FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Ecclesiastical New Year
Synaxis of the Recovery of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Miasenae
Jesus (Joshua) of Navi
Symeon the Stylite
40 Holy Women Martyrs of Thrace
Holy Martyrs Calliste and Siblings: Euodus and Hermogenes
Righteous Meletius, The Struggler of the Muioupolis Mountain
Ἀρχή τῆς Ἰνδίκτου, ἤτοι τοῦ Νέου Ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ Ἔτους.
Ἡ Σύναξις τῆς ἐν τῷ Πανσέπτῳ Πατριαρχικῷ Ναῷ κατατεθειμένης Εἰκόνος τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου, τῆς ἐπιλεγομένης· «τῆς Παμμακαρίστου».
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Συμεών τοῦ Στυλίτου, τῶν Ἁγίων Τεσσαράκοντα Μαρτύρων παρθένων ἀσκητριῶν καί Ἀμμοῦν Διακόνου καί διδασκάλου αὐτῶν.
Τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Καλλίστης, Εὐόδου καί Ἑρμογένους τῶν αὐταδέλφων. Μελετίου Ὁσίου τοῦ ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῆς Μυϊουπόλεως ἀσκήσαντος. Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναυῆ.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Νικολάου του Κουρταλιώτου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy 2:1-7
TIMOTHY, my son, first of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Πρὸς Τιμόθεον α' 2:1-7
Τέκνον Τιμόθεε, παρακαλῶ οὖν πρῶτον πάντων ποιεῖσθαι δεήσεις, προσευχάς, ἐντεύξεις, εὐχαριστίας, ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, ὑπὲρ βασιλέων καὶ πάντων τῶν ἐν ὑπεροχῇ ὄντων, ἵνα ἤρεμον καὶ ἡσύχιον βίον διάγωμεν ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ καὶ σεμνότητι. Τοῦτο γὰρ καλὸν καὶ ἀπόδεκτον ἐνώπιον τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Θεοῦ, ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν. Εἷς γὰρ Θεός, εἷς καὶ μεσίτης Θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπων, ἄνθρωπος Χριστὸς ᾿Ιησοῦς, ὁ δοὺς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων, τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις, εἰς ὃ ἐτέθην ἐγὼ κήρυξ καὶ ἀπόστολος,- ἀλήθειαν λέγω ἐν Χριστῷ, οὐ ψεύδομαι,- διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀληθεία.
The Reading is from Luke 4:16-22
At that time, Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 4.16-22
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς Ναζαρά, οὗ ἦν τεθραμμένος, καὶ εἰσῆλθε κατὰ τὸ εἰωθὸς αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν σαββάτων εἰς τὴν συναγωγήν, καὶ ἀνέστη ἀναγνῶναι.καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ βιβλίον ῾Ησαΐου τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ ἀναπτύξας τὸ βιβλίον εὗρε τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον· Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέ με, εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέ με, ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν, κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει, κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν. καὶ πτύξας τὸ βιβλίον ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ ἐκάθισε· καὶ πάντων ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες αὐτῷ.ἤρξατο δὲ λέγειν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὅτι σήμερον πεπλήρωται ἡ γραφὴ αὕτη ἐν τοῖς ὠσὶν ὑμῶν.καὶ πάντες ἐμαρτύρουν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔλεγον· οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς ᾿Ιωσήφ;
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Α´ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Ἀρχὴ τῆς, Ἰνδίκτου, ἤτοι τοῦ νέου ἔτους.
Ἴνδικτον ἡμῖν εὐλόγει νέου Χρόνου,
Ὦ καὶ Παλαιέ, καὶ δι᾿ ἀνθρώπους Νέε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμην ποιοῦμεν τοῦ γενομένου θαύματος παρὰ τῆς Ἁγίας Θεοτόκου ἐν τῇ Μονῇ τῶν Μιασηνῶν, καὶ μνήμη τοῦ γενομένου ἐμπρησμοῦ.
Αὐθαιρέτως ἄνεισιν ἄγρα τις ξένη,
Λίμνης βυθοῦ πάντιμος εἰκὼν Παρθένου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Συμεὼν τοῦ Στυλίτου.
Λιπὼν Συμεὼν τὴν ἐπὶ στύλου βάσιν,
Τὴν ἐγγὺς εὗρε τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου στάσιν.
Ὑψιβάτης Συμεὼν Σεπτεμβρίου ἔκθανε πρώτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς ὁσίας Μάρθας, μητρὸς τοῦ Ὁσίου Συμεών, καὶ τῆς ὁσίας Εὐανθίας, καὶ ἡ κοίμησις Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναυῆ.
Ἐν γῇ ξενίζει Μάρθα τὸν Χριστὸν πάλαι.
Σὲ δὲ ξενίζει Μάρθα Χριστὸς ἐν πόλῳ.
Ὃν τοῦ τρέχειν ἔστησεν ἥλιον πάλαι.
Λιπὼν Ἰησοῦς, Ἥλιον δόξης βλέπει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων τεσσαράκοντα γυναικῶν, Μαρτύρων, Παρθένων καὶ Ἀσκητριῶν, καὶ Ἀμμοῦν Διακόνου, καὶ διδασκάλου αὐτῶν.
Δισεικαρίθμοις παρθένοις πῦρ καὶ ξίφος,
Θεοῦ προεξένησαν Υἱὸν νυμφίον.
Ἀμμοῦν καλύπτραν ἔμπυρον δεδεγμένος,
Τὸ σαρκικὸν κάλυμμα χαίρων ἐξέδυ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων καὶ αὐταδέλφων Εὐόδου, Καλλίστης, καὶ Ἑρμογένους.
Κάλλιστον ὄντως εὗρε Καλλίστη τέλος,
Σὺν τοῖς καλοῖς τμηθεῖσα διττοῖς συγγόνοις.
