• Martyr Eudokia
    All day

    Eudokia was a woman of Samaria who lived during the second century in Heliopolis. She was a pagan of immense beauty and became very wealthy by attracting wealthy lovers. As a harlot she never considered the Day of Judgement or the state of her soul. One day, a pious monk by the name of Germanos stayed at a house next to Eudokia. One evening he sat on the window sill reading out loud from a book describing the Last Judgement of the world. From her window Eudokia listened curiously. What she heard both frightened her and fascinated her. The next day she invited Germanos to explain about the Christian faith.

    The good monk spoke to her about the love of Christ for all sinners. Eudokia wanted to believe, but it all sounded too good to be true. “Could she also be saved?” she asked. Germanos told her to remain alone in her chamber and receive no-one for one week, whilst she prayed and fasted. He told her that she would then receive a vision which would assure her of the Creator’s love for all human beings, including her. Surely this came true, and after seeing a vision of Archangel Michael she confessed Christ as the only True God. Germanos Baptised her and became her Spiritual Father.

    Eudokia was thirty years old when she gave herself over completely to the service of Jesus Christ. Her first act was to build a monastery near the city of Baalbeck, where she administered the disposition of her vast wealth to projects for charity. In a short time her monastery became a beacon which attracted thousands of spiritually as well as physically starved people, and St Eudokia became famous for the beauty of her soul as well as her face, acquiring in the process of her noble work a proximity to God no treasure could buy.

    The stream of suitors to the palace became a river of pilgrims to her monastery, but there was one suitor named Philostratos who was persistent enough to seek her out in the hope of securing favor before her fortune had been dissipated. Eudokia refused to help him, and, when in his anger he seemed struck dead by the Lord, she prayed to God for his recovery. Brought back to his senses, he was easily converted to Christianity. The continual conversion of so many pagans by St Eudokia brought down upon her the full wrath of the Syrian officials, who had her beheaded on 1st March 107 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    In you the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up your cross, you followed Christ, and by your deeds you taught us to overlook the flesh, for it passes away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Therefore, O righteous Eudocia, your spirit rejoices with the Angels.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    You Who was raised up

    When you was brought up from the mire of transgression, like a most precious stone whose brightness is darkened, repentance made you shine again with godliness; and when you reached the height of ascetical striving, Christ made you illustrious with the glory of context, and has bestowed on you His grace to heal, O wise Eudocia, you rival of angel-kind.


    Also Celebrated Today:

    • Andonina the New Martyr
    • David the Archbishop
  • Hesychios the Martyr
    Nicholas Plana
    All day

    Hesychius the Martyr

    Holy Martyr Hesychios was the first and the leader in the royal palace and the Senate during the reign of king Maximian in 302 A.D. When Maximian ordered that all Christians who were royal soldiers ought to be deprived of their belt (which was a sign of their royal merit) and live as civilians and without honour, many Christians preferred to live without any outward honour due to this illegal order than to be honoured and lose their soul. Saint Hesychios was numbered with these Christians, and when the emperor heard this, he ordered that the Saint ought to be stripped of the expensive clothes, which he used to wear, and be dressed with a shabby mantle without sleeves woven from hair and to be as disgraced and disdained as to consort with women.

    When this had been carried out, the king asked him, “Aren’t you ashamed, Hesychios, that you lost the honour and office of magistrianus and that you have been debased to this kind of life? Or maybe you don’t know that the Christians, whose way of life you preferred, have no power to restore you to your previous great honour and office?” The saint replied, “Your honour, O emperor, is temporary but the honour and glory which Christ gives is eternal and without end”. Because of these words the emperor got angry and ordered his men to tie a great millstone around the Saint’s neck and throw him in the middle of river Orontus, which lies in Coele Syria and which is commonly called Oronge. Thus, the blessed man received the crown of martyrdom from the Lord.

     Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    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.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    You Who was raised up

    When you followed in the steps of the Martyrs, you ascended to the height of divine love, which made you godlike, O most wise Hesychios; when you forsaked the court of an emperor that was earthly, you was honoured in the courts of the King of the Angels; and cast into the river, you found the living water of true and eternal life.


    Our Holy Father Nicholas Planas

    nicholasplanasSaint Nicholas Planas was born in 1851 A.D. on the island of Naxos in Greece. He was married as a teenager and soon after ordained to the diaconate and then the priesthood. His wife reposed soon after and so he assumed the burden of being a widowed father and a parish priest. He was known for his zeal in serving the liturgy, especially his habit of serving the Divine Liturgy every day for 50 years. Many altar boys would see him radiating light or raised off the ground while serving the liturgy. Being so revered by his parishioners, he became known as “Papa,” which is an affectionate term for a parish priest. Papa Nicholas reposed in 1932 and was formally canonized as a saint in 1992.


    Also Celebrated Today:

    • Andronikos & Athanasia the Martyrs
    • Theodotos the Holy Martyr, Bishop of Cyrenia
    • Joachim of Vatopedi who was given the name Papoulakis
    • Euthalia the Virgin-Martyr of Sicily
    • Chad, Bishop of Lichfield
  • Holy Martyrs Eutropios, Kleonikos and Vasiliskos
    All day

    Holy Martyrs Eutropios, Kleonikos and Vasiliskos suffered in the city of Pontine Amasia (Asia Minor) in about the year 308. The brothers Eutropios and Kleonikos, and Vasiliskos the nephew of the Great Martyr Theodore of Tyro (commemorated February 17), were comrades. After the martyric death of St Theodore, they wound up in prison and by their preaching brought many of the pagans in prison with them to the Christian Faith.

    When he tortured St Theodore, Publios perished shamefully, struck down by divine wrath. Asclepiodotos was chosen as ruler of Amasia, and was more inhumane than his predecessor. Knowing the comrades of St Theodore the Recruit were all in prison, the governor commanded that they be brought to him. Sts. Eutropios, Kleonikos and Vasiliskos thus firmly confessed their faith in Christ before this new governor. They were mercilessly beaten, so that their bodies were entirely bruised.

    At the time of torture St Eutropios prayed loudly to the Saviour, “Grant us, O Lord, to endure these wounds for the sake of the crown of martyrdom, and help us, as You helped Your servant Theodore”. In answer to the saint’s prayer, the Lord Himself appeared to the martyrs with His angels and the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit, saying to them, “Behold, the Savior has come to help you, that you may know life eternal”.

    Soldiers and many of the people standing nearby were also granted to behold the Saviour. They began to urge Asclepiodotos to halt the tortures. Seeing that the people were distraught and ready to believe in the true God, the governor commanded the martyrs to be taken away. The governor then invited St Eutropios to supper and urged him to offer public sacrifice to the pagan gods, yet remain a Christian in soul. Eutropios refused this offer. On the following day they brought the martyrs to a pagan temple, to force them to offer sacrifice. Eutropios began to entreat the Saviour, “Lord, be with us, and destroy the raging of the pagans. Grant that on this place the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Christians be offered to You, the true God”. These last words of prayer had no sooner been spoken, than an earthquake began, the walls of the temple collapsed, and the statue of the goddess Artemis was smashed to bits. Everyone fled from the temple so as not to be crushed among the rubble. In the noise of the earthquake a voice was heard from on high, “Your prayer has been heard, and on this place a house of Christian prayer shall be built”.

    When the earthquake ended, the governor Asclepiodotos, barely recovered from his fright, gave orders to drive high wooden stakes into the ground, tie the martyrs to them and pour boiling tar over them. The saints began to pray to God, and Eutropios cried out turning to the torturers, “May the Lord turn your deed against you!”

    The tar began to flow beside the bodies of the martyrs, like water with marble, scorching the torturers. Those seeing this fled in terror, but the governor in his bitterness gave orders to rake their bodies with iron hooks and to sting their wounds with mustard mixed with salt and vinegar. The saints endured these torments with remarkable firmness. The night before their execution the saints spent their time at prayer, and again the Lord appeared to them and strengthened them. On the morning of March 3, Sts. Eutropios and Kleonikos were crucified, but Vasiliskos was left in prison. St Vasiliskos was executed on May 22 in the city of Komana. They beheaded him, and threw his body into a river, but Christians found his relics and buried them in a ploughed field. Later at Komana a church was built and dedicated to St Vasiliskos.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    Your Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of perfection 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 (Fourth Tone)

    On this day You have appeared

    Since divine Eutropios and Vasiliskos and the famed Kleonikos were bound in unity of faith, they cut asunder the foe’s arrays when they contended courageously for the Lord.

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Theodoretos the Holy Martyr of Antioch
    • Nonnita, mother of Saint David
  • Gerasimos of Jordan
    All day

    St Gerasimos feared God from childhood and, after he became a monk, he went to the deepest parts of the desert of Thebais. He reached such a height of virtue and was graced with such intimacy with God, because he had preserved his image and likeness so pure, that he even had authority over wild beasts. A lion used to attend upon him and among other things, this lion used to graze the donkey, which fetched water to the Saint. Once some merchants passed from that place, and when they saw the donkey, they stole it. The lion was sleeping and did not feel a thing. So, in the evening he returned to the Saint without having the donkey with him, as usual.

    When the Saint’s servant saw the lion alone, he told the elder that the lion had eaten the donkey. Therefore, the poor lion was condemned to carry the pitchers on his back and fetch water from the river instead of the donkey, for as long as the merchants kept it. However, the same merchants happened to pass from that place again and they had the donkey with them. As soon as the lion saw the donkey, he recognised it and rushed at the merchants with a loud roar. The people got scared and left. Together with the donkey the lion brought to St Gerasimos’ cell the camels which were tied on it. Knocking with his tail on the door of the Saint’s cell, he acted as if to show that he was offering them to the elder as game.

