Prayer of St. Ephraim
Κύριε καὶ Δέσποτα τῆς ζωῆς μου, πνεῦμα ἀργίας, περιεργίας, φιλαρχίας, καὶ ἀργολογίας μή μοι δῷς.,
Πνεῦμα δὲ σωφροσύνης,ταπεινοφροσύνης, ὑπομονῆς, καὶ ἀγάπης χάρισαί μοι τῷ σῷ δούλῳ.
Ναί, Κύριε Βασιλεῦ, δώρησαι μοι τοῦ ὁρᾶν τὰ ἐμὰ πταίσματα, καὶ μὴ κατακρίνειν τὸν ἀδελφόν μου, ὅτι εὐλογητὸς εἶ, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of whole-mindedness, humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Crescens the Martyr
Leonidas, Bishop of Athens
Michael the New Martyr of Smyrna
The 9 Monk-martyrs of Corinth
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Κρήσκεντος, τοῦ ἐν Μύροις τῆς Λυκίας καί τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Λεωνίδου, Ἐπισκόπου Ἀθηνῶν.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, says the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David." And the angel of the LORD went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went home and dwelt at Nineveh. And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, slew him with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: Set your house in order; for you shall die, you shall not recover." Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the LORD, and said, "Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in thy sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: "Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city.
Διὰ τοῦτο οὕτω λέγει Κύριος ἐπὶ βασιλέα ᾿Ασσυρίων· οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς τὴν πόλιν ταύτην οὐδὲ μὴ βάλῃ ἐπὶ αὐτὴν βέλος οὐδὲ μὴ ἐπιβάλῃ ἐπ᾿ αὐτὴν θυρεόν, οὐδὲ μὴ κυκλώσῃ ἐπ᾿ αὐτὴν χάρακα, ἀλλὰ τῇ ὁδῷ ᾗ ἦλθεν, ἐν αὐτῇ ἀποστραφήσεται καὶ εἰς τὴν πόλιν ταύτην οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ. τάδε λέγει Κύριος· ὑπερασπιῶ ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως ταύτης τοῦ σῶσαι αὐτὴν δι᾿ ἐμὲ καὶ διὰ Δαυὶδ τὸν παῖδά μου. Καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἄγγελος Κυρίου καὶ ἀνεῖλεν ἐκ τῆς παρεμβολῆς τῶν ᾿Ασσυρίων ἑκατὸν ὀγδοηκονταπέντε χιλιάδας, καὶ ἀναστάντες τὸ πρωΐ εὗρον πάντα τὰ σώματα νεκρά. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἀποστραφεὶς Σενναχηρεὶμ βασιλεὺς ᾿Ασσυρίων, καὶ ᾤκησεν ἐν Νινευῇ. καὶ ἐν τῷ αὐτὸν προσκυνεῖν ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ Νασαρὰχ τὸν πάτραρχον αὐτοῦ, ᾿Αδραμέλεχ καὶ Σαρασὰρ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπάταξαν αὐτὸν μαχαίραις, αὐτοὶ δὲ διεσώθησαν εἰς ᾿Αρμενίαν· καὶ ἐβασίλευσεν ᾿Ασορδὰν ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἀντ᾿ αὐτοῦ.
