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The Saint of the Day Podcast briefly tells the story of one of the venerable Saints commemorated in the Orthodox Calendar for that day. Our reader is a professional actor and an ordained Deacon in the Orthodox Church, Dn. Jerome Atherholt. Our source is www.abbamoses.com. - brought to you by Ancient…

Jerome Atherholt and Ancient Faith Radio


    • Nov 30, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
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    Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Apostle Andrew the First-Called

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 2:16

    He was the brother of the Apostle Peter, from Bethsaida on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. Andrew left his fisherman's trade to become a disciple of St John the Baptist. Soon after the Forerunner had baptized Jesus, he said to Andrew and his other disciple John the Theologian, "Behold the Lamb of God!" At this, both disciples followed after Jesus. After conversing with Christ, Andrew hurried home and told his brother Simon Peter, "We have found the Messiah." For being the first to recognize Jesus as the Christ, St Andrew is called the First-Called.   After Pentecost, Andrew was appointed to preach the Gospel around the Black Sea and in Thrace and Macedonia, traveling as far as Lazica in the Caucasus. According to Slavic tradition his travels took him even further, into the land that was later to be called Russia.   In later travels the Apostle preached throughout Asia Minor with St John the Theologian, then traveled to Mesopotamia, then back to Sinope on the Black Sea, and finally to Patras in the Peloponnese, where he soon established a large community of Christians. One of his converts was Maximilla, the wife of Aegeates, the Proconsul of that region. Aegeates was so angered by his wife's conversion that he had the Apostle arrested and crucified head downwards on a cross in the shape of an "X." The holy Apostle rejoiced to be allowed to suffer the same death as his Master.   The holy relics of St Andrew, after various travels, were returned to Patras in 1964, where they are now venerated.   In the West, St Andrew is venerated as the patron of Scotland: in the Middle Ages, more than eight hundred churches in Scotland were dedicated to him.

    Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Apostle Andrew the First-Called

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 2:16

    He was the brother of the Apostle Peter, from Bethsaida on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. Andrew left his fisherman's trade to become a disciple of St John the Baptist. Soon after the Forerunner had baptized Jesus, he said to Andrew and his other disciple John the Theologian, "Behold the Lamb of God!" At this, both disciples followed after Jesus. After conversing with Christ, Andrew hurried home and told his brother Simon Peter, "We have found the Messiah." For being the first to recognize Jesus as the Christ, St Andrew is called the First-Called.   After Pentecost, Andrew was appointed to preach the Gospel around the Black Sea and in Thrace and Macedonia, traveling as far as Lazica in the Caucasus. According to Slavic tradition his travels took him even further, into the land that was later to be called Russia.   In later travels the Apostle preached throughout Asia Minor with St John the Theologian, then traveled to Mesopotamia, then back to Sinope on the Black Sea, and finally to Patras in the Peloponnese, where he soon established a large community of Christians. One of his converts was Maximilla, the wife of Aegeates, the Proconsul of that region. Aegeates was so angered by his wife's conversion that he had the Apostle arrested and crucified head downwards on a cross in the shape of an "X." The holy Apostle rejoiced to be allowed to suffer the same death as his Master.   The holy relics of St Andrew, after various travels, were returned to Patras in 1964, where they are now venerated.   In the West, St Andrew is venerated as the patron of Scotland: in the Middle Ages, more than eight hundred churches in Scotland were dedicated to him.

    Holy Martyr Paramon and his 370 Companions (~250)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 1:11

    "Akylinus, the Governor of Bithynia in the reign of the Emperor Decius (249-51), was leaving for the hot springs at Bisaltia, when he decided to make 370 Christians from Nicomedia, who had been imprisoned on his orders, worship in the temple of Isis. On their refusal to do so, they were all beheaded. Seeing this massacre, the righteous Paramon cried out: 'What a wicked deed to slaughter so many righteous men, and strangers moreover, as if they were animals.' The Governor heard these words and had Paramon seized and taken with him under guard. On the road he was mistreated in various ways by the soldiers. Some of them struck him with their spears, others excised his tongue and other members, and he was finally put to death in the presence of the Governor." (Synaxarion)   Note: of the various persecutions launched by the pagan Emperors before St Constantine, the persecution under Decius was probably the fiercest and bloodiest.

    Our Holy Father, Confessor and Martyr Stephen the New (767)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2021 2:22

    He was born in Constantinople in 715 to pious parents named John and Anna. His mother had prayed often to the most holy Theotokos to be granted a son, and received a revelation from our Lady that she would conceive the son she desired. When the child was born, she named him Stephen, following a prophecy of the Patriarch St Germanos (commemorated May 12). Stephen entered monastic life as a youth, and so distinguished himself in asceticism and virtue that the hermits of Mt Auxentius appointed him their leader at a young age.   'During the reign of Constantine V (741-775), Stephen showed his love of Orthodoxy in contending for the Faith... Besides being a fierce Iconoclast, Constantine raised up a ruthless persecution of monasticism. He held a council in 754 that anathematized the holy icons. Because Saint Stephen rejected this council, the Emperor framed false accusations against him and exiled him. But while in exile Saint Stephen performed healings with holy icons and turned many away from Iconoclasm. When he was brought before the Emperor again, he showed him a coin and asked whose image the coin bore. "Mine," said the tyrant. "If any man trample upon thine image, is he liable to punishment?" asked the Saint. When they that stood by answered yes, the Saint groaned because of their blindness, and said if they thought dishonouring the image of a corruptible king worthy of punishment, what torment would they receive who trampled upon the image of the Master Christ and of the Mother of God? Then he threw the coin to the ground and trampled on it. He was condemned to eleven months in bonds and imprisonment. Later, he was dragged over the earth and was stoned, like Stephen the First Martyr; wherefore he is called Stephen the New. Finally, he was struck with a wooden club on the temple and his head was shattered, and thus he gave up his spirit in the year 767.' (Great Horologion)

    Holy Great Martyr James the Persian (421)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2021 1:22

    "This Saint was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth; he was the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the King's friendship and flatteries. When his mother and his wife learned of this, they declared to him by letter that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words and coming to himself, the Saint wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. Therefore, becoming exceedingly wroth, the King — this was Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438), Isdiger's son and successor — condemned him to a most bitter death, the likes of which not even a brute beast was ever condemned to: that is, his body was dismembered at every joint of his arms and legs. And so, when he had been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous Martyr was finally beheaded, in the year 421." (Great Horologion)

    St Nikon Metanoite (“Repent!”) (~1000)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 2:11

    He was born about 930 to a pious and wealthy family near Trebizond. Once, making an inspection of the family's estates, he was so affected by the wretched conditions of the poor fieldworkers that he despaired of happiness in this world and determined to live a monastic life.   After years spent in a monastery, where he shone in obedience, prayer and self-denial, the Saint was given leave to travel in the ministry of the Gospel of Christ. For three years he wandered the East, without home or possessions, crying to everyone he met, "Repent!" and proclaiming with tears the message of salvation in Christ. He then spent seven years in Crete, then went to Greece, walking barefoot from place to place, preaching repentance and becoming so well known that he acquired the nickname "Metanoite," meaning "Repent!"   After driving a great plague from Sparta through his prayers, he settled near that city, building a great church dedicated to Christ the Savior, and living in the church for the remainder of his life. In time, a monastery was attached to the church for his disciples. His last counsel to his disciples was: "Flee pride, cleave to humility; do not despise the poor; keep clear of all evil, of all envy and of the remembrance of wrongs; forgive your brethren. Go regularly to church and confess your sins often to the priests and spiritual fathers. If you keep to these counsels, I will never abandon you." He then gave his soul back to God.   Saint Nikon was immediately venerated as a saint by the people of Sparta, and is regarded as the protector of the city, where his relics are venerated to this day.

