FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
The Commemoration of the Miracle Wrought by Archangel Michael in Colossae (Chonae)
Holy Martyr Calodotus
Ἡ ἀνάμνησις τοῦ ἐν Χώναις (Κολοσσαῖς) θαύματος τοῦ Ἀρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ.
Τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Καλοδότης.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 2:2-10
BRETHREN, if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will. For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 2:2-10
Ἀδελφοί, εἰ ὁ δι΄ ἀγγέλων λαληθεὶς λόγος ἐγένετο βέβαιος, καὶ πᾶσα παράβασις καὶ παρακοὴ ἔλαβεν ἔνδικον μισθαποδοσίαν, πῶς ἡμεῖς ἐκφευξόμεθα τηλικαύτης ἀμελήσαντες σωτηρίας; Ἥτις, ἀρχὴν λαβοῦσα λαλεῖσθαι διὰ τοῦ κυρίου, ὑπὸ τῶν ἀκουσάντων εἰς ἡμᾶς ἐβεβαιώθη, συνεπιμαρτυροῦντος τοῦ θεοῦ σημείοις τε καὶ τέρασιν, καὶ ποικίλαις δυνάμεσιν, καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου μερισμοῖς, κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ θέλησιν. Οὐ γὰρ ἀγγέλοις ὑπέταξεν τὴν οἰκουμένην τὴν μέλλουσαν, περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν. Διεμαρτύρατο δέ πού τις λέγων, Τί ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος, ὅτι μιμνήσκῃ αὐτοῦ; Ἢ υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου, ὅτι ἐπισκέπτῃ αὐτόν; Ἠλάττωσας αὐτὸν βραχύ τι παρʼ ἀγγέλους· δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφάνωσας αὐτόν· πάντα ὑπέταξας ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ. Ἐν γὰρ τῷ ὑποτάξαι αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα, οὐδὲν ἀφῆκεν αὐτῷ ἀνυπότακτον. Νῦν δὲ οὔπω ὁρῶμεν αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα ὑποτεταγμένα. Τὸν δὲ βραχύ τι παρʼ ἀγγέλους ἠλαττωμένον βλέπομεν Ἰησοῦν, διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον, ὅπως χάριτι θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου. Ἔπρεπεν γὰρ αὐτῷ, διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα, καὶ διʼ οὗ τὰ πάντα, πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξαν ἀγαγόντα, τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι.
The Reading is from Luke 10:16-21
The Lord said to his disciples, "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name! " And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. " In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 10.16-21
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· ῾Ο ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ ἀκούει, καὶ ὁ ἀθετῶν ὑμᾶς ἐμὲ ἀθετεῖ· ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ ἀθετῶν ἀθετεῖ τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με. ῾Υπέστρεψαν δὲ οἱ ἑβδομήκοντα μετὰ χαρᾶς λέγοντες· Κύριε, καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ὑποτάσσεται ἡμῖν ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου. Εἶπε δὲ αὐτοῖς· ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα. ἰδοὺ δίδωμι ὑμῖν τὴν ἐξουσίαν τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ ἐχθροῦ, καὶ οὐδὲν ὑμᾶς οὐ μὴ ἀδικήσῃ. πλὴν ἐν τούτῳ μὴ χαίρετε, ὅτι τὰ πνεύματα ὑμῖν ὑποτάσσεται· χαίρετε δὲ ὅτι τὰ ὀνόματα ὑμῶν ἐγράφη ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. ᾿Εν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἠγαλλιάσατο τῷ πνεύματι ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν· ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι, πάτερ, κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅτι ἀπέκρυψας ταῦτα ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν, καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις· ναί, ὁ πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως ἐγένετο εὐδοκία ἔμπροσθέν σου.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, ἡ Ἀνάμνησις τοῦ γενομένου παραδόξου θαύματος ἐν Κολασσαῖς τῆς Φρυγίας παρὰ τοῦ ἀρχιστρατήγου Μιχαήλ.Ὤφθης Μιχαὴλ Νῶε σῷ ναῷ νέος,
Χώνῃ ποταμῶν τὸν κατακλυσμὸν λύων.
Ῥοῦν Μιχαὴλ ποταμῶν χώνευσε, Νόων ἀγός, ἕκτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Ἄθλησις τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Εὐδοξίου, Ζήνωνος, Ῥωμύλου καὶ Μακαρίου.Τμήθησαν Εὐδόξιος, Ῥωμύλος, Ζήνων,
Καὶ Μακάριος, μακαριστοί, τοῦ τέλους!
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι ἑκατὸν τέσσαρες καὶ χίλιοι στρατιῶτοι, καὶ ἡ ἁγία Καλοδότη, ξίφει τελειοῦνται.Δεκὰς δεκαπλῆ καὶ χιλιὰς Μαρτύρων,
Καὶ τετρὰς ἁπλῆ συντελευτῶσι ξίφει.
