FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Babylas the Holy Martyr
Moses the Prophet & Godseer
Our Righteous Father Anthimus of Coroucle in Cephallenia
Hermione the Martyr, daughter of St. Philip the Deacon
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Βαβύλα, τοῦ Ἁγίου καί Θεόπτου Μωϋσέως τοῦ Προφήτου, τοῦ Ὁσίου Ἀνθίμου Κουρούκλη, τοῦ ἐκ Ληξουρίου Κεφαλληνίᾳς.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ἀνθίμου, τοῦ νέου ἀσκητοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 12:20-21; 13:1-2
BRETHREN, I fear that perhaps I may come and find you not what I wish, and that you may find me not what you wish; that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned before and have not repented of the impurity, immorality, and licentiousness which they have practiced.
This is the third time I am coming to you. Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses. I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 12:20-21; 13:1-2
Ἀδελφοί, φοβοῦμαι γάρ μήπως ἐλθὼν οὐχ οἵους θέλω εὕρω ὑμᾶς, κἀγὼ εὑρεθῶ ὑμῖν οἷον οὐ θέλετε· μήπως ἔρεις, ζῆλοι, θυμοί, ἐριθεῖαι, καταλαλιαί, ψιθυρισμοί, φυσιώσεις, ἀκαταστασίαι· μὴ πάλιν ἐλθόντα με ταπεινώσει ὁ θεός μου πρὸς ὑμᾶς, καὶ πενθήσω πολλοὺς τῶν προημαρτηκότων, καὶ μὴ μετανοησάντων ἐπὶ τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ καὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ ἀσελγείᾳ ᾗ ἔπραξαν. Τρίτον τοῦτο ἔρχομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς. Ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων καὶ τριῶν σταθήσεται πᾶν ῥῆμα. Προείρηκα καὶ προλέγω, ὡς παρὼν τὸ δεύτερον, καὶ ἀπὼν νῦν γράφω τοῖς προημαρτηκόσιν καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν, ὅτι ἐὰν ἔλθω εἰς τὸ πάλιν, οὐ φείσομαι·
The Reading is from Mark 4:24-34
The Lord said to his disciples, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away." And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 4.24-34
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· βλέπετε τί ἀκούετε. ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε, μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν, καὶ προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν τοῖς ἀκούουσιν.ὃς γὰρ ἂν ἔχῃ, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ· καὶ ὃς οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ. Καὶ ἔλεγεν· οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὡς ἂν ἄνθρωπος βάλῃ τὸν σπόρον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,καὶ καθεύδῃ καὶ ἐγείρηται νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, καὶ ὁ σπόρος βλαστάνῃ καὶ μηκύνηται ὡς οὐκ οἶδεν αὐτός.αὐτομάτη γὰρ ἡ γῆ καρποφορεῖ, πρῶτον χόρτον, εἶτα στάχυν, εἶτα πλήρη σῖτον ἐν τῷ στάχυϊ.ὅταν δὲ παραδῷ ὁ καρπός, εὐθέως ἀποστέλλει τὸ δρέπανον, ὅτι παρέστηκεν ὁ θερισμός. Καὶ ἔλεγε· πῶς ὁμοιώσωμεν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ; ἢ ἐν τίνι παραβολῇ παραβάλωμεν αὐτήν;ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, μικρότερος πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων ἐστὶ τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει καὶ γίνεται μείζων πάντων τῶν λαχάνων, καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους, ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῦν. Καὶ τοιαύταις παραβολαῖς πολλαῖς ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον, καθὼς ἠδύναντο ἀκούειν,χωρὶς δὲ παραβολῆς οὐκ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον· κατ᾿ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ἐπέλυε πάντα.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Δ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Βαβύλα, Ἐπισκόπου Ἀντιοχείας τῆς μεγάλης, καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ Ἁγίων τριῶν παίδων, οἳ διὰ ξίφους ἐτελειώθησαν.
Ὁ Χριστὸν αὐτὸν Βαβύλας θύων πάλαι,
Χριστῷ προθύμως θύεται διὰ ξίφους.
Εἰς τοὺς παῖδας
Ὑπὲρ μεγίστου Δεσπότου Θεοῦ Λόγου,
Τρέχουσι θερμῶς πρὸς ξίφος τὰ παιδία.
Παῖδας καὶ Βαβύλαν πέφνε ξίφος ἀμφὶ τετάρτην.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Βαβύλας, ὁ ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ διδάσκαλος, σὺν τοῖς ὑπ᾿αὐτὸν ὀγδοήκοντα τέσσαρσι παισί, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Μαθήσεώς σοι μισθὸς ἐκ τῶν παιδίων,
Βαβύλα θεῖε τῆς τομῆς κοινωνία.
Ὁ Ἅγιος προφήτης Μωϋσῆς ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Οὐκ ἐκ πέτρας νῦν, ουδ᾿ ὀπισθίων μέρει,
Μωσῆ θεωρεῖς, ἀλλ᾿ ὅλον Θεὸν βλέπεις.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Ἑρμιόνης, μιᾶς τῶν θυγατέρων Φιλίππου τοῦ ἀποστόλου.
Χωρεῖς πρὸς αὐτοὺς οὐρανοὺς Ἑρμιόνη,
Ἑρμαῖον εὑρηκυῖα τὴν σωτηρίαν.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Θεότιμος καὶ Θεόδουλος, οἱ ἀπὸ δημίων πιστεύσαντες, πυρὶ τελειοῦνται.
Θεότιμος τέθνηκε σὺν Θεοδούλῳ,
Τιμὴν σὺν αὐτῷ δουλικὴν δοὺς Κυρίῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Κεντυρίωνος, Θεοδώρου, Ἀμιανοῦ, καὶ Ἰουλιανοῦ, ὁρμωμένων ἐκ κώμης Κανδαύλης.
Ὁ Κεντυρίων πῦρ πόθου θείου πνέων,
Ψυχὴν προθύμως εἰς τὸ πῦρ ἀποπνέει.
Τριττοῖς ἀθληταῖς, ἡ πυρὰ κλῖμαξ ξένη,
Δι' ἧς ἀνῆλθον οὐρανοῦ πρὸς τὸ πλάτος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ, ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Πετρωνίου, Χαριτίνης, Ζαρβήλου (ἢ Σαρβήλου), Θαθουήλ, καὶ Βεβαίας.
Τμηθέντες ἄμφω Θαθουὴλ καὶ Βεβαία,
Ζωὴν βεβαίαν εὗρον ἀντ᾿ ἐψευσμένης.