Ὁ ὅσιος Μελέτιος ὁ νέος, ὁ ἐν τῷ ὄρει Νυουπόλεως ἀσκήσας, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ὁ ἅγιος νεομάρτυς, Ἀγγελῆς ὁ ἐν Κωνσταντινοπόλει μαρτυρήσας κατὰ τὸ 1680 ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
For the maintenance of their armed forces, the Roman emperors decreed that their subjects in every district should be taxed every year. This same decree was reissued every fifteen years, since the Roman soldiers were obliged to serve for fifteen years. At the end of each fifteen-year period, an assessment was made of what economic changes had taken place, and a new tax was decreed, which was to be paid over the span of the fifteen years. This imperial decree, which was issued before the season of winter, was named Indictio, that is, Definiton, or Order. This name was adopted by the emperors in Constantinople also. At other times, the latter also used the term Epinemisis, that is, Distribution (Dianome). It is commonly held that Saint Constantine the Great introduced the Indiction decrees in A.D. 312, after he beheld the sign of the Cross in heaven and vanquished Maxentius and was proclaimed Emperor in the West. Some, however (and this seems more likely), ascribe the institution of the Indiction to Augustus Caesar, three years before the birth of Christ. Those who hold this view offer as proof the papal bull issued in A.D. 781 which is dated thus: Anno IV, Indictionis LIII -that is, the fourth year of the fifty-third Indiction. From this, we can deduce the aforementioned year (3 B.C.) by multiplying the fifty-two complete Indictions by the number of years in each (15), and adding the three years of the fifty-third Indiction. There are three types of Indictions: 1) That which was introduced in the West, and which is called Imperial, or Caesarean, or Constantinian, and which begins on the 24th of September; 2) The so-called Papal Indiction, which begins on the 1st of January; and 3) The Constantinopolitan, which was adopted by the Patriarchs of that city after the fall of the Eastern Empire in 1453. This Indiction is indicated in their own hand on the decrees they issue, without the numeration of the fifteen years. This Indiction begins on the 1st of September and is observed with special ceremony in the Church. Since the completion of each year takes place, as it were, with the harvest and gathering of the crops into storehouses, and we begin anew from henceforth the sowing of seed in the earth for the production of future crops, September is considered the beginning of the New Year. The Church also keeps festival this day, beseeching God for fair weather, seasonable rains, and an abundance of the fruits of the earth. The Holy Scriptures (Lev. 23:24-5 and Num. 29:1-2) also testify that the people of Israel celebrated the feast of the Blowing of the Trumpets on this day, offering hymns of thanksgiving. In addition to all the aforesaid, on this feast we also commemorate our Saviour's entry into the synagogue in Nazareth, where He was given the book of the Prophet Esaias to read, and He opened it and found the place where it is written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for which cause He hath anointed Me..." (Luke 4:16-30).
It should be noted that to the present day, the Church has always celebrated the beginning of the New Year on September 1. This was the custom in Constantinople until its fall in 1453 and in Russia until the reign of Peter I. September 1 is still festively celebrated as the New Year at the Patriarchate of Constantinople; among the Jews also the New Year, although reckoned according to a moveable calendar, usually falls in September. The service of the Menaion for January 1 is for our Lord's Circumcision and for the memorial of Saint Basil the Great, without any mention of its being the beginning of a new year.
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Ὁ πάσης δημιουργὸς τῆς κτίσεως, ὁ καιροὺς καὶ χρόνους ἐν τῇ ἰδία ἐξουσία θέμενος, εὐλόγησον τὸν στέφανον τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ τῆς χρηστότητός σου Κύριε, φυλάττων ἐν εἰρήνῃ τοὺς Βασιλεῖς καὶ τὴν πόλιν σου, πρεσβείαις τῆς Θεοτόκου, καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς.
Creator of the universe, setting times and seasons by Your sole authority, bless the cycle of the year of Your grace, O Lord, guarding our rulers and Your nation in peace, at the intercession of the Theotokos, and save us.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ο αρρήτω σύμπαντα, δημιουργήσας σοφία, καί καιρούς ο θέμενος, εν τή αυτού εξουσία, δώρησαι, τώ φιλοχρίστω λαώ σου νίκας, έτους δέ, τάς τε εισόδους καί τάς εξόδους, ευλογήσαις κατευθύνων, ημών τά έργα πρός θείόν σου θέλημα.
You who created all things in Your infinite wisdom, and set the times by Your own authority, grant Your Christian people victories. Blessing our comings and goings throughout this year, guide our works according to Your divine will.
The Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos of Miasenae is celebrated today because of the wonder that was wrought when her holy icon, which was cast into the lake call Zaguru in order to prevent it from being desecrated by the Iconoclast, miraculously arose intact from the depths of the lake after many years.
Apolytikion in the Grave Tone
Χαίρε Κεχαριτωμένη, Θεοτόκε Παρθένε, λιμήν καίπροστασία τού γένους τών ανθρώπων, εκ σού γάρ εσαρκώθη ο Λυτρωτής τού κόσμου. Οθεν καί χαρίτων ηγλάϊσας τώ φέγγει, τήν σήν λαμπράν Εικόνα Μιασηνών τή Μάνδρα, ταύτην γάρ θαυμασίως, εξ υδάτων βυθού καί αύθις ημίν δεδώρησαι.
Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, haven and protection of the race of man; for the Redeemer of the world became incarnate of thee; for thou alone art both mother and virgin, ever blessed and glorified. Intercede with Christ God that peace be granted unto all the world.
Jesus (Joshua) of Navi was born of the tribe of Ephraim in Egypt, in the seventeenth century before Christ. When he was eighty-five years of age, he became Moses' successor. He restrained the River Jordan's flow and allowed the Israelites to cross on foot. He caused the sun to stop in its course when he was waging war against the Amorites. He divided the Promised Land among the Twelve Tribes of Israel and governed them for twenty-five years. He wrote the Old Testament book that bears his name, and having lived 110 years in all, he reposed in the sixteenth century before Christ. His name means "God saves."
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Τού Προφήτου σου Ιησού τήν μνήμην, Κύριε, εορτάζοντες, δι' αυτού σε δυσωπούμεν, Σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Joshua, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
At thy prayer, the sun stood still, O righteous Jesus; for thou rightly wast adorned both with the likeness and the name of Him at Whose death the sun grew dark. Ever entreat Him to save us who honour thee.
Our righteous Father Symeon was born about the year 390 in a certain village named Sis, in the mountain region of Cilicia and Syria. Having first been a shepherd, he entered the monastic discipline at a young age. After trying various kinds of ascetical practices, both in the monastery and then in the wilderness, he began standing on pillars of progressively greater height, and heroically persevered in this for more than forty years; the greater part of this time he spent standing upright, even when one of his feet became gangrenous, and other parts of his body gave way under the strain. He did not adopt this strange way of life out of vainglory, a charge that some of his contemporaries made against him at the first: because he was already famous for his asceticism and holiness before ascending his first pillar (in Greek, style, whence he is called "Stylite"), many pious people came to him wishing to touch his garments, either for healing or for a blessing; to escape the continual vexation they caused, he made a pillar about ten feet high, and then higher and higher, until the fourth and last was about fifty feet high. The Church historian Theodoret of Cyrrhus, an eyewitness of his exploits who wrote of him while Symeon was yet alive, called him "the great wonder of the world." God gave him the grace to persevere in such an astonishing form of asceticism that multitudes came to see him from Persia, Armenia, South Arabia, Georgia, Thrace, Spain, Italy, Gaul, and the British Isles. Theodoret says that he became so famous in Rome that the Nomadic Arabs by the thousands believed in Christ and were baptized because of him; the King of Persia sent envoys to inquire into his way of life, and the Queen asked to be sent oil that he had blessed. He also was a great defender of sound doctrine, and confirmed the Orthodoxy of the Holy Council of Chalcedon for many who had been beguiled by the teachings of the Monophysites, including the Empress Eudocia, widow of Theodosius the Younger. After a life of unheard-of achievements and struggles, he reposed in peace at the age of sixty-nine, in the year 459.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Υπομονής στύλος γέγονας, ζηλώσας τούς προπάτορας Όσιε, τόν Ιώβ εν τοίς πάθεσι, τόν Ιωσήφ εν τοίς πειρασμοίς, καί τήν τών Ασωμάτων πολιτείαν, υπάρχων εν σώματι, Συμεών Πατήρ ημών Όσιε, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thou becamest a pillar of patience and didst emulate the Forefathers, O righteous one: Job in his sufferings, Joseph in temptations, and the life of the bodiless while in the body, O Symeon, our righteous Father, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Τά άνω ζητών, τοίς κάτω συναπτόμενος, καί άρμα πυρός, τόν στύλον εργασάμενος, δι' αυτού συνόμιλος, τών Aγγέλων γέγονας Όσιε, σύν αυτοίς Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, πρεσβεύων απαύστως υπέρ πάντων ημών.
