Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ishmael
Sabel and Ishmael were brothers born in Persia of a pagan father and
a Christian mother. They were educated in the spirit of Christianity
and were baptized. As Christians they were high-ranking officials at
the court of King Alamundar. They were sent to Emperor Julian the
Apostate to conduct negotiations and to confirm peace between the
Persian and Graeco-Roman empires. The apostate emperor arranged some
sort of blasphemous celebration in honor of the idols in Chalcedon.
At this celebration, the emperor, with his noblemen, offered
sacrifices to the idols. The Persian emissaries absented themselves
from this celebration. The emperor summoned them and ordered that
they also take part in the celebration and to offer sacrifices to
the gods. They declared that they were foreign citizens and that
they came as emissaries of the Persian king for the sake of
establishing peace between the two empires and not for anything
else; that they are Christians and that they consider it unworthy to
worship dead idols and to offer them sacrifices. The emperor became
enraged and cast them into prison. The next day, he brought them out
and again began to dispute with them about faith, but the holy
brothers were adamant and unwavering. They were then bound naked to
trees, beaten and scraped with an iron brush. During the entire time
of torturing they prayed to God with thanksgiving for their
tortures: "O sweet Jesus these torments are sweet for the sake
of Your love!" An angel of God appeared to them, comforted them
and removed every pain from them. Contrary to all international
relations, the wicked Emperor Julian finally pronounced judgment
that the three brothers be beheaded. When they were beheaded, there
was a great earthquake; the earth split and received the bodies of
the holy martyrs so that the pagans could not burn their bodies as
ordered by the emperor. After that the earth gave up the bodies of
these martyrs so that Christians could find them and honorably bury
them. Many miracles occurred over their relics which, when many
pagans saw, they converted to the Christian Faith. When the Persian
king, upon hearing how Julian inhumanely gave his emissaries over to
death, he prepared an army against him. Convinced of victory, Julian
set out against the Persian Empire but he was overwhelmingly
defeated and perished in shame to the joy and ridicule of the entire
was a hermit (Silentary) in Nitria. Inflamed with love for God, Pior,
at an early age, renounced the world and withdrew to the Egyptian
wilderness where he heroically lived a life of asceticism. It is
said that he never sat at the table to eat but that he always ate
standing and working. When he was asked why he does this, St. Pior
replied: "I do not want to be occupied with eating as an
occupation but rather as something marginal." When they called
him in council to judge a brother who had committed a sin, Pior
arrived carrying a sack of sand on his back and on his chest a small
bag of sand. Asked what does that mean, the saint replied: "The
sack of sand on my back are my sins which I do not see and the bag
of sand on my chest are the sins of my brother which I have to
judge." All the brethren were then ashamed and cried out:
"This is the path of salvation!" Pior lived to be a
hundred years old and reposed in the Lord in the fourth century.
adversaries of Christ, through their efforts against Christ, always
achieved the opposite results. Instead of stopping the river of
Christianity, they have widened it, deepened it and made it louder.
Instead of drying Christianity up they have, so to speak, caused a
flood throughout the entire world. Where one martyr fell, a company
of Christians was created; where shame was committed, glory
sprouted; where it was said the end of Christianity, there was the
beginning of luxuriant crops. In spite of all international
considerations and customs, Julian the Apostate, because of his
insane idolatrous fanaticism, killed the Persian emissaries for
peace; Manuel, Sabel and Ishmael. What did Julian accomplish by
this? He multiplied the number of Christians, increased the number
of martyrs and hastened his own end and the end of paganism.
Directly and unwillingly, the apostate helped in the spreading and
deepening of Christianity, not only by his evil persecution but also
by his inadvertent statements. Thus in discussions with Christians,
Julian stated: "Christ did nothing in His life that would merit
glory, except if that is counted as a great deed, that He healed the
lame, the blind and expelled demons!" O wretched Julian! As if
the opening of the eyes of only one blind man by the powerful word
alone was not a greater deed, than the subjugation of ten kingdoms!
How valuable is it, that Julian, as the greatest traitor of Christ
after Judas, recognized the miracles of Christ.
contemplate the miraculous Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus:
"And after six days Jesus took Peter, James and John his
brother and brought them: up into a high mountain apart. And was
transfigured before them" (St. Matthew 17:1-2):
the face of the transfigured Lord shone as the sun;
How, even I, darkened by sin, can shine by Christ's power and grace
with the original radiance of sinless man.
the punishment of those who bear false witness
false witness will not go unpunished and he who utters lies will
perish" (Proverbs 19:9).
and all the hosts of heaven see everything that happens in the
world. Therefore, how can man conceal the truth from so many
witnesses of the truth? And, not only do the heavenly hosts see the
truth, but they also are zealous for the truth. Therefore, how can a
mortal man go against the truth, which means, to go against the
myriads of heavenly zealots for the truth? In truth, darkened in the
mind is the one who thinks that he can conceal the truth and
proclaim a lie instead of truth. When millions of discerning angels
know the truth, can a man conceal the truth? Can someone rise up
against the truth and not be punished? O my brethren, there is
nothing more false than falsehood! Nothing more unsuccessful!