    Holy Hieromartyr Clement, Bishop of Rome (~100)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 1:58

    He was instructed in the Faith of Christ by St Peter himself, and may be the Clement mentioned by the Apostle Paul as a fellow-worker in Philippians 4:3. He was consecrated Bishop of Rome about the year 91; some traditions call him the first Bishop of Rome, others the third after Sts Linus and Anacletus. (This is not necessarily inconsistent: in the Apostolic age, the offices of Elder and Bishop were not strictly distinguished, and the three bishops may have served at the same time or by turns.) He is the author of the Epistle of Clement, which was so highly esteemed in the early Church that it is often found in early versions of the New Testament. The holy Bishop effected countless conversions in Rome, even bringing the Prefect Sisinius and his wife Theodora to the Faith after miraculously healing them of blindness. The bishop's success so angered the Emperor Trajan that he had Clement exiled to the Crimea, on the far eastern frontier of the Empire. There the holy bishop continued to work wonders of evangelism, founding seventy-five churches in one year and bringing countless pagans to faith in Christ. Finally, to put a stop to the Saint's work, the Governor of the region had him cruelly tortured, then thrown into the Black Sea with an anchor around his neck.   More than 700 years later, in 860, St Cyril (commemorated May 11) arrived in the Crimea, sent by St Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople. He found the relics of St Clement faithfully preserved there and brought part of them back to Constantinople.

    Great Martyr Mercurius (~259)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 1:15

    He was born in the province of Asia, to a Scythian who had secretly converted to Christianity. Like his parents, he was a secret follower of Christ, serving as a legionary in the Roman army during the reign of the Emperor Decius. During a campaign, an Angel appeared to him, gave him a sword and told him to go into battle trusting in Christ's help. Mercurius plunged into battle, fought his way alone through the enemy lines, and reached the barbarian commander Rigas, whom he killed. Upon the death of their chief the barbarians scattered and the victory was won.   The Emperor, hearing of the young soldier's exploits, promoted him to a position at court. There, lulled by the pleasures and honors of the court, Mercurius forgot his duties to Christ his King. One night the same Angel who had given him the sword appeared to him once again and reminded him of the sword that Christ had given him, an emblem of the battle of martyrdom that he was about to enter. The next day Mercurius, now returned to his senses, refused to offer sacrifice to the gods. When called before the Emperor, he boldly proclaimed Christ and threw off his badges of office. He was thrown in prison and subjected to cruel tortures, all of which he bore with peace and joy, encouraged by the Angel who appeared to him again to offer comfort and encouragement. After long torment he was beheaded in Caesarea in Cappadocia, at the age of twenty-five.

    Our Holy Father Amphilocus, Bishop of Iconium (395)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 2:35

    "A fellow-countryman and friend of St Basil the Great and other great saints of the fourth century, Amphilochius early forsook the bustle of the world and withdrew to a cave where, as a solitary, he lived in asceticism for forty years. The episcopal throne in Iconium then fell empty, and Amphilochius was chosen in a wonderful way and consecrated as Bishop of Iconium. He was a marvellous shepherd and a great defender of the purity of the Orthodox faith, and took part in the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. He fought zealously against Macedonius, and against the Arians and the Eunomians. He personally begged Theodosius the Great to drive the Arians out of every city in the Empire, but the Emperor did not comply with his request. After a few days, Amphilochius came before the Emperor again. When the bishop was taken into the presence-chamber, the Emperor was sitting on his throne with his son Arcadius, whom he had taken as co-Emperor, sitting at his right hand. Entering the room, Amphilochius did reverence to Theodosius, but ignored Arcadius as though he were not there. Infuriated by this, the Emperor Theodosius commanded that Amphilochius be instantly driven from court. The saint then said to the Emperor: 'Do you see, 0 Emperor, how you do not tolerate a slight paid to your son? In the same way, God the Father does not tolerate dishonour paid to His Son, turning with loathing from those who blaspheme against Him, and being angered at that accursed Arian heresy.' Hearing this, the Emperor understood the reason for Amphilochius's seeming disrespect towards his son, and marvelled at his wisdom and daring. Among many other works, Amphilochius wrote several books on the Faith. He entered into rest in 395 in great old age, and went to immortal life." (Prologue)   Saint Amphilocus was a kinsman of St Gregory the Theologian: his father's sister Nonna (August 5) was St Gregory's mother. Amphilocus himself was a lifelong friend of all three of the great Cappadocian Fathers: Sts Basil, Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa.

    Holy Martyrs Cecilia, Valerian, Tiburtius and Maximus, at Rome (3rd c.)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 1:39

    Saint Cecilia was born to a prominent pagan family in Rome. In her youth she secretly became a disciple of Christ. When her parents betrothed her to a young man named Valerian, she brought him to faith in Christ and persuaded him that they should live in virginity. Valerian was baptised by Pope Urban, and in his turn went on to bring his brother Tiburtius to the Faith.   At the time, Christians in Rome were being violently persecuted, many to the point of martyrdom; Cecilia, her husband, and his brother made it their work to go out by night and secretly give pious burial to the martyrs and give charitable help to their families. Eventually, this was discovered, and the two brothers were in their own turn arrested and condemned as Christians. At the moment of their beheading, the Roman officer Maximus saw heaven open and angels come to receive their souls; he, along with several other onlookers, confessed Christ, and in his turn died under torture. Finally, Cecilia herself was arrested and, after faithfully enduring various tortures, was beheaded.   Because St Cecilia is described in her first biography as a lover of music, she is honored as patroness of church music in the West, and is often shown playing the organ.

    The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple in Jerusalem.

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2021 2:27

    When the holy and most pure child Mary (Mariam or Miriam in Hebrew) reached the age of three, her parents, the righteous Joachim and Anna, fulfilled the vow they had made to dedicate her to God. Going in procession with a company of maidens carrying torches, they presented their child at the Temple in Jerusalem, where Zecharias the High Priest took her under his care, blessing her with these words: "The Lord has glorified thy name in every generation; it is in thee that He will reveal the Redemption that he has prepared for his people in the last days." He then brought the child into the Holy of Holies — something completely unheard-of, for under the Law only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy Place, and he only once a year on the Day of Atonement.   (In the icon of the feast, the maidens who accompany the Theotokos are shown bare-headed, as was customary for unmarried girls; but the Theotokos herself, though only three years old, wears the head-covering of a married woman to show her consecration to God.)   The holy Virgin lived in the Temple for the next nine years, devoting herself entirely to prayer. In this time she attained the utter purity of heart befitting the destined Bearer of the Most High; she became in her own person the fulfilment and condensation of all of Israel's faithfulness. Saint Gregory Palamas says that, when the Theotokos entered the Holy of Holies, the time of preparation and testing of the Old Covenant came to an end for Israel, which was now ready, in the blessed Virgin, to bring forth the Savior.   When Mary approached marriageable age, she was entrusted to the chaste widower Joseph to guard her. (The Prologue says that a life of intentional virginity was unknown among the Hebrews, so the righteous Joseph undertook the forms of marriage so as not to cause scandal among the people.)   "Wherefore the Church rejoices and exhorts all the friends of God for their part to enter into the temple of their heart, there to make ready for the coming of the Lord by silence and prayer, withdrawing from the pleasures and cares of this world." (Synaxarion)

    Our Holy Father Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople (447)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 20, 2021 1:29

    He was a disciple and scribe of St John Chrysostom. About the year 426 he was ordained Bishop of Cyzicus, but was unable to take up his see because another had been unlawfully elected in his place, so he remained in Constantinople. Around 428, Nestorius was made Patriarch of Constantinople, and almost immediately began teaching his blasphemous doctrine that the holy Virgin could not be called Theotokos, "God-bearer," but only Christotokos, "Christ-bearer." Proclus resisted this teaching forcefully, once giving a sermon in the presence of the heretical Patriarch, defending the Orthodox teaching concerning the Theotokos. Proclus was elevated to the throne of Patriarch of Constantinople in 434, after Nestorius had been deposed and the Orthodox teaching clearly proclaimed in an Ecumenical Council. It was Proclus who persuaded the Emperor Theodosius the Younger to have the holy relics of his teacher St John Chrysostom returned to Constantinople, and who received them on their triumphal return to the city. He reposed in peace in 447.

