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Holy Prophet Nahum

Born of the tribe of Simeon in a place called Elkosh, on the further side of the Jordan, he lived seven hundred years before Christ and foretold the fall of Nineveh two hundred years after the Prophet Jonah. The people of Nineveh had repented after hearing Jonah's preaching, and God had protected them and not destroyed them. But, with the passage of time, they came to forget God's mercy and turned again to evil. Nahum foretold their doom, warning them that, if they showed no repentance, they would receive no protection. The entire city was so utterly destroyed by earthquake, flood and fire that its location is no longer known. Holy Nahum lived for forty-five years before going to his rest in the Lord, leaving us a small book of his true and genuine prophecies.

St. Philaret the Merciful

rom the village of Amnia in Paphlagonia, Philaret was at first a man of some substance, but, as a result of his constant almsgiving, he became utterly destitute. He was not afraid of poverty, and went on with his charitable works with trust in the Lord who has said: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy, paying no attention to the disapproval of his wife and children. Once, when he was ploughing in his meadow, a man came to him with the news of the death of his ox in harness, and of his inability to plough with only one ox, so Philaret unharnessed his own and gave it to him. He gave away his remaining horse to a man who was called away to battle, and the calf from his remaining cow - and, when he saw how the cow pined after her calf, gave the man the cow as well. And so the aged Philaret was left hungry in an empty house. But he prayed to God, entrusting himself to Him. God does not abandon the righteous man, allowing him to be shamed in his hope. At that time, the Empress Irene was on the throne with her young son Constantine and, in accordance with the custom of the time, the Empress sent men through the whole Empire to find the best and most distinguished maiden to wed her son. By divine Providence, these men happened upon Philaret's home and beheld his very beautiful and modest grand-daughter Maria, the daughter of Hypatia, and they took her to Constantinople. The Emperor was well-pleased with her and took her to wife, and brought Philaret and all his family to the capital, showering honour and wealth upon them. Philaret did not become proud in this change of fortune but, with gratitude to God, performed still greater deeds of charity than before, remaining thus for the rest of his days. At the age of ninety, he called all his children to him and, having blessed them and instructed them to cleave to God and His Law, foretold to each of them how their lives would develop, just as our forefather Jacob did aforetime. When he had done this, he went to a monastery and there gave his soul into God's hands. At his death, his face shone like the sun and a sweet fragrance arose from his body, and miracles were worked over his relics. This righteous man of God went to his rest in 797. His wife and all his children and grandchildren lived and died in the Lord.


Holy Prophet Habakkuk

cried Habakkuk, "take the dinner which God hath sent thee! And Daniel took it and ate. Then the angel of God again took hold of Habakkuk and carried him back to his field in Judea. Habakkuk preached and prophesied about the liberation of Jerusalem and the coming of Christ. He entered into rest in great old age and was buried at Keilah. His relics were discovered during the reign of Theodosius the Great.

Holy Martyr Myrope

St. Isidore said to her, "thy prayer has ascended to God, and thou shalt soon be with us and receive the crown prepared for thee. The holy martyr was filled with joy, and at that moment surrendered her soul into God's hands. A sweet fragrance came forth from her body and filled the whole prison. One of the guards who witnessed all this was moved to belief in Christ and was baptised, and soon thereafter suffered a martyr's death. St. Myrope entered into eternity in the year 251.

St. Uros, King of Serbia

The son of King Dusan, he ruled during the difficult time of the fall of the Kingdom of Serbia. Humble, pious and gentle, he refused to attempt to restrain the power of the powerful nobles by force. Amongst these was Vukasin, who brought about his death. Good King Uro{ suffered a martyr's death on December 2nd, 1367, at the age of thirty-one. Killed by men, he was glorified by God. His wonderworking relics were preserved in the monastery of Jazak in the Fruska Gora, whence they were taken to Belgrade in 1942, during the Second World War, and placed in the Cathedral beside the bodies of Prince Lazar and Despot Stefan Stiljanovic. During the reign of this benevolent king, the monastery of St. Nahum was built beside Lake Ochrid by one of Uros' nobles, Grgur.

Our Holy Father Athanasius the Recluse of the Kiev Caves

After a long life of asceticism, this holy man died and was washed, attired and prepared for burial. He lay dead for two days, then suddenly returned to life. When they came to bury him, they found him sitting up and weeping. He shut himself in his cell and lived a further twelve years on bread and water, without a word to anyone. He entered into rest in the Lord in 1176.

St. Jesse, Bishop of Tsiklan

One of the thirteen Syrian fathers(see May 7th) he was a great wonderworker. He changed the course of a distant river by his prayers, and caused it to flow close to the city of Tsiklan. His relics are preserved in the church dedicated to him in that Syrian city.


Holy Prophet Zephaniah

(Zeph. 3:1-4). Foreseeing the coming of the Messiah, he cried out with rapture: "Sing, O daughter of Sion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! (3:14). This seer of secrets and mysteries went to his rest in the place where he was born, there to await the general Resurrection and his reward from God.

St. John the Silent (the Hesychast)

Born in Nicopolis in Armenia, he was the son of Encratius and Euphemia. He became a monk at the age of eighteen and gave himself to asceticism, thoroughly cleansing his heart with tears, prayer and fasting. After ten years, he was made Bishop of Colonia. The example of his life drew his brother, Pergamius, and his uncle, Theodore, both noted members of the court of the Emperors Zeno and Justinian, to lead lives pleasing to God. Seeing the evil and intrigues of the world and his inability to put matters right, he abandoned the episcopal throne and went to the monastery of St. Sava near Jerusalem, disguised as a simple monk. He remained there a number of years quite unknown, conscientiously and capably performing whatever service the abbot gave him. Thereupon St. Sava suggested to the Patriarch that he be ordained priest. When the Patriarch came to do this, John confessed that he already bore the rank of bishop. Then St. John shut himself into his cell and spent year after year in silence and prayer. Afterwards, he spent nine years in the desert, sustaining himself with wild herbs, and then he returned to the monastery. He wrested the faithful away from the heresy of Origen, and made a great contribution to the struggle against that heresy and its condemnation. He was able to perceive the spiritual realm with clarity, and heal the sick. He could easily subdue demons, having already conquered himself. He entered peacefully into rest in 558 at the age of a hundred and four, being great in humility, power and godly wisdom.

Hieromartyr Theodore, Archbishop of Alexandria

After serving as Patriarch for two years, he was tortured by the pagans. They put a crown of thorns on his head, and finally beheaded him for the Faith in 606.

Our Holy Father Theodulus

A noted patrician at the court of Theodosius the Great, he abandoned the vanity of this world after the death of his wife, and left Constantinople for a pillar near Ephesus, on which he spent a good thirty years in asceticism.

Our Holy Father Sava of Storozhev

He was a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh and a great wonderworker. After his death, he appeared to many people, sometimes to instruct, sometimes to warn and sometimes to heal. He went from this life to the better one in 1406.


Holy and Great Martyr Barbara

This famous follower of Christ was betrothed to Him from her early years. Her father, Dioscorus, was a pagan in the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and was famed for his wealth and standing. Dioscorus shut up his only daughter, who was both intelligent and beautiful, in a high tower, surrounded her with all possible comforts, gave her a host of attendants, set up idols for worship and built her a bathroom with two windows. As she gazed through the windows of the tower upon the earth below and the starry sky above, Barbara's mind was opened by the grace of God, and she came to know Him as the one, true God and Creator, although she had no human teacher to bring her to the knowledge of Him. Once, when her father was away from the city, she came out of the tower and, by God's providence, met some Christians who told her about the true Christian faith. Barbara's heart was set on fire with love for Christ. She had a third window cut in the bathroom as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, and traced a Cross with her finger on one wall of it, which etched itself deep in the stone as if cut by a chisel. A spring of water gushed forth from the bathroom floor from her footprint, and it later gave healing from sickness to many. When Dioscorus found out about his daughter's faith, he beat her harshly and drove her from the tower, chasing after her to kill her, but a cliff opened and hid Barbara from her irate father. When she appeared again, Dioscorus took her to Martian, the governor of the city, who handed her over for torture. The innocent Barbara was stripped and beaten until her entire body was covered in bloody wounds, but the Lord Himself appeared to her in the prison with many angels, and healed her. A certain woman, Juliana, beheld this and conceived a desire for martyrdom herself. Both of them were fearfully tortured and taken around the city to be mocked, then their breasts were cut off and much blood flowed from them. They were finally led out to the place of execution, and Juliana was slain by soldiers while Barbara was killed by her own father. On the same day, lightning struck Dioscorus's house, killing both him and Martian. St. Barbara suffered in 306, and her wonderworking relics are preserved in Kiev. Greatly glorified in the Kingdom of Christ, she has appeared many times down to our own days, sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of the most holy Mother of God.

St. John Damacene

He was first a minister of Caliph Abdul-Malek, and then became a monk in the monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. For his ardent advocacy of the veneration of icons while still a courtier during the reign of the iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian, he was slandered by the Emperor to the Caliph, who had his right hand cut off. John fell down in prayer before the icon of the most holy Mother of God, and his hand was re-joined to his arm and miraculously healed. When he beheld this wonder, the Caliph repented, but John no longer desired to remain at court as a nobleman, but to withdraw to a monastery. There, he was from the beginning a model of humility and obedience, and of all the works of asceticism prescribed for monks. He wrote the hymns for the Parting of the Soul from the Body, put together the Octoechos, the Irmologion, the Menologion and the Easter Canon, and wrote many theological works of an inspired profundity. A great monk, hymnographer and theologian, and a great warrior for the truth of Christ, Damascene is counted among the great Fathers of the Church. He entered peacefully into rest in about 749, being seventy-five years old.