Βέβηλον ὁ Ζάρβηλος οὐ σέβων σέβας,
Ἀνδρῶν βεβήλων χερσὶ βάλλεται λίθοις.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν ἁγίων τρισχιλίων ἑξακοσίων εἰκοσιοκτὼ Μαρτύρων.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Babylas was the twelfth Bishop of Antioch, being the successor of Zebinus (or Zebinas); he was beheaded during the reign of Decius, in the year 250, and at his own request was buried in the chains with which he was bound. The Emperor Gallus (reigned 351-354) built a church in his honour at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, to put an end to the demonic oracles at the nearby temple of Apollo. When Julian the Apostate came in 362 to consult the oracle about his campaign against the Persians, the oracle (that is, the demon within it) remained dumb until at last, answering Julian's many sacrifices and supplications, it told him, "The dead prevent me from speaking." It told Julian to dig up the bones and move them. Julian, then, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, "leaving all the other dead, moved only that Martyr." He commanded the Christians to take away Saint Babylas' bones, which they did with great solemnity and triumph. When this had been done, a thunderbolt fell from heaven destroying with fire the shrine of Apollo, which Julian did not dare rebuild. Saint John Chrysostom preached a sermon on this within a generation after.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Καί τρόπων μέτοχος, καί θπόνων διάδοχος, τών Αποστόλων γενόμενος, τήν πράξιν εύρες Θεόπνευστε, εις θεωρίας επίβασιν, διά τούτο τόν λόγον τής αληθείας ορθοτομών, καί τή πίστει ενήθλησας μέχρις αίματος, Ιερομάρτυς Βαβύλα, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Babylas. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ως ευσεβείας κήρυκα, καί αθλητών εδραίωμα, η Εκκλησία δοξάζει σε ένδοξε, λαμπρυνομένη σήμερον, αλλ' ως έχων παρρησίαν, εν ειρήνη τελεία, τούς ανυμνούντάς σε, τόν Χριστόν φυλαχθήναι δυσώπησον, ώ Πολύαθλε.
In thy heart, O Babylas, thou sacred Martyr, thou didst set the mighty works of faith and keptest them secure; hence, thou didst not fear the tyrant's rage. Keep us as well, O good servant of Christ our God.
The Prophet Moses-whose name means "one who draws forth," or "is drawn from," that is, from the water-was the pinnacle of the lovers of wisdom, the supremely wise lawgiver, the most ancient historian of all. He was of the tribe of Levi, the son of Amram and Jochabed (Num. 26:59). He was born in Egypt in the seventeenth century before Christ. While yet a babe of three months, he was placed in a basket made of papyrus and covered with pitch, and cast into the streams of the Nile for fear of Pharaoh's decree to the mid-wives of the Hebrews, that all the male children of the Hebrews be put to death. He was taken up from the river by Pharaoh's daughter, became her adopted son, and was reared and dwelt in the King's palace for forty years. Afterward, when he was some sixty years old, he fled to Madian, where, on Mount Horeb, he saw the vision of the burning bush. Thus he was ordained by God to lead Israel and bring it out of the land of Egypt. He led Israel through the Red Sea as it were dry land and governed the people for forty years. He wrought many signs and wonders, and wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, which are called the Pentateuch. When he reached the land of Moab, he ascended Mount Nabau, on the peak called Phasga, and there, by divine command, he reposed in the sixteenth century before Christ, having lived for some 120 years. The first two Odes of the Old Testament, "Let us sing to the Lord" and "Attend, O heaven, and I will speak," were written by him. Of these hymns, the first was chanted by the shore of the Red Sea as soon as the Israelites had crossed it; the second, in the land of Moab, a few days before his repose. The Holy High Priest Aaron was the elder brother of the Holy Prophet Moses. He was appointed by God to serve as the spokesman of Moses before the people, and also before Pharaoh, in Egypt. Afterwards, in the wilderness, he was called to the ministry of the high priesthood, as narrated in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers in the Old Testament. The name Aaron means "enlightened."
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophets Moses, O Lord, through them we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
With the divine and righteous Moses and Aaron, the Prophets' choir today rejoiceth with gladness, seeing their prophecy fulfilled now in our midst; for Thy Cross, O Christ our God, whereby Thou hast redeemed us, shineth in the sight of all as the end and fulfilment of that which they foretold in ancient times. By their entreaties, have mercy upon us all.
Σήμερα η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει και τιμά την μνήμη του μεγάλου Προφήτου και νομοθέτου Μωυσέως. Μοναδικό είναι το έργο του Μωυσέως μεταξύ των ανθρώπων. Η ιστορία μιλεί για τον Λυκούργο στη Σπάρτη και για το Σόλωνα στην Αθήνα και για άλλους μεγάλους νομοθέτες, κανείς όμως από αυτούς δεν φτάνει σε αξία και σημασία τον Μωυσή. Βέβαια το έργο του Μωυσέως δεν είναι ανθρώπινο, οι δέκα εντολές είναι θεοπαράδοτος νόμος και οι πλάκες του όρους Σινά ελαξεύθησαν με το χέρι του Θεού. Μα όσο κι αν ο Θεός χρησιμοποιή τους ανθρώπους για να φανερώση στον κόσμο τη βουλή Του και οι άνθρωποι σε τέτοιες περιστάσεις είναι όργανα του Θεού, ποτέ όμως δεν είναι άβουλα και ετεροκίνητα αντικείμενα, αλλά πρόσωπα ελεύθερα και ενσυνείδητα, που ακριβώς τόσο περισσότερο τα εμπιστεύεται και τα χρησιμοποιεί ο Θεός, όσο βαθύτερη συνείδηση έχουν της αποστολής των· "όστις γαρ έχει δοθήσεται αυτώ...", είπεν ο Ιησούς Χριστός.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βαβύλας Ἱερομάρτυρας, ἐπίσκοπος Ἀντιοχείας καὶ τὰ τρία παιδιὰ ποὺ μαρτύρησαν μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτὸν Ἀμμώνιος, Δονᾶτος καὶ Φαῦστος
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βαβύλας ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Νουμεριανοῦ (284 μ.Χ.) καὶ διαδέχθηκε τὸ Σεβίνο στὸν ἐπισκοπικὸ θρόνο τῆς Ἀντιοχείας. Τὸν καιρὸ ἐκεῖνο, ὁ Νουμεριανὸς σκότωσε ἀπάνθρωπα τὸ γιὸ τοῦ Βασιλιᾶ τῶν Περσῶν, ποὺ εἶχε στὰ χέρια του σὰν ἐνέχυρο γιὰ τὴν ἀσφάλεια τῆς εἰρήνης μὲ τοὺς Πέρσες. Ὅταν τὸ ἔμαθε ὁ Βαβύλας, ἀποδοκίμασε τὴν ἐνέργεια τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα. Τότε ὁ Νουμεριανὸς θέλησε νὰ πλήξει τὸ Βαβύλα καὶ ὅσο τὸ δυνατὸν περισσότερους χριστιανούς, κατὰ τὴν ὥρα τῆς θείας Λειτουργίας. Μόλις, λοιπόν, πληροφορήθηκε ὁ Βαβύλας ὅτι στὸ ναὸ εἰσέρχεται ὁ ἐγκληματίας αὐτοκράτορας μὲ ὅλη του τὴν συνοδεία, δὲ φοβήθηκε. Ἀμέσως ἦλθαν στὸ μυαλό του τὰ λόγια τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου: «Ἀνδρίζεσθε, κραταιοῦσθε». Ἀγωνίζεσθε σὰν ἄνδρες γενναῖοι. Πᾶρτε δύναμη καὶ θάρρος. Πράγματι, μὲ περίσσια τόλμη καὶ θάρρος, ὁ Βαβύλας στὴν εἴσοδο τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἅρπαξε ἀπὸ τὸ στῆθος τὸ Νουμεριανὸ καὶ τοῦ εἶπε νὰ βγεῖ ἔξω, διότι δὲν ἐπιτρέπεται ἡ εἴσοδος στὸ ναὸ σὲ αἱματοβαμμένους ἐγκληματίες. Ὁ αὐτοκράτορας ντροπιασμένος ἀπεχώρησε. Ἀλλὰ τὴν ἑπόμενη μέρα φυλάκισε τὸ Βαβύλα καὶ κατόπιν τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε. Ἔθαψαν τὸ σῶμα του μαζὶ μὲ τὰ δεσμά του, ὅπως ἦταν ἡ ἐπιθυμία του.