    Holy Martyr Barlaam of Antioch (304)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 1:09

    Saint Barlaam was an old man, living in Antioch during the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian. When he confessed Christ before the Governor and refused to sacrifice to the idols, he was tortured for days: his flesh was torn by iron claws and he was stretched on the rack. When these conventional tortures failed, the Governor invented a new torment: Barlaam's hand was stretched over an altar to the idols, and a burning coal with incense was put in his palm. The torturers reasoned that when pain forced him to drop the coal, they would be able to say that he had offered sacrifice to the gods. But the holy Barlaam held his hand steady and watched calmly as his hand was burnt up by the coal. At last his hand fell to the ground and the Martyr gave up his soul to God.   In some accounts, St Barlaam survived his torments and reposed in peace. Some have held that he came from Cappadocia rather than Antioch, but this is probably incorrect. Saint John Chrysostom once delivered a homily at St Barlaam's tomb in Antioch on his feast day.

    Holy Martyr Romanus and the holy child who declared for Christ (305)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 2:56

    "Saint Romanus was a deacon and exorcist in the Church of Caesarea in Palestine. He happened to be at Antioch in 303 when the Emperor Diocletian's edicts for the general persecution of Christians were published. He could not bear to see so many Christian men, women and children denying their faith in the true God for fear of suffering. As they went to sacrifice to the idols, he ran up, consumed with zeal for righteousness, crying shame on them with a loud voice. He was immediately arrested and brought before the city Prefect. He faced interrogation boldly and to prove the stupidity of the pagan cult, he asked for a child to be brought in, taken at random from the crowd in the public square. Romanus enquired of the lad whether it was more sensible to worship the one and only God and Creator of the world, or the many gods of the pagans. Showing himself wiser than the pagans, the child unhesitatingly decided for the God of the Christians. The Prefect flew into a rage at being made to look ridiculous and ordered the young confessor to be put to the torture straight away in the presence of his mother. The child endured the torments without flinching but told his mother he was thirsty and wanted a drink. '0 my dear son', the admirable woman answered, 'do not drink corruptible and temporal water, but keep up your courage so as to drink living and eternal water in the Kingdom of God!' The child was beheaded, and Saint Romanus was condemned to be burnt to death. He welcomed the sentence joyfully, and with a shining face was led unresistingly to the stake. Since the Emperor was in the city, the executioners awaited his decision before lighting the fire and the valiant Martyr exclaimed at the delay, 'Where is the fire that is prepared for me?' But the execution was stayed so that he could be brought before the Emperor in person. Aware that Christians rejoice over the death of a Martyr as the entrance to everlasting life, the tyrant wanted to increase the suffering of Christ's athlete by delaying the moment of deliverance. He ordered the executioners to tear out his tongue, which Romanus freely offered, and he miraculously went on praising God and encouraging the faithful after it was cut away. After this torment, he was imprisoned for a long time in chains until the Emperor's birthday. This was celebrated all over the Empire and a general release of prisoners was customary. But Romanus was not freed; with his feet crushed in the stocks, he was secretly strangled in his dungeon and thus received the adornment of martyrdom, as he had desired."(Synaxarion)

    Our Holy Father Longinus (4th or 5th c.)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 1:14

    "Our holy Father Longinus lived in the Egyptian deserts during the fourth or fifth century. Among other sayings of his, are the following: A dead man judges no one, and it is just the same with the man who is humble. To someone who wanted to go to live in exile, he replied: Unless you guard your tongue, you will not be able to live in exile wherever you go. To someone else who wanted to live in solitude, he said: If you do not exercise the virtues in the midst of men, still less will you be able to do so in solitude. By his life and his words he taught love of humility as superior to all the works of ascesis, saying: Fasting humbles the body, vigil purifies the intellect and stillness leads to the affliction that baptizes man anew and cleanses him of all sin.   We also owe to him the famous saying: Shed your blood and receive the Spirit." (Synaxarion)

    Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 1:44

    He was a Galilean, the son of Alphaeus, and was originally named Levi. He was a tax-collector (an occupation despised by the Jews of Palestine) until he met the Lord, who said to him, "Follow me." From that day he was one of the disciples.   After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Apostle was appointed to bring the Gospel to his fellow Jews, for whom, according to the Church's tradition, he wrote down the Gospel for the first time, in the Aramaic language, eight years after the Ascension. Some years later, this book was translated into Greek by St James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem. No copy in the original language has survived.   Later, St Matthew traveled to Parthia and the city of Hierapolis (on the Euphrates river) to proclaim the Gospel to the pagans there. One tradition holds that he reposed in peace in that region at a great age. Another tradition holds that he was martyred by a king of that region, who later repented and was baptized, taking the name Matthew. The king then cast down the idols and established the Christian faith in his realm.   When St Matthew is portrayed in icons, the likeness of a man is shown with him, one of the four living creatures spoken of in the first chapter of Ezekiel. St Irenaeus writes that the man symbolizes Christ's Incarnation.

    Our Venerable Father Paisius Velichkovsky (1794)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 2:25

    He was born in Ukraine in 1722, one of the many children of a priest. He attended the Ecclesiastical Academy in Kiev, but was disappointed by the worldliness, love of ease and western theological climate that he found there.   After four years he left the school and embarked on a search for a spiritual father and a monastery where he could live in poverty. He eventually found wise spiritual guides in Romania, where many of the Russian monks had fled after Peter the Great's reforms. From there he traveled to the Holy Mountain. Spiritual life was at a low ebb there also, and Plato (the name he had been given as a novice) became a hermit, devoting his days to prayer and reading the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers. After four years, a visiting Elder from Romania tonsured him a monk under the name Paisius, and advised him to live with other monks to avoid the spiritual dangers of taking up the solitary life too soon. A few brethren from Romania arrived, seeking to make him their spiritual father, but as he felt unworthy to take on this task, all of them lived in poverty and mutual obedience. Others joined them from Romania and the Slavic countries, and in time they took up the cenobitic life, with Paisius as their reluctant abbot.   In 1763 the entire community (grown to sixty-five in number) left the Holy Mountain and returned to Romania. They were given a monastery where they adopted the Athonite rule of life. Abbot Paisius introduced the Jesus Prayer and other aspects of hesychasm to the monastic life there: before this time, they had been used mostly by hermits. The services of the Church were conducted fully, with the choirs chanting alternately in Slavonic and Romanian. The monks confessed to their Elder every evening so as not to let the sun go down on their anger, and a brother who held a grudge against another was forbidden to enter the church, or even to say the Lord's Prayer, until he had settled it.   The monastic brotherhood eventually grew to more than a thousand, divided into two monasteries. Visitors and pilgrims came from Russia, Greece and other lands to experience its holy example.   St Paisius had learned Greek while on Mt Athos, and undertook to produce accurate Slavonic translations of the writings of many of the Fathers of the Church. The Greek Philokalia had been published not long before, and St Paisius produced a Slavonic version that was read throughout the Slavic Orthodox world. (This is the Philokalia that the pilgrim carries with him in The Way of a Pilgrim).   The Saint reposed in peace in 1794, one year after the publication of his Slavonic Philokalia. The Synaxarion summarizes his influence: "These translations, and the influence of the Saint through the activity of his disciples in Russia, led to a widespread spiritual renewal, and to the restoration of traditional monastic life there which lasted until the Revolution of 1917."

    Holy Apostle Philip

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 14, 2021 1:33

    He was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and a diligent student of the Law and the Prophets. When he first met Jesus, he followed Him right away and told Nathanael, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote" (John 1) After Christ's Ascension, Philip was chosen to proclaim the Gospel in Asia (the western province of Asia Minor). He traveled with Bartholomew (commemorated June 11) and his sister Mariamne, all of them joyfully enduring great sufferings and persecutions in the Lord's service. In Hierapolis in Phrygia, they healed the Governor's wife of an eye affliction, and she believed in the Lord. The Governor was so infuriated by this that he had Philip crucified upside-down. At the moment he gave up his soul to God, the ground opened, swallowing up a great many pagan priests and the Governor. Many of the surviving pagans, terrified, believed in Christ and were baptized by Bartholomew. Saint Bartholomew went on to preach the Gospel in many places; Mariamne traveled to the Jordan River, where she reposed in peace.   Among the Slavic peoples, the Nativity Fast is often called Filipovka since it commences immediately after this feast.