St. Gennadius, Archbishop of Novgorod

A writer of note, a champion of truth and one who suffered for the truth of Christ, he brought the various books of Sacred Scripture together in one book, and composed a system to find the date of Easter (the Paschalia) for the next five hundred and thirty-two years. He entered into rest in the Lord in 1505. His wonderworking relics are preserved in the Chudov monastery in Moscow.


Our Holy Father Sava the Sanctified

he unknown village of Mutalaska, in the province of Cappadocia, became famous through this great light of the Orthodox Church, for St. Sava was born there. He left the home of his parents, John and Sophia, at the age of eight and became a monk in a nearby monastery called "Flavian's. After ten years, he moved to the monasteries of Palestine, staying longest in the monastery of St. Euthymius the Great(see January 20th) and Theoctistus. Euthymius, who had the gift of discernment, foretold that he would be a famous monk and leader of monks, and that he would found a monastery that would be greater than any other of that day. After St. Euthymius's death, Sava went into the desert, where he lived for five years as a hermit in a cave which an angel of God showed him. After that, when he had become a perfected monk, he began by divine providence to gather round him many desirous of the spiritual life. They very quickly grew in number, so that Sava had to build both a church and many cells. Some Armenians also came to him, and he set aside a cave for them, and they celebrated the services there in their own language. When his father died, his aged mother Sophia came to him and he made her a nun and gave her a cell away from the monastery, where she lived in asceticism till her death. This holy father endured many attacks from those close to him, from heretics and from demons. But he overcame them all in these ways: those close to him he won over by his goodness and forbearance, the heretics by an unshakeable confession of the Orthodox faith, and the demons with the sign of the Cross and the invocation of God's aid. He had a particularly severe battle with the demons on the mountain of Castellium, where he founded the second of his seven monasteries. He and his neighbour, Theodosius the Great, are considerd to be the greatest lights and pillars of Orthodoxy in the East. Kings and Patriarchs were brought to the right Faith by them, and these holy and wonderful men, strong in the power of God, served each and every man as an example of humility. St. Sava entered into rest in 532 at the age of ninety-four, after a life of great labour and great reward. Among all his other great and good works, let this be remembered above all: that he compiled the first Order of Services for use in monasteries, now known as the Jerusalem Typikon.

Our Holy Fathers, the Martyrs of Karyes

They suffered at the time of the Union of Lyons, at the hands of the Papists. The Union was the work of the Pope and the Emperor Michael Palaeologus (1260-81). The Protos of the Holy Mountain was hanged, and the others were beheaded with the sword. For details of this,see October 10th(101002)

Our Holy Father Nectarius of Bitola (Monastiri)

Born in Bitola, he lived in asceticism in the monastery of the Holy Physicians Cosmas and Damian there, together with his father who was also a monk. He later went to Karyes, where he continued his asceticism in the cell of the Holy Archangels, under the direction of the elders of Philotheou and Dionysiou. After conquering human envy, demonic attacks and painful illnesses, he entered into the Kingdom of Christ on December 5th, 1500. His incorrupt and fragrant relics are preserved in his cell.

Our Holy Fathers Karyon and Zachariah

Father and son, they were great Egyptian ascetics. Karion left his wife and their two children and went off to become a monk. The young Zachariah was taken into the monastery as a child, and outstripped in asceticism both his father and many other notable ascetics. When they asked Zachariah: "Who is truly a monk?", he replied: "He who constantly exercises himself in the fulfilling of God's commandments".


St. Nicolas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

(Matt. 6:3). When he embraced a life of solitude and silence, thinking to live in that way until his death, a voice from on high came to him: "Nicolas, set about your work among the people if you desire to receive a crown from Me. Immediately after that, by God's wondrous providence, he was chosen as archbishop of the city of Myra in Lycia. Merciful, wise and fearless, Nicolas was a true shepherd to his flock. He was cast into prison during the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian, but even there continued to instruct the people in the Law of God. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325, and, in his zeal, struck Arius with his hand. For this act, he was removed from the Council and from his episcopal duties, until some of the chief hierarchs had a vision of our Lord Christ and His most holy Mother showing their sympathy with NicolasThis wonderful saint was a defender of the truth of God, and was ever a spirited champion of justice among the people. On two occasions, he saved three men from undeserved sentences of death. Merciful, trustworthy and loving right, he walked among the people like an angel of God. People considered him a saint even during his lifetime, and invoked his aid when in torment or distress. He would appear both in dreams and in reality to those who called upon him for help, responding speedily to them, whether close at hand or far away. His face would shine with light as Moses' did aforetime, and his mere presence among people would bring solace, peace and goodwill. In old age, he sickened of a slight illness, and went to his rest in the Lord after a life full of labour and fruitful toil. He now enjoys eternal happiness in the Kingdom of heaven, continuing to help the faithful on earth by his miracles, and to spread the glory of God. He entered into rest on December 6th, 343(See May 9th)

St. Nicolas, Bishop of Patara

The uncle of the great St. Nicolas, he set his nephew on the spiritual path and ordained him priest.

Holy Martyr Nicolas of Karamanos

He was harshly tortured by the Turks, and was hanged in Smyrna in 1657.

St. Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch

man well-versed in Hellenistic philosophy, he became a Christian through reading the Holy Scriptures and became a great champion of the Christian faith. His work "On the Faith is extant today. He governed the Church in Antioch for thirteen years, and went to his rest in the year 181.


St. Ambrose, Bishop of Mediolanum (Milan)

On the death of his father, the Emperor made him governor of Liguria, of which province Milan was the chief city. When the bishop of Milan died, there was great dissention between the Orthodox Christians and the heretical Arians about the choice of a new bishop. Ambrose went into the church to keep order, this being his responsibilty. Thereupon, a child at its mother's breast cried out: "Ambrose for bishop! All the people took this to be the voice of God, and unanimously elected Ambrose as their bishop, although it was against his will. Ambrose was baptised, and passed through all the necessary ranks in one week, and was consecrated bishop. In this capacity, he strengthened the faith of the Orthodox, restrained heretics, adorned churches, spread the Faith among the pagans, wrote many instructive books and was an example of a true Christian and a true shepherd. He also composed the Te Deum, the great hymn of thanksgiving. This renowned hierarch, who was visited by people from distant lands for his wisdom and gracious words, was very austere in his personal life, being no stranger to toil and full of good works. He slept little, worked and prayed constantly and fasted every day except Saturday and Sunday. God therefore permitted him to witness many of His wonders, and to perform many himself. He discovered the relics of Sts. Protasius, Gervasius, Nazarius and Celsus(see October 14th)(101402) Humble before lesser men, he was fearless before the great. He reproached the Empress Justina for heresy, cursed Maximus for tyranny and murder and forbade the Emperor Theodosius to enter a church until he had repented of his sin. He refused to meet the powerful Eugenius, the self-styled Emperor. God granted this man, who was so pleasing to Him, such grace that he could raise the dead, drive demons from men, heal the sick of every ailment and see into the future. He died peacefully at daybreak on Easter Day in the year 397.

Our Holy Father Gregory the Hesychast

A Serb by birth, he was the founder of the monastery of St. Nicolas on the Holy Mountain, which is known by the name of Grigoriou after him. He built himself a cell about four hours' journey from the monastery, where he wept over his sins and prayed. In 1761, a serious fire broke out in the monastery, and at that time some of the monks took his relics to Serbia. This man of God entered into eternal rest in 1406.

Our Holy Father Nilus of Stolobnoye

A worker on the land, born in Novgorod, he went off into a lonely place and survived on plants and gleanings. He was instructed by a voice from on high to move to the island of Stolobnoye (Table Island). Once, some robbers burst into his cell, and were immediately blinded. He dug his own grave close to his cell, and wept over it every day. He entered into eternal rest in the kingdom of Christ in 1554, and his wonderworking relics are preserved in the place where he led his life of fasting.


Our Holy Father Patapius

Born and brought up in the Faith and in the fear of God by pious parents in the Egyptian city of Thebes, he early perceived and rejected the empty vanity of the world and went into the Egyptian desert, where he devoted himself to cleansing his heart from every worldly thought and desire for the sake of divine love. When his virtues became known among the people, they began to come to him and seek relief from their troubles. Afraid of human glory, which darkens a man's mind and separates it from God, Patapius fled from the desert to Constantinople, for this wonderful saint thought that he could more easily hide himself from men in the heart of a city than in the desert. He built himself a hut close to the Blachernae church and there, enclosed and unknown, took up again his interrupted life of asceticism. But the light cannot be hidden. A child, blind from birth, was led by divine Providence to St. Patapius and begged him to offer a prayer that he might be given his sight and look upon God's creation, and praise God all the more. Patapius had pity on the suffering child and prayed to God, and the child saw. Through this miracle, Patapius's godly life became known throughout the entire capital, and people began to turn to him for healing, comfort and teaching. Patapius healed one eminent man of dropsy after blessing him with a cross and anointing him with oil. Making the sign of the Cross in the air, he freed a youth from an unclean spirit which had cruelly tormented him, and the evil spirit went out of God's creature like smoke, uttering a great cry. He made the sign of the Cross over a woman who had sores on her breasts all filled with worms, and she was healed. St. Patapius worked many other miracles, all through prayer in the name of Christ and by the power of the Cross. He entered into rest in great old age, going to the Kingdom of God in the seventh century.

