Saints Calendar

< 2018 >
February
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
January
January
January
1
  • Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord
    Martyr Trypho
    All day
    01-02-2018-29-01-2019

    Forefeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    Apolytikion of Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord in the First Tone

    The Heavens’ choir looked down from the vaults of the Heavens, and gazing on the earth, they beheld with amazement the First-born of all creation brought forth as a suckling babe to the Temple by a pure and virginal mother; and with us, they now do sing a hymn for the Forefeast, astonished and full of awe.

    Kontakion of Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Fourth Tone

    On this day doth Symeon receive with gladness God, the Giver of the Law and he doth cry to Him in fear: Let me depart now, O Master Christ, for I have seen Thee, the Glory of Israel.

    Trypho the Martyr

    st_tryphon_the_martyr-finalSt Tryphon was born in Lampsakon and raised by a very devout Christian family. From a young age he was blessed with the divine power to cure any type of sickness. In the year 239 AD, Gordianos was the ruler of the Roman Empire, and even though he was a pagan he was not a Christian persecutor. The Emperor had an only child, a daughter. Many of the noblemen of the city desired to marry her, therefore her father locked her in a palace tower so that people could not see her. This girl became possessed and tortured by a demon. When her parents saw that she could not be cured, they became distressed. They were informed by the demon that he would not leave the girl’s body unless Tryphon were present.

    The Emperor sent messengers to every city and town of the Empire to find Tryphon. He promised a large reward to the one who brought the Saint to Rome. They arrived in Lampsakon, where Tryphon was watching over his geese. Seeing these noblemen, he knew immediately what their task was and said to them that he was Tryphon, the person they were sent to find. At this time Tryphon was 17 years old. They started immediately for their return to Rome. The demon knew of Tryphon’s arrival three days prior to its occurrence and started to torment the girl even more than before. When Tryphon arrived in Rome, the demon could not look at the Saint and left the girl. Gordianos welcomed Tryphon as the person who had cured his daughter.

    To make certain of Tryphon’s validity, the Emperor asked him to make the demon appear before them so that he could ask him why he had possessed his daughter. The Saint fasted for six days, after which, he prayed to God to give him the power to perform his task. On the seventh day, the citizens of Rome gathered to see the miracle. After praying to God, Tryphon ordered the demon, in the name of Jesus Christ, to appear in front of them so that they may see the epitome of ugliness and sickness. Suddenly, a large black dog appeared in front of them. Tryphon then asked it why it had possessed the girl. The demon responded by saying that his father, Satan, who is the ruler of evil had sent it to torture the girl. The Saint continued his inquiry by asking, who gave the rulers of the underworld the authority to enter the bodies of the workers of God. He responded by saying that they had no authority to do so, but could only possess people who practiced what the demon stood for.

    The people were amazed when they saw and heard this. Gordianos rewarded the Saint with many gifts. Tryphon was accompanied back to his home and after returning, he continued curing those who came to him. After the death of Gordianos, the pious Philip became the ruler of the Roman Empire. He ruled only for a short time due to his death in battle. Decius then became ruler in 250 AD. He had no tolerance for Christians. Those who worshipped the idols were rewarded, those who remained Christians were persecuted.

    The pagans of the Eastern part of the Empire would betray Christians to their ruler, Achilion. A complaint was thus lodged against Tryphon. Achilion sent his envoys to find the Saint and he was taken to Nicaea to stand trial. When the Emperor saw that Tryphon would not deny his beliefs, he ordered his soldiers to hang him on a cross and stab him with their spears. He faced the torture without fear. The Emperor admired this courage and tried to persuade Tryphon to sacrifice to the gods and save himself. Seeing that he could not change the Christian’s opinions, Achilion was extremely angered. He ordered that Tryphon be taken down from the cross. Planning to go on a hunting trip, he decided to take Tryphon with him. Tryphon was tied behind a horse so that he would have to keep up with riding soldiers by walking. The Saint suffered greatly. After several days, Achilion returned to Nicaea and Tryphon walked back to the city in the same manner.

    Again, Achilion tried to persuade Tryphon to change his beliefs and again the Saint stood firm in his convictions. Achilion ordered the Saint’s feet bound in chains and he was taken to the centre of the city to be beaten. Afterwards, Tryphon was burned with torches. During his agony, the martyr prayed to Christ not to forsake him.

    Achilion gave Tryphon his last chance to deny Christ and save himself. If Tryphon refused, the soldiers were to behead him. The Saint looked toward heaven and prayed. So that his death could not be attributed to the tyrant, Tryphon died just before the soldiers beheaded him. Several Christians of Nicaea wanted to bury his body near the city, however, the Saint appeared in their dreams and directed them to bury his body in Lampsakon, where later, many miracles were attributed to him.

    St Tryphon is considered by many farmers to be the protector of fields.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Forefeast (First Tone)

    The Heaven’s choir looked down from the vaults of the Heavens, and gazing on the earth, they beheld with amazement the Firstborn of all creation brought forth as a sucking babe to the Temple by a pure and virginal mother; and with us, they now sing a hymn for the Forefeast, astonished and full of awe.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Martyr (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received as a prize the crowns of incorruption and life from You, our immortal God. For since he possessed Your strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demon’s powerless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

    Kontakion of the Forefeast (Fourth Tone)

    On this day does Symeon receive with gladness God, the Giver of the Law; and he cries to Him in fear, “Let me depart now, O Master Christ, for I have see You, the Glory of Israel.

    Kontakion of the Martyr (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    As first-fruits of our nature

    By the might of the Trinity you destroyed polytheism throughout the earth, O all-renowned Tryphon. Wherefore you are precious in the Lord, In Christ Saviour prevailing over tyrants, you have now received your martyr’s crown and gifts of Godlike healing, since you truly are invincible.

     

    Bridget of Ireland

    When Ireland was newly converted to the Christian Faith, the Holy Abbess Bridget devoted herself to the establishment of the monastic life among the women of her country, and founded the renowned convent of Kildare-Kil “Cell (or Church)” Dara “of the Oak.” She was especially renowned for her great mercifulness, manifested in her lavish almsgiving and in miracles wrought for those in need. The Book of Armaugh, an ancient Irish chronicle, calls Saint Patrick and Saint Bridget “the pillars of the Irish” and says that through them both, “Christ performed many miracles.” She reposed in peace about the year 525.

    Apolytikion of Bridget of Ireland in the Fourth Tone

    Having learned of things divine by the words of Patrick, thou hast proclaimed in the West the good tidings of Christ. Wherefore, we venerate thee, O Brigid, and entreat thee to intercede with God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion of Bridget of Ireland in the Third Tone

    At the Church of the Oak, thou didst establish thy sacred monasteries for those that took up the Tree of life, even the Precious Cross, upon their shoulders. And by thy grace-filled life and love of learning, thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold and didst thereby nourish the faithful. O righteous Mother Bridget, intercede with Christ, the True Vine, that He save our souls.

     

    Also Celebrated Today:

    • Perpetua & her Companions
    • Timothy the Confessor
    • Our Holy Father Basil, Archbishop of Thessolonica
    • Anastasios the New Martyr of Navplion
    • The Four Martyrs Andrianus, Polyeuktos, Plato and George who contested in Megara
2
  • PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD
    All day
    02-02-2018-30-01-2019

    The Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    On the 2nd of February, our Holy Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple. The Church also refers to this Feast as the Synaxis (or meeting) of our Lord in the temple. In accordance with the Mosaic law, 40 days after the birth of a male child the mother is required to present the child in the tabernacle and offer as a sacrifice either a lamb or a pair of doves or pigeons for her purification. The presentation of a first-born son also signified redemption or buying back, for all first-born creatures (both humans and animals) were considered to belong to God.

    Mary and Joseph obeyed this precept of the law. They brought Jesus to the Temple where he was met and blessed by a very old Holy man. On that day in the Temple, both Simeon and a woman by the name of Anna, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recognised the infant Jesus as the Messiah and Saviour of the world. Simeon had been promised by God that he would live to witness the coming of the Messiah to the world. These events are the subject of today’s Gospel reading. (Luke 2:22-40)

    Imagine this blessed scene, of an old man – barely able to hold himself upright due to his advanced years- fully attired in the Traditional clothing of the High Priest of the Temple, cradling the infant Jesus in his arms.

    It is the meeting of the Old Testament Priesthood in the Temple with the New Testament Priesthood in Christ. And hence the naming of this Feast day as the “Synaxis” or Meeting of our Lord in the Temple.

    The Church today calls each one of us to make our Soul a Temple of God, where the Holy Virgin can bring her Divine Child. And each one of us should, like Simeon, take the Child in our arms and say to the Father:

    “My eyes have seen your salvation, now let your servant depart in peace”.

    This Prayer of Simeon is used every day in the Vespers services of the Orthodox Church. But this prayer should be more to us than a description of someone who has been allowed to see and hold the Christ child requesting a peaceful departure. It should also mean for us, in particular, that having seen and touched the Saviour, we are released from the hold that sin has on us, and in peace, we can leave the realm of evil.

    Dismissal Hymn (First Tone)

    Rejoice, you who are full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, for from you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, enlightening those in darkness. Rejoice, you also, O righteous Elder, as you received in your arms the Redeemer of our souls, Who also grants to us the Resurrection.

    Kontakion (First Tone)

    You Who sanctified the Virgin’s womb by Your birth, and blessed Symeon’s hands as was proper. Having now come and saved us, O Christ God, grant us peace in the midst of wars on Your commonwealth and strengthen the Hierarchs whom You love, O only friend of man.

     

    Also Celebrated Today:

    • Gabriel the New Martyr of Constantinople
    • Jordan the New Martyr
    • Agathadoros the Martyr of Cappadocia
  • Luke 2:25-32
    Hebrews 7:7-17
    Luke 2:22-40
    All day
    02-02-2018-30-01-2019

    The Gospel according to Luke 2:25-32

    At that time, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

     

    St Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 7:7-17

    Prokeimenon. Mode 3.
    Luke 1: 46-48

    My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
    Verse: For he has regarded the humility of his servant.

    BRETHREN, it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. Here tithes are received by mortal men; there, by one whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.”

     

    The Gospel according to Luke 2:22-40

    At that time, the parents brought the child Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

    “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

    And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Symeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

3
  • Symeon & Anna
    All day
    03-02-2018-31-01-2019

    The Synaxis of the Holy and Righteous Symeon the God-Receiver and the Holy Prophetess Anna

    Yesterday we celebrated the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple; today we honour the righteous Elder Symeon the God-Receiver and Prophetess Anna, who prophesied concerning Him by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and were the first in Jerusalem to receive Him as the Messiah.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Feast

    Rejoice, you who are full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, for from you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, enlightening those in darkness. Rejoice, you also, O righteous Elder, as you received in your arms the Redeemer of our souls, Who also grants to us the Resurrection.