    Our Father among the Saints John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (407)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2021 3:07

    This greatest of Christian orators is commemorated not only today, but as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs (with St Basil the Great and St Gregory the Theologian) on January 30.   He was born in Antioch to pious parents around 345. His mother was widowed at the age of twenty, and devoted herself to rearing her son in piety. He received his literary and oratorical training from the greatest pagan teachers of the day. Though an illustrious and profitable career as a secular orator was open to him, he chose instead to dedicate himself to God. He lived as a monk from 374 to 381, eventually dwelling as a hermit in a cave near Antioch. Here his extreme ascetic practices ruined his health, so that he was forced to return to Antioch, where he was ordained to the priesthood. In Antioch his astonishing gifts of preaching first showed themselves, earning him the epithet Chrysostomos, "Golden-mouth", by which he became universally known. His gifts became so far-famed that he was chosen to succeed St Nectarius as Patriarch of Constantinople. He was taken to Constantinople secretly (some say he was actually kidnapped) to avoid the opposition of the Antiochian people to losing their beloved preacher. He was made Patriarch of Constantinople in 398.   Archbishop John shone in his sermons as always, often censuring the corrupt morals and luxurious living of the nobility. For this he incurred the anger of the Empress Eudoxia, who had him exiled to Pontus in 403. The people protested by rioting, and the following night an earthquake shook the city, so frightening the Empress that she had Chrysostom called back. The reconciliation was short-lived. Saint John did not at all moderate the intensity of his sermons, and when the Empress had a silver statue of herself erected outside the Great Church in 403, accompanied by much revelry, the Patriarch spoke out against her, earning her unforgiving anger. In 404 he was exiled to Cucusus, near Armenia. When Pope Innocent of Rome interceded on his behalf, the imperial family only exiled him further, to a town called Pityus near the Caucasus. The journey was so difficult and his guards so cruel that the frail Archbishop gave up his soul to God before reaching his final place of exile, in 407. His last words were "Glory be to God for all things."   Saint John Chrysostom is the author of more written works than any other Church Father: his works include 1,447 recorded sermons, 240 epistles, and complete commentaries on Genesis, the Gospels of Matthew and John, the Acts of the Apostles, and all the Epistles of St Paul.   His repose was on September 14, but since that is the date of the Exaltation of the Cross, his commemoration has been transferred to this day.

    Our Holy Father Nilus the Ascetic of Sinai (430)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2021 1:50

    He served as Prefect of Constantinople during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius. He was married and had two children, a son and a daughter. Despising their eminent worldly position, Nilus and his wife agreed to take up the monastic life in Egypt, she taking their daughter to a women's monastery, he taking their son to Mount Sinai. Together Nilus and his son Theodoulos lived in hesychia on the slopes of the mountain with the other monks, who spent their lives in solitude, only gathering once a week to partake of the Mysteries. One day some Saracen raiders attacked the monks, killing many and capturing others; Nilus' own son Theodoulos was among those taken. Nilus, to overcome his sorrow at losing his son, redoubled his prayers and ascetical labors, and became widely-known for his gifts of prophecy and discernment. He wrote more than a thousand letters and spiritual treatises, including some defending his spiritual father St John Chrysostom, who had been unjustly exiled.   After many years at Mt Sinai, St Nilus found his long-lost son alive. Father and son together were ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Elusas, who had been caring for Theodoulos. Saint Nilus reposed in peace around the year 430. His relics were later returned to Constantinople and venerated at the Church of the Orphanage.

    Holy Martyr Menas (~304)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2021 2:22

    This holy Martyr was an Egyptian and a soldier during the reigns of Diocletian and Maximian. Though he was known for his valor in combat, he renounced his soldier's rank when his legion was ordered to seize Christians in north Africa. Fleeing to the mountains, he dwelt there for some time in silence and solitude, devoting his days to prayer. In time, he presented himself at a pagan festival, denounced the idols and declared himself a Christian. For this he was handed over to the governor of the city, who subjected him to horrible tortures and finally had him beheaded. Some faithful retrieved part of his relics and gave them honorable burial near Lake Mareotis, about thirty miles from Alexandria. The church built over his tomb became a place of pilgrimage not only for countless Egyptians but for Christians all over the world: evidence has been found of journeys to his shrine from as far away as Ireland.   The Synaxarion gives an account of the Saint's intervention in the Second World War: "In June 1942, during the North-Africa campaign that was decisive for the outcome of the Second World War, the German forces under the command of General Rommel were on their way to Alexandria, and happened to make a halt near a place which the Arabs call El-Alamein after Saint Menas. An ancient ruined church there was dedicated to the Saint; and there some people say he is buried. Here the weaker Allied forces including some Greeks confronted the numerically and militarily superior German army, and the result of the coming battle seemed certain. During the first night of engagement, Saint Menas appeared in the midst of the German camp at the head of a caravan of camels, exactly as he was shown on the walls of the ruined church in one of the frescoes depicting his miracles. This astounding and terrifying apparition so undermined German morale that it contributed to the brilliant victory of the Allies. The Church of Saint Menas was restored in thanksgiving and a small monastery was established there."

    Our Venerable Father Arsenios of Cappadocia, the Wonderworker (1924)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 2:47

    “Cappadocia (in eastern Turkey) is virtually devoid of Christians now, but in 1840, when St Arsenios was born there, there were still vital Orthodox communities. He became a monk and was sent to his native town, Farasa, to serve the people. He became known as a mighty intercessor before God, praying for all who came to him, Muslims as well as Christians. His countless miracles of healing became known throughout Cappadocia; those who could not come to see him would sometimes send articles of clothing for him to pray over. He became known as Hadjiefendis, a Muslim term of honour for pilgrims, because he made pilgrimage to the Holy Land every ten years on foot. He never accepted any gifts in return for his prayers and healings, saying ‘Our faith is not for sale!'   “He concealed his holiness as much as he could beneath a rough and sharp-tempered exterior. If anyone expressed admiration for him, he would reply "So you think I'm a saint? I'm only a sinner worse than you. Don't you see that I even lose my temper? The miracles you see are done by Christ. I do no more than lift up my hands and pray to him." But as the Scriptures say, the prayers of a righteous man avail much, and when St Arsenios lifted up his hands, wonders often followed.   “He lived in a small cell with an earthen floor, fasted often and was in the habit of shutting himself in his cell for at least two whole days every week to devote himself entirely to prayer.   “Father Arsenios predicted the expulsion of the Greeks from Asia Minor before it happened, and organized his flock for departure. When the expulsion order came in 1924, the aged Saint led his faithful on a 400-mile journey across Turkey on foot. He had foretold that he would only live forty days after reaching Greece, and this came to pass. His last words were "The soul, the soul, take care of it more than the flesh, which will return to earth and be eaten by worms!" Two days later, on November 10, 1924, he died in peace at the age of eighty-three. Since 1970, many apparitions and miracles have occurred near his holy relics, which reside in the Monastery of Souroti near Thessalonica. He was officially glorified by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1986.” — Source: Orthodox Parish of St John of Kronstadt (UK) The primary source for the life of St Arsenios is Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, compiled by Elder Païsios of the Holy Mountain, who was baptized as an infant by the Saint.

    Our Father among the Saints Nectarius (Nektarios), bishop of Pentapolis and Wonderworker

