FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Moses the Black of Scete
Diomedes & Laurence the Martyrs
33 Martyrs of Nicomedea
Job of Pochaev
Synaxis of the Kiev Cave Fathers
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Μωϋσέως τοῦ Αἰθίοπος καί τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Διομήδους καί Λαυρεντίου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 8:16-24; 9:1-5
BRETHREN, thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel; and not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work which we are carrying on, for the glory of the Lord and to show our good will. We intend that no one should blame us about this liberal gift which we are administering, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of men. And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker in your service; and as for our brethren, they are apostles of the churches, the glory of Christ. So give proof, before the churches, of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.
Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the offering for the saints, for I know your readiness of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brethren so that our boasting about you may not prove vain in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we be humiliated-to say nothing of you-for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren to go on to you before me, and arrange in advance for this gift you have promised, so that it may be ready not as an exaction but as a willing gift.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 8:16-24; 9:1-5
Ἀδελφοί, χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ τῷ διδόντι τὴν αὐτὴν σπουδὴν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ Τίτου. Ὅτι τὴν μὲν παράκλησιν ἐδέξατο, σπουδαιότερος δὲ ὑπάρχων, αὐθαίρετος ἐξῆλθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς. Συνεπέμψαμεν δὲ μετʼ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀδελφόν, οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ διὰ πασῶν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν· οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ χειροτονηθεὶς ὑπὸ τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν συνέκδημος ἡμῶν σὺν τῇ χάριτι ταύτῃ τῇ διακονουμένῃ ὑφʼ ἡμῶν πρὸς τὴν αὐτοῦ τοῦ κυρίου δόξαν καὶ προθυμίαν ἡμῶν· στελλόμενοι τοῦτο, μή τις ἡμᾶς μωμήσηται ἐν τῇ ἁδρότητι ταύτῃ τῇ διακονουμένῃ ὑφʼ ἡμῶν· προνοούμενοι καλὰ οὐ μόνον ἐνώπιον κυρίου ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐνώπιον ἀνθρώπων. Συνεπέμψαμεν δὲ αὐτοῖς τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν, ὃν ἐδοκιμάσαμεν ἐν πολλοῖς πολλάκις σπουδαῖον ὄντα, νυνὶ δὲ πολὺ σπουδαιότερον, πεποιθήσει πολλῇ τῇ εἰς ὑμᾶς. Εἴτε ὑπὲρ Τίτου, κοινωνὸς ἐμὸς καὶ εἰς ὑμᾶς συνεργός· εἴτε ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν, ἀπόστολοι ἐκκλησιῶν, δόξα Χριστοῦ. Τὴν οὖν ἔνδειξιν τῆς ἀγάπης ὑμῶν, καὶ ἡμῶν καυχήσεως ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, εἰς αὐτοὺς ἐνδείξασθε εἰς πρόσωπον τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν. Περὶ μὲν γὰρ τῆς διακονίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους περισσόν μοί ἐστιν τὸ γράφειν ὑμῖν· οἶδα γὰρ τὴν προθυμίαν ὑμῶν, ἣν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καυχῶμαι Μακεδόσιν, ὅτι Ἀχαΐα παρεσκεύασται ἀπὸ πέρυσι· καὶ ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν ζῆλος ἠρέθισεν τοὺς πλείονας. Ἔπεμψα δὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς, ἵνα μὴ τὸ καύχημα ἡμῶν τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν κενωθῇ ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ· ἵνα, καθὼς ἔλεγον, παρεσκευασμένοι ἦτε· μήπως, ἐὰν ἔλθωσιν σὺν ἐμοὶ Μακεδόνες καὶ εὕρωσιν ὑμᾶς ἀπαρασκευάστους, καταισχυνθῶμεν ἡμεῖς - ἵνα μὴ λέγωμεν ὑμεῖς - ἐν τῇ ὑποστάσει ταύτῃ τῆς καυχήσεως. Ἀναγκαῖον οὖν ἡγησάμην παρακαλέσαι τοὺς ἀδελφούς, ἵνα προέλθωσιν εἰς ὑμᾶς, καὶ προκαταρτίσωσιν τὴν προκατηγγελμένην εὐλογίαν ὑμῶν, ταύτην ἑτοίμην εἶναι, οὕτως ὡς εὐλογίαν καὶ μὴ ὡς πλεονεξίαν.
The Reading is from Mark 3:13-21
At that time, Jesus went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons: Simon whom he surnamed Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew and Philip and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaios, and Thaddaios, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, "He is beside himself."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 3.13-21
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἀνέβη ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὸ ὄρος, καὶ προσκαλεῖται οὓς ἤθελεν αὐτός, καὶ ἀπῆλθον πρὸς αὐτόν. καὶ ἐποίησε δώδεκα, ἵνα ὦσι μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἵνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν καὶ ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν θεραπεύειν τὰς νόσους καὶ ἐκβάλλειν τὰ δαιμόνια· καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον, καὶ ᾿Ιάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ ᾿Ιωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ ᾿Ιακώβου· καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὀνόματα Βοανεργές, ὅ ἐστιν υἱοὶ βροντῆς· καὶ ᾿Ανδρέαν καὶ Φίλιππον καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον καὶ Ματθαῖον καὶ Θωμᾶν καὶ ᾿Ιάκωβον τὸν τοῦ ᾿Αλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖον καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν Κανανίτην καὶ ᾿Ιούδαν ᾿Ισκαριώτην, ὃς καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτόν. Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς οἶκον· καὶ συνέρχεται πάλιν ὄχλος, ὥστε μὴ δύνασθαι αὐτοὺς μηδὲ ἄρτον φαγεῖν. καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν· ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΗ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Μωσέως τοῦ Αἰθίοπος.