    Kontakion of the Feast

    You Who sanctified the Virgin’s womb by Your birth, and blessed Symeon’s hands as was proper. Having now come and saved us, O Christ God, grant us peace in the midst of wars on Your commonwealth and strengthen the Hierarchs whom You love, O only friend of man.

     

    Afterfeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    The_Presentation_of_Our_Lord_And_Savior_in_The_Temple-finalApolytikion of Afterfeast of the Presentation in the First Tone

    Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

     

    Also Celebrated Today:

    • Stamatios, John, & Nicholas, New Martyrs of Spetses
    • Nicholas, Archbishop & Enlightener of Japan
    • Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos Werburga
  • Hebrews 9:11-14
    Luke 2:25-38
    All day
    03-02-2018-31-01-2019

    St Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 9:11-14

    Prokeimenon. Grave Mode.
    Psalm 63.11,1

    The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
    Verse: Oh God, hear my cry.

    BRETHREN, when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

     

    The Gospel according to Luke 2:25-38

    At that time, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Symeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

4
  • Isidore of Pelusium
    All day
    04-02-2018-01-02-2019

    Isidore of Pelusium

    Father Isidore was from Alexandria and was a Disciple of St John Chrysostom. He struggled in asceticism in a monastery at Mount Pelusium, and became Abbot of the monks struggling in that monastery. He wrote a great many Epistles full with divine grace, wisdom, and much profit. Over 2000 of them are preserved; according to some, he wrote over 3000 Epistles, according to others, 10 000. He reposed on February 4, 440 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    In your the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, you followed Christ, and by your deeds you taught us to overlook the flesh, for it passes away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Therefore, O righteous Isidore, your spirit rejoices with the Angels.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    On this day Thou hast appeared

    O All Blessed Isidore, the Church has found you as another morning star; and with the lightning of your words she is illumined and cries out, “Rejoice, O venerable Father of godly mind.”

     

    Afterfeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    The_Presentation_of_Our_Lord_And_Savior_in_The_Temple-finalApolytikion of Afterfeast of the Presentation in the First Tone

    Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Nicholas the Confessor
    • Hieromartyr Abramius
    • John the Righteous, Bishop of Irinopolis
    • Theodosios the Righteous
    • Joseph the New Martyr of Aleppo
5
  • Martyr Agatha
    All day
    05-02-2018-02-02-2019

    Afterfeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    Agatha the Martyr

    Saint Agatha, who was from Panormus (Palermo) or Catania of Sicily, was a attractive and chaste virgin. After many exceedingly harsh torments, she gave up her spirit in prison at Catania in 251 AD, because she did not consent to the seductions of Quintian, the Governor of Sicily. At her burial, an Angel placed a stone tablet on her grave inscribed with the words, “A righteous mind, self-determining, honour from God, the deliverance of her fatherland”. The following year this was fulfilled when Mount Etna erupted, spewing forth violent fire from which Catania was manifestly saved by Saint Agatha’s prayers. The holy Martyr Agatha, the protectress and chief patron of Sicily, is, with perhaps the exception of St Agnes of Rome, the most highly venerated Virgin Martyr of the West. Saint Damasus, Pope of Rome, and St Ambrose of Milan both wrote in praise of her.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Feast

    Rejoice, you who are full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, for from you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, enlightening those in darkness. Rejoice, you also, O righteous Elder, as you received in your arms the Redeemer of our souls, Who also grants to us the Resurrection.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Martyr

    Joseph was amazed

    O Lord Jesus, to You Your lamb cries with a great voice:

    O my Bridegroom, You I love; and seeking You, I now contest, and with Your baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Your sake, that I may reign with You; for Your sake I die, that I may live in You. Accept me offered out of longing to You as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since You are great in mercy.

    Kontakion of the Feast

    You Who sanctified the Virgin’s womb by Your birth, and blessed Symeon’s hands as was proper. Having now come and saved us, O Christ God, grant us peace in the midst of wars on Your commonwealth and strengthen the Hierarchs whom You love, O only friend of man.

    Kontakion of the Martyr

    On this day You have appeared

    Let the Church be clad today with royal purple in a splendid covering dyed in the chaste and hallowed blood of Martyr Agatha, and let it now cry, “Rejoice, O you boast of Catania.”

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Polyeuktos, Partriarch Of Constantinople
    • Antonios the New Martyr of Athens
    • Theodosios, Archbishop of Chernigov
    • Theodosios of Antioch
6
  • Photios the Great
    Bucolosof Smyrna
    Barsanuphius & John of Gaza
    All day
    06-02-2018-03-02-2019

    Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople

    St Photios (later known as Photios the Great – Patriarch of Constantinople) was born around 820 AD to holy parents, who were confessors of the Faith. His parents were persecuted for defending icons against the iconoclasts and were exiled from Constantinople. His greatness was not only due to his defence of Orthodoxy against heretical papal practices, but also connected to his love and meekness. He vigorously opposed the addition of the filioque clause to the Nicene – Constantinopolitan Creed, and wrote On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit to preserve “the purity of our religion” and to hinder “those who chose to promote any other definition of dogma than the unanimous and common faith of the pious”. This treatise became the pattern for all subsequent Byzantine anti-Latin polemics.

    The filioque doctrine, espoused by Western Christians, has its source from Augustine of Hippo (359-432 AD). Augustine had a fertile imagination, who could not shake off the Platonic influence of his youth. The doctrine of a ‘double procession of the Holy Spirit’ was first adopted in the West at the Synod of Toledo (447 AD), which appears to have followed Augustine’s teachings. This addition was forbidden by the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451 AD). Here is the origin of the problem that was to agitate the Church for a thousand years. Contentions that the filioque has Biblical foundations have yet to be demonstrated.

    St Photios was forced to become Patriarch of Constantinople, however he took his calling seriously and at once set to work as a man of God. One of his activities was to correct the error of pope Nicholas of Rome who enslaved the people of the West with threats of condemnation to hell for disobedience to the pope. Holy Photios wrote to Nicholas “Nothing is dearer that the Truth”. In the same letter he noted “It is truly necessary that we observe all things, but above all, that which pertains to matters of Faith, in which but a small deviation represents a deadly sin”.

    As a Father of the Church, St Photios was also known for his brilliance and for his missionary zeal. He blessed St Cyril in his work of developing an alphabet for the Slavonic people, and for the later work of St Cyril and his brother St Methodios as missionaries to the Slavonic people.

    On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit That, even as the Son is proclaimed by the Sacred Oracles to be begotten of the Father alone, so also is the Holy Spirit proclaimed by theology to proceed from this same and only cause. He is, however, said to be of the Son, since he is of one essence with Him and is sent through Him.

    St Photios reposed in the Lord in 891 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Since you was of like ways with the Apostles, and a teacher of the world, O Photios, entreat the Master of all, that peace be granted to the world and great mercy to our souls.

    Another Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of First Tone)

    Let us worship the Word

    As a radiant beacon of wisdom hid in God, and a defender of Orthodoxy revealed from on high, O great Photios, blessed adornment of the Patriarchs, you refuted the innovations of boastful heresy, O light of the holy churches, which you keep from all error, O luminary of the Dayspring on high.

    Kontakion (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    To you, the Champion Leader

    Let that replendent and far-shining star of Christ God’s Church, let that divinely given guide of all Orthodox, be now crowned with beautiful garlands of songs and praises; the Good Conforter’s divinely sounding harp of truth and the steadfast adversary of all heresy; let us cry to him, “Rejoice, O Photios most venerable”.

     

    Bucolus, Bishop of Smyrna

    Saint Bucolus was ordained by John the Evangelist; having made many pagans to be sons of the day through holy Baptism, he left Polycarp as his successor to the bishopric of Smyrna, and reposed in peace.

    Apolytikion of Bucolus, Bp. Of Smyrna in the Fourth Tone

    A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Bucolos, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

    Kontakion of Bucolus, Bp. Of Smyrna in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    We all acclaim thee as a hierarch of the Church of Christ and a disciple of His ven’rable disciples’ choir, but especially of him that was His belov’d one. O wise Father, pray the Saviour for us lauding thee, that He save us from all need and all adversity; for we cry to thee: Rejoice, O thrice-blessed Bucolus.

     

    Barsanuphius the Great and John of Gaza

    Saint Barsanuphius the Great, who was from Egypt, and his disciple, Saint John the Prophet, struggled in very strict reclusion during the sixth century at the monastery of Abba Seridus at Gaza of Palestine, and were endowed with amazing gifts of prophecy and spiritual discernment. They are mentioned by Saint Dorotheus of Gaza, their disciple, in his writings. Many of the counsels they sent to Christians who wrote to them are preserved in the book which bears their names. Once certain of the Fathers besought Saint Barsanuphius to pray that God stay His wrath and spare the world. Saint Barsanuphius wrote back that there were “three men perfect before God,” whose prayers met at the throne of God and protected the whole world; to them it had been revealed that the wrath of God would not last long. These three, he said, were “John of Rome, Elias of Corinth, and another in the diocese of Jerusalem,” concealing the name of the last, since it was himself.

    Apolytikion of Barsanuphius & John of Gaza in the First Tone

    Divine and tuneful harps of the Holy Spirit’s myst’ries, sounding forth sweet hymns of discernment which soothe all those in sorrows: ye moved men to cast off passion’s yoke and trample upon Satan’s loathsome head. Wherefore, Godlike Barsanuphius and wise John, deliver us who now cry out: Glory to Him that hath given you grace. Glory to Him that hath blessed you. Glory to Him that hath saved many through your sacred words of counsel.

    Kontakion of Barsanuphius & John of Gaza in the Third Tone

    O Great Barsanuphius and John, thou marvellous Prophet, all the hidden secrets of men and God’s dispensation brightly shone in the clear mirrors of your most pure hearts; and with beams of grace divine, ye cast out sin’s shadows from the souls of men; O Fathers, lights of discernment, entreat the Lord for us all.

    Afterfeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    The_Presentation_of_Our_Lord_And_Savior_in_The_Temple-finalApolytikion of Afterfeast of the Presentation in the First Tone

    Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Aprionus of Cyprus
    • Ilyan of Homs
  • John 10:1-9
    Hebrews 7:26-8:2
    John 10:9-16
    All day
    06-02-2018-03-02-2019

    The Gospel according to John 10:1-9

    The Lord said to the Jews who had come to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

     

    St Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 7:26-28; 8:1-2

    Prokeimenon. Mode 1.
    Psalm 48.3,1

    My mouth shall speak wisdom and the meditation of my heart shall bring forth understanding.
    Verse: Hear this all you nations.

    Brethren, it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever. Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord.

    The Gospel according to John 10:9-16

    The Lord said, “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.”

