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MAY

Click on the Numbers below to Read the Lives of the Saints for each Date

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May 1

The Holy Prophet Jeremiah

The Holy Prophet Jeremiah, one of the four great Old Testament prophets, was son of the priest Helkiah from the city of Anathoth near Jerusalem, and he lived 600 years before the Birth of Christ, under the Israelite king Josiah and four of his successors. He was called to prophetic service in his 15th year of life, when the Lord revealed to him, that even before his birth the Lord had assigned him to be a prophet. Jeremiah refused, pointing to his own youthfulness and lack of skill at speaking, but the Lord promised to be always with him and to watch over him. He touched the mouth of the chosen one and said: "Lo I do put Mine words into thy mouth, I do entrust unto thee from this day the fate of nations and kingdoms. By thine prophetic word wilt they fall and rise up" (Jer. 1: 9-10). And from that time Jeremiah prophesied for twenty-three years, denouncing the Jews for abandoning the True God and worshipping idols, predicting for them woes and devastating wars. He stood by the gates of the city, and at the entrance to the Temple, everywhere where the people gathered, and he exhorted them with imprecations and often with tears. But the people answered him with mockery and abuse, and they even tried to kill him.

Depicting the slavery to the king of Babylon impending for the Jews, Jeremiah at the command of God put on his own neck at first a wooden, and then an iron yoke, and thus he went about among the people. Enraged at the dire predictions of the prophet, the Jewish elders threw the Prophet Jeremiah into an imprisoning pit, filled with horrid slimy creatures, where he all but died. Through the intercession of the God-fearing royal-official Habdemelek, the prophet was pulled out of the pit but he did not cease with the prophecies, and for this he was carted off to prison. Under the Jewish king Zedekiah his prophesy was fulfilled: Nebuchadnezzar came, made slaughter of the nation, carried off a remnant into captivity, and Jerusalem was pillaged and destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar released the prophet from prison and permitted him to live where he wanted. The prophet remained at the ruins of Jerusalem and bewailed the misfortune of his fatherland. According to tradition, the Prophet Jeremiah took the Ark of the Covenant with the Law-Tablets and hid it in one of the caves of Mount Nabath (Nebo), such that the Jews were no more able to find it (2 Mac. 2). Afterwards a new Ark of the Covenant was fashioned, but it lacked in the glory of the first.

Among the Jews remaining in their fatherland there soon arose internecine clashes: the viceroy of Nebuchadnezzar, Hodoliah, was murdered, and the Jews, fearing the wrath of Babylon, decided to flee into Egypt. The Prophet Jeremiah disagreed with their intention, predicting that the punishment which they feared, would befall them in Egypt. But the Jews would not hearken to the prophet, and taking him by force with them, they went into Egypt and settled in the city of Tathnis. And there the prophet lived for four years and was respected by the Egyptians, since with his prayer he killed crocodiles and other nasty creatures infesting these parts. But when he began to prophesy, that the king of Babylon would invade the land of Egypt and annihilate the Jews settled in it, the Jews then murdered the Prophet Jeremiah. In that very same year the prophesy of the saint was fulfilled. There exists a tradition, that 250 years later Alexander the Great of Macedonia transported the relics of the holy Prophet Jeremiah to Alexandria.

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote his Book of "Prophesies" ("Jeremiah"), and also the Book of "Lamentations", -- about the Desolation of Jerusalem and the Exile. The times in which he lived and prophesied are spoken of in the 4th (2nd) Book of Kings (Ch. 23-25) and in the 2nd Book of Chronicles (36: 12) and in 2 Maccabbees (Ch. 2).

In the Gospel of Matthew it points out, that the betrayal of Judas was foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah: "And they took thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him on Whom the sons of Israel had set a price, and they gave them over for the potter's field, as did say the Lord unto me" (Mt. 27: 9-10).

The Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk

The Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk was born in 1394 in the village of Kudinovo, not far from Borovsk, and at Baptism he was named Parphenii. His father Ioann was the son of a baptised Tatar, a "baskak" ("tax-collector") named Martin, and his mother was named Photinia. At 20 years of age Parphenii left his parental home and in the year 1414 accepted monastic tonsure with the name Paphnutii at the Pokrov-Protection Monastery on the Heights, under its head, Markell (i.e. Marcellus). The Monk Paphnutii asceticised for many years at the monastery. When the head of the monastery died, the brethren chose him as hegumen. Sainted Photii, Metropolitan of Kiev, ordained him to the priestly dignity (in about the year 1426). The monk spent thirty years at the Pokrov monastery, wherein he was both the head and the clergy-starets (elder). At 51 years of age he fell grievously ill, gave up being the hegumen and took on the great-schema. After a restoration to health on the day of the holy GreatMartyr George the Victory-Bearer, 23 April 1444, he withdrew from the monastery and settled with one monk on the left bank of the River Protva, at the confluence into it of the River Ister'ma. Soon brethren began to gather to him at this new place. The number of the monks grew quickly. A new stone church was built in place of the former wooden one, in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. In the icon-frescoes there took part the finest iconographer of those times, -- Dionysii and his assistants. The Monk Paphnutii gave example to the brethren, leading a strict life: his cell was the poorest of all, and from food he took the worst. On Mondays and Fridays he did not eat at all, and on Wednesdays he partook only of dry foods. From the overall tasks the monk chose the most difficult: he chopped and carried fire-wood, dug up and cultivated the garden, and at the same time arrived first for church services.

The Monk Paphnutii earned the deep respect and love not only of the brethren of his own monastery, but also of other monasteries. Through the Providence of God there was guided to the monastery to the monk a twenty year old youth, -- Ioann Sanin. Having put him to the test, the monk tonsured him into monasticism with the name Joseph. Later on the Monk Joseph of Volotsk firmly defended the purity of the Orthodox faith and entered into struggle against the heresy of the Judaisers, condemned at a Council of 1504. The Monk Paphnutii blessed the young man in his exploits.

A week before his death the monk foretold his end. Having made a final prayer and blessing of the brethren, he expired to God on 1 May 1477. The Monk Paphnutii was a follower of the Monk Sergei, Hegumen of Radonezh.

The PriestMartyr Makarii, Metropolitan of Kiev

The PriestMartyr Makarii, Metropolitan of Kiev, was earlier the archimandrite of the Vilensk Holy Trinity monastery.

In 1495, after the death of the Kiev metropolitan, Jona with the Ankle, Makarii was chosen and ordained in his place by an assembly of hierarchs: Vassian of Vladimir, Luke of Polotsk, Vassian of Turov and Jona of Lutsk. Papers of blessing were sent from Constantinople by the patriarch, Nymphontes, confirming the selection of Saint Makarii to the Kiev metropolitan cathedra-seat. On 1 May 1497 Tatars which invaded the Russian Land killed the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus' Makarii in the village of Strigolovo, at the River Vzhischa, where the saint was making Divine-services. Together with him were killed or taken into captivity many of his flock.

The holy relics of Saint Makarii, glorified by God both undecayed and by miracles, rest now at Kiev at the Vladimir cathedral church.

The Monk Gerasim of Boldinsk

The Monk Gerasim of Boldinsk, in the world Grigorii, was born in 1490 at Pereslavl'-Zalessk. In early childhood he frequented the church of God. Having learned about the holy life of the Monk Daniel of Pereyaslavl', the 13 year old Grigorii with tears besought the starets-elder to let him join him. The starets accepted the boy as a novice and in a short while gave him monastic tonsure with the name Gerasim. The newly-made monk zealously fulfilled the deeds of fasting and prayer, and soon he was known about in Moscow as a strict ascetic. He was summoned to the capital together with his teacher, where he met the tsar. Worldly fame was a burden for the ascetic and, after his 26 year stay under the guidance of the Monk Daniel, Saint Gerasim, having received the blessing of his starets for hermitage life, settled not far from the city of Dorogobuzha in the Smolensk lands, in a wild forest, inhabited by snakes and wild animals. The saint many a time was subjected to the intrusion of brigands, but meekly and patiently he bore all their outrages and he prayed for these malefactors. Through a particular vision, he then went over to Mount Boldina, where at a water-spring there stood an immense oak. The local inhabitants beat him with canes and wanted to drown him, but having taken fright, they handed him over to the Dorogobuzha administrator, who threw him into jail for vagrancy. The Monk Gerasim patiently endured the ridicule, he kept quiet and he prayed. During this while there came to the administrator an imperial emissary from Moscow. Seeing Saint Gerasim, he bowed down to him and besought his blessing, since earlier before he had seen the saint together with the Monk Daniel in the presence of the tsar. The administrator became terrified, and immediately he begged forgiveness of the saint and promised to make him an enclosure protecting him from incursions. From this time Saint Gerasim began accepting to himself those with a desire for monastic deeds, and having sought at Moscow the permission to build a monastery, in 1530 he raised up a church in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity and he built cells for the gathered brethren. Besides the Boldina monastery, the Monk Gerasim founded yet another monastery in honour of Saint John the Forerunner at the city of Vyaz'ma, and later on in the Bryansk forest at the River Zhizdra, a monastery in honour of the Vvedenie-Entry into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God. The disciple of the Monk Gerasim, Peter Korostelev, was made hegumen of this monastery. Under the spiritual guidance of the Monk Gerasim were formed strict ascetics: the Hegumen Antonii -- afterwards Sainted-hierarch of Vologda, and Arkadii, a disciple of the monk, asceticising as an hermit and buried at the Boldina monastery.

Before his death, the Monk Gerasim summoned the hegumens and monks of the monasteries founded by him, told them about his life and gave them a final instruction. This oral narrative of the saint was included in the Vita-Life, compiled on the resolve of gathered elders by Sainted Antonii. The Monk Gerasim reposed on 1 May 1554.

The Martyr Bata

The Martyr Bata, a monastic, lived during the IV Century in Persia and asceticised there in one of the monasteries. During a time of persecution against Christians, initiated by the Persian emperor, the holy martyr was killed in the city of Niziba for confessing the Christian faith.

The Holy Nobleborn Empress of Gruzia (Georgia) Tamara the Great

The Holy Nobleborn Empress of Gruzia (Georgia) Tamara the Great was born in about the year 1165. She was descended from the ancient Gruzian Bagratid dynasty and with the year 1178 she was a co-regent with her father, George III. The period of the reign of Saint Tamara is known as the Golden Age of Gruzian history: the Empress Tamara was noted for her lofty piety and, continuing the initiatives of her grandfather, the holy Nobleborn Emperor Saint David III the Restorer, she promoted the wide dispersion of the faith in Christ throughout Gruzia, amidst the construction of churches and monasteries. In 1204 the governor of the Ruma sultanate, Rukn-en-Din, dispatched a demand to the Empress Tamara that Gruzia renounce Christianity and accept Islam. The Empress Tamara refused this demand, and in an historic battle near Basiani the Georgian army defeated a coalition of Moslem rulers. The wise rule of the Empress Tamara gained her the love of all her nation. The final years of her life she spent in the Bardzia Cave monastery. the nobleborn empress had a cell, joined together with the church by a window, through which she could offer up prayer to God during the time of Divine-services. She died peacefully in the year 1213, and was enumerated to the rank of the Saints. Her memory is celebrated twice: on 1 May -- the Day of Repose, and a second time on the Sunday of the Myrh-Bearing Women (a moveable feastday).

St. Brieuc

St. Brieuc is a Celtic saint of Brittany who received his education in Ireland and then studied under St. Germanus said to be the famous St. Germanus of Auxerre. Much of what we read concerning his early years must be received with caution; indeed, Ussher asserts that he was of Irish birth, but it is tolerably certain that he returned to France early in 431, bringing with him St Iltud. Even before his ordination to the priesthood, St. Brieuc worked several miracles duly chronicled in his "Acts" (edited by F. Godefrid Herschenn), and after a short period spent with his parents, he entered on his missionary career. In 480, he settled in Armorica, and founded a monastery at Landebaeron. Thence he proceeded to Upper Brittany where he established an oratory at a place ever since known as St. Brieuc-des-Vaux, between St. Malo and Land Triguier, of which he was named first bishop. Numerous miracles are cited in the "Acts", especially his cure of Count Riguel, who gave the saint his own Palace of Champ-du-Rouvre as also the whole manorial estates. Authorities differ as to date of St. Brieuc's death, but it was probably in 502, or in the early years of the sixth century. He died in his own monastery at St. Brieuc-des-Vaux and was interred in his cathedral church, dedicated to St. Stephen. Baring-Gould says that St. Brieuc is represented as "treading on a dragon", or else "with a column of fire" as seen at his ordination. His relics were translated to the Church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus of Angers in 865, and again, in a more solemn manner, on 31 July, 1166. However, in 1210, a portion of the relics was restored to St. Brieuc Cathedral, where the saint's ring is also preserved. The festival of St. Brieuc is celebrated on 1st May, but, since 1804, the feast is transferred to the second Sunday after Easter. Churches in England, Ireland, and Scotland are dedicated to this early Celtic saint.

May 2

The Holy Martyrs Hesperos, his Wife Zoa, and their Children

The Holy Martyrs Hesperos, his Wife Zoa, and their Children Kyriakos and Theodoulos suffered for their faith in Christ in the II Century, during the persecution under Hadrian (117-138). The holy spouses had accepted Christianity in their childhood and likewise they raised their children in deep faith. They were all slaves of the illustrious Roman named Catullus, living in the Asia Minor city of Attalia. While serving their earthly master, the saints never defiled themselves with idol-worship food, the use of which by pagans was obligatory. One time Catullus sent Hesperos on business to Tritoneia. During this while Saints Kyriakos and Theodoulos decided to run away, not wishing to be in constant contact with pagans. But Saint Zoa did not give her sons blessing for such conduct. Then the youths besought their mother's blessing for an open confession of their faith in Christ, and they received it. When the brothers explained to Catullus that they were Christian, he was surprised, but he did not deliver them over to torture, he instead sent them together with their mother to Saint Hesperos at Tritoneia, hoping that the parents would persuade their children into repudiating the Christian faith. Being at Tritoneia, the saints for a certain while dwelt in tranquility, preparing for the deed of martyrdom facing them. For the birthday of a son of Catullus all the slaves returned to Attalia, and at the house was prepared a feast in honour of the pagan goddess Fortuna. Food from the table of the master was sent round to the slaves, and amongst this was idol-worship meat and wine. But the saints would not partake of the food. Zoa poured the wine upon the ground and threw the meat to the dogs. Having learned of this, Catullus gave orders to torture the sons of Zoa -- Saints Kyriakos and Theodoulos.

The brothers, being stripped, were suspended from a tree and lacerated with iron implements before the eyes of their parents, who during the time of torture counselled their children to persevere to the end for the faith.

Then also the parents themselves, Saints Hesperos and Zoa, were subjected to terrible tortures. Finally, they threw all four martyrs into a red-hot furnace, where prayerfully they gave up their souls to the Lord. Their bodies were preserved in the fire unharmed, and there was heard Angelic singing, glorifying the act of the confessors of the Lord.

Sainted Athanasias the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria

Sainted Athanasias the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria, was a great father of the Church and a pillar of Orthodoxy. He was born in about the year 297 in the city of Alexandria into a family of pious Christians. He received a fine secular education, but still more he acquired profound knowledge by diligent study of the Holy Scripture. From his childhood years the future great hierarch Athanasias became known to the Alexandrian Patriarch, Saint Alexander (Comm. 29 May), through the following circumstances. One time a group of children, among whom was the lad Athanasias, was playing at the shore of the sea. The Christian children decided to baptise their pagan playmates. The lad Athanasias, whom the children chose as "bishop", performed the baptism, precisely repeating the words, heard by him in church during this sacrament. Patriarch Alexander observed all this from a window. He then commanded that there be brought him the children and their parents, and having conversed with them for a long while, and having attested that the baptism performed by the children at play was in everything in accord with the Church ustav (rule), he acknowledged the Baptism as real and supplemented it with the sacrament of Chrismation. From this moment the Patriarch looked after the spiritual upbringing of the youth Athanasias and in time brought him into the clergy, at first as a reader, and then he ordained him to the dignity of deacon.

It was in this dignity of deacon that Saint Athanasias accompanied Patriarch Alexander in the year 325 to the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea. At the Council, Saint Athanasias stepped forth with a refutation of the heresy of Arius. This speech met with the approval of the Orthodox fathers of the Council, but the Arians -- those openly so and those concealed -- came to hate Athanasias and subjected him to persecutions for all the rest of his life.

After the death of holy Patriarch Alexander, Saint Athanasias was unanimously chosen his successor to the Alexandria cathedra-seat. He long refused, accounting himself unworthy, but at the insistence of all the Orthodox populace that it was in agreement, at age 28 he was ordained to the dignity of bishop and put at the head of the Alexandrian Church. For 47 years Saint Athanasias guided the Church, and during this time he suffered much persecution and grief from his antagonists. Several times he was expelled from Alexandria and hid himself from the Arians in desolate places, since they repeatedly tried to kill him. Saint Athanasias spent more than 20 years in his exiles, and returned then to his flock, and then again was subjected to banishment. There was a moment in time when he remained as the only Orthodox bishop, a moment when all the other bishops had deviated into heresy. At the false-councils of Arian bishops he was declared deprived of the bishop's dignity. Despite the persecution of many years, the saint continued firmly to defend the purity of the Orthodox faith, and he wrote incessantly both missives and tracts against the Arian heresy. When Julian the Apostate (361-363) began a persecution against Christians, his wrath then first fell upon Saint Athanasias, whom he considered the great pillar of Orthodoxy. Julian intended to kill the saint so as to strike Christianity a grievous blow, but he himself soon perished infamously. Mortally wounded by an arrow during the time of a battle, he cried out with despair: "Thou art victorious, Galilean". After the death of Julian, Saint Athanasias guided the Alexandrian Church for seven years and died in 373, at age 76.

Numerous works of Saint Athanasias have been preserved: four "Orations", directed against the Arian heresy; likewise an Epistle to Epictetos, bishop of the Church of Corinth, about the Divine and Human natures in Jesus Christ; four Epistles to Serapion, bishop of Thmuis, about the Divine Holy Spirit and Its Equality with the Father and the Son -- directed against the heresy of Macedonias. There have been preserved also other works of apologetical character in defence of Orthodoxy, among which is the Letter to the emperor Constantius. Commentaries of Saint Athanasias on Holy Scripture are known of, and also books of a moral didactic character, as well as a detailed biography of the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January), with whom Saint Athanasias was very close. Saint John Chrysostom advised every Orthodox Christian to read this life. The memory of Sainted Athanasias is celebrated also on 18 January conjointly with the memory of Sainted Cyril of Alexandria.

The Transfer of the Relics of the Princes of Russia Boris and Gleb

The Transfer of the Relics of the Holy Passion-Bearers, Princes of Russia Boris and Gleb, -- in Holy Baptism Roman and David: -- GreatPrince of Kiev Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054) deeply esteemed his brothers, the holy Martyrs Boris (+ 1015, Comm. 24 July) and Gleb (+ 1015, Comm. 5 September). It was known that the murdered Prince Boris was buried at Vyshgorod near Kiev. And soon the holy relics of noble Prince Gleb were found at Smyadyno, not far from Smolensk, from whence they were conveyed on the Dneipr River to Kiev. The Kiev Metropolitan Ioann I (1008-1035) with an assemblage of clergy solemnly met the undecayed remains of the holy passion-bearer and placed them in the temple of Saint Basil the Great at Vyshgorod, where the remains of the Martyr Boris were situated. Soon the burial place was glorified by the working of miracles. Then the relics of the holy brothers Boris and Gleb were removed from the ground and placed in a specially constructed chapel. On 24 July 1026 was consecrated the temple of five cupolas built by Yaroslav the Wise in honour of the holy martyrs.

In the years following the Vyshgorod Borisogleb church containing the relics of the holy passion-bearers became the familial temple of the Yaroslavichi, their sanctuary of brotherly love and conjoined service to the "Rodina" ("Native-country"). The symbol of their unity became the celebration of the Transfer of the Relics of Boris and Gleb, observed on 2 May. The history of the establishing of this feastday is bound up with the preceding events of Russian history. On 2 May 1069 there entered into Kiev the GreatPrince Izyaslav, having been expelled from the princedom for seven months until this time (i.e. from September 1068) as the result of an uprising of the Kievans. In gratitude for God's help in establishing peace in the Russian land, the prince constructed, in place of the 1026 weather-decayed temple, a new church "at the summit all one". At its consecration there participated two metropolitans, George of Kiev and Neophyt of Chernigov, together with other bishops and hegumens and clergy. The transfer of the relics, in which participated all three of the Yaroslavichi (Izyaslav, Svyatoslav, Vsevolod) was set for 2 May, and affirmed as an annual celebration.

Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, being prince at Kiev during the years 1073-1076, undertook an effort to transform the Borisogleb temple into a stone church, but he succeeded to raise up the stonework of the walls only to eight cubits high. And later Vsevolod (+ 1093) finished the church construction, but it collapsed by night.

The veneration of Saints Boris and Gleb developed strongly during the era of the grandsons of Yaroslav, often producing a peculiar pious competition among them. The son of Izyaslav, Svyatopolk (+ 1113), built for the saints silver reliquaries, and the son of Vsevolod, Vladimir Monomakh (+ 1125), in the year 1102 secretly by night sent master craftsmen and finished up the silver reliquaries with leaves of gold. But the son of Svyatoslav, Oleg (+ 1115), outdid them. He was called "Gorislavich", and was mentioned in the "Tale about Igor's Campaign". He "intended to raise up the collapsed stone (church) and, having brought builders, he gave in abundance everything that was necessary". The church was readied in the year 1111. Having adorned it, Oleg "much pressured and besought Svyatopolk, so as to transfer into it the holy relics". Svyatopolk did not desire to, "since he did not build this church".

The death of Svyatopolk Izyaslavich (+ 1113) brought to Kiev a new insurrection, which nearly killed Vladimir Monomakh, who had become greatprince in the city. Having decided to cultivate friendship with the Svyatoslavichi by a conjoined solemn transfer of the relics into the Oleg church, he made it known to Oleg and David (+ 1123). "Vladimir, having gathered his sons, and David and Oleg with their sons, all arrived at Vyshgorod. And all the hierarchs, hegumens, monks and priesthood did come, filling all the town and along the walls was not left space for the citizenry". In the morning on 2 May 1115, the Sunday of the Myrh-Bearing Women, they began to sing matins at both churches -- old and new, and there was begun the transfer of relics. And during this there occurred a peculiar separation: "and they did convey in vehicles at first Boris, and with him went Vladimir, the metropolitan and clergy". After him on other vehicles they conveyed Saint Gleb: "with him went David with bishops and clergy". (Oleg awaited all in the church).

This separation was adhered to in future generations. Saint Boris was considered an heavenly protector pre-eminently of the Monomashichi; Saint Gleb -- pre-eminently of the Ol'govichi and the Davidovichi. It went so far as this, that Vladimir Monomakh in his "Testament", speaking about Boris, does not mention Gleb, and in the Ol'govichi lineage conversely, they gave none of the princes the name Boris.

In general the names Boris and Gleb, and so also Roman and David, were esteemed in many generations of Russian princes. The brothers of Oleg Gorislavich bore the names Roman (+ 1079), Gleb (+ 1078), David (+ 1123), and one of his sons bore the name Gleb (+ 1138). From Monomakh were the sons Roman and Gleb; from Yuri Dolgoruky -- Boris and Gleb; of Saint Rostislav of Smolensk -- Boris and Gleb; of Saint Andrei Bogoliubsky -- holy Saint Gleb (+ 1174); of Vsevolod BigNest -- Boris and Gleb. Among the sons of Vseslav of Polotsk (+ 1101) -- was the full levy of "Borisogleb" names: Roman, Gleb, David, Boris.

The Vyshgorod sanctuaries were not the sole centre of Church liturgical veneration of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb, it was spread throughout all the Russian land. First of all, there existed churches and monasteries at specific locales connected with the martyrdom act of the saints and of their miraculous help for people: the temple of Boris and Gleb at Dorogozhich on the road to Vyshgorod, where Saint Boris by tradition yielded up the spirit; the Borisogleb monastery at Tmo near Tver where the horse of Gleb injured its leg; a monastery of the same name at Smyadyno -- at the place of the murder of Gleb; and at the River Tvertsa near Torzhok (founded in 1030), where there was preserved the head of Saint George the Ugrian/Hungarian [trans. note: the beloved servant of Saint Boris, beheaded to seize from his neck the gold medallion given him by Saint Boris]. Borisogleb temples were erected at the Al'ta -- in memory of the victory of Yaroslav the Wise over Svyatopolk the Accursed on 24 July 1019; and at Gzena near Novgorod -- at the place of a victory of Gleb Svyatoslavich over a sorcerer.

The Ol'govichi and the Monomashichi vied with each other in the building of great-cupola churches to the holy martyrs. Oleg himself, in addition to the Vyshgorod church, erected in 1115 the Borisogleb cathedral in Old Ryazan (wherefore the diocese was later called Borisoglebsk).And his brother David built likewise at Chernigov (in 1120). In the year 1132 Yuri Dolgoruky built a church of Boris and Gleb at Kideksh at the River Nerla, "where had been the encampment of Saint Boris". In 1145 Saint Rostislav of Smolensk "put a stone church at Smyadyno", at Smolensk. In the following year the first (wooden) Borisogleb church was erected in Novgorod. In 1167 a stone foundation replaced the wood, and it was completed and consecrated in the year 1173. The Novgorod chronicles name as the builder of the church Sotko Sytinich -- the legendary Sadko.

The holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb were the first Russian saints, canonised by the Russian and Byzantine Churches. The service to them was compiled soon after their death, and its compiler was Sainted Ioann (John) I, Metropolitan of Kiev (1008-1035), which writings in the Meneion of the XII Century corroborate. The innumerable copies of the lives, the accounts about the relics, the miracles and eulogies in the manuscripts and printed books of the XII- XIX Centuries serve to witness the especial veneration in Rus' of the holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb. [trans. note: neither this account nor those of the individual feastdays present details of their acts of martyrdom. Perhaps it is assumed that the reader is well familiar with this, and perhaps the sublime poignancy and tragic pathos make it painful to recount. Rather than take up arms to defend themselves, or even just flee away to safety, both martyrs voluntarily accepted the passion of their suffering and death for Christ's sake, just as our Lord had voluntarily accepted His Passion of Suffering and the Cross and Death for our sakes -- to which these holy brothers allude in their final prayers from the pens of the chroniclers. And hence the meaning of their unique title "Strastoterptsy" "Passion-Bearers"].

Sainted Athanasias III Patelarios, Patriarch of Tsaregrad

Sainted Athanasias III Patelarios, Patriarch of Tsaregrad, Wonderworker of Lubensk, in the world Alexis, was born in 1560 on the island of Crete, into the pious Greek family Patelarios. Despite his education and position in society, the life of Christian ascetics attracted Alexis. After the death of his father he took vows as a novice in one of the Thessalonika monasteries with the name Ananias, from whence he later went to the monastery of Hesthymenes at Athos, where he did obedience in the refectory. From Athos he undertook a journey to the Palestinian monasteries and in one of them he took monastic tonsure with the name Athanasias. Upon his return to Thessalonika he was made presbyter and spread the teaching of Christ among the Valachs and the Moldovians, for whom he translated the Psalter from the Greek into their own languages. On occasion the saint journeyed to Mount Athos for prayerful solitude and the blessing of God upon his pastoral work. The holiness of his life attracted a multitude of Christians, wishing to see a true preacher of the Orthodox faith in Christ.

By his remarkable abilities and spiritual gifts he attracted the attention of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Cyril I (Lukaris) (1621-1623), who having summoned the ascetic, appointed him preacher for the Patriarchal cathedra-see. Soon Saint Athanasias was elevated to the dignity of bishop and made Metropolitan of the Church of Soluneia (Thessalonika).

At this time Patriarch Cyril I (Lukaris) was slandered before the sultan and imprisoned on the island of Tenedos, and Saint Athanasias was chosen upon the Patriarchal throne on 25 March 1634, on the day of the Annunciation of the MostHoly Mother of God.

Situated upon the archpastoral cathedra-seat, Patriarch Athanasias led an incessant struggle against heretics, Jesuits and Mahometans. Being on the Patriarchal throne but about 40 days, he was deposed through the intrigues of the enemies of Orthodoxy, and upon the cathedra-seat Cyril I (Lukaris) was returned. The saint set off to Athos, where for a certain time he pursued asceticism in solitude. Then he was again elevated to the Patriarchate, but again after a year he was deposed, after which he returned to the city of Thessalonika and kept up his connections with Athos. In view of the intolerable persecutions of the Christians by the Mahometans, Saint Athanasias was repeatedly obliged to send (from 1633 to 1643) petitions to the Russian tsar Mikhail Feodorovich (1613-1645) concerning the bestowing of alms for the hapless Church of Constantinople.

When dwelling at Thessalonika became for the saint impossible, he was forced to journey to Moldavia under the protection of its sovereign, Basilos Lukulos, and he settled there in the monastery of Saint Nicholas near Galats. And here he constantly turned his gaze towards Mount Athos, he visited it often and hoped to finish his life there. But the prescience of God judged otherwise.

In 1652 after the martyr's death of Patriarch Cyril I (Lukaris), Saint Athanasias was again elevated to the OEcumenical cathedra. But he was on it for only 15 days, since this preacher of the Orthodox faith in Christ was not pleasing to the Mahometans and Catholics. During the time of his final Patriarchal service he preached a sermon, in which he denounced the papal pretensions to be head of the OEcumenical Church and the pretensive apostolic pre-eminence. Persecuted by the Mahometans and Jesuits, physically weakened, he transferred the running of the Constantinople Church to the Metropolitan of Laureia, Paisios, and he withdrew to Moldavia, where he received from the sovereign to be administrator of the monastery of Saint Nicholas at Galats. Knowing the deep faith and responsiveness of the Russian nation, Saint Athanasias undertook a journey to Russia. In April 1653 he was met with great honour in Moscow by Patriarch Nikon (1652-1658) and tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. Having received generous alms for the needs of the monastery, in December 1653 Patriarch Athanasias left for Galats. On the way he fell ill and stayed at the Transfiguration Mgarsk monastery in the city of Lubno in February 1654. Sensing his impending death, the saint compiled a final testament and on 5 April expired to God. Hegumen Petronios with the brethren of the monastery made the burial of the Patriarch. By Greek custom the saint was buried in a sitting position. On 1 February 1662 Saint Athansias was glorified into the ranks of the Saints and his feastday established under 2 May, on the day of co-memory of Saint Athanasias the Great.

The relics of holy Patriarch Athansias, glorified by numerous miracles and signs, rest in the city of Khar'kov, in the Annunciation cathedral church.

The Holy Nobleborn Equal-to-the-Apostles Tsar Boris

The Holy Nobleborn Equal-to-the-Apostles Tsar Boris, in Holy Baptism Michael: His Equal-to-the-Apostles exploits were foretold him by an uncle, Saint Boyan. The first years of the reign of tsar Boris unfolded with misfortune. The Bulgarians happened frequently to be at war with surrounding nations, famine and plague beset the land, and in the year 860 Bulgaria found itself in dire straits. Tsar Boris saw the salvation of his land, which dwelt in paganism, in its enlightenment by the faith in Christ. During the time of one of the battles of the Bulgarians with the Greeks he took captive the illustrious courtier Theodore Kuphares, who earlier had taken monastic vows. He was the first man planting the seed of the Gospel in the soul of the Bulgarian tsar. In one of the campaigns with the Greeks the young sister of tsar Boris was taken captive and raised at the court of the Byzantine emperor in the Orthodox faith. When the emperor Theophilos died, tsar Boris decided to take advantage of the favourable circumstance so as to take revenge upon the Greeks for his former defeats. But the widow of the emperor, Theodora, showed courage and sent a messenger to the Bulgarian tsar with the suggestion, that she herself was prepared to defend the empire and humiliate its opponents. Tsar Boris chose to have a peace alliance, and in sign of conciliation exchange was made of the captives Theodore Kuphares for the Bulgarian princess, who all the more swayed her brother towards the Christian faith. A while later there was sent into Bulgaria Saint Methodios, who together with his brother Saint Cyril was enlightening the Slavic peoples with the light of faith in Christ. Saint Methodios baptised tsar Boris, his family and many of the boyar-nobles. The pagan Bulgarians, having learned of this, wanted to kill tsar Boris, but their plot was frustrated by the tsar, and deprived of their rebellious leaders, the Bulgarian people voluntarily accepted Baptism. Between Byzantium and Bulgaria was concluded a peace, based on an oneness of faith, which was not broken until the end of the reign of the noble tsar. The Greek Patriarch Photios took great interest in the spiritual confirmation of the Bulgarian nation. In 867 preachers from the Roman pope were sent into Bulgaria, from which time over the course of three years discord prevailed in Bulgaria between the Greek and Roman Churches. A Council at Constantinople in 869 put an end to the quarrel, and on 3 March 870 Bulgaria was definitively conjoined to the Eastern Church, and Orthodoxy in it was affirmed even more. In Bulgaria were glorified the holy ascetics: Saints Gorazd (Comm. 27 July) and Clement of Okhrid (Comm. 27 July). Nobleborn tsar Boris adorned the land with churches and furthered the spread of piety, and afterwards in Bulgaria was established a Patriarchal cathedra-seat. In his declining years, holy tsar Boris withdrew to a monastery, leaving the throne to his sons Vladimir and Simeon. While in the monastery the saint learned that Vladimir, who succeeded to reign after him, had started on a path of renunciation from Christianity. Distressed by this, Saint Boris again donned his garb as tsar, punished his disobedient son and placed him in prison. Having entrusted the rule to his younger son Simeon, Saint Boris returned to the monastery. But he came out from it once more for the repelling of an invasion of the Vengrians/Hungarians. Holy tsar Boris, in holy Baptism named Michael, -- reposed on 2 May 907.

The Monk Athanasii (Afanasii) of Svirsk

The Monk Athanasii (Afanasii) of Svirsk pursued asceticism during the XVI Century and was one of the disciples of the Monk Alexander of Svirk (Comm. 17 April and 30 August). The holy ascetic was buried at the Ostrovsk monastery in honour of the Entrance of the MostHoly Mother of God.

May 3

Saints Timothy and Maura

Saints Timothy and Maura suffered for the faith during the time of persecution under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Saint Timothy came from the village of Perapa (Egyptian Thebaid), and was the son of a priest by the name of Pikolpossos. He was made a reader among the church clergy and likewise a keeper and copyist of Divine-service books. Saint Timothy came under denunciation that he was a keeper of Christian books, which by order of the emperor were to be confiscated and burned. They brought Saint Timothy before the governor Arian, who demanded him to hand over the clergy books. For his refusal to obey the command, they subjected the saint to horrible tortures. They shoved into his ears two red-hot iron rods, from which the sufferer lost his eyesight and became blind. Saint Timothy bravely endured the pain and he gave thanks to God, for granting him to suffer for Him. The torturers hung up the saint head downwards, putting in his mouth a piece of wood, and they tied an heavy stone to his neck. The suffering of Saint Timothy was so extreme, that the very ones executing the torment began to implore the governor to ease up on the torture. And about this time they informed Arian, that Timothy had a young wife by the name of Maura, whom he had married a mere 20 days before. Arian gave orders to bring Maura, hoping, that with her present they could break the will of the martyr. At the request of Maura, they removed the piece of wood from the mouth of the martyr, so that he could speak. Saint Timothy urged his wife not to be afraid of the tortures and to go the path with him. Saint Maura answered: "I am prepared to die with thee", -- and boldly she confessed herself a Christian. Arian gave orders to tear out the hair from her head and to cut off the fingers from her hands. Saint Maura with joy underwent the torment and even thanked the governor for the torture, suffered in the redemption of sins. Then Arian gave orders to throw Saint Maura into a boiling cauldron, but she did not sense any pain and she remained unharmed. Suspecting that the servants out of sympathy for the martyress had filled the cauldron with cold water, Arian went up and ordered the saint to splash him on the hand with water from the cauldron. When the martyr did this, Arian screamed with pain and drew back his scaulded hand. Then, momentarily admitting the power of the miracle, Arian confessed God in Whom Maura believed as the True God, and he gave orders to release the saint. But the devil still held great power over the governor, and soon he again began to urge Saint Maura to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Having gotten nowhere, Arian was overcome all the more by a satanic rage and he began to come up with new tortures. Then the people began to murmur and demand a stop to the abuse of this innocent woman. But Saint Maura, turning to the people, said: "Let no one defend me, I have one Defender -- God, on Whom I trust".

Finally, after long torments Arian gave orders to crucify the martyrs. Over the course of ten days they hung on crosses face to face with each other.

On the tenth day of martyrdom the saints offered up their souls to the Lord. This occurred in the year 286. Afterwards at Constantinople there began solemn celebration of the memory of the holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura, and a church was built in their honour.

The Monk Theodosii (Feodosii) of Pechersk

The Monk Theodosii (Feodosii) of Pechersk, was the initiator of a life-in-common ustav (rule) and a father of monasticism in the Russian land. He was born at Vasilevo, not far from Kiev. From his youthful years he felt an irresistible attraction for the ascetic life, and led an ascetic lifestyle while still in his parental home. He disdained childish games and attractions, and constantly went to church. He himself asked his parents to let him go to study reading of the holy books, and through his evident abilities and rare zeal, he quickly learned the reading of the books, such that everyone was amazed at the intellect of the lad. At 14 years of age he lost his father and remained under the supervision of his mother -- a woman strict and domineering, but very much loving her son. She many a time chastised her son for his yearning after asceticism, but he remained firmly committed to his path. At 24 years of age he secretly left his parental home and took monastic vows, with the blessing of the Monk Antonii (Anthony), at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery with the name Theodosii. After four years his mother found him and with tears besought him to return home, but the saint himself persuaded her to remain in Kiev and accept monasticism in the monastery of Saint Nicholas at the Askol'd cemetery.

The Monk Theodosii toiled at the monastery more than others and not seldom he took upon himself part of the work of the other brethren: he carried water, chopped wood, ground up the rye-grain and carried the flour to each monk. On cold nights he uncovered his body and let it be food for gnats and mosquitoes, the blood flowed on him, but the saint patiently occupied himself with handicrafts and sang psalms. In church he appeared before others and, standing at a place, he did not leave it until the finish of Divine-services; the readings he listened to with particular attention.

In 1054 the Monk Theodosii was ordained to the dignity of priest-monk, and in 1057 he was chosen hegumen. The fame of his deeds attracted a number of monks to the monastery, at which he built a new church and cells, and he introduced the Studite common-life monastic-rule (ustav), a copy of which was made by his commissioning at Constantinople. In the dignity of hegumen the Monk Theodosii continued to fulfill very difficult duties at the monastery. The monk usually partook of only dry bread and cooked greens without oil. The nights passed for him without sleep in prayer, such that the brethren often took notice of this, although the chosen one of God also tried to conceal his efforts from others. No one was to see when the Monk Theodosii dozed lightly, and usually he rested sitting. During the period of Great Lent the saint withdrew into a cave situated not far from the monastery, where he asceticised with no one seeing. His attire was a coarse hair-shirt worn straight over his body, such that in this old man looking like a beggar it was impossible to recognise the reknown hegumen, deeply respected by all that knew him.

One time the Monk Theodosii was returning from GreatPrince Izyaslav. The coachman, not recognising whom he was, said gruffly: :Thou, monk, art always on holiday, but I constantly am at work. Get up on my place, and let me ride in the carriage". The holy elder meekly complied and drove the servant. Seeing how boyar nobles along the way bowed to the monk driving the horses, the servant took fright, but the holy ascetic calmed him, and upon their arrival gave him a meal at the monastery. Trusting on the help of God, the monk did not keep a large supply of food at the monastery, and therefore the brethren were in want of their daily bread. Through his prayers, however, unknown benefactors appeared at the monastery and furnished the necessities for the brethren. The great princes, and especially Izyaslav, loved to listen to the spiritual discourse of the Monk Theodosii. The saint was not afraid to denounce the mighty ones of this world. The unjustly condemned always found in him a defender, and judges would review matters at the request of the hegumen revered by all. The monk was particularly concerned about the destitute: he built for them at the monastery a special courtyard where anyone in need could receive food and drink. Having sensed beforehand his own end, the Monk Theodosii peacefully expired to the Lord in the year 1074. He was buried in a cave dug out by him, into which he secluded himself during lenten periods. The relics of the ascetic were found uncorrupt in the year 1091. The Monk Theodosii was enumerated to the ranks of the saints in 1108. From the written works of the Monk Theodosii there have survived to our time: 6 discourses, 2 missives to GreatPrince Izyaslav, and a prayer for all Christians. The Vita (Life) of the Monk Theodosii was compiled by the Monk Nestor the Chronicler, a student of the great abba, a mere 30 years after his repose, and it was always one of the favourite readings of the Russian nation. An account about the Monk Theodosii also is located under 28 September.

The Monk Peter the Wonderworker, Bishop of Argos

The Monk Peter the Wonderworker, Bishop of Argos, lived during the IX and early X Centuries, and was raised by pious parents. The parents of Saint Peter, and later on his brothers Paul, Dionysios, Platon and Saint Peter himself all became monastics. Saint Peter zealously devoted himself to monastic deeds, such that he excelled beyond all his fellows. This came to the attention of the Italian bishop Nicholas (who from 895 was Patriarch of Constantinople), who wanted to elevate him to the dignity of bishop, but Saint Peter declined, accounting himself unworthy of such honour. Bishop Nicholas ordained Paul, Saint Peter's brother, as bishop of Corinth, and Saint Peter went to his bishop-brother and lived with him, having taken upon himself the deed of silence. After a year emissaries came to Bishop Paul from the city of Argos, where the bishop had died, and they petitioned to make Saint Peter their bishop. After long and intense entreaties, Saint Peter finally gave his consent. Having become bishop, Saint Peter toiled zealously in guiding his flock, he was extraordinarily compassionate, he concerned himself about those in need, especially orphans and widows; in years of crop-failure the saint fed the hungry. Through the prayers of the saint the food, set aside for the hungry, never ran out. The saint likewise ransomed captives, healed the sick and the afflicted, and possessed the gift of insight. The saint long before predicted the day of his death and expired in peace to the Lord at age 70. His relics were transferred in 1421 from Argos to Nauplia, exuding myrh, and working miracles and healings.

The Kievo-Pechersk Icon

The Kievo-Pechersk Icon of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God -- is one of the most anciently appeared icons in the Russian Orthodox Church. The MostHoly Mother of God entrusted it to 4 Byzantine architects, who in 1073 brought the icon to the Monks Antonii and Theodosii of Pechersk. The architects arrived at the cave of the monks and asked: "Where do ye want to begin the church?" The saints answered: "Go, the Lord will point out the place". "How is it that ye, anticipating impending death, have still not designated the place? -- wondered the architects -- And still they have given us so much gold". Then the monks called together all the brethren and they began to question the Greeks, saying: "Tell us the truth, who sent you and how did ye wind up hereabouts?". The architects started by saying: "One time, when each of us was asleep in our own homes, early -- at sunrise, handsome youths came to us and said: "The Queen doth summon you to Blakhernae". We all arrived at the same time and, in questioning one another we learned, that each of us had heard this command of the Queen and that those sent out had come to all of us. Finally, we beheld the Queen of Heaven with a multitude of warriors. We bowed down to Her, and She said: "I want to build Myself a Church in Rus', at Kiev, and herewith I do bid ye to do this. Take sufficient gold for 3 years". We however, having bowed ourselves down, asked: "Lady Queen! Thou dost send us to a foreign land, -- to whom there art we to go?" -- She answered: "I send you to these here, to Antonii and Theodosii". -- We wondered: "Why then, Lady, dost Thou give us gold for 3 years? With it bid also what concerns us, what we shalt eat and what we shalt drink, and provide us also with what Thou knowest about it". The Queen replied: "This one, Antonii, wilt give only but the blessing and expire from this world into eternal repose. And the other one, Theodosii, wilt follow him after 2 years. Wherefore, take gold abundantly sufficing. And moreover, to esteem you, know that no one is able to do this such as I shall. I shalt give ye, what neither ear hath heard, nor what eye hath seen nor what in heart hath been in ascent for man. I Myself shalt come to look upon the Church and I shalt dwell within it". -- She likewise gave us relics of the Holy Martyrs: Artemios, Polyeuktos, Leontios, Akakios, Aretha, James, Theodore, and said: "This place ye within the foundation". -- We took gold more than enough, and She said: "Come out the doorway, and behold the resplendid Church". -- We went out and beheld a Church in the air. Having come in again to the Queen, we bowed down and said: "Lady Queen, what wilt be the name of the Church?" -- She answered: "I wish to call it by Mine Own Name". -- We did not dare to ask, what Her Name was, but She Herself again said: "It wilt be the Church of the Mother of God". -- And, having given us this icon, She said: "This wilt be put within it". We bowed down to Her and went to our own homes, taking with us the icon, received from the hands of the Queen".

Having heard this account, all glorified God, and the Monk Antonii said: "My children, we never ventured out of this place. Those handsome youths summoning you were holy angels, and the Queen in Blakhernae -- was the MostHoly Mother of God Herself. And what regards our image and the gold given as through us, that the Lord only knoweth, how He deigned to do this with His servants. Blest be your arrival, ye have good accompaniment, the venerable icon of the Lady". For three days the Monk Antonii prayed, that the Lord Himself would show him the place for the church. After the first night there was a dew throughout all the land, but dry on the holy spot. On the second morning throughout all the land it was dry, but on the holy spot it was with dew. And on the third morning, having prayed, they blessed the place and measured out with a golden sash the width and length of the church. (This sash had long before been brought by the Varangian Shimon, who had a vision about the building of a church). A firebolt, falling from heaven through the prayer of the Monk Antonii, indicated that what was designated was pleasing to God. Thus was placed the foundation of the Divine Church.

