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…
He was a young courtier to the Emperor Trajan, and a secret Christian. When the Emperor and his court were offering sacrifice to the idols, Hyacinth stood apart; he was noticed and brought before the Emperor where, when interrogated, he proclaimed himself a Christian and refused to make sacrifice to the pagan gods. For this he was brutally whipped, then thrown into prison, where the Emperor ordered that he be given only food that had been sacrificed to idols. This Hyacinth refused to eat and, after eight days, died in prison.
A zealous hierarch, he took part in two Ecumenical Councils: the Third in Ephesus, which rebuked the doctrines of Nestorius; and the Fourth at Chalcedon, which rebuked the teachings of Eutyches and Dioscoros that Christ has only one nature, divine but not human. Following these councils, he returned to his see in Jerusalem. But through the plotting of Dioscoros' allies, he was driven from his throne and Theodosius, a monophysite, was installed in his place. The Empress Eudocia, widow of the Emperor Theodosius the younger, initially supported the heretics. But, unsure of the true Orthodox doctrine, she went to inquire of St Symeon the Stylite, who denounced the monophysite doctrine and told the Empress to do all that she could to uphold the teaching of the Councils. Obeying him, she condemned the false Patriarch Theodosius and prevailed on the Emperor Marcian to have him deposed. Thus St Juvenal was at last restored to his patriarchal throne. He served the Church in peace, for a total of thirty-eight years, and reposed at a great old age.
There are three pairs of Unmercenary Physicians named Cosmas and Damian. The two commemorated today were brothers from Rome. Though they inherited great wealth, they gave most of it to the poor and needy, only setting aside enough for themselves to devote their lives to the service of Christ. As Christian physicians, they freely performed their healing services for men and for beasts, asking the healed only to believe in Christ in thanks for their healing. They ended their lives in martyrdom. According to the Prologue, they were summoned before the Emperor Galerius, who interrogated them and commanded them to worship the gods. The brothers refused to do so, but to show the truth of the Christian faith, they healed the Emperor of a grave infirmity. At this he proclaimed the truth of Christianity and released them. But a doctor and a former teacher who envied their reputation lured them into the countryside on the pretext of collecting herbs, then killed them.
Though each of the Twelve Apostles has his own Feast day, on this day they are commemorated together. Of the Twelve, only St John the Theologian died in peace; the rest met a martyr's end. Following are their individual feast days and the manner of their end. Roman citizens could not be crucified: crucifixion was considered a shameful death unworthy of a citizen. For this reason the Apostle Paul was 'privileged' to be beheaded. Peter: June 29, January 16. Crucified upside down. Andrew: November 30. Crucified. James the Son of Zebedee: April 30. Beheaded. John the Theologian: September 26, May 8. Died in peace in a wondrous way. Philip: November 14. Crucified. Bartholomew: June 11, August 25. Crucified, then flayed and beheaded. Thomas: October 6. Pierced with five spears. Matthew the Evangelist: November 16. Burned to death. James the Son of Aphaeos: October 9. Crucified. Thaddeus (or Jude the brother of James): June 19. Crucified. Simon the Zealot: May 10. Crucified. Matthias: August 9. Stoned, then beheaded with an axe when dead. Paul: June 29. Beheaded.
For the lives of these two great Apostles, we can only recommend a reading of the entire New Testament, which contains accounts of their lives and many of their inspired writings. St Peter, after preaching in Judea, Antioch and parts of Asia, came to Rome, where he was crucified by order of the Emperor Nero, about the year 66. Being led to the cross, he begged the executioner to crucify him upside-down, because he felt unworthy to partake of the same death as the Savior. St Paul's apostolic labors extended from Arabia to Spain. He also ended his earthly course in Rome, beheaded by order of Nero, some say at the same time that St Peter was crucified.
Saint John of Damascus (December 4), the great defender of Orthodoxy against the iconoclasts, was falsely accused of plotting against the Caliph of Damascus through the intrigues of the iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian (reigned 717-741). The Caliph ordered St John's hand to be cut off for his suspected treachery. The saint asked for the severed hand, and passed the night praying fervently for the aid before an icon of the most holy Theotokos. Waking in the morning, he found his hand miraculously restored, with only a scar around the wrist where it had been completely severed. In thanksgiving, St John had a silver hand mounted on the icon. When he became a monk in the monastery of St Sabbas in the Holy Land, he took the icon with him. It remained there until it was given to St Sabbas (Sava) of Serbia (January 14), who brought it to Serbia. Later it was miraculously taken to the Hilandar Monastery on the Holy Mountain (carried, according to legend, from Serbia to Mt Athos by an unguided donkey), where it may now be found.