7
  • Parthenios of Lampsacos
    Luke the Rightous
    All day
    07-02-2018-04-02-2019

    Parthenios, Bishop of Lampsacos

    Saint Parthenios was born in Melitopolis on the Hellespont, the son of a Deacon named Christopher. Because of the miracles, that he wrought even as a young man, he was ordained Priest and then Bishop of Lampsacos in the days of St Constantine the Great, from whom he received great gifts and authority both to overturn the altars of the idols and to raise up a church to the glory of Christ. Working many miracles throughout his life, he reposed in peace an old man and full of days.

    Apolytikion of Parthenius, Bishop of Lampsacus in the Fourth Tone

    O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

    Kontakion of Parthenius, Bishop of Lampsacus in the Third Tone

    Since thou hadst received God’s grace to work ineffable marvels, godly-wise Parthenius, thou sacred worker of wonders, thou didst wholly cleanse the faithful of all their passions, casting wicked spirits out, O God-bearing Father; for this cause we sing thy praise as a great initiate of the divine grace of God.

     

    Luke the Rightous of Greece

    St_Luke_Steiriotes-finalSt Luke was the descendant of a family from Aegina which, because of the frequent invasions of the Saracens, left Aegina and dwelt in Phocis, where the Saint was born in 896 AD. From his earliest childhood Luke ate neither flesh, nor cheese, nor eggs, but gave himself over with his whole soul to hardship and fasting for the love of heavenly blessings, often giving away his clothing to the poor, for which his father punished him. After his father’s death he secretly left home to become a monk, but the Lord, inclining to the fervent prayers of his mother, made him known, and he returned to her for a time to care for her. For many years he lived as a hermit, moving from place to place; he spent the last part of his life on Mount Stirion at Phocis, where there is a city named Stiris. The grace of God that was in him made him a wonderworker, and his tomb in the monastery of Hosios Loukas, famous for its mosaics, became a source of healing and place of pilgrimage for the faithful. According to some, he reposed in the year 946; according to others, in 953 AD.

    Apolytikion of Luke the Righteous in the First Tone

    O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

    Kontakion of Luke the Righteous in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    God, Who by judgments known to Him chose thee ere thou wast formed that thou, O Luke, mightest be right well-pleasing unto Him, from the womb made thee His own and He sanctified thee; as His own true faithful servant hath He shown thee forth and hath set aright thy footsteps, ever guiding thee as the Friend of man; thou rejoicest before Him now.

     

    Afterfeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    The_Presentation_of_Our_Lord_And_Savior_in_The_Temple-finalApolytikion of Afterfeast of the Presentation in the First Tone

    Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Theopemptos the Martyr and his Companions
    • George the New Martyr of Crete
    • Richard, King of Wessex
8
  • Great Martyr Theodore Stratelates
    Prophet Zachariah
    All day
    08-02-2018-05-02-2019

    Theodore the Commander & Great Martyr

    The Holy Martyr Theodore was from Euchaita of Galatia and dwelt in Heraclea of Pontus. He was a renowned commander in the military, and the report came to the Emperor Licinios that he was a Christian and abominated the idols. Licinios therefore sent certain men to him from Nicomedia, to honour him and ask him to appear before him. Through them, however, St Theodore sent back a message that it was necessary, for various reasons that Licinios come to Heraclea. Licinios, seeing in this a hope of turning St Theodore away from Christ, did as was asked of him.

    When the Emperor came to Heraclea, St Theodore met him with honour, and the Emperor in turn gave Theodore his hand, believing that through him he would be able to draw the Christians to the worship of his idols. Seated upon his throne in the midst of the people, he publicly bade Theodore offer sacrifice to the gods. However, Theodore asked that the Emperor entrust him with the most venerable of his gods, those of gold and silver, that he might take them home and himself attend upon them that evening, promising that the following day he would honour them in public. The Emperor, filled with joy at these tidings, gave command that Theodore’s request be fulfilled.

    When the Saint had taken the idols home, he broke them in pieces and distributed the gold and silver to the poor by night. The next day a centurion named Maxentios told Licinios that he had seen a pauper pass by carrying the head of Artemis. St Theodore, far from repenting of this, confessed Christ boldly. Licinios, in an uncontrollable fury, had the Saint put to many torments, then crucified. While upon the cross, the holy Martyr was further tormented: his privy parts were cut off, he was shot with arrows, his eyes were put out, and he was left on the cross to die. The next day Licinios sent men to take his corpse and cast it into the sea; but they found the Saint alive and whole. Through this, many believed in Christ. Seeing his own men turning to Christ, and the city in an uproar, Licinios had Theodore beheaded, about the year 320 AD. The Saint’s holy relics were returned to his ancestral home on June 8, which is also a feast of the Great Martyr Theodore.

     

    The Holy Prophet Zacharias (Zachariah)

    Zacharias the ProphetThe Prophet Zachariah was the son of Barachias, and a contemporary of the Prophet Aggeus (commemorated December 16). In the days of the Babylonian captivity, he prophesied, as it says in the book of Ezra, “to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem” (Ezra 5:1); he aided Zorobabel in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the book of Ezra he is called “Zachariah the son of Addo (or Iddo)”, but in his own prophetic book he is called more fully “Zachariah, the son of Barachias, the son of Addo the Prophet” (Zach 1:1). When the captivity returned from Babylon, he came to dwell in Jerusalem in his old age. His book of prophecy is divided into 14 chapters and has the 11th place among the books of the minor Prophets; his name means “Yah is renowned”. Sozomen reports that under the Emperor Honorios, Zachariah’s holy relics were found in Eleutheropolis of Palestine. The Prophet appeared in a dream to a certain Calemeros, telling him where he would find his tomb, and his body was found to be incorrupt.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Martyr (Fourth Tone)

    You were raised up

    In truth enlisted with the King of the Heavens, you become for Him a noble commander, O trophy bearer, and Great Martyr Theodore. With the weaponry of faith, you armed yourself wisely and utterly destroyed all the hordes of the demons, as a triumphant athlete of the Lord; wherefore we ever do faithfully call you blest.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Prophet (Second Tone)

    As we celebrate the memory of Your Prophet Zachariah, O Lord, through him we beseech You to save our souls.

    Kontakion of the Martyr (Second Tone)

    You sought the heights

    In courage of soul, and furnished with the arms of faith, you took in hand the word of God as though a spear and put your foe to flight, you great boast of Martyrs, O Theodore; now together with them, O Saint, cease not to entreat Christ God for all of us.

    Kontakion of the Prophet (Fourth Tone)

    On this day You have appeared

    As a brightly shining lamp that was illumined with the Spirit’s fiery beams, O Zachariah most renowned, you prefigured with clarity the Saviour’s great and untold condescension toward us.

     

    Afterfeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    Apolytikion of Afterfeast of the Presentation in the First Tone

    Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Nicephoros & Stephanos the Martyrs
    • Cuthman of Steyning
  • Ephesians 2:4-10
    Matthew 10:16-22
    All day
    08-02-2018-05-02-2019

    St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 2:4-10

    Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
    Psalm 67.35,26

    God is wonderful among his saints.
    Verse: Bless God in the congregations.

    BRETHREN, God who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God: not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

     

    The Gospel according to Matthew 10:16-22

    The Lord said to his disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

9
  • Martyr Nicephoros
    Hieromartyrs Markellos, Philagrios, & Pankratios
    Pancratios Bishop Of Tauromenia Sicily
    All day
    09-02-2018-06-02-2019

    Nicephoros the Martyr of Antioch


    Saint Nicephoros, who was from Antioch in Syria, contested during the reign of Gallienos, about the year 260 AD. Through the working of the evil one, his friendship with a certain Christian Priest named Sapricios was turned to bitter hatred. Nicephoros, repenting of his enmity, tried both through intermediaries and in person to be reconciled with Sapricios, but to no avail. Later, when the persecution broke out under Valerian and Gallienos, Sapricios was seized as a Christian. When St Nicephoros learned that the pagans had arrested Sapricios and as enduring torments for Christ, he sent intermediaries to Sapricios, begging his forgiveness; but Sapricios would not forgive him. Later, as Sapricios was being taken to beheading, Nicephoros, hoping that Sapricios, at his end, in such a holy hour, would at last forgive him, met him on the way, fell before him, and fervently asked his forgiveness; but Sapricios forgave him not. For this reason, though Sapricios had passed through many suffering, and the crown of martyrdom was now awaiting him, because he disdained the chief commandments of love and forgiveness, the grace of God, which had been strengthening him in his torments, departed from him, and he told his executioners he wouldn’t sacrifice. Nicephoros immediately confessed Christ before them, and being himself beheaded, took the crown that Sapricios had cast away. Should the Apodosis of the Feast of the Meeting in the Temple fall on this day, the service to St Nicephoros is chanted on February 8.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Saint (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of perfection and life from You, our immortal God. For since he possessed Your strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ powerless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

    Kontakion of the Saint (First Tone)

    The soldiers standing guard

    Bound fast with chains of love, you mightily broke apart the wickedness of hatred with manifest courage; and hence, O Nicephoros, when the sword had cut off your head, you was shown to be a godly Martyr of Jesus, our Incarnate Saviour; pray Him for us who honour your glorious memory.

     

    Leavetaking of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple

    The_Presentation_of_Our_Lord_And_Savior_in_The_Temple-finalApolytikion of Apodosis of the Presentation in the First Tone

    Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

    Kontakion of Apodosis of the Presentation in the First Tone

    Your birth sanctified a Virgin’s womb and properly blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and saved us O Christ our God, give peace to Your commonwealth in troubled times and strengthen those in authority, whom You love, as only the loving One.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Markellos, Philagrios, & Pankratios the Hieromartyrs
    • Teilo, Bishop of Llandaff
10
  • Hieromartyr Charalambos
    All day
    10-02-2018-07-02-2019

    Saint Charalambos was a priest in the city of Magnesia, near Smyrna in Asia Minor. About 198 AD, Sevirus, the Emperor of the Roman Empire had appointed Loucius to govern Asia Minor. Many Christians were persecuted under his reign. At this time Charalambos was in Magnesia and openly taught the Christian religion. When Loucius discovered this, he captured Charalambos for trial. Asked why he condemned the idols and disobeyed the laws of the Empire, Charalambos informed Loucius that he adhered to the laws of Jesus Christ and no others. He maintained that Christ offered eternal life to his followers. The governor commanded Charalambos to sacrifice to the gods and forsake Christ, or else undergo fierce tortures. The Saint refused to deny his beliefs.

    Saint Charalambos was stripped of his clothing and his body was ripped with iron claws. He withstood the torture with courage. One of the dukes became enraged that he took the iron claw and began to rip Charalambos’ flesh with more fervour than his soldiers. At this point the first miracle occurred. The Duke’s hands became paralysed. Screaming, he asked Loucius to help him. Seeing the Duke’s plight, the governor spat in the Saint’s face. Immediately the pagan’s head twisted in an awkward position, where it remained. The onlookers were terrified and begged the Saint to pray to Christ to save them. Charalambos beckoned them to pray and ask forgiveness for their sins. The Duke pleaded with Charalambos to pray to Christ to recover the use of his hands. When the Saint finished praying, the Duke’s hands were healed. He was then baptised and became a devout Christian.