Φήσεις τὸ ῥητὸν καὶ θανών, Μωσῆ μέλα.
«Ἄνθρωπος ὄψιν, καὶ Θεὸς τὴν καρδίαν».
Θάψαν ἐν εἰκάδι Μωσῆν ὀγδόῃ Αἰθιοπῆα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου μάρτυρος Ἀκακίου τοῦ Νέου.
Τράχηλον Ἀκάκιος ἐκτμηθεὶς ξίφει,
Ψυχῆς τὸ λευκὸν μηνύων, βλύζει γάλα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων μαρτύρων Διομήδους καὶ Λαυρεντίου.
Διττοῖς ἀθληταῖς προσδεθεῖσι πλατάνῳ,
Ταθέντα τόξα, πλατάνων κενοὶ ψόφοι.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ δίκαιος Ἐζεκίας ὁ Βασιλεὺς ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Εἰ δακρύσας ἦν Ἐζεκίας, ὡς πάλαι,
Ζωῆς ἂν ἄλλην εὗρε προσθήκην πάλιν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Ἄννης, τῆς θυγατρὸς Φανουήλ.
Οὐ γῆς ἀπῆρεν ἡ Φανουὴλ θυγάτηρ,
Ἕως ἐφ' αὐτῆς εἶδε τὸν Θεὸν βρέφος.
Οἱ ἅγιοι τριάκοντα τρεῖς μάρτυρες, οἱ ἐξ Ἡρακλείας, πυρὶ τελειοῦνται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Moses, who is also called Moses the Black, was a slave, but because of his evil life, his master cast him out, and he became a ruthless thief, dissolute in all his ways. Later, however, coming to repentance, he converted, and took up the monastic life under Saint Isidore of Scete. He gave himself over to prayer and the mortification of the carnal mind with such diligence that he later became a priest of exemplary virtue. He was revered by all for his lofty ascetical life and for his great humility. Once the Fathers in Scete asked Moses to come to an assembly to judge the fault of a certain brother, but he refused. When they insisted, he took a basket which had a hole in it, filled it with sand, and carried it on his shoulders. When the Fathers saw him coming they asked him what the basket might mean. He answered, "My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and I am come this day to judge failings which are not mine." When a barbarian tribe was coming to Scete, Moses, conscious that he himself had slain other men when he was a thief, awaited them and was willingly slain by them with six other monks, at the end of the fourth century. He was a contemporary of Saint Arsenius the Great (see May 8).
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Τής ερήμου πολίτης, καί εν σώματι Άγγελος, καί θαυματουργός ανεδείχθης, θεοφόρε Πατήρ ημών Μωσή, νηστεία, αγρυπνία, προσευχή, ουράνια χαρίσματα λαβών, θεραπεύεις τούς νοσούντας, καί τάς ψυχάς τών πίστει προστρεχόντων σοι, Δόξα τώ δεδωκότι σοι ισχύν, δόξα τώ σέ στεφανώσαντι, δόξα τώ ενεργούντι διά σού πάσιν ιάματα.
Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Moses, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Αιθιόπων πρόσωπα, απορραπίσας, νοητών ανέλαμψας, καθάπερ ήλιος φαιδρός, φωταγωγών τάς ψυχάς ημών, τών σέ τιμώντων, Μωσή παμμακάριστε.
O all-blest and righteous Father Moses, thou didst drive away the passions' darkness, being richly illumined with light divine; and with thy vigilant prayers, thou didst wither up the wanton pride of the flesh, and didst mount on high to the citadel above, where do thou continually entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.
Saint Job of Pochaev was born about 1551 in southwest Galicia of a pious Orthodox family. In his tenth year the Saint departed for the Ugornitsky Monastery of our Saviour in the Carpathian Mountains. Tonsured after two years, he was ordained hieromonk about 1580. Renowned for his meekness and humility, Job was invited by the great zealot for Holy Orthodoxy in the Carpatho-Russia, Prince Constantine Ostrozhky, to be Abbot of the Monastery of the Cross in Dubno. In his zeal for the preservation and propagation of the Orthodox Faith, and to counteract the propaganda of the Uniates, he printed and widely disseminated Orthodox spiritual and liturgical books. About 1600 he removed to the Mountain of Pochaev where at insistence of the brethren, he became Abbot of the Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos, which he enlarged and made to flourish. Through his labours, a large printing works was founded at Pochaev and greatly assisted in the nurture of the Orthodox faithful in that region. His monastery became the center of the Orthodox Church in western Ukraine. The Saint reposed, having taken the schema with the name of John, in 1651, at the advanced age of one hundred.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Having acquired the patience of the long-suffering forefather, having resembled the Baptist in abstinence, and sharing the divine zeal of both, thou wast granted to receive their names, and wast a fearless preacher of the true Faith. In this way thou didst bring a multitude of monastics to Christ, and thou didst strengthen all the people in Orthodoxy, O Job, our holy father. Pray that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Thou wast a pillar of the true Faith, a zealot for the commandments of the Gospel, a convicter of pride, an intercessor and teacher of the humble. Wherefore, ask that forgiveness of sins be granted unto them that bless thee; and do thou keep thy community unharmed, O Job our Father, who dost resemble the much-suffering patriarch.