He is counted as one of the Holy Unmercenary Physicians. "This saint was born of rich and eminent parents in ancient Rome, where he studied all the secular wisdom of that time, devoting himself in particular to the study of medicine. Sampson was a compassionate and liberal physician, and gave the sick medicine for both soul and body, counselling each man to fulfil the requirements of the Christian faith. He moved to Constantinople, where he lived in a tiny house from which he distributed alms, comfort, advice, hope, medicine and all possible aid to those suffering in spirit and in body. The Patriarch heard of Sampson's great virtue and ordained him priest. At that time the Emperor Justinian the Great became ill with what his doctors believed to be an incurable disease. The Emperor prayed with great fervor, and God revealed to him in his sleep that Sampson would heal him. When the Emperor summoned Sampson to court, the old man had only to put his hand on the diseased place and the Emperor was healed. When Justinian offered him an immense sum of money, Sampson thanked him but would accept nothing, saying to the Emperor: 'O Emperor, I had silver and gold and other riches, but I left it all for the sake of Christ, that I might gain heavenly and eternal wealth.' When the Emperor insisted on doing something for him, Sampson asked him to build a house for the poor. In that home, Sampson cared for the poor as a father cares for his children. His compassion for the poor and weak was second nature to him. This holy man, filled with heavenly power and goodness, entered peacefully into rest on June 27th, 530. He was buried in the Church of the Holy Martyr Mocius, his kinsman. After his death, Sampson appeared many times to those who called upon him for aid." (Prologue)
For years he lived the ascetic life in a crude tree- house he had fashioned in the branches of an almond tree. Then he moved to Thessaly, where he continued his life of fasting, prayer and vigil, cleansing his soul and being made worthy to perform many miracles. Once, when the Emperor Justinian visited him, he took a live coal in his bare hand and censed the Emperor. The Emperor, seeing this, bowed to the ground before David. He reposed in peace.
Though the daughter of a Roman senator and a great beauty, she fled the world and entered a monastery in Mesopotamia. (So great was her beauty that the abbess had her stand behind a screen while reading to her monastic sisters.) At that time the Emperor Diocletian sent a certain Selenus, along with his nephew Lysimachus, on a mission to find and destroy Christians in the East. Though Selenus was a fierce persecutor of the Christians, Lysimachus felt sympathy for them and secretly protected them whenever he could. Selenus and his party came to Nisibis, where Febronia's virtue and holiness had already become well-known, though she was still only twenty years old. Selenus summoned her and made every effort to convince her to renounce her faith. When she stood firm, she was first viciously dismembered then beheaded. Lysimachus gathered her relics and took them to the monastery for burial. At the monastery he, together with many soldiers, were baptized. The holy Febronia's relics worked many healings, and she herself appeared to the other nuns on the anniversary of her repose, standing in her usual place among her sisters. Her relics were translated to Constantinople in 363.
The wonderful story of the Forerunner's conception and birth is told in the first chapter of the Gospel according to Luke. Together with the Most Holy Theotokos and Christ Himself, both his conception and his birth are commemorated as Feasts of the Church. His name, Johanan in Hebrew, means "The Lord is Gracious." The Prologue adds: "The news of the angel's appearing to Zacharias, of his dumbness and of the loosening of his tongue at the exact moment that he wrote 'John', was carried throughout all Israel, coming to Herod's ears. So, when he sent men to kill all the infants around Bethlehem, he sent men off to Zacharias' family house in the hills, to slay John also. But Elisabeth hid the child in good time. The king was enraged at this, and sent an executioner to the Temple to kill Zacharias (for it was then his turn to serve in the Temple again). Zacharias was killed between the court and the Temple, and his blood clotted and solidified on the paving slabs, and remained as an enduring witness against Herod. Elisabeth hid herself and the child in a cave, where she soon died. The young John remained in the wilderness alone, in the care of God and His angels." See September 5.
She lived in virginity in Rome during the reign of Valerian (253-260) — as the Prologue says, 'expelling the stench of the passions from her heart with the sweet-smelling perfume of purity and chastity.' She voluntarily presented herself to the pagans and announced herself to be a Christian, for which she was tortured to death. Her friends Vassa, Paula and Agathonica took her relics to Sicily for burial. A church was built there in her name, and many miracles were worked there.
In the struggle against the Arian heresy, Meletius, Patriarch of Antioch, was deposed, and the emperor Constantius demanded that Eusebius surrender the document that proved his legitimate appointment to the Patriarchal throne. Eusebius said he would not surrender it without the permission of all who had signed it and, when imperial soldiers threatened to cut off his right hand, he held out both his hands to them. When Constantius heard of this, he was struck with admiration and ceased his persecution of the bishop. As the Arian heresy continued to rage, Eusebius stood strong, and was finally exiled by order of the Emperor Valens. When the messenger bearing the edict of banishment arrived, Eusebius warned him to keep quiet lest the people, hearing why he had come, should kill him. Then Eusebius left the city on foot, under cover of darkness, in order to protect the messenger from harm. Upon the death of Valens, Eusebius returned to from exile and traveled throughout Syria (though he was now a very old man), appointing priests and bishops known for their Orthodoxy. About 380, as he was entering a village to enthrone a bishop, an Arian woman threw a tile at him from a rooftop, fracturing his skull. As he lay dying, he made all the bystanders swear not to take any revenge. Saint Gregory the Theologian corresponded with Eusebius, and esteemed him so highly that in a letter to him he wrote, 'That such a man should deign to be my patron also in his prayers will gain for me, I am persuaded, as much strength as I should have gained through one of the holy martyrs.'
