FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Tarasius, Patriarch of Constantinople
Reginos, Bishop of Skopelos
Holy Martyr Alexander of Thrace
Markellos, Bishop of Apamea
Ταρασίου πατριάρχου Κων/πόλεως
Ρηγίνου ιερομάρτυρος, επισκόπου Σκοπέλου (†335)
Αλεξάνδρου μάρτυρος του εν Δριζιπάροις
Αντωνίου και Θεοδώρου, «του δια Χριστού σάλου»
Οσίου Μαρκέλλου επισκόπου Αιπείας Κύπρου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
St. Peter's Second Universal Letter 1:20-21; 2:1-9
Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Who makes spirits his angels and his angels and his servants flame of fire.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God you are very great.
Beloved, first of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.
For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.
Πέτρου β' 1:20-21; 2:1-9
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος δ.
Ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα καὶ τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ πυρὸς φλόγα.
Στίχ. Εὐλόγει, ἡ ψυχή μου, τὸν Κύριον. Κύριε ὁ Θεός μου, ἐμεγαλύνθης σφόδρα.
Ἀγαπητοί, τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες, ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται. Οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη ποτὲ προφητεία, ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἅγιοι θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. Ἐγένοντο δὲ καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐν τῷ λαῷ, ὡς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσονται ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι, οἵτινες παρεισάξουσιν αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας, καὶ τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτοὺς δεσπότην ἀρνούμενοι, ἐπάγοντες ἑαυτοῖς ταχινὴν ἀπώλειαν. Καὶ πολλοὶ ἐξακολουθήσουσιν αὐτῶν ταῖς ἀσελγείαις, διʼ οὓς ἡ ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας βλασφημηθήσεται. Καὶ ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ πλαστοῖς λόγοις ὑμᾶς ἐμπορεύσονται· οἷς τὸ κρίμα ἔκπαλαι οὐκ ἀργεῖ, καὶ ἡ ἀπώλεια αὐτῶν οὐ νυστάξει. Εἰ γὰρ ὁ θεὸς ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων οὐκ ἐφείσατο, ἀλλὰ σειραῖς ζόφου ταρταρώσας παρέδωκεν εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους· καὶ ἀρχαίου κόσμου οὐκ ἐφείσατο, ἀλλὰ ὄγδοον Νῶε δικαιοσύνης κήρυκα ἐφύλαξεν, κατακλυσμὸν κόσμῳ ἀσεβῶν ἐπάξας· καὶ πόλεις Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρας τεφρώσας καταστροφῇ κατέκρινεν, ὑπόδειγμα μελλόντων ἀσεβεῖν τεθεικώς· καὶ δίκαιον Λώτ, καταπονούμενον ὑπὸ τῆς τῶν ἀθέσμων ἐν ἀσελγείᾳ ἀναστροφῆς, ἐρρύσατο· βλέμματι γὰρ καὶ ἀκοῇ ὁ δίκαιος, ἐγκατοικῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς, ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας ψυχὴν δικαίαν ἀνόμοις ἔργοις ἐβασάνιζεν· οἶδεν κύριος εὐσεβεῖς ἐκ πειρασμοῦ ῥύεσθαι, ἀδίκους δὲ εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως κολαζομένους τηρεῖν·
The Gospel of Mark 13:9-13
The Lord said to his disciples, "Take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 13.9-13
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς. παραδώσουσι γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν δαρήσεσθε, καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς. καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη δεῖ πρῶτον κηρυχθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. ὅταν δὲ ἀγάγωσιν ὑμᾶς παραδιδόντες, μὴ προμεριμνᾶτε τί λαλήσητε, μηδὲ μελετᾶτε, ἀλλ᾿ ὃ ἐὰν δοθῇ ὑμῖν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ, τοῦτο λαλεῖτε· οὐ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ἐστε οἱ λαλοῦντες, ἀλλὰ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ῞Αγιον. παραδώσει δὲ ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον, καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς. καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου· ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος, οὗτος σωθήσεται.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Ἄκλειστος ὅρμος Ταράσιον λαμβάνει,
Κόσμου ταραχῆς, καὶ ζάλης σεσωσμένον.
Εἰκάδι ἐκ ταράχοιο Ταράσιος ἔπτατο πέμπτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀλέξανδρος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον δίσκος εἶδεν ἡλίου,
Ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ τμηθέντα, δόξης Ἡλίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου ἱερομάρτυρος Ῥηγίνου, ἐπισκόπου Σκοπέλου.