Μαζὶ μὲ τὴν μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Βαβύλα, συνεορτάζεται καὶ ἡ μνήμη τῶν τριῶν παιδιῶν ποὺ μαρτύρησαν μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτόν. Αὐτὰ ἦταν ἀδέλφια μεταξύ τους, νέοι στὴν ἡλικία ἀλλὰ βράχοι ἄθραυστοι στὴν πίστη. Τὰ τρία ἀδέλφια ὅταν πήγαιναν στὴ φυλακὴ τὸν δάσκαλό τους Ἅγιο Βαβύλα, μὲ θάρρος τοῦ συμπαραστέκονταν. Τότε συνελήφθησαν καὶ αὐτά. Μάταια προσπάθησε ὁ Νουμεριανὸς νὰ τὰ ἀλλαξοπιστήσει. Τελικὰ τὰ ἀποκεφάλισε καὶ ἔτσι πῆραν τὸ ἔνδοξο στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κεγοῦρος, Σεκενδῖνος, Σέκενδος καὶ ἡ μητέρα τοὺς Ἱεροσαλήμ, οἱ ἐν Βεροίᾳ μάρτυρες
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βαβύλας διδάσκαλος στὴ Νικομήδεια καὶ οἱ 84 Μαθητές του
Ὁ ἅγιος αὐτὸς Βαβύλας εἶναι μεταγενέστερος τοῦ ἁγίου Βαβύλα ἐπισκόπου Ἀντιοχείας. Αὐτὸς δίδασκε στὴ Νικομήδεια τὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ στοὺς νέους. Ὅταν ἐπισκέφθηκε τὴν Νικομήδεια ὁ Μαξιμιανὸς (286-305), καταγγέλθηκε ὅτι διδάσκει στοὺς νέους τὴν χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Συνελήφθη λοιπὸν μαζὶ μὲ 84 νεαροὺς μαθητές του καὶ ἀφοῦ ὑπέστη σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια, γέροντας πλέον, μαζὶ μὲ τοὺς 84 μαθητές του ἀποκεφαλίστηκε.
Ὁ Προφήτης καὶ Θεόπτης Μωϋσῆς
Ἀπὸ τὶς μεγαλύτερες ἡγετικὲς προσωπικότητες ὅλων ὅσων ἀναδείχτηκαν ἀπὸ τὸν Κύριο, στὴ μακραίωνη Ἱστορία τοῦ παλαιοῦ Ἰσραήλ. Ὁ θεόπτης Μωϋσῆς ὑπολογίζεται ὅτι γεννήθηκε τὸ 1569 π.Χ. στὴν Αἴγυπτο. Ὁ πατέρας του ἦταν Ἑβραῖος, ὀνομαζόταν Ἄβραμ καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν φυλὴ τοῦ Λευὶ καὶ ἡ μητέρα του Ἰωχαβἐδ. Ὅταν λοιπὸν ὁ Φαραὼ διέταξε νὰ σφαγοῦν τὰ νήπια τῶν Ἑβραίων, ἡ μητέρα τοῦ Μωϋσῆ ἔβαλε αὐτὸν μέσα σὲ ἕνα κιβώτιο καὶ τὸν ἄφησε στὶς ὄχθες τοῦ ποταμοῦ Νείλου. Ἐκεῖ ὅμως, πήγαινε ἡ κόρη τοῦ Φαραὼ γιὰ νὰ λουστεῖ. Βρῆκε τὸν Μωϋσῆ, τὸν υἱοθέτησε καὶ τὸν μόρφωσε ἄριστα στὴν αἰγυπτιακὴ σοφία. Ἀλλ᾿ ὅταν ἦταν σαράντα χρόνων, σκότωσε κάποιο Αἰγύπτιο καὶ γιὰ νὰ μὴ ὑποστεῖ τὴν ὀργὴ τοῦ Φαραώ, κατέφυγε στὴ γῆ Μαδιὰμ ὅπου ἔγινε βοσκός. Ἐκεῖ παντρεύτηκε τὴν Σαπφώρα, ἀπὸ τὴν ὁποία ἀπέκτησε δυὸ γιούς. Ὅταν βοσκοῦσε τὰ πρόβατα στὴ Χωρίθ, τὰ μάτια του εἶδαν πρωτοφανὲς θαῦμα, τὴν καιομένη ἀλλὰ μὴ φλεγόμενη βάτο καὶ ἄκουσε τὴν φωνὴ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ποὺ τοῦ ἀνέθετε νὰ ἐλευθερώσει τοὺς Ἑβραίους ἀπὸ τὴν δουλεία τοῦ Φαραώ, πρᾶγμα ποὺ τελικὰ ἔκανε. Ἔβγαλε αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ τὴν Ἐρυθρὰ θάλασσα, μὲ τὸν τρόπο ποὺ γνωρίζουμε ἀπὸ τὰ κείμενανα τῆς Παλαιᾶς Διαθήκης, (Ἔξοδος, Λευϊτικόν, Ἀριθμοί, Δευτερονόμιον) καὶ γιὰ σαράντα χρόνια ἦταν ἡγέτης τους στὴν περιπλάνησή τους μέσα στὴν ἔρημο. Τελικὰ ὁ Μωϋσῆς δὲν ἀξιώθηκε νὰ δεῖ τὴν γῆ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, παρὰ μόνο ἀπὸ μακριά, στὴν κορυφὴ τοῦ ὄρους Νεβῶ, ὅπου πέθανε καὶ τάφηκε.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἑρμιόνη κόρη τοῦ ἀποστόλου Φιλίππου
Ἦταν μία ἀπὸ τὶς 4 κόρες τοῦ ἀποστόλου Φιλίππου, ποὺ εἶχε καὶ αὐτὴ τὸ προφητικὸ χάρισμα (Πράξ. κα´ 8) καὶ ἀφοσιώθηκε στὸ ἀποστολικὸ ἔργο. Ὅταν πῆγε μαζὶ μὲ τὴν ἀδελφή της Εὐτυχίδα στὴν Ἔφεσο γιὰ νὰ συναντήσει τὸν ἅγιο Ἰωάννη τὸν Θεολόγο, βρῆκε ἀντ᾿ αὐτοῦ, ποὺ εἶχε ἀποβιώσει, τὸν μαθητή του Πετρώνιο, ἀπὸ τὸν ὁποῖο διδάχτηκε καὶ στηρίχτηκε περισσότερο στὸ εὐαγγελικὸ ἔργο. Λέγεται μάλιστα, ὅτι κάποτε ἀπὸ τὴν Ἔφεσο πέρασε ὁ Τραϊανὸς γιὰ νὰ πάει νὰ πολεμήσει τοὺς Πέρσες, καὶ ἄκουσε πολλὰ γιὰ τὸ προφητικὸ χάρισμα τῆς Ἑρμιόνης. Τὴν κάλεσε λοιπὸν γιὰ νὰ προφητεύσει γι᾿ αὐτόν. Ἡ Ἑρμιόνη τοῦ εἶπε ὅτι θὰ νικήσει τοὺς Πέρσες, ἀλλὰ τὴν βασιλεία τῶν Ρωμαίων θὰ καταλάβει ὁ γαμπρός του Ἀδριανός, ποὺ πράγματι ἔγινε. Ἐπειδὴ ἡ προφητεία ἐπαληθεύτηκε, ὁ Τραϊανὸς διέταξε καὶ βασάνισαν σκληρὰ τὴν Ἑρμιόνη. Κατόπιν τὴν παρέδωσε στοὺς δήμιους γιὰ νὰ τὴν θανατώσουν, ἀλλ᾿ αὐτοὶ πίστεψαν στὸν Χριστὸ καὶ τὴν ἄφησαν ἐλεύθερη. Ἔτσι ἡ Ἑρμιόνη πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ καὶ τάφηκε στὴν Ἔφεσο.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Θεότιμος (ἢ Τιμόθεος) καὶ Θεόδουλος