They were brothers from Greece, Christians from childhood; Julius was a priest, Julian a deacon. At the command of the Emperor Theodosius the Younger, they set out as missionaries to destroy idols and bring the people to faith in Christ throughout the Empire. During their lifetime they built a hundred churches and brought thousands to Christ. They reposed in peace near Milan: that city's people once invoked St Julius for help against wolves.
Noted in his own time for his wisdom and virtue, he was called Eubolos, meaning "of good counsel." He was among the first to oppose the heretical writings of Origen. He was bishop in Patara (according to some sources) or Olympia (according to others), then of Tyre in Phoenecia. Under the Emperor Maximinus, he was attacked by the pagans and received the crown of martyrdom in Chalkis in Greece.
He was one of the Twelve and a kinsman of the Lord according to the flesh (see Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13; according to holy Tradition, Joseph the Carpenter, before he was widowed, had four sons by his wife Salome: James, Hosea, Simon and Jude). As an Apostle, St Jude preached in Mesopotamia, Arabia and Syria, and met a Martyr's end in Beirut. He is the author of the New Testament Epistle that bears his name. His name ("Judas" in Greek, from "Judah" in Hebrew) means "praise".
An honored Roman commander in Tripoli of Phoenicia, he was described as being 'of great physical stature, powerful, strong and bold in battle'. When it was learned that he was a Christian and had given grain to the poor from the imperial storehouse, the governor Hadrian, a great persecutor of Christians, sent Hypatius, a military commander, and Theodoulus, a soldier, along with some others to arrest him. On the way Hypatius fell gravely ill with a fever, and the company had to delay its mission. One night an angel of the Lord appeared to Hypatius and said, 'If you desire to be healed, you and your soldiers must cry to heaven three times: "O God of Leontius, help me!"'. Hypatius told his comrades of his vision, and when they all cried out as instructed Hypatius was instantly healed. Hypatius and Theodoulos then went on ahead of the other soldiers and found Leontius. Leontius received them hospitably and offered them refreshment. As they rested in his house, he proclaimed his faith in Christ and their hearts began to burn within them. While Leontius was still speaking, a bright cloud descended upon the two soldiers and shed dew on them while Leontius said 'In the name of the All-holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.' Thus were they baptized by the Holy Spirit Himself. When the cruel Hadrian discovered this, he had the two soldiers beaten fiercely, then beheaded; he then subjected Leontius to the cruelest tortures, under which he finally died, unwavering in his faith. This was during the reign of Vespasian.
'Saint Botolph was born in Britain about the year 610 and in his youth became a monk in Gaul. The sisters of Ethelmund, King of East Anglia, who were also sent to Gaul to learn the monastic discipline, met Saint Botolph, and learning of his intention to return to Britain, bade their brother the King grant him land on which to found a monastery. Hearing the King's offer, Saint Botolph asked for land not already in any man's possession, not wishing that his gain should come through another's loss, and chose a certain desolate place called Ikanhoe. At his coming, the demons inhabiting Ikanhoe rose up against him with tumult, threats, and horrible apparitions, but the Saint drove them away with the sign of the Cross and his prayer. Through his monastery he established in England the rule of monastic life that he had learned in Gaul. He worked signs and wonders, had the gift of prophecy, and "was distinguished for his sweetness of disposition and affability." In the last years of his life he bore a certain painful sickness with great patience, giving thanks like Job and continuing to instruct his spiritual children in the rules of the monastic life. He fell asleep in peace about the year 680. His relics were later found incorrupt, and giving off a sweet fragrance. The place where he founded his monastery came to be called "Botolphson" (from either "Botolph's stone" or "Botolph's town") which was later contracted to "Boston."' (Great Horologion)
When St John Chrysostom was exiled, the Great Church caught fire and was destroyed. Most of the people saw this as a judgment upon the City for exiling the holy Archbishop; but St John's enemies tried to blame his followers and persecuted them fiercely. Two of these loyal followers were Tigrios, a priest, and Eutropios, a reader. Tigrios had been a slave in his youth and was a eunuch; but once he was freed he had given his life selflessly to the service of the Church. The governor, Optatius, had Tigrios viciously tortured, then sent him into exile in Mesopotamia, where he died in captivity. Eutropios, another pure and holy servant of the Church, was flogged with whips and rods, then hanged. Christians carrying his body for burial heard a beautiful angelic chanting in the sky above them.