    When the Saint saw this thing, he smiled a bit and said to his disciple, “We wrongly accused the innocent lion that he had eaten the donkey. So, now we have to liberate him from his labour and allow him to go and graze at his usual place”. Then the lion bowed his head, as if he had reason, and taking his leave from the Saint he went to the wilderness. Once every week he used to come and bow before the Saint. After Gerasimos died, the lion came, as his habit was, and asked to venerate him. However, when he did not find him, he seemed to be sad and angry. With many signs, the Saint’s disciple helped him feel that the elder had died. The lion lamented the elder’s death with a fine roar and seemed to be looking for the Saint’s grave. When the disciple led him to it, the lion fell on it and with a loud roar he breathed his last due to his extreme pain which he suffered from his love for the Saint. This is how God glorifies those who glorify Him and makes wild beasts submit to those who keep His image and likeness pure.

    St Gerasimos was at the Fourth Ecumenical Synod at Chalcedon in 451 AD. He at first leaned toward the Monophysite heresy, but was persuaded of the truth by St Euthymios, and was a great champion of Orthodoxy at the Synod. St Gerasimos reposed in 475 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (First Tone)

    You proved to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Gerasimos, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer you obtained heavenly gifts, and you heal the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to you with faith. Glory to Him that has given you strength. Glory to him that has crowned you. Glory to Him that works healings for all through you.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    On this day You have appeared

    As a star resplendent with the light of virtues, you made the wilderness of Jordan radiantly shine with beams of sacred celestial light, O righteous Father, God-bearing Gerasimos.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Paul & his sister Juliana and their Companions
    • Daniel, Prince of Moscow
    • Gregory, Bishop of Constance
  • Konon the Gardener
    Mark the Ascetic
    All day

    Saint Konon the Gardener

    St Konon the Gardener lived during the reign of Emperor Decios in 251 AD. St Koron came from the town of Nazareth, and travelled to the city of Mandron, in the province of Pamphylia. There he stayed at a place called Karmela or Karmena cultivating a garden, which he used to water and plant with various vegetables, and he obtained what is necessary for life from the garden. He had such an upright and simple mind that, when he met those who wished to arrest him and saw that they greeted him, he also greeted in return from the bottom of his soul and heart.

    When they told him that governor Publios called the Saint to go to him, the Saint answered with simplicity, “What does the governor need me, since I am a Christian? Let him call those who think the way he does and have the same religion with him.” So, the blessed man was tied and brought to the governor, who tried to move him to sacrifice to the idols”. But the Saint sighed from the bottom of his heart, cursed the tyrant and confirmed his faith in Christ with his confession, saying that it is not possible to be moved from it even though he might be tortured cruelly. So, for this reason they nailed his feet and made the Saint run in front of the governor’s coach, however, the Saint fainted in the street. Having fallen on his knees, he prayed and, thus, he commended his holy soul to the hands of God.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received the prize of the crowns of perfection 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)

    You Who was raised up

    Through the angelic vision that you were granted, you were instructed in the Faith of Christ Jesus and received the power to work miracles. Therefore, you utterly quelled the demons’ presumption, and quenched deception’s flames in the floods of your contest. O righteous Martyr Konon, pray Christ God, the Friend of man to be gracious to us all.


    Mark the Ascetic

    Saint Mark the Ascetic lived in the fifth century and according to Nicephorus Callistus was a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom’s. Besides his blameless life of asceticism, Saint Mark was distinguished for his writings, some of which are preserved in Volume One of the Philokalia. His writings were held in such great esteem that in old times there was a saying, “Sell all that thou hast, and buy Mark.”


    Righteous Father Mark of Athens

    Of our righteous Fathers commemorated today, Saint Mark of Athens lived in the fourth century. Born in Athens of pagan parents, he believed in Christ, was baptized, and forsook the world, living the eremitical life in extreme privation in the deep wilderness beyond Egypt. His life is recounted by the monk Serapion, who found Mark in deep old age and about to depart this lfe, not having seen a man for ninety-five years. Serapion gave him burial after his blessed repose, even as Paphnutius had done for Saint Onuphrius (see June 12).


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • John the Bulgarian
    • Mark the Faster
    • Parthenios the New Martyr who contested in Didymoteichos
    • George the New-Martyr of Rapsani
    • Eulogios the Martyr
    • Conon the Isaurian
    • Archelaos the Martyr of Egypt
  • 42 Martyrs of Amorion
    All day

    The Forty-Two Martyrs, men of high rank in the Roman (Byzantine) army, were taken captive when the city of Amorion in Phrygia fell to the Moslem Arabs in 838 AD, during the reign of Theophilus the Iconoclast. Among them were Aetios and Melissenos, the generals; Theodore, the chief of the imperial ceremonial bodyguard; Crateros, the eunuch; Callistos, Constantine, Bassoes, and Theophilios, who were military officials; and certain others who held important positions. Because of their experience in war and their virtue, the Moslems did not slay them, but tried by all means to convert them to Islam and have them to fight in their own campaigns. They kept the holy Martyrs shut up in a dark dungeon in the city of Samarra in Syria, threatening and abusing them, making promises of glorious rank and magnificent riches, keeping them in hunger, oppression, and darkness, not for a few weeks, or a few months, but for seven full years. Finally, unable to break the courage and faith of their captives, they beheaded them in the year 845 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    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.


    You Who was raised up (Fourth Tone)

    You who contended on earth for Christ”s glory, and were shown to be godly crown-bearing Martyrs, have been vouchsafed to dwell in Heaven joyously; for since you broke all the snares of the enemy”s cunning by your suffering and the blood of your tortures and woundings, you ever send down freely from on high loosing of sins unto all them that honour you.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Finding the Precious Cross by St. Helen
    • Hesychios the Wonderworker
  • 7 Hieromartyrs of Cherson
    All day

    The Holy Martyred Bishops of Cherson: Basileus, Ephraim, Eugene, Capito, Aetherius, Agathodorus, and Elpidius

    These holy Bishops were sent to Cherson on the Black Sea by Hermon, Bishop of Jerusalem, in the days of Diocletian, about the year 300 A.D., to preach the Gospel.

    Saints Ephraim and Basileos were first sent by Bishop Hermon, and Basileos raised the dead son of the Prince of Cherson to life, after which many believed and were baptized. Unbelievers, though, bound him by the feet and dragged him through the streets until he died. Ephraim was beheaded when he refused to make sacrifice to the idols.

    The Bishop of Jerusalem then sent Eugenios, Agathodoros, and Elpidios, who were beaten to death with rods and stones. Saint Aetherios was sent during the reign of Constantine the Great, was able to govern the Church in freedom and peace, and to build a church in Cherson. He was drowned.

    Saint Capito, the last Bishop sent, brought the Gospel to the fierce Scythians. To prove the power of his God, they asked him to go into a burning furnace, saying that if he were not consumed, they would believe. Putting all his trust in God, the holy Bishop vested himself, made the sign of the Cross, and entered the furnace. He stood in the flames, fervently praying, for an hour, and came out untouched. The spectators cried out, “There is one God, the great and powerful God of the Christians, who keeps His servant safe in the burning furnace!” All those in the town and the surrounding countryside were then baptized, and the miracle was spoken of at the Synod of Nicea (325 A.D.). Later, Scythian unbelievers captured Capito and drowned him in the River Dnieper.

    Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of First Tone)

    Since You have hast given us the miracles of Your holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strengthen the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Lavrentios of Megara

    Paul the Simple

  • Theophylaktos the Confessor
    All day

    Our Righteous Father Theophylaktos the Confessor, Bishop of Nicomedia

    Saint Theophylaktos (Theophylact) was from the East, and his native city is unknown. He Theophylaktos lived at Constantinople in the eighth century during the time of the Iconoclast heresy. After the death of the iconoclast emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780 A.D.), Emperor Constantine VI (780-797 A.D.) ascended the throne. At the same time, the holy Patriarch Paul (commemorated August 30), not having the strength to continue guiding the flock in the face of iconoclasm, voluntarily resigned his office in 784 AD. Saint Tarasios (commemorated February 25) was chosen in his place. At that time, he was an eminent imperial counsellor. Under the supervision of the new Patriarch, the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787) was convened to condemn the Iconoclast heresy. A relatively peaceful time began for the Church, and monasteries again began to fill with monks.

    Saint Theophylaktos, a gifted disciple of Saint Tarasios, with the blessing of the Patriarch, went to a monastery on the coast of the Black Sea with Saint Michael (commemorated May 23). God granted the zealous ascetics by their God-pleasing labours and intense prayer the gift of wonderworking. During a drought, when the workers in the field were weakened by thirst, the saints prayed and an empty vessel became filled with enough water to last the entire day. After several years in the monastery, Patriarch Tarasios consecrated them both as Bishops. Saint Michael was made Bishop of Synada, and Saint Theophylaktos was made Bishop of Nicomedia.

    Heading the Church of Nicomedia, Saint Theophylaktos cared for the flock entrusted to him. He built churches, hospices, homes for wanderers; he generously distributed alms, was the guardian of orphans, widows and the sick, and personally attended those afflicted with leprosy, not hesitating to wash their wounds.

