FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Anthimus, Bishop of Nicomedea
Holy Father Theoctistus and his fellow struggler Euthymius the Great
St. Polydorus the Martyr of New Ephesus
Translation of the relics of St. Nectarius the Wonderworker, Bishop of Pentopolis
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Ἀνθίμου, Ἐπισκόπου Νικομηδείας. Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Θεοκτίστου, συνασκητοῦ τοῦ Μεγάλου Εὐθυμίου.
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Πολυδώρου, τοῦ ἐν Νέᾳ Ἐφέσῳ μαρτυρήσαντος.
Ἀνακομιδή τοῦ ἱεροῦ Λειψάνου τοῦ Ἁγίου Νεκταρίου, Ἐπισκόπου Πενταπόλεως τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ, τοῦ ἐν Αἰγίνῃ τεθησαυρισμένου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 12:10-19
BRETHREN, for the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these superlative apostles, even though I am nothing. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you; for children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you the more, am I to be loved the less? But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by guile. Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?
Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 12:10-19
Ἀδελφοί, εὐδοκῶ ἐν ἀσθενείαις, ἐν ὕβρεσιν, ἐν ἀνάγκαις, ἐν διωγμοῖς, ἐν στενοχωρίαις, ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ· ὅταν γὰρ ἀσθενῶ, τότε δυνατός εἰμι. Γέγονα ἄφρων καυχώμενος· ὑμεῖς με ἠναγκάσατε· ἐγὼ γὰρ ὤφειλον ὑφʼ ὑμῶν συνίστασθαι· οὐδὲν γὰρ ὑστέρησα τῶν ὑπὲρ λίαν ἀποστόλων, εἰ καὶ οὐδέν εἰμι. Τὰ μὲν σημεῖα τοῦ ἀποστόλου κατειργάσθη ἐν ὑμῖν ἐν πάσῃ ὑπομονῇ, ἐν σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν καὶ δυνάμεσιν. Τί γάρ ἐστιν ὃ ἡττήθητε ὑπὲρ τὰς λοιπὰς ἐκκλησίας, εἰ μὴ ὅτι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ οὐ κατενάρκησα ὑμῶν; Χαρίσασθέ μοι τὴν ἀδικίαν ταύτην. Ἰδού, τρίτον ἑτοίμως ἔχω ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, καὶ οὐ καταναρκήσω ὑμῶν· οὐ γὰρ ζητῶ τὰ ὑμῶν, ἀλλὰ ὑμᾶς· οὐ γὰρ ὀφείλει τὰ τέκνα τοῖς γονεῦσιν θησαυρίζειν, ἀλλʼ οἱ γονεῖς τοῖς τέκνοις. Ἐγὼ δὲ ἥδιστα δαπανήσω καὶ ἐκδαπανηθήσομαι ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν, εἰ καὶ περισσοτέρως ὑμᾶς ἀγαπῶν, ἧττον ἀγαπῶμαι. Ἔστω δέ, ἐγὼ οὐ κατεβάρησα ὑμᾶς· ἀλλʼ ὑπάρχων πανοῦργος, δόλῳ ὑμᾶς ἔλαβον. Μή τινα ὧν ἀπέσταλκα πρὸς ὑμᾶς, διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐπλεονέκτησα ὑμᾶς; Παρεκάλεσα Τίτον, καὶ συναπέστειλα τὸν ἀδελφόν· μή τι ἐπλεονέκτησεν ὑμᾶς Τίτος; Οὐ τῷ αὐτῷ πνεύματι περιεπατήσαμεν; Οὐ τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἴχνεσιν; Πάλιν δοκεῖτε ὅτι ὑμῖν ἀπολογούμεθα; Κατενώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ λαλοῦμεν· τὰ δὲ πάντα, ἀγαπητοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν οἰκοδομῆς.
The Reading is from Mark 4:10-23
At that time, when Jesus was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables. And he said to them, "To you has been given the secrets of the kingdom but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven." And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 4.10-23
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, προςῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῲ Ἰησοῦ κατὰ μόνας καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν οἱ περὶ αὐτὸν σὺν τοῖς δώδεκα τὴν παραβολήν.καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ· ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται,ἵνα βλέποντες βλέπωσι καὶ μὴ ἴδωσι,καὶ ἀκούοντες ἀκούωσι καὶ μὴ συνιῶσι,μήποτε ἐπιστρέψωσι καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖςτὰ ἁμαρτήματα. Kαὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· οὐκ οἴδατε τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην, καὶ πῶς πάσας τὰς παραβολὰς γνώσεσθε;ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον σπείρει.οὗτοι δέ εἰσιν οἱ παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ὅπου σπείρεται ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν, εὐθὺς ἔρχεται ὁ σατανᾶς καὶ αἴρει τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐσπαρμένον ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν.καὶ οὗτοι ὁμοίως εἰσὶν οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι, οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσι τὸν λόγον, εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν,καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσι ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν· εἶτα γενομένης θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον, εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζονται.καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπειρόμενοι, οἱ τὸν λόγον ἀκούοντες,καὶ αἱ μέριμναι τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου καὶ αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι εἰσπορευόμεναι συμπνίγουσι τὸν λόγον, καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται.καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν σπαρέντες, οἵτινες ἀκούουσι τὸν λόγον καὶ παραδέχονται, καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἐν τριάκοντα καὶ ἐν ἑξήκοντα καὶ ἐν ἑκατόν. Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· μήτι ἔρχεται ὁ λύχνος ἵνα ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον τεθῇ ἢ ὑπὸ τὴν κλίνην; οὐχ ἵνα ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν ἐπιτεθῇ;οὐ γάρ ἐστι κρυπτὸν ὃ ἐὰν μὴ φανερωθῇ, οὐδὲ ἐγένετο ἀπόκρυφον ἀλλ᾿ ἵνα ἔλθῃ εἰς φανερόν.εἴ τις ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν, ἀκουέτω.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Γ´ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Ἀνθίμου, Ἐπισκόπου Νικομηδείας.
