FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Hesychius the Martyr
Our Holy Father Nicholas Planas
Andronikos & Athanasia the Martyrs
Theodotos the Holy Martyr, Bishop of Cyrenia
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ἠσυχίου τοῦ Συγκλητικοῦ καί τῶν Ὁσίων Πατέρων ἡμῶν Νικολάου τοῦ Πλανᾶ καί Ἰωακείμ Βατοπαιδινοῦ, τοῦ ἐπονομαζομένου «Παπουλάκη».
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy 6:11-16
Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 2.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous.
Verse: Blessed are they whose transgressions have been forgiven.
Timothy, my son, aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, and King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
Πρὸς Τιμόθεον α' 6:11-16
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος πλ β΄.
Εὐφράνθητι ἐπὶ Κύριον, καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε δίκαιοι.
Στίχ. Μακάριοι, ὧν ἀφέθησαν αἱ ἀνομίαι.
Τέκνον Τιμόθεε, δίωκε δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, ἀγάπην, ὑπομονήν, πρᾳότητα. Ἀγωνίζου τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς πίστεως, ἐπιλαβοῦ τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς, εἰς ἣν ἐκλήθης, καὶ ὡμολόγησας τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν ἐνώπιον πολλῶν μαρτύρων. Παραγγέλλω σοι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζωοποιοῦντος τὰ πάντα, καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μαρτυρήσαντος ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν, τηρῆσαί σε τὴν ἐντολὴν ἄσπιλον, ἀνεπίληπτον, μέχρι τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἣν καιροῖς ἰδίοις δείξει ὁ μακάριος καὶ μόνος δυνάστης, ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλευόντων, καὶ κύριος τῶν κυριευόντων, ὁ μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν, φῶς οἰκῶν ἀπρόσιτον, ὃν εἶδεν οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων, οὐδὲ ἰδεῖν δύναται· ᾧ τιμὴ καὶ κράτος αἰώνιον. Ἀμήν.
The Gospel of Luke 20:46-47; 21:1-4
The Lord said to his disciples, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and love salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation." He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had." Having said this, he proclaimed, "He who has ears let him hear."
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 20.46-47, 21.1
Εἶπεν ὁ Κὐριος τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων τῶν θελόντων περιπατεῖν ἐν στολαῖς καὶ φιλούντων ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις,οἳ κατεσθίουσι τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσεύχονται· οὗτοι λήψονται περισσότερον κρῖμα. Ἀναβλέψας δὲ εἶδε τοὺς βάλλοντας τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον πλουσίους· εἶδε δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ δύο λεπτά, καὶ εἶπεν· ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα ἡ πτωχὴ αὕτη πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν· ἅπαντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα τοῦ Θεοῦ, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς ἅπαντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλε.
- See more at: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/lectionary_view?type=gospel&event=1024&code=278&language=el&date=3/2/2013#sthash.uH96sp9X.dpuf
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Β' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Ἡσυχίου τοῦ Συγκλητικοῦ.
Ποταμὸν Ἡσύχιος ὑδάτων ἔδυ,
Ὅπως ποταμὸν τοῦ πυρὸς διεκφύγῃ.
Δευτερίῃ προσέβη Ἡσύχιος ἐν πόλου ὅρμοις.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Θεοδότου, Ἐπισκόπου Κυρηνίας τῆς Κύπρου.
Ἄθλου πέπλησαι, Θεόδοτε, στιγμάτων,
Εἰ καὶ μὲτ εἰρήνης σε Χριστὸς λαμβάνει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Κοΐντου τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Νέστορος καὶ Τριβιμίου.
Ὁ τράχηλον Νέστορος πλήξας τῷ ξίφει,
Πληγὴν ὁμοίαν ἐντρίβει Τριβιμίῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Τρῳαδίου καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ μαρτυρησάντων ἐπὶ Δεκίου Βασιλέως.
Μὴ μέλλε, Τρῳὰδιε, θνῄσκειν ἐκ ξίφους,
Μὴ μέλλε, καὶ μέλλησιν οὐχ ἕξει στέφος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ Ἁγία Παρθένος Εὐθαλία ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Υἱὸν φιλοῦσα Μητροπαρθένου Κόρης,
Τομὴν ὑπέστη καλλιπάρθενος Κόρη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Ἀνδρόνικος καὶ Ἀθανασία ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Ἀθανασία συνθανόντα τῇ πάνυ,
Πεπείσμεθα ζῆν Ἀνδρόνικον τὸν πάνυ.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Holy martyr Hesychius lived during the reign of king Maximian in 302. He was the first and the leader in the royal palace and the Senate, because he was magistrianus by office. When Maximian ordered that all Christians who were royal soldiers ought to be deprived of their belts (which were a sign of their royal merit) and live as civilians and without honour, many Christians preferred to live without any outward honour due to this illegal order than to be honoured and lose their soul. St. Hesychius was numbered with these Christians as well. When the king heard this, he ordered that the saint ought to be stripped of the expensive clothes, which he used to wear, and be dressed with a shabby mantle without sleeves woven from hair and to be as disgraced and disdained as to consort with women.
When this had been carried out, the king invited him and asked him: "Aren't you ashamed, Hesychius, that you lost the honour and office of magistrianus and that you have been debased to this kind of life? Or maybe you don't know that the Christians, whose way of life you preferred, have no power to restore you to your previous great honour and office?" The saint replied: "Your honour, o king, is temporary but the honour and glory which Christ gives is eternal and without end." Because of these words the king got angry and ordered his men to tie a great millstone around the saint's neck and then to throw him in the middle of river Orontus, which lies in Coele Syria and which is commonly called Oronge. Thus, the blessed man received the crown of martyrdom from the Lord.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ο Μάρτυς σου Κύριε, έν τή αθλήσει αυτού, τό στέφος εκομίσατο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, έχων γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλεν, έθραυσε καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση, αυτού ταίς ικεσίαις Χριστέ, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
When thou didst follow in the steps of the Martyrs, thou didst ascend unto the height of divine love, which made thee Godlike, O most wise Hesychius; when thou didst forsake the court of a king that was earthly, thou wast honoured in the courts of the King of the Angels; and cast into the river, thou didst find the living water of true and eternal life.
