FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Tatiana the Martyr of Rome
Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
Μετά τά Φῶτα. Τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Τατιανῆς.
Τῶν Ἁγίων Ἱερομαρτύρων Βασιλείου Solovsky καί Ἰωάννου Pettai.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 6:10-17
Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 2.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous.
Verse: Blessed are they whose transgressions have been forgiven.
Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Πρὸς Ἐφεσίους 6:10-17
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος πλ β΄.
Εὐφράνθητι ἐπὶ Κύριον, καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε δίκαιοι.
Στίχ. Μακάριοι, ὧν ἀφέθησαν αἱ ἀνομίαι.
Ἀδελφοί, ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ, καὶ ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ. Ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου. Ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. Διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ, καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι. Στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης, καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης· ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως, ἐν ᾧ δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ τὰ πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι. Καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθαι, καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος, ὅ ἐστιν ῥῆμα θεοῦ·
The Gospel of Matthew 4:1-11
At that time, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But He answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took Him to the holy city, and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give His angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again, it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to Him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.'" Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 4.1-11
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἀνήχθη ὁ ᾽Ιησοῦς εἰς τὴν ἔρημον ὑπὸ τοῦ Πνεύματος πειρασθῆναι ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου,καὶ νηστεύσας ἡμέρας τεσσαράκοντα καὶ νύκτας τεσσαράκοντα ὕστερον ἐπείνασε.καὶ προσελθὼν αὐτῷ ὁ πειράζων εἶπεν· εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, εἰπὲ ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται.ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε· γέγραπται, οὐκ ἐπ᾿ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ παντὶ ρήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.Τότε παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν, καὶ ἵστησιν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦκαὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, βάλε σεαυτὸν κάτω· γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ ἐντελεῖται περὶ σοῦ,καὶ ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσί σε,μήποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου. ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· πάλιν γέγραπται, οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου.Πάλιν παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν λίαν, καὶ δείκνυσιν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶνκαὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· ταῦτα πάντα σοι δώσω, ἐὰν πεσὼν προσκυνήσῃς μοι.τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, σατανᾶ· γέγραπται γάρ, Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις.Τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοι προσῆλθον καὶ διηκόνουν αὐτῷ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῆς πάντα λαμπρᾶς Τατιανῆς τῇ κάρᾳ,
Λαμπρὸν προεξένησε τὸ ξίφος στέφος.
Τῇ δυοκαιδεκάτῃ Τατιανῆς αὐχένα κέρσαν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Πέτρου τοῦ Ἀβεσαλαμίτου.
Ἐπανθρακωθεὶς καρδίαν θείῳ πόθῳ,
Ἐπ' ἀνθράκων ἥδιστα Πέτρος ἐκπνέει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμῃ τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Μερτίου.
Θεὸν πόθων ὕψιστον, ἰσχυρὸν μόνον,
Μαστίζεται Μέρτιος ἰσχυρῶς ἄγαν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι ὀκτὼ Μάρτυρες, οἱ ἀπὸ Νικαίας, ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Θνῄσκει χορός τις ὀκτάριθμος ἐκ ξίφους,
Αἰῶνος εὑρεῖν ὀγδόου ζωὴν θέλων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ἁγία Μάρτυς Εὐθασία ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Αὐτῷ Θεῶ Σωτῆρι κόσμου προσφέρει,
Αὐτῆς κεφαλὴν ἐκ ξίφους Εὐθασία.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμῃ τοῦ ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ θαυματουργοῦ Ἠλιού.
Ἄλλος δέδεικται θαυματουργὸς Ἠλίας,
Ὁ θαυματουργὸς οὗτος ὄντως Ἠλίας.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Tatiana was the daughter of a most distinguished consul of Rome. She became a deaconess of the Church, and for her confession of the Faith of Christ, she endured many torments. As she was suffering, angels punished her tormentors with the same torments they inflicted on her, until they cried out that they could no longer endure the scourges invisibly brought upon them. She was beheaded during the reign of Alexander Severus (111-135).
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Η αμνάς σου Ιησού, κράζει μεγάλη τή φωνή Σέ νυμφίε μου ποθώ, καί σέ ζητούσα αθλώ, καί συσταυρούμαι, καί συνθάπτομαι τώ βαπτισμώ σου, καί πάσχω διά σέ, ως βασιλεύσω συν σοί, καί θνήσκω υπέρ σού, ίνα καί ζήσω εν σοί αλλ' ως θυσίαν άμωμον, προσδέχου τήν μετά πόθου τυθείσάν σοι, Αυτής πρεσβείαις, ως ελεήμων σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Παρθένος σεμνή, καί Μάρτυς απερίτρεπτος, εδείχθης σαφώς, Τατιανή θεόνυμφε, Χριστόν γάρ ποθήσασα, δι' αγώνων τούτον εδόξασας, όν δυσώπει ρύσαι ημάς, παθών αδοξίας, καί παντοίων δεινών.