The icon of the Mother of God was glorified by numerous miracles. Two friends, John and Sergei, sealed their friendship before it. After many years John fell mortally ill. He gave part of his wealth to the Pechersk monastery, and the portion for his 5 year old son he gave over for safekeeping to Sergei; he gave over to him also his son Zakharii under his guardianship. When Zakharii turned age 15, he wanted to receive the inheritance belonging to him, but Sergei persisted in saying, that John had distributed off everything to the poor. He persisted to such an extent, that he went into the Uspensk church and vowed before the wonderworking icon, that he had taken nothing. When he made attempt to kiss the icon, he was not able to come near it; he went to the doors and suddenly shouted out: "Holy Antonii and Theodosii! Let me not be struck down for this dishonesty, pray ye the MostHoly Mother of God, that She drive away from me this multitude of demons, to which I am given over. Let the gold and silver be taken away: it is sealed away in my granary". Zakharii gave off all his inheritance to the Pechersk monastery, where he also himself took monastic vows. And from that time no one would take oaths at the wonderworking icon.

The icon more than once defended the land from invasion of enemies. In 1677, when the Turks laid siege to Chigirin and danger threatened Kiev, they carried the icon around the city for almost the entire course of the day of 27 August. The Mother of God blessed Russian armies going to the Battle of Poltava (1709). In 1812 they again carried the icon around Kiev. The celebration of the icon is set twice within the year: 3 May and 15 August.

Saint Mamai

Saint Mamai served as chief shepherd of the Georgian faithful from 731 to 744.

The information we have about his life is scarce, but it is known that St.Mamai was abbot of ZedazeniMonastery and died a martyr for Christ.

Outstanding in his achievements and endowed with profound spiritual wisdom, St. Mamai was enthroned as Catholicos of Georgia at a time when the catholicos and the Georgian king were frequently the first victims of invading armies.

May 4

The Holy Virgin Pelagia

The Holy Virgin Pelagia lived during the III Century in the city of Tarsis in the Cilician district of Asia Minor. She was the daughter of illustrious pagans and when she heard preaching from her Christian acquaintances about Jesus Christ the Son of God, she believed in Him and desired to preserve her chastity, dedicating her whole life to the Lord. The heir of emperor Diocletian (a youth adopted by him), having seen the maiden Pelagia, was captivated by her beauty and wanted to take her to be his wife. But the holy virgin told the youth, that she was betrothed to the Immortal Bridegroom, -- the Son of God, and therefore she had renounced earthly marriage. This answer of Pelagia caused great anger in the imperial youth, but he decided to leave her in peace for awhile, hoping, that she would change her frame of mind. This same while Pelagia convinced her mother to send her off to her nurse who had raised her in childhood -- secretly hoping to locate the bishop of Tarsis Klinon, who had fled to a mountain during a time of persecution against Christians, and to accept Holy Baptism from him. In a dream vision there appeared the form of the bishop -- Klinon, profoundly impressing itself upon her memory. Saint Pelagia set off to her nurse in a chariot, in rich clothes and accompanied by a whole retinue of servants, as her mother had desired her to. Along the way Saint Pelagia, through some particular ordering of events by God, met bishop Klinon. Pelagia immediately recognised the bishop, whose image had appeared to her in the dream. She fell at his feet, requesting baptism. At the prayer of the bishop there flowed from the ground a spring of water. Bishop Klinon made the sign of the cross over Saint Pelagia, and during the time of the mystery (sacrament) Angels appeared and covered the chosen one of God with a bright mantle. Having communed the pious virgin with the Holy Mysteries, bishop Klinon raised himself up in prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord together with her, and then sent her off to continue her journey. Having returned to the servants awaiting her, Saint Pelagia preached to them about Christ, and many of them were converted and believed. She tried to convert her own mother to faith in Christ, but the obdurate woman sent a message to the imperial youth, -- that Pelagia was a Christian and did not wish to be his spouse. The youth comprehended that Pelagia was lost for him, and not wishing to give her over to torture, he fell upon his sword. Pelagia's mother thereupon became fearful of the wrath of the emperor, tied her daughter and led her to the court of Diocletian as being a Christian and also the probable cause of the death of the heir to the throne. The emperor was captivated by the unusual beauty of the maiden and tried to sway her from her faith in Christ, promising her every earthly blessing and to make her his own wife. But the holy maiden refused the offer of the emperor with contempt and said: "Thou art insane, emperor, telling me such a speech. Know, that I wilt not do thine bidding, and I loathe thy vile marriage, since I have a Bridegroom -- Christ, the King of Heaven. I desire not thy imperial, worldly, short-durationed crowns, since my Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom has prepared for me three imperishable crowns. The first for faith -- since I have believed with all my heart in the True God; the second for purity -- because I have entrusted to Him my virginity; the third for martyrdom -- since I want to accept for Him every suffering and to offer up my soul because of my love for Him". Diocletian thereupon sentenced Pelagia to be burnt in a glowing red-hot copper oven. Not permitting the executioners to touch her body, the holy martyress herself -- signing herself with the sign of the cross, went with a prayer into the red-hot oven -- in which her flesh melted like myrh, filling all the city with fragrance; the bones of Saint Pelagia remained unharmed and were removed by the pagans to outside the city. Four lions then came from out of the wilderness and sat around the bones -- letting get at them neither bird nor wild beast. The lions protected the remains of the saint until such time as bishop Klinon came to that place. He gathered them up and buried them with honour. During the reign of emperor Constantine (306-337), when the persecutions against Christians had stopped, there was built a church at the place of burial of Saint Pelagia.

St. Florian

St. Florian lived in the time of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian, and was commander of the imperial army in the Roman province of Noricum. In addition to his military duties, he was also responsible for organizing firefighting brigades.

The Roman regime sought to eradicate Christianity, and sent Aquilinus to persecute Christians. When Aquilinus ordered Florian to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods in accordance with Roman religion, he refused, and cheerfully accepted the beatings of the soldiers, who used clubs, spikes and fire to torture him. He was executed by drowning in the Enns River with a stone tied around his neck.

Later a woman named Valeria had a vision in which she saw him; Florian, in this vision, declared his intent to be buried in a more appropriate location.

The Monastic Brethren Nikita, Kirill, Nikiphor, Kliment, Isaakii

The Monastic Brethren Nikita, Kirill, Nikiphor, Kliment, Isaakii -- Alphanovi (Sokol'nitskie) lived during the XIV Century at Novgorod. They led a righteous life and founded the Sokol'nitsk monastery. As the chronicles relate: "On the Sokol' hill was erected a wooden church of Saint Nichola and a monastery organised" in 1389. The righteous Alphanovi were kinsmen according to the information of the chronicler Yakov Anphalov or Alphanov, who fled to the Dvina, saving himself from pursuit for dealings with Moscow, and the righteous ones were subject to misfortune because of their ties of kinship with Yakov, and by the grievous agony of innocent suffering cleansed themselves for eternal blessedness. In the "Tale" about the brothers is recorded a miracle, arising from their relics after death. The celebration of their memory is placed under 4 May and 17 June. As the result of a fire which destroyed the Sokol'nitsk monastery, the relics of the monastic brethren were transferred to the Antoniev monastery on 4 May 1775.

Saint Erasmus

Saint Erasmus zealously served the Lord from the time of his youth. And in his mature years he was elevated to the dignity of bishop of the city of Formium (Italy). During the time of a persecution against Christians under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian Hercules (284-305), Saint Erasmus left his diocese and withdrew onto Mount Libanus, where he hid for seven years. One time however an Angel appeared to him and said: "Erasmus! No one vanquishes enemies, if he is asleep. Go into your own city, pursue it bravely and thou shalt vanquish thine enemies". Heeding the voice of the Angel, Saint Erasmus left his seclusion. The first ones who asked him about his faith were soldiers, having encountered him along the way. Saint Erasmus confessed himself a Christian. They took him to trial at Antioch to the emperor Diocletian, before whom the saint fearlessly confessed his faith in Christ and audaciously denounced the emperor for his impiety. Saint Erasmus was subjected to fearsome tortures, but remained unbending. After the tortures the saint was bound in iron chains and thrown into prison, whither in miraculous form there appeared an Angel, saying: "Follow after me -- I lead thee to Italy. There thou shalt bring many people to salvation". In the city of Lycia Saint Erasmus preached boldly to the people about Christ and raised up the son of a certain illustrious citizen. After this miracle at Lycia 10,000 men were baptised. The emperor of the Western half of the Roman empire -- Maximian Hercules, gave orders to seize the saint and bring him to trial. And in front of this emperor Saint Erasmus also bravely confessed his faith. They beat him and threatened him with crucifixion if he did not recant from Christ. They then forced him to go to an idolatrous temple, but along the going of the saint all the idols situated there fell and were destroyed, and from the temple there came fire which fell upon many of the pagans. Having been set free, Saint Erasmus baptised many pagans, and afterwards went to the city of Sirmium, where he was again seized and subjected to torture. They seated him in a red-hot oven, but he remained alive and unharmed. This miracle so shook up those were presiding, that the emperor, fearing civil unrest, retired into his own chambers. The Angel freed Saint Erasmus from his fetters and took him to the city of Formium, i.e. to his own diocese, where the saint baptised many people. The saint died there in the year 303. Christians buried the remains of the holy priestmartyr with honour.

Saint Albian

Saint Albian was bishop of the city of Aneium in the Aseian district, and suffered for Christ in about the year 304 in a persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian and his co-ruler Maximian. Saint Albian was ordered to offer sacrifice to idols under the threat of death, but the saint with firmness confessed his faith in Christ and refused to serve idols. They tortured him with red-hot iron and beat him mercilessly, but he remained unyielding. They tortured also together with him his student, who likewise remained faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Both of the holy martyrs were sentenced to death and thrown into a red-hot oven, in which they died, having won the crowns of martyrdom.

Saint Sylvanus

Saint Sylvanus came from the vicinity of the city of Gaza. In the world Sylvanus was a soldier. Wishing to serve the Heavenly King, he became a priest, and was ordained bishop of Gaza. Saint Sylvanus converted many pagans to faith in Christ. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian he was taken for trial to the city of Caesarea, he underwent torture and bravely endured it, and was then sentenced to harsh labour in the copper mines. At this work the holy bishop reached the edge of exhaustion, but always cheerful of spirit, he incessantly preached Christ to all those around him. This occurrence angered the pagans, who beheaded him. Such death there also accepted together with him 40 holy martyrs, who through the words of the bishop believed in Christ. Their death followed in the year 311.

The Monk Nicephoros

The Monk Nicephoros -- was the teacher of Saint Gregory Palamas (Comm. 14 November). Saint Nicephoros pursued asceticism on Athos in the XIV Century and left after him the profound spiritual work "The Wise Method of the Jesus Prayer".

May 5

The Holy Great-Martyress Irene

The Holy Great-Martyress Irene lived during the I Century and until baptism had the name Penelope. She was daughter of the pagan Licinius, governor of the city of Migdonia (in Macedonia, or Thrace). Licinius built for his daughter a separate splendid palace, where she lived with her governess Karia, surrounded by her peers and her servants. Daily there came to Penelope a tutor by the name of Apelian, who taught her the sciences. Apelian was a Christian, and during the time of study he told the maiden about Christ the Saviour and taught her the Christian teaching and the Christian virtues.

When Penelope became an adolescent, her parents began to think about her marriage. During this period of her life the Lord instructed her in a miraculous manner: to her at the window there flew one after the other of three birds -- a dove with an olive twig, an eagle with a garland, and a raven with a snake. Penelope's teacher Apelian explained to her the meaning of these signs: the Dove, symbolising the virtues of the maiden, -- humility, meekness and chasteness, -- bearing an olive twig, -- the grace of God received in Baptism; the Eagle, -- symbol of sublimity of spirit, attained through meditation upon God, -- bearing a garland for victory over the invisible enemy as a reward from the Lord. The Raven, however, bearing the snake was a sign that the devil would rise up against her and would cause her grief, sorrow and persecution. At the end of the conversation Apelian said, that the Lord wished to betroth her to Himself and that Penelope would undergo much suffering for her Heavenly Bridegroom. After this Penelope refused marriage, accepted Baptism from the hands of the Disciple Timothy, -- who was a disciple of the holy Apostle Paul, and she was named Irene. She began even to urge her own parents to accept the Christian faith. The mother was pleased with the conversion of her daughter to Christ; the father at first did not hinder his daughter, but then he began to demand of her the worship to the pagan gods. When however Saint Irene firmly and decisively refused, the enraged Licinius then gave orders to tie up his daughter and throw her beneathe the hooves of frenzied horses. The horses remained motionless. But one of them got loose from its harness, threw itself at Licinius, seized him by the right hand and tore it from his arm, then knocked Licinius down and began to trample him. They then untied the holy maiden, and through her prayer Licinius in the presence of eye-witnesses rose up unharmed, with his hand intact. Seeing such a miracle, Licinius with his wife and many of the people, in number about 3000 men, believed in Christ and refrained from the pagan gods. Resigning the governance of the city, Licinius settled into the palace of his daughter, intending to devote himself to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Irene however began to preach the teaching of Christ among the pagans and she converted them to the path of salvation. She lived in the house of her teacher Apelian.

Having learned of this, Sedecius, -- the new governor of the city, summoned Apelian and questioned him about the manner of life of Irene. Apelian answered that Irene, just like other Christians, lived in strict temperance, in constant prayer and reading of holy books. Sedecius summoned the saint to him and began to urge her to cease preaching about Christ and to offer sacrifice to the gods. Saint Irene staunchly confessed her faith before the governor, not fearing his wrath, and prepared to undergo suffering for Christ. By order of Sedecius she was thrown into a pit, filled with vipers and serpents. The saint spent 10 days in the pit and remained unharmed, since an Angel of the Lord protected her and brought her food. Sedecius ascribed this miracle to sorcery and he subjected the saint to a cruel torture: he gave orders to saw her with an iron saw. But the saws broke one after the other and caused no harm to the body of the holy virgin. Finally, a fourth saw reddened the body of the holy martyress with blood. Sedecius with derision said to the martyress: "Where then is thy God? If He be powerful, let Him help thee!" Suddenly a whirlwind shot up, gave forth a blinding lightning-flash, striking down many of the torturers, thunder crashed, and a strong rain poured down. Beholding such a sign from Heaven, many believed in Christ the Saviour. Sedecius did not understand the obvious display of the power of God and he subjected the saint to new torments, but the Lord preserved her unharmed. Finally the people rebelled having to look upon the sufferings of the innocent virgin, and they rose up against Sedecius and expelled him from the city.

Having replaced Sedecius as governor, they still subjected Saint Irene to various cruel torments, during which while by the power of God she continued to remain unharmed, and the people under the influence of her preaching and accomplishing of miracles all the more in number were converted to Christ, having turned away from the worship of soul-less idols. Over 10,000 pagans were converted by Saint Irene.

The saint went from her native city Migdonia to Kallipolis, and there she continued to preach about Christ. The governor of the city by the name of Babadonos subjected the martyress to new punishments, but seeing that the saint remained unharmed, he came to his senses and believed in Christ. A large number of pagans believed together with him, all whom received holy Baptism from the Disciple Timothy.

After this Saint Irene settled in other cities of Thrace -- Konstantinos and then Mesembros, preaching about Christ and working miracles, healing the sick and undergoing suffering for Christ.

In the city of Ephesus the Lord revealed to her, that the time of her end was approaching. Then Saint Irene in the company of her teacher the elder Apelian and other Christians went out from the city to an hilly cave and, having signed herself with the sign of the cross, she went into it, having directed her companions to close the entrance to the cave with a large stone, which they did. Four days after this, when Christians visited the cave, they did not find the body of the saint in it. Thus reposed the holy Great-Martyress Irene.

The Monk Adrian of Monzensk

The Monk Adrian of Monzensk lived during the XVI and beginning of the XVII Century, and was a native of the city of Kostroma. In the world he had the name Amos. Upon coming of age he was obligated on the wishes of his parents to enter into marriage, but beforehand became grievously ill. During the time of illness he had a vision of a solitary church amidst two rivers and he heard a voice: "Here is thy place". Having taken monastic vows at the Gennadiev monastery, the ascetic set out north to seek out the church amidst two rivers. He pursued asceticism at the Spaso-Kamenni (Saviour-Stone) monastery, and then at the Paul of Obnorsk monastery. Finally, he came upon the desolate church in a remote place, positioned as it was presented to him in the vision. But the high waters in spring flooded this place, whereupon the Monk Adrian and the several monks that had come with him decided to resettle. In 1590 an un-named elder arrived at the monastery and advised the monks to go to the Monk Pherapont of Monzensk, which they did. Here in the wilderness place, nearby the mouth of the River Monza at Kostroma, Saint Adrian dwelt under the guidance of the Monk Pherapont (+ 1591, Comm. 12 December), and then founded at the River Monza near Kostroma the Annunciation monastery. The monks ate by toiling upon the soil, and the Monk Adrian was foremost at the work. He died in the monastery founded by him in the year 1610. His relics were placed together with the relics of the Monk Pherapont beneathe a secluded spot in the Annunciation church. The lives of the saints records this as about the year 1645.

May 6

Saint Job the Righteous

Saint Job the Righteous lived about 2000-1500 years before the Birth of Christ, in Northern Arabia, in the country of Austidia in the land of Uz. His life and sufferings are recorded in the Bible (Book of Job). There exists an opinion, that Job was by descent a nephew of Abraham, and that he was the son of a brother of Abraham -- Nakhor. Job was a man God-fearing and pious. With all his soul he was devoted to the Lord God and in everything conducted himself in accord with God's will, refraining from everything evil not only in deeds, but also in thoughts. The Lord blessed his earthly existence and rewarded Righteous Job with great wealth: he had many cattle and all kinds of possessions. Righteous Job's seven sons and three daughters were amiable amongst themselves and gathered for common repast all together in turns at each of their homes. Every seven days Righteous Job made for his children offerings to God, saying: "If perchance any of them hath sinned or offended God in their heart". For his justness and honesty Saint Job was held in high esteem by his fellow citizens and he had great influence in public matters.

One time however, when the Holy Angels did stand before the Throne of God, Satan appeared amongst them. The Lord God asked Satan, whether he had seen His servant Job, a man righteous and without blemish. Satan answered audaciously, that it was not for nothing that Job was God-fearing -- since God was watching over him and multiplying his riches, but if misfortune were sent him, he would then cease to bless God. Then the Lord, wishing to prove Job's patience and faith, said to Satan: "Everything, that Job hath, I give into thine hand, but only he himself touch not". After this Job suddenly lost all his wealth, and then also all his children. Righteous Job turned to God and said: "Naked did I emerge from the womb of my mother, and naked shalt I be returned to my mother the earth. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blest be the Name of the Lord!" And thus did Job not sin before the Lord God, nor utter even an unthinking word.

When the Angels of God again did stand before the Lord and amongst them Satan also, then said the devil, that Job was righteous, since that he himself was without harm. Thereupon declared the Lord: "I permit thee to do with him, what thou wishest, sparing only his soul". After this Satan inflicted upon Righteous Job an horrid illness, leprous boils, which covered him head to foot. The sufferer was compelled to remove himself from the company of people, he sat outside the city on an heap of ashes and had to scrape at his pussing wounds with an shard of clay. All his friends and acquaintances abandoned him. His wife had to see after her own welfare, toiling and roaming from house to house. She not only did not support her husband with patience, but rather she thought, that God was punishing Job for some kind of secret sins, and she wept, and wailed against God, she reproached also her husband and finally advised Righteous Job to curse God and die. Righteous Job sorrowed grievously, but even in these sufferings he remained faithful to God. He answered his wife: "Thou speakest, like someone hysterical. Shalt we have from God only the good, and have nothing bad?" And Righteous Job did sin in nothing before God.

Hearing about the misfortunes of Job, three of his friends came afar off to comfort his sorrow. They reckoned, that Job was being punished by God for his sins, and they urged this righteous man though innocent to repent. The righteous one answered, that he was suffering not for sins, but that these tribulations were sent him from the Lord in accord with the Divine Will, which is inscrutable for man. His friends however did not believe him and they continued to think that the Lord was dealing with Job in accord withe the laws obtaining under human standards, thus punishing Job for the committing of sins. In begrieved sorrow of soul Righteous Job turned with a prayer to God, beseeching Him Himself to bear witness before them of his innocence. God thereupon manifested Himself in a tempestuous whirlwind and reproached Job, in that he had tried to penetrate by his reason into the mystery of the world-order and the judgemental-purposes of God. The Righteous Job with all his heart repented himself in these thoughts and said: "I am as nothing, and I foreswear and repent myself in dust and ashes". The Lord thereupon commanded the friends of Job to have recourse to him in asking him to offer sacrifice for them. "Since, -- said the Lord, -- only the person Job do I accept it of, lest I spurn ye for this, that ye did speak concerning Me not thus rightly, as hath instead My servant Job". Job offered sacrifice to God for his friends, and the Lord accepted his intercession, and the Lord likewise returned to Righteous Job his health and gave him twice over more than he had previously. In place of his deceased children was born to him seven sons and three daughters, more beautiful than any other in that land. After bearing his sufferings, Job lived yet another 140 years (altogether he lived 248 years) and he lived to see his descendants down to the fourth generation.

Saint Job prefigures the Lord Jesus Christ, having come down to earth and suffering for the salvation of mankind, and then glorified in His glorious Resurrection.

"I know, -- said Righteous Job, afflicted with the leprous boils, -- I know, that my Redeemer liveth and He wilt raise up from the dust on the last day my decayed skin, and I in my flesh shalt see God. I shalt see Him myself with mine own eyes, and not through the eyes of some other see Him. In expectation of this, my heart doth jump within my bosom!" (Job 19: 25-27).

"Know ye, the judgement, in which be justified only those having true wisdom -- the fear of the Lord, and true understanding -- the departing from evil" (Job 28: 28).

Saint John Chrysostom says: "There was no human misfortune, which this man did not undergo. He was the firmest and most adamant, beset by sudden tribulation by hunger, and by woe, and sickness, and bereft of children, and loss of riches, and then suffering abuse from his wife, insult from his friends, reproach from his servants, and in everything he showed himself more solid than a stone, and a source before the Law also of Grace".

The Monk Mikhei of Radonezh

The Monk Mikhei of Radonezh was one of the first disciples of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh, and lived with him in the same cell, and under his guidance he attained to high spiritual perfection. For his meekness of soul and purity of heart, the Monk Mikhei during his lifetime was vouchsafed to witness the appearance of the Mother of God to his great teacher. One time the Monk Sergei, having made the morning rule of prayer, sat for awhile to rest, but suddenly he said to his student: "Be alert, my child, for we shalt have a wondrous visitation". Hardly had he pronounced these words when a voice was heard: "The All-Pure One draweth nigh". Suddenly there shone a light brighter than the sun, and the Monk Mikhei fell down upon the ground and out of fear lay there as though dead. When the Monk Sergei lifted up his disciple, that one asked: "Tell me, father, what is the reason for this wondrous vision? From fright my soul hath nearly parted from my body". The Monk Sergei thereupon informed his disciple about the appearance of the MostHoly Mother of God. Saint Mikhei reposed to God in the year 1385. The celebration of the Monk Mikhei is done on 6 May, and his relics rest beneathe a crypt at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. On 10 December 1734, over the place of burial of the Monk Mikhei, there was consecrated a church in honour of the Appearance to the Monk Sergei of Radonezh of the MostHoly Mother of God, together with the Holy Apostles Peter and John the Theologian.

The Holy Martyr Barbaros the Soldier

The Holy Martyrs Barbaros the Soldier, and together with him Bakkhos, Callimachos and Dionysios lived during the IV Century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate. Saint Barbaros was secretly a Christian; in a war with the Franks he gained victory in single-combat against a mighty enemy soldier. For this he received great honour in the army and the acclamation of the emperor, and was bestown the title of "comites" ("imperial bodyguard"). After the victory over the Franks, the military Bakkhos wanted to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods and he deferred to Barbaros as the victor to have the honour of making the first sacrificial offering. Saint Barbaros thereupon openly confessed himself a Christian and refused to offer the sacrifice. For this, by order of Julian the Apostate, he was subjected to much torture. They suspended the saint and tore at his body until his insides were falling out. Saint Barbaros called out to the Lord for help, and forthwith an Angel of God appeared and healed his wounds, such that not a trace of them remained. Seeing this miracle, the military commander Bakkhos and two soldiers -- Callimachos and Dionysios, believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this they were immediately beheaded. They continued with their torture of Saint Barbaros. They tied him to a wheel, beneathe which they set ablaze a strong fire, and the body of the sufferer they sprinkled with oil. But here also the power of God preserved the holy martyr unharmed, while the fire however caught upon the torturers, burning many and killing two. After this they continued to torment the holy Martyr Barbaros for yet another seven days. But through miraculous help from on high he remained unharmed. Seeing in this miracle the manifest appearance of the power of God, many pagans were converted them to faith in the True God. Saint Barbaros finally had an end to his glorious deed, being beheaded by the sword in the year 362. The body of the martyr was given burial in the city of Peloponnesian Methona by the pious bishop Philikios.

The Holy Martyr Barbaros

The Holy Martyr Barbaros, formerly a brigand, lived in Greece and for a long time he committed robberies, extortions and murders. But the Lord, not desiring the death of a sinner, turned him also to repentance. One time, when Barbaros was sitting in a cave and gazing upon the multitude of his stolen possessions, the grace of God touched his heart. He thought about the inevitability of death, and about the Dread Last Judgement to come. Pondering over the multitude of his wicked deeds, he was distressed in his heart and he decided to make a start with his repentance, saying: "The Lord did not despise the prayer of the robber hanging alongside Him, and grant that He spare me through His ineffable mercy". Barbaros left behind in the cave all his treasures and he went to the nearest church. He did not hide his wicked deeds from the priest and he asked to be accepted for repentance. The priest gave him a place in his own home, and Saint Barbaros followed after him, going about on his hands and knees like a four-legged animal, since he considered himself unworthy to be called a man. In the household of the priest he settled himself in amongst the cattle, eating with the animals and considering himself more wicked than any creature. Having received from the priest absolution from his sins, Barbaros went off into the woods and lived there for 12 years bare and without clothing, suffering the cold and heat, and his body became dirty and blackened all over. Finally, Saint Barbaros received news from on high, that his sins were forgiven and that he would die a martyr's death. At the place where Saint Barbaros asceticised one time there came merchants. In the deep grass before them something was moving. Thinking that this was an animal, they let loose several arrows from their bows. Coming closer, they were terrified seeing that they had mortally wounded a man. But Saint Barbaros besought them not to sorrow, he told them about himself, and he asked that they relate what had happened to the priest, at the house of whom he earlier had lived. After this, Saint Barbaros yielded up his spirit to God. The priest, who had accepted the repentance of the former robber, located his body, shining with an Heavenly light. The priest gave burial to the body of Saint Barbaros at the spot where he was killed. Afterwards from the grave of the saint there began to issue forth a curative myrh, which did heal various maladies. His relics are located at the monastery of Kellios in Thessaly, near the city of Larissa.

May 7

Our Holy Father Alexis

Our holy Father Alexis, the defender of the Orthodox Faith and zealous worker in the Lord's vineyard, was born in Austro-Hungary on March 18, 1854 into a poor Carpatho-Russian family. Like many others in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Toths were Eastern Rite Catholics. Alexis' father and brother were priests and his uncle was a bishop in the Uniate church. He received an excellent education and knew several languages (Carpatho-Russian, Hungarian, Russian, German, Latin, and a reading knowledge of Greek). He married Rosalie Mihalich, a priest's daughter, and was ordained on April 18, 1878 to serve as second priest in a Uniate parish. His wife died soon afterwards, followed by their only child - losses which the saint endured with the patience of Job.

In May, 1879, Fr Alexis was appointed secretary to the Bishop of Presov and also Administrator of the Diocesan Administration. He was also entrusted with the directorship of an orphanage. At Presov Seminary, Father Toth taught Church History and Canon Law, which served him well in his later life in America. St Alexis did not serve long as a professor or an administrator, for the Lord had a different future planned for him. In October, 1889 he was appointed to serve as pastor of a Uniate parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Like another Abraham, he left his country and his relatives to fulfill the will of God (Gen 12:1).

Upon his arrival in America, Father Alexis presented himself to the local Roman Catholic diocesan authority, Archbishop John Ireland, since there was no Uniate bishop in America at that time. Archbishop Ireland belonged to the party of American Catholics who favored the "Americanization" of all Roman Catholics. His vision for the future was founded on a common faith, customs, and the use of the English language for everything except liturgical celebrations. Naturally, ethnic parishes and non-Latin rite clergy did not fit into this vision. Thus, when Father Toth came to present his credentials, Archbishop Ireland greeted him with open hostility. He refused to recognize him as a legitimate Catholic priest or to grant permission for him to serve in his diocese.

As a historian and professor of Canon Law, Father Toth knew his rights under the terms of the Unia and would not accept Archbishop Ireland's unjust decisions. In October of 1890, there was a meeting of eight of the ten Uniate priests in America at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania under the chairmanship of Father Toth. By this time the American bishops had written to Rome demanding the recall to Europe of all Uniate priests in America, fearing that Uniate priests and parishes would hinder the assimilation of immigrants into American culture. Uniate bishops in Europe refused to listen to the priests' pleas for help.

Archbishop Ireland sent a letter to his parishes ordering their members not to attend Father Toth's parish nor to accept any priestly ministrations from him. Expecting imminent deportation, Father Toth explained the situation to his parishioners and suggested it might be best for him to leave and return to Europe.

"No," they said. "Let's go to the Russian bishop. Why should we always submit ourselves to foreigners?" It was decided to write to the Russian consul in San Francisco in order to ask for the name and address of the Russian bishop. Ivan Mlinar went to San Francisco to make initial contact with Bishop Vladimir; then in February, 1891 Father Toth and his church warden, Paul Podany, also made the journey. Subsequently, Bishop Vladimir came to Minneapolis and on March 25, 1891 received Father Toth and 361 parishioners into the Orthodox Church of their ancestors. The parishioners regarded this event as a new Triumph of Orthodoxy, crying out with joy: "Glory to God for His great mercy!"

This initiative came from the people themselves, and was not the result of any coercion from outsiders. The Russian Orthodox Church was unaware of the existence of these Slavic Uniate immigrants to America, but responded positively to their petition to be reunited to the Orthodox Church.

The example of St Alexis and his parish in returning to Orthodoxy was an encouragement to hundreds of other Uniates. The ever-memorable one was like a candle upon a candlestick giving light to others (Mt.5:15), and his flock may be likened to the leaven mixed with meal which leavened the whole (Mt.13:33). Through his fearless preaching he uprooted the tares which had sprung up in the wheat of true doctrine, and exposed the false teachings which had led his people astray. Although he did not hesitate to point out errors in the doctrines of other denominations, he was careful to warn his flock against intolerance. His writings and sermons are filled with admonitions to respect other people and to refrain from attacking their faith.

While it is true that he made some strong comments, especially in his private correspondence with the church administration, it must be remembered that this was done while defending the Orthodox Church and the American Mission from unfounded accusations by people who used much harsher language than Father Toth. His opponents may be characterized by intolerance, rude behaviour, unethical methods and threats against him and his parishioners. Yet, when Father Alexis was offended or deceived by other people he forgave them, and he would often ask his bishop to forgive his omissions and mistakes.

In the midst of great hardships, this herald of godly theology and sound doctrine poured forth an inexhaustible stream of Orthodox writings for new converts, and gave practical advice on how to live in an Orthodox manner. For example, his article "How We should Live in America" stresses the importance of education, cleanliness, sobriety, and the presence of children in church on Sundays and Holy Days.

Although the Minneapolis parish was received into the Orthodox Church in March, 1891, it was not until July, 1892 that the Holy Synod of Russia recognized and accepted the parish into the Diocese of Alaska and the Aleutians. This resolution reached America only in October, 1892. During that time there was a climate of religious and ethnic hostility against the new converts. Father Alexis was accused of selling out his own Carpatho-Russian people and his religion to the "Muscovites" for financial gain.

In reality he did not receive any financial support for a long time, for his parish was very poor. Until his priestly salary began to arrive from Russia, the righteous one was obliged to work in a bakery in order to support himself. Even though his funds were meager, he did not neglect to give alms to the poor and needy. He shared his money with other clergy worse off than himself, and contributed to the building of churches and to the education of seminarians in Minneapolis. He was not anxious about his life (Mt.6:25), what he would eat or drink or wear. Trusting in God to take care of him, St Alexis followed the admonition of Our Savior to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Mt.6:33). So he bore the tribulation, slander, and physical attacks with patience and spiritual joy, reminding us that "godliness is stronger than all" (Wisdom of Solomon 10:12).

Bishops Vladimir, Nicholas, St Tikhon, and Platon recognized the special gifts of Father Toth, so they often sent him forth to preach and teach wherever there were people of Slavic background. Even though he was aware of his shortcomings and inadequacies, yet he was obedient to the instructions of the bishops. He did not hesitate or make excuses, but went immediately to fulfill his mission. St Alexis visited many Uniate parishes, explaining the differences between Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and Uniatism, stressing that the true way to salvation is in Orthodoxy.

Like Josiah, "he behaved himself uprightly in the conversion of his people" (Sir 49:2). He was instrumental in the formation or return of seventeen parishes, planting a vineyard of Christ in America, and increasing its fruitful yield many times over. By 1909, the time of his blessed repose, many thousands of Carpatho-Russian and Galician Uniates had returned to Orthodoxy. This was a major event in the history of the North American Mission, which would continue to shape the future of Orthodoxy in this country for many generations to come. Any future growth or success may truly be regarded as the result of Father Toth's apostolic labors.

Who can tell of the saint's spiritual struggles? Who can speak of the prayers which his pious soul poured forth unto God? He did not make a public display of his piety, but prayed to God in secret with all modesty, with contrition and inward tears. God, Who sees everything done in secret, openly rewarded the saint (Mt.6:6). It is inconceivable that St Alexis could have accomplished his apostolic labors unless God had blessed and strengthened him for such work. Today the Church continues to reap the fruits of his teaching and preaching.

Father Toth's efforts did not go unrecognized in his own lifetime. He received a jeweled miter from the Holy Synod, as well as the Order of St Vladimir and the Order of St Anna from Czar Nicholas II for distinguished service and devotion to God and country. In 1907, he was considered as a candidate for the episcopal office. He declined this honor, however, humbly pointing out that this responsibility should be given to a younger, healthier man.

At the end of 1908, St Alexis' health began to decline due to a complication of illneses. He went to the seashore in southern New Jersey in an attempt to regain his health, but soon returned to Wilkes-Barre, where he was confined to bed for two months. The righteous one reposed on Friday, May 7, 1909 (April 24 on the Old Calendar), the feast of Sts Sava and Alexius the Hermit of the Kiev Caves. St Alexis' love and concern for his spiritual children did not cease with his death. Before closing the account of his life, it would be most appropriate to reveal but one example of his heavenly intercession:

In January, 1993 a certain man prayed to St Alexis to help him obtain information about his son from whom he had been separated for twenty-eight years. Placing his confidence in the saint's boldness before God, he awaited an answer to his prayer. The very next day the man's son telephoned him. It seems the young man was in church when he was suddenly filled with an overwhelming desire to contact his father. He had been taken to another state by his mother, and she changed his name when he was a child. This is why his father was unable to locate him. Having learned from his mother that his father was an Orthodox Christian, he was able with the help of an Orthodox priest to obtain his father's phone number in a distant city. As a result of that telephone call, the young man later visited his father, who rejoiced to see what sort of man his son had become. The father gave thanks to God and to St Alexis for reuniting him with his son.

St Alexis was a true man of God who guided many Carpatho-Russian and Galician immigrants through the dark confusion of religious challenges in the New World and back to the unity of the Orthodox Church through his grace-filled words and by his holy example. In his last will and testament St Alexis commended his soul to God's mercy, asking forgiveness from everyone and forgiving everybody. His holy relics now rest at St Tikhon Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania where the faithful may come to venerate them and to entreat St Alexis' intercessions on their behalf.

St David of Garesjei

This David is one of the thirteen Georgian Fathers (see May 7th). He is thus named for the Garejeli desert near Tiflis, where he lived the ascetic life. In old age, David decided to visit the Holy Land with several of his disciples. He left the direction of the monastery to two elders, Lucian and Dodo, and set out on the way. When they came to a hill from which Jerusalem was visible, David burst into tears and said: `How can I dare to walk in the steps of God incarnate with these sinful feetY, and he told his disciples to go and worship at the holy places, but he himself took up three stones and set off to return. But the Lord did not let such humility remain hidden from the world, and an angel appeared to Elias, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and said to him: `Send at once for the elder who is even now returning to Syria; he has taken with him three stones, and is carrying off with him all the Holy Land's grace. One stone is a sufficient blessing for him; let him return the other two to Jerusalem. He is called Abba David of Garesjei.' The Patriarch quickly sent men off to overtake the elder. They took two stones from him, and let him go on his way. The third stone lies on his grave to this day, and possesses miraculous healing power.

St. John of Beverley

Bishop of Hexham and afterwards of York; b. at Harpham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire; d. at Beverley, 7 May, 721. In early life lie was under the care of Archbishop Theodore, at Canterbury, who supervised his education, and is reputed to have given him the name of John. He became a member of the Benedictine Order, and for a time was an inmate of St. Hilda's monastery at Streaneshaleh (Whitby). Afterwards he won renown as a preacher, displayed marked erudition in expounding Scripture, and taught amongst other subjects. On 25 August, 687 was consecrated Bishop of Hexham, a district with which he was not unfamiliar, as he had for a period led a life of retreat at Erneshowe (Herneshou), on the opposite bank of the Tyne. Here, too, he was afterwards wont to resort for seclusion, especially during Lent, when the cares of his episcopal ministration permitted of his so doing. John was present at the synod on the Nidd in 705, convened by Osred, King Of Northumbria, to decide on Wilfrid's case. In the same year (703), on the death of Bosa, John was translated to York after eighteen years of labour in the See of Hexham, where he was succeeded by Wilfrid. Of his new activity little is known beyond that he was diligent in visitation, considerate towards the poor, and exceedingly attentive to the training of students whom he maintained under his personal charge. His little company of pupils is said to have included: Bede, whom he ordained; Berethume, afterwards Abbot of Beverley; Herebald, Abbot of Tynemouth; and Wilfrid "the Younger", John's successor (718) in the See of York. Having purchased a place called Inderawood, to which a later age has given the name of Beverley, John established a monastery there and also handsomely endowed the place, which became even in its founder's day an important ecclesiastical centre. To this monastery of Beverley, after resigning the See of York to his pupil Wilfrid, John retired and spent the remainder of his life with Abbot Berethune, a one time favourite scholar. In 1037 he was canonized by Benedict IX; His bones were translated by Ælfric, Archbishop of York, and placed in a costly shrine. A second translation took place in 1197. The remains were discovered in 1664 and again brought to light in 1736.

Remembrance of the Appearance in the Heavens of the Cross

Remembrance of the Appearance in the Heavens of the Cross of the Lord at Jerusalem (351): After the death of the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, the imperial throne was occupied by his son Constantius, who inclined towards the heresy of Arius, which denied the one self-same essence of the Son of God with the Father. In the reaffirming of holy Orthodoxy, the Lord manifest at Jerusalem a wondrous sign. On the day of Holy Pentecost, 7 May 351, at the third hour of the morning in the heavens there appeared the image of the equal-proportioned Cross of the Lord, shining with an inexpressible light, and brighter than the light of the sun. All the people were eye-witness to this, and they were struck with great dread and amazement. The appearance of the Sign of the Cross began over holy Mount Golgotha, whereupon it was that the Lord had been crucified (Mt. 27: 32-33; Jn. 19: 17, 41; Heb. 13: 12), and it reached to the Mount of Olives (Jn. 8: 1; 18: 1-2), extending from Golgotha a distance of 15 stadia. The Sign was transfused with all the colours of the rainbow and it caught the sight of all the people. Many of the people, leaving off from whatever they were doing, went outside the houses and with awe stood contemplating the wondrous sign. Then a numerous throng of the people of Jerusalem with trembling and joy hastened to the holy Church of the Resurrection.

The holy Jerusalem Patriarch Cyril (350-387) advised the emissary of the emperor Constantius about this miraculous occurrence of the appearance of the Sign of the Cross, and he urged him to return to the Orthodox faith. And Sozomen, an historian of the Ancient Church, likewise testifies, that through this appearance of the Holy Cross many of the Jews and pagan Greeks came to the true faith, repenting in Christ God, and accepted Holy Baptism.

The Holy Martyr Acacius

The Holy Martyr Acacius, who lived mostly in the III Century, was born at Cappadocia and was a centurion of the Martesian regiment under the military officer Firmus. When the persecution against Christians was started up on order of the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), Firmus began one after the other to interrogate his soldiers about their faith. Saint Acacius thereupon firmly and openly confessed himself a Christian. Seeing the steadfastness of Saint Acacius, Firmus sent him off to the military officer higher up in command, named Vivianus. Vivianus gave the saint over to fierce torture. After the tortures they put him in heavy chains and locked him up in prison. A certain while later they led the martyr together with other prisoners to Byzantium, to the governor. The soldiers accompanying them went along quickly, showing the prisoners no mercy, and Saint Acacius weakened along the way from his wounds, and also from his chains and hunger and thirst. When finally they halted for the night, Saint Acacius offered up thanks to God, for granting him to suffer for His Holy Name. During the time of prayer the saint heard a voice from the heavens: "Valour, Acacius, and be strong!" This voice was heard also by the other prisoners, and many of them believed in Christ and besought the saint to instruct them and further them in the Christian faith.

At Byzantium they situated the holy martyr in onerous lockup, while the other prisoners were put under less severe conditions. But at night the other prisoners beheld, how radiant youths appeared to Saint Acacius and attended to him, washing his wounds and bringing him food. After seven days, Vivianus again summoned Saint Acacius before him and was struck by his fresh appearance. Supposing, that the prison guard for money had given the prisoner both respite and food, he summoned the guard for a strict questioning. And not believing his answers, Vivianus had the guard severely beaten. Saint Acacius himself thereupon answered Vivianus: "My power and strength art given me by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath healed my wounds". Vivianus in a frenzy of rage gave orders to beat the martyr about the face and smash his teeth for his unsolicited words. Striving all the more to intensify and prolong the torture of Saint Acacius, Vivianus sent him off to the governor Flaccinus with a letter. But having read the letter, Flaccinus became annoyed, that Vivianus had for so long and so cruelly tortured a soldier holding the venerable rank of centurion, and he gave orders to without further delay behead the martyr. At the place of execution Saint Acacius lifted up his eyes to the heavens, offering up thanks to God for being granted to accept a martyr's death for Him, and then with a calm joy he lay down his head beneathe the sword. This occurred in the year 303. Under Constantine the Great the relics of the holy Martyr Acacius rested at Constantinople in a church built in his honour, and later they were transferred to Calabria, to the city of Scillatio. The holy Martyr Acacius particularly helps those resorting to him in prayer in struggle with the flesh, as discovered by himself for Saint Epiphanios, a disciple of the Fool-for-Christ Saint Andrew.

The Monk Nil of Sorsk

The Monk Nil of Sorsk, a great ascetic of the Russian Church, was descended from the Maikov boyar-noble line. He accepted monasticism at the monastery of the Monk Kirill (Cyril) of Belozersk (Comm. 9 June). Here he made use of the counsels of the pious starets-elder Paisii Yaroslavov, who was afterwards hegumen of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. The Monk Nil journeyed much through the East, studying the monastic life in Palestine and at Athos. Returning to Rus', he withdrew to the River Sora in the Vologda lands, he made himself a cell and a chapel, where there soon grew up a monastery with a new for that time in Rus' skete monastic-rule, adopted from Athos by the Monk Nil. In accord with the command of the Monk Nil, the monks had to sustain themselves by the work of their own hands, to accept charity only in extreme need, and to shun the love of things and splendour even in church; women were not permitted in the skete monastery, monks was not allowed to leave the skete under any pretexts, and the possession of lands or estates was forbidden. Scattered about in the forest around the small church in honour of the Meeting (Sretenie) of the Lord, in separate cells of one or two but not more than three men, the skete-monks on the eve of Sundays and other feastdays gathered together a complete day for Divine-services, and the All-Night Vigil moreover, at which for each kathisma two or three readings from the holy fathers were put forth, and it indeed lasted the whole night. On other days each one prayed and worked in his own cell. The chief effort of the monk was devoted to the struggle with his own thoughts and passions, in result of which in his soul would be born peace, in his mind -- clarity, in his heart -- contriteness and love. In his written works -- "A Tradition for my Student, Wishing to Live in the Wilderness", and the "Ustav-Rule", the Monk Nil in detail spells out the steps of this salvific mental activity. The first step -- is a renunciation from the world, in particular, from every worldly distraction; the second -- is unceasing prayer, accompanied by the memory of death. In his own life the saint distinguished himself by his extreme non-possessiveness and love for work. He himself dug out a pond and a well, the water of which had healing power. For his sanctity of life the Starets Nil was deeply venerated by the Russian hierarchs of his time. The monk participated in the Sobor-Councils of the years 1490 and 1503. Shunning the honours and glories of this world, before his death he bid his disciples either to cast out his body for devouring by beasts and birds or else bury it without honours at the place of his exploits. The saint died in his 76th year of life, on the day of 7 May 1508. His relics, buried in the monastery founded by him, were glorified by manifold mysteries. The Russian Church enumerated him to the rank of the Saints. [In English, fragments of his "Tradition" and "Ustav-Rule" may be found in G. Fedotov's "Treasury of Russian Spirituality".]

