• Prophet Jeremiah
    All day

    Jeremiah the Prophet

    The great Prophet of God, Jeremiah, who loved his brethren and lamented for them greatly, who prayed much for the people and the Holy City, was the son of Helkias of the tribe of Levi, from the city of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. He was sanctified from his mother’s womb, as the Lord Himself said concerning him, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; and before you came forth from the womb, I sanctified you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5). He prophesied for thirty years, from 613 to 583 BC. During the last captivity of the people in the reign of Sedekias, when only a few were left behind to cultivate the land, this Prophet remained with them by the permission of Nabuzardan, the captain of the guard under Nabuchodonosor. He wept and lamented inconsolably over the desolation of Jerusalem and the enslavement of his people. However, even the few that remained behind transgressed again, and fearing the vengeance of the Chaldeans, they fled into Egypt, forcibly taking with them Jeremiah and Baruch his disciple and scribe. There he prophesied concerning Egypt and other nations, and he was stoned to death in Taphnas by his own people about the year 583 BC, since they would not endure to hear the truth of his words and his just rebukes. His book of prophecy is divided into fifty-one chapters, and his book of lamentation into five; he is ranked second among the greater Prophets. His name means “Yah is exalted”.

    Dismissal Hymn (Second Tone)

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

    Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    O blessed Jeremiah, being chosen of God from thy mother’s womb, in your compassion, you sorely mourned for the falling away of Israel, and in Egypt, O Prophet, you were murdered by stoning for your most just rebukes by them that understood not to cry with you: Alleluia.


    Saint Tamara (Tamar), Queen of Georgia

    Saint Tamara was the only child of King George III. Upon his death in 1184, she became Queen at the age of twenty-four. Despite her youth, she ruled the country with such wisdom and godliness – leading it to unprecedented military triumphs over the neighbouring Moslem countries in defence of her kingdom, fostering arts and letters, and zealously strengthening Orthodoxy – that her reign is known as the Golden Age of Georgia. After her coronation, she convoked a local council to correct disorders in church life. When the bishops had assembled from all parts of her kingdom, she, like Saint Constantine at the First Ecumenical Council, honoured them as if she were a commoner, and they Angels of God; exhorting them to establish righteousness and redress abuses, she said in her humility, “Do away with every wickedness, beginning with me, for the prerogative of the throne is in no wise that of making war against God.” Saint Tamara called herself “the father of orphans and the judge of widows,” and her contemporaries called her “King” instead of “Queen.” She herself led her army against the Moslems and fearlessly defeated them; because of the reverence that even the enemies of Georgia had for her, entire mountain tribes renounced Islam and were baptized. She built countless churches and monasteries throughout her kingdom, and was benefactress also to the Holy Land, Mount Athos, and holy places in Greece and Cyprus. She has always been much beloved by her people, who have memorialized her meekness, wisdom, piety, and obedience, and peace loving nature in innumerable legends, ballads, and songs; the poem written in her honour by Shota Rustaveli, “The Knight in the Panther Skin,” is the masterpiece of Georgian literature. The great Queen Tamara departed the earthly kingdom for the heavenly in the year 1212.

    Apolytikion of Tamara, Queen of Georgia in the Third Tone

    Let the mountain-tops and vales of Georgia sound with songs of praise to laud Tamara as the vessel of wisdom, the smiling sun, the sword of truth, the conversion of infidels, the most harmonious reed-pipe of Jesus Christ, and our fervent intercessor before the King of Kings, entreating Him to grant great mercy unto us.

    Kontakion of Tamara, Queen of Georgia in the Fourth Tone

    O Thou whom thy people called a king in justice and truth, the father of orphans and the judge of widows, thou sun which shone on the Georgian land, thou who spentest all thy strength defending thy kingdom, rise up, O Tamara, and defend us now also, and by thine intercessions with Christ, save us from sufferings.


    Synaxis of the Three New Righteous Martyrs of the Holy Mountain: Euthymius, Ignatius, and Acacius

    Of the three newly-shining luminaries of the Holy Mountain, the New Martyr Euthymius, who was from Demetsana of the Peloponnesus, won the crown of martyrdom when he was beheaded on Palm Sunday, March 22, 1814. Saint Ignatius, who was from Stara Zagora in Bulgaria, was martyred by hanging on October 8, 1814. Saint Acacius, who was from Neochorion of Thessalonica, was beheaded on May 1, 1815. All three had denied Christ in the foolishness of youth, and repented with great fervour; all became monks in the Skete of the Venerable Forerunner on the Holy Mountain; all had the revered elders Nicephorus and Acacius as their spirtual fathers; all were martyred in Constantinople; all were about twenty years of age; and the holy relics of all three are treasured in the aforementioned Athonite Skete of the Forerunner.

    Apolytikion of Ignatius and Euthymius the New Martyrs in the First Tone

    Ye who are equal in number to the unoriginate Trinity stand now with the choirs of the Angels and hosts of Martyrs in boundless joy before the thrice-resplendent throne of the Godhead; wherefore, O most wise ones, ye partake of the beams from that awesome majesty, and grant unto the faithful the divine enlightenment from on high, unending well-springs of healings, and the pardon of our grievous sins. O divine Euthymius, Martyr of Christ, with the wise Ignatius, and God inspired Acacius, ye ever entreat the Lord God in behalf of all.

    Kontakion of Ignatius and Euthymius the New Martyrs in the Third Tone

    In your zeal to emulate the righteous God-bearing Fathers, ye strove in ascetic deeds, accepting every affliction; having sought the Martyrs’ glory through death by torments, ye are crowned with twofold crowns by the Crown-bestower, O Euthymius most righteous, with Saint Ignatius, and the blest Acacius on high.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    New Martyr Maria of Fourna, Mirabella in Crete
    Nikiforos the Monk of Chios
    Asaph, Bishop of Wales

  • Removal of the Relics of St Athanasios
    All day

    Removal of the Relics of Saint Athanasius the Great

    In the half-century after the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicaea in 325, if there was one man whom the Arians feared and hated more intensely than any other, as being able to lay bare the whole error of their teaching, and to marshal, even from exile or hiding, the beleaguered forces of the Orthodox, it was Saint Athanasius the Great. This blazing lamp of Orthodoxy, which imperial power and heretics’ plots could not quench when he shone upon the lampstand, nor find when he was hid by the people and monks of Egypt, was born in Alexandria about the year 296. He received an excellent training in Greek letters and especially in the sacred Scriptures, of which he shows an exceptional knowledge in his writings. Even as a young man he had a remarkable depth of theological understanding; he was only about twenty years old when he wrote his treatise On the Incarnation. Saint Alexander, the Archbishop of Alexandria, brought him up in piety, ordained him his deacon, and, after deposing Arius for his blasphemy against the Divinity of the Son of God, took Athanasius to the First Council in Nicaea in 325; Saint Athanasius was to spend the remainder of his life labouring in defence of this holy Council. In 326, before his death, Alexander appointed Athanasius his successor.

    In 325, Arius had been condemned by the Council of Nicaea; yet through Arius’ hypocritical confession of Orthodox belief, Saint Constantine the Great was persuaded by Arius’ supporters that he should be received back into the communion of the Church. But Athanasius, knowing well the perverseness of his mind, and the disease of heresy lurking in his heart, refused communion with Arius. The heresiarch’s followers then began framing false charges against Athanasius; finally Saint Constantine the Great, misled by grave charges of the Saint’s misconduct-which were completely false-had him exiled to Tiberius (Treves) in Gaul in 336. When Saint Constantine was succeeded by his three sons Constantine II, Constans, and Constantius, in 337, Saint Athanasius returned to Alexandria in triumph. But his enemies found an ally in Constantius, Emperor of the East; Saint Athanasius’ second exile was spent in Rome. It was ended when Constans prevailed with threats upon his brother Constantius to restore Athanasius (see also Nov. 6). For ten years Saint Athanasius strengthened Orthodoxy throughout Egypt, visiting the whole country and encouraging all, clergy, monastics, and layfolk, being loved by all as a father. But after Constans’ death in 350, Constantius became sole Emperor,and Athanasius was again in danger. In the evening of February 8, 356, General Syrianus with more than five thousand soldiers surrounded the church in which Athanasius was serving, and broke open the doors. Athanasius’ clergy begged him to leave, but the good shepherd commanded that all the flock should withdraw first; and only when he was assured of their safety, he also, protected by divine grace, passed through the midst of the soldiers and disappeared into the deserts of Egypt, where for some six years he eluded the soldiers and spies sent after him.

    When Julian the Apostate succeeded Constantius in 361, Athanasius returned again, but only for a few months. Because Athanasius had converted many pagans, and the priests of the idols in Egypt wrote to Julian that if Athanasius remained, idolatry would perish in Egypt, the heathen Emperor ordered not Athanasius’ exile, but his death. Athanasius took ship up the Nile. When he learned that his imperial pursuers were following him, he had his men turn back, and as his boat passed that of his pursuers, they asked him if he had seen Athanasius. “He is not far,” he answered. After returning to Alexandria for a while, he fled again to the Thebaid until Julian’s death in 363. Saint Athanasius suffered his fifth and last exile under Valens in 365, which only lasted four months because Valens, fearing a sedition among the Egyptians for their beloved Archbishop, revoked his edict in February, 366.

    The great Athanasius passed the remaining seven years of his life in peace. Of his fifty-seven years as Patriarch, he had spent some seventeen in exiles. Shining from the height of his throne like a radiant evening star, and enlightening the Orthodox with the brilliance of his words for yet a little while, this much-suffering champion inclined toward the sunset of his life, and, in the year 373, took his rest from his lengthy sufferings, but not before another luminary of the truth, Basil the Great, had risen in the East, being consecrated Archbishop of Caesarea in 370. Besides all his other achievements, Saint Athanasius wrote the life of Saint Anthony the Great, with whom he spent time in his youth; ordained Saint Frumentius first Bishop of Ethiopia; and in his Paschal Encyclical for the year 367 set forth the books of the Old and New Testaments accepted by the Church as canonical. Saint Gregory the Theologian, in his Oration On the Great Athanasius, said he was “Angelic in appearance, more angelic in mind; … rebuking with the tenderness; of a father, praising with the dignity of a ruler … Everything was harmonious, as an air upon a single lyre, and in the same key; his life, his teaching, his struggles, his dangers, his return, and his conduct after his return … be treated so mildly and gently those who had injured him, that even they themselves, if I may say so, did not find his restoration distasteful.”