Thou didst shine resplendently, Martyr Tatiana, in thy sacred sufferings and in the crimson of thy blood, soaring to Heaven like a fair dove; hence ever pray Christ for all them that honour thee.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Ἐν Ἰορδάνῃ βαπτιζομένου σου Κύριε, ἡ τῆς Τριάδος ἐφανερώθη προσκύνησις, τοῦ γὰρ Γεννήτορος ἡ φωνὴ προσεμαρτύρει σοί, ἀγαπητὸν σὲ Υἱὸν ὀνομάζουσα, καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐν εἴδει περιστεράς, ἐβεβαίου τοῦ λόγου τὸ ἀσφαλές. Ὁ ἐπιφανεῖς Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, καὶ τὸν κόσμον φωτίσας δόξα σοί.
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ἐπεφάνης σήμερον τὴ οἰκουμένη, καὶ τὸ φῶς σου Κύριε, ἐσημειώθη ἐφ' ἡμᾶς, ἓν ἐπιγνώσει ὑμνούντάς σε. Ἦλθες ἐφάνης τὸ Φῶς τὸ ἀπρόσιτον.
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."
Στην Αποκάλυψη του Ιωάννου ο "πρώτος και ο έσχατος" και ο "ζών εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων" λέει προς τον Άγγελο της Εκκλησίας της Σμύρνης· "γίνου πιστός άχρι θανάτου και δώσω σοι τον στέφανον της ζωής". Η έκφραση είναι αθλητική και η εικόνα είναι από την ζωή των γυμναστηρίων και του στίβου. Αθληταί ονομάζονται, οι άγιοι Μάρτυρες και άθληση το μαρτύριό τους και το βραβείο και το έπαθλο της νίκης των είναι ο στέφανος της ζωής. Μένουν πιστοί και καρτερικοί ως το τέλος· μέχρι την ώρα, που ύστερα από βασανιστήρια σατανικής εφευρετικότητας, το ξίφος πέφτει στον τράχηλό τους και το αίμα στεφανώνει την τίμια κεφαλή τους. Στέφανος αμαράντινος είναι ο στέφανος του μαρτυρίου και του αίματος, στέφανος "της ζωής". Τέτοια έννοια εκφράζει και το ιαμβικό δίστιχο στην μνήμη σήμερα της αγίας Τατιανής. "Της πάντα λαμπράς Τατιανής τή κάρα λαμπρόν προεξένησε το ξίφος στέφος".
Ἡ Ἁγία Τατιανή
Ὅπως εἶναι γνωστό, ἡ ἀρχαία Ἐκκλησία εἶχε καὶ γυναῖκες διακόνους. Βέβαια, δὲ μετεῖχαν σὲ κανένα βαθμὸ ἱερωσύνης. Ἡ ἀποστολή τους ἦταν κυρίως φιλανθρωπικὴ ἢ καὶ κατηχητική, δίπλα στὶς γυναῖκες ποὺ εἶχαν ἀνάγκη διδασκαλίας. Τὸ ἦθος αὐτῶν τῶν διακονισσῶν, νὰ πὼς τὸ θέλει ὁ θεόπνευστος Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος: «Οἱ γυναῖκες διάκονοι πρέπει καὶ αὐτὲς νὰ εἶναι σεμνές, ἐλεύθερες ἀπὸ τὸ ἁμάρτημα τῆς κακολογίας καὶ διαβολῆς, ἐγκρατεῖς καὶ προσεκτικές, ἀξιόπιστες σὲ ὅλα». Μία τέτοια διακόνισσα ἦταν καὶ ἡ Ἁγία Τατιανή. Ἡ εὐγενὴς καταγωγή της καὶ ὁ πολὺς ζῆλος μὲ τὸν ὁποῖο ἐκτελοῦσε τὰ διακονικά της καθήκοντα, καθὼς ἐπίσης καὶ ἡ ἀποστροφὴ τῶν κοσμικῶν βλέψεων, ἔδωσαν στὴν Τατιανὴ ξεχωριστὴ θέση μεταξὺ τῶν χριστιανῶν, προκάλεσαν, ὅμως, καὶ τὸ φθόνο τῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν. Καὶ ὅταν τὸ 202 ὁ Σεπτίμιος Σεβῆρος (κατ᾿ ἄλλους Ἀλέξανδρος Σεβῆρος, 222-235 μ.