Καλοδότη, τμηθεῖσα τὴν κάραν ξίφει,
Καλῶν δοτῆρι σοὶ παρίσταται Λόγε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Φαῦστος ὁ πρεσβύτερος, Μακάριος, Ἀνδρέας, καὶ ὁ μοναχὸς Βίβος, Κυριακός, Διονύσιος, Ἀνδρόνικος, καὶ αἱ ἅγιαι Ἀνδροπελαγία, καὶ Θέκλα, καὶ Θεόκτιστος ὁ ναύκληρος, καὶ ἕτερος Κυριακὸς ὁ Δημότης, ξίφει τελειοῦνται.Τὴν γῆν ὁ Φαῦστος ἐκλιπὼν διὰ ξίφους,
Πρὸς φαῦσιν ἤρθη τῆς ἄνω κατοικίας.
Ξίφει θανόντες Μακάριος, Ἀνδρέας,
Ὥδευσαν ἄμφω τὴν μακαρίαν τρίβον.
Τὸν ἀρετῆς στέφανον ἀρνεῖται Βίβος,
Εἰ μὴ στέφανον καὶ τὸν ἐκ ξίφους λάβῃ.
Διονυσίῳ συμφρονήσαντας δύω,
Διονυσίῳ συγκατέκτεινε ξίφος.
Ὡς ἀνδρικὴ τις ἦν Ἀνδροπελαγία,
Πρὸς τὴν κεφαλῆς ἐκτομήν, ὡς ἡ Θέκλα.
Θεόκτιστος ναύκληρος ἐκτμηθεὶς κάραν,
Ψυχῆς ἰθύνει τὸ σκάφος πρὸς τὸν πόλον.
Ὁ Κυριάκος Δημότης, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ ξίφους,
Συνθιασώτης τοῦ χοροῦ τῶν Μαρτύρων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Συνέδραμε καὶ τὰ ἐγκαίνια τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου εἰς τὸ Δεύτερον ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τῆς Ἁγίας Εἰρήνης.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
The feast today in honour of the Archangel Michael commemorates the great miracle he wrought when he delivered from destruction a church and holy spring named for him. The pagans, moved by malice, sought to destroy the aforesaid church and holy spring by turning the course of two rivers against them. But the Archangel appeared and, by means of the Cross and a great earthquake that shook the entire area, diverted the waters into an underground course. Henceforth, the name of that place changed from Colossae to Chonae, which means "funnels" in Greek.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Τῶν οὐρανίων στρατιὼν Ἀρχιστράτηγε, δυσωπούμέν σε ἀεὶ ἡμεῖς οἱ ἀνάξιοι, ἵνα ταὶς σαὶς δεήσεσι τειχίσης ἡμᾶς, σκέπη τῶν πτερύγων τῆς ἀϋλου σου δόξης, φρουρῶν ἡμᾶς προσπίπτοντας ἐκτενῶς καὶ βοῶντας, ἐκ τῶν κινδύνων λύτρωσαι ἡμᾶς, ὡς Ταξιάρχης τῶν ἄνω δυνάμεων.
O Commanders of the Heavenly Host, we the unworthy beseech you, that through your entreaties you will fortify us, guarding us in the shelter of the wings of your ethereal glory, even as we fervently bow before you crying: "Deliver us from all danger, as Commanders of the Powers on high! "
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Αρχιστράτηγε Θεού, λειτουργέ θείας δόξης, τών ανθρώπων οδηγέ, καί αρχηγέ τών Ασωμάτων, τό συμφέρον ημίν αίτησαι, καί τό μέγα έλεος, ως τών Ασωμάτων αρχιστράτηγος.
O Michael, who standest altogether radiant before the Trinity together with all the heavenly Hosts, and with them dost cry aloud the song inspired of God: As thou dost pass throughout the earth by God's command and art made wondrous with exceedingly great marvels, cease not to intercede for us all.
Θαῦμα Ἀρχαγγέλου Μιχαὴλ ἐν Χώναις (ἢ Κολασσαῖς)
Σὲ κάποιο μέρος τῆς Φρυγίας, ἡ γῆ ἀνέβλυσε ἁγιασμένο νερὸ μὲ τὴν δύναμη τοῦ Ἀρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ, ποὺ γιάτρευε κάθε ἀρρώστια τῶν ἀσθενούντων. Ἕνας χριστιανός, λοιπόν, ἐπειδὴ γιατρεύτηκε ἡ κόρη του, ἔκτισε ὡραιότατο ναὸ στὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Ἀρχιστράτηγου, ἐπάνω στὸ ἁγίασμα. Μετὰ 90 χρόνια, ἦλθε στὸ ναὸ κάποιος εὐλαβὴς νέος, ὀνόματι Ἄρχιππος. Ἔμεινε ὑπηρέτης στὸ ναὸ καὶ ζοῦσε ζωὴ ἀσκητικὴ καὶ μὲ ἐγκράτεια. Ὅταν εἶδαν αὐτὸ τὸ πρᾶγμα οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες, ἔπιασαν τὸν Ἄρχιππο καὶ τὸν χτύπησαν δυνατά. Ἔπειτα, ὅρμησαν νὰ καταστρέψουν τὸ ναὸ καὶ τὸ ἁγίασμα. Ἀλλ᾿ ὢ τῆς μεγάλης δυνάμεως τοῦ Ἀρχαγγέλου! Ἄλλων ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς τὰ χέρια ἔμειναν παράλυτα καὶ ἄλλους σταμάτησε φράγμα φωτιᾶς καὶ ἔτσι γύρισαν ὅλοι ἄπρακτοι. Ὅμως τὸ πεῖσμα καὶ ὁ θυμὸς τοὺς ὤθησε νὰ κάνουν ἐκτροπὴ τοῦ κοντινοῦ ποταμοῦ, γιὰ νὰ παρασύρει τὸ ναὸ καὶ νὰ πνίξουν τὸν Ἄρχιππο. Ἀλλὰ καὶ πάλι θαῦμα! ὁ ποταμὸς γύρισε πρὸς τὰ πίσω! Τότε σκέφθηκαν νὰ ἑνώσουν καὶ ἄλλους δυὸ ποταμούς. Ὅμως ὁ Ἀρχάγγελος Μιχαὴλ παρουσιάστηκε στὸν Ἄρχιππο καί, ἀφοῦ τὸν ἔβγαλε ἔξω ἀπὸ τὸ ναό, ἔκανε τὸ σημεῖο τοῦ σταυροῦ καὶ οἱ ποταμοὶ στάθηκαν σὰν τεῖχος. Πρόσταξε, ἔπειτα, νὰ χωνευθοῦν καὶ πράγματι, κατὰ παράδοξο τρόπο, ἕως σήμερα στὸ μέρος ἐκεῖνο τὰ νερὰ τῶν ποταμῶν χωνεύονται. Καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸ τὸ μέρος ὀνομάστηκε Χῶναι.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Εὐδόξιος, Ρωμύλος, Ζήνων, Μακάριος 11.000 Μάρτυρες καὶ 1104 Στρατιῶτες Μάρτυρες
Ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ὁ μὲν Ρωμύλος ἦταν πραιπόσιτος στὸ ἀξίωμα στὰ χρόνια τοῦ σκληροῦ διώκτη τῶν Χριστιανῶν Τραϊανοῦ (97-117). Στὴν ἀρχὴ καὶ ὁ Ρωμύλος ἦταν διώκτης τῶν Χριστιανῶν καὶ ὁ Τραϊανὸς τὸν ἔστειλε στὴ Γαλλία γιὰ νὰ ἐξαναγκάσει τοὺς ἐκεῖ χριστιανοὺς στρατιῶτες νὰ προσκυνήσουν τὰ εἴδωλα. Δὲν τὸ κατάφερε ὅμως καὶ ἐξόρισε 11.000 ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς στὴν Ἀρμενία, ὅπου ὅλοι θανατώθηκαν στὴ Μελιτινή. Ὁ Ρωμύλος ὅμως μεταμελήθηκε καὶ ἔλεγξε μὲ θάρρος τὴν σκληρότητα τοῦ Τραϊανοῦ. Τότε ὑπέστη φρικτὰ βασανιστήρια καὶ στὸ τέλος τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν. Ὁ δὲ Εὐδόξιος, κόμης στὸ ἀξίωμα καὶ χριστιανὸς στὸν ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ διωγμό, συνελήφθη ἀπὸ τὸν ἄρχοντα Μελιτινῆς καὶ ἀφοῦ σκληρὰ βασανίστηκε, τελικὰ ἀποκεφαλίστηκε μαζὶ μὲ τὸν Μακάριο, τὸν Ζήνωνα καὶ 1104 (κατ᾿ ἄλλους 1134) στρατιῶτες.
Ἡ Ἁγία Καλοδότη
Ἦταν γυναῖκα κάποιου Κύρου, ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου. Συνελήφθη κατὰ τὸν ἐπὶ Δεκίου διωγμὸ καὶ ἀποκεφαλίστηκε ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα καὶ κουρίκτορα Οὐαλεριανὸ, ἐνῷ ἦταν ἔγκυος.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φαῦστος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος
Μαρτύρησε στὸν ἐπὶ Δεκίου διωγμὸ στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου. Συνελήφθη ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Οὐαλεριανὸ, ὁ ὁποῖος, μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ βασανιστήρια, τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μακάριος καὶ Ἀνδρέας
Ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ὁ μὲν Μακάριος ἦταν πολιτευόμενος, ὁ δὲ Ἀνδρέας κουρικτοριανός. Καὶ οἱ δυὸ κατὰ τὸν ἐπὶ Δεκίου διωγμό, συνελήφθηκαν στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Οὐαλεριανὸ καὶ ἀφοῦ ὑπέστησαν πολλὰ βασανιστήρια, τελικὰ ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βίβος ὁ Ὁσιομάρτυρας
Αὐτὸς ἦταν μοναχὸς καὶ διάκονος. Συνελήφθη στὸν ἐπὶ Δεκίου διωγμὸ ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Οὐαλεριανὸ, στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου. Καὶ ἀφοῦ ὑπέστη σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κυριακός, Διονύσιος καὶ Ἀνδρέας (κατ᾿ ἄλλους Ἀνδρόνικος)
Ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ὁ μὲν Κυριακὸς ἦταν ἀκόλουθος τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου Φαύστου (ποὺ προαναφέραμε), ὁ δὲ Διονύσιος ἀναγνώστης καὶ ὁ Ἀνδρόνικος (ἢ Ἀνδρέας) στρατιώτης. Ὅλοι μαρτύρησαν στὸν ἐπὶ Δεκίου διωγμό, στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου καὶ ὑπέστησαν ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Οὐαλεριανὸ τὸν διὰ ἀποκεφαλισμοῦ θάνατο.