Thou soughtest the heights, though parted not from things below; thy pillar became a chariot of fire for thee. Thou becamest thereby a true companion of the angelic host; and together with them, O Saint, thou ceaselessly prayest Christ God for us all.
Σήμερα η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει την αρχή της Ινδίκτου, δηλαδή του νέου έτους, σύμφωνα με την αρχαία ρωμαϊκή συνήθεια και πολιτική τάξη, κατά την οποία στην πρώτη Σεπτεμβρίου άρχιζε το οικονομικό έτος. Οι ύμνοι και οι ευχές που αναπέμπονται σήμερα στους ναούς, μας δίνουν να εννοήσωμε την μεγάλη σημασία και αξία που έχει ο χρόνος για τη ζωή μας. Είναι το κεφάλαιο που δεν μπορεί να πει κανένας πως δεν τόλαβε, είναι η προθεσμία και η πίστωση χρόνου που παρέχεται στον καθένα, για να εργασθή το αγαθό. Ο Ιησούς Χριστός λέει στα ιερά Ευαγγέλια· "εργάζεσθε έως ημέρα εστί...". Η ημέρα αυτή είναι ο παρών βίος, ο χρόνος της ζωής μας σε τούτο τον κόσμο, το κεφάλαιο που μας εμπιστεύεται ο Θεός, για να το εκμεταλλευτούμε. Συγχρόνως όμως μας υπενθυμίζουν οι σημερινοί ύμνοι, οτι χωρίς την ευλογία του Θεού είναι μάταιος κάθε κόπος στη ζωή μας. "Ευλόγησον τον στέφανον του ενιαυτού...".
Ἀρχὴ τῆς Ἰνδίκτου (δηλαδὴ ἀρχὴ τοῦ νέου Ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ ἔτους)
Γιὰ τὴν περίπτωση αὐτή, ὁ Σ. Εὐστρατιάδης στὸ Ἁγιολόγιό του, γράφει τὰ ἑξῆς: «Λέξις λατινικὴ (indictio) ὁρισμὸν σημαίνουσα καθ᾿ ὃν κατὰ δεκαπενταετὴ περίοδον ἐπληρώνοντο εἰς τοὺς αὐτοκράτορας τῶν Ρωμαίων οἱ φόροι. Κατὰ τὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν παράδοσιν, τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς ἰνδικτιῶνος εἰσήγαγεν ὁ Αὔγουστος Καῖσαρ (1 -14), ὅτε διέταξε τὴν γενικὴν τῶν κατοίκων τοῦ Ρωμαϊκοῦ κράτους ἀπογραφὴν καὶ τὴν εἴσπραξιν τῶν φόρων, κατὰ τὴν πρώτην τοῦ Σεπτεμβρίου μηνός. Ἀπὸ τοῦ Μεγάλου Κωνσταντίνου (313) ἐγένετο ἐπισήμως χρῆσις τῆς Ἰνδικτιῶνος ὡς χρονολογίας, ἔκτοτε δὲ ἡ ἐκκλησία Κωνσταντινουπόλεως μέχρι τοῦ νῦν ἑορτάζει τὴν α´ Σεπτεμβρίου ὡς ἀρχὴν τοῦ ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ ἔτους».
«Ἴνδικτον ἡμῖν εὐλόγει νέου χρόνου,
ᾧ καὶ παλαιὲ καὶ δι᾿ ἀνθρώπους νέε».
Ὁ Ὅσιος Συμεὼν ὁ Στυλίτης
Ἔζησε στὰ μέσα τοῦ 5ου αἰῶνα μ.Χ., ἐπὶ αὐτοκράτορος Λέοντος τοῦ Μεγάλου καὶ Πατριάρχου Ἀντιοχείας Μαρτυρίου. Ὁ Συμεὼν γεννήθηκε στὸ χωριὸ Σισᾶν τῆς Κιλικίας, ἀπὸ γονεῖς βοσκούς. Βοσκὸς ἦταν καὶ αὐτὸς στὰ νεανικά του χρόνια. Ἀπὸ μικρὸς ἦταν ἀφοσιωμένος μὲ ὅλη του τὴν ψυχὴ στὰ θεῖα. Τόσο θερμὲς ἦταν οἱ προσευχές του πρὸς τὸ Θεό, ὥστε πολλὲς φορὲς λουζόταν ἀπὸ δάκρυα. Κάποια μέρα, τοῦ ἔκαναν μεγάλη ἐντύπωση τὰ λόγια του Χριστοῦ, «μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται. Μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται», δηλαδή, μακάριοι εἶναι ἐκεῖνοι ποὺ πενθοῦν γιὰ τὶς ἁμαρτίες τους καὶ γιὰ τὸ κακὸ ποὺ ἐπικρατεῖ στὸν κόσμο, διότι αὐτοὶ θὰ παρηγορηθοῦν ἀπὸ τὸ Θεό. Μακάριοι, ἐπίσης, εἶναι ἐκεῖνοι ποὺ ἔχουν τὴν καρδιά τους καθαρὴ ἀπὸ κάθε μολυσμὸ ἁμαρτίας, διότι αὐτοὶ θὰ δοῦν τὸ Θεό. Ποθώντας, λοιπόν, καὶ ὁ Συμεὼν νὰ κάνει τέτοια ζωή, πῆγε κοντὰ στὸν ὅσιο Ἠλιόδωρο, ὅπου ἔμεινε 10 χρόνια, καὶ ἔγινε μοναχός. Ἐπιθυμώντας, ὅμως, περισσότερη ἡσυχαστικὴ ζωή, ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ ἕνα κελὶ στὸ χωριὸ Τελανισό, ὅπου ἀσκήτεψε τρία χρόνια. Ἡ φήμη τῆς ἁγίας του ζωῆς ἔκανε νὰ συρρέουν πλήθη λάου κοντά του. Ἀλλὰ ὁ Συμεών, ἀποφεύγοντας τὴν ἀκατάπαυστη ἐκείνη κοινωνικότητα καὶ θέλοντας ἀκόμα περισσότερη ἀσκητικὴ ζωή, ἐγκαταστάθηκε ἐπάνω σ᾿ ἕνα στῦλο 36 πήχεων! Μὲ τὸν ἰδιόρρυθμο αὐτὸ τρόπο ἀσκήτεψε 37 χρόνια. Ἀλλὰ καὶ μὲ τὴν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ ἔκανε τελικὰ τὴν ζωὴ ποὺ ἐπιθυμοῦσε καὶ ποὺ μακαρίζει ὁ Κύριος.