Nothing more arrogant! Nothing more insane!
and all the Hosts of heaven see that which occurs inside man.
Especially the Guardian Angel of man sees that. And this Guardian
Angel does not tolerate that man brings out from himself and about
himself that which is not in him. If a man remains persistent in his
lie, his Angel will abandon him and will turn him over completely to
the spirits of lies. Then, woe to that man! Of what benefit is it to
witness falsely against the entire world if his Angel would witness
truthfully against him before God and the hosts of heaven! If would
be better for that man if he had not been born. For, whoever lies,
lies to the Spirit of God and the Spirit of God abandons the liar in
darkness and death.
of Truth, sustain us by the power of Your Holy Spirit that we never
witness falsely. Sweeten to us Your Holy Truth and turn away a false
word from our tongue.
1st (New Style) • June 18th (Old Style)
Holy Martyr Leontius
was a Roman commander in Tripoli in Phoenicia during the reign of
Emperor Vespasian. He was born in Hellas (Greece) "of great
physical stature, powerful, strong and brave in battles."
Hadrian, the imperial deputy, sent a military detachment to arrest
Leontius, for Hadrian was a fierce adversary and persecutor of
Christians. Hypatius, the senior officer of this detachment, became
ill enroute with a bitter fever because of which the detachment had
to slow down their march. One night an angel of God appeared to
Hypatius and said to him: "If you want to be well, cry out
three times toward heaven with all your soldiers: 'O God of Leontius
help me!' "
informed his companions of his vision and all in unison cried out as
the angel instructed and immediately Hypatius became well. This
miracle astonished all but especially Theodulus. Hypatius and
Theodulus then went ahead of the other soldiers to seek Commander
Leontius. Leontius received them graciously and served them. When he
expounded his faith in Christ to them, their hearts burned with love
for Christ and, at that moment, a bright cloud descended upon
Hypatius and Theodulus and dew from a cloud descended upon them.
That was the Holy Spirit of God Himself baptizing these converted
souls and St. Leontius, at that moment, spoke these words: "In
the name of the All-holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
The evil Hadrian, learning that Hypatius and Theodulus became
Christians, ordered that they be scourged without mercy and
following that to be beheaded with an axe. And so, these two
spiritual children of Leontius died.
Hadrian prescribed cruel tortures for Leontius but Leontius remained
unwavering in his holy faith. His entire body was covered with
wounds but he diligently prayed to God not to abandon him. In the
midst of the cruelest torments, an angel of the Lord appeared to
him, encouraged and comforted him. Finally, they knocked the martyr
Leontius to the ground and beat him until he gave up his soul to
God. The sufferings of St. Leontius was personally witnessed by Kir
Notarius who recorded all that he saw on lead tablets and placed
them in the martyr's grave. St. Leontius suffered honorably in the
year 73 A.D.
Leontius, the Discerner
was of Greek descent from the Peloponnese. He lived a life of
asceticism sixty years in the monastery Dionysiou (Mt. Athos) and
entered into rest in the year 1605 A.D. being eighty-five years of
said that this saint entered the monastery only once and only once
did he leave the monastery in sixty full years. That is: he entered
when he first went to Dionysiou and departed when they carried him
out to bury him. He possessed the miraculous gift of discernment and
prophecy and following his death myrrh flowed from his relics.
scientist examines natural phenomenon with great attention and we,
with greater attention, should examine the phenomenons and the
actions of the grace of God. Behold, what one of the great spiritual
fathers' witnesses about the act of Holy Communion. Father John of
Kronstadt writes: "I am amazed at the greatness and the
life-giving power of divine Communion. An elderly woman, who was
spitting blood and was so completely exhausted from not being able
to eat anything, began to recover the day that she received
Communion from me. A young girl close to death began to recover,
eat, drink and speak after Communion whereas, before that, she was
unconscious, in convulsions and did not eat or drink anything."
O, if every priest, with the attention of a scientist and with the
love of a prayerful man, did observe and follow the actions of the
Grace of Holy Communion similar to Father John!
contemplate the miraculous healing of the young man whom the devil
tormented, at times throwing him into the fire and, at times, into
the water: "Lord, have pity on my son: for he is a lunatic and
suffers severely; for often times he falls into the fire and often
times into the water" (St. Matthew 17:14):
the Lord rebuked the devil and the young man was made whole;
even the evil spirit casts me at times into the fire of passions and
at times into the water of carnality;
even the Lord can save me from falling into the fire and into the
water if only I pray to Him.
who has compassion on the poor lends to God and He will repay Him
for his good deed" (Proverbs 19:17).
