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.
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.
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.
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.
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.