    When the iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820 A.D.) came to the imperial throne, the terrible heresy burst forth with renewed strength. After the death of Saint Tarasios, his successor Saint Nicephoros (commemorated June 2) called together a number of Bishops to help him in fighting the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo the Armenian, who reigned from 813-820 A.D. Among them was Saint Euthymios, Bishop of Sardis (commemorated December 26), who had attended the holy Seventh Ecumenical Synod (Council) in 787 AD. St Euthymios was exiled three times for the sake of the holy icons, and for defying the Emperor Theophilos’ command to renounce the veneration of the icons, was scourged from head to foot until his whole body was one great wound, from which he died eight days later, about the year 830. Saint Joseph of Thessalonica (commemorated July 14); Saint Michael of Synnada (commemorated May 23); Saint Emilian, Bishop of Cyzicus (commemorated August 8); and Saint Theophylaktos, who boldly rebuked Leo to his face, telling him that because he despised the long-suffering of God, utter destruction was about to overtake him, and there would be none to deliver him. Leo the Armenian, according to the Saint’s prophecy, was slain in church on the eve of our Lord’s Nativity, in 820 AD.

    For his bold prophecy, Saint Theophylaktos was sent into exile to the fortress Strobilus (in Asia Minor), where he languished for 30 years until his death around 845 A.D. After the restoration of icon-veneration in the year 847 AD under the empress Saint Theodora (commemorated February 11) and her son Michael, the holy relics of Saint Theophylaktos were returned to Nicomedia.

     Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of Second Tone)

    You lived a life hidden in God, O all-famed Theophylaktos, but Christ revealed you to all as a shining light set upon the spiritual lamp-stand, and He placed in your hands the tablets of the Spirit’s doctrines; whereby do enlighten us.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    We praise you as a firm champion of Orthodoxy and a censor of heresy. And so we cry to you, “O Theophylaktos, divine initiate, save from every temptation those who faithfully hymn you, and pray that our souls may be saved”.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Hermas the Apostle of the 70
    Paul the Confessor
    Dometios the Righteous

  • 40 Martyrs of Sebastia
    Caesarios the Righteous
    All day

    These holy Martyrs, who came from various lands, were all soldiers under the same general. Taken into custody for their faith in Christ, and at first interrogated by cruel means, they were then stripped of their clothing and cast onto the frozen lake which is at Sebastia of Pontus, at a time when the harsh and freezing weather was at its worst. They endured the whole night naked in such circumstances, encouraging one another to be patient until the end. He that guarded them, named Aglaius, who was commanded to receive any of them that might deny Christ, had a vision in which he saw heavenly powers distributing crowns to all of the Martyrs, except one, who soon after abandoned the contest. Seeing this, Aglaius professed himself a Christian and joined the Martyrs on the lake, and the number of forty remained complete. In the morning, when they were almost dead from the cold, they were cast into fire, after which their remains were thrown into the river. Thus they finished the good course of martyrdom in 320 A.D., during the reign of Licinius. These are their names: Acacius, Aetius, Aglaius, Alexander, Angus, Athanasius, Candidus, Chudion, Claudius, Cyril, Cyrion, Dometian, Domnus, Ecdicius, Elias, Eunoicus, Eutyches, Eutychius, Flavius, Gaius, Gorgonius, Helianus, Heraclius, Hesychius, John, Lysimachus, Meliton, Nicholas, Philoctemon, Priscus, Sacerdon, Severian, Sisinius, Smaragdus, Theodulus, Theophilus, Valens, Valerius, Vivianus, and Xanthias.

    Apolytikion of 40 Martyrs of Sebastia in the First Tone

    Be entreated, O Lord, by the sufferings endured for You by the Saints, and we pray You, heal all our pain.

    Kontakion of 40 Martyrs of Sebastia in the Plagal of the Second Tone

    O Forty Champions of the Lord, you abandoned the armies of the world and attached yourselves to the Master in heaven. Having gone through fire and water, O Blessed Ones, you worthily won glory from heaven and a multitude of crowns.

  • Kodratos the Martyr & his Companions
    Anastasia of Alexandria
    All day

    During a persecution against Christians during the reign of the Emperor Valerian (253-260 A.D.), a pious woman named Rufina fled from Corinth to a mountain, to escape from her pursuers. There she gave birth to a son Kodratos (Quadratus), and died soon afterward. By the Providence of God, the infant remained alive and was nourished in miraculous manner; a cloud appeared over him, dropping sweet dew into his mouth.

    The childhood and youth of St Kodratos were spent in the wilderness. When he was a young man, he chanced upon Christians, who enlightened him with the light of the true Faith. Kodratos studied grammar, and later learned the physician’s art and attained great success in it. However, most of all, Quadratus loved the wilderness solitude and he spent the greater part of his time in the hills, in prayer and meditation upon God. Many years passed, and his friends and followers frequently came to the Saint to hear his instruction. Among them were Cyprian, Dionysius, Anectus, Paul, Crescentus and many others.

    By order of the impious emperor Decios (249-251 A.D.), the military prefect Jason arrived at Corinth to torture and slay Christians. Since St Kodratos was the eldest, he spoke for the rest. The Saint bravely defended his faith in Christ the Saviour, then they began the torture. Kodratos, despite inhuman suffering, encouraged the others, urging them not to be afraid and to stand firmly for the Faith.

    Unable to persuade any of them to deny Christ, Jason ordered the martyrs thrown to wild beasts to be torn apart, but the beasts did not touch them. They tied the Saints to chariots by their feet and dragged them through the city, and many of the crowd threw stones at them. Finally, they condemned the Martyrs to beheading by the sword. At the place of execution the Martyrs requested for a certain time to pray, and then one after the other they bent their necks beneath the sword.

    The remaining disciples of St Kodratos also suffered for Christ: Dionysius was stabbed in the night; Victorinus, Victor and Nikephorus were crushed in a large stone press; Claudios’s hands and feet were cut off; Diodoros was thrown into a fire prepared for him; Serapion was decapitated; Papias and Leonidas were drowned in the sea. Imitating the men, many holy women also went voluntarily to suffer for Christ.

    Dismissal Hymn (First 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 (Fourth Tone)

    When you contested bravely in Corinth, O wise Martyrs, you appeared as lamps of six lights; you ever illumine the way for Christ’s faithful by the grace that was given to you.

  • Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem
    All day

    Saint Sophronios was born in Damascus. As a young man he became a monk at the Monastery of Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch in Palestine, where he met John Moschos and became his close friend. Having a common desire to search out ascetics from whom they could receive further spiritual instruction, they journeyed together through Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt, where they met the Patriarch of Alexandria, Saint John the Almsgiver, with whom they remained until 614 AD, when Persians captured Jerusalem.

    Saint Sophronios and John Moschos departed Alexandria for Rome, where they remained until 619 AD, the year of John Moschos’ death. Saint Sophronios returned to the Monastery of Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch, and there buried the body of his friend. He laboured much in defence of the Holy Fourth Synod (Council) of Chalcedon, and travelled to Constantinople to remonstrate with Patriarch Sergios and the Emperor Heraclius for changing the Orthodox Faith with their Monothelite teachings.

    After the death of Patriarch Modestos in December of 634 AD, Sophronios was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem. Although no longer in the hands of the Persians, the Holy Land was now besieged by the armies of the newly-appeared religion of Mohammed, which had already take Bethlehem; in the Saint’s sermon for the Nativity of our Lord in 634 AD, he laments that he could not celebrate the feast in Bethlehem. In 637 AD, for the sins of the people, to the uttermost grief of Saint Sophronios, the Caliph Omar captured Jerusalem. Having tended the flock of his Master for three years and three months, Saint Sophronios departed in peace to Him Whom he loved on March 11, 638 AD.

    Saint Sophronios has left to the Church many writings, including the life of Saint Mary of Egypt. The hymn, “O Joyous Light”, which is wrongly ascribe to him, is more ancient than Saint Basil the Great, as the Saint himself confirms in his work “On the Holy Spirit”. However, it seems that this hymn, which was chanted at the lighting of the lamps and was formerly called “The Triadic Hymn”, was later supplemented somewhat by Saint Sophronios, bringing it into the form in which we now have it. Hence, some have ascribed it to him.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Sophronios, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    Inspired by the Spirit, blessed Sophronios, you was a righteous Hierarch in Zion as an emulator of the Apostles.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Theodora the Righteous
    Pionios the Presbyter
    George the New Wonderworker of Constantinople
    Trophimos and Thallos the Martyrs

  • Symeon the New Theologian
    Gregory Dialogos
    Theophanes the Confessor
    All day

    Saint Symeon the New Theologian

    Saint Symeon became a monk of the Studite Monastery as a young man, under the guidance of the elder Symeon the Pious. Afterwards he struggled at the Monastery of Saint Mamas in Constantinople, of which he became abbot. After enduring many trials and afflictions in his life of piety, he reposed in 1022. Marvelling at the heights of prayer and holiness to which he attained, and the loftiness of the teachings of his life and writings, the church calls him “the New Theologian.” Only to two others, John the Evangelist and Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople, has the church given the name “Theologian.” Saint Symeon reposed on March 12, but since this always falls in the Great Fast, his feast is kept today.