"He was one of the greatest men of Serbia who ruled the kingdom after king Dušan. Upon the death of King Uroš, Lazar was crowned King of Serbia by Patriarch Ephraim. He sent a delegation to Constantinople, including a monk called Isaiah, to plead for the removing of the anathema from the Serbian people. He went to war on several occasions against the Turkish Pasha, finally clashing with the Turkish king, Amurât, at Kosovo on June 15, 1389, being slain there. His body was taken to Ravanica near Cupria, a foundation of his, and buried there, but was later taken to New Ravanica in Srem. During the Second World War, in 1942, it was taken to Belgrade and placed in the Cathedral, where it is preserved to this day and offers comfort and healing to all who turn to him in prayer. He restored Hilandar and Gornjak, built Ravanica and the Lazarica in Kruševac and was the founder of St Panteleimon, the Russian monastery on the Holy Mountain, as well as numerous other churches and monasteries." (Prologue)
He was born to wealthy parents in Syracuse of Sicily. He entered monastic life and in time became a priest in the service of Patriarch Nikephoros. Because of his great and well-known zeal for the holy icons, he was cruelly persecuted by a succession of iconoclast emperors. Around 815, he was sent as an ambassador to Rome on behalf of the Patriarch, who had been exiled by the Emperor Leo the Armenian. When he returned to Constantinople upon Leo's death, he was immediately exiled and imprisoned by Leo's successor, Michael the Stutterer. Upon Michael's death he was freed for a short time, but soon the Emperor Theophilus had him exiled to an island where, says the Prologue, "he spent seven years in prison with two common robbers, in damp conditions, without light and without sufficient food, as if in a grave." When the pious Empress Theodora restored the Empire to Orthodoxy, he was freed and elevated to Patriarch of Constantinople. On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we commemorate the restoration of the Holy Icons by Theodora and Methodios. Despite many attacks by heretics while he was Patriarch, he served faithfully and reposed in peace.
She was born of Christian parents, and by the age of seven was already living as a true Christian. She boldly preached Christ to the maidens with whom she played, and for this was brought before the governor during the persecutions of Diocletian. Despite her young age she would not deny Christ to save her life. After horrible tortures, she was left for dead and thrown on a dungheap. But that night an angel appeared to her saying 'Arise and be healed!' Aquilina arose fully restored and praising God; but she begged not to be denied a martyr's death. She heard a voice from heaven saying 'Go, and it shall be to thee as thou desirest.' She returned to the city and to the governor's palace by night, doors opening miraculously before her, and stood before the governor's own bed. Needless to say, the governor was seized with terror upon waking to see the maiden he had thought dead. The next morning, she was beheaded. Her relics healed many of the sick. At the time of her repose, she was only ten or twelve years old.
They lived in different times and places, but are commemorated together. Saint Onuphrios the Great (400). "This holy ascetic had been living a whole sixty years in the desert when the monk Paphnutius visited him. His hair and beard reached down to the ground, and long hair, as white as snow, had grown all overy his body during his years of nakedness. His appearance was cadaverous, unearthly and awe-inspiring. Seeing Paphnutius, he called him by name and then recounted to him his life in the desert. His guardian angel had appeared to him and taken him to that place. He had for a long time only eaten earth, which was hard to find in the desert, and, after that, when he had survived an intensive struggle with diabolical temptations and when his heart had become utterly established in love for God, an angel had brought him bread to eat. And besides that, through God's gracious providence, a palm tree grew up at one side of his cell, that gave good dates, and a spring of water began to flow there. 'But especially,' said Onuphrios, 'my food and drink are the sweet words of God.' To Paphnutius' question about his receiving of Communion, the hermit answered that the angel of God brought him Communion every Saturday. On the next day, the old man told Paphnutius that it was the day of his departure from this world; then he knelt down, prayed to God and gave his spirit into God's hands. Then Paphnutius saw a heavenly light that illumined the body of the departed saint, and heard a choir of angelic hosts. He buried Onuphrios' body with honour and returned to his own monastery, there as a living witness to narrate to the brethren, for their edification, the wonderful life of the man of God and the greatness of God's providence towards those who give themselves wholly to His service." (Prologue) The Great Horologion adds that Paphnutius intended to stay in the place where Onuphrios died, but soon the palm tree withered and the spring dried up, which Paphnutius took as a sign that he was meant to leave that place and return to live with the brethren. Saint Peter of Mt Athos (734). He was born to a noble family in Constantinople and became a soldier. He was taken captive by the Saracens and thrown into prison in chains, in Samarra of Syria. He spent his long imprisonment praying to God to free him and send him to some deserted place where he could devote the rest of his life to ascesis and prayer. One day St Nicholas appeared to him along with St Simeon the God-receiver; when they touched his chains they melted like wax, and Peter instantly found himself outside Samarra. He set out for Rome, where he was tonsured as a monk by the Pope, then set out by ship to return home. During the voyage, the Mother of God appeared to him along with St Nicholas, and Peter heard her tell St Nicholas that she had set Mt Athos apart for Peter to live in solitude. Peter had never heard of Mt Athos, but disembarked there and settled in a cave. There he spent fifty-three years in complete solitude, praying and struggling with the harshness of the elements and the attacks of demonic powers. After he had withstood fierce temptations for awhile, an angel of God began to bring him bread every forty days. Like St Onuphrios, his humble life might have passed completely unrecorded; but by God's providence, one year before the Saint's death a deer-hunter found him and heard the tale of Peter's life, which he recorded. Saint Peter reposed in peace; his relics were taken to Macedonia.