Τμηθεὶς κεφαλὴν Μάρτυς Ἄνθιμε ξίφει,
Καὶ νεκρὸς ἀνθεῖς εἰς Θεοῦ δόξαν τρίχας.
Ἄνθιμον ἐν τριτάτῃ ἀπέκτεινε ξίφος ὀξύ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Θεοκτίστου, συνασκητοῦ τοῦ Μεγάλου Εὐθυμίου.
Εἰδὼς σὸν εἶναι τὸν Θεὸν Κτίστην, Πάτερ,
Αὐτὸν πρὸ πάντων ἐξελέξω κτισμάτων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Ζήνων, ἐν λέβητι μολύβδου κοχλάζονος βληθείς, τελειοῦται.
Ζήνων ὁ θεῖος τοῦ Θεοῦ πόθῳ ζέων,
Χαίρων ὑπῆλθε τοῦ μολύβδου τὸ ζέον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ἁγία Βασίλισσα, θηριομαχήσασα καὶ μηδὲν βλαβεῖσα, τελειοῦται.
Ὀφθεῖσα Βασίλισσα φρικτὴ θηρίοις,
Φρικτῷ παρέστη παμβασιλέως θρόνῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀριστίων, Ἐπίσκοπος Ἀλεξανδρείας, πυρὶ τελειοῦται.
Ὡς εἰς ἄριστον τὴν πυρὰν σπεύδων τρέχεις,
Χριστοῦ ἄριστε Μαρτύρων Ἀριστίων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Χαρίτων, ἐν ἀσβέστου βόθρῳ βληθείς, τελειοῦται.
Εἰσδὺς Χαρίτων εἰς τὸν ἀσβέστου βόθρον,
Ἄσβεστον εὗρε φῶς ἀκηράτου τόπου.
Ὁ ἅγιος μάρτυς Ἀρχοντίων λιμῷ τελειοῦται.
Ὁ ἅγιος νεομάρτυς Πολύδωρος ὁ ἐν τῇ νέᾳ Ἐφέσῳ μαρτυρήσας κατὰ τὸ 1794, ἀγχόνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
After the death of the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia, their Bishop Anthimus fled to a certain village to care for his remaining flock. The Emperor Maximian sent men in search of him. When they found him, he promised to show Anthimus to them, but first took them in as guests, fed them, and only then made himself known to them. Amazed at his kindness, the soldiers promised him to tell Maximian that they had not found him. But Anthimus went willingly with them, and converting them by his admonitions, baptized them on the way. He boldly confessed his Faith before Maximian, and after frightful tortures was beheaded in the year 303 or 304.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Τὰς ἀλγηδόνας τῶν Ἁγίων, ἃς ὑπὲρ σοῦ ἔπαθον, δυσωπήθητι, Κύριε, καὶ πάσας ἡμῶν τὰς ὀδύνας, ἴασαι φιλάνθρωπε, δεόμεθα.
Be entreated, O Lord, by the sufferings endured for You by the Saints, and we pray You, heal all our pain.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Εν ιερεύσιν ευσεβώς διαπρέψας, καί μαρτυρίου τήν οδόν διανύσας, τά τών ειδώλων έσβεσας σεβάσματα, πρόμαχος γενόμενος, τής σής ποίμνης θεόφρον, διό σε καί γεραίρουσα, μυστικώς εκβοά σοι, Εκ τών κινδύνων ρύσαί με αεί, ταίς σαίς πρεσβείαις, Πατήρ ημών Άνθιμε.
Among God's priests wast thou distinguished for fervour; and in completing well thy course as a Martyr, thou didst quench all the power of idolatry; for thou wast the champion of thy flock; hence, it crieth unto thee now mystically, as it showeth thee honour: Deliver us from perils by thy prayers, O godly-minded and glorious Anthimus.
Saint Theoctistus, a monk at the Palestinian lavra of Pharan, embraced a more severe life in the wilderness with his friend Saint Euthymius the Great. They founded a monastery, of which Theoctistus was the abbot. He reposed in deep old age in 451.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ταίς τών δακρύων σου ροαίς, τής ερήμου τό άγονον εγεώργησας, καί τοίς εκ βάθους στεναγμοίς, εις εκατόν τούς πόνους εκαρποφόρησας, καί γέγονας φωστήρ, τή οικουμένη λάμπων τοίς θαύμασι, Θεόκτιστε Πατήρ ημών, Όσιε, Πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Theoktistos, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.
Kontakion in the First Tone
Thou didst preserve the dignity of thy soul free of every stain, which as God's creature, thou wholly didst dedicate unto the Lord, O righteous one; and divinely enlightened, thou didst rise to the pinnacle of true godliness, O godly Theoctistus, confirming thy name in very deed.
