church. And for this, I have made entreaty for thy disciples and monastery, from hence all wilt be abundant; not only during thine life, but also upon thy departure persistently from thy monastery will be a granting of all necessities in abundance. Behold and watch carefully, how many monks are gathered into thy flock, which by thee mustneeds be guided on the way of salvation in the Name of the Holy Trinity". The monk rose up and beheld a multitude of monks. Again said the Mother of God: "My dear one, if someone doth bear one brick for the building of My church, in the Name of Jesus Christ, My Son and God, his treasure perisheth not". And She became invisible.
Before his death the monk displayed wondrous humility. He summoned the brethren and bid them: "Bind my sinful body by the legs and drag it to a swampy thicket and, having enclosed it in skins, submerse it by the legs". The brethren answered: "No, father, it is not possible to do this". Then the monk bid that his body not be kept at the monastery, but at a place of withdrawal, the church of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Having lived 85 years, the monk expired to the Lord on 30 August 1533.
The Monk Alexander of Svirsk was glorified by wondrous miracles during his life and upon his death. In 1545 his disciple and successor, Hegumen Irodion, compiled his life. In 1547 was begun the local celebration of the monk and a service compiled to him. In the year 1641, on 17 April, during the rebuilding of the Transfiguration church, the incorrupt relics of the Monk Alexander of Svirsk were uncovered and the universal Church celebration to him was established on two dates: the day of repose -- 30 August, and the day of glorification (Uncovering of Relics) -- 17 April.
The Monk Alexander of Svirsk instructed and raised up a whole multitude of disciples, as the Mother of God had bequeathed him. These are the Sainted-Monks: Ignatii of Ostrovsk (XVI), Leonid of Ostrovsk (XVI), Kornilii of Ostrovsk (XVI), Dionysii of Ostrovsk (XVI), Athanasii (Afanasii) of Ostrovsk (XVI), Theodore (Feodor) of Ostrovsk (XVI), Ferapont of Ostrovsk (XVI). Besides these saints, there are known disciples and those conversing with the Monk Alexander of Svirsk, which have separate days of memory: the Monk Athansii (Afanasii) of Syandemsk (XVI, Comm. 18 January), the Monk Gennadii of Vasheozersk (+ 8 January 1516, Comm. 9 February), the Monk Makarii of Orodezhsk (+ 1532, Comm. 9 August), the Monk Adrian of Ondrosovsk (+ 26 August 1549, Comm. 17 May), the Monk Nikifor of Vasheozersk (+ 1557, Comm. 9 February), the Monk Gennadii of Kostroma and Liubimograd (+ 1565, Comm. 23 January). All these saints (except the Monk Gennadii of Kostroma) are imaged on the Icon of the Monastic Fathers, illumined in the Karelia land (icon from the church at the Spiritual Seminary in the city of Kuopio, Finland). The festal celebration of the Sobor-Assemblage of the Saints Illumined in the Karelian Land is done by the Finnish Orthodox Church on the Saturday falling between 31 October and 6 November.

The Holy NobleBorn Prince Alexander Nevsky (in monastic-schema Alexei) died on the return journey from the Horde at Gorodtsa on the Volga, on 14 November 1263, and on 23 November (under this day is located the account about him) in 1263 he was buried in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity Monastery in the city of Vladimir (there is set up there now a memorial to the holy prince; yet another memorial is set up in the city of Pereslavl'-Zalessk). Veneration of the nobleborn prince started right at his burial, whereof was a remarkable miracle: the saint himself extended his hand for the absolving prayer. Great Prince Ioann Ioannovich (1353-1359) in his spiritual testament written in the year 1356, left to his son Dimitrii (1363-1389), the future victor of the Battle of Kulikovo, "an icon of Saint Alexander". The undecayed relics of the nobleborn prince were opened, on account of a vision, before the Kulikovo Battle -- in the year 1380, and then were set forth for local feast-celebration. For the prayers of the holy prince, glorified by defense of the Fatherland, Russian commanders resorted to in all the following times. On 30 August 1721 Peter I, after a lengthy and exhausting war with the Swedes, concluded the Nishtad Peace. This day was decided upon to hallow by the transfer of the relics of the NobleBorn Prince Alexander Nevsky from Vladimir to the new northern capital, Peterburg, arranged on the banks of the Neva. Withdrawn from Vladimir on 11 August 1723, the holy relics were greeted at Shlissel'burg on 20 September of that year and remained there until 1724, when on 30 August they were placed in the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Monastery), where now also they rest. By an edict/ukaz on 2 September 1724 there was established a feastday on 30 August (in 1727 the feast was discontinued by reason of non-church matters, and involved clique-struggles at the imperial court. In 1730 the feast was again re-established).
Archimandrite Gavriel Buzhinsky (later Bishop of Riazan, + 27 April 1731) compiled a special service in remembrance of the Nishtad Peace, combining with it a service to Saint Alexander Nevsky.
The name of the Defender of the borders of Russia and the Patron of Soldiers is famous far from the regions of our Native Land. The testimony to this: the numerous temples dedicated to Saint Alexander Nevsky. The most famous of them: the Patriarchal Cathedral at Sofia, the Cathedral church in Talinin, and a church in Tbilisi. These churches are a pledge of friendship of the Russian National-Liberator with brother nations.