    After these events, many people from Magnesia and other parts of Asia came to Charalambos, confessed their sins and were baptised. The Saint performed many miracles by curing the faithful of many illnesses. When Sevirus heard of this he was greatly angered and sent soldiers to Mangnesia to find the Saint, drive nails into his back, and then drag him from Magnesia to Antioch. The soldiers found Charalambos and carried out the order. They tied a rope to his beard and dragged him behind a horse, but a voice told them to leave this man alone for God was with him. Frightened, they took Charalambos to Antioch without further torture.

    Sevirus, informed of what had happened, sent another group of soldiers to torture the Saint. They tied a skewer to his chest and gathered wood so that they could burn him. He was turned on the skewer with the fire burning him for several hours. Through Divine Help the Saint was not hurt. Sevirus ordered that the Saint be brought before him. He asked the Saint what his age was and was told that he was 113 years old.

    A young man had died in the city and Sevirus ordered the Saint to resurrect him to show the strength of his God. After praying several hours, God, through Charalambos, performed the miracle. Many pagans converted to Christianity when they saw this, however, an eparch named Crispos asked Sevirus to execute the Saint because he had performed this miracle through the use of magic. Sevirus asked Charalambos to sacrifice to the gods to save himself but he refused, therefore, Sevirus ordered his soldiers to hit the Saint’s jaws with rocks and burn his face and beard with torches. The fire reflected off the Saint’s face and burned the bystanders. Sevirus was amazed at this time and was curious to know who Christ was. Crispos said to him that a harlot named Mary had borne Him. A man named Aristarchos warned Crispos not to blaspheme. A fit of madness overcame Sevirus and as he shot arrows towards the sky, he ordered Christ to come and fight him. Suddenly, the earth quaked and a fierce storm arose. Sevirus and Crispos begged the Saint to save them. Sevirus’ daughter Galinee, came into the room and warned her father to believe in Christ. She asked the Saint to forgive her father and to pray to God to end this calamity. The Saint prayed and the acts of God stopped.

    After 30 days, Sevirus again told Charalambos to sacrifice to the gods, but Charalambos refused. He then ordered that a bridle be placed in the Saint’s mouth and that he be taken throughout the city in the same manner as a horse. Galinee begged her father to stop these tortures or else he would be condemned to eternal damnation. Sevirus was angered by his daughter’s words and ordered her to sacrifice to the gods. In the Temple of Zeus she told the priests that she cursed the gods, then she prayed to the true God. The statues of all the gods were destroyed. Sevirus ordered more statues to be made and placed in the temple so the people would not mock the gods. Once again, Galinee went to the temple, prayed to God and the statues were destroyed.

    To insult Charalambos, he was driven to a widow to be guarded. When he arrived at her home, he leaned against a dry wooden beam. This beam was transformed into a tree. The woman was so frightened that she asked the Saint to leave her home since it was not worthy of his presence. He told her to have faith in God and she would have nothing to fear. The next day the neighbours saw the tree in her garden and upon asking, they learned of the miracle. They sat with the Saint and discovered Christianity. The pagans told Sevirus about these happenings and the eparch advised Sevirus to have Charalambos beheaded. The Saint was captured, but before his execution, he prayed to Christ. He died in peace before the soldiers could behead him. Galinee took his body and placed it in a golden coffin.

    Saint Charalambos guarded his people much as a shepherd would guard his flock, therefore, he is considered to be the protector of shepherds and their flocks. The body of Saint Charalambos is now in the Monastery of Saint Stephen in the Meteora, Greece, where it performs miracles to this day.

    Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Haralambos in the Fourth Tone

    O wise Charalambos, you were proven an unshakable pillar of the Church of Christ; an ever-shining lamp of the universe. You shone in the world by your martyrdom. You delivered us from the moonless night of idolatry O blessed one. Wherefore, boldly intercede to Christ that we may be saved.

    Kontakion of Hieromartyr Haralambos in the Fourth Tone

    O Priest-martyr, athlete, champion Charalambos, your relics are a priceless treasure of the Church. Wherefore she rejoices, glorifying the Creator.

     

    Also Celebrated Today:

    • Anastasios, Patriarch of Jerusalem
    • Porphyrios & Baptos the Monk-martyrs
11
  • Hieromartyr Blasios of Sebaste
    Theodora the Empress
    All day
    11-02-2018-08-02-2019

    Blasios the Holy Martyr of Sebastia

    St Blasios was born in Cappadocia during the 3rd century AD. He was meek and God-fearing from childhood, and was chosen for his virtues as Bishop of Sebaste. He was a great spiritual and moral light in that pagan town during a period of violent persecution of Christians, who healed the diseases of both humans and beasts, and especially infants. St. Blasios encouraged his flock and visited Christians in prison, amongst whom was St Eustratios. Later St Blasios collected St Eustratios’ relics and executed his last will and testament.

    When Sebaste was left denuded of Christians, after some were killed and others fled, St Blasios went to the mountains of Argeos and lived there in a cave. Ferocious beasts would come to him to feed him as he cared for them like a human flock. The Roman persecutors eventually found the Saint and as they were taking him away to be judged he healed a boy who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The cruel judges had the Saint tortured and flogged. While he was being tortured, his steadfastness in the Christian faith brought many unbelievers to the faith. Seven women and two children were thrown into prison with him. The women were slain first, and then Blasios and the two children were beheaded in c. 316 AD at the order of Agricolaus, prefect of Armenia under Emperor Licinius.

    Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Blasios in the Fourth Tone

    As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Blasios. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion of Hieromartyr Blasios in the Second Tone

    O Unfading bloom, thou Godly shoot and fruitful branch of Christ God the Vine, O holy and God-bearing Blasios, do thou fill with thy joy them that with faith observe thy memorial; and unceasingly intercede with Christ our Redeemer that we all be saved.

     

    Theodora the Empress

    theodoraAs for the renowned Empress Theodora, she was from Paphlagonia and was the daughter of a certain Marinus, the commander of a military regiment. While being the wife of the Emperor Theophilus, the last of the Iconoclasts, she adorned the royal diadem with her virtue and piety; as long as her husband Theophilus lived, she privately venerated icons, despite his displeasure. After his death, she restored the holy icons to public veneration; this is commemorated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the First Sunday of the Great Fast. She governed the Empire wisely for fifteen years, since her son Michael was not yet of age. But in 857 she forsook her royal power and entered a certain convent in Constantinople called Gastria, where she finished the course of her life in holiness and reposed in the Lord. Her sacred incorrupt remains are found in Corfu, in the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Cave, in the capital city of the island (see also Dec. 12).

    Apolytikion of Empress Theodora in the Plagal of the First Tone

    As a right worthy namesake of gifts bestowed of God, and a divinely-wrought image of holy wisdom and faith, thou didst make the Church to shine with godly piety; for thou didst demonstrate to all that the Saints in every age have shown honor to the icons, O Theodora, thou righteous and fair adornment of the Orthodox.

    Kontakion of Empress Theodora in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    We sing thy praises as the gem and fairness of the Church, and as a diadem and pattern of all Christian queens, O all-lauded and divinely-crowned Theodora; for in bringing back the icons to their rightful place, thou didst cast usurping heresy out of the Church. Hence, we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Sovereign most ven’rable.

     

    Finding of the relics of Zachariah the Prophet, Father of the Holy Forerunner

    nativitybaptistApolytikion of Relics of Zachariah in the Second Tone

    As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Zachariah, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

     

    Also Celebrated Today

    • George the Serbian
  • Hebrews 4:14-5:6
    Matthew 10:1, 5:8
    All day
    11-02-2018-08-02-2019

    St Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6

    Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
    Psalm 18.4,1

    Their voice has gone out into all the earth.
    Verse: The heavens declare the glory of God.

    BRETHREN, since we have a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee”; as he says also in another place, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.”

     

    The Gospel according to Matthew 10:1, 5-8

    At that time, Jesus called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.”

12
  • Meletios, Archbishop of Antioch
    All day
    12-02-2018-09-02-2019

    St Meletios was from Melitene of Armenia, and was a blameless man, just, reverent, sincere, and most gentle. Consecrated Bishop of Sebastia in 357 AD, he was later banished from his throne and departed for Beroea of Syria (this is the present day Aleppo).

    After the Arian bishop of Antioch had been deposed, the Orthodox and the Arians each strove to have a man of like-minded man to become the next Bishop of Antioch. Meletios was highly esteemed by all, and since the Arians believed him to share their own opinion, they had him raised to the throne of Antioch. As soon as he had taken the helm of the Church of Antioch, however, he began preaching the Son’s consubstantiality with the Father. At this, the archdeacon, an Arian, put his hand over the Bishop’s mouth; Meletios then extended three fingers towards the people, closed them, and extended one only, showing by signs the equality and unity of the Trinity.

    The embarrassed archdeacon seized his hand, but released his mouth, and Meletios spoke out even more forcibly in defence of the Synod of Nicaea. Shortly after, he was banished by the Arian Emperor Constantios, son of St Constantine the Great. After the passage of time, he was recalled to his throne, but was banished again the third time by Valens. It was St Meletios who ordained St John Chrysostom reader and Deacon in Antioch.

    St Meletios lived until the Second Ecumenical Synod in 381 AD, over which he presided, being held in great honour as a zealot of the Faith and a venerable elder hierarch. The Synod was convoked against Macedonios, Patriarch of Constantinople, the enemy of the Holy Spirit).

    Some time before, when the Emperor Gratian had made the Spanish General Theodosios commander in chief of his armies in the war against the barbarians, Theodosios had had a dream in which he saw Meletios, whom he had never met, putting upon him the imperial robe and crown. Because of Theodosios’ victories, Gratian made him Emperor of the East in Valens’ stead in 379 AD. When, as Emperor, St Theodosios the Great convoked the Second Ecumenical Synod in Constantinople two years later, he forbade that anyone should tell him who Meletios was; and as soon as he saw him, he recognized him, ran to him with joy, embraced him before all the other bishops, and told him of his dream.