On this day, we celebrate the Synaxis of the Kiev Cave Fathers who were laid to rest in the Far Caves of Saint Theodosius in Kiev (see also Sept. 22-28).
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Together with the whole assembly of the monastic Saints, we honour today the noetic sun and brilliant moon of the founding Fathers of the Kiev Caves. For these illumine the firmament of the Church and enlighten them that toil in the darkness of the passions. By their prayers, they grant help from Christ God in the time of all tribulations and they make entreaty for the deliverance of our souls.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Holy and righteous servants of God from the Kiev Caves, the chosen of the generations, ye have shone forth in these hills by your virtues; the earth hath not concealed you, but rather Heaven and the dwellings of Paradise have been opened unto you. Wherefore, we offer hymns of praise unto God Who hath glorified you. Since ye have boldness, make intercession by your prayers, that they who venerate your whole assembly be delivered from all misfortunes, since ye are our intercessors and mediators before God.
Ο ληστής, που μετανόησε στο σταυρό και βρήκε σωτηρία, δεν είναι ο τελευταίος. Από τότε πολλοί αμαρτωλοί και λησταί, που είπαν με αληθινή διάθεση μετανοίας το "Μνήσθητί μου, Κύριε...", βρήκαν σωτηρία. Ένας τέτοιος είναι κι ο όσιος Μωϋσής ο Αιθίοψ, του οποίου σήμερα η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Αυτός είναι ο σκοπός, όπου γι'αυτόν ήρθε ο Θεός στον κόσμο, για νανοίξη την θύρα της σωτηρίας στους αμαρτωλούς. Κι είναι τόση η αναγεννητική και ανακαινιστική του δύναμη, που όλη η ιστορία της Εκκλησίας είν' ένα ξανάνιωμα του κόσμου, γιατί ακριβώς η Εκκλησία δεν κάνει άλλο παρά να συνεχίζη το έργο του Σωτήρος Χριστού εις τους αιώνας. Ο Χριστός πήρε τελώνες και τους έκαμε Αποστόλους και η Εκκλησία πήρε αμαρτωλούς και κακούργους και τους έκαμεν Αγίους. Τόση είναι η δύναμη του Θεού και τέτοιο είναι το έργο της Εκκλησίας. Έργο ανακαινιστικό και σωτήριο, με την αληθινή έννοια της ανακαινίσεως και της σωτηρίας.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μωϋσῆς ὁ Αἰθίοπας
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μωϋσῆς ἔζησε στὴν Αἴγυπτο καὶ στὴν ἀρχὴ ἦταν λῃστής. Ἀλλὰ τὸ φῶς τῆς γνώσης καὶ τῆς μετάνοιας δὲν ἄργησε νὰ φωτίσει τὸ δρόμο του. Ἡ μεγάλη ἐπιείκεια ποὺ ἔδειξε πρὸς αὐτὸν κάποιος χριστιανός, ἐνῷ αὐτὸς τὸν εἶχε βλάψει, ἐπέφερε στὸν Μωϋσῆ ψυχικὴ ἀνακαίνιση. Πίστεψε, ἔγινε χριστιανὸς καὶ κατόπιν μοναχός. Ἀγωνίστηκε σκληρὰ μέσα στὴν ἔρημο καὶ ἀπέκτησε μεγάλη πνευματικὴ σύνεση καὶ ἀρετή. Ἡ φήμη του ἔφερνε στὸ ἐρημητήριό του πολλοὺς χριστιανούς, ποὺ ἄκουγαν μὲ δέος τὴν διδασκαλία του κατὰ τῆς ὑπερηφάνειας καὶ τῆς κατάκρισης. Εἶμαι, ἔλεγε, ὁ χειρότερος τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν. Τὰ περασμένα μας ἁμαρτήματα πρέπει νὰ τὰ ἔχουμε πάντα μπροστά μας καὶ νὰ λυπούμαστε γι᾿ αὐτά. Αὐτὸ εἶναι ἡ καλύτερη μέθοδος γιὰ νὰ φυλάξουμε τὸν ἑαυτό μας μὲ τὴν βοήθεια τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀσφαλῆ. Ἂν νομίσουμε ὅτι εἴμαστε πνευματικὰ ὄρθιοι, τότε ἀκριβῶς εἶναι ὁ μεγάλος κίνδυνος μήπως πέσουμε. Γιὰ νὰ μὴ φοβόμαστε τὸ Θεό, ὀφείλουμε νὰ φοβόμαστε πολὺ τὸν ἑαυτό μας, δηλαδὴ τὶς ἀδυναμίες καὶ τὰ πάθη μας. Μὲ τέτοια ἁγία ζωή, ὁ Μωϋσῆς ἔφθασε στὸ 75ο ἔτος τῆς ἡλικίας του. Ὥσπου ξαφνικά, εἰδωλολάτρες λῃστὲς εἰσέβαλαν στὸ σπήλαιό του καὶ τὸν σκότωσαν μὲ μαχαίρια. (Σύμφωνα ὅμως μὲ τὴν Συναξαριακὴ πηγὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικόδημου, ὁ Ἅγιος Μωϋσῆς ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Διομήδης καὶ Λαυρέντιος
Μαρτύρησαν, ἀφοῦ τοὺς θανάτωσαν μὲ βέλη, δεμένους σ᾿ ἕνα πλάτανο.
