FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Sunday of the Canaanite
Theodore the Tyro, Great Martyr
Mariamne, sister of Apostle Philip
Righteous Auxentius, Pious Kings Marclanus and Pulcherias
Theodore the New Martyr of Byzantium
Hermogenes (Germogen), Patriarch of Moscow
ΙΖ΄ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΥ (τῆς Χαναναίας). Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Θεοδώρου τοῦ Τήρωνος.
Μαριάμνης Ἰσαποστόλου (α΄ αἰ.). Αὐξεντίου Ὁσίου. Μαρκιανοῦ καί Πουλχερίας τῶν εὐσεβῶν βασιλέων.
Θεοδώρου Νεομάρτυρος τοῦ Βυζαντίου (# 1795).
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
Fourth Orthros Gospel
The Gospel of Luke 24:1-12
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered in to the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home wondering at what had happened.
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 24.1-12
Καὶ τὸ μὲν σάββατον ἡσύχασαν κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν, Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ὄρθρου βαθέος ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα φέρουσαι ἃ ἡτοίμασαν ἀρώματα, καί τινες σὺν αὐταῖς. εὗρον δὲ τὸν λίθον ἀποκεκυλισμένον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι οὐχ εὗρον τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ διαπορεῖσθαι αὐτὰς περὶ τούτου καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνδρες δύο ἐπέστησαν αὐταῖς ἐν ἐσθήσεσιν ἀστραπτούσαις. ἐμφόβων δὲ γενομένων αὐτῶν καὶ κλινουσῶν τὸ πρόσωπον εἰς τὴν γῆν εἶπον πρὸς αὐτάς· τί ζητεῖτε τὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τῶν νεκρῶν; οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε, ἀλλ᾿ ἠγέρθη· μνήσθητε ὡς ἐλάλησεν ὑμῖν ἔτι ὢν ἐν τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ, λέγων ὅτι δεῖ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθῆναι εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ σταυρωθῆναι, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἀναστῆναι. καὶ ἐμνήσθησαν τῶν ῥημάτων αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὑποστρέψασαι ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου ἀπήγγειλαν ταῦτα πάντα τοῖς ἕνδεκα καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς λοιποῖς. ἦσαν δὲ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ Μαρία καὶ ᾿Ιωάννα καὶ Μαρία ᾿Ιακώβου καὶ οἱ λοιπαὶ σὺν αὐταῖς, αἳ ἔλεγον πρὸς τοὺς ἀποστόλους ταῦτα. καὶ ἐφάνησαν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν ὡσεὶ λῆρος τὰ ῥήματα αὐτῶν, καὶ ἠπίστουν αὐταῖς. ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἀναστὰς ἔδραμεν ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ παρακύψας βλέπει τὰ ὀθόνια κείμενα μόνα, καὶ ἀπῆλθε πρὸς ἑαυτόν, θαυμάζων τὸ γεγονός.
St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 6:16-18; 7:1
Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 4.
Make your vows to the Lord our God and perform them.
Verse: God is known in Judah; his name is great in Israel.
BRETHREN, you are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 6:16-18; 7:1
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος πλ δ.
Εὔξασθε καὶ ἀπόδοτε Κυρίῳ τῷ Θεῷ ἡμῶν.
Στίχ. Γνωστὸς ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ὁ Θεός, ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ μέγα τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
Ἀδελφοί, ὑμεῖς ἐστε ναὸς Θεοῦ ζῶντος, καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ θεός ὅτι Ἐνοικήσω ἐν αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐμπεριπατήσω· καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτῶν θεός, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔσονταί μοι λαός. Διὸ, Ἐξέλθετε ἐκ μέσου αὐτῶν καὶ ἀφορίσθητε, λέγει κύριος, καὶ ἀκαθάρτου μὴ ἅπτεσθε· κἀγὼ εἰσδέξομαι ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσομαι ὑμῖν εἰς πατέρα, καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔσεσθέ μοι εἰς υἱοὺς καὶ θυγατέρας, λέγει κύριος παντοκράτωρ. Ταύτας οὖν ἔχοντες τὰς ἐπαγγελίας, ἀγαπητοί, καθαρίσωμεν ἑαυτοὺς ἀπὸ παντὸς μολυσμοῦ σαρκὸς καὶ πνεύματος, ἐπιτελοῦντες ἁγιωσύνην ἐν φόβῳ θεοῦ.
The Gospel of Matthew 15:21-28
At that time, Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 15.21-28
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος.καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ Χαναναία ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων ἐκείνων ἐξελθοῦσα ἐκραύγαζεν αὐτῷ λέγουσα· ἐλέησόν με, Κύριε, υἱὲ Δαυΐδ· ἡ θυγάτηρ μου κακῶς δαιμονίζεται.ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῇ λόγον. καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἠρώτων αὐτὸν λέγοντες· ἀπόλυσον αὐτήν, ὅτι κράζει ὄπισθεν ἡμῶν.ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· οὐκ ἀπεστάλην εἰ μὴ εἰς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου ᾿Ισραήλ.ἡ δὲ ἐλθοῦσα προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ λέγουσα· Κύριε, βοήθει μοι.ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· οὐκ ἔστι καλὸν λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων καὶ βαλεῖν τοῖς κυναρίοις.ἡ δὲ εἶπε· ναί, Κύριε· καὶ γὰρ τὰ κυνάρια ἐσθίει ἀπὸ τῶν ψυχίων τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τῶν κυρίων αὐτῶν.τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῇ· ὦ γύναι, μεγάλη σου ἡ πίστις! γενηθήτω σοι ὡς θέλεις. καὶ ἰάθη ἡ θυγάτηρ αὐτῆς ἀπὸ τῆς ὥρας ἐκείνης.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τήρων, ὁ δηλῶν ἀρτίλεκτον ὁπλίτην,
Θεῷ πρόσεισιν, ἀρτίκαυστος ὁπλίτης.
Ἑβδομάτῃ δεκάτῃ πυρὶ Τήρωνα πυρὶ φλεγέθουσιν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μαριάμνης, ἀδελφῆς τοῦ Ἁγίου Φιλίππου τοῦ Ἀποστόλου.
Ἀφεῖσα τὴν γῆν Μαριάμνη παρθένος,
Τὸν ἐκ Μαρίας Παρθένου Χριστὸν βλέπει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Αὐξιβίου.
Τὸν Αὐξίβιον οὐ παρόψεται λόγος,
Φανέντα ληξίβιον ἐξ ἐναντίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Θεοστηρίκτου, καὶ Μνήμη τῆς εὑρέσεως τῶν λειψάνων τοῦ Ἁγίου Μηνᾶ τοῦ Καλλικελάδου.
Τὴν γῆν ὀρύξας ὡς δικέλλῃ τῷ λόγῳ
Μηνᾶν ἐκεῖθεν ἐκφέρω κεκρυμμένον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν ἐν εὐσεβεῖ τῇ Μνήμῃ γενομένων Βασιλέων Μαρκιανοῦ καὶ Πουλχερίας.
