FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Sergius & Bacchus the Great Martyrs of Syria
Polychronios the Martyr
Julian the Presbyter & Caesarius the Deacon
John the Hermit of Crete
Τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Σεργίου καί Βάκχου.
Ἰουλιανοῦ Πρεσβυτέρου, Καισαρίου καί Διακόνου, Μαρτύρων.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ἰωάννου, τοῦ Ἐρημίτου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Gospel of John 20:1-10
At that time, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 20.1-10
Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἔρχεται πρωῒ σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ βλέπει τὸν λίθον ἠρμένον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου. τρέχει οὖν καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς Σίμωνα Πέτρον καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄλλον μαθητὴν ὃν ἐφίλει ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἦραν τὸν Κύριον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου, καὶ οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. ἐξῆλθεν οὖν ὁ Πέτρος καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς καὶ ἤρχοντο εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον. ἔτρεχον δὲ οἱ δύο ὁμοῦ· καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς προέδραμε τάχιον τοῦ Πέτρου καὶ ἦλθε πρῶτος εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ παρακύψας βλέπει κείμενα τὰ ὀθόνια, οὐ μέντοι εἰσῆλθεν. ἔρχεται οὖν Σίμων Πέτρος ἀκολουθῶν αὐτῷ, καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον καὶ θεωρεῖ τὰ ὀθόνια κείμενα, καὶ τὸ σουδάριον, ὃ ἦν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ, οὐ μετὰ τῶν ὀθονίων κείμενον, ἀλλὰ χωρὶς ἐντετυλιγμένον εἰς ἕνα τόπον. τότε οὖν εἰσῆλθε καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς ὁ ἐλθὼν πρῶτος εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ εἶδε καὶ ἐπίστευσεν· οὐδέπω γὰρ ᾔδεισαν τὴν γραφὴν ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῆναι. ἀπῆλθον οὖν πάλιν πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς οἱ μαθηταί.
St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-11
Prokeimenon. Mode 1. Psalm 32.22,1
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
Verse: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-11
BRETHREN, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 9:6-11
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος α΄. ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 32.22,1
Γένοιτο, Κύριε, τὸ ἔλεός σου ἐφ' ἡμᾶς.
Στίχ. Ἀγαλλιᾶσθε δίκαιοι ἐν Κυρίῳ
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 9:6-11
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ σπείρων φειδομένως, φειδομένως καὶ θερίσει· καὶ ὁ σπείρων ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις, ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις καὶ θερίσει. Ἕκαστος καθὼς προαιρεῖται τῇ καρδίᾳ· μὴ ἐκ λύπης ἢ ἐξ ἀνάγκης· ἱλαρὸν γὰρ δότην ἀγαπᾷ ὁ θεός. Δυνατὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς πᾶσαν χάριν περισσεῦσαι εἰς ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἐν παντὶ πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν· καθὼς γέγραπται, Ἐσκόρπισεν, ἔδωκεν τοῖς πένησιν· ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. Ὁ δὲ ἐπιχορηγῶν σπέρμα τῷ σπείροντι, καὶ ἄρτον εἰς βρῶσιν χορηγήσαι, καὶ πληθύναι τὸν σπόρον ὑμῶν, καὶ αὐξήσαι τὰ γενήματα τῆς δικαιοσύνης ὑμῶν· ἐν παντὶ πλουτιζόμενοι εἰς πᾶσαν ἁπλότητα, ἥτις κατεργάζεται διʼ ἡμῶν εὐχαριστίαν τῷ θεῷ.
The Gospel of Luke 7:11-16
At that time, Jesus went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!"
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 7.11-16
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐπορεύετο εἰς πόλιν καλουμένην Ναΐν· καὶ συνεπορεύοντο αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἱκανοὶ καὶ ὄχλος πολύς.ὡς δὲ ἤγγισε τῇ πύλῃ τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκὼς υἱὸς μονογενὴς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ αὕτη ἦν χήρα, καὶ ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανὸς ἦν σὺν αὐτῇ.καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὴν ὁ Κύριος ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ἐπ᾿ αὐτῇ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· μὴ κλαῖε·καὶ προσελθὼν ἥψατο τῆς σοροῦ, οἱ δὲ βαστάζοντες ἔστησαν, καὶ εἶπε· νεανίσκε, σοὶ λέγω, ἐγέρθητι.καὶ ἀνεκάθισεν ὁ νεκρὸς καὶ ἤρξατο λαλεῖν, καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ.ἔλαβε δὲ φόβος πάντας καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν Θεόν, λέγοντες ὅτι προφήτης μέγας ἐγήγερται ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ὅτι ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ Θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ.καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ λόγος οὗτος ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ᾿Ιουδαίᾳ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ περιχώρῳ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Χαλκᾶ σὰ νεῦρα, Βάκχε, πρὸς νεύρων βίαν,
Καὶ πρὸς ξίφος, Σέργιε, πῦρ σὴ καρδία.