Ὁ Δίκαιος βασιλιᾶς Ἐζεκίας
Ἦταν γιὸς τοῦ ἀποστάτη βασιλιᾶ τοῦ Ἰούδα Ἄχαζ, ποὺ μὲ τόση μανία ὑποστήριζε τὴν λατρεία τῶν εἰδώλων. Ἀλλὰ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὴν τὴν ἀγκαθιά, ἐπέτρεψε ὁ Θεὸς καὶ βγῆκε λουλούδι. Διότι ὁ γιὸς καὶ διάδοχός του ἀκολούθησε δρόμο ἐντελῶς ἀντίθετο ἀπὸ τὸν πατρικό. Καταπολέμησε τὴν εἰδωλολατρία, ἔδωσε στὴ γιορτὴ τοῦ ἰουδαϊκοῦ Πάσχα περισσότερη μεγαλοπρέπεια, καὶ ὑποστήριξε μὲ τὸ προσωπικό του παράδειγμα καὶ τὸ βασιλικό του κῦρος τὴν λατρεία τοῦ ἀληθινοῦ Θεοῦ. Καὶ ὁ Θεὸς ὅμως, βοήθησε τὸν ἐκλεκτό του βασιλιᾶ σ᾿ ὅλα τὰ ἔργα του. Ἔτσι ὁ Ἐζεκίας, ὄχι μόνο τοὺς Φιλισταίους κατόρθωσε νὰ νικήσει, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ζυγὸ τῶν Ἀσσυρίων ἀποτίναξε, κατατροπώνοντας τὸ βασιλιά τους Σεναχιρεὶμ σὲ κάποια ἐκστρατεία του. Συμβούλους στὴ δημόσια ζωή του ὁ Ἐζεκίας, εἶχε τοὺς προφῆτες Ἡσαΐα καὶ Μιχαία. Ἐπίσης, ὑποστήριξε τὴν γεωργία καὶ τὸ ἐμπόριο, ὀχύρωσε τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, ἐμπλούτισε τὸ πόσιμο νερό της, ἔφερε σὲ ἀνθηρότατη θέση τὸ βασιλικὸ θησαυρό, δηλαδὴ τὸ δημόσιο ταμεῖο, καὶ στόλισε λαμπρὰ τὸν ναὸ τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ἀλλὰ στὸν Ἐζεκία ὀφείλεται καὶ ἡ σύσταση ἐπιτροπῆς, ποὺ συνάθροισε τὰ διάφορα μνημεῖα τῆς ἰουδαϊκῆς ἐθνικῆς γραμματολογίας. Ὁ Ἐζεκίας πέθανε τὸ 696 π.Χ. καὶ τάφηκε μὲ μεγάλη πομπὴ στὸν ὑψηλότερο τάφο τῶν υἱῶν τοῦ Δαβίδ. Διότι ὑπῆρξε ὁ καλύτερος, μοναδικὰ καλύτερος, ἀπὸ ὅλους τους βασιλεῖς τοῦ Ἰούδα.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἄννα θυγατέρα τοῦ Φανουήλ
Βλέπε βιογραφικό της σημείωμα στὶς 3 Φεβρουαρίου, ὅπου καὶ ἡ κυρίως μνήμη της.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι 33 Μάρτυρες ἀπὸ τὴν Ἡράκλεια
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ πυρός.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Δάμων ἱερομάρτυρας
Ἄγνωστος στοὺς Συναξαριστὲς καὶ τὰ Μηναῖα. Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναγράφεται στὸ Σιναϊτικὸ Κώδικα 631, ὅπου ὑπάρχουν καὶ δυὸ Στιχηρὰ (τροπάρια) στὸν Ἅγιο Δάμωνα.
St Moses of Ethiopia (400)
He is also called Moses the Black. He was a slave, but was cast out by his master due to his evil life. He then became the leader of a murderous band of robbers in Egypt. He came to repentance and took up monastic life in the desert under St Isidore of Sketis. For many years he struggled tirelessly, through prayer, fasting and vigils, with lustful and violent thoughts; he was finally freed of them through the prayers of St Isidore. He wa revered by all the brethren for his ascetical life, his wisdom, and his deep humility. Once a brother committed some sin and the monks gathered to judge him. Moses at first refused to go at all, but when they insisted, he filled an old, leaky basket with sand and carried it into the assembly on his back. When the brethren asked him what his action meant, he said "My sins run out behind me, and I do not even see them, and I have come to judge my brother." The monk was forgiven. In time the fame of this humblest of monks spread so far that kings and bishops travelled into the desert to seek his wisdom and his blessing. In his old age, he was warned that a band of brigands was coming to attack the Skete. He refused to leave saying, "It is written: he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." So, mindful that he had slain others by the sword, he willingly awaited his own murder. Six other monks who remained with him were also slain.
† Uncovering of the Relics of St Job of Pochaev (1651)
For his life see May 6.
Synaxis of the Holy Fathers of the Kiev Caves
Righteous Anna the Prophetess (1st c.)
Righteous Hezekiah, King of Judah (691 BC)
New Hieromartyr Chrysostom, metropolitan of Smyrna (1922)
Repose of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mt Athos (1959) (August 15 OC)
Born on the island of Paros in 1898, he entered monastic life in 1921 in response to a heavenly vision. Traveling to Mt Athos he first lived the communal monastic life, but later moved to a Skete for greater solitude. There he received the gift of ceaseless prayer. Elder Joseph and his companion in struggle, Elder Arsenios, moved to St Anne's Skete, where they remained for the rest of their lives. Here a small company of disciples slowly gathered around them. Many of these, like silent Apostles, have spread out through the Orthodox world, contributing much to its spiritual renewal.