Οἱ Ἁγίες Ἀνδροπελαγία καὶ Θέκλα
Οἱ παρθένες αὐτὲς ἦταν ἀδελφὲς μεταξύ τους καὶ συνελήφθηκαν στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Οὐαλεριανὸ. Αὐτὸς τὶς ὑπέβαλε σὲ σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια καὶ στὸ τέλος τὶς ἀποκεφάλισε. (Νὰ σημειώσουμε ἐδῶ, ὅτι, πιθανὸν τὸ ὄνομα Ἀνδροπελαγία νὰ εἶναι μίξη τῶν δυὸ ὀνομάτων Ἀνδρέα ἢ Ἀδρονίκου καὶ Πελαγίας. Διότι στὸν Πατμιακὸ Κώδικα 266, ἀναφέρεται ἡ μνήμη τῶν παρθένων ἀδελφῶν Πελαγίας καὶ Θέκλης καὶ πιὸ κάτω Ἀνδρόνικου τοῦ Στρατιώτη. Μερικοὶ Συναξαριστές, τὴν μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων αὐτῶν, ἀναφέρουν καὶ τὴν 3η Νοεμβρίου, καθὼς καὶ τὴν Κυριακὴ τῶν Ἁγίων Πάντων).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόκτιστος ὁ ναύκληρος
Καὶ αὐτὸς συνελήφθη στὸν ἐπὶ Δεκίου διωγμό, ἀπὸ τὸν ἡγεμόνα Οὐαλεριανό, στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου. Καὶ ἀφοῦ βασανίστηκε σκληρά, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Κυριακὸς ὁ δημότης
Ἦταν ἀπὸ τοὺς χριστιανοὺς τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρειας τῆς Αἰγύπτου καὶ καταδιώχτηκε στὸν ἐπὶ Δεκίου (250) διωγμό. Συνελήφθη μὲ πολλοὺς ἄλλους μαζὶ καὶ ἀφοῦ ποικιλοτρόπως βασανίστηκε, στὸ τέλος τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Σαραπάβων ὁ βουλευτής
Πληροφορίες γιὰ τὴν ζωή του ἔχουμε λιγοστές. Ξέρουμε ὅτι ἔζησε στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια, ὅταν αὐτοκράτορας ἦταν ὁ λυσσώδης διώκτης τῶν χριστιανῶν Δέκιος, τὸ 250 μ.Χ. Ὁ ἄρχοντας Οὐαλέριος, ἀφοῦ δὲν μπόρεσε νὰ τὸν φοβίσει, ὥστε νὰ θυσιάσει στὰ εἴδωλα, ὀργισμένος τὸν σκότωσε μὲ τὸ ἴδιο του τὸ σπαθί. Τὸ λείψανό του τάφηκε μὲ πολλὴ εὐλάβεια ἀπὸ εὐσεβεῖς χριστιανούς, οἱ ὁποῖοι τιμοῦσαν τὸ ζῆλο καὶ τὴν σοφία του, καὶ ἦταν εὐγνώμονες γιὰ τὰ συχνὰ εὐεργετήματα ποὺ τοὺς ἔκανε.
Ἐγκαίνια Ναοῦ τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου
«Εἰς τὸ Δεύτερον ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τῆς Ἁγίας Εἰρήνης» (κατ᾿ ἄλλους Ἁγίας Ἄννης).
Commemoration of the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Colossae (Chonae) (4th c.)
In Colossae in Phrygia there were a church and a holy spring dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Malicious pagans diverted the course of two rivers so that they would inundate the church. But the Archangel appeared, bringing with him an earthquake that shook the whole area and opened a fissure into which the waters plunged, sparing the church. The place was thereafter called "Chonae" Greek for "funnels" instead of Colossae.
Holy Prophet Zacharias and Righteous Elizabeth (1st c.), parents of St John the Forerunner.
The story of the holy parents of the Forerunner is told in the first chapters of Luke's Gospel. Several of the Fathers say that Zacharias is the one who, the Lord said, was slain between the temple and the altar (Matthew 23:35); because he continued to call the Mary the Mother of God a virgin even after she bore Christ; and because his son had escaped the slaughter of the innocents ordered by Herod. St Elizabeth had hidden him in a cave in the desert; he remained in the wilderness from that time until he began to preach by the Jordan.