Τελεῖται δὲ ἡ αὐτῶν Σύναξις ἐν τῇ μεγάλῃ Ἐκκλησίᾳ.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεὸς ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Τὸ φαιδρὸν τῆς Ἀναστάσεως κήρυγμα, ἐκ τοῦ Ἀγγέλου μαθοῦσαι αἱ τοῦ Κυρίου Μαθήτριαι, καὶ τὴν προγονικὴν ἀπόφασιν ἀπορρίψασαι, τοῖς Ἀποστόλοις καυχώμεναι ἔλεγον· Ἐσκύλευται ὁ θάνατος, ἠγέρθη Χριστὸς ὁ Θεός, δωρούμενος τῷ κόσμῳ τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.
When the women Disciples of the Lord had learned from the Angel the joyful message of the Resurrection and had rejected the ancestral decision, they cried aloud to the Apostles triumphantly: Death has been despoiled, Christ God has risen, granting His great mercy to the world.
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.
Saint Theodore who was from Amasia of Pontus, contested during the reign of Maximian (286-305). He was called Tyro, from the Latin Tiro, because he was a newly enlisted recruit. When it was reported that he was a Christian, he boldly confessed Christ; the ruler, hoping that he would repent, gave him time to consider the matter more completely and then give answer. Theodore gave answer by setting fire to the temple of Cybele, the "mother of the gods," and for this he suffered a martyr's death by fire. See also the First Saturday of the Fast.
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Μεγάλα τά τής πίστεως κατορθώματα! εν τή πηγή τής φλογός, ως επί ύδατος αναπαύσεως, ο άγιος Μάρτυς Θεόδωρος ηγάλλετο, πυρί γάρ ολοκαυτωθείς, ως άρτος ηδύς, τή Τριάδι προσήνεκται. Ταίς αυτού ικεσίαις, Χριστέ ο Θεός, ελέησον ημάς.
Great are the achievements of faith! In the fountain of flame, as by the water of rest, the holy Martyr Theodore rejoiced; for having been made a whole-burnt offering in the fire, he was offered as sweet bread unto the Trinity. By his prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Πίστιν Χριστού ωσεί θώρακα, ένδον λαβών εν καρδία σου, τάς εναντίας δυνάμεις κατεπάτησας, Πολύαθλε, καί στέφει ουρανίω εστέφθης, αιωνίως ώς αήττητος.
Having received the Faith of Christ in thy heart as a breastplate, thou didst trample upon the enemy hosts, O much-suffering champion; and thou hast been crowned eternally with a heavenly crown, since thou art invincible.
Our Father among the Saints Hermogenes (Germogen), Patriarch of Moscow, was born about 1530 in Kazan. While yet a layman, he lived as a clerk in the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Kazan. In 1569, the year that Metropolitan Philip of Moscow was slain in Tver (see Jan. 9), Saint Barsanuphius, Bishop of Tver, fled to Kazan fearing the wrath of Ivan the Terrible. So Hermogenes became a spiritual son of Saint Barsanuphius. He was made priest of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Kazan, and was a witness of the miracles of the newly-appeared icon of our Lady of Kazan (see July 8). Later he became Abbot of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, and in 1589 was consecrated Metropolitan of Kazan, in which capacity he converted and baptized many pagan Tartars and heterodox.
In late 1604, the so-called false Dimitry, a pretender to the Russian throne who claimed to be the son of Ivan the Terrible (who had died in 1584), crossed the Russian border, having the support of the Jesuits and King Sigismund III of Poland, who hoped through Dimitry to force Papism upon the Russian people; a few cities, such as Chernigov, soon surrendered to him. Shaken by these calamities, Tsar Boris Gudonov died suddenly, and in June, 1605, the pretender entered Moscow and took the Russian throne. He then declared his intention to marry a Polish woman without her receiving Baptism in the Orthodox Church; when the authorities and the hierarchy remained silent out of fear, it was Metropolitan Hermogenes alone who fearlessly rebuked him and demanded that she renounce Papism and be baptized according to the rites of Orthodoxy. For this, Hermogenes was banished to Kazan. In 1606 Prince Basil Shuisky led the people in the overthrow of Dimitry, and Basil was elected Tsar in Moscow; Hermogenes was made Patriarch of Moscow. The overthrow of Dimitry did not end the endeavours of the Poles to subject Russia to themselves, and in those times of upheavals, treachery, and bloodshed, the valiant Patriarch Hermogenes showed himself to be a great spiritual leader of the people, and, like Saint Philip of Moscow almost half a century before, the conscience of Orthodox Russia in times of betrayal and terror.
In 1609 King Sigismund succeeded in setting his son upon the Russian throne, and Patriarch Hermogenes again insisted that the new Tsar be baptized in the Orthodox Church, marry an Orthodox Christian, and have no dealings with the Pope. The Poles, together with rebel boyars who supported them, imprisoned Patriarch Hermogenes in an underground chamber of the Chudov Monastery during Holy Week of 1611, where they slowly starved him to death; he gave up his holy soul on February 17, 1612.
In 1653, his holy relics were found incorrupt; in 1812, when Napoleon captured Moscow, the Saint's tomb was desecrated in the search for treasure; when the French withdrew, the Patriarch's holy body was found intact on the floor of the cathedral; in 1883 his holy relics were again found whole. Saint Hermogenes was glorified on May 12, 1913, and added to the choir of holy hierarchs of Moscow, whose feast is celebrated on October 5; at the time of his glorification a multitude of miracles were wrought through his incorrupt relics.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O first Hierarch of the Russian land and unsleeping man of prayer for her, having laid down thy life for the Faith of Christ and for thy flock, thou didst make firm the dominion of its sovereigns and didst deliver thy country from godlessness. Wherefore, we cry out to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Hieromartyr Hermogenes our Father.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
Though spent by imprisonment and hunger, thou didst abide in the Faith even unto death, O blessed Hermogenes, thereby casting cowardice out of the hearts of thy people and calling all to the common struggle. Hence, thou didst put down the turmoil of the godless and didst make firm the scepter of the kingdom. Wherefore, all cry to thee: Rejoice, O intercessor for the Russian land.