The Monk Moses Murin the Black lived during the IV Century in Egypt. He was an Ethiopian, and he was black of skin and therefore called "Murin" (meaning "like an Ethiopian"). In his youth he was the slave of an important man, but after he committed a murder, his master banished him, and he joined in with a band of robbers. Because of his mean streak and great physical strength they chose him as their leader. Moses with his band of brigands did many an evil deed -- both murders and robberies, so much so that people were afraid even at the mere mention of his name. Moses the brigand spent several years leading suchlike a sinful life, but through the great mercy of God he repented, leaving his band of robbers and going off to one of the wilderness monasteries. And here for a long time he wept, beseeching that they admit him amidst the number of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance; but the former robber was not to be driven away nor silenced, in demanding that they should accept him. In the monastery the Monk Moses was completely obedient to the hegumen and the brethren, and he poured forth many a tear, bewailing his sinful life. After a certain while the Monk Moses withdrew to a solitary cell, where he spent the time in prayer and the strictest of fasting in a very austere lifestyle. One time 4 of the robbers of his former band descended upon the cell of the Monk Moses and he, not having lost his great physical strength, he tied them all up and taking them over his shoulder, he brought them to the monastery, where he asked of the elders what to do with them. The elders ordered that they be set free. The robbers, learning that they had chanced upon their former ringleader, and that he had dealt kindly with them, -- they themselves followed his example: they repented and became monks. And later, when the rest of the band of robbers heard about the repentance of the Monk Moses, then they too gave up their brigandage and became fervent monks.
The Monk Moses did not quickly become free from the passions. He went often to the monastery hegumen, Abba Isidor, seeking advice on how to be delivered from the passions of profligacy. Being experienced in the spiritual struggle, the elder taught him never to overeat of food, to be partly hungry whilst observing the strictest moderation. But the passions would not cease for the Monk Moses in his dreams. Then Abba Isidor taught him the all-night vigil. The monk stood the whole night at prayer, not being on bended knees so as not to drop off to sleep. From his prolonged struggles the Monk Moses fell into despondency, and when there arose thoughts about leaving his solitary cell, Abba Isidor instead strengthened the resolve of his student. In a vision he showed him many a demon in the west, prepared for battle, and in the East a still greater quantity of holy Angels, likewise readied for fighting. Abba Isidor explained to the Monk Moses, that the power of the Angels would prevail over the power of the demons, and in the long struggle with the passions it was necessary for him to become completely cleansed of his former sins.
The Monk Moses undertook a new effort. Making the rounds by night of the wilderness cells, he carried water from the well to each brother. He did this especially for the elders, who lived far off from the well and who were not easily able to carry their own water. One time, kneeling over the well, the Monk Moses felt a powerful blow upon his back and he fell down at the well like one dead, laying there in that position until dawn. Thus did the devils take revenge upon the monk for his victory over them. In the morning the brethren carried him to his cell, and he lay there a whole year crippled up. Having recovered, the monk with firm resolve confessed to the hegumen, that he would continue to asceticise. But the Lord Himself put limits to this struggle of many years: Abba Isidor blessed his student and said to him, that the profligate passions had already gone from him. The elder commanded him to commune the Holy Mysteries and in peace to go to his own cell. And from that time the Monk Moses received from the Lord the power over demons.
Accounts about his exploits spread amongst the monks and even beyond the bounds of the wilderness. The governor of the land wanted to see the saint. Having learned about this, the Monk Moses decided to hide away from any visitors and he departed his own cell. Along the way he met up with servants of the governor, who asked him, how to get to the cell of the wilderness-dweller Moses. The monk answered them: "Go on no further to this false and unworthy monk". The servants returned to the monastery, where the governor was waiting, and they conveyed to him the words of the elder they had chanced upon. The brethren, hearing a description of the elder's appearance, all as one acknowledged that they had come upon the Monk Moses himself.
Having spent many a year at monastic exploits, the Monk Moses was ordained deacon. The bishop attired him in white vesture and said: "Abba Moses is now entirely white". The saint answered: "Vladyka, what makes it purely white -- the outer or the inner?" Through humility the saint reckoned himself unworthy to accept the dignity of deacon. One time the bishop decided to test him and he bid the clergy to drive him out of the altar, whilst reviling him for being an unworthy black-Ethiopian. With full humility the monk accepted the abuse. Having put him to the test, the bishop then ordained the monk to be presbyter. And in this dignity the Monk Moses asceticised for 15 years and gathered round himself 75 disciples.
When the monk reached age 75, he forewarned his monks, that soon brigands would descend upon the skete and murder all that were there. The saint blessed his monks to leave in good time, so as to avoid the violent death, His disciples began to beseech the monk to leave together with them, but he replied: "I many a year already have awaited the time, when upon me there should be fulfilled the words which my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, did speak: "All, who take up the sword, shalt perish by the sword" (Mt. 26: 52). After this seven of the brethren remained with the monk, and one of these hid not far off during the coming of the robbers, The robbers killed the Monk Moses and the six monks that remained with him. Their death occurred in about the year 400.