    Apolytikion (Third Tone)

    Since thou hadst received within thy pure soul God’s enlightenment, O righteous Father, thou wast shown to the world as a blazing light which drave away its thick darkness and moved all men to seek the grace of the Spirit which they had lost. O all-holy Father Symeon, intercede with Him to grant great mercy unto us who honour thee.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    Shining with the Three-Sun Light, thou wast a true theologian of the Holy Trinity, the Lord divinely-transcendent; from on high, thou wast made rich with wisdom of discourse and didst pour forth the divine streams of godly wisdom; whereof having drunk, we cry out: Rejoice, thrice-blessed Symeon, taught from above


    Gregory Dialogos, Bishop of Rome

    Gregory DialogosSt Gregory was born in Rome to noble and wealthy parents about the year 540 AD. While the Saint was still young, his father died. However, his mother, Sylvia, saw to it that her child received a good education in both secular and spiritual learning. He became Prefect of Rome and sought to please God even while in the world; later, he took up the monastic life; afterwards he was appointed Archdeacon of Rome, then, in 579 AD, Apocrisiarios (representative or Papal legate) to Constantinople, where he lived for nearly seven years. He returned to Rome in 585 AD and was elected Pope in 590 AD. He is renowned especially for his writings and great almsgiving, and because, on his initiative, missionary work began among the Anglo-Saxon people. It is also from him that Gregorian chant takes its name; the chanting he had heard at Constantinople had deeply impressed him, and he imported many elements of it into the ecclesiastical chant of Rome. He served as Bishop of that city from 590 to 604 AD.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Gregory, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    To you, who are the Church’s tuneful harp inspired of God, you are a tongue of wisdom who was verily possessed of God, to you, as it is meet, we now offer praises; for you truly had the zeal of the Apostles’ choir and followed in their footsteps as their worthy heir; and to you we say, “Rejoiced, divine Father Gregory”.


    Saint Theophanes the Confessor

    Saint Theophanes, who was born in 760, was the son of illustrious parents. Assenting to their demand, he married and became a member of the Emperor’s ceremonial bodyguard. Later, with the consent of his wife, he forsook the world. Indeed, both of them embraced the monastic life, struggling in the monastic houses they themselves had established. He died on March 12, 815, on the island of Samothrace, whereto, because of his confession of the Orthodox Faith, he had been exiled by Leo the Armenian, the Iconoclast Emperor.

    Apolytikion of Theophanes the Confessor in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Theophanes, your soul rejoices with the angels.

    Kontakion of Theophanes the Confessor in the Second Tone

    Receiving from God a revelation from the heights, thou swiftly didst leave the turmoil of the world, O Saint; and thou as a monk didst receive the power to perform miracles and the grace of true prophecy, depriving thyself of riches and thy spouse.

  • Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople
    All day

    Translation of the Holy Relics of Saint Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople

    Saint Nicephoros whose main feast is on June 2 was a dignitary at the court of the Empress Irene (797-802 AD), and then after receiving monastic tonsure, he became known for his piety. In the year 806 AD, he was elevated to the Patriarchal Throne. The Saint was a zealous defender of the holy Icons. When the Iconoclast Emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820 AD) came to rule, Saint Nikephorus was exiled to Prokonnis in 815 AD, where he died in the year 828 AD.

    In the year 846 AD the holy relics of Saint Nikephorus were opened when Saint Methodius (commemorated June 14) was Archbishop (Ecumenical Patriarch) of Constantinople. The relics were found incorrupt and fragrant. They transferred them from Prokonnis to Constantinople and placed them for one day in Hagia Sophia, and then they were transferred to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The Saint’s hands are preserved at Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicephoros, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Troparion (Third Tone)

    Your fragrant relics have been revealed as godly treasure filled with life for the Church. On their august translation we receive the gift of the Spirit. O righteous Father Nicephorus, pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Pouplios the Martyr, Bishop of Athens
    Christina the Martyr of Persia
    Gerald, Bishop of Mayo

  • Benedict of Nursia
    All day

    Saint Benedict, whose name means “blessed,” was born during 480 A.D. in Nursia, a small town about 100 kilometres northeast of Rome. He struggled in asceticism from his youth in deserted regions, where his example drew many who desired to emulate him. Hence, he ascended Mount Cassino in Campania and built a monastery there. The Rule that he gave his monks, which was inspired by the writings of Saint John Cassian, Saint Basil the Great, and other Fathers, became a pattern for monasticism in the West; because of this, he is often called the first teacher of monks in the West.

    When he was fourteen years of age, Saint Benedict’s parents sent him to Rome to study. Unsettled by the immorality around him, he decided to devote himself to a different sort of life. At first he settled near the church of the holy Apostle Peter in the village of Effedum, but news of his ascetic life compelled him to go farther into the mountains. There he encountered the hermit Romanus, who tonsured him into monasticism and directed him to live in a remote cave at Subiaco. From time to time, the hermit would bring him food.

    For three years the Saint waged a harsh struggle with temptations and conquered them with the grace of God. People soon began to gather to him for guidance. The number of disciples grew so much, that the Saint divided them into twelve communities. Each community was comprised of twelve monks and was a separate skete. The Saint gave each skete an igumen (the head of the community) from among his experienced disciples, and only the novice monks remained with Saint Benedict for instruction. The strict monastic rule that Saint Benedict established for the monks was not accepted by everyone, and more than once he was criticized and abused by dissenters.

    Finally he settled in Campagna and on Mount Cassino he founded the Monte Cassino monastery, which for a long time was a center of theological education for the Western part of the Church. The monastery possessed a remarkable library. Saint Benedict wrote his Rule, based on the experience of life of the Eastern desert-dwellers and the precepts of Saint John Cassian the Roman (commemorated February 29).

    The Rule of Saint Benedict dominated Western monasticism for centuries (by 1595 A.D. it had appeared in more than 100 editions). The Rule prescribed the renunciation of personal possessions, as well as unconditional obedience, and constant work. It was considered the duty of older monks to teach the younger and to copy ancient manuscripts. This helped to preserve many memorable writings from the first centuries of Christianity.

    Every new monk was required to live as a novice for a year, to learn the monastic Rule and to become familiar with monastic life, and every deed required a blessing from the igumen, who discerns, teaches, and explains. The igumen solicits the advice of the older, experienced brethren, but he makes the final decisions. Keeping the monastic Rule was strictly binding for everyone and was regarded as an important step on the way to spiritual perfection.

    Saint Benedict was granted by the Lord the gift of foresight and wonderworking. He healed many by his prayers, and he foretold the day of his death in 547. The main source for his Life is the second Dialogue of Saint Gregory. Saint Benedict’s sister, Saint Scholastica (commemorated February 10), also became famous for her strict ascetic life and was numbered among the saints.

    Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    In you the image of God was faithfully preserved, O Father; for taking up your cross, you followed Christ, and by your deeds you taught us to overlook the flesh, for it passes away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Benedict, your spirit rejoices with the angels.

    Kontakion (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    To you, the Champion Leader

    O sun that shines with the Mystic Dayspring’s radiance, who enlightened the monastics of the western lands, you are worthily the namesake of benediction; purge us of the filth of passions thoroughly by the sweat of your illustrious accomplishments, for we cry to you, “Rejoice, O thrice-blessed Benedict”.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Euschemon the Confessor, Bishop of Lampasakos
  • Martyr Agapios & Companions
    Apostle Aristobulos
    All day

    Agapius the Martyr and His Companions

    The Holy Martyr Agapios and his Companions contested for piety’s sake during the reign of Diocletian (284-305 AD), when Urban was Governor of Caesarea in Palestine. When Urban had commanded that together with a heathen festival, certain condemned Christians be publicly cast to wild beasts, Timolaus, a native of Pontus, Dionysios of Tripolis in Phoenicia, Romulos of Diospolis, Plesios (or Paisios) and Alexander from Egypt, and another Alexander from Gaza, tied their own hands and presented themselves to Urban when the exhibition was about to begin, professing their faith in Christ; they were immediately cast into prison. A few days later Agapios and Dionysios also presented themselves. All were beheaded together at Caesarea. Their martyrdom is recorded by Eusebius (Eccl. Hist.,Book VIII, ch.3, called The Martyrs of Palestine).

    Dismissal Hymn of the Martyrs (First Tone)

    The soldiers standing guard

    Let all us all entreat Christ the Lord’s holy Martyrs, for they make supplication for our souls’ salvation; with faith and with longing, therefore, let us draw near to them, for they overflow with the divine grace of healing, and they drive away the ranks of demons in terror, as guardians of the Faith.


    Holy Apostle Aristobulos of the Seventy, Bishop of Britain

    Saint Aristobulos, the brother of Saint Barnabas, was ordained to be bishop in Britain by the Apostle Paul, who mentions him in his epistle to the Romans (16:10). He suffered many afflictions at the hands of the pagans, but also brought many to Christ. Having established the Church there, he finally reposed in peace.

    Apolytikion of Holy Apostle Aristobulos in the Third Tone

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


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Manuel the New Martyr of Crete

  • Martyr Savinos
    Christodoulos the Wonderworker
    All day

    The Holy Martyr Savinos (Sabine)

    The Holy Martyr Savinos (Sabine) was from Hermopolis in Egypt, and was known for his zeal and piety. During the persecution of Diocletian, he concealed himself with other Christians in a small dwelling outside the city. However, when he was discovered, and professed his faith in Christ, he was taken before Arian the Governor, and after he had been tortured, he was drowned in the river.

    Dismissal Hymn for Saint Savinos (First Tone)

    Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received the prize of the crowns of perfection 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 of Saint Savinos (Second Tone)

    The sail of the Spirit guided you into the Water of Life and Goodness, when you was cast into the river, O praiseworthy Savinos. By your prayers you are raining down upon us the forgiveness of our sins.