The Holy Martyr Pakhomii

The Holy Martyr Pakhomii was born in Little Russia. He had the name Prokopii and in childhood he was taken captive by Tatars, who sold him over into slavery to a certain Turk in the city of Usaki (Philadelphia in Anatolia). He spent 17 years in servitude, enduring patiently all the insults and abuse. Gaining his freedom, for 12 years he asceticised on Holy Mount Athos under the guidance of the starets-elder priestmonk Joseph, who tonsured him into monasticism with the name Pakhomii. Pakhomii afterwards resettled into the Kausokali skete-monastery, where he lived under the guidance of the starets-elder Akakios. Saint Pakhomii then returned to Usaki, where he openly confessed himself a Christian. The Turks arrested him and began to demand his acceptance of Mahometanism. Saint Pakhomii refused and was beheaded in the city of Usaki on the day of the Ascension of the Lord, 7 May 1780. The relics of the holy martyr rest on the island of Patmos, in the monastery of the holy Apostle John the Theologian.

Monk John Zedazeni and his Twelve Disciples

Monk John Zedazeni and his Twelve Disciples: Habib, Bishop of Nekress, Anthony of Martkob, David of Garej, Xeno of Ikalto, Thaddeus of Stepantsmind, Ise Bishop of Tsilkan, Joseph Bishop of Alaverdi, Isidor of Samtavi, Michael of Ulumbi, Pyrrhos of Breti, Stephen of Khyri, Shio of Mgvim -- were holy Syrian (Cappadocian) ascetics, the founders of Gruzian-Georgian monasticism, having arrived in Gruzia from Cappadocia in the mid-VI Century. The holy Thirteen Cappadocian Fathers were actually Gruzinians, who received their spiritual schooling at the reknown Laura of Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller and at other monasteries of Syria and Mesopotamia, with the intent to return to their native land and assist in its Christian enlightenment.

Saint John Zedazeni, the head of these ascetics, received his spiritual schooling at Antioch. Accounts have not been preserved about the place of his birth nor about his kin. In his youthful years he accepted monasticism and devoted himself to a solitary ascetic life, gaining afterwards an amazing geniality, humility and gift of wonderworking. The fame of his spiritual exploits attracted to him a throng of disciples, from which number Saint John Zedazeni chose by lot 12 men, and in fulfilling the command of the Mother of God, he set off with them to Gruzia. Along the way they received blessing from Saint Simeon the Younger Pillar-Dweller (+ 596), and at Mtsketia, the ancient capital of Gruzia, traversing "with undampened feet" the River Kura, they were joyfully met by the people, by the emperor Parsman (542-557), and by the Archbishop-Katholikos Eulabios (552-560). The chronicles relate, that the holy Cappadocian Fathers spoke in the Gruzian language to those meeting them, and going into the Svetitskhoveli cathedral church and prostrating themselves beneathe the Life-Creating Pillar (the hagiographic account about it is located under 1 October), they glorified and gave thanks to God. With the blessing of Katholikos Eulabios, Saint John together with his disciples settled on Mount Zedazeni (from which Saint John gets his name -- Zedazeni), where formerly there had been a pagan-temple and an idol erected. The ascetics lived in lean-to huts, they ate grasses and roots, and they were constantly at prayer and spiritual meditation. A multitude of the sick flocked to them, receiving healing through their prayerful intercession. After the choosing of Saints Habib and Ise as bishops, the Mother of God appeared to Saint John in a dream and commanded him to send out his disciples into various parts of Gruzia, for the preaching of the Word of God and for pastoral edification. Hearkening to the instructions of Saint John, certain of the disciples set off to Kakhetia (Xeno, and later Stephen), others to Kartalin (Pyrrhos, Michael, Thaddeus and Isidor). The accounts about the other saints -- Habib, Anthony, David, Ise, Joseph, Shio -- are located respectively under: 29 November, 19 January, 2 December, 15 September, 9 May.

"They all... taught the nation, they instructed it in the faith, they abolished the darkness of superstition and they did away with what remained in the mountain gorges of pagan temples and idol-worship, in place of which they erected the holy cross and holy churches, and they established within the nation a civil sense..."

Saint Xeno, "a pillar of sweet obedience", while completing his preaching in the mountains of Upper Kakhetia, founded a monastery at Ikalto, whereat also after great efforts he was buried in the cathedral church in honour of the Image of the Saviour Not-Wrought-by-Hand.

Saint Thaddeus (in Gruzinian "Tate") at first remained at Mtsketia, organising at the bidding of Saint John the monastery at the foot of Mount Zedazeni, for instructing those that had come. After the death of Saint John, Saint Thaddeus preached in Kartalin, where he founded many churches, among which was a temple in honour of the holy First-Martyr Stephen in the city of Urbnisi. Later on he settled in a cave on Mount Tslevi near the city of Kaspi, at which summit he likewise founded a church in honour of the holy First-Martyr Stephen. In this cave at the church which he founded, there were buried the relics of Saint Thaddeus, "an image of pure truth and faith".

Saint Isidor, "a vineyard of virtues", after his prolonged apostolic exploits, established a monastery at Samtavisi in honour of the Image of the Saviour Not-Wrought-by-Hand, and here also rest his relics.

Saint Michael toiled much in the furthering of Christianity in the mountains of Upper Kartalin and Osetia. In the vicinity of Ulumbi he founded a large monastery. In the cathedral church of this monastery, which in the XIX Century was converted into a parish church, rest his holy relics.

Saint Pyrrhos, "a Divine image of tears", founded a monastery on the left bank of the River Dvanis-Tskhali, near the vicinity of Breti. Within a church of the monastery were placed his venerable relics.

Saint Stephen, "wedding knowledge with strength", after prolonged apostolic labours in Lower Kakhetia, founded a monastery in the vicinity of Khrysa. He was buried in the cathedral church in honour of the holy First-Martyr Stephen, on the left side of the altar at the table of oblation.

Having dispersed his disciples, Saint John Zedazeni kept with him Deacon Elias and absorbed himself in prayerful exploits.

Saint John had to withstand the snares of evil spirits, which by the Name of Christ he expelled from the outskirts of Mtsketa. Through the prayer of Saint John, on Mount Zaden flowed forth a spring of healing waters. Having received a revelation about his impending end, the Monk John summoned to him his disciples -- the holy Deacon Elias and Saint Thaddeus of Stepantsmind, whom he commanded to bury him in his narrow cave on the mountain, at the place of his exploits. Having communed the Holy Mysteries, the Monk John beheld the heavens opened and the hosts of the Bodiless Powers of Heaven together with a multitude of the Saints. In spiritual rapture he gave up his righteous soul to the Lord. The end of Saint John transpired between the years 557 and 560, during the time of the Katholikos Makarios (553-569). His disciples, having forgotten his command, in an assemblage of clergy transported the body of the saint to the monastery at the foot of Mount Zaden and placed it in a special crypt.

But the earth roundabouts quaked and the tremours did not cease until the body of Saint John was placed in the cave atop the mountain, as the monk had commanded. During the X Century under Katholikos-archbishop Clement (908-923), on the south side of this cave was built a church in honour of John the Baptist, such that the holy relics of Saint John Zedazeni were in its chapel in the offertory. They were glorified by many signs of the mercy of the Lord.

May 8

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian occupies an unique place in the ranks of the chosen disciples of Christ the Saviour. Often in iconography the Apostle John is depicted as a gentle, majestic and spiritual elder, with features of innocent tenderness, with the imprint of complete calm upon his forehead and the deep look of a contemplator of unuttered revelations. Another main trait of the spiritual countenance of the Apostle John is revealed through his teaching about love, for which the title "Apostle of Love" is preeminently designated to him. Actually, all his writings are permeated by love, the basic concept of which leads to the comprehension, that God in His Being is Love (1 Jn. 4: 8). In his writings, Saint John dwells especially upon the manifestations of the inexpressible love of God for the world and for mankind, the love of his Divine Teacher. He constantly exhorts his disciples to mutual love one for another.

The service of Love -- was the entire pathway of life of the Apostle John the Theologian.

The qualities of calmness and profound contemplation were in him combined with an ardent fidelity, tender and boundless love with intensity and even a certain abruptness. From the brief indications of the Evangelists it is apparent, that he was endowed in the highest degree with an ardent nature, and his hearty passionateness sometimes reached such a stormy zealousness, that Jesus Christ was compelled to give the admonishment, that it was discordant with the spirit of the new teaching (Mk. 9: 38-40; Lk. 9: 49-50, 54-56) and He called the Apostle John and his brother by birth the Apostle James "Sons of Thunder" ("Boanerges"). During this while Saint John shows scant modesty, and besides his particular position among the Apostles as "the disciple whom Jesus loved", he did not stand out among the other disciples of the Saviour. The distinguishing features of his character were the observance and sensitivity to events, permeated by a keen sense of obedience to the Will of God. Impressions received from without rarely showed up in his word or actions, but they penetrated deeply and powerfully into the inner life of the holy Apostle John. Always sensitive to others, his heart ached for the perishing. The Apostle John with pious tremulation was attentive to the Divinely-inspired teaching of his Master, to the fulness of grace and truth, in pure and sublime comprehending the Glory of the Son of God. No feature of the earthly life of Christ the Saviour slipped past the penetrating gaze of the Apostle John, nor did any event occur, that did not leave a deep impression on his memory, since in him was concentrated all the fulness and wholeness of the human person. The thoughts also of the Apostle John the Theologian are imbued with suchlike an integral wholeness. The dichotomy of person did not exist for him. In accord with his precepts, where there is not full devotion, there is nothing. Having chosen the path to service to Christ, to the end of his life he fulfilled it with complete and undivided devotion. The Apostle John speaks about wholistic a devotion to Christ, about the fulness of life in Him, wherefore also sin is considered by him not as a weakness and injury of human nature, but as evil, as a negative principle, which is completely set in opposition to the good (Jn. 8: 34; 1 Jn. 3: 4, 8-9). In his perspective, it is necessary to belong either to Christ or to the devil, it is not possible to be of a mediocre lukewarm, undecided condition (1 Jn. 2: 22, 4: 3; Rev. 3: 15-16). Therefore he served the Lord with undivided love and self-denial, having repudiated everything that appertains to the ancient enemy of mankind, the enemy of truth and the father of lies (1 Jn. 2: 21-22). Just as strongly as he loves Christ, just as strongly he contemns the Anti-Christ; just as intensely he loves truth, with an equal intensity does he contemn falsehood, -- for light doth expel darkness (Jn. 8: 12; 12: 35-36). By the manifestation of the inner fire of love he witnesses with the unique power of spirit about the Divinity of Jesus Christ (Jn. 1: 1-18; 1 Jn. 5: 1-12).

To the Apostle John was given to express the last word of the Divine Revelation (i.e. the final book of the Holy Scripture), ushering in the most treasured mysteries of the Divine inner life, known only to the eternal Word of God, the Only-Begotten Son.

Truth is reflected in his mind and in his words, wherein he senses and grasps it in his heart. He has comprehension of eternal Truth, and as he sees it, he transmits it to his beloved spiritual children. The Apostle John with simplicity affirms or denies and speaks always with absolute precision (1 Jn. 1: 1). He hears the voice of the Lord, revealing to him what He Himself hears from the Father.

The theology of the Apostle John abolishes the borderline between the present and the future. Looking at the present time, he does not halt at it, but transports his gaze to the eternal in the past time and to the eternal in the future time. And therefore he, exhorting for holiness in life, solemnly proclaims, that "all, born of God, sin not" (1 Jn. 5: 18; 3: 9). In communion with God the true Christian partakes of life Divine, whereby the future of mankind is accomplished already on earth. In his explanation and disclosing of the teaching about the Economia of salvation, the Apostle John crosses over into the area of the eternal present, in which Heaven would co-incide with earth and the earth would be enlightened with the Light of Heavenly Glory.

Thus did the Galilean fisherman, this son of Zebedee, become Theologian proclaiming through Revelation the mystery of world-existence and the fate of mankind.

The celebration on 8 May of the holy Apostle John the Theologian was established by the Church in remembrance of the annual drawing forth on this day at the place of his burial of fine rose ashes, which believers gathered for healing from various maladies. The account about the life of the holy Evangelist John the Theologian is situated under 26 September, the day of his repose.

The Monk Arsenius the Great

The Monk Arsenius the Great was born in the year 354 at Rome into a pious Christian family, which provided him a fine education and upbringing. Having studied the secular sciences and mastered to perfection the Latin and Greek languages, the Monk Arsenius acquired profound knowledge, combined with a pious and virtuous life. His deep faith impelled the youth to leave his preoccupation with the sciences and choose service to God. When he entered into the ranks of the clergy at one of the Roman churches, he was then elevated to the dignity of deacon.

The emperor Theodosius (379-395), ruling the Eastern half of the Roman empire, heard about his erudition and piety, and he entrusted to Arsenius the education of his sons Arcadius and Honorius. Against his will, in obedience however to the command of the Roman pope Dymas, the Monk Arsenius was compelled to withdraw from service at the holy altar, at which time he was 29 years old.

Having arrived at Constantinople, Arsenius was received with great honour by the emperor Theodosius, who gave him charge to educate the imperial sons not only as regards wisdom, but also piety, guarding them from the passions of youth. "Though also they be imperial sons, -- said Theodosius, -- yet must they be obedient unto thee in everything, as to their father and teacher".

With fervour the monk concerned himself with the education of the youths, but the high esteem with which he was surrounded troubled his spirit, which yearned for service to God and the quietude of monastic life. In fervent prayer the monk besought the Lord to show him the way to salvation. The Lord hearkened to his prayer and one time he heard a voice, telling him: "Arsenius, flee people and be saved". And then, removing his rich clothing and replacing it by that of a wanderer, he secretly left the court, got upon a ship and sailed off to Alexandria, from whence he quickly hastened to a skete monastery. Arriving at the church, he besought the presbyter to accept him into the monks, calling himself a wretched wanderer, though his very manner betrayed him as not a simple but rather cultivated man. The brethren led him off to the Monk Abba John Koloves (Comm. 9 November), famed for his holiness of life. That one, wishing to test the humility of the newcomer, during the time of the refectory meal did not seat Arsenius amongst the monks, but rather threw him sugar, saying: "Eat if thou dost wish". With great humility Saint Arsenius fell to his knees, came up to the sugar laying there and did eat, having gone off into a corner. Seeing this, Starets-elder John said: "He will be a great ascetic!" Then accepting Arsenius with love, he tonsured the beginning ascetic into monasticism.

The Monk Arsenius with zeal passed through his obediences and soon he surpassed many of the wilderness fathers in asceticism. One time at prayer the monk again heard the Voice: "Arsenius, flee people and dwell in silence -- this is the root of sinlessness". -- From that moment the Monk Arsenius settled outside the Skete, in a solitary cell, and having taken on the exploit of silence he seldom left from his seclusion, arriving in church only on Sundays and feastdays, and in observing complete silence he conversed with no one. To the question of one monk, why he so hid himself from people, the ascetic answered: "God sees, that I love all, but I am not able to be simultaneously with God and with people. The Heavenly Powers all have one will and unanimously do they praise God, upon the earth however each man has his own will and thoughts of various people. I am not able, to forsake God and live with people".

Dwelling in constant prayer, the monk however did not refuse arriving monks counsel and guidance, giving short, but perceptive answers to their questions. One time a monk from the Skete coming to the great elder saw him through a windowlet standing at prayer, surrounded by a flame. The handcraft of the Monk Arsenius was woven baskets, for which he took the leaves of Phoenician palms from which he plaited baskets, having soaked them in water. For a whole year the Monk Arsenius did not replace the water in a container, from which issued forth a putrid stench. To the question -- why thus he did this, the monk answered that by it he would humble himself, since having lived in the world he had been surrounded by fragrant smells, and now instead he would endure the stench, so that after death he should not know the stench of hell.

The fame of the great ascetic spread far, and many wanted to see him -- by this they disturbed the quietude of the great ascetic, and as a result the monk was forced to move around from place to place. But those thirsting to receive guidance and blessing still found him.

The Monk Arsenius taught: many take upon themselves great exploits of repentance and vigil, but rare is the one who would guard his soul from jealousy, anger, remembrance of evil, judgement and pride, being in such like adorned graves, filled within by the stench of bones. A certain monk asked the saint what he should do, when he in reading the Psalms did not understand their meaning. The elder answered, that he should continue the reading of the Psalms, since the evil powers flee from us, not able to bear the power of the written Word of God. The monks happened to hear, how the saint often urged himself on in his efforts with the words: "Work, Arsenius, do not loaf around; thou hast come not for rest, but for work". The monk also said: "Many a time repented I about my words, but about my silence -- never".

The great ascetic and keeper of silence was bestown the gift of gracious tears, by which his eyes were constantly filled. He spent 55 years at monastic exploits, meriting from his contemporaries the title "the Great", and he died at age 95 in the year 449 or 450.

The Monk Arsenii the Lover-of-Work

The Monk Arsenii the Lover-of-Work lived during the XIV Century. This ascetic was distinguished by his love for toil, and having pursued asceticism in the Caves of the Kiev monastery of the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God, he knew not rest, he prayed constantly and partook of food only with the setting of the sun. For his humility and love of work he was bestown by the Lord the gift of wonderworking. The memory of the monk is also made conjointly with the Saints of the Farther Caves -- on 28 August.

The Monk Pimen

The Monk Pimen, Fast-Keeper of Pechersk, won fame by his exploit of fasting. The relics of the saint rest in the Farther Caves. His memory is also 28 August.

The Monk Arsenii of Novgorod, Fool-for-Christ

The Monk Arsenii of Novgorod, Fool-for-Christ, reposed in the year 1570, (the account about him is located under 12 July, -- the day of his repose). The celebration was established on 8 May in connection with the transfer of his relics in 1785, and with the "Saints-name-in-common" ("tezoimenitstvo") of this day.

The Monks Zosima and Adrian of Volokolamsk

The Monks Zosima and Adrian of Volokolamsk, founders of the Sestrinsk monastery on the banks of the River Sestra, pursued asceticism during the XV-XVI Centuries. Their remains were buried in the Uspenie-Dormition church of the monastery founded by them.

May 9

The Holy Prophet Isaiah

The Holy Prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the Birth of Christ, and was descended of royal lineage. The father of Isaiah, Amos, raised his son in the fear of God and in the law of the Lord. Having attained the age of maturity, the Prophet Isaiah entered into marriage with a pious maiden-prophetess (Is. 8: 3) and had a son Jashub (Is. 8: 18).

Saint Isaiah was called to prophetic service during the reign of Oziah (Uzziah), king of Judea, and he prophesied for 60 years during the reign of kings Joatham, Achaz (Ahaz), Hezekiah and Manasseh. The start of his service was marked by the following vision: he beheld the Lord God, sitting in a majestic heavenly temple upon an high throne. Six-winged Seraphim encircled Him. With two wings they covered their faces, and with two wings -- they covered their feet, and with two wings they flew about crying out one to another "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth art filled of His Glory!" The pillars of the heavenly temple did shake from their shouts, and in the temple swelled the smoke of incense. The prophet cried out in terror: "Oh, accursed a man am I, granted to behold the Lord Sabaoth, and having impure lips and living amidst an impure people!" Then was sent him one of the Seraphim, having in hand a red-hot coal, which he took with tongs from the altar of the Lord. He touched it to the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah and said: "Here, I have touched it to thine lips and the Lord doth do away with thine offences and doth cleanse thy sins". After this Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, directed towards him: "Whom shalt I send and who wilt go to the Jews, who wilt go for Us?" Isaiah answered: "Here am I, send me, Lord, and I shalt go" (Is. 6: 1ff). And the Lord sent him to the Jews to exhort them to turn from the ways of impiety and idol-worship and to offer repentance. To those that repent and turn to the True God, the Lord promised mercy and forgiveness, but punishment and the judgement of God are appointed the unrepentant. Then Isaiah asked the Lord, how long would the falling-away of the Jewish nation from God continue. The Lord answered: "Until that time, as they neglect the city, nor be there people in the houses and this land be made desolate. Just as when a tree be felled and from the stump come forth new shoots, so also from the destruction of the nation wilt remain an holy remnant, from which emergeth a new tribe".

Isaiah left behind him a book of prophecy, in which he denounces the Jews for their unfaithfulness to the God of their fathers, and he predicts the captivity of the Jews and their return from captivity during the time of the emperor Cyrus, the destruction and renewal of Jerusalem and of the Temple. Together with this he predicts the historical fate also of the other nations bordering the Jews. But what is most important of all for us, the Prophet Isaiah with particular clearness and detail prophesies about the coming of the Messiah -- Christ the Saviour. The prophet names the Messiah as God and Man, Teacher of all the nations, Founder of the Kingdom of Peace and Love. The prophet foretells the Birth of the Messiah from a Virgin, and with particular clearness he describes the Suffering of the Messiah for the sins of the world, he foresees His Resurrection and the universal spreading of His Church. By his clear foretelling about Christ the Saviour, the Prophet Isaiah merited being called an Old Testament Evangelist. To him belong the words: "This One beareth our sins and is smitten for us... He was wounded for our sins and tortured for our transgressions. The chastisement of our world was upon Him, and by His wounds we were healed..." (Is. 53: 4-5. Vide Book of Prophet Isaiah: 7: 14, 11: 1, 9: 6, 53: 4, 60: 13, etc.).

The holy Prophet Isaiah had also a gift of wonderworking. And thus so, when during the time of a siege of Jerusalem by enemies the besieged had become exhausted with thirst, he by his prayer drew out from beneathe Mount Sion a spring of water, which was called Siloam, i.e. "sent from God". It was to this spring afterwards that the Saviour sent the man blind from birth to wash, and for whom was restored sight by Him. By the prayer of the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord prolonged the life of Hezekiah for 15 years.

The Prophet Isaiah died a martyr's death. By order of the Jewish king Manasseh he was sawn through by a wood-saw. The prophet was buried not far from the Pool of Siloam. The relics of the holy Prophet Isaiah were afterwards transferred by the emperor Theodosius the Younger to Constantinople and installed in the church of Saint Lawrence at Blakhernai. At the present time part of the head of the Prophet Isaiah is preserved at Athos in the Khilendaria monastery.

About the times and the events which occurred during the life of the Prophet Isaiah, the 4th Book of Kings [alt. 2 Kings] speaks (Ch. 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, etc.), and likewise 2 Chronicles (Ch. 26-32).

The Holy Martyr Christopher

The Holy Martyr Christopher lived during the III Century and suffered in about the year 250, during the reign of the emperor Decius (249-251). About his life and miracles there exist many various accounts, and his memory is venerated in both the Western and Eastern Churches. (The memory of the Martyr Christopher is especially venerated in Italy, where they recourse to him in prayer during times of contagious diseases). Various are the suggestions about his descent. According to some historians, he was descended from the Canaanites, according to others -- from "Cynoscephalai" [literally "Dog-heads", located in Thessaly].

Saint Christopher was a man of great stature and unusual strength, and his face was brutish. By tradition, Saint Christopher at first possessed an handsome appearance, but wishing to avoid temptation for himself and others, he besought the Lord to give him an unseemly face, which was done. Until Baptism he had the name Reprebus (Reprobate) which was connected with his disfigured outer appearance. Even before Baptism, Reprebus confessed his faith in Christ and denounced those who persecuted Christians. For this he was once given a beating by a certain Bacchus, and he took the beating with humility. Because of his reknown strength, soon after this there came after him 200 soldiers, so as to bring him before the emperor Decius. Reprebus submitted without resistance. On the way miracles occurred: a dry stick blossomed in the hand of the saint, by his prayer bread-loaves were multiplied, and the travellers had no lack thereof, similar to the multiplication of loaves in the wilderness by the Saviour. The soldiers surrounding Reprebus were astonished at the miracles, -- they came to believe in Christ and together with Reprebus they were baptised by the Antioch Bishop Babylos.

When Saint Christopher was brought before the emperor, the emperor became terrified by his appearance and decided to coerce him into renouncing Christ, not by force but by cunning. He summoned two profligate women, Callinika and Acelina, and commanded them to sway Christopher into a renunciation of Christ and gain his consent to offer sacrifice to idols. But the women were themselves converted by Saint Christopher to the faith in Christ, and having returned to the emperor, they declared themselves Christians, for which they were subjected to fierce beatings and died as martyrs. Decius sentenced to execution also the soldiers who had been sent after Saint Christopher, but who now believed in Christ. The emperor gave orders to throw the martyr into a red-hot metal box. But Saint Christopher did not experience any suffering and he remained unharmed. After many fierce torments they finally beheaded the martyr with a sword. This occurred in the year 250 in Lycia. By his miracles the holy Martyr Christopher converted to Christ as many as 50 thousand pagans, about which Saint Ambrose (of Milan) testifies to. The relics of Saint Christopher were later transferred to Toledo (Spain), and even later -- to the abbey of Sainte Denis in France.

Sainted Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

Sainted Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia -- the Transfer of the Relics from Lycian Myra to Bari in Italy: The Vita about his life is located under the 6 December feastday.

In the XI Century the Byzantine Greek empire was living through some terrible times. The Turks put an end to its influence in Asia Minor, they destroyed cities and villages, the murdered the inhabitants, and they accompanied their cruel outrage with the desecration of churches, holy relics, icons and books. The Mussulmen attempted also to destroy the relics of Saint Nicholas, deeply venerated by all the Christian world.

In the year 792 the caliph Aaron Al'-Rashid sent Khumeid at the head of a fleet to pillage the island of Rhodes. Having lain waste this island, Khumeid set off to Lycian Myra with the intent to rob from the tomb of Saint Nicholas. But instead of it he robbed another, standing alongside the crypt of the saint. Just as they succeeded in committing this sacrilege, a terrible storm lifted upon the sea and almost all the ships were shattered into pieces.

The desecration of holy things shocked not only Eastern, but also Western Christians. Christians in Italy were particularly apprehensive for the relics of Saint Nicholas, and among them were many Greeks. The inhabitants of the city of Bari, located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, decided to save the relics of Saint Nicholas.

In the year 1087 merchants from Bari and Venice set out to Antioch for trade. Both these and others also had proposed on the return trip to take up the relics of Saint Nicholas and transport them to Italy. In this plan the men of Bari commissioned the Venetians to land them at Myra. At first two men were sent in, who in returning reported that in the city -- all was quiet, and in the church where rested the glorified relics, they encountered only four monks. Immediately 47 men, having armed themselves, set out for the church of Saint Nicholas. The monk-guards, suspecting nothing, showed them the raised platform, beneathe which was concealed the tomb of the saint, where by custom, they anointed foreigners with myrh from the relics of the saint. The monks told them during this about an appearance of Saint Nicholas that evening to a certain elder. In this vision Saint Nicholas ordered the cautious preserving of his relics. This account encouraged the barons, -- they saw an avowal for them in this vision and as it were a decree from the saint. In order to facilitate their activity, they revealed their intent to the monks and offered them money -- 300 gold coins. The monk-guards refused the money and wanted to warn the inhabitants about the misfortune threatening them. But the newcomers bound them and put their own guards at the doorway. They took apart the church platform beneathe which stood the tomb with the relics. In this effort the youth Matthew was excessive in his especial zeal, wanting to as quickly as possible to find the relics of Saint Nicholas. In his impatience he broke the cover and the barons saw, that the sarcophagus was filled with fragrant holy myrh. The compatriots of the barons, the presbyters Luppus and Drogus, made a litany, after which the break of Matthew began to flow with myrh from the overflowing sarcophagus of the relics of the saint. This occurred on 20 April 1087.

Seeing the absence of a container chest, presbyter Drogus wrapped the relics in the cover cloth, and in the company of the barons he carried them to the ship. The monks -- having been set free, alerted the city with the sad news about the abduction of the relics of the Wonderworker Nicholas by foreigners. A crowd of people gathered at the shore, but it was too late...

On 8 May the ships arrived in Bari, and soon the joyous news made the rounds of all the city. On the following day, 9 May 1087, they solemnly transported the relics of Saint Nicholas into the church of Saint Stephen, situated not far from the sea. The solemn bearing of the relics was accompanied by numerous healings of the sick, which inspired still greater reverence for the Saint of God. A year afterwards a church was built in the name of Saint Nicholas and consecrated by Pope Urban II.

This event, connected with the transfer of the relics of Saint Nicholas, evoked a particular veneration for the Wonderworker Nicholas and was marked by the establishing of a special feastday on 9 May. At first the Feastday of the Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nicholas was observed only by the people of the city of Bari. In the other lands of the Christian East and West it was not adopted, despite the fact that the transfer of the relics was widely known about. This circumstance is to be explained by the custom in the Middle Ages of venerating primarily the relics of local saints. Moreover, the Greek Church did not establish the celebration of this remembrance, since for it the loss of the relics of Saint Nicholas was a sad event.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebration of the memory of the Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Lycian Myra to Bari in Italy on 9 May was established soon after the year 1087, on the basis of an already established veneration by the Russian people of the great Saint of God, brought over from Greece simultaneously with the acceptance of Christianity. The glorious accounts about the miracle-workings, done by the saint on both land and sea, were widely known to the Russian people. Their inexhaustible strength and abundance testify to the especially graced help of the great Saint of God for suffering mankind. The image of Saint Nicholas, a mighty Wonderworker and Benefactor, became especially dear to the heart of the Russian people, since it inspired deep faith and hope for his intercession. The faith of the Russian people in the abundant aid of the Saint of God was marked by numerous miracles.

A significant body of literature was compiled about him very early in Russian writings. Accounts about the miracles of Saint Nicholas done in the Russian land were recorded early on in deep antiquity. Soon after the Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Lycian Myra to Bari, there appeared a Russian redaction of his Vita and an account about the Transfer of his holy relics, written by one contemporary to this event. Earlier still was written a laudation to the Wonderworker. And each week on Thursday, the Russian Orthodox Church honours his memory in particular.

In honour of Sainted Nicholas were erected numerous churches and monasteries, and with his name Russian people are wont to name their children at Baptism. In Russia are preserved numerous wonderworking icons of the saint. Most reknown among them are the images of Mozhaisk, Zaraisk, Volokolamsk, Ugreshsk and Ratny. There was neither house nor temple in the Russian land, in which there was not an image of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. The significance of the graced intercession of the great Saint of God is expressed by the ancient compiler of the Life-Vita, in the words of whom Sainted Nicholas "did work many glorious miracles both on land and on sea, aiding those downtrodden in misfortune and rescuing the drowning, carried to dry land from the depths of the sea, raising up others from corruption and bringing them home, liberating from chains and imprisonment, averting felling by the sword and freeing from death, and granting much healing to many: sight to the blind, walking to the lame, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the mute. He brought riches to many suffering in abject poverty and want, he provided the hungry food and for each in their need he appeared a ready helper, an avid defender and speedy intercessor and protector, and such as appeal to him he doth help and deliver from adversity. Both the East and the West know of this great Wonderworker, and all the ends of the earth know his miracle-working".

The Monk Shio (Simeon) of Mgvim

The Monk Shio (Simeon) of Mgvim was born in Syrian Antioch. His parents were Christians and raised their son as the only heir. The youth received a fine education, he studied the Holy Scripture and already in his early years he became accomplished in the ability of expounding the Word of God. Having learnt about an holy ascetic named John, Shio secretly left his parental home and set out to the saint. The Monk John made the youth return to his parents, after foretelling that his parents would become monastics. The prediction was soon fulfilled: Shio distributed his inheritance and accepted tonsure from the Monk John.

The Monk Shio 20 years later, amidst 12 other chosen disciples of Saint John, set off to Iveria (Gruzia or Georgia) to preach the Word of God. With the blessing both of his teacher and of the Gruzinian Katholikos Eulabios, the Monk Shio settled into a cave west of the city of Mtskheta, where he made austere ascetic efforts and was vouchsafed miraculous visions. The solitary life of the ascetic became known of, and soon the place of the saint's efforts was transformed into a monastery, at which a church in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity was established by the monk. Later on other churches were built: in honour of the Mother of God and John the Forerunner. All the churches were consecrated by the Katholikos Makarios. The number of brethren increased, and the monk gave his blessing for them to found the Mgvim monastery, while he himself continued his deeds of salvation in seclusion. The Monk Shio reposed on 9 May, having the evening before communed the Holy Mysteries and given the brethren a final salvific instruction. The remains of the Saint of God were buried in the monastery founded by him. The Monk Shio is known, as the author of 160 precepts for the brethren.

The Holy Martyr Epimachus the New

The Holy Martyr Epimachus the New suffered in the city of Alexandria in about the year 250, under the emperor Decius (249-251). He was scourged to death with lead rods. His relics are located in the Roman catacombs.

The Holy Martyr Gordian

The Holy Martyr Gordian was beheaded with a sword in the year 362 under Julian the Apostate (361-363) at Rome. His relics rest in the Roman catacombs.

The MonkMartyr Nicholas of Bunenia

The MonkMartyr Nicholas of Bunenia suffered from the Arabs in Thessaly, near the city of Larissa.

May 10

The Holy Apostle Simon Zelotes

The Holy Apostle Simon Zelotes hailed from Cana of Galilee. He was a son of Joseph the Betrothed, and hence a brother of the Lord after the flesh, and he was also one of the 12 Apostles. The first miracle which the Saviour worked, -- the transforming of water into wine, occurred at the house of Simon: at the time of a wedding-feast there was insufficient wine for the guests. Then the Lord, at the prompting of the MostHoly Mother of God, transformed water into wine. Struck by the miracle, Simon with all his heart and soul believed in the Lord Jesus as the Promised Messiah and, having left behind everything, he followed after Him. Simon received the title "Zelotes", i.e. a zealot, meaning a person who is zealous. On the day of Pentecost he received the gift of the Holy Spirit together with the other Apostles. The holy Apostle Simon preached the teaching of Christ at Judea, Egypt, Libya, Cyrenia and Britain. At Abkhazia he accepted a martyr's death, and was crucified on a cross. He was buried at the city of Nikopsia around Sukhum. Afterwards (in the XIX Century), at the place where the holy Apostle Simon asceticised near Mount Iveria, there was established the Novoathonite monastery of Simon the Canaanite. To the present day is preserved the cave wherein the holy Apostle Simon asceticised.

Sainted Simon, Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal'

Sainted Simon, Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal', was an author of the Lives of the Kievo-Pechersk monastic fathers, and he became a monk at the Pechersk monastery, sometime in the second half of the XII Century. In the year 1206 he was appointed hegumen of the Vladimir Nativity of the Mother of God monastery, and in 1214, at the wish of prince Georgii Vsevolodovich (+ 1238), he was made the first bishop of Vladimir-on-the-Klyazma and Suzdal'. In 1218 a church was consecrated by him at the Nativity monastery, and in the year 1225 -- a cathedral church at Suzdal'. The greatprince deeply respected Saint Simon and was prepared to open up a new bishop's cathedra-chair at Suzdal' for his friend, -- the monk Polykarp of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, who sought after spiritual vain-glory. But Sainted Simon, seeing into the spiritual condition of Polykarp, talked the greatprince out of his intent, and to Polykarp himself he wrote a deeply moving missive, in which he proffered his friend guidance against his defects of soul. The epistle of Simon was placed at the beginning of the Kievo-Pechersk Paterikon and presented the author under his name as a man of learning. On the eve of his repose in the year 1226, the saint took on the schema. Initially his body was buried at Vladimir, but later on, in accord with the last wishes of the saint himself, his body was transferred after several years to the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra, where it rests in the Antoniev Caves.

The Holy Martyrs Altheus, Philadelphus, Cyprian, Onysimus, Erasmus

The Holy Martyrs Altheus, Philadelphus, Cyprian, Onysimus, Erasmus and 14 others suffering with them, lived during the III Century and came from Italy. Altheus, Philadelphus and Cyprian were sons of a governor in Italy, Vitelius. They were enlightened by faith in Christ and baptised by Saint Onysimus. During this period the emperor Licinius gave orders to seek out and hand over the Christians for torture. The brothers set off to Rome together with Onysimus, Erasmus and 14 other Christians. At Rome they crushed the chest of Saint Onysimus with an heavy stone, from which he died. Erasmus and the 14 Martyrs were beheaded. The brothers Altheus, Philadelphus and Cyprian suffered in Sicily, in the city of Mesopolis Leontii, where they had been dispatched to from Rome. This occurred in the year 251, under the emperor Decius. They cut out the tongue of Saint Altheus and he bled to death, Philadelphus they burnt over an iron lattice, and Cyprian they burnt on an hot pan. In the year 1517 their relics were discovered at Leontini (Lentini).

St. Thais

St. Thais lived in Egypt in the fifth century. Left an orphan after the death of her wealthy parents, she led a pious life, distributing her wealth to the poor and giving shelter to pilgrims on her estate. She decided that she would never marry, but would devote her life to serving Christ.

After spending all her inheritance, Thais was tempted to acquire more money by any means and began to lead a sinful life. The Elders of Sketis near Alexandria heard of her fall, and asked St. John the Dwarf to go to Thais and persuade her to repent. “She was kind to us,” they said, “now perhaps we can help her. You, Father, are wise. Go and try to save her soul, and we will pray that the Lord will help you.”

The Elder went to her home, but Thais’s servant refused to let him into the house. St. John said, “Tell your mistress that I have brought her something very precious.” Knowing that the monks sometimes found pearls at the seashore, Thais told her servant to admit the visitor. St. John sat down and looked her in the face, and then began to weep. Thais asked him why he was crying. “How can I not weep,” he asked, “when you have forsaken your Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, and are pleasing Satan by your deeds?”

The Elder’s words pierced the soul of Thais like a fiery arrow, and at once she realized how sinful her present life had become. In fear, she asked him if God would accept the repentance of a sinner like her. St. John replied that the Savior awaited her repentance, and that was why He came, to seek and to save the perishing. “He will welcome you with love,” he said, “and the angels will rejoice over you. As the Savior said Himself, one repentant sinner causes the powers of Heaven to rejoice.” (Luke 15:7).

A feeling of repentance enveloped her, and regarding the Elder’s words as a call from the Lord Himself to return to Him, Thais trembled and thought only of finding the path of salvation. She stood up and left her house without speaking to her servants, and without making any plans for the disposal of her property, so that even St. John was amazed.

Following St. John into the wilderness, she returned to God through penitence and prayer. Night fell, and the Elder prepared a place for Thais to lay down and sleep. He made a pillow for her from the sand, and he went off somewhat farther, going to sleep after his evening prayers.

In the middle of the night, he was awakened by a light coming down from the heavens to the place where Thais was sleeping. In the radiant light, he saw holy angels bearing her soul to Paradise. When he went over to Thais, he found her dead.

St. John prayed and asked God to reveal to him whether Thais had been saved. An angel of God appeared and told him, “Abba John, her one hour of repentance was equal to many years, because she repented with all her soul, and a compunctionate heart.”

After burying the body of the saint, St. John returned to Sketis and told the monks what had happened. All offered thanks to God for His mercy toward Thais who, like the wise thief, repented in a single moment.

The Holy Martyr Isykhios of Antioch

The Holy Martyr Isykhios of Antioch lived during the reign of Maximian Galerius (305-311) in the city of Antioch, where he occupied a notable and high official position from the imperial court. Maximian issued an edict, by which all Christians were deprived of military rank and expelled from military service. Those that would not change from the Christian faith he ordered to be taken from them the soldier's belt and insignia of military decoration, and have them degraded to the level of hired servants. In this number also was Saint Isykhios. Maximian ordered Isykhios to remove from himself the garb of a dignitary, put on vulgar attire and be amidst the women-servants. After several days he summoned Isykhios and asked: "Lo, art thou not ashamed to remain in such dishonour?" Saint Isykhios answered: "The honours which I had from thee were but temporal". Then Maximian gave orders to drown Saint Isykhios in a river, with a millstone tied about his neck. The exact year of death of the martyr is not known.

The Nun Isidora, Fool-for-Christ

The Nun Isidora, Fool-for-Christ, asceticised in the Tabenea monastery (Egypt) during the VI Century. The maiden Isidora took upon herself the feat of folly, she acted like one insane and did not partake of food together with the sisters of the monastery. Many of them regarded her with contempt, but Isidora bore all this with great patience and meekness, blessing God in everything. She toiled in the kitchen and fulfilled at the monastery the very dirty and hard tasks, cleansing the monastery of every impurity. The Nun Isidora covered her head with a plain dish-rag, and in place of cooked food she drank the soapy wash-water from the pots and dishes. She never became angry, never insulted anyone with a word, never grumbled against God or the sisters, and was given to silence.

One time a wilderness monk, Saint Pitirim, had a vision. An Angel of God appeared to him and said: "Go to the Tabenea monastery. There thou wilt see a sister, wearing on her head a dish-rag. She doth serve them all with love and bears their contempt without grumbling. Her heart and her thoughts rest always with God. By comparison thou dost sit in solitude, but thine thoughts flit about all over the world".

The elder set out to the Tabenea monastery, but among the sisters gathered he did not see the one pointed out to him in the vision. Then they led Isidora to him, considering her a demoniac. Isidora fell down at the knees of the elder, asking his blessing. But the Monk Pitirim himself bowed down to the ground to her and said: " Bless me first, venerable mother!" To the astonished questions of the sisters the elder answered: "Isidora before God is higher up than all of us!" Then the sisters began to repent, confessing all the insults hurled by them at Isidora, and they asked forgiveness of her. The saint, however, distressed over her fame, secretly hid herself away from the monastery, and her ultimate fate remained unknown. They presume that she died not later than the year 365.

In Egypt in the V Century lived a young Christian by the name of Taisia. Left an orphan after the death of her rich parents, she led a pious life, her wealth she distributed to the destitute, and on her estate she gave shelter to a skete of monks. Afterwards, however, Taisia was allured by worldly temptations and began to lead a sinful life. Then the elders of the skete besought the ascetic John the Short-statured (Kolobos, Comm. 9 November) to go to Taisia and persuade her to repent. The elder set off on the pathway, and the monks began to pray. Taisia's servant did not want to allow the elder into the house. Whereupon he said: "Tell the mistress, that I bring to her something very precious". Taisia mirthfully came to meet the monk. But the monk, looking her in the face, began to cry. "I weep, -- said he, -- over thee, since thou hast forsaken thy bridegroom the Lord Jesus Christ and given thyself over to satan". The words of the elder pierced the soul of Taisia like a fiery arrow, and her gaiety instantly vanished. In fright she implored the elder, whether repentance was possible for such a sinner as she. The elder answered, that the Saviour awaited her turnabout, since this is why He came, to seek out and to save the perishing.

In the feeling of repentance that enveloped her, and hearing in the words of the elder a summoning of the Lord Himself to turn herself round to life eternal, Taisia stood up and went out from her house, not giving any sort of disposition over her property, such that even the monk marveled. In this very hour Taisia turned away from everything that connected her to her former, sinful life. Following after the elder into the wilderness, she hastened to re-union with God in penitence and in prayer. Night fell. The elder prepared for Taisia a place to lay down for sleep, having fashioned a pillow for her from the sand, and he himself went off somewhat farther, and fell asleep after making evening prayer. In the middle of the night he was wakened by a light coming down from the heavens to the place where Taisia was at rest. In the beams of the light the monk espied holy angels, ascending with the soul of Taisia. When he went over to Taisia, he found her already dead. Prayerfully giving the body of the saint over to burial, the Monk John returned to the skete and told the monks about what had happened; all offered up thanks to God for His mercy to Taisia, who repented in a single moment, like the wise repentant-thief.

The Holy Martyr Vasilii (Basil), Mangazeia Wonderworker

The Holy Martyr Vasilii (Basil), Mangazeia Wonderworker, -- was the first saint glorified in the Siberian land. He accepted a martyr's death on 4 April 1602, and from the mid-XVII Century he is deeply venerated for manifold manifestations of grace in help of infirmities, in sorrow and in desperate straits.

Blessed Vasilii was the son of a not-rich inhabitant of Yaroslavl', Feodor by name, and was taken by a certain rich Yaroslavl' merchant to a place for the selling of his wares in sub-polar Mangazeia -- one of the first Russian cities in Siberia.

Vasilii strictly fulfilled the Christian commandments. From his early years his integrity was obvious to all. Meekness and humility were his finery, and his heart was filled with faith in God and by piety. Love for prayer impelled him during time of Divine-services to leave off with mundane concerns and to go to the holy church.

The devout youth just barely turned age 19, when the All-Supreme, "looking out for his virtue, did intend to summon him to eternal blessedness, the which to attain from this temporal life is impossible otherwise, than by the narrow and afflicted path of an external testing".

As the Church tradition testifies, one time, when Blessed Vasilii was at prayer in church during the Paschal matins, thieves plundered the wares of his master. An explanation was demanded of Vasilii. Despite the many shouts of his master, Righteous Vasilii remained in church until the end of the Divine-services. His money-loving master, at the instigation of the devil, suspected Vasilii of being an accomplice in the crime and upon his return from the church he was subjected to insults and beatings. The guiltless youth answered his tormentor: "I have in truth taken none of thine goods". Then the master led Vasilii off to the city military-commander, who subjected the sufferer to new cruel torments. The merchant, enraged at the patient silence of Vasilii, in anger struck him with a ring of ware-house keys, and from this blow Blessed Vasilii died.

The body of the innocent martyr was put in a grave and without Christian burial was committed to the earth, "where it is duly moist from water". But the All-Mighty Lord after the passage of 47 years willed for it to appear from the bosom of the earth and to be glorified by many miracles.