- See more at: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=447&type=saints#sthash.zzBqAavq.dpuf
Χαρακτηριστικό και πρώτο γνώρισμα των αληθινών χριστιανών είναι να μην αγαπούν τις τιμές και την δόξαν του κόσμου. Γιατί, αλήθεια, πιο μάταιο και πιο πρόσκαιρο πράγμα από την εγκόσμια δόξα κι από τις τιμές των ανθρώπων δεν υπάρχει. Και πιο μόνιμο πάλι κι αμετάθετο από το θέλημα του Θεού δεν είναι. "Ο κόσμος παράγεται και η επιθυμία αυτού, ο δε ποιών το θέλημα του Θεού μένει εις τον αιώνα", γράφει ο Ευαγγελιστής Ιωάννης. Όχι μόνο η πίστη στο λόγο του Θεού, μα και η καθημερινή πείρα μας πείθουν πως τίποτα δεν είναι μόνιμο στον κόσμο και πιο πολύ οι τιμές και η δόξα. Το γνωρίζουν αυτό καλά όλοι οι Άγιοι, οι Όσιοι και οι Μάρτυρες, γι' αυτό και θεωρούν "σκύβαλα" και θυσιάζουν τα πάντα, και τις ανθρώπινες τιμές και την εγκόσμια δόξα, για την αγάπη του Θεού. Ένας απ' αυτούς είναι κι ο άγιος Μάρτυς Ησύχιος, του οποίου την μνήμη γιορτάζομε σήμερα.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἡσύχιος ὁ Συγκλητικός
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια του Γαλερίου Μαξιμιανοῦ, στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ Δ´ αἰῶνα μ.Χ., καὶ κατεῖχε τὸ ἀξίωμα τοῦ Συγκλητικοῦ. Ὅταν κηρύχθηκε ὁ διωγμὸς ἐνάντια στοὺς χριστιανούς, τοῦ προτείνεται νὰ σώσει τὴν ζωή του καὶ τὶς τιμές του, ἀρνούμενος τὴν πίστη του. Ὁ Ἡσύχιος μὲ θάρρος καὶ ἠρεμία ἐμμένει στὴν ὁμολογία τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὁ Μαξιμιανός, ἀφοῦ δὲν μπόρεσε νὰ τὸν μεταπείσει μὲ συμβουλές, ὑποσχέσεις καὶ ἀπειλές, ἀφαιρεῖ τὰ τιμητικά του σύμβολα καὶ τὸν γελοιοποιεῖ μπροστὰ σ᾿ ὅλους τοὺς ἀξιωματούχους. Ὁ Ἡσύχιος ἀτάραχος, ἀπάντᾳ μὲ τὰ λόγια τοῦ Κυρίου: «Δόξαν παρὰ ἀνθρώπων οὐ λαμβάνω». Δηλαδή, δόξα ἀπὸ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους δὲν ἐπιδιώκω νὰ πάρω. Ἐξοργισμένος ὁ Μαξιμιανός, διέταξε τὸ θάνατό του. Τότε μία στρατιωτικὴ συνοδεία τὸν ὁδήγησε στὸν ποταμὸ Ὀρόντη. Ἀφοῦ τοῦ ἔδεσαν μεγάλη πέτρα στὸ λαιμό, τὸν ἔριξαν στὸ πιὸ βαθὺ μέρος. Ἔτσι παρέδωκε τὸ πνεῦμα του στὸ Θεὸ τῆς δόξης, γιὰ νὰ τὸν δοξάσει καὶ Αὐτὸς στὴ μέλλουσα κρίση. Ἀλλὰ ἔδειξε καὶ σ᾿ ὅλους ἐμᾶς δυὸ μεγάλες ἀρετές, τὴν καταφρόνηση τῆς κοσμικῆς δόξας καὶ τὴν θυσία τῆς ζωῆς.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόδοτος ἐπίσκοπος Κυρήνειας Κύπρου Ὁμολογητὴς καὶ Ἱερομάρτυρας
Ἔζησε στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ 4ου μ.Χ. αἰῶνα, ὅταν ἡ εἰδωλολατρία κινδύνευε νὰ ἐκπνεύσει. Καὶ ζητοῦσε, ὅπως τὰ θανάσιμα πληγωμένα θηρία, νὰ πέσει μὲ ὅσες δυνάμεις τῆς ἀπέμειναν, νὰ ἐξοντώσει τὴν Ἐκκλησία. Ὁ ἅγιος Θεόδοτος, ἐπίσκοπος στὴν Κυρήνεια τῆς Κύπρου, μὲ τὸ μεγάλο ζῆλο του ὑπὲρ τῆς χριστιανικῆς πίστης καὶ γιὰ τὶς κατακτήσεις ποὺ ἐπιτύγχανε μέσα στὸν εἰδωλολατρικὸ κόσμο, προκάλεσε τὴν ὀργὴ τοῦ ἡγεμόνα Σαβίνου. Ἀφοῦ τὸν συνέλαβε, προσπάθησε νὰ τὸν πείσει ν᾿ ἀρνηθεῖ τὴν πίστη του στὸ Χριστό. Ὁ Θεόδοτος ὄχι μόνο δὲν ἀρνήθηκε τὴν πίστη του, ἀλλὰ καὶ μίλησε θαρραλέα στὸν ἡγεμόνα κατὰ τῆς εἰδωλολατρικῆς πλάνης καὶ τὸν ἐξόρκισε ν᾿ ἀρνηθεῖ τοὺς ψεύτικους θεούς. Τότε ὁ Σαβίνος τὸν βασάνισε σκληρά, ἀλλὰ μπροστὰ στὴν ἐξέγερση τοῦ χριστιανικοῦ πληθυσμοῦ, φοβήθηκε καὶ διέταξε νὰ μεταφερθεῖ ὁ καταπληγωμένος Ἱεράρχης στὴ φυλακή. Ἀλλὰ καὶ στὴ φυλακὴ ὁ Θεόδοτος δὲν ἐγκατέλειψε τὸ ἔργο του. Βρῆκε ἀνθρώπους, ὅπου τοὺς μετέδωσε τὴν ἀλήθεια καὶ ἔτσι ἔκανε μέσα στὴ φυλακὴ ἕνα μικρὸ ποίμνιο. Ἀργότερα, ἐπὶ Μεγάλου Κων/νου ἐλευθερώθηκε καὶ συνέχισε μὲ περισσότερο ζῆλο τὸ ἔργο του. Μετὰ δυὸ χρόνια ὅμως πέθανε, ἀφοῦ ἄφησε ἀλησμόνητο ὑπόδειγμα σὲ κλῆρο καὶ λαό. (Ἡ μνήμη του - ἀπὸ ὁρισμένους Συναξαριστὲς - περιττῶς ἐπαναλαμβάνεται τὴν 17η καὶ τὴν 19η Ἰανουαρίου).