Saint Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles, a Galilean; the Gospel accounts say little more about him. It is said that, after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he traveled in the service of the Gospel to Arabia and Persia, and brought to India a translation of the Gospel according to Matthew. Eusebius writes that one hundred years later Pantaenus, an illustrious Alexandrian scholar, found this gospel when he traveled in India. By most accounts Bartholomew ended his life in Armenia, where he met his martyrdom by crucifixion. According to many, he and Nathaniel are the same person: the Gospel accounts that speak of Bartholomew do not mention Nathaniel; and St John's Gospel,which mentions Nathanael as one of the Twelve, does not mention Bartholomew. But according to the Greek Synaxarion, Bartholomew and Simon the Zealot are one and the same. Saint Barnabas was one of the Seventy, from Cyprus, a Levite and at one time a fellow-student with St Paul under Gamaliel. After Christ's Ascension, he led the Seventy until the Apostle Paul's conversion. He is mentioned often in the Acts of the Apostles, which describes some of his travels as a companion of St Paul. By all accounts, he was the first to preach the Gospel of Christ in Rome and in Milan. His wonder-working relics were discovered on the island of Cyprus in the time of the Emperor Zeno; on this basis the Church of Cyprus was established as an independent Church, since it had an apostolic foundation.
In Alexandria, the virgin Antonina was brought before Festus, the Governor, tortured for her faith in Christ, then thrown into prison. A Christian soldier named Alexander, who had never before seen or heard of Antonina, was commanded by an angel of God to go to her. Finding her, he gave her his military cloak, wrapping it about her head and body; and thus, with her head lowered, she was able to walk out of the prison while Alexander remained in her place. Alexander was brought before Festus, where he too confessed his faith in Christ. Antonina, learning of this, voluntarily came before the judge, who put both of them to hideous tortures, mutilating them in many ways before having them cast into a fire and burned alive. A slightly different account says that Festus placed Antonina under guard in a brothel rather than a prison, so that her virginity might be defiled, and that it was from there
"St Cyril was... from Alexandria, born about the year 376, the nephew of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who also instructed the Saint in his youth. Having first spent much time with the monks of Nitria, he later became the successor to his uncle's throne in 412. In 429, when Cyril heard tidings of the teachings of the new Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, he began attempting through private letters to bring Nestorius to renounce his heretical teachings about the Incarnation; and when the heresiarch did not repent, Saint Cyril, together with Pope Celestine of Rome, led the Orthodox opposition to his error. Saint Cyril presided over the Third Ecumenical Council of the 200 holy Fathers in the year 431, who gathered in Ephesus under Saint Theodosius the Younger. At this Council, by his most wise words he put to shame and convicted the impious doctrine of Nestorius, who, although he was in town, refused to appear before Cyril. Saint Cyril, besides overthrowing the error of Nestorius, has left to the Church full commentaries on the Gospels of Luke and John. Having shepherded the Church of Christ for thirty-two years, he reposed in 444." (Great Horologion) Today we commemorate St Cyril's repose. He is also commemorated on January 18, the date of his restoration to his see in Alexandria after he had been driven out by Nestorians.