Δύο μεγάλων Αγίων την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία, ενός Μάρτυρα και ενός Οσίου. Ο ένας είναι ο άγιος ιερομάρτυς Άνθιμος, επίσκοπος Νικομηδείας, ο άλλος είναι ο όσιος Θεόκτιστος, συνασκητής του αγίου Ευθυμίου. Ο ένας με το αίμα του κι ο άλλος με τα δάκρυα της μετανοίας του επόσφεραν τον εαυτό τους θυσία στο Θεό. Αυτή είναι η λογική και ευάρεστη θυσία, για την οποία ομιλεί ο Απόστολος Παύλος με αυτά τα λόγια σε μία του επιστολή· "Παρακαλώ ούν υμάς, αδελφοί, δια των οικτιρμών του Θεού, παραστήσαι τα σώματα υμών θυσίαν ζώσαν, αγίαν ευάρεστον τω Θεώ την λογικήν λατρείαν υμών...". Δηλαδή, σας παρακαλώ, αδελφοί, με το έλεος του Θεού να προσφέρετε τα σώματά σας ζωντανή θυσία, αγία και ευάρεστη στο Θεό· έτσι θα φανή ότι λογικά και αληθινά λατρεύετε τον Θεό. Πραγματικά η "εν πνεύματι και αληθεία" λατρεία είναι αυτή, το αίμα των Μαρτύρων και τα δάκρυα των οσίων.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἄνθιμος Ἱερομάρτυρας ἐπίσκοπος Νικομήδειας
Ἔζησε στὰ τέλη τοῦ 3ου αἰῶνα μ.Χ. καὶ πατρίδα του ἦταν ἡ Νικομήδεια. Ἀπὸ μικρὸς διακρίθηκε γιὰ τὸν εὐσεβῆ ζῆλο του πρὸς τὰ θεῖα. Ὅταν ἐνηλικιώθηκε, ἡ ζωή του ἦταν ὑπόδειγμα σωφροσύνης καὶ ἀγάπης. Ἐπειδὴ πλούσια κατεῖχε τὸ θησαυρὸ τῶν θείων ἀληθειῶν, ἡ θερμή του διδασκαλία, ἐμπνεόμενη ἀπὸ ἀποστολικὸ ζῆλο, ἔβρισκε σχεδὸν πάντα ἀνταπόκριση στὶς ψυχὲς τῶν πιστῶν. Ἡ πνευματικὴ ἱκανότητα τοῦ Ἀνθίμου ὤθησε τοὺς χριστιανοὺς τῆς Νικομήδειας καὶ τὸν ἔπεισαν νὰ γίνει ἱερέας καὶ ἀργότερα ἐπίσκοπός τους. Ὅταν, ὅμως, ἔγινε ὁ διωγμὸς ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ, τὸν κυνήγησαν καὶ τὸν συνέλαβαν. Ὁ Διοκλητιανὸς τοῦ πρότεινε νὰ θυσιάσει στοὺς Θεοὺς γιὰ νὰ κερδίσει τὴν ζωή του, ἀλλιῶς τὸν περίμεναν φρικτὰ βασανιστήρια, καὶ τοῦ ἔδειξε τὸ ὄργανα ποὺ θὰ τὸν βασάνιζαν. Ὁ Ἄνθιμος εἶπε:«Γιατί μου τὰ δείχνεις; γιὰ νὰ μὲ φοβίσεις; Αὐτὰ ἂς τὰ φοβοῦνται ἐκεῖνοι, γιὰ τοὺς ὁποίους ἡ παροῦσα ζωὴ εἶναι μόνο ἡδονὴ καὶ τὴν στέρησή της θεωροῦν μεγάλη ἀπώλεια. Ἀλλὰ σὲ μένα, ὅπως καὶ σὲ κάθε χριστιανό, αὐτὰ δὲν ἀσκοῦν καμιὰ γοητεία. Τὸ σῶμα μου εἶναι πρόσκαιρο καὶ εὐτελές, ποὺ μόνη ἀξία ἔχει, ὅταν ἁγιασθεῖ διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ δοθεῖ εἰς τὴν κατὰ Χριστὸν ζωή. Ἑπομένως, τιμωρίες καὶ βάσανα εἶναι γιὰ μένα πιὸ ποθητὰ ἀπὸ τοῦ νὰ ἀρνηθῶ τὸ Σωτῆρα μου». Τότε, ἀφοῦ τὸν βασάνισαν φρικτά, τελικὰ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Θεόκτιστος συνασκητὴς τοῦ Μεγάλου Εὐθυμίου
Ὁ Ὅσιος καὶ μέγας αὐτὸς ἀσκητής, ἀποσύρθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν κόσμο καὶ κατέφυγε ἕξι μίλια ἀπὸ τὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα, ὅπου βρίσκεται ἡ Λαύρα Φάρα. Ἐκεῖ κλείστηκε σ᾿ ἕνα κελὶ καὶ ἐπιδόθηκε σὲ αὐστηρότατους ἀσκητικοὺς ἀγῶνες. Στὰ χρόνια αὐτά, ἐγκαταστάθηκε σ᾿ ἕνα γειτονικὸ κελὶ τῆς Λαύρας αὐτῆς καὶ ὁ μέγας Εὐθύμιος. Ὁ κοινὸς πόθος τῆς ἄσκησης συνέδεσε στενὰ τοὺς δυὸ διάσημους ἀσκητές, οἱ ὁποῖοι μετὰ τὴν ἀπόδοση τῆς γιορτῆς τῶν Φώτων πήγαιναν μακρύτερα μέσα στὴν ἔρημο, γιὰ αὐστηρότερη ἄσκηση. Ἐπέστρεφαν στὴ Λαύρα, τὴν Κυριακὴ τῶν Βαΐων. Μετὰ τὸ πέμπτο ἔτος, ἀποσύρθηκαν ὁριστικὰ στὴν ἔρημο μέσα σὲ μία σπηλιά. Ἡ φήμη ὅμως τῆς ἀρετῆς τους, ἔφερε κοντά τους πολλοὺς μαθητὲς καὶ ἔτσι δημιουργήθηκε κοινόβιο, ποὺ μέχρι τέλους τῆς ζωῆς του προϊστάμενος ἦταν ὁ Θεόκτιστος. Μὲ τὴν μεγάλη ὑπόληψη καὶ ἀγάπη τῶν συνανθρώπων του, ὁ Ὅσιος Θεόκτιστος πέθανε σὲ βαθιὰ γεράματα τὸ 451 μ.Χ. Στὴν κηδεία του πρωτοστάτησαν ὁ Πατριάρχης Ἱεροσολύμων Ἀναστάσιος καὶ ὁ μέγας Εὐθύμιος, ποὺ τότε ἦταν 90 ἐτῶν.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ζήνων
Ἀφοῦ τὸν ἔριξαν μέσα σ᾿ ἕνα καζάνι μὲ βραστὸ μολύβι, ἀπεβίωσε μαρτυρικά.