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Κόϊντος Ὁμολογητὴς καὶ Θαυματουργός
Ἔζησε τὸν 3ο αἰῶνα μ.Χ. στὰ χρόνια του αὐτοκράτορα Λευκτίου Αὐρηλιανοῦ τοῦ Σιδηρόχειρα, καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Φρυγία. Εἰδωλολάτρης πρίν, ἀλλὰ μὲ ἀγάπη πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθεια καὶ πόθο πρὸς τὴν ἀρετή, δὲν δυσκολεύτηκε νὰ ἀσπασθεῖ τὴν χριστιανικὴ πίστη, ὅταν ἄκουσε τὴν διδασκαλία της καὶ εἶδε τὶς ἀρετὲς τῶν πιστῶν της. Κάποτε λοιπόν, πῆγε σὲ κάποιο χωριό, τὴν Αἰολίδα, καὶ μοίραζε ἐλεημοσύνη στοὺς φτωχούς. Ὁ δὲ ἡγεμόνας Ῥοῦφος, τὸν συνέλαβε, καὶ ὅταν τόν διέταξε νὰ θυσιάσει στὰ εἴδωλα ἀμέσως κατέλαβε τὸν ἡγεμόνα δαιμόνιο. Τότε ὁ Ἅγιος, παρακάλεσε τὸν Θεὸ καὶ ὁ ἡγεμόνας ἐλευθερώθηκε ἀπὸ τὸ δαιμόνιο. Ὁ δὲ Ῥοῦφος, ὄχι μόνο ἄφησε ἐλεύθερο τὸν Κόϊντο, ἀλλὰ τοῦ ἔδωσε καὶ πολλὰ δῶρα γιὰ τὸ εὐεργέτημα ποὺ τοῦ ἔκανε. Κατόπιν πῆγε σὲ μία ἄλλη πόλη, τὴν Κύμη, ὅπου μὲ τὴν βία οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες τὸν εἰσήγαγαν σὲ εἰδωλολατρικὸ ναὸ προκειμένου νὰ θυσιάσει στὰ εἴδωλα. Καὶ ἐπειδὴ διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς τοῦ Ἁγίου ἔγινε σεισμὸς καὶ γκρεμίστηκε ὁ ναὸς τῶν εἰδώλων, ἔντρομοι οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες ἄφησαν ἐλεύθερο τὸν Ἅγιο. Μετὰ 40 μέρες, συνέλαβε τὸν Ἅγιο ὁ ἄρχοντας Κλέαρχος, ποὺ ἦταν φανατικὸς εἰδωλολάτρης καὶ διέταξε νὰ συντρίψουν τὰ σκέλη τοῦ Μάρτυρα. Ὅταν δὲ ἔγινε αὐτό, ἀμέσως αὐτὰ ἔγιναν σῶα καὶ ὑγιῆ, μὲ τὴν δύναμη τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Μετὰ ἀπὸ αὐτὰ ὁ Κόϊντος πήγαινε σὲ διάφορες πόλεις καὶ χωριά, γιὰ 10 ὁλόκληρα χρόνια καὶ γιάτρευε κάθε ἀσθένεια καὶ βοηθοῦσε τοὺς φτωχούς. Ἔτσι, μὲ τέτοια θαύματα καὶ θεάρεστα ἔργα ποὺ ἔπραξε, παρέδωσε τὴν μακάρια ψυχή του στὸν Κύριο. (Ἡ μνήμη του περιττῶς ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 2α Ἰουλίου).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Νέστορας καὶ Τριβίμιος (ἢ Τριβιμίνος)
Κατάγονταν ἀπὸ τὴν Πέργη τῆς Παμφυλίας. Στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Δεκίου (249-251) καταγγέλθηκαν ὅτι ἦταν χριστιανοὶ καὶ μαστιγώθηκαν σκληρὰ μὲ μαστίγια ἀπὸ νεῦρα βοδιοῦ. Ἔπειτα τοὺς κρέμασαν καὶ τοὺς ἔσχισαν μέχρι τὰ σπλάχνα. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως ἔμειναν ἀμετακίνητοι στὴν πίστη τους, ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν καὶ ἔτσι πῆραν τὰ στεφάνια τοῦ μαρτυρίου. (Πολὺ πιθανό, ὁ Ἅγιος Νέστορας, νὰ εἶναι ὁ ἴδιος με αὐτὸν τῆς 28ης Φεβρουαρίου, διότι οἱ βιογραφίες τους συμπίπτουν).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Τρωάδιος καὶ οἱ μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτὸν μαρτυρήσαντες
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Δεκίου (249-251).
