FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Porphyrius, Bishop of Gaza
The Holy Great Martyr Photine, the Samaritan Women
Holy Martyr Theocletus
John Claphas the new Martyr
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Πορφυρίου, Ἐπισκόπου Γάζης, τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Φωτεινῆς τῆς Σαμαρείτιδος καί τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Θεοκλήτου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
St. Peter's Second Universal Letter 2:9-22
Prokeimenon. Grave Mode.
The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
Verse: Oh God, hear my cry.
Beloved, the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them, suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
Πέτρου β' 2:9-22
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος βαρύς.
Εὐφρανθήσεται δίκαιος ἐν Κυρίῳ.
Στίχ. Εἰσάκουσον, ὁ Θεός, τῆς φωνῆς μου.
Ἀγαπητοί, οἶδεν κύριος εὐσεβεῖς ἐκ πειρασμοῦ ῥύεσθαι, ἀδίκους δὲ εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως κολαζομένους τηρεῖν· μάλιστα δὲ τοὺς ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ πορευομένους, καὶ κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας. Τολμηταί, αὐθάδεις, δόξας οὐ τρέμουσιν βλασφημοῦντες· ὅπου ἄγγελοι, ἰσχύϊ καὶ δυνάμει μείζονες ὄντες, οὐ φέρουσιν κατʼ αὐτῶν παρὰ κυρίῳ βλάσφημον κρίσιν. Οὗτοι δέ, ὡς ἄλογα ζῷα φυσικὰ γεγενημένα εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν, ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντες, ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καταφθαρήσονται, κομιούμενοι μισθὸν ἀδικίας, ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τρυφήν, σπίλοι καὶ μῶμοι, ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν, ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες μεστοὺς μοιχαλίδος καὶ ἀκαταπαύστους ἁμαρτίας, δελεάζοντες ψυχὰς ἀστηρίκτους, καρδίαν γεγυμνασμένην πλεονεξίας ἔχοντες, κατάρας τέκνα· καταλιπόντες εὐθεῖαν ὁδὸν ἐπλανήθησαν, ἐξακολουθήσαντες τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ Βαλαὰμ τοῦ Βοσόρ, ὃς μισθὸν ἀδικίας ἠγάπησεν, ἔλεγξιν δὲ ἔσχεν ἰδίας παρανομίας· ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον, ἐν ἀνθρώπου φωνῇ φθεγξάμενον, ἐκώλυσεν τὴν τοῦ προφήτου παραφρονίαν. Οὗτοί εἰσιν πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι, νεφέλαι ὑπὸ λαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμεναι, οἷς ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότους εἰς αἰῶνα τετήρηται. Ὑπέρογκα γὰρ ματαιότητος φθεγγόμενοι, δελεάζουσιν ἐν ἐπιθυμίαις σαρκός, ἀσελγείαις, τοὺς ὄντως ἀποφυγόντας τοὺς ἐν πλάνῃ ἀναστρεφομένους, ἐλευθερίαν αὐτοῖς ἐπαγγελλόμενοι, αὐτοὶ δοῦλοι ὑπάρχοντες τῆς φθορᾶς· ᾧ γάρ τις ἥττηται, τούτῳ καὶ δεδούλωται. Εἰ γὰρ ἀποφυγόντες τὰ μιάσματα τοῦ κόσμου ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τούτοις δὲ πάλιν ἐμπλακέντες ἡττῶνται, γέγονεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ἔσχατα χείρονα τῶν πρώτων. Κρεῖττον γὰρ ἦν αὐτοῖς μὴ ἐπεγνωκέναι τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης, ἢ ἐπιγνοῦσιν ἐπιστρέψαι ἐκ τῆς παραδοθείσης αὐτοῖς ἁγίας ἐντολῆς. Συμβέβηκεν δὲ αὐτοῖς τὸ τῆς ἀληθοῦς παροιμίας, Κύων ἐπιστρέψας ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον ἐξέραμα, καί ὗς λουσαμένη εἰς κύλισμα βορβόρου.