Holy Apostles Sosthenes, Apollos, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Onesiphorus, Cephas and Caesar

All these are commemorated on January 4th with the other lesser apostles. St. Apollos is also commemorated on September 10th, St. Onesiphorus on September 7th, and Cephas and Caesar on March 30th. St. Sosthenes was Bishop of Caesarea and Tychicus succeeded him in the same city. Epaphroditus was bishop in Colophon in Pamphylia, Cephas in Iconium and Caesar in the Peloponnese. They all preached the Gospel of Christ with burning love, and endured suffering for His name's sake before they entered into the Kingdom of eternal joy.

Holy Martyrs in Africa

They suffered for the truth of Orthodoxy in the reign of Gunerik of the Vandals (477-484), at the hands of the heretical Arians. Two priests were burned, sixty had their tongues torn out and three hundred laymen were beheaded. All of them suffered terribly, but they overcame falsehood by their deaths, and Orthodoxy was strengthened and was handed down to us pure and untarnished. The Lord crowned them with crowns of glory in His immortal Kingdom.


Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Mother of God

Righteous Joachim and Anna were childless for fifty years of their married life. In their old age, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to them, to each one separately, and told them that God had heard their prayer and that a daughter would be born to them. Then St. Anna conceived by her husband and, after nine months, bore a daughter blessed by God and all generations of men: the most holy Virgin Mary and Mother of God. There is a fuller account of all this onSeptember 9th(090901)

St. Hannah, Mother of the Prophet Samuet

Hannah was the wife of Elkanah from Ramathaim-Zophim, or Arimathea (I Sam. 1). She had had no child, being barren, and she wept and grieved bitterly for this. But God in His mercy took pity on her, and removed her barrenness in response to her ceaseless prayers and sighs. Hannah bore a son, Samuel, and dedicated him to God from his childhood. Samuel was a great leader of the nation of Israel, and a prophet who anointed two kings, Saul and David. St. Hannah sang a hymn of thanksgiving to God, a hymn wonderful in its wisdom and beauty, which is used to this day in church services (I Sam. 2:1).

Our Holy Father Stephen the New Light

After that, he spent many years in a cell by the church of the holy martyr Antipas. This saint also appeared to him, encouraging him: "Know that I will not abandon thee. Stephen took greater and greater labours upon himself. He ate only twice a week, and that unsalted cabbage. In all, this holy man spent fifty-five years in asceticism for the sake of the kingdom of Christ, and went to his rest in the Lord in 879, at the age of seventy-three.

St. Sophronius, Archbishop of Cyprus

He was born and brought up in Cyprus. Because of his great spiritual erudition and his many virtues, in particular his compassion, he was made archbishop after St. Damian. Having faithfully served the Church and led a life pleasing to God, he died peacefully in the sixth century.


Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus

oth Menas and Hermogenes were born in Athens. They both lived in Constantinople, where they enjoyed the high favour of the Emperor and the honour of the people. Menas was known for his great learning and gift of speech and, although he acted outwardly as a pagan, he was in his heart a convinced Christian. Hermogenes was Eparch of Constantinople, and was a pagan through and through. He was, however, a merciful man and performed many good deeds. When dissention broke out between the Christians and the pagans in the city of Alexandria, the Emperor Maximian (285305) sent Menas to calm the turmoil and drive the Christians from the city. Menas went and restored peace, but he also declared himself to be a Christian and brought many of the pagans to the true Faith by the power of his words and the witness of his many miracles. When the Emperor heard this, he sent Hermogenes to punish Menas and to liquidate the Christians. Hermogenes brought Menas to trial, and he cut off his feet and his tongue, gouged out his eyes and then threw him into prison. The Lord Jesus himself appeared to him there, to heal and console His suffering servant. When he saw Menas miraculously healed, Hermogenes was baptised and began to preach the mighty Faith of Christ, being made Bishop of Alexandria. Then the furious Emperor Maximian came himself to Alexandria and put Menas and Hermogenes to harsh torture, which they endured courageously with the help of God's grace. Beholding the fortitude of these soldiers of Christ and the miracles God wrought upon them, Eugraphus, Menas's secretary, went into the judgement-hall and shouted to the Emperor's face: "I too am a Christian! The Emperor flew into a rage, took a sword and beheaded Eugraphus himself, and then he commanded the executioner to behead Menas and Hermogenes. Their holy relics, thrown into the sea, floated in a miraculous way to Constantinople, where the bishop, forewarned in a dream, met them with great ceremony and buried them with honour.

Our Holy Mother Angelina and St. John the Despot

he daughter of Prince George Skenderbeg of Albania and the wife of Stephen, Despot of Serbia and son of Despot George, she endured exile with her husband and shared with him all the vicissitudes of life in Serbia, and also in Albania and Italy. She brought up her two sons, Maxim and John, in a truly Christian spirit. Becoming a nun on her husband's death, she devoted herself to prayer, works of charity and the building and repair of churches. A faithful wife, a good mother and a perfect Christian, she indeed merited the title "Mother Angelina given her by the people. Her wonderworking relics are preserved, along with the relics of her righteous husband Stephen and her devoted sons Maxim and John, in the monastery of Krusedol, though some of them were destroyed by the Turks. She entered into rest and into life eternal at the beginning of the sixteenth century(See July 30th)(073005)

Holy Martyr Gemellus

n honoured citizen of Ancyra, Gemellus appeared before the Emperor Julian the Apostate when he visited the city, and openly reproached him for his apostasy. For this, he was tortured and crucified in the year 361. While he was enduring his passion on the cross, a voice was heard from heaven: "Blessed art thou, Gemellus!.

Our Holy Father Thomas of Bithynia

A great faster, a conqueror of demons and a seer, he once received a letter from the Emperor Leo the Wise, and replied without opening it. He entered into rest in the Lord in great old age, in the ninth century.


Our Holy Father Daniel the Stylite

orn in the village of Maroutha, near the city of Samosata in Mesopotamia, of Christian parents, Elias and Martha, he was a gift of God through the tearful prayers of his mother, who was barren, and was dedicated to God in his youth. He embraced the monastic state at the age of twelve and visited Simeon Stylites, receiving his blessing. Desirous of solitude, Daniel left his monastery and withdrew to an abandoned pagan temple on the shore of the Black Sea. He endured many assaults from demons, but overcame them all by prayer, endurance and the sign of the Cross. After that, he climbed up onto a pillar, where he remained till his death, enduring with equanimity both heat and cold, and attacks from both men and demons. Many disciples gathered around his pillar, and he led them towards eternal life by his example and his words. God rewarded His devoted servant with great grace in this life, and he worked many miracles of help to men, and foretold future events. People came to his pillar from all parts, seeking help and advice from the saint of God. Kings and patriarchs came to him, as well as simple folk. The Emperor Leo the Great used to bring his foreign guests, princes and nobles, and show them Daniel on his pillar: "Here is the wonder of my empire! Daniel foretold the day of his own death, taught his disciples as a father would his children, and took leave of them. At the time of his death, his disciples saw angels, prophets, apostles and martyrs around the pillar. Having lived in asceticism for eighty years, this angelic man entered into rest, and into the Kingdom of Christ, in 489.

Our Holy Father Luke the Stylite

Luke lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. He fought as a soldier in the war against the Bulgars and witnessed the slaughter of many thousands, but he himself emerged from the war alive and unharmed. Seeing the finger of God in his deliverance, he scorned all the vanity of this world, took himself off to a pillar near Chalcedon and there spent forty-five years in asceticism, cleansing his soul from every sinful thought and desire. He entered into rest after a life pleasing to God, some time between 970 and 980, and went to the better life.

Our Holy Father Nikon the Withered

e was enslaved by the Tartars as a monk of the Kiev Caves, and spent three years in captivity, fettered, tortured and abused. When his kinsmen brought the money to ransom him from his owner, he refused, saying: "If the Lord had wanted me to be free, He would not have given me into the hands of these lawless men. Once he told his owner that Christ would free him in three days. The Tartar thought that this meant that his slave was going to run away, so he cut his tendons below the knee. On the third day, though, Nikon was indeed carried by invisible hands to Kiev. After a time, the Tartar came to Kiev and recognised his former slave. He repented and was baptised, and the former owner became the servant and disciple of his erstwhile slave. Nikon, called the Withered because of the great emaciation of his body, was a great visionary and wonderworker. He entered peacefully into rest in the Lord on December 11th, 1101.

Holy Martyr Meirax

An Egyptian, he was tricked by the Mohammedan Emir into accepting Islam. He later repented, went into a mosque bearing a cross, declared himself a Christian and called upon the Moslems to forsake their errors and turn to the Truth. He was tortured and martyred in about 640.


St. Spiridon the Wonderworker, Bishop of Tremithus

The island of Cyprus was both the birthplace of this famous saint, and the place in which he spent his life in the service of the Church. He was of simple farming stock, and remained simple and humble to the end of his days. He married young and had children, but, when his wife died, he devoted himself entirely to the service of God. He was chosen for his devotion as Bishop of Tremithus, and even as a bishop did not change his simple style of life, taking charge of his cattle himself and tilling his own land. He consumed very little of his own produce, giving the greater part to the poor. He performed great wonders by God's power, making rain fall in a drought, stopping the course of a river, raising several of the dead, healing the Emperor Constans of a grave sickness, seeing and hearing angels, foreseeing future events and penetrating the secrets of the human heart. He turned many to the true Faith, and did much else. He was present at the first Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325, and, by his simple and clear expositions of the Faith, as well as by convincing miracles, brought back many heretics to Orthodoxy. He dressed so simply that once, when he was invited by the Emperor to the imperial court, a soldier took him for a beggar and struck him a blow. The meek and guileless Spiridon turned him the other cheek. He glorified God with many miracles, and was of great aid both to individuals and to the whole Church of God. He entered into rest in the Lord in 348, and his wonderworking relics now lie on the island of Corfu and continue to glorify God with many wonders.