Ἡ Ἁγία Εὐθαλία ἡ Παρθενομάρτυς
Ἡ Ἅγια Εὐθαλία ζοῦσε στὴ Σικελία καὶ εἶχε μητέρα αἱμορροοῦσα, ποὺ ὀνομαζόταν καὶ αὐτὴ Εὐθαλία. Κάποτε λοιπὸν ἡ μητέρα της, εἶδε στὸ ὄνειρό της τοὺς Ἁγίους Μάρτυρες Ἀλφειό, Φιλάδελφο καὶ Κυπρῖνο, ποὺ τὴν μνήμη τους γιορτάζουμε στὶς 10 Μαΐου, οἱ ὁποίοι τῆς εἶπαν: «Ἂν πιστέψεις στὸν Χριστὸ καὶ βαπτισθεῖς, θὰ γιατρευτεῖς καὶ θὰ σωθεῖς. Ἂν ὅμως ὄχι, τότε φύγε μακριά μας». Ὅταν ξύπνησε ἡ μητέρα Εὐθαλία πείστηκε απὸ τὰ λόγια τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων. Ἔτσι, μαζὶ μὲ τὴν θυγατέρα της Εὐθαλία, πίστεψαν στὸν Χριστὸ καὶ βαπτίσθηκαν. Ὑπῆρχε ὅμως καὶ ὁ γιός της Σερμιλιανός, ὁ ὁποῖος κόντεψε νὰ τὴν πνίξει, μόλις ἔμαθε ὅτι ἡ μητέρα του ἔγινε χριστιανή. Γλύτωσε τὸ βέβαιο θάνατο, μὲ τὴν βοήθεια κάποιας ὑπηρέτριας καὶ ἔφυγε. Ἡ δὲ θυγατέρα της, ἡ Ἁγία Εὐθαλία, ἔκανε δριμύτατη παρατήρηση στὸν ἀδελφό της, ποὺ θέλησε νὰ σκοτώσει τὴν μητέρα τους. Αὐτὸς δὲ τῆς εἶπε: «Μήπως καὶ σὺ εἶσαι Χριστιανή;». Ἡ Ἁγία ἀποκρίθηκε: «Ναί, Χριστιανὴ εἶμαι καὶ γιὰ τὸν Χριστὸ εἶμαι ἕτοιμη νὰ πεθάνω πρόθυμα». Τότε ὁ αἰσχρὸς ἀδελφός της, ἀφοῦ τὴν ἔδειρε δυνατά, ἔπειτα τὴν παρέδωσε σ᾿ ἕναν δοῦλο του νὰ τὴν βιάσει. Προσευχομένη τότε ἡ Ἁγία τύφλωσε τὸν δοῦλο. Ὁ δὲ ἀδελφός της μόλις εἶδε τὸ γεγονός, σὰν ἄλλος Κάϊν, ἀποκεφάλισε τὴν ἀδελφή του καὶ ἔτσι ἡ μακαρία πῆρε τὸ ἀμάραντο στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου. (Σὲ κάποιον κώδικα Νὸ 73 τῆς Μονῆς Παναγίας στὴ Χάλκη, ἡ μνήμη τῆς ἁγίας φέρεται κατὰ τὴν 27η Αὐγούστου).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀνδρόνικος καὶ Ἀθανασία
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους. (Ἴσως νὰ εἶναι οἱ ἴδιοι με αὐτοὺς τῆς 9ης Ὀκτωβρίου).
Ὁ Ἅγιος παπα-Νικόλας Πλανᾶς
Γεννήθηκε στὴ Νάξο τὸ 1851 ἀπὸ τὸν Ἰωάννη Πλανᾷ καὶ τὴν Αὐγουστίνα Μελισσουργοῦ-Πλανᾷ. Ἀπὸ μικρὸ παιδὶ ἀφιερώθηκε στὰ θεῖα καὶ τὴν ὑπηρεσία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἀπὸ 12 χρονῶν ὑπῆρξε ὑπηρέτης τοῦ Ἱεροῦ, σήκωνε τὰ ἁγία ἑξαπτέρυγα, ἀγρυπνοῦσε στὶς ὁλονυκτίες, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ἡλικίας ἐκείνης εἶχε ἐκδηλωθεῖ τὸ φιλέσπλαχνο τοῦ χαρακτῆρα του καὶ τὰ ἀλτρουιστικά του αἰσθήματα. Τὸ ψωμὶ ποὺ τοῦ ἔδινε ἡ μητέρα του, τὸ μοιραζόταν μὲ τὰ ἄλλα παιδιὰ τοῦ χωριοῦ του, καὶ πολλὲς φορὲς εἶχε δώσει καὶ τὰ ῥοῦχα του ἀκόμα στὰ φτωχὰ παιδιά. Τὴ δεκαετία 1870-1880 ἦλθε στὴν Ἀθήνα. Ὅπου στὶς 4 Ἀπριλίου, τῶν Μυροφόρων, παντρεύτηκε τὴν Ἑλένη Προβελεγγίου ἀπὸ τὰ Κύθηρα. Καὶ τὸ 1880 ἀπέκτησε ἕνα παιδὶ τὸν Ἰωάννη. Ἡ γυναῖκα του, μετὰ ἀπὸ λίγο πέθανε. Τὸ 1879 ὅμως, 22 Ἰουλίου, χειροτονήθηκε διάκονος στὴ Μεταμόρφωση τοῦ Σωτῆρος στὴν Πλάκα καὶ τὸ 1884 χειροτονήθηκε Ἱερέας στὸ ναΐδριο τοῦ Προφήτη Ἐλισσαίου κοντὰ στὸν Παλαιὸ Στρατῶνα, ὅπου ἔψαλλε κάθε Κυριακὴ ὁ ἀείμνηστος διηγηματογράφος Ἀλέξανδρος Παπαδιαμάντης. Λειτούργησε στὸν ναὸ τῆς Μεταμορφώσεως λίγο διάστημα, καὶ κατόπιν τοποθετήθηκε στὸ τότε ἐξωκλῆσι τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννη Προδρόμου, μετόχι τῆς Μονῆς Σινᾶ. Ἡ ζωή του ὑπῆρξε πραγματικὰ ζωὴ καλοῦ Σαμαρείτη. Πολλὲς οἱ ἀγαθοεργίες του καὶ τὰ θαύματά του (ποὺ γιὰ εὐνόητους λόγους δὲν μποροῦν νὰ παρατεθοῦν στὸ ἐν λόγῳ Ἁγιολόγιο, μπορεῖ ὅμως ὁ ἀναγνώστης νὰ βρεῖ πολλὲς ἐκδόσεις μὲ πλήρη τὴν βιογραφία του). Πέθανε στὶς 2 Μαρτίου 1932 στὴν Ἀθήνα καὶ τὸν ἔθαψαν μπροστὰ στὸν Ἁη Γιάννη τοῦ Ἀγροῦ, ὅπου ὑπηρετοῦσε 50 χρόνια συνέχεια. Ἁγιοποιήθηκε τὸ 1992.
Hieromartyr Theodotus, bishop of Cyrenia (326)
Known for his wisdom and virtue, he was chosen as Bishop of Cyrenia on the island of Cyprus. When a persecution broke out against the Christians under the Emperor Licinius, Theodotus was arrested and subjected to many tortures. His torturer Sabinus urged him repeatedly to renounce Christ and worship the idols, but Theodotus replied, 'If you knew the goodness of my God, who, it is my hope, will by these brief tortures make me worthy of eternal life, you would wish to suffer for Him as I do.' The pagans then drove nails into his body, for which he thanked God. Believing that his death was approaching, he calmly gave counsel and instruction to the Christians around him. By God's providence, an order came from the new Emperor Constantine to free all Christians who were being held for the sake of Christ. Thus Theodotus was freed and, though greatly weakened by his torments, served his flock faithfully for two more years before reposing in peace.