    Christodoulos the Wonderworker of Patmos

    Christodoulos_the_Wonderworker_of_PatmosSaint Christodoulos, who was from the region of Nicaea of Bithynia, was the son of Theodore and Anna, and was given the name John. He assumed the monastic habit in his youth and was renamed Christodoulos (“slave of Christ” in Greek). At first, he lived the ascetical life in various places, then he received permission and monetary aid from the Emperor Alexis I Comnenos (reigned 1081-1118 A.D.), and built on the island of Patmos a church and monastery named in honour of Saint John the Evangelist. These buildings stand to this day.

    However, when the Arabs attacked that place, he fled with his disciples and went to Euboia (Euripus), where also he completed the course of his life about the end of the eleventh century on the 16th of March. The disciples of this righteous man took his sacred incorrupt remains and transferred them to his own monastery, where they repose to this day for the sanctification of those who have recourse to them with faith.

    Dismissal Hymn for Saint Christodoulos (First Tone)

    Let us, O brethren, honour godly Christodoulos, offspring of Nicea, protector of Patmos and boast of monks. Let us venerate his relics and so receive healing of soul and body, and cry out with hymns, “Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you; glory to Him Who through your works healings for all”.

    Kontakion of Saint Christodoulos (Fourth Tone)

    Since we possess your relics as a holy place of healing for all our diseases and afflictions, we are redeemed and cry aloud to you, “Rejoice, O Christodoulos”.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Aristovoulos, Apostle of the 70
    Julian the Martyr
    Romanos the Hieromartyr of Parium

  • Alexios, the Man of God
    Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland
    All day

    Saint Alexios, the Man of God

    The rare title, “Man of God,” was bestowed on Saint Alexios for the manner in which he gave himself over to Jesus Christ, forsaking a bride even at the altar in order to fulfil to the letter the admonition read to him while he was contemplating enlistment in the service of the Lord. He kept his true identity a secret for an entire lifetime rather than run the risk of betraying the Master through his own emotions and there is no telling how much mental anguish he suffered in silence for the sake of his commitment. When he felt the call he answered with a hesitation for which he judged himself too harshly and which he bore in mute secrecy.

    Alexios was born in 380 A.D. in the eternal city of Rome during the reign of Theodosios the Great and was raised in a royal household by his parents, Ephemios and Aglaia, who discerned a predilection for the Church in their son, a religious fervour they could not share and which they sought to discourage for fear they would lose him. They lost no time in arranging for his marriage and in impressing upon him the debt he owed to his parents, for which he should respect their wishes in all things. He had reluctantly suppressed the call he felt to the Lord”s service and had agreed to the marriage when he had a vision one day of Saint Paul, who said he should answer the call to God at all costs, reading to him the passage in Matthew which says: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”

    The bewildered Alexios was torn between his sense of duty to his parents and that urging to serve the Lord, and swayed between both, at long last deciding to go through with what he had promised his family. The feeling that he should go the other way gnawed at him even as he stood at the altar, and when the ceremony had been completed he looked upon the Cross of Jesus and without a word walked away from bride, family and friends to do what he had to do.

    He stepped into the anonymity of a Syrian monastery where for the next eighteen years he assumed another identity, and never looked back at Rome. Having made a choice they had opposed, he suspected his parents had disinherited him and that his bride had had the marriage annulled, but this was not the case. As a matter of fact, the bride had gone to live with his parents in the fond hope that Alexios would someday return, and the parents spared no expense in trying to locate their son, but after eighteen years with no word from him they presumed him to be dead.

    In his eighteen years in the monastery, Alexios was transformed into a respected holy man whose solemn dedication to Jesus was the subject of many discussions among not only the monks but the community which he served. Unlike other monks, he was a man of few words and left the preaching and sermonising to other brother monks while he concentrated on writing on many issues concerning the faith. The vision that he had had many years before of Saint Paul still haunted him and he had a burning desire to go to Tarsus, Paul”s birthplace. He boarded a boat bound for the short trip up the coast, but while at sea a violent storm arose and blew the vessel miles off course also leaving her a derelict at the mercy of the wind and tides.

    They were finally picked up by a ship bound for Rome and Alexios found himself back in the city of his birth. Nostalgia seized him and he went to the family estate, primarily to get a glimpse of his folks, but when they failed to recognise him he felt compelled to remain and was given the task of spiritual counsellor, not only to the estate, but to the neighbouring families as well.

    The abandoned bride was still living with the parents and she also failed to recognise him, for which he was grateful, for he found contentment in being able to serve the Lord while not revealing his true identity, which he considered would be a disservice to the Saviour after all the years of anonymity. He went about his duties with grace acquired and enjoyed the respect of families for miles around. When he felt death drawing near, Alexios wrote a letter to his family in which he expressed his love for them, which he could not do in life. The letter was read posthumously not only by his family but by the bishop of Rome, who had him interred in the chapel of Saint Peter’s. He died for Christ on 17 March 440 A.D., after thirty-four years of celibacy and anonymity.

    Apolytikion of Alexis the Man of God in the Fourth Tone

    Though thou didst bud forth from a renowned and notable root, and though thou didst blossom from a city famed for her great imperial dignity, yet didst thou scorn all things as corruptible and fleeting, striving to be joined to Christ thy Master for ever. Entreat Him, O Alexis most wise, fervently for our souls.

    Kontakion of Alexis the Man of God in the Fourth Tone

    As we celebrate today with fitting rev’rence the all-holy festival of Saint Alexis the all-blest, with hymns we praise him and cry aloud: Rejoice, thou gladsome adornment of righteous men.

    Saint Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland

    Saint Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish, was seized from his native Britain by Irish marauders when he was sixteen years old. Though the son of a deacon and a grandson of a priest, it was not until his captivity that he sought out the Lord with his whole heart. In his Confession, the testament he wrote towards the end of his life, he says, “After I came to Ireland – every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed – the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was so moved that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many at night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountain; and I would rise for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm.” After six years of slavery in Ireland, he was guided by God to make his escape, and afterwards struggled in the monastic life at Auxerre in Gaul, under the guidance of the holy Bishop Germanus. Many years later he was ordained bishop and sent to Ireland once again, about the year 432, to convert the Irish to Christ. His arduous labours bore so much fruit that within seven years, three bishops were sent from Gaul to help him shepherd his flock, “my brethren and sons whom I have baptised in the Lord – so many thousands of people,” he says in his Confession. His apostolic work was not accomplished without much “weariness and painfulness,” long journeys through difficult country, and many perils; he says his very life was in danger twelve times. When he came to Ireland as its enlightener, it was a pagan country; when he ended his earthly life some thirty years later, about 461, the Faith of Christ was established in every corner.

    Apolytikion of Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland in the Third Tone

    O Holy Hierarch, equal of the Apostles, Saint Patrick, wonderworker and enlightener of Ireland: Intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.

    Kontakion of Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland in the Fourth Tone

    The Master revealed thee as a skilful fisher of men; and casting forth nets of Gospel preaching, thou drewest up the heathen to piety. Those who were the children of idolatrous darkness thou didst render sons of day through holy Baptism. O Patrick, intercede for us who honour thy memory.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Marinos the Martyr
    Theocteristos the Confessor
    Paul the Righteous Martyr

  • Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem
    All day

    Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem, was born in Jerusalem in 315 A.D. and was raised in strict Christian piety. Upon reaching the age of maturity, he became a monk, and in 346 A.D.he became a Priest. In 350 A.D., he succeeded Maximos as Archbishop of Jerusalem.

    As Patriarch of Jerusalem, Saint Cyril zealously fought against the heresies of Arius and Macedonius. In so doing, he aroused the animosity of the Arian bishops, who sought to have him deposed and banished from Jerusalem. There was a miraculous portent in 351 Jerusalem; at the third hour of the day on the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Cross appeared in the heavens, shining with a radiant light. It stretched from Golgotha above the Mount of Olives. Saint Cyril reported this portent to the Arian emperor Constantius (351-363 A.D.), hoping to convert him to Orthodoxy.

    The heretic Akakios, deposed by the Council of Sardica, was formerly the Metropolitan of Caesarea, and he collaborated with the emperor to have Saint Cyril removed. An intense famine struck Jerusalem, and Saint Cyril expended all his wealth in charity. However, since the famine did not abate, the Saint pawned church utensils, and used the money to buy wheat for the starving. The Saint’s enemies spread a scandalous rumor that they had seen a woman in the city dancing around in clerical garb. Taking advantage of this rumor, the heretics forcibly expelled the Saint.

    Saint Cyril found shelter with Bishop Silvanos in Tarsus. After this, a local Council at Seleucia, at which there were about 150 Bishops (including Saint Cyril). The heretical Metropolitan Akakios did not want to allow him to take a seat, however the Council would not consent to this. Akakios stormed out of the Council, and before the emperor and the Arian patriarch Eudoxios, he denounced both the Council and Saint Cyril. The emperor had the Saint imprisoned.

    When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 A.D.) ascended the throne he repealed all the anti-Orthodox decrees of Constantius, seemingly out of piety. Saint Cyril returned to his own flock. However, after a certain while, when Julian had become secure upon the throne, he openly Apostatized and renounced Christ. He permitted the Jews to start rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the Romans during 70 AD, and he even provided them part of the funds for the building from the state treasury.