    Apolytikion of Relics of Athanasius in the Third Tone

    Thou wast Orthodoxy’s steadfast pillar, holding up the Church with godly dogmas, O great Hierarch, for thou didst preach unto all that God the Son is one essence in very truth with God the Father; thus thou didst shame Arius. Righteous Father Athanasius, do thou entreat Christ God that His great mercy may be granted unto us.

    Kontakion of Relics of Athanasius in the Second Tone

    Having planted the dogmas of Orthodoxy, thou didst cut out the thorns of false doctrine; and with the rain of the Spirit, thou didst increase the seed of the Faith, Wherefore, we praise thee, O righteous Athanasius.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Hesperos & Zoe the Righteous
    Boris, King & Enlightener of Bulgaria (Michael in Baptism)
    Jordan the Wonderworker

  • Martyrs Timothy & Maura
    All day

     The Holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura

    The holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura were husband and wife. Timothy was from Penapeis in the Thebaid, a reader in the Church, and had been married to Maura only twenty days when he was betrayed to Arian, the Governor of the Thebaid, as a teacher of the Christians. Arian commanded Timothy to surrender his sacred books, which he refused to do, comparing it to a father’s giving up his children to death. For this answer, heated iron spits were thrust through his ears. As he was being put to other tortures, Arian summoned Maura, hoping that she would persuade her husband to worship the idols, but she confessed herself a Christian. The hair of her head was pulled out, her fingers were cut off, then she was lowered into a cauldron of boiling water, but remained unharmed. Finally husband and wife were crucified facing each other, and after nine days, received their martyric end, during the reign of Diocletian (284-305).

    Apolytikion of Martyrs Timothy and Maura in the Fourth Tone

    To Timothy let us faithful render homage today together with Maura, his fellow contestant and wife, that most faithful bride of Christ, lauding their brave steadfastness; for by crucifixion they followed with longing in the steps of their Master, Who nailed the sins of all to the Cross when He was slain for us.

    Kontakion of Martyrs Timothy and Maura in the Fourth Tone

    Since ye endured through divers woundings and tortures and have received from God the garlands of vict’ry, rise up in intercession with the Lord for us, who with longing celebrate this, your sacred memorial, O Great Martyr Timothy, and most glorious Maura, that He grant peace to all His Church and flock, for He is truly the strength of all faithful flock.


    Father Theodosius, Abbot of Kiev Caves Lavra

    Our righteous Father Theodosius was born in 1009, not far from Kiev, and brought up in Kursk. From early childhood he showed the wisdom of an elder, avoiding childish games and refusing to wear anything but the poorest of clothing. When he was about thirteen years old, and his father died, he began to humble himself even more, going out to work with the serfs in the field. His mother went so far as to beat him in her attempts to make him behave more respectably. Hearing of the labours of Saint Anthony of Kiev, he fled to him secretly and was accepted by him as his disciple. He was tonsured at the age of twenty-four by Saint Anthony’s disciple Nicon, and was elected Abbot of the Caves Monastery in 1057, since Saint Anthony refused this out of humility, and lived his whole life as a hermit. It was Saint Theodosius who introduced in Russia the cenobitic rule of the Monastery of Studium in Constantinople, and under his guidance many monks attained to great holiness, and the monastic life spread. When Prince Svyatoslav drove out his elder brother the pious Prince Isyaslav, and ascended to the throne of Chernigov in his place, Saint Theodosius courageously rebuked him, and continued reproving him even when threatened with exile. At the request of Prince Shimon, the son of a Varangian (Viking) prince, the Saint wrote a prayer for the nobleman’s forgiveness of sins, and, at his behest, had it placed in his coffin, whence arose this custom in Russia. He reposed on May 3, 1074, being sixty-five years of age.

    Apolytikion of Father Theodosius, Abbot of Kiev Caves Lavra in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Raising thyself aloft upon virtue and having loved the monastic life from thy youth, thou didst valiantly attain to thy desire. Thou didst settle in a cave, and while adorning thy life with fasting and purity, thou didst persevere in prayers like one of the bodiless. And since thou hast shone forth in the Russian land as a brilliant lamp, O Father Theodosius, pray Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion of Father Theodosius, Abbot of Kiev Caves Lavra in the Third Tone

    Today we venerate the star of Russia, the blessed Theodosius, who hath shone forth from the east and come unto the west; for he hath enriched both this whole land with miracles and blessings, and us with the establishment and grace of the monastic rule.

  • Martyr Pelagia
    All day

    Pelagia the Nun-martyr of Tarsus

    This Saint was from Tarsus of Cilicia and contested in martyrdom under Diocletian, in 284: she was cast into a bull fashioned of bronze, which had been heated with fire.

    Apolytikion of Martyr Pelagia in the Fourth Tone

    O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Hilary the Wonderworker
    Euthemios, Bishop of Madytos
    Athanasios, Bishop of Corinth

  • Great Martyr Irene
    All day

    Saint Irene the Great Martyr

    Holy Great Martyr Irene was born in the city of Magedon in Persia during the fourth century. She was the daughter of the pagan king Licinius, and her parents named her Penelope. Penelope was very beautiful, and her father kept her isolated in a high tower from the time she was six so that she would not be exposed to Christianity. He also placed thirteen young maidens in the tower with her. An old tutor by the name of Apellian was assigned to give her the best possible education. Apellian was a Christian, and during her lessons, he told the girl about Christ the Saviour and taught her the Christian Faith and the Christian virtues.

    When Penelope reached adolescence, her parents began to think about her marriage. One day, a dove flew through the window carrying an olive branch in its beak, depositing it upon a table. Then an eagle swooped in with a wreath of flowers in its beak, and placed it upon the table. Finally, a raven flew in carrying a snake, which it dropped on the table. These events puzzled Penelope and she wondered what they meant. Apellian explained that the dove signified her education, and the olive branch stood for the grace of God, which is received in Baptism. The eagle with the wreath of flowers represented success in her future life. The raven and the snake foretold her future suffering and sorrow.

    At the end of the conversation, Apellian said that the Lord wished to betroth her to Himself and that Penelope would undergo much suffering for her heavenly Bridegroom. After this Penelope refused marriage, the priest Timothy baptized her with the new name Irene (meaning peace in Greek). She even urged her own parents to become Christians. Shortly after this, she destroyed all her father’s idols.

    Since St Irene had dedicated herself to Christ, she refused to marry any of the suitors her father had chosen for her. When Licinius learned that his daughter refused to worship the pagan gods, he was furious. He attempted to turn her from Christ by having her tortured. She was tied up and thrown beneath the hooves of wild horses so that they might trample her to death, but he horses remained motionless. Instead of harming the saint, one of the horses charged Licinius, seized his right hand, and tore it from his arm. Then it knocked Licinius down and began to trample him. They untied the holy virgin, and through her prayers Licinius rose unharmed in the presence of eyewitnesses with his hand intact.

    Seeing such a miracle, Licinius and his wife, and many of the people, (about 3000 men) believed in Christ and turned from the pagan gods. Resigning his administrative duties, Licinius devoted himself to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. St Irene lived in the house of her teacher Apellian, and she began to preach Christ among the pagans, converting them to the path of salvation.

    When Sedecius, the new governor of the city, heard of this miracle he summoned Apellian and questioned him about Irene’s manner of life. Apellian replied that Irene, like other Christians, lived in strict temperance, devoting herself to constant prayer and reading holy books. Sedecius summoned the saint to him and urged her to stop preaching about Christ. He also attempted to force her to sacrifice to the idols.

    St. Irene staunchly confessed her faith before the governor, not fearing his wrath, and prepared to undergo suffering for Christ. By order of Sedecius she was thrown into a pit filled with vipers and serpents. The Saint spent ten days in the pit and remained unharmed, for an angel of the Lord protected her and brought her food. Sedecius ascribed this miracle to sorcery, and he subjected St Irene to many other tortures, but she remained unharmed. Under the influence of her preaching and miracles, more people were converted to Christ, and turned away from the worship of inanimate idols.

    Sedecius was deposed by his son Savorus, who persecuted Christians with an even greater zeal than his father had done. St Irene went to her home town of Magedon in Persia to meet Savorus and his army, and ask him to end the persecution. When he refused, St Irene prayed and his entire army was blinded. She prayed again and they received their sight once more. In spite of this, Savorus refused to recognize the power of God. a bolt of lightning then struck him. After this, St Irene walked into the city and performed many miracles. She returned to the tower built by her father, accompanied by the priest Timothy. Through her teaching, she converted five thousand people to Christ.

    The Saint then went to the city of Callinicus, or Callinicum (possibly on the Euphrates River in Syria). The ruler of that place was King Numerian, the son of Sebastian. When she began to teach about Christ, the pagan authorities arrested and tortured her. She was placed into three bronze oxen, which were heated by fire. She was transferred from one to another, but miraculously she remained uninjured. Thousands of idolaters embraced Christianity because of this wondrous event. Sensing the approach of death, Numerian instructed his eparch Babdonus to continue torturing the saint in order to force her to sacrifice to idols. Once again, the tortures were ineffective, and many people turned to Christ.

    Christ’s holy martyr then travelled to the city of Constantina, 60 km northeast of Edessa. By 330 AD, the Persian king Sapor II (309-379 AD) had heard of St Irene’s great miracles. To prevent her from winning more people to Christ, she was arrested, beheaded, and then buried. However, God sent an angel to raise her up again, and she went into the city of Mesembria. After seeing her alive and hearing her preach, the local king was baptized with many of his subjects.