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 4:10

    "Saint Nectarius was born in Selyvria of Thrace on October 11, 1846. After putting himself through school in Constantinople with much hard labour, he became a monk on Chios in 1876, receiving the monastic name of Lazarus; because of his virtue, a year later he was ordained deacon, receiving the new name of Nectarius. Under the patronage of Patriarch Sophronius of Alexandria, Nectarius went to Athens to study in 1882; completing his theological studies in 1885, he went to Alexandria, where Patriarch Sophronius ordained him priest on March 23, 1886 in the Cathedral of Saint Sabbas, and in August of the same year, in the Church of Saint Nicholas in Cairo, made him Archimandrite. Archimandrite Nectarius showed much zeal both for preaching the word of God, and for the beauty of God's house. He greatly beautified the Church of Saint Nicholas in Cairo, and years later, when Nectarius was in Athens, Saint Nicholas appeared to him in a dream, embracing him and telling him he was going to exalt him very high.   "On January 15, 1889, in the same Church of Saint Nicholas, Nectarius was consecrated Metropolitan of Pentapolis in eastern Libya, which was under the jurisdiction of Alexandria. Although Nectarius' swift ascent through the degrees of ecclesiastical office did not affect his modesty and childlike innocence, it aroused the envy of lesser men, who convinced the elderly Sophronius that Nectarius had it in his heart to become Patriarch. Since the people loved Nectarius, the Patriarch was troubled by the slanders. On May 3, 1890, Sophronius relieved Metropolitan Nectarius of his duties; in July of the same year, he commanded Nectarius to leave Egypt.   "Without seeking to avenge or even to defend himself, the innocent Metropolitan left for Athens, where he found that accusations of immorality had arrived before him. Because his good name had been soiled, he was unable to find a position worthy of a bishop, and in February of 1891 accepted the position of provincial preacher in Euboia; then, in 1894, he was appointed dean of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School in Athens. Through his eloquent sermons, his unwearying labours to educate fitting men for the priesthood, his generous almsdeeds despite his own poverty, and the holiness, meekness, and fatherly love that were manifest in him, he became a shining light and a spiritual guide to many. At the request of certain pious women, in 1904 he began the building of his convent of the Holy Trinity on the island of Aegina while yet dean of the Rizarios School; finding later that his presence there was needed, he took up his residence on Aegina in 1908, where he spent the last years of his life, devoting himself to the direction of his convent and to very intense prayer; he was sometimes seen lifted above the ground while rapt in prayer. He became the protector of all Aegina, through his prayers delivering the island from drought, healing the sick, and casting out demons. Here also he endured wicked slanders with singular patience, forgiving his false accusers and not seeking to avenge himself. Although he had already worked wonders in life, an innumerable multitude of miracles have been wrought after his repose in 1920 through his holy relics, which for many years remained incorrupt. There is hardly a malady that has not been cured through his prayers; but Saint Nectarius is especially renowned for his healings of cancer for sufferers in all parts of the world." (Great Horologion)

    Synaxis of the Chief Captains of the Heavenly Host, Michael and Gabriel

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 2:02

    The holy Scriptures, from beginning to end, are filled with mentions and descriptions of the Heavenly Host: not to believe in angels is not to believe in the Bible. In the heavens they behold the face of God, eternally hymning His glory. They are intimately involved with mankind as well: an angel is appointed guardian over every nation, and over every individual Christian. The Archangels Michael and Gabriel, whom we especially commemorate today along with all the other bodiless powers, have served as messengers to man. "Michael" means "Who is like God?";"Gabriel" means "God is mighty." Gabriel especially was appointed to announce the coming of Christ in the flesh.   There is no reckoning the number of the Heavenly Host, though we know that they are a great multitude. They are ranked in nine orders, called Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, Dominions, Powers, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. "Angel" means "herald" or "messenger" and is properly applied only to those who serve as messengers from God to man; but the name is often applied to the entire host of bodiless powers.   Though bodiless, the angels are finite in knowledge, extension and power. The angel Lucifer, once the highest of them all, desired to be like God Himself, and was cast forever from the presence of God, along with countless others who followed him. These we now know as Satan and the demons. (Needless to say, they are not commemorated today).

    St Hieron and his thirty-three Companions, martyred at Melitene (290)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2021 1:02

    Hieron was a farmer from Tyana in Cappadocia, known for his great bodily strength as well as purity of soul. Hearing of his prowess, imperial soldiers came to draft him into the army. Knowing that he would be required to make sacrifice to the idols, Hieron drove them off with only a wooden stave, then hid in the wilderness. Later, however, he went to the Governor voluntarily and openly confessed his faith in Christ. For this his right hand was cut off and he was imprisoned with thirty-two other believers. As they awaited their end, Hieron strengthened the others in the Faith. All were beheaded together outside Melitene in Armenia.

    Saint Germanus, Archbishop of Kazan (1568)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2021 1:09

    He was born in Tver to a princely family. Drawn to a life of holiness from his earliest childhood, he became a monk at the age of twenty-five, at the Monastery of St Joseph of Volokolamsk. In time he became Archimandrite of the Monastery of the Dormition at Staritsk; but after a few years he returned to Volokolamsk to live in solitude. When his teacher St Gurias (October 4), first Archbishop of Kazan, reposed, Germanus succeeded him as Archbishop, but continued to live as ascetically as when he was a hermit. He was offered the office of Metropolitan of Moscow, but refused. As a faithful shepherd of his church, he fearlessly confronted Tsar Ivan the Terrible for his many and various cruelties; for this he was killed in 1568 by the Tsar's assassins.   Note: Recently, a bizarre movement has arisen among some nationalist sectarians in Russia to canonize Ivan the Terrible. Among the many obvious reasons against such an action (which has been firmly rejected by the Patriarch of Moscow), we could list the Tsar's murder of some of the Church's own Saints, Germanus among them.

    Holy Martyrs Galaction and Episteme (~250)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 2:06

    A pagan couple, Cleitophon and Leucippe, who lived in Emesa in the reign of the Emperor Decius, were grieved that they were unable to have children. One day a monk named Onuphrius came to their door seeking alms to give to the poor, and seeing Leucippe's downcast face, asked her what was wrong. When she replied that she was barren, Onuphrius told her that this was by God's providence, to prevent their child from being given over to idolatry, and that if they accepted Christ she would bear a child. Leucippe was baptized into the Faith and bore a son not long after, which in turn brought her husband to faith in Christ. The son was named Galaction in baptism.   Years later, Galaction's father, now widowed, decided that Galaction should marry a pagan maiden named Episteme. Galaction married out of obedience, but would not approach Episteme's bed since she was a pagan. In time, he convinced her of the truth of the Faith and baptised her himself. Not long after she was told in a dream of the glory that awaits those who consecrate themselves wholly to God. When she told her husband of the dream, they both resolved to remain in virginity, settling in separate monastic communities near to one another.   In one of the Emperor's persecutions of Christians, Galaction was seized by imperial soldiers and taken away to be killed. Episteme, told in a vision of his arrest, asked the blessing of her abbess to join him in martyrdom. Receiving it, she hurried to Galaction's place of imprisonment, boldly announced her faith in Christ, and after many tortures and humiliations husband and wife were beheaded together.

    Our Holy Father Joannicius the Great, hermit on Mt Olympus (846)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 3:17

    He was born in Bithynia of peasant stock. He worked as a swineherd, then became an officer in the Imperial army, where he served with such distinction in the war against the Bulgars that the Emperor Constantine VI wanted to take him into his personal service. "But the sight of massacres and horrors of war had brought home to him the vanity of this life. He asked leave of the Emperor to retire from the service, in order to wage unseen warfare in the ranks of the angelic army" (Synaxarion). In the coming years he traveled widely, sometimes living as a hermit, sometimes living in monasteries, more than once founding a monastic community. Wherever he went he lived in stillness, solitude and strict asceticism. He was famed for his spiritual counsel, his prophecies, his many miracles of healing ailments bodily and spiritual, and for his friendship with animals. Once a monk who doubted the Saint's miracles was eating at table with him when a large bear burst in upon them. Joannicius called the bear and it came and lay at his feet; he then told it to lie at the feet of his frightened guest and said "At their creation, the animals looked with veneration on man, who is made in the image of God, and he had no fear of them. We are afraid of them now because we have transgressed God's commandments. If we love the Lord Jesus and keep his commandments, no animal will be able to do us any harm." The monk departed greatly edified.   In the last years of Joannicius' life, when he was about ninety years old, the Emperor Theophilus sought his counsel on the veneration of icons. The Saint's answer was pointed: "Whoever refuses due honor to the images of Christ, of the Mother of God and of the Saints, will not be received into the Kingdom of Heaven, even if he has lived an otherwise blameless life."   Once Joannicius traveled to Constantinople to aid the Patriarch in some matters concerning the order of the Church. When he returned to his hermitage, he found that some jealous monks had set it on fire. Knowing who they were, he nevertheless addressed them kindly and invited them to share with him some food that he had managed to salvage from the fire. He did not attempt to rebuild his hermitage, but, taking the fire as a sign of his impending departure from this life, he traveled to the monastery of Antidion, where he had first entered into the monastic life and there, having predicted the day of his death, he reposed in peace. At the moment of his death, the monks of Mt Olympus saw a pillar of fire ascending from the earth to the sky.   The Saint's relics have been the source of many miracles. His skull is kept and venerated at the Monastery of the Pantocrator on Mt Athos. The widely-used prayer "My hope is the Father; my refuge is the Son; my shelter is the Holy Spirit; O Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee!" is attributed to St Joannicius.