Χ.) ἐξαπέλυσε ἀνελέητο διωγμὸ κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ἡ Τατιανὴ συλλαμβάνεται. Ξυρίζουν τὸ κεφάλι της, ἀφαιρώντας τὰ θαυμάσια μαλλιά της, μὲ τὴν ἐλπίδα ὅτι θὰ πτοηθεῖ. Ὅμως, δὲν πτοεῖται, στέκεται στὸ ὕψος τοῦ χριστιανικοῦ της ἤθους καὶ τὸ πρόσωπό της ὀμορφαίνει καὶ ἀκτινοβολεῖ περισσότερο ἀπὸ πρῶτα. Τότε, βασανίζεται σκληρὰ μὲ πολλοὺς τρόπους. Ὅμως, δὲ λυγίζει καὶ τελικὰ ἀποκεφαλίζεται, παίρνοντας τὸ ἀμάραντο καὶ ἀθάνατο στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Πέτρος ὁ Ἀβεσαλαμίτης
Ὁ ἔνδοξος μάρτυρας Πέτρος, ποὺ ἦταν πολὺ δυνατός, τόσο στὸ σῶμα, ὅσο καὶ στὴν ψυχὴ καὶ στὴν πίστη, ὁμολόγησε μὲ μεγάλο θάῤῥος τὸν Χριστὸ στὴ νεανική του ἡλικία. Ὁ ἄρχοντας τῆς Ἐλευθερουπόλεως, ἐπειδὴ δὲν μπόρεσε οὔτε μὲ κολακεῖες νὰ ἀλλάξει τὴν γνώμη τοῦ Πέτρου, οὔτε μὲ ἀπειλὲς νὰ τὸν φοβίσει, τὸν ἔριξε στὴ φωτιά. Καὶ ἐκεῖ ὁ γενναῖος τῆς εὐσεβείας ἀγωνιστὴς πῆρε τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μέρτιος
Ἦταν στρατιωτικὸς ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ. Σὰ γνήσιος χριστιανός, διακρινόταν γιὰ τὴν ἀνδρεία του καὶ τὸ λευκὸ καὶ ἀκηλίδωτο χαρακτῆρα του. Καταγγέλθηκε στὸν αὐτοκράτορα, ὅτι λάτρευε τὸν Ἰησοῦ καὶ διατάχθηκε ἀμέσως νὰ παρουσιασθεῖ μπροστά του. Ὁ Μέρτιος παρουσιάσθηκε μὲ εὐλάβεια, ἀλλὰ καὶ μὲ σεμνὴ καὶ ἄφοβη γενναιότητα. Ὁ αὐτοκράτορας θαύμασε τὸ παράστημα τοῦ στρατιώτη του, καὶ σκυθρωπὸς καὶ βαρὺς διέταξε τὸ Μέρτιο νὰ θυσιάσει στὰ εἴδωλα. Ὁ Μέρτιος ἀρνήθηκε. Τότε ὁ Διοκλητιανὸς διέταξε νὰ τοῦ ἀφαιρέσουν τὴν στρατιωτικὴ ζώνη. Ἡ προσβολὴ ἦταν μεγάλη, ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Μέρτιος τὴν ὑπέμεινέ με καρτερία. Ἀτιμία του θὰ ἦταν, ἂν καταπατοῦσε τὰ στρατιωτικά του χρέη, τὰ ὁποῖα ὅμως εἶχε τόσο τιμήσει, γιατί λοιπὸν νὰ θλιβεῖ; Κατόπιν τὸν μαστίγωσαν, ἀλύπητα καὶ σκληρά. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐνῷ κομμάτια ἔπεφτε ἡ σάρκα ἀπὸ τὸ σῶμα του, ἡ ψυχή του ἔμενε καρτερικὴ καὶ νικήτρια. Ἔτσι ὅπως ἦταν βαριὰ πληγωμένος, τὸν ἔριξαν στὴ φυλακή. Μετὰ ὀκτὼ ἡμέρες, αἰσθάνθηκε ὅτι ἡ ὥρα τοῦ τέλους τῆς ἐπίγειας ζωῆς του εἶχε πλησιάσει. Ἡ ψυχή του σκίρτησε, ἔχοντας ὑπ᾿ ὄψιν της ὅτι θὰ πήγαινε στὸν βραβευτὴ καὶ μισθαποδότη Κύριο. Εὐχαριστοῦσε λοιπὸν τὸ Θεό, διότι ἔφευγε ἀπὸ τὴν γῆ καὶ μάλιστα διότι τὸν ἀξίωσε νὰ φύγει μὲ τὴν τιμὴ τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι ὀκτὼ Μάρτυρες ἀπὸ τὴν Νίκαια
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.