The Four Hundred and Forty Martyrs of Lombardy (579)
Forty of them were beheaded in one place in Lombardy (in Italy) because they refused to eat food offered to idols. Another four hundred were massacred because they refused to join with the Lombard pagans' practice of dancing around a goat's head that had been brought for sacrifice to the idols. Their deaths are recorded by St Gregory the Dialogist (Gregory the Great).
We sometimes imagine that the Roman Empire converted almost overnight to Christianity during the reign of St Constantine the Great. This incident, more than two hundred years into Europe's 'Christian era', reminds us that the progress of the Faith among the people was often slow and halting, and that paganism remained a force for many centuries.
Holy Martyr Euthalia (257)
She was a pagan maiden living in Sicily with her mother (also named Euthalia) and her brother Sermilianus. When Euthalia's mother became ill with an issue of blood, the holy martyrs Alphius, Philadelphus and Cyrinus (May 10) appeared to her in a dream and told her that she would only be healed if she were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heeding the dream, she believed, was baptized, and was healed. Her daughter Euthalia, seeing this wonder, was also baptised. Sermilianus, despising and hating the Christian faith, first mocked his mother and sister for their conversion, then threatened them. The mother fled the house in fear. Euthalia remained, saying to her brother 'I am a Christian, and have no fear of death.' The cruel Sermilianus persecuted her more and more harshly until finally, enraged by the futility of his threats, he beheaded his own sister by his own hand, unknowingly procuring for her a crown of eternal glory. "And thus in this example were fulfilled the words of Christ that He was bringing a sword among men which would divide those of one blood but not those of one faith (Matt. 10:34-35)." (Prologue)
St Nicholas (Planas), priest in Athens (1932)
St Nicholas was a simple parish priest in Athens, humble, poor, and barely literate. He was born on Naxos in 1851 to moderately prosperous parents; but when his father died, his mother was reduced to near-poverty, and moved the family to Athens. St Nicholas married at the age of seventeen, but his wife died after a short time, leaving him with one son. He served the Divine Liturgy daily, never missing a day for fifty years, despite illness, storms, and war. His liturgies unfailingly lasted for several hours, mostly due to the hundreds of commemorations that he included. The faithful would give him sheets of paper containing names to be commemorated; he would carry all the sheets with him in bulging satchels. A few of his spiritual children made it their task to go through the papers secretly and discard the oldest and most worn, so that the commemorations would not increase without limit.
In his conversation, the Saint had a simple and childlike (his detractors would say childish) manner, and he was widely despised by more sophisticated laymen, priests and hierarchs, never being appointed to any but the smallest and poorest parishes. Many, however, discerned his holiness, and a large synodia of spiritual children slowly gathered around him.
Once, a very young altar boy ran out from the altar while Fr Nicholas was serving and, trembling with fear, cried to his mother, 'Mama, Father Nicholas is floating in the air!' His mother, trying to comfort him, said 'Don't be afraid, all priests do that when they serve the Liturgy.' St. Nicholas was often in difficulties with the hierarchy because he continued to keep the feasts according to the Old Calendar after the Church in Greece had adopted the New Calendar. Nonetheless, he never broke commumnion with the national church (nor they with him): his humility left no room for Church politics. He was later proclaimed a Saint, both by the official 'New Calendar' Church of Greece and their 'Old Calendar' opposition. Like St John Maximovich, his holiness has transcended the canonical disputes that bedevil the Church. He reposed in peace in 1932.
The PriestMartyr Theodotos, a native of Galatia in Asia Minor, was bishop of the city of Kyreneia in Cyprus. During a time of persecution against christians under the impious emperor Licinius (307-324), Saint Theodotos openly preached Christ, calling on the pagans to abandon idol-worship and turn to the True God. The governor of Cyprus Sabinus gave orders to arrest and bring bishop Theodotos to trial. Having found out about this order, the saint did not wait for the soldiers sent after him, but instead immediately went to the governor with the words: "I am here, whom thou seekest; I have shown myself, so as to preach Christ my God". The governor gave orders for the saint to be beaten without mercy, hung up upon a tree and be dealt with by sharp implements, and then be taken to prison. After five days Saint Theodotos was again brought to the governor, who presumed that the bishop would prefer after his tortures to renounce Christ, rather than endure new sufferings. But Saint Theodotos did not cease to preach about Christ. At first they put the saint on an iron grate, under which they set a bon-fire, and then hammered nails into his feet and let him go. Many witnessed the sufferings of the martyr: astonished at the endurance of the saint and his Divinely-inspired speaking, they came to believe in Christ. Learning of this, Sabinus gave orders to stop the torture and lock up the saint in prison.
During the time of Saint Constantine the Great (Comm. 21 May), the freedom to confess their faith was given to all christians, and among the sufferers set free from prison was also Saint Theodotos. The saint returned to Kyreneia and after two years serving as bishop he peacefully expired to the Lord in about the year 326.
The Holy Martyress Euthalia lived with her mother and brother in the city of Leontina on the island of Sicily. The mother of Euthalia, a pagan, was grievously ill a long while. One time there appeared to her in a dream the Martyrs Alphius, Philadelphus and Cyprian (Comm. 10 May) who told her she would be healed if she believed in Christ. Accepting Baptism together with her daughter, the mother was healed from her infirmity. But Euthalia's pagan brother Sirmianus, having learned of the baptising of his kin, went into a violent rage. The mother succeeded in fleeing, but Saint Euthalia confessed herself a Christian and accepted a martyr's death. After fiercesome torture the saint was beheaded with a sword.
The Holy Martyr Troades suffered for Christ in Pontine Neocaesarea under the emperor Decius (249-251), having endured terrible tortures. Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea (Comm. 17 November) witnessed his sufferings, having foretold his martyr's exploit.
The Monk Agathon of Egypt, a contemporary of the Monk Makarios the Great (Comm. 19 January), pursued asceticism in a skete monastery in Egypt. He was distinguished by an especial meekness, accounting himself most sinful among men. One time monks from afar came to the monk Agathon for spiritual talk and asked him: "Art thou Father Agathon?" "Ye see before you a sinful servant of God", -- answered the monk. "It is rumoured, that thou art a man proud and intemperate", -- replied the monks. "Completely true", agreed the saint. "We have heard also, that thou art a liar that loveth to gossip about others". "This also is true", -- assented Saint Agathon. "They say moreover, that thou art an heretic?" -- the monks persisted, but immediately they met with an objection: "In vain, I am not an heretic". When they asked the monk why, having accepted upon himself other vices, that he refused this last one, the saint explained: "These vices it is impossible not to ascribe to myself, since every man by his nature falls into sin, and all of us, through the corruption of our nature, are involuntarily captivated by vices; but heresy is apostacy from God, a deliberate renunciation of the True God".