᾽Εγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ ἐμαλακίσθη ᾿Εζεκίας ἕως θανάτου· καὶ ἦλθε πρὸς αὐτὸν ῾Ησαΐας υἱὸς ᾿Αμὼς ὁ προφήτης καὶ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτόν· τάδε λέγει Κύριος· τάξαι περὶ τοῦ οἴκου σου, ἀποθνήσκεις γὰρ σὺ καὶ οὐ ζήσῃ. καὶ ἀπέστρεψεν ᾿Εζεκίας τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν τοῖχον καὶ προσηύξατο πρὸς Κύριον λέγων· μνήσθητι, Κύριε, ὡς ἐπορεύθην ἐνώπιόν σου μετὰ ἀληθείας, ἐν καρδίᾳ ἀληθινῇ, καὶ τὰ ἀρεστά ἐνώπιόν σου ἐποίησα· καὶ ἔκλαυσεν ᾿Εζεκίας κλαυθμῷ μεγάλῳ. καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος Κυρίου πρὸς ῾Ησαΐαν λέγων· πορεύθητι καὶ εἰπὸν ᾿Εζεκίᾳ· τάδε λέγει Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς Δαυὶδ τοῦ πατρός σου· ἤκουσα τῆς προσευχῆς σου καὶ εἶδον τὰ δάκρυά σου. ἰδοὺ προστίθημι πρὸς τὸν χρόνον σου δεκαπέντε ἔτη· καὶ ἐκ χειρὸς βασιλέως ᾿Ασσυρίων ρύσομαί σε καὶ τὴν πόλιν ταύτην καὶ ὑπερασπιῶ ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως ταύτης.
Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, while Lot dwelt among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.
The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you." So Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the LORD.
῞Αβραμ δὲ κατῴκησεν ἐν γῇ Χαναάν, Λὼτ δὲ κατῴκησεν ἐν πόλει τῶν περιχώρων καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν Σοδόμοις· οἱ δὲ ἄνθρωποι οἱ ἐν Σοδόμοις πονηροὶ καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐναντίον τοῦ Θεοῦ σφόδρα. ῾Ο δὲ Θεὸς εἶπε τῷ ῞Αβραμ μετὰ τὸ διαχωρισθῆναι τὸν Λὼτ ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ· ἀνάβλεψον τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς σου καὶ ἴδε ἀπὸ τοῦ τόπου, οὗ νῦν σύ εἶ, πρὸς βορρᾶν καὶ λίβα καὶ ἀνατολὰς καὶ θάλασσαν· ὅτι πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν, ἣν σὺ ὁρᾷς, σοὶ δώσω αὐτὴν καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου ἕως αἰῶνος. καὶ ποιήσω τὸ σπέρμα σου ὡς τὴν ἄμμον τῆς γῆς· εἰ δύναταί τις ἐξαριθμῆσαι τὴν ἄμμον τῆς γῆς, καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου ἐξαριθμηθήσεται. ἀναστὰς διόδευσον τὴν γῆν εἴς τε τὸ μῆκος αὐτῆς καὶ εἰς τὸ πλάτος, ὅτι σοὶ δώσω αὐτὴν καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. καὶ ἀποσκηνώσας ῞Αβραμ, ἐλθὼν κατῴκησε παρὰ τὴν δρῦν τὴν Μαμβρῆ, ἣ ἦν ἐν Χεβρώμ, καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν ἐκεῖ θυσιαστήριον τῷ Κυρίῳ.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined. He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh, but passion makes the bones rot. He who oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors him. The wicked is overthrown through his evil-doing, but the righteous finds refuge through his integrity. Wisdom abides in the mind of a man of understanding, but it is not known in the heart of fools. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. A servant who deals wisely has the king's favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Πρόσταγμα Κυρίου πηγὴ ζωῆς, ποιεῖ δὲ ἐκκλίνειν ἐκ παγίδος θανάτου. ἐν πολλῷ ἔθνει δόξα βασιλέως, ἐν δὲ ἐκλείψει λαοῦ συντριβὴ δυνάστου. μακρόθυμος ἀνὴρ πολὺς ἐν φρονήσει, ὁ δὲ ὀλιγόψυχος ἰσχυρῶς ἄφρων. πραΰθυμος ἀνὴρ καρδίας ἰατρός, σὴς δὲ ὀστέων καρδία αἰσθητική. ὁ συκοφαντῶν πένητα παροξύνει τὸν ποιήσαντα αὐτόν, ὁ δὲ τιμῶν αὐτὸν ἐλεεῖ πτωχόν. ἐν κακίᾳ αὐτοῦ ἀπωσθήσεται ἀσεβής, ὁ δὲ πεποιθὼς τῇ ἑαυτοῦ ὁσιότητι δίκαιος. ἐν καρδίᾳ ἀγαθῇ ἀνδρὸς ἀναπαύσεται σοφίᾳ, ἐν δὲ καρδίᾳ ἀφρόνων οὐ διαγινώσκεται. δικαιοσύνη ὑψοῖ ἔθνος, ἐλασσονοῦσι δὲ φυλὰς ἁμαρτίαι. δεκτὸς βασιλεῖ ὑπηρέτης νοήμων, τῇ δὲ ἑαυτοῦ εὐστροφίᾳ ἀφαιρεῖται ἀτιμίαν. ΟΡΓΗ ἀπόλλυσι καὶ φρονίμους, ἀπόκρισις δὲ ὑποπίπτουσα ἀποστρέφει θυμόν, λόγος δὲ λυπηρὸς ἐγείρει ὀργάς. γλῶσσα σοφῶν καλὰ ἐπίσταται, στόμα δὲ ἀφρόνων ἀναγγέλλει κακά. ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ ὀφθαλμοὶ Κυρίου, σκοπεύουσι κακούς τε καὶ ἀγαθούς. ἴασις γλώσσης δένδρον ζωῆς, ὁ δὲ συντηρῶν αὐτὴν πλησθήσεται πνεύματος.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΙΕ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Κρήσκεντος, τοῦ ἐν Μύροις τῆς Λυκίας.
Θάμβος βλέπειν Κρήσκεντα τοῦ πυρὸς μέσον,
Ἡγούμενον λειμῶνα τερπνὸν τὴν φλόγα.
Κάτθανε καὶ Κρήσκης πέμπτῃ δεκάτῃ πυρὶ λαύρῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων γυναικῶν, Βασιλίσσης καὶ Ἀναστασίας.
Ἀμνοῦ Θεοῦ σφάττουσιν ἀμνάδας δύο,
Ἀναστασίαν καὶ Βασίλισσαν ἅμα.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Λεωνίδου, Ἐπισκόπου Ἀθηνῶν.
Σκότος συνέσχε τὰς Ἀθήνας ἀθρόον,
Δύναντος αὐταῖς ἡλίου Λεωνίδου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Θεοδώρου Πρεσβυτέρου, καὶ Παυσολυπίου.
Παυσολυπίῳ καὶ Θεοδώρῳ θύτῃ,
Δῶρόν τι παυσίλυπον ὄντως τὸ ξίφος.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Martyr was from Myra of Lycia, born of an illustrious family. Of his own accord he went amidst the idolaters and admonished them to leave off their futile religion and worship the only true God, Who is worshipped by the Christians; for this he was arrested. When asked by the ruler what his name and lineage were, the Saint would answer only that he was a Christian; counseled to offer sacrifice to the idols, he refused. For this, he was hung up and beaten, was scraped, and then was cast into fire, in which he gave up his holy soul into the hands of God, though not even the hair of his head was harmed by the flames.
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.
Το ποία και πόση είναι η ευθύνη των διωκτών της πίστεως αυτό είναι το ζήτημα της κρίσεως του Θεού. Κανείς δεν ξέρει πόσοι απ' αυτούς πλανώνται και πόσοι ψεύδονται. Γι' αυτό ο Χριστός είπε να προσευχώμαστε για κείνους που μας διώκουν· πολλές φορές αυτοί "ουκ οίδασι τι ποιούσι" και πιστεύουν πως προσφέρουν "λατρείαν τω Θεώ". Οι διώκτες και οι Μάρτυρες στέκονται ο καθενας σε διαφορετική βάση κ' είναι φυσικό να μην μπορούν οι διώκτες να καταλάβουν τους Μάρτυρες. Ο ηγεμόνας, ενώπιον του οποίου κρίνεται ο άγιος Μάρτυς Κρήσκης, τον οποίον τιμά σήμερα η Εκκλησία, ονομάζει τον Άγιο δυστυχή, επειδή θεληματικά βάζει τον εαυτό του σε βάσανα. Κι ο Άγιος απαντά· "Της εσχάτης μενούν ευκλείας και ευδαιμονίας το πάσχειν υπέρ Χριστού". Ο Απόστολος γράφει· "υμίν εχαρίσθη το υπέρ Χριστού, ου μόνον το εις αυτόν πιστεύειν, αλλά και το υπέρ αυτού πάσχειν".