    Saint Cyril predicted that the words of the Saviour about the destruction of the Temple down to its very stones (Luke 21:6) would undoubtedly transpire, and the blasphemous intent of Julian would come to naught. Soon there was such a powerful earthquake, that even the solidly set foundation of the ancient Temple of Solomon shifted in its place, and what had been rebuilt fell down and shattered into dust. When the workers resumed construction, a fire came down from the heavens and destroyed their tools, and great terror seized everyone. On the following night, the Sign of the Cross appeared on their clothing, which they could not remove by any means.

    After confirmation of Saint Cyril’s prediction, they banished him again, and the bishop’s throne was occupied by Saint Kyriakos, but Saint Kyriakos soon suffered a martyr’s death (commemorated October 28). After the Emperor Julian perished in 363 A.D., Saint Cyril returned to his See, but during the reign of the emperor Valens (364-378) he was exiled for a third time. It was only under the holy emperor Saint Theodosios the Great (379-395 A.D.) that he finally returned to his Archpastoral activity. In 381 A.D., Saint Cyril took part in the Second Ecumenical Synod, which condemned the heresy of Macedonius and affirmed the Nicea-Constantinople Creed (Symbol of Faith).

    The works of Saint Cyril include 23 Instructions (18 are Catechetical, intended for those preparing for Baptism, and five are for the newly-baptised), and the two discourses on the Gospel themes: “On the Paralytic”, and “Concerning the Transformation of Water into Wine at Cana”. At the heart of the Catechetical Instructions is a detailed explanation of the Symbol of Faith. The Saint suggests that a Christian should inscribe the Symbol of Faith upon “the tablets of the heart.”

    Saint Cyril teaches, “The articles of the Faith were not written through human cleverness, but they contain everything that is most important in all the Scriptures, in a single teaching of faith. Just as the mustard seed contains all its plethora of branches within its small kernel, so also does the Faith in its several declarations combine all the pious teachings of the Old and the New Testaments”. The Saint, a great ascetic and a champion of Orthodoxy, died in the year 386 A.D.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Cyril, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (First Tone)

    The soldiers standing guard

    Your speech inspired of God has enlightened your people to honour the One God, undivided in essence, yet known and distinguished in His Three Persons, the Trinity. Therefore, with great joy we keep the holy remembrance, and we have you as our intercessor, wise Cyril, to pray unto God for us.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Ananias the Wonderworker
    Trophimos & Eukarpion, Monk-martyrs of Nicomedea

  • Martyrs Chrysanthos and Daria
    New Martyr Demetrios
    All day

    The Holy Martyrs Chrysanthos and Daria

    Saint Chrysanthos, who was from Alexandria, had been instructed in the Faith of Christ by a certain Bishop. His father, who was a senator by rank and a pagan, had him shut up in prison for many days; then, seeing the unchanging disposition of his mind, he commanded that a certain young woman name Daria be brought from Athens. She was a very beautiful and learned maiden, and an idolater, and Chrysanthos’ father wedded him to her so that he might be drawn away from the Faith of Christ because of his love for her. Instead of this however, Chrysanthos drew Daria to piety, and both of them boldly proclaimed Christ and received the crown of martyrdom in 283 A.D., during the reign of Numerian, when they were buried alive in a pit of mire.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    Be quick to anticipate

    Your Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of perfection 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 (Fourth Tone)

    O Chrysanthos, in the sweet fragrance of holiness you drew Daria to saving knowledge. Together in contest you routed the serpent, the author of all evil, and were worthily taken up to the heavenly realms.

  • Fathers of the Monastery of St Savvas
    All day

    Righteous Fathers Slain at the Monastery of Saint Savas

    During the reign of Emperor Heraclius, when Saint Modestos was Patriarch of Jerusalem (632-634 A.D.), the area around Jerusalem was subjected to frequent incursions of the Saracens. The monastery of Saint Chariton was devastated and fell into ruin. Twice the Saracens tried to plunder the Lavra of Saint Savvas the Sanctified, but God’s Providence protected the monastery. The monks would have been able to escape the barbarians by going to Jerusalem, but they decided not to forsake the place where they had sought salvation for so many years.

    On March 13, the Saracens broke into the monastery and demanded all the valuables. The monks told them that there was nothing in the monastery but a meager supply of food and old clothing. Then the Saracens began to shoot arrows at the monks. Thirteen men were killed and many wounded, and monastery cells were set afire. The Saracens intended also to torch the monastery church, but seeing a throng of people in the distance, they mistook this for an army sent from Jerusalem. The Saracens managed to get away, carrying off the little they were able to plunder. After the enemy fled, Father Thomas, an experienced physician, began to help those who remained alive.

    On Great Thursday, March 20, the Saracens again descended upon the Lavra with a larger force and began to beat up the monks. The survivors were driven into the church, where they were tortured in order to force them to reveal where any treasure might be hidden. The monastery was surrounded, so no one could save himself by fleeing. The barbarians seized Saint John, a young monk, who had cared for vagrants. They beat him fiercely, and then they cut the sinews of his hands and feet and dragged him over stones by his feet, which tore the skin from the martyr’s back.

    The keeper of the church vessels, Saint Sergios, hid the church vessels and attempted to flee, but he was captured and beheaded. Several of the monks nevertheless managed to hide themselves outside the monastery in a cave, but a sentry on a hill spotted them, and they ordered everyone to come out. Inside the cave, Saint Patrikios whispered to the brethren huddled with him, “Fear not, I will go alone and meet my death. Meanwhile, sit and pray”.

    The Saracens asked whether there was anyone else in the cave, and Patrikios said that he was alone. They led him to the Lavra, where the captives awaited their fate. The Saracens demanded of them a ransom of 4000 gold pieces and the sacred vessels. The monks were not able to give such a ransom. Then they led them into the cave of Saint Savvas inside the monastery walls. They lit a fire on which they piled up dung in front of the entrance to the cave, hoping to suffocate the monks with the poisonous fumes. Eighteen men perished in the cave, among whom were Saints John and Patrikios. The Saracens continued to torture those who were still alive, but got nothing out of them. Finally, they left the monastery.

    Later, on the night of Great Friday, the monks hidden in the hills returned to the Lavra, they took up the bodies of the murdered Fathers to the church and buried them there. The barbarians who plundered the monastery were punished by God. They were stricken with a sudden illness, and they all perished. Their bodies were devoured by wild beasts.

    Dismissal Hymn (Second Tone)

    Blessed is the earth that drank your blood, O prizewinners of the Lord, and holy are the tabernacles that received your spirits; for in the stadium you triumphed over the enemy, and you proclaimed Christ with boldness. Beseech Him, we pray, since He is good, to save our souls.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    You Who was raised up

    Shunning all earthly and corruptible pleasures, you chose a life of great ascetical struggles, disdaining worldly beauty and all fleeting fame; therefore, you dwell joyously in the Kingdom of Heaven with the Martyrs’ holy choirs and the ranks of ascetics. Hence, we revere your memory and cry, “From every peril, O Fathers, deliver us”.


    Saint Cuthbert the Wonderworker, Bishop of Lindisfarne

    Saint Cuthbert was born in Britain about the year 635 A.D., and in his youth became a monk at the monastery of Melrose by the River Tweed. After `many years of struggle, as a true priest of Christ, in the service both of his own brethren and of the neglected Christians of isolated country villages, he became a solitary on Farne Island in 676 A.D. After eight years as a hermit, he was constrained to leave his quiet to become Bishop of Lindisfarne, in which office he served for almost two years. He returned to his hermitage two months before he reposed in peace in 687.

    Because of the miracles he wrought both during his life and at his tomb after his death, he is called the “Wonderworker of Britain”. The English people honoured him, and kings were both benefactors to his shrine and suppliants of his prayers. Eleven years after his death, his holy relics were revealed to be incorrupt; when his body was translated from Lindisfarne to Durham Cathedral in August of 1104 A.D., his body was still found to be untouched by decay, giving off “an odour of sweetest flagrancy”, and “from the flexibility of its joints representing a person asleep rather than dead”. Finally, when the most impious Henry VIII desecrated his shrine, opening it to despoil it of its valuables, the Saint’s body was again found incorrupt, and was buried in 1542 A.D. It is believed that after this the holy relics of St Cuthbert were hidden to preserve them from further desecration.

    Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)

    While still in your youth you laid aside all worldly care and took up the sweet yoke of Christ, O godly-minded Cuthbert, and you was shown forth in truth to be nobly radiant in the grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God established you as a rule of faith and shepherd of His rational flock, O converser with Angels and intercessor for men.

    Kontakion (First Tone)

    Having surpassed your brethren in prayers, fasting, and vigils, you was found worthy to entertain a pilgrim-angel; and having shone forth with humility as a bright lamp set on high, you received the gift of wonderworking. Now as you dwell in the heavenly Kingdom, O our righteous Father Cuthbert, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.


    Photini the Samaritan Woman

    Photini_the_Samaritan_Woman_&_her_martyred_sisters_Anatole_Phota_Photis_Praskevi_&_Kyriaki-finalSaint Photini lived in 1st century Palestine and was the woman that Christ met at the well in Samaria as recorded in the Gospel according to John (4:4-26). After her encounter with Christ, she and her whole family were baptized by the Apostles and became evangelists of the early Church. Photini and her children eventually were summoned before the emperor Nero and instructed to renounce their faith in Christ. They reused to do so, accepting rather to suffer various tortures. After many efforts to force her to surrender to idolatry, the emperor ordered that she be thrown down a well. Photini gave up her life in the year 66.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    • Newmartyr Myron of Crete
  • James the Confessor
    Thomas I, Patriarch of Constantinople
    All day

    Saint James the Confessor took up the monastic life from his youth in the Monastery of Studite, where he became a disciple of Saint Theodore the Studite and led a strict life, full of works, fasting and prayer. Later he became Bishop of Catania in Sicily, and suffered many afflictions and torments at the hands of the Iconoclasts during the reign of the iconoclast emperor Constantine V Copronymos (741-775 AD). Saint James was repeatedly urged not to venerate the holy icons. They exhausted him in prison, starved him, and beat him, but he bravely endured all these torments. The Saint died in exile. Saint Theodore composed a homily in honour of this Saint James.