Ἡ Ὁσία Μάρθα
Ἦταν μητέρα τοῦ Ὁσίου Συμεὼν τοῦ Στυλίτη. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. (Ἡ μνήμη της ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 4η Ἰουλίου).
Ἡ Ὁσία Εὐανθία
Ὁ Δίκαιος Ἰησοῦς γιὸς τοῦ Ναυῆ
Ἦταν Ἑβραῖος, γιὸς τοῦ Ναυῆ, ἀπὸ τὴν φυλὴ Ἐφραὶμ καὶ διάδοχος τοῦ Μωϋσῆ τοῦ προφήτη. Ὁ Ἰησοῦς, ὀνομαζόταν πρῶτα Αὐσῆς. Στάλθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν Μωϋσῆ νὰ κατασκοπεύσει τὴν γῆ Χαναᾶν καὶ ὅταν ἐπέστρεψε ἀνέλαβε μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τοῦ Μωϋσῆ τὴν ἀρχηγία τοῦ λαοῦ, ποὺ τὸν ὁδήγησε μαζὶ μὲ τὴν κιβωτὸ στὴν Παλαιστίνη, ἀφοῦ πέρασε τὸν Ἰορδάνη καὶ συνέτριψε τοὺς ἀλλόφυλους στὰ τείχη τῆς Ἱεριχοῦς (Ἰησ. ι´ 12). Ὅταν κατέλαβε τὴν Παλαιστίνη καὶ τὴν μοίρασε στοὺς Ἰσραηλῖτες, τοὺς ὁποίους κυβέρνησε 27 χρόνια, ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ 110 χρονῶν.
Οἱ Ἁγίες 40 Παρθένες καὶ Ἀσκήτριες: Ἀδαμαντίνη, Καλλιρόη, Χαρίκλεια, Πηνελόπη, Κλειώ, Θάλεια, Μυριάνθη, Εὐτέρπη, Τερψιχόρη, Οὐρανία, Κλεονίκη, Σαπφώ, Ἐρατώ, Πολύμνια, Δωδώνη, Ἀθηνᾶ, Τρωάς, Κλεοπάτρα, Κοραλλία, Καλλίστη, Θεονόη, Θεανώ, Ἀσπασία, Πολυνίκη, Διόνη, Θεοφανώ, Ἐρασμία, Ἑρμηνεία, Ἀφροδίτη, Μαργαρίτα, Ἀντιγόνη, Πανδώρα, Χάϊδω, Λάμπρω, Μόσχω, Ἀρηβοΐα, Θεονύμφη, Ἀκριβή, Μελπομένη, Ἐλπινίκη καὶ Ἀμμοῦν ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτῶν
Ὁ Ἀμμοῦν ἢ Ἀμμὼν ἦταν Διάκονος στὴν Ἀδριανούπολη τῆς Θρᾴκης καὶ διδάσκαλος 40 ἀσκητριῶν παρθένων. Αὐτὸν λοιπόν, ὁ ἡγεμόνας τῆς Ἀδριανουπόλεως Βάβδος, ἐπειδὴ δὲν δεχόταν νὰ θυσιάσει στὰ εἴδωλα, παρέπεμψε μαζὶ μὲ τὶς 40 μαθήτριές του στὸν Λικίνιο, τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς Θράκης. Αὐτός, ἀφοῦ τὶς βασάνισε σκληρά, τὶς μὲν πρῶτες δέκα ἔκαψε ζωντανές, τὶς δὲ ἑπόμενες ὀκτὼ ἀποκεφάλισε, τὶς ἑπόμενες δέκα σκότωσε μὲ ξίφος, ἀφοῦ τὶς χτύπησε στὸ στόμα καὶ τὴν καρδιὰ καὶ τὶς ὑπόλοιπες δώδεκα θανάτωσε μὲ μαχαίρια καὶ πυρακτωμένα σίδερα στὸ στόμα. Τὸν δὲ Ἀμμοῦν θανάτωσε, ἀφοῦ τοῦ ἔβαλε πυρακτωμένη καλύπτρα στὸ κεφάλι (ἄλλοι ἀναφέρουν ὅτι, κατόπιν τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε). Ὅσον ἀφορᾶ δὲ τὰ ὀνόματα τῶν 40 Ἁγίων Παρθένων, τὰ παραθέτουμε μὲ ἐπιφύλαξη, διότι ὁρισμένα ἀπ᾿ αὐτὰ π.χ. Χάϊδω, Λάμπρω κ.λ.π. ἀνήκουν σὲ ὀνομασίες μεταγενεστέρων αἰώνων (16ου-18ου) καὶ ὄχι σ᾿ αὐτὲς τῶν πρώτων αἰώνων μ.Χ. ποὺ μαρτύρησαν οἱ Ἁγίες.