Ἡ Ἁγία Βασίλισσα
Ὑπῆρξε τὸ καύχημα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς Νικομήδειας, κατὰ τὸν διωγμὸ τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ. Καταγγέλθηκε σὰν χριστιανή, ποὺ ἀποσποῦσε νεαρὲς εἰδωλολάτρισσες ἀπὸ τὴν πολυθεΐα καὶ ὁδηγήθηκε μπροστὰ στὸν ἡγεμόνα Ἀλέξανδρο. Ἐκεῖ ἡ Βασίλισσα ὁμολόγησε χωρὶς κανένα δισταγμό, ὅτι εἶναι χριστιανὴ καὶ λατρεύει τὸν Ἕνα καὶ ἀληθινὸ Θεό. Μαστιγώθηκε σκληρὰ καὶ στὴ συνέχεια ὁ ἡγεμόνας διέταξε καὶ τὴν ἔριξαν μέσα στὴ φωτιά. Ἀλλὰ μὲ θαυματουργικὸ τρόπο ἡ Βασίλισσα, βγῆκε ἀπὸ τὴν φωτιὰ ἄθικτη. Οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες, θεώρησαν πὼς αὐτὸ ἦταν μαγικὴ ἐνέργεια καὶ ἔτσι τὴν ἔριξαν γιὰ τροφὴ σὲ δυὸ πεινασμένα λιοντάρια. Ἡ Βασίλισσα ὅμως, διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς πρὸς τὸν Θεό, ἔκανε τὰ δυὸ λιοντάρια νὰ σταθοῦν σὰν ἥμερα ἀρνιὰ μπροστά της. Τότε ἔγινε καὶ τὸ μεγαλύτερο θαῦμα. Ἄνοιξαν τὰ πνευματικὰ μάτια τοῦ ἡγεμόνα Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ ἔπεσε μετανοημένος στὰ πόδια τῆς Βασίλισσας καὶ ζήτησε ἀπ᾿ αὐτὴν νὰ τὸν κατηχήσει στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Ἡ Βασίλισσα, χαρὰ γεμάτη, τὸν παρέπεμψε στὸν ἐπίσκοπο Νικομήδειας Ἀντώνιο, ὁ ὁποῖος κατήχησε καὶ βάπτισε τὸν Ἀλέξανδρο χριστιανό. Εὐτυχισμένος πλέον ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος, ζήτησε διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς ἀπὸ τὸν Θεὸ νὰ τὸν πάρει ὅσο γίνεται σύντομα κοντά Του, καὶ ἡ δέησή του εἰσακούστηκε. Μετὰ ἀπὸ λίγο καιρό, ὁ Κύριος δέχτηκε καὶ τὴν ψυχὴ τῆς Βασίλισσας. Τὸ δὲ τίμιο λείψανό της, τάφηκε ἀπὸ τὸν ἐπίσκοπο Ἀντώνιο, κοντὰ σὲ μία πέτρα, ἀπὸ τὴν ὁποία ἄλλοτε, μετὰ ἀπὸ προσευχή της, εἶχε ἀναβλύσει νερό.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Χαρίτων
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ τὸν ἔριξαν μέσα σὲ λάκκο μὲ βραστὸ ἀσβέστη.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀρχοντίων
Μαρτύρησε διὰ λιμοῦ (ὀνομασία κάποιου θηρίου).