    Holy Virgin Martyr Winefride of Treffynnon (Holywell), Wales (7th c.)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 1:00

    "Saint Winefride (in Welsh, Gwenfrewi) was a maiden of noble birth who lived in North wales in the seventh century. The niece and spiritual daughter of Saint Beuno (21 April), she entered the Monastery of Gwytherin after his death, where she lived under the spiritual direction of Saint Eleril. The son of a neighbouring chieftan, Caradoc by name, seized by an unchaste passion, pursued her and struck off her head with a sword. The spot where her head fell became known as Treffynnon or Holywell, because of the appearing of a healing spring for those who would take its waters with faith. Holywell remains a great place of pilgrimage in Britain to this day." (Synaxarion)

    Holy Martyrs Acindynus, Pegasius, Aphthonius, Elpidophorus and Anempodistus of Persia (376)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 1:34

    Acindynus, Pegasius and Anempodistus were courtiers to King Shapur II of Persia. When the king began a fierce persecution of Christians, the three withdrew from court to a private house and, fearless of their own safety, openly exhorted their fellow-Christians to stand firm in their faith. For this they were arrested and brought before their former lord, who subjected them to many cruel tortures, from which they emerged miraculously unscathed. Seeing this, one of the king's soldiers, named Aphthonius, embraced the Faith and was immediately beheaded. The former courtiers were then put to further tortures, but their only effect was to convince Elpidophorus, a distinguished nobleman, and seven thousand other Persians to faith in Christ. All were beheaded, but not before receiving holy Baptism. The trials of the three continued, but once again they were preserved, and even the king's mother was led to the true faith. Finally they were killed (the account does not say how), receiving the crown of martyrdom along with the king's mother and twenty-eight others.

    Holy and Wonderworking Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian of Asia (3rd c.)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 1:02

    Three pairs of Unmercenary Physicians (Anargyri) named Cosmas and Damian are commemorated (today, on October 17, and on July 1); The two commemorated today lived near Ephesus in Asia. They were of noble birth and well-educated in all the branches of higher learning; but they turned away from worldly knowledge to practice medicine without charge for anyone who sought their help, caring for the rich as well as poor, and even for animals. They used none of the secular tools of medicine, but relied only on the Name of Christ, by which they were enabled to perform countless healings. Both reposed in peace.

    New Martyr Nicholas of Chios (1754)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2021 1:53

    Raised in piety, he worked as a stone-mason until an accident deprived him of his reason and of the power of speech. The local Turkish rulers took advantage of his condition to declare him a Muslim. For years thereafter he was employed as a shepherd until he met a monk named Cyril, who prayed fervently that he be restored to his senses. He was miraculously restored, and almost immediately was filled with the desire to repent and to live only for Christ, devoting himself to prayer, fasting and vigil. Some time later he was falsely suspected of a crime by the (Christian) people of his village, and brought before the Turkish authorities. When he was questioned, he declared 'I was born a Christian, I was brought up as a Christian, I have never denied Christ for Islam, and I never will deny Him, but will die a Christian.' For this he was brutally tortured. Many local Christians, including the village priest, feared for their own safety and urged him to deny Christ, but Nicholas only rebuked them and stood firm. After many days of torture he was finally slain by the sword. The Synaxarion tells how a thick darkness fell on the whole island of Chios. When the dismayed Turks burned the Martyr's body to be rid of this miracle, they were further dismayed when a heavenly scent rose from the flames, revealing the Saint's entry into eternal glory.

    Holy Martyrs Zenobius and his sister Zenobia (~290)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 30, 2021 1:11

    These two holy ones were brother and sister, living the city of Aegea in Cilicia. When their parents died, they gave all their possessions to the poor. Zenobius, a physician, gave his healing services for free to all who came to him, often relying more upon the holy Name of Jesus than upon medicines. In time, he became Bishop of Aegea. During the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, Zenobius was arrested and brought before the governor Lysias, who demanded that he deny Christ and worship the idols. When Zenobius refused, he was subjected to torture. Zenobia, hearing of this, rushed to be with him and openly rebuked the governor. The two were then tortured together and finally beheaded, faithful to their Lord to the end.

    Holy Virgin Martyr Anastasia of Rome (256)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 29, 2021 1:15

    She lived in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Decius and Valerian. At an early age she left all to embrace a life of unceasing prayer, entering a small monastery in Rome, directed by a nun named Sophia. For her Christian faith, she was seized and brought before the governor Probus and, when she boldly confessed Christ and refused to honor the idols, was subjected to a series of vicious tortures, under which she died. An angel led Sophia to retrieve her holy relics, which are now venerated at the monastery of Grigoriou on Mt Athos.   We are sometimes told that monasticism developed in the Church after Christianity became accepted and grew more worldly. The story of St Anastasia is one of many evidences in the lives of the Saints that what we now call monasticism was present from the earliest days of the Church.

    St Dimitri (Demetrius) of Rostov (1709)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 2:54

    Born near Kiev, he was raised in piety and, at the early age of eleven, entered the Ecclesiastical Academy of Kiev. At the age of seventeen he was professed as a monk. A few years later he was ordained to the priesthood. Despite his constant desire to retire into a life of asceticism and solitude, his many gifts were needed by the Church and, much against his will, he spent most of his life engaged in writing and other labors. The Abbot of the Lavra of the Kiev Caves, knowing his scholarly abilities, called him to compile a Russian-language Lives of the Saints, a work to which he devoted himself tirelessly for twenty-five years.   This compilation was not a dry exercise for him; he approached each Saint's life with prayer, and was often granted visions. The holy Martyr Barbara appeared to him in his sleep in 1685; when he asked her to intercede for him to the Lord, she chided him for praying "in the Latin Way," that is, for using short prayers. Seeing his distress at being so rebuked, she smiled and said "Do not be afraid!"   St Demetrius was elevated to the episcopal throne (of Metropolitan of Tobolsk and Siberia) in 1701, but asked to be transferred due to ill health, and because the Siberian see would not allow him to continue his research. So he was appointed to the Diocese of Rostov in 1702; he received a divine revelation that he would end his years there. He completed his monumental Lives of the Saints in 1705; thereafter he devoted his energies to the care of his flock, the education of priests, and many spiritual writings, including several addressed to the schismatic "Old Believers," pleading with them to rejoin the canonical Church.   Despite his poor health, he maintained a life of strict prayer and fasting, and encouraged his faithful, in his sermons and writings, to do the same. He predicted his own death three days beforehand. The Synaxarion concludes: "the holy Bishop fell at the feet of his servants and chanters, and asked their forgiveness. Then, with an ardent prayer on his lips, he shut himself in his cell. The next morning, 28 October 1709, they discovered him dead upon his knees. The relics of Saint Demetrius were found incorrupt in 1752 and they wrought many healings. He was formally glorified by the Church in 1757."

    Our Venerable Father Demetrius of Basarabov (Romania) (13th c.)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 1:47

    He was born early in the thirteenth century to a peasant family in the village of Basarov, then part of Bulgaria. Even in childhood, he gave himself to fasting and prayer. Once, walking across a field, he accidentally stepped on a bird's nest in the grass, killing the young birds. He was so filled with remorse that he went barefoot for three years, winter and summer, in penance. When he was grown he joined a monastery and, after a few years of community life, received a blessing to dwell in a cave near the River Lom. After many years of solitary struggle, he reposed in his cave. Three hundred years passed, during which all memory of the simple ascetic was lost. Then, one Spring the river flooded the cave and carried off Demetrius' body, which had lain incorrupt in the cave for centuries. The body was carried downstream and buried in gravel. Another hundred years went by, and the Saint appeared in a dream to a paralyzed girl, telling her to ask her parents to take her to the river bank, where she would be healed. The family, along with many clergy and villagers, went to a spot where some local people had earlier seen an unexplained light. They dug and soon unearthed the still-incorrupt and radiant body of St Demetrius, by which the girl was instantly healed. A church was built in the village of Basarabov to honor the precious relics, and through the years the Saint worked many miracles there.   In 1774, during the Russian-Turkish war, General Peter Saltikov ordered the holy relics taken to Russia so that they would not be desecrated by the Turks. When the relics came to Bucharest, a pious Christian friend of the General begged him not to deprive the country of one of its most precious saints; so the General took only one of the Saint's hands, sending it to the Kiev Caves Lavra. Saint Demetrius' body was placed in the cathedral of Bucharest, where it has been venerated ever since. Every year on October 27, a three-day festival is held in the Saint's honor, attended by crowds of the faithful.