Ανάμεσα στους άλλους Αγίους, στην μνήμη των οποίων είναι αφιερωμένη η σημερινή ημέρα, είναι ο όσιος Αυξίβιος, μαθητής του αποστόλου και ευαγγελιστού Μάρκου και Επίσκοπος Σολίων της Κύπρου. Στόν άγιο Αυξίβιο βρίσκει εφαρμογή ο λόγος του Ιησού Χριστού "ος δ'αν ποιήση και διδάξη ούτος μέγας κληθήσεται εν τη βασιλεία των ουρανών". Έχουν και τα έργα την φωνή τους και συμβαίνει τα έργα την φωνή τους και συμβαίνει τα έργα να είν' ευγλωττότερα από τα λόγια το καλύτερο κήρυγμα το καταστρέφει δυστυχώς ο βίος μας, όταν ο κόσμος ξέρη πως άλλα λέμε κι άλλα πράττομε. Ο άγιος Αυξίβιος πήρε μια συμβουλή από τον δάσκαλό του τον ευαγγελιστή Μάρκο να φροντίση πρώτα με τα έργα του και με τη συμπεριφορά του να κερδίση το ποίμνιό του κι ύστερα ν' αρχίση να διδάσκη με το λόγο. Ο Άγιος το έπραξε κι ήταν η επιτυχία μεγάλη κέρδισε την εμπιστοσύνη και την εκτίμηση του ποιμνίου του.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόδωρος ὁ Τήρων
Τήρων σημαίνει νεοσύλλεκτος. σ᾿ αὐτὸ τὸ στράτευμα κατετάγη καὶ ὁ Θεόδωρος. Ἦταν ἀπὸ ἕνα χωριὸ τῆς Ἀμάσειας στὴ Μαύρη Θάλασσα, Χουμιαλῶν λεγόμενο. Κατὰ τοὺς διωγμοὺς τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ ἀναγκάζεται νὰ φύγει ἀπὸ τὸ στράτευμα, διότι ἦταν χριστιανός. Πηγαίνει στὴν πόλη Εὐχάϊτα. Ἐκεῖ στὸ πυκνὸ δάσος, ποὺ ἦταν κοντὰ στὴν πόλη, εἶχε τὴν φωλιά του πελώριος καὶ φοβερὸς δράκος, ποὺ ἔκανε ἀπλησίαστο τὸ δάσος καὶ ἦταν πραγματικὴ μάστιγα γιὰ τὴν περιοχή. Τότε ὁ Θεόδωρος, μὲ τὴν τόλμη καὶ τὴν σωματικὴ δύναμη ποὺ τὸν διέκρινε, καθὼς καὶ μὲ τὴν ἐλπίδα στὸ Χριστὸ ὅτι θὰ τὸν βοηθήσει, εἰσχωρεῖ στὴν καρδιὰ τοῦ δάσους. Συναντάει τὸ δράκοντα, τὸν σκοτώνει καὶ ἀπαλλάσσει τὴν πόλη ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ τὸ φόβητρο. Μετὰ τὸ γεγονὸς αὐτό, ὁ Θεόδωρος μαθαίνει ὅτι συστρατιῶτες του χριστιανοὶ ἄρχισαν νὰ χάνουν τὸ θάῤῥος τους καί, προκειμένου νὰ πεθάνουν, πολλοὶ θυσίαζαν στὰ εἴδωλα. Ἀποφασίζει, λοιπόν, καὶ ἐπιστρέφει στὸ τάγμα του. Ἀγανακτεῖ ὅταν βλέπει τὰ βασανιστήρια τῶν χριστιανῶν καὶ μία νύκτα καίει ἕνα ξύλινο εἴδωλο τῆς θεᾶς Ῥέας. Ἔπειτα, φανερὰ πλέον, ἐνθαῤῥύνει τοὺς συστρατιῶτες του μὲ τὰ λόγια του Ἀπόστολος Παύλου: «Στήκετε ἐν τῇ πίστει, ἀνδρίζεσθε, κραταιοῦσθε». Δηλαδή, μένετε στερεοὶ καὶ ὄρθιοι στὴν πίστη. Ἀγωνιστεῖτε σὰν ἄνδρες γενναῖοι. Πᾶρτε δύναμη καὶ θάῤῥος, ποὺ προσφέρει ὁ μεγαλοδύναμος Θεός μας. Βέβαια, παράδειγμα ἔγινε ὁ ἴδιος ὁ Θεόδωρος, ὅταν μὲ καρτερία καὶ ψυχικὴ εὐφροσύνη ἀντιμετώπισε τὸ μαρτυρικό του θάνατο, μέσα σὲ πυρακτωμένο καμίνι.
Ἡ Ἁγία Μαριάμνη, ἀδελφὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Φιλίππου τοῦ Ἀποστόλου
Χριστιανὴ καὶ αὐτή, εἶχε τὸν ἴδιο θεῖο ζῆλο μὲ τὸν ἀδελφό της. Φλεγόμενη ἀπὸ τὸν πόθο τῆς εὐρύτερης διάδοσης τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου καὶ τῆς σωτηρίας περισσότερων ψυχῶν, ἀκολούθησε ἐκεῖνον σὲ πολλὲς περιοδεῖες του βοηθῶντας τον στὸ φωτιστικὸ ἔργο του καὶ συμμεριζόμενη τοὺς κινδύνους του. Μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ της, ἀπτόητη ἡ Μαριάμνη ἐξακολούθησε τὴν ἀποστολική της ὑπηρεσία. Πρὸ πάντων ἔδρασε στὴν Λυκαονία, ὅπου τὰ κηρύγματά της καὶ οἱ ἰδιαίτερες προσπάθειές της, ἔφεραν πολλὲς ψυχὲς στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Τὸ τέλος τῆς ὑπῆρξε ἥσυχο, ἡσυχότερη δὲ ἡ εὐσεβὴς συνείδησή της.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Θεοστήρικτος
Μᾶλλον εἶναι ὁ ἴδιος με αὐτὸν ποὺ γιορτάζουμε στὶς 10 Νεομβρίου. Ἀπὸ ἕνα Ἐξαποστειλάριο, ποὺ περισώθηκε στὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα 259 φ. 976, μαθαίνουμε ὅτι ἔζησε τὴν ἐποχὴ τῶν εἰκονομάχων καὶ ἀγωνίστηκε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁγίων εἰκόνων. Στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικοδήμου, σημειώνεται ὅτι πέθανε εἰρηνικά.