    While at the Synod, St Meletios fell ill and reposed a short while after. St Gregory of Nyssa, among others, gave a moving oration at his funeral; bewailing the loss of him whom all loved as a father, he said, “Where is that sweet serenity of his eyes? Where that bright smile upon his lips? Where that kind right hand, with fingers outstretched to accompany the benediction of the mouth?” e lamented, “Our Elias has been caught up, and no Elisseus is left behind in his place”. The holy relics of St Meletios were returned to Antioch and were buried beside St Babylas the Martyr (commemorated September 4), in the Church dedicated to the Martyr that Meletios, in his zeal for the Martyr’s glory, had helped build with his own hands.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Meletios, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Plagal of second Tone)

    Fearing your spiritual boldness, the apostate Macedonios flees; and as we accomplish the service wherein we seek your intercessions, we, your servants, hasten to you with longing, O Meletios, you equal of the Angels, you fiery sword of Christ our God, which utterly slays all the godless. We praise you, the luminary that illumines all.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Antonius, Archbishop of Constantinople
    • Christos the New Martyr
    • Meletios of Ypseni
13
  • Martinianos of Palestine
    Symeon the Myrrhbearer
    All day
    13-02-2018-10-02-2019

    Martinianos of Palestine

    St Martinianos, who was from Caesarea of Palestine, flourished about the beginning of the fifth century. He struggled in the wilderness from his youth. After he had passed 25 years in asceticism, the devil brought a temptation upon him through a harlot, who when she heard the Saint praised for his virtue, determined to try his virtue, or rather, to undo it.

    Coming to his cell by night as it rained, and saying she had lost her way, she begged with pitiful cries to be admitted in for the night, lest she fall prey to wild beasts. Moved with compassion and not wishing to be guilty of her death should anything befall her, he allowed her to enter. When she began to seduce him, and the fire of desire began to burn in his heart, he kindled a fire and stepped into it, burning his body, but saving his soul from the fire of Gehenna.

    Brought to her senses by this, she repented, and, following his counsel, went to Bethlehem to a certain virgin named Paula, with whom she lived in fasting and prayer; before her death, she was deemed worthy of the gift of wonderworking. St Martinianos, when he recovered from the burning, resolved to go to some more solitary place, and took ship to a certain island, where he struggled in solitude for a number of years. Then a young maiden who had suffered shipwreck came ashore on his island. Not wishing to fall into temptation again, he departed, and passed his remaining time as a wanderer, coming to the end of his life in Athens.

    Apolytikion of Martinian of Palestine in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Thou didst quench the flame of temptation with the streams of thy tears, O blessed Martinian; and having checked the waves of the sea and the attacks of wild beasts, thou didst cry out: Most glorious art Thou, O Almighty One, Who hast saved me from fire and tempest.

    Kontakion of Martinian of Palestine in the Second Tone

    As is meet, let us praise with hymns the ever-venerable Martinian as a tried ascetic that struggled for piety, as an honorable athlete by deliberate choice, and a resolute citizen and inhabitant of the desert; for he hath trodden upon the serpent.

     

    Symeon the Myrrhbearer of Serbia

    St Symeon (in the world, the ruler Stephen Nemanja), after governing Serbia in piety, wisdom, and justice for many years during the second half of the twelfth century, renounced all rule and earthly glory to become a monk, to struggle in fasting and prayer. Thereafter he went to the Holy Mountain Athos where, together with his son St Sabbas (commemorated January 14), he founded the Monastery of Hilandar. When Stephen Nemanja put on the monastic habit with the name of Symeon, his wife Anna followed his example, receiving the monastic name of Anastasia; she is commemorated as a Saint on June 21. After St Symeon death, fragrant and healing myrrh came forth from his holy relics.

    Apolytikion of Symeon the Myrrhbearer of Serbia in the Third Tone

    Illumined by divine grace, even after death thou dost make manifest the radiance of thy life; for thou pourest forth fragrant myrrh for them that have recourse to the shrine of the relics. Thou didst also guide thy people to the light of the knowledge of God. O our Father Symeon, entreat Christ God that we be granted great mercy.

    Kontakion of Symeon the Myrrhbearer of Serbia in the Plagal of the Second Tone

    Loving the angelic life on this earth, thou didst abandon the world and worldly dominion and didst follow Christ by fasting, O Symeon. In an apostolic manner, thou didst guide unto Christ them that loved thee and didst cry: Love ye the Lord even as He hath loved you.

     

    Aquilla & Priscilla the Apostles

    Apolytikion of Apostles Aquila and Pricilla in the Third Tone

    O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Eulogios, Patriarch of Alexandria
14
  • Auxentios of the Mountain
    Cyril Apostle of the Slavs
    All day
    14-02-2018-11-02-2019

    Holy Father Auxentius of the Mountain

    St Auxentios, who was from the East, lived during the reign of St Theodosios the Younger. In 442 AD, St Auxentios enlisted in the Fourth Military Company of the Imperial Guard. Afterwards, he became a monk on a certain mountain in Bithynia (which later took his name), not far from Chalcedon. On becoming the Archimandrite of the monastics gathered there, and proving himself most enduring in asceticism and most Orthodox in his faith, he reposed during the reign of the Emperor Leo the Great of Thrace, who reigned from 457 to 474 AD.

    Apolytikion of Auxentios of the Mountain in the First Tone

    Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Auxentius, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

    Kontakion of Auxentios of the Mountain in the Second Tone

    Since thou tookest great delight in abstinence, O godly-minded one, and since thou didst bridle the desires of the flesh, thou didst ever increase in faith; and thou didst blossom forth like the tree in the midst of Paradise, O most sacred Father Auxentius.

     

    Cyril, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Teacher of the Slavs

    Methodios_&_Cyril,_Equal-to-the_Apostles_Illuminators_of_the_SlavsSaint Cyril was born in Thessaloniki in the early 9th century to pious parents. His family was one of only a few Byzantines in Thessaloniki at that time since it was largely populated by Slavs. Growing up in this situation, Cyril learned the Slavonic language, which later in life would serve him and the Church at large. He continued his education in Constantinople with his brother Methodios (see May 11th), each taking to their particular interests: Methodios in politics, and Cyril in philosophy and teaching.

    The two brothers were approached in 850 by Saint Photios the Great (see February 6th) to lead a diplomatic mission to the Khazars, the people who inhabited the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Cyril and Methodios accepted this mission and departed to the North. After the success of this trip, the brothers lived for a time in a monastery on Mount Olympus where Methodios became a monk. At this time the brothers utilized their childhood Slavonic education to develop a written alphabet for the Slavonic language, which to this time had never existed. This alphabet became known as theGlagolithic Alphabet. On their own instigation, the brothers began translating the Gospels and liturgical service books into Slavonic.

    Providentially, Cyril and Methodios were again called upon for a mission, this time to travel to Moravia to spread the Christian faith to King Rostislav (see May 11th) and his people. The brothers departed in 862, bringing with them their Slavonic alphabet and service books. After five years of service, the brothers made their way to Rome in 867 to have members of their company ordained to the priesthood to aid in the missionary journey. The group of missionaries celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Rome in the Slavonic language for the very first time with members of their party being ordained as they intended. While in Rome, Cyril fell deathly ill. He was tonsured a monk and died. His brother Methodios continued their missionary work, utilizing the Glagolthic Alphabet. Cyril and his brother Methodios are commemorated together on May 11th.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Nicholas the New Martyr of Corinth
    • Abraham, Bishop of Carrhes in Mesopotamia
15
  • Onesimus the Apostle of the 70
    All day
    15-02-2018-12-02-2019

    Onesimus the Apostle of the 70

    This Apostle, who was from Colossae, was a bond-servant of that Philemon to whom the Apostle Paul addressed his epistle. Onesimus escaped from Philemon and fled to Rome, where he became a disciple of Saint Paul. Saint Paul brought him to the Faith of Christ, and then sent him back to his master, who in turn gave him his freedom and sent him back to Rome again, where he ministered to Saint Paul. Later, he was seized because he was a Christian and was sent to Puteoli, where he was beaten to death with clubs. Saint Onesimus is also commemorated on November 22 with the holy Apostles Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus.

    Apolytikion of Onesimus of the 70 in the Third Tone

    O Holy Apostle Onesimus, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

    Kontakion of Onesimus of the 70 in the Fourth Tone

    Thou didst shine upon the world as a bright sunbeam, shining with the rays of Paul, the sun of most resplendent light, who hath enlightened the world entire. Thus, we all honour thee, blessed Onesimus.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Our Righteous Father Anthimus the Elder of Chios
    • Eusebius the Righteous of Syria
    • Onesimos, Patriarch of Constantinople
    • Maïor the Martyr
16
  • Martyr Pamphilios & Companions
    All day
    16-02-2018-13-02-2019

    Saint Pamphilios contested during the reign of Maximian, in 290 AD, in Caesarea of Palestine, and was put to death by command of Firmilian, the Governor of Palestine. His fellow contestants’ names are Valens, Paul, Seleucus, Porphyrios, Julian, Theodulus, and five others from Egypt: Elias, Jeremias, Esaias, Samuel, and Daniel.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    Your Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from You, our immortal God. For since they possessed Your strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ powerless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    You Who was raised up

    When fearful instruments of torture were brought forth, the noble athletes of the Lord went with gladness and an undaunted spirit to endure them all; for they set the flesh at naught and did not spare their bodies; now they have inherited glory lasting forever; and without ceasing, they all intercede for us, who laud the great conflicts they underwent.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Flavianos, Patriarch of Constantinople
    • Romanos the Younger
17
  • Martyr Theodore of Tyro
    Hermogenes (Germogen) of Moscow
    All day
    17-02-2018-14-02-2019

    The Great Martyr Theodore the Tyro

    Saint Theodore, who was from Amasia of Pontus, contested during the reign of Maximian (286-305 AD). He was called Tyro, from the Latin Tyro, because he was a newly enlisted recruit in the army. When it was reported that he was a Christian, he boldly confessed Christ; the ruler, hoping that he would repent, together with other Christians, was required to renounce Christ and to offer sacrifice to idols. He was given time to consider the matter more completely and then give answer. Theodore gave answer by setting fire to the temple of Cybele, the “mother of the gods”, and for this, he suffered a martyr’s death by fire. His body was buried in the city of Euchaita (in Asia Minor). Later, his relics were translated to Constantinople, to the church named after him; his head is located in Gaeta, Italy.

    About 50 years after the death of Saint Theodore, the Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD), desiring to defile the Christian Great Lent, ordered the city governor of Constantinople to sprinkle secretly the provisions sold in the markets with blood from sacrifices to idols each day throughout the first week of the Fast. Saint Theodore appeared in a night vision to Eudoxius, the Archbishop of Constantinople, and ordered him to announce to the Christians that they should not buy the defiled provisions in the markets, but should use boiled wheat with honey as food. In commemoration of this event, the Orthodox Church to this day celebrates the memory of the Great-martyr Theodore the Tyro annually on the first Saturday of Great Lent.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Martyr (Second Tone)

    Great are the achievements of faith! In the fountain of flame, as by the water of rest, the holy Martyr Theodore rejoiced; for having been made a whole-burnt offering in the fire, he was offered as sweet bread unto the Trinity. By his prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.