Ἡ Ἁγία Εὐθασία
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἠλίας ὁ θαυματουργός
Ὁ Ὅσιος αὐτὸς εἶδε τὴν πεῖνα καὶ δὲν τὴν λογάριασε. Τὸ ψῦχος, καὶ τὸ ἀψήφησε. Τὴν ἀγρυπνία, καὶ τὴν καταφρόνησε. Τὶς στερήσεις, καὶ τὶς καταπάτησε. Τοὺς τυράννους, καὶ δὲν τοὺς ἔδωσε καμιὰ σημασία. Μύριους κατατρεγμούς, καὶ τοὺς καταντρόπιασε. Τί φοβόταν; Τρία πράγματα, ὅπως ἔλεγε. Τὴν ὥρα, ποὺ ἡ ψυχή του θὰ ἔβγαινε ἀπὸ τὸ σῶμα του, τὸν καιρό, ποὺ θὰ παρουσιαζόταν μπροστὰ στὸν Θεὸ καὶ τὴν στιγμή, ποὺ θὰ ἔβγαινε ἡ ἀπόφαση τοῦ ὑπέρτατου Κριτῆ γι᾿ αὐτόν. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ φοβόταν, ἔζησε ἔτσι, ὥστε νὰ μὴ φοβηθεῖ. Ἡ πίστη του καὶ ἡ χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἔδωσαν θάνατο γενναῖο καὶ ἥσυχο. Ἡ δὲ Ἐκκλησία, λόγω τῶν μεγάλων ἀρετῶν του, τὸν κατάταξε μεταξὺ τῶν Ἁγίων της.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Μαρτινιανὸς καὶ ὁ μαθητής του ὁ Ὅσιος Γαλακτίων
Ὁ τῆς Μονῆς Κυρίλλου ἐν Λευκῇ Λίμνῃ Ῥωσίας (1483) καὶ ὁ μαθητής του Ὅσιος Γαλακτίων, ὁ διὰ Χριστὸν Σαλός (+ 15ος αἰ.).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βenedic Bistor, ἡγούμενος (Ἄγγλος)
Λεπτομέρειες γιὰ τὴν ζωὴ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἁγίου της ὀρθοδοξίας, μπορεῖ νὰ βρεῖ ὁ ἀναγνώστης στὸ βιβλίο «Οἱ Ἅγιοι τῶν Βρεττανικῶν Νήσων» τοῦ Χριστόφορου Κων. Κομμοδάτου, ἐπισκόπου Τελμησσοῦ, Ἀθῆναι 1985.
Holy Martyr Tatiana (~230)
She was the daughter of a wealthy Roman consul. She became a deaconess in Rome, and was seized as a Christian during the reign of Alexander Severus. Before the tribunal she fearlessly confessed Christ and, when she was taken to the temple in an effort to force her to make sacrifice, she cast down the idols by the power of her prayer. At this, the soldiers seized her and subjected her to many indignities and tortures, finally throwing her into a raging furnace. When this did not harm her, she was thrown to the wild beasts, but they refused to harm her. At last she was beheaded and thus gained her crown.
Venerable Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth (689-690)
He came from a noble Northumbrian family in Britain, and was tonsured a monk in 653 at Lerins in Gaul. In 669 he was made Abbot of the Monastery of Saints Peter and Paul in Canterbury. He traveled to Rome in 671 to be instructed in monastic practice according to the Rule of Saint Benedict (of Nursia). Returning to Northumbria he established two new monasteries, the first to follow St Benedict's Rule in the British Isles. He went to Rome once again in 678-679, this time bringing back the archcantor of St Peter's, who taught the monks of St Benedict's monasteries the chant and liturgical practices used in Rome.
Under the holy abbot's guidance, these monasteries became flourishing centers of Christian worship, scholarship and art. The Venerable Bede (May 26) was one of his disciples. Saint Benedict reposed in peace in 689 or 690, having greatly strengthened the Church and the Christian faith in Britain.
The Holy Martyress Tatiana was born into an illustrious Roman family -- her father was thrice elected consul. He was secretly a christian and raised his daughter devoted to God and the Church. Having reached the age of maturity, Tatiana did not enter into marriage but with all her strength devoted herself to the Church. She was made deaconess in one of the Roman churches and served God, in fasting and prayer tending the sick and helping the needy. By her righteousness Tatiana gained in future to be crowned with the crown of martyrdom.