The Monk Savva of Krypetsk was tonsured at Athos, and from there he came to Pskov. He began to asceticise on Mount Snetna at the Mother of God monastery, near Pskov, and thereafter he went off to a more remote spot along the River Tolva, at the monastery of the Monk Evphrosyn (Comm. 15 May). Finally, he withdrew for complete solitude to the Krypetsk wilderness, 15 versts from the Tolva, and he settled alone in a small cave in the impenetrable forest. For food the hermit had bread and water, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing. Living the life of an hermit he was much assailed by unclean spirits, but always he prevailed over them through prayer. And after several years in the solitary life, those zealous for wilderness life began to gather round the Monk Savva. They besought him to form a monastery and build a church, in honour of the Apostle John the Theologian. The monk refused to be hegumen of the monastery and entrusted its guidance to the monk Kassian. Many came out from Pskov to the austere starets-elder, and he healed and admonished them, but never did he accept gifts from them.
One time the Pskov prince Yaroslav Vasil'evich Obolensky, who frequently visited at the monastery, made journey with his sick wife to the saint. The Monk Savva sent off to him a message saying: "The starets, the sinner Savva, telleth thee, prince, enter not into the monastery with the princess; such is our rule here -- women are not to enter the monastery; if thou transgress this fatherly command, thy princess wilt not receive healing". The prince asked forgiveness, since it was through ignorance that he was on the point of transgressing the rule. The Monk Savva came out through the monastery gates together with the brethren and there served a molieben. The princess was healed. Through the mediation of the prince, in 1487 Pskov received a grammota-deed to the lands for the monastery.
The monk taught layfolk to watch over their purity, reminding them about the injunction of the Apostle against the defilers of the body. He told the rich and the judges, not to make their living at the expense of the poor and to preserve rightful truth. He frequently reminded everyone to avoid quarrels and enmity, to preserve love and peace and to overlook the faults of others by courtesy, even as they in turn have forgiven us. At the monastery from the very beginning there had been introduced a strict life-in-common. And then, when sufficient brethren and means had been gathered, there was nothing in the cell of the monk save for two icons, his monk's garb and the cot, upon which he lay down to take his rest. By suchlike poverty he taught the brethren. The monk commanded them to work the land with their own hands. He said: "For how can we call the ancient ascetics our fathers, when we live not by their manner of life, how then can we be accounted their children? They were homeless and poor, they spent their time in caves and in the wilderness and for the Lord with all their strength they subjected their flesh to spirit. And they knew respite neither by day, nor by night. We should love the good Lord, children, not by sounds only nor by our manner of attire for showing off our love for Him, but by deeds: by love one for another, by tears, by fasting, by every manner of temperance, just as the ancient fathers did this".
The grateful prince built through the fens and the swamps a bridge to the monastery 1400 sazhen [1 sazhen = 7 feet] in length. After his death (+ 28 August 1495), the Monk Savva did not forsake the monastery, and many a time came to its defense. At night one time robbers approached the monastery, but they then caught sight of an august elder, who held in hand a staff and threateningly ordered them to repent. In the morning they learned that there was no suchlike elder at the monastery, and they realised, that this had been the Monk Savva himself. The leader of the robbers made his repentance to the hegumen and remained to live at the monastery.
The Monk Savva was tall of stature, with a beard grey as snow, roundish and thick and not very long. In suchlike visage he appeared in the mid-XVI Century to the monk Isaiah, in showing him where to find his undecayed relics. Thereafter, in the year 1555, at the request of the Krypetsk brethren, the Pskov priest Vasilii compiled the life of the Monk Savva, and the feastday to him was established.
The Monk Job of Pochaev died on 28 October 1651. On 28 August 1833 the relics of the Monk Job were solemnly opened for general veneration. In the year 1902 the Holy Synod decreed on this day to carry the holy relics of the Monk Job round the Uspensk cathedral of the Pochaev Lavra-monastery after the Divine Liturgy.
Righteous Anna the Prophetess was descended from the tribe of Aser, and was the daughter of Phanuel. Having married, she lived with her husband for 7 years until his death. After his death, Righteous Anna led a strict and pious life, "not leaving the Temple, and serving God both day and night in fasting and prayer" (Lk. 2: 37). When Righteous Anna was 84 years old, she was vouchsafed to see at the Jerusalem Temple the Infant Jesus Christ, brought for dedication to God as a firstborn under the Mosaic law. Righteous Anna heard the prophetic words of Saint Simeon the God-Receiver, spoken to the MostHoly Mother of God. The Prophetess Anna together with Saint Simeon glorified God, and told everyone, that the Messiah was come into the world (Lk. 2: 38).
The memory of Righteous Anna occurs also on 3 February, when she is remembered together with Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver, on the Afterfeast of the Sretenie-Meeting of the Lord.
The GreatMartyress Shushanika, Princess of Rana (+ 475), was the daughter of the reknown Armenian military-commander Vardanes. Her actual name -- was Vardandukht, but the name she was fond of using -- was Shushanika. From her childhood years Saint Shushanika distinguished herself by her fear of God and her piety.