Ἡ Εὕρεσις τῶν Λειψάνων τοῦ Ἁγίου Μηνᾶ τοῦ Καλλικελάδου
Ὁ ἅγιος μάρτυρας Μηνᾷς ὁ Καλλικέλαδος μαρτύρησε στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Μαξιμίνου (307-311). Στὰ χρόνια δὲ τοῦ φιλοχρίστου βασιλιᾶ Βασιλείου, φάνηκε τὴν νύκτα σὲ κάποιον ἄνθρωπο ὀνομαζόμενο Φιλομμάτη, ποὺ ἦταν στὴ στρατιωτικὴ σχολὴ τῶν Ἰκανάτων (Τὰ Ἰκανάτα ἦταν ἐκλεκτὸ σῶμα τῆς ἀνακτορικῆς φρουρᾶς τοῦ Βυζαντίου, διοικούμενο ἀπὸ ἄνδρες τῆς ἀπόλυτης ἐμπιστοσύνης τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα). Καὶ λέει σ᾿ αὐτόν, ὅτι εἶναι ὁ Μηνᾶς ὁ Καλλικέλαδος καὶ κρύβεται κάτω στὴ γῆ στὸ μέρος τοῦ γιαλοῦ, ὅπου εἶναι ἡ ἀκρόπολη. Ἔδειχνε μάλιστα μὲ τὸ δάκτυλό του καὶ τὸν τόπο. Ὁ Φιλομμάτης τότε σηκώθηκε πολὺ πρωὶ καὶ εἶπε τὴν ὀπτασία του μὲ λεπτομέρεια στὸν φίλο του Μαρκιανὸ τὸν νουμέριο. Ἐκεῖνος μὲ τὴν σειρά του τὸ εἶπε στὸν βασιλιὰ καὶ ἀμέσως ἐστάλησαν στρατιῶτες στὸν τόπο αὐτό, ὅπου ἔσκαψαν καὶ βρῆκαν σιδερένια θήκη, ποὺ μέσα ἦταν τὸ λείψανο τοῦ Μάρτυρα, καὶ πάνω σ᾿ αὐτὴν ἦταν χαραγμένα γράμματα, ποὺ φανέρωναν τὴν χρονολογία ποὺ τοποθετήθηκε τὸ λείψανο. Τετρακόσια χρόνια, ὑπολόγισαν, ὅτι εἶχαν περάσει ἀπὸ τότε. Ὁπότε ὅλο τὸ πλῆθος εὐχαρίστησε καὶ δόξασε τὸν Θεό.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μαρκιανὸς καὶ Πουλχερία οἱ Βασιλεῖς
Ἡ Πουλχερία γεννήθηκε 19 Ἰανουαρίου καὶ ἦταν θυγατέρα τοῦ Βασιλιᾶ Ἀρκαδίου καὶ ἐγγονὴ τοῦ Θεοδοσίου τοῦ Μεγάλου. Ὁ Μαρκιανὸς παντρεύτηκε τὴν Πουλχερία, καὶ διαδέχθηκε στὸ θρόνο τὸν ἀδελφό της Θεοδόσιο τὸν Β´, τὴν 25η Αὐγούστου τοῦ 450. Ἦταν ἄνδρας εὐσεβέστατος - καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Θρᾴκη - καὶ ἔγινε μαζὶ μὲ τὴν γυναῖκα του Πουλχερία, θερμὸς προστάτης τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Συνεκάλεσε μάλιστα, τὴν Δ´ Οἰκουμενικὴ Σύνοδο στὴ Χαλκηδόνα, στὴν ὁποία καὶ προήδρευσε μαζὶ μὲ τὴν Πουλχερία. Ἔτσι συνετέλεσε στὴν εἰρήνευση τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, καταδικάζοντας τοὺς αἱρετικοὺς Εὐτυχὴ καὶ Διόσκορο, τῶν ὁποίων τὶς πλάνες ἀναφέραμε στὴ βιογραφία του Ἁγίου Φλαβιανοῦ (16 Φεβρουαρίου). Ἡ Πουλχερία πέθανε σὲ ἡλικία 54 ἐτῶν τὴν 10η Σεπτεμβρίου τοῦ 453, ὁ δὲ Μαρκιανὸς τὸ 457. Ἔφυγαν δὲ καὶ οἱ δυό, μὲ τὴν συνείδηση ἀναπαυμένη, ὅτι ξεπλήρωσαν μὲ τὸν ἱερώτερο τρόπο τὰ βασιλικά τους καθήκοντα, τόσο πρὸς τὸ κράτος, ὅσο καὶ πρὸς τὴν Ὀρθόδοξη τοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἐκκλησία. Ὁ θάνατός τους προκάλεσε μεγάλο πένθος, καὶ εἰλικρινῆ δάκρυα ἔτρεξαν στὶς κηδεῖες τους.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Αὐξίβιος (ἢ κατ᾿ ἄλλους Εὐξίφιος) ἐπίσκοπος Σόλων τῆς Κύπρου
Ἔζησε στὰ ἀποστολικὰ χρόνια. Γιὸς πλούσιας εἰδωλολατρικῆς οἰκογένειας τῆς Ῥώμης, εἶχε γνωρισθεῖ μὲ χριστιανοὺς τῆς Ῥώμης, ποὺ τὸν κατηχοῦσαν τὸν λόγο τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ὅταν οἱ γονεῖς του θέλησαν νὰ τὸν παντρέψουν μὲ εἰδωλολάτρισσα, ἀναχώρησε κρυφὰ ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη καὶ πῆγε στὴν Κύπρο. Ἐκεῖ βρισκόταν τότε ὁ Ἀπόστολος Βαρνάβας καὶ ὁ νεαρὸς τότε Μᾶρκος, ὁ μετέπειτα Εὐαγγελιστής, ποὺ κήρυττε τὸν λόγο τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὁ Αὐξίβιος παρακολούθησε τὰ κηρύγματά του καὶ βαπτίστηκε. Ἔγινε μάλιστα Ἱερέας τοῦ Σόλους τῆς Κύπρου (πόλη ἀρχαία της Κύπρου, ὁμώνυμη ὑπῆρχε στὴν Κιλικία), ὅπου ἐργάστηκε μὲ πολὺ ἀποστολικὸ ζῆλο. Σὲ κάποια μάλιστα δημόσια διδασκαλία του, συναντήθηκε μὲ τὸν ἀδελφό του Θεμισταγόρα καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα του, ποὺ εἶχαν γνωρίσει στὴν Ῥώμη τὸν χριστιανισμὸ καὶ ἦλθαν νὰ τὸν συναντήσουν. Ἡ χαρὰ ἦταν μεγάλη. Ἀφοῦ τοὺς κατήχησε μὲ μεγάλη ἀκρίβεια, τοὺς ἔκανε ἀχώριστους συνεργάτες του στὴν εὐαγγελική του ἀποστολή. Καρπὸς τῆς συνεργασίας αὐτῆς ἦταν ἡ θαυμάσια διάδοση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου σ᾿ ὅλη τὴν πόλη καὶ τὰ περίχωρα τῶν Σόλων.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόδωρος ὁ Νέος ἡ Βυζάντιος
Γεννήθηκε στὸ Νεοχώρι τοῦ Βυζαντίου τὸ 1774 ἐπὶ Βασιλείας τοῦ σουλτάνου Μαχμούτ, ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς χριστιανοὺς τὸν Χατζῆ Ἀναστάσιο καὶ τὴν Σμαραγδή. Ἀπὸ παιδὶ ἀφοσιώθηκε στὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα καὶ ἔμαθε τὴν τέχνη τῆς ζωγραφικῆς. Ὑπηρετοῦσε κοντὰ σ᾿ ἕναν ζωγράφο στὸ παλάτι τοῦ σουλτάνου καὶ ὅπως ἦταν νεαρὸς μέσα στὶς ἡδονές, παρασύρθηκε καὶ ἀλλαξοπίστησε μὲ ἀντάλλαγμα τιμὲς καὶ ἀξιώματα. Μετὰ τρία χρόνια, ἔπεσε πανώλη στὸ παλάτι τοῦ σουλτάνου καὶ ὁ Θεόδωρος συναισθάνθηκε τὸ ἁμάρτημά του. Καταφρόνησε τότε τιμὲς καὶ ἀξιώματα καὶ μεταμφιεσμένος δραπέτευσε στὴ Χίο. Ἐκεῖ χειραγωγήθηκε ἀπὸ κάποιον πνευματικὸ καὶ πῆρε τὴν μεγάλη ἀπόφαση τοῦ μαρτυρίου. Ἀφοῦ προετοιμάσθηκε καλά, κοινώνησε τῶν ἀχράντων μυστηρίων καὶ μαζὶ μὲ ἕναν πνευματικό του ἀδελφὸ πῆγε στὴ Μυτιλήνη. Ἐκεῖ παρουσιάστηκε στὸν κριτὴ καὶ ὁμολόγησε μὲ θάῤῥος καὶ χαρὰ τὴν πίστη στὸν Χριστό, ἀφοῦ πέταξε κάτω τὸ τούρκικο σαρίκι ποὺ ἐπίτηδες εἶχε φορέσει. Ξαφνιασμένος ὁ κριτής, διέταξε τὴν ἄμεση φυλάκισή του καὶ νὰ τὸν μαστιγώσουν ἀνελέητα. Δεκαπέντε Τοῦρκοι τὸν μαστίγωναν συγχρόνως. Ἀλλὰ ὁ Θεόδωρος ἐπέμενε νὰ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν Χριστό. Τότε μία σειρὰ φρικιαστικῶν βασανιστηρίων ἀκολούθησαν, ποὺ καὶ μόνη ἡ ἀναφορά τους ἀηδιάζει τὸν ἀναγνώστη. Στὸ τέλος τὸν κρέμασαν τὴν 17η Φεβρουαρίου 1795 στὴ Μυτιλήνη. Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρες, οἱ Χριστιανοὶ πῆραν ἄδεια καὶ κήδευσαν τὸ μαρτυρικό του λείψανο μὲ τιμὲς στὸν ναὸ τῆς Παναγίας Χρυσομαλλούσης. Ἡ δὲ Μυτιλήνη τὸν ἔκανε πολιοῦχο της.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μιχαὴλ ὁ Μαυροειδῆς ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀδριανούπολη
Δὲν ἔχει καμιὰ σχέση μὲ τὸν νεομάρτυρα Μιχαὴλ τὸν Μαυρουδὴ ἀπὸ τὴν Γρανίτσα Ἀγράφων (10 Μαρτίου). Ὁ νεομάρτυρας αὐτὸς ἦταν ἀπὸ τοὺς ἐπιφανεῖς καὶ πλούσιους τῆς Ἀδριανουπόλεως της Θρᾴκης καὶ συκοφαντήθηκε στὸν δικαστὴ τῆς πόλης ἀπὸ φανατικοὺς Τούρκους, ὅτι περιφρόνησε τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Θεοῦ τους. Ὁ δικαστής, ποὺ γνώριζε καλὰ τὴν ἐντιμότητα τοῦ Μιχαήλ, τὸν ἀπάλλαξε ἀπὸ κάθε κατηγορία. Ἀλλ᾿ οἱ συκοφαντοῦντες ἀπείλησαν τὸν δικαστή, ὅτι θὰ τὸν καταγγείλουν στὸν Σουλτάνο, ἐπειδὴ δὲν ὑπερασπίζεται τὴν πίστη τους. Ὁ δικαστὴς φοβήθηκε καὶ φυλάκισε τὸν Μιχαήλ, ἀφοῦ ἐνημέρωσε τὸν Σουλτάνο καὶ περίμενε ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν ἀπόφαση. Ἡ διαταγὴ ἦλθε καὶ ἔλεγε: ἢ νὰ ἀλλαξοπιστήσει ἢ νὰ καεῖ ζωντανός. Ὁ δικαστὴς προσπάθησε τότε μὲ κολακεῖες καὶ ἀπειλὲς νὰ ἀλλάξει τὸ φρόνημα τοῦ Μιχαήλ. Ἀλλὰ μάταια. Ὁ Μιχαὴλ παρέμενε σταθερὸς στὴ χριστιανική του πίστη. Τότε σύμφωνα μὲ τὴν διαταγή, τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν καὶ τὸ τίμιο σῶμα του τὸ ἔκαψαν στὶς 17 Φεβρουαρίου, τέλη τοῦ 15ου αἰῶνα.
Great-martyr Theodore the Tyro (~306)
The Greek Tyron means "conscript." This holy Martyr of Christ came from Pontus and was a Roman legionary during Maximian's persecution (~303). Though he had been a Christian since childhood, he kept his faith secret while in the army. While his cohort was stationed near a town called Euchaita, he learned that the people there were being terrorized by a dragon which lived in the neighboring forest. He set off to face the dragon, praying to God that the outcome of the contest would be a sign to him of whether the time had come to offer himself for martyrdom. He found the fire-spitting monster and, arming himself with the sign of the Cross, drove his spear through its head and killed it.
His success convinced him that, having vanquished this fleshly dragon, he was ready to vanquish the spiritual dragon, the Devil. When the commander of his camp next ordered a sacrifice to the Gods, Theodore boldly refused, saying "I am a Christian!" Further, he encouraged the other Christians in his company to do the same. That night he went to a nearby pagan temple of Rhea, mother of the gods, and burned it down. He was seen by the caretaker of the temple and was brought unresisting to the governor Publius. Theodore was thrown into a solitary dungeon cell; there he refused bread and water, saying that Christ had promised him food from heaven. He spent his time there chanting hymns with the angels, so that the guards were convinced that other Christians had somehow joined him in his cell.
When all argument, cajolery, bribery and threat had failed to turn the soldier from Christ, the governor resorted to torture, subjecting the Saint to terrible mutilations; but when Theodore endured them calmly and resolutely, the governor began to fear that his example would encourage other Christians, and ordered that he be burned. Taken to the stake, the Martyr walked freely into the flames, where he gave back his soul to God. When his body was ransomed and taken from the ashes by a pious Christian, it was found to be untouched. A church was built in Euchaita in honor of the Martyr; many pilgrims came there for the healing of soul and body.
In 361, the Emperor Julian the Apostate ordered the Prefect of Constantinople to have all foods in the marketplaces sprinkled with blood of animals sacrificed to the pagan gods during the first week of Lent, so that Christians would be unable to escape contact with idolatry. But St Theodore appeared in a vision to Patriarch Eudoxius (360-364), warned him of the plan and told him to instruct his flock not to buy any food in the marketplace, but to eat kolyva made from boiled wheat grains. So, through the Saint's intervention, the people were preserved from the stain of idolatry. Ever since, the Church has commemorated the miracle on the first Saturday of Great Lent. Since that time kolyva has come to be offered also in honor of the Saints and in memory of the departed. The whole grain represents the body, sown corruptible, which will be raised incorruptible (2 Cor. 15:37); it is usually sweetened with honey to signify the delights of Paradise.