Ὁ Ἅγιος Κρήσκης
Ἡ καταγωγή του ἦταν ἀπὸ τὰ Μύρα τῆς Λυκίας. Τὴν ἐποχὴ ἐκείνη, ἡ Ἐκκλησία δεχόταν ἀνελέητα τὰ βέλη τῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν. Τότε ὁ Κρήσκης ἦταν γέροντας, ἀρκετὰ μεγάλος στὴν ἡλικία. Ὅμως, ἡ θερμή του πίστη καὶ ἡ ἀκατανίκητη δίψα γιὰ ὁμολογία Χριστοῦ, ἔδιναν φτερὰ νεότητας στὸ γέρικο κορμί του γιὰ ἀγῶνα. Μία μέρα, καὶ ἐνῷ θυσίαζε μία ὁμάδα εἰδωλολατρῶν, αὐτὸς πῆγε μὲ κατάλληλο τρόπο ἀνάμεσά τους καὶ προσπάθησε, παρὰ τὶς ἀντιδράσεις μερικῶν, νὰ τοὺς πείσει γιὰ τὴν ἀλήθεια τῆς χριστιανικῆς πίστης. Αὐτό, βέβαια, τὸ ἔμαθε ὁ ἔπαρχος καί, ἀφοῦ τὸν κάλεσε, τοῦ εἶπε νὰ μὴ προβαίνει σὲ τέτοιες ἐνέργειες, διότι βάζει σὲ κίνδυνο τὸν ἑαυτό του καὶ εἶναι κρῖμα νὰ ὑποστεῖ μαρτυρικὸ θάνατο τώρα στὰ γεράματά του. Ὁ γέροντας Κρήσκης κοίταξε τὸν ἔπαρχο μὲ ἥσυχο βλέμμα καὶ τοῦ ἀπάντησε: «Ἡ ἀλήθεια τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀποδεικνύεται ἀπὸ τὴν ζωὴ καὶ τοὺς θριάμβους τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἑπομένως, γιὰ μένα τὰ βασανιστήρια θὰ ἀποτελοῦν ἡδονὴ καὶ τρυφή, διότι οἱ χριστιανοὶ θεωροῦν εὐεργέτημα νὰ ἀγωνιστοῦν καὶ νὰ πάθουν γιὰ τὸ Χριστό». Ἀμέσως, τότε, διατάχθηκε νὰ τὸν βασανίσουν καὶ ἔτσι μαρτυρικὰ παρέδωσε τὴν ψυχὴ τοῦ στὸ Θεό.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Λεωνίδης ἐπίσκοπος Ἀθηνῶν
Οἱ Ἁγίες Ἀναστασία καὶ Βασίλισσα
Ἦταν καὶ οἱ δυὸ ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη, εὐγενεῖς καὶ πλούσιες (ἐπὶ Νέρωνος 54-68). Καὶ ἦταν ἀπὸ τὶς γυναῖκες ἐκεῖνες, ποὺ μέσα στὴ διαφθορὰ ποὺ κατέκλυζε τὸ λαὸ καὶ τὰ ἀνώτερα στρώματα τῆς κοσμοκράτειρας πόλης, διατηροῦσαν σεμνὰ ἤθη ἄξια τῶν μεγάλων χρόνων τῆς ῥωμαϊκῆς ἀκμῆς. Σὲ τέτοιο ἠθικὸ ἔδαφος, βλάστησε ὁ σπόρος τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Καὶ οἱ δυὸ δέχτηκαν τὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ μὲ τὴν ἀγαθοεργὴ διανομὴ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων τους, ἔγιναν παρηγοριὰ καὶ στήριγμα τῶν χριστιανῶν τῆς Ῥώμης. Ὅταν ὁ Παῦλος καὶ ὁ Πέτρος, ἔπεσαν ἱερὰ σφάγια στὸν πρῶτο διωγμὸ ἐναντίον τῶν χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τὸ Νέρωνα, τότε ἡ Ἀναστασία καὶ ἡ Βασίλισσα παρέλαβαν καὶ ἔθαψαν τὰ τίμια λείψανά τους. Μετὰ ἀπὸ λίγο συνελήφθησαν. Κατηγορήθηκαν ὅτι ἀνήκουν σὲ ὁμάδα χριστιανῶν. Ἐκεῖνες, ὄχι μόνο δὲν τὸ ἀρνήθηκαν, ἀλλὰ καὶ δήλωσαν ὅτι καυχῶνται γι᾿ αὐτό, καὶ εὐχήθηκαν, ὅλος ὁ κόσμος νὰ γίνει ἄξιος της ζωῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἀπειλὲς καὶ βασανισμοὶ δὲν ἴσχυσαν νὰ μεταβάλουν τὴν γνώμη τους. Καὶ ἐνῷ εἶχαν κόψει τὰ χέρια καὶ τὴν γλῶσσα τους, τὸ φρόνημά τους παρέμεινε ἀπτωτο. Τελικὰ τὶς ἀποκεφάλισαν καὶ ἔτσι ἀξιώθηκαν τῶν λαμπρότερων μαρτυρικῶν στεφάνων.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Θεόδωρος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος καὶ Παυσολύπιος
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους. Ἡ δὲ σύναξή τους τελεῖται στὸ γηροκομεῖο τοῦ Μελοβίου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀνανίας ὁ Ἱερομάρτυρας μητροπολίτης Λακεδαιμονίας (1750-1767 ἢ 1764)
Ἦταν λόγιος κληρικὸς καὶ ἡγετικὴ φυσιογνωμία τῆς ἐποχῆς του. Χρημάτισε προηγουμένως ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Δημητσάνας (1747-1750), ἀπέκτησε δὲ τεράστιο κῦρος ὄχι μόνο ἀνάμεσα στοὺς Ἕλληνες τῆς Πελοποννήσου, ἀλλὰ καὶ στοὺς Τούρκους. Τὸ 1762 ἡγήθηκε ἀποστολῆς στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ πέτυχε τὴν ματαίωση τῆς μετάθεσης τοῦ μετριοπαθοῦς μόρα-Βαλεσὴ Ὀσουμάν, τὸν ὁποῖο οἱ Τοῦρκοι ἀγάδες τῆς Πελοποννήσου προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ διώξουν γιὰ τὰ φιλελληνικά του αἰσθήματα καὶ γιατί στεκόταν ἐμπόδιο στὶς αὐθαιρεσίες τους. Ἀνέλαβε ἡγετικὸ ῥόλο στὴν ὀργάνωση καὶ στὸν συντονισμὸ τῆς ἐξεγέρσεως τῶν Ἑλλήνων τῆς Πελοποννήσου, ποὺ εἶχε ζητήσει μὲ εἰδικοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους ἡ Μεγάλη Αἰκατερίνη τῆς Ῥωσίας. Συνεργάστηκε μὲ τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς τῆς Πελοποννήσου, τοὺς προκρίτους καὶ τοὺς ὁπλαρχηγοὺς γιὰ τὴν ὀργάνωση τῶν πρώτων πυρήνων τῆς ἐξεγέρσεως. Ἡ προσπάθεια ὅμως αὐτὴ ἀπέτυχε, ὁ δὲ διάδοχος τοῦ Ὀσουμάν, ὁ Χαμζᾶ πασάς, πληροφορήθηκε τὶς προετοιμασίες καὶ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισε στὸν Μυστρὰ τὸ 1767. Ὁ μαρτυρικὸς θάνατός του, ποὺ ἐνέπνευσε τὸ δημοτικὸ τραγούδι, ὑπῆρξε μεγάλη συμφορὰ καὶ θρηνήθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν λαό.