Saint Vasilii many a time helped lost and danger-threatened travelers and fur-hunters; he healed palsy, blindness, and various other maladies; through the prayers of mothers he healed children, and preserved the despondent from suicide. There have been preserved copies of the Life of Saint Vasilii (XVII-XIX Cent.) that testify about the abundant manifestations of grace through prayers to the Mangazeia wonderworker.

In 1659 with the blessing of the Tobolsk metropolitan, Simeon, there was made an inspection of the relics of the saint, and from that time there began to spread veneration of him as one truly God-pleasing. In 1670 with the construction of the Turokhansk monastery of the Holy Trinity, priestmonk Tikhon transferred the relics of Righteous Vasilii into the monastery founded by him. In 1719 this monastery was visited by the great Siberian missionary -- the Tobolsk metropolitan, Philothei (Leschinsky), and he venerated the relics of the saint and compiled a canon to him. Towards the end of the first third of the XVIII Century there were compiled three services and several discourses on the day of memory of Righteous Vasilii.

The veneration of the God-pleasing saint contributed not a little to the conversion from paganism to Orthodoxy of the Tungus, Evenki and Yurak peoples. The peoples of the North turn to Saint Vasilii as a patron saint for the fur-hunter tradesmen.

One of the first icons of Saint Vasilii was written by a novice of the Tobolsk metropolitan Pavel -- the painter Luke, on the occasion of his miraculous deliverance from death. On the holy icons Saint Vasilii is depicted "with a boyish face, and small of stature", "in image of reverence, eyes having a sparkle, gazing intently, and the hair of his head dark blond". On several of the icons of the saint the Trinity Turukhansk monastery is depicted, and over it on a mount is Vasilii praying -- in but a shirt and without footwear. Sometimes also on the icons was depicted the suffering of the saint at the hands of the merchant and military-commander. Depictions of Saint Vasilii of Mangazeia are known of at the Vladimir cathedral in Kiev, at Novgorod, and at Moscow.

One of the first days of memory of the saint was on 22 March, when Holy Church remembers a saint of same name with him -- the PriestMartyr Basil of Ancyra. Afterwards, at the Turukhansk Trinity monastery his memory began to be celebrated on 10 May, in honour of remembrance of the transfer of his relics from Mangazeia to Turukhan. An earlier commemoration of Righteous Vasilii of Manganzeia was done under 6 June, on the day of appearance of his relics.

May 11

Saint Mokios

Saint Mokios was a presbyter in Macedonia in the city of Amphypolis. During a time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), Saint Mokios exhorted the pagans -- who had assembled for the pagan feast to the divinity Dionysos (Bacchus), to forsake iniquity and the vile customs which accompanied this solemnity, and to repent and be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ and be cleansed through holy baptism. The saint was brought to trial to the governor of Laodiceia; he confessed before him the true faith, and against the threats he answered: "My death for Christ -- is a great accomplishment for me". Saint Mokios was subjected to torture, which he bore with marvelous endurance, and in no wise ceasing to denounce the idol-worshippers. Taken to the pagan temple of Dionysos, the saint shattered the idols with the Name of Jesus Christ. After this he was put into a red-hot oven, where he remained unharmed, but the flames coming out of the oven scorched the governor. And again the assigned commander subjected Saint Mokios to fierce torture, which with the help of God he stoically endured; given for devouring by wild beasts, he remained unharmed -- the lions but lay down at the feet of the saint. The people, having witnessed such miracles, began to urge that the saint be set free. The governor ordered the saint to be sent to the city of Perinth, and from there to Byzantium, where Saint Mokios was executed. Before his death he gave thanks to the Lord, for having bestown upon him the strength to go to the very end with the act of martyrdom. "Lord, receive my spirit in peace", -- were his last words, after which he was beheaded. Saint Mokios died in about the year 295. Later on, the emperor Constantine built a church in honour of the Priestmartyr Mokios and transferred his holy passion-bearing relics into it.

The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles the Brothers Cyril and Methodius

The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles First-Teachers and Enlighteners of the Slavic Peoples, the Brothers Cyril and Methodius came from an illustrious and pious family living in the Greek city of Soluneia (Thessalonika). Saint Methodius was the oldest of seven brothers, Saint Contantine (Cyril -- was his monastic name) was the youngest. Saint Methodius was at first in the military profession and was governor in one of the Slavic principalities dependent to the Byzantine empire -- probably Bulgaria, which made it possible for him to learn the Slavic language. Having dwelt there for about 10 years, Saint Methodius afterwards accepted monastic orders at one of the monasteries on Mount Olympos (Asia Minor). Saint Constantine from his early years distinguished himself by great aptitude and he studied together with the emperor Michael during that one's youth -- under the finest teachers in Constantinople, among which were Photios, future Patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Constantine, having attained knowledge in all the sciences of his time and also many languages, also with particular diligence studied the works of Sainted Gregory the Theologian. Because of his keen mind and penetrating perception, Saint Constantine received the title "Philosopher" (wise). Upon the completion of his education, Saint Constantine accepted the dignity of priest and was appointed curator of the patriarchal library at the church of Saint Sophia, but he soon quit the capital and went off secretly to a monastery. Discovered there and having returned to Constantinople, he was appointed teacher of philosophy in the highest level of the Constantinople schools. The wisdom and strength of faith for the still rather young Constantine was so great, that he won the victory in a debate with the leader of the heretic-iconclasts Ananias. After this victory Constantine was sent by the emperor to dispute in a debate about the Holy Trinity with the Saracens (musselmans) and again he gained the victory. Having returned, Saint Constantine went off to his brother Saint Methodius on Olympos, spending the time in unceasing prayer and reading the works of the holy fathers.

The emperor soon summoned forth both of the holy brothers from the monastery and dispatched them to preach the Gospel to the Khazars. Along the way they stayed for some time in the city of Korsun, making preparations for preaching. There the holy brothers in miraculous manner discovered the relics of the Priestmartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (Comm. 25 November). There also at Korsun Saint Constantine found a Gospel and Psalter written in "Russian letters" [i.e. Slavonic], and a man speaking in Slavic, and he began to learn from this man to read and to speak in his language. After this, the holy brothers set off to the Khazars, where they gained the victory in a debate with Jews and Moslems by preaching the Gospel teaching. On the way home the brothers again visited Korsun and, taking up the relics of Saint Clement there, they returned to Constantinople. Saint Constantine remained in the capital, but Saint Methodius received the hegumenate at the small Polychronion monastery -- not far from Mount Olympos, where he pursued asceticism as before.

Soon there came to the emperor messengers from the Moravian prince Rostislav, otherwise pressured by German bishops -- with a request to send teachers to Moravia, who would be able to preach in the vernacular Slavic tongue. The emperor summoned Saint Constantine and said to him: "It is necessary for thee to go thither, where it be better for thee that no one realise this". Saint Constantine prepared for the new task with fasting and prayer. With the help of his brother Saint Methodius and the students Gorazd, Clement, Savva, Naum and Angelyar he composed a Slavonic alphabet and translated into the Slavic tongue books -- without which it would be impossible to celebrate Divine-services: the Gospel, Epistles, Psalter and collected services. This occurred in the year 863.

After completing the translation, the holy brothers set off to Moravia, where they were received with great honour, and they began to teach the Divine-services in the Slavic language. This aroused the malice of the German bishops, who celebrated Divine-services in the Moravian churches in the Latin language, and they rose up against the holy brothers, convinced that Divine-services must be done only in one of three languages: Hebrew, Greek or Latin. Saint Constantine answered them: "Ye recognise only three languages by which to give glory to God. But David sang: Come to the Lord, all nations, praise the Lord all peoples, let everything that hath breath praise the Lord! And in the Holy Gospel it says: Go teach all nations...". The German bishops were humiliated, but they became all the more bitter and sent off a complaint to Rome. The holy brothers were summoned to Rome for a decision on this question. Taking with them the relics of Saint Clement Pope of Rome, Saints Constantine and Methodius set off to Rome. Knowing that the holy brothers were bringing along with them these relics, Pope Adrian met them along the way with his clergy. The holy brothers were greeted with honour, the pope of Rome gave permission for Divine-services in the Slavonic language, and the books translated by the brothers he ordered to be placed in Roman churches and to make liturgy in the Slavonic language.

At Rome Saint Constantine fell ill and, in a miraculous vision from the Lord advising of the nearness of death, he accepted the monastic schema-order with the name of Cyril (Kirill). 50 days after the accepting of the schema, on 14 February 869, Saint Cyril died at 42 years of age. In expiring to God, Saint Cyril commanded his brother Saint Methodius to continue with their common task -- the enlightening of the Slavic peoples with the light of the true faith. Saint Methodius entreated the pope of Rome to send the body of his brother for burial in their native land, but the pope commanded the relics of Saint Cyril to be placed in the church of Saint Clement, where miracles began to occur from them.

After the death of Saint Cyril, the pope in fulfilling the request of the Slavic prince Kotsel, sent Saint Methodius to Pannonia, -- having ordained him Archbishop of Moravia and Pannonia, on the ancient throne of the holy Disciple Andronikes. In Pannonia Saint Methodius together with his students continued to propagate Divine-services in books inscribed in the Slavonic language. This again aroused the wrath of the German bishops. They obtained an arrest and held a trial over Saint Methodius, who was sent in chains to Swabia, where during the course of two and an half years he underwent many sufferings. Having been set free by order of the Pope of Rome, John VIII, and restored to the rule of his archdiocese, Saint Methodius continued to preach the Gospel among the Slavs. He baptised the Czech prince Borivoi and his spouse Liudmila (Comm. 16 September), and also one of the Polish princes. The German bishops started a persecution against the saint for a third time, -- for not accepting the Roman teaching about the procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and from the Son. Saint Methodius was summoned to Rome, but he justified himself before the pope, and preserved in its purity the Orthodox teaching, and was sent off again to the capital of Moravia, Velehrad.

Here in the ensuing years of his life Saint Methodius with the help of two of his priest-students translated into the Slavonic language all the Old Testament except for the Book of Maccabbees, and even the Nomokanon (Rule of the holy fathers) and books of the holy fathers (Paterikon).

Sensing the nearness of death, Saint Methodius decreed one of his students -- Gorazd, as worthy successor to himself. The sainted-bishop predicted the day of his death and he died on 6 April 885 at an age of about 60 years. The burial service of the saint was done in three languages -- Slavonic, Greek and Latin. He was buried in the cathedral church of Velehrad.

St. Argyrios

St. Argyrios was born in the village of Epanome, near Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1788. While still a teenager, he moved to Thessaloniki to find work and became an apprentice tailor. At that time, a Greek Orthodox Christian was imprisoned by the local Pasha for some offense and did not have the funds to free himself. In order to be released from prison he made the choice between hanging or denying his Christianity. He chose the latter.

A short time later, Argyrios was in a local eating establishment and saw the former Christian celebrating with other members of his new faith. Boldly, Argyrios confronted him and tried to convince him of his great error, urging him to return to the faith of his ancestors, the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ.

“What evil have you done, my brother,” Argyrios said to him, “to deny Christ our Maker and Savior? What great evil, unfortunate one, did you do to your soul, to surrendering to hell, where there is eternal death to avoid this temporary death? Come, come, my brother, to your senses, come to yourself, repent, return to Christ. We ought never deny Him Who would never deny us?”

Some Janissaries overheard Argyrios and fell upon him, intending to kill him. However, they changed their minds and thought to convert him instead. They brandished their scimitars and tried to force Argyrios to say that he would deny Christ and convert. The alternative was death. Argyrios, however, remained unmoved by their invitation and threats, and was beaten and then taken to the local Kadi.

Initially, the Kadi ruled that it was no crime to advocate one’s Faith with zeal, which is how he interpreted Argyrios’s actions. However, the Janissaries present disagreed and called Argyrios an enemy of the “true” faith. They could not accept the Kadi’s affirmation that one who blasphemed their faith was not deserving of death.

During the customary interrogations, the Kadi tried desperately to make Argyrios agree to deny Jesus Christ to save his life. Instead, Argyrios proclaimed, “I was born a Christian and as a Christian I will die.” Consequently, he was tortured and hanged.

During World War II, two monks from Mount Athos, Petros and Niphon Astyfides, were ordained to the Priesthood for the village of Epanome. It was during their ministry there that Fathers Petros and Niphon came to be given the Holy Relic of the New Martyr Argyrios by the nuns Matrona and Mariam. The nuns were members of the Brenda family that was in possession of the Holy Relics of St. Argyrios. The two sisters became nuns at the Old Calendar Monastery of St. Menas under the jurisdiction of the future Bishop Petros of Astoria and his brother Archimandrite Niphon. At that time, the Holy Relic was transferred to the Monastery of St. Menas in Anthousa, Attica. It was from that monastery that His Eminence Metropolitan PAVLOS brought the Holy Relic to New York.

St. Majolus

St. Majolus, fleeing Muslim expansionism, took refuge at Macon and thence was directed to study under Abbot Anthony at Lyons. He became archdeacon at Macon and then was offered the bishopric of Besancon. He declined it to join the monastic fathers at the lavra of Cluny. In 954, he was named abbot-adjutant to the blind St. Aimard, who was then abbot. He became head of Cluny and its houses in 965. The Carolingian emperor Otto selected St. Majolus to reform the monastic houses of the German lands. This the Saint did with moderate success. But the Muslims re-entered the course of his life as threat and danger. They captured the Cluniac abbot as he was crossing the St. Bernard Pass on church business, and he had to be ransomed by the monks of Cluny for a thousand pounds of silver. St. Majolus was offered the chair of the papacy at Rome, several times, but he steadfastly refused the honour of the Patriarchate. In 991 he appointed St. Odilo as his coadjutor. Thenceforward he devoted himself to prayer and repentance. King Hugh Capet invited him to the abbey of St.-Denis at Paris, to set the lives of the monks there in good order, and on the journey to attend this task, St. Majolus reposed in Christ, leaving behind a rich legacy of liturgical excellence and profoundly ascetic life which was his hallmark in this world.

St. Mamertus

St. Mamertus was Bishop of Vienne, date of birth unknown; died shortly after 475. Concerning the life of Mamertus before his elevation to the See of Vienne, nothing certain is known. The fact that his brother, Claudianus Mamertus, the theological writer, received in his youth a sound training in rhetoric, and enjoyed the personal acquaintance of Bishop Eucherius of Lyons (434-50), suggests that the brothers belonged to a wealthy Gallic family from the neighbourhood of Lyons. Like his brother, St. Mamertus was distinguished for his knowledge of profane subjects as well as of theology, and, before his elevation to the episcopate, appears to have been married. His election and consecration took place shortly before 462. As bishop he enlisted the services of his brother, who had withdrawn to a cloister, and ordained him priest of Vienne. The activity of the brothers is described in a letter of Sidonius Apollinaris (Epist., IV, xi), another of whose letters (VII, i) is addressed to Bishop Mamertus. In 463 Mamertus was engaged in a dispute with Pope Hilarius on the question of the privileges of the Bishop of Arles. Pope Leo I had regulated the boundaries of the ecclesiastical provinces of Arles and Vienne: under the latter he left the Dioceses of Valence, Tarentaise, Geneva, and Grenoble, but all the other dioceses in this district were made subordinate to Arles. Regardless of this decision and infringing on the rights of his colleague of Arles, Mamertus consecrated in 463 a bishop for the city of Die (Dea). King Gundiac of Burgundy complained to Pope Hilary of this action, whereupon the latter wrote to Bishop Leontius of Arles on 10 Oct., 463, bidding him summon a synod of bishops from the different provinces to enquire into the matter. In a subsequent letter to the bishops of the provinces of Lyons, Vienne, Narbonnensis I and II, and Alpina, he also refers to the matter, and directs them to obey Leontius's summons to a regularly constituted synod (Thiel, "Epist. Rom. Pont.", I, cxlvi, cli; Jaffé, "Regesta Rom. Pont.", I, 2nd ed., dlvi, dlix). The synod decided against Mamertus, as we learn from another letter of the pope dated 25 February, 464 (Thiel, op. cit., I, cxlviii; Jaffé, op. cit., I, dlvii). In this Hilary declares that Mamertus and the bishop unlawfully consecrated by him should really be deposed; desiring, however that clemency be used, he commissioned Bishop Veranus to inform Mamertus that, if he did not recognize and submit to the regulations of Pope Leo, he would be deprived also of the four suffragan dioceses, still subject to Vienne. The bishop invalidly installed by Mamertus was to be confirmed in his office by Leontius, after which he might retain the bishopric. Mamertus evidently submitted, since we find no subsequent reference to the incident.

During his episcopate, the remains of St. Ferreolus were discovered, and were translated by Mamertus to a church in Vienne, built in honour of that holy martyr (Gregory of Tours, "De gloria mart.", II, ii). St. Mamertus was the founder of the Rogation Processions (see ROGATION DAYS), as we learn on the testimony of Sidonius Apollinaris (Epist., V, xiv; VII, i), and his second successor, Avitus ("Homilia de Rogat." in P.L., LIX, 289-94). In connexion with these intercessory processions, Mamertus summoned a synod at Vienne between 471 and 475. About 475 he attended a synod at Arles, which dealt with the predestination teaching of Lucidus, a Gallic priest. As this is the latest information we possess concerning him, we may assume that he died shortly afterwards. After his death he was venerated as a saint. His name stands in the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" and in the "Martyrologium" of Florus of Lyons under 11 May, on which day his feast is still celebrated (Quentin, "Les martyrologes historiques", 348).

St. Odo

Odo is the glory of the great abbey of Cluny, which was responsible for a huge program of monastic and clerical reform under this great abbot. He was the second abbot of Cluny but began his religious life as canon of St. Martin of Tours, to whom he always had a deep devotion. He was the son of Ebbo I, lord of Deols, and received his early education at the court of the duke of Aquitaine, then studied at Paris under Remigius of Auxerre.

While a canon of Martin of Tours, St. Odo of Cluny became acquainted with Blessed Berno, the founder of Cluny, and became a monk of the Cluniac monastery of Baume. In 927, he succeeded Berno as abbot of Cluny and it was he who obtained from Pope John XI the privilege of exemption and was authorized by him to reform the monasteries of France and Italy, where monastic observance was at a very low ebb.

So successful was he that he was called the "restorer of monasteries" and of the holy rule. It was Odo who established the Cluniac observance, which became the model of monasticism for over a century, and it was he who promoted an enthusiasm for the monastic life that would transform the religious life of Europe.

He was sent by the popes on peacemaking missions in Italy to reconcile two rulers who both had their eyes on ruling Italy. On returning from Rome in 942, he became sick and stopped at the monastery of St. Julian in Tours for the celebration of the feast day of St. Martin. He took part in the celebrations on November 11 and after a lingering illness died on November 18. During his last illness, he composed a hymn in honor of Martin.

Besides his work of monastic reform, Odo left a number of literary works and several pieces of liturgical music. His relics are kept at l'Isle-Jourdain in France.

St. Rostislav, Prince of Great Moravia

Whenever when we think about the Byzantine mission of St. Kyrillo and St. Methodius in Greater Moravia, we have to remember St. Duke Rostislav who stands together with them at the beginning of the spiritual, cultural and political life of the Slavonic nations, We have to remember the enlightened ruler who wanted "such a teacher who could explain Christian teaching in an un¬derstandable manner" to his nation. It was he who initiated bringing the learned "Philosopher" St. Kyrillo and the capable organizer St. Methodius to Greater Moravia from Emperor Michaelos III and the patriarch of Constantinople St. Photios.

St.Rostislav probably came to rule over Greater Moravia around 846 and soon realized that if Christianity was to be accepted by Moravians, it couldn't be preached by missionar¬ies who misused their mission for political aims or were not understood by the people. Af¬ter an unsuccessful attempt to get suitable teachers from Rome, he asked for teachers from Constantinople in 862. The holy brothers who were sent by the Byzantine Emperor were learned men of prayer with rich experience and a full understanding of St. Rostislav's aims. They invented the alphabet and translated the major part of the Bible and Byzantine liturgies into the Slavonic language. No wonder that their missionary work and the example of their holy lives met with great appreciation and support.

Nevertheless, their work was complicated by missionaries from the Frankish kingdom who realized that St. Kyrillos' and St. Methodius' work was fully supported by St. Duke Rostislav in laying down the foundations of Greater Moravian spiritual and political independence. They falsely accused the holy brothers of using an "unsanctified" Slavonic language and tried to spread false filioquist teaching. St. Methodios won his famous dispute with the Latin clergy in Venice in 867 on his way to Constantinople, where the holy brothers wanted to get appoint¬ments for their Greater Moravian pupils and also further support for their mission. From Venice they were invited to Rome by Pope Nicolas I. The holy brothers again had to defend their missionary work. St. Kyrillo died in Rome on 14th February 868 after takeing monastic vows but asked his brother St. Methodius to continue their mission among the Slavs.

But the Greater Moravian situation had changed in the meantime. Even though Rosti-slav had successfully defended his dominion against Frankish attacks, in 87O he was finally betrayed by Svatopluk, his duke in Nitra. Svatopluk imprisoned St. Rostislav and turned him over to the Franks. St. Rostislav was tried and tortured in Regensburg for his love of his nation, of Christ and his true apostolic teaching. He was condemned to death by the Franks, blinded and thrown into jail. He died at the end of 870 in an unknown place after suffering terribly. St. Methodius was imprisoned on his way back to Greater Moravia. He was judged and beaten by Frankish bishops, and Greater Moravia was conquered and plundered by the Franks. Svatupluk, who had previously imposed the Frank¬ish interests on Moravia, betrayed Germans and renewed Greater Moravian independence. But the influence of Latin and Frankish interests im¬posed by the clergy on his court - and on him personally - remained strong. When the success of Svatopluk's policy was realized in 873 the Pope remembered the imprisoned Methodius and interceded so that he could return to his flock and apostolic work which had been initiated by St. Rostislav.

St. Duke Rostislav worked with St. Kyrillo and suffered with St. Methodius. He died for his na¬tion and for the true teaching of Christ. Later foreign influence demanded that his holy life and the apostolic work of the holy brothers had to be forgotten in Grater Moravia. St. Methodius' pupils were expelled from the territory and sold into slavery after their teacher's death, but God's providence saved their lives for blessed apos¬tolic work among the southern and eastern Sla¬vonic nations. St. Rostislav's efforts gave rise to fluorishing Slavonic churches and cultures among Bulgarians, Russians and Serbs. By officially canonizing St. Rostislav, The Orthodox Church in Czech lands and Slovakia pays its one thousand year debt to an enlightened ruler who initiated our true Christian spiritual culture and independence.

The Priest-martyr Joseph, First Metropolitan of Astrakhan

The Priest-martyr Joseph, First Metropolitan of Astrakhan, was born at Astrakhan in 1579. Having taken monastic vows, Saint Joseph at 52 years of age was raised to the dignity of archimandrite of the Astrakhan Trinity monastery. In 1656 he was at Moscow, after which he was elevated to the dignity of Metropolitan of Astrakhan. On 11 May 1672, during the time of an uprising of the townspeople, Sainted Joseph accepted a martyr's death at Astrakhan. This sad event was recorded in detail by eye-witnesses, priests of the Astrakhan cathedral -- Kirill and Peter. The priests took up the body of the martyr and, having dressed it in bishop's garb, they placed it in a prepared grave. On the following day, after doing a panikhida, the body of the saint was taken to one of the chapel churches and during the course of 9 days it remained unburied. The relics of the sainted-hierarch thereafter were placed into the grave and in a short while were glorified by miracles. The canonisation of the saint was done at the Local Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church in April 1918.

Sainted Nikodim, Archbishop of Serbia

Sainted Nikodim, Archbishop of Serbia, was hegumen of the Khilendaria monastery and was elevated to the dignity of bishop in the year 1316. Especially noteworthy is this, that in the year 1319 he translated into the Slavonic language and ordered into use in Serbia the Typikon (Ustav) of Saint Sava the Sanctified, of Jerusalem. Sainted Nikodim died in the year 1325.

May 12

The Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow

The Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, was glorified on May 12, 1913.

The memory of Patriarch Hermogenes as a holy martyr was passed on from generation to generation for three centuries, and people increasingly regarded him as an intercessor and supplicant for the Russian land before the Throne of the Almighty.

During terrible years of national hardship, the nation turned to the memory of the heroic Patriarch. The Russian people came to his tomb with their personal tribulations, sicknesses and infirmities, reverently asking the help of St Hermogenes, and the All-Merciful Lord rewarded their faith.

Believers from all ends of Russia began to flock to Moscow for the glorification of the hieromartyr Hermogenes 300 years after his death. Pilgrims hastened to venerate the relics of the holy Patriarch, in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin, where panikhidas were served almost without interruption.

On the eve of the glorification there was a procession with an icon of St Hermogenes, and after it a grave cover, on which the saint was depicted full-length in mantiya and holding a staff. Beside the icon of the Patriarch they carried an icon of St Dionysius of Radonezh, his fellow-struggler in spiritual and patriotic deeds for the liberation of the Russian land from Polish-Lithuanian usurpers.

On the bell tower of Ivan the Great hung a tremendous banner, "Rejoice, Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Great Intercessor of the Russian land." A hundred thousand candles blazed in the hands of believers. At the end of the procession, they began to chant the Paschal Canon and a Canon to St Hermogenes, at the shrine where the relics of the Patriarch rested.

The all-night Vigil took place under the open skies at all the Kremlin squares. On this night a number of healings occurred through the prayers of St Hermogenes. For example, a certain sick person came to the Dormition Cathedral on crutches, and was healed as he approached the shrine with the relics of the saint. Another sick person was healed, who had suffered from terrible crippling disease. They brought him to the reliquary of the hieromartyr Hermogenes on a stretcher, where he was completely cured. These and other similar healings, witnessed by a multitude of the faithful, were remarkable proofs of the holiness of the new Russian wonderworker.

On Sunday May 12, Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Dormition Cathedral. Presiding at the celebration of the solemn glorification of the new saint was His Beatitude Gregorios, Patriarch of Antioch. At the finish of Liturgy in all the churches of Moscow, Moliebens were served to St Hermogenes and a procession made to the Moscow Kremlin, in which more than twenty hierarchs took part. They accompanied the procession singing, "O Holy Hierarch Father Hermogenes, pray unto God for us." From this day the liturgical veneration of St Hermogenes began. Thus, the wish of the faithful Russian people was fulfilled. Through their prayers the Russian Orthodox Church received a heavenly patron.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Church established the commemoration of the hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus for February 17, the day of his repose (his life and works are found under this day), and May 12, the day of his glorification.

Great is the national significance of St Hermogenes, a tireless struggler for the purity of Orthodoxy and the unity of the Russian land. His ecclesial and civil activity during several centuries serves as an outstanding example of his ardent faith and love for the Russian people.

The ecclesial activity of the archpastor is characterized by an attentive and strict regard for church services. Under him were published a GOSPEL, a MENAION for September (1607), October (1609), November (1610), and for the first twelve days of December. The "Great Primary Rule" was printed in 1610. St Hermogenes did not merely give his blessing for this book, but carefully oversaw the accuracy of the text. With the blessing of St Hermogenes the Service to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called (November 30) also was translated from Greek into the Russian language, and his Feast began to be celebrated in the Dormition Cathedral.

Under the supervision of the Archpastor, new presses were made for printing service books, and a new print shop was built. This was damaged during the 1611 conflagration, when Moscow was burned by the Poles. Concerned about the order of divine services, St Hermogenes compiled a "Letter to all the People, Especially Priests and Deacons, on the Improvement of Church Singing." The "Letter" chastizes the clergy for performing Church services not according to the Typikon, for unnecessary talking, and lay people for their irreverent attitude toward the divine services.

The literary activity of the first hierarch of the Russian Church is widely known. He wrote "An Account of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the Service to this Icon (1594);" "A Letter to Patriarch Job, Containing an Account of the Kazan Martyrs" (1591), a collection of articles in which questions about divine services (1598) are examined; there are patriotic documents and appeals, directed to the Russian nation (1606-1613), and other works.

His contemporaries speak of Patriarch Hermogenes as a man of outstanding intellect and erudition, "a Master of great reason and thought," "very remarkable," "very accomplished in wisdom and refined in learning," "ever concerning himself about divine literature, and all the books about the Old Law and the New Grace, and pursuing to the end various Church rules and principles of law." St Hermogenes spent a lot of time in monastery libraries, especially in the library of the Moscow Chudov monastery, where he copied precious historical accounts from ancient manuscripts.

In the seventeenth century they called the Chronicle by His Holiness Patriarch Hermogenes the "Resurrection Chronicle." In the collected works of the saint and his archpastoral documents there are many quotations from Holy Scripture, and examples taken from history, which testify to his profound knowledge of the Word of God and his familiarity with the Church literature of his time.

Patriarch Hermogenes incorporated his research in his preaching and teaching. The saint's contemporaries regard the Archpastor as "a man of reverence," "purity of life," "a true shepherd of the flock of Christ," and "a sincere upholder of the Christian faith".

These qualities of St Hermogenes were quite especially apparent during the Time of Troubles, when the Russian land was overwhelmed by internal chaos, and worsened by Polish-Lithuanian intrigue. During this dark period, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church selflessly protected the Russian realm, by word and by deed defending the Orthodox Faith from Latinism, and also national unity from internal and external enemies. In saving his native land, St Hermogenes won the crown of a martyrdom, becoming a heavenly intercessor for Russia before the Throne of the Holy Trinity.

St Dionysius of Radonezh

St Dionysius of Radonezh, in the world David Zobninovsky, was born about 1570 in the city of Rzhev. A novice, and then head of the Staritsky Dormition monastery, during the Time of Troubles he was the foremost helper of St Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow.

From 1611, St Dionysius was archimandrite of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Under his administration, a house and hospice for the injured and those left homeless during the Polish-Lithuanian incursion was opened near the monastery. During a famine, he told the brethren of the Lavra to eat oat bread and water, leaving the wheat and the rye bread for the sick. In 1611-1612, he and the steward of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery, the monk Abraham Palitsyn (+ 1625), wrote letters asking the people of Nizhni-Novgorod and other cities to send fighting men and money to liberate Moscow from the Poles. He also wrote to Prince Demetrius Pozharsky and to all the military people, urging them to hasten the campaign for Moscow.

His monastic training helped St Dionysius to maintain his own inner light undiminished during the terrible years of this evil time. The saint achieved a high degree of spiritual pefection through unceasing prayer, which gave him the gift of working miracles. He carefully concealed his spiritual life from other people, who might suffer harm from a superficial knowledge of it.

"Do not ask a monk about things concerning his monastic life," said St Dionysius, "since for us monks, it is a great misfortune to reveal such secrets to laymen. It is written that what is done in secret should not be known, even by your own left hand. We must hide ourselves, so that what we do remains unknown, lest the devil lead us into all manner of negligence and indolence."

We can only measure his spiritual development, and the knowledge of God which he attained, by those things which became apparent when circumstances compelled St Dionysius to take an active part in the life of the world around him.

One such circumstance was his involvement in the revision of the service books. In 1616 St Dionysius spoke of work on correction of the Book of Needs by comparing it with the ancient Slavonic manuscripts and various Greek editions.

During their work, investigators discovered discrepancies in other books edited in the period between patriarchs (1612-1619). People did not understand what the editors were doing, so they accused St Dionysius and the others of heresy at a Council of 1618.

Deposed from his priestly rank and excommunicated from the Church, he was imprisoned in the Novospassky (New Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior) monastery, where they wanted to kill him by starvation. The intervention of Patriarch Philaretos of Moscow and Patriarch Theophanes of Jerusalem (1619-1633) won his release in 1619, and he was cleared of the charges against him.

St Dionysius was known for his strict observance of the monastery Rule, for sharing in monastery tasks and in the rebuilding of the monastery after the siege of the Lavra. The Life and Canon to the saint was composed by the Trinity-Sergiev monastery steward Simon Azaryn and augmented by the priest John Nasedka, a coworker of St Dionysius when he was correcting the service books.

St Dionysius reposed on May 12, 1633 and was buried in the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra.

Sainted Epiphanios, Bishop of Cyprus

Sainted Epiphanios, Bishop of Cyprus, lived during the IV Century in Phoenicia. By descent he was Jewish, and in his youth he received a fine education. He was converted to the Christian faith after he saw how a certain monk, Lucian by name, gave away his own clothing to a poor person. Struck by the compassion of the monk, Epiphanios besought him to instruct him in Christianity. He accepted Baptism and settled in the monastery, organised by his teacher Lucian. At the monastery he pursued asceticism under the guidance of the experienced elder Ilarion, and he occupied himself with the copying of Greek books and progressing in the monastic life. Saint Epiphanios for his ascetic deeds was granted the gift of wonderworking, but in order to avoid human glory, he set out from the monastery into the Spanidrion wilderness. Robbers caught him there and held him for three months in captivity. By his talk about repentance, the saint brought one of the gang of robbers to the holy faith in the True God. When they set free the holy ascetic, with him also went the robber. Saint Epiphanios took him to his monastery and baptised him with the name John. And from that time he became a faithful disciple of Saint Epiphanios, and he carefully recorded in writing about the life and miracles of his preceptor. Reports about the righteous life of Saint Epiphanios spread far beyond the bounds of the monastery. The saint set out a second time into the wilderness with his disciple John. But even in the wilderness disciples started to come to him. Thus emerged a new monastery. After a certain while Saint Epiphanios undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for veneration of its holy artifacts and from there returned to the Spanidrion monastery. The people of the city of Lycia dispatched the monk Polybios to Saint Epiphanios with a request to occupy the bishop's throne of their dead archpastor. But the perspicacious ascetic, having learned of this intention, secretly set out into the Pathysian wilderness to the great ascetic Ilarion (Comm. 21 October), under whose guidance he pursued asceticism in his youthful years. The saints spent two months in mutual prayer, and then Ilarion sent Saint Epiphanios to Salamis. Bishops were gathered there for the selecting of a new archpastor in place of one recently died. The Lord revealed to the eldest of them, Bishop Papios, that the Monk Epiphanios arriving in the city should be chosen bishop. When Epiphanios arrived, Saint Papios led him into the church, where in obedience to the will of the participants of the Council, Epiphanios was obliged to give his consent. Thus occurred the elevation of Saint Epiphanios to the bishop's cathedra of Salamis in about the year 367.

Sainted Epiphanios won reknown upon the archpastoral chair by his great zeal for the faith, love and charity towards the poor, and simplicity of character. He underwent much from the slander and enmity of some of his clergy. For his purity of life, Sainted Epiphanios received the granting to see at Divine Liturgy the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Holy Gifts. One time the saint, celebrating the Mystery, was deprived of this vision. He then became suspicious of one of the clergy and quietly said to him: "Depart, my son, since today thou art unworthy to participate at the celebrating of the Mystery".

On this event the writings of his disciple John break off, since he then fell sick and died. The further record of the life of Saint Epiphanios was continued by a second of his disciples, Polybios (afterwards bishop of city of Rinocyreia).

Through the intrigues of the empress Eudoxia and the Alexandria patriarch Theophilos, towards the end of his life Saint Epiphanios was summoned to Constantinople for a church council, which was convened for judgement upon the great saint, John Chrysostom (Comm. 14 September and 13 November). But Saint Epiphanios, not wanting to take part in a lawless council, left Constantinople. While sailing upon the ship, the saint sensed the nearness of his death, and he gave his disciples final instructions -- to keep the Commandments of God and to preserve the mind from impure thoughts -- and two days later he died. The people of Salamis met the body of their archpastor with carriages, and on 12 May 403 they buried him with reverence in a new church built by the saint.

The Seventh OEcumenical Council (Sobor) named Sainted Epiphanios as a Father and Teacher of the Church. In the writings of Saint Epiphanios, the "Panarion" and the "Ankoratos" contain refutation of the Arian and other heresies. In others of his works are encountered valuable church-historical traditions and directives on the Greek translation of the Bible.

St. Ethelhard, Archbishop of Canterbury

St. Ethelhard was the fourteenth Archbishop of Canterbury, England, date of birth unknown; died 12 May, 805. Much obscurity surrounds the details of his life previous to his election. He is described by Symeon of Durham as "Abbas Hludensis Monasterii", but it is uncertain what monastery is thus designated. It has been variously located at Louth in Lincolnshire (the most probable identification), Lydd, and Luddersdown in Kent, and at Malmesbury. William of Malmesbury is certainly mistaken in identifying him with Ethelhard, ninth Bishop of Winchester.

The rise of Offa, King of the Mercians (757-796), had divided England into three great states: Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex. The king sought to consolidate his kingdom by giving it an independent ecclesiastical organization; for although Northumbria had its own archbishopric at York, Mercia, after conquering Kent, was still ecclesiastically subject to the powerful see of Canterbury, then ruled over by Jaenbert (766-791). Offa's scheme was to weaken Canterbury's influence by dividing the southern province, and creating a Mercian archbishopric at Lichfield: this he successfully accomplished when on the occasion of the Legatine visit of George and Theophylact, sent by Pope Hadrian I (772-795) in 786-788, Higbert received the pallium as Archbishop of Lichfield, and Canterbury was left with only London, Winchester, Sherborne, Rochester, and Selsey as suffragan sees. On the death of Jaenbert (12 Aug., 791), Ethelhard was raised to the see through the influence of Offa, which makes it likely that he was a Mercian abbot. Although he was elected in 791, his consecration only took place on 21 July, 793: the delay being probably due to the unwillingness of the Kentish clergy and people to receive a Mercian archbishop, and to his being consecrated by the Archbishop of Lichfield. Had Offa's policy of separate ecclesiastical organization prevailed, it would have impeded the attainment of national unity, and its defeat by Ethelhard is an event of the greatest importance in the history of the making of the English nation. During Offa's lifetime little could be done to restore Canterbury's rights and prestige. The year 796 was full of incident: the nobles of Kent rose in arms, and rallying round Eadbert Praen, a cleric and a member of their royal house, endeavoured to shake off the yoke of the Mercian Offa. As Ethelhard's difficulties increased Alcuin exhorted him not to desert his Church; but after taking severe ecclesiastical measures against the recalcitrant cleric he was obliged to flee. Offa died on 26 July. His successor Egfrith died after a very short reign, about 13 Dec.; Cenwulf succeeded in Mercia, but the struggle continued in Kent until the capture of Eadbert in 798.

The co-operation of Ethelhard and Cenwulf in deposing Eadbert, and in upholding the Mercian cause in Kent, increased the importance of Canterbury, and the archiepiscopal authority of Higbert waned. Cenwulf restored an estate taken from Canterbury by Offa, and wrote in 798 to Pope Leo asking him to examine into the question of the diminution of the rights of that see, and enclosing a letter from Ethelhard and his suffragans. Ethelhard meanwhile had returned to his see, and Alcuin wrote exhorting him to do penance for having deserted it. The success of Abbot Wada's mission to Rome, the tone of the letter of Leo III to Cenwulf, and the successful conference with Eanbald II of York, with reference to the restoration of the rights of his see, determined Ethelhard to set out for Rome in 801. Alcuin's friendship once more stood him in good stead; he sent a servant to meet him at St. Josse-sur-mer, and furnished him with letters of recommendation to Charles the Great. Success attended his efforts in Rome. Pope Leo III (795-816) granted his request, and ended the dispute between Canterbury and Lichfield by depriving Lichfield of its recently acquired honours and powers. The pope's decision was officially acknowledged by the Council of Clovesho on 12 Oct., 803, in presence of Cenwulf and his Witan, and Higbert was deprived of his pallium, in spite of Alcuin's plea that so good a man should be spared that humiliation.

It is during Ethelhard's occupancy of the See of Canterbury that we first meet with official records of the profession of faith and obedience made by the English bishops-elect to their metropolitan. The first document of that type is the profession of obedience to the See of Canterbury made in 796 by Bishop Eadulf of Linsey, who, as a suffragan of Lichfield, ought to have been consecrated by Higbert: it would appear to coincide with the collapse of Higbert's archiepiscopal authority at the death of Offa.

Sainted Sabinos, Bishop of Cyprus

Sainted Sabinos, Bishop of Cyprus, was born in the Phoenician city of Lyceia. Having learned of the reknown ascetic, -- the Monk Epiphanios of Cyprus, Sabinos journeyed to him and took monastic vows. During the course of five years he pursued asceticism with the Monk Epiphanios in the wilderness. Afterwards he wrote about the life and doings of Saint Epiphanios. When Sainted Epiphanios was elevated to the Cypriot cathedra (bishop's chair), he then ordained Saint Sabinos to the dignity of presbyter. After the death of his ordaining-bishop and spiritual guide, Sainted Sabinos became his successor upon the Cyprus cathedra. The sagacious archpastor zealously fulfilled a new obedience, defending the Church from heretics. He died in his declining years in the mid-V Century.

Sainted Polybios

Sainted Polybios was from his youthful years a disciple of Saint Epiphanios of Cyprus; he accompanied him on all his journeys and he wrote down about the life and miracles of his teacher.

Saint Polybios accompanied Saint Epiphanios when he was returning from Constantinople, -- not wanting to take part in the council condemning Saint John Chrysostomos. Dying, Saint Epiphanios instructed Saint Polybios: "Go to Egypt, and after death I shall concern myself about thee". Saint Polybios with humility fulfilled the bidding of his teacher and, not waiting for the burial of the body, he set out to Egypt, where he was made bishop of the city of Rinocyreia. For his virtuous ascetic life, Saint Polybios was granted the gift of wonderworking. Thus, the Lord once through his prayer sent rain during a time of drought and made abundant the harvest upon the fields. Saint Polybios reposed to God in old age in the V Century.

Sainted Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople

Sainted Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople, was born at Constantinople in the VII Century. His father, one of the foremost senators in Byzantium, was killed by order of the emperor Constantine Pogonatos (668-685), and the boy Germanos was emasculated and given over to church clergy, where he deeply studied Holy Scripture. For his sanctity of life, Germanos was made bishop in the city of Kizikum. Saint Germanos rose up steadfastly in defense of the Orthodox faith against the iconoclast heretics. He was later made patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Germanos continued to stand up against the iconoclasts and to their spokesman, the emperor-heretic Leo III the Isaurian (717-741). But the contest was unequal, and he was forced to put his omophor upon the prestol' (altar-table) in the altar, and to resign the archpastoral cathedra. Then the enraged emperor, -- having accused the Patriarch the day before of heresy, sent soldiers, who subjected the saint to beatings and threw him out of the patriarchal residence. Saint Germanos was Patriarch for 14 years and 5 months. He settled into a monastery, where he spent the remaining days of his life. Holy Patriarch Germanos died in the year 740, at age 95, and was buried in the Khoron monastery in Constantinople. Afterwards his relics were transferred to France.

At the Seventh OEcumenical Council (787), the name of Patriarch Germanos was written into the diptych-list of the saints. Written by him was: "Meditation on church matters or Commentary on the liturgy"; also a composition, devoted to an explanation of difficult places of Holy Scripture, and another work concerning the rewards of the righteous after death. Providing a wealth of historical accounts is his important work about the various heresies that had arisen since apostolic times, and also about the church councils taking place during the reign of the emperor Leo the Iconoclast. There are preserved also three missives from the Patriarch about the veneration of icons, which were read at the Seventh OEcumenical Council. His other works present his hymns in praise of the saints, discourses on the feasts of the Entry into the Temple, the annunciation and the Uspenie (Repose) of the MostHoly Mother of God, and on the restoration of the church in honour of the Placing of the Venerable Belt (Poyas, Zona) of the MostHoly Mother of God.

The PriestMartyr Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus'

The PriestMartyr Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus', was glorified into the rank of the saints on 12 May 1913.

During the course of three centuries from generation to generation the memory of Patriarch Ermogen as a sainted bishop-martyr was passed on, and popular faith in him grew as an intercessor and supplicant for the Russian land before the Throne of the Almighty. During terrible years of national hardship, the supplicative thought of the nation turned itself to the memory of the heroic Patriarch. The Russian people came to his tomb with their personal tribulations, sickness and infirmity, reverently asking help of sainted Ermogen, believing him a fervent suppliant and intercessor before the Lord. And the All-Merciful Lord rewarded their belief...

Towards the day of his solemn glorification -- 300 years from the time of death of the Priest-martyr Ermogen, -- believers from all ends of Russia began to flock to Moscow. Pilgrims hastened to venerate the relics of the holy Patriarch, located in the Uspensky Sobor (Dormition Cathedral) of the Kremlin, where panikhidai were done almost without interruption. On the eve of the glorification a procession was made, at the head of which they carried an icon of Saint Ermogen, and after it a grave-cover, on which the saint was depicted full-length in mantle and with staff. Alongside the icon of the Patriarch they carried an icon of the Monk Dionisii of Radonezh -- his fellow-striver in the spiritual and the patriotic deeds in the liberation of the Russian land from Polish-Lithuanian usurpers. At the bell-tower of Ivan the Great glistened a tremendous banner: "Rejoice, Priest-Martyr Ermogen, Great Intercessor of the Russian land". An hundred thousand candles blazed in the hands of believers proclaiming the Saint of God. At the conclusion of the procession, -- at the shrine with the relics of the Patriarch, they began readings of the Paschal Canon together with an appended Canon to Sainted Ermogen.

The all-night vigil was done under the open skies on all the Kremlin squares. On this night there occurred a number of healings through the graced prayers of Sainted Ermogen. Thus, for example, a certain sick person came to the Uspensky Sobor on crutches, but became aware of healing as he approached the shrine with the relics of the Saint. Another sick person was healed, having suffered from terrible crippling. They brought him on a stretcher to the reliquary of the Priest-martyr Ermogen, where he received full healing. These and other similar healings, eye-witnessed by a multitude of the faithful, became remarkable proofs of the saintliness of the new Russian wonderworker.