Ἄσειτος εἶ Ῥηγῖνε τὴν προθυμίαν,
Κἂν δεινὸν ἐνσείσωσι πυκνὰ σοι ξίφη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀντώνιος πυρὶ τελειοῦται.
Ἐνθέντες Ἀντώνιον εἰς πῦρ οἱ πλάνοι,
Ἔψουσιν ὄψον νόστιμον τῷ Κυρίῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόδωρος, ὁ διὰ Χριστὸν σαλός, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ἑκων ἀμείψας, ὡς ὁ Δαυΐδ, τὰς φρένας,
Βίον διέδρας, οὐ τὸν Ἀγχοῦς παμμάκαρ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Μάρκελλος, Ἐπίσκοπος Ἀπαμείας τῆς Κύπρου, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Σπένδεις Θεῷ, Μάρκελλε, θερμῷ τῷ πόθῳ,
Θερμοὺς σταλαγμοὺς αἱμάτων ἐξ αὐχένος.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Saint was the son of one of the foremost princes in Constantinople, and was originally a consul and first among the Emperor's private counselors. Then, in 784, he was elected Patriarch of Constantinople by the Sovereigns Irene and her son Constantine Porphyrogenitus. He convoked the Seventh Ecumenical Council that upheld the holy icons, and became the boast of the Church and a light to the clergy. He reposed in 806.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Κανόνα πίστεως καί εικόνα πραότητος, εγκρατείας Διδάσκαλον, ανέδειξέ σε τή ποίμνη σου, η τών πραγμάτων αλήθεια, διά τούτο εκτήσω τή ταπεινώσει τά υψηλά, τή πτωχεία τά πλούσια, Πάτερ Ιεράρχα Ταράσιε, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Tarasios, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Ορθοδοξίας δόγμασι, τήν Έκκλησίαν φαιδρύνας, καί Χριστοῦ μακάριε, τήν σεβασμίαν Είκόνα, σέβεσθαι καί προσκυνεῖσθαι πᾶσι διδάξας, ἤλεγξας Είκονομάχων ἄθεον δόγμα· διά τοῦτό σοι βοῶμεν·. Ω Πάτερ, χαίροις σοφέ Ταράσιε.
Thou didst make the Church to shine with thy most Orthodox doctrines, teaching all to venerate and worship Christ's sacred image; so didst thou convict the godless and hateful doctrine of all them that fought against Christ's ven'rable icon; O Tarasius our Father most wise and blessed, to thee we all cry: Rejoice.
Το όνομα και το έργο του αγίου Ταρασίου Πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, του οποίου σήμερα η Εκκλησία επιτελεί την μνήμη, συνδέεται με την έβδομη Οικουμενική Σύνοδο, που συγκροτήθηκε στη Νίκαια, για το μεγάλο ζήτημα της προσκυνήσεως των αγίων εικόνων. Ο άγιος Ταράσιος είναι από τις μεγάλες μορφές της Εκκλησίας, που δέν πτοήθηκαν μπροστά στούς ισχυρούς της γης, όταν ήταν ανάγκη να υπερασπίσουν τον θείο νόμο και τα εκκλησιαστικά δίκαια. Όσο για τις ιερές εικόνες, που τις πολέμησαν με μανία οι εικονομάχοι τότε και τις πολεμούν και τώρα με φανατισμό οι σύγχρονοι αιρετικοί, πρέπει να γνωρίζουμε τα εξής. Δεν λατρεύουμε τίς εικόνες· η λατρεία ανήκει μόνο στον Θεό. Προσκυνούμε τιμητικά τις εικόνες και κάθε φορά η τιμή και η σκέψη μας πάει στο εικονιζόμενο ιερό πρόσωπο, όπως το λέγει ο Μέγας Βασίλειος· "η τιμή της εικόνος επί το πρωτότυπον διαβαίνει".