Ὁ Ἅγιος βασιλιᾶς Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Νέος «ἐν τοῖς Ἁγίοις Ἀποστόλοις»
Αὐτὸς φαίνεται, ὅτι εἶναι ὁ τέταρτος γιὸς τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Ἡρακλείου, ποὺ βασίλευσε τὸ ἔτος 641 καὶ ὁ ὁποῖος, ἀπὸ ἄλλους μὲν καλεῖται Κωνσταντῖνος Ἡράκλειος, ἀπὸ ἄλλους δέ, Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ νέος. Αὐτὸς ἦταν πολὺ πιστὸς βασιλιὰς καὶ βασίλευσε ἕξι μῆνες. Κατὰ τὸν Μελέτιο, ὁ βασιλιὰς αὐτὸς δηλητηριάστηκε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀριστίων Ἱερομάρτυρας ἐπίσκοπος Ἀλεξανδρείας
Ἔγεννηθη κατὰ τὰς ἀρχὰς τοῦ 2ου αἰῶνος μ.Χ., εἰς τὴν ἐπαρχίαν τῆς Συρίας Ἀπάμεια. Ἠλκύθη εἰς τὴν ἀληθινή του Χριστοῦ πίστιν ὑπὸ τοῦ μάρτυρος Ἀντωνίου (+ 9 Νοεμβρίου). Εἰς ἡλικίαν μόλις 10 ἐτῶν ὁ Ἀντώνιος ὡδήγησε τὸν Ἀριστιωνα εἰς τὴν Χριστιανικὴν πίστιν. Ὡς ἐνάρετος καὶ πνευματοφόρος ἀνὴρ, ἐκλεγεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ λαοῦ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας τῆς μικρῆς, εἰς Κιλικίαν τῆς Μ. Ἀσίας (παρὰ τὴν πόλιν Ἰσσόν), ἐγένετο ὁ δεύτερος ἐπίσκοπός της. Ὡς ποιμενάρχης ὁ Ἅγιος ἐποίμανε θεαρέστως τὸ ἐμπιστευθὲν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ ποίμνιό του. Ἐδίδασκε μετὰ παρρησίας μεγάλης καὶ ἐκήρυττε τὴν τοῦ Κυρίου ἐν Σαρκὶ ἐπιδημίαν καὶ τὴν αἰώνιαν αὐτοῦ Βασιλείαν, ὥσπερ καὶ τὴν μακαριότητα καὶ τὴν χαρὰν τῆς Βασιλείας τῶν Οὐρανῶν. Πολλοὺς ἐθνικοὺς ἔπειθεν, ὅπως ἀπαρνηθῶσι τὴν πλάνη τους καὶ ἀκολουθῶσι τὴν ἀληθινὴν τοῦ Κυρίου μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ πίστιν, οὓς καὶ ἐβάπτιζεν. Ἡ δρᾶσις του αὐτὴ δὲν ἤρεσε εἰς τὸν Ρωμαῖον Ἔπαρχον τῆς περιοχῆς, ὅστις καὶ διέταξεν νὰ συλληφθῇ καὶ νὰ ριφθῇ εἰς τὸ πῦρ. Παραχρῆμα οἱ στρατιῶτες αὐτοῦ, ἤναψαν μεγάλην κάμινον καὶ ἔρριψαν ἐντὸς αὐτῆς τὸν μάρτυρα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἐντὸς τῆς καμίνου ὁ Ἀριστίων, ὑμνῶν καὶ δοξάζων τὸν Θεόν, ἔλαβεν μακάριον καὶ ἐπίζηλον τέλος.
Ἡ Ὁσία Φοίβη ἡ διακόνισσα
Ἡ μνήμη της ἀναφέρεται ἐπιγραμματικὰ στὸ «Μικρὸν Εὐχολόγιον ἢ Ἁγιασματάριον» ἔκδοση Ἀποστολικῆς Διακονίας 1956, χωρὶς ἄλλες πληροφορίες. Πουθενὰ ἄλλου δὲν ἀναφέρεται ἡ μνήμη της αὐτὴν τὴν ἡμέρα.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πολύδωρος ὁ Νεομάρτυρας ἀπὸ τὴν Λευκωσία
Κύπριος ἀπὸ τὴν Λευκωσία ὁ νεομάρτυρας Πολύδωρος, ἀνατράφηκε ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς, τὸν Λουκᾶ προσκυνητὴ καὶ τὴν Λουρδανοῦ. Ἔμαθε τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα καὶ ταξίδεψε (;) στὴν Αἴγυπτο καὶ σ᾿ ἄλλες χῶρες, κάνοντας τὸ ἐπάγγελμα τοῦ πραματευτῆ. Ὅταν τὸ 1793 βρισκόταν στὴν Αἴγυπτο, προσλήφθηκε γραμματέας ἀπὸ ἕναν ἀρνησίχριστο Ζακυνθηνό. Καὶ σὲ κάποια διασκέδαση μαζί του, μέθυσε καὶ ἀρνήθηκε τὸν Χριστό. Ὅταν ὅμως συνῆλθε μετανόησε πικρά, πῆγε στὴ Βηρυτὸ καὶ ἐξομολογήθηκε στὸν ἐκεῖ Ἀρχιερέα. Κατόπιν ἀποσύρθηκε στὸ Μοναστήρι τοῦ ὄρους τοῦ Λιβάνου, ὅπου ξεκουράστηκε κατὰ τὴν Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή. Κατόπιν ἀναχώρησε στὴν Πτολεμαΐδα (Ἄκρι), ὅπου ἀνακοίνωσε στὸν ἐκεῖ Ἀρχιερέα τὸν πόθο του νὰ μαρτυρήσει. Μὲ τὴν προτροπὴ τοῦ Ἀρχιερέα ἀναχώρησε στὴν Αἴγυπτο, ἀλλὰ λόγω θαλασσοταραχῆς προσάραξε στὴ Γιάφα. Ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ πῆγε στὴ Χῖο (13-6-1793) καὶ ἔπειτα στὴ Σμύρνη, γιὰ νὰ ἐπιστρέψει ἔπειτα πάλι στὴ Χῖο. Τελικὰ ἔφτασε στὴ Νέα Ἔφεσο, ὅπου μπροστὰ στὸν Μουφτὴ ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ μετὰ ἀπὸ ἄγρια βασανιστήρια τὸν ἀπαγχόνισαν. Ἦταν ἡμέρα Κυριακὴ 3-9-1794. Τὸ λείψανο τοῦ νεομάρτυρα ἐνταφιάστηκε κοντὰ στοὺς τάφους τῶν Ἀρμενίων. Σήμερα ἡ κάρα τοῦ Ἁγίου φυλάσσεται στὸ Ναὸ τῆς Ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης Πλάκας στὴν Ἀθήνα.