On Sunday, 12 May, at 10:00 in the morning was celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Uspensky Sobor. At the celebration of the solemn glorification of the new Saint was His Beatitude Gregorios, Patriarch of Antioch, presiding over the service. At the finish of Liturgy in all the churches of Moscow there were served moliebens to Sainted Ermogen and procession made to the Moscow Kremlin, -- in which took part more than 20 hierarchs, accompanying the solemn procession singing: "O Holy Hierarchical Father Ermogen, pray unto God for us". From this day began liturgical veneration of Sainted Ermogen. Thus was fulfilled the wish of the faithful Russian people, through whose prayers the Russian Orthodox Church received a beneficent Heavenly Patron of the Fatherland.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Church established as days of celebration to the Priest-Martyr Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus': 17 February -- his repose (the account about his life and works are located under this day), and 12 May -- his glorification into the ranks of Sainted-hierarchs.

Great is the all-national significance of Sainted Ermogen, a tireless struggler for the purity of Orthodoxy and the unity of the Russian land. His ecclesial and civil-patriotic activity during the course of several centuries serves as an outstanding example of his ardent faith and love for the Russian people. The ecclesial activity of the Arch-hierarch is characterised by an attentive and strict regard for Divine-services. Under him were published: a Gospel, a Monthly Meneion for September (1607), October (1609), November (1610), and the first twelve days of December, and also there was printed the "Great Primary Ustav / Rule" in 1610. In this Sainted Ermogen did not limit himself to providing a blessing of the edition, but carefully oversaw the accuracy of the text. With the blessing of Sainted Ermogen also was translated from Greek into the Russian language the Service to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called (Comm. 30 November) and the celebration of memory was initiated in the Uspensky Sobor. Under the supervision of the Arch-hierarch, there were made new presses for the printing of Divine-service books and a new building for printing was built, -- which however was damaged during the time of the 1611 conflagration, when Moscow was burnt by the Poles. Concerned about the order of Divine-services, Saint Ermogen compiled a "Missive directed to all the people, especially priests and deacons, about the improvement of Church singing". The "Missive" chastises clergy-servers in the non-ustav doing of Church services -- for much-talking, and laypeople for irreverent attitudes towards Divine-services.

The literary activity of the Arch-hierarch of the Russian Church is widely known. He wrote: -- An Account about the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the Service to this Icon (1594); A Missive to Patriarch Job, containing an account about the Kazan Martyrs (1591); a collection of articles in which are examined questions about Divine-services (1598); patriotic documents and appeals, directed to the Russian nation (1606-1613), and other works.

The remarks of his contemporaries speak of Patriarch Ermogen as a man of outstanding mind and erudition: "a Master of great reason and thought and of sharp mind", "very remarkable and of much deliberation", "very accomplished of wisdom and refined in book learning", "ever concerning himself about Divine literature and all the books about the Old Law and the New Grace, and chasing down to the end various Church ustavs and law principles". Saint Ermogen busied himself much in the monastic libraries, foremost of which, -- in the very rich library of the Moscow Chudov monastery, where he copied out from ancient manuscripts very precious historical accounts, located in the their original in the chronicle manuscripts. In the XVII Century they called the Chronicle by His Holiness Patriarch Ermogen the "Voskresensk Chronicle". In the collected works of the Arch-pastor of the Russian Church and his arch-pastoral documents there are constantly encountered references to Holy Scripture, and examples taken from history, that testify to his profound knowledge of the Word of God and his erudition in the Church literature of his time.

Patriarch Ermogen brought together and displayed aspects from this erudition in his preaching and teaching. The remarks of his contemporaries characterise the moral figure of the Arch-hierarch as "a man of reverence", "of known purity of life", "a true pastor of the flock of Christ", "a sincere upholder of the Christian faith".

These qualities of Saint Ermogen were quite especially apparent during the Time of Troubles, when the Russian land was overwhelmed by the misfortune of internal chaos, and worsened by the Polish-Lithuanian intrigue. During this dark period, the Arch-hierarch of the Russian Church selflessly guarded the Russian realm, by word and by deed defending the Orthodox faith from Latinism, and also the unity of the Fatherland from enemies both internal and external. For his act of saving his native land, Sainted Ermogen won the crown of a martyr's death, having passed over into an Heavenly and graciously prayerful intercessor for our fatherland before the Throne of the Holy Trinity.

The Monk Dionysii of Radonezh

The Monk Dionysii of Radonezh, -- in the world David Zobninovsky, was born about 1570 in the city of Rzhev. A novice, and then head of the Staritsk Uspenie monastery, -- during the time of the Time of Troubles he was the foremost helper of Sainted Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow. From 1611 the Monk Dionysii was archimandrite of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Under him, in the monastery environs was opened an house and hospice for the suffering, the injured and those left homeless during the time of the Polish-Lithuanian incursion. During time of famine under his direction the brethren of the Lavra ate oat bread and water, in order to save the wheat and the rye bread for the sick. In 1611-1612, together with the steward of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery -- the monk Avraam Palitsyn (+ 1625), he wrote circulative missives with an appeal to send fighting men and monetary means for the liberation of Moscow from the Poles, and also to prince Dimitrii Pozharsky and to all the military people with an appeal to hasten the campaign upon Moscow.

Monastery schooling helped the Monk Dionysii during the very difficult circumstances of the bad years to preserve unextinguished his inner light of the commands of Christ. An high degree of monastic attainment, reached by the monk through unceasing prayer, imparted to him a gift of wonderworking. But he carefully kept secret his spiritual life from people, to whom this knowledge might serve only to detriment. "Ask not the monk about the doings of the monk, -- said the Monk Dionysii, -- since for us, monks, it is a great misfortune -- to reveal secrets to laymen. It is written about this, that let it be done in secret, so that thy left hand not steal it away... it behooves us to be secretive, so that our deeds be unknown, since by this the devil cannot lead us to all manner of negligence and indolence". About the deep inner ponderings and comprehensions by him of secrets of the knowledge of God it is possible to judge only by those things which became apparent, when circumstances compelled the Monk Dionysii to openly active deeds.

One such known event was his propensity for correction of the Divine-service books. In 1616 the Monk Dionysii spoke of work on correction of the printed Trebnik (Needs-Book) -- on the basis of comparison of the ancient Slavonic manuscripts and various Greek editions. During the time of work, investigators discovered discrepancies in other books, edited in the period between patriarchs (1612-1619). But in response to these shortcomings, people accused the Monk Dionysii of heresy at a Council of 1618. Deprived of the right of priestly-service and excommunicated from the Church, he was imprisoned in the Novospassky monastery, where they wanted to kill him by starvation. The intervention in 1619 of the Jerusalem Patriarch Philaret (1619-1633) halted his imprisonment, and he was cleared of the charges. The Monk Dionysii was known for his strict oversight of the monastery ustav (rule), for his personal participation with the brethren in monastery tasks and in the rebuilding of the monastery after the siege of the Lavra. The Life of and Canon to the monk was composed by the Trinity-Sergiev monastery steward Simon Azaryn and added to by the priest Ioann Nasedka, a co-worker of the Monk Dionysii during the time of correcting the Divine-service books. The Monk Dionysii reposed on 12 May 1633 and was buried in the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra.

The Holy Martyr Pancratius

The Holy Martyr Pancratius was a native of Phrygia, and as a fourteen year old youth he suffered martyrdom at Rome for his faith in Christ during the time of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305). His relics were buried in a Roman church, named in his honour. The Martyr Pancratius is especially venerated by the Western Church.

The Holy Martyr John Vlakhos

The Holy Martyr John Vlakhos, born of a boyar, at age fifteen fell into captivity to the Turks and was taken to Constantinople. For his refusal to violate Christianity and accept Islam, he was hung by the Turks after fierce tortures on 12 May 1662 at Parmak-kapi.

Saint Philp Argyrius

Saint Philp Argyrius (Silversmith) was a deacon, and then presbyter during the reign of the emperor Arcadius (395-408). For his holiness of life he was vouchsafed the gift of casting out demons. The saint of God died at the beginning of the V Century, and his body was buried in the city of Arcironum in Sicily.

May 13

Saint Glyceria

Saint Glyceria suffered as a martyr for her faith in Christ in the II Century, during the time of a persecution against Christians under the emperor Antoninus (138-161). She was descended from illustrious lineage: her father Macarius was the city-governor of Rome, and afterwards he resettled to the Thracian city of Trojanopolis. But Saint Glyceria early on lost both her father and mother. Falling in with Christians, she converted to the true faith, and daily she visited the church of God. The Trojanopolis governor, Sabinus, having received the imperial edict about compelling Christians to offer sacrifice to the idols, and so he set the inhabitants of the city a day of general worship of the idol Zeus. Saint Glyceria firmly resolved to suffer for Christ, she told the Christians about her intention, and she besought them to pray that the Lord would send her the strength to undergo the sufferings. On the festal day of Zeus Saint Glyceria, having traced on her forehead the Sign of the Cross, went into the pagan temple; the saint stood on a raised spot in the rays of the sun, and snatched from her head the veil, showing all the holy Cross, traced on her forehead. She prayed heatedly to God, that He should bring the pagans to their senses and destroy the stone idol of Zeus. Suddenly thunder was heard, the statue of Zeus crashed to the floor and smashed into little pieces. In a rage, the governor Sabinus and the pagan priests commanded the people to pelt Saint Glyceria with stones, but the stones that were thrown did not touch the saint. They locked up Saint Glyceria in prison, where the Christian priest Philokrates came to her and encouraged the martyress in the deed before her. In the morning, when the tortures had started, suddenly amidst the torturers there appeared an Angel, and they all fell to the ground, overcome with terror. When the vision vanished, then by order of Sabinus, himself hardly able to speak, they again led off the saint to prison. They securely shut the door and sealed it with the personal ring of the governor, so that no one could get in to her. During all her time of being thus locked in, Angels of God brought Saint Glyceria food and drink. Some many days afterwards Sabinus came to the prison and he himself removed the seal. Going in to the saint, he was shaken, seeing her alive and well. Setting off for the city of Heraclium, Sabinus gave orders to bring along there also Saint Glyceria. From this city there came out to meet her the Christians of Heraclium with the bishop Dometius at the head, and in front of everyone he uttered a prayer to the Lord for strengthening the saint in the act of martyrdom. At Heraclium they cast Saint Glyceria into a red-hot furnace, but the fire in it at once extinguished. Then the governor, in a mindless fury, gave orders to strip the skin from the head of Saint Glyceria. Then they threw the bared martyress into prison onto sharp stones, where she prayed incessantly, and at midnight in the prison there appeared an Angel which healed her of her wounds. The prison guard Laodicius, having come in the morning for the saint, at first did not recognise her, and thinking that the martyress had been hidden away he wanted to kill himself in fear of punishment, but Saint Glyceria stopped him. Shaken by the miracle, Laodicius believed in the True God and he besought prayers of the saint, that he also might suffer and die for Christ together with her. "Follow Christ and thou wilt be saved", -- the holy martyress answered him. Laodicius placed upon himself the chains, with which the saint was bound, and at the trial he declared to the governor and everyone present about the miraculous healing of Saint Glyceria by an Angel and he confessed himself a Christian. The newly chosen one of God was immediately beheaded by the sword. Christians, having secretly taken up his remains, reverently gave them burial, but Saint Glyceria was given over for devouring by wild beasts. She went to execution with great joy, but the lioness set loose upon the saint meekly crawled up to her and, curling up, lay at her feet. Finally, the saint turned with a prayer to the Lord, imploring that He take her unto Himself. In answer she heard a Voice from Heaven, summoning her to the Heavenly bliss. At this moment there was set loose upon the saint another lioness, which pounced upon the martyress and killed her, but did not rend her apart. Bishop Dometius and the Heraclium Christians reverently buried the holy Martyress Glyceria. She suffered for Christ in about the year 177. Her holy relics were glorified with a flow of curative myrh.

Righteous Saint Glykeria, Novgorod Maiden

Righteous Saint Glykeria, Novgorod Maiden, daughter of Panteleimon, a starosta of Legoscha Street in Novgorod. The saint died in about the year 1522. Her incorrupt relics, based on the testimony of the second Novgorod Chronicle, were uncovered on 14 July 1572 near the stone church in honour of Sts. Florus and Laurus. The Novgorod archbishop Leonid with an assemblage of clergy gave them solemn burial in this church. During the time of interment, healings occurred from the relics of the saint.

The Monk Makarii of Glushitsk

The Monk Makarii of Glushitsk: On this day is celebrated the memory of his repose. The Monk Makarii was buried in the Glushitsk Pokrov-Protection monastery. His memory is celebrated a second time on 12 October, amidst other Glushitsk saints. A short account about the Monk Makarii is located under 12 October.

The Holy Martyr Alexander

The Holy Martyr Alexander suffered for Christ at the beginning of the IV Century. He was a soldier, and he served in the regiment of the tribune Tiberian at Rome. He was age 18, when the Roman emperor Maximian Hercules (284-305) issued an edict, that on a designated day all the citizenry was to appear at the temple of Zeus outside the city for the offering of sacrifice. The tribune Tiberian assembled his soldiers and he ordered them to go to this festival, but the youth Alexander, raised from childhood in the Christian faith, refused and he declared that he would not offer sacrifice to devils. Tiberian, out of fear for himself, reported to the emperor Maximian that in his regiment there was a soldier, who was a Christian. Soldiers were immediately dispatched for Alexander. During this time Alexander was asleep. An Angel roused him and announced to the youth about his impending act of martyrdom, and that he would constantly be with him during this time. When the soldiers arrived, Alexander came out to meet them; his face shone with so bright a light, that the soldiers in glancing at him fell to the ground. The saint upbraided them and besought them to fulfill the orders given them. Standing before Maximian, Saint Alexander boldly confessed his faith in Christ and he refused to worship the idols, adding moreover, that he was afraid neither of the emperor, nor of his threats. The emperor tried to persuade the youth with promises of honours, but Alexander remained steadfast in his confession, and he denounced the emperor and all the pagans. They began torturing the holy martyr, but he bravely endured all the sufferings. Maximian remanded Saint Alexander back under the authority of the tribune Tiberian, who was being sent to Thrace for the persecution of Christians there. So they led off the martyr, fettered in chains, to Thrace. At this time the Angel of the Lord made it known to Saint Alexander's mother, Pimenia, about the martyr's deed of her son. Pimenia found her son in the city of Carthage, where he stood before Tiberian at trial and again he steadfastly confessed himself a Christian. They subjected him to torture before the eyes of his mother, and then they ordered the prisoner on the way to his final journey, behind the chariot of Tiberian. The brave Pimenia asked the soldiers to let her go up to her son and she encouraged him to undergo the torments for Christ. The soldiers were astonished at the stoic strength of the martyr and they said one to another: "Great is the Christian God!". The Angel appeared several times to the martyr, strengthening him. By night a fearsome Angel with sword in hand appeared to Tiberian, and commanded the tribune to hasten on his way to Byzantium, since the end was drawing near for the holy martyr. Tiberian continued on his way with haste. In the city of Philippopolis Tiberian made anew the trial over Saint Alexander, in the presence of the city dignitaries gathered for this event. And at this trial Saint Alexander likewise remained steadfast. During the time of his grievous journey the holy martyr had been repeatedly subjected to cruel torments, but strengthened by God, he endured all the torments and he himself provided strength for the soldiers weakened by thirst, having besought of the Lord a spring of water for them. During the time remaining on the journey, the martyr prayed beneathe a tree for strength in his sufferings, and the fruit and leaves of this tree received a curative power. At a place, named Burtodexion, the saint again met up with his mother Pimenia, who with weeping fell down at his feet. The holy martyr said to her: "Weep not, my mother, the morning after the day following the Lord shalt help me finish matters". In the city of Drizipera Tiberian imposed the death sentence on the saint. Before death the holy martyr gave thanks to the Lord, for that the Lord had given him the strength to undergo all the innumerable torments and to accept a martyr's end. The soldier, who was supposed to carry out the execution, besought the forgiveness of the saint and for a long while he could not bring himself to lift his hand with the sword, since he saw Angels coming for the soul of the martyr. Through the prayer of the saint, the Angels became invisible to the executioner, and only then did he cut off the saint's holy head. The body of the saint was cast into a river, but four dogs dragged it out of the water, and they would not let anyone near it, until Saint Alexander's mother Pimenia came. She took up the remains of her martyred son and reverently gave them burial near the River Erigona. At the grave of Saint Alexander healings at once began. Soon the holy martyr appeared to his mother in a dream, in which he comforted her and related, that soon she too would be transported to the Heavenly habitations.

Saint Pausikakios, Bishop of Synada

Saint Pausikakios, Bishop of Synada, lived at the end of the VI Century in the Syrian city of Apameia. He had been raised since childhood in the Christian faith by his pious parents, and he began in youth to lead an ascetic life of prayer, vigil and fasting. He was given by the Lord the gift of treating sicknesses of both soul and body. The Constantinople Patriarch Kyriakos (591-606) ordained Saint Pausikakios as bishop of Synada. Saint Pausikakios was zealous in his concern that in his flock there should be neither heretics nor dissolute people. He constantly taught his flock about the virtuous life, and his discourse was always powerful and lively. Having come to Constantinople on affairs of the Church, he healed the emperor Maurice of sickness, and on his return journey he besought of the Lord water for the quenching the thirst of his companions: after the prayer of the saint there issued forth from the ground a spring of pure water. Saint Pausikakios died peacefully in the year 606.

The Holy Confessor George

The Holy Confessor George suffered for the veneration of holy icons at Constantinople in the first half of the IX Century. The emperor Theophilos demanded that Saint George renounce the veneration of holy icons, but the brave confessor refused the order, and declared to the impious emperor, that in venerating holy icons, we give worship to their eternal Primal-Image {i.e. Christ the Logos]. For his disobedience, the emperor gave orders to take away and seize the property of Saint George, and with a rope about his neck to drag him through the streets of Constantinople and then cast him into prison. After this, Saint George was sent off into exile, together with his wife Irene and their children. Having suffered in exile much affliction, the holy Confessor George died.

May 14

The Holy Martyr Isidor

The Holy Martyr Isidor lived during the III Century on the Island of Chios, and was a native of Alexandria. During the first year of rule of the emperor Decius (249-251) there was issued an edict to make a census of all those capable to serve in the armies of the Roman empire. Saint Isidor, tall and strong of body, was drafted into the regiment of the military-commander Numerius. Saint Isidor was a Christian, he led a life of temperance and abstinence, he was chaste and he shunned all the pagan customs. Another imperial edict then commanded, that all the soldiers were to worship the Roman pagan gods and to offer them sacrifice. Not to obey the edict carried the penalty of torture and death. The centurion reported to the military-commander Numerius, that Isidor was a Christian. At the interrogation before Numerius Saint Isidor without flinching confessed his faith in Christ the Saviour and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. Numerius urged the saint not to expose himself to tortures and to obey the will of the emperor, but Saint Isidor answered, that he would obey only the will of the eternal God, Christ the Saviour, and never would he renounce Him. The saint was handed over to torture. During the time of torments he praised Christ God and denounced the pagan idols. The military-commander gave orders to cut out the tongue of the saint, but even after this the saint continued distinctly to give glory to Christ. Numerius in fright fell to the ground and himself lost the gift of speech. Getting up with the help of soldiers, by means of gestures he demanded a small board and on it wrote an order -- to cut off the head of Saint Isidor. Saint Isidor welcomed his death sentence with joy and said: "I glorify Thee, O my Master, that by Thy mercy Thou hast accepted me in Thine Heavenly Habitation!" The death of the martyr occurred in the year 251. After execution his body was cast out without burial, but another saint, the secret Christian Ammonios, took up his body and committed it to earth. Later on Ammonios himself accepted a martyr's death in the city of Kyzikos (Comm. 4 September).

At the beginning of the XII Century the Russian pilgrim Daniel saw the relics of the holy Martyr Isidor on the Island of Chios. His relics were later transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of Saint Irene.

Saint Isidor Tverdislov

Saint Isidor Tverdislov ("Constant of Word"), Fool-for-Christ, Rostov Wonderworker: He was born in Germany of rich parents and "from his youth" he had "a life unsullied and an understanding compassionate". Having left his parental home "desiring the Kingdom of God", Saint Isidor distributed his riches to the poor, and with the staff of a wanderer he went off about many lands and cities (it is unknown where he accepted the Holy Orthodox faith -- since he was raised in Catholicism). Finally, he arrived in Russia and he chose the place of his dwelling, Rostov. Here Saint Isidor, "in filth and snow and rain and cold" and "enduring every outrage", settled in a rickety wooden hut that he himself had made. He chose "a miserable and foolish manner of life as in the Epistle (1 Cor. 4: 10-13)" for the sake of Christ. Saint Isidor spent all his time at unceasing prayer, not giving himself over to "endless drowsing" and "rest". "He stood at all-night vigil and praise" to render his body "everlastingly to God". By day the blessed one made his rounds of the city, doing his deed as fool. "Like unto Job of old in patience", Blessed Isidor in the expression of Holy Church while still alive was "like an earthly angel and an heavenly man". "Having a soul compassionate, and pure of thought, and vigilant heart and faith unassailed, and true love without pretense", he was glorified during his life to work miracles. Saint Isidor reposed in the year 1474. They learned about his death only in that passing by his hut they perceived an especial fragrance. At the place of his burial in the city of Rostov was built the church of the Ascension of the Lord, in which through the present his relics rest in a crypt as a source of miracles. Blessed Isidor is termed "Tverdislov" ("Constant of Word") since that he spoke constantly. [trans. note: the title "Tverdislov" seems unique to Saint Isidor; this supplemental account of him is from the 1900 Bulgakov NaStol'naya Kniga.]

The Monk Nikita, Hermit of Kievo-Pechersk

The Monk Nikita, Hermit of Kievo-Pechersk, Bishop of Novgorod (+ 1109): The memory of Sainted Nikita was earliest celebrated on 14 May by Novgorod, where his relics are situated. The memory of the saint is also celebrated on 31 January, the Day of His Repose, and on 30 April, the Day of the Uncovering of Relics (1558).

The Holy Martyr Maximos

The Holy Martyr Maximos suffered under the emperor Decius (249-251). Maximos was a layman and plied the trade of merchant. He was a pious Christian and he led many pagans to faith in Christ the Saviour, and persuaded them to accept Baptism. One time, when the pagans had gathered for offering to their gods an human sacrifice, Saint Maximos plucked up his courage, and unable to bear the sight of such a spectacle, he rushed at them, loudly denouncing their impiety and error, calling the idols soulless creations of mankind. The frenzied pagans stoned the martyr to death.

The Monk Serapion

The Monk Serapion lived during the V Century in Egypt. He was called the Syndonite-wearer since he wore only a coarse linen garb, called a "syndon". From the time of his youth the monk lived, like the birds of the sky, not having a shelter, and for several days at a time he did not eat, not having the means to buy bread. He gave away his syndon-garb to a beggar, shivering from the cold, and he himself remained half-naked. A certain Greek philosopher, wanting to test the non-covetousness of the monk, one time gave the monk a gold coin and kept an eye on him. The saint went to the bread market, bought with it one loaf of bread, gave the merchant the gold coin and left, having no regard for the exchange value of the money. Saint Serapion by a special path led many on the way of salvation. One time he gave himself over into slavery to a Greek actor, whom he saw fit to convert to Christ. The actor, imitating the example of the holy life of the saint, believed and was baptised together with all his family. He besought Saint Serapion to remain with him not as a servant, but as a guide and friend, but the monk withdrew, not taking any of the money offered him. Having set off to Rome, Saint Serapion got on a ship, but paid nothing to the ship-owners. At first they began to reproach him for this, but noticing that the elder had gone five days already without eating, they began to feed him for the sake of God and in this they fulfilled the command of the Lord. At Rome the monk continued to wander about, going from house to house, having nothing, gathering together only but spiritual wealth for himself and for his neighbour.

Saint Leontios, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Saint Leontios, Patriarch of Jerusalem, by the account of Saint Gregory Palamas, was Patriarch during the years 1223-1261. His life was similarly described by Theodore, a monk of Constantinople. This Vita was translated in abridged form from the Greek into the Russian language. It was translated a second time more fully by the Monk Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, who indicates the death of the Patriarch was instead actually in the year 1175.

The Holy Martyr Mark of Crete

The Holy Martyr Mark of Crete was beheaded by the Turks in the year 1643 for confessing faith in Christ.

The Holy Martyr John the Bulgarian

The Holy Martyr John the Bulgarian was martyred by the Turks as a Christian in the year 1802.

The Yaroslavsk (Pechersk) Icon of the Mother of God

The Yaroslavsk (Pechersk) Icon of the Mother of God: In the city of Yaroslavl' the townswoman Aleksandra Dobychkina suffered terribly for 17 years from emotional and bodily illness. In 1823 she had a vision in her sleep: of a church with an icon of the Mother of God. She decided to seek out the Yaroslavl' visionary temple and icon. This church turned out to be the temple in honour of the Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Cross of the Lord (Comm. 1 August), situated under the bell-tower of the archbishop's residence. Entering the church, the afflicted Aleksandra beheld on the wall the depiction of the Kievo-Pechersk Mother of God. Suddenly she had a powerful attack of fever, after which at first there was an onset of relief, and later a full healing from the grievous illness. And from that time began miraculous healings through prayers to the MostHoly Mother of God.

May 15

The Monk Pachomios the Great

The Monk Pachomios the Great, together with Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January), Makarios the Great (Comm. 19 January), and Euthymios the Great (Comm. 20 January), was both an exemplar of wilderness dwelling, and a founder of the monastic "life-in-common" coenobitism in Egypt. The Monk Pacholios was born in the III Century in the Thebaid (Upper Egypt). His parents were pagans and he received an excellent secular education. From youth he had the traits of good character, he was prudent of sensible in mind. When Pacholios reached age 20, he was called up into the army of the emperor Constantine (apparently, in the year 315). They settled the new conscripts into the edifice of a city prison under a guard of sentries. The local Christians came with supplies of food, they fed the soldiers and they took sincere care of them. When the youth learned, that these people acted thus for the sake of their God, fulfilling His commandment about love for neighbour, this made a deep impression upon his pure soul. Pacholios made a vow to become a Christian. Having returned from the army after the victory, Pacholios accepted holy Baptism, resettled himself into the lonely settlement of Shenesit and immediately he began to lead a strict ascetic life. Sensing the need for spiritual guidance, he turned to the Thebaid wilderness dweller Palamon. He was fondly accepted by the elder, and he began to proceed through monastic efforts on the example of his instructor.

One time, after 10 years of wilderness life, the Monk Pacholios was making his way through the desert, when he halted at the ruins of the former village of Tabennis and here he heard a Voice, ordering him to form at this place a monastery. Pachomios reported about this to the elder Palamon, and they both considered the words heard to be a command from God. They set out to Tabennis and began by building there a small monastic hovel. The holy elder Palamon blessed the beginning foundations of the monastery and made a prediction of its future glory. But soon also the Monk Palamon expired to the Lord. An Angel of God then appeared to Saint Pacholios in the form of a schemamonk and entrusted to him an ustav-rule of monastic life. And soon his own elder brother John came and settled there together with him.

The Monk Pachomios underwent many a temptation and assault from the enemy of the race of man, but the Monk Pachomios bravely warded off all the temptations by his prayer to God and endurance.

Gradually there began a gathering of followers to the Monk Pachomios. Their teacher impressed everyone by his love for work, whereby he managed to accomplish all kinds of monastic tasks: he cultivated a garden, he conversed with those that arrived seeking guidance, and he tended to the sick. The Monk Pachomios introduced a monastic rule of "life-in-common", making everything the same for everyone in food and attire. The monks of the monastery were to toil at the obediences assigned them for the common good of the monastery. Among the various obediences was the re-copying of books. The monks were not to possess their own money nor to accept anything from their kinsfolk. The Monk Pachomios considered that an obedience, fulfilled with zeal, was higher than fasting or prayer, and he demanded from the monks an exact observance of the monastic rule, strictly chastising flaggards.

To the Monk Pachomios one time came his sister Maria, who for a long time had wanted to see her brother. But the strict ascetic refused seeing her and via the gate-keeper he gave her the blessing to enter upon the path of monastic life, promising his help with this. Maria wept, but did as her brother had ordered. The Tabennis monks built her an hut on the opposite side of the River Nile. And to Maria also there began to gather nuns, and soon there was formed a women's monastery with a strict monastic rule, provided by the Monk Pachomios.

The number of monks at the monastery grew quickly, and it necessitated the building of 7 more monasteries in the vicinity. The number of monks reached 7,000, -- all under the guidance of the Monk Pachomios, who visited at all the monasteries and administered them. But at the same time Saint Pachomios remained a deeply humble monk, who was always ready to comply with and accept the remarks of each brother.

Severe and strict towards himself, the Monk Pachomios had great kindness and condescension towards the spiritually immature deficiencies of monks. One of the monks was ardent for the deed of martyrdom, but the Monk Pachomios swayed him from this yearning and instructed him quietly to fulfill his monastic obedience, taming the pride in himself and training him in humility. One time a monk would not heed his advice and went off from the monastery, during which time he was set upon by brigands, who under the threat of death forced him to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Filled with despair, the monk returned to the monastery. The Monk Pachomios ordered him to pray intensely night and day, keep strict fast and live in complete solitude. The monk followed his advice, and this saved his soul from despair.

The monk taught to avoid against judging others and he himself feared to be judgemental of anyone even in thought.

It was with an especial love that the Monk Pachomios concerned himself over the sick monks. He visited them, he cheered up the disheartened, he urged them to be thankful to God and put their hope in His holy will. For the sick he lightened the fasting, if this should aid in their recovery of health. One time in the absence of the monk, the cook did not prepare the monks any cooked food, on the presumption that the brethren loved to fast. Instead of doing his obedience, this monk plaited 500 mats, something which the Monk Pachomios had not encouraged. In punishment for the disobedience, all the mats prepared by the cook were ordered burnt.

The Monk Pachomios always taught the monks to have hope only upon the help and mercy of God. At the monastery it happened that there was an insufficiency of grain. The saint spent the whole night at prayer, and in the morning there came from the main city a large quantity of bread for the monastery, at no expense. The Lord granted the Monk Pachomios the gift of wonderworking and healing the sick.

The Lord revealed to him the ultimate fate of monasticism. The monk learned, that successive monks would not have such zeal in their efforts as did the first, and they would walk in the darkness of not having experienced guides. Prostrating himself upon the ground, the Monk Pachomios wept bitterly, calling out to the Lord and imploring mercy for them. In answer he heard a Voice: "Pachomios, be mindful of the mercy of God. About the monks to come, know that they shalt receive recompense, since that they too shalt have occasion to suffer the life burdensome for the monk".

Towards the end of his life the Monk Pachomios likewise fell ill from a pestilence that afflicted the region. His closest and beloved disciple, the Monk Theodore (Comm. 17 May), tended to him with a filial love. The Monk Pachomios died in about the year 348 at age 53, and he was buried on an hill near the monastery.

St. Dymphna

The earliest historical account of the veneration of St. Dymphna dates from the middle of the thirteenth century. Under Bishop Guy I of Cambrai (1238-47), Pierre, a canon of the church of Saint Aubert at Cambrai, wrote a "Vita" of the saint, from which we learn that she had been venerated for many years in a church at Gheel (province of Antwerp, Belgium), which was devoted to her. The author expressly states that he has drawn his biography from oral tradition.

According to the narrative, Dymphna — the daughter of a pagan king of Ireland — became a Christian and was secretly baptized. After the death of her mother, who was of extraordinary beauty, her father desired to marry his own daughter, who was just as beautiful, but she fled with the priest Gerebernus and landed at Antwerp. Thence they went to the village of Gheel, where there was a chapel of St. Martin, beside which they took up their abode. The messengers of her father however, discovered their whereabouts; the father betook himself thither and renewed his offer. Seeing that all was in vain, he commanded his servants to slay the priest, while he himself struck off the head of his daughter. The corpses were put in sarcophagi and entombed in a cave where they were found later. The body of St. Dymphna was buried in the church of Gheel, and the bones of St. Gerebernus were transferred to Xanten.

This narrative is without any historical foundation, being merely a variation of the story of the king who wanted to marry his own daughter, a motif which appears frequently in popular legends. Hence we can conclude nothing from it as to the history of St. Dymphna and the time in which she lived. That she is identical with St. Damhnat of Ireland cannot be proved. There are at Gheel fragments of two simple ancient sarcophagi in which tradition says the bodies of Dymphna and Gerebernus were found. There is also a quadrangular brick, said to have been found in one of the sarcophagi, bearing two lines of letters read as DYMPNA. The discovery of this sarcophagus with the corpse and the brick was perhaps the origin of the veneration. In Christian art St. Dymphna is depicted with a sword in her hand and a fettered devil at her feet. Her feast is celebrated 15 May, under which date she is also found in the Roman martyrology.

From time immemorial, the saint was invoked as patroness against insanity. The Bollandists have published numerous accounts of miraculous cures, especially between 1604 and 1668. As a result, there has long been a colony for lunatics at Gheel; even now there are sometimes as many as fifteen hundred whose relatives invoke St. Dymphna for their cure. The insane are treated in a peculiar manner; it is only in the beginning that they are placed in an institution for observation; later they are given shelter in the homes of the inhabitants, take part in their agricultural labours, and are treated very kindly. They are watched without being conscious of it. The treatment produces good results. The old church of St. Dymphna in Gheel was destroyed by fire in 1489. The new church was consecrated in 1532 and is still standing. Every year on the feast of the saint and on the Tuesday after Pentecost numerous pilgrims visit her shrine. In Gheel there is also a fraternity under her name.

The Monk Isaiah

The Monk Isaiah was among the other Kievo-Pechersk Saints that asceticised during the XI and beginning XII Centuries. His basic exploit in life was his quietness and his unflagging toil, for which he is named a "lover-of-work". The holy ascetic died in the year 1115, and his relics are in the Nearer Caves of the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra. The celebration of the Monk Isaiah is made on 15 May, 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.


The Monk Pakhomii of Nerekhtsk

The Monk Pakhomii of Nerekhtsk, in the world Yakov, was born into the family of a priest at Vladimir on the Klyaz'ma. At age 7 he was sent for schooling, since from childhood he well knew the Holy Scriptures. Finding burdensome the bustle of the perishing world, he accepted tonsure at the Vladimir Nativity monastery and without murmur at the monastery he progressed through the various obediences. Yearning for solitary wilderness life, the ascetic secretly left the monastery and withdrew to the outskirts of Nerekhta. Here, at the River Gridenka, he found a suitable place for monastic life -- a raised semi-island in the deep forest. The monk recoursed to the people about Nerekhta to establish and build a monastery in the vicinity of Sypanovo, on the Kostroma frontier. The Nerekhta people happily consented and took a significant part in the construction of the monastery. The Monk Pakhomii wrote an icon in the image of the Holy Trinity, and with the singing of a molieben he carried it to that place, whereat he was to erect the church in the Name of the Holy Trinity. Finishing with the construction of the temple, Saint Pakhomii concerned himself about the organising of the new monastery, where gradually monks were settling. At the newly-formed monastery the monks had to cultivate the land themselves and feed themselves by the toil of their own hands, a matter in which the saint was first to set the brethren an example. The monk died in the year 1384, well up in age, and he was buried in the Trinity church built by him. One of his disciples, Irinarkh, wrote an icon of the saint, and later there was built a crypt for his holy relics. The primary days of memory of the Monk Pakhomii are on 15 May, the day of "tezoimenstvo" ("name-in-common"), and on 23 March -- the day of his repose.

The Monk Evphrosyn of Pskov

The Monk Evphrosyn of Pskov, in the world Eleazar, was born in about the year 1386 in the village of Videlebo, near Pskov, -- the same village where also had been born the Monk Nikandr of Pskov (Comm. 24 September). His parents wanted that Eleazar would enter into marriage, but secretly he withdrew to the Snetogorsk monastery (on the Snyatni hill, now in Pskov itself) and there accepted tonsure.

In about the year 1425, searching to more deeply concentrate at prayer, the Monk Evphrosyn with the blessing of the monastery-head resettled in a solitary cell at the River Tolva, not far from Pskov. But concern for the salvation of neighbour impelled the monk to disrupt his wilderness dwelling, and he began to receive everyone that was in need of an experienced starets-elder and guide. The Monk Evphrosyn blessed those coming to him to live according to a skete monastic ustav-rule, compiled by him himself.

The ustav of the Monk Evphrosyn presents a rather generalised guidance for monks about the worthiness of proceeding on the monastic path -- "how it becometh monks to dwell". He does not address the strict ordering of all aspects of monastic life, as did, for example, the ustav of the Monk Joseph of Volotsk; there is nothing at all in it concerning the aspects of Divine-services.

In 1447 at the request of the brethren, the Monk Evphrosyn built a church in honour of the Three Sainted-Hierarchs Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostomos -- who vouchsafed him their vision, and also in honour of the Monk Onuphrios the Great (Comm. 12 July). The monastery afterwards received the name Spaso-Eleazarov. Out of humility and his love for solitary efforts, the monk did not accept the title of hegumen, but instead bestowed this upon his disciple the Monk Ignatii, and he lived in the forest near a lake.

The Monk Evphrosyn died at the advanced age of 95, on 15 May 1481. At his crypt, by order of the Novgorod archbishop Gennadii, was placed an icon-image written while yet alive by his disciple Ignatii, and included there also was the last-testament of the monk to the brethren on a shred of parchment, imprinted with the lead-seal of the Novgorod archbishop Theophil. This is one of very few last-testaments, written in their own hand by ascetics.

The Monk Evphrosyn, the originator of Pskov wilderness-life, schooled many famed disciples, who likewise created monasteries and carried the graced-seeds of ascetic life throughout all the Pskov lands. Among the disciples of the Monk Evphrosyn -- were the skete starets-elders -- the Monk Savva of Krypetsk (the account about him is located under 28 August); the Monk Dosiphei of Verkhneostrov (+ 8 October); the Monk Onuphrii of Mal'sk (+ 12 June); the Monk Joachim of Opochsk (+ 9 September); the Monk Ilarion of Gdovsk (+ 21 October); the Monk Khariton of Kudinsk -- founder and hegumen of a monastery at Lake Kudina alongside Toroptsa (XVI); and the locally venerated brothers by birth from Pskov Ignatii, Kharalampii and Pamphil, buried at the Spaso-Eleazarov monastery.

Sainted Achilles, Bishop of Lariseia

Sainted Achilles, Bishop of Lariseia, lived during the IV Century, during the reign of Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great. Glorified by his sanctity of life and erudition, he was made bishop of the city of Lariseia in Thessaly. Saint Achilles was a participant in the First OEcumenical Council, where he boldly denounced the heretic Arius. In his city he zealously cultivated Christianity, destroying idolous pagan-temples, and he built and adorned churches. Saint Achilles had the gift of healing sickness, especially demonic-possession, and he worked many miracles. The saint died peacefully in about the year 330. His relics since the year 978 are in Bulgaria at the city of Prespa (at present -- the village of Akhila, called such in honour of the deceased saint).

May 16

St. Brendan of Ardfert and Clonfert

St. Brendan of Ardfert and Clonfert, known also as Brendan the Voyager, was born in Ciarraighe Luachra, near the present city of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, in 484; he died at Enachduin, now Annaghdown, in 577. He was baptized at Tubrid, near Ardfert, by Bishop Erc. For five years he was educated under St. Ita, "the Brigid of Munster", and he completed his studies under St. Erc, who ordained him priest in 512. Between the years 512 and 530 St. Brendan built monastic cells at Ardfert, and at Shanakeel or Baalynevinoorach, at the foot of Brandon Hill. It was from here that he set out on his famous voyage for the Land of Delight. The old Irish Calendars assigned a special feast for the "Egressio familiae S. Brendani", on 22 March; and St Aengus the Culdee, in his Litany, at the close of the eighth century, invokes "the sixty who accompanied St. Brendan in his quest of the Land of Promise". Naturally, the story of the seven years' voyage was carried about, and, soon, crowds of pilgrims and students flocked to Ardfert. Thus, in a few years, many religious houses were formed at Gallerus, Kilmalchedor, Brandon Hill, and the Blasquet Islands, in order to meet the wants of those who came for spiritual guidance to St. Brendan.

Having established the See of Ardfert, St. Brendan proceeded to Thomond, and founded a monastery at Inis-da-druim (now Coney Island, County Clare), in the present parish of Killadysert, about the year 550. He then journeyed to Wales, and thence to Iona, and left traces of his apostolic zeal at Kilbrandon (near Oban) and Kilbrennan Sound. After a three years' mission in Britain he returned to Ireland, and did much good work in various parts of Leinster, especially at Dysart (Co. Kilkenny), Killiney (Tubberboe), and Brandon Hill. He founded the Sees of Ardfert, and of Annaghdown, and established churches at Inchiquin, County Galway, and at Inishglora, County Mayo. His most celebrated foundation was Clonfert, in 557, over which he appointed St. Moinenn as Prior and Head Master. St. Brendan was interred in Clonfert, and his feast is kept on 16 May.

St. Brendan belongs to that glorious period in the history of Ireland when the island in the first glow of its conversion to Christianity sent forth its earliest messengers of the Faith to the continent and to the regions of the sea. It is, therefore, perhaps possible that the legends, current in the ninth and committed to writing in the eleventh century, have for foundation an actual sea-voyage the destination of which cannot however be determined. These adventures were called the "Navigatio Brendani", the Voyage or Wandering of St. Brendan, but there is no historical proof of this journey. Brendan is said to have sailed in search of a fabled Paradise with a company of monks, the number of which is variously stated as from 18 to 150. After a long voyage of seven years they reached the "Terra Repromissionis", or Paradise, a most beautiful land with luxuriant vegetation. The narrative offers a wide range for the interpretation of the geographical position of this land and with it of the scene of the legend of St. Brendan. On the Catalonian chart (1375) it is placed not very far west of the southern part of Ireland. On other charts, however, it is identified with the "Fortunate Isles" of the ancients and is placed towards the south. Thus it is put among the Canary Islands on the Herford chart of the world (beginning of the fourteenth century); it is substituted for the island of Madeira on the chart of the Pizzigani (1367), on the Weimar chart (1424), and on the chart of Beccario (1435). As the increase in knowledge of this region proved the former belief to be false the island was pushed further out into the ocean. It is found 60 degrees west of the first meridian and very near the equator on Martin Behaim's globe. The inhabitants of Ferro, Gomera, Madeira, and the Azores positively declared to Columbus that they had often seen the island and continued to make the assertion up to a far later period. At the end of the sixteenth century the failure to find the island led the cartographers Apianus and Ortelius to place it once more in the ocean west of Ireland; finally, in the early part of the nineteenth century belief in the existence of the island was completely abandoned. But soon a new theory arose, maintained by those scholars who claim for the Irish the glory of discovering America, namely, MacCarthy, Rafn, Beamish, O'Hanlon, Beauvois, Gafarel, etc. They rest this claim on the account of the Northmen who found a region south of Vinland and the Chesapeake Bay called "Hvitramamaland" (Land of the White Men) or "Irland ed mikla" (Greater Ireland), and on the tradition of the Shawano (Shawnee) Indians that in earlier times Florida was inhabited by a white tribe which had iron implements. In regard to Brendan himself the point is made that he could only have gained a knowledge of foreign animals and plants, such as are described in the legend, by visiting the western continent. On the other hand, doubt was very early expressed as to the value of the narrative for the history of discovery. Honorius of Augsburg declared that the island had vanished; Vincent of Beauvais denied the authenticity of the entire pilgrimage, and the Bollandists do not recognize it. Among the geographers, Alexander von Humboldt, Peschel, Ruge, and Kretschmer, place the story among geographical legends, which are of interest for the history of civilization but which can lay no claim to serious consideration from the point of view of geography. The oldest account of the legend is in Latin, "Navigatio Sancti Brendani", and belongs to the tenth or eleventh century; the first French translation dates from 1125; since the thirteenth century the legend has appeared in the literatures of the Netherlands, Germany, and England.

St. Musa

St. Musa lived during the fifth century and was distinguished for her pure life. St. Gregory Dialogus included her story in his DIALOGUES, saying that he had been given the information by Musa’s brother, Probus.

The Most Holy Theotokos once appeared to Musa in a dream, surrounded by girls who were dressed in white. She asked her, “Do you wish to live together with these maidens in my court?” “Yes, I do,” the girl replied.

The Holy Mother then said, “Do not do anything silly, as little girls often do. Avoid frivolity and joking. In thirty days I shall come for you and you will be with us.”

From that moment, Musa’s character was changed. She began to pray and live a strict life. In answer to the questions of her astonished parents, St. Musa told them about the vision.

On the twenty-fifth day, the maiden developed a fever, and on the thirtieth day she again saw the Mother of God coming to her with the same girls as before. The blessed child died with the words, “I am coming, I am coming to you, my Lady!”

St. Musa departed this earthly life and was gathered into the heavenly Kingdom, where she glorifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit unto ages of ages.

St. Vukašin of Klepci

Our father among the saints, Vukašin of Klepci (in Serbian: Свети Вукашин из Клепаца), was a Serbian Orthodox Christian from Herzegovina who was martyred by fascists during World War II for refusing to acknowledge the Ustashi leader.