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ταράσιος Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Γεννήθηκε, ἀνατράφηκε καὶ ἐκπαιδεύτηκε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς, τοῦ Γεωργίου, κριτοῦ καὶ πατρικίου καὶ τῆς Εὐκρατίας. Λόγω τῆς μεγάλης μορφώσεώς του, ἀνέβηκε στὸ ἀξίωμα τοῦ πρωτοασηκρίτου. Στὶς 25 Δεκεμβρίου τοῦ 784, ὅταν χήρεψε ὁ πατριαρχικὸς θρόνος τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, ἐξελέγη μὲ σύμφωνη γνώμη λαοῦ, συγκλήτου, κλήρου καὶ βασιλείας, ὁ ἀπὸ τὶς λαϊκὲς τάξεις Ταράσιος (διαδέχθηκε τὸν πατριάρχη Παῦλο τὸν Δ´). Ἦταν ἄνθρωπος μὲ πολλὰ ἔκτακτα προσόντα καὶ μεγάλο ἀξίωμα. Ἀπὸ τὴν θέση αὐτή, ἔδειξε μεγάλη σύνεση καὶ μετριοπάθεια. Πρωταγωνίστησε στὴν 7η Οἰκουμενικὴ σύνοδο στὴ Νίκαια, ὑπὲρ τῆς ἀναστήλωσης τῶν εἰκόνων. Ἂς παραθέσουμε, ὅμως, τί λέει μεταξὺ ἄλλων γιὰ τὸν Ταράσιο, ὁ Ἱστορικὸς Κ. Παπαῤῥηγόπουλος: «Τὴν 25η Φεβρουαρίου 806 πέθανε ὁ Πατριάρχης Ταράσιος, ἀφοῦ ἐπὶ 21 χρόνια ποίμανε τὴν Ἐκκλησία μετὰ πάσης μετριοπάθειας καὶ συνέσεως. Ὁ Πατριάρχης Ταράσιος συνέπραξε μὲν μὲ πολὺ ζῆλο στὴν ἀναστήλωση τῶν εἰκόνων, ἀλλὰ φρόντισε μὲ τὸν ὄρο τῆς 7ης Οἰκ. Συνόδου, ἡ προσκύνηση νὰ ἀποβάλει, ὅσο γίνεται, κάθε χαρακτῆρα λατρείας ἀσυμβίβαστης στὸ ἀληθινὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χριστιανικῆς πίστεως. Θεώρησε μὲν πρέπον νὰ ἐπαναλάβει ἡ Ἀνατολικὴ Ἐκκλησία τὶς σχέσεις της μὲ τὸν ἀρχιερέα τῆς Ῥώμης, ἀλλὰ ὅσο κανεὶς ἄλλος ἀγωνίστηκε νὰ περιορίσει τὶς ἀξιώσεις τοῦ ἀρχιερέα αὐτοῦ. Τέλος ἐγκατέλειψε καὶ αὐτὴν τὴν Εἰρήνη, ὅταν εἶδε ὅτι ἀπὸ πολιτικῆς τὸ κράτος κινδύνευε. Ἡ στέρηση τέτοιου Πατριάρχη κατετάραξε τὸν βασιλιὰ Νικηφόρο καὶ ὅλους ὅσους ἐκτιμοῦσαν τὶς μεγάλες χριστιανικὲς καὶ πολιτικὲς ἀρετὲς τοῦ ἀνδρός». Ἐτάφη σὲ Μονὴ τοῦ Βοσπόρου, ποὺ ἔκτισε ὁ ἴδιος.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀλέξανδρος ποὺ μαρτύρησε στὴ Δριζίπαρο τῆς Θρᾴκης
Ἔζησε στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ 4ου αἰῶνα καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Καρθαγένη. Κατὰ τὸν διωγμὸ ποὺ κίνησε ὁ Διοκλητιανός, συνελήφθη καὶ βασανίστηκε στὴ Μαρκιανούπολη (ἀρχαία πόλη τῆς Θρᾴκης) καὶ κατόπιν ἀποκεφαλίστηκε στὴ Δριζίπαρο, ἐπίσης πόλη τῆς Θρᾴκης.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ῥηγῖνος Ἱερομάρτυρας ἐπίσκοπος Σκοπέλου
Ὁ Ἅγιος αὐτὸς καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς. Λόγω τῆς ἐναρέτου ζωῆς του, ἔγινε ἐπίσκοπος Σκοπέλου. Ὅμως, ὅπως εἶναι γνωστὸ καὶ μετὰ τὴν Α´ Οἰκουμενικὴ Σύνοδο ποὺ ἔγινε στὴ Νίκαια, ἡ καταδικασθεῖσα ἀπ᾿ αὐτὴ αἵρεση τοῦ Ἀρείου, ἐξακολουθοῦσε νὰ ἔχει πολλοὺς ὀπαδούς. Σ᾿ αὐτὴ λοιπὸν τὴν πάλη ποὺ ἐξακολουθοῦσε, συμμετεῖχε μὲ πολλὴ θερμότητα ὑπὲρ τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας ὁ Ῥηγῖνος, ποὺ πῆρε μέρος καὶ στὴ Σύνοδο τοῦ 347, ἐπὶ αὐτοκρατόρων Κωνσταντίου καὶ Κώνσταντος, καὶ ἡ ὁποία Σύνοδος δέχθηκε τὰ δόγματα τοῦ Συμβόλου τῆς Νικαίας. Ἐπὶ Ἰουλιανοῦ τοῦ παραβάτου ὅμως, ἡ Ἐκκλησία διέτρεξε κρισιμότατη περίοδο. Ὁ ἀσεβὴς αὐτὸς αὐτοκράτορας, ἀφοῦ στὴν ἀρχὴ ὑποκριτικὰ ἔκανε τὸν ἀνεξίθρησκο, κατόπιν καταδίωξε σκληρὰ τοὺς ὀρθοδόξους ἐπισκόπους, ζητῶντας νὰ διαλύσει τὴν Ἐκκλησία καὶ νὰ ἐπιβάλει τὴν πλάνη τῆς εἰδωλολατρίας. Αὐτὴ τὴν ἐποχὴ λοιπὸν καὶ ὁ Ῥηγῖνος ὑπέστη μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο. Τὸ ἅγιο λείψανο τοῦ ἱερομάρτυρα Ῥηγίνου μετακομίστηκε στὴν Κύπρο. Ἀπὸ ἐκεῖ δέ, κάποιο μέρος ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ μετέφεραν στὴν Σκόπελο, ὅπου τὸ ἐναπόθεσαν στὸ μοναστήρι τοῦ ἁγίου Ἰωάννου τοῦ Προδρόμου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀντώνιος
Μαρτύρησε ἀφοῦ τὸν ἅπλωσαν ἐπάνω σὲ πυρωμένη σχάρα.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόδωρος ὁ διὰ Χριστὸν σαλός
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρκελλος ἐπίσκοπος Ἀπαμείας τῆς Κύπρου
Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. Ὑπάρχει ὅμως ἀμφιβολία ἂν πράγματι ὑπῆρξε αὐτὸς ὁ ἐπίσκοπος καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ πόλη στὴν Κύπρο. Ἴσως συγχέεται μ᾿ αὐτὸν τῆς Ἀπαμείας τῆς Συρίας (14 Αὐγούστου).
St Tarasios, archbishop of Constantinople (806)
He was a nobleman born in Constantinople, and distinguished himself in a secular career, rising in the year 780 to the rank of protasecretis, Principal Secretary of State to the Emperor Constantine VI and his mother the Empress Irene, who was serving as regent.
His life took a sudden turn when, in 784, Patriarch Paul IV resigned, recommending Tarasios as the only man capable of restoring the Patriarchate, ravaged by the iconoclast heresy, to true Faith and full communion with the other Patriarchates. Tarasios, though unwilling, was virtually forced to accept the Patriarchate by the rulers and the Senate: he agreed at last on condition that an Ecumenical Council be summoned immediately to put an end to the iconoclast heresy. In a few days he was raised from a layman through all the degrees of the clergy and on December 25 784, was consecrated Archbishop of Constantinople.
At Saint Tarasios' insistence, the Imperial rulers summoned a Church Council, whch met at Constantinople in 786. Before its sessions had even begun, iconoclasts burst into the church and drove out the Fathers, who were forced to reconvene in Nicaea, where the first session opened. Patriarch Tarasios presided, and the Council concluded with a condemnation of the iconoclast heresy and the restoration of veneration of the holy images.
As Archbishop, the Saint was a model of humility, compassion, and firmness in the Faith. He refused to have any servants and dressed simply, a living rebuke to the luxury that had corrupted the clergy at that time. His works of charity were so great that he became known to the people as 'the new Joseph': he founded hospices and shelters, distributed the Church's wealth freely to the poor, and often invited the poor to his own table to share his simple fare. He insisted on exercising all gentleness and mercy in restoring repentant heretics to the Church, a policy that met with opposition from the more severe leaders of the Studion monastery. At the same time he was unbending in the defense of the Faith: when the Emperor Constantine came of age he repudiated his wife Mary in order to marry Theodota, one of her servants, the Patriarch refused to bless the adulterous union and threatened the Emperor with excommunication if he persisted in sin. The Emperor had Tarasios imprisoned, forced his licit wife to enter a monastery, and found a priest, Joseph, to bless his second marriage. The following year Constantine was blinded and dethroned, and Tarasios regained his freedom.