    Holy, Glorious and Great Martyr Demetrius the Outpourer of Myrrh (306)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 2:29

    He was a native of Thessalonica, born of noble parents. His wisdom and distinction in battle earned him rapid advancement in the service of the Empire: in time he was appointed commander of all the Roman forces in Thessaly, and Proconsul of Hellas. Despite these worldly honors, Demetrius put his Christian faith before all, and by his words and example brought many pagans to faith in Christ.   When the Emperor Maximian, a persecutor of Christians, came to Thessalonica he appointed games and public sacrifices to celebrate his recent victory over the Scythians. Some jealous pagans used the visit to denounce Demetrius to the Emperor. Maximian had Demetrius cast into a fetid cell in the basement of some nearby baths. Maximian had brought with him a huge barbarian of tremendous strength named Lyaios, who fought many men in the arena and defeated them all, to the entertainment of the Emperor and the crowds. A young Christian named Nestor determined to show the people that the only true strength is in Christ: he visited Demetrius in his cell and asked for his blessing to challenge Lyaios to combat. The Martyr made the sign of the Cross over Nestor and sent him to the arena with his blessing. Nestor, a young boy, cried out before the Emperor 'God of Demetrius, help me!' and quickly killed the mighty Lyaios, to the astonishment of the crowd. The infuriated Emperor had Nestor slain with his own sword, and sent soldiers to Demetrius' cell, where they killed him with their spears. Demetrius' servant, a believer named Lupus, retrieved the body of Demetrius and buried it with honor. He kept the Saint's ring and blood-stained tunic, and through them worked several miracles and healings. When the Emperor heard of this, he had Lupus, too, beheaded.   As a sign of the grace that rested on the holy Demetrius, a fragrant myrrh flowed copiously from the Martyr's body after his death, healing many of the sick. For many centuries, St Demetrius has been a patron Saint of Thessalonica.

    Holy Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius (346)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 0:58

    Both lived in Constantinople and were disciples of the Patriarch St Paul the Confessor (November 6), who was murdered in exile by the Arians. During the reign of the Arian Emperor Constantius, they fearlessly confessed that the Son of God is of one essence with the Father and is truly God. For their confession they were beheaded by the Arians and buried outside the city. Soon afterward, miracles began to be wrought at their tomb, and St John Chrysostom later built a church over it.

    Holy Martyr Arethas and those with him (524)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 24, 2021 1:43

    'These Martyrs contested for piety's sake in the year 524 in Najran, a city of Arabia Felix (present-day Yemen). When Dhu Nuwas, ruler of the Himyarite tribe in south Arabia, and a Judaizer, took power, he sought to blot out Christianity, especially at Najran, a Christian city. Against the counsels of Arethas, chief man of Najran, the city surrendered to Dhu Nuwas, who immediately broke the word he had given and sought to compel the city to renounce Christ. Led by Saint Arethas, hundreds of martyrs, including women, children, and babes, valiantly withstood his threats, and were beheaded and burned. After the men had been slain, all the free-born Christian women of Najran were brought before the tyrant and commanded to abjure Christ or die; yet they rebuked the persecutor with such boldness that he said even the men had not insulted him so contemptuously. So great was their faith that not one woman was found to deny Christ in all Najran, although some of them suffered torments more bitter than most of the men. In alliance with Byzantium, the Ethiopian King Elesbaan liberated Najran from Dhu Nuwas soon after and raised up churches in honour of the Martyrs. Najran became a place of pilgrimage until the rise of Islam a century later. At the end of his life King Elesbaan, who was also called Caleb, retired into solitude as a hermit; he sent his crown to Jerusalem as an offering to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He also is commemorated on this day as a saint. Saint Arethas' name in Arabic, Harith, means "plowman, tiller," much the same as "George" in Greek.' (Great Horologion)

    Holy Apostle James, the Brother of the Lord and First Bishop of Jerusalem (63)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 23, 2021 1:58

    His Hebrew name is Jacob. He was a close kinsman of Christ, and was therefore called, according to the Jewish usage of the time, his "brother." Some accounts say that he was a child of Joseph by his first marriage; others accounts say that he was the son of Joseph's brother Cleopas and his wife Mary, who was first cousin of the Theotokos. He took the Nazirite vows of one completely consecrated to God according to the Law, and from a young age he was called "the Just" by his people. He is called James the Lesser in Scripture (Mark 15:40) to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee, who is called the Greater. The Apostles appointed him first Bishop of Jerusalem. It was he who presided at the earliest Council of the Church in Jerusalem, where he resolved the problem of how gentile converts should be received into the Church (see Acts 15). He wrote the New Testament Epistle, addressed primarily to Jewish converts to the Faith, that bears his name. About the year 62, he ascended to the peak of the Temple in Jerusalem on Passover, and there bore witness to Christ so effectively that the people cried out "Hosanna to the Son of David." At this, the Scribes and Pharisees, fearing that all the people would be converted to Christ, cast him down to the ground. By God's grace, he survived long enough to rise, kneel and pray, like his Master, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." He was then clubbed to death by one of the scribes.

    St Abercius, Bishop of Hierapolis, Wonderworker and Equal to the Apostles (167)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 1:57


    He was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia of Asia Minor, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, a persecutor of Christians. During a pagan festival, Abercius was instructed by an Angel to throw down the idols of Apollo and other pagan gods. When his work was discovered, the people of the city were outraged; but instead of hiding, the bishop went to the marketplace and openly confessed the Christian faith. The people grew angrier still, but when Abercius healed three possessed men they were amazed and listened to him more closely. He preached the Faith with such power that the entire city and surrounding countryside became Christian.   These miracles reached the ears of the Emperor, whose daughter was suffering from demonic possession. The Emperor summoned Abercius to Rome, where he was enabled to cast out the spirit and perform several other miracles. The Empress offered him a large reward of gold for healing her daughter, but he would not accept it. On his way home, he was instructed in a vision to travel to Syria. He travelled first to Antioch and surrounding cities, then as far as Mesopotamia, proclaiming Christ and teaching the faith everywhere he went. No other bishop of his time travelled so widely in the service of the Gospel; for this reason he is called Equal to the Apostles.   After several years he returned to Phrygia, where he lived the remainder of his life in peace, shepherding his flock.


    St Hilarion the Great of Palestine (371)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 1:22

    He was born in Palestine to pagan parents who sent him to Alexandria to be educated. There he learned of the Christian faith and was baptized. Hearing of the fame of St Anthony the Great, he met the great "Father of monks," and determined to devote himself to the ascetical life. For the rest of his life he traveled from place to place, engaging in the most austere life of solitude, prayer and fasting. But wherever he went, his holiness shone like a beacon, and he became known to the people, who flocked to him for counsel, nurture and healing. He would then flee to another place and begin again. His travels took him to Egypt, Libya, Sicily, and finally Cyprus, where he reposed at a great age. As he lay on his deathbed, he cried out 'Go forth, O my soul. What do you fear? Go forth! Why are you disquieted within me? You have served Jesus Christ for almost seventy years and do you fear death?' Speaking these words, he died.   The Synaxarion gives an excruciatingly thorough description of his ascetical labors, which may be instructive:   "From his sixteenth to his twentieth year, Hilarion's shelter was a simple cabin made of bulrushes and marsh grasses. Afterwards, he built a little, low cell that looked more like a tomb than a house. He lay on the hard ground, and washed and cut his hair only once a year, on Easter day. He never washed the coat of skin that Saint Anthony gave him, and wore the same tunic until it fell to pieces. He knew all of Holy Scripture by heart and recited it aloud, standing with fear, as though God were visibly present. From his twenty-first to his twenty-seventh year, a few lentils soaked in cold water was, for three years, his daily food, and for the next three he took nothing but bread, sprinkled with salt. From his twenty-seventh to his thirtieth year, he lived on wild plants; from the age of thirty to thirty-five, on six ounces of barley bread and a few vegetables, cooked without oil. Then, falling ill and with failing eyesight, he added a little oil to his food but did not increase his allowance of bread, even though he saw his body grow weaker, and believed his death was near. At an age when others tend to decrease their austerities, he kept to this diet with redoubled fervor, like a young novice, until his death. He never ate until after sunset and relinquished his fast neither for the greatest feasts nor the gravest illnesses."