The Holy Martyr Theodore of Tyre was a soldier in the city of Alasium of the Pontine district (northeast province of Asia Minor, stretching alongside the coast of the Pontus Euxine, i.e. the Black Sea), under the command of a certain Brincus. They commanded him to offer sacrifice to idols. Saint Theodore firmly and in a loud voice confessed his faith in Christ the Saviour. The commander gave him several days to think it over, during which time Saint Theodore prayed intensely. They charged him with setting afire a pagan temple and threw him into prison for death by starvation. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him there, comforting and encouraging him. Brought again to the governor, Saint Theodore yet once more boldly and fearlessly confessed his faith, for which he was subjected to new torments and condemned to burning. The martyr Theodore without hesitation climbed onto the bon-fire and with prayer and laudation gave up his holy soul to God.
This occurred in about the year 306 under the Roman emperor Gallerius (305-311). Unharmed by the fire, the body of Saint Theodore was buried in the city of Eukhaitakheia, not far from Amasium. His relics were afterwards transferred to Tsar'grad, to a church dedicated to his name. His head is situated in Italy, in the city of Gaeto.
Later on, 50 years after the martyr's death of Saint Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), wanting to commit an outrage upon the christians, commanded the city-commander of Constantinople during the first week of Great Lent to sprinkle all the food provisions in the market-places with the blood of idol-sacrifices. Saint Theodore, having appeared in a dream to archbishop Eudoxios, ordered him to inform all the christians, -- that no one should buy anything at the market-places, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey -- kolivo ( kut'ya or sochivo). In memory of this occurrence the Orthodox Church annually makes celebration of the holy GreatMartyr Theodore of Tyre on Saturday of the first week of Great Lent. On the eve of Saturday, on Friday, in the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts after the amvon prayer there is read the molieben-kanon to the holy GreatMartyr Theodore, compiled by the monk John Damascene. After this, kolivo is blessed and distributed to the faithful. The celebration to the GreatMartyr Theodore on Saturday of the first week of Great Lent was set by the Patriarch of Constantinople Nektarios (381-397).
The PriestMartyr Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', was descended from the Don Cossacks. In the testimony of the Patriarch himself, he was priest in the city of Kazan at a church, near the Kazan bazaar, in the name of Sainted Nicholas (Comm. 6 December and 9 May). Soon he became a monk and from 1582 was archimandrite of the Saviour-Transfiguration monastery at Kazan. On 13 May 1589 he was ordained bishop and became the first Kazan metropolitan.
During the service of His Holiness the Patriarch at Kazan there occurred the appearance and discovery of the Wonder-Working Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in the year 1579. Being then still only a priest, but with the blessing of the then Kazan archbishop Jeremii, he carried the newly-appeared icon from the place of its discovery to the Church of Saint Nicholas. Having remarkable literary talent, the saint himself in 1594 compiled an account about the appearance of the wonderworking icon and the miracles accomplished through it. In 1591 the saint gathered newly-baptised Tatars into the cathedral church and during the course of several days instructed them in the faith.
In 1592 there was the transfer of relics of Sainted German, the second archbishop of Kazan (Comm. 25 September, 6 November, and 23 June), who had died at Moscow on 6 November 1567 during the time of a pestilential plague, and buried in Saint Nicholas Church. With the blessing of Patriarch Job (1589-1605), Saint Ermogen made the re-burial at the Sviyazhsk Uspenie monastery. On 9 January 1592 Saint Ermogen directed a letter to Patriarch Job, in which he stated that at Kazan there was celebrated no particular remembrance of the Orthodox soldiers, who gave their life for the Faith and Fatherland beneathe Kazan, and he petitioned to establish an assigned day of memory. At the same time he reported about three martyrs who had suffered at Kazan for their faith in Christ, -- one of which was a Russian by the name of John (Comm. 24 January) born at Nizhny Novgorod and captured by the Tatars, while the other two, -- Stephen and Peter (Comm. 24 March) were newly-converted Tatars. The saint expressed regret that these martyrs were not inserted into the synodikon read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and that memory eternal was not sung for them. In answer to Saint Ermogen, the Patriarch issued an ukaz (decree) of 25 February, which decreed: -- "for all the Orthodox soldiers, killed at Kazan and the Kazan surroundings, to celebrate at Kazan and throughout all the Kazan metropolitanate a panikhida on the Saturday following the (1 October) feastday of Pokrov / Protection of the MostHoly Mother of God, and to inscribe them in the great synodikon read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy", and ordered to inscribe in the synodikon also the three Kazan martyrs, entrusting to Saint Ermogen to set the day of their memory. Saint Ermogen circulated the Patriarchal ukaz throughout his diocese, adding, that in all the churches and monasteries they should celebrate liturgy and panikhida for the three Kazan martyrs and should remember them also at litya and liturgy on 24 January. Saint Ermogen displayed zeal in the faith and firmness in the observance of church traditions, and he concerned himself with the enlightening of Kazan Tatars by the faith of Christ.
In 1595, with the active participation of the saint there occurred the discovery and opening of the relics of the Kazan Wonderworkers: Sainted Gurii, the first archbishop of Kazan (Comm. 4 October, 5 December, 20 June), and Sainted Varsonophii bishop of Tver' (Comm. 4 October, 11 April). Tsar Feodor Ioannovich (1584-1598) had given orders to erect at the Kazan Saviour-Transfiguration monastery a new stone church on the place of the first one, wherein the saints were buried. When the graves of the saints were discovered, Saint Ermogen came with a gathering of clergy, he commanded the graves to be opened and, having beheld the undecayed relics and garb of the saints, he notified the Patriarch and the tsar. With the blessing of Patriarch Job and by order of the tsar, the relics of the newly-appeared wonderworkers were placed in the new church. Saint Ermogen himself compiled the lives of Sainted-hierarchs Gurii and Varsonophii.
Having been deigned the arch-pastoral position -- metropolitan Ermogen was chosen to the arch-hierarchical cathedra (chair), and on 3 July 1606 he was elevated to the assemblage / sobor of sainted-hierarchs upon the Patriarchal throne at Moscow Uspensky (Dormition) cathedral. Metropolitan Isidor handed the Patriarch the staff of Sainted-hierarch Peter, Moscow WonderWorker (Comm. 5 October, 21 December, 24 August), and the tsar gave as a gift to the new Patriarch a panagia, embellished with precious stones, a white klobuk and staff. In the ancient manner Patriarch Ermogen made his entrance upon a donkey.