The holy Patriarch continued to serve his Church faithfully, occupying the episcopal throne for a total of twenty-six years. In his last years, despite a long and painful illness, he continued to serve the Divine Liturgy daily, supporting himself with his staff. In the year 806, serving at the altar, he began to chant from Psalm 85, Bow down thine ear, O Lord, and hear me, and gave up his soul to God.
"In 820, the Emperor Leo the Armenian, who for seven years had supported the iconoclasts and had fiercely persecuted the Orthodox, had a disturbing dream. He saw a stern-looking Saint Tarasius ordering a man by the name of Michael to run Leo himself through with a sword. Six days later, Leo was in fact assasinated by Michael the Stammerer, who seized power... In physical appearance, Saint Tarasius is said to have closely resembled Saint Gregory the Theologian." (Synaxarion)
SAINTED TARASIAS, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE (+ 806).
Sainted Tarasias, Patriarch of Constantinople, came of illustrious lineage. He was born and raised in Constantinople, where he received a fine education. He was rapidly promoted at the court of the emperor Constantine VI Porphyrigenitos (780-797) and Constantine's mother, the holy Empress Irene (797-802; Comm. 7 August), and the saint reached the rank of senator. During these times the Church was agitated by the turmoil of the Iconoclast disturbances. The holy Patriarch Paul (780-784, Comm. 30 August) although not sympathetic in soul with Iconoclasm, through his weakness of character was not able to decisively contend with the heresy and he therefore withdrew to a monastery, where he took the schema. When the holy Empress Irene together with her son the emperor came to him, Saint Paul declared to them, that the most worthy successor to him would be Saint Tarasias (who at this time was still a layman). Tarasias for a long time refused, not considering himself worthy of so very high a dignity, but he then gave in to the common accord, on the condition, that an OEcumenical Council be convened for rendering judgement on the Iconoclast heresy. Proceeding in a short while through all the degrees of clergy dignity, Saint Tarasias was elevated to the Patriarchal throne in the year 784. In the year 787 in the city of Nicea, with holy Patriarch Tarasias presiding, -- the Seventh OEcumenical Council was convened, at which were present 367 bishops. The affirmation of holy icons was confirmed at the Council. Those of the bishops, who repented of Iconoclasm, were again received by the Church.
Saint Tarasias wisely governed the Church for 22 years. He led a strict ascetic life. He used up all his money on God-pleasing ends, feeding and giving comfort to the old, to the impoverished, to widows and orphans, and on Holy Pascha he set out for them the meal at which he himself served. The holy Patriarch fearlessly denounced the emperor Constantine Porphyrigenitos when that one slandered his spouse, the empress Maria -- the grand-daughter of Righteous Philaretos the Merciful (+ 792, Comm. 1 December), so that he could be rid of Maria to a monastery thus freeing him to marry his own kins-woman. Saint Tarasias resolutely refused to dissolve the marriage of the emperor, for which the saint fell into disgrace. Soon, however, Constantine was deposed by his own mother, the Empress Irene. Saint Tarasias died in the year 806. Before his death, devils reminded him of his life from the time of his youth, and they tried to get the saint to admit to sins that he had not even committed. "I am innocent in that of which ye speak, -- replied the saint, -- and ye do falsely slander me, yet mustneeds it be ye have no power over me". Mourned by the Church, the saint was buried in a monastery built by him on the Bosphorus. From his grave was worked many a miracle.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. SAINT TARASIUS, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
His predecessor, Patriarch Paul secretly, relinquished the throne, entered a monastery and received the Schema [The Great Angelic Habit]. Irene and Constantine reigned at the time. By Paul's counsel, Tarasius, a senator and royal advisor, was chosen as patriarch in the year 783 A.D. He was quickly elevated through the ecclesiastical ranks and became patriarch. A man of great learning and great zeal in the Orthodox Faith, Tarasius accepted this rank reluctantly in order to assist Orthodoxy in the struggle against heresies, especially against Iconoclasm. During his tenure, the Seventh Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 783 A.D.} was convened, where Iconoclasm was condemned and the veneration of holy icons was confirmed and restored. Tarasius was very charitable toward orphans and the poor, creating for them shelters and distributed food to them. Toward the powerful, Tarasius was decisive in his defense of faith and morals. When Emperor Constantine banished Maria, his lawful wife and took a kinswoman and lived with her, and sought a blessing for marriage from the patriarch, Tarasius not only refused him a blessing, but first counseled him, after that reproached him, and finally forbid him to receive Holy Communion. Before his death, many saw how Tarasius replied to the demons saying: "I am not guilty of this sin! I am not guilty either of that sin!" Until his weakened tongue could not longer speak, he then began to defend himself with his hands driving away the demons. When he expired, his face lightened up as the sun. This truly great hierarch died in the year 806 A.D. He governed the Church for twenty-two years and four months.