Σέργιον ἑβδομάτῃ ξίφος ἔκτανε, νεῦρα δὲ Βάκχον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων, Ἰουλιανοῦ Πρεσβυτέρου, καὶ Καισαρίου Διακόνου.
Σάκκῳ δοθείσι καὶ βυθῷ, Θεὸς Λόγος,
Διττοῖς Ἀθληταῖς, σάκκον εἰς χαρὰν στρέφει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Πολυχρονίου.
Κτείνουσι πολλὰ Πολυχρόνιον ξίφη.
Πρὸς τὰ ξίφη δὲ λήψεται, καὶ τὰ γέρα.
Ὁ Ἁγιος Λεόντιος ὁ Ὑπατικός, τῷ Χριστῷ πιστεύσας καὶ ἐπευξάμενος, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Οἱ ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Εὐσέβιος Πρεσβύτερος καὶ Φῆλιξ ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Οἱ Ὅσιοι ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα πατέρες, οἱ ἐν τῇ νήσῳ Κρήτη ἀσκήσαντες, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦνται.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Resurrectional Apolytikion in the First Tone
Τοῦ λίθου σφραγισθέντος ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, καὶ στρατιωτῶν φυλασσόντων τὸ ἄχραντόν σου σῶμα, ἀνέστης τριήμερος Σωτήρ, δωρούμενος τῷ κόσμῳ τὴν ζωήν. Διὰ τοῦτο αἱ Δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐβόων σοι Ζωοδότα· Δόξα τῇ ἀναστάσει σου Χριστέ, δόξα τῇ Βασιλείᾳ σου, δόξα τῇ οἰκονομίᾳ σου, μόνε Φιλάνθρωπε.
The stone had been secured with a seal by the Judeans, * and a guard of soldiers was watching Your immaculate body. * You rose on the third day, O Lord * and Savior, granting life unto the world. * For this reason were the powers of heaven crying out to You, O Life-giver: * Glory to Your resurrection, O Christ; * glory to Your eternal rule; * glory to Your dispensation, only One who loves mankind.
Seasonal Kontakion in the Second Tone
Προστασία τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀκαταίσχυντε, μεσιτεία πρὸς τὸν Ποιητὴν ἀμετάθετε. Μὴ παρίδῃς ἁμαρτωλῶν δεήσεων φωνάς, ἀλλὰ πρόφθασον, ὡς ἀγαθή, εἰς τὴν βοήθειαν ἡμῶν, τῶν πιστῶς κραυγαζόντων σοι· Τάχυνον εἰς πρεσβείαν, καὶ σπεῦσον εἰς ἱκεσίαν, ἡ προστατεύουσα ἀεί, Θεοτόκε, τῶν τιμώντων σε.
O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.
Resurrectional Kontakion in the First Tone
Εξανέστης ως Θεός εκ τού τάφου εν δόξη, καί κόσμον συνανέστησας, καί η φύσις τών βροτών ως Θεόν σε ανύμνησε, καί θάνατος ηφάνισται, καί ο Αδάμ χορεύει Δέσποτα, καί η Εύα νύν εκ τών δεσμών λυτρουμένη, χαίρει κράζουσα. Σύ εί ο πάσι παρέχων, Χριστέ τήν Ανάστασιν.
These holy Martyrs were Romans of high rank in the service of the Emperor Maximian, to whom it was reported that they did not take part in the festivals of the idols. When he called them into his presence, they confessed their Faith in the one God. He had them arrayed in women's clothes and paraded through the streets in mockery. They were afterwards scourged, from which Saint Bacchus died. This was about the year 296. Saint Sergius was then taken to Resapha in Syria, where he was tortured and beheaded. His tomb in Resapha became a very famous shrine, to which pilgrims came from as far away as Western Europe; Resapha was later renamed Sergiopolis in his honour.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Οι Μάρτυρές σου, Κύριε, εν τή αθλήσει αυτών, στεφάνους εκομίσαντο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, σχόντες γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλον, έθραυσαν καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση. Αυτών ταίς ικεσίαις, Χριστέ ο Θεός, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Τόν νούν πρός εχθρούς ανδρείως παρατάξαντες, τήν πάσαν αυτώv απάτην κατελύσατε, καί τήν νίκην άνωθεv, ειληφότες Μάρτυρες πανεύφημοι, ομοφρόνως εκράζετε. Καλόν καί τερπνόν τό συνείναι Χριστώ.