The Gospel of Mark 13:14-23
The Lord said to his disciples, "When you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by Daniel the prophet, set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything away; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if any one says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 13.14-23
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· ῞Οταν δὲ ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὼς ὅπου οὐ δεῖ - ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω - τότε οἱ ἐν τῇ ᾿Ιουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος μὴ καταβάτω εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν μηδὲ εἰσελθέτω ἆραί τι ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὁ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν ὢν μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω ἆραι τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ. οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις. προσεύχεσθε δὲ ἵνα μὴ γένηται ἡ φυγὴ ὑμῶν χειμῶνος. ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις, οἵα οὐ γέγονε τοιαύτη ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἧς ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται. καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολόβωσε Κύριος τὰς ἡμέρας, οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ· ἀλλὰ διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς οὓς ἐξελέξατο ἐκολόβωσε τὰς ἡμέρας. καὶ τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ, ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἰδοὺ ἐκεῖ, μὴ πιστεύετε. ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται καὶ δώσουσι σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα πρὸς τὸ ἀποπλανᾶν, εἰ δυνατόν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς. ὑμεῖς δὲ βλέπετε· ἰδοὺ προείρηκα ὑμῖν ἅπαντα.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Πορφυρίου, Ἐπισκόπου Γάζης.
Ὤ τὶς παρέλθῃ, τὶς δὲ καὶ παραδράμῃ
Τὸν Πορφύριον, κἂν παρῆλθεν ἐκ βίου;
Πορφυρίοιο νέκυν κρύψε χθὼν εἰκάδι ἕκτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Φωτεινῆς τῆς Σαμαρείτιδος, ᾗ ὡμίλησεν ὁ Χριστὸς ἐν τῷ φρέατι, καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῇ.
Ῥίπτουσι τὴν σὴν Σαμαρεῖτιν εἰς φρέαρ,
Τὴν εἰς φρέαρ σοι συλλαλήσασαν Λόγε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ἁγία Φωτώ, ἡ ἀδελφὴ αὐτῆς, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Φερνὴν ταλάντων μυρίων ἀνταξίαν,
Φωτὼ φέρει σοι τὴν κάραν φώτων Πάτερ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ἁγία Φωτίς, ἡ ἑτέρα ἀδελφὴ αὐτῆς, εἰς δύο προσδεθεῖσα δένδρα, καὶ διαμερισθεῖσα, τελειοῦται.
Δώσεις ἔπαθλον δενδροάθλῳ Φωτίδι,
Δενδρῶνα τερπνὸν τῆς Ἐδὲμ Θεοῦ Λόγε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ ἁγία Παρασκευή, ἡ ἑτέρα ἀδελφὴ αὐτῆς, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ἡ Παρασκευὴ πρὸς ξίφος τὸν αὐχένα,
Ἕτοιμον εἶχε καὶ παρεσκευασμένον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ἁγία Κυριακή, ἑτέρα ἀδελφὴ αὐτῆς, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ἐκ Κυριακῆς οὐδὲ τοῦ ξίφους φόβος,
Τοῦ Κυρίου τὸν θεῖον ἐκβάλλει φόβον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ ἅγιος Μάρτυς Ἰωσῆς, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Ἁγίας Φωτεινῆς, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Τομεὺς τραχήλων ἐξεγύμνου τὸ ξίφος,
Ἰωσῆ δὲ τράχηλος οὐ φρίττει ξίφος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ ἅγιος Φωτεινός, ὁ ἕτερος υἱὸς αὐτῆς, ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Τὶς οὗτος ἀτμὸς ἐκ ζεόντων αἱμάτων;
Φωτεινὸς ἄρτι Μάρτυς ἐτμήθη κάραν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ ἅγιος Σεβαστιανὸς ὁ Δοὺξ ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Σεβαστιανῷ τοῦτον εἴπω τὸν λόγον.
Σεβάζομαί σε, τὴν κάραν τετμημένον.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεὸς ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Porphyrius had Thessalonica as his homeland. He became a monk in Scete of Egypt, where he lived for five years. He went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, after which he spent five years in much affliction in a cave near the Jordan. Stricken with a disease of the liver, he departed to Jerusalem, where he was ordained presbyter and appointed Keeper of the Cross at the age of 45. Three years later he was made Bishop of Gaza. He suffered much from the rulers and pagans of Gaza; but with the friendship of Saint John Chrysostom, and the patronage of the Empress Eudoxia, he razed the temple of the idol Marnas in Gaza and built a great church to the glory of God. He reposed in 450.
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 X, 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. Porphyrios, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Ἱερωτάτοις σου τρόποις κοσμούμενος, ἱερωσύνης στολαῖς κατηγλάϊσαι, Παμμάκαρ Θεόφρον Πορφύριε, καὶ ἰαμάτων ἐμπρέπεις ὑψώμασι, πρεσβεύων ἀπαύστως ὑπὲρ πάντων ἡμῶν.
