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
As 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
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