Θαῦμα τῆς Θεοτόκου στὴ Μονὴ τῶν Μιασηνῶν
Ἡ θαυματουργὴ εἰκόνα τῆς Παναγίας τῆς Μονῆς τῶν Μιασηνῶν, ρίχτηκε στὴ λίμνη Ζαγουροῦ γιὰ νὰ μὴ τὴν σπιλώσουν οἱ Εἰκονομάχοι. Μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ χρόνια, ἀνεφάνη ἄσπιλη ἀπὸ τὰ νερὰ τῆς λίμνης μὲ θαυματουργικὸ τρόπο.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Εὔοδος, Καλλίστη, Ἀγαθοκλεία καὶ Ἑρμογένης
Ἦταν ἀδέλφια, καὶ ἡ ἀνεύρεση τῆς ἀλήθειας ἦταν ὁ μεγάλος τους πόθος. Καὶ ὁ Θεὸς τοὺς ἐλέησε, ἀξιώνοντάς τους νὰ ἀκούσουν τὸ κήρυγμα τῶν ἀποστόλων, ἀπὸ τὸ ὁποῖο ἑλκύστηκαν στὸ φῶς καὶ τὴν ζωὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἀπὸ τότε ἡ ζωή τους στάθηκε ζηλευτὴ πίστεως καὶ ἀγαθοεργίας. Ἔδιναν ἄφθονη βοήθεια σὲ χῆρες, ὀρφανά, καὶ ἀνέπτυξαν μεταξύ τους εὐγενῆ καὶ ἱερὴ ἅμιλλα, ποιὸς νὰ φέρει περισσότερες ψυχὲς μέσα στὸ ψυχοσωτήριο λιμάνι τῆς χριστιανικῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Καὶ κατόρθωσαν πολλά. Τὴν πίστη τους αὐτή, ἐπισφράγισαν καὶ διὰ τοῦ μαρτυρίου. Ὅταν συνελήφθησαν, ὁμολόγησαν ὅτι ἀνῆκαν στὴ χριστιανικὴ Ἐκκλησία καὶ ὅτι αὐτὸ ἀποτελοῦσε καύχημα τοὺς περισσότερο καὶ ἀπὸ τὸ ἂν εἶχαν κάποιο στέμμα στὸ κεφάλι τους. Μάταια ζήτησαν νὰ τοὺς δελεάσουν μὲ ὑποσχέσεις καὶ νὰ τοὺς ἐκβιάσουν μὲ ἀπειλές. Τὰ ἀδέλφια ἐνθαρρύνονταν μεταξύ τους, μὲ ἀνώτερα πνευματικὰ λόγια. Ἔτσι καὶ τῶν τριῶν τὰ κεφάλια, κόπηκαν μὲ τὸ ξίφος. Καὶ τὰ ἀδέλφια κατὰ σάρκα, στάθηκαν ἀδέλφια διὰ τῆς πνευματικῆς ἀναγεννήσεως καὶ στὸ μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο καὶ στὴν κληρονομιὰ τῶν αἰωνίων ἀγαθῶν.
Μνήμη τοῦ Μεγάλου Ἐμπρησμοῦ στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη
Ὁ ἐμπρησμὸς αὐτὸς ἔγινε στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Λέοντα τοῦ μεγάλου τοῦ ἐπονομαζόμενου Μακέλλη. Τότε πυρπολήθηκε τὸ μεγαλύτερο μέρος τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως γιὰ ἑπτὰ ἡμέρες.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μελέτιος ὁ νέος ποὺ ἀσκήτευσε στὸ ὄρος τῆς Μυουπόλεως
Γεννήθηκε κατὰ τὸ ἔτος 1035 στὸ χωριὸ Μουταλάσκη τῆς Καππαδοκίας. Οἱ γονεῖς του ἦταν πολὺ ἐνάρετοι καὶ ὀνομαζόταν Ἰωάννης καὶ Σοφία. Φυσικά, σύμφωνα μὲ τὰ ἱερὰ πιστεύω τους μεγάλωσαν καὶ τὸ παιδί τους τὸν Μελέτιο. Αὐτός, ὅταν μεγάλωσε ἦλθε στὴν Ἑλλάδα ἐπὶ Ἀλεξίου τοῦ Κομνηνοῦ στὴ Μονὴ τῶν Ταξιαρχῶν τὴν λεγόμενη τοῦ Συμβόλου, τὴν μετέπειτα ἐπονομασθεῖσα τοῦ ὁσίου Μελετίου. Ἐκεῖ ἀφοῦ ἔλαμψε διὰ τῆς πνευματικῆς του ἀσκήσεως, ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ 1105. (Περὶ τοῦ βίου τοῦ ὁσίου Μελετίου, βλέπε τὴν μελέτη τοῦ ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἀθηνῶν Χρυσοστόμου στὴ «Θεολογία» ΙΓ 97).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Νικόλαος ποὺ ἀσκήτευσε στὴν Κρήτη
Γιὰ τὸν Ὅσιο αὐτὸ δὲν βρίσκουμε καμιὰ πληροφορία γιὰ τὴν ζωή του. Ξέρουμε μόνο ὅτι ἀσκήτευσε στὸ Φαράγγι Κουρταλιώτη τῆς ἐπαρχίας Ἁγίου Βασιλείου τῆς Κρήτης τὸ 1670, καὶ ὅτι ὑπάρχει μόνο Ἀκολουθία του, ποὺ ἐκδόθηκε στὴν Ἀθήνα τὸ 1879.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀγγελῆς ὁ Νεομάρτυρας ποὺ μαρτύρησε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη
Χρυσοχόος στὸ ἐπάγγελμα ὁ Ἀγγελῆς, κάποτε διασκέδαζε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη μὲ γνώριμους ἐξωμότες χριστιανούς. Καὶ χάριν ἀστείου, φόρεσε στὸ κεφάλι του τούρκικο σαρίκι. Οἱ Τοῦρκοι, θεώρησαν αὐτὴ τὴν ἐνέργειά του σὰν ἄρνηση τῆς χριστιανικῆς θρησκείας καὶ ἀποδοχὴ τοῦ μουσουλμανισμοῦ. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ τὸν πίεζαν νὰ ἐξισλαμιστεῖ. Ὁ μάρτυρας ἀπέκρουσε μὲ ἀποστροφὴ τὶς δελεαστικὲς προτάσεις τῶν Τούρκων καὶ δέχτηκε γιὰ τὴν ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ τὸ μαρτύριο, χωρὶς νὰ ὑπολογίσει τὴν γυναῖκα του καὶ τὰ ἕξι παιδιά του. Εἶπε μάλιστα στὸν Βεζίρη· « Ὅ,τι θέλεις κᾶμε, δέρνε, κόβε, σφάζε, κᾶψε με στὴ φωτιά, ρῖξε με στὰ θηρία, πνῖξε με στὴ θάλασσα, καὶ ὅ,τι μπορεῖς κᾶμε σ᾿ αὐτὸ τὸ πήλινο σῶμα μου, ἐγὼ τὸν Χριστό μου δὲν ἀρνοῦμαι, ἐγὼ τὴν πίστη μου δὲν ἀλλάζω, ἐγὼ Τοῦρκος δὲν γίνομαι». Ἔτσι στὶς 1 Σεπτεμβρίου 1680 μπροστὰ στὸ παλάτι, κοντὰ στὴν Ἁγία Σοφία, τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν καὶ δέχτηκε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου. Τὸ λείψανό του ἀγοράστηκε ἀπὸ τοὺς χριστιανούς, ἀντὶ 300 γροσιῶν, ποὺ τὸ ἐνταφίασαν στὸ Μοναστήρι τῆς νήσου Πρώτης.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Συμεών, ὁ Λέσβιος, Στυλίτης
Βλέπε βιογραφία του τὴν 1η Φεβρουαρίου, μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτὴ τῶν τριῶν ἀδελφῶν του.