Ἦταν οἱ δήμιοι, ποὺ πίστεψαν στὸ Χριστὸ διὰ τῆς Ἁγίας Ἑρμιόνης. Ἀπεβίωσαν εἰρηνικά.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πετρώνιος
Μᾶλλον εἶναι ὁ μαθητὴς τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου τοῦ Θεολόγου, ποὺ συνάντησε ἡ Ἅγια Ἑρμιόνη στὴν Ἔφεσο, ὅταν πῆγε μαζὶ μὲ τὴν ἀδελφή της Εὐτυχίδα, καὶ τὴν ἑδραίωσε στὸ εὐαγγελικὸ ἔργο. Ὁ ἅγιος Πετρώνιος ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.
Ἡ Ἁγία Χαριτίνη
Ἐπειδὴ ἡ μνήμη της φέρεται μαζὶ μὲ αὐτὴ τοῦ ἁγίου Πετρωνίου, τῆς ἁγίας Ἑρμιόνης καὶ τῆς Εὐτυχίδας, θυγατέρων τοῦ ἀποστόλου Φιλίππου, ἴσως καὶ αὐτὴ νὰ μαρτύρησε κατὰ τὴν παρουσία τοῦ Τραϊανοῦ στὴν Ἔφεσο, ὅταν πήγαινε στὸν πόλεμο κατὰ τῶν Περσῶν. Ἴσως ὅμως νὰ εἶναι ἡ ἴδια μὲ αὐτὴ τῆς 5ης Ὀκτωβρίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Σάρβηλος (ἢ Ζάρβηλος)
Μαρτύρησε διὰ λιθοβολισμοῦ.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κεντυρίων, Θεόδωρος, Ἀμμιανός, Ἰουλιανός καὶ Ὠκεανός
Ἦταν ἀπὸ τὸ χωριὸ Κανδαύλη καὶ συνελήφθηκαν ἐπὶ βασιλέως Μαξιμιανοῦ (288). Ἐπειδὴ ὅλοι ὁμολόγησαν μὲ θάρρος τὴν χριστιανική τους πίστη, τοὺς ἔκαψαν ζωντανοὺς καὶ ἔτσι πῆραν τὸ ἔνδοξο στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Θαλουὴλ καὶ Βεβαία
Ἦταν ἀδέλφια μεταξύ τους καὶ ἔζησαν στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Ἀδριανοῦ (κατ᾿ ἄλλους τοῦ Τραϊανοῦ) τὸ 116 μ.Χ. Ὁ Θαθουὴλ ἦταν Ἱερέας τῆς δαιμονικῆς πλάνης καὶ διδάχτηκε τὸν χριστιανισμὸ ἀπὸ ἕναν ἐπίσκοπο. Ἐξαιτίας λοιπὸν αὐτῆς τῆς μεταστροφῆς του μαστιγώνεται σκληρὰ ἀπὸ τὸν τοπάρχη Αὔγαρο καὶ στὴ συνέχεια τοῦ βγάζουν τὰ μάτια. Ἔπειτα τὸν κρέμασαν ἀπὸ τὸ ἕνα χέρι, τοῦ ἔγδαραν τὴν κοιλιὰ καὶ μὲ φωτιὰ ἔκαψαν τὶς πλευρές του. Τελικά, ἔλαβαν τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου, ἀφοῦ καὶ τοὺς δυὸ ἀποκεφάλισαν. Ὁ Σ. Εὐστρατιάδης στὸ Ἁγιολόγιό του ἀναφέρει, ὅτι οἱ μάρτυρες αὐτοὶ ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἔδεσσα τῆς Συρίας καὶ ἔγιναν χριστιανοὶ ἀπὸ τὸν ἐπίσκοπο Βάρσιππο (ἢ Βαρσιμαῖο).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἄνθιμος ὁ νέος ἀσκητὴς ἀπὸ τὴν Κεφαλονιά
Γεννήθηκε στὸ Ληξούρι τῆς Κεφαλονιᾶς τὸ 1727 καὶ πέθανε τὸ 1782 (κατ᾿ ἄλλους τὸ 1781). Ἑπτὰ μόλις χρονῶν ἔχασε τὸ φῶς του καὶ τὸ ξαναβρῆκε θαυματουργικά, χάρη στὶς προσευχὲς τῆς μητέρας του Ἀντζουλέττας. Ἀλλὰ ἐξ αἰτίας τῆς σκληρῆς μοναχικῆς του ζωῆς τὸ ξαναέχασε καὶ πῆγε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος. Παρὰ τὴν τύφλωσή του, ἀνέπτυξε σπουδαῖο κηρυκτικὸ καὶ ἱεραποστολικὸ ἔργο καὶ μάλιστα ἔκτισε πολλὲς Μονὲς σὲ διάφορα μέρη. Φέρεται σὰν προστάτης τῆς Ἀστυπάλαιας καὶ ἐκδόθηκε Ἀκολουθία του τὸ 1911 ἀπὸ τὸν Ἐμμανουὴλ Καρασέλο. Ἐπίσης ἔκανε πολλὰ θαύματα καὶ ἀπὸ τὴν Ὀρθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία ἁγιοποιήθηκε στὶς 30 Ἰουλίου 1974.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι 3608 (κατ᾿ ἄλλους 3628) Μάρτυρες ποὺ μαρτύρησαν στὴ Νικομήδεια
Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ κατὰ τὸν διωγμὸ τοῦ Μαξιμιανοῦ στὴ Νικομήδεια (290), κατὰ τὸν ὁποῖο κάηκε καὶ ὁ χριστιανικὸς ναός, κατέφυγαν στὰ βουνά, ἀλλὰ συνελήφθησαν καὶ θανατώθηκαν ἀπάνθρωπα.