NobleBorn Prince Daniel of Moscow, son of the holy nobleborn prince Alexander Nevsky, died on 4 March 1303. On 30 August 1652 his relics were uncovered incorrupt. The account about him is located under 4 March.

The Monk Christopher, a Roman, lived during the VI Century. He was tonsured into monasticism at the monastery of the Monk Theodosios (Comm. 11 January) in Palestine, Near Jerusalem. The accounts of Abba Theodulos about the Monk Christopher are contained in the book "Spiritual Meadows" ("Leimon" or "Limonar'") by John Moskhos and Sophronios.
One time the Monk Christopher went to Jerusalem, to worship at the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord and at the Life-Creating Cross. At the gateway of the church he beheld a monk not moving from the spot. Two ravens flew before his face. The Monk Christopher discerned that these were demons, which held the monk back from entering the church. He asked the brother: "Why standest thou at the gate and enter not in?". -- The brother answered: "Pardon me, father, but within me struggle two thoughts: one says: go and venerate the Venerable Cross, but the other says: go not in, rather first finish thou thine affairs, and another time come and venerate". Then Saint Christopher took the brother by the hand and led him into the church. The ravens immediately disappeared, and the brother made his veneration. The Monk Christopher recounted this in instructing those who were very little diligent in prayer, and who forgot, that first one ought to fulfill spiritual service, and then afterwards the necessary work.
By day the Monk Christopher fulfilled his monastic obedience, and by night he retired to a cave, where at an earlier time had prayed the Monk Theodosios and other fathers. At each of the 18 steps, leading into the cave, he made about 100 poklons and the greater part of the night he spent in prayer, before the pealing calling to morning song. At this exploit he spent 11 years. One time, descending into the cave, he beheld in it a multitude of lamps. Two radiant youths were lighting them. "Why have ye put the lampadi here, such that I be not able to enter in and pray", -- said the monk. "These are the lampadi of the fathers, serving God", -- answered the youths. "Tell me, -- asked the saint, -- does my lampada burn or not?" They answered: "Work, pray, and we shall light it". Then the saint said to himself: "Oi, Christopher, thou oughtest to assume yet greater a burden, that thy lamp might be lighted!" He went from the monastery to Mount Sinai, taking nothing with him. The monk toiled there for 50 years at great exploits. And finally, he heard a voice saying: "Christopher! Go to thine monastery where thou didst asceticise earlier, so that thou mightest repose there with thine fathers".

The Monk Fantinus the Wonderworker was born in Calabria (Italy) of parents George and Vriena. He was given over to a monastery and from childhood he was accustomed to ascetic deeds. In youth he wandered into the wilderness, remaining often without food for 20 days and lacking garb. In suchlike exploits the monk spent 60 years. Before the end of his life, fleeing before pursuing Saracens, he set off with his disciples Vitalius and Nicephorus to the Peleponnesus (Greece). Preaching the way of salvation, the monk visited Corinth, Athens, Larissa and Soluneia (Thessalonika), where he venerated the relics of the GreatMartyr Demetrios (Comm. 26 October). He died peacefully in extreme old age at the end of the IX - beginning X Century.

The Sobor-Assemblage of Serbian Sainted-Hierarchs celebrates arch-pastors of the Serbian Church of the XIII-XIV Centuries. The majority of them, in addition to this general commemoration, have individual days of celebration: Sainted Archbishop Savva I -- 12 January; Sainted Archbishop Arsenii I -- 28 October; Sainted Archbishop Savva II -- 8 February; Sainted Archbishop Evstaphii I -- 4 January; Sainted Archbishop Nikodom -- 11 May; Sainted Archbishop Daniel -- 20 December; Sainted Patriarch Joannikii II -- 3 September; Sainted Patriarch Ephrem II -- 15 June.

Sainted Spiridon, Patriarch of Serbia (1382-1388), was much concerned about the monastic communities during difficult years of civil and ecclesial unrest. He was consecrated by Sainted Ephrem II, Patriarch of Serbia (1367-1382; + 1388), who then withdrew to the Archangel'sk monastery of the Dushan church. Saint Spiridon termed Church singing "a spiritual flute" -- and evidently he wrote church-song for the Serbian Church. The saint died at almost the same time as Blessed Prince Lazar (+ 1389, Comm. 15 June), who was killed in the battle with the Turks at Kosovo Pole. After the death of Saint Spiridon the guidance of the Serbian Church was again placed upon Saint Ephrem II.