Hieromartyr Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem

He was at first bishop in Cappadocia, but, during the persecution under Severus in 203, was thrown into prison and then exiled. After that, he accepted the see of Jerusalem, and there founded a famous library that was of great use to Eusebius when he was writing his Ecclesiastical History. He was tortured in various ways during the reign of Decius, and was thrown to the wild beasts. Alive and unharmed, he was cast back into prison, where he finished his earthly course and went to the Lord in the year 251.

Holy Martyr Synesius

He boldly preached the truth of Christ as a young reader in Rome, and denounced the idolaters. He was beheaded for his outspokenness during the reign of Aurelian, towards the end of the third century.


Holy Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius and Orestes

Orestes was a young and handsome soldier, who stood head and shoulders above all the other soldiers. One day, when he was at target practice in Lycias's presence, the Cross he was wearing fell from his breast, and Lycias realised that he was a Christian. Orestes openly confessed his faith, and was martyred with the others. Auxentius was beheaded, Eugene and Mardarius died under torture, Orestes was exposed on a red-hot iron grid and Eustratius died in a flaming furnace. St. Blaise(see February 11th)>>T(021101) gave Communion to St. Eustratius in prison before his death. Their relics were later taken to Constantinople, and are preserved in the church dedicated to them -The Holy Five Companions. They were seen alive in that church, and St. Orestes appeared to St. Dimitri of Rostov(see October 28th)(102806) A beautiful prayer by St. Eustratius is extant, which is read at the Midnight Service on Saturdays: "I glorify Thy majesty, O Lord for Thou hast regarded my lowliness and bast not shut me up in the hands of my enemies, but bast saved my soul from want ...

Holy Martyr Lucy the Virgin

With her mother, Lucy visited the grave of St. Agatha in Catania, and the saint appeared to her. Her mother, who had an issue of blood, was miraculously cured in the church at that time. Lucy gave away all her goods to the poor, and this embittered her betrothed, who denounced her to Paschasius the judge as a Christian. The wicked judge ordered that she be taken to a brothel and defiled, but, by the power of God, she remained immovable, as if rooted to the earth, and not even a vast number of people was able to move her from the spot. An enraged pagan then ran her through the throat with a sword, and she commended her soul to God and entered into the Kingdom of eternity. She suffered in the year 304.

Hieromartyr Gavrilo, Patriarch of Serbia

In the fearful period of Turkish rule in Serbia, this great hierarch went to Russia, where he took part in the Moscow Synod of 1655. When he returned to Serbia, he was denounced as a traitor. Certain wicked Jews also brought against him the charge of having converted several Jews to the Christian faith. These Jews, in order to stir up the Turkish authorities, made a special point of the fact that he had worked for the baptism of Turks. He was tried, and sentenced to forcible conversion to Islam. Since Gavrilo would have none of this, he was, after a period of imprisonment, sentenced to death and hanged in Brussa in 1659, and so went to his beloved Christ, to receive at His hands the double wreath of hierarch and martyr.


Holy Martyrs Thyrsus, Leucius and Callinicus

aints Thyrsus arid Leucius were eminent citizens of Bithynian Caesarea; the latter being baptised and the former still a catechumen. Callinicus, however, was a pagan priest who offered sacrifice to idols. When Cumbricius, heir to the Emperor Decius, began to torture and murder the Christians, the intrepid Leucius stood before him and reproached him: "Why have you begun to make war on your own soul, Cumbricius? The enraged judge ordered that he be flogged and tortured, and then beheaded with the sword. In terrible torment, Leucius went to his execution as joyfully as if he were going to a wedding. When he beheld Leucius's courageous death, blessed Thyrsus was inflamed with divine zeal and, like Leucius, went before the judge and rebuked him for his crimes and his lack of belief in the one, true God. He was.therefore beaten and cast into prison. He was healed of his wounds by the invisible hand of God, which also opened the prison doors and led him forth. Thyrsus went at once to Phileas, the Bishop of Caesarea, to be baptised by him. After his baptism, he was again seized and tortured, but he endured all the torments as if in a dream and not in reality. Many idols fell down through the power of his prayer. When he saw this, Callinicus, a pagan priest, was converted to the Christian faith, so both he and Thyrsus were condemned to death. Callinicus was beheaded with the sword, and Thyrsus was placed in a wooden coffin to be sawn asunder, but God's power prevented this and the saw could not penetrate the wood. Then Thyrsus arose from the coffin, praying and thanking God for his sufferings, and he peacefully gave his soul into the Lord's hands. At the end of the fourth century, the Emperor Flavian built a church to St. Thyrsus near Constantinople, and placed his holy relics in it. The saint appeared in a vision to the Empress Pulcheria, and suggested that she bury the relics of the Forty Martyrs beside his own.

Holy Martyrs Philemon, Apollonius, Arrian and others

uring the reign of Diocletian, Arrian, a judge in Egypt, cruelly persecuted the Christians there. He seized Apollonius and threatened him with torture. Apollonius became afraid of the tortures, and bribed an unknown musician, Philemon, a pagan, to offer sacrifice to the idols in his place, dressed in his clothes. When Philemon went before the idols, the light of the Christian faith suddenly shone in his heart, and he made the sign of the Cross. He then went out of the temple and began to shout: "I am a Christian, a servant of Christ the living God! Hearing this, the judge laughed, thinking that Philemon was mocking the Christians. Later, Philemon was subjected to fearful tortures, during which rain fell from heaven to baptise him. Finally, both Philemon and Apollonius were beheaded by Arrian the judge. Then Arrian himself became a Christian, because his blind eye was healed in a miraculous way at Philemon's grave. He was condemned to death by the Emperor, and perished together with fou: soldiers who had likewise declared themselves to be Christians.


Hieromartyr Eleutherius

A good fruit of a good tree, this wonderful saint had noble and eminent parents. He was born in Rome, where his father was in imperial service. His mother, Anthea, heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul himself, and was baptised by him. Being early left a widow, she entrusted her only son to the education and service of the Bishop of Rome, Anacletus. Seeing how greatly Eleutherius was gifted and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him deacon at the age of fifteen, priest at eighteen and bishop at twenty. Endowed by God with wisdom, he made up for what he lacked in years. This godly man was made bishop in Illyria, with his seat at Valona in Albania. He kept his flock like a good shepherd, adding to their number from day to day. The Emperor Hadrian, a persecutor of Christians, sent a commander, Felix, with soldiers, to seize Eleutherius and take him to Rome. When the furious Felix arrived in Valona and went into the church, and heard and saw God's holy hierarch, his heart was suddenly changed and he became a Christian. Eleutherius baptised him and set off with him for Rome, as merrily as though he were going to a feast, not to trial and torture. The Emperor put the gently-born Eleutherius to harsh torture, flogging him, burning him on an iron grid, boiling him in pitch and burning him in a fiery furnace. But, by God's power, Eleutherius was delivered from all these deadly torments. Seeing all this, Choribus the governor proclaimed that he himself was a Christian. Choribus was tortured and then beheaded, and so also blessed Felix. Finally, the imperial executioners cut off the honoured head of St. Eleutherius. When his mother, holy Anthea, came and stood over the dead body of her son, she was also beheaded. Their bodies were taken to Valona, where St. Eleutherius glorifies the name of Christ to this day by many wonders. He suffered in the time of Hadrian, in the year 120.

St. Stephen the Confessor of Sourozh

Born in Cappadocia and educated under the care of the Patriarch, St. Germanus, he went off into solitude and lived hidden from the world. An angel appeared to St. Germanus and told him to make Stephen bishop of the town of Sourozh (now Sudak in the Crimea), and this the Patriarch did. Stephen brought many to the Christian faith by his zeal, and suffered much at the hands of the Emperor Leo the Isaurian because of his, Stephen's, struggle against the iconoclasts, prophesying to the Emperor his imminent decease. After the evil death of this evil ruler, Stephen returned to his diocese and was pastor to his flock as a true man of God, departing this life peacefully at the end of the eighth century.

Our Holy Father Paul of Latros

Born in Pergamum, he lived in asceticism on a mountain called Latros in Asia Minor. He was glorified by his asceticism and his many miracles, and entered peacefully into rest in old age, going to the Lord in the year 950.

Our Holy Father Pardus the Solitary

In his youth, he was a waggoner, but because of an unintentional sin, he left the world and withdrew to the desert to live in asceticism. He lived in Palestine in the sixth century.


Holy Prophet Haggai

the wisest archbishop". He was a man of enormous learning, both secular and theological, of refined Byzantine tastes, and was by nature melancholy and sensitive. Theophylact felt himself among the Slavs of Ochrid like an exile among barbarians. He wrote commentaries on the Four Gospels and on other books of the New Testament. These are the finest works of their sort after St. John Chrysostom, and are read to this day with great benefit. Of his other works, we know of his Letters, and a Life of St. Clement of Ochrid. In old age, Theophylact withdrew from Ochrid to Salonica, and, finishing his earthly course, went to the blessedness of eternity.