    Wishing to convert even more pagans to Christianity, St Irene went to Ephesus, where she taught the people and performed many miracles. The Lord revealed to her that the end of her life was approaching. Then St. Irene left the city accompanied by six people, including her former teacher Apellian. On the outskirts of the town, she found a new tomb in which no one had ever been buried. After making the sign of the Cross, she went inside, directing her companions to close the entrance to the cave with a large stone, which they did. When Christians visited the cave four days later, they did not find the body of the Saint.

    Apellian returned after only two days, and found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Thus did God glorify St. Irene, who loved Him and devoted her life to serving Him. Although many of these miracles may seem improbable to those who are sceptical, nothing is impossible with God. St Irene led thousands of people to Christ through her preaching, and by her example. The Church continues to honour her memory and to seek her heavenly intercession.

    St Irene is one of the twelve Virgin Martyrs who appeared to St Seraphim of Sarov (commemorated January 2) and the Diveyevo nun Eupraxia on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1831 AD. By her holy prayers, may the Lord have mercy upon us and save us.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Your lamb Irene, O Jesus, calls out to You in a loud voice: I love You, O my bridegroom, and in seeking You, I endure suffering. In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, for I have offered myself in love. By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    O pure Irene, you adorned yourself with the splendours of virginity, so you became all-beautiful in your struggle: you were dyed with the blood you shed for Christ and so became all-pleasing to God. Therefore you received the prize of glory from your creator.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Neophytos, Gaius, & Caianus the Monk-martyrs
    The Righteous Martyr Ephraim the Younger
    Euthymios the Wonderworker, Bishop of Madytos

  • Prophet Job
    All day

     Job the Prophet

    The righteous Job (whose name means “persecuted”), God’s faithful servant, was the perfect image of every virtue. The son of Zarah and Bossorha (Job 42), Job was a fifth-generation descendent of Abraham. He was a truthful, righteous, patient, and pious man who abstained from every evil thing. Job was very rich and blessed by God in all things, as was no other son of Ausis (his country, which lay between Idoumea and Arabia). However, divine condescension permitted him to be tested.

    Job lost his children, his wealth, his glory, and every consolation all at once. His entire body became a terrible wound covered with boils. Yet he remained steadfast and patient in the face of his misfortune for seven years, always giving thanks to God.

    Later, God restored his former prosperity, and he had twice as much as before. Job lived for 170 years after his misfortune, completing his earthly life in 1350 B.C. at the age of 240. Some authorities say that Job’s afflictions lasted only one year, and that afterwards he lived for 140 years, reaching the age of 210.

    Job’s explanations are among the most poetic writings in the Old Testament book, which bears his name. It is one of the most edifying portions of Holy Scripture. Job teaches us that we must endure life’s adversities patiently and with trust in God. As St Anthony the Great (commemorated January 17) says, without temptations, it is impossible for the faithful to be saved.

    The Orthodox Church reads the book of Job, the first of the seven wisdom books of the Old Testament, during Holy Week, drawing a parallel between Job and Christ as righteous men who suffered through no fault of their own. God allowed Satan to afflict Job so that his faithfulness would be proven. Christ, the only sinless one, suffered voluntarily for our sins. The Septuagint text of Job 42:17 says that Job “will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up”. This passage is read on Great and Holy Friday, when the composite Gospel at Vespers speaks of the tombs being opened at the moment the Saviour died on the Cross, and the bodies of the saints were raised, and they appeared to many after Christ’s Resurrection (Matt 27:52).

    Dismissal (First Tone)

    On beholding the riches of Job’s virtues, the enemy of the righteous contrived to ruin them; and though he cast down the tower of the Saint’s body, he could not plunder the wealth of his spirit, for he found the soul of that blameless one to be fully armed; but as for me, he hath stripped me and led me captive away. Hasten, then, before the end, rescue me from the wily one, O Saviour, and save me.

    Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    You were shown forth as blameless, true, God-fearing, just, and sanctified, O you much-suffering Prophet, all-glorious servant of God, most righteous Job; by your valiant endurance and your patience you gave instruction to the world. For this cause we all honour and praise your all-holy memory.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Our Holy Father Seraphim the Struggler of Mt. Domvu
    Sophia of Kleisoura

  • Appearance of the Sign of the Cross
    All day

    Commemoration of the Precious Cross that appeared in the sky over Jerusalem in 351 AD

    On May 7 in 351 AD, not long after Cyril had succeeded Maximos as Archbishop of Jerusalem, during the reign of Constantios, the son of Saint Constantine the Great, on the day of Pentecost, the sign of the Cross appeared over Jerusalem. St Cyril, in his letter to the Emperor Constantios, says, “At about the third hour of the day, an enormous Cross, formed of light, appeared in the heaven above holy Golgotha and reaching to the holy Mount of Olives. being seen not by one or two only, but manifest with perfect clarity to the whole multitude of the city; not, as one might suppose, rushing swiftly past in fancy, but seen openly above the earth many hours in plain sight, and overcoming the beams of the sun with its dazzling rays” (PG 33:1 16q).

    Apolytikion of Appearance of the Sign of the Cross in the First Tone

    The image of Your Cross at this time shone brighter than the sun, when You spread it out from the holy Mount of Olives to Calvary; and in making Your might plain, which is therein, O Saviour You did also thereby strengthen the faithful. Keep us always in peace, by the intercessions of the Theotokos, O Christ our God, and save us.

    Kontakion of Appearance of the Sign of the Cross in the Fourth Tone

    Making its rays to shine above in the heavens, the spotless Cross dawned on the earth, bright with splendour; for it had opened Heaven, which was shut of old. Granted the effulgence of its divine operation, we are surely guided to the unwaning resplendence. In battles we possess it as a true weapon of peace and a trophy invincible.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem
    Akakios the Centurion of Byzantium
    Pachomios the New Martyr of Patmos
    Repose of St. Nilus, abbot of Sora

  • John the Theologian
    Arsenios the Great
    All day

    Saint John the Apostle, Evangelist and Theologian

    The feast today in honour of the holy Apostle John commemorates the miracle taking place each year in Ephesus, in which a certain dust or powder, called manna, suddenly poured forth from his tomb and was used by the faithful for deliverance from maladies of both soul and body. For an account of his life, see September 26.

    Apolytikion of John the Theologian in the Second Tone

    Beloved Apostle of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a people without defense. He who permitted you to recline upon His bosom, accepts you on bended knee before Him. Beseech Him, O Theologian, to dispel the persistent cloud of nations, asking for us peace and great mercy.

    Kontakion of John the Theologian in the Second Tone

    Who can recount your greatness, O virgin, for miracles flow and healing springs forth from you. You intercede for our souls, as the Theologian and friend of Christ.


    Arsenios the Great

    arseniosgreatSaint Arsenios was a deacon of the Church of Rome, born of an illustrious family, and wondrous in virtue. In the days of Saint Theodosius the Great, he was chosen to be the tutor of the Emperor’s young sons, Arcadius and Honorius. While living at the imperial palace in Constantinople, compassed with all luxury and innumerable temptations to sin, Arsenios often besought God with tears to guide him to salvation. This prayer was answered one day when a voice came to him saying, “Arsenios, flee from men, and thou shalt be saved.” He sailed secretly to Alexandria, and from there went to Scete, where he became a monk. Yet after he had withdrawn from the world, and was come among the most illustrious monks of his day, he heard, ‘Arsenios, flee, be silent, pray always, for these are the causes of sinning not.” Following this call, he separated himself even from his fellow monks, practicing extreme silence. On Saturday evenings, he would turn his back on the setting sun, and would stretch out his hands in prayer to Heaven, till the sun shone upon his face the following morning, and only then would he sit down. Once a monk came to visit him, and looking into his cell saw Arsenios entirely like a flame of fire. After living some fifty-five years as a monk, and attaining to heights reached by few, he reposed in peace about the year 449, at the age of ninety-five.

    Apolytikion of Arsenios the Great 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 Arsenios, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

    Kontakion of Arsenios the Great in the Second Tone

    Since thou hadst shown forth the life of the Angels while in a body, O God-bearing Arsenios, thou wast also counted worthy of their honour; and with them thou standest before the Lord’s throne, interceding that divine forgiveness be granted unto all.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Emelia, the mother of St Basil the Great
    Synaxis of Saint Koneos
    Synaxis of the Holy Powder (or manna) which emitted from the tomb of Saint John the Theologian

  • Prophet Isaiah
    All day

    The Holy Prophet Esaias (Isaiah)

    The Holy Prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the birth of Christ, and was of royal lineage. Isaiah’s father Amos raised his son in the fear of God and in the law of the Lord. Having attained the age of maturity, the Prophet Isaiah entered into marriage with a pious prophetess (Is 8:3) and had a son Jashub (Is 8:18).

    Isaiah was called to prophetic service during the reign of Oziah [Uzziah], king of Judea, and he prophesied for 60 years during the reign of kings Joatham, Achaz [Ahaz], Hezekiah, and Manasseh.

    The start of his service by him beholding the Lord God, sitting in a majestic heavenly temple upon a high throne. Six-winged Seraphim encircled Him. With two wings they covered their faces, and with two wings they covered their feet, and with two wings they flew about crying out one to another, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled with His glory!” The pillars of the heavenly temple shook from their shouts, and in the temple arose the smoke of incense.

    The prophet cried out in terror, “Oh, an accursed man am I, granted to behold the Lord Sabaoth, and having impure lips and living amidst an impure people!” Then was sent him one of the Seraphim, having in hand a red-hot coal, which he took with tongs from the altar of the Lord. He touched it to the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah and said, “Lo, this has touched thy lips, and will take away with thine iniquities, and will cleanse thy sins”. After this Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, directed towards him, “Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people?” Isaiah answered, “Here am I, send me” (Is 6:1 ff). The Lord sent him to the Jews to exhort them to turn from the ways of impiety and idol worship, and to offer repentance.