During the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius, Ephraim was governor of the eastern regions. He was famed for his great piety and compassion, and was much esteemed for these virtues. When the rebuilding of Antioch, which had been destroyed by earthquake and fire, was put in hand, the Emperor ordered Ephraim to oversee the work. Ephraim performed this work with dilegence and love. There was among the ordinary workers a certain bishop who had left his see for unknown reasons and was working as a labourer. Not a soul knew that the man was a bishop. One day he lay down to take a rest from the exhausting work with the other labourers, and fell asleep. Ephraim glanced at him, and saw a flaming pillar rising above the man and reaching up to heaven. Amazed and frightened, Ephraim summoned him and bound him under oath to reveal who he was. The man hesitated a long time, but finally admitted that he was a bishop and foretold that Ephraim whould shortly be consecrated Patriarch of Antioch (the patriarchal throne having been empty since the old Patriarch, Euphrasius, perished in the earthquake). Ephraim was indeed elected and consecrated as Patriarch. For his goodness, purity and zeal for Orthodoxy, a great gift of wonderworking was given him by God. Once, in order to convince some heretic that Orthodoxy is the true Faith, he placed his omophor in the flames and prayed to God. The omophor remained unharmed in the fire for three hours. When the heretic saw this, he was afraid and cast his heresy aside. Ephraim entered peacefully into rest in 546." (Prologue)
He was a disciple of St Arsenios the great and abbot of the Scetis in Egypt (the monastic system known as the "Skete" takes its name from Scetis). He lived the communal monastic life for forty years, then in 420 retired to the desert, where he remained until his repose. From the Prologue: "A saint has a very sensitive conscience. What ordinary people may consider a small sin, a saint sees as a great crime. It is said of Abba Daniel that highwaymen attacked him on three occasions and took him off to the mountains. Twice he was rescued, but the third time, in attempting to escape, he struck one of them with a stone and killed him, and then made his escape. That murder lay on his conscience like a lead weight. In perplexity as to what he should do, he went to Timothy, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and asked his advice. The Patriarch soothed him, and released him from all penance. But his conscience continued to gnaw at him, and he went to Rome, to the Pope. The Pope gave him the same reply as had the Patriarch. Still dissatisfied, Daniel visited the remaining patriarchs in turn; going to Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem, confessing to each of them and asking for advice. But he could find no peace. So he returned home to Alexandria and declared himself to the authorities as a murderer, and was flung into prison. At his trial before the governor, Daniel told how everything had come about, and pleaded that he might be killed too, that his soul might be saved from eternal fire. The governor was amazed at the whole thing, and said to him: 'Go your way, Father, and pray to God for me, even if you kill seven more!' Still dissatisfied with this, Daniel resolved to take a leper into his cell and care for him until he died, and then find another. He did as he had resolved, and in this way brought peace to his conscience."
"As pure and virginal nuns, they lived the ascetic life in an unknown monastery near Rome. When a persecution of Christians arose under the wicked Emperor Diocletian, they fled to Campania and settled near the town of Nola. Their holy life could not be concealed, and people from nearby began to come to them for counsel, instruction and help in various trials and sicknesses, and they were finally seized by the pagans and taken for trial. They publicly and freely confessed their faith in Christ. When the judge, Leontius, questioned the holy Archelaïs about the Christian faith, she replied: 'It is by the power of Christ that I overcome the power of the devil and teach the people understanding and knowledge of the one, true God. By the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, it is given that, through me His servant, the sick find healing.' All three maidens were whipped, flogged with heavy staves, left to languish in prison and finally beheaded. When they were led out to the scaffold, angels appeared to them, which were seen by some of the executioners and inspired such fear in them that they dared not lift up their swords against the holy maidens. They, however, urged the executioners to finish their task. And thus, as lambs, were they beheaded in the year 293, and went to the Kingdom of Christ to rest in eternity and delight in beholding the face of God." (Prologue)
He lived for many years as a hermit in the wilderness of the Jordan, and after long and hard ascetic struggle was granted the gift of wonderworking. Once he travelled by ship to Constantinople, and the ship went off course in a storm. The drinking water ran out, and the crew and passengers were near death from thirst. Theodore prayed to God, made the sign of the cross over the sea, and told the crew to drink the seawater. When they did so, they found to their astonishment that it was fresh and sweet. When the people began to honor him, he begged them only to thank God, who had worked the wonder. He reposed in peace.
He was born into a pagan family, but his father Dometius, along with all his family, became Christians and went to Byzantium to escape persecution in Rome. Dometius was ordained a priest and in time became Bishop of Byzantium. When Dometius died, his elder son Probus became Bishop; then when Probus died, Dometius' second son Metrophanes succeeded him. Metrophanes was enthroned around the time that Constantine the Great was establishing Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire. He sent a delegate to the First Ecumenical Council in 325, since he was unable to attend due to age and infirmity. The Emperor Constantine loved Metrophanes as a father and urged the entire Council to visit the ailing Bishop. Ten days later he died.
Lucilian spent most of his life as a pagan priest. In advanced old age, he learned the truth of the Christian faith and was baptized. The conversion of so public a figure quickly attracted attention, and Lucilian was brought to trial in Nicomedia. After enduring many tortures he was imprisoned with four young Christians, scarcely older than children: Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. When they were brouht before Silvanos the governor, all five confessed their faith and were sentenced to death and cast into a fiery furnace. When they miraculously emerged unharmed, they were taken to Byzantium, where the four young men were beheaded and Lucillian was crucified. A maiden named Paula openly carried away the martyrs' bodies and buried them. For this she in turn was tortured and, refusing to renounce her faith in Christ, beheaded. This was in the reign of the Emperor Aurelian. A church was built in their honor in Constantinople.