    St Jonah, Bishop of Manchuria (1925) (October 7 OC)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 1:36

    Note: St Jonah's commemoration is October 7 on the Old Calendar, which falls on this day of the New Calendar. He was orphaned in Russia at a young age, and, after attending the seminary in his home town of Kaluga, was tonsured as a monk at Optina Monastery. He was later ordained a priest, and taught in Kazan. In his thirtieth year (1918) the Bolsheviks seized power and he was forced to flee. After many persecutions and sufferings, he joined a large party of Russians who fled across Turkestan and the Gobi Desert into China. There he was made Bishop, and immediately began working tirelessly to encourage his flock and to provide for their material needs (most had arrived in China with only the clothes on their backs). He established churches, opened soup kitchens and an orphanage, cared personally for the sick, and in every way personified a true Minister of Christ.   When his death approached (from an infection acquired while caring for the sick) he donned his epitrachelion, read the Canon for the Departure of the Soul, lay down on his bed and said 'God's will be done. Now I shall die.' Within minutes he was dead. On the night of his funeral the Bishop appeared to a paralyzed ten-year-old boy, who was miraculously healed.

    Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt (1908).

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 1:41

    "Saint John of Kronstadt was a married priest, who lived with his wife in virginity. Through his untiring labours in his priestly duties and love for the poor and sinners, he was granted by our Lord great gifts of clairvoyance and miracle-working, to such a degree that in the last years of his life miracles of healings — both of body and of soul — were performed countless times each day through his prayers, often for people who had only written to him asking his help. During his lifetime he was known throughout Russia, as well as in the Western world. He has left us his diary My Life in Christ as a spiritual treasure for Christians of every age; simple in language, it expounds the deepest mysteries of our Faith with that wisdom which is given only to a heart purified by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Foreseeing as a true prophet the Revolution of 1917, he unsparingly rebuked the growing apostasy among the people; he foretold that the very name of Russia would be changed. As the darkness of unbelief grew thicker, he shone forth as a beacon of unquenchable piety, comforting the faithful through the many miracles that he worked and the fatherly love and simplicity with which he received all. Saint John reposed in peace in 1908." (Great Horologion)

    Holy Apostle and Evangelist St Luke

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 1:37

    He was a physician from Antioch, a disciple and traveling-companion of the Apostle Paul, who refers to him as the 'beloved physician.' He wrote not only his Gospel but the Acts of the Apostles, dedicating both to Theophilus, who according to one tradition was the Governor of Achaia, a convert. Much of the Acts of the Apostles is written in the first person, describing his own travels with the St Paul. He lived to an old age and died in Achaia, possibly in Patras. Most ancient authors say that he died as a Martyr. Church traditions about St Luke are somewhat contradictory. According to many, he was one of the Seventy and thus an eye-witness to Christ's ministry on earth. (He is usually considered to be the companion of St Cleopas on the Road to Emmaus). According to others, he never met Christ himself but was converted by the preaching of the Apostle Paul. Church tradition holds that St Luke was the first iconographer, and painted an image of the Most Holy Theotokos from life. He is considered the patron of iconographers. Several icons attributed to St Luke himself are still in existence.

    Holy Prophet Hosea (820 BC)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2021 0:42

    His name means "God is Help." He is the first and earliest of the twelve Minor Prophets. At the Lord's command he married a harlot, who was repeatedly unfaithful to him despite his love and faithfulness toward her. In his prophetic writings he shows this marriage as an image of God's faithful care for His unfaithful people. Holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries of Cilicia (4th c.)

    Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion (1st c.)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 16, 2021 1:02

    This is the Centurion who stood at the Cross of Christ and, seeing Him breathe his last, cried out "Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54). From that day forth he was a believer, and was soon baptized. According to some accounts, he was one of the guard at the Tomb of Christ, and was one of those whom the Judaean leaders sought to bribe not to tell the news of the Resurrection. But Longinus would not be bribed, so the leaders plotted to kill him. He left the army and went to his homeland of Cappadocia, where he boldly preached Christ. He was beheaded at the instigation of Pontius Pilate.

    Holy Hieromartyr Lucian, Presbyter of the Church of Antioch (312)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 1:22

    He was born in Samosata in Syria (and is sometimes referred to as "Lucian of Samosata") of noble parents. In his youth he received an excellent education. Though a privileged life was open to him, he gave all his goods away to the poor and embraced a life of asceticism, supporting himself writing and tutoring. He produced an edition of the Old Testament, freeing it from various corruptions introduced by heretics. He was made a priest in Antioch, where he served the Church faithfully. During the persecutions of Maximian, he was arrested while visiting Nicomedia to strengthen the faithful there. He was cast into prison for his faith and allowed to perish of hunger and thirst. Saint John Chrysostom wrote of him: "He scorned hunger; let us also scorn luxury and destroy the lordship of the stomach; that we may, when the time comes for us to meet such torture, be prepared beforehand, by the help of a lesser ascesis, to show ourselves worthy of glory in the hour of battle."

    Holy Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius, and Celsus of Milan (1st c.)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 1:00

    These martyrs contested for the faith in Milan, and were beheaded under the Emperor Nero. Many years later, their relics were discovered by St Ambrose through a vision, and were given honorable burial.

    Holy Martyr Zlata (Chryse) (1796)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 2:07

    "Born in the village of Slatina in the Meglin region [of Bulgaria], of poor peasants who had three other daughters, St Zlata was a meek and devout girl, wise with Christ's wisdom and golden ('zlata' means 'gold') not only in name but also in her God-fearing heart. When Zlata went out one day to get water, some shameless Turks seized her and carried her off to their house. When one of them urged her to embrace Islam and become his wife, Zlata answered fearlessly: 'I believe in Christ, and know Him alone as my bridegroom; I shall never deny Him even if you put me to a thousand tortures and cut me into pieces.' Her parents and sisters then arrived, and said to her: 'O our daughter, have mercy on yourself and us. Deny Christ publicly, that we can all be happy. Christ is merciful; He will forgive your sin, committed under the pressure of life.' Her poor parents and kinsfolk wept bitterly. But Zlata's heroic soul would not be overcome by devilish seduction. She replied to her parents: 'When you urge me to deny Christ, the true God, you are no longer parents or sisters to me; I have the Lord Jesus Christ as father, the Mother of God as mother and, for brothers and sisters, the saints.' Then the Turks threw her into prison, where she lay for three months, and they took her out every day and flogged her until her blood flowed onto the ground. Finally, they hanged her upside-down and made a fire to choke her to death with the smoke. But God was with Zlata, and gave her strength in her suffering. At the very end, they hanged her from a tree and cut her into small pieces. Thus this martyr-maiden gave her soul into God's hands, and entered into the realm of Paradise, in 1796. Pieces of her relics were taken by Christians to their homes, that they might bring a blessing to them." (Prologue)

    St Symeon the New Theologian (1022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 1:22

    As a young man he became a monk in the Studite Monastery in Constantinople; later he bacame abbot of the Monastery of St Mamas, also in Constantinople. After a life of great asceticism, including many trials, criticisms and afflictions, he reposed in peace. (He reposed on March 12, but since this day always falls during the Great Fast, his feast is kept today.) His teaching on the soul's ability to enter directly into communion with God in this life aroused some opposition in his own time, and the title 'New Theologian' was not always applied in a positive sense. His experiential, mystical teachings are firmly rooted in his doctrine of the Church: his writings contain many powerful affirmations of the centrality of participation in the Mysteries in our struggle for salvation. He is the author of many sublimely beautiful sermons, writings and hymns, a number of them in metered verse. With St John the Evangelist and St Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople, he is one of only three whom the Church has officially called "Theologian."

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