    To those that repent and turn to the true God, the Lord promised mercy and forgiveness, but punishment and the judgement of God are appointed for the unrepentant. Then Isaiah asked the Lord, how long would the falling away of the Jewish nation from God continue. The Lord answered, “Until the cities be deserted, by reason of there being no people, and the land shall be made desolate. Just as when a tree be felled and from the stump come forth new shoots, so also from the destruction of the nation a holy remnant will remain, from which will emerge a new tribe”.

    Isaiah left behind him a book of prophecy in which he denounces the Jews for their unfaithfulness to the God of their Fathers. He predicted the captivity of the Jews and their return from captivity during the time of the emperor Cyrus, the destruction and renewal of Jerusalem and of the Temple. Together with this he predicts the historical fate also of the other nations bordering the Jews. But what is most important of all for us, the Prophet Isaiah with particular clarity and detail prophesies about the coming of the Messiah, Christ the Saviour. The prophet names the Messiah as God and Man, teacher of all the nations, founder of the Kingdom of peace and love.

    The prophet foretold the birth of the Christ from a Virgin, and with particular clarity he describes the Suffering of Christ for the sins of the world. He foresaw His Resurrection and the universal spreading of His Church. By his clear foretelling of Christ the Saviour, the Prophet Isaiah deserves to be called an Old Testament Evangelist. To him belong the words, “He bears our sins and is smitten for us…. He was wounded for our sins and tortured for our transgressions. The chastisement of our world was upon Him, and by His wounds we were healed….” (Is 53:4-5).

    The holy Prophet Isaiah had also a gift of wonderworking. Therefore, when during the time of a siege of Jerusalem by enemies the besieged had become exhausted with thirst, he by his prayer drew out from beneath Mount Sion a spring of water, which was called Siloam, i.e. “sent from God”. It was to this spring afterwards that the Saviour sent the man blind from birth to wash, and He restored his sight. By the prayer of the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord prolonged the life of Hezekiah for 15 years.

    The Prophet Isaiah died a martyr’s death. By order of the Jewish king Manasseh he was sawn through by a wood-saw. The prophet was buried not far from the Pool of Siloam. The relics of the holy Prophet were transferred by the emperor Theodosios the Younger to Constantinople and placed in the church of St Lawrence at Blachernae. At the present time part of the head of the Prophet Isaiah is preserved at Athos in the Hilandar monastery.

    For the times and the events which happened during the life of the Prophet Isaiah, see the fourth Book of Kings [alt. 2 Kings] (Ch 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, etc.), and likewise 2 Chr:26-32).

    Of all the Prophets, Isaiah is called the most eloquent because of the beauty and loftiness of his words. His book of prophecy, divided into sixty-six chapters, is ranked first among the greater Prophets. The Fifth Ode of the Psalter, “Out of the night my spirit wakes at dawn to You, O God…” is taken from his book. It was this holy Prophet who foretold that a Virgin would conceive in the womb (7:14); that not an ambassador, nor an angel, but the Lord Himself would save fallen man (63:9); that the Messiah would suffer, bearing our sins (ch. 53). His name means “Yah is helper”.

    Dismissal Hymn (Second Tone)

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

    Kontakion (Second Tone)

    Having received the gift of prophecy, O Prophet-martyr Esaias, herald of God, you made it clear to all under the sun the Incarnation of God by crying with a great voice: Behold the Virgin shall conceive in her womb.


    Christopher the Martyr of Lycea

    Christopher_the_Martyr_of_LyceaSaint Christopher was at first named Reprobus. Seeing the Christians persecuted, he rebuked the tyrants for their cruelty. Soldiers were sent to bring him to appear before the ruler; but he converted them to Christ, and with them was baptised, receiving the name Christopher. After he appeared before the ruler, he was imprisoned and two harlots were sent to seduce him, but he converted them also, and encouraged them in their martyrdom. He was subjected to torments and finally beheaded in the days of Decius. Many marvellous and mythical things are said about him out of ignorance and superstition, one of which is that it is impossible for one to die suddenly from some unexpected cause on the day on which one looks at the Saint’s icon.

    This is the origin of that proverb that is quoted in various quarters: “If on Christopher thou shouldst gaze, thou shalt safely wend life’s ways.”

    The etymology of his name, which means “Christ-bearer,” has undoubtedly moved iconographers to depict him carrying the infant Jesus on his shoulders; it is completely erro-neous, however, to depict him, as some uninformed iconographers do, having the head of a dog, because of a statement in his life that he was dog-faced, by which is meant only that his countenance was exceedingly frightful to look upon.

    Apolytikion of Martyr Christopher in the Fourth Tone

    Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

    Kontakion of Martyr Christopher in the Fourth Tone

    Thou who wast terrifying both in strength and in countenance, for thy Creator’s sake thou didst surrender thyself willingly to them that sought thee; for thou didst persuade both them and the women that sought to arouse in thee the fire of lust, and they followed thee in the path of martyrdom. And in torments thou didst prove to be courageous. Wherefore, we have gained thee as our great protector, O great Christopher.

    Apolytikion of Second Monday after Pascha in the Grave Tone

    Christ our God, You are the Life that dawned from the grave, though the tomb was sealed. Through closed doors You came to the Apostles. You are the Resurrection of all. And, You renewed us through them with an upright spirit, according to Your great mercy.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Monk-martyr Nicholas who lived in Vuneni, of Larissa in Thessaly
    Epimachos the New Martyr of Alexandria
    The New Martyrs of Novo Selo, Bulgaria

  • Apostle Simon
    Isodora of Egypt
    Laurence of Egypt
    All day

    Saint Simon the Zealot and Apostle

    Saint Simon was from Cana in Galilee, and was known to the Lord and the Theotokos. Tradition says that he was the bridegroom at the wedding where the Saviour performed His first miracle. After witnessing the miracle of the water which had been turned into wine, he became a zealous follower of Christ (John 2:1-11; Luke 6:15). Saint Simon was also called Simon the Cananite by Saint Matthew (Matt 10:4). The word “Cananite” used by Saint Matthew is believed to be derived from kana, which in the Palestinian dialect of Aramaic means “zealot” or “zealous”; Saint Luke therefore translates the meaning of “Cananite”. Simon means “one who hears”.

    Saint Simon was one of the twelve Apostles, and received the Holy Spirit with the others on the day of Pentecost. He travelled to many places from Britain to the Black Sea, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. After winning many pagans to the Lord, Saint Simon suffered martyrdom by crucifixion.

    Saint Demetrius of Rostov says that this Saint Simon is to be distinguished from the Apostle Simon Peter, and from the Lord’s relative Simon (Matt13:55), who was the second Bishop of Jerusalem.

    Saint Simon is also commemorated on June 30 with the other Apostles.

    Apolytikion of Apostle Simon in the Third Tone

    O Holy Apostle Simon, intercede with the merciful God that He grant to our souls forgiveness of offences.

    Kontakion of Apostle Simon in the Second Tone

    With praise let us all bless Simon, the herald of God, who established securely in the souls of the pious the doctrines of wisdom; for now he stands before the throne of glory, and exulting with the bodiless hosts, he intercedes unceasingly for us all.

  • Cyril & Methodios
    Martyr Mocius
    All day

    Saints Cyril and Methodios Equal-to-the Apostles and Illuminators of the Slavs

    Born in Thessalonica, Saint Methodios was a military man before becoming a monk on Mount Olympus. His brother Constantine, known as the Philosopher because of his erudition, was Librarian at the Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople; he later became a monk with the name of Cyril. The Emperor Michael sent him with his brother Methodios to the Khazars in response to their petition for teachers to expound to them the Christian Faith. On their way, they stayed in Cherson, where they recovered from the Black Sea the relics of Saint Clement of Rome. Later, they were called by Prince Rostislav of Moravia to instruct his people in the Orthodox Faith (Saint Rostislav died a martyr’s death and is commemorated October 15).

    The Saints devised an alphabet for the Slavs derived from the Greek, and used it to translate the Greek books into the language of the people. In their apostolic labours throughout the Balkans, certain Germanic bishops who opposed the use of the vernacular in the church services slandered the holy brothers. Summoned to court at Rome in 867 AD, they presented their Slavonic translations to Pope Adrian II, who received them with love and full approval. Two years later, Saint Cyril reposed in Rome on February 14 and was buried in the Church of Saint Clement. Saint Methodios was made Bishop of Moravia, but at the intrigues of certain Latin clergy, was cast into prison by the “Holy Roman Emperor” (the Germanic Emperor of the West), where he was cruelly tormented for some three years. In 874 AD, through the defence of Pope John VIII, he was freed and made Archbishop of Moravia. Because he reproved the lax morals of the German priests in Moravia, he was soon accused of heresy by them, and was forbidden to celebrate the Liturgy in Slavonic. Summoned to Rome again in 879 AD, he was completely exonerated and allowed once again to use the Slavonic tongue for the divine services. He reposed on April 6, 885 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Since you were equal in character to the Apostles, and teachers of the Slavic lands, O divinely wise Cyril and Methodios, pray to the Lord of all to strengthen all nations in Orthodoxy and unity of thought, to convert and reconcile the world to God, and to save our souls.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    Let us honour our sacred pair of enlighteners, who, by translating the divine writings, have poured forth for us a well-spring of divine knowledge from which we draw abundantly even to this day: We call you blessed, O Cyril and Methodios, you that stand before the throne of the Most High and intercede fervently for our souls.


    Hieromartyr Mocius

    The holy Hieromartyr Mocius, who was of Roman parents, lived during the reign of Diocletian, and was a priest in Amphipolis of Thrace. One day as the idolaters were assembled, and the Proconsul Laodicius was offering sacrifice to Dionysus, Mocius entered the temple and overturned the altar. After many torments, through which he was preserved whole by grace divine, he was sent to Byzantium, where he was beheaded about the year 288. Saint Constantine the Great built a magnificent church in honour of Saint Mocius in Constantinople, where his holy relics were enshrined. He is one of the Holy Unmercenaries.

    Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Mocius in the First Tone

    In serving Christ our King as a priest of His myst’ries, thou wentest forth self-called unto contest, O Mocius, to offer thyself to Him through the pains of a willing death. Wherefore, crowned by Christ both as a priest and a martyr, thou dost heal the ills of all who fervently honour thy holy memorial.

    Kontakion of Hieromartyr Mocius in the Second Tone

    Armed with the breastplate of faith, thou didst turn back the arrays of the ungodly, and didst receive a crown of glory from the Lord, O blessed Mocius. Wherefore, seeing thou rejoicest with the Angels, preserve from all perils them that praise thee, as thou intercedest unceasingly for us all.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Renewal of Constantinople
    Theopemptos the Martyr & his Companions
    Dioscoros the New Martyr
    Argyrios the New-Martyr of Epanomi

  • Epiphanios, Bishop of Cyprus
    Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople
    Theodorus of Cythera
    All day

    Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus

    Saint Epiphanios was born about 310 in Besanduc, a village of Palestine, of Jewish parents who were poor and tillers of the soil. In his youth he came to faith in Christ and was baptized with his sister, after which he distributed all he had to the poor and became a monk, being a younger contemporary of Saint Hilarion the Great (commemorated October 21), whom he knew. He also visited the renowned monks of Egypt to learn their ways of asceticism. The fame of his virtue had spread, and many in Egypt desired to make him a Bishop. When he learned of this, he fled, returning to Palestine. However, after a time he learned that the Bishops there also intended to consecrate him to a widowed Bishopric, and he fled to Cyprus. In Paphos he met Saint Hilarion, who told him to go to Constantia, a city of Cyprus also called Salamis. Epiphanios answered that he preferred to take ship for Gaza, which, despite Saint Hilarion’s admonitions, he did.

    However, a contrary wind brought the ship to Constantia where, by the providence of God, Epiphanios fell into the hands of Bishops who had come together to elect a successor to the newly-departed Bishop of Constantia, and the venerable Epiphanios was at last constrained to be consecrated, about the year 367 AD. He was fluent in Hebrew, Egyptian, Syriac, Greek, and Latin, and because of this, he was called “Five-tongued”. He had the gift of working miracles, and was held in such reverence by all, that although he was a known enemy of heresy, he was well nigh the only eminent bishop that the Arians did not dare to drive into exile when the Emperor Valens persecuted the Orthodox about the year 371 AD. Having tended his flock in a manner pleasing to God, and guarded it undefiled from every heresy, he reposed about the year 403 AD, having lived for 93 years. Among his sacred writings, the one that is held in special esteem is the Panarion (from the Latin Panarium, that is, “Bread-box”), containing the proofs of the truth of the Faith, and an examination of eighty heresies.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

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

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    Let us the faithful duly praise the most wondrous and sacred pair of hierarchs, even Germanus together with the godly Epiphanios; for these righteous Saints of God burned the tongues of the godless with the sacred teachings which they most wisely expounded to all those who in Orthodox belief do ever hymn the great mystery of piety.


    Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople

    Saint Germanos, who was from Constantinople, was born to an illustrious family, the son of Justinian the Patrician. First he became Metropolitan of Cyzicus; in 715 he was elevated to the throne of Constantinople; but because of his courageous resistance to Leo the Isaurian’s impious decree which inaugurated the war upon the holy icons, he was exiled from his throne in 715. He lived the rest of his life in privacy, and reposed about 740, full of days. The fore-most of his writings is that which deals with the Six Ecumenical Councils. He wrote many hymns also, as is apparent from the titles of many stichera and idiomela, among which are those for the Feast of the Meeting in the Temple.

    Apolytikion of Germanos, Patriarch Of Constantinople 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 Germanos, Patriarch Of Constantinople in the Fourth Tone

    Let us the faithful duly praise the most wondrous and sacred pair of hierarchs, even Germanos together with the godly Epiphanios; for these righteous Saints of God burned the tongues of the godless with the sacred teachings which they most wisely expounded to all those who in Orthodox belief do ever hymn the great myst’ry of piety.

    Apolytikion of the Second Thursday after Pascha in the Grave Tone

    Christ our God, You are the Life that dawned from the grave, though the tomb was sealed. Through closed doors You came to the Apostles. You are the Resurrection of all. And, You renewed us through them with an upright spirit, according to Your great mercy.

  • Martyr Glyceria
    Sergios the Confessor
    Martyr Alexandros
    All day

    The Holy Martyr Glyceria

    This Martyr contested in 141 in Trajanopolis of Thrace, during the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. At a heathen festival, when Sabine the Governor of Trajanopolis was offering sacrifice, Saint Glyceria entered the temple and declared herself to be a handmaid of Christ. Sabine commanded her to sacrifice. She went to the statue of Zeus and overturned it, dashing it to pieces. She was subjected to many horrible tortures, and finally was cast to wild beasts; bitten once by one of them, she gave up her soul into the hands of God.

    Apolytikion of Martyr Glyceria in the Fourth Tone

    O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

    Kontakion of Martyr Glyceria in the Third Tone

    Loving Mary ardently, the Theotokos and Virgin, thou didst keep thy maidenhood all uncorrupted and spotless; smitten in thy heart with longing for thy divine Lord, thou didst strive even to death with courageous valour. O Glyceria, for this cause, Christ God doth crown thee with an august twofold crown.

    Apolytikion of second Friday after Pascha in the Grave Tone

    Christ our God, You are the Life that dawned from the grave, though the tomb was sealed. Through closed doors You came to the Apostles. You are the Resurrection of all. And, You renewed us through them with an upright spirit, according to Your great mercy.

  • Martyr Isidore
    All day

    Saint Isidore the Martyr of Chios

    Saint Isidore was a soldier from Alexandria. He came with the Roman fleet to Chios, where he was betrayed as a Christian to Numerian, Commander of the Fleet. Because he boldly professed himself to worship Christ as God and refused to worship any other, he was tormented and beheaded in 251 AD, during the reign of Decius.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contested for You and received the prize of 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 demons’ powerless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    In your holy prayers to God, you have shone brightly, a great guide for all the world. Therefore, we praise you on this day, O Saint, you Martyr of godly mind and boast of Chios, O glorious Isidore.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Holy Hieromartyr Therapontus
    Holy New Martyrs Mark and John
    Serapion the Holy Martyr
    Leontius, Patriarch of Jerusalem

  • Pachomios the Great
    Achillius, Archbishop of Larissa
    All day

    Saint Pachomius the Great

    Saint Pachomius was born of pagan parents in the Upper Thebaid of Egypt. He was conscripted into the Roman army at an early age. While quartered with the other soldiers in the prison in Thebes, Pachomius was astonished at the kindness shown them by the local Christians, who relieved their distress by bringing them food and drink. Upon inquiring who they were, he believed in Christ and vowed that once delivered from the army, he would serve Him all the days of his life. Released from military service, about the year 313, he was baptized, and became a disciple of the hermit Palamon, under whose exacting guidance he increased in virtue and grace, and reached such a height of holiness that “because of the purity of his heart,” says his biographer, “he was, as it were, seeing the invisible God as in a mirror.” His renown spread far, and so many came to him to be his disciples that he founded nine monasteries in all, filled with many thousands of monks, to whom he gave a rule of life, which became the pattern for all communal monasticism after him. While Saint Anthony the Great is the father of hermits, Saint Pachomius is the founder of the cenobitic life in Egypt; because Pachomius had founded a way of monasticism accessible to so many, Anthony said that he “walks the way of the Apostles.” Saint Pachomius fell asleep in the Lord before his contemporaries Anthony and Athanasius the Great, in the year 346. His name in Coptic, Pachom, means “eagle.”

    Apolytikion of Pachomius the Great in the Plagal of the First Tone

    Thou didst prove a chief pastor of the Chief Shepherd, Christ, guiding the flocks of monastics unto the heavenly fold, whence thou learntest of the habit and the way of life that doth befit ascetic ranks; having taught this to thy monks, thou now dancest and rejoicest with them in heavenly dwellings, O great Pachomius, our Father and guide.

    Kontakion of Pachomius the Great in the Second Tone

    Since thou hadst shown forth the life of the Angels while in a body, O God-bearing Pachomius, thou wast also counted worthy of their glory; and with them thou standest before the Lord’s throne, interceding that divine forgiveness be granted unto all.


    Achillius the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Larissa

    achillesSaint Achillius was one of the 318 God-bearing Fathers who were present at the First Ecumenical Council; after returning to Larissa he cast down many pagan temples, delivered many from the demons, and raised up churches to the glory of God. He reposed about the middle of the fourth century.

    Apolytikion of Achillius, Patriarch Of Larissa 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. Achilles, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

    Kontakion of Achillius, Patriarch Of Larissa in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Let us all praise with hymns and songs divine Achillius, the brightly shining and unwaning star of all the world, who is Larissa’s unsleeping and loving shepherd. Let us cry to him: Since thou hast boldness with the Lord, do thou rescue us from every raging storm of life, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father Achillius.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Barbaros the Myrrhbearer of Kerkyra
    Andrew the Hermit & Wonderworker
    Placing of the Honorable Head of the Apostle Titus

  • Theodoros the Sanctified
    All day

    Saint Theodore the Sanctified

    This Saint, who was born in the Upper Thebaid of Christian parents, joined the community of Saint Pachomios at about the age of fourteen years, and became the greatest of his disciples. Because of Theodore’s utter humility and unquestioning obedience, Pachomios called him more and more to his aid in governing the monasteries he had established. Although some found fault with this, because Theodore was younger than they, Pachomios continued to put his confidence in him, to such a degree that once he told the brotherhood, “Theodore and I fulfil the same service for God; and he also has the authority to give commands as father.” Pachomios was succeeded as governor of the monks by Saint Orsiesius in 346, and Orsiesius later took Theodore as his fellow abbot. At Theodore’s death in the year 368, the monks mourned him so bitterly that the sound of their crying was heard on the other side of the river.