Arrayed with a most sacred life, thou wast adorned with the priestly vestment, O all-blessed and godly-minded Porphyrius; and thou art conspicuous for miracles of healing, interceding unceasingly for us all.
Saint Photine was the Samaritan Woman who encountered Christ our Saviour at Jacob's Well (John 4:1-42). Afterwards she laboured in the spread of the Gospel in various places, and finally received the crown of martyrdom in Rome with her two sons and five sisters, during the persecutions under the Emperor Nero.
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Θείῳ Πνεύματι, καταυγασθεῖσα, καὶ τοῖς νάμασι, καταρδευθεῖσα, παρὰ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Σωτῆρος, πανεύφημε, τῆς σωτηρίας τὸ ὔδωρ κατέπιες, καὶ τοῖς διψῶσιν ἀφθόνως μετέδωκας, Μεγαλομάρτυς καὶ Ἰσαπόστολε Φωτεινή, Χριστὸν τὸν Θεὸν ἰκέτευε, σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.
All illumined by the Holy Spirit, thou didst drink with great and ardent longing of the waters Christ Saviour gave unto thee; and with the streams of salvation wast thou refreshed, which thou abundantly gavest to those athirst. O Great Martyr and true peer of Apostles, Photine, entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Τῶν Μαρτύρων σήμερον, ἡ κορωνὶς καὶ τὸ κλέος, Φωτεινὴ ἡ ἔνδοξος, εἰς οὐρανοὺς ἀνελθοῦσα, ἄπαντας, συγκαλεῖται πρὸς ὐμνῳδίαν, ταύτης γάρ, τῶν χαρισμάτων ἀπολαβόντας· διὰ τοῦτο παρὰ πάντων, τιμαῖς αἰσίαις, ἀνευφημείσθω πίστεως.
Photine the glorious, the crown and glory of the Martyrs, hath this day ascended to the shining mansions of Heaven, and she calleth all together to sing her praises, that they might be recompensed with her hallowed graces. Let us all with faith and longing extol her gladly in hymns of triumph and joy.
Η Θεσσαλονίκη, είναι πατρίδα πολλών Αγίων, Μαρτύρων και Οσίων και Πατέρων της Εκκλησίας. Είναι η πατρίδα και του αγίου Πορφυρίου επισκόπου Γάζης, τον οποίον γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία. Ο άγιος Πορφύριος είναι από τους ανθρώπους εκείνους του Θεού, που αφήκαν και κοινωνική θέση και υλικό πλούτο και υπηρέτησαν σ'όλη τους τη ζωή με αφοσίωση τον Θεό και την Εκκλησία του. Σήμερα, αλήθεια, δύσκολα βρίσκονται άνθρωποι, έτοιμοι για θυσίες και πρόθυμοι ν' αφοσιωθούν ειλικρινά σε ιερά έργα. Ούτε την κοινωνική του θέση ούτε τον πλούτο του κανείς θυσιάζει ούτε τη ζωή του αφιερώνει για την υπεράσπιση της πίστεως και για την δόξα της Εκκλησίας. Κι όμως πιο μεγάλο έργο από τούτο δεν είναι που να κάμη ο άνθρωπος στον βίο του· να θεωρήση τα πάντα σκύβαλα "δια το περιβάλλον της γνώσεως του Χριστού" και να δοθή ολόκληρος στην διακονία της Εκκλησίας.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Πορφύριος ἐπίσκοπος Γάζης
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Θεσσαλονίκη. Μετὰ τὴν ἀξιόλογη κατάρτησή του στὰ περίφημα Μοναστήρια τῆς Αἰγύπτου καὶ τῆς Παλαιστίνης, χειροτονήθηκε Ἐπίσκοπος Γάζης. Τὸ ἔργο του, ὅμως, ἔβρισκε δυσκολίες ἀπὸ τὶς ἀντιδράσεις τῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν καὶ τῶν αἱρετικῶν, ποὺ χρησιμοποιοῦσαν ἐναντίον τῶν χριστιανῶν καὶ τὰ ὄργανα τῆς ἐξουσίας. Ὁ Πορφύριος, μὲ τὴν ἀποφασιστικότητα, ποὺ διέκρινε τοὺς μεγάλους ἐπισκόπους της ἐποχῆς ἐκείνης, ἄφησε μία μέρα τὴν Γάζα καὶ πῆγε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ἐκεῖ τὸν ὑποδέχτηκε ἐγκάρδια ὁ ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος, ποὺ ὑποστήριξε τὰ αἰτήματά του στὴ βασίλισσα Εὐδοξία καὶ τὸν Ἀρκάδιο. Ὁ Πορφύριος ἐπέστρεψε μὲ πλήρη ἐπιτυχία. Μὲ βασιλικὸ διάταγμα, περιώριζε τὴν εἰδωλολατρεία στὴ Γάζα καὶ διέλυε τὴν ἐπιῤῥοὴ τῶν αἱρετικῶν. Ἔφερε ἀκόμα καὶ δωρεὰ βασιλική, μὲ τὴν ὁποία ἀνήγειρε μεγάλη ἐκκλησία βυζαντινοῦ ῥυθμοῦ.