Ἀνακομιδὴ Ἱερῶν Λειψάνων Ἁγίου Νεκταρίου Αἰγίνης (1953)
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης τοῦ Ρωστώφ (Ρῶσος)
Διὰ Χριστὸν σαλός.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πέτρος τοῦ Οὐγγλίς, Ἱερεὺς (Ρῶσος)
Διὰ Χριστὸν σαλός.
Hieromartyr Anthimos, bishop of Nicomedia, and those with him (303-304)
"After the death of the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia (see Dec. 28), their Bishop Anthimos fled to a certain village to care for his remaining flock. The Emperor Maximian sent men in search of him. When they found him, he promised to show Anthimos to them, but first took them in as guests, fed them, and only then made himself known to them. Amazed at his kindness, the soldiers promised him to tell Maximian that they had not found him. But Anthimos went willingly with them, and converting them by his admonitions, baptized them on the way. He boldly confessed his Faith before Maximian, and after frightful tortures was beheaded in the year 303 or 304." (Great Horologion)
Our Holy Father Theoctistus, Fellow Ascetic of St Euthymius (451), is also commemorated today. A faithful disciple of St Euthymius, he was abbot of St Euthymius' monastery in Palestine until his repose in peace at the age of ninety.
Holy Martyr Basilissa (309)
She lived near Nicomedia during the great persecution by the Emperor Diocletian. Though she was only nine years old, she was arrested and brought before Alexander, the Governor of Bithynia. When she fearlessly proclaimed her faith in Christ, the Governor had her stripped and beaten, but she only gave thanks to God. Enraged at the steadfastness of a mere child, the Governor ordered her chained and plunged head-first into boiling pitch, then cast into a blazing furnace, then thrown to the lions. Through all these torments she was miraculously preserved. Astonished at the wonders that he beheld, Alexander fell at Basilissa's feet and confessed that he too believed that Christ is the Savior. He was baptized by the Bishop of Nicomedia and died not long afterward. Basilissa went into the wilderness outside the city to give thanks to God for her endurance under torture and to ask Him to receive her soul in peace. While praying in this way, she entered into her rest.
Our Holy Father Joannicius, Archbishop and first Patriarch of Serbia (1354)
"Born in Prizrem, he served as first secretary to King Dušan. He became Archbishop in 1339, and in 1346 was raised to the rank of Patriarch. He was a zealous pastor, and brought order to the Serbian Church, being 'a great upholder of the Church's laws'. He entered into rest on September 3rd, 1349, and his relics are preserved at Pec´." (Prologue)
The PriestMartyr Anthymos, Bishop of Nicomedia, and the Martyrs with him suffered during the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305). The persecution of Christians became particularly intense after the occurrence of a conflagration at the imperial court at Nicomedia. The pagans accused the Christians of setting the fire and reacted against them with terrible ferocity. Thus, in Nicomedia alone, on the day of the Nativity of Christ, at a church as many as twenty thousand Christians were burned. But this monstrous inhumanity did not frighten off the Christians: they firmly confessed their faith and accepted a martyr's death for Christ. And thus during this period of sufferings died Saints Dorotheus, Mardonius, Migdonius, Peter, Indysos and Gorgonios. One of them was beheaded by the sword, others perished -- by burning, or being covered over in the ground or by drowning in the sea. Zinon, a soldier, for his bold denunciation of the emperor Maximian was stoned, and then beheaded. Then also perished at the hands of the pagans the holy Virgin-Martyr Domna -- a former pagan-priestess, and also Saint Euthymios, because of their concern that the bodies of the holy martyrs should be buried. Bishop Anthymos, who headed the Nicomedia Church, at the request of his flock concealed himself in a village not far from Nicomedia. From there he sent missives to the Christians, urging them to cleave firmly to the holy faith and not to fear tortures. One of his letters, dispatched with the Deacon Theophilos, was intercepted and given over to the emperor Maximian. Theophilos was subjected to interrogation and died under torture, without revealing to his torturers the whereabouts of Bishop Anthymos. But after a certain while Maximian managed to learn where Saint Anthymos was situated, and he sent a detachment of soldiers after him. The bishop himself met up with them along the way. The soldiers did not recognise the identity of the saint. He invited them to join him and provided them a meal, after which he revealed that he was the one that they were searching for. The soldiers did not know what to do in this instance; indeed, they wanted to leave him be and tell the emperor that they had not found him. Bishop Anthymos was not one to tolerate a lie, and so he would not consent to this. The soldiers themselves came to believe in Christ and accepted holy Baptism. But amidst all this, the saint nonetheless demanded them to carry out the orders of the emperor. When Bishop Anthymos was brought before the emperor, the emperor gave orders that the instruments of execution be brought out and placed before him. "Dost thou think, emperor, to frighten me with these tolls of execution?" -- asked the saint. -- "No indeed, thou canst not frighten one that doth wish to die for Christ! Execution is frightening only for the cowardly of soul, for whom the present life is most precious". The emperor then directed that the saint be fiercely tortured and beheaded by the sword. Bishop Anthymos to his last gasp with joy glorified God, for Whom he had been vouchsafed to suffer (+ 302; another account of the Nicomedia Martyrs is located under 28 December).