    Apolytikion of Theodore the Sanctified in the First Tone

    Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Theodore , 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 Theodore the Sanctified in the Second Tone

    While flourishing like a palm tree in the house of God, thou broughtest forth fruits of virtues through thine excellence in ascetic labours, O righteous Father, sanctified Theodore. Hence, thou art now called blest by all, since thou art a true peer of the bodiless.

    Apolytikion of third Monday after Pascha in the Second Tone

    When You descended to death, O Immortal Life, then, the light of Your divinity destroyed Hades. When You raised the dead from the depths of darkness, all the heavenly powers cried out, “Glory to You our Christ, the Giver of Life.”


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Holy Martyr Peter of Blachernae
    New Martyr Nicholas of Metsovos (1617)
    Nicholas the Mystic, Patriarch of Constantinople
    Alexandros, Archbishop of Jerusalem
    Brendan the Navigator

  • Apostles Andronicus & Junia
    All day

    The Holy Apostles Andronicus and Junia

    These Apostles are mentioned by Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, where he writes: “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the Apostles, who also were in Christ before me” (Rom. 16:7).

    Apolytikion of Andronicus & Junia in the Third Tone

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

    Kontakion of Andronicus & Junia in the Second Tone

    As notable companions of the Apostles and true ministers of Jesus, ye proved to be sacred heralds of His condescension; for having received the grace of the Spirit, O glorious Andronicus and Junia, ye shine like lamps unto the ends of the world.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Holy Godbearing Nectarius, the Builder of the Holy Monastery of Varlaam of Meteora
    Theodotos the Martyr of Ancyra & the 7 Virgin-martyrs
    Athanasios, Archbishop of Christianopolis
    The New Martyrs of Batak, Bulgaria
    Nicholas the Younger who was martyred in Metsovo, Epirus

  • Martyrs Peter, Dionysius, Paul & Companions
    All day

    Holy Martyrs: Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, Christina, Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus

    These Saints all contested in martyrdom during the reign of Decius (249-251)- Peter was from Lampsacus in the Hellespont. For refusing to offer sacrifice to the idol of Aphrodite, his whole body was crushed and broken with chains and pieces of wood on a torture-wheel; having endured this torment courageously, he gave up his soul.

    Paul and Andrew were soldiers from Mesopotamia brought to Athens with their governor, there they were put in charge of two captive Christians, Dionysios and Christina. The soldiers, seeing the beauty of the virgin Christina, attempted to move her to commit sin with them, but she refused and, by her admonitions, brought them to faith in Christ. They and Dionysios were stoned to death, and Christina was beheaded.

    Heraclius, Paulinus, and Benedimus were Athenians, and preachers of the Gospel who turned many of the heathen from their error to the light of Christ. Brought before the governor, they confessed their Faith, and after many torments were beheaded.

    Apolytikion of Martyrs Peter, Dionysius & Paul 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 Martyrs Peter, Dionysius & Paul in the Fourth Tone

    Ye were born of earth, and came from divers cities, but became the citizens of that blest city in the heights, being united in one great choir, O stalwart Martyrs who championed the Trinity.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Julian the Martyr
    Euphrasia the Martyr of Nicea
    Stephen I, Patriarch of Constantinople

  • Hieromartyr Patrick of Prusa
    All day

    Patrick the Hieromartyr and Bishop of Prusa and His Fellow Martyrs Acacius, Menander, and Polyaenus

    St Patrick was Bishop of Prusa, a city in Bithynia (the presentday Brusa or Bursa). Because of his Christian Faith, he was brought before Julius (or Julian) the Consul, who in his attempts to persuade Patrick to worship as he himself did, declared that thanks was owed to the gods for providing the hot springs welling up from the earth for the benefit of men. Saint Patrick answered that thanks for this was owed to our Lord Jesus Christ, and explained that when He, Who is God, created the earth, He made it with both fire and water, and the fire under the earth heats the water, which wells up, producing hot springs; he then explained that there is another fire, which awaits the ungodly. Because of this, he was cast into the hot springs, but it was the soldiers who cast him in, and not he, who were harmed by the hot water. After this, St Patrick was beheaded with the presbyters Acacios, Menander, and Polyaenos. Most likely, this was during the reign of Diocletian (284-305 AD).

    Dismissal Hymn (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 (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    Since the Church has you body as a sacred gem of Jesus Christ, she now rejoices, O blest Patrick, and with joy she cries to you, “Through your prayers, O wise Father, all the world is preserved in peace and tranquillity, and it is kept unharmed and unconquered by any heresy.”

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Our Righteous Father Memnonus the Wonderworker
    Theotima & Kyriake the Martyrs

  • Martyr Thalleleus
    Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow
    All day

    The Holy Martyr Thalleleus

    Saint Thalleleus was from the region of Lebanon in Phoenicia, the son of Berucius, a Christian bishop; his mother’s name was Romula. Raised in piety, he was trained as a physician. Because of the persecution of Numerian, the Saint departed to Cilicia, and in Anazarbus he hid himself in an olive grove; but he was seized and taken to Aegae of Cilicia to Theodore, the ruler. After many torments he was beheaded in 284. Saint Thalleleus is one of the Holy Unmercenaries.

    Apolytikion of Martyr Thalleleus in the Fourth Tone

    Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

    Kontakion of Martyr Thalleleus in the Third Tone

    With the Martyrs of the Lord thou didst contest and wast shown forth as a valiant soldier of the King of Glory, Who crowned thee for the harsh and bitter tortures that thou didst suffer, trampling down the pride of them that worshipped the idols. O Thalleleus, we therefore praise thine august and blessed remembrance today.


    Father Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow

    Our holy and wonderworking Father Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow, was born in Moscow in 1292, and consecrated bishop in 1350. Chosen as Metropolitan in 1354, he was ordained by Ecumenical Patriarch Philotheus. He founded several monasteries, including the first women’s convent in the city of Moscow. From the Greek he translated and wrote out the Holy Gospel. For the good of the Church and his country he twice journeyed to the Horde and did much to propitiate the Khan and ease the burden of the Tartar yoke; he also healed Taidula, the Khan’s wife. His relics are laid to rest in the Chudov Monastery in Moscow, which he founded on land granted him by the Khan and his wife in thanksgiving. Today is the feast of the translation of his holy relics, which took place in 1485, and again in 1686.

    Apolytikion of Father Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow in the Second Tone

    Like most precious treasure hidden many years in the earth, thy venerable and miracle-flowing relics were found, O most blessed Father and Hierarch Alexis; and receiving healing from them, we are enriched and we glorify Christ, saying: Glory to Him Who glorifieth His Saints.

    Kontakion of Father Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Thy venerable and incorrupt relics, hidden for many years, O holy Hierarch Alexis, shine forth unto us from thy sepulchre like an unwaning sun, and through thee we receive grace. Thou dost enrich the whole land and all of us with miracles and blessings by the working of grace. Wherefore, we chant unto thee: Rejoice, O Father, light of Russia.

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Mark the Hermit
    Lydia of Philippi, Equal to the Apostles
    John, Joseph, and Nikitas the Monks of Chios

  • Constantine & Helen
    All day

    Constantine and Helen, Equal-to-the Apostles

    Flavius Valerius Constantinus, the son of the emperor Constantius Chlorus and Helena, was probably born in Naissus, Serbia, on 27 February in 272 or 273 AD. Soon after his father’s death in Britain on 25 June 306, Constantine was raised to the purple by the army and the Praetorian Guard.

    It was not until 312 AD, after defeating his brother-in-law and rival Maxentius at the Milvinian Bridge, that Constantine became the senior ruler of the Roman Empire. It was at this battle that Constantine adopted his famous battle banner (Labarum) as the champion and sign of Christianity. As it is related, Constantine found himself at a decisive crossroads, not only of his own career but also of the future of the Roman Empire.

    He had defeated Maxentius, but the outcome of the impeding confrontation was very much in doubt. While deeply concerned about his ability to defeat Maxentius, Constantine, on the evening of 27 October 312, had a vision of a cross in the sky outside of the city of Rome. On the four sides of the cross he saw written the Greek words “EN-TOU-TW-NI-KA” (BY THIS YOU SHALL WIN). Constantine immediately ordered a battle standard of the design and words he had seen in the sky and placed it as the head of his army as he began to march against Maxentius. Maxentius’ army was annihilated and he himself was drowned in the Tiber river. Shortly afterwards, the Christian faith not only was tolerated in the Empire but accorded imperial favour. In 313, Constantine and his other brother-in-law and rival Licinius met at Milan and agreed to legally recognise the Christian Church and to tolerate all religions equally without any interference from the state. This decision has come to be known as the Edict of Milan. In 314, 316, and 324, he repeatedly defeated his last remaining rival Licinius. Once he had overcome him, he was the undisputed ruler of the Roman Empire.

    Constantine’s policy from the beginning was to bring the Christian Church into close relationship to the point of identification between Church and State. This resulted in his being concerned with the internal affairs of the Church even though he was not a baptised Christian himself and never became such until shortly before his death.

    Divergent teachings within the Church had appeared very early. Some of them became heresies and began to seriously disturb the Church. In 313, the Donatist schismatics in Africa appealed to Constantine to adjudicate their controversy with the Church of that province. At their request, Constantine referred the case first to a commission of bishops and then to a Synod (Arles 314). When the controversy continued, Constantine decided to hear the case himself in 316. In all trials the verdict was against the Donatists. In answer, they attacked not only their ecclesiastical authorities but also the imperial government encouraged riots and raids. Constantine found himself obliged to apply his verdict with repressive measures. This Donatist controversy is the first instance in which the internal affairs of the Christian Church were brought before an Emperor to be adjudicated. This opened the way for a de facto identification between Church and State and granted the head of the state the right not only to intervene in the internal affairs of the Church, but to issue as well binding decisions. It is from this point on that in terms of reality the Orthodox Church became a state religion with all advantages and disadvantages that a marriage of this kind has yielded to her through the ages.