Holy Martyr Sabbas the Goth (372)
In the kingdom of Wallachia (in modern-day Romania) the Goths undertook a brutal persecution of Christians. A Gothic prince came to the village of Buzau and asked the villagers if any Christians lived there. They swore to him that there were none. At this, Sabbas came before the Prince and said 'Let no one swear an oath on my behalf. I am a Christian.' Touched by his courage, the prince let Sabbas go, saying 'This one can do neither harm nor good.'
The following year a priest named Sansal came to the village and celebrated Pascha with Sabbas (who was truly the only Christian there). When the pagans heard of this, they attacked Sabbas' house and seized both men. They dragged Sabbas naked through thorns, then tied both him and Sansal to trees and tried to make them eat meat offered to idols. Neither man would touch the sacrifices. The prince then sentenced Sabbas to death and gave him over to the soldiers. Sabbas walked to the place of execution joyfully, singing and praising God. Seeing his goodness, the soldiers tried to free him on the way, but Sabbas refused, telling them that it was their duty to carry out the prince's command.
The soldiers took him to a river, tied a rock to his neck and cast him into the waters, where he gave back his soul to God. Some Christians later recovered his body and gave it honorable burial. The saint was 31 years old at the time of his martyrdom. In the reign of the Emperor Valens, the Greek commander Ionnios Soranos found the Saint's body during a war against the Goths, and took it to Cappadocia.
The Holy Disciples Aristarchus, Pudas and Trophymos were from among the Seventy Disciples, whom the Lord Jesus Christ had sent before him with the good-news of the Gospel (Lk. 10: 1-24).
The holy Disciple Aristarchus, a co-worker of the holy Apostle Paul, became bishop of the Syrian city of Apameia. His name is repeatedly mentioned in the book of the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 19: 29, 20: 4, 27: 2) and in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul (Col. 4: 10, Philemon 1: 24).
The holy Disciple Pudas is mentioned in the 2nd Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 4: 21). He occupied high position as a member of the Roman Senate. At his home the saint took in the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, and believing Christians gathered. His house was converted into a church, receiving the name "Pastorum". In it, according to tradition, the holy Apostle Peter himself served as priest.
The holy Disciple Trophymos hailed from the city of Edessa. His name is mentioned in the book of the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 20: 4) and in the 2nd Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 4: 20). He was a student and companion of the holy Apostle Paul, sharing with him all the sorrows and persecution.
All these three holy disciples accepted a martyr's death at Rome under the emperor Nero (54-68), concurrent with that of the Apostle Paul ( c. 67).
The Holy Women Martyrs Basilissa and Anastasia lived in Rome and were enlightened with the light of the Christian faith by the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. They devoted themselves to the service of the Lord. When the emperor Nero (54-68) persecuted Christians and gave them over to torture and execution, Saints Basilissa and Anastasia intrepidly took up the bodies of the holy martyrs and gave them reverent burial. Rumours about this reached Nero. Saints Basilissa and Anastasia were then locked up in prison. They subjected them to cruel tortures: they scourged them with whips, tore at their skin with hooks, and burned at them with fire. But the holy martyresses remained unyielding and bravely confessed their faith in Christ the Saviour. By command of Nero they were beheaded with the sword (+ c. 68).
The Holy Martyr Sukhios and his 16 Gruzian (Georgian) Companions were illustrious dignitaries who served at the court of the Albanian (Hagbanite) ruler (i.e. "Caucasian Albania" -- a realm on the present day territory of Azerbaizhan).
Escorting the Albanian ruler's daughter Satenika, spouse of the Armenian emperor Artaxar (88-123), Saint Sukhios and his 16 Companions arrived in Artashat, the ancient capital of Armenia (the city was later destroyed by the Romans in the year 163). Preaching there at the time was the Greek Christian named Chrysos, who had been enlightened and ordained by the holy Disciple Thaddeus (+ c. 44, Comm. 21 August). The dignitaries came to believe in Christ the Saviour, and they firmly resolved to devote all their life to the service of God. All seventeen of the newly-converted Gruzianians followed Chrysos into Mesopotamia. At the time of their Baptism in the waters of the Euphrates, made over them by Bishop Chrysos, they were vouchsafed to behold the Lord of Glory Jesus Christ.