The activity of Patriarch Ermogen co-incided with a difficult period for the Russian state -- the incursion of the imposter the False-Dimitrii and the Polish king Sigismund III. The arch-hierarch devoted all his powers to the service of the Church and the Fatherland. Patriarch Ermogen was not alone in this exploit: his self-sacrificing fellow-countrymen copied his example and assisted him. With an especial inspiration His Holiness the Patriarch stood up against the traitors and enemies of the Fatherland, who wanted to install Uniatism and Western Catholicism in Russia and to wipe out Orthodoxy, while enslaving the Russian nation. When the imposter arrived at Moscow and settled himself at Tushino, Patriarch Ermogen dispatched two missives to the Russian traitors. In one of them he wrote: "...You have forgotten the vows of our Orthodox faith, in which we are born, baptised, nourished and raised, ye have violated the oath and the kissing of the cross to stand to the death for the house of the MostHoly Mother of God and for the Moscow realm, but have fallen for your false would-be tsarlet... My soul aches, my heart is sickened, all within me agonises, and all my frame doth shudder; I weep and with sobbing I lament: have mercy, have mercy, brethren and children, on your own souls and your parents departed and living... Consider, how our Fatherland is devastated and plundered by foreigners, who offer insult to the holy icons and churches, and how innocent blood is spilled, crying out to God. Think, against whom do ye take up arms: is it not against God, Who hath created you? Is it not against your own brothers? Do ye not devastate your own Fatherland?... I adjure you in the Name of God, give up your undertaking, there is yet time, that ye perish not at the end". In the second gramota / document the Arch-hierarch appeals: "For the sake of God, come to your senses and turn round, gladden your parents, your wifes and children; and we stand to pray God for you..."
Soon the righteous judgement of God was realised upon the Tushino thief: a sad and inglorious fate befell him just as it did his predecessor [another false-Dimitrii]; -- he was killed by his own close associates on 11 December 1610. But Moscow continued to remain in peril, since in it were situated the Poles and traitor-boyars, having made betrayal to Sigismund III. The gramoti / documents, dispatched by Patriarch Ermogen throughout the cities and villages, exhorted the Russian nation to liberate Moscow from the enemies and to choose a lawful Russian tsar. The Muscovites raised up a rebellion, in answer to which the Poles burned the city, and shut themselves up within the Kremlin. Together with Russian traitors they forcefully seized hold of Patriarch Ermogen from the patriarchal throne and imprisoned him in the Chudov monastery under guard. On Bright Monday in 1611 the Russian militia approached Moscow and began the seige of the Kremlin, which continued for several months. Besieged within the Kremlin, the Poles many a time sent messengers to the Patriarch with the demand that he order the Russian militia to leave the city, threatening for refusal a death by execution. The saint firmly replied: "What are your threats to me? Only God do I fear. If all of you, Lithuanian people, go from the Moscow realm , I shall bless the Russian militia to go from Moscow, but if ye remain here, I shall bless all to stand against you and to die for the Orthodox faith". While still in prison, the Priest-martyr Ermogen turned with a final missive to the Russian nation, blessing the liberating army against the invaders. The Russian commanders could not come to an agreement over a way to take the Kremlin and free their Arch-hierarch. He languished more than nine months in dreadful confinement, and on 17 February 1612 he died a martyr's death from starvation.
The liberation of Russia, for which Saint Ermogen stood with such indestructible valour, was successfully concluded by the Russian nation. The body of the Priest-martyr Ermogen was buried in the Chudov monastery, but in 1654 was transferred to the Moscow Uspenie cathedral. The glorification of Patriarch Ermogen into the rank of Sainted-hierarchs occurred on 12 May 1913.
The Monk Feodor (Theodore) the Silent of Pechersk chose the exploit of silence, so as to dwell constantly in thought of God and to safeguard himself in temptation even in word. He was glorified by the Lord with a gift of wonderworking. His memory is celebrated also on 28 August.
Righteous Mariam, -- the sister of the holy Apostle from the 12 Philip (Comm. 14 November), made a vow of virginity and became companion of her brother Philip and the holy Apostle Bartholomew (Comm. 11 June), actively assisting them in their apostolic work. The Church historian Nikephoros Kallistos gives an account about their successful preaching in the Phrygian city of Hieropolis, where they were arrested and locked up in prison. They subjected the Apostle Philip to death, hung on a cross, but Saint Mariam and the Apostle Bartholomew were set free. The Apostle Bartholomew set out to preach the Gospel in India. Saint Mariam, having taken up the body of the holy Apostle Philip, preached the Gospel at Likaion (Asia Minor). She died peacefully there.
The Holy Martyr Menos Kallikelades (Krasno-rechivii, i.e. Fine-Speaking), an Anthenian, died a martyr together with Saints Hermogenes and Eugraphos in about the year 313 (Comm. 10 December). During the time of the Constantinople emperor Basilios the Macedonian (867-886), by command of the saint himself who had appeared in a dream to a certain pious man, -- his relics were discovered by the military commander Marcian.
Sainted Auxivius was born at Rome in a rich family. He was raised together with his brother Tempstagoras. From an early age he displayed remarkable talents. In the schools of Rome he easily learned the secular sciences. His parents wanted to marry off their son. Having learned of this, the youth secretly departed Rome and set off to the East. Having arrived upon the island of Cyprus, he settled in the environs of Limnitis, not far from the city of Solunum. By the Prescience (Fore-knowing) of God he encountered the holy Disciple and Evangelist Mark (Comm. 27 September, 30 October, 4 January, 25 April), preaching the Word of God at Cyprus. The Disciple Mark established Auxivius as bishop in the city of Solunum, and himself set off for preaching to Alexandria.
Saint Auxivius went towards the western gates of the city and settled near the pagan temple of Zeus. Gradually he converted to Christianity the local pagan-priest and other idol-worshippers. One time Saint Heraklides came to Saint Auxivius. He had been made a bishop in Cyprus earlier by the Disciple Mark, and he consulted with Saint Auxivius to openly preach the Gospel of Christ. One day Saint Auxivius arrived at the market-square and began to preach to the people about Christ. Many, seeing the miracles and the signs worked by the saint, believed in Christ. Among the converted were many people from the surrounding villages. One man, by the name of Auxinios, remained with Saint Auxivius and assisted him in service to the end of his days.
After a certain while there came from Rome the brother of Saint Auxivius, Tempstagoras. He was baptised together with his wife, accepted the presbyteral dignity and served in one of the churches. Sainted Auxivius guided his diocese for 50 years and died peacefully in the year 102, leaving upon the cathedra (chair) his disciple Auxinios.
The Holy Martyr Theodore the Byzantine was a native of the settlement Neokhoreia near Constantinople. In childhood they seduced him into Mahometanism. For his return to the Christian faith he was hung by the Turks in the city of Mytilene in 1795.
The Monks Theodosii (Feodosii) the Bulgarian and his Disciple Roman: The monk Theodosii began his exploit in the city of Viddino, at the Nikolaev monastery. After the death of the hegumen Job he settled not far from Tirnovo, then the capital city of Bulgaria, at the Svyatogorsk monastery of the MostHoly Mother of God in search of a spiritual guide. He left the Holy Mount (Svyatogorsk) monastery and for a long while went about from monastery to monastery. Finally, he learned about the wilderness-monastery termed "Concealed" where in pursuit of asceticism the monk Gregory the Sinaite (Comm. 8 August) had moved from Athos. The monk Theodosii found in him an experienced guide of the contemplative life. The monk Gregory taught: "Before death we lay in hades; whosoever does not recognise sincerely that he is a sinner, that the beasts and cattle are more pure, -- that one is more wicked than the demons, in having become their obedient slave".