Ἡ Ἁγία Φωτεινή ἡ Σαμαρείτιδα, Μεγαλομάρτυς
Τὶς πρῶτες πληροφορίες γιὰ τὴν Ἁγία αὐτὴ βρίσκουμε στὸ Δ´ κεφάλαιο τοῦ κατὰ Ἰωάννην Εὐαγγελίου. Ἦταν κάτοικος τῆς Σαμαρειτικῆς πόλης Συχάρ. Κάθε μεσημέρι πήγαινε ἔξω ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη, στὸ πηγάδι τὸ λεγόμενο τοῦ Ἰακώβ, καὶ γέμιζε τὴν στάμνα της. Ἐκεῖ μία μέρα συνάντησε τὸν Ἰησοῦ, ποὺ φανέρωσε ὅλα τὰ ἰδιαίτερά της. Σ᾿ αὐτήν, ἐπίσης, εἶπε ὁ Κύριός μας τὴν μεγάλη ἀλήθεια, ὅτι Αὐτὸς εἶναι «τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν», δηλαδὴ ἡ ἀστείρευτη πηγὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος. Καὶ συνέχισε ὁ Κύριος: «Τὸ ὕδωρ ὃ δώσω αὐτῷ γενήσεται ἐν αὐτῷ πηγὴ ὕδατος ἁλλομένου εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον». Τὸ νερό, δηλαδή, ποὺ θὰ δώσω ἐγὼ στὸν ἄνθρωπο ποὺ πιστεύει, λέει ὁ Κύριος, θὰ μεταβληθεῖ μέσα του σὲ πηγὴ νεροῦ, ποὺ δὲ θὰ στερεύει. Ἀλλὰ θὰ ἀναβλύζει καὶ θὰ τρέχει πάντοτε, γιὰ νὰ τοῦ παρέχει ζωὴ αἰώνια. Αὐτὸ τὸ «ὕδωρ» ἔδωσε καὶ ὁ Κύριός μας στὴ Σαμαρείτιδα. Ἔτσι, ἀργότερα βαπτίστηκε χριστιανὴ μεταξὺ τῶν πρώτων γυναικῶν τῆς Σαμάρειας καὶ ὀνομάστηκε Φωτεινή. Ἀπὸ τότε (σύμφωνα μὲ τὴν παράδοση) ἀφιέρωσε τὸν ἑαυτό της στὴ διάδοση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου στὴν Ἀφρικὴ καὶ στὴ Ῥώμη. Ἐκεῖ ἔλαβε καὶ μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο ἀπὸ τὸν Νέρωνα, ὅταν αὐτὸς ἔμαθε ὅτι ἡ Φωτεινὴ ἔκανε χριστιανὲς τὴν θυγατέρα του Δομνίνα καὶ μερικὲς δοῦλες της. Συγχρόνως μὲ τὴν Φωτεινή, θανατώνονται καὶ οἱ δυὸ γιοί της καὶ οἱ πέντε ἀδελφές της.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόκλητος «ὁ φαρμακός»
Ἡ μνήμη του σημειώνεται στὸν Κώδικα τῶν Παρισίων 1578. Δὲν ἔχουμε βιογραφικά του στοιχεῖα, ἀλλὰ ὁ Σωφρόνιος Εὐστρατιάδης στὸ Ἁγιολόγιό του ὑποθέτει, ὅτι ἴσως εἶναι ὁ μάγος ποὺ ἔδωσε στὴν Ἁγία Φωτεινὴ τὸ δηλητήριο καὶ πίστεψε στὸ Χριστὸ καὶ στὴ συνέχεια ἀποκεφαλίστηκε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Κάλφας, νεομάρτυρας
Γεννήθηκε καὶ ἀνατράφηκε στὸν Γαλατᾶ. Ἐργαζόταν σὰν λεπτουργὸς κάλφας στὸ παλάτι τοῦ σουλτάνου καὶ συγχρόνως πρόσφερε τὶς ὑπηρεσίες του καὶ σ᾿ ἄλλους ἐπίσημους Τούρκους. Κάποτε προσέλαβε στὴν ὑπηρεσία του κάποιο τουρκόπουλο, ἀνεψιὸ ἑνὸς Ἀγὰ ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀνατολή, γιὰ νὰ τοῦ μάθει τὴν τέχνη. Σὲ κάποια συζήτηση ποὺ εἶχε μαζί του, ὁ Ἰωάννης ἐκφράστηκε ὄχι καλὰ γιὰ τὴν μουσουλμανικὴ θρησκεία καὶ συγχρόνως ἐξῆρε τὴν χριστιανικὴ θρησκεία. Τὸ τουρκόπουλο πρόδωσε τὸ ἀφεντικό του, ὅτι τοῦ ἔκανε προσηλυτισμό. Ὁπότε ὁ Ἰωάννης συνελήφθη καὶ ὁδηγήθηκε δερόμενος στὸν κριτή, κατηγορούμενος γιὰ ἐξύβριση τῆς μουσουλμανικῆς θρησκείας. Τότε ἀνελέητα μαστιγώθηκε καὶ ῥίχτηκε στὴ φυλακή. Παρὰ τὶς ἐπίμονες προσπάθειες τῶν Τούρκων ὁ Ἰωάννης ὁμολογοῦσε σταθερὰ τὸν Χριστό. Μὲ διαταγὴ τοῦ Βεζίρη παραδόθηκε μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ βασανιστήρια στὸν ἔπαρχο, ὁ ὁποῖος καὶ τὸν ὁδήγησε στὸν τόπο τῆς ἐκτέλεσης κοντὰ στὸ Δημοπρατήριο, ὅπου καὶ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε στὶς 26 Φεβρουαρίου 1575, ἡμέρα Κυριακή.