At the place of their Baptism, the holy martyrs erected a venerable cross and named it the "Cross of the Annunciation". Bishop Chrysos at the Baptism gave all the saints new names: to the eldest -- Sukhios (replacing his old name Bagadras), and to his companions the names -- Andrew, Anastasias, Talale, Theodorites, Juhirodion, Jordan, Kondrates, Lukian, Mimnenos, Nerangios, Polyeuktos, James, Phoki, Domentian, Victor and Zosima.
After the martyr's death of Blessed Chrysos, Saint Sukhios became the spiritual leader of the brethren. All soon resettled in a wild locality on Mount Sukaketi, not far from the mountain village of Bagrevandi. Here the former dignitaries led very strict ascetic lives, the scant mountain vegetation sufficed them for food, and for drink -- a cold spring of water.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY APOSTLES ARISTARCHUS, PUDENS AND TROPHIMUS
They were numbered among the Seventy Apostles. Aristarchus was bishop of Apamea in Syria. The Apostle Paul mentions him several times. "The city was filled with confusion and the people rushed with one accord into the theater, seizing Gaius and Aristarchus" (Acts of the Apostles 19:29). "Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions) if he comes to you, receive him" (Colossians 4:10). "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as well as Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my co-workers" (Philemon 1:23,24). Aristarchus was captured in Ephesus with Gaius by a multitude of people who had risen up against Paul. The Apostle Paul writes to the Colossians: "Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner sends you his greetings" (Colossians 4:10). In the Epistle to Philemon, Paul calls Aristarchus "my co-worker" together with Mark, Demas and Luke.
Pudens was a distinguished citizen of Rome. The Apostle Paul mentions him once. "Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers send greetings"(2 Timothy 4:21). At first, the home of Pudens was a haven for the Chief Apostles [Peter and Paul] and later it was converted into a place of worship, called the Shepherd's Church.
Trophimus was from Asia. "Sopater, the son of Pyrrhus, from Beroea, accompanied him, as did Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia" (Acts of the Apostles 20:4). He accompanied the apostle on his travel. In one place the Apostle Paul writes: "I left Trophimus sick at Miletus" (2 Timothy 4:20).
During the reign of Nero's persecution, when the Apostle Paul was beheaded, all three of these glorious apostles were also beheaded.
2. THE HOLY MARTYR SABAS OF GOTHLAND [SABAS THE GOTH]
In Gothland, there was a brutal persecution against Christians. A certain prince of the Goths [Atharidus] entered the village where this devout Sabas lived and asked the villagers: "Are there any Christians living in your village?" They convinced him by swearing that there are none. Then Sabas stood before the prince and the people and said: " Let no one swear for me; I am a Christian!" Upon seeing Sabas, wretched and poor, the prince let him go in peace saying: " This one can neither harm nor benefit anyone." The following year, around Easter, a certain priest Sansala came to this village and celebrated the glorious Feast of the Pascha [Resurrection] with Sabas. Upon learning of this, the heathens suddenly attacked the home of Sabas and began to beat this holy man of God unmercifully with canes and, besides this, they dragged the naked body of Sabas through thorns and then tied both Sabas and Sansala to a tree and offered them the meat of the idolatrous sacrifices to eat. These men of God called to mind the words of the apostles and refused to eat of the unclean sacrifices of the devil. Finally, Prince Atharidus condemned Sabas to death and handed him over to the soldiers. Full of joy, Sabas arrived at the scaffold praising God. Recognizing him as a good man, the soldiers wanted to release him along the way and, because of that, Sabas became very sorrowful and said to the soldiers that they are duty-bound to carry out the order of the prince. The soldiers then brought him to the Mussovo river [at Targoviste, Romania, near Bucharest] tied a stone around his neck and tossed him into the water. His body was washed up along the shore. Later on, during the reign of Emperor Valens when the Greek Commander Ioannis Soranos was warring with the Goths, he discovered the body of Sabas and translated it to Cappadocia. Sabas, the saint, suffered at the age of 31 in the year 372 A.D.
3. THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYRS BASILISSA AND ANASTASIA
Basilissa and Anastasia were two pious and devout Romans. During the reign of Emperor Nero, they gathered the slain bodies of the disciples of the apostles and buried them with honor. For this, they were accused and imprisoned. After prolonged torture, during which their breasts and tongues were severed, they were finally beheaded.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY MARTYRS
Martyrs radiant, their blood they shed,
And the entire black earth, with their blood they stained
The fire was powerful in which they were burned,
But, more powerful the love, with which they loved Christ.
For the greatest good, a martyr to be
With what kind of riches, can this be compared?
All-victorious Christ, the King of that age,
Your brave souls in heaven welcomed.
From the hands of the angels, He took them to Himself,
And all your weighty pains, He blessed.
Concerning contemplation, St. Gregory Sinaites writes: "We confirm that there are eight principle subjects for contemplation: First, God, invisible and unseen; without beginning and uncreated; the First Cause of everything that exists; Triune; the one and only pre-existing Divinity; Second, the order and rank of rational powers: [the bodiless powers of heaven; the angelic world]; Third, the composition of visible things; Fourth, the plan of the Incarnation of the Word; Fifth, the general resurrection; Sixth, the awesome second coming (Second Advent) of Christ; Seventh, eternal torment; Eighth, the Kingdom of Heaven. The first four have already been revealed and belong to the past. The last four have not yet been revealed and belong to the future, even though these four are clearly contemplated by those who, with the help of acquired Grace, attained complete purity of mind. Whosoever approaches this task of contemplation without the illumination of Grace, let him know that he is building fantasies and does not possess the art of contemplation." Thus wrote the great and discerning Gregory Sinaites who, that which he knows, he knows form personal experience.
To contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How he is concerned about the physical nourishment of His disciples; How He breaks and blesses bread for the disciples in Emmaus;
2. How by the shore of the lake he asked His disciples: "Have you caught anything to eat?" (St. John 21:5). When they answered Him that they have not, He prepared bread and fish and gave it to them.
About how we will resemble Him Whom we love
"Beloved, we are God's childrennow; what we shall be has notyet been revealed. We do knowthat when it is revealed we shallbe like Him, for we shall see Himas He is" (1 John 3:2).
Until now, we were slaves and now we are the children of God. We were the slaves of evil and now we are the servants of good; the supreme good in heaven and on earth. We were slaves to all of that which is lower and worse than man and now, we will serve the All-Highest and the All-Good. We were squashed by darkness and now, we will labor in the light. Until now, the devil, sin and death held us in continual fear and now, we will live close to God in freedom and joy.
Now, when now? Now, when the Lord appeared on earth in the flesh, when He gave us the knowledge of light, freedom and life; when He gloriously resurrected and manifested Himself in His glorified body; when He fulfilled all the prophecies of the prophets and all of His promises. Now we, too, are the children of God: "The sons of light and the heirs of the Kingdom."
"We shall be like Him." Truly, this has not yet materialized but He has manifested Himself and, for now, that is sufficient. He Himself showed how beautiful man is in the resurrection and we know that we will also be the same as He. The Apostle John says: "We know that we shall be like Him." He does not say we suspect or it has been told to us but he does say: "We know that we shall be like Him." For He did not resurrect for His sake, but for our sake. He did not resurrect from the grave, only to show His power to the dead who are without hope, but to assure the dead that they, too, will live again and to show them how they will be when they become enlivened. Neither did the apostles write: " We know," because of their vanity before the ignorant, but because of brotherly love toward man, that all men may know the same and "that we may also know."
O resurrected Lord, confirm in us also this saving knowledge through the prayers of Your Holy Apostles.