Εὕρεσις λειψάνου τοῦ νεομάρτυρος Θεοδώρου, τοῦ Μυτιληναίου (1967)
Hieromartyr Babylas, bishop of Antioch, and those with him (251)
He was archbishop of Antioch at the time of the wicked Emperor Numerian. Once the Emperor came to Antioch and attempted to enter a church where Babylas was serving. Coming to the door, the Archbishop forbade the Emperor, as a pagan and a shedder of innocent blood, to enter the house where the True God was worshipped. Retreating in humiliation, the Emperor determined to take his revenge. Shortly after he had Babylas imprisoned along with several Christian children. Babylas was made to watch the beheading of each of the children. Having given them encouragement he submitted himself to beheading. At his own request he was buried in the chains with which he had been bound.
After the establishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire, the Emperor Gallus had a church built in honor of Babylas near the site of a temple to Apollos at Daphne, outside Antioch. (This was where, according to pagan legend, the maiden Daphne had been turned into a tree to escape the lust of Apollos). When Julian the Apostate came to Antioch in 362 to consult a famous oracle there, he found that the oracle had been deprived of its power by the presence of a Christian church nearby. He ordered the relics of St Babylas to be dug up and removed from the Church. As soon as this had been done a thunderbolt destroyed the shrine of Apollo, which Julian did not dare to rebuild. Saint John Chrysostom, then Archbishop of Antioch, preached a sermon on these events within a generation after their occurrence.
Holy Prophet Moses, who beheld God.
What can we say of Moses? For his story read the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Church holds him to be the author of the Pentateuch or Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.
St John Mavropos, Metropolitan of Euchaita (1100)
He is best known for his part in the institution of the Synaxis of Sts Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom (see January 30). The three holy hierarchs appeared to him and revealed that all three are united and equally honored in heaven, thus dispelling a spirit of factionalism that was disturbing Constantinople. He is the composer of the Canon to the Most Sweet Jesus and the Canon to the Guardian Angel, both found in many prayer books. He reposed in peace. Mavropos is a nickname meaning 'Black-foot'.
He is commemorated on June 14 on the Slavic Calendar.
St Hermione, daughter of Apostle Philip (1st c.)
She was one of the four daughters of the Apostle Philip the Deacon (October 11). As we read in the Acts of the Apostles (21:8), all four were virgins and prophets. Her fame as a prophetess and a worker of miraculous healings attracted the attention of the Emperor Hadrian, under whose tribunal she was cruelly tortured. It is written that throughout her torments the only sounds that came from her lips were verses of the Psalms. At last she was sentenced to death; when the executioners raised the sword to behead her they were struck with paralysis, but St Hermione healed them by her prayer. At this, the executioners believed in Christ and laid down the sword. Saint Hermione was buried at Ephesus.
Venerable Anthimos the Blind, New Ascetic (1782)
He was born on the island of Kephalonia in 1727, with the name Athanasios Kourouklis. At the age of seven he became blind as a result of smallpox. His devout mother prayed for his healing, and asked her priest to serve forty Ligurgies for her son's healing. At the fortieth Liturgy, as the priest said 'In the fear of God and with faith and love draw near,' Athanasius cried out that he could see the priest's vestments and chalice. He had recovered sight in his right eye. For a time he followed his father's occupation as a seaman, but then took up the life of a monk, receiving the name Anthimos. At some point he went blind again, and soon thereafter had a vision: he was praying for the restoration of his sight before an icon of the Theotokos when two young men in radiant garments appeared and led him to the Mother of God herself, who told him 'Depart, for your continual prayer that I restore your sight is not profitable to you.' But the two young men pleaded for him, and the Theotokos said 'Anthimos, because of your great piety and many prayers, I will restore your sight in part, but do not forget that, having gained temporal vision, you can lose that which is eternal.' Thereafter, though Anthimos was almost completely blind, he could dimly discern the outlines of objects; but in compensation he was granted the gift of spiritual insight,and was able to predict the future and call by name those he had never met.
Saint Anthimos was about twenty when he entered monastic life, and lived on Mt Athos for awhile. Despite his blindness, he then took up a life of missionary work that took him throughout the Greek mainland and islands. Traveling from place to place he preached the Gospel, healed the sick, founded several monasteries. Once he restored a blind woman's sight by his prayers, though he himself remained blind throughout his life. Throughout his amazing labors he maintained a life of the most severe asceticism, eating little, sleeping on a plank or on the floor.
In 1782, in the course of one of his many sea journeys, he told the sailors to change course for Kephalonia, saying 'God's will is not that I concern myself with [the mission he had undertaken], but that I go back and die in my monastery.' On returning he fell ill and called his spiritual children to him. 'My children, the hour has come for me to go where the Lord ordains. Death is the common lot of us all and is nothing to be afraid of. It is important rather to do your best to keep your promises and your monastic vows. The one thing necessary in this life is to please God and save your souls.' Having said this, he fell asleep in peace, at the age of fifty-four. He was glorified as a Saint in 1976.
Note: It is sometimes said that celebrating Divine Liturgies for special intentions is 'not Orthodox.' The example of St Anthimos' mother shows that the practice is a both traditional and efficacious.
