Saint Lucia the Virgin Martyr
St Lucia was from Syracuse in Sicily, a virgin betrothed to a certain pagan. Since her mother suffered from an issue of blood, she went with her to the shrine of St Agatha at Catania to seek healing. There St Agatha appeared to Lucia in a dream, assuring her of her mother’s healing, and foretelling Lucia’s martyrdom. When her mother had been healed, Lucia gladly distributed her goods to the poor, preparing herself for her coming confession of Christ. Betrayed as a Christian by her betrothed to Paschasios the Governor, she was put in a brothel to be abased, but was preserved in purity by the grace of God. St Lucia was beheaded in the year 304 AD, during the reign of Diocletian.
Dismissal Hymn of the Virgin Martyr
Joseph was amazed
O LORD Jesus, unto You Your lamb cries with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, You I love; and seeking You, I now contest, and with Your baptism I 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 Virgin Martyr
On this day the Virgin
We extol with fervent love your most illustrious contest, and we praise and honour you as a chaste virgin and victor; for since you seek the beauty of Christ and none else, you hated all things corruptible, O wise Lucia. Wherefore, when you were beheaded, you was adorned with an incorruptible crown.
The Holy Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes of Greater Armenia
The Five Martyrs were from Greater Armenia. Like their ancestors, they worshipped Christ in secret; during the persecution of Diocletian, they presented themselves before the Forum authorities, and having been tormented in diverse manners, by Lysius the proconsul, three of them ended their lives in torments. As for Saints Eustratius and Orestes, they survived and were sent to Sebastia to Agricolaus, who governed the whole East; by his command these Saints, received their end as martyrs by fire in 296. Saint Auxentius was a priest. Saint Eustratius was educated and an orator; he was the foremost among Lysius’ dignitaries and the archivist of the province. In the Synaxarion he is given the Latin title of scriniarius, that is, “keeper of the archives.” The prayer, “Magnifying I magnify Thee, O Lord,” which is read in the Saturday Midnight Service, is ascribed to him. In the Third Hour and elsewhere there is another prayer, “O Sovereign Master, God the Father Almighty,” which is ascribed to Saint Mardarius.
Apolytikion of Martyr Eustratius & companions 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 Martyr Eustratius & companions in the Second Tone
Thou shonest as a most brilliant light for them that sat in the darkness of ignorance, O prizewinner. And armed with faith as with a spear, thou wast not frightened by the audacity of thine adversaries, O Eustratius, most eloquent of orators.
Herman the Wonderworker of Alaska & First Saint of America
Saint Herman (his name is a variant of Germanus) was born near Moscow in 1756. In his youth he became a monk, first at the Saint Sergius Hermitage near Saint Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland; while he dwelt there, the most holy Mother of God appeared to him, healing him of a grave malady. Afterwards he entered Valaam Monastery on Valiant Island in Lake Ladoga; he often withdrew into the wilderness to pray for days at a time. In 1794, answering a call for missionaries to preach the Gospel to the Aleuts, he came to the New World with the first Orthodox mission to Alaska. He settled on Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam, and here he persevered, even in the face of many grievous afflictions mostly at the hands of his own countrymen in the loving service of God and of his neighbour. Besides his many toils for the sake of the Aleuts, he subdued his flesh with great asceticism, wearing chains, sleeping little, fasting and praying much. He brought many people to Christ by the example of his life, his teaching, and his kindness and sanctity, and was granted the grace of working miracles and of prophetic insight. Since he was not a priest, Angels descended at Theophany to bless the waters in the bay; Saint Herman used this holy water to heal the sick. Because of his unwearying missionary labours, which were crowned by God with the salvation of countless souls, he is called the Enlightener of the Aleuts, and has likewise been renowned as a wonderworker since his repose in 1837.
Apolytikion of Herman of Alaska in the Fourth Tone
Blessed ascetic of the northern wilds and gracious intercessor for the whole world, teacher of the Orthodox Faith, good instructor of piety, adornment of Alaska and joy of all America, holy Father Herman, pray to Christ God that He save our souls.
Kontakion of Herman of Alaska in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Monk of Valaam, who through ascetic labours didst become an emulator of the desert-dwelling Saints of old, O beloved of the Mother of God and Virgin, having taken prayer as sword and shield, thou wast revealed as the scourge of pagan darkness and the demons’ hosts. Hence we cry to thee: O Saint Herman, pray that we be saved.
Also Celebrating Today:
- Gabriel the Hieromartyr, Archbishop of Serbia