Saints Hellius of of the Holy Mountain of Athos
Saint Hellius lived and died in the 4th Century. Given over at childhood to a monastery, he was raised in piety, temperance and chastity. Having grown up, he set out into the Egyptian desert, where by incessant ascetic deeds he attained great proficiency in the spiritual life. He was endowed with the gift of clairvoyance, and he knew all the thoughts and disposition of the monks conversing with him. Great faith, simplicity of soul and deep humility allowed Saint Hellius to command wild animals. One time, when the monk carried a heavy load to the desert monastery and had become very tired, he prayed and called a wild donkey to himself and placed his burden on it.
The donkey meekly carried the load to the place and was set free to return to the wilderness. Another time, when Saint Hellius needed to cross over a river and there was no boat, he called forth a crocodile from the water and, standing on its back, he happily crossed to the opposite shore. One of the young novices of the monastery, whom Saint Hellius visited, asked him to take him along into the far desert. Saint Hellius warned the youth about the great work, exploits and temptations which inevitably beset all the hermits, but since the novice continued fervently to ask, he took him along. On the first night the novice, frightened by terrible visions, in trembling ran to the cave to Saint Hellius. The monk comforted and calmed him down and ordered him to return. Having secured the cave with the Sign of the Cross, the monk said that the young hermit should not fear, since these apparitions would appear no more. Trusting the word of the saint, the novice decided to remain in solitude and afterwards attained such perfection, that he was granted, like his teacher Hellius, to receive food from an angel. In extreme old age Saint Hellius peacefully settled into the Heavenly mansions.
Saint Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain of Athos
Saint Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain of Athos (1749-1809 AD) and Saint Makarios of Corith (1731-1805 AD) compiled the Philokalia in the eighteenth century. The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and fifteenth centuries by Church Fathers of the Orthodox Christian Church. The word “Philokalia” means love of the beautiful, the exalted, and the excellent. Saints Nikodimos and Makarios collected the text with the view to instruct others in purification, illumination, and perfection. These writings show the way to awaken and develop attention and consciousness through prayer, and constitute “a mystical school of inward prayer.”
Our Holy Father Joseph the Confessor, Archbishop of Thessalonica
Saint Joseph was the brother of Saint Theodore the Studite (see Nov. 11). He also is called Studite, especially when he is mentioned together with his brother. According to Codinus, both of them composed the canons of the Triodion during the reign of Leo the Armenian, while in the Church of Saint Romanus (see Nov. 18); he is not to be confused with Saint Joseph the Hymnographer (Apr. 3). When Saint Joseph became Archbishop of Thessalonica, he was exiled thrice because of his godly zeal for the holy icons, suffering many hardships, imprisonments in dark dungeons, hunger, thirst, and every tribulation, in the midst of which he departed unto eternal life in 833.
Apolytikion of Joseph the Confessor 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 Joseph. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion of Joseph the Confessor in the Second Tone
The divinely-sounded harp of thy teachings hath glorified the Saviour’s majesty, and proclaimed to all the clarity of true doctrine and the honour that is due unto the august icons, O wise Joseph, thou glory of the Fathers.
Aquila the Apostle among the 70
Saint Aquila, who was from Pontus of Asia Minor, was a Jew by race and a tent-maker by trade. In the year 52 he and his wife Priscilla were in Corinth when Saint Paul first came there. They gave him hospitality, and the Apostle remained with them for many days, himself working at the same trade as they (Acts 18:2-3). And having believed in Christ through Paul, they followed him from that time on, working together with him and suffering perils with him for the sake of the preaching of the Gospel, as he himself testifies concerning them in his Epistle to the Romans, saying: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the nations” (Rom. 16:3-4). When and where they reposed is unknown.
Apolytikion of Aquila of the 70 in the Third Tone
O Holy Apostle Aquila, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion of Aquila of the 70 in the Fourth Tone
Ranked with the Apostles’ choir as their companion, O Apostle wise in Christ, thou madest all the world to shine with thy bright doctrines and miracles, O famed Aquila, while gaining a glorious crown.
We Also Celebrate Today:
Justus the Martyr
Peter the New Hieromartyr and the four New Martyrs of Melissourgeio Kissamos