    Kontakion of the Martyr (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    Having received the Faith of Christ in your heart as a breastplate, you trampled upon the enemy hosts, O much-suffering champion; and you have been crowned eternally with a heavenly crown, since you are invincible.

     

    Hermogenes (Germogen), Patriarch of Moscow

    hermogenes_of_moscowOur Father among the Saints Hermogenes (Germogen), Patriarch of Moscow, was born about 1530 in Kazan. While yet a layman, he lived as a clerk in the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Kazan. In 1569, the year that Metropolitan Philip of Moscow was slain in Tver (see Jan. 9), Saint Barsanuphius, Bishop of Tver, fled to Kazan fearing the wrath of Ivan the Terrible. So Hermogenes became a spiritual son of Saint Barsanuphius. He was made priest of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Kazan, and was a witness of the miracles of the newly-appeared icon of our Lady of Kazan (see July 8). Later he became Abbot of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, and in 1589 was consecrated Metropolitan of Kazan, in which capacity he converted and baptized many pagan Tartars and heterodox.

    In late 1604, the so-called false Dimitry, a pretender to the Russian throne who claimed to be the son of Ivan the Terrible (who had died in 1584), crossed the Russian border, having the support of the Jesuits and King Sigismund III of Poland, who hoped through Dimitry to force Papism upon the Russian people; a few cities, such as Chernigov, soon surrendered to him. Shaken by these calamities, Tsar Boris Gudonov died suddenly, and in June, 1605, the pretender entered Moscow and took the Russian throne. He then declared his intention to marry a Polish woman without her receiving Baptism in the Orthodox Church; when the authorities and the hierarchy remained silent out of fear, it was Metropolitan Hermogenes alone who fearlessly rebuked him and demanded that she renounce Papism and be baptized according to the rites of Orthodoxy. For this, Hermogenes was banished to Kazan. In 1606 Prince Basil Shuisky led the people in the overthrow of Dimitry, and Basil was elected Tsar in Moscow; Hermogenes was made Patriarch of Moscow. The overthrow of Dimitry did not end the endeavours of the Poles to subject Russia to themselves, and in those times of upheavals, treachery, and bloodshed, the valiant Patriarch Hermogenes showed himself to be a great spiritual leader of the people, and, like Saint Philip of Moscow almost half a century before, the conscience of Orthodox Russia in times of betrayal and terror.

    In 1609 King Sigismund succeeded in setting his son upon the Russian throne, and Patriarch Hermogenes again insisted that the new Tsar be baptized in the Orthodox Church, marry an Orthodox Christian, and have no dealings with the Pope. The Poles, together with rebel boyars who supported them, imprisoned Patriarch Hermogenes in an underground chamber of the Chudov Monastery during Holy Week of 1611, where they slowly starved him to death; he gave up his holy soul on February 17, 1612.

    In 1653, his holy relics were found incorrupt; in 1812, when Napoleon captured Moscow, the Saint’s tomb was desecrated in the search for treasure; when the French withdrew, the Patriarch’s holy body was found intact on the floor of the cathedral; in 1883 his holy relics were again found whole. Saint Hermogenes was glorified on May 12, 1913, and added to the choir of holy hierarchs of Moscow, whose feast is celebrated on October 5; at the time of his glorification a multitude of miracles were wrought through his incorrupt relics.

    Apolytikion of Hermogenes Patriarch of Moscow in the Fourth Tone

    O first Hierarch of the Russian land and unsleeping man of prayer for her, having laid down thy life for the Faith of Christ and for thy flock, thou didst make firm the dominion of its sovereigns and didst deliver thy country from godlessness. Wherefore, we cry out to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Hieromartyr Hermogenes our Father.

    Kontakion of Hermogenes Patriarch of Moscow in the Plagal of the Second Tone

    Though spent by imprisonment and hunger, thou didst abide in the Faith even unto death, O blessed Hermogenes, thereby casting cowardice out of the hearts of thy people and calling all to the common struggle. Hence, thou didst put down the turmoil of the godless and didst make firm the scepter of the kingdom. Wherefore, all cry to thee: Rejoice, O intercessor for the Russian land.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Mariamne, Sister of Apostle Philip
    • Righteous Auxentius
    • The Pious Rulers Marcian and Pulcheria
    • Theodore the New Martyr of Byzantium
  • 2 Timothy 2:1-10
    Luke 20:46-21:4
    All day
    17-02-2018-14-02-2019

    St. Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy 2:1-10

    Prokeimenon. Grave Mode.
    Psalm 63.11,1

    The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
    Verse: Oh God, hear my cry.

    TIMOTHY, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hardworking farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything.

    Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.

     

    The Gospel according to Luke 20:46-47; 21:1-4

    The Lord said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and love salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.” Having said this, he proclaimed, “He who has ears let him hear.”

18
  • Leo the Great
    All day
    18-02-2018-15-02-2019

    Leo the Great, the Pope of Rome

    According to some, St Leo was born in Rome, but according to others in Tyrrenia (Tuscany), and was consecrated to the Archiepiscopal throne of Rome in 440 AD. In 448 AD, when St Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople, summoned Eutyches, an Archimandrite in Constantinople, to give account for his teaching that there was only one nature in Christ after the Incarnation, Eutyches appealed to St Leo in Rome. After St Leo had carefully examined Eutyches’ teachings, he wrote an Epistle to St Flavian, setting forth the Orthodox teaching of the person of Christ, and His two natures, and also counselling Flavian that, should Eutyches sincerely repent of his error, he should be received back with all good will. At the council held in Ephesus in 449 AD, which was presided over by Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria. St Leo, in a letter to the holy Empress Pulcheria in 451 AD, was the first to call the council “The Robber Council”. Dioscorus, having military might behind him, did not allow St Leo’s Epistle to Flavian to be read, although repeatedly asked to do so; even before the Robber Council was held, Dioscorus had uncanonically received the unrepentant Eutyches back into communion. Because St Leo had many cares in Rome owing to the wars of Attila the Hun and other barbarians, in 451 AD he sent four delegates to the Fourth Ecumenical Council, where 630 Fathers gathered in Chalcedon during the reign of Marcian, to condemn the teachings of Eutyches and those who supported him. St Leo’s Epistle to Flavian was read at the Fourth Council, and was confirmed by the Holy Fathers as the Orthodox teaching on the Incarnate person of our Lord; it is also called the “Tome of Leo”. The Saint wrote many works in Latin; he reposed in 461 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Leo, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    On this day the Virgin

    Seated on the priestly throne, O great and glorious Leo, with the Holy Trinity’s inspired and God-given doctrines you stopped the gaping mouths of spiritual lions and shined upon your flock the light of God-knowledge, and are glorified now as a divine initiate of the sublime grace of God.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Agapetus the Confessor, Bishop of Sinai
    • Flavian the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople
19
  • Martyr Philothei of Athens
    All day
    19-02-2018-16-02-2019

    Philothei the Righteous Martyr of Athens

    St Philothei was born in Athens in 1522 AD to an illustrious family. Against her will, she was married to a man who proved to be most cruel. When he died three years later, the Saint took up the monastic life and established a convent, in which she became a true mother to her disciples. Many women enslaved and abused by the Moslem Turks also ran to her for refuge. Because of this, the Turkish rulers became enraged and came to her convent, dragged her by force out of the church, and beat her cruelly. After a few days, she reposed, giving thanks to God for all things. This came to pass in the year 1589 AD. She was renowned for her almsgiving, and with Saints Hierotheos and Dionysios the Areopagite is considered a Patron of the city of Athens.

    Dismissal Hymn of the Righteous One

    Let us worship the Word

    The famed city of Athens honours Philothei, the righteous Martyr, whose relics it now revered with joy; for while living in sobriety and holiness, she has exchanged all earthly things for the everlasting life through great contests as a Martyr; and she entreats the Saviour to grant His mercy to all of us.

    Kontakion of the Righteous One in the Third Tone.

    On this day the Virgin

    We all honour Philothei with jubilation of spirit, as this day we reverently worship her venerable relics. For she lived her whole life working kindness and mercy; and the righteous one, receiving a martyr’s ending, is deemed worth to entreat God that all be granted eternal life with the Saints.

     

    The Holy Apostles of the Seventy Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and Onesimus

    Philemon, who was from Colossae, a city of Phrygia, was a man both wealthy and noble; Apphia was his wife. Archippus became Bishop of the Church in Colossae. All three were disciples of the Apostle Paul. Onesimus, who was formerly an unbeliever and slave of Philemon, stole certain of his vessels and fled to Rome. However, on finding him there, the Apostle Paul guided him onto the path of virtue and the knowledge of the truth, and sent him back to his master Philemon, to whom he wrote an epistle (this is one of the fourteen epistles of Saint Paul). In this epistle, Paul commended Onesimus to his master and reconciled the two. Onesimus was later made a bishop; in Greece he is honoured as the patron Saint of the imprisoned. All these Saints received their end by martyrdom, when they were stoned to death by the idolaters. Saint Onesimus is also commemorated on February 15.

    Apolytikion of Philemon & Archippus, of the 70 in the Third Tone

    O Holy Apostle Archippos, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

    Kontakion of Philemon & Archippus, of the 70 in the Fourth Tone

    Having thee, O Archippus, as her own great star, and enlightened with the rays of thy most wondrous miracles, the Church now crieth aloud to thee: Save them that faithfully honour thy memory.

     

20
  • Leo of Catania
    All day
    20-02-2018-17-02-2019

    Leo, Bishop of Catania

    Saint Leo was from Ravenna in Italy, and lived during the reign of Leo the Wise and his son Constantine Porphyrogenitios (end of the ninth and beginning of the tenth centuries). He struggled especially against the paganism and sorcery still prevalent in those regions.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things has revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Leo, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Second Tone)

    With songs let us all crown him who was dedicated to the Lord from infancy, and who from his swaddling bands received grace from God, even Leo, the luminary and defender of the Church; for he is her support.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Agathus, Pope of Rome
    • Bessarion the Great
    • Sadok the Bishop and the 128 other Martyrs of Persia
    • Plotinus
21
  • Zacharias of Jerusalem
    Timothy the Righteous
    Eustathius of Antioch
    All day
    21-02-2018-18-02-2019

    Zachariah, Patriarch of Jerusalem

    St Zacharias succeeding Isaacius (601-609 AD) as Patriarch of Jerusalem during 609-632 AD. According to John Zonaras, the great compiler of the Canons, his tenure lasted twenty-three years; but according to St Nicephorus, it lasted 22 years. The holy Zacharias, in turn, was succeeded by St Modestus. In the life of St Modestus, the following was written concerning his predecessor,

    “History will always remember the imprisoned Patriarch Zacharias, the heroic champion of the Holy Land, with great admiration and respect for refusing to be separated from the most venerable Cross”. Meletius states that at the time of Emperor Heraclius (614 AD), the blessed Zacharias was imprisoned by Chosroes, but he returned to Jerusalem with Heraclius, who had driven out the Persians. Jerusalem, in the meantime, was rebuilt, and the captured Holy Cross was returned and elevated once again by the hands of St Zacharias on the 14th of September, 629 AD. This latter event is commemorated as the Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross, on September 14.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    O God of the Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Your gentleness, take not Your mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide of life in peace.