The Martyress Basilissa of Nicomedia suffered for her faith in Christ under the emperor Diocletian. The Nicomedia governor Alexander gave orders to arrest the nine year old Basilissa and force her to renounce Christ. But the young maiden displayed unshakable firmness in fidelity to her Lord and for this she was subjected to protracted and intense torture. But through the grace of God the holy martyress remained alive and unharmed. This was evident to all those present as a manifestation of the power of God, and it so shook up the governor Alexander, that he also came to believe in Christ and confessed himself a Christian. Baptised later by Bishop Anthymos, he lived for a short while afterwards in deep repentance, and then expired peacefully to the Lord, as also did Saint Basilissa some while after him. Her end was one of Christian peace and accompanied by miraculous signs of God's mercy (+ 309).
Blessed John the Merciful of Rostov (also known as "Vlasatyi" -- "the Hairy") asceticised at Rostov in the exploit of holy folly (iurodstvo), in it enduring deprivation and sorrow. He did not have a permanent shelter and at times took his rest at the house of his spiritual father -- a priest at the church of the All-Holy ("Veskhsvyatsk"), or with one of the aged widows. Living in humility, patience and unceasing prayer, he spiritually nourished many a person, in which number was also the Monk Irinarkh, Hermit of Rostov (Comm. 13 January). After his lengthy life of pursuing asceticism he died on 3 September 1580 and was buried, according to his final wishes, alongside the church of Saint Blaise beyond the altar.
He had "hair upon his head abundantly", wherefore he was called "Vlasatyi" or "Hairy". The title "Merciful" was bestown upon Blessed John for the many healings that occurred at his grave, and also in connection with the memory of the holy Patriarch John the Merciful (VII Century, Comm. 12 November), whose name he had in common.
Saint Phoebe the Deaconess is mentioned by the holy Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 1-2).
Sainted Joannikii, Patriarch of Serbia, was a native of the city of Prizren. It is known of him, that at first he started out as a secretary under king Karl (Charles) of Serbia, and later on from the year 1339 -- he guided the Church in the dignity of archbishop. In the year 1346 a Council (Sobor) of all the Serbian archpastors, and including also the Patriarch of Bulgaria, at the wish of king Dushan, chose Archbishop Joannikii as Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Sainted Joannikii reposed on 3 September 1349 and was buried in the Pech monastery.
The Pisidia Icon of the Mother of God was glorified by miracles in the city of Sozopolis. The account of its origin is unknown. In the missives about icon-veneration by Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople, which were read at the Seventh OEcumenical Council, "the icon of the Ever-Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, located at Pisidian Sozopolis and exuding myrh from the hands thereof", is termed "ancient". The miracle-working effected from the icon dates back to the VI Century. One of the miracles was reported by the presbyter Eustathios, who was a contemporary of Patriarch Eutykhios (Comm. 6 April). At Amasea, just off from Sozopolis, there was a certain married couple, for whom children were born dead. Grieving over their misfortune, they turned to Patriarch Eutykhios for advice. Saint Eutykhios made prayer and with the words "in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ" he anointed them with holy oil from the Cross of the Lord and from the holy icon of the Mother of God. "Name your child Peter, and he wilt be alive", -- said he to them. Soon the couple gave birth to a son which they did indeed name Peter, and then they thereafter gave birth to a second son, whom they named John. The people of the city, in learning of this miracle, glorified God. For about 600 years myrh flowed from the Pisidian Icon of the Mother of God, a witness to which was Eleusios (a disciple of the Monk Theodore Sikeotes, of Saisota; Comm. 22 April). A copy in Russia of this ancient wonderworking icon was done in 1608, at the Moscow Novospassk monastery. The Mother of God is depicted with the Divine-Infant on Her left arm, and with Her right hand She gives blessing.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Hieromartyr Anthimus
He was born in Nicomedia, and was raised from childhood as a true Christian. ``His body was mortified, his spirit humbled, his envy uprooted, his anger subdued, his sloth banished…. He had love for all and peace with all; he was prudent with all, had zeal for the glory of God and was forthright with all.'' It is no wonder that a man with such virtues was appointed bishop. St. Anthimus governed as Bishop of Nicomedia during the cruel persecution of Christians under the villainous Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. Streams of Christian blood were shed, especially in Nicomedia. One year, on the Feast of Christ's Nativity, twenty thousand martyrs were burned to death in one church (see December 28). This took place during the time of Anthimus's episcopacy. Even so, the persecution did not end with this, but continued, and many Christians were cast into prison and kept there for torture and death. St. Anthimus withdrew to the village of Semana, not because he was fleeing from death, but in order to continue encouraging his flock in the feat of martyrdom, so that no one would fall away out of fear. One of his letters to the Christians in prison was intercepted and turned over to Emperor Maximian. The emperor dispatched twenty soldiers to find Anthimus and bring him to him. The gray-haired and clairvoyant elder came out to meet the soldiers, brought them to his house, and treated them as guests-and only then revealed that he was Anthimus, whom they were seeking. The soldiers, astonished by Anthimus's kindness, suggested that he hide, saying they would tell the emperor that they could not find him. But Anthimus replied that he could not let himself transgress God's commandment against falsehood to save his life, and he went with the soldiers. Along the way, all the soldiers came to believe in Christ and were baptized by Anthimus. The emperor had Anthimus harshly tortured for a long time, and then had him beheaded with an axe. He glorified the Lord and went to his rest at the beginning of the fourth century.