The wilderness monastery of the monk Gregory the Sinaite suffered often from robbers. The abba sent the monk Theodosii to the emperor Alexander with a request for defense of the monastery. The pious Bulgarian tsar, at the request of the ascetic, provided him greater means to wall in the monastery by strong walls with towers, and made secure the monastery with grounds and cattle. During the time of his final journey to Tirnovo with an errand of the abba to the tsar, a nobleman turned to the monk Theodosii with a request to take him along to the monastery. The holy ascetic brought him to the monk Gregory the Sinaite. This was Roman, -- becoming the sincere and beloved disciple of the monk Theodosii. After the death of the monk Gregory the Sinaite, the monk Theodosii refused to accept being head of the monastery, and together with his disciple Roman he set off from the monastery for solitary efforts. They founded a monastery on an hill round about Tirnovo, afterwards called Theodosiev. The monk Theeodosii was famous as a zealous defender of Orthodoxy against the many heresies then appearing, especially the Bogomils, Judaisers and Messalians. Their false teachings were especially pernicious. The Patriarch and the tsar rendered great help to the monk Theodosii in the struggle with the heretics. In addition to this, the holy ascetic translated Greek writings into the Slavonic language. In 1360 he became grievously ill. Wishing to meet with his friend the monk Kallistos, he set off to him at Tsar'grad, entrusting the guidance of the monastery to his disciple Roman.
On 17 February 1362 the monk Theodosii died at Tsar'grad. His disciple the monk Roman became head of the monastery founded by him.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY GREAT MARTRY THEODORE TIRO
The word Tiro means recruit. Just as soon as Theodore had entered the army in the Marmarite regiment in the town of Amasea then the persecution of Christians began under the Emperors Maximian and Maximus. As Theodore did not try to conceal the fact that he also was a Christian, he was dragged to court and thrown into prison which was then locked and sealed because the nefarious judge wanted Theodore to die of starvation. The Lord Christ Himself appeared to Theodore in prison and encouraged His martyr, saying to him: "Fear not Theodore, I am with you; do not partake of earthly food and drink anymore, for you will be with Me in the other world in the heavens; eternal and permanent." At that moment there appeared a multitude of angels in the prison and the entire prison shown brightly and the guards, seeing angels dressed in white raiment, became very frightened. After that, St. Theodore was taken out, tortured and condemned to death. Theodore was tossed into a fire and gave up his holy soul to God the Most High. He suffered in the year 306 A.D.
2. VENERABLE THEODOSIUS THE BULGARIAN AND ROMAN HIS DISCIPLE
As a monk, St. Theodosius settled not far from the city of Trnovo [Bulgaria] where he established a monastic community, which was named after him. He notably distinguished himself at a council in Bulgaria against the Bogomils in the year 1360 A.D. Protecting the Orthodox Faith at this council, by his reasoning, he shamed the Bogomils. He ended his earthy life in Constantinople in the year 1362 A.D. His disciple, Roman, continued to live a life of asceticism in Theodosius' community until his death.
3. SAINT MIRIAM
Miriam was the sister of the Holy Apostle Philip. She traveled with her brother and together with him preached the Gospel in Hierapolis and in other places. Following the martyr's death of Philip, Miriam continued her missionary work in Lycaonia where she died.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT THEODORE TIRO
"Do not be afraid of the world for I have overcome the world." (*)
These are holy words both then and now.
For all who suffer, that is the true balm,
Mostly for the glorious martyrs of God.
Why should you, of the more fearful ones, be afraid?
Of its own shadow, the world is afraid!
The powerful and the ruling ones, why fear?
And of dying things, constantly dying?
Who is with the Householder is not afraid of the house,
The Householder sees everything that is in the house,
And nothing there is, that He would not know,
And His servant, what should he be afraid of?
And yet when he hears the Lord as He says:
"Do not be afraid of the world!" What more do you desire?
"Do not be afraid of the world for I have overcome the world!"
Our Lord reigns and rules over the world.
At the fire and death, Theodore smiled,
For that, wreaths he received, that never fades.
An artist is one who, from crude and shapeless stone, carves and shapes forms similar to living creatures. An artist is one who weaves a multi-colored blanket from the wool of sheep. An artist is one who builds a magnificent palace out of earthly bricks. But what kind of artist on earth can be compared to Christ the Artist, who from illiterate men creates wise men, who from fishermen creates apostles, who from cowards creates heroes, who from the immoral creates saints? But all must be given over to the hand of the artist, in order to be fashioned into that which the artist knows and is capable of doing. All things, in truth, must be given over to the hand of the artist. Even men must give themselves over to the hand of Christ, in order for Him to carve, to weave or to build that which only He knows and is capable of. Nineteen past centuries witness to us, that all of them who did not protest [against Him] but rather gave themselves over to Christ the Artist and from the boorish and the ignorant became angel-seeing children of God.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as an Artist above artists:
1. Who, from the body of man, which became savage from passions, creates a noble organ of every good work;
2. Who, from the chaos in the soul of man, creates the cosmos; a pure and shining mirror of the glory of God;
3. Who, from ignoble men creates an undefiled kingdom, a State of the holy - an artistic work without precedence and without comparison.
About death as sleeping
"All were weeping andmourning for her, when Hesaid: `Do not weep any longer, for she is not deadbut sleeping.' `And they ridiculedHim because they knew thatshe was dead" (St. Luke 8 52;53).
The reference here is about the dead daughter of Jarius. Jarius himself said that his daughter had died and his servants confirmed this. But, the Lord, the Giver-of life said: "Do not weep, she is not dead" and they ridiculed Him "because they knew that she was dead." The ignorant pretend that they know better than the Knower. The blind pretend that they see better than the All-seeing One [The Discerner]. But when the young girl arose and showed herself alive, the ignorant "were utterly astounded" (St. Mark 5:42).
Even today, the ignorant ridicule when they hear the divine truth. Divine truth speaks: There is a Living God! And the ignorant ridicule as though knowing that there is no God. Divine truth speaks: There is a Heavenly Kingdom! And the ignorant ridicule even this as though they know that there is not a heavenly kingdom. Divine truth asserts: The dead will resurrect! And the ignorant even deny this as though they know that this will not be. And when God appears and the angels of God appear, and the Kingdom of Heaven is made known, and the dead resurrect, then the ignorant ones will be "astonished with a great astonishment" (St. Mark 5:42).
Who can save the world from the ignorant? No one can save the world except Christ the Omniscience, the Omnipotent. By what can the ignorant be saved? By nothing except by faith in Christ and faith to Christ. Who are the most ignorant ones in the world? They are those who deny whatever Christ claimed and claim whatever He denied. In a word: there are those who think that they know something contrary to the knowledge of Christ. They are the worst and the most dangerous ignorant ones both to themselves and to others.
My brethren, know that everything and everyone can deceive us except Christ the Lord and our Friend. He always knows and we do not always know, except when we look at Him and listen to Him.
O Lord, Merciful and All-merciful, help all the ignorant that, before death and judgment, they may be "astonished with great astonishment" and that they too will be saved in the kingdom of Your holy ones.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
(*) St. John 16:33