    Kontakion of St Zacharias (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    To you, the Champion Leader

    Let that replendent and far-shining star of Christ God’s Church, let that divinely given guide of all Orthodox, be now crowned with beautiful garlands of songs and praises; the Good Conforter’s divinely sounding harp of truth and the steadfast adversary of all heresy; let us cry to him, “Rejoice, O Zacharias most venerable”.

     

    Timothy the Righteous

    Saint Timothy took up the monastic life from his youth, became a vessel of the Holy Spirit, and reposed in deep old age.

    Apolytikion of Timothy the Righteous in the Fourth Tone

    O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

    Kontakion of Timothy the Righteous in the Fourth Tone

    Thou didst rise up from the East like a most bright star, shining with the splendour of the virtues of thy miracles within the hearts of all faithful men, O wonder worker of godly mind, Timothy.

     

    Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch

    EustathiosSaint Eustathius, the great defender of piety and illustrious opponent of Arianism, was from Side in Pamphylia. He became Bishop of Beroea (the present-day Aleppo), and in 325 was present at the First Ecumenical Council. From thence he was transferred to the throne of Antioch. But Saint Constantine the Great, led astray by the slanders directed against the Saint by the Arians, banished him to Trajanopolis in Thrace, where he reposed in 337, according to some. Others say he lived until 360.

    Apolytikion of Eustathius of Antioch in the Third Tone

    O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

    Kontakion of Eustathius of Antioch in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Since thou hadst wholly purified thyself with godly deeds, thou wast a notable example of a true high priest, while excelling in divine vision and a pure life. As a pillar and foundation of the Church of Christ, thou withstoodest all temptations with great steadfastness. Hence we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father Eustathius.

22
  • Uncovering of Relics at Eugenius
    All day
    22-02-2018-19-02-2019

    The Finding of the Precious Relics of the Holy Martyrs in the Quarter of Eugenius

    During the persecutions against Christians the relics of the holy martyrs were usually buried by the faithful in hidden places. So at Constantinople, near the gates and tower in the Eugenios quarter, the bodies of several martyrs were found when Thomas was Patriarch of that city during 607-610 AD. Their names remain unknown by the Church.

    When miracles of healing began at this spot, the relics of the Saints were discovered and transferred to a church with great honor. It was revealed to a certain pious clergyman, Nicholas Kalligraphos, that among the relics discovered were those of the holy Apostle Andronikos of the Seventy and his helper Junia (commemorated May 17), whom the Apostle Paul mentions in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom 16:7). In the twelfth century, a great domed church was built on the spot where the relics of the holy martyrs were discovered. This work was undertaken by the Emperor Andronikos (1183-1185 AD), whose patron Saint was the holy Apostle Andronikos.

    Apolytikion of Uncovering of Relics at Eugenius in the Fourth Tone

    Your Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from You, our immortal God. For since they possessed Your strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ powerless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

    Kontakion of Uncovering of Relics at Eugenius in the Fourth Tone

    When you shined forth from the earth like luminaries, you dispersed the gloomy mist of all impiety, O Saints, and you enlightened believing souls, O godly Martyrs who championed the Trinity.

     

    Also Celebrating Today:

    • Our Righteous Fathers Thalassius and Baradatus
    • Anthousa the Martyr & her 12 Servants
23
  • Hieromartyr Polycarp
    All day
    23-02-2018-20-02-2019

    Saint Polycarp was Bishop of Smyrna and one of the Apostolic Fathers. He was orphaned at an early age, but at the direction of an angel, he was raised by the pious widow Kallista. After the death of his adoptive mother, Saint Polycarp gave away his possessions and began to lead a chaste life, caring for the sick and the infirm. He was very fond of and close to Saint Bucolus, Bishop of Smyrna(commemorated February 6). He ordained Polycarp as Deacon, entrusting to him to preach the Word of God in church. He also ordained him to the holy priesthood. Saint Polycarp was especially close to and a student of Saint John, and sometimes accompanied him on his apostolic journeys. He was also personally acquainted with ‘others who had seen the Lord’. Saint Polycarp served as a link between the Apostolic age and Orthodoxy of the latter part of the second century.

    Shortly before his death, Saint Bucolus expressed his wish that Polycarp be made Bishop of Smyrna. When Saint Polycarp was consecrated as Bishop, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him. Saint Polycarp guided his flock with apostolic zeal, and he was also greatly loved by the clergy. Saint Ignatius the God-Bearer of Antioch (commemorated December 20) also had a high regard for him. Setting out for Rome where execution awaited him, he wrote to Saint Polycarp, “This age is in need of you if it is to reach God, just as pilots need winds, and as a storm-tossed sailor needs a port”.

    Saint Irenaeus of Lyons records to his friend Florinus:

    “I was still very young when I saw you in Asia Minor at Polycarp’s, but I would still be able to point out the place where Blessed Polycarp sat and conversed, and be able to depict his walk, his mannerisms in life, his outward appearance, his speaking to people, his companionable wandering with John. How he himself related, together with other eyewitnesses of the Lord, those things that he remembered from the words of others. He also told what he heard from them about the Lord, His teachings and miracles…Through the mercy of God to me, I then already listened attentively to Polycarp and wrote down his words, not on tablets, but in the depths of my heart. Therefore, I am able to bear witness before God, that if this blessed and apostolic Elder heard something similar to your fallacy, he would immediately stop up his ears and express his indignation with his usual phrase: ‘Good God! That You have permitted me to be alive at such a time!’”

    Saint Polycarp was a new kind of Christian for his time. He was not a Jew and was not familiar with Old Testament Scriptures; instead, he immersed himself in the Apostolic tradition. This is evident by his writings that weaved together phrases from a wide range of Apostolic writings. Here is a quote from his letter to the Philippians, dated c. 135 AD, that seems appropriate for the Easter period,”Everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is an Antichrist; whoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whoever perverts the sayings of the Lord for his own desires, and says that there is neither resurrection nor judgement, such a one is the first-born of Satan. Let us therefore, leave the foolishness and the false-teaching of the crowd, and turn back to the word which was delivered to us in the beginning.

    Let us, then, continue unceasingly in our hope and in the Pledge of our justification, that is, in Christ Jesus, who bore our sins in His own body on the tree, who did no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth; yet, for our sakes, that we might live in Him, He endured everything”.

    Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD) of Roman fiercely persecuted Christians. The pagan population demanded that the judge search for Saint Polycarp, who was then an old man, “the father of all the Christians”, and “the seducer of all Asia”. During this time, Saint Polycarp, at the persistent urging of his flock, stayed in a small village not far from Smyrna.

    On the day of his death, when his pursuers found Saint Polycarp, the Saint commanded that his captures be given something to eat and drink. He then asked them to give him an hour to pray; he stood and prayed, full of grace, for two hours in which he remembered everyone he met. Seeing his devotion and love, his captors repented that they had come against so venerable a man. Saint Polycarp was brought by the Proconsul of Smyrna into the stadium and was commanded, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent, and say, ‘Away with the atheists’”. By atheists, the Proconsul meant the Christians. However, Saint Polycarp, gazing at the heathen in the stadium, waved his hand towards them and said, “Away with the atheists”.

    Saint Polycarp was condemned to be burnt alive, and was seated on a donkey and led into the city (presumably Rome), where he was asked to slander Christ. Saint Polycarp replied, “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He has never done me wrong. How, then, should I be able to blaspheme my King who has saved me?” This indicates that, even if he was baptised as a child, he must have been born around 69 AD.

    The executioners wanted to nail him to a post, but he declared that God would give him the strength to endure the flames, so they could merely tie him with ropes. The flames encircled the saint but did not touch him, coming together over his head in the shape of a vault. Seeing that the fire did him no harm, the pagans stabbed him with a dagger. So much blood flowed from this wound that it extinguished the flames. The body of the Hieromartyr Polycarp was then cremated.

    Christians later collected and hid his bones. It is traditionally accepted that he was martyred on Saturday 23 February 155 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, you found discipline to be means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, you also contested for the Faith even to blood, O Hieromartyr Polycarp. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (First Tone)

    The soldiers standing guard

    Through godly virtues, you brought forth for the Lord God much spiritual fruit, O you most blessed Hierarch, and so proved worthy of God your Lord, O wise Polycarp. Wherefore, on this day we who have all been enlightened through your holy words extol your praiseworthy memory and glorify Christ the Lord.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today

    • Proterios, Archbishop of Alexandria
    • Gorgonia the Righteous, sister of Gregory the Theologian
    • Damian the New Martyr of Mount Athos
    • Boswell, Abbot of Melrose Abbey
24
  • Finding of the Head of the Forerunner
    All day
    24-02-2018-21-02-2019

    First & Second Finding of the Venerable Head of John the Baptist

    Saint John the Forerunner (also known as the Baptist) was beheaded at the wish and request of the wicked Herodias, wife of Herod. When John had been beheaded, Herodias ordered that his head should not be buried with his body, for she feared that the terrible prophet would somehow rise from the dead. So she took his head and buried it in some hidden and unworthy place, deep in the earth.

    Her lady-in-waiting was Joanna the wife of Chuza, a courtier of Herod’s, who waa a good and God-fearing woman that could not bear that the head of the godly man should remain in an unworthy place, so she disinterred it secretly, and took it to Jerusalem where she buried it on the Mount of Olives. Not knowing about all this, King Herod, when he heard about Christ and His great miracles, was afraid and said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” (Mark 6:16). After a considerable time, an eminent government official came to believe in Christ, left his position in the world and became a monk. Under the name Innocent, he settled on the Mount of Olives, in precisely the place where the Forerunner’s head had been buried. Deciding to build himself a cell, he dug deep and found an earthen pot containing a head which, it was revealed to him secretly, was that of the Baptist. He venerated it and re-buried it in the same place.

    Saint John’s head was refound during the middle years of the fourth century, through a revelation of the holy Forerunner to two monks, who came to Jerusalem to worship our Saviour’s Tomb. One of them took the venerable head in a clay jar to Emesa in Syria. After his death it went from the hands of one person to another, until it came into the possession of a certain priest-monk named Eustathios, an Arian. Because he ascribed to his own false belief the miracles wrought through the relic of the holy Baptist, he was driven from the cave in which he dwelt, and by dispensation forsook the holy head, which was again made known through a revelation of Saint John, and was found in a water jar, about the year 430 AD, in the days of the Emperor Theodosius the Younger, when Uranios was Bishop of Emesa.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    The Forerunner’s sacred head, having dawned forth from the earth, sends incorruption’s rays to the faithful, whereby they find healings of their ills. From on high he gathers the choirs of the Angels and on earth he summons the whole race of mankind, that they with one voice might send up glory to Christ our God.