To the question about which ascetic deeds are more important for salvation, the external or the inner, the monk Agathon answered: "A man is like a tree; the outer or bodily concerns itself with leaves, whereas the inner soul grows fruit. But just as Holy Scripture asserts, that "every tree which does not bear good fruit, shalt be cut down and thrown into the fire" (Mt 3: 10), so then it is evident from this, that the greater attention ought to concern the fruit. But a tree also has need for its leaves, so as to sustain the life-bearing sap and by the shade of its leaves offer protection to the tree and its fruit from the desiccating heat".
The monk Agathon died in about the year 435. For three days before his end the monk sat in silence and concentration, as though disturbed about something. To the perplexed questioning of the monks he answered, that he saw himself at the Judgement in front of Christ. "How is it possible that thou, father, should fear judgement?" -- they asked him. "I through my strength have kept the commandments of the Lord, but as a man how might I be certain, that my deeds have been pleasing to God?". "Dost thou not trust that thy good deeds which thou hast accomplished, are pleasing to God?" -- asked the monks. "I have no hope until such time as I see God. Human judgement is one thing, but Divine judgement is another matter". Having said this, the saint expired to the Lord.
[Trans. Note: "Agathon" in Greek means "Good", just as also "Makarios" means "Blessed"; -- there is a didactic thread woven into the fabric of many of the Saints vitae teaching this or that moral point or insight. Thus, whether or not Saint Agathon started monastically with such a name is less relevant than having finished with it. The opening dialogue with the monks from afar takes on a deeper dimension when set in perspective of: "Art thou Brother Good", -- "Ye see before you a sinner" "guilty of all the sins ye allege and more" "but God forbid, no heretic!"].
Italian Martyrs -- 440 Men -- refused to participate in idol-worship and were hewn apart by the Langobardi / Lombards (a Germanic tribe) in the year 579. Among those that perished, there are known by name the presbyter Sanctulus and the hermit Hospicius.
Sainted Arsenii, Bishop of Tver', was born at Tver', and in his early years took monastic vows in the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. Even among the monks of this ancient monastery, distinguished for their piety, Arsenii was noted for his saintly life -- a strict keeping of the monastic vows, a knowledge of the Church ustav, the study of Holy Scripture, and a love for work. Under the Kiev metropolitan Kyprian (1380-1382) he served as archdeacon, and during times of the metropolitan's absence he governed the working of the Kiev metropolitanate. On 3 July 1390 he went together with Metropolitan Kyprian to Tver', where at the request of the Tver' prince Mikhail Aleksandrovich there had been convened a Sobor of Russian and Greek hierarchs for judgement upon the Tver' bishop Evphymii. The prince and the bishop were in a lengthy quarrel, and many of the Tver' people had serious accusations against the Tver' bishop. After unsuccessful attempts to restore peace to the Tver' church, Metropolitan Kyprian "removed from the episcopacy" Evphymii and sent him off to Moscow to the Chudov monastery. Saint Arsenii was appointed to the Tver' cathedra. But he, "fearful to accept the authority at Tver', in view of the much enmity and spite there, was both troubled and terrified". Upon the return of Metropolitan Kyprian and archdeacon Arsenii to Moscow, the Tver' prince sent his boyars with a petition to the metropolitan concerning ordination of Arsenii to the Tver' cathedra. This time also Arsenii was not agreeable. In the words of the chronicle for the year 1390 "hardly even by the metropolitan's entreaty would archdeacon Arsenii be at Tver'". Under the threat of cathedral suspension metropolitan and prince finally received his assent to the ordination, which was done 15 August 1390. Among the bishops taking part in the laying on of hands was Sainted Stephen, Bishop of Perm (Comm. 26 April).
Having come upon the cathedra, Bishop Arsenii, as a man of great prayer and peace-maker, was able to stop much of the discord in the Tver' principality. During his episcopacy, from 1390 to 1409, there were built and consecrated cathedrals in honour of the Archangel Michael at Staritsa and Mikulina, and the Saviour-Transfiguration cathedral was restored with the putting up of a cathedral bell-tower. The saint founded on the river T'maka near Tver' the Zheltikov monastery, where in similitude to the Kievo-Pechersk monastery was built a church in the names of the Monks Antonii and Theodosii of Pechersk (1394), and a stone Uspenie cathedral.
Desiring that the monks of this new monastery would always take edification from the asceticism of the Pechersk Fathers, Sainted Arsenii gave orders to compile a list from the Kievo-Pechersk Paterikon, offering the most ancient of redactions surviving into the present of this precious memorial of Russian literature, and receiving the name of the Arsen'ev Redaction.
The saint died on 2 March 1409, and was buried in the Zheltikov monastery of the Uspenie / Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God, which he founded. In 1483 his relics were found undecayed and placed in the monastery cathedral. In the same year priest-monk Feodosii wrote the Life and a Kanon of the Sainted-bishop. At a Sobor of 1547 was established the celebration of Sainted Arsenii throughout all the Church.
The Monks Varsonophii and Savva of Tver' were hegumens of the Savvino Sretenie / Visitation monastery, organised in the year 1397 not far from Tver'. The Savvino monastery was known as such from the name of its founder or for the church in the name of the Monk Savva the Sanctified, and Sretensk -- for the chief temple of the monastery -- named for the Sretenie / Meeting of the Lord.
The monk Varsonophii, older brother of Blessed Savva, was made head of the monastery by the Monk-hegumen Savva of Vishersk (Comm. 1 October), who set off on pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain. After five years of monastic rule the monk Varsonophii set off into the wilderness, having transferred the hegumenate to his brother the monk Savva; -- he commanded him to accept the priestly dignity, since "he was pure as from his mother's womb and worthy of such grace". The monk Varsonophii dwelt for forty years in solitude and "during all these years, -- testifies the Monk Joseph of Volokolamsk, -- he did nothing else than to pray, to sing and to read books. He took books about the love of Christ and after reading he returned them or took them to another place. The blessed one had nothing, not even coppers of money, since he loved poverty and non-covetousness. After long attentiveness to self, and by silence, prayer, and the reading of holy books -- he was vouchsafed such grace, that he memorised all the Holy Scripture by heart and freely communicated it upon demand. There came to him from everywhere many monks and worldly people of noble birth, some for the good of their soul, others -- needing an explanation from something in Scripture. Even the Metropolitan of All Russia Photii at times sent off to him a request to furnish explanation to some misunderstood saying of Holy Scripture, about which there was some dispute".