2. The Holy Martyr Basilissa
Basilissa was a nine-year-old girl. She was martyred in Nicomedia not long after the death of St. Anthimus. The torturers covered her whole body with wounds, but she remained faithful to Christ. God preserved her unharmed from fire and wild beasts, which caused her torturer, Alexander, to repent and embrace the Christian Faith. Basilissa then went out into a field, fell to her knees, and prayed thankfully to God that she had endured the tortures, and with that she gave up her spirit to God, in about the year 309.
3. Saint Joanikije, Archbishop and First Patriarch of Serbia
Joanikije was born in Prizren, and initially served as secretary to King Du an. He became archbishop in 1339, and was elevated to the rank of patriarch in 1346. Joanikije was a zealous archpastor and organizer of the Serbian Church, ``a great upholder of the laws of the Church.'' He entered into rest on September 3, 1349. His relics repose in the Patriarchate of Peè.
4. The Venerable Theoctistus
He was a faster and fellow ascetic of St. Euthymius the Great. Theoctistus was abbot of Euthymius's Lavra, located some six miles from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. In all things he was a disciple of St. Euthymius under whose spiritual guidance he governed the monastery until the age of ninety. He pleased God by his life, and reposed in the middle of the fifth century during the reign of Anastasius, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Hieromartyr Anthimus
Holy Anthimus encouraged his flock:
``My children, my beloved children,
Bearers of Christ's yoke,
Now is the time for great renunciation,
O soldiers of the Crucified Christ,
Who gloriously resurrected from the dead!
Now is the time of cruel persecution;
Now is the time of struggle and patience;
For the harvest of heroes is prepared.
The brilliant wreath is radiant above you:
Fear not the dark executioners
For the power of man does not last forever,
But the power of God lasts unto ages of ages.
Blessed is he who fears God!
Your tears will be wiped away
In heaven by the hands of angels;
Your wounds will be healed
In heaven with paradisal balm.
Death will be transformed into life!
The despised will be crowned with a wreath!
Brief torture, but eternal blessings.
My dear children, do not fear.''
He who desires to be saved must be absolutely obedient to spiritual authority. Without this obedience, a man can perish even with the greatest desire for salvation. The great saints, who prescribed obedience as the condition for salvation, also fulfilled the act of obedience to perfection. When St. Simeon chose the pillar for his ascesis, it struck the other ascetics as some kind of novelty. Because they did not know if this form of asceticism was of the Spirit of God or of the spirit of pride, the desert fathers sent spiritual men to determine the answer. The monks were to command Simeon in their name to come down from the pillar. If he did not want to come down, it would have meant that his elevation on the pillar was from the spirit of pride. But if he obeyed the command and began to descend, they were to leave him as he was, for his readiness to obey would show that his asceticism was from the Holy Spirit. When those sent arrived and told Simeon that the council of the holy fathers of the desert commanded him to descend from the pillar, Simeon immediately began to climb down the ladder. Seeing his obedience, they cried out to him rejoicing: ``Do not come down, holy Father, but remain where you are. We see now that your asceticism is of God.''
Contemplate God's punishment of David for his sins (II Samuel 13):
1. How Amnon, David's son, defiled David's daughter, Tamara;
2. How Absalom, David's son, slew Amnon his brother because of this;
3. How David wept bitterly.
on the Word of God revealed in the flesh
And the Word was made flesh (John 1:14).
Here, brethren, is a new, blessed and salvific beginning for us-the beginning of our salvation. Adam was in the flesh when he fell under the authority of sin and death. Now the Creator of Adam has appeared in the flesh, to deliver Adam and Adam's posterity from the power of sin and death. The Son of God-the Word, Wisdom, Light and Life-descended among men in human flesh and with a human soul. He was incarnate but not divided from His Divinity. He descended without being separated from His Father. He retained all that He had been and would be for all eternity, and yet He received something new: human nature. His eternal attributes were not diminished by the Incarnation, neither was His relationship to the Father and the Spirit changed. Lo, the Father testified to this, both on the Jordan and on Mount Tabor: This is my beloved Son! He did not say: ``This was my Son,'' but ``This is my Son.'' The Holy Spirit was with Him at His bodily conception and throughout His mission on earth. The divine and human nature were united in Him, but not intermingled. How? Do not ask, you who do not even know how to explain yourself to yourself, and cannot say how your soul and body are united in you. Only know this: God came to visit the earth, bringing unspeakably rich treasures for mankind-royal gifts, incorruptible, eternal, priceless and irreplaceable gifts. Know this and let your heart dance for joy. Strive to cleanse your hands, purify your senses, wash your soul, whiten your heart, and set your mind straight, that you may receive the royal gifts. For they are not given to the unclean.
O Lord Jesus Christ, help us to cleanse and wash ourselves by Thy blood and Thy Spirit, that we may be made worthy of Thy royal gifts.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.