He was born in Constantinople around 758, of pious parents: his father had been exiled under Constantine Copronymus for his steadfast veneration of the holy icons. Nikephoros served in the imperial palace as a secretary, but later renounced worldly success to struggle in monastic life near Constantinople. He built and administered a monastery which soon became filled with monks; but he himself never took the monastic habit, feeling himself unworthy. Though a layman, he took part in the Seventh Ecumenical Council at the request of the Emperor and Patriarch because of his remarkable knowledge of Holy Scripture. Much against his will, he was made Patriarch of Constantinople at the death of Patriarch Tarasios. He was made a monk, then elevated through all the priestly orders in a few days, then enthroned at St Sophia in 806. A few years later, the Emperor Leo the Armenian took the throne. Patriarch Nikephoros, as was customary, sent him a Confession of the Orthodox Faith to sign. Leo put off signing the document until his coronation, then revealed himself to be an Iconoclast heretic. The Patriarch tried quietly to bring him back to the Orthodox faith, but to no avail. When the Emperor, in his turn, tried to make the holy Nikephoros bow to iconoclasm, the Patriarch clearly and publicly upheld the veneration of the holy Icons. For this he was deposed and driven into exile at the Monastery of St Theodore, which he himself had founded. Here he reposed, having served for nine years as Patriarch, and thirteen years in exile and privation.
"A natural doctor, he was a disciple of St Antony of Kiev. He healed people by prayer and the prescribing of cabbage, which they made into a sort of bread. Prince Vladimir Monomachus was healed in this way, and this made Agapitus famed on all sides. The Prince's doctor, an Armenian, hearing of this, began to spread slander about him. When Agapitus became ill, the Armenian came and, looking at him, said that he would die in three days and that, if he did not do so, then he, the Armenian, would become a monk. Agapitus told him that it had been revealed to him by God that he would die, not in three days but in three months. And so it came to pass. After Agapitus's death, the Armenian went to the abbot of the Monastery of the Caves and asked him to make him a monk. He explained that Agapitus had appeared to him from the other world and reminded him of his promise. And so the one-time envier became a humble monk, by the providence of God whose care it is that all men be saved. St Agapitus entered into rest in about 1095." (Prologue)
He is mentioned in the Epistles of St Paul (Romans 16:14). He served as a bishop in the first-century Church, and died a martyr. His book, The Shepherd, is one of the earliest Christian writings outside of the New Testament, and was held in such esteem by the early Church that it is sometimes found in ancient collections of the Holy Scriptures. Hermas had been a wealthy man, but had fallen into poverty through his sins. A man, clad all in white and holding a staff, appeared to St Hermas and, telling him that he was an angel of repentance, gave St Hermas twelve commandments: To believe in God To live in simplicity and innocence To love truth and flee from falsehood To guard his thoughts in chastity To learn patience and magnanimity of soul To know that a good and an evil spirit attend every man To fear God, but not the devil To perform every good deed and to restrain himself from every evil one To pray to God in faith from the depths of his heart, so that his prayer might be heard To preserve himself from melancholy, the daughter of doubt, and from anger To try true and false prophecies To preserve himself from every evil desire.
"The grandmother of St Basil the Great, she was outstanding for her intellect and piety. She was a disciple of St Gregory the Wonder-worker of Neocaesarea. In the reign of Diocletian, she abandoned her home and hid in the forests and desert places with her husband, Basil. Although their home was confiscated, they felt no pangs of regret. Stripped of everything except their love for God, they settled in an ancient forest and spent seven years there. By God's providence, goats would come down from the mountains and provide them with food. They both died peacefully in the fourth century, after great sufferings for the Christian faith." (Prologue)
During the persecutions of the Emperor Maximian, the virgin Theodosia came to comfort a group of Christians who were standing before the governor of Caesarea in Palestine. When she encouraged them not to shun martyrdom, she too was brought before the judge, who ordered that a stone be tied around her neck and that she be thrown into the sea; but angels carried her to shore unharmed. The judge then ordered that she be beheaded. The night that the sentence was carried out, Theodosia appeared to her parents, surrounded by heavenly light and accompanied by other virgin martyrs, and said, 'Do you see how great is the glory and grace of my Christ, of which you wished to deprive me?' (Her parents, wishing to preserve her from martyrdom, had tried to prevent her from confessing Christ).
He entered monastic life in early youth, and in time rose to the rank of Bishop in Chalcedon. As a hierarch, he showed outstanding compassion for the poor, caring for many orphans, widows and beggars. When the Emperor Leo the Armenian attacked the holy icons, Nicetas stood against him, and was driven into exile, where he reposed after much hardship and suffering.