Little is known about the life of Saint Vukasin. What is known about him is from the event resulting in his martyrdom. He was born in the village of Klepci, in Herzegovina, at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth century. At the beginning of World War II, members of the Croatian fascist Ustašas arrested him and transported him, together with other Serbs of that region, into the notorious concentration camp of Jasenovac (the number of victims at this camp have been estimated to be at least 700,000). After horrible days full of torture, Vukašin was brought before an Ustashe`s soldier who was supposed to execute him, but who said he would spare his (Vukašin's) life if Vukasin cried loudly: "Long live Ante Pavelic!". Ante Pavelic was the leader of Ustashe. Vukasin who saw a knife in the hands of the soldier, replied calmly: "My child, you do what you must", and refused to obey the soldier`s request. The Ustashe soldier brandished his knife and cut off Vukasin`s ear. The soldier then repeated his request. Vukasin repeated his answer. The soldier then cut off Vukašin's other ear, followed by his nose, and then scarred Vukasin`s face. Next his tongue was cut. After repeating the request to Vukasin to utter the vicious words and hail the Head of Ustaše (Ante Pavelic), Vukasin once again calmly replied: "My child, you do what you must". Distracted, the soldier eventually killed him, and afterwards went mad.

The Monk Theodore

The Monk Theodore was called "Sanctified" because he was the first in his monastery ordained to the priesthood.

The Monk Theodore came from Egypt and was the son of rich and illustrious Christian parents. The yearning for monastic life early showed up in him. One time at the house of his parents during the feast of Theophany there was a large party, and the lad did not want to take part in the festivities, grieving that because of earthly joys he would be deprived of joys in the life to come. At 14 years of age he secretly left home and settled in one of the monasteries. Hearing about Pakhomios the Great, he burned with the desire to see the ascetic. The Monk Pakhomios received the arriving lad with love, having been informed by God beforehand about his coming. Remaining at the monastery, the Monk Theodore quickly succeeded in all his monastic tasks, particularly in the full obedience to his guide and in his compassion towards the surrounding brethren. Theodore's mother, learning that he was at the Tabennisa monastery, came to the Monk Pakhomios with a letter from the bishop, imploring a meeting with her son. But the Monk Theodore, fearing to break his vow of renunciation from the world, refused to meet with his mother.

Seeing the strength of mind and ability of Saint Theodore, the Monk Pakhomios once directed him to speak an instruction to the brethren on Holy Scripture. Saint Theodore was then but 20 years old. He unquestioningly obeyed and began to speak, but certain of the older brethren took offence that a newly begun monk should read them a discourse, and they departed. The Monk Pakhomios thereupon said to them: "Ye have given in to the devil and by your conceit your efforts art come to naught. Ye rejected not Theodore, but rather the Word of God, and have deprived yourselves of the Holy Spirit".

Saint Pakhomios appointed the Monk Theodore as overseer of the Tabennisa monastery, and withdrew to a more solitary monastery. Saint Theodore with filial love continued to concern himself over his instructor, and in the final illness of the Monk Pakhomios he looked after him, and when the great abba reposed to the Lord, he closed his eyes. After the death of the Monk Pakhomios, Saint Theodore directed the Tabennisa monastery, and later on he was at the head of all the Thebaid monasteries. The Monk Theodore the Sanctified was famed for holiness of life and a copious gift of wonderworking, and he was well known to Saint Athanasias, Patriarch of Alexandria. Saint Theodore reposed in his old age in the year 368.

The Monk Kassian of Komel'sk and Vologda

The Monk Kassian of Komel'sk and Vologda was a student of the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk (Comm. 19 May) and he guided the Komel'sk monastery during the time of the departure of the Monk Kornilii to Lake Sura. Chosen by the brethren with the blessing of the Monk Kornilii, he strove in everything to imitate his teacher and he strictly observed his ustav (monastic rule). Following his directives, the Monk Kassian instructed the monks in the fear of God to spend their time at prayer, to be concerned about inward actions and to banish all worldly thoughts, to be sober in thought, to be vigilant in soul and contrite in heart. (Chapter 1 of the Ustav: "About Church decorum and collective prayer".)

Upon the return of the Monk Kornilii to the monastery, Saint Kassian joyfully met his teacher, and resigned as hegumen, wanting as before to remain in obedience to the holy elder. The Monk Kassian reposed in the year 1537.

The Monk Lavrentii of Komel'sk

The Monk Lavrentii of Komel'sk was a student of the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk. In the year 1538, on the suggestion of the Monk Kornilii, he was unanimously chosen by the brethren as hegumen of the monastery, and he made use of the spiritual counsels and guidances of his teacher. One time learning about the approach of Tatars towards the monastery, and on the advice of the Monk Kornilii, Hegumen Lavrentii led away all the brethren to a safe place, and later when the danger had diminished, the monks returned to the monastery. Over the course of ten years, and upon the repose of his teacher, the Monk Lavrentii guided the holy monastery, constantly concerning himself over its welfare. Seeing the zeal and the love for the Lord in Saint Lavrentii as head of the Korniliev monastery, the starets-elder Aleksei transferred under the Korniliev monastery in 1547 the Koptevo wilderness-monastery, which he directed. Amidst his many cares the Monk Lavrentii did not forsake his beloved craft -- the copying of books. The Monk Lavrentii reposed to the Lord on 16 May 1548.

Blessed Muza

Blessed Muza lived during the V Century. It is known, that she was distinguished for her decent morals. Saint Gregory Dialogus, Pope of Rome, spoke about her to his archdeacon Peter, saying that he had heard suchlike from the brother of Muza, named Probus. One time in a dream there appeared to the saint the MostHoly Mother of God, surrounded by maidens, and asked her: "Dost thou wish to follow after Me and to live together with these maidens?" "I wish it", -- answered the maiden. "Do nothing unseemly, and avoid frivolity and child's play. And in 30 days I shalt come for thee and thou wilt be with us". From that moment Muza began to pray earnestly and with constant concentration. In answer to the questioning of her astonished parents, Saint Muza told them about the vision. On the 25th day the maiden fell ill, and on the 30th day she again beheld the Mother of God. With the words: "I am coming, I am coming, my Lady!" -- the blessed maiden reposed to God.

Sainted George

Sainted George was made bishop of Mytilene in the years 820-829, during the time of the Iconoclast disturbance. He died in the year 842 at Mytilene. In the XII Century his holy relics were seen by the Russian hegumen Daniel, journeying through the East and recording an account of his journey.

Sainted Nicholas the Mystic

Sainted Nicholas the Mystic was Patriarch of Constantinople. His title of "Mystic" ("mystikos" -- an old rank of "privy counsellor") indicates that he earlier served at the imperial court. He was elevated onto the patriarchal throne in the year 895. In 905, because of his excommunication from the Church of the emperor Leo I -- who had unlawfully entered into a fourth marriage, he was deposed from his cathedra-seat and sent to prison. In the year 911, after the death of Leo I, he was again raised onto the cathedra as patriarch and guided the Church until his death, which followed in about the year 925.

The Holy Martyrs Auda and Audiesos the Bishop

The Holy Martyrs Auda, Audiesos the Bishop and with them 16 Priests, 9 Deacons, 6 Monks and 7 Virgins were natives of Persia and they suffered for the Name of Christ in about the year 418 under Izdegerd.

The Holy Martyr Peter suffered in the year 761 for icon-veneration at Blakhernae under the emperor Constantine Copronymos (he was whipped to death).

The NewMartyr Nicholas

The NewMartyr Nicholas (from Mechebos) was burned by the Turks in the year 1617. His head is situated at the Varlaam monastery in Meteora.

May 17

The Holy Disciple from the Seventy Andronicus

The Holy Disciple from the Seventy Andronicus and his helper in apostolic works, Saint Junia (June), were relatives of the holy Apostle Paul. They laboured much, preaching the Gospel to pagans, about which the Apostle Paul makes mention in his Epistle to the Romans: "Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsfolk and prisoners with me, acknowledged amongst the Apostles and having still before me believed in Christ" (Rom. 16: 7). Saint Andronicus was ordained bishop of Pannonia, but the preaching took Saint Junia and him also to other lands, far from the boundaries of his diocese. By the efforts of Saints Andronicus and Junia the Church of Christ was strengthened, pagans were converted to the knowledge of God, many pagan temples ceased functioning, and in their place were erected Christian churches. From the service in honour of these saints it is known, that they suffered martyrdom for the Name of Christ.

In the V Century, during the reign of the emperors Arcadius and Honorius, their holy relics were uncovered on the outskirts of Constantinople together with the relics of other martyrs "at the Eugenius gate" (Comm. 22 February).

It was revealed to the pious cleric Nicholas Kalligraphos that among these 17 martyrs were also the relics of the holy Disciple Andronicus. Afterwards on this spot was built a magnificent church.

The Holy Martyrs Solokhon, Pamphamyros and Pamphalon

The Holy Martyrs Solokhon, Pamphamyros and Pamphalon: The holy Martyr Solokhon, a native Egyptian, suffered for Christ during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). The holy Martyrs Pamphamyros and Pamphalon also at the same time accepted death for Christ together with him. All of them served in the imperial armies in the regiment of the tribune Campanus. During the time of persecution against Christians by the emperors Maximian and Diocletian, Campanus with his soldiers was sent to the city of Chalcedon. All the soldiers of his regiment were required to offer sacrifice in an idolous pagan temple there. The three soldiers -- Saints Solokhon, Pamphamyros and Pamphalon, refused to offer sacrifice to idols, explaining, that they worship only the True God, the Lord Jesus Christ. On the orders of Campanus they subjected them to terrible tortures, during the time of which the holy Martyrs Pamphamyros and Pamphalon died. Saint Solokhon survived the torture and remained alive, glorifying Christ. The torturer in great anger gave orders to open the mouth of Saint Solokhon and pour in it by force the idol-worship blood. But Saint Solokhon so strongly clenched his teeth, that they were not able to open them even with iron, -- the sword bent, and the saint broke his bonds and stood before the torturer, continuing to glorify Christ. There was a voice from the heavens to Saint Solokhon, encouraging him to endure to the end. At the command of the torturer they subjected the saint to a merciless beating, after which they dragged the bruised man over sharp stones, demanding a renunciation of Christ, but the holy martyr remained steadfast. Then it was commanded to hang him up by one hand, and to his leg tie an heavy weight. In such a position Saint Solokhon hung for about three hours. When finally however they cut the ropes, then to the surprise of everyone Saint Solokhon stood up straight on his feet, like an healthy man. Crazed with anger, Campanus seized a writing-reed and with force thrust it deeply into the ear of the holy martyr. The sufferer fell down, and Campanus and the soldiers departed, having cast him aside. Christians carried the martyr to the house of a certain pious widow and placed him on a cot. The saint partook of food and conversed with the Christians, exhorting them to stand firmly for the faith, and then having prayed and lifted up his eyes to heaven, he gave up his soul to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Nun Evphrosynia

The Nun Evphrosynia, in the world Evdokia, GreatPrincess of Moscow -- the account about her is located under 7 July.

Sainted Stephen, Patriarch of Constantinople

Sainted Stephen, Patriarch of Constantinople, was the younger son of the emperor Basil the Macedonian and was a brother by birth of the emperor Leo the Wise. He received the priestly dignity under the Patriarch Photios. When Patriarch Photios was compelled in the year 886 to resign the patriarchal throne, Saint Stephen was elevated to the Constantinople cathedra-chair. The saint vigilantly stood watch over his spiritual flock, he was merciful and interceded for the defenseless, he concerned himself about widows and orphans, and distinguished himself by extreme temperance. He died peacefully in the year 893 and was buried in the Sikellian monastery.

May 18

The Holy Martyr Theodotos and the Holy Seven Virgins

The Holy Martyr Theodotos and the Holy Seven Virgins -- Tecusa, Thaina, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia, lived during the 2nd half of the III Century in the city of Ancyra, Galatia district, and died as martyrs for Christ at the beginning of the IV Century. Saint Theodotos was "an inn-keeper", had his own inn and was married. Then already he had attained to high spiritual accomplishment: he maintained prudence and purity, cultivated temperance in himself, subjugated the flesh to the spirit, and became practised in fasting and prayer. By his conversations he brought Jews and pagans to the Christian faith, and sinners -- to repentance and improvement. Saint Theodotos received the gift of healing from the Lord and he treated the sick by placing his hands on them.

During the time of the persecution under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), there was appointed as governor in the city of Ancyra -- Theoteknes, known for his cruelty. Many Christians fled from the city, having forsaken their homes and property. Theoteknes made a proclamation to all Christians that they were under obligation to offer sacrifice to idols, and in the event of refusal they were to be given over to torture and death. Pagans delivered Christians over to torture, and then divided up their property.

A famine befell the country. During these grim days, Saint Theodotos gave shelter in his inn to Christians left homeless. he fed them, hid away those being pursued, and from his supplies gave to devastated churches everything necessary for making the Divine Liturgy. He fearlessly went into the prisons, rendering help to the innocently condemned -- encouraging them to be faithful to Christ the Saviour to the very end. Theodotos did not fear to bury the remains of holy martyrs, either carrying them off secretly or ransoming them from the soldiers for money. When the Christian churches at Ancyra were destroyed and closed, Divine Liturgy began to be celebrated in his inn. Perceiving that the deed of martyrdom awaited him too, Saint Theodotos in conversation with the priest Phrontonos predicted, that in a short while they would bring to him the relics of martyrs, at a place chosen by both of them. In surety of his words, Saint Theodotos gave his ring to the priest.

During this while seven holy virgins had accepted death for Christ, of whom the eldest -- Saint Tecusa -- was an aunt of Saint Theodotos. The holy virgins -- Tecusa, Thaina, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia -- from their youth had dedicated themselves to God, and lived in constant prayer, fasting, temperance and good deeds. All of them had attained to an elderly age. Brought to trial as Christians, the holy virgins in front of Theoteknes bravely confessed their faith in Christ and were given over to torture, but remained steadfast. The governor thereupon gave them over to shameless youths for desecration. The holy virgins prayed intensely, asking help from God. Saint Tecusa fell down at the feet of a youth, and taking back her head-veil she showed him her greyed hair. The youths became startled, started weeping and ran off. The governor then ordered, that the saints take part in "the ablution of the idols", which was done by pagan priests, but again the holy virgins refused. For this they were sentenced to death. An heavy stone was tied to the legs of each, and all seven of the holy virgins was drowned in a lake. On the following night Saint Tecusa appeared in a dream to Saint Theodotos, asking him to take up her body and give it Christian burial. Saint Theodotos, taking with him his friend Polychronios and several other Christians, set off to the lake. It was dark, and a burning torch led the way. Amidst them in front of the guard, posted by the pagans at the shore of the lake, appeared the holy martyr Sosander. The frightened guard ran off in terror. The wind drove the water towards the other side of the lake. The Christians took up the bodies of the holy martyresses and carried them to church, from whence they were given over to burial. Learning about the theft of the bodies of the holy martyresses, the governor went into a rage and gave orders to strike at all Christians and give them over to torture. Polychronios also was seized. Not able to endure the torture, he informed on Saint Theodotos, as the perpetrator of the theft of the bodies. Saint Theodotos began to prepare to die for Christ; having come up together with all the Christians zealous in prayer, he made bequest of his body to the priest Phrontonos, to whom earlier he had given his ring. The saint came before the judge. They showed him various instruments of torture and instead of them they promised him honours and riches, if he recanted from Christ. Saint Theodotos glorified the Lord Jesus Christ, and confessed his faith in Him. In anger the pagans gave the saint over to constant torture, but the power of God sustained the holy martyr. He remained alive and was cast into prison. On the following morning the governor again gave orders to torture the saint, but he soon perceived, that it was impossible to break his courage. He then gave orders to behead the martyr. The execution was done, but sensing that a storm was approaching, the soldiers set fire to the body of the martyr. And soldiers, sitting in a tent, remained to guard the body. At this point the priest Phrontonos appeared from a nearby way, leading a donkey with a load of wine from his vineyard. The donkey suddenly fell down near the place where lay the body of Saint Theodotos. The soldiers helped get the donkey back up and they told Phrontonos that they were guarding the body of the executed Christian Theodotos. The priest perceived, that the Lord had intentionally sent him hither. He placed the holy remains on the donkey and took them to the place, indicated by Saint Theodotos for his burial, and with honour he committed them to the earth. Afterwards he built up a church on this spot. Saint Theodotos accepted death for Christ on 7 June 303 or 304, and his memory is commemorated on 18 May, on the day of death of the holy virgins.

The account of the life and martyr's act of Saint Theodotos and the suffering of the holy virgins was compiled by the contemporary and companion of Saint Theodotos, and an eye-witness of his death -- Nilos, living in the city of Ancyra during the period of persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian.

The Holy Martyrs Peter, Dionysios, Andrew, Paul, Christina

The Holy Martyrs Peter, Dionysios, Andrew, Paul, Christina suffered under emperor Decius (249-251). The first of them, the youth Peter, suffered in the city of Lampsaka (Hellispontum). Brought to trial before the governor Optimines, he bravely confessed his faith in Christ. They tried to force the youth to recant from the Lord and worship the idol-goddess Venus, but the martyr refused to do their bidding, and declared for everyone to hear, that a Christian would not bow to the idol of a lecherous woman. Saint Peter was subjected to fierce tortures, but he courageously endured the tortures, giving thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ for having bestowed upon him His all-powerful help, and he was then beheaded. Also at this time there were brought to trial Dionysios, Nicomakhos and two soldiers, transferred from Mesopotamia, and also Andrew and Paul. They all confessed their faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols, for which reason they were given over to torture. To the great sorrow of all the Christians Nicomakhos did not hold out and he apostacised from the Lord Jesus Christ; he went into the pagan temple and offered sacrifice. He immediately fell down in a terrible frenzy and died among the frightened torturers. The renunciation of Nicomakhos was heard by the 16 year old girl Christina, standing in the crowd, who shouted: "Thou cursed and lost man! Here instead of only one hour thou hast obtained for thyself eternal and ineffable torment!" The governor heard these words. He gave orders to seize the holy virgin and, learning from her that she was a Christian, he gave her over to shameless profligates. At the house, where they had taken the holy virgin, there appeared an Angel. Frightened by his terrible visage, the youths with tears began to beg forgiveness of the holy virgin and besought her to pray for them, so that the Lord's chastisement might not befall them.

On the following morning, Saints Dionysios, Andrew and Paul were again brought before the governor. For confessing faith in Christ they were given over to the throng of pagans for rending asunder. They bound the saints by the feet, dragged them to the place of execution and there stoned them to death. During the time of execution, Saint Christina came running up so as to die together with the martyrs, but by order of the governor she was beheaded.

The Holy Martyrs Herakleios, Pablinos and Benedimos

The Holy Martyrs Herakleios, Pablinos and Benedimos suffered for Christ in the city of Athens. They preached there to the pagans about Christ and urged them to abandon the worship of insensate idols. The chosen of God were brought to trial together with their followers, who had discerned the true path. After many torments they were thrown into a fiery oven, in which they offered up their souls to God.

The Holy Martyrs Simeon, Isaac and Bakhtis

The Holy Martyrs Simeon, Isaac and Bakhtis were Christians and lived during the III Century in Persia under the emperor Sapor, a fierce persecutor of Christians. They tried to force the saints to recant from Christ and be converted to the grim faith of fire-worship. But they refused and answered the pagans: "We will not recant from the Creator of all and we will not worship fire nor the sun". They cruelly tortured the holy martyrs, then threw them into prison, where they were not given food for seven days. Finally, they beheaded the martyrs.

The Holy Martyrs David and Tarichan

The holy martyrs Davit and Tarichan were born to Vardan and Tagine, pious Christians and relatives of the king. Vardan died while his sons were still young, and Tagine’s pagan brother Theodosius seized all the family’s possessions.

Concerned that the brothers would eventually claim their legal inheritance, Theodosius resolved to convert his sister and nephews to his own creed. “Leave behind the Faith of the crucified Christ and receive mine and I will adopt your children,” he told Tagine. But Tagine firmly guarded the family against her brother’s evil intent. “It is enough that you have seized my sons’ estate,” she said. “But you cannot seize the inheritance they will receive from their Father in heaven!”

Theodosius was thwarted by his sister’s resoluteness. So instead, he tried to convert his nephews directly. He called them, embraced them warmly, and tempted them with sweets. “Now you are my sons, and everything I have belongs to you,” he told them. “Trust me like obedient sons of a beloved father. Turn from the Faith of your father, and I will show you a better way!”

After a brief silence, the holy youths answered, “We are perfectly content with our father’s Faith and will remain loyal to this Faith until the day our souls depart from our flesh. We are prepared to suffer everything for the love of our Lord and Heavenly Father!”

Theodosius dared not try to sway his nephews since he feared the revenge of the Christian community, so he left them in peace and plotted to murder them in secret. But Tagine sensed that danger was near and escaped with her sons to the region of Tao in the south.

From his spies Theodosius learned that the brothers were now herding sheep at the top of a mountain, and he ordered an ambush. But the brothers heard the noise and saw the armed soldiers before they attacked. Davit rejoiced upon seeing his uncle and ran toward him, but Theodosius stabbed him before he could embrace him. The holy martyr released his staff from his hand, and when it fell to the ground it was miraculously transformed into a large tree. Two hundred years later a group of Christians chopped the tree down and divided the holy wood among themselves.

Having just witnessed his own brother’s murder, Tarichan raced toward the village of Divri for help. But his pursuers overtook him, stabbed him to death, and ran off. When they returned to Theodosius, they saw that God had punished him by taking away his sight. The soldiers were stunned, and they could neither utter a word nor move from the place of this miracle. After some time Theodosius’ eyes filled with bitter tears, and he was finally moved to repentance.

At first Tagine denounced her brother in a rage, and those who heard the cries of the inconsolable mother wept along with her. But while she was stroking the lifeless bodies of her sons, Theodosius turned to her, saying, “On you has shone the Inextinguishable Light from the Unapproachable and True Light, the Eternal Light. Pray to the holy martyrs that the Lord have mercy on me and make me, the unworthy, worthy of the seal of Christ, the All-merciful God, Who came into the world. Indeed, He is the One True God!” When Tagine heard these words, she recognized that God had received her sons as a holy sacrifice. Filled with new joy, she told her brother, “May God forgive you the murder of my sons!”

Then she took a piece of the earth that had been stained by her son Davit’s blood and anointed her brother’s eyes. Immediately his sight was restored.

This happened in the year 693. As a witness to the sanctity of His martyrs, our God, Who loves mankind, illumined their bodies with a radiant light each evening when night fell.

Theodosius repented before the catholicos himself. He was baptized into the Christian Faith and erected a church in honor of his nephew St. Davit. The mayor of Divri took St. Tarichan’s holy relics and built a church over them in his name. Blessed Tagine began a new life in the village of Tadzarani and later reposed there.

The Holy Martyress Euphrasia

The Holy Martyress Euphrasia was a native of the city of Nicea. She accepted death for Christ at the time of the emperors Diocletian and Maximian -- at the end of the III or beginning IV Century. Subjected to many tortures, the martyress was drowned in the sea.

May 19

St. Dunstan

Born of a noble family at Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury, England, Dunstan was educated there by Irish monks and while still a youth, was sent to the court of King Athelstan. He became a Benedictine monk about 934 and was ordained by his uncle, St. Alphege, Bishop of Winchester, about 939. After a time as a hermit at Glastonbury, Dunstan was recalled to the royal court by King Edmund, who appointed him abbot of Glastonbury Abbey in 943. He developed the Abbey into a great center of learning while revitalizing other monasteries in the area. He became advisor to King Edred on his accession to the throne when Edmund was murdered, and began a far-reaching reform of all the monasteries in Edred's realm. Dunstan also became deeply involved in secular politics and incurred the enmity of the West Saxon nobles for denouncing their immorality and for urging peace with the Danes. When Edwy succeeded his uncle Edred as king in 955, he became Dunstan's bitter enemy for the Abbot's strong censure of his scandalous lifestyle. Edwy confiscated his property and banished him from his kingdom. Dunstan went to Ghent in Flanders but soon returned when a rebellion replaced Edwy with his brother Edgar, who appointed Dunstan Bishop of Worcester and London in 957. When Edwy died in 959, the civil strife ended and the country was reunited under Edgar, who appointed Dunstan Archbishop of Canterbury. The king and archbishop then planned a thorough reform of Church and state. Dunstan was appointed legate by Pope John XII, and with St. Ethelwold and St. Oswald, restored ecclesiastical discipline, rebuilt many of the monasteries destroyed by the Danish invaders, replaced inept secular priests with monks, and enforced the widespread reforms they put into effect. Dunstan served as Edgar's chief advisor for sixteen years and did not hesitate to reprimand him when he thought it deserved. When Edgar died, Dunstan helped elect Edward the martyr king and then his half brother Ethelred, when Edward died soon after his election. Under Ethelred, Dunstan's influence began to wane and he retired from politics to Canterbury to teach at the Cathedral school and died there. Dunstan has been called the reviver of monasticism in England. He was a noted musician, played the harp, composed several hymns, notably Kyrie Rex splendens, was a skilled metal worker, and illuminated manuscripts. He is the patron of armorers, goldsmiths, locksmiths, and jewelers.

Saint Patrikios

Saint Patrikios lived during the I Century and was bishop of the city of Prussa in Bythnia (Asia Minor). He openly and boldly preached the teachings of Christ the Saviour and denounced the error of the pagans. For this he was taken together with the three presbyters -- Akakios, Menander and Polienos, and led for interrogation to the governor of the city, Julius. At the time Julius was on journey for treatment at an hot-springs, and he gave orders to bring along after him also the Christian bishop with the presbyters, bound in iron chains. Having washed in the hot-springs, Julius offered sacrifice to his gods and, summoning Saint Patrikios and the other prisoners, he demanded them to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, threatening punishments in case of refusal.

Saint Patrikios replied to this: "I am a Christian and I worship the One True God, Jesus Christ, Who hath created the heavens and the earth and these warm springs for the benefit of all mankind". On the command of Julius they threw the saint into the hot spring, and with firm faith the martyr prayed for help: "Lord, Jesus Christ, help me, Thy servant", -- and he remained unharmed.

In a rage of impotence Julius gave orders to cut off the head of Saint Patrikios and his three presbyters.

The end for the martyrs occurred in about the year 100 after the Birth of Christ.

The Monk Kornilli of Komel'sk

The Monk Kornilli of Komel'sk was descended from the boyar (noble) family Kriukov. His brother Lukian served at the court of the Moscow GreatPrince. When Lukian, getting up in years, decided to set off to the monastery of the Monk Kirill of Beloezersk, there also followed after him Kornilii, who from a young age yearned after the solitary life. Having taken vows, the young Kornilii began his monastic exploits with a difficult obedience -- he wore heavy chains in the bakery, and in his spare time of rest he occupied himself with the copying of church books. Because of his love for solitude, the Monk Kornilii later left the Beloezersk monastery, and he visited Rostov. At Novgorod Sainted Gennadii (Comm. 4 December) attempted to hold on to him, but the ascetic settled in a desolate spot not far from Novgorod. When people began to visit here also, yearning for the monastic life, he moved on to the Tver' Savvatiev wilderness monastery, and later in the year 1497, he settled in the Komel'sk forest, not far from Vologda, where he built himself a cell. To this place of the ascetic activity of the Monk Kornilii monks began to gather, and in 1501 he built a wooden church there in honour of the Entry into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God. And in that year Metropolitan Simon ordained him priest-monk. In 1512, when the number of brethren had grown, the monk constructed a stone church and he wrote down for the brethren an Ustav (Rule), compiled on the basis of the Ustavs of the Monks Joseph of Volotsk and Nil of Sorsk. This was the third Ustav, written by Russian saints for monastics. The Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk distinguished himself with liberality towards the unfortunate, and during a time of famine he constructed an orphanage for children on the monastery courtyard. For his love towards the poor and orphaned, the Monk Kornilii was many times granted graced vision of the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January), for whom he had a especial reverence, and he raised up a church at his monastery in honour of the great ascetic. The strictness of life of the saint provoked some of the brethren to grumbling, and the Monk Kornilii was compelled to leave the monastery and he settled at Lake Sursk, 70 versts from his monastery. At times also he pursued asceticism at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Interceding for the monks of the Korniliev monastery, GreatPrince Vasilii Ivanovich urged the monk to return to his own monastery. The ascetic gave in, and having returned to his own monastery, he transferred its guidance to his disciple Lavrentii and secluded himself in his cell.

During the time of a Tatar incursion against the Vologda region the Monk Kornilii, in protecting the brethren, set out with them to the Beloezersk outskirts. The monk died at age 82 on 19 May 1537. Many disciples of the Monk Kornilii were also glorified by sanctity of life: the Monks Gennadii of Liubimograd (Comm. 23 January), Kirill of Novoezersk (Comm. 4 February), Irodion of Iloezersk (Comm. 28 September), Adrian of Poshekhonsk (Comm. 5 March), Lavrentii and Kassian of Komel'sk (Comm. 16 May).

The all-church celebration to the Monk Kornilii (19 May) was established on 25 January 1600 by Patriarch Job and a council of bishops. The Life of the Monk was compiled by his disciple Nathanael in the year 1589. There exists a service and a praise to the Saint, and the Ustav written by the Monk Kornilii has been preserved.

The Monk Kornilii of Paleostrov and Olonetsk

The Monk Kornilii of Paleostrov and Olonetsk, born at Pskov, was the founder of monastic life on Pali island in Lake Onega at the end of the XIV Century. Despite the desolation of the island, brethren soon gathered to him, -- for whom he built a church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God and a refectory church in honour of the holy Prophet Ilias. The monk spent the final years of his life in a cave half a verst from the monastery, in unceasing prayer. The ascetic added to his effort by the wearing of heavy chains. The blessed repose of the monk occurred about the year 1420, and his remains were transferred to the monastery temple by his disciple, the Monk Avraam of Paleostrov (Comm. 21 August), who likewise was glorified by an ascetic life and later was buried alongside his spiritual guide in the Paleostrov monastery.

The Monk Sergei of Shukhtomsk

The Monk Sergei of Shukhtomsk, in the world Stefan, was born at Kazan. It is known that for three years he walked about the holy places of Palestine and Greece, studying the monastic life. He returned then to Novgorod, from whence he went to the Solovetsk monastery. In 1603 he accepted the monastic schema from archimandrite Isaia, who afterwards wrote the icon of the Monk Sergei of Shukhtomsk. Having accepted the schema, the monk imposed strict ascetic activity upon himself, going day and night without sleep kneeling in prayer. For his holy life the Lord bestowed upon the saint gifts of wonderworking and prophecy. The Monk Sergei of Shukhtomsk reposed on 19 May 1609.

The Holy Martyr Caluf the Egyptian

The Holy Martyr Caluf the Egyptian lived during the III Century, and was from the city of Thebes. For his confession of faith in Christ he was arrested and taken before the governor of the city, by whose order they suspended him head downwards with an heavy stone and they beat him cruelly. The sufferer incessantly repeated: "I endure everything because of faith in the blessedness of future life". They then untied him and began to urge him to offer sacrifice to idols, but the saint did not consent. Finally, he was thrown into a fire and there accepted a martyr's death. This occurred in the year 303. The holy martyr Caluf suffered during the persecution by the emperor Maximian Hercules, co-regent of Diocletian (284-305).

The Monk John, Bishop of the Goths

The Monk John, Bishop of the Goths, lived during the VIII Century. The future saint was born amidst the fervent prayer of his parents, and from an early age he pursued asceticism within monasticism. The monk made pilgrimage to Jerusalem and during the course of three years he made the rounds of all the holy places, and then returned to his native country. During this period the emperor Constantine Kopronymos the Iconoclast (741-775) banished the Gothic bishop, and the Gothic christians fervently besought Saint john to become their bishop. Saint John journeyed to Iveria (Gruzia / Georgia), -- safely intact from the spread of the Iconoclast heresy, where hands of ordination were put upon him. Upon his return to the Goths he was compelled soon to depart from them and, hidden away from the pursuing Khazars, he settled at Amastrideia, where he dwelt for four years. Hearing about the death of the Khazar kagan (ruler), the saint said: "After 40 days I shall go to be judged with him before Christ the Saviour". Indeed, after 40 days the saint died, and this occurred at the time when he returned to his people with preaching, in the year 790. The body of the saint was conveyed to the Parthenit monastery, situated in the Crimea at the foot of Mount Ayu-Dag, where formerly the saint lived in a large church built by him in the name of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The memory of Sainted John, Bishop of the Goths, is celebrated also on 26 June.

May 20

The Martyrs Thalaleas, Alexander and Asterias

The Martyrs Thalaleas, Alexander and Asterias: During the reign of Numerian (283-284), the governor of the city of Aegea dispatched soldiers to seek out Christians. They brought to him Thalaleas, an 18 year old blond-haired youth. To the governor's interrogation Saint Thalaleas answered: "I am a Christian, a native of Lebanon. My father, by the name of Beruchius, was a military commander, and my mother was named Romilia. My brother has the dignity of sub-deacon. I however am a student of medicine under the physician Makarios. During a former time of persecution against Christians in Lebanon I was brought before the governor Tiberias, and just barely escaped execution. But now I stand before this court, do with me what thou dost wish. I desire to die for Christ the Saviour and my God, hoping from Him help to endure all torments".

The enraged governor ordered the two torturers Alexander and Asterias to pierce the legs of the martyr with rope and suspend him head downwards. But the executioners, by the design of God, bored into a block of wood, which they hung up in place of the martyr. When the governor saw that they had deceived him, he then ordered that Alexander and Asterias be fiercely whipped, and they too confessed themselves Christians and glorified God. The governor gave orders to immediately cut off their heads. Twice he himself attempted to carry out the execution, and to pierce the leg-bones of the saint, but the grace of God prevented him, and he in his impotence then commanded that Saint Thalaleas be drowned.

The returning servants reported to the governor that they had carried out the execution, but suddenly, just as they finished their report, Saint Thalaleas appeared in white raiment. For a long while everyone was numbed with terror, but finally the governor said: "Behold, this sorcerer hath bewitched even the sea". Then one of his advisers, the magician Urvician, advised the governor to have the martyr thrown for devouring by wild beasts, but neither the vicious bear, not the hungry lion and lioness, would touch the saint, all meekly but laying down at his feet. Seeing this happen, the people began loudly to shout: "Great is the God of the Christians, O God of Thalaleas, have mercy on us!". The crowd seized hold of Urvician and threw him to the beasts, which did not hesitate to tear apart the magician. Finally, the governor gave orders to kill the holy martyr with a sword. They led away the martyr of Christ to the place of execution, called Aegea, where he prayed to God and bent his neck beneathe the sword. This occurred in the year 284. The relics of the holy martyr Thalaleas are situated in the church of Saint Agathonikos of Constantinople and have made many miracles. The holy Martyr Thalaleas, as a physician without payment treating the sick, is called by the Church an UnMercenary, and is called on in prayers over the sick in the Sacrament of Anointing-with-Oil and during the Blessing of Waters.

The Holy Martyr Askalon

The Holy Martyr Askalon was a Christian, born in the city of Great Hermopolis (Middle Egypt). The saint suffered in the III Century under Diocletian (284-305). Brought before the governor Arrian, Saint Askalon boldly confessed his faith and refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. And the saint predicted to Arrian, that there would come an hour, when he himself would be forced to call Jesus Christ as the One True God. By order of Arrian, they began to torture the saint cruelly, they suspended him and tore at him with iron instruments, such that pieces of his flesh fell to the ground. Saint Askalon quietly endured the torments. When one of those present, going up to him said: "See, he is already unconsciousness and near to death", -- the holy martyr answered, -- "I have not lost consciousness and unceasingly I do glorify my God and Saviour".

The governor Arrian gave orders to convey the martyr to the city of Antineia, located on the opposite bank of the Nile, for a continuation of the tortures, whither he himself soon intended to go. But the martyr turned with prayer to God, beseeching Him to hold back the boat of Arrian until such time, that he confess the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ before all the people. And thus the boat of Arrian suddenly halted in the middle of the river and even oars could not move it from this spot. Arrian ascribed the miracle to the working of a magic spell by Askalon. In drawing up the sentencing of the saint the governor happened to dictate the confession of One True God, and then the boat sailed on to shore. Going into the city, Arrian again gave orders to suspend Saint Askalon and scorch at him with fire, after which he gave orders to drown him in the deep river. The martyr said to the Christians accompanying him: "Strive, brethren, to receive the rewards of the Lord God. On three days hence, my children, come to the north part of the city and there find my body. Bury it together with a stone attached to it". The death of the Martyr Askalon occurred in about the year 287, not far from the city of Antineia. On the third day Christians found the body of the martyr and in accord with his last wishes buried it reverently together with a stone.

The Holy Nobleborn Prince Dovmont of Pskov

The Holy Nobleborn Prince Dovmont (Domant) of Pskov, prince of Nal'shinaisk (Nal'shensk), was a native of Lithuania, and at first he zealously professed paganism. In 1265, escaping from internecine strife amongst the Lithuanian princes, he was forced to flee Lithuania and with 300 families he arrived in Pskov. The land of Pskov became his second native-country. Here, in the expression of the chronicler, "the grace of God was breathed upon him", when with all his retainers he accepted Holy Baptism with the name Timothei (Timophei) and was bestown the great gifts of the Lord. Within a year's time, the people of Pskov chose him as their prince for his bravery and his true Christian virtues. Over the course of 33 years he ruled the city and was the sole prince in all the history of Pskov who died, having lived for so long in peace and in harmony with the Pskov veche (city-council). He was just and strict in pursuing justice for others, he gave alms generously, took in the poor and strangers, piously he observed the church feasts, he was a patron for the churches and monasteries and he himself founded a monastery in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. After his marriage to the daughter of GreatPrince Dimitrii, grandson of holy Prince Alexander Nevsky (Comm. 23 November and 30 August), he became related to the Russian great-princely lineage. Prince Dovmont, just like Saint Alexander Nevsky, was a glorious defender of the Russian Land. The prime importance of Prince Dovmont as a military leader and activist for the realm consists in this, that over the course of many years he firmly defended the north-west boundaries of the Russian realm from hostile incursions.

In 1268, Prince Dovmont was one of the heroes of the historic battle before Rakovor, where Russian forces gained the victory over the Danish and German armies. Before each battle, Saint Dovmont went into church, set down his sword at the steps of the holy altar and accepted blessing from the priest, who girded on the sword for him.

Saint Dovmont made the Pskov fortress impregnable. In memory of the glorious defender of the city, a stone protective wall, raised up by the holy prince alongside the Krom at the end of the XIII Century, was named the Dovmontov, and the territory enclosed by the wall, to the present say is called Dovmontov town. The "House of the Holy Trinity" of the saintly defender was yet another pious matter: in gratitude to the Lord in Whose Name he had gained victory unharmed, holy Prince Dovmont alongside the Pskov Kremlin erected a temple in honour of the feastday, on which he won the victory. Other inhabitants of Pskov also build churches there in fulfilling of vows. The not overly large territory of present day Dovmontov town was completely covered with churches (the first temple in honour of Saint Dovmont-Timothei was built in Dovmontov town in 1574).

The brave warrior-prince gained his final victory on 5 March 1299 on the banks of the River Velika, where with a small company he defeated a large German army. Meanwhile the Livonian Knights unexpectedly invaded the suburbs of Pskov, they seized the nigh to the city Snetnogorsk and Mirozhsk monasteries and burned them, cruelly murdering the inhabitants. They killed the founder of the Snetnogorsk monastery, the Monk Joasaph, together with 17 monks, and also the Monk Vasilii, Hegumen of Murozhsk (Comm. 4 March). Holy Prince Dovmont, not waiting to gather up a large Pskov force, went to engage the enemy with his retainers and he expelled the sacrilegious defilers from the bounds of the Russian Land.

Several months later, holy Prince Dovmont-Timothei died and was buried in the Trinity cathedral of Pskov. The chronicler relates, that "there was then great sadness in Pleskov for the men and woman and small children on account of their good lord noble Prince Timothei". The Pskov people remembered, how the holy prince had concerned himself over them during peaceful times and in particular, when the city was threatened by danger, how he led them into battle with the words: "Good men of Pskov! Whoso of you is old, that one is my father, whoso is young, that one is my brother. Stand fast for the Holy Trinity!"

Soon after the death of the prince there began the veneration of him as an holy intercessor before God, prayerfully guarding the land from enemies and misfortune. More than once after death did the holy prince defend Pskov. Thus, in the year 1480, when more than an hundred thousand Germans besieged the city, he appeared in a dream to a certain citizen and said: "Take my grave garb (cover), carry it three times around the city with a cross and fear not". The people of Pskov fulfilled his instructions and the Germans departed from the city. A service was established to the holy prince after this miraculous deliverance from enemies. Alongside with the relics of the saint, there was put up his battle sword (at the present time the sword is preserved at the Pskov historico-artistic and architectural preservation museum), which was thereafter handed to Pskov princes upon their elevation to the princely throne.

Holy Prince Dovmont-Timothei and his spouse, later to be the Schema-Monastic Nun Martha (+ 1300, Comm. 8 November), were granted the special honour to be depicted upon the wonderworking Murozhsk Icon of the Mother of God (Comm. 24 September): "Thou hast bestown blessing unto the all-pure image of Thine icon, O Mother of God, inscribed of visage the likeness of our in battle steadfast intercessor prince Dovmont with his pious spouse" (Sedalion of Service to holy Prince Dovmont-Timothei). During an appearance of the Mother of God to the starets-elder Dorothei (Dorophei) at the time of a siege of Pskov by the Polish on 27 August 1581, holy Prince Dovmont-Timothei was among the chosen of God, accompanying the Heavenly Protectress of Pskov (the related account about the Pskovo-Pokrov Icon of the Mother of God is located under 1 October).

The relics of holy Prince Dovmont-Timothei rest in the Pskov cathedral of the Life-Originating Trinity.

The holy Princes Vsevolod and Dovmont more than once aided Russian armies in defense of the western borders of the Fatherland. And then the hour struck, when with their sacred intrepidness they were dispatched by the Valiant Leader of the heavenly Hosts to rise up in defense of the eastern frontiers.

In the year 1640 the great national movement to the East -- "the meeting of the sun" -- resulted in the appearance of Russian explorers at the mouth of the Amur River and the Pacific Ocean. Rus' on these frontiers collided with pagan China. The bulwark if Orthodoxy became the Russian fortress of Albazin, famed by the wonderworking Albazinsk Icon of the Mother of God (Comm. 9 March) and the heroic "Albazinsk defense" (1685-1686).

...Summer of the year 1679, during the Peter Lent, a company of cossacks with Gavril Florov set out from Albazin on exploration in the Zea River valley. For three years the cossacks did patrol duty on the Zea, they made the rounds of the surrounding settlements, the brought under Russian rule the Tungus settlers, and they established winter quarters and a stockade. One time, cossack riders encountered in the hills two horsemen on white horses, arrayed in armour and armed with bows and swords. These were Saints Vsevolod and Dovmont. Having entered into conversation with the cossacks and learning that they were from Albazin, the holy warrior-princes predicted soon afterwards the approach of Chinese armies upon the Amur, with a difficult defense but ultimate triumph of Russian arms. "And again the Chinese wilt come, and enter into a great battle, and in these struggles we shalt aid the Russian people. And the Chinese wilt not trouble the city".

Several times during 1684-1686 the horde of Chinese advanced towards Albazin, but did not take the city. By the miraculous help of the Albazinsk Icon of the Mother of God and the holy Princes Vsevolod and Dovmont of Pskov, the enemy onslaughts were rendered powerless against the Far-Eastern Orthodox fortress.

"The Account about the Miracles of Holy Nobleborn Princes Vsevolod and Dovmont" was written by Gavril Florov at Yakutsk on 23 October 1689. The fealty of God's holy retinue did not end. New generations arise to change the face of the earth, but steadfast in sacred patrol of their fatherland stand the Russian warrior-defenders -- Saints Vsevolod and Dovmont.

The Monk Thalassios

The Monk Thalassios, head of a monastery in Libeia, pursued asceticism during the VII Century. He was a friend of Saint Maximos the Confessor (Comm. 21 January), with whom for many years he corresponded. The holy ascetics, as their letters testify, addressed themselves to dealing with difficulties in the spiritual life. The Monk Thalassios, well versed in Holy Scripture, combined deep knowledge with the spiritual enlightenment of believers. He expounded his theological positions under the guise of instructive aphorisms in his work, "On Love, Temperance and the Spiritual Life". The composition of Abba Thalassios consists of 400 chapters, each of which is written in the form of an acrostic, which evidences the obvious literary talent of the author. In this composition, together with spiritual ethics there are stated questions of dogmatic character: concerning the Incarnation of God the Word, and concerning the redemption of mankind. The Monk John Damascene (Comm. 4 December) in his theological works makes use of the composition of the Monk Thalassios. The fundamental thought of the Monk Thalassios is concentrated upon the inner spiritual effort, involved in the struggle with the passions. "If thou dost wish, -- he says, -- to be freed totally from every evil, then make renunciation from the mother of evils -- self-love. Self-love precedeth all the passions, and behind all of them there follows, finally, bitterness. The three primary thoughts of lust are begotten from the passion of self-love, behind which follow all the other passionate thoughts, but not all together". The Monk Thalassios died in old age in about the year 660, and his relics were glorified by a flow of fragrant myrh.