It happened, that when one of the brethren was seduced by the devil he decided to snatch books from the monk's cell, and he fell down dead on the pathway with the books on his bosom. Only by the grace of the prayers of Saint Varsonophii was the unfortunate one resuscitated, and afterwards until the end of his days he worthily pursued asceticism in the monastery.
Having attained to an extreme old age, the monk Varsonophii returned to the monastery and to his brother the monk Savva. The Monk Joseph of Volokolamsk (Comm. 9 September) witnesses to the spiritual strictness of the monk Savva: "We have beheld blessed Savva, who headed the Savvino monastery in the vicinity of Tver' for more than 50 years. He so concerned himself about his flock, that he stood always at the church doors with staff in hand. If some one of the brethren did not come to church for the beginning of the service, or left before the dismissal, or chatted during the time of singing, or flittered about from his own place to another, then the monk Savva would not remain silent about it, but rather prohibited it, such that he did not let the matter drop without concern even in the small short-comings... When it was necessary, he would be strict, and when there was need, he would be kindly". During the time of a terrible epidemic in these years it happened that at the monastery all the other priests died. The monk Savva made visits, heard confessions, communed the sick and himself buried the dead. Therein was manifest the great strength of grace of the holy ascetic. In the words of the monk Joseph, "when blessed Savva was visiting the sick and hearing confession, one of the brethren came and said, that someone was dying and needed to confess, the blessed one answered: go, brother, and tell the dying that he shall not die but rather wait for my visit. And just as the brother told this to the dying one, he stood up all better; when however Blessed Savva gave him the Holy Mysteries of Christ, then the brother died. And this happened not once or twice, but a number of times".
"When Blessed Savva and saint Varsonophii were alive, -- relates the monk Joseph of Volotsk, -- in the monastery under their guidance all was decorum, quiet and peaceful. If someone showed himself to be stubborn or ill-tempered, they would not permit him to have his way. When Blessed Savva died, Saint Varsonophii and the other fathers -- zealous to preserve the traditions of the fathers -- selected an hegumen from another monastery, and this one started to live not according to the ustav / rule of this monastery and not according to the tradition of these holy elders: their tradition was such, that no one either ate or drank differently from the common refectory, that no one would leave the monastery without blessing, that young lads would not live in cells or in the courtyard, and that women would not enter the monastery. And in general this was observed throughout the place according to the ustav. But the new hegumen, having come from elsewhere, made a mess of all this and passed it by without concern. Some while later Saint Savva appeared to him in a dream and said: "Wretch! Why art thou not in the least concerned about the monastery's welfare and piety, but rather neglectful and disregarding of this?" And his staff was enough, such that this one was not able to rise up from his bed. When he recovered and set straight the mess, then already he no longer smiled to govern the monastery, and soon he returned thither from whence he had come". Thus even after his death the monk Savva watched over his monastery. The monk Savva died in about the year 1467, somewhat earlier than his saintly brother.
The Monk Savvatii of Tver' pursued asceticism with the blessing of Sainted Arsenii, Bishop of Tver', at a distance 15 versts from Tver'. The monk Savvatii established a monastery there, known for the strictness and holiness of its rule. To it came to learn monastic activity such ascetics as the Monk Joseph of Volotsk (Comm. 9 September) and the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk (Comm. 19 May). The chains, found in the cave where Saint Savvatii practised silence, testify to his ascetic deeds. He died not later than the year 1434.
The Monk Evphrosyn was a student and the successor to the Monk Savvatii in governing the Savvat'ev wilderness monastery. During his time as hegumen there came to the monastery the Monk Joseph of Volotsk, who wrote about his visit as follows: "I beheld in the Savvat'ev wilderness an holy hermit-elder, by the name of Evphrosyn. He was born of the princes of Teprinsk. He dwelt precariously in the wilderness for 60 years. Many monks came to him for advice, as well as princes and boyars / nobles, disrupting his silence. He then fled human conversation to Great Novgorod, to lake Nevo (Ladozhskoe or Ladoga), found an island and dwelt there for several years. The surrounding inhabitants, hearing about the ascetic, began to throng to him with their wives and children, and he was again obliged to hide himself, just as at the Savvat'ev wilderness. The ruler of this land -- prince Boris Aleksandrovich -- sent his own daughter to him, then betrothed to marry GreatPrince Ivan Vasil'evich. With her came archimandrites, hegumens and boyars, and they began to ask of blessed Evphrosyn that he help the maiden: she was very sickly, and they brought her to blessed Evphrosyn in the wilderness by carrying her. He refused them, calling himself a sinner and unworthy. They entreated the saint with tears, saying: "If she remains alive through thy prayers, then thou wilt bring peace, father, to two principalities".
Seeing that the maiden had fallen into a serious illness, the monk Evphrosyn gave orders for her to be taken to church, and he himself began to pray with tears and sobbing in front of the icon of the MostHoly Mother of God. Then he commanded to be sung a molieben to the MostHoly Mother of God and to the great Wonderworker Nicholas. When the molieben was finished, the maiden opened up her eyes and sat; those carrying her raised her up healthy and that very day notified her father, who praised God "for having bestown grace through His servants". The Monk Evphrosyn died peacefully in about the year 1460.
The Icon of the Mother of God, named "The Powerful", appeared on 2 March 1917 in the village of Kolomensk near Moscow. A service and akathist to it were composed with the assistance of His Holiness Sainted Patriarch Tikhon (+ 1925. Comm. 25 March, 26 September, Sunday following 25 January; glorified 1989).
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR THEODOTUS, BISHOP OF KYRENIA ON THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS
Because of his wisdom and kindness, Theodotus was elected to the episcopacy and governed the Church of God with love and zeal. When the persecution of Christians began during the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius, this godly man was brought to trial and put through many tortures. When the torturer Sabinus advised him to deny Christ and to bow down before pagan idols and to worship them, Theodotus replied, "If you knew the goodness of my God in Whom I hope, that because of these temporary sufferings, will make me worthy of eternal life, you also would wish to suffer in the same manner as I." The torturers began to strike his body with nails, and he prayed to God with gratitude. Thinking his end was near, Theodotus counseled and taught the Christians who were assembled around him. By the Providence of God, the Emperor Constantine at that time proclaimed freedom to Christians and ordered that all who were sentenced be released for the sake of Christ. And so, this saint was freed and returned to his prior position in Kyrenia. Astortured as he was, Theodotus lived for several more years. After that, he found repose in the Lord, Whom he faithfully served and for Whom he suffered. In the year 302 A.D. his earthly life ended and was translated to the mansions of our Lord.