poor man who begs and the rich man who gives both are indebting the
Lord, but only under the condition that the poor man begs in the
name of the Lord with humility and that the rich man gives in the
name of the Lord with compassion. Everyone who receives should know
that he receives that which belongs to God and everyone who gives
should know that he gives that which belongs to God. Such giving has
a price and such receiving has a price. All of us enter this world
naked and naked shall we leave this world. All of us are beggars
before the Lord for we possess nothing that we have not received
from the Lord. Therefore, give to the poor man as God as given to
you. You take what is another's and you give to your own when you
perform charity. The poor man is closer to you than all of your
goods even as God, the Creator of men, every man is incomparably
more precious than all of his goods. If you have been given riches,
it was given to you for temptation: that your heart be tempted! That
God and all the heavenly hosts see whether you understood from whom
are all your riches and why they were given to you. Blessed are you
if you know that your goods are from God and belong to God! Blessed
are you if you consider the poor as your companions, among your
family members and share with them from that which God has entrusted
immeasurable is God's love for mankind! Behold, all that you have
belongs to God but, nevertheless, God considers Himself your debtor
if you take from Him and give to the poor and He will repay you for
your good. What kind of mercy can be compared to this!
Man-loving Lord, open our minds to understand the mystery of Your
mercy and soften our hearts as wax, that as wax they burn and shine
with the reflection of Your inexpressible mercy!
2nd (New Style) • June 19th (Old Style)
Holy Apostle Jude
Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles. He was the son of Joseph and
Salome and the brother of James, the brother of the Lord. With
Salome, the daughter of Angeja the son of Varahina, the brother of
Zacharias, Joseph the carpenter had four sons: James, Hosea, Simon
and Jude. This Jude is sometimes called: "Jude, the brother of
James" because of his more famous brother (St. Luke 6:16 Acts
1:14). St. Jude begins his epistle in this manner: "Jude, the
servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James" (St. Jude
1:1). Even though he could be called the brother of the Lord as much
as James, he did not do this out of humility and shame for, in the
beginning, he did not believe Christ the Lord. When the elder
Joseph, before his death, wanted to leave a portion of his estate to
Jesus as well as to his other children, all of them protested this,
even Jude, only James voluntarily set aside a share of his portion
and intended it for Jesus. Jude is also called Levi and Thaddeaus.
There is another Thaddeaus of the Seventy Apostles (August 21) but
this Thaddeaus or Jude was one of the Great Apostles. Jude preached
the Gospel throughout Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumedia, Syria,
Arabia, Mesopotamia and Armenia. In Edessa, the town of Abgar, he
augmented the preaching of the other Thaddeaus. When Jude preached
throughout the regions around Ararat he was captured by pagans,
crucified on a cross and killed by being shot throughout with arrows
to eternally reign in the Kingdom of Christ.
Paisius the Great
was an Egyptian by birth and nationality. After a vision in a dream,
his mother dedicated him to the service of God. As a young man,
Paisius came to the Venerable Pambo who received him as his disciple
and he was a co-disciple of Venerable John Kolovos (The Short) who
wrote the biography of Paisius. To the joy of his spiritual father,
Paisius exerted labor after labor and mortification after
mortification. Many times the Prophet Jeremiah, whom he especially
loved and often read, appeared to him; even the angels of God often
appeared to him; even the Lord Christ Himself appeared to him.
"Peace be with you my beloved chosen one!" the Lord Christ
said to him. By the great grace of God, Paisius possessed the
special gift of abstaining from food. Often he did not taste bread
for fifteen days, more often for a week and once, in the witness of
St. John the Short, he went for seventy days without partaking of
anything. He waged a great struggle with the spirits of evil, who
appeared to him at times exactly as they are and, at times in the
form of radiant angels. But the blessed servant of God did not
permit himself to be deceived and fascinated. Paisius was famous
throughout Egypt as a discerner and miracle-worker. He took up
habitation in eternity in the year 400 A.D. The Venerable Isidore of
Pelusium translated the relics of Paisius to his monastery and
honorably buried them.
Holy Apostle Zosimas
was a Roman soldier during the reign of Emperor Trajan. He
courageously confessed his faith in Christ the Lord for which he
endured cruel tortures. In the midst of his tortures, he heard a
voice from heaven saying: "Be brave Zosimas and sign yourself
with the cross, I am with you!" Angels of God appeared to him
in prison. After many tortures, Zosimas was beheaded in the year 116
John the Hermit (Anchorite)
lived a life of asceticism in the sixth century in the proximity of
Jerusalem. Through his mortification, he achieved a high degree of
purity and power so that even the wild beasts were submissive to
him. John reposed in the Lord in extreme old age in the year 586
monks once inquired of Paisius the Great: "Father, speak to us
a word of salvation and how, according to God, we should live?"