As we gather, let us crown with sacred hymns of laudation those two brethren in the Faith, the great and valorous martyrs: Sergius was the Triune Godhead's most steadfast warrior; and with him, wise Bacchus manfully suffered torments; and they both confessed Christ Saviour as God, the Maker and sacred Trainer of all.
Διαβάζομε στα ιερά Ευαγγέλια το εξής χαρακτηριστικό, ότι δηλαδή ο Χριστός προσκάλεσε τους μαθητάς του "και ήρξατο αυτούς αποστέλλειν δύο δύο". Ήταν όταν τους προετοίμαζε για το αποστολικό τους έργο και τους έστελνε για πρώτη φορά και δοκιμαστικά στο κήρυγμα. Μας κάνει εντύπωση αυτό το "δύο δύο" και μας θυμίζει μια κοινή παροιμία, που λέει· "αγαθοί οι δύο υπέρ το ένα". Ο ένας "ούτε τα υστερήματα εαυτού γνωρίζει ούτε την εν τοις έργοις προκοπήν επιγινώσκει", λέει ο Μέγας Βασίλειος. Πολλά παραδείγματα μεγάλης και πιστής φιλίας αναφέρει η ιστορία δύο ανθρώπων, που ο ένας στάθηκε στον άλλο και φύλακας και βοηθός. Και στην ιστορία του χριστιανικού μαρτυρίου έχομ' επίσης τέτοια παραδείγματα δύο Μαρτύρων, που πορεύθηκαν μαζί προς τον θάνατο, ο ένας ενισχύοντας τον άλλο, και που μνημονεύονται μαζί κι αχώριστα από την Εκκλησία. Τέτοιοι είναι οι άγιοι Μάρτυρες Σέργιος και Βάκχος, που συνεορτάζονται σήμερα.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Σέργιος καὶ Βάκχος
Ὑπηρετοῦσαν στὶς στρατιωτικὲς τάξεις τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Μαξιμιανοῦ. Τοὺς διέκρινε μεγάλη ἀνδρεία στὰ πεδία τῶν μαχῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ σωφροσύνη στὴν καθημερινή τους ζωή. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ὁ αὐτοκράτορας τοὺς ἀπένειμε τὰ ἀξιώματα τοῦ πριμικηρίου καὶ τοῦ σεκουνδουκηρίου, ἀντίστοιχα, ὅταν ὅμως ἔμαθε ὅτι οἱ δυὸ ἐπίλεκτοι στρατιῶτες του ἦταν χριστιανοί, δὲν ἤθελε μὲ κανένα τρόπο νὰ τὸ πιστέψει. Γιὰ νὰ πεισθεῖ λοιπὸν χειροπιαστά, ὀργάνωσε τελετὲς μὲ θυσίες σὲ εἰδωλολατρικὸ ναὸ καὶ κάλεσε νὰ παραστοῦν σ᾿ αὐτὲς οἱ Σέργιος καὶ Βάκχος. Οἱ δυὸ χριστιανοὶ στρατιῶτες ἀρνήθηκαν καὶ ὁμολόγησαν τὸ Χριστὸ μὲ θαῤῥαλέο φρόνημα. Ἐξοργισμένος τότε ὁ αὐτοκράτορας, διέταξε καὶ τοὺς ἀφαίρεσαν τὰ διάσημα τῶν ἀξιωμάτων τους. Ἔπειτα, ἀφοῦ τοὺς ἐνέπαιξαν καὶ τοὺς διαπόμπευσαν μὲ διάφορους τρόπους, τοὺς ἔστειλαν σὲ ἕνα σκληρὸ δούκα τῆς Ἀνατολῆς, τὸν Ἀντίοχο. Αὐτὸς μὲ πρωτοφανῆ ὠμότητα μαστίγωσε μέχρι θανάτου τὸ Βάκχο. Στὸ δὲ Σέργιο, ἐπειδὴ κάποτε τὸν εἶχε εὐεργετήσει, πρότεινε, ἀφοῦ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστό, νὰ τοῦ χαρίσει τὴ ζωή. Ἡ γενναία ἀπάντηση τοῦ Σεργίου ἦταν τὰ λόγια τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου: «Ἐμοὶ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος». Σὲ μένα, εἶπε ὁ Σέργιος, ζωὴ εἶναι ὁ Χριστός. Ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ νὰ πεθάνω εἶναι κέρδος, διότι ἔτσι θὰ ἑνωθῶ πλήρως μὲ τὸ Χριστό. Τότε, ὁ Ἀντίοχος ἀμέσως ἔδωσε διαταγὴ καὶ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἰουλιανός ὁ Πρεσβύτερος καὶ Καισάριος ὁ Διάκονος
Ἔζησαν στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Καίσαρα Κλαυδίου (270 μ.Χ.). Ὁ Καισάριος ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀφρικὴ καὶ κάποτε ἦλθε στὴν πόλη Ταρακηνὴ τῆς Ἰταλίας. Ὅταν εἶδε τοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες νὰ θυσιάζουν στὰ εἴδωλα, τοὺς ἔκανε δριμύτατες παρατηρήσεις. Ἀμέσως τότε συνελήφθη καὶ ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν ἀνθύπατο, ὁ ὁποῖος τὸν φυλάκισε. Κατόπιν, μὲ συνοδεία στρατιωτῶν, ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν ναὸ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνα, ὅπου ὁ Ἅγιος με τὴν προσευχή του γκρέμισε τὸν ναό. Ὅταν εἶδε αὐτὸ τὸ θαῦμα ὁ ὑπατικὸς Λεόντιος, ἔπεσε στὰ πόδια τοῦ Ἁγίου καὶ ζήτησε νὰ βαπτιστεῖ Χριστιανός. Πράγματι, ὁ Πρεσβύτερος Ἰουλιανὸς βάπτισε τὸν Λεόντιο, ὁ ὁποῖος μόλις κοινώνησε τῶν ἀχράντων μυστηρίων, ἐξέπνευσε. Μετὰ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ ὁ τύραννος, διέταξε νὰ βάλουν τὸν Καισάριο καὶ τὸν Ἰουλιανὸ μέσα σὲ σάκους καὶ νὰ τοὺς πετάξουν στὴ θάλασσα. Ἔτσι οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ παρέδωσαν τὴν μακαρία ψυχή τους στὸ Θεό. Δυὸ χριστιανοὶ ὅμως, ὁ Εὐσέβιος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος καὶ ὁ Φήλιξ, βρῆκαν τὰ σώματα τῶν Ἁγίων αὐτῶν καὶ τὰ ἔθαψαν μὲ τὴν ἁρμόζουσα τιμή. Ὅταν τὸ ἔμαθε αὐτὸ ὁ τύραννος, ἐξοργισμένος τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισε.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Λεόντιος ὁ Ὑπατικός, Εὐσέβιος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος καὶ Φήλιξ
Βλέπε τὸ προηγούμενο βιογραφικὸ σημείωμα Ἁγίων Ἰουλιανοῦ καὶ Καισαρίου.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Φήλιξ ὁ ἐκ Σωλιὲν Γαλλίας, Ἀνδέχιος καὶ Θύρσος (+ 2ος αἰ.)
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πολυχρόνιος ὁ Ἱερομάρτυρας