    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 (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

    You excelled in the gifts of the priesthood, and by your struggles became illustrious in confessing the Faith. Since you are a fruitful branch of Christ the True Vine, grant the new wine of forgiveness and salvation to those who cry, “Rejoice, O Father James”.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Thomas I, Patriarch of Constantinople
    Philemon and Domninos

  • Martyr Basil of Ancyra
    All day

    Saint Basil, the Holy Martyr of Ancyra

    Saint Basil was a presbyter in Ancyra, Galatia. Fighting against the Arian heresy, he urged his flock to cling firmly to Orthodoxy. Because of this St Basil was deposed from his priestly rank by a local Arian council, but a Council of 230 bishops in Palestine reinstated him. St Basil openly continued to preach and denounce the Arians. Therefore, he became the victim of persecution and was subjected to punishment as a man dangerous to the state. The two apostates Elpidios and Pegasios were ordered to turn St Basil from Orthodoxy. The Saint remained unshakable, and was again subjected to tortures.

    When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD) arrived in the city of Ancyra, St Basil bravely confessed Christ before him at the trial, and denounced the emperor for his apostasy. Julian ordered that strips of skin be cut from the Saint”s back. St Basil endured the gruesome torture with great patience. When they began to beat his shoulders and stomach with red-hot rods, he fell down upon the ground from the torments and cried out, “O Christ, my Light! O Jesus, my Hope! Quiet Haven from the stormy sea. I thank You, O Lord God of my fathers, that You have snatched my soul from the pit of Hell and preserved Your Name in me unstained! Let me finish my life a victor and inherit eternal life according to the promise You gave my fathers. Now accept my soul in peace, plying steadfast in this confession! For You are merciful and great is Your mercy, You Who live and sojourn throughout all the ages. Amen”.

    Having made such prayer, and lacerated all over by the red-hot rods, the Saint fell into a sweet slumber, giving up his soul into the hands of God. The Hieromartyr Basil died June 29, 362 AD. His commemoration was transferred to March 22 because of the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul.

    Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

    As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, you found discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Therefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, you also contested for the Faith even to blood, O Hieromartyr Basil. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

    Kontakion (Third Tone)

    As a priest of the King of glory, you also became a holy warrior by your contest. You shamed the counsels of the lawless, and receive the enjoyment of the heavenly kingdom, O Basil, blessed Hieromartyr of Christ.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Kalliniki & Vassilisa the Martyrs

    Euthemios the New Martyr

  • Nikon the Martyr & 199
    All day

    The Monk Martyr Nikon was born at Neapolis (Naples). His father was a pagan, and his mother a Christian. He was not baptized, but his mother secretly instructed him in the tenets of Christianity. Nikon was still a pagan when he reached adulthood. He served as a soldier, and showed unusual courage and strength. Once, enemies surrounded Nikon and his military company. In deadly peril, he remembered the Christian precepts of his mother and, signing himself with the Sign of the Cross, he prayed to God, vowing to be baptized if he were saved. Filled with unusual strength, he killed many of the enemy, and put the rest to flight.

    Nikon managed to return home, giving thanks to God for preserving his life. With the blessing of his mother, he set off in search of a priest. This was no easy thing to do in a time of persecution. St Nikon took a ship to the island of Chios. He went up on a high mountain and spent eight days in fasting and prayer, entreating the Lord to help him. An angel of God appeared to St Nikon in a dream, showing him the way, and he went to Mount Ganos, where many monks were hidden, headed by Theodosios the Bishop of Cyzicus. St Nikon received from the bishop both the mystery of Baptism and the angelic schema (i.e., monastic tonsure). Living in the cave church, St Nikon became an example for all the brethren.

    When Nikon had lived on the mountain for three years, an angel revealed to the Bishop Theodosios that he should be consecrated Bishop, and should move to the province of Sicily with all the monks. Bishop Theodosios obeyed the angel, and then died after he had entrusted the 190 monks to St Nikon. After he buried Bishop Theodosios, St Nikon sailed to Sicily with the brethren, and so was saved from approaching barbarians.

    By God’s grace, St Nikon came to his native city Neapolis. He found his mother still alive, and he remained with her for the final day of her life. His mother collapsed on his chest with tears of joy and kissed him. Making a prostration to the ground, she said, “I give thanks to You, O Lord, for You have permitted me to see my son as a monk, and as a bishop. Now, my Lord, hear Your servant, and receive my soul”. When she had finished this prayer, the righteous woman died. Those present glorified God and buried her with psalmody.

    Rumors of St Nikon’s arrival spread through the city, and ten soldiers, his former companions, came to see him. After conversing with the Saint they believed and were baptized, and went with him to Sicily. Having arrived on the island, St Nikon settled with the monks in a desolate area, called Gigia, near the river Asinum. Many years passed, and there was another persecution against Christians. Quintilian, the governor of Sicily, was informed that Bishop Nikon was living nearby with many monks. All 199 monks were seized and beheaded, but they left St Nikon alive in order to torture him.

    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 (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    Of like discipline with ascetics, and rivalling holy Athletes in zeal, O steadfast and righteous Martyrs, you were offered to the Lord through martyrdom. For you had as your sure guide the glorious Nikon. Fighting together with him you sang, Alleluia).


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Anatolios & Protoleon the Martyrs converted by the martyrdom of St. George

    Luke the New Martyr of Mytilene

  • Forefeast of the Annunciation
    All day

    Forefeast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

    Apolytikion of Forefeast of the Annunciation in the Fourth Tone

    Today is the prelude of universal joy; let us keep the forefeast in gladness. For, behold, Gabriel cometh with fear and wonder unto the Virgin, bringing her the good tidings: Rejoice, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee.

    Kontakion of Forefeast of the Annunciation in the Fourth Tone

    At the great Archangel’s voice, O Theotokos, the All-holy Spirit came upon thee and thou didst conceive Him that is one in essence and throne with God the Father, O Adam’s recovery.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Artemon the Presbyter
    Our Holy Father Theonas, Archbishop of Thessolonica
    Zachariah the Recluse

  • Annunciation of the Theotokos
    All day

    Six months after John the Forerunner’s conception, the Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, a town of Galilee, unto Mary the Virgin, who had come forth from the Temple a mature maiden (celebrated Nov 21). According to the tradition handed down by the Fathers, she had been betrothed to Joseph four months. On coming to Joseph’s house, the Archangel declared: “Rejoice, thou Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women”.

    After some consideration, and turmoil of soul, and fear because of this greeting, the Virgin, when she had finally obtained full assurance concerning God’s unsearchable condescension and the ineffable dispensation that was to take place through her, and believing that all things are possible to the Most High, answered in humility: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word”. And at this, the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her all blameless womb, and the Son and Word of God, Who existed before the ages, was conceived past speech and understanding, and became flesh in her immaculate body (Luke 1:26-38).

    Bearing in her womb the Uncontainable One, the blessed Virgin went with haste from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea, where Zacharias had his dwelling; for she desired to find Elizabeth her kinswoman and rejoice together with her, because, as she had learned from the Archangel, Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. Furthermore, she wished to tell her of the great things that the Mighty One had been well pleased to bring to pass in her, and she greeted Elizabeth and drew nigh to her. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she felt her six month old babe leap in her womb for joy. By leaping thus even before he had beheld the light of life, her babe, St John the Baptist, prophesied of the dawning of the spiritual Sun. Immediately, the aged Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized her as the Mother of her Lord, and with a great voice blessed her and the Fruit that she held within herself The Virgin also, moved by a supernatural rejoicing in the spirit, glorified her God and Saviour, saying: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour”, and the rest, as the divine Luke hath recorded (1:39-55).

    Dismissal Hymn

    Today is the fountainhead of our salvation and the manifestation of the mystery which was from eternity. The Son of God becomes the Virgin’s Son, and Gabriel announces the good tidings of grace; for this cause let us cry to the Theotokos with him: Rejoice, you who are full of grace, the Lord is with you.


    When the bodiless one learned the secret command, in haste he came and stood before Joseph’s dwelling, and spoke to the maiden who knew not wedlock; the One Who hath bowed the Heavens by His descent is held and contained unchanging wholly in you. Seeing Him receiving the form of a servant in your womb, I stand in awe and cry to you, rejoice, bride unwedded.

    Another Kontakion

    To you, the Champion Leader, we your flock dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos; but as you are one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do you deliver us, that we may cry to you, rejoice, bide unwedded.

  • Luke 1:39-49, 56
    Hebrews 2:11-18
    Luke 1:24-38
    All day

    The Gospel according to Luke 1:39-49, 56

    In those days, Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

    And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.


    St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 2:11-18

    Prokeimenon. Mode 3.
    Luke 1: 46-48

    My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
    Verse: For he has regarded the humility of his servant.