When Rome came to be ruled by the sixteen year old Alexander Severus (222-235), all power was concentrated in the hands of the evil enemy and persecutor of christians Ulpian. Christian blood flowed like streams. Deaconess Tatiana was also arrested. When they brought her into the temple of Apollo so as to force her to offer sacrifice to the idol, the saint began praying -- and suddenly there occurred an earthquake -- the idol was smashed into pieces, and part of the temple collapsed and fell down on the pagan priests and many pagans. The demon inhabiting the idol ran out with an howl from that place, in front of which all saw it flying through the air like a ghost. They then began to beat the holy virgin about the eyes, but she bravely endured everything, praying for her tormentors that the Lord would open for them their spiritual eyes. And the Lord heard the prayer of His servant. The executioners came to see, that four Angels encircled the saint and fended off from the blows; they heard a Voice from the heavens addressed to the holy martyress. All of them, eight men, believed in Christ and fell on their knees to Saint Tatiana, begging them to forgive them their wrongs against her. For confessing themselves christians they were subjected to tortures and execution, receiving Baptism by blood. Saint Tatiana was again given over to tortures on another day: they uncovered her and beat her, they cut at her body with razors, and from her wounds then there permeated a fragrance in the air. The torturers became exhausted and said, that someone invisible was beating at them with iron staffs, and nine of them fell dead. They then threw the saint in prison, where she prayed all night and with the Angels sang praise to the Lord. A new morning began, and they again took Saint Tatiana to the court. The torturers beheld with astonishment that after such terrible torments she appeared completely healthy and even more radiant and beautiful than before. They began to urge her to offer sacrifice to the goddess Diana. The saint seemed to appear agreeable, and they took her to the heathen temple. Saint Tatiana made the sign of the cross and began to pray -- and suddenly there sounded a crash of deafening thunder, and lightning struck the idol, the sacrificial offerings and the pagan priests. They again fiercely tortured the martyress, and at night they again threw her in prison, and again there appeared Angels and healed her wounds. On the following day they took Saint Tatiana to the circus and let loose at her an hungry lion; the beast did not touch the saint but only lay meekly at her feet. They wanted to pen up the lion back in its cage, and here instead it clawed up one of the torturers. They threw Tatiana into a fire, but the fire did not harm the martyress. The pagans, thinking that she was a sorceress, cut her hair to deprive her of magical powers, and locked her up in the temple of Zeus. But it was impossible to take away the power of God. On the third day pagan priests came with an encircling throng, preparing to offer sacrifice. Opening the temple, they beheld the idol thrown down into the dust and the holy martyress Tatiana joyously invoking the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. All the instruments of torture were worn out, and they carried out a sentence of death: the valiant sufferer was beheaded with a sword. Also executed as a christian together with her was her father, for having shewn her the true faith of Christ.
Sainted Sava, first ArchBishop of Serbia, -- in the world Rostislav (Rastko), was a son of the Serbian autocrat Stefan Nemani and Anna, daughter of the Greek emperor Romanos. From his early years he fervently attended church services and fostered an especial love for icons. At seventeen years of age, having met a Russian monk from Holy Mount Athos, Rostislav secretly left his father's house and set off to the Russian Panteleimonov monastery. (By Divine Providence in the year of the saint's birth -- 1169 -- the ancient monastery of the great-martyr and healer Panteleimon was restored for eternal keeping to Russian monks.) Knowing that his son was on Athos, his father mobilised his retainers headed by a faithful voevoda and wrote to the governor of the district which included Athos, that if his son were not returned to him, he would go to war against the Greeks. Having arrived at the monastery, the voevoda / military-chief was ordered not to take his eyes off Rostislav. During the time of evening Divine-services, when the soldiers were fallen asleep under the influence of wine, Rostislav took monastic vows (the year 1186) and sent to his parents his worldly clothes, his hair and a letter. The monk Sava sought to persuade his powerful parents to accept monasticism. The monk's father (the commemoration of the Monk Stefan, in monasticism Simeon, Tsar of Serbia, is situated under 13 February) together with his son pursued asceticism at the Batopedeia monastery. On Athos they established the Serbian Khilendaria monastery, and this monastery received its name by imperial stauropegia / grant. At Khilendaria monastery, the monk Save was ordained to the deaconate and then presbyter. For his monastic deeds on Mount Athos, the monk was deemed worthy of the dignity of archimandrite at Soluneia / Thessalonika. At Niciea in the year 1219 on the feast of the Dormition / Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God, the OEcumenical Pattriarch Germanos ordained archimandrite Sava to the dignity of ArchBishop of All Serbia. For this the monk petitioned the Greek emperor for permission that the ArchBishop be consecrated by a Sobor of bishops in Serbia -- a very important consideration in this time of frequent wars between eastern and western powers. Having returned to the Holy Mountain from Nicea, the saint made the rounds of all the monasteries for the last time; he made prostration in all the churches and, calling to mind the blessed lives of the wilderness fathers, he made his farewells with the ascetics in deep remorse, "leaving from the Holy Mountain, as though from some Divine paradise". Dejected by his grievous separation from the Holy Mountain, the saint went along the path from Athos just barely moving. Only the words of the MostHoly Mother of God that had come to the saint in a dream -- "having My Patronage to the King of all, My Son and God, about what dost thou still sorrow?" -- these words roused him from despondency, changing sorrow into joy. In memory of this appearance, the saint commissioned at Soluneia large icons of the Saviour and of the Mother of God, and put them in the Church of the Philokalia.
In Serbia, the activity of the Hierarch in organising the work of his native Church was accompanied by numerous signs and miracles. During the time of Liturgy and the all-night vigil, when the saint came to cense over the grave of his father the monk Simeon, the holy relics exuded fragrant myrh.
