Finding of the Relics of Cyrus and John the Unmercenaries
These Saints lived during the years of Diocletian. Saint Cyrus was from Alexandria, and Saint John was from Edessa of Mesopotamia. Because of the persecution of that time, Cyrus fled to the Gulf of Arabia, where there was a small community of monks. John, who was a soldier, heard of Cyrus’ fame and came to join him. Henceforth, they passed their life working every virtue, and healing every illness and disease freely by the grace of Christ; hence their title of “Unmercenaries.” They heard that a certain woman, named Athanasia, had been apprehended together with her three daughters, Theodora, Theoctiste, and Eudoxia, and taken to the tribunal for their confession of the Faith. Fearing lest the tender young maidens be terrified by the torments and renounce Christ, they went to strengthen them in their contest in martyrdom; therefore they too were seized. After Cyrus and John and those sacred women had been greatly tormented, all were beheaded in the year 292. Their tomb became a renowned shrine in Egypt, and a place of universal pilgrimage. It was found in the area of the modern day resort near Alexandria named Abu Kyr.
Apolytikion of Relics of Unmercenaries Cyril and John in the Plagal of the First Tone
Since Thou hast given us the miracles of Thy holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strenghten the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man.
Kontakion of Relics of Unmercenaries Cyril and John in the Second Tone
With a great voice, O ye faithful, let us hymn the great physicians of the world, the pair beloved of Christ, the luminaries who are radiant with the beams of healing; and as we stand in their temple, we cry out: Cyrus and John, the bestowers of miracles and healers of the ailing, shine forth to the ends of the world.
Righteous Fathers Sergius and Herman, Founders of Valaam Monastery
By their life and teachings, our righteous Fathers Sergius and Herman did much to spread and confirm Orthodoxy among the Karelian Finns, who had suffered much oppression at the hands of Swedes of the Latin creed. They founded on Lake Ladoga the renowned Monastery of Valaam, which later became one of the chief centres of the monastic life. Both Saints reposed about 1353.
Apolytikion of Righteous Fathers Sergius and Herman in the Fourth Tone
Ye appeared as true fulfillers of the Gospel of Christ, living for the sake of Christ as though the world and all therein did not exist. Ye settled on an island in the sea, whereon ye struggled assiduously against the invisible foe; by fasts, vigils, and all-night standing ye wisely subjected your bodies to the spirit; for this cause did ye receive worthy crowns from the right hand of the Almighty One. And now as ye stand before the All-holy Trinity, O all-blessed Fathers Sergius and Herman, pray that we be preserved in peace and that our souls be saved.
Kontakion of Righteous Fathers Sergius and Herman in the Fourth Tone
Having left the worldly life, ye did follow in the steps of Christ, and having reached great Lake Neva, ye settled there on the island of Valaam, and there ye lived angelic lives; from thence ye were translated rejoicing unto the heavenly bridal chamber. And now as ye stand with the Angels before the throne of the Master, remember the children which ye gathered so wisely, that we may joyfully cry unto you with all our soul: Rejoice, most blessed Fathers Sergius and Herman.
Synaxis of the Icon of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos
The great defender of the Orthodox Faith against the Iconoclasts, our righteous Father John of Damascus (See Dec. 4), was slandered to the Caliph of Damascus by the Iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian (reigned 717-741). Saint John was accused of sedition and his right hand was cut off. Having asked for the severed hand, Saint John passed the night in great pain, praying for the aid of the most holy Theotokos. Awaking from sleep, he found that his hand had been miraculously restored, with only a red scar about the wrist where it had been severed, as a testimony to the wonderous healing. In thanksgiving, he had a silver hand attached to the icon to commemorate this great miracle. On becoming a monk in the lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified in the Holy Land, John brought the icon with him. There it remained until the thirteenth century, when it was given to Saint Sabbas of Serbia (see Jan. 14), who brought it to Serbia, where it remained for a time. Later, it was miraculously transported by an unguided donkey that carried it to the Serbian Monastery of Hilandar on the Holy Mountain, Athos, where it remains to this day.
Apolytikion of Synaxis of the Icon of Most Holy Lady Theotokos in the Fourth Tone
From the Palestine, godly-minded Sabbas brought unto us thy venerable icon, which is known as Of the Three Hands, O all-holy Bride of God. Wherefore, since the monks of Hilandar now possess it as their boast, they send up hymns of praise and thanksgiving, while crying out with fervour: Rejoice, thou who art full of grace.
Kontakion of Synaxis of the Icon of Most Holy Lady Theotokos in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Come, let us worship the famed icon of the Queen of all called: Of the Three Hands, for the fearful marvel which it wrought; and with fervent faith and longing, come, let us cry out: O pure Maiden, keep thy monastery and thy flock from all dangers, tribulations, and adversities, for we cry to thee: Rejoice, thou help and defence of all.
We Also Celebrate Today:
Pappias the Martyr
Paul the Physician of Corinth
Sergios the Magister