St Maxim (Sandovich), martyr of Lemkos, Czechoslovakia (1914) (August 24 OC)
St Maxim was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1888. At this time all Orthodox Churches had been captured and subjected to the "Unia," by which, though keeping the Orthodox liturgical rites, they were united to the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the Carpatho-Russian people were ignorant of the change and what it meant; others were unhappy with it but, in their subject condition, saw no alternative. Maxim's farmer parents, at great personal sacrifice, obtained an education for him that enabled him to study for the priesthood at the Basilian seminary in Krakow. Here he discerned the un-Orthodox nature of the "Greek Catholic" training there and traveled to Russia, where he became a novice at the Great Lavra of Pochaev and met Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who encouraged him in his quest for Orthodoxy. (Archbishop Anthony, after the Russian Revolution, became the first Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad). He entered seminary in Russia in 1905 and was ordained to the Priesthood in 1911.Metropolitan Anthony, knowing the hardships and persecutions that awaited any Orthodox priest in Austro-Hungary, offered to find Maxim a parish in Russia. But Maxim was already aware of the hunger for Orthodoxy among many of the Carpatho-Russian people; several people from his village had travelled to America and while there had attended Orthodox Churches and confessed to Orthodox priests. They begged him to return to his country and establish an Orthodox parish there.
When he returned to his native village of Zhdynia, the polish authorities, seeing him in the riassa, beard and uncut hair of an Orthodox priest, mocked him, saying "Look, Saint Nicholas has come to the Carpathians!" But the people of nearby Hrab sent a delegation asking him to set up an Orthodox parish in their village. This he did, setting up a house-church in the residence that the people gave him. Almost immediately, he and his people began to be harassed and persecuted, first at the instigation of "Greek Catholic" priests, then of the government. His rectory/church was closed, and he and several of his parishioners were repeatedly jailed, sometimes on trumped-up charges of sedition. (The Carpatho-Russian people were always suspected of pro-Russian political sympathies by the Austrian and Polish authorities).
Despite these persecutions, through Fr Maxim's labors a wave of desire for Orthodoxy spread through the region, with many Carpatho-Russians openly identifying themselves as Orthodox. The government issued orders to regional mayors to forbid those who had identified themselves as Orthodox to gather and, in 1913, appointed a special commissioner whose task was to force the people to return to Catholicism.
In 1914, war broke out between Russia and Austro-Hungary. Despite lack of any evidence that Fr Maxim had engaged in pro-Russian political activity — he once said "My only politics is the Gospel" — he was arrested and executed on September 6 by the Papal calendar, August 24 by the Church Calendar. He was denied any form of Church burial, and his father buried him with his own hands.
Following the First World War, Orthodoxy became legal in the new Polish Republic, and a monument was placed over Fr Maxim's grave in his home town of Zhdynia. In 1994, the Orthodox Church of Poland officially glorified St Maxim.
The Remembrance of the Miracle, worked by the Holy Archistrategos (Heavenly Hosts Leader) Michael, at Khona (IV): In Phrygia, not far from the city of Hieropolis, in a place called Kherotopos, there was a church named for the Archangel Michael, and outside the church flowed a health-curative spring. This church was built through the zeal of a certain inhabitant of the city of Laodiceia in gratitude to God and to the holy Archistrategos Michael, who had appeared in a dream vision to this man -- the father of a mute girl, and who then had not yet been illumined by holy Baptism, and revealed to him, that his daughter would receive the gift of speech in drinking from the water of the spring. During her drinking the girl actually did receive healing and began to speak. After this miracle, the father with his daughter and all their family were baptised, and in fervent gratitude the father built the church in honour of the holy Archistrategos Michael. And for healing began to come to the water-spring not only Christians, but also pagans. In so doing, many of the pagans turned from their idols and were converted to the faith in Christ.
At this church of the holy Archistrategos Michael a certain pious man by the name of Archippos served over the span of 60 years as church-attendant. By his preaching and by the example of his saintly life he brought many a pagan to faith in Christ. With the general malice of that time towards Christians, and even moreso against Archippos, who had never forsaken the church and gave example of a real servant of Christ, the pagans gave thought to destroying the church and at the same time kill Archippos. Towards this end they made a confluence of two mountainous rushing streams and directed its combined flow against the church. Saint Archippos prayed fervently to the Archistrategos Michael to ward off the danger. Through his prayer the Archangel Michael appeared at the temple, and with a blow of his staff opened into the mountain a wide fissure and commanded to flow into it the rushing torrents of water. The temple thus remained unharmed. In beholding such an awesome miracles, the pagans fled in terror, and Archippos together with Christians gathered in church glorified God and gave thanks to the holy Archangel Michael for the help. The place where the miracle happened received the name "Khona", which means "opening" or "fissure".
The Martyrs Eudoxios, Zinon, Makarios and their Companions received a martyr's death for Christ under the emperor Maximian Galerius, the successor to the emperor Diocletian.
Saint Eudoxios held the high position of a military-commander in the imperial armies. He was a Christian, as were also his friend Zinon and his house steward Makarios. After the issuance by the emperor Diocletian of an edict about putting Christians to death, such as who refused to offer sacrifice to idols, many -- including people of illustrious position and rank, fled to various lands with their families to avoid torture and death. And at this time also Saint Eudoxios resigned his high position, and with his wife Saint Basilissa and all their family abandoned their property and went into hiding in the region of Armenian Meletina.