The Beginning of the Church's Year
The First Ecumenical Council established that the Church's year would begin on September 1st, continuing the practice of the Roman Empire at that time. For centuries, the beginning of the civil year coincided with the Church year, but later changed, first in western Europe, then in Russia in the time of Peter the Great.
† Our Holy Father Symeon Stylites (459)
Born in Syria, he was a shepherd, but at the age of eighteen he left home and became a monk, practicing the strictest asceticism. At times he fasted for forty days. After a few years at a monastery he took up an ascetical discipline unique at that time: mounting a pillar, he stood on it night and day in prayer. Though he sought only seclusion and prayer, his holiness became famous, and thousands would make pilgrimage to receive a word from him or to touch his garments. Countless nomadic Arabs came to faith in Christ through the power of his example and prayers. To retreat further from the world, he used progressively taller pillars: his first pillar was about ten feet high, his final one about fifty. He was known also for the soundness of his counsel: he confirned the Orthodox doctrine at the Council of Chalcedon and persuaded the Empress Eudocia, who had been seduced by Monophysite beliefs, to return to the true Christian faith. After about forty years lived in asceticism, he reposed in peace at the age of sixty-nine.
He was at first suspected of taking up his way of life out of pride, but his monastic brethren confirmed his humility thus: They went to him as a group, and told him that the brotherhood had decided that he should come down from his pillar and rejoin them. Immediately he began to climb down from the pillar. Seeing his obedience and humility, they told him to remain with their blessing.
Righteous Joshua, Son of Nun
In the Septuagint he is called Jesus, the Greek form of Joshua. Of the Hebrews who fled Egypt in the Exodus, only he and Caleb were found worthy to enter the Promised Land. He was Moses' chosen successor to lead the Hebrew people. Read his story in the Old Testament book that bears his name. He reposed at the age of 110, about 1500 years before Christ.
Saint Meletios the Younger (1095-1124)
He was born in Cappadocia around 1035. He became a monk in Constantinople, but after a few years he went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Rome, then settled at a small monastery near Thebes. Here Meletios became known for his piety: he wore one garment of woven horsehair and, as the Synaxarion says, 'never let his eyelids slumber without having bathed the mat he lay on with his tears.' After twenty-eight years of ascetical labors Meletius, seeking to escape his increasing renown, departed the monastery, eventually settling near the Monastery of the Bodiless Powers near Myoupolis in Greece. Here he thought that he would be able to pray in obscurity, but once again the fame of his virtues attracted a monastic community around him. By order of the Patriarch of Constantinople he was ordained to the priesthood and, much against his will, made abbot of the monastic colony. The Emperor Alexander Comnenus wished to give a large gift of money to the monastery, but the Saint, unwilling to store up wealth on earth, would only accept enough for the essential needs of his monks: 'but' (the Synaxarion says) 'as a sign of gratitude, he protected the pious Emperor in all his campaigns from that time forth, by his prayer.' After many years caring for the monastery, in which he revealed gifts of healing, insight and prophecy, Saint Meletios reposed in peace, aged about seventy years, sometime between 1095 and 1124.
Holy New Martyr Angelis (1680)
He was a goldsmith living in Constantinople. While he was celebrating the Dormition of the Theotokos with some friends in a nearby village, the party was joined by some Turkish neighbors. The Christians and Turks drank a great amount together, and at one point entertained themselves by exchanging headgear. The next day, when everyone had sobered up, a Turk asked Angelis why he was not wearing a Muslim turban, for wearing it once was a sign of conversion. (To our knowledge this is not Islamic law, but was a ploy to pressure the young Angelis into conversion.) The dismayed Angelis was brought before a judge and given the choice of converting to Islam or being put to torture and death. Though the young man had shown little seriousness about his faith before this, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly confessed Christ, willingly accepting a Martyr's end. He was beheaded on Sunday, September 1, 1680.
The Monk Simeon the Stylite was born in the Cappadocian village of Sisan in the Christian family of Susotian and Martha. At 13 years of age he began to tend his father's flock of sheep. To this his first obedience he concerned himself attentively and with love. One time, having heard in church the Gospel commands of the Beatitudes, he was struck by their profundity. Not trusting to his own immature judgement, he turned therefore with his questions to an experienced elder. The elder readily explained to the lad the meaning of what he had heard and it strengthened in him finally the resolve to follow the Gospel path. Instead of heading homewards, Simeon set off to the nearest monastery and, after tears of entreaty, he was accepted after a week into the number of the brethren. When Simeon became age 18, he took monastic vows and devoted himself to feats of the strictest abstinence and of unceasing prayer. His zealousness -- beyond strength for the other monastic brethren -- so alarmed the hegumen (abbot) that he suggested to the monk that he either moderate his ascetic deeds or leave the monastery. The Monk Simeon thereupon withdrew from the monastery and settled himself by day upon a very high column, where he was able to carry out his austere vows unhindered. After some time, Angels appeared in a dream vision to the hegumen, which commanded him to bring back Simeon to the monastery. The monk however did not long remain at the monastery. After a short while he settled into a stony cave, situated not far from the village of Galanissa, and he dwelt there for three years, all the while perfecting himself in monastic feats. One time, he decided to spent the entire Forty-day Great Lent without food and drink. With the help of God, the monk endured this strict fast. From that time he always completely refrained during the entire period of the Great Lent even from bread and water -- twenty days he prayed while standing, and twenty days while sitting -- so as not to permit the corporeal powers to relax. A whole crowd of people began to throng to the place of his efforts, wanting to receive healing from sickness and to hear a word of Christian edification. Shunning worldly glory and striving again to find his lost solitude, the monk chose a yet unknown mode of asceticism. He went up a pillar 4 meters in height and settled upon it in a little cell, devoting himself to intense prayer and fasting. Reports about the Monk Simeon reached the highest church hierarchy and the imperial court. The Antioch Patriarch Domninos II ((441-448) visited the monk, made Divine Liturgy on the pillar and communed the ascetic with the Holy Mysteries. Fathers pursuing asceticism in the wilderness all heard about the Monk Simeon, who had chosen such a difficult form of ascetic striving. Wanting to test the new ascetic and determine whether his extreme ascetic feats were pleasing to God, they dispatched messengers to him, who in the name of these desert fathers were to bid the Monk Simeon to come down from the pillar. In the case of disobedience they were to forcibly drag him to the ground. But if he offered obedience, they were entrusted in the name of the desert fathers to bless his continued ascetic deeds. The monk displayed complete obedience and deep Christian humility.