Δυναμικὸς κληρικὸς τοῦ 4ου μ.Χ. αἰῶνα (ἐκ τῆς ἐπαρχίας Γαμφανήτιδος), ποὺ θυσιάστηκε γιὰ τὰ ὀρθόδοξα δόγματα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας. Ὁ πατέρας του Βαρδάνιος ἦταν γεωργὸς στὸ ἐπάγγελμα, καὶ φρόντισε ὁ γιός του νὰ ἀνατραφεῖ ὄχι μόνο μὲ τὰ διδάγματα τῆς πίστης, ἀλλὰ τοῦ παρεῖχε ἀρκετὴ κοσμικὴ μόρφωση. Ἔτσι ἐνῷ ὁ πατέρας καλλιεργοῦσε τὶς ἀμπελοφυτεῖες του, ὁ γιὸς μὲ ζῆλο καὶ θέρμη καλλιεργοῦσε τὸν ἀμπελῶνα τοῦ Κυρίου, διδάσκοντας τὰ θεῖα λόγια καὶ ἀγωνιζόμενος στὸν πολλαπλασιασμὸ τῆς καρποφορίας τοῦ θείου σπόρου. Ἦταν μάλιστα ἰκανότατος συζητητὴς καὶ πολλὲς φορὲς εἶχε καταντροπιάσει σοφοὺς τῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν σὲ συζητήσεις φιλοσοφικὲς γιὰ τὴν ἀλήθεια καὶ τὴν θρησκεία. Κατόπιν ὁ Πολυχρόνιος πῆγε στὴν ἕδρα τῆς σοφίας καὶ τῶν γραμμάτων, τὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ἐκεῖ ἔγινε διάκονος καὶ ἔπειτα πρεσβύτερος. Ἀπὸ τὸ ἀξίωμα αὐτὸ δὲν ἔπαψε νὰ διδάσκει καὶ μὲ πολλοὺς τρόπους μοχθοῦσε γιὰ τὴ χριστιανικὴ ἀνατροφὴ τῶν ἐνοριτῶν του. Ὅταν ὅμως ἔγινε αὐτοκράτορας ὁ ἀρειανόφιλος γιὸς τοῦ Μ. Κωνσταντίνου, Κωνστάντιος, ὁ Πολυχρόνιος ἔμεινε στὴ μερίδα τῶν κληρικῶν ἐκείνων, ποὺ γιὰ τὸ ὀρθὸ δόγμα ἔμειναν ἀπτόητοι μπροστὰ στοὺς διωγμοὺς καὶ τὶς ἐξορίες ποὺ ἐπέβαλε ὁ αἱρετικὸς αὐτοκράτορας. Ἔτσι οἱ Ἀρειανοί, ἀνέλαβαν αὐτοὶ οἱ ἴδιοι νὰ ἀπαλλαγοῦν μία κι ἔξω ἀπ᾿ αὐτόν. Κάποια μέρα λοιπὸν ποὺ ὁ Πολυχρόνιος ἱερουργοῦσε, μία ὁμάδα ἀπὸ Ἀρειανοὺς εἰσέβαλε στὸν ναὸ καὶ τὸν ἔσφαξαν πάνω στὴ Ἁγία Τράπεζα, καὶ ἔτσι ἔγινε τίμιο ὁλοκαύτωμα γιὰ τὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ποὺ μὲ τὴν δική Του θυσία σήκωσε τὴν δική μας σωτηρία.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἰωάννης καὶ οἱ Ὅσιοι 99 Πατέρες ποὺ ἀσκήτευσαν στὴν Κρήτη
Μόνο ὁ Ἅγιος Νικόδημος τοὺς ἀναφέρει. Ἀκολουθία τους ἐκδόθηκε στὸ Ἡράκλειο τὸ 1879. Πάντα σύμφωνα μὲ τὴν ἀκολουθία τους, ἀπεβίωσαν εἰρηνικὰ συγχρόνως καὶ οἱ 99 μαζί. Κατάγονταν ἀπὸ διάφορα μέρη τῆς λεκάνης τῆς Μεσογείου καὶ ἀσκήτευαν στὴν Κρήτη. Τὸν κυριότερο ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἔλεγαν Ἰωάννη καὶ γιορτάζεται τοπικὰ στὴν Κρήτη.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Σέργιος «ὁ ἐν τῷ Σπηλαίῳ» (Ρῶσος)
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Παρμενίας, Πολυτέλειος, Ἐλυμᾶς, Μώκιος, Χρυσοτέλης, Μάξιμος, Λουκᾶς, Ἀβδίας, Σέμνιος καὶ Ὀλυμπιάδας, Συναθλητὲς Ἁγ. Πολυχρονίου (+ 4ος αἰ.)
Μνήμη Παναγίας «Ναυπακτιώτισσας»
Στὶς 7 Ὀκτωβρίου ἢ τὴν πρώτη Κυριακὴ μετὰ τὶς 7 Ὀκτωβρίου, ἑορτάζεται στὴ Ναύπακτο ἡ Παναγία τῆς Ναυπάκτου, εἰς μνήμην τῆς Ναυμαχίας τῆς Ναυπάκτου, ποὺ ἔγινε 7-9-1571 καὶ ὁ χριστιανικὸς εὐρωπαϊκὸς στόλος - μαζὶ μὲ τοὺς Ἕλληνες - κατέστρεψε τὸν ἀντίστοιχο Μουσουλμανικό.
Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus (296/303)
"These holy and wonderful martyrs and heroes of the Christian faith were at first nobles at the court of the Emperor Maximian. The Emperor himself valued them greatly for their courage, wisdom and zeal, but, when he heard that these great nobles of his were Christians, his love for them turned to fury. And once, when there was a great offering of sacrifices to idols, the Emperor summoned Sergius and Bacchus to offer sacrifice together with him, and they openly refused to obey him in this. Beside himself with anger, the Emperor ordered that their robes, rings and marks of eminence be stripped from them and they be dressed in women's clothing. He then put iron yokes on their necks and led them thus through the streets of Rome, to be mocked by each and all. The Emperor then sent them to Asia, to Antiochus the governor, for torture. Antiochus had achieved his distinguished rank with the help of Sergius and Bacchus, who had at one time recommended him to the Emperor. When Antiochus began to urge them to deny Christ and save themselves from dishonourable suffering and death, the two saints replied: 'Both honour and dishonour, both life and death — all are one to him who seeks the heavenly Kingdom.' Antiochus threw Sergius into prison and ordered that Bacchus be tortured first. The servants took turns beating holy Bacchus until his whole body was broken into fragments. His holy spirit went forth from his broken and bloodstained body and was borne to the Lord by angels. St Bacchus suffered in the town of Varvallis. Then holy Sergius was led out. Iron shoes studded with nails were put on his feet, and he was driven out into the Syrian town of Resapha, and there beheaded with the sword. His soul went to Paradise where, together with his friend Bacchus, he received the wreath of immortal glory from Christ his King and Lord. These two glorious knights suffered for the Christian faith in about 303." (Prologue) The Great Horologion gives 296 as the date of their repose. One of the most beautiful churches in Constantinople, still standing, is dedicated to Sts Sergius and Bacchus.
Holy Hieromartyr Polychronius (4th c.)
The son of peasants, he was known from his childhood for his piety and asceticism. Once, by his prayers, a spring of water sprang up near his village, where it was needed for the town's survival. When he came of age, Polychronius went to work in some vineyards near Constantinople. Even though he labored all day, he would eat only every two or three days. The master of the vineyard, seeing his strict and prayerful way of life, gave him a large sum of money and said 'Man of God, go home and pray for me.' With the money, Polychronius built a church, settled near it, and a few years later was ordained to be a priest in the church he had built. Polychronius appeared at the First Ecumenical Council in 325 as a fervent defender of Orthodoxy. Because of this, some Arian heretics determined to take revenge. One day, after the death of the Emperor Constantine, the Arians attacked Polychronius at the altar as he was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, thus mingling his blood with the very blood of the Savior.
The Ninety-nine Fathers of Crete (date unknown)
Saint John the Hermit and thirty-five companions lived in Egypt, but took ship as a group for Cyprus in order to practice ascesis in exile. At Cyprus they met a party of thirty-nine others who also sought to live the ascetic life more fully, and the two groups joined. "In order that these ascetics, too, might taste of the graces of voluntary exile" (Synaxarion), they travelled to Attalia in Pamphylia. There, twenty-four more monks joined them, so that their company now numbered ninety-nine. (This number was ordained by God, so that Christ Himself, their Head, would complete their number at one hundred.) After some time they took ship again for Crete, where they lived in two caves in a remote, deserted area, living only on the plants that grew wild there.
Saint John sought his brothers' blessing to live as a hermit. On the day of his departure they prayed that they all might repose on the day of John's death, and enter together into the Kingdom of God. John's asceticism was so severe that after awhile he could no longer walk, but crawled from his cave to gather the small quantities of food he allowed himself. A shepherd, seeing him from a distance, thought that he was some animal, and shot him with an arrow. Finding the dying John, the shepherd was stricken with horror and grief, and threw himself at the hermit's feet, begging forgiveness. The saint only lived long enough to give the young man his pardon and blessing before surrendering his soul to God. The prayer of his ninety-eight brethren was mysteriously granted: between the third and seventh hour of that day, they all, one after another, fell asleep in peace.
The Holy Martyrs Sergios and Bakkhos were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Malevolent persons made a denunciation to Maximian, that his two military-commanders did not honour the pagan gods, and this was considered a crime against the state.
The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the veracity of the denunciation, ordered Sergios and Bakkhos to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they answered, that they honoured but the One God and Him only did they worship.
Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank, and then having dressed them in feminine clothing to lead them through the city with an iron chain on the neck, for the mockery by the people. Then he again summoned Sergios and Bakkhos to him and in a friendly approach advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables and instead return to the Roman gods. But the saints remained steadfast. Then the emperor commanded that they be dispatched to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergios and Bakkhos. "My fathers and benefactors! -- he addressed the saints, -- have pity not only upon yourself, but also on me: I want not to condemn ye to martyrdom". The holy martyrs replied, that for them life -- is Christ, and death for Him -- its acquisition. In a rage Antiochus ordered Bakkhos to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr expired to the Lord. They shod Sergios with iron shoes inset with nails and sent him off to another city, where he as beheaded with the sword (c. year 300).