May 21

The Holy Emperor Constantine

The Holy Emperor Constantine (306-337), has received from the Church the title "Equal-to-the-Apostles", and in world history he received the name "the Great". He was the son of Caesar Constantius Chlorus (305-306), governing the lands of Gaul and Britania. The immense Roman empire was at this time divided into a Western and an Eastern empire, at the head of which were two independent emperors and also co-rulers titled "Caesars", -- such in the Western half of the Roman empire was the aforementioned father of Saint Constantine. Saint Contantine's mother was the empress Helen, who was a Christian. The future ruler of all the whole Roman empire -- Constantine -- was raised to have respect for the Christian religion. His father did not persecute Christians in the lands governed by him, this at a time, when through all the rest of the Roman empire Christians were subjected to fierce persecutions by the emperors Diocletian (284-305) together with his co-ruler Maximian Galerius (305-311) in the East, and the emperor Maximian Hercules (284-305) in the West. After the death of Constantius Chlorus, his son Constantine in 306 was proclaimed by the army as emperor of Gaul and Britania. The first act of the new emperor was to promulgate in the lands subject to him the freedom of confession of the Christian faith. The pagan-fanatic Maximian Galerius in the East and the fierce tyrant Maxentius in the West hated the emperor Constantine and they plotted to overthrow and kill him, but Constantine bested them in a series of battles, and he defeated his opponents with the help of God. He prayed to God to give him a sign, which should inspire his army to fight valiantly, and the Lord manifest to him in the heavens a radiant Sign of the Cross with the inscription "With this Sign thou wilt conquer". Having become sole ruler of the Western half of the Roman empire, Constantine in the year 313 issued the Edict of Milan concerning religious toleration, and in the year 323, when he came to rule as the sole ruler over the whole Roman empire, he extended the conditions of the Milan Edict also over the Eastern half of the Roman empire. After three hundred years of persecution, Christians finally received the possibility to openly confess their faith in Christ.

Renouncing paganism, the emperor did not let his capital remain in ancient Rome, the former centre of the pagan realm. He transferred his capital to the East, to the city of Byzantium, which also was renamed Constantinople ["Constantinopolis" means "the city of Constantine"]. Constantine was deeply convinced, that only the Christian religion could unify the immense Roman empire with its diverse peoples. He supported the Church in every way, he brought back from banishment the Christian confessors, he built churches, and he showed concern for the clergy. The emperor deeply revered the victory-bearing Sign of the Cross of the Lord, and he wanted also to find the actual Life-Creating Cross, upon which was crucified our Lord Jesus Christ. For this purpose he dispatched to Jerusalem his own mother -- the holy Empress Helen, granting manifold plenitude of power and material means. Together with the Jerusalem Patriarch Makarios, Saint Helen set about the search, and through the Will of God the Life-Creating Cross was discovered in a miraculous manner in the year 326. (The account about the finding of the Cross of the Lord is located under the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, 14 September). Situated in Palestine, the holy empress did much of benefit for the Church. She gave orders, that all places connected with the earthly life of the Lord and His All-Pure Mother, should be freed of all traces of paganism, and she commanded that churches should be built at these places of memory. Over the Cave of the Sepulchre of the Lord the emperor Constantine himself gave orders to construct a magnificent church to the glory of the Resurrection of Christ. Saint Helen gave the Life-Creating Cross to the Patriarch for safe-keeping, and part of the Cross she took with her for the emperor. Having distributed generous alms at Jerusalem and seeing to the feeding of the needy, during which times she herself attended them, the holy Empress Helen returned to Constantinople, where she soon after died in the year 327.

For her great services to the Church and her efforts in finding the Life-Creating Cross, the empress Helen is titled "Equal-to-the-Apostles".

The peaceful state of the Christian Church was rent by the rise from within the Church by dissensions and quarrels from heresies which had appeared. Already at the beginning of the emperor Constantine's reign there had arisen in the West the heresies of the Donatists and the Novatians, demanding a second baptism over those who lapsed during the times of the persecutions against Christians. These heresies, repudiated by two local Church councils, were finally condemned at the Milan Council of 316. But particularly ruinous for the Church was the rise in the East of the heresy of Arius, daring to repudiate the Divine Essence of the Son of God, and teaching that Jesus Christ was a mere creature. By order of the emperor, in the year 325 there was convened the First OEcumenical Council in the city of Nicea. At this Council were gathered 318 bishops. Among its participants were confessor-bishops from the period of the persecutions and many other luminaries of the Church, among whom -- was Sainted-hierarch Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. (The account about the Council is located under 29 May). The emperor was present at the sessions of the Council. The heresy of Arius was condemned and a Symbol-Creed of Faith compiled, in which was included the term "of One-Essence with the Father", always confirming in the consciousness of Orthodox Christians the truth of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, Who took on and assumed upon Himself human nature for the redemption of all the human race.

The deep churchly awareness and feeling of Saint Constantine might possibly surprise one, where the working-out of the definition "of One-Essence"heard by him in the disputes of the Council, was at his insistence included within the Symbol-Creed of Faith.

After the Council of Nicea, Saint Constantine continued with his active role in the welfare of the Church. He accepted holy Baptism at the end of his life, having prepared for it all his whole life. Saint Constantine died on the day of Pentecost in the year 337 and was buried in the church of the Holy Apostles, in a crypt earlier prepared by him.

The Blessed Holy Princes Konstantin (Constantine) and his sons Michael and Theodore (Feodor)

The Blessed Holy Princes Konstantin (Constantine) and his sons Michael and Theodore (Feodor) of Murom lived during the XI-XII Centuries. Blessed Prince Konstantin, a descendant of Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir, besought of his father, prince Svyatoslav of Chernigov, to give him as his appenage-holding the city of Murom, which was inhabited by pagans, so as to enlighten this land with the light of the Christian faith. The prince sent his son Michael in the capacity of emissary to the Muromsk people, but the pagans murdered him. When prince Konstantin arrived in the city with his retinue, the people quieted down and accepted him, but for a long time they would not consent to give up their paganism. One time they made their way down to the dwelling of the prince, with the intent to kill him, but the prince intrepidly came out to the crowd with the Icon of the Murom Mother of God. The mutinous people unexpectedly quieted down and consented to accept holy Baptism, which was made over them at the River Oka. At the place of the murder of his son Michael, Saint Konstantin built a church in honour of the Annunciation, and later on another church in the name of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb. In the propagation of the Christian faith amongst the Muromsk people, prince Konstantin zealously assisted his son, prince Theodore. In 1129 Saint Konstantin died and was buried in the church of the Annunciation alongside his sons, Blessed Michael and Theodore.

The Monk Kassian (Cassian)

The Monk Kassian (Cassian) of Uglich: On this day is celebrated the "name-in-common" ("tezoimenitstvo") of the Monk Kassian (in the world Konstantin/Constantine). The account about him is located under 2 October.

Sainted Kirill (Cyril), Bishop of Rostov

Sainted Kirill (Cyril), Bishop of Rostov, was chosen to the hierarchical seat whilst hegumen of the Vladimir Nativity monastery, and he administered the Rostov diocese from 1231 to 1262. The chronicler of his time relates, that to hear the preachings of Saint Kirill people gathered not only from Rostov, but they came even from surrounding cities. The Ordynsk prince Peter accepted Christianity under the influence of his preaching. Saint Kirill has left a series of writings -- "About the Fear of God", "About the Heavenly Powers", "About Evil Spirits", "About Publicans", and many others. Sainted Kirill died on 21 May 1262.

The MonkMartyr Agapit of Makrushevsk

The MonkMartyr Agapit of Makrushevsk, the founder of the Makrushevsk Nikolaev monastery, was a companion of the Monk Longin of Koryazhemsk. At one point at the Sol'vychegodsk Borisoglebsk monastery, during a time of illness he was granted a vision from an icon of Saint Nicholas, through whom he was healed. Setting out to the place indicated in the vision, he at first built there a chapel, and when a monastery formed, in 1578 he erected two churches -- the one in name of Saint Nicholas and the other in honour of the Annunciation of the MostHoly Mother of God. The local inhabitants wanted to eradicate the monastery. They murdered the Monk Agapit on 21 May 1584 and threw his body in a river. But the monks found the body and gave it burial betwixt the temples, building at the place of burial a chapel, and at the crypt they put the chains of the saint. Afterwards the relics were transferred and placed beneathe a crypt in the monastery church. In the year 1712 the Kholmogorsk bishop Varnav (Barnabas) gave blessing to the brethren to gather together an account about the life of the Monk Agapit and about the miracles from the Velikoretsk Icon. And with his blessing, in 1715 was written the Vita-Life of the MonkMartyr Agapit.

May 22

The Holy Martyr Basiliskos

The Holy Martyr Basiliskos was a nephew of the holy Martyr Theodore of Tyre (Comm. 17 February), and he suffered together with his brothers Eutropios and Kleonikos during the time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). The holy Martyrs Kleonikos and Eutropios were crucified on crosses (Comm. 3 March), but the Martyr Basiliskos was dispatched to Comana where he was detained in prison. The governor Agrippa, having arrived in the city of Amasia, started up there also the persecution against Christians. And Saint Basiliskos in prison readied himself for the impending martyr's deed. The Lord appeared to him in a dream, promising the martyr His help, and foretold him his martyr's end at Comana. Saint Basiliskos asked the prison guards to release him to his native village to take farewell of his kinsfolk. They sent him off, since they respected him for his holy life and working of miracles. Arriving home, Saint Basiliskos gathered together with his kinsfolk, and was seen by them one last time, and he urged them to stand firmly in the faith.

When Agrippa learned, that Saint Basiliskos had set off to his kinsfolk, he went into a rage. He viciously chastised the prison guards, and he sent a detachment of soldiers after the martyr, headed by a cruel magistrianum (adjutant of the governor). Meeting up with Saint Basiliskos who at this time was actually heading on his way back, the magistrianum slapped heavy chains on him, and shod on his feet metal sandals with nails driven into the soles, and set off to Comana.

Having come to a certain village, over the hot noon-day the travellers stayed at the house of a woman named Troana. The soldiers went into the house to relax and refresh with food, and the holy Martyr Basiliskos they tied to a dry tree. Standing in the heavy chains beneathe the scorching sun, the saint prayed to God. Suddenly was heard the Voice from above: "Fear not, for I am with thee". The earth shook, and from the fissure issued forth a spring of water. The magistrianum, together with the soldiers and Troana, frightened by the earthquake, rushed out of the house. And shaken by the miracle which had taken place, they set free the martyr. Sick people from the village came up to the holy martyr and received healing through his prayer.

When the martyr finally stood before Agrippa, he was commanded to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. The martyr replied: "I offer up to God a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving every hour". They led him into a pagan-temple, where in a instant upon Saint Basiliskos there came down from Heaven a flash of fire, which burned the temple, and reduced the idols standing in it to dust. Then in a blind rage Agrippa gave orders to behead Saint Basiliskos, and throw his body into the river. The death of the martyr occurred in the year 308. Christians quickly gathered the remains of the holy martyr and by night they secretly buried them in a ploughed-up field. After a certain while upon this spot was built a church in the name of the holy Martyr Basiliskos, into which they transferred his relics. Through the prayers of the holy martyr healings began to occur. The holy martyr appeared in a dream to Sainted John Chrysostomos (Comm. 13 November) before his death at Comana and said to him: "Tomorrow we shalt be together". Saint Eusignios (Comm. 5 August) was an eye-witness to his sufferings and told the world about the exploit of the holy Martyr Basiliskos.

The Second OEcumenical Council

The Second OEcumenical Council was convened in the year 381 and consolidated the victory of Orthodoxy, attained in the year 325 at the First OEcumenical Council.

During the difficult years which passed after the acceptance of the Nicean Symbol of Faith, the Arian heresy developed new off-shoots. Under the guise of struggle against the Sabellian heresy, which taught about a blending together of the Hypostatic Persons of the Father and the Son [as mere aspects or modalities within the Trinity], Macedonias began to employ the word "homoi-ousios" ("podobosuschen" or "of like essence" [in contrast to the Orthodox teaching of "homo-ousios", "one selfsame essence"]) regarding the essence of the Son to that of the Father. This formula still presented a danger in that Macedonias set himself forth as a struggler against the Arians, who employed the term "like to the Father". Besides this, the Macedonians -- being semi-Arians, wavering in dependence on conditions and advantages of the moment now towards Orthodoxy, now towards Arianism, -- wound up blaspheming also the Holy Spirit by suggesting that He did not have "oneness of essence" with the Father and the Son. A second heretic -- Aetius, introduced the concept "anomoion" ("different in essence" or "inosuschen") and he said, that the Father has a completely different essence from that of the Son. His student Eunomios taught about an hierarchical subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Holy Spirit to the Son. Everyone who came to him he re-christened into the "death of Christ", denying the Baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, which is commanded us by the Saviour Himself.

A third heresy arose from the teachings of Valentius and Ursacius at the Arimonian (Rimini) Council. They attempted to deceive the Orthodox bishops, proclaiming, that the Son of God is from God and is in likeness to God the Father, and is not a created being as the Arians taught. But under the pretention that the word "essence" is not found within the Holy Scripture, the heretics proposed not to use the term "one in essence" in the relation of the Son to the Father. Besides these three fundamental heresies, there were also many other false-teachings. The heretic Apollinarios said: ""The flesh of the Saviour, taken from the bosom of the Father in Heaven, did not have an human soul or reasoning; the Word of God filled in for the absented soul; Divinity remained dead over the course of three days".

For dealing with these crafters of heresy, the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395) convened at Constantinople an OEcumenical Council, at which 150 bishops were present. Upon investigation by the holy fathers there was proposed affirmation of a Confession of Faith from a Roman Council, which holy Pope Damasus had sent to the bishop of Antioch, Paulinos. Having read aloud the scroll, the holy fathers, in disavowing the false-teaching of Macedonias, unanimously affirmed the Apostolic teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a subordinated being, but is rather -- the Life-Creating Lord, Who proceedeth from the Father, and together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified. For the confuting of other heresies: of Eunomians, Arians and Semi-Arians, -- the holy fathers attested in affirmation the Nicean Symbol-Creed of the Orthodox Faith.

In the Symbol (Creed), accepted by the First OEcumenical Council, the Divine dignity of the Holy Spirit was not addressed, since at that earlier time [year 325] heresies against the Holy Spirit had not become problematic. Wherefore the holy fathers of the Second OEcumenical Council thereupon appended the Nicean Symbol-Creed with its 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th sections, -- i.e. they definitively formulated and affirmed the Nicean-Constantinople Symbol of Faith, confessed in the Creed even now by all the Orthodox Church.

The Second Oecumenical Council besides this established also the norms of ecclesiastical courts {Canon VI], and it decided the acceptance into communion through the Sacrament of Chrismation those repentant heretics who were properly baptised in the Name of the Holy Trinity, but those baptised with a single immersion are to be received as pagans.

Sainted Gregory the Theologian [Nazianzus] (Comm. 25 and 30 January) at the Second OEcumenical Council gave in his talk the following exposition of the Orthodox Faith: "The Originative-Principle Without-Beginning [alt. "Uncaused Cause"] and that Subsistent with the Originative-Principle -- is One God. But the "Without-Beginning" or "UnBegottenness" is not the essence of the Without-Beginning Originative-Principle. Because every essence is defined not by that -- which it is not, but rather by that -- which it is: it is the affirmation and not the negation of the existing. And the Originative-Principle, that what it gave origin to is not separate from the Without-Beginning, since for it to be an origin does not constitute the essence, just as also beforehand the first to be Without-Beginning; wherefore this only but relates to the essence, and is not the essence itself. And the Subsistent with the Without-Beginning and with the Originative-Principle is not something other than what They are. The Name of the Without-Beginning -- is the Father, the Originative-Principle -- the Son, the Subsistent with the Originative-Principle -- is the Holy Spirit; and the essence is Tri-une -- God. In unity is -- the Father, from Whom and to Whom They proceed, not confusedly mixed together, but co-dwelling with Him, nor divided amidst Itself either by time, nor by will nor power".

The Holy Martyr John-Vladimir

The Holy Martyr John-Vladimir, a Serbian prince, was born in the X Century. From his childhood he was raised in piety, and at maturity he wisely governed his holdings Illyria and Dalmatia, preserving in purity the holy faith. The noble prince was married to Kosara, a daughter of the Bulgarian tsar Samuel. Summoned under pretense of talks with the Bulgarian tsar John-Vladislav, he was treacherously murdered by him on 22 May 1015, at the entrance to a church. The pious spouse of the holy prince, Kosara, withdrew into a women's monastery that she built, and where also she died, to the very end of her life not quitting the church. The relics of the holy prince are situated near Elbosan.

May 23

St. Joachim, Papoulakis of Vatopedi

Joachim "Papoulakis" of Ithaca was born in 1786 as Ioannis Patrikios to the devout parents, Angelos and Agne Patrikios, in the little village of Kalyvia of Ithaca in Greece. At a very early age, his mother passed away and his father remarried. His stepmother would be moved in jealousy towards the young child and it was well known that she mistreated him. This forced him at an early age to learn patience and he learnt to spend many hours hiding from her; reading the Holy Scriptures and praying at a small church near his home dedicated to St. Spyridon.

He joined the family business and worked for his father as a sailor. One one of his trips, he visited Mount Athos, where he became a monk and stayed at the Monastery of Vatopaedi taking on the name of "Joachim". In 1827, the saint returned to Ithaca and served the church there for the remainder of his life. He peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in Vathy of Ithaca on March 2, 1868.

Saint Mary Cleopa

Saint Mary Cleopa (Wife of Cleophas) the Myrh-Bearer, by Church tradition was a daughter of Righteous Joseph, Betrothed to the MostHoly Virgin Mary (Comm. 26 December) from his first marriage, and she was still very young when the MostHoly Virgin was betrothed to Righteous Joseph and came into his household. The Holy Virgin Mary lived together with the daughter of Righteous Joseph, and they became close like sisters [whence the terminology in John's Gospel, 19: 25]. Righteous Joseph, upon his return with the Saviour and the Mother of God from Egypt to Nazareth, gave his daughter in marriage to his younger brother Cleophas, wherefore she is called Mary Cleopa, i.e. wife of Cleophas. The blessed fruition of this marriage was the PriestMartyr Simeon, Disciple from the Seventy, kinsman of the Lord, and the Second Bishop of the Jerusalem Church (Comm. 27 April). The memory of Saint Mary Cleopa is celebrated also on the 3rd Sunday after Pascha, the Sunday of the Holy Myrh-Bearing Women.

Sainted Hierarch Michael the Confessor

Sainted Hierarch Michael the Confessor yearned from his youthful years for the monastic life and was directed by His Holiness Patriarch Tarasios (784-806) to a monastery, located at the coast region of the Black Sea. There also entered the monastery together with him -- Saint Theophylaktos (Comm. 8 March), the future bishop of Nikomedia. At the monastery both monks proceeded through the efforts of salvation and soon were glorified by graced gifts from the Lord. Once during a time of harvest, when the people were weakened by thirst, by the prayer of the monks an empty metal vessel was filled with water.

His Holiness Patriarch Tarasios ordained Saint Michael as bishop of the city of Synada. Through his holy life and wisdom, Saint Michael gained the deep love of believers and the particular notice of the emperors Nicephoros I (802-811) and Michael I Rangaves (811-813). In the year 787 Saint Michael was present at the Seventh OEcumenical Council at Nicea.

When the Iconoclast heretic Leo the Armenian (813-820) entered upon the throne, he began to expel Orthodox hierarchs from their cathedrae-seats, appointing in their place his like-minded heretics.

Saint Michael during this time firmly defended Orthodoxy, bravely opposing the heretics and denouncing their error. Leo the Armenian brought Saint Michael to trial, but not fearing torture he answered resolutely: "I venerate the holy icons of my Saviour Jesus Christ and the All-Pure Virgin, His Mother, and all the saints, and it is to them I bow down. Thine decrees about the removal of icons from churches I shall not fulfill". Leo the Armenian then banished Saint Michael to imprisonment in the city of Eudokiada, where the confessor died in about the year 821. The head of Saint Michael is preserved in the Laura of Saint Athanasias on Mount Athos, and part of the relics -- are at the Iversk monastery.

The Holy MonkMartyr Michael the Black-Robed

The Holy MonkMartyr Michael the Black-Robed lived in the IX Century, and came from the city of Edessa (Mesopotamia) of Christian parents. He was a zealous disciple of Saint Theodore of Edessa (Comm. 9 July). Having distributed to the poor the inheritance left him by his parents, he set off to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Places. Jerusalem at the time was in the grips of the Mahometans. Saint Michael remained in Palestine and settled in the monastery of Saint Sava. One time he was sent from the monastery to Jerusalem to sell goods for the monks. At the marketplace, the eunuch of the Mahometan empress Seida, having noticed that the monastery goods were both fine and well-made, took him along to the empress. The young monk caught the fancy of the empress, who tried to entrap him in the snare of sin, but her intent proved to be in vain. Then by order of the enraged Seida they beat the monk with canes, and then accused him before the emperor of being an enemy of Mahometanism. Having interrogated the monk, the emperor began to urge him to accept the Mahometan faith, but Saint Michael answered: "I implore thee -- either send me back to the monastery to my instructor, or be baptised in our Christian faith, or cut off my head, and I shall then expire to Christ my God". The emperor gave orders to give the saint a cup with deadly poison, which Saint Michael drank and remained unharmed, so after this the emperor gave orders to cut off his head. The death of the martyr occurred in Jerusalem, but the monks of the monastery of Saint Sava transported the body of the saint to their Laura and buried it there with reverence. At the beginning of the XII Century the relics of the holy martyr were seen there by Daniel, the hegumen of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, in his making of pilgrimage to the Holy Places.

The Nun Evphrosynia, Hegumeness of Polotsk

The Nun Evphrosynia, Hegumeness of Polotsk, was in the world named Predslava, daughter of prince Georgii Vseslavich. From her childhood years she was noted for her love of prayer and book learning. Having rejected a proposal for marriage, Predslava took monastic vows with the name Evphrosynia. With the blessing of the Polotsk bishop Ilia, she began to live near the Sophia cathedral, where she occupied herself by the copying of books. In about the year 1128 Bishop Ilia entrusted the nun the task of organising a women's monastery. Setting out for Sel'tso -- the place of the future monastery, -- the ascetic took only her holy books -- "all her possessions". At the newly constructed Saviour-Transfiguration monastery the saint taught the girls the copying of books, singing, sewing and other handicrafts. By her zeal in 1161 there was constructed a cathedral, preserved til now. The Nun Evphrosynia founded also the Bogoroditsk men's monastery, to which by her request the Constantinople Patriarch Luke sent a copy of the wonderworking Ephesus Icon of the Mother of God. Somewhat before her death, the Nun Evphrosynia together with her nephew David and sister Evpraxia journeyed in pilgrimage to the Holy Places. Having venerated the holy things at Tsar'grad, she arrived in Jerusalem, where at the Russian monastery of the MostHoly Mother of God the Lord granted her a peaceful end on 24 May 1173. And later on in 1187 the body of the saint was transferred to the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, and in 1910 the relics were transferred to Polotsk to the monastery founded by her.

The Nun Evphrosynia of Polotsk was glorified in the Russian Church as a patroness of women's monasticism.

May 24

St. Vincent of Lérins

St. Vincent of Lérins was an ecclesiastical writer in Southern Gaul in the fifth century. His work is much better known than his life. Almost all our information concerning him is contained in Gennadius, "De viris illustribus" (lxiv). He entered the monastery of Lérins (today Isle St. Honorat), where under the pseudonym of Peregrinus he wrote his "Commonitorium" (434). He died before 450, and probably shortly after 434. St. Eucherius of Lyons calls him a holy man, conspicuous for eloquence and knowledge; there is no reliable authority for identifying Vincent with Marius Mercator, but it is likely, if not certain, that he is the writer against whom Prosper, St. Augustine's friend, directs his "Responsiones ad capitula objectionum Vincentianarum". He was a Semipelagian and so opposed to the doctrine of St. Augustine. It is believed now that he uses against Augustine his great principle: "what all men have at all times and everywhere believed must be regarded as true". Living in a centre deeply imbued with Semipelagianism, Vincent's writings show several points of doctrine akin to Casian or to Faustus of Riez, who became Abbot of Lérins at the time Vincent wrote his "Commonitorium"; he uses technical expressions similar to those employed by the Semipelagians against Augustine; but, as Benedict XIV observes, that happened before the controversy was decided by the Church. The "Commonitorium" is Vincent's only certainly authentic work extant. The "Objectiones Vincentianae" are known to us only through Prosper's refutation. It seems probable that he collaborated, or at least inspired, the "Objectiones Gallorum", against which also Prosper writes his book. The work against Photinus, Apollinaris, Nestorius, etc., which he intended to compose (Commonitorium, xvi), has not been discovered, if it was ever written. The "Commonitorium", destined to help the author's memory and thus guide him in his belief according to the traditions of the Fathers, was intended to comprise two different commonitoria, the second of which no longer exists, except in the résumé at the end of the first, made by its author; Vincent complains that it had been stolen from him. Neither Gennadius, who wrote about 467-80, nor any known manuscripts, enable us to find any trace of it.

St. Nicetas Stylites, wonderworker of Pereyaslavl-Zalesski

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.

The Monk Simeon the Pillar-Dweller

The Monk Simeon the Pillar-Dweller was born in the year 521 in Syrian Antioch from the pious parents John and Martha. Saint Martha (Comm. 4 July)from her youthful years prepared herself for an unmarried life and yearned for monasticism, but her parents insisted on her entering into marriage with the youth John. After ardent prayer in a church in the name of Saint John the Fore-Runner, the future nun was directed in a vision to submit to the will of her parents and enter into marriage. In married life, Saint Martha strove to please God and her husband in everything. She often prayed about granting her a baby and promised to devote him to the service of God. In his appearance to the saint, Saint John the Fore-Runner revealed to the pious Martha that of her would be born a son, who indeed would serve God. When the infant was born, he was named Simeon and baptised at two years of age.

When Simeon was six years old, an earthquake occurred in the city of Antioch, during the time of which his father perished. Simeon during the time of the earthquake was in church. Leaving it, he became lost and spent seven days sheltered by a pious woman. Having again appeared to Blessed Martha, John the Baptist indicated where to find the lost boy. The mother of the saint, having found her lost son, settled after the earthquake on the outskirts of Antioch. Already during his childhood the Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to Saint Simeon, foretelling him his future exploits and the recompense for them.

The six year old lad Simeon went off into the wilderness, where for a certain time he was situated in complete isolation. During this time a light-bearing Angel guarded and fed him and finally, he arrived at a solitary monastery, the head of which was the hegumen Abba John, pursuing asceticism upon a pillar, and with love he accepted the lad.

After a certain while Saint Simeon turned with a request to the Elder John to permit him also asceticise upon a pillar. A new pillar was erected by the brethren of the monastery with the blessing of the hegumen, not far from his pillar. Having completed the obedience of the seven year old boy into monasticism, Abba John himself raised him up upon this pillar. The young ascetic, strengthened by the Lord, quickly grew spiritually, in his efforts surpassing even his experienced preceptor. For his stringent efforts, Saint Simeon received from God the gift of healing. The fame about the deeds of the young monk began to spread about beyond the bounds of the monastery, and monks and laypeople began to come to him from various places, wanting to hear his counsel and receive healings from infirmities. The humble ascetic continued to pursue asceticism with instructions from his spiritual mentor Abba John.

At 11 years of age the lad decided to pursue asceticism upon still higher a pillar, to the top of which was 40 feet. The bishops of Antioch and Seleukos came to the place of the monk's exploits, and ordained the holy ascetic to the dignity of deacon, and then they permitted him to go up upon the new pillar, on which the Monk Simeon asceticised over the course of 8 years.

The Monk Simeon prayed ardently for the sending down upon him of the Holy Spirit, and the holy prayer of the ascetic was heard. The Holy Spirit came down upon him in the form of a blazing light, filling the ascetic with Divine Wisdom. Alongside with spoken precepts, Saint Simeon dispatched written precepts about repentance, monasticism, about the Incarnation of Christ and about the future Judgement.

After the death of his elder, Saint Simeon structured his life thus: from the rising of the sun until mid-afternoon he read books and copied Holy Scripture, after which he again rose to prayer and prayed all night. When the new day began, having rested somewhat, he began his usual rule of prayer with the rising of the sun.

The Monk Simeon concluded his efforts on the second column and by the decree of God settled upon the Wondrous Mount, having become in his monastery an experienced elder for guidance to monks. The ascent onto the Wondrous Mount was marked by a vision of the Lord, standing atop a column. Saint Simeon continued his exploits at this place where he saw the Lord, at first upon a stone, and then upon a pillar again raised up. Future events were revealed to the Monk Simeon, and thus he foretold the death of the archbishop of Antioch, Ephrem, and the illness of the bishop, Domnos, which overtook him in punishment for his lack of pity. And finally, the Monk Simeon predicted an earthquake for the city of Antioch and urged all the inhabitants to repent themselves of their sins. On the Wondrous Mount Saint Simeon established a monastery, the church of which sick people healed by him built, in gratitude for the mercy shown them. For the needs of the monastery the monk petitioned by prayer a spring of water, and once during the time of a shortage of grain, by his prayer to the Lord wheat was multiplied in the granaries of the monastery. In the year 560 by the command of the Lord the holy ascetic at age 39 received the priestly dignity from the bishop of Seleukos, Dionysios. At age 75 the Monk Simeon was forewarned by the Lord about his impending end. He summoned the brethren of the monastery, instructed them in a farewell blessing talk and peacefully expired to God in the year 596, having toiled in the feat of pillar-dwelling for 68 years.

Just as during life, so also after death the monk worked miracles, healing the blind and lame and leprous, saving many from wild beasts, casting out devils and resuscitating the dead.

The Holy Martyrs Meletius Stratelates, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Kallinikos the Sorcerer, Theodore and Faustus

The Holy Martyrs Meletius Stratelates, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Kallinikos the Sorcerer, Theodore and Faustus and with them 1218 Soldiers with Women and Children: During the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Heliogobalus (218-222) the holy Martyr Meletius was a military commander of the Galatia district. He was a Christian and he prayed fervently that the Lord would put an end to the pagan error. Terrified by his prayer, the devils inhabiting the pagan temples entered into dogs, which by their howling began to imbue fear into the inhabitants of the district. Saint Meletius together with his soldiers dispatched the mad dogs, destroyed the temples and was then arrested and brought to trial before the governor Maximian. For refusing to offer sacrifice to idols Saint Meletius was subjected to torture, and he died, not ceasing to confess his faith in Christ. The tribunes of his regiment, the holy Martyrs Stephen and John, were beheaded for their confession of Christ as True God.

The remaining soldiers of the regiment, likewise declaring themselves Christian, were beheaded by the sword together with their wives and children, and in the torments perished 1218 men, put by some historians at instead the number 11,000 (+ c. 218).

The holy Martyrs Theodore and Faustus together with many others were burned. From the women and children that suffered are known the names of the holy Martyresses Marciana, Susanna, Palladia, and the Infants Kyriakos and Christian. The names of some of the soldiers are known, and of the 12 tribunes: the holy Martyrs Faustus, Fistus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Fotinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius and Didymos.

The holy Martyr Serapion was born in Egypt. He had come to the Galatia district and was a witness of the martyrdom of Saint Meletius and his comrades. Seeing the bravery with which those believing in Christ died for Him, Saint Serapion himself believed, for which he was imprisoned. In prison an Angel of God came down to him and ordained Saint Serapion a bishop.

May 25

The Third Discovery of the Venerable Head of the Holy Prophet, Fore-Runner and Baptist of the Lord John

The Third Discovery of the Venerable Head of the Holy Prophet, Fore-Runner and Baptist of the Lord John occurred in about the year 850 (the account about the First and Second Discoveries is located under 24 February). During the time of unrest at Constantinople connected with the exile of Sainted John Chrysostom (Comm. 13 November), the head of Saint John the Fore-Runner was found in the city of Emesia. It was transferred from there during the time of Saracen raids (about 820-820) to Komana and there -- during a period of iconoclast persecution, it was hidden in the ground. When the veneration of icons was restored, Patriarch Ignatios (847-857) during the time of prayer at night was shown in a vision the place, where the head of Saint John the Fore-Runner was concealed. The hierarch communicated this to the emperor, who dispatched a delegation to Komana, and there the head was found a third time at the place decreed by the patriarch in about the year 850. Afterwards the head was again transferred to Constantinople, and here on 25 May it was placed in a church at the court. Part of the head is located at Athos. In memory of the Third Discovery of the Head of the Baptist of the Lord John, the celebration is on 25 May.

St. Bede the Venerable, of Wearmouth-Jarrow

Historian and Doctor of the Church, born 672 or 673; died 735. In the last chapter of his great work on the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" Bede has told us something of his own life, and it is, practically speaking, all that we know. His words, written in 731, when death was not far off, not only show a simplicity and piety characteristic of the man, but they throw a light on the composition of the work through which he is best remembered by the world at large. He writes:

Thus much concerning the ecclesiastical history of Britain, and especially of the race of the English, I, Baeda, a servant of Christ and a priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, which is at Wearmouth and at Jarrow (in Northumberland), have with the Lord's help composed so far as I could gather it either from ancient documents or from the traditions of the elders, or from my own knowledge. I was born in the territory of the said monastery, and at the age of seven I was, by the care of my relations, given to the most reverend Abbot Benedict [St. Benedict Biscop], and afterwards to Ceolfrid, to be educated. From that time I have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, devoting all my pains to the study of the Scriptures, and amid the observance of monastic discipline and the daily charge of singing in the Church, it has been ever my delight to learn or teach or write. In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the diaconate, in my thirtieth to the priesthood, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John [St. John of Beverley], and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid. From the time of my admission to the priesthood to my present fifty-ninth year, I have endeavored for my own use and that of my brethren, to make brief notes upon the holy Scripture, either out of the works of the venerable Fathers or in conformity with their meaning and interpretation.

After this Bede inserts a list or Indiculus, of his previous writings and finally concludes his great work with the following words:

And I pray thee, loving Jesus, that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.

It is plain from Bede's letter to Bishop Egbert that the historian occasionally visited his friends for a few days, away from his own monastery of Jarrow, but with such rare exceptions his life seems to have been one peaceful round of study and prayer passed in the midst of his own community. How much he was beloved by them is made manifest by the touching account of the saint's last sickness and death left us by Cuthbert, one of his disciples. Their studious pursuits were not given up on account of his illness and they read aloud by his bedside, but constantly the reading was interrupted by their tears. "I can with truth declare", writes Cuthbert of his beloved master, "that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God." Even on the day of his death (the vigil of the Ascension, 735) the saint was still busy dictating a translation of the Gospel of St. John. In the evening the boy Wilbert, who was writing it, said to him: "There is still one sentence, dear master, which is not written down." And when this had been supplied, and the boy had told him it was finished, "Thou hast spoken truth", Bede answered, "it is finished. Take my head in thy hands for it much delights me to sit opposite any holy place where I used to pray, that so sitting I may call upon my Father." And thus upon the floor of his cell singing, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost" and the rest, he peacefully breathed his last breath.

The title Venerabilis seems to have been associated with the name of Bede within two generations after his death. There is of course no early authority for the legend repeated by Fuller of the "dunce-monk" who in composing an epitaph on Bede was at a loss to complete the line: Hac sunt in fossa Bedae . . . . ossa and who next morning found that the angels had filled the gap with the word venerabilis. The title is used by Alcuin, Amalarius and seemingly Paul the Deacon, and the important Council of Aachen in 835 describes him as venerabilis et modernis temporibus doctor admirabilis Beda. This decree was specially referred to in the petition which Cardinal Wiseman and the English bishops addressed to the Holy See in 1859 praying that Bede might be declared a Doctor of the Church. The question had already been debated even before the time of Benedict XIV, but it was only on 13 November, 1899, that Leo XIII decreed that the feast of Venerable Bede with the title of Doctor Ecclesiae should be celebrated throughout the Church each year on 27 May. A local cultus of St. Bede had been maintained at York and in the North of England throughout the Middle Ages, but his feast was not so generally observed in the South, where the Sarum Rite was followed. Bede's influence both upon English and foreign scholarship was very great, and it would probably have been greater still but for the devastation inflicted upon the Northern monasteries by the inroads of the Danes less than a century after his death. In numberless ways, but especially in his moderation, gentleness, and breadth of view, Bede stands out from his contemporaries. In point of scholarship he was undoubtedly the most learned man of his time. A very remarkable trait, noticed by Plummer (I, p. xxiii), is his sense of literary property, an extraordinary thing in that age. He himself scrupulously noted in his writings the passages he had borrowed from others and he even begs the copyists of his works to preserve the references, a recommendation to which they, alas, have paid but little attention. High, however, as was the general level of Bede's culture, he repeatedly makes it clear that all his studies were subordinated to the interpretation of Scripture. In his "De Schematibus" he says in so many words: "Holy Scripture is above all other books not only by its authority because it is Divine, or by its utility because it leads to eternal life, but also by its antiquity and its literary form" (positione dicendi). It is perhaps the highest tribute to Bede's genius that with so uncompromising and evidently sincere a conviction of the inferiority of human learning, he should have acquired so much real culture. Though Latin was to him a still living tongue, and though he does not seem to have consciously looked back to the Augustan Age of Roman Literature as preserving purer models of literary style than the time of Fortunatus or St. Augustine, still whether through native genius or through contact with the classics, he is remarkable for the relative purity of his language, as also for his lucidity and sobriety, more especially in matters of historical criticism. In all these respects he presents a marked contrast to St. Aldhelm who approaches more nearly to the Celtic type.

St. Zenobius, Bishop of Florence

Born of a Florentine noble family, he was educated by his pagan parents. He came early under the influence of the holy bishop Theodore, was baptized by him, and succeeded, after much opposition, in bringing his father and mother to the Christianity. He embraced the clerical state, and rapidly rose to the position of archdeacon, when his virtues and notable powers as a preacher made him known to Saint Ambrose, at whose instance Pope Damasus I (366-86) called him to Rome, and employed him in various important missions, including a legation to Constantinople. On the death of Damasus he returned to his native city, where he resumed his apostolic labours, and on the death of the bishop of that see, Zenobius, to the great joy of the people, was appointed to succeed him. His deacons are venerated as St. Eugene and St. Crescentius. He evangelized Florence and its outskirts completely and combated Arianism.

According to his biographer and successor in the See of Florence, Antonius, he died in his ninetieth year, in 424; but, as Antonius says that Pope Innocent I (d. 417) was at the time pope, the date is uncertain. There is ground for believing that he actually died in 417, on 25 May, on which day the ancient tower where he is supposed to have lived, near the Ponte Vecchio, was annually decorated with flowers.

The Priestmartyr Pherapont, Bishop of Cyprus

The Priestmartyr Pherapont, Bishop of Cyprus, pursued asceticism in a monastery, and afterwards he bore obedience in the dignity of bishop on the island of Cyprus. At the time of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305), Sainted Pherapont bravely confessed the Name of Christ and died a martyr's death. The relics of the priestmartyr were at first situated on Cyprus and were glorified by numerous miracles. But afterwards in the year 806, they were transferred to Constantinople. The cause of the transfer of the relics was the danger of invasion by the Saracens. It is significant that on the way, when the ship with the relics sailed to Constantinople, myrh began to flow from the relics, and travellers on the ship were miraculously saved during the time of a storm by their prayers to Saint Pherapont. Upon arrival at Constantinople, the relics of the priestmartyr were placed in a temple built in honour of the Icon of the Mother of God of Heleusa or "the Merciful" (celebration is done on 12 November).

In the year 806 the relics were again transferred into a temple built in honour of the Priestmartyr Pherapont, and from them there constantly flowed myrh, and miracles were worked. Through the prayers of Sainted Pherapont, the seriously ill are healed, and the dying restored to life.

May 26

The Holy Disciple Carpus

The Holy Disciple Carpus (from the Seventy) was a disciple and companion of the holy Apostle Paul. In the 2nd Epistle to Timothy, the apostle mentions the name Carpus, at the house of whom in Troias he left a phelon and books (2 Tim. 4: 13). Knowing Carpus as a man of virtue and possessing a mind of lofty purity, the Apostle Paul made him bishop of Thracian Bereia. The disciple Carpus went preaching the Gospel to the island of Crete. Here he encountered Saint Dionysios the Areopagite (Comm. 3 October). In his reminiscences Dionysios recounts about a miraculous vision to the disciple Carpus.

The holy disciple Carpus died peacefully at Bereia (according to other histories he received a martyr's end during the persecution under the emperor Nero).

The Holy Disciple Alphaeus

The Holy Disciple Alphaeus (of the Seventy) came from the Galilean city of Capernaum and was the father of the Apostles James Alphaeus and Matthew.

The Holy Martyrs Avercius and Helen

The Holy Martyrs Avercius and Helen, by tradition, were children of the holy Disciple Alphaeus. For confessing faith in Christ Jesus, Saint Avercius was bound naked amidst a bee-hive and died a martyr from the sting of the bees. His sister, Saint Helen, was pelted with stones.

The Holy Martyr George the New

The Holy Martyr George the New was born into an illustrious Bulgarian family, living in the capital city of Bulgaria -- Sredets (now the city of Sofia). Saint George was implored of the Lord by the fervent prayer of his parents, John and Mary, who until their declining years remained childless. They baptised the infant in the name of the holy GreatMartyr George (Comm. 23 April). Young George received a fine upbringing, he attentively studied the Holy Scriptures, and he was pious and chaste. His parents died when George reached age 25. At that time Bulgaria found itself under the rule of the Turks, who by force converted Christians to Mahometanism. Once several musselmans tried to convert George. They put on the head of the saint a tafta (fez), a circular headpiece, in which musselmans enter their own house of prayer. But George threw the fez (tafta) on the ground. The turks with beatings and abuse led the martyr to their governor. The governor was impressed with the manly form and handsome face of Saint George and he began gently to urge him to accept Mahometanism, promising dignitary honours and wealth from Sultan Selim (1512-1520). But the saint boldly and steadfastly confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and reproached the error of Mahometanism. The governor in a rage gave orders to incessantly flog Saint George with canes, but the saint bravely endured in his confession of faith in Christ. The governor gave orders to intensify the tortures. The passion-bearer enduringly bore all his sufferings, calling for help on the Lord Jesus Christ. They then led the martyr through the city to the beat of a drum and shouts: "Do not insult Mahomet nor abase the musselman faith". Finally, amidst the city a big bon-fire was fired up, for burning Saint George, but he, -- weakened from his wounds, fell upon the ground. They threw him still alive into the fire, and from above they threw on corpses of dogs, so that then Christians would not then be able to find the remains of the martyr. But suddenly heavy rain started pouring and extinguished the bon-fire. With the onset of evening darkness, the place, -- where the body of the martyr was thrown, shone with a bright light. They gave permission to a certain Christian priest to take the venerable remains of the martyr for burial. Informed about the occurrence, Metropolitan Jeremiah with accompanying clergy set out to the place of execution. In the extinguished bon-fire they located the body of the holy Martyr George and carried it to the church of the holy GreatMartyr George in the city of Sredets.

The UnCovering of the Relics of the Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk

The UnCovering of the Relics of the Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk occurred on 26 May 1521. A merchant from the city of Dmitrov, Mikhail Voronkov, offered the means for the construction of a stone church, in place of the decaying wooden one, at the Kalyazinsk monastery. The hegumen of the monastery, Joasaph, set up a cross designated for the altar, and gave blessing to dig the trench for the foundation. During the time of work there was discovered an undestroyed grave, from which they issued forth a fragrance. Hegumen Joasaph immediately recognised the grave of the founder of the monastery -- the Monk Makarii, gone to rest in the year 1483. The brethren of the monastery and a crowd of gathered people made a panikhida over the transfer of the grave to the church. From this day the undecayed relics of the saint began to work healings. A report about this was made to the Metropolitan of Moscow, Daniel (1522-1539), who convened at Moscow a Sobor (Council) and, having examined in detail testimony about the sanctity of the Monk Makarii, he established a feastday to the newly-appeared saint. The relics were solemnly transferred to a temple in the Name of the Holy Trinity. Feodosii of Tver' was the compiler of the Service for the UnCovering of the Relics. Until 1547 the veneration of Saint Makarii was done only at this monastery. During the Moscow Sobor of 1547, under Metropolitan Makarii (1543-1564), the Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk was enumerated to the rank of the Saints, and his memory set on the list of other Russian Saints to be celebrated throughout all of Russia. An account about the Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk is located also under 17 March, on the day in memory of the repose of the saint.

The Monk John Psychantes the Confessor

The Monk John Psychantes the Confessor lived during the end-VIII beginning-IX Century. In his youth he left the secular world and accepted monasticism in the Psukhanteia Lavra (in the suburbs of Constantinople). For his holy life and salvific exploits, the monk received from God the gift to cast out demons and to heal the sick. During this time there raged the heresy of the iconoclasts, and those venerating holy icons were subjected to persecution. They led away the Monk John for interrogation, where they put him under coercion to renounce the veneration of holy icons and to sign a renunciation. The monk in place of a renunciation denounced the persecutors, calling the emperor Leo Isauros (717-741) an heretic. For this they sent the monk into exile, where he died, having endured much distress from the iconoclasts.

The Holy Martyr Alexander

The Holy Martyr Alexander was a dervish (a musselman begging monk) in the city of Soluneia (Thessalonika), but he converted to Christ. For a confession of Christian faith the Turks beheaded him in the city of Smyrna in the year 1794.

May 27

Saint Melangell

Saint Melangell is an early British abbess and Celtic virgin from the heart of North Wales whose cult is even now on the increase. At the reformation, her shrine was dismantled and the stones retained and reused within the churchyard. During the recusant years, through the assistance of the Catholic Marquess of Powys, relics of the saint were venerated at the English Jesuit College at St. Omer in France where Father Lewis Sabran, the Rector, had a great devotion to St. Melangell. Her Latin name (not used these days but much used in times past) is Monacella. In recent years much archaeology and a great deal of historical research has made possible the restoration of the shrine (mostly with the original stones) in its original location in the chancel of the ancient parish church; to the great satisfaction of the local community.

Saint Melangell was an Irish princess who left her native land over 1,400 years ago and came, no doubt with her companions and servants, to Britain and to the Tanat valley, seeking and finding a place to live her life in quiet prayer and devotion to God.