She entered into marriage with the pitiakhshah (governor of outlying districts of Gruzia) named Varxenes, who renounced Christ and became an apostate to the faith. In the eighth year of the rule of the shah Peroz, Varxenes set off to Kteziphon, whereat was the residence of the Persian shah, and he became a Mazdaeite (fire-worshipper), so as to please the shah. Having learned about this upon the return of her husband, Saint Shushanika did not want to continue married life with an apostate from God. She left the palace and began to live in a small cell, not far off from the palace church. The priest of the empress, named Yakov-James Tsurtaveli (afterwards the author of her vita), relates that the holy empress, learning of her husband's intent to resort to force, was filled with determination to stand firmly in the faith, despite any sort of entreaties, threats or tortures. Rejecting the offers of Varxenes, on 8 January 469 she was subjected to a beating by him and thrown into chains, and on 14 April 469 she was locked up in a prison fortress, where she remained for six and an half years. "Six years she spent imprisoned and yet adorned with virtues: by fasting, by vigilance, standing on her feet, with unflagging prostrations and the incessant reading of books. She was wrought into a spiritual flute, sanctified and embellished by prison". To the prison came many of the afflicted, "and each, through the prayers of Blessed Shushanika, received from God the Lover-of-Mankind that in which they were in need of: the childless -- children, the sick -- health, the blind -- sight". By this time Varxenes had converted to fire-worship the children of Saint Shushanika, and they ceased to visit their imprisoned mother. In the seventh year of the imprisonment of Saint Shushanika sores began to appear on her legs and body. Jodjik, the brother of the pitiakhshah Varxenes, having learned that Blessed Shushanika was close to death, managed to get into the prison with his wife and children and he besought of Saint Shushanika: "Forgive us our guilt and bless us". Saint Shushanika forgave them and blessed them, saying: "All the present life is transient and inconstant, like a flower of the fields; one plants it, and another is pleased, one squanders it on trivia while another doth gather, one uses it for oneself, but another doth find...".
On the eve of the blessed death of the holy martyress, she was visited in prison by the Gruzia Katholikos-Archbishop Samuel I (474-502), by Bishop John and by the priest of the martyress Yakov-James Tsurtaveli (over the course of all six years he had constantly visited and consoled her). The court bishop Athots (Photios) communed Saint Shushanika. Her last words were: "Blest be the Lord my God, wherefore with peace I do repose and sleep". The end of the blessed martyress ensued on 17 October, on the feastday of the Unmercenary Martyrs Cosmas and Damian, and it was particularly on this day that the ancient Church celebrated her memory.
The relics of the holy Martyress Shushanika rested at first in a church in the city of Tsortag. The Tsortag church after a certain while fell under the lead of an Armenian bishop -- a Monophysite, and the Katholikos-Archbishop of Gruzia Samuel IV (582-591) transferred the holy relics of Saint Shushanika to the city of Tbilisi, where in the year 586 they were put into a chapel of the Metekh church, on the south side of the altar. And indeed, it is in connection with this event that the memory of Saint Shushanika was transferred from 17 October to 28 August.
Righteous Hezekiah (721-691 B.C.) was the son of the impious king Ahaz. The life of Righteous Hezekiah is described in the Bible (4  Kings 18-20).
At age 25 he became king of Judah and he reigned at Jerusalem for 29 years. A zealous worshipper of the True God, Righteous Hezekiah reopened for Divine-services the Solomon Temple. During the time of the celebration of the Passover, to which he summoned all the subjects of the kingdom of Israel, Righteous Hezekiah gave orders to destroy the idols throughout all his kingdom, while reminding the people about the chastisements which befell their ancestors for forsaking the True God. After this, idol-worship ceased not only in the kingdom of Judah, but also in many places in the kingdom of Israel. For this, God delivered him from his enemies and fulfilled his petitions. Thus, in the 14th year of the reign of Hezekiah, the Assyrian king Sennacherib son of Salmanassar, having conquered Israel, gathered his forces to make war upon Hezekiah. The Assyrian king took the fortress of Lachis and sent an army towards Jerusalem, demanding that the Jewish king surrender. Righteous Hezekiah turned in prayer to God, and an Angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 soldiers in the Assyrian camp. Soon after the withdrawal of Sennacherib, Righteous Hezekiah fell ill. The Prophet Isaiah came to him through the will of God and bid him make a deathbed testament. But the power of the prayer of Righteous Hezekiah was so great that God prolonged his life for another 15 years. His prayer was fervent, when he besought God to help him. But even more blazing was his prayer of thanks. Righteous Hezekiah died at age 54 and was buried with great reverence at Jerusalem. The memory of Righteous Hezekiah is likewise celebrated on Cheesefare Saturday.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. VENERABLE MOSES THE BLACK [THE ROBBER]
Moses was an Ethiopian by birth and by profession, at first, a robber and leader of a band of robbers and, after that, a penitent and great ascetic. As the slave of a master, Moses escaped and joined the robbers. Because of his great physical strength and arrogance, the robbers chose him as their leader. Suddenly, Moses was overcome with pangs of conscience and repentance for the misdeeds, which he had committed. He left the group, entered a monastery and gave himself completely in obedience to his spiritual father and to the monastic rule. He benefited much from the teachings of Saints Macarius, Arsenius and Isidore. Later, he withdrew to solitude in a cell where he dedicated himself completely to physical labor, prayer, vigils and godly-thoughts. Tormented by the demon of fornication, Moses confessed to Isidore, his spiritual father, and from him, received counsel to fast even more and never to eat to full satisfaction. When even this did not help he, at the counsel of the elder, began to keep vigil at night and to pray standing; after that, he began the practice of bringing water to the elderly monks from a distant well all night long. After six years of terrible struggles, St. Isidore finally miraculously healed him of fornicating thoughts, fantasies and dreams brought about on him by demons. Moses was ordained a priest in old age. He founded his own monastery and had seventy-five disciples and lived in this life for seventy-five years. He foresaw his death and, one day, he told his disciples to flee for the barbarians were going to attack the monastery. When the disciples also urged him to flee with them, Moses said that he must die by violence for, at one time, he himself committed violence and, according to the words: "For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (St. Matthew 26:52). He remained there with six brethren and the barbarians came and slew them. One of the brethren, hidden in the vicinity, beheld and saw seven shining wreaths as they descended upon the seven martyrs.