St. Theophano the Empress

and it repeated these words a number of times. This caused great confusion among the courtiers, and they all begged the Emperor to release his son and daughter-inlaw. The Emperor was touched, and did so. After his father's death, this Leo became Emperor, being called "the Wise. Theophano did not consider her imperial dignity to be of much account, but, being utterly given to God, she gave thought to the salvation of her soul, fasting and praying and giving alms, founding monasteries and churches. No lying word ever passed her lips, nor any unnecessary speech or the least slander. At the time of her death, she called together her closest friends and took leave of them, then gave her soul to God, in 892. The Emperor Leo wanted to build a church over her grave, and, when the Patriarch refused to allow this, built the church of All Saints, saying that, if Theophano were a saint, she would be glorified together with the others. At that time, the feast of All Saints was introduced, to be celebrated on the Sunday after the feast of the Holy Trinity.


Holy Prophet Daniel and the Three Children: Ananias, Azarias and Misael

ll four of them were of the royal tribe of Judah. When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed and plundered Jerusalem, Daniel, as a boy, was taken off into slavery together with Jehoiachin, King of Judah, and many other Israelites. The account of his life, sufferings and prophecies can be found in detail in his book. Utterly given to God, Daniel from his early youth received from God the gift of great discernment. His fame among the Jews in Babylon began when he denounced two lecherous and unrighteous elders, and saved the chaste Susannah from an unjust death. But his fame among the Babylonians stemmed from the day when he solved and interpreted the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. For this, the king made him a prince at his court. When the king made a golden idol in the Plain of Dura, the Three Children refused to worship it, for which they were cast into the burning fiery furnace. But an angel of God appeared in the furnace and soothed the flames, so that the Children walked in the furnace untouched by the fire, and sang: "Blessed art Thou, Lord God of our fathers! The king saw this marvel, and was amazed. He then brought the Children out of the furnace and did them great honour. In the time of King Belshazzar, when the king was eating and drinking with his guests at a feast out of consecrated vessels taken from the Temple in Jerusalem, an invisible hand wrote these three words on the wall: "Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. No-one could interpret these words but Daniel. That night, King Belshazzar was killed. Daniel was thrice thrown into a den of lions for his faith in the one, living God, and both times God preserved him alive. Daniel saw God on His throne with the angelic powers, often saw angels, had insight into the future of certain people, of kingdoms and of the whole human race, and prophesied the time of the coming of the Saviour on earth. According to St. Cyril of Alexandria, Daniel and the Three Children lived to great old age in Babylon, and were beheaded with the sword for the true Faith. When Ananias was beheaded, Azarias held out his robe and caught his head, then Misael caught Azarias's head and Daniel Misael's. An angel of God carried their bodies to Judea, to Mount Gebal, and placed them under a rock. According to tradition, these four men arose at the time of the death of the Lord Jesus and appeared to many, then fell asleep again. Daniel is counted as one of the four Great Prophets (with Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel). He lived and prophesied halfway through the thousand years before Christ.

Our Holy Father Daniel

He was a nobleman, and governor of the island of Niberta, near Cadiz in Spain. Being acquainted with all the vanity of this world, he forsook its glory and riches and went to Rome, where he became a monk. After this, he went to Constantinople, where he spoke with the Emperors Constantine and Romanus Porphyrogenitus, then continued on to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, he received the Great Habit at the hands of Patriarch Christodoulos, who gave him the name Stephen. Abused by the Saracens, who put pressure on him to shave off his beard, he went to Egypt, where he suffered greatly and died for the name of Christ. He entered into the Kingdom of Christ in the tenth century.

Our Holy Fathers, the New Martyrs Paisius and Habakkuk (Avakum)

Paisius was abbot of the monastery of Trnava near ~acak in Serbia, and Habakkuk his companion and deacon. Both of them were, as Christians, impaled on stakes by the Turks on Kalemegdan in Belgrade, on December 17th, 1814. Dragging his spike through the streets of Belgrade, the courageous Habakkuk sang. When his mother begged him with tears to save his life by accepting Islam, this wonderful soldier of Christ replied to her, thanking her for her motherhood and not for her advice, and quoting the great figures of the Old Testament who suffered for, and glorified, God, and looking to the end of his own martyrdom in the immortal Kingdom of Christ.


Holy Martyr Sebastian and those with him

his glorious martyr of Christ was born in Italy and brought up in the city of Milan. He was destined in his youth to be a soldier, and, as an educated, handsome and courageous man, commended himself to the Emperor Diocletian, who made him captain of the imperial guard. He secretly confessed the Christian faith, and prayed to the living God. An honourable, upright and merciful man, Sebastian was greatly loved by his soldiers. Whenever possible, he saved Christians from torture and death and, when this was not possible, gave them courage to die for Christ the living God without turning back. Two brothers, Marcus and Marcellinus, who were in prison for Christ and already on the verge of denying Him and worshipping idols, were confirmed in their faith and strengthened in their martyrdom by Sebastian. As he spoke with them, exhorting them not to fear death for Christ, his face was illumined like that of an angel of God. Sebastian supported his words by marvels: he healed Zoe, the wife of Nicostratus the gaoler, who had been dumb for six years, and brought Nicostratus and his whole household to baptism; he healed the two sick sons of Claudius the commander, and brought him and his whole household also to baptism; he healed Tranquillianus, the father of Marcus and Marcellinus, of gout and pains in his legs which had troubled him for eleven years, and brought him to baptism together with his whole household; he healed the Roman Eparch, Chromatius, of the same infirmity and brought him and his son Tiburtius to baptism. Of these, Zoe was the first to suffer, being seized while at prayer beside the tomb of the Apostle Peter. After torture, she was thrown into the river Tiber. Then Tiburtius was seized, and the judge placed live coals before him, challenging him to choose life or death: to cast incense on the coals and tense the idols, or to stand himself barefoot on the coals. St. Tibertius made the sign of the Cross and stood barefoot on the coals, and remained unharmed. He was then beheaded with the sword. Nicostratus was killed with a stake, Tranquillianus was drowned and Marcus and Marcellinus were run through by spears. Then Sebastian was taken before the Emperor Diocletian. The Emperor rebuked him for his betrayal, but he said: "I always pray to my Christ for your health, and for the peace of the Roman Empire. The Emperor ordered that he be stripped and shot at with arrows. The soldiers then shot at him, until the martyr's whole body was so covered with arrows that it was invisible beneath them. When they thought that he was dead, he showed himself alive and healed of all his wounds. Then the pagans beat him to death with staves. He suffered gloriously for Christ his Lord and entered into the heavenly Kingdom in 287, when Gaius was Bishop of Rome.

St. Florus, Bishop of Aminsus

He lived in the time of the Emperors Justin II (565-76) and Maurice (582-602), being the son of a nobleman. He forsook the bustle and vanity of the world and withdrew to a monastery, to live in asceticism for the salvation of his soul. He was then chosen as bishop of the town of Aminsus in Cappadocia. As an ascetic and a hierarch, he was pleasing to God and entered peacefully into His Kingdom.

St. Modestus, Patriarch of Jerusalem

He was only five months old when his parents died, but, by God's providence, he was brought up in a Christian spirit. When he was grown up, he was sold as a slave to a pagan in Egypt, but he succeeded in bringing his owner to the Christian faith, and he freed him. He withdrew to Mount Sinai, where he lived in asceticism. He was then chosen as Patriarch of Jerusalem, and governed Christ's flock like a true shepherd, entering peacefully into rest in 634.


Holy Martyr Boniface

The judge took him for interrogation and ordered that he be harshly flogged, then that boiling lead be poured into his mouth and, as this did him no harm, that he be beheaded. The slaves then took his body back to Rome. An angel of God appeared to Aglais and said: "Take him who was at one time your servant, but is now our brother and fellow-servant; he is the guardian of your soul and the protector of your life. Aglais went in wonder to meet them, took Boniface's body, built a church for his relics and placed them there. She then repented, gave away all her goods to the poor and withdrew from the world, living a further fifteen years in bitter penitence. St. Boniface suffered in the year 290.

St. Gregory, Bishop of Omir

He was at first a deacon in the church in Mediolanum (Milan), and had many visions. By God's providence, he was taken to the city of Alexandria, where Patriarch Proterius, in response to a heavenly revelation, consecrated him bishop of the land of Omir in southern Arabia, which the holy King Elesbaan(October 24th)>>T(102402) had already freed from the tyranny of Dunaan the Jew. He was a good shepherd and a great wonderworker. He organised the Church in Omir, with the help of the Christ-loving King Avram, built many churches and baptised a great number of the Jews. He performed great and terrible wonders by his prayers, even bringing about a revelation of Christ the Lord before the unbelieving Jews, which led to their baptism. Having governed the Church for thirty years, he entered peacefully into eternal life in the late fifth century.

St. Boniface the Merciful, Bishop of Ferentino

He had a rare compassion from childhood, being scolded for this by his mother. But, helped by prayer, he received a hundredfold from the Lord. He died peacefully in Italy in the sixth century.

Our Holy Father Elias of Murom

He was a monk of the Kiev Caves, and died in 1188. His uncorrupt relics have wonderworking power. Three fingers of his right hand are to this day raised in prayer, whence it is seen that he died at prayer. This is a commentary on those who do not make the sign of the Cross with three fingers.


Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer, Bishop of Antioch

because he always carried the name of the living God in his heart and on his lips. Also, by tradition, he was thus named because he was held in the arms of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. On a day when the Lord was teaching His disciples humility, He took a child and set it among them, saying: "Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4). This child was Ignatius. He was later a disciple of St. John the Theologian, together with Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna. As bishop in Antioch, he governed the Church of God as a good shepherd, and was the first to introduce antiphonal singing into the Church, in which two choirs alternate. This way of singing was revealed to St. Ignatius from among the angels in heaven. When the Emperor Trajan passed through Antioch on his way to battle with the Persians, he heard about Ignatius, summoned him and urged him to offer sacrifice to idols, so that he could be made a senator. The Emperor's urgings and threats being in vain, holy Ignatius was put in irons and sent to Rome, escorted by ten bestial soldiers, to be thrown to the wild beasts. Ignatius rejoiced to be suffering for his Lord, and prayed to God that the wild beasts should be the tomb for his body, and that none should hinder his death. After a long and difficult journey from Asia through Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus, Ignatius reached Rome, where he was thrown to the lions in the circus. They tore him to pieces and devoured him, leaving only a few of the larger bones and his heart. This glorious lover of the Lord Christ suffered in the year 106 in Rome, in the time of the Emperor Trajan. He appeared many times from the other world and worked wonders, helping to this day all who call on him for help.

St. Danilo, Archbishop of Serbia

The son of rich and God-loving parents, he was given a careful upbringing. King Milutin took him to his court, but, from love of God, he fled and became a monk in the monastery of Konculsk near the Ibar. He was later abbot of Hilandar and suffered much at the hands of the plundering Latin crusaders. He was Bishop of Banja and then of Hum, and finally Archbishop of Serbia. He was from beginning to end a strict ascetic, with a special gift of tears. He made peace between Kings Dragutin and Milutin, and later between Milutin and Stephen of Decani, and fought fiercely against the Latins and the Bogomils. Under his supervision, the monasteries of Banja and Decani were built, and he restored and built many other churches. He also recorded the lives of the Serbian kings and saints. Untiring in the service of God to the end of his life, he entered peacefully into rest in the time of King Dusan, on the night of December 19/20th, 1338. He was a great hierarch, a great ascetic, a great worker and a great patriot.


Holy Martyr Juliana, and the 630 martyrs with her

his glorious virgin martyr was born in Nicomedia of pagan parents. Hearing the Gospel preached, she turned to Christ with all her heart and began to live in exact observance of the Lord's commandments. A certain senator, Eleusius, was her betrothed. In order to free herself from him, Juliana told him that she would not marry him unless he became eparch of that city. She said this thinking that the young man would not be in the least likely to attain to such a high position, but Eleusius worked at it, and, by flattery and bribes, gained the post of Eparch of Nicomedia. Juliana then revealed to him that she was a Christian, and could not enter into marriage with him unless he accepted her faith, saying: "What would it profit us to be united physically but divided in spirit? Eleusius was exasperated, and denounced her to her father. Her furious father poured scorn on her and whipped her, and then handed her over to the eparch for torture. The eparch ordered that she be harshly beaten, then she was thrown into prison all torn and bleeding. But the Lord healed her in the prison, and she appeared before the eparch whole and unharmed. He then put her into a glowing furnace, but the fire did not burn her. Seeing this wonder, many came to believe in Christ the Lord. Five hundred men and a hundred and thirty women were converted. The eparch condemned them all to death, and ordered that they be beheaded with the sword, and their souls entered into Paradise. Then the wicked judge condemned holy Juliana to be beheaded with the sword. Rejoicing in spirit, Juliana went out to the scaffold, prayed on her knees to God and laid her head on the block. Her head was cut off, and her soul went to Christ's eternal Kingdom of light, in the year 304. God's punishment quickly fell on Eleusius: sailing over the sea, his ship broke up and he fell into the water. He did not find death in the waves, but swam to an island, where the dogs tore him to pieces and devoured him

St. Peter the Wonderworker, Metropolitan of Russia

Born in the province of Volinsk, he received the monastic habit at the age of twelve. He was a great ascetic and an icon-painter. He founded a monastery on the river Rata, and became its abbot. He was made Metropolitan of Kiev against his will, and consecrated in Constantinople by Patriarch Athanasius. As Metropolitan, he suffered a great deal at the hands of the envious and of heretics, governing the Church for eighteen years as a good and zealous pastor. During his lifetime, he built himself a tomb in the Church of the Dormition, where his holy and wonderworking relics are preserved to this day. He entered into rest in 1326, and went to his true homeland.

Holy Martyr Themistocles

As a herdsman, the young Themistocles kept sheep in a field near Myra in Lycia, At that time, the persecutors of the Christians were seeking St. Dioscorides, and came upon Themistocles, asking him if he knew where Dioscorides was hiding. Themistocles, although he knew, refused to say, and declared himself a Christian. He was tortured and beheaded in the time of Decius, in 251.


Holy and Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Bonds, and those with her

This great heroine of the Christian faith was born in Rome into a wealthy senatorial family, her father being a pagan and her mother a Christian. From her early youth, she clave in love to the Lord Jesus, guided in Christian teaching by a devout teacher, Chrysogonus. Under pressure from her father, Anastasia married a pagan landowner, Publius, but, using the pretext of woman's weakness, she never had physical relations with him. For this, her husband tortured her harshly by imprisonment and starvation, and laid even heavier tortures on her when he discovered that she went secretly to the prisons of the Christian martyrs, minstering to their needs, washing their wounds and loosening their bonds. But, by God's providence, she was freed from her wicked husband. Publius was sent to Persia by the Emperor, and was drowned on the voyage. Then St. Anastasia began to minister openly to the Christian martyrs and, from her great inheritance, helped the poor with alms. The Emperor Diocletian was once in the town of Aquileia, and commanded that Chrysogonus, the confessor of Christ, be brought to him. As he was being brought, Anastasia followed him on the way. Holy Chrysogonus was beheaded at the Emperor's command, and then three sisters, Agapia, Chionia and Irene (see April 16th) suffered, the first two being cast into fire and the third shot through with arrows. St. Anastasia took their bodies, wrapped them in white linen and, anointing them with aromatic spices, gave them burial. Then Anastasia went to Macedonia, where she minstered to those who were suffering for Christ. There, she became widely-known as a Christian, for which she was seized and taken for interrogation before various judges. Desiring to die for her beloved Christ, Anastasia constantly clung to Him in her heart. A certain pagan high priest, Ulphian, tried to touch St. Anastasia's body out of lust, but he was suddenly blinded and gave up the ghost. Condemned to death by starvation, St. Anastasia lay in prison for thirty days, nourishing herself only with tears and prayers. After that, she was put in a boat with several other Christians to be drowned, but God saved her from this death. She was finally tied hand and foot to four wheels over a fire, and thus gave her holy soul into God's hands. She suffered and entered into Christ's Kingdom in 304.

Holy Martyr Theodota with her three Children

Left a young widow with three children, Theodota gave herself utterly to the service of God and the bringing-up of her children in piety. St. Anastasia lived with her when she was in Macedonia, and, together with her, ministered to the Christian captives in the prisons. Taken for trial, Theodota confidently confessed Christ the Lord. She was then sent to the Governor of Bithynia, Nicetas. When a shameless pagan tried to touch her body, an angel of God suddenly appeared beside her and struck the man. Condemned to death and thrown into a glowing furnace with her three children, St. Theodota finished her earthly course with honour and entered into the Kingdom of eternal glory.


Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete

hey suffered for Christ the Lord during Decius's persecution, in the year 250. Their names were: Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompey, Agathopous, Basilides and Evaristus. They were all honoured and eminent citizens, the cream of the cream. When they were taken to the scaffold, they were filled with joy and discussed among themselves who would be the first to be beheaded, because each wanted to be the first to go to his beloved Christ. Then they prayed: "O Lord, forgive Thy servants and accept our outpoured blood on our own behalf and that of our kinsfolk and friends and all our fatherland, that all may be released from the darkness of ignorance and come to know Thee, the true light, O eternal King! They were beheaded and entered into the Kingdom of glory, to eternal rejoicing.

St. Niphon the Wonderworker

orn in Paphlagonia, he was brought up in Constantinople at the court of a great commander. Falling into low company, the young Niphon became dissolute and gave himself to great sin and vice. Because of his sin, he could not even pray to God. By the mercy of the most holy Mother of God, he was brought back to the way of righteousness and became a monk. He had innumerable visions of the heavenly world and waged a four-year war with the demons, who whispered to him incessantly: "There is no God! There is no God!, but, when the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to him alive on an icon, Niphon received great power over the evil spirits and was freed from these heavy temptations. He had such insight that he saw angels and demons around men as clearly as he saw the people themselves, and he could discern men's thoughts. He often spoke with angels and disputed with demons. He built a church to the most holy Mother of God in Constantinople, gathered many monks together and saved many souls. Alexander, the Archbishop of Alexandria, through a heavenly revelation, consecrated him bishop of the town of Constantia on Cyprus. Niphon was already old by that time, and, governing the Church of God well for a short period, entered into Christ's eternal Kingdom. St. Athanasius the Great visited him at the time of his death, being then archdeacon of the church in Alexandria, and he saw Niphon's face shine like the sun.