Being in charge of negotiations with the Hungarian king Vladislav, who had declared war on Serbia, the glorious sainted bishop with heavenly signs not only brought about the desired peace for his country, he also brought the Hungarian monarch to Orthodoxy. Having secured a beginning for the historical existence of the autonomous Serbian Church, Saint Sava contributed also to the strengthening of the Serbian state. In order to insure the independence of the Serbian state, the holy archbishop Sava crowned his powerful brother Stefan as tsar. Upon the death of Stefan -- his eldest son Radislav having been crowned tsar, Saint Sava set off to the Holy Land "with tears to worship at the holy grave of Christ and fearsome Golgotha". Having returned to his native land, the saint gave his blessing and crowned Vladislav as tsar; to further strengthen the Serbian throne, he betrothed him with the daughter of the Bulgarian prince Asan. The holy hierarch made the rounds of all the Serbian land, he reformed monastic rules on the model of the athonites and palestinians, and he established and consecrated many churches, strengthening the Orthodox in their faith. Having finished his work in his native land, the saint appointed as his successor the priestmonk Arsenii, ordaining him bishop and giving his blessing to all. He then set off on a journey of no return, wanting "to end his days as a wanderer in a foreign land". He passed through all of Palestine, through Syria and Persia, Babylon, Egypt and Anatolia, everywhere visiting the holy places, conversing with great ascetics, and gathering up the priestly remains of saints. The saint finished his wanderings at Trnovo in Bulgaria at the home of his kinsman Tsar Asan, where with spiritual joy he offered up his soul to the Lord (+ 1237). At the time of transfer of the holy relics of Sainted Sava to Serbia in 1237 the healings were so numerous, that the Bulgarians began to complain about Asan, "that he had given up such a treasure". In the saint's own native country, his venerable relics were placed in the Church of Mileshevo, bestowing healing on all who approach with faith. The inhabitants of Trnovo continued to receive healing from the remnants of the grave of the saint, which pious Asan ordered to be gathered together and placed in a newly built sarcophagus.
The legacy of Sainted Sava lives on in the orthodox Church traditions of the Slavic nations. With his legacy is linked the first introduction of the Jerusalem Ustav to Slavic Monastic Rules: the Serbian Khilendaria monastery on Athos lives by the Typikon of Saint Sava to the present time. The redactions of the book "The Rudder" belonging to the Sainted Bishop -- with the commentaries of Alexis Aristines, are the most widely disseminated in the Russian Church. In the year 1270 the first copy of "The Rudder" of Saint Sava was sent from Bulgaria to the metropolitan of Kiev Kirill. From this was copied one of the most ancient of the Russian "Rudders" -- the Ryazansk "Rudder" of 1284. It in its turn was the source for a printed "Rudder" -- published in the year 1653 and invariably since that time republished in the Russian Church. Such was the legacy of Sainted Sava to the canonical treasury of Orthodoxy.
The Monk Martinian of Belozersk, in the world Michael, was born in the year 1370 in the village of Berezniko, not far from the Kirillov monastery. At age thirteen he left his parents and went secretly to the Monk Kirill of Belozersk (Comm. 9 June), about whom many had spoken of to him as being a great ascetic. The youthful Martinian began zealously to imitate his teacher, with whom he dwelt in complete obedience. At the monastery he studied reading and writing, and with the blessing of the monk Kirill, he became occupied with the copying of books. In time Martinian was ordained deacon and then priest-monk. After the death of the monk Kirill (+ 1427) blessed Martinian withdrew for silence to a deserted island, situated on Lake Vozha. Several monks gradually gathered around him. The monk Martinian established for them a church of the Transfiguration (Preobrazhenie) of the Lord and introduced a general ustav-rule for the inhabitants. Yielding to the persistent requests of the brethren of Ferapontov monastery, he consented to become hegumen of the monastery and brought it into a brighter condition.
The monk Martinian rendered spiritual support to great prince Vasilii Vasil'evich in the difficulties of his time, when his first-cousin Dimitrii Shemyaka illicitly pretended to the Moscow throne. He was always an advocate of truth and justice. Afterwards, upon the entreaty of the great prince, the monk accepted upon himself the governing of the monastery of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh.
In 1455 the monk Martinian again returned to the Ferapontov monastery. The last years of his life he was grievously ill and not able to walk, and the brethren carried him to church. The monk died at age 85. His relics were uncovered in the year 1514 -- and the commemoration of the uncovering is celebrated on 7 October.
The Martyr Mertius was a soldier. He suffered in Africa for the Name of Christ during the reign of Diocletian (284-305). The emperor demanded him to offer sacrifice to idols and, receiving refusal, gave him over to torture. The saint suffered fierce torments, not uttering even one moan. He was thrown into prison, where he died from hunger and wounds.
The Martyr Peter Abessalomites (Aneiakos) was a native of the village of Aneia in Palestine. During the time of a persecution against christians he was arrested and brought to the governor of Palestine. In vain did the judge and the people urge him to honour the pagan gods to escape torture. "I then truly shalt have mercy on myself, when I neither recant the Gospel nor offer sacrifice to idols", -- answered the saint, and he was burned at the stake.
In some mesyatseslavs / saints-lives his memory is inserted twice: 12 January as the martyr Peter Abessalomites, and 13 January -- as Peter Aneiakos, since it was mistakenly assumed that these were different persons.