Sainted Makarii, Patriarch of Serbia (1557-1574), toiled in particular for the spread of education in Serbia. Many a church book was printed in his time. The brother of the saint was vizier under the sultan and assisted in the restoration of monasteries and churches -- despoiled by Mohametan fanaticism, and also with the restoration of the patriarch's monastery.

Sainted Gavriel (Gabriel) I, Patriarch of Serbia (by familial lineage Raicha), occupied the cathedra-seat in the mid-XVII Century, a time when the Moslem fanaticism had become intense. In the urgent need for both cathedral and country the saint set off for collecting alms to Walachia, and from there to Moscow.
And in Moscow in 1655 he was present together with the Patriarch of Antioch at a Church Sobor (Council), which sought to correct various aspects of church books in accord with the Greek and Old Slavonic texts. The saint brought as gift to the Russian Church several manuscripts and three liturgies printed in the South. With generous alms for his Church and country the saint returned to Serbia. His cathedra-seat had been given over to another occupant, and moreover, Austrian Jesuits had slandered him with treason before the vizier. The total innocence of the saint was already evidenced from this, that the vizier made pretense to spare his life and bestow a great official position, if the saint would betray his faith in the Saviour. "I am completely innocent of state crimes, -- said Saint Gavriel, -- this you yourself avow. To save my life by betrayal of Christian faith I shall never agree to, while remaining of sound mind. Keep your riches and honours, for me they are unneeded". After torture Saint Gavriel was hanged in October 1659.
In the general service of the Serblyak (collective services to Serbian saints) on 30 August are also remembered: Sainted Archbishop of Serbia Jakov (+ 3 February 1292), Sainted Bishop Gregory (a descendant of the reknown Neemanicha lineage), and also the saints: Archbishop Savva III (1305-1316), and the Patriarchs Kirill, Nikon, John, Maksim.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. THE ASSEMBLY OF THE HOLY SERBIAN ENLIGHTENERS AND TEACHERS
On this day are commemorated, not all the Serbian saints in general, but rather only a few archbishops and patriarchs: Saint Sava, the first Archbishop of the Serbs called "Equal to the Apostles"; Arsenius, the successor to St. Sava, a great hierarch and miracle worker; Saint Sava II, son of the First-crowned, King Stephen who lived in Jerusalem for a long time and is called: "similar to Moses in meekness" [refer to the Srbljak, the Service Book of the Serbian Saints]; Nicodemus, who lived a life of asceticism on the Holy Mountain [Athos] and was abbot of Hilendar and following that was Archbishop "of all the Serbian and Coastal lands"; Joannicius, at first an archbishop and then patriarch from 1346 A.D. and died in 1349 A.D.; Ephrem, an ascetic who was elected patriarch against his will at the time of Prince Lazar in 1376 A.D. and crowned Lazar. After that he resigned the patriarchal throne and retreated into solitude; Spiridon, the successor to Ephrem and who died in the year 1388 A.D.; Macarius, who renovated many ancient monasteries [Zaduzbine], printed many ecclesiastical books in Skadar, Venice, Belgrade and other places. He built the famous refectory in the monastery at Pec and labored much to advance the Church with the assistance of his brother Mehmed Sokolovich, the Grand Vezir. Macarius died in the year 1574 A.D; Gabriel, by birth a nobleman of the Rajich family. He participated in the Moscow [church] council under Patriarch Nikon for which he was tortured by the Turks for treason and hanged in the year 1656 A.D. Along with these are also mentioned; Eustace, Jacob, Daniel, Gregory, John, Sava III, Gregory, John, Maksim and Nikon. Many of them lived a life of asceticism on the Holy Mountain [Athos] and all were "meek and faithful servants in the vineyard of the Lord."

2. SAINTS ALEXANDER, JOHN AND PAUL, PATRIARCHS OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Alexander participated in the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea [325 A.D.] in place of the aged Patriarch Metrophanes. Afterward, he succeeded Metrophanes. When certain philosophers wanted to debate with him concerning faith, he said to one of them: "In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to be silent!" and the philosopher became mute that very moment. By his prayer, he even shortened the life of Arius. Alexander died at age ninety-eight in the year 340 A.D. St. John the Faster governed the Church during the reign of the wicked Emperor Anastasius the Acephalite heretic. He died in the year 595 A.D. St. Paul IV governed the Church for five years and eight months and then resigned the throne and secretly received the Angelic Habit in order to repent for his sins because he had earlier agreed with the iconoclasts. He was the predecessor of the great Tarasius and died at the time of Irene and Constantine in the year 784 A.D.

3. THE VENERABLE CHRISTOPHER
Christopher was an ascetic of the sixth century in the community of St. Theodosius. In a vision he saw the votive lamps of the diligent monks burning and the votive lamps of the slothful monks not burning.