Our Holy Father Nahum, the Wonderworker of Ochrid

He was a disciple of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, and one of the Five Followers-those zealous fellow-workers with these apostles of the Slavs. St. Nahum travelled to Rome, where he was renowned both for his wonderworking power and his great learning. He knew many languages. At the time of his return from Rome, he settled, with the help of the Emperor Boris Michael of Bulgaria, on the shores of Lake Ochrid. While St. Clement was working in Ochrid as bishop, St. Nahum built a monastery on the southern shore of the lake, a monastery that adorns that shore till this day as the name of St. Nahum adorns the history of Slav Christianity, and has been through the ages a fount of strength and recourse for the sick and the wretched. Many monks from all over the Balkans gathered round St. Nahum, who was a wise teacher, a strict ascetic, a wonderworker and a man of prayer. A tireless worker, St. Nahum laboured especially to translate the Holy Scriptures from Greek into Slavonic. He worked wonders both during his lifetime and after his death, and his wonderworking relics to this day perform many marvels, particularly healing from grave illness and from madness. He entered into rest in the first half of the tenth century, and went to the joy of his beloved Christ(See June 20th)(062003)


Our Holy Mother, the Martyr Eugenia, and those with her

The daughter of Philip, Eparch of all Egypt, she was born in Rome. At that time, the Christians had been driven out of Alexandria and were living outside the town. The maiden Eugenic visited the Christians and received their Faith with all her heart. She fled from her parents with her two faithful eunuchs, was baptised by Bishop Elias and, wearing man's clothing, went to a men's monastery where she received the monastic habit. She so purified her heart by voluntary asceticism that she received from God the gift of healing the sick, and thus healed a rich woman, Melanthia. After this, though, the woman conceived a physical passion for her, not suspecting that she was a woman. Being firmly repulsed by Eugenic, this wicked woman, out of revenge, went to the Eparch and slandered her just as Potiphar's wife had slandered chaste Joseph. The eparch ordered that all the monks be bound and thrown into prison together with Eugenic. When they were brought out for trial, Eugenic revealed herself to her father as his daughter. The overjoyed Philip was baptised, with his whole household, and Philip was chosen as Bishop of Alexandria. Hearing of this, the Roman Emperor sent a wicked general, Terence, who, coming to Alexandria, secretly killed Philip. Then St. Eugenic moved to Rome with her mother and brothers. In Rome, she fearlessly and zealously brought pagans to the true Faith, especially maidens, and thus brought a beautiful maiden, Vassilia, to the Faith. Vassilia was quickly beheaded for Christ, as Eugenic had foretold to her, and then her two eunuchs, Protus and Hyacinthus, were beheaded. Finally, martyrdom came to Eugenic, whose presence had caused the Temple of Diana to fall in ruins. The torturers first threw her into water and then into fire, but God preserved her. The Lord Jesus Himself appeared to her in the prison and told her that she would suffer on the day of His Nativity. And so it came about. She was beheaded with the sword on December 25th, 262, in Rome. After her death, Eugenic appeared to her mother in great glory, and comforted her.

Our Holy Father Nicolas the Soldier

Some people think that this great saint was a Slav of Balkan origin. In the time of the Emperor Nicephorus, Nicolas was commander of the part of the army that went to war against the Bulgars. On the road, Nicolas spent the night in an inn, where he experienced a great temptation and had a strange dream. This dream came true in the war, when the Greeks were utterly routed by the Bulgars in 811. Nicolas was preserved and, out of gratitude to God, left his command and became a monk. In long asceticism, he attained such perfection that he became a great seer and man of God. He died peacefully in the ninth century, and entered into the blessed Kingdom of Christ the Lord.


Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ

"And when the fullness of time was come, God sent His onlybegotten Son" (Gal. 4:4), to save the human race. And when the ninth month had come after the archangel Gabriel appeared to the most holy Virgin in Nazareth, saying: "Hail, thou that art highly favoured... thou shalt conceive and bear a son" - at that time a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus that all the inhabitants of the Roman Empire be taxed. In accordance with this decree, everyone had to go to his own town and there be inscribed. Therefore righteous Joseph came with the most holy Virgin to Bethlehem, the city of David, for they were both of the royal House of David. But, there being a great many people in that small city for the census, Joseph and Mary could not find a lodging in any house, and found shelter in a cave which the shepherds used as a sheepfold. In this cave the most holy Virgin gave birth to the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. Bearing Him without pain, as He was conceived without sin of the Holy Spirit and not of man, she herself wrapped Him in swaddling bands, worshipped Him as God and laid Him in a manger. Then righteous Joseph drew near and worshipped Him as the divine Fruit of a virgin womb. Then the shepherds came in from the fields, directed by an angel of God, and worshipped Him as Messiah and Saviour. The shepherds had heard a multitude of angels singing: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men" (Luke 2:14). At that time there also came wise men from the East, led by a wonderful star, bearing their gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh, and worshipped Him as King of kings, offering Him their gifts (Matt. 2:11). Thus He came into the world Whose coming had been foretold by the prophets and Who was born in the way that they had prophesied: of the most holy Virgin, in the city of Bethlehem, of the lineage of David according to the flesh, at the time when there was no longer in Jerusalem a king of the tribe of 3udah, but Herod the stranger was on the throne.After many types and prefigurings, messengers and heralds, prophets and righteous men, wise men and kings, finally He appeared, the Lord of the world and King of kings, to perform the work of the salvation of mankind that could not be performed by His servants. May His be eternal glory and praise! Amen.


General Commemoration of the Most Holy Mother of God

n the second day of Christmas, the Christian Church gives glory and praise to the most holy Mother of God, who bore our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ. This feast is called a "general commemoration because, on this day, all the faithful come together to glorify her, the Mother of God, and to celebrate a triumphant, common feast in her honour. In Ochrid, it has been the custom from time immemorial that, on the eve of the second day of Christmas, Vespers has been celebrated only in the church of the Mother of God, the Chieftain. All the clergy and people there together glorify the most pure Mother of God.

Commemoration of the Flight into Egypt

(Is. 19:1), were fulfilled. In old Cairo today the cave where the holy family lived can be seen, and in the village of Matarea near Cairo,the tree under which the Mother of God rested with the Lord Jesus, where a miraculous spring of water sprang up under the tree. They lived in Egypt for several years, and then the holy family returned to Palestine in response to a command by an angel of God. And so a second prophecy was fulfilled: "Out of Egypt have I called My Son (Hosea 11:1). Herod was dead, and on his bloodstained throne sat a worthy successor in his wicked son Archelaus. Joseph, hearing that Archelaus was reigning in Jerusalem, returned to Galilee, to his town of Nazareth, where he settled in his own home. Galilee was at that time ruled by another of Herod's sons, Herod the Younger, who was somewhat better than his wicked brother Archelaus.

Our Holy Father Evarestus

Reading the works of St. Ephraim the Syrian, he abandoned the diplomatic service and became a monk. He was very strict with himself and wore chains on his body, eating dry bread only once a week. He lived for seventy-five years, and went to the Lord in about 825.

St. Euthymius the Confessor, Bishop of Sardis

He took part in the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and spent about thirty years in exile for his veneration of icons. Under the Emperor Theophilus the Iconoclast, he was flogged with bull-whips, during which he died a martyr in 840 and received a wreath of glory in heaven.

Our Holy Father Constantine of Synnada

He was a Jew who came to the Christian faith. When the Cross was made on his head at his baptism, it remained visible there till his death in Constantinople in the seventh century. He is famed for his fasting and for his many miracles. For seven years before his death, he foretold the day of it.


Holy Protomartyr Stephen the Archdeacon

(Acts 7:52). While they ground their teeth, Stephen looked and saw the heavens open and the glory of God, and spoke to the Jews of what he saw: "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God (7:56). Then the malicious men took him out of the city and stoned him to death. Among his murderers was his kinsman Saul, later the Apostle Paul. At that time, the most holy Mother of God was standing on a rock at a distance with St. John the Theologian, and witnessed the martyrdom of this first martyr for the truth of her Son and God, and she prayed for Stephen. This happened exactly a year after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. St. Stephen's body was taken secretly and buried by Gamaliel in his own ground. He was a Jewish prince and a secret Christian. Thus this first of Christ's martyrs made a glorious end and entered into the Kingdom of Christ our God.

Our Holy Fathers, the Martyrs Theodore and Theophanes the Branded

rothers in the flesh, born in Palestine, they were skilled in both worldly and spiritual learning. They were monks in the community of St. Sava the Sanctified, and were there ordained priest. They suffered harsh persecution for their defence of the icons under three Emperors: Leo the Armenian, Michael Balbus and Theophilus. The demented Theophilus beat them with his own hands, and ordered that they have mocking verses branded on their faces, from which they became known as "the Branded. They were thrown into prison in the town of Apamea in Bithynia, and Theodore died there of his wounds. Theophanes was freed in the time of the Emperors Theodore and Michael, and was made Metropolitan of Nicaea by Patriarch Methodius. He died in 845. These two wonderful brothers suffered for Christ, and received a glorious reward from Christ in the deathless Kingdom of light.


The 20,000 Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia

he said, "at the table of sacrifice in the Lord's altar, and understand that our true Lord and God will now sacrifice on this; so shall we not lay down our lives for Him in this holy place? The people were fired with enthusiasm to die for Christ, and all the catechumens were baptised and chrismated. The soldiers then set fire to the church on all sides and the Christians, twenty thousand of them, were burned in the flame singing the glory of God. The church burned for five days, and a smoke with a fragrant and intoxicating smell rose from it, and a marvellous golden light was seen around it. Thus these many men, women and children died gloriously and received wreaths of eternal glory in the Kingdom of Christ. They suffered and were glorified in the year 302.

Our Holy Father Simon the Outpourer of Myrrh

The founder of the monastery of Simonopetra on the Holy Mountain, he was famed for his asceticism, his visions and his miracles. He entered peacefully into rest and went to Christ in 1257.