The governor of Meletina dispatched soldiers to search for Eudoxios. When they came across Eudoxios himself, attired in white garb, and not recognising him, the soldiers began to question whether a certain military-commander Eudoxios had come into these parts. Not revealing who he actually was, the saint invited the soldiers into his home, fed them and gave them lodging for the night. Saint Eudoxios considered his encounter with the soldiers as a sign from the Lord about his impending end by martyrdom. In the morning he disclosed to his guests, that he was the one whom they were seeking. In gratitude for the hospitality the soldiers offered to conceal from the authorities that they had managed to find Saint Eudoxios. But the saint would not consent to this. Setting his house in order, he said to his wife not to bewail, but on the contrary to celebrate the day of his martyr's death. Donning his military attire, he went off with the soldiers to the governor. Saint Basilissa and his friends -- Saints Zinon and Makarios -- followed after Saint Eudoxios. The governor tried to persuade Saint Eudoxios to offer sacrifice to the idols and by this safeguard his life, exalted rank and substance. Saint Eudoxios firmly refused, denouncing the folly of anyone who would worship soulless idols. His soldier's sash -- the emblem of his power of authority -- he himself removed and threw in the face of the governor. Soldiers present at this, secret Christians, did likewise, and they numbered more than a thousand men. The embarrassed governor enquired of the emperor as to what he should do, and he received the orders: try the ringleaders and set free the rest. After prolonged tortures they led forth Saint Eudoxios to execution. Following after her husband, Saint Basilissa wept, and his friend Saint Zinon also bewept the martyr. Saint Eudoxios thereupon again urged his wife not to bewail him, but rather to rejoice that he be deigned the crown of martyrdom, and he asked that she bury his body in a place called Amimos. To his weeping friend Saint Zinon Saint Eudoxios predicted, that they would simultaneously enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Emboldened by these words, Zinon loudly declared himself a Christian, for which he was immediately sentenced to death. Later, Saint Basilissa without hindrance took up the body of her husband and buried it there where he had requested. After this they arrested the saint and led her before the governor; wanting to share the fate of her husband, she fearlessly denounced both the governor and his false gods -- the idols. The governor however saw into her intent and would not torture her, but instead sent her away. In leaving, the saint said to him, that God would see her intent to suffer for her faith and would accept this intent as accomplished deed. Seven days later Saint Eudoxios appeared to his wife in a vision and bid convey to his friend and house-steward Makarios, that both he and Saint Zinon awaited the arrival of Makarios. Makarios immediately went to the governor and declared himself a Christian, for which he was sentenced to death and beheaded. Many a Christian likewise accepted a martyr's death during this time (+ 311-312).
The Monk Archippos, son of pious Christians from the city of Hieropolis, at age 10 went to pray in the church of the holy Archistrategos Michael and he remained at this temple thereafter to render service as church-caretaker. He led a strict and ascetic manner of life, constantly at fasting and prayer; many a pagan that came to the holy water-spring he persuaded to accept holy Baptism, to forsake pagan impiety, and to turn to the One True God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Tenacious pagans headed by idolous priests repeatedly tried to kill Saint Archippos, but the Lord each time delivered him out of their hands. Finally, the pagans concocted a plan to destroy the church and at the same time kill also Archippos, -- by flooding the spot where stood both the church and the curative spring. Seeing the preparations for this wicked deed, Saint Archippos firmly resolved not to abandon the holy place, and he prayed God and the Archangel Michael to preserve the church and the spring. The Lord hearkened to his prayer, and the saint witnessed to the Great Miracle of the Archistrategos Michael at Khona (IV) (q.v. vide supra). Miraculously delivered from death, Saint Archippos dwelt constantly at the church into venerable old age, and he died peacefully at 70 years from birth. Christians buried the saint at Khona, at the place of his deeds.
The Martyr Romilus lived during the reign of the emperor Trajan and was a confidant to the emperor by virtue of his office -- military-commander. During a time of sojourn of the emperor in the East with the aim of suppressing the uprisings of various peoples against the Romans, -- whether the Iberians, the Sarmatians, the Arabs --in the year 107 and again a second time in 115 the emperor, in conducting a review of the military strength of his army, found in his troops upwards to 11,000 Christians. Trajan immediately sent off in disgrace these Christians into exile in Armenia. Saint Romilus, in view of this, reproached the emperor with his impiety and the sheer folly to diminish the army's numeric strength during a time of war. And Saint Romilus moreover openly acknowledged that he himself was a Christian. The enraged Trajan had the holy martyr subjected to a merciless beating, after which the holy martyr Romilus was beheaded.
The Christian soldiers sent off to exile in Armenia were killed by various forms of execution.
The PriestMartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortineia, lived during the time of the emperor Diocletian and his co-emperor Maximian. As a Christian he was brought to trial before the governor Agrippina and after interrogation he was thrown into prison. By night he heard a voice, which commanded the saint to go to Rome. In the morning the doors of the prison were open, and the idols -- overthrown and destroyed. On the road to Rome Saint Cyril had a vision: the Monk Philoxenos appeared and foretold for him 2 crowns -- one of hierarch and the other of martyr. At Rome Saint Cyril rendered great help to the Church by his preaching. When a persecution against Christians started up, Saint Cyril set off to Jerusalem to encourage the spirits of Christians living there. Along the way he had a vision and received a command not to neglect Crete. Having arrived there, Saint Cyril was chosen bishop of the city of Gortineia. He was then 60 years of age. Still on the Gortineia cathedra-seat at age 95, Saint Cyril at the start of a new persecution against Christians was brought to trial and sentenced to death and beheaded with the sword in the vicinity of Raxos at the beginning of the IV Century.
The Martyrs Faustus the Presbyter, Habib the Deacon and 11 other Martyrs accepted a martyr's death for Christ at Alexandria under the emperor Decius (249-251). During the time of persecution, they all of them steadfastly confessed themselves Christians afront the governor Valerius and were beheaded by the sword, in about the year 250. Their bodies were buried by Christians in Alexandria.
The Monk David before his entry into a monastery was the leader of a band of bandits in Egypt, in the Hermopolis wilderness. He had committed many a murder and other wicked deeds. Getting old, he thought over his life and took fright at his past misdeeds. Leaving his band of bandits, he went to the monastery and besought the hegumen to accept him amongst the brethren for repentance. The hegumen refused, explaining to David, that their monastic life was very severe and would be beyond his ability. David persisted and, finally, he revealed to the hegumen, that he was the notorious robber David. He said, that if they did not open the doors of the monastery to him for repentance, he would then return to his former manner of life, come back and plunder the monastery and kill the monks. The hegumen thereupon allowed him into the monastery, and to the surprise of all, David became an excellent monk. By his severe efforts David surpassed all the monks. After a certain length of time the Lord sent the Archangel Gabriel to David with the announcement, that the Lord had forgiven him. But the Monk David in his great humility could not believe, that for so great a sinner as he, the Lord would so quickly grant forgiveness. The Archangel then said to him, that for his little-faith David would become speechless. David implored, that he should be left the ability to say his prayers, monastic rule and share in church services. This was granted him, and the rest of the time he remained speechless. Towards the end of his life the Monk David received from God the gift of wonderworking: he healed many of the sick and cast out evil spirits. Having lived in such manner for many years, he reposed to the Lord (VI).
The Kievo-Bratsk Icon of the Mother of God was situated at first in the Borisoglebsk church in the city of Vyshgorod (Kiev), where it miraculously appeared in the year 1654. In 1662, during the time of war of Russia with Poland (1659-1667), the city was dealt heavy losses by the Crimean Tatars fighting on the side of the Polish. The temple of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb was destroyed and defiled. But the Providence of God preserved the holy wonderworking icon of the Mother of God, which was taken out of the church beforehand in time and set off along the Dniepr, and the relics of the saints they hid beneathe a crypt. The river carried the icon to the Podola river-bank at Kiev, where it was joyfully taken up by the Orthodox and with due reverence transferred to the Bratsk monastery. In the records of church property of the Kievo-Bratsk monastery, made in the year 1807, was given its description. There existed a "Song about the wonderworking Kievo-Bratsk Icon of the Mother of God", compiled soon after the year 1692.Celebration of the Kievo-Bratsk Icon of the Mother of God is made thrice within the year: 6 September, 10 May and 2 June. All these days are dedicated to the miraculous appearance of the holy icon in 1654. The original of the icon has not been preserved. The icon copy was written from it "measure for measure", and is at present located in the Kiev monastery of the Pokrov (Protection) of the Mother of God.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Commemoration of the Miracles of the Holy Archangel Michael
Near Hierapolis, in Phrygia, there was a place called Chonae (``plunging''), and in that place there was a spring of miraculous water. When Apostle John the Theologian, accompanied by Philip, preached the Gospel in Hierapolis, he looked upon that place and prophesied that a spring of miraculous water would open up there, from which many would receive healing, and that the great Archangel of God Michael would visit that place. Soon afterward, this prophecy was fulfilled: a spring of water burst forth and became widely known for its miraculous power. A pagan in Laodicea had a daughter who was mute, which caused him great sorrow. Archangel Michael appeared to him in a dream, and told him to take his daughter to the spring, where she would be cured. The father immediately obeyed, brought his daughter to the spring, and found many people there seeking deliverance from various infirmities. These people were all Christians. The man asked how he should seek healing, and the Christians told him: ``You must pray to the Archangel Michael, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'' The man prayed in this way, gave his daughter a drink of this water, and the girl began to speak. The pagan, his daughter and his whole household were baptized. He also built a church over the spring dedicated to the Archangel Michael.
Later, a young man named Archippus settled there and lived a life of austerity, in fasting and prayer. The pagans did many malicious things to Archippus, for they did not like the fact that this Christian holy place emanated such spiritual power and attracted so many people to it. The pagans, in their wickedness, rerouted the nearest river in order to flood the church and the spring. By the prayers of Archippus, the holy Archangel Michael opened a fissure in the rock beside the church, and the river's water plunged into it. This is how that place was saved and why it was called Chonae, or ``of the plunging,'' for the river's water that plunged into the open fissure. St. Archippus labored in asceticism there until the age of seventy, and peacefully reposed in the Lord.