Holy New Martyr Gorazd, Bishop of Slovakia and the Czech Lands (1942) (August 22 OC)
He was born in 1879 in Moravia and given the name Matthew Pavlik. He became a Roman Catholic priest, active in a movement for reform within the Roman Catholic Church. When Czechoslovakia became an independent state in 1919, about 800,000 Christians, including Fr Matthew, approached Bishop Dositheus of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Serbia, asking to be received into the Orthodox faith. Father Matthew was received into the Church in 1920; a year later was made Bishop of the Orthodox of Moravia and Silesia by Patriarch Demetrius of Serbia, and was named for St Gorazd, a disciple of St Methodius (July 27). Though many of the original 'reform' leaders turned back, finding the demands of Orthodoxy too difficult, Bishop Gorazd labored mightily for the restoration of Orthodoxy in Czechoslovakia: he established eleven parishes, translated the divine services into Czech, and published a Czech Prayer Book.
During the Second World War, two priests of the Orthodox Cathedral in Prague were arrested because some of the Czech resistance had taken refuge in the Cathedral. It was clear that the Nazis were planning retaliation against the entire Orthodox Church. Bishop Gorazd presented himself to the Nazis and, to save his priests, took full responsibility for the events in the Cathedral. He was arrested, tortured and finally shot on September 4 1942 (August 22 OC). Despite his selfless sacrifice, the Orthodox Church was severely persecuted by the Nazis: all the churches were closed and the priests sent to concentration camps in Germany.
Saint Gorazd was glorified by the Church of Serbia in 1961 and by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1987.
The PriestMartyr Babyla and with him the 3 Lads Urban, Prilidian, Eppolonias and their Mother Christodoula died as martyrs under the emperor Decius (249-251). During a time of his stay at their city of Antioch, the emperor arranged for a large festival in honour of the pagan gods. During this same time the holy and God-fearing bishop of Antioch, Babyla, was making Divine Liturgy in church; he prayed for his flock and taught it bravely to undergo all the tribulations for the faith in Christ. After his abomination of idol-worship, Decius-- wanting to behold the making of the Divine Mysteries, decided to enter the church and by his visit to defile the Sanctuary of the Lord. News of this reached the bishop, and he, not wanting to permit impiety in the temple of God, went out to meet him and block the path to the church. When the emperor tried to get closer to the church doors, Saint Babyla shoved him away with his hands, such that the emperor had to forego his intent. He wanted to take his revenge on the saint right away, but seeing the large throng of Christians, he feared having them riot.
The next day the angry emperor gave orders to set fire to the Christian temple, and to bring Bishop Babyla before him. To the question about why he should insult the imperial dignity, and not allow the emperor into the church nor render him due respect of position, the holy bishop answered: "Anyone that would rise up against God and want to desecrate His sanctuary, -- such an one not only is not worthy of respect, but is become the enemy of the Lord".
The emperor demanded, that the holy bishop worship the idols and in such manner redeem his offence against the emperor, or else face execution. But having convinced himself that the martyr would remain steadfast in his faith, he commanded the military-commander Victorinus to put him in heavy chains and lead him through the city in disgrace. To this the holy martyr replied: "Emperor, for me these chains be as venerable, as for thee is thine imperial crown, and the suffering for Christ for me is as acceptable, as is the imperial power for thee; death for the Immortal King for me is as desirable, as thine life be for thee".
At the trial with Bishop Babyla were three young brothers, who did not forsake him even in this most difficult moment. Seeing them, the emperor asked: "Who are these children? " "These are my spiritual children, -- answered the saint, -- and I have raised them in piety, I have nourished them with an education, cultivated them with guidance, and here in a small body before thee are these great young men and perfect Christians. Test and see".
The emperor tried in all sorts of ways to entice the youths and their mother Christodoula into a renunciation of Christ, but in vain. Then in a rage he gave orders to whip each of them in a number equivalent to their years of age. The first they whipped with 12 blows, the second -- 10, and the third -- 7. Having dismissed the mother and children, the torturer again summoned the bishop, telling him that the children had renounced Christ. But the lie quickly unraveled and brought no success. Then in a rage he commanded all the martyrs be tied on a tree and burnt at with fire. But seeing the stoic bravery of the saints, the emperor finally condemned them to the death of martyrdom by beheading with the sword (+ c. 251).
The Holy Prophet and God-Seer Moses: his life is narrated within the Bible (Exod. 2 through Deut. 34: 12).
Sainted Joasaph was born at Proluka, in the former Poltava governance, on 8 September 1705, the feastday of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. At Baptism he was named Joakim. He was descended from the old and venerable Little Russian (Ukrainian) lineage of the Gorlenkovi. In 1712 his father enrolled the 7 year old Joakim in the Kiev Spiritual Academy. Within the walls of the academy he felt the attraction towards monastic life. And over the course of 7 years he studied it further, and finally revealed his intent to his parents. For a long time his mother and father pleaded with their first-born son not to accept monastic tonsure. But in 1725, in secret from them, he became a "ryasophor" ("robe-wearing novice") with the name Ilarion at the Kiev Mezhigorsk monastery, and on 21 November 1727 he was tonsured in monk's-mantle with the name Joasaph at the Kievo-Bratsk monastery. This event co-incided with the completion of his studies at the spiritual academy. After the death of His Grace Varlaam, the Kiev cathedra-chair was governed by archbishop Raphael Zaborovsky. Archbishop Raphael directed his attention to the evident abilities of the young ascetic and drew him into still more widespread a service to the Church. He was entrusted the responsible obedience of the office of examiner of the Kiev archbishopric. In November 1734 archbishop Raphael ordained the monk-deacon Joasaph to the dignity of priest-monk, and he transferred over from the Bratsk monastery school to the Kievo-Sophia archbishop's house. At the same time he was appointed a member of the Kiev religious consistory. In fulfilling the office of examiner, he exerted much effort towards the correction of moral deficiencies among the parish clergy. The consistory office service of the saint proved a fine schooling for his administrative abilities. During this time he made a good study of the needs of clergy-servers, noting both the good points and the failings of the diocese. Herein in clear form developed Joasaph's many-sided ability for matter, combined with great inner spiritual efforts. He quickly rose up the ladder of spiritual perfection, to which he witnesses in his work, "The Conflict of the Seven Venerable Virtues with the Seven Deadly Sins".
On 24 June 1737 Priest-monk Joasaph was appointed head of the Holy Transfiguration Mgarsk monastery, with elevation to the dignity of hegumen. Here the hegumen worked with all his strength to get the monastery in good order, which was an old bulwark of Orthodoxy in the struggle with the Unia. In this monastery were situated relics of Sainted Athanasias, Patriarch of Constantinople and Lubensk Wonderworker (Comm. 2 May). And several times Sainted Athanasias appeared to Hegumen Joasaph, witnessing to his patronal protection.