"In the reign of the wicked Emperor Maximilian, there lived in Alexandria a maiden, Theodora, well-educated and of noble lineage. She was brought to trial before the pagans for her Christian faith. After long interrogation and torture for the Faith, the prince, her tormentor, ordered that she be thrown into a brothel and the soldiers given free access to her to indulge their carnal lusts. Theodora prayed fervently to God to save her from defilement, and, when she had prayed, a soldier called Didymus came in to her and told her that he was a servant of Christ. He dressed her in his soldier's garb and himself in her dress, then let her out and remained in the brothel himself. He was seized and brought before the judge, where he acknowledged that he was a Christian and had saved Theodora, and was now prepared to die for Christ. He was condemned to death and taken out to the place of execution. Theodora ran up to him there and cried out: 'Although you saved my honour, I did not ask you to save me from death. Yield the martyr's death to me!' Didymus replied: 'My beloved sister, do not hinder my death for Christ, nor the washing of my sins in my blood.' Hearing this exchange, the pagans condemned them both to death, and they were beheaded and their bodies burned. They suffered with honour and received eternal wreaths of glory in Alexandria in the year 304." (Prologue)
He was one of the Seventy and a companion of St Paul, who mentions him in 2 Timothy 4:13. He became a Bishop in Thrace (the Great Horologion says in Berea, the Prologue in Varna), where he suffered martyrdom. St Dionysius the Areopagite met and wrote about him, stating that Carpus never began the Liturgy without first receiving a heavenly vision. From the Prologue: "We must not desire the death of a sinner, but his repentance. Nothing so saddens the Lord who suffered on the Cross for sinners as when we pray to Him for the death of a sinner and his removal from our path. It once happened that the Apostle Carpus lost patience and began to pray God to send death upon two sinful men, the one pagan and the other an apostate from the Faith. The Lord appeared to him and said: 'Behold, here I am; ready to be crucified again for the salvation of men.' St Carpus related this event to St Dionysius the Areopagite, who wrote it down as a lesson for all in the Church that we must pray for the salvation of sinners and not for their destruction. For the Lord 'is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance' (II Peter 3:9)."
Little is recorded of his earthly life, except that he was a monk and ascetic on Cyprus who rose to episcopal rank, and that he was martyred during a persecution of Christians. His body rested for centuries in a church in Cyprus. Then in 806, during the reign of the Emperor Nikephoros, the Saint appeared to the church's caretaker, warned him that infidels were about to attack Cyprus, and ordered that his relics be transferred to Constantinople. Without hesitation the caretaker had the casket containing St Therapon's relics put in a ship bound for the Capital. During the journey a great storm arose, but the waters around the ship remained calm, and a sweet scent filled the ship. The caretaker opened the casket and found that it was full to overflowing of a fragrant myrrh which exuded from the holy martyr's relics. In Constantinople, a church was built over the Saint's relics, which became known as a powerful source of healing for those who approached in faith.
As a youth, he was heedless and corrupt; but one day he entered a church and heard the words of Isaiah, 'Wash you, make you clean' (Is. 1:16). His life changed completely: he left his family and property to enter a monastery near Pereyaslavl, where he took on a life of severe asceticism. He wore chains and (in the words of the Prologue) 'shut himself up in a pillar', for which he was called the Stylite. He was granted the gift of healing and by his prayers restored many who came to him, including Michael, Prince of Chernigov, whom he healed of palsy. Some thieves, seeing his chains and thinking that they were made of silver, killed him one night and made off with the chains. Soon afterward, Saint Nikita appeared to an elder named Simeon and told him to put the chains with him in his grave when they were found.
"She was the daughter of Prince Vseslav of Polotsk. When her parents wished her to be married, she ran away to a monastery and became a nun. An angel of the Lord appeared to her three times to show her the place where she was to build a new monastery for virgins. She brought her own sister, Evdokia, into monasticism and many other young girls from the ranks of the aristocracy. One kinswoman of hers, Zvenislava, a princess of Borisov, brought all her wealth, clothing and precious jewels, and said: 'I count all the beauty of this world as naught, and wish to give these fine things, prepared for my marriage, to the Church of the Saviour. And I desire to espouse myself to Him in a spiritual marriage, and to bow my head beneath His easy and light yoke.' Euphrosyne professed her too, and gave her the name Evpraxia. In old age, Euphrosyne evinced a desire to die in Jerusalem, and prayed for this boon. God heard her prayer, and she did indeed die in the monastery of St Theodosius in Jerusalem on May 23rd, 1173, during a visit there." (Prologue)
He was from Amasea on the Black Sea, and was a nephew of St Theodore the Tyro (February 17). He was a fellow-martyr of Eutropius and Cleonicus (March 3), but is commemorated because, after they were crucified, he was shut in prison. A new governor replaced the one who had killed Basiliscus' companions, and Basiliscus prayed in tears that he not be deprived of a martyr's death. The Lord Jesus appeared to him, promised that his prayer would be answered, and told him to go to his village to say farewell to his mother and brothers. The new governor, Agrippa, sent soldiers to the village and had Basiliscus brought back to him. On the way to Amasea, many wonders were worked throught the Saint, and many were brought to Christ. Brought before the governor, Basiliscus again refused to worship the idols or deny Christ: he was beheaded in Comana and his body thrown into the river. Upon the holy Saint's execution, Agrippa instantly went mad, remaining so until he smeared himself with some of the Martyr's blood, which immediately healed him. Convinced by this wonder of the truth of the Faith, Agrippa was baptised. All of this happened during the reign of Diocletian.