The Monk Sergei of Obnorsk and Nuromsk, Vologda Wonderworker, began his monastic exploits on Holy Mount Athos. Then he arrived in Russia and settled in the monastery of the Life-Originating Trinity under the guidance of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 5 July and 25 September). After several years, with the blessing of the hegumen, the Monk Sergei to the Vologda forests and settled at the bank of the River Nurma. There he erected a cross and built a chapel with a cell, in which he ascetic in deep silence, "going forth in like-angelic life", and with patience enduring temptation from demons and malevolent people.
It pleased the Lord to summon the saint from his solitude, so that he in his attainment of wisdom and spiritual experience should serve unto the salvation of others. From various places gathered to him 40 men, thirsting for the pious life. By their common efforts, the brethren built a large temple in honour of the Carrying-Forth of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord (Comm. 1 August). Around the church were built the monastic cells.
The Monk Paul of Obnorsk (Comm. 10 January) asceticised not far from the Nuromsk monastery, and the Monk Sergei often visited him for discourse to benefit of soul. The Monk Sergei died on 7 October 1412, and in the year 1546 began the churchly veneration of the saint.
The Monk Martinian of Belozersk (Uncovering of Relics 1514): The account about him is located under 12 January.
The Holy Martyr Polychronios the Presbyter -- was the son of a landowner. He was raised with a love for work and in Christian piety. Reaching maturity, Polychronios left his parental home for Constantinople and began to work for one of the rich vineyard owners. The vineyard owner was amazed at the love for toil and the ascetic life of the youth. For his fine work the saint received much money, with which he built a church. Soon he was ordained to the dignity of presbyter. According to tradition, Saint Polychronios participated in the acts of the First OEcumenical Council. He was murdered by heretics (Arians) at the altar of the church (IV Century).
The Holy Martyrs Julian the Presbyter and Caesarius the Deacon suffered for Christ in the I Century. Saint Caesarius was thrown into prison in the Italian city of Terracinium for insulting the pagan gods. They later took him bound to the temple of Apollo, but before they got him near the pagan temple it collapsed, killing the pagan priests and many of the people. At about this same time the idolators arrested the Christian priest Julian. By order of the emperor, the holy martyrs were cast into the sea, but their bodies floated up, and Christians buried the sufferers. The relics of Saint Caesarius are situated at Rome.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus
These holy and wonderful martyrs and heroes of the Christian Faith were at first noblemen at the court of Emperor Maximian. The emperor himself esteemed them greatly because of their courage, wisdom and fidelity. But when the emperor heard that his two noblemen were Christians, his love for them turned into rage. Once, when there was a great sacrificial offering to idols, the emperor demanded that Sergius and Bacchus offer sacrifices with him, but they openly refused to obey the emperor in this. Beside himself with rage, the emperor commanded that their military garments, rings and emblems be stripped from them and that they be dressed in women's clothing. He then placed iron hoops around their necks and paraded them through the streets of the city of Rome, to be mocked by everyone. Afterward, he sent them to Antiochus, his deputy in Asia, for torture. Antiochus had risen to his position with Sergius and Bacchus's help, as they had at one time recommended him to the emperor. When Antiochus implored them to deny Christ and save themselves from dishonorable suffering and death, these saints replied: "Both honor and dishonor, both life and death-all are the same to him who seeks the Heavenly Kingdom." Antiochus cast Sergius into prison and ordered that Bacchus be tortured first. His minions took turns beating the holy Bacchus until his whole body was broken. Bacchus's holy soul departed his broken and bloodied body, and in the hands of angels was borne to the Lord. St. Bacchus suffered in the town of Barbalissos. Then St. Sergius was led out and shod in iron shoes with inward-protruding nails. He was driven, on foot, to the town of Rozapha, in Syria, and was beheaded there with the sword. His soul went to Paradise where, together with his friend Bacchus, he received a crown of immortal glory from Christ, his King and Lord. These two wondrous knights of the Christian Faith suffered in about the year 303.
2. The Holy Martyr Polychronius
Polychronius was born in the district of Gamphanitus, of peasant parents. As a young man, he worked as a day-laborer in the vineyard of a certain Constantinopolitan. But even as a day-laborer Polychronius devoted himself to the ascetic life of prayer and fasting day and night. Seeing his life, angelic in its purity and abstinence, the vintner was amazed, and gave him much more money than he earned. St. Polychronius took the money and built a church. At the time of the Nicaean Council (325), Polychronius was a church reader. He showed such zeal in the defense of Orthodoxy against the Arians that he was ordained a priest. Later, these evil heretics sought revenge, and attacked St. Polychronius inside the church itself, and chopped him into pieces. Thus, this great defender of the truth and purity of Orthodoxy suffered and received a wreath of glory from his Most-glorious Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus
The royal men, Sergius and Bacchus
Served the King, but not the earthly one-
Rather, Jesus, the Immortal King.