Οἱ Ἁγίες Ἀνατολή, Φωτώ, Παρασκευή, Κυριακὴ καὶ Φωτίδα
Ἦταν ἀδελφὲς τῆς Ἁγίας Φωτεινῆς καὶ οἱ μὲν τέσσερις πρῶτες μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους, τὴν δὲ πέμπτη ξέσχισαν ἀφοῦ τὴν ἔδεσαν σὲ δυὸ δένδρα.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Φωτεινός, Ἰωσής, Σεβαστιανὸς ὁ δούκας, Βίκτωρ καὶ Χριστόδουλος
Οἱ δυὸ πρῶτοι ἦταν γιοὶ τῆς Ἁγίας Φωτεινῆς. Ὅλοι μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.
St Porphyrius, bishop of Gaza (420)
He was born to a wealthy, noble family in Thessalonica around 347. Filled more and more with a yearning for God, he abandoned his worldly possessions and traveled to Egypt, living for five years as a monk at Sketis. From there he went to Palestine, where he lived for another five years in a cave in the Jordan desert. Suffering from a severe ailment, he was forced to move to Jerusalem; there he was suddenly and completely cured following a vision on Golgotha, in which he saw the Good Thief come down from the cross to lead him to Christ, who gave the Cross into his keeping.
emsp; Porphyrius took up the trade of a shoemaker in Jerusalem to provide for his few needs. His humility and charity became so well-known that the Bishop of Jerusalem ordained him to the priesthood at the age of forty-five, and made him Stavrophylax, keeper of the True Cross of the Savior — thus fulfilling Porphyrius' vision on Golgatha. Three years later, much against his will, he was elected Bishop of Gaza.
emsp; Throughout his episcopate he was persecuted by the pagans who still dominated the life of that city — though he was able to convert many of them by his own example of holiness, and by the many miracles that were wrought through his intercessions. Once, when the city was suffering from a long drought, the Saint gathered the city's Christians (who numbered no more than 280), told them to fast, and celebrated an all-night vigil. The next morning, as the Bishop and his entire flock went in procession through the city it began to rain. At this, 127 pagans were converted. When the pagans' violent attacks continued, Porphyrius appealed to the Emperor Arcadius for an edict closing of the pagan temples in Gaza. With the support of St John Chrysostom the edict was issued. When the Imperial representatives entered Gaza, accompanied by Bishop Porphyrius bearing the Cross, the statue of Aphrodite in the city's main temple shattered into pieces. Eight temples were destroyed, and a Church was built on the site of the largest. Hundreds of pagans embraced the Faith and, after instruction, were baptized by the Saint.