The elder replied to them: "Go and keep the commandments of God
and preserve the traditions of the Fathers." The tradition of
the Fathers is the experience of the saints in the spiritual field,
the enormous experience of nearly two-thousand years, the experience
of many hundreds and thousands of holy men and women. What a very
rich depository of wisdom! What kind of an immense mass of proofs of
every truth of Holy Scripture! All of that wealth, all of that
wisdom, all of those proofs, all of this experience the Protestants
have rejected! O madness inexpressible! O, the poverty of beggars!
contemplate the miraculous healing of the two blind men:"
behold, two blind men sitting by the wayside, heard that Jesus was
passing by, and cried out, saying: 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy
on us!' " (St. Matthew 20:30):
the two blind men cried out to the Lord: "Lord, Son of David,
have mercy on us!";
the merciful Lord touched their eyes and they saw;
I also am blinded by sin; and how even I can see if I cry out to the
Lord to touch me.
revenge and the Avenger
not, I will repay evil! Trust in the Lord and He will help you"
be vengeful; do not return evil for evil. The evil from your
neighbor is sufficient. If you return evil for evil to him, you will
double the evil in the world. If you do not return evil for evil to
him, he can still burn out his evil through repentance. Thus, you
will reduce evil in the world through patience and forgiveness.
be vengeful; do not return evil for evil. "But wait on the
Lord," He sees and remembers and, in your time, even you and
your evil doer will know that God sees and remembers. You ask
yourself: What have I done in that I have not returned evil for
evil? You have done the wisest deed that you could do in the given
situation, i.e.; you have relinquished your struggle to the One
Stronger than yourself and the Stronger will victoriously fight for
you. If you enter into battle with the evil doer you might be
defeated. But God cannot be defeated. Therefore, relinquish your
struggle to the Victorious and Undefeated One and patiently wait.
from a small child. If someone attacks a child in the presence of
his parents, the child does not return the attack by attacking but
rather looks at his parents and cries. The child knows that his
parents will protect him. How is it that you do not know what a
little child knows? Your heavenly Parent is constantly beside you.
That is why, do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil rather
look at your Parent and cry. Only in this way will you guarantee
victory for yourself in conflict with evil men.
Almighty Lord Who said: "Vengeance is Mine" (Romans 12:19
Hebrews 10:30), protect us from the unrighteous ones by Your
almighty hand and restrain us from vengeance. Counsel us by Your
Holy Spirit that the greater heroism is to endure rather than to
3rd (New Style) • June 20th (Old Style)
Holy Martyr Methodius, Bishop of Patara
his youth, Methodius dedicated himself to asceticism and, as a city
on a hill, was seen and summoned to the episcopacy in the city of
Patara in Lycia. As a learned and eloquent hierarch, Methodius wrote
against the heresy of Origen. His "God-inspired words shown
throughout the entire world as lightning." The pagans rose up
against him, tortured him and beheaded him in Chalcis in Syria in
the year 311 A.D.
Holy Martyrs Aristocles, Dimitrianus and Athanasius
was a priest of the cathedral church in the town of Tamasus on
Cyprus and lived a God-pleasing life. Because of his great zeal for
the Faith, Aristocles was made worthy of a voice from heaven
instructing him to go to Salamis in Cyprus and to receive the wreath
of martyrdom. Dimitrianus the deacon and Athanasius the reader
accompanied him. Arriving at Salamis, these men of God began to
preach Christ. The pagans seized them and after torturing them,
Aristocles was beheaded and Dimitrianus and Athanasius were burned
alive in the year 306 A.D.
Venerable Nahum of Ohrid
principle feast is celebrated on December 23 and June 20 is his
summer feast (Life of St. Nahum December 23). During the summer
feast there is a great assembly of people at the monastery of St.
Nahum. Many sick people come or are brought to beseech healing
through faith and prayer over the relics of the saint. Not only
Orthodox people but also those from other faiths come to seek favor
from St. Nahum. In 1926, a Muslim from Resna brought and donated a
bell to the monastery out of thanksgiving because St. Nahum healed
his brother from his deathbed and restored him to life. The donor
was Jemail Zizo and his brother, who was healed, was called Suleiman
Zizo. Both were prominent citizens of Resna.
Kallistos I, Patriarch of Constantinople
disciple of Gregory Sinaite, Kallistos lived a life of asceticism
for twenty-eight years on Mt. Athos in the Scete of Magoula at the
monastery Philotheou. He later founded the monastery of St. Mamas.
He was elected patriarch of Constantinople in the year 1350 A.D.
After four years he withdrew from the patriarchal throne and again
returned to Mt. Athos. During the reign of John Paleologus, he was
again returned to the throne where, as patriarch, he remained until
his death. He died in the year 1368 A.D. enroute to Serres where he
traveled to meet the Servian Empress Helena who came to seek help
against the Turks. In the company of Ignatius, he complied a
beautiful guide (manual) for ascetics. In addition to this, he wrote
the hagiography of St. Gregory Sinaite and St. Theodosius of Trnovo
as well as numerous homilies. It is interesting to note how St.