    Kontakion (Second Tone)

    You sought the heights

    Since we have obtained your head as a most sacred rose from out of the earth, O Forerunner of grace divine, we receive sure healing in every hour, O Prophet of God the Lord; for again, now as formerly, you preach repentance to all the world.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Romanos, Prince of Uglich
    • Boswell, Abbot of Melrose Abbey
    • Cumine the White, Abbot of Iona
25
  • Tarasios, Patriarch of Constantinople
    All day
    25-02-2018-22-02-2019

    Tarasios, Patriarch of Constantinople

    St Tarasios was the son of one of the foremost princes in Constantinople. He was born and raised in Constantinople, where he received a fine education. He was rapidly promoted at the court of the Emperor Constantine VI Porphyrogenitos (780-797 AD) and Constantine’s mother, the holy Empress Irene, and the saint attained the rank of Senator.

    During these times, the Church was troubled by the turmoil of the Iconoclast disturbances. The holy Patriarch Paul, although he had formerly supported Iconoclasm, later repented and resigned his office. He withdrew to a monastery, where he took the schema. When the holy Empress Irene and her son the Emperor came to him, St. Paul told them that the most worthy successor to him would be St Tarasios (who at this time was still a layman). St Tarasios refused for a long time, not considering himself worthy of such high office, but he then gave in to the common accord on the condition, that an Ecumenical Synod (Council) be convened to address the Iconoclast heresy.

    Proceeding through all the clerical ranks in a short while, St. Tarasios was elevated to the Patriarchal throne in 784 AD. In the year 787 AD, the Seventh Ecumenical Council was convened in the city of Nicea, with Patriarch Tarasios presiding, and 367 Bishops attending. The veneration of holy icons was confirmed at the council. The Bishops who repented of their iconoclasm, were again received by the Church. St Tarasios wisely governed the Church for 22 years, during which time he led a strict ascetic life. He spent all his money on charity, feeding and giving comfort to the aged, to the impoverished, to widows and orphans, and on Holy Pascha he set out a meal for them, and he served them himself.

    The holy Patriarch fearlessly denounced the Emperor Constantine Porphyrigenitos when he slandered his spouse, the Empress Maria, the granddaughter of St Philaretos the Merciful (commemorated December 1), so that he could send Maria to a monastery, thus freeing him to marry his own kinswoman. St Tarasios resolutely refused to dissolve the marriage of the Emperor, for which the Saint fell into disgrace. Soon, however, Constantine was deposed by the Empress Irene, his mother.

    St Tarasios died in the year 806 AD, and before his death, it is said that devils examined his life from the time of his youth, and they tried to get the Saint to admit to sins that he had not committed. “I am innocent of that of which you accuse me”, he replied, “and you falsely slander me. You have no power over me at all”. Mourned by the Church, the Saint was buried in a monastery he built on the Bosphorus. Many miracles took place at his tomb.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things has revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Tarasios, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    On this day a Virgin

    You made the Church to shine with your most Orthodox doctrines, teaching all to venerate and worship Christ’s sacred image; so you convicted the godless and hateful doctrine of all them that fought against Christ’s venerable icon; O Tarasios our Father most wise and blessed, to you we all cry, “Rejoice”.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today

    • Reginos, Bishop of Skopelos
    • Holy Martyr Alexander of Thrace
    • Markellos, Bishop of Apamea
26
  • Porphyrios of Gaza
    Photine, the Samaritan Women
    All day
    26-02-2018-23-02-2019

    Porphyrius, the Bishop of Gaza

    Saint Porphyrius had Thessalonica as his homeland. He became a monk in Scete of Egypt, where he lived for five years. He went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, after which he spent five years in much affliction in a cave near the Jordan. Stricken with a disease of the liver, he departed to Jerusalem, where he was ordained presbyter and appointed Keeper of the Cross at the age of 45. Three years later he was made Bishop of Gaza. He suffered much from the rulers and pagans of Gaza; but with the friendship of Saint John Chrysostom, and the patronage of the Empress Eudoxia, he razed the temple of the idol Marnas in Gaza and built a great church to the glory of God. He reposed in 450.

    Apolytikion of Porphyrius, Bp. of Gaza in the Fourth Tone

    A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Porphyrios, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

    Kontakion of Porphyrius, Bp. of Gaza in the Second Tone

    Arrayed with a most sacred life, thou wast adorned with the priestly vestment, O all-blessed and godly-minded Porphyrius; and thou art conspicuous for miracles of healing, interceding unceasingly for us all.

     

    The Holy Great Martyr Photine, the Samaritan Women

    Saint Photine was the Samaritan Woman who encountered Christ our Saviour at Jacob’s Well (John 4:1-42). Afterwards she laboured in the spread of the Gospel in various places, and finally received the crown of martyrdom in Rome with her two sons and five sisters, during the persecutions under the Emperor Nero.

    Apolytikion of Photine, the Samaritan Women in the Third Tone

    All illumined by the Holy Spirit, thou didst drink with great and ardent longing of the waters Christ Saviour gave unto thee; and with the streams of salvation wast thou refreshed, which thou abundantly gavest to those athirst. O Great Martyr and true peer of Apostles, Photine, entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.

    Kontakion of Photine, the Samaritan Women in the Third Tone

    Photine the glorious, the crown and glory of the Martyrs, hath this day ascended to the shining mansions of Heaven, and she calleth all together to sing her praises, that they might be recompensed with her hallowed graces. Let us all with faith and longing extol her gladly in hymns of triumph and joy.

     

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Holy Martyr Theocletus
    • John Claphas the new Martyr
27
  • Prokopios the Confessor
    All day
    27-02-2018-24-02-2019

    Procopios the Confessor of Decapolis

    St Prokopios the Decapolite lived during the eighth century in the region of Decapolis (Mark 7:31), to the east of Lake Galilee. There he laboured for his salvation, struggling in asceticism. St. Prokopios, his fellow ascetic St. Basil (commemorated February 28), and others zealous for holy Orthodoxy rose up against the Iconoclast heresy of those times. By order of the Emperor Leo the Isaurian (716-741 AD), St Prokopios was arrested, subjected to a fierce scourging and thrown into prison. Here he languished together with St Basil until the very death of the oppressive Emperor, after which the holy confessors were set free. St Prokopios spent the rest of his life in peace, guiding many on the way of virtue and salvation. He died in old age, around the year 750 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    With the rivers of your tears, you cultivated the barrenness of the desert; and by your sighing from the depths, you beared fruit a hundredfold in labours; and you became a luminary, shing with miracles upon the world, O Procopios our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    On this day You have appeared

    O renowned Procopios, having obtained you as a morning star this day, the Church dispelled all the gloom of evil doctrine, while honoring you, O initiate of Heaven and man of God.

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Raphael of Brooklyn
    • Stephen the Monk, nurse of the elders
    • Gelasios the Actor and Martyr of Heliopolis
    • Nesios the Martyr
28
  • Basil the Confessor
    All day
    28-02-2018-25-02-2019

    Saints Procopius and Basil, fellow ascetics, lived about the middle of the eighth century, during the reign of Leo the Isaurian (717-741), from whom they suffered many things for the sake of the veneration of the holy icons. They ended their lives in the ascetical discipline.

    Apolytikion of Basil the Confessor in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Basil, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

    Kontakion of Basil the Confessor in the Second Tone

    Thou tookest thyself away from worldly turbulence, since thou hadst received God’s revelation from on high; and for living righteously as a monk, thou didst receive might from grace to heal ills and work miracles, O all-blessed Basil, wise in sacred things.

     

    Also Celebrated Today:

    • Kyranna the New Martyr of Thessaloniki
    • Jonah the Righteous Martyr of Lerios
  • John Cassian
    All day
    28-02-2018-26-02-2019

    Note: If it is not a leap year the hymns of Saint John are transferred to the 28th.

    This Saint was born about the year 350, and was, according to some, from Rome, according to others, from Dacia Pontica (Dobrogea in present-day Romania). He was a learned man who had first served in the military. Later, he forsook this life and became a monk in Bethlehem with his friend and fellow-ascetic, Germanus of Dacia Pontica, whose memory is also celebrated today. Hearing the fame of the great Fathers of Scete, they went to Egypt about the year 390; their meetings with the famous monks of Scete are recorded in Saint John’s Conferences. In the year 403 they went to Constantinople, where Cassian was ordained deacon by Saint John Chrysostom; after the exile of Saint Chrysostom, Saints Cassian and Germanus went to Rome with letters to Pope Innocent I in defence of the exiled Archbishop of Constantinople. There Saint Cassian was ordained priest, after which he went to Marseilles, where he established the famous monastery of Saint Victor. He reposed in peace about the year 433.

    The last of his writings was On the Incarnation of the Lord, Against Nestorius, written in 430 at the request of Leo, the Archdeacon of Pope Celestine. In this work he was the first to show the spiritual kinship between Pelagianism, which taught that Christ was a mere man who without the help of God had avoided sin, and that it was possible for man to overcome sin by his own efforts; and Nestorianism, which taught that Christ was a mere man used as an instrument by the Son of God, but was not God become man; and indeed, when Nestorius first became Patriarch of Constantinople in 428, he made much show of persecuting the heretics, with the exception only of the Pelagians, whom he received into communion and interceded for them to the Emperor and to Pope Celestine.

    The error opposed to Pelagianism but equally ruinous was Augustine’s teaching that after the fall, man was so corrupt that he could do nothing for his own salvation, and that God simply predestined some men to salvation and others to damnation. Saint John Cassian refuted this blasphemy in the thirteenth of his Conferences, with Abbot Chairemon, which eloquently sets forth, at length and with many citations from the Holy Scriptures, the Orthodox teaching of the balance between the grace of God on one hand, and man’s efforts on the other, necessary for our salvation.

    Saint Benedict of Nursia, in Chapter 73 of his Rule, ranks Saint Cassian’s Institutesand Conferences first among the writings of the monastic fathers, and commands that they be read in his monasteries; indeed, the Rule of Saint Benedict is greatly indebted to the Institutes of Saint John Cassian. Saint John Climacus also praises him highly in section 105 of Step 4 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, on Obedience.

    Apolytikion of John Cassian in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy John Cassian, your soul rejoices with the angels.

    Kontakion of John Cassian in the First Tone

    Thy words breathe forth the sweetness of heavenly cassia, dispelling the foul odour of passion and pleasures; but with the sweet fragrance of thy discretion and temperance, they make known the spiritual ascents in the Spirit, leading men on high, O righteous Father John Cassian, divinely-sent guide of monks.

March
March
March
March