Saint Hilary of Poitiers
The Holy Hierarch Hilary was born of pagan parents in Gaul, and was trained in philosophy and rhetoric. At a time when paganism was still strong in Gaul, St Hilary understood the falsehood of polytheism, and became a Christian, and a great defender of his new Faith. About the year 350 AD, he was ordained Bishop of Poitiers, when Aries and Milan were in the hands of the Arians and the Arian Constantius was sole Emperor. Like his contemporary St Athanasius, St Hilary’s Episcopate was one long struggle against the Arians. As Bishop of Poitiers, St Hilary foresaw the future greatness of Martin, and attached him to himself. In 355 AD, when required to agree to the condemnation of St Athanasius passed by the Synod of Milan, Hilary wrote an epistle to Constantius convicting the wrongs done by the Arians and requesting, among other things, the restoration of the Orthodox Bishops, including Athanasius. For this, Hilary was banished to Asia Minor, where he wrote his greatest work, On the Trinity. St Hilary returned to his See in 360 AD, where St Martin sought him out again. It was at this time that St Hilary blessed Martin to found a monastery near Poitiers, where Martin remained until being consecrated Bishop of Tours in 371 AD. In his last years, St Hilary strove for the deposition of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, but by affecting an Orthodox confession Auxentius retained his See. St Hilary reposed in peace about the year 368 AD. Auxentius died in 374 AD and was succeeded by St Ambrose, who continued St Hilary’s battle against Arianism.
As for the Holy Martyrs of Sinai and Raithu, those of Sinai contested during the reign of Diocletian, about the year 296 AD; those of Raithu were slain about the middle of the fifth century. On both occasions, the perpetrators of these massacres were a barbarian tribe called Blemmyes, from the parts of Arabia and Egypt.
The Holy virgin Nina (also called Christiana) was from Cappadocia. According to some, her father Zabulon was a friend of the holy Great Martyr George, whose father was a Cappadocian. The conversion of Georgia by St Nina is reported in the Church histories of Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret; Rufinus, writing less than a hundred years after St Nina, said that he heard the history in Jerusalem from a Georgian Prince named Bacurius. St Nina was taken captive by the Georgians Iberians, and while in captivity she lived a very devout life of sobriety and virtue, praying unceasingly night and day; this drew the attention of the Georgians, and to all who asked her about her way of life, she preached the dispensation of Christ. When she healed by her prayer a certain woman’s sick child, whom no one else had been able to help, the report of her came to the ears of the Queen of Georgia, who was herself gravely afflicted with an incurable malady. She asked that the captive woman be brought to her, but St Nina declined out of modesty, so the Queen commanded them to carry her to Nina. St Nina healed her immediately, and the Queen returned home in joy. When she extolled Nina and her Faith to the King, he gave her no heed, although she mentioned it to him often. But while hunting in the forest, he was shrouded with an impenetrable darkness in which he lost his way, became separated from his men, and fell into despair; he made a vow that if Christ should deliver him, he would worship Him alone. The light of day straightway shone again, and the King fulfilled his vow. St Nina instructed him and the Queen in the Faith, and they with the whole Georgian nation became Christ’s. The King also sent an embassy to St Constantine the Great, informing him of their conversion, and requesting that priests be sent to Georgia. St Nina reposed in peace about the year 335 AD. The above-mentioned Church historians speak of her without calling her Nina.
Dismissal Hymn of St Hilary
Guide of Orthodoxy, teacher of piety and holiness, luminary of the world, God-inspired adornment of Hierarchs, O wise Hilary, by thy teachings thou hast enlightened all, O harp of the Spirit. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion of St Hilary
As first fruits of our nature
Enduring exile for the Faith delivered to the Church of Christ, you withstood the deceit of the Arians, O holy Hierarch Hilary. By your prayers and your teachings, O defender of Orthodoxy and right belief, convert the Western lands and entreat Christ for us, who honour you.
The Holy Martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus
Saints Hermylus and Stratonicus contested for piety’s sake during the reign of Licinius, in the year 314. Saint Hermylus was a deacon, and Stratonicus was his friend. For his confession of Christ, Hermylus was beaten so fiercely that his whole body was covered with wounds. Stratonicus, seeing him endure this and other torments that left him half dead, wept with grief for his friend. From this he was discovered to be a Christian, and when he had openly professed his Faith and had been beaten, he and Hermylus were cast into the Danube River, receiving the crown of martyrdom.
Apolytikion of The Holy Martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion of The Holy Martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus in the Second Tone
Ye fled from the world’s * confusion and wild turbulence * and passed over to * a state of great tranquility, * crowned with blood of martyrdom and the pains of valiant ascetic deeds. * Hence, ye dwell together with all * the Martyrs and righteous Fathers in the heights.
The Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
Apolytikion of Theophany Afterfeast in the First Tone
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.
Kontakion of Theophany Afterfeast in the Fourth Tone
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: “You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light.”
We Also Celebrate Today:
- Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos – Mediatress
- Kentigern, Bishop of Glasgow
- Maximos the Righteous of Kapsokalyvia, Mount Athos