2. THE HOLY MARTYR TROADIUS
As a young man he suffered for Christ. Gregory of Neo-Caesarea saw in a vision how bravely Troadius withstood his tortures for Christ until the time he was killed. He saw his soul, which was separated from the body, joyfully hurrying toward heaven. St. Troadius suffered and was glorified in the third century.
3. THE FOUR-HUNDRED AND FORTY MARTYRS
They were killed by the Lombards in Italy about the year 579 A.D. St. Gregory Dialogues writes about them. In one place, forty of them were beheaded. At another place, four-hundred of them were also beheaded, all because they refused to eat of the sacrifices of the idols. Additionally, these four-hundred refused to dance around the heads of the goats offered to the demons as a sacrifice by the pagans, as was the custom of the Lombards.
4. THE VENERABLE AGATHON
Agathon was a great Egyptian ascetic who practiced extreme asceticism in the fifth century. He was a contemporary of St. Macarius and a disciple of St. Lot [Egyptian Ascetic]. He labored and tried to fulfill all the commandments of our Lord. One of the brethren complimented him on a small knife with which he used to cut brushwood used for making baskets. Upon hearing this compliment, the saint joyfully handed over the knife to that brother as a gift. St. Agathon also said, "It would be very satisfying for me if I could assume unto myself the body of a leper and give him mine." Is this not perfect love? (*)
(*) In the Greek Synaxarion, he is commemorated on January 8.
5. THE MARTYR EUTHALIA
This holy Euthalia was a virgin from Sicily. She had a mother of the same name and a brother named Sermilianus. All were unbaptized pagans. Her mother Euthalia suffered from an issue of blood. The holy martyrs, Alphius, Philadelphus and Cyrinus (May 10), appeared to her in a dream and told her that she would be healed only if she became baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Euthalia professed her faith in Christ, was baptized, and indeed recovered. Upon seeing this miracle, evenEuthalia's daughter was baptized. After that, Sermilianus began to mock and ridicule his mother and sister because of their faith in Christ. He threatened them. The mother became frightened and fled her home. Then the brother began to persecute his sister. His sister was not frightened, for Christ was more dear to her than her brother. She said to Sermilianus, "I am a Christian and I am not afraid of death." The wicked brother then sent a servant to defile her. When the servant attacked St. Euthalia, he lost his eyesight. The evil brother saw this miracle but still remained hard of heart. Just as Cain pursued Abel, Sermilianus pursued his sister, caught her and beheaded her. Thus, the holy virgin Euthalia was wedded with the wreath of eternal glory. By this example, the words of the Lord Christ were fulfilled: that He brought a sword among men, which causes variances between relations in blood, but not between relations in faith. "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law" (St. Matthew 10:34,35).
HYMN OF PRAISE
Untalkative Agathon, for three years studies
With a pebble under his tongue to remain quiet and silent,
That by his tongue, sin, not to serve,
Only to speak words of solace to men
And to glorify God Who created him.
Once, when the saint began to speak
About anger, he said: The one over whom anger takes control
Does not please God, neither now nor never,
We have the power to resurrect the dead,
From the angered one, God does not accept any sacrifices.
And when death hung over Agathon,
The brethren gathered to see him frail,
Prayers he whispered with great fear,
Sigh upon sighs poured from his chest.
The brethren asked him: Are you also afraid,
O, all-good father, when before God you stand?
You were completely good to everyone, to all it is known,
Among the stones of men, you glistened as gold!
Then the elder said with countenance more radiant,
My children now, before the judgment of God I stand.
The judgment of man is one thing and another is the judgment of God--
And a more powerful sigh seized the elder!
If someone loses his faith in God, he is recompensed with stupidity. Of all stupidities, it is difficult to say whether there is a greater one than this: that someone who calls himself a Christian and then proceeds to gather pathetic proofs for God and eternal life from other beliefs and philosophies. He who does not find gold among the wealthy; how will he find it among the poor? The revelation of eternal life, of facts, of proofs, of signs, and of actual visions of the spiritual world - all of these not only constitute the foundation of the Christian Faith, but constitute its walls, floors, ornaments, all the furnishings, the roof and the domes of the majestic building of the Christian Faith. A single ray from the spiritual world glistens through every word of the Gospels, not to mention the miraculous events, both in Evangelical and Post-Evangelical times as well as throughout the entire history of the Church for two-thousand years. Christianity has thrown open wide the gates of that world in so great a measure, that it should not be necessary to call it a religion, in order not to confuse it with other faiths and religions. It is a revelation! God's revelation!
To contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ at the Mystical Supper:
1. How he had told His disciples that one of them would betray Him;
2. How after all that He did for Judas and after the washing of his feet and after indicating that He knew his betraying intention, Judas remained obstinate in his thoughts of selling his Teacher and his soul for silver;
3. How our Lord was saddened at the destruction and downfall of Judas as with the destruction and downfall of His other traitors and traitors of His Church throughout all ages till the end, all of which He foresaw with His All-Seeing Spirit.
About the Father and the Son
"And whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me" (St. John 12:45).
He who sees the light also sees the sun beyond it. For could anyone see the sun and not the light? If the sun did not emit its light, none of us would know about the sun. All of our knowledge about the sun, we received with the help of the rays of light which came from the sun. No one has ever seen the sun with the help of some other light, other than that which comes from the sun itself. So it is with our knowing the Father with the help of the Son. He who does not know about the Son cannot know about the Father. He who knows the Son, knows the Father. He who sees the Son, sees also the Father. God cannot be known without His Light Who came among men. The Light of the Father is the Son. "I am the Light" (St. John 8:2), said Christ. The Light shines in the darkness! The physical world would be completely in darkness if it were not for the light from the sun. The spiritual and moral world and all the life of mankind would be in darkness if it were not for the Light which is from the Father. That Light is Christ the Lord. Truly, brethren, there is no true light which illuminates the Being of God as does the light of Christ the Lord. He who sees Him sees God. He who does not see Him is in darkness. O Lord, Son of God, always help our souls to see You, and through You, Your Heavenly Father and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Trinity, one in essence and undivided.