Holy Martyr Domna

A virgin and priestess of the foul idols at the court of the Emperor Maximian, she read the Acts of the Apostles one day, came to faith in Christ and was baptised by Bishop Cyril in Nicomedia, together with a eunuch called Indes. St. Cyril sent her to a women's monastery, where blessed Agatha was abbess. When the Emperor began to search for Domna, Agatha dressed her in men's clothing and sent her to a men's monastery. This was at the time that the twenty thousand Christians were burned in the church by the Emperor Maximian. Immediately after this, by the Emperor's command, Sts. Indes, Gorgonius and Peter were thrown into the sea with rocks round their necks; Zeno the commander, who had openly denounced the Emperor for his idolatry, was beheaded; St. Theophilus, a deacon with Bishop Anthimus, was killed with stones and arrows. Abbess Agatha, the nun Theophila and the nobles Dorotheus, Mardonius, Migdonius and Euthymius were also slain for the sake of Christ. One night, Domna was walking by the sea and saw some fishermen casting their nets into the water. She was grieving deeply for St. Indes. Called by the fishermen to help them, she went to their aid and, by God's providence, drew out three human bodies in the net. Domna recognised Indes, Gorgonius and Peter, took their bodies and gave them burial. When the Emperor learned that a young man was tending and censing the graves of the Christian martyrs, he ordered that he be beheaded, and St. Domna was seized and beheaded, and was crowned with a wreath of glory in the heavenly Kingdom with the other martyrs.


The 14,000 Holy Children in Bethlehem

hen the wise men from the East failed to return to Jerusalem from Bethlehem to tell Herod about the new-born king, but, at the angel's command, returned to their home another way, Herod was as furious as a wild beast, and commanded that all the children of two years and under in Bethlehem and its surroundings be killed. This terrible command of the king's was carried out to the letter. His soldiers cut off some of the children's heads with their swords, dashed others on the stones, trampled some of them underfoot and drowned others with their own hands. The weeping and lamentation of their mothers rose to heaven: "Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children as had been prophesied (Jer. 13:15; Matt. 2:18). This evildoing towards the hordes of innocent children came to pass a year after the birth of Christ, at a time when Herod was trying to find the divine Child. He sought Zacharias's son, John, meaning to kill him in the belief that John was the new king. When Zacharias refused to hand John over, he was killed in the Temple on Herod's orders. St. Simeon the Host of God was also killed, and went to God soon after the Presentation in the Temple. Slaying the children in Bethlehem, Herod then turned on the Jewish elders, who had revealed to him where the Messiah would be born. He killed Hyrcanes the High Priest, and seventy elders from the Sanhedrin, and thus they who conspired with Herod to kill the new baby King came to an evil end. After that, Herod killed his own brother and sister and wife, and three of his sons. Finally, God's punishment fell on him: he began to tremble, his legs swelled, the lower part of his body became putrid and worms came out of the sores, his nose became blocked and an unbearable stench spread around from it. At the time of his death, he remembered that there were many captive Jews in prison, so, that they should not rejoice at his death, he ordered that they all be slaughtered. Thus this terrible ruler lost his inhuman soul and was given to the devil for eternity.

Our Holy Father Marcellus

From Apamea in Syria, he was abbot of the community of the Sleepless Ones in Constantinople. He was a seer, a healer and a great wonderworker. He spoke with angels, and drove out devils with ease. After his death, he appeared to his close friend, St. Lucian, and told him that he had begged God to take Lucian quickly to His heavenly Kingdom. This glorious and holy man entered into rest in 486.

Our Holy Fathers Mark the Gravedigger and Theophilus the Weeper

hey were monks of the Caves in Kiev. St. Mark had such grace that he could command the dead and they would listen to him. "Wait till tomorrow, my brother; your grave isn't ready yet, he is recorded as having said to a dead monk, who was already washed and embalmed, and the monk opened his eyes and lived till the following day. Theophilus wept constantly for his sins, catching his tears in a basin. An angel appeared to him at the time of his death, and showed him a very large basin full of tears. These were Theophilus's tears, that had fallen to the ground or been wiped away with his hand, or had dried on his face. Thus in heaven they know and keep all our tears along with our sufferings and labours and sighs for the sake of our salvation. These holy servants of God entered into rest in the eleventh century, and went to the kingdom of Christ.


Holy Martyr Anysia

At that time, the wicked Emperor Maximian issued a decree that any man was free to kill Christians when and where he came across them, without trial or sentence. This holy maiden once went out into the street to go to church. It was the day of a pagan festival of the sun. A soldier saw her fairness of face and went up to her with impure lust, asking her name. She made the sign of the Cross and said to him: "I am Christ's handmaid, and I'm going to church. When the impudent soldier came closer and began to speak as one deranged, she pushed him away and spat in his face. The soldier aimed a blow at her with his sword, and ran her through under the rib. This holy maiden suffered in 298 and was buried by Christians, and was crowned with a wreath of glory by God in the heavenly Kingdom. A church was built over her grave.

Our Holy Mother Theodora of Constantinople

She was a nun and a servant of St. Basil the New(see March 26th)(032604) After her death, she appeared to St. Gregory, a disciple of St. Basil's, and wrote down for him the details of all the twenty toll-gates through which her soul had passed until, helped by St. Basil's prayers, she had entered into eternal rest. She left this world on December 30th, 940.

Holy Apostle Timon

One of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5), and of the Seventy Apostles, he was made bishop of Bostra in Arabia and there preached the Gospel, enduring much ill-treatment at the hands of the pagans. He was thrown into fire, but remained unharmed. He finally died by crucifixion, and entered into the kingdom of Christ.

Our holy Mother Theodora of Caesarea

After strict asceticism in the monastery of St. Anna, she entered peacefully into rest in 755.

Our Holy Father, the Martyr Gideon

A Greek by birth, of very poor parents, he was forced to embrace Islam as a youth. In remorse, he fled to the Holy Mountain, where, in the monastery of Karakallou, he received the monastic habit. Desiring martyrdom for Christ, he received the blessing of his spiritual father and went to the place where he had been forced into Islam, and there, openly before the Turks, confessed the Christian faith and denounced Mohamet as a false prophet. The Turks shaved his head, placed him upside-down on a donkey and led him through the town. He rejoiced at this ridicule for the sake of Christ. They then chopped off all his fingers and toes with an axe, as they had once done to St. James the Persian(see November 27th) and finally threw him into a place of excrement, where he gave his holy soul to God in the year 1818, in Turnovo in Thrace. His wonderworking relics are preserved in the church of the Holy Apostles in the village of Turnovo, and a part of them is to be found in his monastery of Karakallou.


Our Holy Mother Melanie the Roman

Born in Rome of devout and very wealthy parents, she was forced by them to marry a young nobleman, Pinian. She was taken very seriously ill in giving birth to her second child, and told her husband that she would be healed only if he vowed before God to live with her in future as brother and sister. Her husband agreed and Melanie, in her deep joy, was healed. When it pleased God to take both children to Himself, they agreed to sell all their possessions and give the proceeds to the destitute, the Church and the monasteries. They travelled through many lands and cities, everywhere doing good works. They visited famous spiritual guides in Upper and Lower Egypt, and received much instruction and inspiration from them. During all that time, Melanie lived in strict fasting, fervent prayer and the reading of the Holy Scriptures. She followed the practice of reading the Scriptures right through, the Old and New Testaments, every three years, living with her husband as with a brother and fellow-ascetic. Going to Alexandria, they received the blessing of the Patriarch, St. Cyril. After that, they went to Jerusalem and settled on the Mount of Olives. There Melanie became an anchoress, and gave herself completely to pondering, fasting and prayer. She lived thus for fourteen years, after which she came out, to help others to salvation, and founded monasteries for men and women. At the invitation of her kinsman, the senator Volusianus, a pagan, she went to Constantinople and brought him to the Christian faith (something that Blessed Augustine, whom Volusianus knew, had been unable to do).She then returned to the Mount of Olives, where she went to God in 438, at the age of fifty-seven.

Holy and Righteous Joseph, King David and James the Lord's Brother

They are commemorated on the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ. One can learn all about King David, the son of Jesse, from the Book of Kings, and for holy James see(October 23rd)(102301) Righteous Joseph is so named in the Gospel (Matt. 1:19), and for this, God entrusted the most holy Virgin to his protection and gave him great honour in the economy of human salvation. Although Joseph was of the royal lineage of David, he himself was a simple carpenter in Nazareth. He took the most holy Virgin from the Temple into his home at the age of eighty, and entered into rest at the age of a hundred and ten.

Our Holy Father, the Martyr Zoticus, Protector of the Poor

He was eminent both of birth and rank. He moved to Constantinople, cast off all worldly things and received ordination to the priesthood, founding a home for the poor, containing a place for the treatment of infectious diseases, and ministering to those cared for in it. He was a close acquaintance of the Emperor Constantine the Great. In retaliation for the gold that Zoticus had had from him for his plague-victims, Constantine's son Constantius tied him behind a wild ass, which was driven about until he died of his wounds. He suffered in the fourth century.

Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid

orn on the island of Euboea, and educated in Constantinople by the most eminent teachers of his day, he became a priest in the Great Church. He was chosen as bishop, and sent, against his will, to Ochrid, where he spent about twenty-five years (from about 1082 to 1108). Chomatianus of Ochrid calls him "the wisest archbishop. He was a man of enormous learning, both secular and theological, of refined Byzantine tastes, and was by nature melancholy and sensitive. Theophylact felt himself among the Slavs of Ochrid like an exile among barbarians. He wrote commentaries on the Four Gospels and on other books of the New Testament. These are the finest works of their sort after St. John Chrysostom, and are read to this day with great benefit. Of his other works, we know of his Letters, and a Life of St. Clement of Ochrid. In old age, Theophylact withdrew from Ochrid to Salonica, and, finishing his earthly course, went to the blessedness of eternity.


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