After twenty-five years as bishop, during which he had seen his see transformed from a small flock of beleaguered Christians into a Christian territory, Saint Porphyrius reposed in peace in 420.
St Photine the Samaritan Woman, and those with her (66)
She was the Samaritan Woman who met Christ at Jacob's Well (John ch. 4). She repented, and told her townsmen that she had met the Christ, for which she is sometimes called the first to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. She converted her four sisters (Phota, Photis,Parasceva, and Cyriaca), and her sons (Victor and Joses), and all of them became tireless evangelists for Christ. After the martyrdom of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, she traveled to Carthage to proclaim the Gospel there. She, with her Christian sisters and sons, all met martyrdom under the persecutions of Nero. She is also commemorated on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman during the Paschal season.
Sainted Porphyrios, Archbishop of Gaza, was born in about the year 346 at Thessalonika in Macedonia. His parents were people of substance, and this allowed Saint Porphyrios to receive a fine education. Having the inclination for monastic life, at twelve years of age he left his native region and set off to Egypt, where he asceticised in the Nitreian desert under the guidance of the Monk Makarios the Great (Comm. 19 January). There also he met Blessed Jerome (Comm. 15 June), who was then visiting the Egyptian monasteries; he set off with him to Jerusalem on pilgrimage to the holy places and to reverence the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord (Comm. 14 September), after which he resettled into the Jordanian wilderness for prayer and ascetic deeds. There Saint Porphyrios fell under a serious malady. For healing he decided to go to the holy places of Jerusalem. One time, when fully paralysed he lay half-conscious at the foot of Golgotha, the Lord sent His servant into a salvific sleep-vision. Saint Porphyrios beheld Jesus Christ, descending with the Cross and turning to him with the words: "Take this Wood and preserve it". Awakening, he sensed himself healthy. The words of the Saviour were soon fulfilled: the Patriarch of Jerusalem ordained Saint Porphyrios to the priestly dignity and appointed him curator of the Venerable Wood of the Cross of the Lord. And it was during this time that Saint Porphyrios received his portion of an inheritance from his parents -- 4 thousand gold coins. All this he gave away to the needy and for the embellishing of the churches of God.
In 395 the bishop of the city of Gaza (in Palestine) died. The local Christians set out to Caesarea to the Metropolitan John with a request to provide them a new bishop, who would be able to contend against the pagans, which were predominant in their city and were harassing the Christians there. The Lord inspired the Metropolitan to summon the Jerusalem presbyter Porphyrios. With fear and trembling the ascetic accepted the dignity of bishop, and with tears he prostrated himself before the Life-Creating Wood and then set off to fulfill his new obedience.
In Gaza he found all of only three Christian churches, but of the pagan temples and idols -- there were a great many. During this time there had occurred a long spell without rain, causing a severe drought. The pagan-priests brought offerings to their idols, but the woes did not cease. Saint Porphyrios imposed a fast for all the Christians; he then made the all-night vigil, followed by going round all the city in a church procession. Immediately the sky covered over with storm clouds, thunder boomed, and abundant rains poured down. Seeing this miracle, many a pagan cried out: "Christ is indeed the One True God!" As a result of this, there came to be united to the Church through Holy Baptism 127 men, 35 women and 14 children, and soon after this, another 110 men.
But the pagans just like before still harassed the Christians, passed them over for public office, and burdened them down with taxes. Saint Porphyrios and the Metropolitan of Caesarea John set off to Constantinople, to seek redress from the emperor. Saint John Chrysostom (Comm. 14 September, 27 and 30 January) received them and rendered them active assistance.
Saints John and Porphyrios were presented to the empress Eudoxia who at that time was expecting a child. "Intercede for us, -- said the bishops to the empress, -- and the Lord will send thee a son, who shalt reign during thine lifetime". Eudoxia very much wanted a son, since she had given birth only to daughters. And actually through the prayer of the saints an heir was born to the imperial family... In consequence of this, the emperor in the year 401 issued an edict directing the destruction of the pagan temples in Gaza and the restoration of privileges to Christians. Moreover, the emperor bestowed on the saints the means for the construction of a new church, which was to be built in Gaza on the locale of the chief pagan-temple there.