The earthly king mocked the saints
And removed the belts from their waists,
But the Lord girded them with strength.
The emperor removed their noblemen's togas,
But the Savior clothed them more beautifully
In an incorrupt garment of immortality;
The emperor removed their rings from their right hands,
But the Lord gave them far more glorious ones,
In betrothing their souls to Himself.
The emperor banished them from his court,
But God welcomed them into the heavenly courts.
The earth tortured these knights of Christ,
The earth tortured them, but heaven gave them repose.
Decay rejects purity,
Evil rejects goodness,
But Saints Bacchus and Sergius
Returned all earthliness to the earth,
And gave their holy souls over to God!
Though exiled from the earthly kingdom,
They illumine the earth even now;
By their suffering, they conquered malice;
By their death for the Cross, they are glorified.
As victors over the powers of darkness,
They show us the path to victory.
A vision of St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ: Once, St. Andrew was sitting with his disciple Epiphanius, talking about the salvation of the soul. Just then, a demon approached Epiphanius and began setting traps to distract his thoughts, but did not dare to approach Andrew. Andrew cried out: "Depart from here, impure adversary!" The devil drew back and replied maliciously: "You are my adversary, such as no other in all of Constantinople!" Andrew did not drive him away immediately, but permitted him to speak. And the devil began: "I feel that the time is coming when my work will be finished. At that time, men will be worse than I, as children will be even more wicked than adults. Then I will rest and will not teach men anything anymore, since they themselves will carry out my will in everything." Andrew asked him: "In what sins do your kind rejoice the most?" The devil replied: "The service of idols, slander, malice against one's neighbor, the sodomite sin, drunkenness and avarice-in this we rejoice the most." Andrew further asked him: "And how do you tolerate it when someone who first served you rejects you and your works?" The devil replied: "You know that better than I do; we find it difficult to tolerate, but we are comforted by this: we will probably bring them back to us-for many who have rejected us and turned to God have come back to us again." After the evil spirit had said this and much more, St. Andrew breathed on him and he disappeared.
Contemplate the righteousness of King Josiah, and God's reward to him (II Chronicles 34):
1. How King Josiah rooted out the idols, and did all that which is good in the sight of the Lord;
2. How God's blessing was poured out upon him and his people during his long reign.
on children and their praise of the Lord
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast ordained strength, because of Thine enemies (Psalm 8:2).
At the glorious Entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, and even in the Temple itself, the children cried out: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! (Matthew 21:9). It seems that nothing irritated the Jewish elders so much as this praising of Jesus by young children. Hearest thou what these say? (Matthew 21:16), they asked Him maliciously. And Jesus answered them meekly: Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Matthew 21:16). Thus, it is as clear as day that these prophetic words of David pertain to the wonder that occurred at the Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem: this wondrous praising of the Lord by little children. It is obvious that, as this event was prophesied, so it was literally fulfilled. It is also obvious from this that the Lord Himself was then referring to that prophecy of King David: Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise. There can be no doubt that it was a great wonder, inspired by the Spirit of God and carried out by the power and will of God. While the princes, scribes, elders and priests were not able to recognize Christ the Lord, the little children both recognized and proclaimed Him! In truth, this is a miracle, unique throughout the Old and New Testaments; and no less of a miracle than the resurrection of the dead. In fact, during the first miracle [Christ's Entry into Jerusalem] and during the second [Christ's Resurrection], the same power of God was acting-the same Spirit and the same providence of God. And the prophet wanted especially to emphasize this power and majestic glory of God by the event with the little children, which event he places parallel with the wonders of the starry universe, created by the same power of God. When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained (Psalm 8:3).
Besides this, among those little children should be numbered the apostles themselves-and many saints, ascetics, martyrs for Christ, and virgins-thousands, thousands and thousands of those who, with innocence and open hearts, recognized Christ as the Son of God and their Savior, who embraced Him with wholehearted love and endured difficult suffering for Him. Why, exactly, did the Lord ordain praise for Himself from their mouths, and not from the mouths of nobles, philosophers and rhetoricians? He accepted their praise because of their meekness, and rejected the others because of their pride; for the proud are the greatest enemies of God. That is why Christ miraculously loosed the tongues of children, simple fisherman and peasants-to proclaim the truth contrary to their enemies, that is, the proud and empty princes and scribes of the Jews.
O Lord Most-powerful, Almighty God; loose our tongues also, that with strong faith and childlike joy we too may proclaim Thine endless glory.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.