    A few years later and in answer to another and more serious controversy within the Church, the Arian dispute about the Person of Christ, Constantine convened the 1st Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in Bithynia during June, 325. The emperor himself presided over this very important Universal Council of the Christian Church although he himself was still not baptised Christian. As it is known, this Council resulted in the complete victory for Orthodoxy and in the statement of most of the articles of the Creed which we today and is known as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. The Nicaean Council also established a special, privileged, status for the Bishop of Jerusalem. At the same time, Constantine uncovered the site of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in Jerusalem, and built on it the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

    The Nicene Council was the most profound event of Constantine’s reign because it set a precedent for future Councils. When either the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Churches have major dogmatic or disciplinary problems to resolve, they would convene an Ecumenical Council to settle them.

    Constantine gradually broke away from the old traditions of Rome and after his victory at Chrysopolis in Asia Minor against Licinius (324), he became sole Emperor and immediately moved his capital from Rome to Byzantium which he rebuilt, gave it his name. Constantine had the city officially dedicated on 11 May. The city was only an imperial residence until 359 when it became the official capital of the empire.

    All through his reign he went to great pains to bring peace within the Church and between pagans and Christians. It is difficult to state at which time he decided to embrace Christianity, but his attitude towards the Christian religion was consistently one, not only of believing but of rearing a deep and lasting respect for it. The fact that he was baptised just before his death does not prove that he was not a practicing Christian before that, but rather points to the practice at the time of deferring baptism because of fear of sinning after it and thus proving unable to be saved – as a current teaching was wrongly advocated. In 321 AD, he decreed that Sunday be observed as a public holiday. He liberally endowed church buildings, especially at Holy Places in Palestine, such as the Church of Resurrection which his mother Helena had erected.

    The centralisation of the Empire at Constantinople as the locus of power, and Constantine’s preference for Christianity opened the way for an increasing control of the Eastern Church by the Emperor of Byzantium. In contrast, the Church in the West and its heading bishop, the Bishop of Rome, was allowed by circumstance to carry on his ecclesiastical leadership unhindered by State influence and intervention. Thus, the Bishop of Rome became the more prominent figure, lay or ecclesiastical, in the west. It is from the 4th century that the Papacy began to assume its ever increasing secular importance and the monocratic position it reached in the Middle Ages.

    Constantine tempered the criminal law and the laws on debts, improved the conditions of slavery, and provided for poor children; as a result exposing unwanted babies was lessened. He freed celibates and unmarried persons from special taxation, introduced laws against sexual licentiousness, and exempted Christian clergy from military service. Constantine died on 22 May 337 AD near Nicomedia on his way east to fight the Persians. For his services to the Christian Church, Constantine has been named the 13th Apostle by the Orthodox Church and is venerated as a Saint together with his mother Helena.

    Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    Your servant Constantine, O Lord and only Lover of Man, beheld the figure of the Cross in the Heavens, and like Paul, not having received his call from men, but as an Apostle among rulers set by Your hand over the royal city, he preserved lasting peace through the prayers of the Theotokos.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    With his mother Helen, Constantine today brings to light the precious Cross: the shame of unbelievers, the weapon of Orthodox Christians against their enemies, for it is manifest for us as a great and fearful sign in struggle!


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Pachomios the New Martyr

  • Martyr Vasilikos, Bishop of Comana
    All day

    Saint Vasilikos the Martyr was from the city of Amasia on the Black Sea, and a nephew of Saint Theodore the Tyro (commemorated February 17). When his fellow Martyrs Eutropius and Cleonicus had been crucified (commemorated March 8), Vasilikos was shut up in prison. As he was praying the Lord to count him also worthy to finish his course as a martyr, the Lord appeared to him, telling him first to go to his kinsmen and bid them farewell, which he did. When it was learned that he had left the prison, soldiers came after him, and brought him to Comana of Cappadocia, compelling him to walk in iron shoes set with nails. He was beheaded at Comana, and his body was cast into the river, during the reign of Diocletian (284-305 AD).

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Your martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received the prize of 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 demons’ powerless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Holy New Martyrs Demetrius and Paul of Tripoli
    John-Vladimir, Ruler of Serbia

  • Michael the Confessor, Bishop of Synadon
    All day

    This Saint was from Synnada in Phrygia of Asia Minor. In Constantinople he met Saint Theophylact (see Mar. 8); the holy Patriarch Tarasius, learning that Michael and Theophylact desired to become monks, sent them to a monastery on the Black Sea. Because of their great virtue, Saint Tarasius afterwards compelled them to accept consecration, Theophylact as Bishop of Nicomedia, and Michael as Bishop of his native Synnada. Because Saint Michael fearlessly confessed the veneration of the holy icons, he was banished by the Iconoclast Emperor Leo V the Armenian, who reigned from 813 to 820. After being driven from one place to another, in many hardships and bitter pains, Saint Michael died in exile.

    Apolytikion of Michael, Bishop Of Synnada in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Michael, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

    Kontakion of Michael, Bishop Of Synnada in the Fourth Tone

    Having dawned upon the world like a great daystar, thou dost shine upon all men with thy great virtues as with light and with the rays of thy miracles, namesake of Angels and worker of miracles.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Mary the Myrrhbearer and wife of Cleopas

  • Symeon the Stylite
    All day

    Symeon the Stylite of the Mountain

    Saint Symeon, the “New Stylite,” was born in Antioch; John his father was from Edessa, and Martha his mother was from Antioch. From his childhood he was under the special guidance of Saint John the Baptist and adopted an extremely ascetical way of life. He became a monk as a young man, and after living in the monastery for a while he ascended upon a pillar, and abode upon it for eighteen years. Then he came to Wondrous Mountain, and lived in a dry and rocky place, where after ten years he mounted another pillar, upon which he lived in great hardship for forty-five years, working many miracles and being counted worthy of divine revelations. He reposed in 595, at the age of eighty-five years, seventy-nine of which he had passed in asceticism.

    Apolytikion of Symeon the Stylite in the First Tone

    Thou becamest a pillar of patience and didst emulate the Forefathers, O righteous one: Job in his sufferings, Joseph in temptations, and the life of the bodiless while in the body, O Symeon, our righteous Father, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion of Symeon the Stylite in the Second Tone

    Desiring the heights, thou wast translated from the earth; thy pillar was made a second Heaven by thy toils; by it, thou didst shine with the splendour of great wonders, O righteous one. And thou ever prayest to Christ the God of all in behalf of all of us.


    Saint Vincent of Lerins

    Saint Vincent was born in Toul in Gaul; he was the brother of Saint Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, who was a companion of Saint Germanus of Auxerre. Saint Vincent was first a soldier, then left the world to become a monk of the renowned monastery of Lerins, where he was also ordained priest. He is known for his Commonitorium, which he wrote as an aid to distinguish the true teachings of the Church from the confusions of heretics; his most memorable saying is that Christians must follow that Faith which has been believed “everywhere, always, and by all.” He wrote the Commonitorium about the year 434, three years after the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus, which he mentions in the Commonitorium, and defends calling the holy Virgin Theotokos, “She who gave birth to God,” in opposition to the teachings of Nestorius which were condemned at the Third Council.

    Without identifying by name Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Saint Vincent condemns his doctrine of Grace and predestination, calling it heresy to teach of “a certain great and special and altogether personal grace of God [which is given to the predestined elect] without any labour, without any effort, without any industry, even though they neither ask, nor seek, nor knock” (Commonitorium, ch. XXVI). See also Saint John Cassian, February 29; Saint John Cassian wrote his refutations before, and Saint Vincent after, the condemnation of Nestorius at the Third Council in 431, and the death of Augustine in 430. Saint Vincent reposed in peace about the year 445.

    Apolytikion of Saint Vincent of Lerins in the Fourth Tone

    With wisdom hast thou made plain to all the Orthodox Faith as that which alone hath been believed and honoured by all men, always and everywhere, also showing heresy to be innovation, groundless and unstable as a gust in a tempest. O Vincent, thine invincible prayers shelter the Church of God.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Meletios the Commander and his Companion Martyrs
    Gregory, Archbishop of Novgorod

  • Third Finding of the Precious Head of St John the Baptist
    All day

    Because of the vicissitudes of time, the venerable head of the holy Forerunner was lost for a third time and rediscovered in Comana of Cappadocia through a revelation to ‘a certain priest, but it was found not, as before, in a clay jar, but in a silver vessel, and “in a sacred place.” It was taken from Comana to Constantinople and was met with great solemnity by the Emperor, the Patriarch, and the clergy and people. See also February 24.

    Apolytikion of Third Discovery of the Head of the Forerunner in the Fourth Tone

    Christ God hath revealed to us thy truly venerable head as a divine treasure that had been concealed in the earth, O Prophet and Forerunner. Wherefore, as we gather on the feast of its finding, with our hymns inspired of God, we praise Christ the Saviour, Who by thy mighty prayers save us from every kind of harm.

    Kontakion of Third Discovery of the Head of the Forerunner in the Second Tone

    Since we have obtained thy 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, thou preachest repentance unto all the world.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Therapon the Hieromartyr, Bishop of Cyprus
    Memory of the Finding of the Holy Icon of Saint Demetrios the Great-Martyr and Myrrh-Streamer in Syria
    Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne

  • Carpos & Alphaeus of the 70
    All day

    Carpos and Alphaeus, Apostles of the Seventy

    Saint Carpos and Saint Alphaeus were numbered with the Seventy, and ministered to the holy Apostle Paul, journeying with him and conveying his epistles to those to whom they were written. Saint Carpos became Bishop of Beroea in Thrace, where he endured great tribulations while bringing many of the heathen to holy Baptism, and suffered martyrdom there. Saint Paul mentions him in 2 Timothy 4:13.

    Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)

    O Holy Apostles Carpos and Alphaeus, intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    Having you, O venerable Apostles Carpos and Alphaeus, as bright and shining stars, the Church is ever made to shine with your innumerable miracles. Save them that faithfully honour your memories.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Alexandros the New Martyr of Thessaloniki
    George the New of Sofia
    Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury

  • John the Russian of Evia
    Hieromartyr Helladius
    All day

    John the Russian of Evia

    The Holy New Confessor John, a native of Russia, was captured during the Russian campaign against the Turks in 1711 and was thereafter sold into slavery in Asia Minor. In this condition he struggled to serve God in piety even while he served his earthly master in all that was needful. He remained steadfast in the Christian Faith in the face of the many enticements the Moslems provided to lure him to their error, and was granted the grace to work miracles by his prayers. He reposed in peace in 1730. His relics remained incorrupt and are found at New Procopion of Euboia in Greece.

    Apolytikion of John the Russian Confessor in the Fourth Tone

    He that hath called thee from earth unto the heavenly abodes, doth even after thy death keep thy body unharmed, O righteous one; for thou wast carried off as a prisoner to Asia, wherein also, O John, thou didst win Christ as thy friend. Wherefore, do thou beseech Him that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion of John the Russian Confessor in the Fourth Tone

    The all-holy mem’ry of thy splendid contests on this day is come to us, and it doth gladden and rejoice the souls of all them that honour thee with faith and rev’rence, O most righteous Father John.


    The Holy Hieromartyr Helladius

    Concerning Saint Helladius, little is known except that he was a bishop who refused to sacrifice to idols, and that during his martyrdom our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him and healed him of his wounds, after which he was cast into fire and was preserved unharmed, suffered further torments, and finally was beaten to death with the blows of fists.

    Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Helladius 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 Helladius. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion of Hieromartyr Helladius in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Since thou didst flourish like a fair and fruitful olive tree, thou as an athlete that contended well and won the crown showest kindness unto all that seek grace and mercy. Do thou guide us unto knowledge of the Most High God as a Martyr and bright luminary of the Faith; for we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father Helladius.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Theodora the Virgin-martyr & Didymos the Martyr
    Venerable Bede

  • Hieromartyr Eutychius
    All day

    The Holy Hieromartyr Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene

    All information concerning this Martyr has been lost, except that he presented himself before the tyrants, mocked the idols, suffered many unspeakable torments, and was finally drowned in the sea.

    Apolytikion of Martyr Eutychius 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 Eutychius. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Nikitas, Bishop of Chalcedon
    Helikonis the Martyr
    Heladios the Hieromartyr of the East
    Zacharias the New Martyr

  • Martyr Theodosia
    All day

     Theodosia the Virgin-Martyr of Tyre

    The holy Virgin-martyr Theodosia was born in Tyre of Phoenicia. At the age of eighteen she was seized in Caesarea of Palestine during a persecution and was brought before Urban the ruler. Because she refused to offer sacrifice to the idols, her sides and breasts were mercilessly scraped even to the inward parts and bones. She endured this in silence with astonishing courage. When Urban again asked her to sacrifice, she mocked him, and after being tormented even more horribly than before, she was cast into the sea in the year 308 AD.

    The Virgin Martyr Theodosia of Constantinople lived during the eighth century. She was born in answer to the fervent prayers of her parents. After their death, she was raised at the women’s monastery of the holy Martyr Anastasia in Constantinople. St Theodosia became a nun after she distributed to the poor of what remained of her parental inheritance. She used part of the money to commission gold and silver icons of the Saviour, the Theotokos, and St Anastasia.

    When Leo the Isaurian (717-741 AD) ascended the imperial throne, he issued an edict to destroy holy icons everywhere. Above the Bronze Gates at Constantinople was a bronze icon of the Saviour, which had been there for more than 400 years. In 730 AD, the iconoclast Patriarch Anastasius ordered the icon removed.

    The Virgin Martyr Theodosia and other women rushed to protect the icon and toppled the ladder with the soldier who was carrying out the command. Then they stoned the impious Patriarch Anastasius, and Emperor Leo ordered soldiers to behead the women. St. Theodosia, an ardent defender of icons, was locked up in prison. For a week they gave her a hundred lashes each day. On the eighth day, they led her about the city, fiercely beating her along the way. One of the soldiers stabbed the nun in the throat with a ram’s horn, and she received the crown of martyrdom.

    The body of the holy virgin martyr was reverently buried by Christians in the monastery of St. Euphemia in Constantinople, near a place called Dexiokratis. The tomb of St. Theodosia was glorified by numerous healings of the sick.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    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 (Second Tone)

    Through labours you have inherited life free of pain; with streams of your blood, O all-praised maiden, you drowned the vile lion, who is the most abhorrent enemy of Christ’s Church. As you now rejoice with Christ, unceasingly pray on behalf of our soul’s.


    Theodosia, Virgin-Martyr of Constantinople

    Theodosia_the_Virgin-Martyr_of_ConstantinopleThe Righteous Martyr Theodosia, having Constantinople as her homeland, struggled in asceticism in her own convent, which was located in that same imperial city. Filled with zeal for the veneration of the holy icons, she withstood Emperor Leo the Isaurian’s impious command that the icons be destroyed. She received the martyr’s crown when a soldier of the imperial guard plunged a ram’s horn through her throat, about the year 717.

    Apolytikion of Virgin Martyr Theodosia of Constantinople in the Fourth Tone

    O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

    Kontakion of Virgin Martyr Theodosia of Constantinople in the Second Tone

    Through labours hast thou inherited life free of pain; with streams of thy blood, O all-praised maiden, thou didst drown the vile lion, who is the most abhorrent enemy of Christ’s Church. As thou now rejoicest with Christ, unceasingly pray thou in our soul’s behalf.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Andrew the New Martyr of Argentes
    John of Smyrna the New Martyr

  • Isaac founder of Dalmatos
    All day

    Isaac, Abbot of the Monastery of Dalmatus

    “Saint Isaac lived during the fourth century, received monastic tonsure and pursued ascetic labors in the desert. During the reign of the emperor Valens (364-378), a zealous adherent of the Arian heresy, there was a persecution of the Orthodox, and churches were closed and destroyed. Hearing of the persecution, Saint Isaac left the wilderness and went to Constantinople to console and encourage the Orthodox, and to fight against the heretics. At that time, barbarian Goths along the River Danube were making war against the Empire. They seized Thrace and advanced toward Constantinople.

    When the emperor Valens was leaving the capital with his soldiers, Saint Isaac cried out, “Emperor, unlock the churches of the Orthodox, and then the Lord will aid you!” But the emperor, disdaining the words of the monk, confidently continued on his way. The saint repeated his request and prophecy three times. The angry emperor ordered Saint Isaac to be thrown into a deep ravine, filled with thorns and mud, from which it was impossible to escape. Saint Isaac remained alive by God’s help, and he emerged, overtook the emperor and said, “You wanted to destroy me, but three angels pulled me from the mire. Hear me, open up the churches for the Orthodox and you shall defeat the enemy. If, however, you do not heed me, then you shall not return. You will be captured and burned alive.” The emperor was astonished at the saint’s boldness and ordered his attendants Saturninus and Victor to take the monk and hold him in prison until his return.

    Saint Isaac’s prophecy was soon fulfilled. The Goths defeated and pursued the Greek army. The emperor and his Arian generals took refuge in a barn filled with straw, and the attackers set it afire.

    [When his surviving soldiers returned from the war, wishing to tempt the Saint, they came to [Saint Isaac] and said, “Prepare to make thy defense before the Emperor, who is coming to fulfil what he spoke against thee.” But the Saint answered, “It has already been seven days that I smelled the stink of his bones, which were burned in the fire.” Thus the righteous one was released from prison. After receiving news of the emperor’s death, they released Saint Isaac and honored him as a prophet.

    Then the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395) came to the throne. On the advice of Saturninus and Victor, he summoned the Elder, treating him with great respect. Obeying his instructions, he banished the Arians from Constantinople and restored the churches to the Orthodox. Saint Isaac wanted to return to his desert, but Saturninus and Victor begged him not to leave the city, but to remain and protect it by his prayers.

    Saturninus built a monastery for the saint in Constantinople, where monks gathered around him. Saint Isaac was the monastery’s igumen and spiritual guide. He also nourished laypeople, and helped many of the poor and suffering.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Macrina, grandmother of Saint Basil the Great
    Barlaam the Monk of Caesarea
    Natalios the Martyr
    Emilia, mother of Saint Basil the Great

  • Hermias the Martyr at Comana
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    Hermias the Martyr at Comana

    Holy Martyr Hermias suffered for Christ in the city of Comana during the persecution under the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). The governor Sebastian, who was in Cappadocia to arrest Christians, urged the saint to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, promising him honors and mercy from the emperor.

    The old soldier bravely confessed his faith in Christ. After long exhortation, the governor gave orders to torture the saint. They beat him on the face so that the skin peeled from his face, and they threw him into a red-hot oven. When the oven was opened after three days, the martyr Hermias emerged from it unharmed.

    The governor Sebastian ordered the sorcerer Marus to poison St. Hermias with a potion. The poisonous drink did the saint no harm. A second goblet with even stronger poison also failed to kill the saint. The sorcerer believed in Christ the Savior, and was immediately beheaded. St. Marus was baptized in his own blood, and received a martyr’s crown.

    St. Hermias was subjected to even more terrible tortures. They raked his body with sharp instruments, threw him in boiling oil, and gouged out his eyes, but he gave thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they suspended the martyr head downward. For three days he hung in this position.

    People sent by the governor to verify his death found him alive. Struck by the miracle, they were blinded with fright and began to call out to the saint to help them. The holy martyr ordered the blind to approach him, and healed them in the Name of Jesus Christ.

    In anger the governor ordered the skin flayed from the saint’s body, but he remained alive. Then the crazed Sebastian beheaded him with his own sword. Christians secretly buried the body of the martyr Hermias, whose relics bestowed numerous healings.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received the prize of 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 demons’ powerless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Martyrs Eusebios & Haralambos
    Eustathios, Patriarch of Constantinople