4. SAINT EULALIUS, BISHOP OF CAESAREA IN CAPPADOCIA
Eulalius was one of the predecessors of St. Basil. He defrocked his son of his priestly rank for wearing clothing unbecoming his spiritual vows.

HYMN OF PRAISE
THE ASSEMBLY OF THE HOLY SERBIAN ENLIGHTENERS AND TEACHERS
Chosen ones of God, Serbian saints,
Teachers wise and enlighteners,
Princes spiritual, glorious heroes.
Of the flock of Christ, most good shepherds,
God you served, denied themselves
And beacons you were to your people:
Of divine characteristics, God-bearing men,
From the Holy Trinity, the light you received,
Generously you received and everywhere dispersed it,
And from your labors, miracles sprouted.
In the footprints of Sava, all walked straight
Throughout the Serbian land, holiness you raised,
Faith in the Word of God, you confirmed,
In the new garment, you clothed the souls,
With beautiful churches, you adorned the land,
O men of God, "equal to the angels!"
Of the Serbian people, you were angels,
To glorify God, you taught the Serbs,
To worship the Savior, the living Christ,
And faithfully served the Holy Gospel.
In heaven, that is why the Lord glorified you
And, as candles before the Serbian people, placed you
That living in heaven you shine on earth
To lead your people to truth and justice.
As long as the Serbian people, your example admire
By your prayers until then, the people will live.

REFLECTION
With clamor and disgrace the noisy heretics died. And their deaths alone show God's wrath upon them because of the lies that they spread and the disturbances that they caused the Church of God. Arius, after he was condemned in Nicaea, came to Emperor Constantine one day and begged him to be received into the Church again. The emperor asked Arius if he believes in the Nicaean Symbol of Faith [the Creed] and he, the cunning one, kept a paper in his bosom with his heretically evil confession of faith and striking himself with his hand across his bosom said to the emperor: " Thus, I believe." The emperor thought that Arius had repented and sent him to Patriarch Alexander to receive him into the Church. Under no circumstances was Alexander willing to receive Arius knowing that he lies. However, the emperor designated one day, a Sunday, that Arius had to be received in the Great Church [Hagia Sophia]. On the eve of that day, the holy patriarch prayed to God to receive his soul before the God-mocking heretic is received into the Church. When the Sunday of the appointed day dawned, the patriarch was at service in the church and Arius, with the emperor's men and his "like-minded ones" set out for the church. When they arrived at the Square of Constantine, suddenly a pain, both in body and soul overcame Arius and he looked at a place for bodily need. There on the square was such a public place and he went there. His escort waited a long time and became impatient from waiting. When some of them went to see what was the matter with Arius, they found him dead in that foul place with his entire intestine spilled on the outside in uncleanness and in blood.

CONTEMPLATION
To contemplate the victories of David over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5 2 Kings 5):
1. How the Philistines attacked the lands of David and David prayed to God and set out and defeated the Philistines;
2. How the Philistines again attacked and David again prayed to God and defeated the Philistines.

HOMILY
About the mysterious ancestry [generation] of Christ
"…And who shall declare His generation?" (Isaiah 53:8).
As a hidden source of a great river, thus for the Jews the ancestry of the Lord Jesus was hidden. They read and knew that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, and He was born in Bethlehem but they did not recognize Him. They knew that the Messiah will come from the lineage of David and He was born of the lineage of David through His Most-holy Mother, but they did not recognize or acknowledge Him. They read that He will be born of a Virgin, that He will flee to Egypt and that He will be called out of Egypt and that His forerunner will appear before Him, "Crying in the wilderness" (St. Mark 1:3), and that He will shine as a great light in the darkness and in the shadow of the deadly land of Zebulon and Naphthali and all the rest that the prophets foretold and wrote as a sign of His coming. Still, they did not recognize or acknowledge Him, but rather they crucified the King of Glory as a criminal.
If He were an ordinary man, would the prophet inquire about His ancestry and origin? Whose ancestry and origin in the history of the people of Israel is not known? His ancestry is hidden as the ancestry of Melchisedek. It was hidden for the Jews and is always hidden for unbelievers but for us believers it is not hidden anymore. We know that He is "Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten not made" (The Nicaean Creed]. That is He in eternity. We know that "He was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" [The Nicaean Creed] and that He appeared in the world as man, as God-man. That is He, in time; wondrous, mysterious, glorious and majestic is His ancestry. When we say everything what was revealed to us about Him, nevertheless, we can still ask ourselves: "Who shall declare His generation [ancestry]?" Not because His ancestry is unknown but rather because His ancestry is unreachable, incomprehensible, beyond sensual and above nature.
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, enlighten us by Your divine mind and raise us up to You by Your man-loving power.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.