Saint Porphyrios to the very end of his life upheld Christianity in Gaza and guarded well his flock from the vexatious pagans. Through the prayers of the saint there occurred numerous miracles and healings. Over the course of 25 years the archpastor guided veritable flock and reposed at an advanced age, in the year 420.
The Monk Sevastian (Sebastian) of Poshekhonsk: the account about him is located under 18 December.
The Holy Martyrs Sebastian and Christodoulos died by the sword under Nero (54-68). They were companions of the holy Martyress Photinia (Comm. 20 March).
The Holy Martyr John Kalphes (Architect) lived in a suburb of Constantinople, called Galata. By profession he was an architect and in his craft he had acquired great mastery, such that important officials made use of his services. He was entrusted with the inner adornment of the sultan's palace.
Saint John Kalphes was distinguished for his Christian charity, he concerned himself over orphans and about those locked up in prison, and many turned to him for help. One time a certain dignitary asked Saint John to take on his nephew as an apprentice. He agreed, and the youth upon completion of his apprenticeship received honourable position at court. And one time, encountering his former teacher and benefactor, he began to question Saint John, what it says in the Christian books about the "prophet" Mahomet. Saint John did not want to answer his question, but in light of the persistent demands of the youth, he declared the falseness of Mahometanism. The youth, devoted to Islam, reported to his co-religionists, that the architect had insulted Mahomet. They brought Saint John to trial, where they demanded that he renounce Christ, but he bravely confessed his Orthodox faith. After torture, they sent the holy martyr off to penal servitude, where he spent 6 months. Then, over the course of the next three months they beat him in the prison and finally, on 26 February 1575, they beheaded him in the crowded city-square in Ergat-Bazara, near Bezstan. The suffering of the holy Martyr John Kalphes were recorded by a steward of the Constantinople Patriarch, Andrew, who communed him with the Holy Mysteries in prison.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. SAINT PORPHYRIUS, BISHOP OF GAZA
This great Arch-shepherd was born of wealthy parents in Thessalonica. From his youth, until age twenty-five, Porphyrius remained in Thessalonica, the town of his birth. After that, he took leave of his parents and worldly life and withdrew to the wilderness of Egypt. Under the guidance of an experienced spiritual father, the young Porphyrius was tonsured a monk and remained there for five years. He then visited the Holy Land in the company of the monk Mark, his faithful companion. In the proximity of Jerusalem, he lived an ascetical life in a cave, again for five years. But then the legs of Porphyrius became weak and he was unable to walk. Nevertheless, crawling on his knees, he continually attended the Divine Services of God. One night, our Lord appeared to him of a vision and cured him of the infirmity in his legs and he became completely whole. When he was elected Bishop of Gaza, Porphyrius accepted this obligation with a heavy heart. In Gaza, he found only two-hundred eighty Christians. All other inhabitants were very fanatical idolaters. Only by his great faith and patience did Porphyrius succeed to convert the inhabitants of Gaza to the Faith of Christ. He personally traveled to Constantinople to see Emperor Arcadius and Patriarch John Chrysostom to seek their support in this unequal struggle with the idolaters. He received the desired support. The idolatrous temples were closed and the idols destroyed and he built a beautiful church with thirty marble columns. Empress Eudoxia especially assisted in the building of this church. Porphyrius lived long enough to see the entire town of Gaza converted to the Christian Faith, but only after his many efforts, sufferings and prayerful tears to god. He died peacefully in the year 421 A.D. He was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his death. Even today, his relics repose in Gaza.
2. THE HOLY MARTYR JOHN, THE BUILDER [KALPHA]
This saint was born in Galata in Constantinople. By occupation he was an architect, a builder [Kalpha: builder in Greek]. Because of his ardent confession of the Christian Faith, John offended the Turks and they began to pressure him to become a Muslim. “I will not deny my Sweet Jesus Christ,” John bravely replied. “In Him I believe; Him I serve; Him, I confess.” Following grave tortures, the Turks beheaded him on February 26, 1575 A.D. in Constantinople. He suffered honorably for his beloved Christ and took up habitation in the mansions of the Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT PORPHYRIUS THE PARALYTIC
The monk Mark asks Porphyrius:
You were paralytic, holy father,
On your knees, to church you crawled,
My hand in yours, you held
Yesterday thus and today otherwise!