In 1744 metropolitan Raphael elevated Hegumen Joasaph to the dignity of archimandrite. Towards the end of that same year he was called to Moscow and soon, at the direction of the MostHoly Synod, he was appointed vicar of the Holy Trinity Sergiev Lavra monastery. At this monastery of the Monk Sergei he likewise unstintingly fulfilled obedience to the Church (this year required much exertion for the rebuilding of the monastery after a conflagration).
On 2 June 1748 at the Petropavlovsk (Peter and Paul) cathedral in Peterburg, Archimandrite Joasaph was ordained bishop of Belgorod. Entering upon the archbishop cathedra-chair, Saint Joasaph strictly concerned himself with piety and the condition of the churches, with the proper making of Divine-services and especially the moral condition of his flock. The saint devoted great attention to the education of the clergy, and the correct observance by them of churchly norms and traditions. And just as before, the saint worked with all his strength at the archpastoral service, without regard for his health. To his cell-attendant Stefan, on the eve of his repose, the saint forbade him to aspire to the priestly dignity and he predicted, that in case of disobedience he would meet with an untimely end. To another dell-attendant Vasilii, the saint indicated that he would be a deacon, but would never attain the dignity of priesthood. And this prediction was afterwards fulfilled. On 10 December 1754 the saint died. Sainted Joasaph was glorified to the ranks of the Saints on 4 September 1911.
The Holy Martyress Hermionia was a daughter of the holy Apostle Philip (Comm. 14 November). Wanting to see the holy Apostle John the Theologian, Hermionia with her sister Euthykhia set off to Asia (Asia Minor) in search of the saint, but during the time of their journey they learned the saint had died. Continuing on, the sisters met up with a disciple of Saint Paul named Petronias, and copying him in everything, they became his disciples. Saint Hermionia, having mastered the healing arts, rendered help to many a Christian and by the power of Christ she healed the sick.
During this period, the emperor Trajan (98-117) waged war against the Persians and he came with his army through the village where the saint lived. When they reported that Hermionia was a Christian, he gave orders to bring her to him. At first the emperor with casual admonitions sought to persuade the saint to renounce Christ. When this did not succeed, he commanded that she should be struck on the face at length, but she joyfully endured this suffering. Moreover, she was comforted by a vision of the Lord, sitting upon the throne of judgement, in semblance of Petronias. Convincing himself that she was adamant in her faith, Trajan sent her away. Hermionia later built an hospice in which she took in the sick, doctoring their infirmities both of body and soul.
Trajan's successor as emperor, Adrian, again commanded that the saint be brought to trial for confessing the Christian faith. At first, the emperor commanded that she be beaten mercilessly, then they pierced the soles of her feet with nails, and finally they threw her into a cauldron with boiling tar, tin and sulphurous brimstone. But the saint bore everything giving thanks to God. And the Lord rendered her His mercy: the fire went out, the tin flowed off, and the saint remained unharmed. Adrian in surprise went up to the place of torture and touched at the cauldron, to ascertain whether it had cooled. But just as he touched at the cauldron, he burned the skin on his hand. But even this did not dissuade the torturer. He gave orders to heat red-hot a sort of frying-pan and put upon it the holy martyress. And here again happened another miracle. An Angel of the Lord scattered about the hot coals and burnt many that stood about the fire. The saint stood on the frying-pan, as though on green grass, hymning forth praise to the Lord. Descending the frying-pan, the holy martyress seemed to appear willing to offer sacrifice to the pagan god Hercules. The delighted emperor gave orders to take her off to the idolous temple. When however the saint prayed there to God, a loud thunder-clap was heard, and all the idols in the pagan temple fell and shattered. In a rage the emperor ordered that Hermionia be led out beyond the city and beheaded. Two servants -- Theodoulos and Timothy -- were entrusted to carry out the execution. Going along the way, they wanted to commit iniquity against the saint, but just as they were considering this, their hands withered. Then they believed in Jesus Christ and with repentance they fell at the feet of Saint Hermionia. They besought her to pray to the Lord, that He should summon them to Himself before her, which through this prayer transpired. After this, having prayed, she also expired to the Lord (+ c. 117).
The Martyr Babyla, and with him his 84 Students, suffered in the city of Nicomedia for their confessing of Christianity during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). The emperor, then in Nicomedia, renewed the persecution against Christians. Just as with many another amongst believers, denunciation was made to Maximian regarding Babyla, that he was instructing children in Christian piety. When the elder Babyla was brought before the emperor, and after his confession of faith in the True God, he was given over to many torments. During the time of his sufferings the holy martyr cried out to God: "I give Thee thanks, O Lord, that Thou hast rendered me, old and infirm, to be young and strong". After a pummelting with stones his bloodied body was thrown in irons and they took him off to prison. Then they led the students of the saint before the emperor. Neither affable urgings nor promise of gifts were able to sway the Christian convictions of the children. Two of them, Ammonias and Donatos, firmly declared: "We -- are Christians, and we do not offer sacrifice to deaf and dumb devils". The emperor, going into a rage over the unexpected and firm rebuke on the part of the children, at first ordered them to be whipped, and later to be put to death by beheading, together with their teacher. Going to execution, the holy Martyr Babyla intoned the benediction to God: "Lo, I and the children, which God hath given me!" With spiritual rejoicing at first Saint Babyla, and then all his 84 students, accepted death by martyrdom.
The Holy Martyrs Theodore, Mianos, Julian and Kion lived during the reign of Maximian (305-311) and were from the village of Quandababa (near Nicomedia). For confessing faith in Christ they were arrested and given over to torture. At first their bodies were torn at with sharp iron hooks, and then they were locked into an hot and flooded bath-house. And so that they should not escape, the doors were locked and sealed with the imperial signet-ring. But an Angel of the Lord freed them. Soldiers again arrested the martyrs and led them beyond the city for execution. The saints at their request were given time for prayer, and then they gave up their souls to the Lord. Their bodies were hacked into pieces and thrown into a fire.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Holy Hieromartyr Babylas
This "great and wonderful man, if he could be called a man"-as St. John Chrysostom spoke of him-was Bishop of Antioch during the reign of the wicked Emperor Numerian. This Numerian concluded a peace treaty with a barbarian king, who was more noble and peace-loving than he. As a sign of his sincere desire for a lasting peace, the barbarian king gave his young son to be brought up and educated in Numerian's court. One day Numerian stabbed this innocent boy to death with his own hands, and offered him as a sacrifice to the idols. Still hot from the crime and the innocent blood, this criminal with an emperor's crown went to a Christian church to see what was going on there. St. Babylas was at prayer with the people, and heard that the emperor had come with his retinue and desired to enter the church. Babylas interrupted the service, went out in front of the church, and told the emperor that as he was an idolater he could not enter the holy temple where the one, true God was glorified. In a homily about Babylas, St. John Chrysostom said: "Who else in the world would he fear-he who, with such authority, repulsed the emperor?… By this, he taught emperors not to overreach their authority beyond the measure given to them by God, and he also showed the clergy how to use their own authority." The shamed emperor turned back, but planned revenge. The following day, he summoned Babylas and berated him, urging him to offer sacrifice to the idols, which, of course, the saint steadfastly refused to do. The emperor then bound Babylas and cast him into prison. The emperor also tortured three children: Urban, age twelve, Prilidian, age nine, and Hippolinus, age seven. Babylas was their spiritual father and teacher, and they, out of love for him, had not run away. They were the sons of Christodula, an honorable Christian woman who had herself suffered for Christ. The emperor first ordered that each child be beaten with a number of blows corresponding to his years, and then had them cast into prison. He finally had all three beheaded with the sword. The chained Babylas was present at the beheading of the children and encouraged them. After that, he laid his own honorable head under the sword. He was buried in his chains by the Christians, in the same grave as those three wondrous children, as he had willed before his martyrdom. Their holy souls flew off to their heavenly habitation, while their miracle-working relics remained for the benefit of the faithful, as a constant witness to their heroism in the Faith. They suffered in about the year 250.