Maximus of Kapsokalyvia prophesied the death of Patriarch Kallistos.
On his way to Serbia, Kallistos traveled through the Holy Mountain.
Seeing him, St. Maximus said: "This elder will never see his
flock again for behind him is heard the funeral chant: "Blessed
are the undefiled in the way' " (Psalm 119:1).
Leucius, Bishop of the City of Brindisi (Italy)
was born in Alexandria and, at the early age, entered a monastery.
He was made worthy of great revelations and powerful grace so that
he resurrected the dead and drove out demons from men. At first, he
was a bishop of Alexandria and, by command from heaven, Leucius
crossed over to Italy to the pagan town of Brindisi, which he
completely baptized and built a church to the Mother of God. After
many and successful labors he took up habitation in eternity during
the reign of Emperor Theodosius II, in the fifth century.
was a prominent patrician and consul in Constantinople. He founded
the church of St. John the Forerunner near the Golden Gates and a
monastery named Studion after him. This monastery became famous for
the many glorious men, spiritual fathers, ascetics and many who
suffered for the Faith (martyrs), the most famous of which was St.
Theodore the Studite. The Latin Crusaders destroyed this monastery
in 1204 A.D. but Emperor Constantine Paleologue Porphyrogenitus
rebuilt it in the year 1293 A.D. A Turkish mosque stands on that
Cyprian writes about immortality: "Whenever a famous man
promises you something, you would believe his promise and would not
even dare to think that he who was always faithful to his word would
deceive you. But behold, O treacherous one, God Himself speaks to
you and you are wavering with doubt. God promised you immortality
after your departure from this world and you impudently doubt that
promise? This means: you do not recognize God at all: it means that
by your unbelieving you insult Christ the Lord and Teacher." O
how powerful is the faith of the saints of God! How obvious and
understandable and well explained it is with simple and powerful
examples! The unholy do not doubt because they are supposedly more
rational but because they are unholy. The holier man is always more
rational for in the clear mirror of his heart, he sees the truth.
contemplate the miraculous withering of the unfruitful fig tree:
"And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he came up to it and
found nothing on it but leaves; and He said to it, 'May no fruit
ever come from you henceforth forever!' And immediately the fig tree
withered up" (St. Matthew 21:19):
the Lord cursed the fig tree with many leaves but without fruit and
the fig tree withered up;
even my life with many leaves - bodily cares, desires and thoughts -
and without spiritual fruit, can come under the same curse if I do
not amend my ways.
how our salvation is in the hands of God
horse is prepared against the day of battle: but salvation is in the
Lord" (Proverbs 21:31).
obligated to prepare ourselves but our success depends on God. All
of our preparation is only a proposal to God but the proposal does
not decide, but God decides. That is why people wisely say according
to their experience: man proposes and God disposes. O Soldier of
Christ, prepare your mind as a good horse, arm your heart with
virtues, temper your will with mortifications, but know - that
"salvation is in the Lord." O Merchant of Christ, practice
good trade every day, exchanging the material for the spiritual, the
earthly for the heavenly and mortality for immortality, but know -
that "salvation is in the Lord." O Plowman of Christ, plow
and re-plow your soul, sow the good evangelical seed on it every
day, weed out the field of your soul from weeds, watch over it, but
know that "salvation is in the Lord." A horse did not help
the pharaoh in the Red Sea. Neither did the riches of Babylon help
in the day of reckoning with God. A person can prepare all but,
nevertheless, in that decisive moment can lose everything. For
salvation is not in preparation, but in the Lord. That is why the
saints, even though most prepared for the Kingdom of God and, in
their hour of death, sighed not knowing whether they will be
received into the Kingdom. O how well they remember the words of the
Lord: "When you have done everything that was commanded you,
say: 'We are unprofitable servants!' " (St. Luke 17:10).
Brethren, let us be prepared for the day of temptation, well girded
and armed but let us not hope in our own preparation, but in the
our Savior, help us and save us.
4th (New Style) • June 21st (Old Style)
Holy Martyr Julian of Tarsus
was of noble and senatorial origin. He lived in Tarsus in Cilicia
and suffered during the reign of Diocletian. Even though he was only
eighteen years of age when he was subjected to torture for the
Faith, St. Julian was sufficiently educated and strengthened in
Christian piety. The imperial deputy led him from town to town for
an entire year torturing him and all the time trying to persuade him
to deny Christ. Julian's mother followed her son from a distance.