    BRETHREN, he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Here am I, and the children God has given me. Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.


    The Gospel according to Luke 1:24-38

    In those days, Elizabeth the wife of Zacharias conceived and for five months she hid herself, saying, “Thus the Lord had done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you! But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

    And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.


  • Fish Allowed
    All day

    No additional detail for this event.

  • Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel
    All day

    This festive Synaxis is celebrated to the glory of the Archangel Gabriel, since he ministered to the marvellous mystery of God’s incarnate dispensation.

    Apolytikion of Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel in the Fourth Tone

    O Commanders of the Heavenly Host, we the unworthy beseech you, that through your entreaties you will fortify us, guarding us in the shelter of the wings of your ethereal glory, even as we fervently bow before you crying, “Deliver us from all danger, as Commanders of the Powers on high!”

    Kontakion of Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel in the Second Tone

    Supreme Commander of God and minister of the Divine glory, guide of men and leader of the bodiless hosts: Ask for what is to our profit and for great mercy, since you are Supreme Commander of the bodiless hosts.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    26 Martyrs in Crimea
    Irenaeus the Hieromartyr of Hungary

  • Matrona of Thessalonica
    Paul, Bishop of Corinth
    All day

    The Holy Matrona of Thessalonica

    This Sait Martyr Matrona was the servant of a Jewish woman named Pantilla, the wife of the Governor of Thessalonica. When Matrona refused to follow her mistress into the synagogue, Pantilla beat her so severely that she died a few days later, and thus received the crown of her confession.

    Apolytikion of Matrona of Thessalonica in the Fourth Tone

    O Lord Jesus, unto You Your lamb cries with a great voice, “O my Bridegroom, You I love; and seeking You, I now contest, and with Your baptism I am crucified and buried. I suffer for Your sake, that I may reign with You; for Your sake I die, that I may live in /you. Accept me, offered out of longing to You as a splotless sacrifice”. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since You are great in mercy.

  • Hilarion the New
    All day

    Saint Hilarion the New, Igumen (Abbot) of Peleke Monastery, from his youth, he devoted himself to the service of God and spent many years as a hermit. Due to his holy and blameless life he was ordained a Priest, and later he was made igumen of the Pelekete monastery (near the Dardanelles). Saint Hilarion was granted gifts of clairvoyance and wonderworking by the Lord. Through prayer he brought down rain during a drought, and like the Prophet Elisha he separated the waters of a river, he drove harmful beasts from the fields, he filled the nets of fishermen when they had no success in fishing, and he did many other miracles. In addition to these things, he was able to heal the sick and cast out demons.

    Saint Hilarion suffered on Great and Holy Thursday in the year 754 AD, when the military commander Lakhanodrakon suddenly descended upon the Pelekete monastery in pursuit of icon-venerators, boldly forcing his way into the church, disrupting the service and throwing the Holy Gifts upon the ground. Forty-two monks were arrested, slapped into chains, sent to the Edessa district and murdered. The remaining monks were horribly mutilated, they beat them, they burned their beards with fire, they smeared their faces with tar and cut off the noses of some of the confessors. Saint Hilarion died for the veneration of icons during this persecution.

    Saint Hilarion left behind spiritual works containing moral directives for spiritual effort. Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk (commemorated September 9 and October 18) was well acquainted with the work of Saint Hilarion, and he also wrote about the significance of monastic struggles in his own theological works.

    Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

    In you the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up your cross, you followed Christ, and by your deeds your taught us to overlook the flesh, for it passes away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Therefore, O righteous Hilarion, your spirit rejoices with the Angels.

    Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

    O righteous Hilarion, like a fruitful olive tree that has blossomed, with your oil you mystically make radiant those who sing to you, “Rejoice, unwavering rule of the righteous”.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Herodion the Apostle of the 70
    Stephen the Wonderworker

  • Mark of Arethusa
    Cyril & Companions
    All day

    Saint Mark, Bishop of Arethusa

    Saint Mark was Bishop of Arethusa in Syria. In the days of Saint Constantine the Great, Saint Mark, moved with divine zeal, destroyed a temple of the idols and raised up a church in its stead. When Julian the Apostate reigned, in 361, as the pagans were now able to avenge the destruction of their temple, Saint Mark, giving way to wrath, hid himself; but when he saw that others were being taken on his account, he gave himself up. Having no regard to his old age, they stripped him and beat his whole body, cast him into filthy sewers, and pulling him out, had children prick him with their iron writing-pens. Then they put him into a basket, smeared him with honey and a kind of relish of pickled fish, and hung him up under the burning sun to be devoured by bees and wasps. But because he bore this so nobly, his enemies repented, and unloosed him.

    Apolytikion of Hierormartyr Mark of Arethusa in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Since they had slain through their abstinence and struggles the fiery ragings and fierce motions of the passions, the staunch Martyrs of Christ God laid hold on the graces to drive off the pains and illnesses of the sick and work wonders both while living and after death. Strange indeed is the miracle! That these bare bones should pour forth such overflowing streams of cures. Glory be to our only God.


    Martyr Cyril the Deacon and Those with him

    Saint Cyril was a deacon from Heliopolis in Phoenicia. During the reign of the Emperor Constantius, son of Saint Constantine, he had also broken the idols in pieces. When Julian came to power, Saint Cyril was seized by the idolaters and his belly was ripped open. The other holy Martyrs celebrated today, martyred in Gaza and Ascalon during the reign of Julian, were men of priestly rank and consecrated virgins; they were disemboweled, filled with barley, and set before swine to be eaten. The account of all the above Saints is given in Book III, ch. 3, of Theodoret of Cyrrhus’ “Ecclesiastical History.”

    Apolytikion of Martyr Cyril the Deacon & Companions in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Since they had slain through their abstinence and struggles the fiery ragings and fierce motions of the passions, the staunch Martyrs of Christ God laid hold on the graces to drive off the pains and illnesses of the sick and work wonders both while living and after death. Strange indeed is the miracle! That these bare bones should pour forth such overflowing streams of cures. Glory be to our only God.


    The Holy Martyrs Jonas and Barachesius

    As for the holy Martyrs Jonas and Barachesius, they were monks from Persia who lived in the reign of Sapor II, King of Persia from 325 to 379. These Saints found nine Christians in prison suffering for their faith, and comforted them, encouraging them to stand fast till the end, which they did, and received the crown of martyrdom. Because of this, Saints Jonas and Barachesius also were seized, and commanded to worship the fire, the sun, and the water. When they refused, Jonas, among other tortures, had his hands and feet cut off, was crushed in a device that broke his bones, and was sawn asunder. Barachesius was dragged naked over thorns, his whole body was pierced with sharp reeds and then broken in the same device employed upon Jonas, and when boiling pitch was poured down his throat, he gave up his soul into the hands of God.

    Apolytikion of Martyrs Jonas and Barachesius in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

    Since they had slain through their abstinence and struggles the fiery ragings and fierce motions of the passions, the staunch Martyrs of Christ God laid hold on the graces to drive off the pains and illnesses of the sick and work wonders both while living and after death. Strange indeed is the miracle! That these bare bones should pour forth such overflowing streams of cures. Glory be to our only God.


    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Eustathios the Confessor
    Martyrs Jonas and  Barachesius the Martyrs

  • John Climacus
    All day

    Saint John Climacus the Righteous, author of The Divine Ladder of Ascent

    This Saint gave himself over to the ascetical life from his early youth. Experienced both in the solitary life of the hermit and in the communal life of cenobitic monasticism, he was appointed Abbot of the Monastery at Mount Sinai and wrote a book containing thirty homilies on virtue. Each homily deals with one virtue, and progressing from those that deal with holy and righteous activity (praxis) unto those that deal with divine vision (theoria), they raise a man up as though by means of steps unto the height of Heaven. For this cause his work is called “The Ladder of Divine Ascent.” The day he was made Abbot of Sinai, the Prophet Moses was seen giving commands to those who served at table. Saint John reposed in 603, at eighty years of age. See also the Fourth Sunday of the Fast.

    Apolytikion of John Climacus 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 John, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

    Kontakion of John Climacus in the First Tone

    As ever-blooming fruits, thou dost offer the teachings of thy God-given book, O wise John, thou most blessed, while sweet’ning the hearts of all them that heed it with vigilance; for it is a ladder from the earth unto Heaven that conferreth glory on the souls that ascend it and honour thee faithfully.

    We Also Celebrate Today:

    Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Caesar and Epaphroditos, the Apostles of the 70

    Zacharias the New Martyr

  • Hypatios the Wonderworker
    Innocent of Moscow
    Acacius of Melitene
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    The Holy Hieromartyr Hypatios, Bishop of Gangra

    Saint Hypatios, who was from Cilicia of Asia Minor, became Bishop of Gangra, the capital of Paplagonia. He was present at the First Ecumenical Synod (Council). Because of his confession of the Orthodox Faith, he was put to death by the Novatians, a sect that denied that sins committed after Baptism could be forgiven.

    Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Hypatius in the First Tone

    You proved to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Hypatios, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer you obtained heavenly gifts, and you heal the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to you with faith. Glory to Him that has given you strength. Glory to him that has crowned you. Glory to Him that works healing for all through you.

    Kontakion of Hieromartyr Hypatius in the Third Tone

    Celebrating blamelessly the sacred rites, O Hypatios, you greatly multiply the talent that you were given; and when you strived in contest, you were presented as a godly sacrifice and holy first-fruits to Him that glorified you with signs and wonders that tongue of man cannot tell.