At night you were ill, behold healthy you dawned
So suddenly, who healed you?
Of the rare physician, tell me the name-
To Mark, Porphyrius replied:
My Healer, my Creator is,
Last night on Golgotha, I fell asleep
By severe pain, completely overpowered,
As though in person, I saw clearly in a dream
On the Cross, my Lord hanging,
And on the other cross, the thief.
As I saw, so I cried out!
O God and Lord, remember me,
In Your kingdom, remember me!
The Good Lord, to the thief said:
Go down and his body heal,
As your soul, I healed.
Quickly the thief, the cross descended,
Embraced me, kissed me, and raised me up:
Saying: To our Savior, draw near!
At that moment, the Lord also descended the Cross,
Lifted the Cross and, on me He placed it.
Receive the holy wood, He said,
And for the sake of eternal salvation, carry it.
As soon as I, with my hands, grabbed the Cross,
Immediately stood and was immediately made whole.
To God my Creator, glory be,
To Christ my Savior, glory be!
St. John Chrysostom writes thusly against those who, in church create a disturbance in church and who depart from church before the completion of the Divine Liturgical Service of God. “Some do not approach Holy Communion with trembling but with commotion, shoving one another, burning with anger, hollering, scolding, pushing their neighbor, full of disturbance. About this, I have often spoken and will not cease to speak about this. Do you not see the order of behavior at the pagan Olympic games when the Arranger passes through the arena with a wreath on his head, dressed in a lengthy garment, holding a staff in his hand and the Crier declares that there be silence and order? Is it not obscene that there, where the devil reigns there is such silence, and here where Christ invites us to Himself there is such an uproar. At the arena, silence: and in church, uproar! On the sea, calm and in the harbor, tempest! When you are invited to a meal, you must not leave before the others, even though you are satisfied before the others, and here while the awesome mystery of Christ is being celebrated, while the priestly functions are still continuing, you leave in the middle of it and exit? How can this be forgiven? How can this be justified? Judas, after receiving Communion at the Last Supper [Mystical Supper] that final night, departed quickly while the others remained at the table. Behold, whose example do they follow who hurry to depart before the final thanksgiving? (Homily on the Feast of the Epiphany).
To contemplate the Lord Jesus in the boat with His disciples: “And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves. But He was asleep” (St. Matthew 8:24).
1. How a tempest arose while the Lord slept;
2. How the frightened disciples awakened Him and sought His help;
3. How the Lord rebuked the disciples because of little faith and calmed the sea and the winds;
4. How I need not be afraid of any tempest in life if I keep the Lord in my heart as on the stern of the boat. (the body – the boat – the heart – the stern).
About internal charity
“But rather give almsof such things as youhave; then indeed all things are cleanto you” (St. Luke 11:41).
External cleanliness becomes a man. But that is a lesser cleanliness. Internal cleanliness is incomparably more important than external cleanliness. That is greater cleanliness. A dish can serve more usefully only if it is washed and clean on the inside even though the outside is dark and ashy. If a glass is dirty on the inside, its external cleanliness will never attract anyone to drink from it. If a bowl is dark and ashy on the outside who will dare to eat from it? There are many more teachers in the world and many examples of external rather than internal cleanliness. For it is easier to teach and show by example external cleanliness rather than internal cleanliness.
Behold brethren, how the Teacher and Model of great cleanliness, places this great cleanliness on the dependence of internal alms-giving. Alms-giving, which is performed from the heart, purifies the soul of man. Alms-giving, which is performed from the heart, cleanses the heart of man. Alms-giving, which is performed from the soul, cleanses a man's soul. Alms-giving, which is performed from his entire mind, cleanses the mind of a man. In a word, internal alms-giving cleanses the entire man. If alms-giving is only from a hand, it does not cleanse the hand much less the heart, soul and mind. Alms-giving from the hand is indispensable but it cleanses the giver only then, when the heart moves the hand to alms-giving. Besides alms-giving from the hand, there exist other types of alms-giving. Prayer for people is internal alms-giving and, likewise, sorrow for human pains, and joy in the joy of others. That is alms-giving, which proceeds from the heart and creates cleanliness in the heart, the soul and the mind.
O, All-Pure Lord, help us that, with true alms-giving we acquire great cleanliness.