The Monk Simeon was brought to endure many temptations, and he invariably gained the victory over them -- relying not on his own weak powers, but on the Lord Himself, Who always came to him in help. The monk gradually increased the height of the pillar on which he stood. His final pillar was 40 cubits in height. Around him was raised a double wall, which hindered the unruly crowd of people from coming too close and disturbing his prayerful concentration. Women in general were not permitted beyond the fence. In this the monk did not make an exception even for his own mother, who after long and unsuccessful searchings finally succeeded in finding her lost son. Not having gained a farewell, she thus died, nestled up to the fence encircling the pillar. The monk thereupon asked that her coffin be brought to him; he reverently bid farewell to his dead mother -- and her dead face then brightened up with a blissful smile.
The Monk Simeon spent 80 years in arduous monastic feats -- 47 years of which he stood upon the pillar. God granted him to accomplish in such unusual conditions an indeed apostolic service -- many pagans accepted Baptism, struck by the moral staunchness and bodily toughness which the Lord bestowed upon His servant.
The first one to learn of the end of the monk was his close pupil Anthony. Concerned that his teacher had not appeared to the people over the course of 3 days, he went up upon the pillar and found the dead body stooped over at prayer (+ 459). The Antioch Patriarch Martyrios performed the funeral of the monk before an huge throng of clergy and people. They buried him not far from the pillar. At the place of his ascetic deeds, Anthony established a monastery, upon which rested a special blessing of the Monk Simeon.
The Holy Martyr Haifal the Deacon by order of the Persian emperor Sapor II was killed by stoning in the year 380, for confessing the Name of Christ.
The 40 Holy Virgins and Saint Ammunos the Deacon, who enlightened them with the light of the Christian faith, died as martyrs for Christ under the Roman emperor Licinius at the beginning of the IV Century in the Macedonian city of Adrianopolis. The governor Babdos subjected the holy martyrs to many torments, so as to force them to renounce Christ and worship idols. After cruel tortures they were all sent off to Herakleia to another torturer, before whom also they firmly confessed their faith in Christ and refused to worship idols. By order of the torturer, Saint Ammunos and 8 virgins with him were beheaded, 10 virgins were burnt, six of them died after red-hot iron was put into their mouths, six were stabbed with knives, and the rest were killed with swords.
The Holy Martyrs Callista and her brothers Euodos and Hermogenes, Christians of Nikomedia, were brought to trial before the pagan governor for confessing their faith in Christ. Having refused to offer sacrifice to idols, they were cut down by the sword (+ 309).
Saint Jesus Son of Navin (Joshua) after the death of the Prophet Moses was leader of the Israelite People. He conquered the Promised Land and brought upon it the Hebrew nation. The Lord worked a great miracle through Jesus Navinus. The Jews went across the River Jordan as though on dry land, the Archistratigos [Leader of the Heavenly Hosts] Michael appeared to Jesus Navinus, and the walls of the city Jericho -- besieged by the Israelites -- fell down by themselves after the Ark of the Covenant was carried around the city during the course of seven days. Finally at the time of the battle with the enemy, Jesus Navinus, by the will of God, halted the motion of the sun and prolonged the day until that moment when victory was won. After the end of the war, Jesus Navinus divided the Promised Land among the 12 Tribes of Israel. He died at 110 years of age (XVI Century B.C.), in his last will commanding the nation to preserve the Law of Moses. All these events are recounted in the Book of Jesus Navinus (Joshua) (Chapters 3, 5, 6, 10), which is included within the Holy Bible.
The Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God is a copy from the famed Chernigov-Il'insk Icon of the Mother of God, which was to be found at the Trinity Il'insk monastery near Chernigov on Mount Boldina, and where in the XI Century for a certain while the Monk Antonii of Pechersk pursued asceticism. To the description of the miracles from this icon, beginning with 16-24 April 1662, Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov in his book "The Bedewed Fleece" (Oroshennoe Runo) wrote in conclusion: "The end of the booklet, but not of the miracles of the MostHoly Mother of God, since who is it that can count them". The grace-bearing power of this icon is manifest also in its copies.
The Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God was written in the mid XVIII Century and passed on in 1852 to the Trinity Sergiev Lavra by Alexandra Grigor'evna Philippova, piously having had it for a quarter century. (This icon was passed on to her by the priest Ioann Alekseev, to whom in turn it came from one of the monks of the Trinity Sergiev Lavra.) On the advice of the head of the Lavra, Archimandrite Antonii (+ 1 May 1877), the icon was placed in the newly-consecrated cave church named for the Holy Archistratigos [Leader of the Heavenly Hosts] Michael, which was consecrated on 27 October 1851 by the Metropolitan of Moscow Philaret (+ 19 November 1867), who assumed an active role in the building of the Gethsemane skete-monastery. In such manner, the icon took in the currents of grace of all the history of the Russian Church, -- it acquired the blessing of the Monk Antonii of Pechersk, of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh and of his parents the schema-monastics Kirill and Maria (+ 1337, a votive liturgy for them with the reading of a special prayer is made on 28 September and on Thursday of the Week of the Publican and Pharisee), and finally, of the ascetics of the XIX Century. These spiritual connections providentially come forth through the Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God.
It is remarkable, that the first miracle from this icon was witnessed on the day of the Church New Year -- 1 September 1869, when the 28 year old peasant of Tula governance, Thekla Adrianova, was healed, having been completely crippled constantly for 9 years. Living at the hostel by the caves, and then at the Lavra during the celebration of the Repose of the Monk Sergei (25 September), Thekla recovered completely. Sainted Innocent (Innokentii) the Metropolitan of Moscow (1797-1879, Comm. 23 September and 31 March), learned of the miracle from his daughter the Nun Poliksenia, treasurer of the Borisovsk wilderness monastery. On the feast of the Monk Sergei, he himself met with Thekla and asked her about all the details of the healing. On 26 September 1869 Sainted Innocent arrived at the Gethsemane skete and gave the blessing to make molieben before the glorified icon while he himself prayed with tears.
By 26 September there had occurred already three graced healings and a whole series of miracles in November of that same year. The fame of the icon of the Mother of God spread with unusual swiftness. Exhausted by suffering and sickness, thirsting for bodily and spiritual healing, people from every class of society came with firm faith to the wonderworking icon, and the mercy of God did not forsake them. Towards the beginning of the XX Century more than 100 miracles were witnessed. By its great esteem the icon benefited the ascetics of the Gethsemane skete: the schema-monk Philip (+ 18 May 1868), the founder of the cave-monastery, and his three sons -- the priest-schemamonks Ignatii (+ 1900), Porphyrii (+ 1905 ?) and Vasilii (+ 1 April 1915). They preserved accounts about the deep love, which the priestmonk starets (monastic elder) Isidor (+ 3 February 1908) displayed for the Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon.