When the deputy seized Julian's mother and sent her to counsel her
son to deny Christ, for three days in prison she spoke the opposite
advice, teaching him and encouraging him not to despair in spirit
but with thanksgiving and courage go to his death. The torturers
then sewed Julian in a sack with sand, scorpions and serpents and
tossed the sack into the sea and Julian's mother also died under
torture. His relics were tossed by the waves to the shore and the
faithful translated them to Alexandria and honorably buried them in
the year 290 A.D. Later, St. Julian's relics were translated to
Antioch. Later on, St. John Chrysostom, himself, delivered a eulogy
(an oration of praise) for the holy martyr Julian. St. John
Chrysostom said: "From the mouth of the martyr proceeded a holy
voice and, together with the voice, a light emanated brighter than
the rays of the sun." Further, he added: "Take anyone, be
it a madman or one possessed, and bring him to the grave of this
saint where the relics of the martyr repose and you will see how he
(the demon) without fail will leap out and flee as from a burning
fire." It is obvious from these words how numerous miracles
must have taken place at the grave of St. Julian.
Venerable Julius and Julian
and Julian were brothers from the Greek province of Mirmidonia. From
childhood they were reared in Christianity with the vow that they
will always live in chastity and serve the Church. Julius was a
presbyter and Julian a deacon. They received a decree (grammata)
from Emperor Theodosius the Younger to destroy pagan temples and to
build Christian churches throughout the empire. These two brothers,
as two apostles, converted non-Christians to Christianity throughout
the east and west (of the empire) and built churches. They built
over one hundred churches during their lifetime. They reposed
peacefully in the Lord near Milan. The inhabitants of Milan invoke
the help of St. Julius against wolves.
Holy Martyr Archil (Archilios) II, King of Georgia
was the son of King Stephen and the grandson of the great Georgian
King Wakahtang Gorgaslan. King Archil, a great Christian and a
defender of Christianity, was tortured by the Muslims and beheaded
for Christ on March 20, 744 A.D. He was eighty years old when he
suffered for the Lord and took up habitation in blessed eternity.
Holy Martyr Luarsab II, Prince of Kartli in Georgia
father, George X, suffered for the Faith and was poisoned by a
Persian Shah. Luarsab, however, was cast into prison near Shiraz
where he languished for seven years. Then, by order of Shah Abbas I,
he was hanged in prison with two of his servants on July 21, 1622
A.D. A heavenly light was seen over his grave.
man begins to train himself in keeping silent, silence to him seems
to be lesser than speech; but when he is trained in silence then he
knows that speech is lesser than silence. A monk said to St. Sisoes:
"I would like to preserve my heart but I cannot," to which
the elder responded: "How can we preserve the heart when the
gate to our heart the tongue stands open?" Charillos, the
nephew of Lycurgus, was once asked why his uncle issued so few laws.
He replied: "For those who speak little, many laws are not
contemplate the miraculous healing of the blind Bartimeus: "And
they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His
disciples and a very great crowd, Bartimeus, a blind man the son of
Timeus, was sitting by the wayside begging" (St. Mark 10:46):
Bartimeus cried out to the Lord with faith for healing and the Lord
How, even I, blinded in the soul sit by the road which the Lord
passes by and, if I cry out to Him, He will heal me.
sowing and reaping
who sows iniquity reaps calamity (suffering)" (Proverbs
commit an iniquity, perhaps suffering (calamity) may pass you by the
very day when you commit the iniquity but suffering (calamity) has
heard the voice of iniquity and unavoidably will come in its day.
sowing is sweet and some sowing is bitter. Some sowing resembles
life but the fruit and reaping of that sowing is death.
attention and learn from Holy Scripture: Eve sowed iniquity through
disobedience and pain in childbirth befell her.
sowed iniquity through fratricide and pain and sleepless wandering
throughout the earth befell him.
and Gomorrah sowed iniquity and reaped the pain of a horrible death.
sons of Eli the High Priest sowed iniquity for they committed a
desecration along side the Ark of the Covenant and they reaped
suffering for they bitterly lost their lives in battle.
to mind Saul, his iniquity and his sufferings. Then again, call to
mind Ahab and Jezebel. And again, call to mind Herod and Judas. Then
again, call to mind today and yesterday and the days before
yesterday and every other day gone by and listen to the words of
every day: "He who sows iniquity reaps calamity
(suffering)!" Is there a village in the world in which this
teaching is not put before its eyes? Is there a roof which, beneath
it, does not conceal such a teaching? Is there any living man who
has not witnessed this teaching in the living examples around him?
All-wise Lord, if we did not know Your will we would be less
since You gave us to know Your will, O All-merciful One, grant us
the strength to fulfill it throughout all the days of our lives.
5th (New Style) • June 22nd (Old Style)
Priestly-Martyr Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
was a great exposer of Arianism. When the throne of Antioch became
vacant, Meletius was elected patriarch at the insistence of
Eusebius. Meletius was a great beacon of the Church who, after his
death, was found worthy of great praise by St. John Chrysostom.