2. The Holy Martyr Romulus and 11,000 Soldiers
While Emperor Trajan waged war in the East, he once commanded that the Christians in his army be counted. It was found that there were 11,000 Christians in the imperial army. The emperor then ordered that they all be dismissed from the army and sent to Armenia. St. Romulus was the overseer of the imperial household. He went before the emperor and reprimanded him for this action, declaring himself a Christian. The emperor gave order that Romulus be beheaded. Of those banished soldiers, the emperor had 10,000 of them crucified. The others were slain by various tortures.
3. Saint Eudoxius
Eudoxius was a commander in the Roman army. He suffered for Christ during the reign of Diocletian. He was tried and tortured by the governor of Melitene in Armenia. His friends Zeno and Macarius also suffered with him, as well as 1104 other soldiers who had been converted to Christianity by Eudoxius. After his death Eudoxius appeared to his wife Basilissa, who remained faithful to Christ to the time of her peaceful repose.
4. The Venerable David
He was the leader of a band of robbers near Hermopolis, in Egypt. He came to his senses only in his later years, when he repented and was tonsured a monk. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to David and granted him miraculous power. After many difficult ascetic practices, David became worthy of the Kingdom of God and reposed peacefully in the sixth century.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Archangel Michael
Archangel of God
Michael the Commander,
The sword-bearing servant
Of the Lord Most-high.
He stands before the Lord
With the heavenly hosts,
With the mighty angels
And the holy souls.
The greatest commander
Of the Greatest King,
Wherever he goes, he conquers
And works miracles.
He is the one whom Satan
Fears like flame,
For the commander of God
Stands for truth.
He stands for truth,
And upholds justice;
Fast as sight
He can be anywhere swiftly.
The commander of light,
He drives the impure away,
And with his wings
Protects the faithful.
Christianity has uprooted many barbaric customs from the society of man. But some of those customs-praiseworthy from the pagan point of view, but shameful from the Christian point of view-are, even to the present day, like hidden corruption oozing from a supposedly healed wound. One of these customs is the unlawful kidnapping of maidens. St. Basil wrote powerfully to one of his priests, after one such incident: ``Do all in your power to find and rescue this maiden. Then, return her to her parents and excommunicate the perpetrator. Also suspend those who abetted him-including their entire households-from participation in services for three years. Likewise, suspend everyone in the village to which the maiden was taken, where she was hidden or perhaps kept by force-so that all will know that a kidnapper should be driven away from them like a serpent or some other wild beast or common enemy, and that the abused should be protected.''
Contemplate the example of David's self-restraint (II Samuel 23):
1. How, during battle against the Philistines, David became thirsty, and asked who would bring him water from the well in Bethlehem, which was held by the Philistines;
2. How three heroes slipped through the enemy lines, and brought water back to their king;
3. How David did not want to drink, but rather poured the water on the ground, saying: Is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?
on the two births
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6).
Brethren, these words are not the words of a prophet or an apostle, but are the words of the Lord Himself, uttered with His most pure mouth. As there is power and salvation in every one of the Lord's words, so is there power and salvation in these. That is why it is necessary to study these words with fear and great care and apply them in our lives. By these words the Lord emphasizes the precedence of the spirit over the flesh. And, as the flesh is born of the body, so the spirit must be born of the Spirit. The birth of our spirit is of the Spirit of God, according to the grace of God and not according to nature. It is the new birth that the Lord described to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus did not understand these words of Christ, just as, even today, he whose flesh is stronger than his spirit does not understand them. Men whose flesh has overcome their spirit think and judge everything according to the body. Men whose spirit has overcome their body think and judge everything according to the spirit. All those who think and judge according to the body make their spirits fleshly, while all who think and judge spiritually make their bodies spiritual. Just like someone exchanging gold for paper money, the former convert that which is immortal into that which is mortal. The latter are like someone exchanging paper money for pure gold-for they do not destroy that which is immortal, but convert that which is mortal into that which is immortal. The Jews interpreted the Law and the Prophets according to the flesh, and that is why they did not understand the Lord Jesus, but crucified the Lord of Glory. Those who were enlightened by the grace of the Spirit of God interpreted both the Law and the Prophets spiritually, and understood our Lord Jesus Christ. And through Him, they understood not only the Law and the Prophets, but all of created nature as well, and all of their life on earth. Brethren, although the body is necessarily born of the flesh, it would be unnatural for the spirit also to be born of the flesh. Let our spirit be born of the Spirit of God and then we will be natural, both in body and in spirit. This is that higher and sinless nature that Adam had in Paradise before he sinned. It is not possible or necessary for our body to be born again of the flesh. It is possible and necessary, and never too late, for our spirit to be born again of the Spirit of God.
O Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God-help us, that before death we may become reborn of the Spirit of God, and that our spirits, in truth, be born of the Spirit.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.