The initial celebration of the icon was established on 16 April, on the day when also was the celebration of the Cherigov-Il'insk icon. Afterwards it was transferred to the day of glorification -- 1 September. At the present time at Trinity-Sergiev Lavra there are venerable copies of the Chernigov-Gethsemane icon -- within the temple in honour of the Monk Sergei, in the monastery refectory, and in the portico of the Trinity cathedral, -- written by elders of the Gethsemane skete and the Zosimov wilderness-monastery.
The "All-Blessed" or "Pamakarista" Icon of the Mother of God was sent in 1905 by His Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople Joakim III in blessing and solace to the city of Kazan. This icon -- an exact copy from a particularly venerated icon of the Mother of God situated in the Constantinople Patriarchal church, which is an uniquely ancient holy thing at Constantinople remaining intact from various plunderings.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Beginning of the Church Year, or the Beginning of the Indiction
The First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325] decreed that the Church year should begin on September 1. The month of September was, for the Hebrews, the beginning of the civil year (Exodus 23:16), the month of gathering the harvest and of the offering of thanks to God. It was on this feast that the Lord Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21), opened the book of the Prophet Isaiah and read the words: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn (Isaiah 61:1-2). The month of September is also important in the history of Christianity, because Emperor Constantine the Great was victorious over Maxentius, the enemy of the Christian Faith, in September. Following this victory, Constantine granted freedom of confession to the Christian Faith throughout the Roman Empire. For a long time, the civil year in the Christian world followed the Church year, with its beginning on September 1. The civil year was later changed, and its beginning transferred to January 1. This occurred first in Western Europe, and later in Russia, under Peter the Great.
2. The Venerable Simeon the Stylite
He was born in Syria of peasant parents. At the age of eighteen, he left home and was tonsured a monk. He undertook the most difficult ascetic practices, and sometimes undertook a strict fast for forty days. He eventually took upon himself a form of asceticism that was previously unknown. He stood day and night on a pillar, in unceasing prayer. At first, his pillar was six cubits high; he later raised it to twelve cubits, then to twenty-two cubits, then to thirty-six cubits, and finally to forty cubits high. On two occasions his mother Martha came to see him, but he refused to receive her, saying from atop the pillar: ``Do not disturb me now, my mother. If we become worthy, then we'll see each other in the next world.'' St. Simeon endured countless assaults from demons, but he conquered them all by prayer to God. The saint worked many great miracles, healing by word and prayer many who were afflicted. People from all over gathered around his pillar-the rich and the poor, kings and slaves. Simeon helped everyone: healing some of infirmities, comforting those in need, instructing others, and reproaching some who held heretical beliefs. Thus, he turned Empress Eudocia from the Eutychian heresy and brought her back to Orthodoxy. He lived the ascetic life during the reigns of the Emperors Theodosius the Younger, Marcian and Leo the Great. Simeon, the first great stylite in Christianity and a great miracle-worker, lived to be 103 years old. He reposed in the Lord on September 1, 459. His relics were translated to Antioch, to the church dedicated to his name.
3. Saint Joshua, the Son of Nun
Joshua was the leader of the Hebrew people after the death of Moses. Of several hundred thousand Jews who came out of Egypt, only he and Caleb entered the Promised Land. Joshua lived to be 110 years old, and died approximately 1440 years before the Nativity of Christ. (Read of his faithfulness to God, his works and his miracles in the Book of Joshua.)
HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Simeon the Stylite
Simeon the Stylite, the first of the pillar-dwellers,
An illuminated elder, with the radiance of an immortal,
Bound himself to the pillar as a willing sacrifice;
He was fully alive to heaven, and dead to the earth.
Fasting and prayer and all-night vigils-
By this hard path he sought salvation.
Early one morning, his mother came by:
``O Son, come down and let your mother see you!''
Thus she spoke, but Simeon was silent.
The mother repeated her plea again and again….
Simeon at last replied to his mother:
``I am in the service of the Heavenly King.
This life is a struggle and a preparation.
There is no time for empty conversation here.
But go, Mother, and choose the pure path-
Take care for your soul and live according to Christ!
After the present struggle is the next world;
If Christ finds us worthy,
You will see your son there, Mother,
And your son will delight in his mother's face.''
We should use all that is necessary in this world for the cultivation of our souls, for when death separates us from this world we will take nothing to the other world except our souls, in whatever state they have been formed here. When he was eighteen, St. Simeon the Stylite was so concerned about the salvation of his soul that one day he fell face down on the earth and prayed to God that He would show him the path of salvation. And lying thus in prayer for a long time, he had a vision that he was digging a trench for a foundation and, exhausted from digging, stopped to catch his breath. A voice spoke to him, saying: ``Dig deeper!'' Then he began, with greater labor and effort, to dig yet deeper. Again he stopped to catch his breath. But again he heard the voice: ``Dig deeper!'' He again began to dig, with even greater labor and effort. At this the voice spoke to him again: ``Stop, it is sufficient! Now build what you wish to build; for without labor, you will succeed in nothing.'' Those who labor little, and build the life of their soul on sensual shallowness, build on sand, which cannot uphold anything, even in this transitory world-and even more so in eternity.
Contemplate the lawlessness of David (II Samuel 11):
1. How David committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, while Uriah was away at war;
2. How David arranged the death of Uriah;
3. How God became angered with David.
on the Word, the Son of God
In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1).
The Logos-the rational, intelligent Word-existed in the beginning. This pertains to the Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. Brethren, by saying, In the beginning, do we think that the Word of God has a beginning? Or that there was a certain date in time when the Son of God was born of God the Father? In no way! For the birth of the Son of God can have neither a date nor a beginning, since time is a condition of this transient world, and it does not affect the eternal God, and therefore does not affect anything at all that is of God. Can the sun remain the sun, if the sunlight is separated from it? Will a man remain a man, if his mind is taken away? Would honey still be honey, if its sweetness is separated from it? It cannot. Even less can one conceive of God as separate from His Logos, from His rational Word, from His Intelligence, from His Wisdom-the eternal Father separate from His co-eternal Son.
No, brethren, the words are not about the beginning of the Son of God from God the Father, but rather about the beginning of the history of the created world and the salvation of mankind. This beginning is in the Word of God, in the Son of God. He began both the creation of the world and the salvation of the world. Whoever would speak of the creation of the visible or invisible worlds, or of the salvation of mankind, must begin with the Beginning. And that Beginning is the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, the Son of God. For example, if someone were telling a story about boating on a lake, he might begin it like this: ``In the beginning there was a lake, and on it sailed a white boat….'' No reasonable person would interpret the words, ``In the beginning there was a lake…'' to mean that the lake came into existence on the same day that the boat sailed on it. Thus, no rational man could take the words of the Evangelist, In the beginning was the Word…, as though the Word of God came forth from God at the same moment that the world was created! Just as the lake existed for thousands of years before the boat sailed on it, so the Word of God existed for a whole eternity before the beginning of creation.
O Son of God, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, enlighten us and save us.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.