2. THE VENERABLE PAPHNUTIUS OF KEPHALA
This great saint was a contemporary of St. Anthony the Great. It is said about him that he wore the same cassock for eighty years. St. Anthony greatly respected him and used to say that Paphnutius was a true ascetic who was able to come and to save souls.
HYMN OF PRAISE
TO GOD THE CREATOR
The Creator radiant, with light crowned,
By no one described, by nothing expressed,
The wise builders of the Church, he raises,
Zealous defenders and good shepherds.
He permits sufferings, because of our sins
Even though in essence, He is Mercy and Goodness.
Just as the unmalleable earth, with better frost He prepares,
Makes it malleable and for crops makes ready
In the same way our hearts He mellows with bitter sufferings
But by His tender hand leads all to good.
Through the darkness of sin, He gazes into the light,
And the darkness, after a designated time, He does not permit it to linger
He discerns joy, through sorrow and tears,
To the ends of every beginning, He sees the ends
For He began all, He wants to complete all
Who will oppose Him, when He commands?
One would say He is weak, for He adroitly conceals,
And with a shadow of a deed, He conceals and blocks the view of Himself
When the shadow passes and the world reaches its end,
And the Church prepared to heaven is lifted,
Then the Sun of Righteousness which never extinguishes
With the Church, as with porphyry, to cover Himself.
A Christian is similar to betrothed maiden. As a betrothed maiden continually thinks about her betrothed, so does the Christian continually think about Christ. Even if the betrothed is far away beyond ten hills, it is all the same, the maiden behaves as though he is constantly there; by her and with her. She thinks about him, sings to him, talks about him, dreams about him and prepares gifts for him. In the same way a Christian behaves toward Christ. As the betrothed maiden knows that she first must leave and distance herself from the home where she was born in order to meet and totally unite with her betrothed, so the Christian knows that even he cannot totally unite with Christ until death separates him from the body, i.e., from the material home in which his soul, resided and grew from birth.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus sitting in the boat, teaching the people on the shore: "On another occasion He began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around Him so that He got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land" (St. Mark 4:1).
1. How a great multitude of people crowded around to hear Him so that He had to enter the boat;
2. How, in parables He taught them about the sower, the seed and the ground i.e., those comparisons and examples, which from day in and day out, are repeated from the beginning of the world and will be repeated until the end of the world;
3. How He does not teach them with the aid of some rare and unusual events rather by the help of those simple events, which along with man entered into time and together with man, will exit time.
About the impossibility of secrets
"For there is nothing hiddenwhich will not be revealed"(St. Mark 4:22).
All secret works of man will be revealed one day. None of man's works can be hidden. The Jews thought they could hide the slaying of so many prophets from God and that their bloody, nefarious deed against Christ would be able to be hidden from God and man. However, that which they thought to hide became a daily and nightly tale both in the heavens and on earth for thousands of years.
Judas thought to hide his traitorous agreement against his Lord, but the Lord discerned this agreement and declared it to his face. "Jesus said to him, `Judas are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?' " (St. Luke 22:48).
The Lord also discerned the hearts of the Pharisees and read their evil thoughts. "Why do you think evil in your hearts?" (St. Matthew 9:4). What kind of works, what kind of things, what kind of events in this world can be hidden from Him Who sees and reveals even the most secret thoughts of the hearts of men?
"For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed." Because of this we need to be fearful; because of this we need to be rejoiceful. To be fearful - for all of our secret evil deeds, evil desires and evil thoughts will be brought out in the open. To be rejoiceful - for all the good, which we have committed, or desired or thought in secret, will be brought out in the open. If it is not brought out before men in the open, it will be brought out before the heavenly angels. The greater the fear for sinners, so much greater the joy for the righteous.
O Lord, Lover of mankind, forgive us our sins and do not make them known to our destruction and to the sorrow of Your holy angels.