The Nun Eupraxia of Tabenyssa (Tabeneia the Older), was the mother of the Nun Eupraxia, maiden of Tabenyssa (Comm. 25 July). She was the spouse of the pious senator Antigones, who was connected by birth with the emperor Theodosius the great (379-395). Becoming widowed, Saint Eupraxia devoted herself completely to the service of the lord. Having made the rounds of many monastic establishments and having left liberal alms, she came to the Tabenyssa monastery, where the hegumeness was the nun Theodoula, known for her strict rule. Deeply moved by the pure way of convent life, Saint Eupraxia came often to this monastery and always brought her daughter with her, who was then eight years old. The virtues and prayers of her parents summoned a particular grace of god upon the maiden, and even from her youthful years she desired to dedicate herself to God. To her mother's great joy, hegumeness Theodoula kept the child Eupraxia at the convent and gave blessing for her to take monastic vows.
The nun Eupraxia carried on works of liberal charity, and increased her fasting and prayer. Hegumeness Theodoula, possessing the gift of perspicacity, told her about her impending end. Knowing about the nearness of her demise, the nun Eupraxia gave thanks to the Lord for His great mercy towards her. She made her farewell with the sisters of the convent and with her daughter, giving her the parting last words: "Love the Lord Jesus with intense reverence; respect the sisters; never dare to think, that they are below thee and should serve thee; be poor in thy thoughts so as to profit by spiritual treasures". After three days the saint offered up her soul to the Lord (+ 393) and was buried at the convent, where her daughter continued her arduous ascetic deeds.
The Monk Galaktion of Belozersk was a student and cell-attendant of the monk Martinian of Belozersk and lived together with his mentor at the Ferapontov monastery.
The monk Galaktion cared with a filial love for the aged Abba Martinian. When his preceptor became completely infirm of body, the monk Galaktion took him to church on his shoulders. Beholding the spiritual maturity of his student, the monk Marinian blessed the monk Galaktion in his spiritual deed of folly. By his secret ascetic deeds blessed Galaktion reached high spiritual perfection, and obtained the grace of perspicacity. He foretold, that Kazan would be conquered by tsar Ivan, who was not yet even born. He foresaw his own end and the end of several of his fellow ascetics, and he also spoke of the fires and other disasters awaiting Ferapontov monastery. Blessed Galaktion died in the year 1506 and was buried at the foot of his teacher, the monk Martinian, at Ferapontov monastery.
The "Akafistnaya / Akathist" Icon of the Mother of God is located in the Khilendaria cathedral iconostasis. It received the designation "Akathist" because, during a fire at the cathedral in 1837 an akathist was read before it, and it remained unharmed -- to the solace of the monks.
The "Mlekopitatel'nitsa" ("Milk-bearing") Icon of the mother of God was at first located at the Lavra of the Monk Sava the Sanctified near Jerusalem. The holy founder of the Lavra at his death foretold that a pilgrim Sava from Serbia would visit the Lavra, and gave orders to pass on to him as a blessing the wonderworking icon. This occurred in the XIII Century. Sainted Sava of Serbia took the icon to Khilendaria on Holy Mount Athos and put it on the right side of the iconostas in the church in front of the Kareia cells, afterwards named Typikarnitsa, since the Ustav of Sainted Sava was preserved there.
The "Popskaya" ("Priestly") Icon of the Mother of God stands in the Khilendaria cathedral by a column of the left kleros. A certain heretic priest, having declared himself orthodox, acted at Khilendaria monastery with evil purpose, but he was punished. At the time of the procession for blessing water he took this icon -- but stumbled, fell into the sea and drowned. Since that time the procession with the cross is always done with this icon, and invariably a priest carries it, from which it was called by the Serbs Popskaya / Priestly.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR TATIANA
Tatiana was a Roman whose parents were of great nobility. She was a Christian and a deaconess in the church. After the death of Emperor Heliogabalus, Emperor Alexander, whose mother Mammaea was a Christian, reigned in Rome. The emperor himself was wavering and indecisive in the Faith for he kept statues of Christ, Apollo, Abraham and Orpheus in his palace. His chief assistants persecuted the Christians without the emperor's orders. When they brought out the virgin Tatiana for torture, she prayed to God for her torturers. And behold, their eyes were opened and they saw four angels around the martyr. Seeing this, eight of them believed in Christ for which they also were tortured and slain. The tormentors continued to torture St. Tatiana. They whipped her, cut off parts of her body; they scraped her with irons. So all disfigured and bloody, Tatiana was thrown into the dungeon that evening so that the next day, they could, again, begin anew with different tortures. But God sent His angels to the dungeon to encourage her and to heal her wounds so that, each morning, Tatiana appeared before the torturers completely healed. They threw her before a lion, but the lion endeared himself to her and did her no harm. They cut off her hair, thinking, according to their pagan reasoning, that some sorcery or some magical power was concealed in her hair. Finally, Tatiana along with her father were both beheaded. Thus, Tatiana ended her earthly life about the year 225 A.D., and this heroic virgin, who had the fragile body of a woman but a robust and valiant spirit, was crowned with the immortal wreath of glory.