2. The Holy Prophet Moses the God-seer
Moses was a great leader and the lawgiver of Israel. He was born in Egypt in about 1550 b.c. For forty years, he lived at the court of the pharaoh; for forty years, he lived as a shepherd in contemplation of God and the world; and for his remaining forty years, he led the people through the wilderness to the Promised Land. He beheld the Promised Land, but was not allowed to enter it, for he had once sinned against God (Numbers 20:12). Moses reposed at the age of 120. As a miracle-worker, he was a prefiguring of Christ, according to St. Basil the Great. He appeared from the other world on Mount Tabor during the Lord's Transfiguration. According to the witness of St. John Climacus, he appeared also to the monks in the Monastery of Mount Sinai.
3. The Holy Martyrs Marcellus and Cassian
Emperor Maximian Hercules once issued a command that all of his soldiers had to offer sacrifices to the idols. Marcellus was a soldier at that time, and Cassian was a notary (secretary). Marcellus, a Christian, declared: "If the military calling is bound up with sacrifice to idols, then I cannot be a soldier!" He removed his military belt and arms and cast them aside. He was immediately sentenced to death. Cassian's duty was to write Marcellus's death sentence, but he refused to write it. They were beheaded together, and their souls took up habitation in the Kingdom of Heaven.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Hieromartyr Babylas
Before the doors of the holy temple
The wonderful shepherd bravely stood.
The bloody emperor wanted to enter,
But the shepherd would not let him.
"You know nothing of the true God;
You bow down before idols.
What do you seek, foul pagan,
Among right-believing Christians?"
The stubborn emperor turned violent
And chained Babylas.
Yet, smiling at the emperor,
Babylas glorified His Lord.
And the emperor sneered at the saint:
"Behold, these chains fit you nicely-
Just your size, contemptible old man-
Just as if they were tailored for you!"
Thus spoke the emperor, and he fell silent.
And Babylas replied to the emperor:
"I swear to you, that this iron
Is more precious to me than gold.
"These chains have more worth
Than your royal diadem!
O Emperor, I value them more
Than your entire realm.
"Because I wear these chains for Christ.
They are the price of my freedom,
For I shall dwell in eternity,
And by these chains I will enter therein."
A saint's power after his death is often many times greater than in life. "That is why God left us the relics of the saints," says St. John Chrysostom in his unsurpassable homily on St. Babylas. St. Babylas was buried in the city of Antioch. At that time, Emperor Gallus-the brother of Julian the Apostate-was reigning together with Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great. Inspired by piety, Gallus translated the relics of St. Babylas to the outskirts of Daphne and built a small church, placing the relics of the martyr in it. There was a famous temple of Apollo in Daphne, built on the spot where, according to a pagan legend, a virgin had turned into a laurel tree in order to be saved from the "god" Apollo, who was pursuing her out of unrestrained fleshly passion for her. There stood the idol of Apollo, which allegedly could foretell anyone's future. But, as the relics of Babylas now rested in the vicinity of the temple, the demon from the idol fell silent and ceased making prophesies. Later, when Emperor Julian the Apostate set out on his catastrophic war with the Persians, he visited the temple of Apollo and consulted the idol about the outcome of his impending war. The idol responded with trepidation that it could not render a clear response "because of the dead" buried in its proximity. Of course, that pertained to Babylas, the presence of whose body had silenced the demon. Julian ordered that the relics of Babylas be transported back to Antioch. However, as soon as the relics of the martyr were removed, fire fell from heaven and consumed the temple of Apollo, destroying it forever. Julian set out against the Persians and his blasphemous life came to a horrible end. Such was the power of Christ's martyr after death: he silenced the demon, brought down fire from heaven, destroyed the idolatrous temple, and punished the apostate emperor with a dishonorable death.
Contemplate God's punishment of David for his sins (II Samuel 15):
1. How Absalom, David's son, raised a rebellion against his father;
2. How David fled from Jerusalem before his son, and went barefoot and wept.
on the changing of water into wine
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee (John 2:11).
Our God is Almighty; and His power has no limit and is beyond description. He created all that was created by His Word: By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made (Psalm 33:6). By His Word, He created the body of man. By the Word of God, lifeless earth is transformed into the bodies of men, animals and plants. By the Word of God, flowing water is changed into vapor, and vapor into ice and snow. By this same Word, the water in a vine is changed into wine, wine that maketh glad the heart of man (Psalm 104:15). Therefore, how difficult a miracle was it for the Word of God Incarnate-Christ our Lord-to change water into wine in Cana? For us men, darkened by sin, this is a great miracle; for our nature, weakened by sin, it is an unattainable miracle. Yet, isn't the working of miracles the usual occupation of the Creator? When the servants filled the six large vessels with water, the Lord Christ said to them: Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast (John 2:8). He did not even say, "Let the water become wine," he merely thought it. For God's thoughts have the same power as His words.
Why is it said that this was the "beginning of miracles," when it appears that, long before this miracle, the Lord worked other miracles? Because, brethren, the changing of water into wine is the fundamental miracle of Christ, and is the essence of all His miracles. Human nature was diluted with its own tears, and it was necessary to change it into wine. The divine spark in man was extinguished, and it was necessary to rekindle it. Infirmity is like water, health is like wine; the impurities of the evil spirits are like water, purity is like wine; death is like water, life is like wine; ignorance is like water, truth is like wine. Hence, whenever the Lord made the sick whole, the impure pure, the dead alive, and prodigals enlightened, He essentially turned water into wine.
O Lord our God, Thou miraculous Transformer of water into wine: bring Thy divine flame to our extinguished hearth. Transform the water of our being into divine wine, that we may be like unto Thee-and that we may thus abide with Thee in Thine Immortal Kingdom, with Thy radiant angels.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.