2. THE VENERABLE SAVA OF PSKOV AND KRYPETSK
Sava was a Serb by descent. He lived a life of asceticism, at first, in the monastery of the Holy Birth-giver of God in Pskov and then was abbot of that monastery. But they praised him and he fled from the glory of men and withdrew to the shores of Lake Krypetsk where he founded a new community dedicated to St. John the Theologian. Nevertheless, even here, he was unable to conceal his fame and prominence. He was visited by Prince Yaroslav of Pskov and his wife. Sava would not allow his wife to enter the monastery but rather blessed her and prayed to God for her outside the monastery and healed her of a certain disease. This saint of God found rest in the year 1495 A.D. and his relics were and remained miracle-working. Among his visitors to Krypetsk, the Abbot Dositheus is mentioned.
3. THE ASSEMBLY OF ALL THE CHOSEN MEN OF GOD OF THE MONASTERY OF THE CAVES IN KIEV
HYMN OF PRAISE
VENERABLE MOSES THE BLACK [THE ROBBER]
Blessed is he upon whom God shows mercy!
The mercy of God is joy,
In both worlds joy.
Moses Murin [the Black] as a prodigal son
Repented and to God returned,
By much weeping, many sins repaid
By much fasting, himself withered,
Black in the face, shining in the soul.
By many all-night vigils, passions he tamed,
Of demons authority, freed himself.
While his soul, as a lake became
Atop the mountains that, into the heavens gaze.
In which heaven mirrors its face.
When once, they asked Moses
"Do not the sins of others sadden you?"
"Sinful men, do they not concern you?"
Saint Moses tearfully replied:
"Whoever has a corpse in the house
That one does not weep over someone else's corpse
Rather weeps over his own corpse."
The lion, into a lamb, often changes,
Such a miracle, only Christ performs.
Moses, a lion in the mountain was
And, a gentle lamb became.
By his holy prayers, let
God grant salvation to us also.
A true Christian avoids the praise of men; not only avoids, but has a true fear of it. St. Sava of Pskov left the office of abbot, the monastery and the good brotherhood of the monastery and fled to a desolate place to escape the praise of men, for praise of men robs our heart. A devout prince, upon hearing of the mortification of St. Moses Murin [the Black], went with his retinue into the desert to see him. Informing Moses that the prince was coming to his monastery, Moses quickly ran out and began to flee and to hide somewhere, but he unexpectedly encountered the high-ranking visitors. "Where is the cell of Abba Moses?" the servants of the prince asked not suspecting that this was Moses himself. Moses opened his mouth and said: "What do you want him for? He is an ignorant old man, very untruthful and completely impure in life." Hearing this, the visitors were astonished and continued on. When they arrived at the cell of Moses, they inquired about the elder and the monks said that he was not there. Then they began to relate what a monk on the road had said about Moses. The monks were saddened and asked them: "How did he look, this old man, who spoke to you mocking words about this holy man?" and when they said that he was very dark in the face, tall and in a miserable garment; the monks cried out loudly: "but that was indeed the Abba Moses!" By this incident, the prince benefited greatly spiritually and rejoicefully returned to his home.
To contemplate the nobility of David (2 Samuel 1 - 2 Kings 1):
1. How a messenger arrived and informed David about the death of Saul and Jonathan thinking to receive a reward for that;
2. How David bitterly mourned and lamented for Saul who wished him [Daivd] nothing but death.
About the forms of the Messiah
"And we saw that He had no form nor comeliness" (Isaiah 53:2).
This, the prophet speaks about Christ the Lord as a man: "He had no form nor comeliness!" How is it that He Who gave form to every created thing and who created the beautiful angels of heaven and all the beauty of the universe, that He did not have form and comeliness [beauty]? Brethren, this need not confuse you. He was able to appear in the manner in which He willed. But he did not want to appear in angelic beauty as He did not want to appear in royal power and in the luxury of the wealthy. He who enters a house of sorrow does not dress in the most beautiful clothes, neither does a doctor dress in his best clothes when he visits the gravely ill. But the Lord entered a house of sorrow and into a hospital. The body is the garment of the soul. He dressed in a simple garment to impress us, not by His dress but rather by the power of the spirit. We do not know exactly what His appearance was. According to tradition, His face was swarthy and His hair was of a chestnut color. When King Abgar sent Ananias his artist to paint the face of the Lord, he was not able to draw even a line on the cloth for, it is said that, Christ's face shown with an unusual light.
After all, even if Christ had clothed Himself in the most beautiful body, such a body as only He is able to fashion, what would that physical beauty of His be in comparison to the immortal beauty of His Divinity? The greatest earthly beauty is merely only a shadow of the heavenly beauty. The Prophet Daniel was a young and handsome man but when an angel of God stood before him, he himself said:
"…there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness turned in me into corruption" (Daniel 10:8). What is the face of man from earth in comparison to the likeness of an immortal angel of God? As darkness in comparison to the light! Of course, even the prophet looking at Christ the Immortal King in the flesh of man and comparing His earthly likeness with His Immortal likeness, had to cry out: "He had no form nor comeliness."
O Gentle and All-gentle Lord, Who for our sake was clothed in our miserable physical garment to serve us and not to frighten us, to You be glory and thanks, to You be glory and thanks.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.