Her legend (translated from a 17th Century manuscript by Professor Oliver Davies of Saint David’s College, Lampeter) tells of the illustrious Prince Brychwel Ysgithrog of Pengwern Powys who in AD 604 whilst hunting in a place called Pennant started a hare and with his hounds gave chase. They came to a thicket of brambles and thorns wherein he found a beautiful maiden, given up to divine contemplation, with the hare lying boldly under the hem of her garments.

Moved by her piety and her serenity the prince endowed Melangell, daughter of King Jowchel of Ireland, with land and built for her a place of sanctuary for the service of God that it may be a ‘perpetual asylum, refuge and defence’, saying unto her: "O most worthy Melangell, I perceive that thou art the handmaiden of the true God. Because it hath pleased Him for thy merits to give protection to this little wild hare from the attack and pursuit of the ravening hounds, I give and present to thee with willing mind these my lands for the service of God, to be a perpetual asylum and refuge. If any men or women flee hither to seek thy protection, provided they do not pollute thy sanctuary, let no prince or chieftain be so rash towards God as to attempt to drag them forth."

Melangell passed the rest of her days in this lonely place, sleeping on bare rock. Many were the miracles which she wrought for those who sought refuge in her sanctuary with pure hearts.

To this day, in honour of Saint Melangell, the hares are respected by the local hunters of Cwm Pennant and are never ever shot!

The PriestMartyr Therapontos

The PriestMartyr Therapontos, Bishop of Sardis suffered for Christ during the III Century (the city of Sardis, or Sarda, was situated in the Asia Minor district of Lydia). In fulfilling his priestly service, Saint Therapontos enlightened with the light of the Christian faith and baptised many of the pagan-Hellenes (Greeks). For this, he was brought to trial before the governor Julian and fearlessly declared himself a Christian bishop. They threw him into prison, where for a long time he languished with hunger and thirst, and then they gave him over to cruel tortures, but the torments did not break the saint's valiant confessing of faith. In chains they led off the saint to the city of Sinaion in Phrygia, and thence to Ancyra. In these cities they again tortured him. They took him to the River Astala, where they stretched him cross-form and bare upon the ground, fastened to four posts driven into the ground, and they beat him fiercely. After this torture, they took the passion-bearer of Christ off to the outskirts of the Satalia diocese, part of the Sardis metropolitanate, and here after long beatings Saint Therapontos ended with his martyr's deed. The dry posts, to which the saint had been tied, and having soaked up his blood, gave forth green shoots and grew into large trees, the leaves of which were found to have curative powers through which many people received graced healing.

The Holy Martyrs Theodora the Virgin and Didymas the Soldier

The Holy Martyrs Theodora the Virgin and Didymas the Soldier suffered for Christ during the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), in the city of Alexandria in either the year 303 or 304.

The Virgin-Martyr Theodora, standing trial before the Alexandria governor Eustratios, bravely confessed herself a Christian. To the question of the governor as to why she had not married, the saint answered, that she had dedicated herself to God, and had resolved to remain a virgin for the Name of Christ. Eustratios gave orders to take the holy virgin to prison, giving her three days to make up her mind, and he threatened for further disobedience to have her taken off to an house of ill repute. Brought again to trial three days later, Saint Theodora as before remained resolute in her faith. Then they led her off to the house of ill repute, where dissolute youths began to argue which of them should be the first to go at her. At this moment the Christian Didymas in soldier's garb without hindrance entered the house of ill repute, where he chased out the frightened profligates and saved the holy virgin, having bestowed her his garb. Upon learning what had happened, Eustratios gave orders to interrogate Saint Didymas. Brought before the angry judge, Saint Didymas told how he had set free the holy virgin, and for this he was sentenced to death by execution. At the place of his execution appeared Saint Theodora, and turning to Saint Didymas, she said that she wanted to die together with him. The governor, having caught sight of the holy martyress, gave orders to execute them both. The first to bend the neck beneathe the sword was the holy Martyress Theodora, and after her was the holy Martyr Didymas. The bodies of the holy martyrs were then burnt.

The Monk Pherapont (Therapont) of Mozhaisk

The Monk Pherapont (Therapont) of Mozhaisk (Belozersk, Wonderworker of Luzhetsk, in the world Theodore (Feodor), was born in the year 1337 at Volokolamsk into a family of the nobility, the Poskochini. From his childhood years he was raised in deep faith and piety, which in graced form was reflected throughout all his subsequent years of life as an holy ascetic. At age forty without preliminaries he was tonsured a monk by the hegumen of the Moscow Simonov monastery, the Monk Theodore (Feodor), a nephew of the Monk Sergei (afterwards Archbishop of Rostov, Comm. 28 November). As a monk in this monastery Pherapont became close with the Monk Kirill (Cyril) of Belozersk (Comm. 9 June). Together they passed through their ascetic deeds of salvation in fasting and prayers, and they hearkened to the spiritual guidances of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 25 September and 5 July), who visited the monastery to instruct the brethren. In fulfilling an obedience, the Monk Pherapont set off to the North, to the Belozersk frontier, on monastery matters. The harsh northern land caught the attention of the ascetic, and he decided to remain there for his ascetic efforts. After his return with the Monk Kirill -- to whom the Mother of God had appeared also ordering him to go to the North, the Monk Pherapont received the blessing of the hegumen and set off to Beloozero (WhiteLake). For a certain while the ascetics lived together in a cell that they had built, but later and by mutual consent, the Monk Pherapont transferred over to a new place for his ascetic deeds, 15 versts distant from Kirill, betwixt two lakes: Borodava and Pava. Having cleared a not overly large plot for a garden and building a cell in the deep forest at a water channel, the Monk Pherapont continued his ascetic efforts as an hermit and in silence. At first he endured much deprivation and tribulation in his solitude, and more than once he was set upon by robbers, attempting to chase away or even kill the ascetic. But with time monks began to gather to the saint, and the wilderness place was gradually transformed into a monastery, afterwards called the Pherapontov. In the year 1398 the Monk Pherapont built a wooden church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God, and the monastery was gradually set in order: the monks toiled together with their saintly guide over the construction of cells, the copying of books, and the adornment of the church.* (* At the end of the XV Century on the place of the former wooden church there was built a stone cathedral, in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God, painted in the years 1500-1501 by the reknown Russian iconographer Dionysii and his sons, Vladimir and Theodosii. The frescoes are devoted to the Praise of the MostHoly Mother of God. The unique frescoes (wall-paintings) of the Pherapontov monastery have been preserved up to the present time and are an outstanding memorial of Russian churchly art and painting, of world significance).

At the monastery was introduced a common-life monastic rule, strictly observed by the monks. The Monk Pherapont out of humility declined to head the monastery, and instead entrusted the position of hegumen to one of his disciples. The holy ascetic, endowed himself with the gift of counsel, resorted for spiritual guidance just as before to his friend, the Monk Kirill of Belozersk. News about the ascetic deeds of the saint of God spread far beyond the bounds of the Belozersk frontier.

At the beginning of the XV Century, the lands, on which were situated the Kirillov and Pherapontov monasteries, were part of the appanage-holdings of the Mozhaisk prince Andrei Dimitrievich (1382-1432), son of GreatPrince Dimitrii Ioannovich Donskoy (1363-1389). And in the year 1408 prince Andrei Dimitrievich, having learned of the high level of spiritual life of the Belozersk ascetic, turned then to the monastic starets-elder Pherapont with a request to establish a monastery in the city of Mozhaisk. It was difficult for the monk to leave his own monastery, at which he had asceticised for more than ten years. The Monk Pherapont was met at Mozhaisk with great honour. Soon, not far from Mozhaisk, in the locality of Lushko on an hilly part of the right bank of the Moscow River, the Monk Pherapont founded his second monastery. Its chief temple was in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God, in memory of the Belozersk monastery. Prince Andrei Dimitrievich, deeply esteeming the saint for his true humility, provided generous help in the construction and establishing of the monastery. With the blessing of Sainted Photii, Metropolitan of Moscow (+ 1431, Comm. 2 July and 27 May), -- the monastery was to be headed by an archimandrite, and the Monk Pherapont was elevated to the dignity of archimandrite.

At this new monastery Saint Pherapont dwelt for 18 years, reposing to God at an advanced age, on 27 May 1426. His body was buried at the north wall of the cathedral of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. At the place of burial was afterwards built a church in honour of the Monk John of the Ladder (Comm. 30 March), and renamed in 1730 for the Monk Pherapont. Veneration of the saint began soon after his death. In 1514 the incorrupt relics of the holy ascetic were uncovered, and glorified by numerous miracles. After the Moscow Sobor-Council of 1547 there occurred the canonisation of the Monk Pherapont of Mozhaisk, Luzhetsk Wonderworker -- resulting from the hegumen of the Pherapontov monastery having brought to metropolitan Makarii (1543-1564) a Life and Account of the sanctity of the saint of God. Set amidst the numerous disciples and conversers of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh, the Russian Church venerates the memory of the Monk Pherapont, who in following the counsel of his great teacher and guide, combined the ascetic feats of silence and solitude with that of active service to neighbour and the spiritual enlightening of his Fatherland.

The memory of the Monk Pherapont is celebrated twice: 27 May (Repose 1426), and 27 December (Uncovering of Relics 1514).

The Monk Nil of Stolobensk

The Monk Nil of Stolobensk reposed on 7 December 1554 (the account about his life is located under this day).

Many years afterwards, on the Island of Lake Seliger, where the holy ascetic had asceticised, there came the priest-monk German and immediately after him the hill-dweller and wanderer Boris. They settled together on the island and built a church in honour of the Theophany, with a chapel in the name of Saint Vasilii (Basil) the Moscow Wonderworker. At this site where the Monk Nil had asceticised there in time grew up a monastery, named after him. An icon of the Monk Nil was written by the monks of the Orshin monastery, and numerous miracles of healings of the sick began to occur at the gravesite of the saint. Later at the monastery lived Sainted Nektarii, Archbishop of Sibirsk and Tobol'sk, and he decided to build a stone church to replace the former wooden one. During the time of the laying of the foundations, the earth crumbled away and revealed the incorrupt relics of the Monk Nil. The Uncovering of the Relics occurred on 27 May 1667, and simultaneously with this was established a feastday to the monk in honour of the event.

The Holy Confessor John the Russian

The Holy Confessor John the Russian was born towards the end of the XVII Century in Little Russia and was raised in piety and love for the Church of God. Upon attaining the age of maturity he was called up into military service, and he served as a simple soldier in the army of Peter I and took part in the Russo-Turkish War. During the time of the Prutsk Campaign of 1711 he together with other soldiers was taken captive by the Tatars, who handed him over to the commander of the Turkish cavalry, who took his Russian captive home with him to Asia Minor, to the village of Prokopia (in Turkish, Urkiul). The Turks tried to convert the captive Christian soldiers to Mahometanism: some with threats and allurements, while others that were more stoically hardy, they beat and tortured. Saint John was not swayed by the promise of earthly blessings and he bravely endured the ferocity, the humiliations and beatings. His master tortured him often in the hope, that his slave would accept Mahometanism. But Saint John resolutely resisted the will of his master and he answered: "Neither by threats, nor with promises of riches and delights wilt thou be able to turn me away from my holy faith. I was born a Christian, and a Christian I shalt die". The bold words and firm faith of the confessor, his fearlessness and righteous life, finally humbled the fierce heart of the master. He ceased to torment and revile the captive, and no more urged him towards a renunciation of Christianity, but had him only instead take care of the cattle and keep up the stable, in a corner of which was the bed-cot of Saint John.

From morning until late evening the saint of God served his Turkish master, judiciously fulfilling all his commands. In the winter cold and summer hear, half naked and bare of foot he did his duty. Other slaves frequently mocked him, in seeing his zeal. Righteous John never became angry with them, on the contrary, as occasions arose he helped them in their servitude and comforted them in their misfortune. Such sincere kindness of heart of the saint had its effect on the souls of both the master and the slaves. The master began to confide in Righteous John so much, and to esteem him for his integrity and decency, that he offered him to live as though free and to resettle, wheresoever he desired. But the ascetic suggested that he should remain in the vicinity of the horse-stable, where each night he could without hindrance asceticise in solitary prayer, strengthening people in goodness and love for God. Sometimes he left his quiet shelter and under cover of night he went to the church of the GreatMartyr George, where on the portico he prayed fervently on bended knees. And in this church on feastdays he communed the Holy Mysteries of Christ.

During this while Righteous John continued as before to serve his master, and despite his own poverty, he always helped the needy and the sick and shared with them his meagre food.

Towards the end of his difficult and ascetic life Saint John became infirm, and sensing the nearness of his end, he summoned the priest, so as to receive the final blessing for the departure of the soul. The priest, fearing to go with the Holy Gifts to the house of the Turkish commander, enclosed the Holy Gifts in an apple and so without problem gave them to Righteous John. Having glorified the Lord, he communed the Holy Mysteries of Christ and then expired to God. The righteous end of the holy Confessor John the Russian occurred on 27 May 1730. When they reported to the master that his servant John had died, he summoned the priests and gave over to them the body of Saint John, and they gave him burial befitting a Christian. At the funeral there gathered almost all the Christian inhabitants of Prokopia, and they accompanied the body of the saint to the Christian cemetery.

Three and an half years later the priest was miraculously informed in a dream, that the relics of Saint John had remained incorrupt. Soon the relics of the saint were transferred to the church of the holy GreatMartyr George and placed in a special reliquary. The new saint of God began to be glorified by innumerable miracles of grace, accounts of which spread to the remote cities and villages. Christian believers from various places came to Prokopia to venerate the holy relics of Saint John the Russian and they received through his prayers graced healings. The new saint came to be venerated not only by Orthodox Christians, but also by Armenians, and even Turks, recoursing with prayerful petition to the Russian saint: "Servant of God, disregard us not in thine mercy".

In the year 1881 part of the relics of Saint John were transferred to the Russian monastery of the holy GreatMartyr Panteleimon by the monks of Holy Mount Athos, after they were miraculously saved by the saint of God during the time of a dangerous journey. Through the means of both this monastery and the inhabitants of Prokopia, in 1886 there was started construction of a new church, since the church of the holy GreatMartyr George, where the relics of Saint John were situated, -- had become decrepit.

On 15 August 1898 the new church in the name of Saint John the Russian was consecrated by the Caesarea metropolitan John, with the blessing of the oecumenical patriarch Constantine V.

In 1924 the inhabitants of Caesarea Prokopia, having resettled to the Island of Eubeia, took with them also part of the relics of Saint John the Russian. For several decades the relics were situated in the church of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine and Helen at New Prokopia on Eubeia, but in 1951 they were transferred into a new church in the name of Saint John the Russian. Thousands of pilgrims flocked here from all the corners of Greece, particularly on the day of his memory, 27 May. Righteous John the Russian is widely venerated on Holy Mount Athos, particularly in the Russian Panteleimonov monastery.

The Monk Pherapont (Therapont) of Monzensk

The Monk Pherapont (Therapont) of Monzensk (+ 1597): On this day is celebrated the holy ascetic's name-in-common (tezoimenitstvo) with Saint Therapontos. The account about the Monk Pherapont is situated under 12 December, the day of his repose.

May 28

St. Germanus, Bishop of Paris

St. Germanus, the glory of the church of France in the sixth age, was born in the territory of Autun about the year 469. He was brought up in piety and learning under the care of Scapilion his cousin, a holy priest. In his youth no weather could divert him from always going to Matins at midnight, though the church was above a mile from the place of his abode. Being ordained priest by St. Agrippinus bishop of Autun, he was made abbot of St. Symphorian's in the suburbs of that city, a house since converted into a priory of regular canons. Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, who was well acquainted with our saint, tells us that he was favored at that time with the gifts of miracles and prophecy. It was his custom to watch great part of the night in the church in prayer, while his monks slept. One night in a dream he thought a venerable old man presented him with the keys of the city of Paris and said to him, that God committed to his care the inhabitants of that city, that he should save them from perishing. Four years after this divine admonition, in 554, happening to be at Paris when that see became vacant, on the demise of the bishop Eusebius, he was exalted to the episcopal chair, though he endeavored by many tears to decline the charge. His promotion made no alteration in his continual fasts and other austerities; and the same simplicity and frugality appeared in his dress, table, and furniture. In the evening at nine o'clock he went to the church, and staved there in prayer till after Matins, that is, in summer till about break of day His house was perpetually crowded with the poor and the afflicted. and he had always many beggars at his own table, at which no dainty meats were ever served; he took care that the souls of his guests should be refreshed at the same time with their bodies, by the reading of some pious book. God gave to his sermons a wonderful influence over the minds of ale ranks of people; so that the face of the whole city was in a very short time quite changed. Vanities were abolished, dances and profane amusements laid aside, enmities and discord extinguished, and sinners reclaimed. King Childebert, who till then had been an ambitious worldly prince, by the sweetness and the powerful discourses of the saint, was entirely converted to piety, and by his advice reformed his whole court. And so desirous did that prince become of exchanging the perishing goods of this world for eternal treasures, that, not content with making many religious foundations, to be nurseries of piety in all succeeding ages, and with sending incredible sums of money to the good bishop, to be distributed among the indigent after his coffers were drained he melted down his silver plate, and gave away the chains which he wore about his neck, begging the bishop, whom he made the steward of his charities, never to cease giving, assuring him that on his side he should never be tired with supplying all things for the relief and comfort of the distressed.

In the year 542, king Childebert, together with his brother Clotaire, making war in Spain, besieged Saragossa. The inhabitants of that city reposed a particular confidence in the patronage of St. Vincent, whose relics they carried in procession within sight of the French camp. King Childebert was moved with their devotion, and desiring to speak with the bishop of the city, promised to withdraw his army, on condition he might obtain some portion of the relics of St. Vincent. The bishop gave him the stole which that holy deacon wore at the altar. Upon which the king raised the siege, and, at his return to Paris, built a church in honor of St. Vincent, and of the Holy Cross; which is now called St. Germain's in the meadows, and stands in the suburbs of Paris. Childebert falling sick at his palace at Celles, near Melun, at the confluence of the Yon and Seine, St. Germanus paid him a visit; and when the physicians had in vain tried every thing, all human means failing, the saint spent the whole night in prayer for his recovery, and in the morning laid his hands on him; and at the same moment the king found himself perfectly healed. The king relates himself this miracle in his letters patent, in which, in gratitude to God for this benefit, he gave to the church of Paris and the bishop Germanus, the land of Celles, where he had received this favor. The good king did not long survive. As the king had chosen the church of St. Vincent for the place of his burial, the saint, assisted by six other bishops, performed the ceremony of the dedication on the 23d of December, 558, the very day on which that prince died. The king likewise had built a large monastery joining to this new church, which he endowed most liberally with the fief of Issy and other lands, on part of which a considerable suburb of Paris has been since built. This magnificent edifice was called the Golden Church, the walls being covered on the outside with plates of brass gilt, and within adorned with paintings on a rich gilt ground.1 This church was plundered by the Normans, in 845, 857, 858, and set on fire by them in 861 and 881; but rebuilt in 1014, and dedicated by pope Alexander III. in 1163. The lower part of the great tower and its gate with the statues of Clovis, Clodomir, Thierri, Childebert and his wife Ultrogotta, Clotaire, and others, seem to be as old as the time of king Childebert. This prince committed the monastery and church to the care of our saint, who placed there monks under the holy abbot Droctoveus, whom he had invited from Autun, where he had formed him to a religious life. Clotaire, who succeeded his brother Childebert, was the last of the sons of the great Clovis; and united again the four kingdoms of France into one monarchy. On his removing from Soissons to Paris, he at first seemed to treat the holy bishop coldly; but falling ill soon after of a violent fever, was put in mind by some that were about him to send for St. Germanus. He did so, and full of confidence in the power of God and the sanctity of his servant, took hold of his clothes and applied them to the parts of his body where he felt pain, and recovered immediately. From that moment he always treated the saint even with greater honor than Childebert had done. But that prince dying shortly after, in 561, his four sons, Charibert, Gontran, Sigebert, and Chilperic, divided the French monarchy into four kingdoms, in the same manner as the sons of Clovis had done. That of Paris was given to Charibert or Aribert, Gontran was king of Orleans and Burgundy, Sigebert of Austrasia, and Chilperic of Soissons. Charibert sunk into a vicious indolence, yet was obstinate and headstrong in his passions not being divested of all the prejudices of paganism, he divorced his wife Ingoberga, and took to wife Marcovesa her maid, who had worn a religious habit; and after her death, he married her sister Merofleda, Ingoberga being still living. Our saint many ways endeavored to make him sensible of the enormity of his crimes; but finding all his remonstrances lost on him, he proceeded so far as to excommunicate him and the accomplice of his sin, to hinder at least the dangerous influence of his scandalous example. The sinners were hardened in their evil courses; but God revenged the contempt of his laws and of the holy pastor as he has often done, by visible judgments; for the criminal lady fell ill and died in a few days, and the adulterous king did not long survive her, leaving by his lawful wife only three daughters, two of whom became nuns, the third, called Bertha, was married to Ethelbert, king of Kent.

Upon the death of Charibert in 570, his three brothers divided his dominions; but not being able to agree who should be master of Paris, the capital, came to an accommodation that they should hold it jointly, on condition that none of them should go into the city without the leave of the other two St. Germanus found his flock involved by this agreement in great difficulties, and the city divided into three different parties, always plotting and counterplotting against one another. He did all that the most consummate charity, prudence, and vigilance could do, to preserve the public peace; yet Sigebert and Chilperic appeared in arms, being fired by ambition, and stirred up by their wicked queens Fredegonda, wife of the latter, and Brunehaut of the former, burning with the most implacable jealousy against each other. The saint prevailed with them to suspend their hostilities for some time. At length Chilperic invaded the territories of Sigebert, but being worsted in battle, fled to Tournay. This victory left Sigebert free liberty of going to Paris with his wife Brunehaut and children, where he was received as conqueror. St. Germanus wrote to the queen, conjuring her to employ her interest with her husband to restore the peace of France, and to spare the life and fortune of a brother, whose ruin and blood would cry to heaven for vengeance. But Brunehaut's passion rendered her deaf to all remonstrances, and Sigebert was determined by her furious counsels to besiege Tournay. As he was setting out for this enterprise, he was met by St. Germanus, who told him that if he forgave his brother, he should return victorious; but if he was bent on his death, divine justice would overtake him, and his own death should prevent the execution of his unnatural design. Sigebert allowed this wholesome advice no weight; but the event showed that God had put these words in the mouth of the good bishop; for queen Fredegonda, enraged at the desperate posture of her husband's affairs, hired two assassins, who dispatched him with poisoned daggers, while he made a halt in his march at Vitri, in 575, after he had reigned fourteen years, with some reputation of humanity, as Fortunatus tells us.

Chilperic, by his tyranny and oppressions, deserved to be styled the French Nero, as St. Gregory of Tours calls him. He sacrificed his own children by former wives to the fury of Fredegonda, but having discovered her infidelity to him, he was, by her contrivance, murdered by her gallant in 584. Fredegonda was regent of the kingdoms of Soissons and Paris for her son Clotaire III., and continued her practices and wars against Brunehaut and her son till she died, in 601. Brunehaut governed the kingdom of Austrasia for her son Childebert II., and after his death for her grandson Theodebert; but afterwards persuaded Theodoric, her second grandson, who reigned at Challons, to destroy him and his whole family in fill. The year following Theodoric died, and Clotaire II., surnamed the Great, son of Fredegonda, inheriting both their estates, accused Brunehaut before the states of putting to death ten kings and St. Desiderius, bishop of Vienne, because he had reproved her for her public scandalous lusts, and many other illustrious persons. She had at first appeared liberal, and built several churches; but afterwards became infamous for her cruelty, avarice, restless ambition, and insatiable lusts, to which she sacrificed all things, and employed both the sword and poison in perpetrating her wicked designs. Being condemned by the states, she was put to the rack during three days, and afterwards dragged to death, being tied to the tail of a wild mare; or, according to others, drawn betwixt four horses, in 613.

St. Germanus lived not to see the miserable ends of these two firebrands of their country. In his old age he lost nothing of that zeal and activity with which he had filled the great duties of his station in the vigor of his life, nor did the weakness to which his corporal austerities had reduced him, make him abate any thing in the mortifications of his penitential life, in which he redoubled his fervor as he approached nearer to the end of his course. By his zeal the remains of idolatry were extirpated in France. In the third council of Paris, in 557, he had the principal share in drawing up the canons. By his advice, king Childebert issued an edict commanding all idols to be destroyed throughout his dominions, and forbidding all indecent dances and diversions on Sundays and festivals. The saint continued his labors for the conversion of sinners till he was called to receive the reward of them on the 28th of May, 576, being eighty years old. King Chilperic composed his epitaph, in which he extols his zeal for the salvation of his people, and their affection and veneration for his person. He mentions the miracles which were wrought at his tomb, and says that sight was restored to the blind and speech to the dumb.2 He was, according to his own desire, buried in St. Symphorian's chapel, which he built at the bottom of the church of St. Vincent already mentioned. Many miracles manifested his sanctity, of which Fortunatus, then a priest, afterwards bishop of Poitiers, has left us a history, in which he gives two on his own evidence. Also two anonymous monks compiled relations of several miracles of St. Germanus, which Aimoinus, a monk of this monastery in 870, and a careful writer, digested into two books.3 The relics of St. Germanus remained in the aforesaid chapel till the year 754, when the abbot removed them into the body of the church. The ceremony of this translation was performed with great solemnity; and king Pepin thought himself honored by assisting at it.

Prince Charles, known afterwards by the title of Charlemagne, who was then but seven years old, attended his father on this occasion, and was so strongly affected with the miracles performed at that time, that when he came to the crown, he took a particular pleasure in relating them, with all their circumstances. The greatest part of the relics of St. Germanus remain still in this church of St. Vincent, commonly called St. Germain-des-Prez. This abbey is possessed of the original privilege of its foundation and exemption, written on bark, and subscribed by St. Germanus, St. Nicetius, and several other bishops. The most valuable work of St. Germanus of Paris, is An Exposition of the Liturgy, published from an ancient manuscript by Dom. Martenne.4 The characteristical virtue of St. Germanus was his unbounded charity to the poor. Liberality in alms moves God to be liberal to us in the dispensations of his spiritual graces; but he who hardens his heart to the injuries and wants of others, shuts against himself the treasury of heaven.

The Monk Nikita the Confessor, Bishop of Chalcedon

The Monk Nikita the Confessor, Bishop of Chalcedon, lived during the 2nd half of the VIII Century. For his God-pleasing life he was elevated to the dignity of bishop of Chalcedon. Saint Nikita distinguished himself by his charity, he always helped the poor, he took in wanderers into his dwelling, he concerned himself about the orphaned and the widowed, and he interceded for the wronged. During the reign of the Iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820), Saint Nikita bravely denounced the Iconoclast heresy and urged his flock reverently to venerate the holy icons of Christ, the Mother of God and the holy Saints. Saint Nikita endured much suffering from the impious emperor and his like-minded cohorts; he was subjected to tortures and sent off to exile. The holy Confessor Nikita died at the beginning of the IX Century. From his relics occurred miracles of healing. In the Canon of the service to him, written by the Constantinople presbyter Joseph, it declares as glorified amongst the Saints also the brother of Saint Nikita -- Saint Ignatios.

The PriestMartyr Eutykhias, Bishop of Meletineia

The PriestMartyr Eutykhias, Bishop of Meletineia, was a co-worker with the Holy Apostles, and he suffered for Christ in the city of Meletineia during the I Century.

The Holy Martyress Helikonida

The Holy Martyress Helikonida lived during the III Century in the city of Thessalonika. During a time of persecution against the followers of Christ, Saint Helikonida arrived in the city of Corinth and began to urge the pagans to give up serving senseless idols and instead worship the One True God, the Creator of the universe. She was arrested for this preaching and brought before the governor Perinaus, who both by flattery and by threats in vain attempted to persuade the saint to offer sacrifice to idols. The holy martyress was subjected to tortures, but she bravely endured them. They then threw her into an hot furnace, but she emerged from it unharmed, because an Angel of the Lord had cooled the flames. Thinking the saint a "sorceress", the governor pondered over new torments for her. From her head they began to tear at the skin, and to burn at her breast and head with fire. And having halted the torture, the judge again attempted to urge Saint Helikonida to offer sacrifice to the idols, promising her honours and the title of priestess. Suddenly the saint appeared to consent, and with merriment the pagan-priests and the people led her to the pagan-temple amidst the sounds of trumpet and drum and, at the request of the saint, they left her there alone. But Saint Helikonida, filled with an heroic strength, cast down and smashed all the idols. Having waited a long while, the pagan-priests went into their temple. Seeing the destruction, they went into a vicious rage and cursed at the holy virgin with shouts of: "Put the sorceress to death!" They began to beat the holy martyress, and then they threw her into prison, where she spent 5 days. In prison Christ the Saviour together with the holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel appeared to the holy martyress and healed her of her wounds. Finally, they despatched the saint for tearing-apart by wild beasts. They set loose upon her three hungry lions, but the beasts came up to the martyress meekly and lay down at her feet. The pagan mob shouted and demanded "Death to the sorceress". But at this point the lions pounced up from the arena and jumped at the people, who fled in terror. Not knowing what else to do, the governor gave orders to cut off the head of Saint Helikonida. The saint went with joy to execution and heard a Voice, summoning her to the Heavenly habitations. Her body was reverently buried by Christians.

Her end transpired in the year 244.

The PriestMartyr Helladias the Bishop

The PriestMartyr Helladias the Bishop was for his confession of faith in Christ thrown into fire, but he remained unharmed; he died a martyr from the terrible beating inflicted upon him. In the Service to Saint Helladias is said, that in prison the Lord Jesus Christ visited him and healed him of his wounds. According to certain sources, Saint Helladias suffered under the Persians during the time of their invasion into the Eastern districts of the Roman empire in the IV Century.

The Holy Martyr Demetrios

The Holy Martyr Demetrios (Mitra) suffered for Christ under the Turks in the year 1794.

The Monk Sophronii

The Monk Sophronii (in the world Stefan) -- was a native of the village of Penkovets in Bulgaria. He accepted monastic tonsure at a monastery near Rus' along the River Danube/Dunaj, where he asceticised in deeds of fasting and prayerful vigilance. In 1510 the monk was murdered by his own servant. His relics were found undecayed after three years, and afterwards the Vita-Life of the saint was compiled.

The Holy Martyrs Crescentius, Paul and Dioscorides

The Holy Martyrs Crescentius, Paul and Dioscorides suffered for Christ at Rome in the year 326.

May 29

The Holy Martyress Theodosia of Tyre

The Holy Martyress Theodosia of Tyre suffered for Christ in the year 307 or 308, and the account of her life is under 3 April. On 29 May is celebrated the memory of the transfer of her relics to Constantinople and Venice.

Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ, Ustiug Wonderworker

Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ, Ustiug Wonderworker, was born in the village of Pukhovo, near Old Ustiug, of pious parents Savva and Maria. From his youthful years he distinguished himself by a strict life of fasting, on Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing, and on the remaining days he ate only bread and water. His parents relocated to the city of Orlets along the River Iug', 40 versts from Ustiug. Left widowed, the saint's mother took monastic tonsure at the Orletsk Trinity monastery. The lad John began with the keeping of silence, and then he asceticised as a fool. Going about the city of Ustiug, he settled in an hut built for him and spent his nights at unceasing prayer. By day however, barefoot and in torn tatters of clothing the whole year long he went about the streets of the city, resting sometimes on a dung heap and bearing much abuse and derision by the people of the city. While still alive the saint had been granted a gift of wonderworking. He died young on 29 May 1494, and was buried near the Uspensky cathedral in the city of Ustiug. Afterwards over his relics was built a church in his name. The Service to Blessed John Ustiuzhsky was written in the XVI Century. In 1554 with the recollections of people who had known him in life his life was compiled, and somewhat afterwards -- an eulogy. The holy ascetic was famed as an intercessor during invasions of enemies, and by graced healings of those sick with various maladies.

The Remembrance of the First OEcumenical Council

The Remembrance of the First OEcumenical Council is celebrated by the Church of Christ from the times of antiquity. The Lord Jesus Christ left the Church a great promise: "I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shalt not prevail against It" (Mt. 16: 18). In this joyous promise is the prophetic declaration that, although the life of the Church of Christ on the earth will pass through difficult struggle with the enemy of salvation, victory is on its side. The holy martyrs witnessed to the veracity of the words of the Saviour, undergoing suffering in confessing the Name of Christ, but the sword of the persecutor doth yield before the victory-bearing Sign of the Cross of Christ.

During the IV Century the persecutions of Christians ceased, but within the Church itself arose heresies, the struggle with which occasioned the Church to convene OEcumenical Councils. One of the most pernicious of heresies was Arianism. Arius, an Alexandrian presbyter, was a man of immense pride and ambition. In repudiating the Divine dignity of Jesus Christ and of His equality with God the Father, Arius falsely taught that the Son of God is not One-in-Essence with the Father, but was rather created by the Father in time. The Local Council, convened with the Alexandria Patriarch Alexander presiding, condemned the false-teachings of Arius. But Arius would not submit, and having written to many bishops a letter of complaint against the determinations of the Local Council, he spread his false-teaching throughout all the East, therein receiving support in his errors from certain of the Eastern bishops. Making investigation into the arising dissentions, the holy emperor Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine (Comm. 21 May) took recourse of bishop Hosius of Cordova and, having received from him assurance, that the heresy of Arius was directed against the most fundamental dogma of Christ's Church, he decided to convene an OEcumenical Council. With Saint Constantine presiding, in the city of Nicea in the year 325 there gathered together 318 bishops -- the representatives of Christian Churches from various lands.

Among the bishops present was many a confessor, who had suffered during the time of persecutions and who bore upon their body the marks of torture. Among the participants of the Council were likewise great luminaries of the Church -- Saint Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia (Comm. 6 December and 9 May), Saint Spiridon, Bishop of Trimiphuntum (Comm. 12 December), and others, venerated by the Church as holy fathers.

With the Alexandria Patriarch Alexander came his deacon, Athanasias (himself afterwards Patriarch of Alexandria, Comm. 2 May), -- termed the "Great", in proving a zealous champion for the purity of Orthodoxy. The emperor, Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine, presided over the sessions of the Council. In his speech, pronounced in reply to the welcoming by bishop Eusebios of Caesarea, he said: "God hath helped me cast down the impious might of the persecutors, but incomparably more distressful for me than any soldier, any bloodspilling of battle and incomparably more ruinous is the inner internecine strife in the Church of God".

Arius, having among his supporters 17 bishops, remained arrogant, but his teaching was repudiated and he was excommunicated from the Church. The holy deacon of the Alexandrian Church Athanasias in his speech conclusively confuted the blasphemous conjectures of Arius. The fathers of the Council declined the acceptance of a symbol of faith as proposed by the Arians. Instead, they affirmed the Orthodox Symbol (Creed) of the Faith. The Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine proposed to the Council to insert into the text of the Symbol-Creed of the Faith the wording "One-in-Essence" ("Edinosuschnyi") which he frequently had heard in the speeches of the bishops. The fathers of the Council unanimously accepted this suggestion. In the Nicean Creed the holy fathers formulated the Apostolic teachings about the Divine dignity of the Second Person of the MostHoly Trinity -- the Lord Jesus Christ [trans. note: i.e. that He is "homo-ousios" ("one selfsame essence") rather than merely "homoi-ousios" ("similar in essence") with God the Father -- this being the very significant "controversy over a mere iota"]. The heresy of Arius, as an error of haughty reason, was exposed and repudiated. After resolving this chief dogmatic question, the Council established also Twelve Canons (Regulae-Rules) on questions of churchly governance and discipline. There was decided likewise the question about the day of celebration of Holy Pascha. By decision of the Council, Holy Pascha ought to be celebrated by Christians not on the same day with the Jewish (Passover), but invariably on the 1st Sunday after the day of the Vernal Equinox (which in the year 325 came on 22 March).

The Monastic Martyress Theodosia

The Monastic Martyress Theodosia lived during the VIII Century. She was born through the fervent prayer of her parents, and after their death, she was raised at the Constantinople women's monastery in honour of the holy Martyress Anastasia. Saint Theodosia accepted monasticism at the women's monastery after she distributed to the poor of what remained of her parental inheritance. Part of the money she used for writing icons of the Saviour, the Mother of God and the Martyress Anastasia. When Leo the Isaurian (717-741) ascended to the imperial throne, and being a fierce persecutor of icon-veneration, he issued an edict to destroy holy icons everywhere. At Constantinople there then existed gates called the "Bronze Gates", and up over them for more than 400 years was a bronzen image of the Saviour. In the year 730 the Iconoclast pseudo-patriarch Anastasias gave orders to remove the image. Orthodox people, at the head of which was the Monastic-Martyr Theodosia together with other nuns, rushed to the defense of the icon and toppled the ladder with the soldier atop, who was carrying out the command. The pseudo-patriarch Anastasias, fearing that the riot would intensify, informed the emperor about the incident, on whose orders soldiers went around beating up all the nuns, and Saint Theodosia being a very ardent defender of icons was locked up in prison. Over the course of a week they each day dealt her an hundred lashes, and on the eighth day they led her about the city, fiercely beating her along the way. One of the soldiers began to strike at the martyress and inflicted upon her a mortal wound, from which the martyress immediately died. The body of the holy monastic martyress, left cast upon the ground, was reverently buried by Christians in the Diokritis monastery in Constantinople. The place of burial of Saint Theodosia was glorified by numerous healings of the sick.

Sainted Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria

Sainted Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria, was the chief defender of the Orthodox Faith destined to engage in struggle with the heretic Arius. Saint Alexander governed the Alexandria Church from the years 313 to 326. The life of the saint occurred during a difficult period in the history of the Church, when it became necessary to defend the Orthodox confession of faith from the heresy of Arius. Striving to preserve the unity of the Orthodox Church, Saint Alexander with all his resolve rose up in struggle for the truth. In numerous written missives and talks he denounced the false teachings and errors of the arch-heretic Arius and his followers. Seeing the irreconcilability of Arius, the saint convened a Local Council (around the year 320), at which the heresy of Arius and his confederates was condemned, and they themselves excommunicated from the Church. Arius however continued to sow dissension with the Alexandrian and other Churches. At the proceedings of the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea in the year 325 Saint Alexander was one of the chief participants. The Council condemned and bestowed anathema upon the heresy of Arius. The activity of Saint Alexander, a brave defender of Apostolic dogmas, made possible the preserving of the truthful integrity of the Christian teaching about the Holy Trinity. The blessed end of the saint followed in the year 326.

The Church historians, Blessed Theodorit of Cyr (Comm. 8 March), Sokrates and Sozomen, report Saint Alexander as being an eminent theologian and archpastor of the Church of Christ.

The Holy Martyr John (Nannos) of Soluneia

The Holy Martyr John (Nannos) of Soluneia (Thessalonika) was martyred by the Turks in the year 1802 in the city of Smyrna.

May 30

The Monk Isaac

The Monk Isaac lived during the IV Century, accepted monastic vows and pursued asceticism in the wilderness. During the years of the reign of the emperor Valentus (364-378) -- a zealous adherent of the Arian heresy, they began to persecute the Orthodox, closing and destroying churches. Having learned of the persecution, the Monk Isaac quit the wilderness and arrived in Constantinople, so as to console and encourage the Orthodox. At this time barbarian Goths, dwelling along the River Danube/Dunaj, were making war against the empire. They seized Thrace and advanced towards Constantinople. When the emperor Valentus was leaving the capital with his soldiers, the Monk Isaac -- turning himself towards the emperor, loudly cried out: "Emperor, unlock the churches of the Orthodox, and then the Lord wilt aid thee!". But the emperor, disdaining the words of the monk, confidently continued on his way. Three times did the monk repeat his request and prophecy. The angry emperor gave orders to hurl the Monk Isaac into a deep ravine, grown over with prickly thorns. By day the ravine was a swamp, and to emerge from it was impossible. But the monk with the help of God remained alive, and he emerged, overtook the emperor and said: "Thou wanted to destroy me, but the holy Angels did save me from peril. Hear me, open up the churches to the Orthodox and thou shalt defeat the enemy. If however thou dost not heed me, then thou shalt not return alive, but shalt perish in fire". The emperor was astonished at the boldness of the monk and ordered his attendants Saturninus and Victor to take the monk and hold him in prison until his return.

The prophecy of the saint soon happened. The Goths defeated and began to chase down the Greek army. The emperor together with his Arian generals took refuge in a barn with straw, and the attackers set it afire. After receiving news about the perishing of the emperor, they set free the Monk Isaac and began to honour him as a prophet of God. Onto the throne was then chosen the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395), who on the advice of Saturninus and Victor summoned the elder to himself, meeting him with great respect, beseeching prayers to the saints and fulfilling all his instructions: he banished the Arians from Constantinople and restored the churches to the Orthodox. The Monk Isaac wanted to return into the wilderness, but Saturninus and Victor besought him not to leave the city, but rather to protect it with his prayers. In the outskirts of Constantinople they built for the saint an hut, where monks gathered to him. Thus arose a monastery, the hegumen and spiritual guide of which was the Monk Isaac. He nourished also the laypeople, and helped many of the poor and suffering. Having reached extreme old age, the Monk Isaac made co-hegumen together with him the Monk Dalmatos (the account about him is located under 3 August), by whose name the monastery was called. The Monk Isaac died in the year 383, and his memory is celebrated also on 22 March.

Saint Walstan

Saint Walstan (or Walston) (died 1016) was born either in Bawburgh in Norfolk, or Blythburgh in Suffolk, and because of his life dedicated to farming and the care of farm animals, is the patron saint of farms, farmers, farmhands, ranchers and husbandrymen.

He was born into a wealthy family but when he was only twelve, he left his parents home and travelled to Taverham, in Norfolk, where he worked as a farm labourer. In 1016, after a vision from an angel, Walstan died while at work, scything a hay crop on 30 May. His body was laid on a cart, pulled by two white oxen, as he had instructed and the cortege ended up at Bawburgh, where he was buried. At the three points along the journey that the oxen stopped, a spring arose (though only the well at Bawburgh can now be found). By popular demand, he was declared a saint and a small chapel built off the existing church of St Mary, giving it a new dedication of St Mary and St Walstan. Since then, and until the present day, St Walstan has been honoured as a special saint of farm workers, farmers and farm animals. Throughout the days of medieval pilgrimage, his shrine was sought from pilgrims from far and wide as well as local farmers and farm labourers.

The Holy Martyrs Natalia and Salonus

The Holy Martyrs Natalia and Salonus were beheaded by the sword for confessing faith in Christ, not later than the IV Century.

Saint Euplos

Saint Euplos died a martyr's death sewn up in an ox skin beneathe the harsh rays of the sun.

The Monk Yakov (James) of Galich

The Monk Yakov (James) of Galich pursued asceticism in the XV Century and was buried in the Galich Starotorzhsk monastery, beneathe the altar of the church in honour of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb. The holy saint of God was glorified by miracles after his death.

The Monks Isaiah and Nikanor of Arkhangel'sk

The Monks Isaiah and Nikanor of Arkhangel'sk were glorified in the exploit of wilderness-dwelling on the banks of the River Rucha in the Arkhangel'sk frontier region.

May 31

The Holy Disciple Hermas

The Holy Disciple Hermas was a bishop in Thracian Philippopolis. The holy Apostle Paul greets him in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 14). Preaching the Gospel, the Disciple Hermas endured much grief from the pagans, but he died peacefully.

The Holy Martyr Hermias suffered for Christ in the city of Komana during the time of persecution under the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). The governor Sebastian, having arrived in Cappadocia to carry out a commission to chase down Christians, urged the saint to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, promising for this both honours and the mercy of the emperor. But the soldier grey with age bravely confessed his faith in Christ. After long exhortation the governor gave orders to torture the saint. They beat him on the face such that the skin peeled from his face, and they threw him into a red-hot oven. When the oven was opened after 3 days, the Martyr Hermias emerged from it unharmed. The governor Sebastian ordered a sorcerer to poison Saint Hermias with a potion. The poisonous drink did the saint no harm. So likewise a second goblet with even stronger poison failed to kill the saint. The sorcerer believed and offered repentance to Christ the Saviour and was immediately beheaded, baptised by his own blood and receiving a martyr's crown. But Saint Hermias was subjected to even more terrible torturings: they tore at his sinews, threw him in boiling oil, dug out his eyes, but he humbly gave thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they suspended the Martyr Hermias head downwards. For three days he hung in such a position. People, sent by the governor to verify his death, found him alive. Struck by the miracle, they were blinded with fright and began to call out to the saint that he should help them. The holy martyr ordered the blind to approach to him, laid hands on and healed them in the Name of Jesus Christ. In anger the governor ordered to flay the skin on the body of the saint, but as before he remained alive. Then the crazed Sebastian by his own hand beheaded him. Christians secretly buried the body of the Martyr Hermias, from whose relics numerous relics were bestowed.

The Holy Martyr Philosophos

The Holy Martyr Philosophos suffered for Christ in Alexandria during the persecution by the emperor Decius (249-251). They urged the youth to recant from Christ, but he remained steadfast. Then the torturers decided to dispose him towards sinfulness. They led the saint into a flowery garden and left him bound alone with a profligate woman. In order not to yield to sin, the saint bit his tongue and by this pain of suffering defended himself from fleshly passion. He spit out his bloody tongue in the face of the profligate. The executioners, seeing the bravery and fearlessness of the martyr, beheaded the saint with a sword.

The Holy Martyr Magus

The Holy Martyr Magus (Magician-Sorcerer) suffered together with the Martyr Hermias during the persecution under the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161).