However, the Arians quickly banished Meletius from Antioch. When
Constantine's pernicious son Constantius died another much worse
than he was crowned, Julian the Apostate. During the time of
Julian's persecution of Christians, St. Eusebius removed his
clerical attire and donned a soldier's uniform so that, under the
guise of a soldier, he visited the persecuted Church throughout
Syria, Phoenicia and Palestine strengthening the Orthodox Faith
everywhere and installing the necessary priests and deacons and
other clergy and, in some places, bishops. Following the stormy
death of Julian, St. Eusebius counseled Meletius to convene a
Council in Antioch in 361 A.D. at which twenty-seven hierarchs were
present and the Arian heresy was condemned once more and the Faith
of Orthodoxy was proclaimed in the same manner as it was expressed
at the First Ecumenical Council (Nicea 325 A.D). Along with Meletius
and Eusebius, St. Pelagius of Laodicea the famous ascetic and chaste
one, made a great impact at the Council of Antioch. This Council was
held during the reign of the pious Emperor Jovian. However, Emperor
Jovian soon died and the wicked Valens was crowned and again the
persecution of Orthodoxy ensued. St. Meletius was exiled to Armenia,
Eusebius exiled to Thrace and Pelagius exiled to Arabia. After
Valens, Gratian was crowned emperor and it was he who granted
freedom to the Church and recalled the exiled hierarchs to their
former sees. Thus, they returned: Meletius to Antioch, Eusebius to
Samosata and Pelagius to Laodicea. At this time, many dioceses and
many parishes were widowed and Eusebius zealously hurried to find
and to give to the people canonical shepherds. When he came to the
town of Doliche to enthrone the newly elected bishop Marinus and to
denounce the heresy of Arius, which was strong in this town, a
fanatical heretic hurled a ceramic tile at Eusebius' head and
mortally wounded him. This great zealot, saint and martyr of
Orthodoxy died to live eternally in the blessedness of Paradise. He
suffered in the year 379 A.D.
Holy Martyrs Zeno and Zenas
was a Roman officer in the Arabian town of Philadelphia and Zenas
was his servant. When the persecution of Christians began during the
reign of Emperor Maximian, St. Zeno boldly appeared before Commander
Maximus, confessed his faith in the One Living God and counseled
Maximus that, he too, renounce lifeless idols and embrace the only
True Faith. The commander became enraged and cast Zeno into prison.
When the faithful Zenas visited his master in prison, he also was
seized and arrested. Both of them were tortured for Christ and
finally thrown into the fire that the pagans had doused with oil.
Their souls were crowned with wreaths in the Kingdom of Christ and
their bodily remains were interred in the Church of St. George at
the place called Cyparisson.
does the good Lord permit assaults and sufferings on the True Faith
while He permits the pleasure of tranquility to heresies and
paganism? Why? Even St. John Chrysostom asks and immediately
replies: "So that you would recognize their weakness (the
weakness of the heresies and paganism) when you see that they
disintegrate on their own without any disturbance and also to be
convinced in the power of faith which endures misfortunes and even
multiplies through its adversaries." "Therefore, if we
quarrel with the pagans or with the wretched Jews, it is sufficient
to emphasize as evidence of divine power that the Faith
(Christianity) which was subjected to countless struggles maintained
victory" even when the entire world stood against her (the
Church). St. Isaac the Syrian says: "The wondrous love of God
toward man is recognized when man is in misfortunes that are
destroying his hope. Here, God manifests His power for his (man's)
salvation. For man never recognizes the power of God in tranquility
contemplate the miraculous dumbness of Zacharias the high-priest:
"And behold, you shall be dumb and unable to speak until the
day when these things come to pass, because you have not believed my
words which will be fulfilled in their proper time" (St. Luke
Zacharias did not believe the angel of God that the old womb of his
wife (Elizabeth) could conceive and give birth and how, because of
that he was struck dumb according to the words of the angel;
How, even I am, as though struck dumb when I cannot sufficiently
speak about God's miracles because my faith is small.
how the slothful man excuses himself
slothful man says: A lion is outside; in the streets I might be
slain!" (Proverbs 22:13).
order to justify his slothfulness, the slothful man emphasizes the
difficulties and obstacles of a certain task and magnifies them
beyond measure. If a man annoys him, he will say that the entire
village annoys him; if the leaves rustle, he will justify that he is
unable to go to work because of a storm; if a rabbit is in front of
his house, he will say it is a lion! He says this in order not to
leave the house and to delay his work.
is completely contrary to the nature of man. The nature of man is
activity; the nature of man seeks to be occupied, to work and to
build. Slothfulness is the sure sign of a distortion of the nature
of man. That slothfulness is a terrible vice is clear in that an
active man is never envious of the slothful man, while the slothful
man is envious of the active man; in the same manner a sober man is
not envious of the drunk, while the drunk is envious of the sober
Lord, ever-active Creator, save us from the dull and sinful
slothfulness by which we distance ourselves from our primordial
nature (created) from Your image and likeness, Master of all things!