2. THE HOLY MARTYR PETER APSELAMUS
Peter was born in Eleutheropolis in Palestine. In his youth, Peter suffered for the Faith of Christ in 311 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Maximian. After much torture, he was condemned to death. Upon hearing his death sentence, he rejoicefully cried out: "That is my one wish; to die for my God!" Peter was crucified in the same manner as our Lord Himself and expired on the cross.
3. THE FEAST OF THE ICON OF OUR LADY NURSING THE CHRIST CHILD [MLEKOPITATELNICA]
This is the name of the icon of the All-Holy Mother of God which the Serbian Saint Sava [Sabas] brought from the Monastery of St. Sabas the Sanctified, near Jerusalem. And so, the prophecy spoken of by St. Sabas the Sanctified, some eight-hundred years earlier, that a certain Serbian priest by the name of Sava [Sabas] will come and that this icon and his crozier (staff) be given to him, was fulfilled. When St. Sava the Serbian visited the Monastery of St. Sabas the Sanctified, the monks recalled the prophecy of the founder of their monastery and gave to Sava the Serbian this icon and crozier. This icon [Mlekopitatelnica] was placed on the right side of the Royal Doors on the iconastasis, in Sava's hermitage [Isposnica-House of Silence] in Karayes [Mt. Athos] and the crosier placed in an adjacent cell known as the "Paterica".
4. THE VENERABLE MOTHER THEODORA
Theodora was a glorious nun and teacher of the nuns from Alexandria. "Just as trees require winter and snow in order to bear fruit, so trials and temptations are needed for our life," spoke this holy woman. She died peacefully at the beginning of the fifth century.
HYMN OF PRAISE
You grieve over the youth of your body, Oh, be reasonable!
Youth which passes, is it worthwhile to grieve over; you judge!
There is only one youth, youth in eternity,
That is the true youth, youth without aging,
This is worthwhile to ask for, and for it, to shed tears,
Even if you have to pay for it with the death of the body.
Tatiana purchased the costly with the less costly.
For dust and water, the Divine wine;
For the body that ages, eternal youth
And for a few tears, Cherubic joy.
Betrothed to Christ, the Immortal King,
She remained faithful to her Betrothed;
By the power of a pure spirit, crushed temptations
And bravely endured frightening tortures.
Around her were heard angelic footsteps;
As a wrinkled cloth, her body she shed,
And a soul free of earthly ties
Was raised to the wedding feast in the Kingdom without tears.
There is no greater honor or greater calling on earth than to be a Christian. When the judge-torturer Sevirus asked the young Peter Apselamus, "Of what lineage are you?" Peter replied, "I am a Christian." The judge further inquired of him, "In what rank are you?" To that Peter responded, " There is no greater nor better rank than to be a Christian." Father John Kronstadt writes: " The whole world is but a cobweb in comparison to the Christian human soul." The Christian is an earthen vessel into which is poured divine power and light. Will this vessel be placed on the golden royal throne or will it be lowered in the dark hut of the beggar; by this, his value will neither be magnified nor diminished. Does not gold have the same value whether it is wrapped in a silk handkerchief or in a cabbage leaf?
To contemplate the meekness of the Lord Jesus:
1. His meekness about His hidden life in Nazareth until the age of thirty;
2. His meekness in dealing with the sick and with the sinners;
3. His meekness in dealing with Judas the traitor and with the unjust judges.
About how man is most dear to God and God to man
"For I want not what is yours, but you" (I Corinthians 12:14).
With these words, which could have only been spoken by the fiery apostolic love toward one's neighbor, is expressed the essence of the relationship of the Christian toward God and God toward the Christian. The love of God could very well say: "You, O Christian, fast for My sake; for My sake you distribute alms; for My sake you lift up heartfelt prayers; for My sake you build churches; for My sake you offer sacrifices and you perform many other good deeds. All of this is good, and all of this is pleasing to Me, but you are more precious to Me than all of this. In the end, I seek nothing of all of this rather, I seek you, only you."
The love of a Christian could very well say:
"O Lord, You gave me health and that is good. You turn on the light; You permit the rain to fall; You refresh the air by Your thunder and that is good. You bestow wealth, wisdom, many years, offspring and many other good things which You bountifully place on the table of this life. All of this is good and overly-good. I receive all of this with gratitude. But, in the ultimate end, that is only the hem of Your garment. Ultimately, I do not seek anything of that but You, O Lord, You alone I seek."
O my brethren, that is not God which is seen with the physical eyes, neither is that man which is seen with the physical eyes. That which is seen in the whole of nature is only something of God; and that which is seen in the physical garment is only something of man. Brethren, God is Love which heaven lowers to earth; Brethren, man is love which raises earth to heaven.
O Lord, Lover of mankind, Creator and Almighty, take up Your abode more and even more in us with Your Life-giving Spirit that we may live; that we may be alive in Your kingdom without death.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.