Inspire us, with Your Holy Spirit, all-compassionate and
6th (New Style) • June 23rd (Old Style)
Holy Female Martyr Agrippina
Agrippina was born and educated in Rome. From her childhood she
trained herself to live an evangelical life, driving away the stench
of passions from her heart and filling her heart with the
sweet-smelling fragrance of purity, of virginity and chastity. She
was betrothed to Christ the Lord and, as the Bride of Christ,
suffered during the reign of Emperor Valerian. She endured flogging
with rods until her bones were crushed. An angel of God appeared to
her and strengthened her. While being tortured, St. Agrippina gave
up her soul to God. Her companions, Bassa, Paula and Agathonice,
translated her relics to the island of Sicily and honorably buried
them there. A church was later built there in St. Agrippina's honor.
Countless miracles were wrought from her relics. By the power of her
relics, even the Hagarians were turned away from the town where her
relics reposed. St. Agrippina rested in the year 275 A.D. and was
crowned with glory.
Holy Martyrs Eustochius and Gaius and others with them
was a pagan priest during the reign of Emperor Maximian and by
witnessing the heroism of the Christian martyrs rejected paganism
and was baptized. Eudoxius, the bishop of Antioch, personally
baptized him. After that Eustochius gradually converted his
relatives to Christianity. His relative Gaius was baptized along
with three children: Probus, Lollias and Urban. All of these, and
others with them, were brought before the court, tortured and
beheaded in Lystra for the sake of their faith in Christ the Lord.
Their souls took up habitation in the eternal Kingdom of Christ.
Commemoration of the Icon of the All-Holy Birth-Giver of God (Theotokos)
of the Town of Vladimir
the Tartar King Ahmet besieged Moscow, Prince John Vasillievitch set
out with an army to defend the city. Even though the army of Prince
John was smaller in number and weaker than the Tartar army,
nevertheless, it emerged victorious. All at once, an indescribable
fear overcame the Tartars and they became confused and fled.
Everyone ascribed this unexpected success to the icon of the
All-Holy Birth-giver of God before whom the Russian people prayed
for salvation from the Tartars. As a result of this, June 23 was
designated in Russia for the commemoration of this miracle.
History of the Repentance of Theophilus
out of envy toward the bishop, rendered his soul to the devil and,
in writing, renounced Christ and the Birth-giver of God (Theotokos).
However, after that Theophilus repented bitterly and obtained the
forgiveness of the Holy All-pure One. After forty days of fasting
and tearful prayers, Theophilus received back the paper he had
written renouncing Christ, which he had given to the devil, and
openly confessed his sin in church before the bishop and the people.
When the bishop pronounced the words of forgiveness and administered
Holy Communion to him, the face of Theophilus shone as the sun.
Behold, an example of how the merciful God not only forgives the
sins of true penitents but also includes them among the saints.
patience is a meek patience, but patience with a weak malice does
not differ much from vengeance. Our saints are great in every good
evangelical work but how great and magnificent are they in meek
patience! Perhaps they appear the greatest to us in this goodness
because we are the smallest in it. When the desert fathers at one
time had gathered around John Kolovos (The Short) to hear an
instruction a certain envious one heckled: "Your vessel, O
John, is full of poison!" To that the meek John immediately
responded: "You said that only seeing the exterior but what
would you have said if you could see the interior?" When they
brought out Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage for beheading, he
commanded that twenty-five gold pieces be given to his executioner
following his death.
contemplate the miraculous healing of Zacharias from dumbness:
"And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and
he began to speak, blessing God" (St. Luke 1:64).
Zacharias became dumb because of his disbelief in the angel of God;
Zacharias spoke as soon as he fulfilled the command of the angel:
"And asking for a writing tablet, he wrote the words: ' John is
his name' " (St. Luke 1:63);
dumbness will fall from my soul as soon as I begin to fulfill the
commandments of God and how my soul will be full of words and wisdom
according to God.
how we need not envy the sinners
not emulous (envious) of evil men" (Proverbs 24:1).
anyone envy the leper? No one envies him. Why then do some envy the
evil man when evil is a greater sickness than leprosy? Leprosy is a
disease of the flesh but evil is a disease of the soul. A leper can
be healthy within while he is unhealthy on the outside. However, the
evil man can be healthy on the outside but his interior is ill, his
heart is sick. Greater value has a tree that is sick on the outside
but has a healthy core than a tree that is healthy on the outside
but has a rotten core. Thus, leprosy is a lesser evil than evil
i.e., than sin. Because under evil, the All-wise One thought of sin
the physician envy the sick person? He does not envy him. Neither
does the righteous one envy the sinner. If you do not know whether
you are righteous examine your heart: do you envy the sinner? If you
envy the sinner then you are not righteous; if you do not envy the
sinner, then rejoice, O righteous one of God. The sick person can
envy the healthy one, but the healthy person does not envy the sick
person. Neither does the righteous envy the sinner. A physician
recognizes a fatal illness of his patient and, knowing that, he
pities him but does not envy him. The righteous one recognizes the
sickness of sin, horrifying and deadly, and does not envy the sinner
but pities him.
and compassionate Lord, uproot envy from our hearts and implant